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Akron, NY --- The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced that Steve Pratt will receive their Lifetime Achievement Award during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 14). Pratt first got his grooms license in 1970 and from there has been involved in harness racing ever since. He has been training and racing horses in western New York since the late seventies when the star of his barn was an Open trotter named Willow Hill Boy who under the reinsmanship of the legendary Gaston Guindon, won 42 races in only five years against the best horses on the grounds at the time. Pratt moved on from racing overnights to concentrate on breaking and developing young horses. He became a presence on the New York county fair circuit but made the move to the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) in the mid-nineties. There he found early success with horses like Sal The Barber (1:58.2, $114,887) and Choyote's Miss (1:59.1, $121,785). But he really got on a successful roll in the NYSS starting in 2012. For the last seven years Pratt has been a trotting force in the state-bred series with a string of "Barn" named horses that have competed in the NYSS, the Excel series and also at the county fairs. The parade of his champions is led most prominently by Barn Doll (1:52.1, $874,083), Barn Bella (1:51.3, $742,350), Barn Girl (1:52.3, $734,668), Barn Babe (1:54.2, $350,463) and Barn Winner (1:56, $165,273). During those seven years Pratt-trained horses have earned over $2 million in only 227 starts, winning 97 races which gave him a phenomenal 42% win percentage. Pratt's Universal Trainer Rating (UTR) for that same period is a stellar .558 and all this was accomplished racing primarily in stake competition. Steve Pratt will receive his trophy in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle between races during the live card. By Tim Bojarski, president, Upstate New York USHWA

Batavia, NY---After spending most of his summer harness racing the New York fair circuit, Barn Winner made a rare night time pari-mutuel appearance and went home victorious in the $10,000 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 25). It seemed way too easy. Barn Winner (Kevin Cummings) left from post one and yielded the lead to Lutetium (John Cummings Jr.) in the first turn and from there he just had to sit and wait. Lutetium took the group through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before he started showing signs of fatigue. At the top of the far turn, Cummings pulled Barn Winner and he trotted right on by the leader and just kept on going. BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) came flying late outside and Corleone Hall (Drew Monti) found room up the passing lane, but Barn Winner held them at bay and won by a length in 1:57.1. It was the eighth win in 17 starts this year for Barn Winner ($7.80) and it provided him with a new lifetime mark as well. Now boasting earnings of $30,980 for 2017, Barn Winner is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt and is trained by Steve Pratt. In the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot, Egosnattitudes (Larry Stalbaum) came from sixth and made a bold three-wide move at three-quarters to sweep the field and catch the front-running Nobel Legend (Ray Fisher Jr.) by a neck to win in 1:56.4. Egosnattitudes ($13.00) is owned by Graham Grace Stables LLC and is trained by Kim Asher. Kevin Cummings and Larry Stalbaum both had driving hat tricks on Friday while Drew Monti captured two races of his own. Joe Skowyra had a training triple with Angelo Nappo garnerning two training wins as well. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 26) with the first race post set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

When the best Empire State harness racing 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits convene at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 12) for the first edition of the 2015 Night of Champions, some of the best sophomores in North American harness racing will be competing for the $900,000 in purses. In fact, it will include four of the top 20 colt and filly pacers and four of the top 15 colt and filly trotters currently in the sport. That gaudy list is definitely led by Habitat 3, 1:53 ($1,104,841) by Conway Hall-Habit's Best, whose $570,434 in 2015 ranks him fourth in North America among trotters of all ages behind Hambletonian winner Pinkman, Open sensation JL Cruze and Hambletonian Oaks winner Wild Honey. Habitat has been made the morning line choice in the 3-year-old trotting colt and gelding division by the track handicapper and is listed at 1-1. After completing an outstanding freshman campaign that saw him earn in excess of $500,000, Habitat began this year in quick fashion by winning the $133,170 Dexter Cup at Freehold in his very first start. He then won two out of three early NYSS events before hitting the Grand Circuit. Habitat trotted his fastest mile of the year in his Hambletonian elimination heat where he finished fourth to eventual stake winner, Pinkman, in 1:51.2. Unfortunately he drew post 10 in the final and was only able to watch his stablemate, Mission Brief, finish second from nine lengths behind. But since that time, the Conway Hall colt has been red hot; stringing together three consecutive victories in what could only be described as dominating fashion. He won the $58,662 Tompkins Memorial at Tioga Downs in a lifetime best-tying time of 1:53. Then two weeks later it was wire to wire in the $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination. And he followed that up with a three and one-half length romp in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final. The NYSS final will be the third straight start at Yonkers Raceway for Habitat, who has already shown a propensity to perform well on that surface. The sports leading trainer, Ron Burke, will send Habitat postward with the leading NYSS driver, Jim Morrill Jr. in tow for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. The 3-year-old distaff trotting division features Barn Doll who has been installed as the 9-5 choice. Barn Doll 3, 1:52.1 ($560,650) by Conway Hall-Headintheclouds, seemingly does nothing but win. She is 17 out of 21 lifetime and 10 out of 12 this year. Her lifetime mark of 1:52.1 occurred two weeks in a row at Vernon Downs in June when she won the elimination and final of the $248,275 Empire Breeders Classic in identical times. Barn Doll has only been beaten twice this year, finishing second both times. And as this filly likes to come at the three-eighths, it took a :56 back half at Tioga and a :57 last-lap at Yonkers to take her down. Given the convincing manner she won her most recent two starts it would appear she comes into this race razor sharp. Steve Pratt trains Barn Doll and co-owns the filly with Nancy Pratt and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. Jeff Gregory will once again be at the lines as he has for eight of her wins this year Jewels In Hock 3, 1:53.3 ($254,496) by Credit Winner-Jewels Galore, should pose the major threat to Barn Doll in this race as she comes into the contest winning three out of her last four starts. She is eight out of 16 in the winner's circle this year and that $241,496 has accounted for the bulk of her lifetime income. The filly likes the front end and will get the opportunity to cut the race in here for driver Jim Morrill Jr. Linda Toscano trains Jewels In Hock for Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables LLC. In the 3-year-old pacing filly division, Mosquito Blue Chip is rated the 5-2 morning line choice but comes into the race as bit of an enigma. Mosquito Blue Chip 3, 1:49.3 ($477,511) by Bettor's Delight-Sandfly Hanover, had been rolling right along; winning three out of four races including a lifetime best 1:49.3 in winning the $269,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on August 23. But the very next week after a raucous spell behind the gate, going into the first turn she made the only break of her career; and it was a bad one. So how does that affect her chances 12 days later over the same track? Aside from that line, Mosquito Blue Chip has been a model of consistency since the beginning of June. She is eight out of 12 in the money, including five wins. And she was the third leading point getter and second highest money-earner in the series for her division this year. Jim Morrill Jr. will steer Mosquito Blue Chip for trainer Paul Jessop, who co-owns the filly with Our Three Sons Stable LLC and Donato Falcicchio. Finally, in the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings split, Betting Exchange is the prohibitive 7-5 choice coming off a very convincing outing his last start. Betting Exchange 3, 1:51.2 ($401,663) by Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover, is having an outstanding year. He finished third behind Wakizashi Hanover and Wiggle It Jiggleit (who are currently first and third in North America for 2015 earnings) in the $810,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48 flat, beaten only three lengths. Then he finished fourth in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. Yannick Gingras took the colt to the front from post seven in 26.2 before getting a two-hole trip for the race. After shaking loose in the stretch, he finished fourth in 1:50, beaten only three lengths. Betting Exchange followed that up with a devastating nine-length victory seven days later at Batavia Downs, going the mile in 1:51.2 and just missing the all-time track record by one fifth of a second. Jason Bartlett was up for that win and returns to try and repeat the effort for trainer Tom Fanning. Betting Exchange is owned by his trainer along with Howard Taylor and Susan Kajfasz. By Tim Bojarski, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York        

Her approval rating in New York would shame any politician, as would her margins of victory. Fortunately for the electeds, Barn Doll isn't taking them on. Unfortunately for the seven lasses she sees Saturday night, Barn Doll is taking them on. Barn Doll, her sights on another sire stakes championship, drew post position No. 5 in the Majestic View Farms International 3-Year-Old Filly Trot. The event is the first of four Yonkers Raceway finales comprising Part I of the 26th New York Night of Champions. The $225,000 finals for 3-year-old pacers and trotters go Saturday (races 5 through 8), while the equally-purses quartet of finales for 2-year-olds is set for Saturday, Sept. 26th . Each of the eight events is sponsored by a prominent New York breeding farm. As for Barn Doll, the daughter of Conway Hall has never left Empire's boundaries in her 21-race, $560,850 career. Her 17 wins (with three seconds) have included four in five Yonkers starts, highlighted last season's frosh championship. "She's just been a pro for two seasons," Jeff Gregory, Barn Doll's driver in 17 of her purse starts, said. "She always shows up. "(Trainer/co-owner) Steve (Pratt) warned me right away she was a nice horse, and she's lived up to it," Gregory said. Why? "Exceptional manners and speed," her chauffeur said. "Last season, if you saw her race, you'd never have thought she was a 2-year-old. She made one break (Saratoga) and that's because she was in heat, a fluke thing." As good as she's been on the small tracks up and down the Thruway, Gregory thinks a big track steps her up even more. "She's not the quickest out of gate, but with the big track, she can get out of there." Gregory has won 13 sire stakes finals, third all-time (behind Wally Hennessey and Jim Morrill Jr.). His dozen leg wins this season puts him second, behind runaway leader Morrill Jr. "Hopefully, we can get another one Saturday." Frank Drucker

Batavia, NY---Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) lived up to her hype as she toyed with the field in her division of the $120,400 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 22) As Ray Schnittker flew off the gate with Waiting Room to take an early three-length lead, Jeff Gregory floated Barn Doll out before settling in fourth. As the pack entered the clubhouse turn, Gregory started his outside march with the filly and quickly found himself sitting second outside of the leader at the three-quarter pole in 1:28.3. Then halfway through the final turn, strategy came into play. Schnittker popped the earplugs looking to pull away while Gregory held his filly firm, making sure she got through that turn without issue. As the pair hit the top of the stretch, Barn Doll became explosive with trot and left the rest behind like they were tied to a post. Barn Doll ($2.10) was a five-length winner in 1:57.3, which was only one-fifth second shy of the track record for this gait and sex. It was the ninth win in 11 starts for the top NYSS point-earning trotting filly and raised her 2015 earnings to $311,520. After the race, Gregory commented "She just loves to pass horses down the lane. The filly is just a pleasure drive." Barn Doll is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt and Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. Steve Pratt also trains the horse. In the other division, Jewels In Hock (Credit Winner-Jewels Galore) proved to be much the best even though she was tested early. Chris Lems put Jewels In Hock took and held the point immediately, until Nunkeri (Ray Fisher Jr.) motored up the outside to challenge and then take the lead at the quarter. But with the tepid :30 clocking, Lems pulled to retake the front and did so without issue. From there the race was pretty much over. Lems line-drove the filly to a 1:00.2 half and 1:29.4 three-quarters before letting her out a notch and trotting away from the field to win by two in 1:58.4. "She just does it so easy" Said Lems. "She trotted real strong to the wire. She will definitely be a factor in the finals in a couple of weeks." It was the eighth win in 15 starts (and five out of her last 6) for Jewels In Hock ($3.10) who saw her 2015 earnings inflate to $220,450 for Ken Jacobs' KJ Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. There were also two $15,000 NYSS Excelsior Series A races on the card Saturday. The first was won by Allerage Belle (Conway Hall-Bourbon Belle) in 2:00. The filly was driven by John Cummings Jr. for trainer Megan Wilson. Allerage Belle ($11.80) is owned by Alan Hainsworth. The second division went to High Rise (Conway Hall-RC Biscuit) in 1:58.4. Chris Lems drove High Rise ($2.60) for trainer George Ducharme and owner Ray Campbell Jr. The Downs $9,500 overnight pacing feature was won by Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) in 1:53.4 in one of the most exciting finishes this track has seen in some time. After getting away last and remaining there passed five-eighths, Caprio took full advantage of his rail ride as the field fanned four-deep at the three-quarter pole. Now only three lengths off the lead and with a wall of horses in front of him, Fireyourguns was tipped widest off all; five-deep, and he had a head of steam to back him up. At the top of the lane, Fireyourguns forced his will on the field and pulled away to a one-length victory. It was the ninth win in 13 starts this year for Fireyourguns ($18.60) who is owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terry McClory, who also trains the 6-year-old son of American Ideal. Visiting drivers Jeff Gregory and Chris Lems both scored driving doubles on the card. Racing resumes Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs with a 1:15 p.m. post time. Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations  

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night hosted the $168,374 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies. The event, honoring the memory of a legendary sports publicist, went in two, $84,187 events. The opening division was won by Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory, $5.60) in a snappy 1:56.4. Unhurried from post position No. 2, she saw pole-sitting Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald) contend with a second move from 9-10 choice Lady Winona (Andy Miller). Nunkeri owned a short lead into the lane, but Barn Girl-who had chased Lady Winona before falling into a vacant pocket-ducked inside and went by. She beat "Winona" by a 1¾ lengths, with Nunkeri an easily-better-than-the-rest third. "She was very good in Excelsiors (lower-level statebred races), so they wanted to try her in sire stakes," Gregory said of Barn Girl. "She's turned into one of the better one in this group." For second choice Barn Girl, a daughter of Cash Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Out in the Country Stable, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with triple returning $28. Thursday night's second sire stakes event saw Jewels in Hock (Jim Morrill Jr., $4.60) hold off a troubled-trip, 1-2 favorite in last season's freshman champ Barn Doll (Gregory). The final margin was a length in 1:57.3. First leader Waiting Room (Miller) held third. In play from post No. 4, Jewels in Hock retook from Waiting Room as Barn Doll, in search of a ninth consecutive victory, was caught wide early. She eventually found a five-hole before moving again first-up. For second choice "Jewels," a Credit Winner miss trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs' KJ Stables, she's now 7-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $9.50, with the triple returning $45.20. "She's given us a lot of headaches with her equipment," Toscano said. "John (Campbell, who drove her exclusively earlier in the season) wanted her rigged one way, while Jimmy (Morrill Jr.) wanted her another way." We eventually (and lovingly, we'd guess) told Jimmy to shut up and we're leaving her the way she was with John, and it's seemed to work out." The Raceway's live season continues Friday and Saturday (first post both nights 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

While 3-year-old trotting filly Barn Doll ($4.60) kicked cover to beat older company in Sunday (July 26) afternoon's $12,000 Open Trot at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs, it was trainer Joe Skowyra who shone most brightly on the nine-race card, with all three of his trainees on the program proving victorious.   The first race, a $3700 first-level conditioned trot saw He Belongs Here ($4.70, Brandon Simpson) mount a rally on the backstretch after settling well off a quick early pace, working into the lead on the far turn before staving off a late charge from Maggie O (John Cummings, Jr.) to prevail in 1:58.4.   In the sixth race, a $5000 claiming event, Master in Charge ($4.70, Aaron Byron) took charge from the outset, rating a soft :59.4 initial half.   When a first-over bid from Dance With Molly (Gary Clark) came up short and a three-wide push from Psyched (Sean McAleese) lasted no longer than the entry of the far turn, Master In Charge drew off to a 5-length win, staying well clear of a late-rallying Ashcroft (Mike Simons) in 1:57.2.   After a flash deluge caused a brief delay before the late double, the afternoon's final race saw Justherighttouch ($9.50, Byron) enjoy a pocket trip behind Highland Yankee (Cummings), emerging once free off the far turn to take the lead in upper stretch.   Justherighttouch subsequently held off a late charge from P L Houdini (Ronnie Morales, III), who circled the stalled cover of Aruba Vacation to miss by just a half length.   The 8-year-old gelding won in 1:58.3, giving Skowyra a training hat trick on the afternoon.   Barn Doll kicks cover to triumph in trotting feature   Not to be outdone, Barn Doll utilized a :27.1 final quarter to defeat her five rivals in the featured $12,000 Open Trot. Beginning from post 6, the Conway Hall filly came away second from last, just detached of the top quartet through a soft :57.1 first half.   On the backstretch, Jim Meittinis moved her second-over to draft behind Oho Diamond (Morales), inching closer as pacesetter Six Bax (Jim Taggart, Jr.) accelerated through a :28.4 third quarter.   Barn Doll would do her best work without the aid of cover, though, as she stormed home after losing Oho Diamond's cover, collaring Six Bax in the final yards and prevailing by a half length in 1:53.4.   Trainer Steven Pratt co-owns Barn Doll with Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stables.   Live racing returns at Tioga for a special Monday evening card tomorrow (July 27).   Post time for the 10-race card is 6:15 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs. After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.'s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70. This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point's leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50. Nunkeri is owned by Millstream Inc. and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15.00 to win. The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer. In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers. This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly's cash total to $47,176 for 2014. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron's Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport. Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY - The stars of tomorrow will be on display Sunday (Aug. 17) in four divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stake 2-year-old filly trot at Batavia Downs. The first $27,250 NYSS division is programed as race two. Concentration (Conway Hall-Super Starlet) has five NYSS starts to date with two wins and two seconds. Her only miss was at Buffalo when she made a break off the gate from post eight and never got involved. Concentration's seasonal mark is 1:58.2 at Vernon Downs and she is currently second in points on the leader board for this series. She draws post three in here for driver Chris Lems and trainer George Ducharme. Summer Scent (Malabar Man-Summer Hit) is coming off her fastest race time of the year but was also unable to take advantage of a pocket trip to get a victory like she did the week before. She is a very capable trotter over the small track and her 2:00.3 victory at Yonkers is evidence of that. Summer Scent hasn't missed a check in sire stake action and that has put $31,464 in her bank. Driver Dan Daley can use his fillies closing ability to track what looks to be some fast early fractions. Frou Frou (Conway Hall-Nowerland Hana) has four lifetime starts and all four were in NYSS action. After winning the first at Vernon Downs in 1:58.1, she finished a fast closing second in her last two. The Tony Alagna trained trotter has gone off the prohibitive favorite in all of her starts and will look to return to that early winning form in this latest attempt for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. Race four is the second division and they will vie for $27,750. Betcha (Cash Hall-Sienna) has been showing good form for trainer/driver Dan Daley all year. She has two wins and a second in five NYSS efforts with a lifetime mark of 1:59.4 at Tioga Downs. Her good work has put $41,393 on her card as well. She is third overall in points and has proven she can win both in front and from behind and can handle any size track. She once again draws an inside post (2) and looks to be a solid contender. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Lavern Lavec) won her first lifetime start in NYSS action at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 and subsequently has three consecutive second place finishes for her efforts. But two of those were in this series and she came up short to the top two points' leaders respectively in each start. Like Betcha, Nunkeri is a handy horse and can race from any spot in the field. Mark MacDonald, who sat behind her in her lone victory and who had a big day at Batavia on August 1, will be in the bike for trainer Jonas Czernyson this week. Dancewithme Chuck (Lucky Chucky-Vail) and Counsellor AS (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) are both coming off NYSS victories last week at Saratoga Raceway and will be looking to further develop that success. The third leg goes for $27,250 and is carded as race six. Miss B'Ville (RC Royalty-South Jersey Angel) is a bit of an enigma, but a formidable force none the less. She trotted the best race of her life in NYSS action last week at Saratoga, winning wire-to-wire in 1:59.2 from the rail. The start before that, she made a break at Yonkers leaving from the same post. She also has a score at Buffalo Raceway in July and those victories bulked her earnings to $31,749 this year. The formidable training/driving team of Tracy Brainard and Jim Morrill Jr. will bring Miss B'Ville to the gate looking to notch win number three. Hot Start (Lucky Chucky-Mallelujah) raced against world record holder Mission Brief at the Meadowlands in an elimination of the Merrie Annabelle stake on July 25. That race went in 1:53.2 and Hot Start was obviously not ready for that kind of speed at this point of her career. However she did trot in 1:57 herself in that race and knocked over a second off her previous start over the same track. In her only half mile track encounter, Hot Start made a break in the first turn at Saratoga as she seemed to over-trot herself. How she handles the half at Batavia this week remains to be seen. The trainer/driver team of Czernyson and MacDonald send Hot Start to post. The fourth and final NYSS split goes for $27,750 and is listed as the eighth race. The prohibitive morning line favorite at 8-5 is Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and she was given that designation for good reason. She had strung four straight wins before last week, with her best effort a 1:59.1 victory at Yonkers. She is the top point getter in the sire stakes this year for her sex and gait for trainer Steve Pratt. Last week she made an uncharacteristic break in the first turn at Saratoga as the heavy 1-9 favorite and that took her completely out of contention. This week she draws the rail and driver Jeff Gregory will look to make amends for the only start she didn't hit the board all year. Pig Hunt (Conway Hall-Chippewa Street) has been red hot lately, scoring back-to-back round trip victories for trainer Janice Conner. Her 1:59.4 seasonal mark was also at Yonkers and her $45,981 earned is second best in this field. Although she drew post seven and lost Brennan for this start, there will be no lack of talent behind her in the bike as she picks up Jim Morrill Jr. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior Series worth a total of $38,000 on the twelve race card that features a trot in every event. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

The weatherman cooperated wonderfully on Thursday afternoon, August 15 with the sun shining brightly and the temperatures hovering around 75-degrees. On the racetrack sophomore trotting fillies were featured in three divisions of the $155,000 NY Sires Stakes and five splits of Excelsior Series trots each racing for a $12,700 purse. And to go along with the NYSS filly trots there were two overnight trots, and despite 10 trotting races on the half-mile track still fans wagered $746,943 on the racing card. By and large the competing fillies were well behaved and as usual some stood out. Bouncing Bax’s 1:58.2 triumph in her $52,383 division turned out to be the fastest filly trot of the afternoon although Proclaiming April’s 1:58.2 victory was just a tick slower. And although Barn Babe’s 2:00.2 was the slowest of the three splits it was, nevertheless , equally as impressive and she was the only betting favorite to win an NYSS trot today. The triumph by Bouncing Bax over the odds-on favorite, Long Island Tea, was not only the fastest trip of the day but the daughter of Credit Winner-Bax Machine sparked the biggest pay-off on the afternoon card when she returned a $40.80 win mutuel. In her split, Bouncing Bax got away slowly and after racing along in fourth position some nine lengths off the lead at the three-eighths pole, so driver Howard Parker moved his filly first-up and she continually moved forward and at the top of the lane she was just a head off the pace-setter Wygant Girl, driven by Cat Manzi. When they straightened for home Bouncing Bax trotted around Wygant Lady and then held off a strong late rally by the $135,000 yearling purchase Long Island Tea, driven by Brian Mattison. Wygant Lady faded and finished third. Trainer Jim Raymer joined Parker for the winners circle photograph and was getting ready to hold the filly for a picture when he overheard Parker being asked how come she was so great today? Parker didn’t have a chance answer because Raymer turned quickly and said, “She was that great last week at Vernon (Downs) too, but I just didn’t drive her right.” Owned by the Harbor Racing Stable of Houston, Texas it was the filly’s first win in 10 starts this year and she raised her seasonal bankroll to nearly $73,000. In her $53,383 division Proclaiming April, a daughter of Conway Hall-Lawn Tennis, raced unchallenged on the front end and was an easy winner over the odds on favorite Lola De Vie. Trainer Trond Smedshammer was in the bike and hustled Proclaiming April to front and they had a two length lead by the first stanza in :29.1. At the half in :59.2, favored Lola De Vie and driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. were in third place some 4-1/2 lengths behind the leader. Lola De Vie closed to within two lengths of the lead at the head of the stretch but in no way could she reel-in Proclaiming April who led her to the wire for an easy 1-1/2 length victory. Fifty Shades and driver Mark MacDonald took home the show dough. “She’s been a good filly all year but last week we had a bad post and she finished back,” Smedshammer said of Proclaiming April who now has bankrolled nearly $150,000 this season. “Post positions make a big difference everywhere but especially on a half mile track.” Proclaiming April paid $12.40 for win and is owned by the White Birch Farm. The other $53,383 split was an oh-so-easy victory for Steven and Nancy Pratt’s, Barn Babe. Sent off as the 1-4 favorite from the pole position, driver John Cummings, Jr. naturally took the lead and despite soft early fractions of :30.3 and 1:02 no one wanted to challenge the daughter of Cash Hall-My Baby’s Momma. As the field headed into the clubhouse turn the pace began to quicken and Barn Babe had a two length lead as she passed the third stanza in 1:31:4. From there, with a :28.3 final quarter, Barn Babe was home free by three lengths in 2:00.2 over Royal Malinda and driver Dan Daley. Bostonz Credit was third for Jeff Gregory. After the race Cummings was asked if he was worried going into the race. “I knew she was the best and we got away with an easy front-end trip but she would have handled this field racing from the back, too.” Now with six wins and three thirds in 11 starts Barn Babe has bankrolled almost $99,000 this year and has lifetime earnings in excess of $245,000. Owner Steve Pratt joined Cummings in the winners circle and he couldn’t resist saying “Not bad for a $5,000 purchase two years ago at (the) Morrisville (Sale). Five $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series , also for 3 year-old trotting fillies, comprised the undercard of which two were won by Gates Brunet. The veteran horseman scored with Bluish And Crush ($8.00) in 2:01.4 and with Tamasin Hall($9.80)m in 2:00.1. Brunet, who trucked in from Vernon NY after his final victory said,” I hated to coming here today because I thought both of my fillies would run since they have been racing on big tracks but I was pleasantly surprised because they stayed at their business and went good miles.” . Other Excelsior winners were Money Show ($4.00) in 2:02 for Jimmy Morrill, Jr., Makes Me Crazy ($6.20) in 2:01.2 for Claude Huckabone Jr. and Maggie O ($3.20) in 2:00.4 again for Jimmy Morrill, Jr.   by John Manzi  

Barn Babe and John Cummings Jr. posted the fastest mile of the night as the NYSS for harness racing 3-year old trotting fillies rolled into Tioga Downs on Saturday night.

A closer look at the eight harness racing New York Sire Stakes divisional leaders and their biggest threats in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway September 22nd (fourth of eight parts).

Freshman trotting fillies got their turn racing in four divisions, as New York Sire Stakes harness racing action continued Friday night, at America's oldest lighted harness track.

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