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Courtly Choice (David Miller) won the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) final ($272,025) in a track record for 3-year-old colts of 1:48.3. It was just one of many big races at Tioga Down on Sunday afternoon (August 19). Courtly Choice ($2.80) would pass Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) and lead to the first quarter in :26.4. He guided them to the half in :54.4, with a pretty sharp :28 second quarter. As they reached the backstretch, the second choice in the betting, American History (Yannick Gingras) went first-over from third and applied pressure. Courtly Choice led them to three-quarters in 1:21.1, using a :26,2 backside quarter. As they rolled around the far turn the race was still up for grabs. As they reached the top of the stretch, Miller asked for more and he responded winning it easily in 1:48.3. American History had to settle for second best on the day, Real Surreal (Cory Callahan) came up to get third money. Courtly Choice is a 3-year-colt by Art Major. Trained by Blake Macintosh for owners Hutt Racing Stable, Mac & Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe, and Touch Stone Farms. The winner of the Meadowlands Pace, won for the eight time in eleven starts this season. It was career win number 10. Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) too sweet for the field in the EBC final ($270,425) for sophomore pacing fillies. Youaremycandy ($2.20) went to the lead going to a first quarter of :27.3 and taking them to a :56.3 halfway mark. I'm Trigger Happy (Jim Marohn Jr.) was still close as they hit three-quarters in 1:23.2. Owned by William Donovan and trained by Ron Burke, Youaremycandygirl found another gear and left them all in her dust gliding home and hitting the mile in 1:50.4. Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill Jr.) came up and finished second. I'm Trigger Happy settled for third. Youaremycandygirl is a 3-year-old filly by American Ideal. It was her sixth win this season and the 15th victory of her career. In the most exciting race of the day, Western Fame (Andrew McCarthy) charges late to shock the field in Roll With Joe open pace for a purse of $143,000. Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) went to the front leading them to a first quarter in :26.4 and the half in :54.4. All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) went first over to engage Rockin Ron on the back stretch. They hit the three-quarter mark at 1:21.1. The two raced as a tandem all the way around the final turn. Dealt A Winner (David Miller) went three-wide at the top of the stretch. Western Fame ($32.20) came from last at the top of the stretch going four wide. Owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, he flew down the stretch and just got by Dealt A Winner to win in a lifetime best of 1:48.4. Dealt A Winner settled for second best losing by just a head. Rockin Ron held on to finish third. Western Fame is a 5-year-old horse by Western Ideal. It was his fifth win this year and the 15th time he has stepped into the winner's circle in his career. Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) wins the Artscape ($161,000) open mares pace. Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) took them to a first quarter in :26.2. Shartin N ($3.30) went first-over from fourth and took over the lead as they went by the stands for the first time. Trained by Jim King Jr. for owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King, she put up all the rest of the fractions (:54.2, 1:22.2, 1:50.0). Caviart Ally came out the pocket to put up a late challenge but had to settle for second money. Apple Bottom Jeans (Jim Marohn Jr.) took third place. Shartin N is a 5-year-old mare by Tintin In America. It was her 14th win in 18 starts this season. She now owns 21 career victories. Ice Attraction (Yannick Gingras) wins the first division of the Ms Versatilty ($30,000) in leg #3. Ice Attraction ($3.40) went right to the front and controlled all the fractions (:28.2, :57.3, 1:25.0, 1:53.2). Owned by Little E LLC, D. Sipple, Mal and Janet Burroughs and trainer Ake Svanstedt, she was followed by pocket sitter Pink Pistol (Tim Tetrick). Pink Pistol popped the pocket and gave everything she had but fell just short to finish second. Barn Bella (Trond Smedshammer) was third best. Ice Attraction is a 4-year-old mare by Muscle Hill. It was her first win this season and her 10th career victory. Broadway Donna (David Miller) easy winner in the second division of the Ms Versatilty ($30,000). Broadway Donna ($2.90) went to the front and led the field gate-to-wire (:27.1, :56.4, 1:24.2, 1:52.1). Owned by Fashion Farms LLC. and trained by Jim Campbell, she shook off the late pressure by second place finisher NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr.) to secure the win. Celebrity Ruth (Trond Smedshammer) was third best. Broadway Donna is a 5-year-old mare by Donato Hanover. It was her fourth win this year and her 21st career victory. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 24). It starts Corntastic weekend with a post time of 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will present the richest card of its 2018 season at the "Jewel of the Southern Tier" on Sunday offering nearly $1 million in purses on the day. The featured stakes include the $550,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) 3-year-old pacing finals, the $161,000 Artiscape and $143,000 Roll With Joe for FFA mare and horse pacers respectively and the 3rd leg of the $60,000 (divided) Miss Versatility for trotting mares. The Miss Versatility split into a pair of six mare fields as they continue to accumulate points toward the $110,000 final at the Delaware County Fair on Little Brown Jug Day, September 20. Broadway Donna, Celebrity Ruth, Ice Attraction and Barn Bella head up the contestants for Sunday's races. The EBC fillies (race 7) are led by Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) who continued her current form spree with an effortless 1:51 romp in her elimination last week. She leaves from post 6 for trainer Ron Burke and owner Bill Donovan in the $270,425 final. Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice (Dave Miller) has been tabbed as the morning line favorite in the $272,025 EBC colt pace final. He's won 7 of 10 starts including an impressive 1:49 elimination success last week and stands at nearly a half million dollars in seasonal earnings for trainer Blake MacIntosh who shares ownership with Hutt Racing, Daniel Plouffe and Touch Stone Farms. Courtly Choice starts from post 5 in the 8th race. American History (Gingras) endured a long uncovered grind to win the other elimination, albeit 2 seconds slower than Courtly Choice. He's been sharp recently and has landed post 3 for this race permitting the driver options to secure the type of trip needed to win. Tony Alagna trains American History, the fastest sophomore of the 2018 season by virtue of his 1:47 Meadowlands clocking in June for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and American History Racing. All of the top older mares are in town for the Artiscape (race 9) with division leader Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) seeking to continue her season-long dominance over her rival distaffers. She won 13 of 17 starts and collected over $680,000 for owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King with the Matchmaker, Roses Are Red and Lady Liberty on her seasonal resume. Jim King, Jr is the trainer. The pacing horses number but five in the Roll With Joe and include last year's winning pair in Dealt A Winner and driver David Miller. The now 6-year-old is rounding into form of late and recently eclipsed the $1 million mark in career earnings for owner Jeffrey Snyder. Mark Silva conditions Dealt A Winner who will face stiff competition from a pair of Burke entries in Rockin Ron (Gingras) and the ageless All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley). Post time for the big card at Tioga is 1:15 pm. by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs

This Week: Zweig Memorial and Zweig Memorial filly trot, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y.; Gold Cup and Saucer final, Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, Charlottetown, PEI; Artiscape, Roll With Joe, and Miss Versatility, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; and Prix d'Ete, Hippodrome 3R, Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Schedule of events: A busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Friday (Aug. 17) at Vernon Downs with the $350,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters and the $178,000 Zweig Filly Trot for 3-year-old filly trotters. There will also be an $80,000 consolation in the open division. Saturday's (Aug. 18) Grand Circuit action will be featured by Red Shores Racetrack & Casino, which will host the C$60,000 Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers. On Sunday (Aug. 19), Grand Circuit racing will be contested at Tioga Downs with the $175,000 (est.) Artiscape for older pacing mares, the $175,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for older pacing males, and a $40,000 (est.) leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Also on Sunday, Hippodrome 3R will contest the C$200,000 Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian tracks are available at this link. Last time: On a gorgeous Friday evening (Aug. 10) in which it appeared a presence from above intervened to provide perfect conditions, Lazarus N, the Wonder from Down Under, anointed himself as a true superstar with an impressive 1:48.4 performance in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino before a legion of admirers in his first pari-mutuel engagement in the U.S. Lazarus N anointed himself as a true superstar with an impressive 1:48.4 performance in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. He also owns the distinction of being the only horse to pace sub-1:50 miles in two different hemispheres. "One of the reasons I decided to buy this horse with my brothers was because we are devoutly Catholic," said Duncan Taylor, whose Taylor Made Farms owns the 6-year-old stallion. "First of all his name is Lazarus which represents a miracle, and his dam's name is Bethany, which is the location where the resurrection took place. Then Bethany's sire is Christian Cullen. These factors made it appear as if (purchasing the horse) was meant to be a gift from God." Guided by Yannick Gingras and conditioned by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, Lazarus N, a son of Bettor's Delight, left alertly from post position nine to settle into second behind fellow New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend N before the teletimer posted the first quarter-mile split of :26.1. Shortly after the two frontrunners glided around the first turn, Gingras brushed the stallion to the lead and the duo hit the half-mile marker in a measured :54.2. As Lazarus N continued to lead the field of nine to the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, he placed a bit of separation between himself and his rivals. As he rounded the final turn, it seemed the horse would pull away in the stretch to post a facile victory. Halfway down the lane, however, Breeders Crown victor Split The House (Brett Miller) mounted a furious rally which drew him nearly alongside Lazarus N. Proving he already has established a passionate fan base, those in attendance were cheering so loudly for Lazarus N to hit the wire first the words of announcer Steve Cross could scarcely be heard. As the noise of the crowd drowned out all sound, Gingras asked his horse for more. He responded in kind to spurt away from Split The House, as well as a closing McWicked (Brian Sears), to stop the clock in 1:48.4. The stallion paced his last quarter-mile in a stellar :26. "Yannick said this horse only does what you ask of him," Taylor said. "In Thoroughbred racing we would refer to it as not getting to the bottom of them, but in Lazarus' case he is just a very relaxed horse. Jimmy (Takter) keeps telling us how intelligent he is and that characteristic definitely is a part of why he is a special horse. All I know is he is a blessing." After his first U.S. victory, Lazarus N, New Zealand's defending Horse of the Year and that nation's Pacer of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017, now improves his record to 36 wins from 46 starts. The stallion has now earned more than $2.8 million. As the 1-2 favorite, Lazarus N provided his backers with $3 for their support. Split The House paid $7.20 at odds of 19-1 for his second place finish while McWicked offered his supporters $2.20 for third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 681.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 668.5; 3. David Miller - 364.5; 4. Jordan Stratton - 288; 5. Corey Callahan - 273.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 655.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 484; 3. Tony Alagna - 266; 4. Jim Campbell - 216; 5. Erv Miller -200. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 143.6; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 138.6; 3. Fashion Farms - 129; 4. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 5. Robert Key - 110. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Tioga Downs. Yonkers will contest eliminations for the Messengers Stakes and Yonkers Trot, the second legs of the Pacing and Trotting Triple Crown, along with eliminations in the companion Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot. Woodbine Mohawk Park will contest the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacers, along with eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers and the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. Tioga Downs will offer Reynolds Memorial divisions for 2-year-olds. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The New York Sires Stakes for the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers is nearing the halfway point and Sunday afternoon (July 8) at Buffalo Raceway, precious points that are needed to reach the finals are starting to come at a premium.   A trio of races, worth approximately $39,000 each, has attracted 17 sophomores looking to solidify their spots for the finals on Saturday, September 22 at Yonkers Raceway. In the current point standings, 10 of the top 20 boys will be in action on Sunday. Along with a nice check, 50 critical points will be put into the account of the victors.   Entrants include defending 2-year-old NYSS champion Jersey Jim, 2018 Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation, current NYSS point leader My Delight and Hitman Hill, a winner of nearly $250,000 in just 13 career starts.   The first leg will feature My Delight (Betterthanchaddar-Kg Delight) who currently sits atop the points standings with 87. He hasn't missed the board in six starts this season, putting $49,599 in the bank. My Delight, who has a first, second and third place finish in NYSS competition in 2018, will begin from the four post and be driven by Scott Zeron.   The major threat could be Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat) who currently sits in second place in the points race with 55. Jim Morrill Jr. will guide Rootin Tootin from the second hole.   Others in the field include Lisburn (John MacDonald), Twin B Tuffenuff (Brett Miller) and Handsoffmychips (Jason Bartlett).   Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) arrives coming off a third place finish the $500,000 Hempt Finals at Pocono Downs, losing by a mere head. A participant in last year's North American Cup final at Woodbine, Hitman Hill has a lifetime best of 1:49.3 at Pocono. Brett Miller will steer him from the six post.   It's a stacked field against Hitman Hill as all his foes are in the top 20 in points including Rockapelo (Morrill Jr.), Lyons Steel (Drew Monti), Topville Olympian (James MacDonald), Ghost Dance (Scott Zeron) and Rock Lights (Bartlett).   Ghost Dance was victorious in the NYSS last season at Buffalo Raceway with a 1:57.3 decision with Mike Saftic in the sulky.   The third division, scheduled as the fifth race, has reigning champion Jersey Jim (Artiscape-Jersey Pearl) entered. It's been a rather slow beginning this season for him, earning just $13,101 in seven tries this season after putting $177,483 in the bank in 2017. Things could be looking brighter however for Jersey Jim (Ray Fisher Jr.) as he comes off an impressive 4-3/4 score in 1:52.2 at Saratoga Raceway on June 30.   The main competition should come from Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N), the winner of the $300,000 Rooney Finals at Yonkers on May 26 in 1:51.3. With a bankroll of $189,746 already in 2018, Trump Nation drew the rail with Bartlett slated to drive.   Other scheduled to compete in the final bracket include Major Authority (Morrill Jr.), Cross My Mind (Zeron), Real Surreal (MacDonald) and Love Yourself (Steven Rybka).   The track records for the 3-year-old pacing colts is 1:52.3 by Steelhead Hanover in 2012 and 1:53.1 for the geldings established in 2016 by Missile J.   Also on the program will be one $15,000 Excelsior A race and a $6,500 Excelsior B event.   Post time for the 12-race card is 12:30 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Nichols NY - Tioga Downs will be the focus of the harness racing universe on the afternoon of Sunday, August 20 featuring the $163,000 Roll With Joe FFA Grand Circuit stake and the $521,950 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) pacing finals.   While the older pacing ranks aren't what they were a year ago when Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit threw down virtually every week all across North America, what we do have in the Roll With Joe (race nine) is a very competitive, even field of nine accomplished veterans.   Shamballa (Scott Zeron) held his own against the best last year including an upset of the aforementioned pair in a stirring 1:47.1 edition of last year's US Pacing Championship and his second place finish in the fastest mile ever last fall at The Red Mile. Shamballa has raced but a handful of times without success in 2017 and his last start was two months ago but he qualified back fast at Tioga last Friday. Rick Zeron trains and owns Shamballa with Cool Cat Racing, HA Taylor and Brad Grant.   The top money winner in the race, both career-wise and seasonally, is the iron tough All Bets Off. Over the $2.5 million mark lifetime, he has faced and beaten the best in major stakes from age two right through his present campaign now at six and never goes a bad one. By the way, guess who was third in that fastest mile ever mentioned above? That's right, All Bets Off was. Matt Kakaley has been aboard for virtually every one of those two and a half million dollars for trainer Ron Burke and partners Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Panhellnic Corp.   Last year's Roll With Joe winner Rockeyed Optomist (Jason Bartlett) returns to defend his title. He's seeking his first big one of the season for trainer Steve Elliott and owners Anthony Perretti, Ginny Berkner, A&B Stable and Joe Bataglia.   Nine of the Empire State's finest sophomore pacing colts will battle for $263,100 in a very contentious seventh race. The three elimination winners drew shoulder to shoulder from the rail out; In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson), Heaven's Gait (David Miller) and Art Scene (Scott Zeron).   While the first two didn't take much imagination to handicap as logical contenders in their respective eliminations Art Scene did as the lightly raced son of American Ideal was winning for only the second time at odds of more than 15-1. Art Scene had been chasing NYSS types around the smaller ovals before he tipped his hand a bit with a sneaky good effort in the Cane Pace on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands. In last week's win, he prevailed after a long uncovered move on division leader Funknwaffles to win by a neck.   Tony Alagna trains Art Scene for his own interests as Alagna Racing along with partners Brittany Farms, In The Gym Partners and American Art Stable.   EBC fillies go for $257,850 in the eighth where elimination winners Tequila Monday (Brian Sears) and Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) drew post one and two.   While one would have to consider them as the best fillies in the program this season and while Tequila Monday went a second faster in her elimination split, Clear Idea has prevailed in both of their most recent meetings. Last week's win was the ninth of the year for Clear Idea and her seasonal earnings stand at $188,113 for trainer Blake MacIntosh who owns the American Ideal lass with Hutt Racing Stable.   A pair of $30,000 EBC consolation races for those who didn't quite make it to the final is also on the Sunday card.   The third of four preliminary legs of the Miss Versatility series (race five) for mature trotting gals rolls into Tioga and Swedish import Pasithea Face S is here to face five rivals following her impressive win in the Dr. John Steele Memorial at The Meadowlands. The Nichols faithful will get their chance to see this potential new star live and in person thanks to this series and owner Courant Inc and trainer Jimmy Takter bringing her in for the race. Tim Tetrick is the driver.   The Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-olds were scheduled for August 20 but the only event that had enough entries to race on the card is the $53,700 filly trot. The others were canceled.   More information and the complete list of entries may be found at the Tioga website.   Post time on Sunday is 1:00 p.m.   Nick Salvi

NICHOLS, N.Y. (August 15, 2017) - Fans of horse racing will be treated to a world-class afternoon of harness racing at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 20 headlined by the $200,000 (est) The Roll With Joe Open Pace presented by Blue Chip Farms and the $500,000 (est) Empire Breeders Classic Finals for the premier New York-sired 3-year-old pacers. Off the track, fans will have a unique opportunity to enter a contest to name a baby horse that will hopefully go on to compete at the sport's highest levels. The foal, a baby horse less than one year old, was bred at Jeff and Paula Gural's Allerage Farms in nearby Sayre, PA. Race fans in attendance on Sunday will have the chance to submit their best name for the filly. The filly is a daughter of the stallion Yankee Glide and her mother is Love Tale. A representative from Allerage Farms will pick their three favorite names and the winner will be the name that receives the most applause from the crowd. The person who submits the winning name will then receive 1 percent of the horse's earnings during its 2 and 3-year-old racing seasons. For complete contest rules visit www.tiogadowns.com. The Empire Breeders Classic will feature a deep, and talented group of sophomore pacers. In the colts and geldings division, odds-on favorites Miso Fast and Funknwaffles were narrowly defeated in last Sunday's eliminations by In A Single Bound and Art Scene respectively. In the third elimination, Heaven's Gait was a four-length winner and has now won four straight races and six of his last seven. Heavily-favored Clear Idea and Tequila Monday won the pair of eliminations for the fillies and loom as the ones to beat in Sunday's final. Clear Idea, trained by Blake MacIntosh, has won seven in a row and earned more than $188,000 this year. Tequila Monday won her elimination a full second faster than Clear Idea and has had success on the Grand Circuit this season, winning the Lismore Final at Yonkers and finishing third in the $321,200 Fan Hanover at Mohawk. Post time for Sunday's spectacular program is 1:00 p.m. Besides the three headlining stakes, the card also includes the third leg of the Miss Versatility for the sport's top trotting mares and 2-year-old divisions of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. For more information, visit www.tiogadowns.com. Justin Horowitz

Nichols, N.Y. -- Rockeyed Optimist ($5.80) used a strong late turn of foot to reel in mid-race pacesetter All Bets Off for a 1:49.2 harness racing victory in the $179,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace on Sunday (June 19) at Tioga Downs.   The 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding slid second-over on approach to the clubhouse turn, slipstreaming the cover of Always At My Place (Yannick Gingras) after All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) brushed clear of McWicked (Tim Tetrick) into a :53.3 initial half mile. Rockeyed Optimist enjoyed live cover on the backstretch, but was left to face the breeze after Always At My Place ducked to the pegs when McWicked gapped the pocket. Despite All Bets Off turning for home with a 2-length lead, Rockeyed Optimist was able to reel him in, driven out by Brett Miller for a 1:49.2 score. Defending champion State Treasurer (David Miller) circled from last on the far turn to take third.   Steve Elliott trains Rockeyed Optimist, now a 24-time winner, for the partnership of Perretti, Berkner, the A & B Stable, and Battaglia.     A pair of late-closing series for 3-year-old trotters culminated with $25,000 finals earlier in the card. The M&J Oil and Lube series for fillies went to Dream Child ($6.30), a Linda Toscano trainee who drew clear at will for a 1:56.1 victory in rein to Mike Simons. John Cummings, Jr. drove Makers Mass ($2.70) to victory from well off the pace, circling three-wide and drawing clear in 1:57 to take the Williams Auto Group final for trainer Megan Wilson.   Jim Taggart, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race program.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 24), with post time slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Matt Kakaley knows there are harness racing fans that respect and appreciate All Bets Off and what the pacer has accomplished in his career. Still, he would like to see that group grow in numbers. He hopes to create some new followers on Sunday when he drives All Bets Off in the $179,000 Roll With Joe Stakes at Tioga Downs. All Bets Off, a multiple-stakes-winner of $1.86 million in lifetime purses, will start the Roll With Joe from post No. 1 as part of a four-horse entry from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. "I love that horse," Kakaley said. "You hear about all the big horses that they talk about in the older division this year, and how great it's going to be, and his name never gets brought up. I don't think that's fair to the horse because he deserves it. He's raced good every start this year. I think everyone kind of figures he's a little track horse, but I think he deserves a mention with those top free-for-allers. "There are some people that give him some recognition, but I think he'll win a couple big ones this year and set the record straight." Kakaley has driven All Bets Off for the majority of his career and won a number of top stakes with the now 5-year-old stallion. All Bets Off's list of victories include the 2013 Matron, 2014 Messenger, Milstein Memorial, and Art Rooney, and the 2015 Confederation Cup and Prix d'Ete. This year, All Bets Off has won three of 11 races and hit the board a total of nine times. He finished second from post eight in the Battle of Lake Erie, losing to 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, and second in the Levy Series championship to New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Bit Of A Legend are the two top-ranked horses in the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. In addition, All Bets Off was a troubled-trip fourth in the Molson Pace, where he was beaten by 1-1/2 lengths despite a :26.3 last quarter-mile. "He's been big for me," Kakaley said. "I've won a lot of big races with him and he's put me in the national spotlight. He's given me some thrills, that's for sure. He's special to me." One of All Bets Off's best efforts this season came over a sloppy track in an upper-level conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. All Bets Off was last at the halfway point before launching a three-wide move on the final turn and getting to the front by mid-stretch. He won by 2-1/4 lengths over Bigtown Hero in 1:50.2 on May 14. "Just the way he did it and the way he felt that night, I knew he was getting sharp," Kakaley said. "You don't win from fourth over at Pocono, three wide on the last turn, against those horses. It just doesn't happen. "I think he's in career form right now and that start kind of proved it to me, how good he is. He was ready to get going and take on the big dogs, I think. He's just a handy little horse and I can do anything I want with him." All Bets Off and entry mates Take It Back Terry, Limelight Beach, and Always At My Place are 8-5 on the morning line for the Roll With Joe. The field also includes Rockeyed Optimist, State Treasurer, and McWicked. A son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope, All Bets Off is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and The Panhellenic Stable Corp. "He's been super," Kakaley said about All Bets Off. "I'm looking forward to him being good again Sunday." by Ken Weingartner

Nichols. N.Y. -- While Friday (June 17) evening's harness racing program at Tioga Downs will feature camels and ostriches in addition to horses, the main point of interest will be State Treasurer's defense of Sunday (June 19) afternoon's $179,000 Roll With Joe free-for-all pacing event.   Despite being winless in six starts so far this year, the 7-year-old Real Desire entire seeks to defend his title in the Southern Tier after his jaw-dropping 1:47.2 track-record effort in last year's renewal of the marquee pacing event at Tioga. David Miller is listed to drive the 30-time winner for trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally and Paul MacDonald.   A quartet of other millionaires are slated to line up, including Steve Elliott trainee McWicked and a trio of Ron Burke trainees in All Bets Off, Take It Back Terry, and Limelight Beach--three-quarters of a four-horse entry.   McWicked, a lunging third to Evenin of Pleasure in the $115,500 Molson Pace at Western Fair, makes his fourth start of the season after a stout chasing effort behind Mel Mara's scintillating 1:47 mile at the Meadowlands two weeks ago. Tim Tetrick is nominated to drive the 2014 Breeders Crown champion.   All Bets Off, runner-up to Bit of a Legend N in the $609,000 Levy Final at Yonkers and runner-up to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield, has been forced to race from off the pace of late given a string of outside and second-row post draws. The 5-year-old Bettor's Delight entire gets some relief with an inside draw, and Matt Kakaley is nominated to drive.   Also looking to upend the defending champion is Rockeyed Optimist (Brett Miller listed), who drew off to a 10-length win in last week's Open at Tioga on the Graduate undercard. While he trails the septet in terms of career earnings, the 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding reeled off eight wins so far this year, mostly against top-level company at the Meadowlands and Dover.   Post time for Sunday's 11-race card is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.   Friday marks the end of a three-year hiatus for camel and ostrich races at Tioga Downs. The camels and ostriches, from Hedrick's Animal Farm in Kansas, will compete in the early part of the card, as they do at many events nationwide. Post time on Friday and Saturday evenings is slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Harness Racing This Week: North America Cup, Fan Hanover, Roses Are Red, Goodtimes and Armbro Flight finals, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Meadows Maturity, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; and Roll With Joe, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this weekend as the Ontario oval hosts five lucrative stakes finals on Saturday night (June 18) led by the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old colt pacers. Also on the card will be the C$438,000 Fan Hanover for 3-year-old filly pacers, the C$370,000 Roses Are Red for older mare pacers, the C$268,000 Goodtimes for 3-year-old colt trotters and the C$267,000 Armbro Flight for older mare trotters. Also on Saturday, The Meadows will host the $54,000 Meadows Maturity Trot for 4-year-old horses and geldings. Tioga Downs rounds out the weekend of Grand Circuit racing on Sunday (June 19) with the $179,000 Roll With Joe for open pacers. Complete entries for the Mohawk races can be found by clicking on this link. Meadows and Tioga Downs entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial held on a steamy Saturday (June 11) evening at Scioto Downs. Obrigado fended off the late charge of track record holder and world champion Natural Herbie to claim the trophy for the Hill Memorial Trot. The 6-year-old gelding, piloted by regular reinsman Mark MacDonald, was the beneficiary of a perfect pocket trip, which the duo parlayed into a powerful 1:53.3 score. Leaving from post six, the gelded son of Boy Band and the Malabar Man mare Malimony settled into second behind the leader and recent world champion Muscle Up The Goal. Content to allow the hometown favorite and the public's selection at 4-5 to set the pace, Obrigado simply followed that rival around the Columbus oval behind fractions of :27.1, :57.3 and 1:25.3 before he was pulled out of the pocket at the top of the stretch to commence his drive to the wire with a :27.4 final panel. Obrigado glided by Muscle Up The Goal and completed his victorious journey to the wire seemingly well in hand. Natural Herbie placed pressure on the property of conditioner Paul Kelley, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45, however, his first over bid rendered him unable to match strides with the victor. Flanagan Memory, the 2013 O'Brien Award winner, closed from eighth to nab the show spot. Sent off at odds of 3-1, Obrigado paid his supporters $8.20. Betting Line and Boston Red Rocks head into Saturday's C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup final after defeating the finest 3-year-old pacers on the continent in a pair of eliminations on Saturday night (June 11) at Mohawk Racetrack. Betting Line used a first-over trip to capture the first $39,500 elimination in 1:49.1. The Casie Coleman trainee, who was the 8-5 second choice, tracked from fifth in the early going, then made a bid for the lead at the midway point as Lyons Snyder took the field to the quarter in :27.2, half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.2. Into the stretch, Lyons Snyder veered off the rail and gave a pocket-sitting Racing Hill room to sneak up the inside, but Betting Line was on the outside and used a :26.2 final quarter kick to breeze by his rivals and score the victory by three-quarters of a length. Lyons Snyder finished second, while Racing Hill was third. Also advancing is fourth-place finisher Control The Moment and Beast Mode, who finished fifth. Betting Line notched his third victory of the season from four outings and ninth lifetime triumph. With the win, the son of Bettor's Delight and Heather's Western lifted his career earnings to $473,280 for owners West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol. In the second elimination, the Steve Elliott pupil Boston Red Rocks used an off-the-pace trip to win by a half-length in 1:50.3. Boston Red Rocks and driver Tim Tetrick followed from fourth as Nvestment Bluechip posted the opening panel in :26.4 and Nocturnal Bluechip clocked the half in :54.4. While the sophomores were passing the three-quarter marker in 1:22.4, Boston Red Rocks had advanced first-up and was stalking Nocturnal Bluechip from second. When the pacers entered the stretch, Boston Red Rocks, the 3-5 favorite, struck the front and held off a late surge from Big Top Hanover, who finished second and third-place finisher Michael's Victory. Magnum J, who went from last to fourth and fifth-place finisher Manhattan Beach also advance to the final. Boston Red Rocks scored his second triumph of the season from four outings and sixth career victory. With the win, the son of the late Rocknroll Hanover and McGibson lifted his career earnings to $639,455 for Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 191.5; 2. Tim Tetrick - 126; 3. Daniel Dube - 120; 4. Yannick Gingras - 112; 5. Matt Kakaley - 110. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 198; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 168; 3. Peter Tritton - 139.5; 4. Rene Allard - 125; 5. Clyde Francis - 82.5. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 139.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 110; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 57.15; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 52.15; 5. Purple Haze Stables - 44. Looking ahead: Next weekend will see Grand Circuit action taking place at Meadowlands Racetrack and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Meadowlands will host the Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters on Friday (June 24), while Pocono will have eliminations for the Ben Franklin (older pacers), Earl Beal Memorial (3-year-old colt trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old colt pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) on Saturday (June 25). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

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