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Batavia, NY --- Heavy rain, strong winds and sloppy goings were not the best conditions for racing on Wednesday night (Sept. 30), but they were no match for the storm harness racing driver Billy Davis Jr. kicked up on the track while winning six of the 13 races at Batavia Downs. Davis came out of the gate strong, winning both ends of the double with Surfers Paradise (1:57.3, $3.10) and The Land Shark (2:01.2, $14.80) and followed that up with victories with Wonderful World (1:56.1, $5.90), Pembroke Bada Bing (2:02, $22.20), Rockn Legend (2:00.3, $7.40) and Electric Chapel N (2:00.2, $4.30). Davis, who is the defending dash driving champion at the Downs, started Wednesday in second place and 10 wins behind the current leader Jim Morrill Jr. But with Morrill drawing a blank during the card, Davis is now only four wins away from moving into a first place tie. Davis is also currently the tenth leading percentage driver in North America with a .342 Universal Driver Rating. Morrill is fifth in that category with a .377. The one race Davis did not win was the featured $8,500 Open I trot. That race went to Lunar Credit and Jim McNeight Jr. who lurked second behind the front running Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) all the way to the top of the stretch where the one-path opened up. Lunar Credit shot the gap to catch the leader and fend off the fast closing Daylon Phantom (Drew Monti) and Before I Die (Dave McNeight III) to win by 1/2 length in 1:58.4. Lunar Credit ($10.40) scored his fourth win for his owner/driver McNeight Jr. The winner is trained by Jim McNeight. Jim McNeight Jr. also had a big night in the bike winning two more races to score the hat trick. Trainers Jim McNeight, Andy Torre, Don Niles and Sabrina Shaw all registered two wins on Wednesday. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 3) with post time at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia,NY --- Larry I. Draper of Cheektowaga, New York entered into rest on Saturday September 26, 2020. Mr. Draper was born in Warsaw, New York and grew up in western New York and after leaving school, joined the United States military and proudly served his country during the Viet Nam war. After his term of service was over, Mr. Draper returned home to his family and worked hard to support them. But he also got involved in harness racing, first getting his license in 1975 and then buying his first horse, Lady Chilton, that same year. Mr. Draper remained involved in the sport for the rest of his working life as both a driver and trainer and always had a horse or two that he campaigned each year for 39 consecutive years. Mr. Draper drove his last race in 2013 and trained his last horse the following year, however he kept both of his licenses current to this day. Mr. Draper was the beloved husband of Donna M. (nee Fridey) Draper; devoted father of Jennifer (Trevor) Sajdak, Robin (Michael) D'Agostino, Justin (Ashley) Draper, Michael Draper and the late Michael David Draper; cherished grandfather of Savina Maria, Dallas McKenna, Jaxx Michael and Jace Michael; loving son of Elva (nee Weber) and the late Ivan Draper; dear brother of Gordie (Sandy) Draper, James Draper (Betty) and Darlene (Kevin) Heinrich; also survived by many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends may visit the LOMBARDO FUNERAL HOME (Snyder Chapel), 4614 Main St., near Harlem Rd., on Thursday from 3-7 PM. Military Honors will immediately follow. Interment Fairview Cemetery. Flowers gratefully declined. If desired, donations may be made in Larry's name to the VA of WNY. Online condolences at www.lombardofuneralhome.com. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- A fourth Massachusetts Sire Stake record was broken during only the second day of competition when the 2-year-olds of both gaits and genders hit the harness racing track at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Sept. 28), getting the series off to its fastest start ever. And all five division winners on Monday also took new lifetime marks. In the $28,500 division for freshman male pacers, Dancing Lew (Rocknroll Dance-Love Rocks) hit the sticks fifth tracking the heavily favored Mullinax (Scott Zeron) who flashed to the front. Bruce Ranger pulled Dancing Lew in front of the stands and motored up towards the leader around the second turn. From there he got within a length of Mullinax but couldn't advance further as they hit the top of the stretch. But when they straightened out in the lane, Dancing Lew swelled up and paced right by Mullinax and won by 1/2 length in 1:54. The time was a new lifetime mark and a new stake record for a 2-year-old gelding pacer. It was the second straight win for Dancing Lew ($16.20) who is owned by Anthony Sivik Jr., Kathleen Mofield and KDK Standarbreds, who also bred the winner. Kevin Switzer is the trainer. The trotting colts and geldings went for $29,000 and New York Sire Stake finalist Incommunicado (Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla) grabbed the winner's share. For the bulk of the race it was a two-horse competition. Beantown Madness (Shawn Gray) took the lead and Incommunicado (Scott Zeron) tucked in second. Positions remained unchanged until the 7/8th's pole when Incommunicado moved into the two-path and took direct aim at Beantown Madness. The two trotters battled all the way to the wire where Incommunicado got the advantage and won by 1/2 length in 1:56.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Incommunicado Incommunicado ($3.40) grabbed his second win of the year for owners Knuttson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz. Ake Svanstedt trains the winner who was bred by the Moni Maker Stable. The freshmen filly pacers put on quite a show in their $29,000 division with another NYSS finalist, Rightfully Mine (American Ideal-Leah), getting the job done. Suzie Blue Chip (Shawn Gray) grabbed the lead by the quarter and then controlled the pace with Rightfully Mine (Scott Zeron) and Purameri (Drew Monti) sitting second and third. After getting to the half in :57.2, Purameri hit the gas and motored up the outside to pace alongside Suzie Blue Chip around the last turn. At the top of the stretch Purameri lost her momentum and Suzie Blue Chip drifted off the pylons allowing Rightfully Mine room to shoot the gap and win by a neck in 1:54.1, which was a career best time for the winner. Rightfully Mine Rightfully Mine ($4.00) scored her second win of the year for owners Anthony Scussel and Monique Cohen, who also bred the winner. Sheena Mcelhiney is the trainer. The trotting fillies went in two $13,750 divisions of five horses each. In the first split, Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) sat second behind the heavy 1-9 favorite Moni For Lindy (Scott Zeron) until the top of the lane where driver Shawn Gray tipped and brushed her down the stretch and right past Moni For Lindy at the wire in 1:58.1. It was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Royal Envy Royal Envy ($26.00) is owned and was bred by Alfred Ross and Ray Campbell Jr. The second division saw Matty Athearn send Me Too Baby (Muscle Hill-Baby Shaq) off the gate to the front where he opened up a four-length lead at the quarter. They maintained a gapped advantage at every station before cruising home a winner in a career best tying 1:58.2. Me Too Baby Me Too Baby ($2.80) has now won two races in a row for owner/breeder Thomas Dillon and trainer Gretchen Athearn. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes continue at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 4) with the second leg of the 3-year-olds and on Monday (Oct. 5) when the 2-year-olds reconvene. Post time for both days is 2 p.m. Regular racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Oct. 1) with post time also at 2 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The $1.4 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes kicked off its 2020 season at Plainridge Park on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 27) when the 3-year-olds took center stage for their first of three legs. The harness racing track was lightning fast and the performances were as well as three stake records fell right out of the box. In the $29,000 male pacing division, Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) drafted third on the rail while R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) and Spatterdash (Mike Stevenson) traded leads before the half. Passing the five-eighths, driver Scott Zeron tipped Wyatt J and marched up the outside towards the leading Spatterdash and paced alongside him around the last turn. At the head of the stretch Wyatt J pulled away to a 1-3/4 length lead and won in 1:52.1.   The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner and a new stake record for a 3-year-old pacing colt. Wyatt J ($2.20) registered his fifth win in a row for owner Ken Jacobs and trainer Linda Toscano. Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred the winner. Then in the $28,000 leg for pacing fillies, She's A Fireball (Western Maverick-Fire Can Fly) got away fourth behind the heavily favored Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) before pulling first-over past the half to engage the leader by the three-quarter pole. From there driver Ron Cushing urged She's A Fireball around the final turn and all the way down the stretch and his filly out-fought a very game Ry's Red Rocket to win by a neck in 1:54.1. The time was another new lifetime mark and a new stake record for a 3-year-old pacing filly. She's A Fireball ($7.40) scored her second win in her last three starts for owners Ron Cushing and Adams Racing. She's A Fireball is trained by Heidi Gibbs and was bred by Lucia Les and Kenneth Clairmont. The trotting fillies went for $29,000 in their first grouping and Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) put on quite a show. After taking the lead at the quarter, Without A Warning was visited by stablemate Dramatra at the half and the two trotted stride for stride to the three quarters. At that point Without A Warning switched gears and left Dramatra in her dust. She spun off the far turn and opened up a six length gap at the wire to win in 1:54.2. As in the previous two races, the time was a new lifetime mark for the winner and a new stake record for a 3-year-old trotting filly. Without A Warning ($2.40) gave Zeron his second win of the day and now has three wins this year for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Owner/breeder Campbell and trainer Ducharme also had the winner of the $28,000 male trotting division, Double Dealing, who left from post one led the entire race by 1-1/4 lengths before turning for home and stretching out to a four length advantage at the beam in 1:56.1. Double Dealing ($6.20) now has five wins on the year for his connections. Shawn Gray drove the winner. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes continue at Plainridge Park on Monday (Sept. 28) at 2 p.m. when four divisions of 2-year-olds will vie for $114,000 in purses. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

Plainville, MA --- The $1.4 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes kick off on Sunday (Sept. 27) at Plainridge Park and the 2020 edition looks to be one of the most competitive harness racing sessions to date. With the flexibility of the Massachusetts resident mare program, many of the eligibles shipping in have already competed in other sire stake programs this year and are coming into these stakes in top form. The 3-year-old divisions for both genders and gaits will take place on Sunday (Sept. 27) followed by the 2-year-olds on Monday (Sept. 28). Post time for both days will be 2 p.m. Sunday's card has 28 sophomores going postward including two 2-year-old champions looking to repeat at three. Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) was the 2019 MASS champion 2-year-old trotting filly who ended the year with $188,160 on her card after sweeping all three legs and the final. This year the filly has been competing successfully in the New York Sire Stakes all summer, finished as the second highest point-getter in her division and made the $225,000 final for the second year in a row. In that race she finished a very solid third behind a runaway Hypnotic Am. Two starts before that she posted an impressive win 1:55.1 in a NYSS event at Yonkers Raceway and all tolled, has made $138,662 in only eight starts this year. Her main competition is Dramatra (Trixton-Bourbon N Grits) who is a sister to 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty for Life. Dramatra has seen limited stake competition in New Jersey, making only five starts over the last two years. But she has been building an impressive resume recently in overnights at Plainridge where she has won four out of her last six starts including a lifetime best 1:55.1 outing in August. She comes into this first leg off a 1:55.3 win and looks to be tuned up and ready for a top effort. Both fillies are trained by George Ducharme. Scott Zeron will drive Without A Warning from post three at 6-5 and Shawn Gray will steer Dramatra from post two at 9-5. The other returning champion Sunday is pacing gelding Finnbar (Real Desire-Unbeachable) who is coming off a lifetime best win of 1:53.3 just two weeks ago. He followed up that trip with a solid second place finish after being parked out most of the mile. Has been racing consistently at Plainridge but has shown his best form in those two starts. Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) rolls into town on the strength of a four-race win streak at Yonkers Raceway that saw him take a career best mark of 1:53.1. After two NYSS starts earlier this summer, Wyatt J found his groove in overnight condition races and looks to cash in during the month of October in Massachusetts. Trainer Nancy Longobardi has Ron Cushing up behind Finnbar from post five at 7-1 while Wyatt J will team with Scott Zeron from post two at 9-5 for trainer Linda Toscano. The 3-year-old male trotting division should be very closely contested having three standout performers. Double Dealing (RC Royalty-Heather Spur) is another Ducharme pupil and was second best in the MASS final last year. In 2020 Double Dealing was very effective in the NYSS Excel A series where he made the $50,000 final. He has four wins this year and took a lifetime mark of 1:54.2 at Tioga Downs. Then there is the powerful duo from the Domenico Cecere barn, Dazzling Lindy and Marquis Lafayette. Dazzling Lindy (Crazed-Lindy On The Rocks) finished third in the MASS final last year and has come back looking much improved. In only five starts at Plainridge, Dazzling Lindy has won three while finishing second and third in the other two. His wins include a lifetime best 1:55.2 outing last week. Marquis Lafayette (Ready For Cash-Highscore Kemp) has only four lifetime starts, but his single 2020 start is worth noting. It was a 13-1/2 length, 1:55.2 romp that gives immediate legitimacy to his presence. Double Dealing drew the pylons for driver Shawn Gray and is 3-2. Dazzling Lindy and Drew Monti leave from post six at 2-1 and Marquis Lafayette starts from post five at 5-2 for Scott Zeron. The 3-year-old pacing fillies are also closely matched with a former track record holder leading the way. Ry's Red Rocket (Sunshine Beach-Mo Molly Blue Chip) broke the Plainridge track record for 3-year-old pacing fillies on July 23 when she went a personal best 1:52.2 mile. Whereas that mark has since been broken again, she has continued to race well through the summer and is highly regarded here. She's A Fireball (Western Maverick-Fire Can Fly) was the Maine Sire Stake champion at two but did not fare well in the MASS final after making a break. This year she has two wins, a new mark of 1:55.1 and was race timed in 1:52.4 while finishing only 1-3/4 lengths behind Ry's Red Rocket in her track record performance. Trainer Gretchen Athearn has Matty "Ice" Athearn up behind Ry's Red Rocket who drew post six at 3-2 while Ron Cushing will steer She's A Fireball from the pylons at 5-2 for trainer Heidi Gibbs. The 2-year-old divisions begin on Monday (Sept. 28) as 33 first-year campaigners go postward. The trotting fillies will go in two divisions week one and each has a definite favorite. Moni For Lindy (Credit Winner-Live Moni) competed twice in the NYSS this year, winning at Tioga Downs in 1:55.3. She won two starts ago in the Wood End Light series at Plainridge Park in 1:57.4 and is the even money chalk from post four in the short field. The Domenico Cecere trained filly will be driven by Scott Zeron. In the second split, Me Too Baby (Muscle Hill-Baby Shaq) comes in off an impressive gate to wire victory in 1:58.2 in a division of the Wood End Light and looks to have a decided advantage over her competitors after that start. Me Too Baby is the 3-5 favorite off the pylons for Team Athearn. The pacing males have several strong entrants and the weeks leading up to the finals should be interesting. Mullinax (American Ideal-Up Front Kellie Jo) was a star in the NYSS Excel A series this year, winning two legs before going a lifetime best 1:53.2 mile in the $50,000 final. Plus he has won four out of his last five starts, finishing second in the other which brings him into this race at his best for trainer Mark Ford. Maui (Bettor's Delight-Barbara Ann) had two impressive wins in 1:54 and 1:54.3 in condition races before falling short in his most recent effort in Plainridge's Nauset Light series while stablemate Dancing Lew (Rocknroll Dance-Love Rocks) just took his mark of 1:54.4 at Plainridge after finishing fifth in his lone Pennsylvania Stallion Series start at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Both geldings hail from the Kevin Switzer stable. Mullinax is 2-1 from post seven with Scott Zeron, Maui leaves from post two with Shawn Gray at 8-5 and Dancing Lew drew post six with Bruce Ranger at 7-2. The trotting colts and geldings feature two more standouts from the NYSS. Incommunicado (Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla) was the fourth leading point-getter among his peers and finished third in the NYSS final at Yonkers after cutting the mile and falling short by only 1/2 length. Trainer Ake Svanstedt will be making his first appearance in the MASS and looks to be one to beat. Beantown Madness (Conway Hall-Armbro Archer) competed in the NYSS Excel B series all summer where he amassed four wins in five starts. In his last start at Plainridge he won by five lengths in a career best 1:56.1, which was only 2/5th's of a second off the track record. Another George Ducharme trainee, Beantown Madness will have much to say in the coming weeks. Incommunicado leaves from post six at 2-1 with Scott Zeron and Beantown Madness drew post eight with Shawn Gray at 3-2. The pacing fillies offer a wide open affair that should go down to the wire. Rightfully Mine (American Ideal-Leah) finished as the third top point-getter in the NYSS and made the final where she drew poorly and had a rough trip. So Amazing (So Surreal-Teddy Ballgirl) was a NYSS Excel A star that also made that final and had an unfortunate draw. So Amazing beat Rightfully Mine at Plainridge Park on September 4 in the Nauset Light series where she went a career best 1:53.4. Suzie Blue Chip (American Ideal-Betty Hill) comes in off three straight wins including her 1:54.4 best at Plainridge and a NYSS Excel B event. Rightfully Mine drew post two for trainer Sheena Mcelhiney who has Scott Zeron up at 2-1, Ducharme's So Amazing drew post seven at 5-1 for Bruce Ranger and Suzie Blue Chip starts from post six at 9-5 with Shawn Gray up for Eve Bergeron. Here is the complete MASS schedule: Sunday, September 27, 2020 3-year-old first leg Monday, September 28, 2020 2-year-old first leg Sunday, October 4, 2020 3-year-old second leg Monday, October 5, 2020 2-year-old second leg Sunday, October 18, 2020 2-year-old third leg Monday, October 19, 2020 3-year-old third leg Monday, October 26, 2020 2- and 3-year-old finals For all the latest news and updates concerning Massachusetts harness racing, log on to the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts at www.sominc.net and Plainridge Park at www.plainrdigeparkcasino.com. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- The last time Percy's Z Tam drew post one was March 14th and he took full advantage of his starting position as he won the featured $8,500 Open I harness racing pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Sept. 26). Long Train Runnin (Denny Bucceri) bolted the wings and overtook the point by the quarter in :27.2. With Percy's Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) following closely in line, Long Train Runnin paced unimpeded to the half in :56.4 and would not feel the heat until midway up the backstretch. That's where Morrill pulled Percy's Z Tam and took the lead at the three quarters, rounded the last turn and took a two-length advantage into the stretch. He then paced sharply to the wire, holding off a late rush from Mr. Euroman to win by ½ length in 1:53.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the sixth win of the year for Percy's Z Tam ($5.30) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. In the $7,500 Open II pace, Harry Hoo N (Shawn McDonough) followed Under Paid (Ray Fisher Jr.) all the way to the top of the stretch where he tipped, took the lead and held it to the wire where he won by ½ length in 1:54.2, which was his best effort this year. Harry Hoo N ($11.60) scored his second win in the last three starts and the fourth win of the year for owner Harry Wortzman. McDonough also trains the winner. Drew Monti was the leading reinsman on Saturday winning three races on the card. Billy Davis Jr., Dave Mcneight III, Jim Morrill Jr. and Shawn McDonough all visited the Purple Haze winner's circle twice. McDonough also registered two wins on the training side as well. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Plainville, MA --- After struggling in recent starts at Pocono Downs, 3-year-old pacing filly Stowaway Hanover shipped into Massachusetts on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 24) and went the race of her life while winning the $15,000 featured pace for 4-year-old and younger female side-wheelers at Plainridge Park. Stowaway Hanover (Mitchell Cushing) took an early lead and then let the heavy favorite Trussed Up Trudy (Bruce Ranger) take command and give her the trip. Trussed Up Trudy then went to the half in :56.1 and three-quarters in 1:24 with Stowaway Hanover in hot pursuit. The two horses separated from the field going into the last turn where Stowaway Hanover tipped and paced by the leader. At the top of the stretch Stowaway Hanover kicked away to a 3-1/2 length lead at the line where she won in a lifetime best 1:52.3.   It was the fifth win of the year on her first trip to Plainridge for Stowaway Hanover ($16.20) and owner/trainer Pasquale Picca. Shawn Gray led all drivers on Thursday with three wins while trainer Melissa Beckwith was the top conditioner with two. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Sept. 25) with post time at 2 p.m. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes begin on Sunday (Sept. 27) at Plainridge Park and run through Monday (Oct. 26). There are three preliminary legs for each age, gender and gait followed by the finals. For more information on the MASS please log onto the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts at www.sominc.net. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- A pair of $8,500 Open I Handicap races topped the harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 23) -- one for trotters and one for pacing mares -- and both produced gate to wire winners. Majestic Kat moved up to the Open I trot after a 4-1/2 length, 1:57.2 seasonal best win in the Open III last week and despite the jump in class, went almost the exact same mile. Billy Davis Jr. left with Majestic Kat and cut quarters of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:27.1 before Before I Die (Dave McNeight III) trotted alongside him in the last turn and then matched strides all the way down the lane. With less than a half-length between them for the last 1/16th of the mile, Majestic Kat managed to hold her ground and beat Before I Die at the light by a 1/2 length in 1:57.1, which was another new seasonal mark. Majestic Kat ($7.90) is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock and is trained by Maria Rice. Billy Davis Jr. added two more wins during the proceedings, walking away with a driving hat trick. One race later in the top distaff pace, HP Sissy rebounded from two consecutive eight hole draws and went right to the front where she does some of her best work. Denny Bucceri sped to the quarter in :27.1 before grabbing leather in a :30 flat second panel, where the race was really decided. Blacknsweet Adda A (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled on the second circuit with Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) on her back, but HP Sissy was up to the task. She hit the three-quarters in 1:25.4, rounded the far turn and opened up a two-length advantage while pacing sharply to the wire in 1:54.4. It was the fifth win of the year for HP Sissy ($7.10) who is owned by Finnocchario's Dream Stable and trained by Mike Ohol. Finnocchario, Ohol and Bucceri doubled their pleasure Wednesday as they also won with Mach's Echo who blew up the tote board with a $39.60 payoff. Jim Morrill Jr. had a big night in the bike, winning four races on the card. He scored with Sentimental Lady (1:57.1, $5.30), Il Mago (1:57, $4.40), Odyssey Blue Chip (1:58.1, $2.50) and You Mach Me Crazy (1:56.4, $2.30). Gerry Sarama trained the last three Morrill winners, giving him a training triple that was matched by fellow conditioner Sabrina Shaw. Drew Monti was the final multi-win horseman teaming two winners on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 26) with post time at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- Major Leaguer tripped-out to the head of the lane and then brushed hard to the wire to win the $17,500 Winners-Over harness racing feature pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Sept. 21). Heavily favored Paternity Suit A (Drew Monti) pushed away the gate and led the field to the quarter in :26.3 with Major Leaguer (Nick Graffam) tucked in the garden spot. Just before the group reached the half, JK Will Power (Mitchell Cushing) came first over and pushed the pace to :27.1 in the third quarter, where Paternity Suit A opened up a two-length advantage. Rolling around the far turn Major Leaguer was in the perfect spot to strike and eventually shook loose at the top of the lane. With a margin to reel in, Graffam kept after Major Leaguer and they methodically made up ground on the leader, eventually catching Paternity Suit A by ½ length at the line to win in 1:50.4.   It was the fifth win of the year for Major Leaguer ($17.60) and owner Jimmy Whittemore. Marissa Chadbourne trains the winner. The co-featured $15,000 condition for 4-year-olds and under went to Pacer Racer (Drew Monti) who took the lead past the half and closed the deal with a one length win over a fast closing Finnbar (Ron Cushing) in 1:54.2. Pacer Racer ($4.80) registered his second win of the season for his owners Paul London, Michael Sepinuck, Kathleen Brewer and Andrew Kelson. Artie Brewer II is the trainer. Drew Monti led all drivers on Monday with four wins followed by Nick Graffam and Shawn Gray with two apiece. Sheena Mcelhiney was the top trainer with two wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Sept. 24) with post time at 2 p.m. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes begin on Sunday (Sept. 27) at Plainridge Park and run through Monday (Oct. 26). There are three preliminary legs for each age, gender and gait followed by the finals. For more information on the MASS please log onto the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts at www.sominc.net. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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

Batavia, NY --- Despite a jump in class, a return to an inside post proved to be the harness racing ticket as Stratosphere went the route in the $8,500 Open I Handicap on Saturday night (Sept. 19) at Batavia Downs. Percy's Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) took a quick early lead but as soon as he crossed over, Stratosphere (Drew Monti) left the pocket, took the lead and called all the shots from there. After hitting the half in a rated :57.3, Stratosphere saw Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) at his flank as that one tried to apply pressure to the three-quarters. When they hit that station in 1:25.2, Under Paid had enough and started to fade, allowing Percy's Z Tam a clear path to pull. Morrill pulled the trigger and Percy's Z Tam took his best shot. But his best wasn't good enough this night as Stratosphere kicked away and kicked away hard, opening up a two length advantage at the top of the stretch and pacing home in hand to win by 2-½ lengths in 1:53.4. It was the third win in the last five starts and the fifth win of the year for Stratosphere ($5.80) who is owned by Drew Monti and trained by Darrin Monti. In the undercard $7,000 Open III pace, McSpidey (Denny Bucceri) was never headed after taking command off the gate and cruised home to a 2-¾ length, 1:53.3 win, which was a new seasonal mark. William Emmons owns the Jim Clouser Jr. trained McSpidey ($3.20) who scored his third win of the year, all of which were at Batavia Downs. Drivers Drew Monti and Billy Davis Jr. each had three winners on the card while Jim Morrill Jr., Denny Bucceri and Ray Fisher Jr. had two wins apiece. Trainers Don Rothfuss and Don Niles both had two winners as well. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 23) with post time at 5 p.m. There will be a $3,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday that is part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering program. The Pick-5 starts in race one and runs through race five and free program pages for those races will be available on both the USTA and Batavia Downs websites early next week. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- After ripping off four consecutive harness racing wins at Plainridge Park over the summer, Tucker Creek has finished third and second in his last two outings. But he got back to his winning ways on Friday (Sept. 18) after taking top honors in the $12,000 feature pace.   Unlikeanyother (Bruce Ranger) grabbed the early lead and marched to the half in :55.1 while Tucker Creek (Drew Monti) followed closely in second. As the field headed into the backstretch, Sea Isle City (Shawn Gray) pulled first over and pushed the pace of the leader to the three quarters in 1:23.1.   Sea Isle City's bid was short lived and he faded in the last turn, allowing Tucker Creek to leave the pocket and from there Tucker Creek and Unlikeanyother broke away from the field by four lengths. Heading down the stretch, the two paced almost in unison all the way to the line where Tucker Creek took the lead by a neck and won in 1:51.1, which was a new lifetime mark.     Tucker Creek ($8.60) now has five wins this year for owner Joseph Hayes Jr. and Paul Paoletti. Jimmy Nickerson trains the winner.   Driver Nick Graffam hit a career milestone in the 10th race on Friday after he won with Itsallaboutmach ($17.20) in a lifetime best time of 1:53.4. it was Graffam's 600th lifetime victory in the sulky. The 30-year-old Graffam also has 801 seconds and 761 thirds and earnings in excess of $4.1 million over the last eight years.   Drivers Shawn Gray, Bruce Ranger, Drew Monti and Mitchell Cushing and trainer Jimmy Nickerson, all registered two wins on the card Friday.   Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Sept. 20) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, by the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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

Batavia, NY --- It's not too often a harness racing 9-year-old goes the race of a lifetime, but that's just what Before I Die did in the $8,500 Open I Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Sept. 16). Before I Die (Dave McNeight III) started from the pylons but got away fourth after a three-deep :27.4 mad dash for the front by Victoria Swan (Drew Monti), Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.), who eventually took command. The action stayed fresh as the race passed the three-eighths where Before I Die tipped and proceeded in the breeze rounding the third turn. Before I Die trotted alongside Noble Legend and then went right by as the group entered the back straight and from there, he was gone. After opening up a 3-1/2 length lead in a 1:26.1 third quarter, Before I Die gained momentum with every stride around the last turn and then kicked away hard down the stretch to win by 7-3/4 lengths in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark. Overlooked at 10-1, Before I Die ($22.80) scored his second win of the year for owners Jaime and Caren Dubay. Jaime Dubay trains the winner. There was a dead-heat for win in the $8,000 Open I pace for fillies and mares after Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) led at every station with Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings) right behind her. At the top of the stretch Lady Dudette pulled and matched strides with Protect Blue Chip all the way to the light and the photo nor the judges could separate the two in a race that went 1:54.4. Lady Dudette ($5.00) is owned by Kyle Cummings and trained by Tammy Cummings and Protect Blue chip ($3.40) is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Team rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock and is trained by Maria Rice. Five drivers had multi-win nights at Batavia on Wednesday. Jim Morrill Jr. led the pack with three and Kyle Cummings, Ray Fisher Jr., Dave McNeight III and Drew Monti all scored two. Trainers Ryan Swift and Tammy Cummings also scored two wins apiece. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 19) at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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

Middletown, NY --- The Goshen Yearling Sale was held at the Mark Ford Training Center on Monday (Sept. 14) and despite year-long challenges the harness racing industry has faced due to all the Covid restrictions, a brisk host of buyers nearly matched the average price per horse realized from last year's record sale. "I didn't know what to expect this year due to the pandemic, but I was very pleased with the way it all worked out," said Mark Ford. "We took fewer horses this year due to social distancing but the quality was there and the prices proved that. There was strong bidding all day and a good amount was purchased in the $30,000 range. At the end of the day I think we had a lot of happy buyers." The 86 yearlings that went across the block commanded an average price of $14,767 versus $14,964 in 2019 with the total gross for the sale just under $1.3 million. 32 pacing colts averaged $15,750 each, 28 pacing fillies averaged $13,464 each, 12 trotting colts averaged $16,292 each and 14 trotting fillies brought an average of $13,821 each. Once again, Cameo Hills Farm was the top consignor with the highest average sale price for their 13-horse consignment ($24,462) that included the sales topper. That was pacing colt (Hip 32) Yes Indeed (Huntsville-Please Me Please) who was purchased for $46,000 by Erv Miller. They also sold pacing colt (Hip 27) Just Mercy (Huntsville-Pardon) purchased by Jim DeArmond for $36,000, trotting colt (Hip 26) Harvey Two Face (Chapter Seven-New Sensation) who was sold to Steve Pratt for $30,000 and pacing colt (Hip 84) El Pistolero (Huntsville-Discoverer) who went to Robert Sholes, also for $30,000. Winbak Farm's 37 yearlings were headed by trotting filly (Hip 35) Bak A Winner (Credit Winner-Roberta's Fantasy) who brought $28,000 from John Ball. They also sold pacing filly (Hip 78) Clear The Way (Bolt The Duer-Clara) for $24,000 to John Como Jr. Blue Chip Farm's top money-getter from their 5-head consignment was the pacing colt (Hip 21) Faith In Joe (Roll With Joe-Blind Faith) who was purchased by Paul O'Mara for $22,000. "I can't say enough about the good people at Cattle In Motion, who ran the online bidding and video," Ford continued. "They were phenomenal; the best in their business. They were very efficient, very professional and they made the entire sale better than it has ever been. I believe this was the first Standardbred sale to take online bids and I felt it went very smoothly considering it's never been done before. We look forward to working with them much more in the future." About $200,000 of the total sales came from online bidding, which is a very solid number given the first time it's been offered. Plus all the early feedback from those who used the new format was very positive. You can view the complete sales results in a searchable database by clicking this link. (www.goshenyearlingsale.com/results). By Tim Bojarski, for the Goshen Yearling Sale

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