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Plainville, MA---Robert Gary Gray, age 56, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 10, 2018 at Saratoga Hospital, surrounded by his family. He was born on October 28, 1961 in Norway, Maine, the son of Hazel Toothaker Gray and the late Gary R. Gray. After finishing school Mr. Gray entered the Army and learned to drive truck while serving his country. This is a skill would stay with him for the rest of his life. Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Gray drove everything from commercial tractor-trailers to horse transportation vans of all sizes and became a friend to everyone who met him while shipping race horses all over New England and the Northeast for years. Aside from earning a living to support his family, Mr. Gray's true passion had always been harness racing and he took part in the sport whenever time allowed. First attending the races with his father, he did the same with his children as they grew up and all enjoyed the races together as a family affair. Mr. Gray was a trainer and driver and was first licensed in 1982. He was an amateur driver his whole life and competed in the CKG Billings series as well as amateur races in Maine and most recently in Massachusetts at Plainridge Park in 2017. On the training side, Mr. Gray oversaw a small stable most of his career and posted 1,412 lifetime starts with 189 wins, 183 seconds and 169 thirds. Those starts earned his trainees $564,166 in purses. His best two years were 2011 and 2012 when he won a combined 108 races and $300,328 in purses. He did everything he could to provide the best for the horses in his care, but always made time to help those that needed a hand at the racetrack. All of his racing colleagues, who affectionately knew him as Bobby, have truly lost a great friend. He has been a fixture in the harness racing community for many years and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Mr. Gray cared deeply about his family, was a proud husband and father and always gave all he had to them. He is survived by his beloved wife Sheryl Gray; daughters Dawn Gray and Mikayla Gray; son Zackary Gray; sisters Patricia Mandeville (Scott) and JoAnn Nichols (Butch); brother John Gray (Omar Vazquez); mother-in-law Patricia Phipps; devoted friend Jim Nickerson (Heidi) along with many nieces, nephews and friends who will miss him dearly. A funeral service will be held at 10 am on Friday, June 15, 2018 at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Family and friends may call from 6 pm to 8 pm on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Ave, Saratoga Springs, New York. There will be a celebration of life at 11 am on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the American Legion, 46 Griffin St., Gardiner, ME. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association, 2 Pine West Plaza, Albany, NY 12205. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help defray the cost of this unexpected tragedy. It is getting close to hitting its goal and if you would wish to help, you can go to www.gofundme.com/5nu43jc?member=290172 to donate. Also, if you wish to express your online condolences please visit www.compassionatefuneralcare.com . By Tim Bojarski for USHWA  

Plainville, MA---After getting beat on the front end the last two weeks, Western Stepp switched strategies and found her way back to the winner's enclosure on Tuesday afternoon (June 12) after capturing the $14,000 Fillies and Mares Winners-Over pacing feature in a blanket finish at Plainridge Park. Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) found herself in a familiar position at the start; that being on the front end again. But Campbell changed things up this week allowing Show Runner (Shawn Gray) and Hidden Land (Greg Merton) to go ahead while he was content to sit third. Hidden Land then took the field to the half in :55.4. As the girls paced their way up the backside, Western Stepp pulled from the three-hole and Angel Or Terror (Eddie Davis Jr.) followed in suit from fifth and both started the march towards the leader. At the three-quarters, Western Stepp and Hidden Land locked up on top and were in an all-out battle for the lead. They paced side by side and stride for stride around the last turn when Western Stepp got a slight advantage at the head of the stretch. However Hidden Land wasn't done and Angel Or Terror came flying on the outside while Show Runner rallied up the pylons. But Western Stepp stood tall and held her ground to the wire, winning in 1:52.1 by a mere nose in a finish that saw only three-lengths separate the entire field. The win registered a new lifetime mark for Western Stepp ($19.40) who is owned and trained by James Dunn. It was the 21st lifetime score in only 64 lifetime starts for the 5-year-old daughter of Western Maverick. In the $12,000 distaff co-featured pace, Iced Out (Greg Merton) yielded and early lead before turning a first-over trip at the half into a neck victory in 1:54.3, but only after out-dueling No Shadows (Wally Watson) twice during the last half-mile to get it done. It was the third win of the year for Iced Out ($9.40) who is owned by Little Bapa LLC and is trained by Eric Beach. Drew Campbell had a driving grand slam on Tuesday while Greg Merton hit the circle three times. As a result, Campbell remains in the dash driving lead for the meet with 59 wins on the year, ahead of Merton in second with 55 wins and Shawn Gray who is third with 47 victories. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 14) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---It might be that fresh New England air or the fact he's been back on a five-eighths mile track where he seems to do his best work. Either way, the razor-sharp Starznheaven has now registered back-to-back feature race victories at Plainridge Park after winning the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace on Monday afternoon (June 11). Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) left sharply and grabbed the lead from He's Marvelous (Nick Graffam) around the first turn. Maintaining a gapped advantage on the point, Campbell set fractions of :26.1, :55.4 and 1:23 with only a mild bid by One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) during the middle half. Starznheaven (Greg Merton), who had gotten away seventh, pulled before the half and was following One To Draw To second-over up the backstretch and when that one's bid failed around the final bend, Merton swung three-deep coming into the lane and had his charge pacing with conviction as the race headed towards home. Starznheaven drew alongside and then passed Quick Shot before hitting the wire a length in front in 1:51. It was the seventh win in 17 starts this year for Starznheaven ($5.40) who has now amassed a single season high $71,375 in earnings for owners Burke Racing LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Donald Emond and Lawrence Karr. The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven is trained by Jim Nickerson. In the co-featured $12,000 fifth race, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) took no prisoners for the fifth time in the last six weeks, going gate to wire in impressive fashion stopping the clock in 1:51, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Owned by a Piece of the Action LLC, Mysharona Bluechip ($2.40) scored his sixth victory of 2018 and pushed his earnings to $39,175 for the year under the tutelage of trainer Eric Beach. Mysharona Bluechip was also claimed out of the race by Richard Knight for $20,000. Greg Merton and Shawn Gray each had three driving wins on Monday. It was a big payday for the owner of the winning ticket in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta. The combination of 1-5-4-3-2 returned $21,770.20 for a one-dollar wager, with the even money favorite winning the race. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (June 12) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts Publicist  

Plainville, MA---Lindy Racing head trainer Domenico Cecere brought a group of their prospects from the farm's Somers, Connecticut base for some early season work and at the end of the day, captured the pair of $10,000 conditioned trotting events at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 7). In the first feature, Kinda Lucky Lindy (Greg Merton) got away second and sat the pocket behind On First (Mark Athearn) to the half when the outer flow eventually locked him in moving to the three-quarters. Leading that rim-rush was Now's The Moment (Mike Stevenson) who cleared and opened up a four-length advantage. Still looking for racing room and seemingly out of it around the last turn, Kinda Lucky Lindy got a break when Pirate (Ivan Davies) made a break, clearing the way for Merton to pull his charge around the fading On First and set dead aim on the leader. With a lot of ground to make up in the last eighth of a mile, Kinda Lucky Lindy went to work and trotted like the wind under a mere hand drive by Merton and closed the gap with every stride to win by a length in 1:55.4, which was a new lifetime mark. After starts in the New York Sires Stakes and elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic, Kinda Lucky Lindy ($9.60) scored his first victory of 2018 for owner Lindy Farms of Connecticut. The second $10,000 event saw French Moni (Patrizio Ancora) get away third off the gate before making an early move for the front at the quarter and once there, led the rest of the way. As they passed the half in :58.1, One Swan For All (Wally Watson) came barreling up the outside and drew within a neck of French Moni by the three-quarters. But Ancora sped up that third panel to :28 flat and quenched the threat of One Swan For All. Now in command by two heading off the last turn, French Moni had one more bid to put away as the pocket-sitting L Dees Yoyo Ma made a late lunge at the leader, but the attempt was too little too late. Ancora had French Moni all but wrapped-up and crossed the wire an easy winner in 1:55.3. It was the second win of the year for French Moni ($5.20), both of which were registered at Plainridge Park. The Moni Maker Stable owns the 4-year-old son of Love You. At the end of the day Cecere had the training hat trick as he also took the first race with the Greg Merton-driven Shortie Joe ($2.20) who won his second in a row this year, lifetime and at Plainridge Park. The 1:56.4 clocking was also a new lifetime mark for the Fred Monteleone Stable LLC-owned 3-year-old Chapter Seven colt. Greg Merton was Thursday's winningest driver with three trips to the circle. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (June 8) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA---Caviart Shelly was razor-sharp in May and she kicked off June the exact same way, tripping out to a big win in the $14,000 fillies and mares Winners-Over Handicap feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (June 5). Driver Drew Campbell found himself smiling for pictures five times on Tuesday as he put on a show for the fans. Campbell won with Acefortyfour Alex (1:54, $3.00), Briar's Creek Angel (1:56, $3.00), Paradise Skies (1:55.4, $6.00), Mc Attagirl (1:53.4, $5.20) and Rock Market (1:55, $4.60). Campbell's pentad of pay dirt now gives him 52 wins for the meet, six ahead of the second place Merton. in the feature pace, Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) was fleet of foot leaving from mid-pack and grabbed the lead quickly. Iced Out (Greg Merton) was second until she made an uncharacteristic break before the quarter, allowing Caviart Shelly (Wally Watson) to move into the garden spot where she stayed until the stretch. The two front-runners played follow the leader through fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.2 without anyone else getting close enough to challenge. At the top of the lane Western Stepp had a two length advantage but Watson pulled Caviart Shelly off the pylons and she found another gear; blowing right by the leader to easily win by a length in 1:52.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the second win in nine starts this year for Caviart Shelly ($11.80) who now has $20,195 in the bank for owner Fox Ridge Stable. Lisa Watson is the conditioner. In the $12,000 fillies and mares undercard, Hidden Land (Greg Merton) shipped into Plainridge from Yonkers and wasted no time flashing her back-class when she led from the gate to the wire in a swift 1:52.3, winning by four lengths. The time was a new seasonal mark for Hidden Land ($4.60) and the fastest win time for the mare since October 22, 2016. The 7-year-old Badlands Hanover progeny is owned by the Jesmeral Stable and is trained by Monique Cohen. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 7) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA---After making a break over an off-track in his last start at Yonkers Raceway 23 days ago, Starznheaven shipped into Massachusetts and regained his winning ways in taking the $14,000 Winner-Over pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (June 4). Starznheaven (Greg Merton) got away sixth in the field of seven as Pretty Boy Hill (Ron Cushing) seated One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) and took the group to the quarter in :26.4. At that station Electric Western (Mitchell Cushing) came with a rush and an outer flow in tow that consistied of Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Starznheaven. Now with four in and three out stacked up on the backside, Pretty Boy Hill gave way at the three-quarters and the outside horses took turns taking the lead. First Electric Western cleared and then Quick Shot drew alongside and went by him at the top of the lane. But Starznheaven was next to challenge for the lead, coming three deep on the outside to do it. Campbell and Merton were rocking and knocking Quick Shot and Starznheaven all the way down the stretch before Starznheaven got a slight advantage and won by a head in 1:51.2. It was the sixth win of the year and fourth in the last seven starts for Starznheaven ($5.20) who now has bankrolled $63,375 in 2018 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Donald Emond and Lawrence Carr. Jim Nickerson trained the winner. In the co-featured $12,000 condition pace, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) left like a rocket off the gate and led at every station after that to win again easily by two lengths in 1:51.3. It was the fourth win in the last five starts for Mysharona Bluechip ($5.00) who is owned by A Piece of the Action LLC and trained by Eric Beach. Greg Merton, Shawn Gray and Nick Graffam each had a driving hat trick on Monday afternoon. Whereas Merton's winners were not unexpected by the betting public, Gray and Graffam opened some eyes by posting big payouts in two separate races. In the second race, Gray urged Sounder Hanover from worst at the half to first at the wire in 1:55.1 at 39-1. Owner/trainer Don Billingsley Jr. saw his Sounder Hanover set a new lifetime mark, return $80.00 for the win and top the 7-8-3-2 Superfecta that paid $18,911.20 for a two-dollar bet. And not to be outdone, in the fourth race Graffam steered Mic Woodrow in the exact same fashion to win in 1:55 at 67-1! Mic Woodrow, who is trained by Mike Graffam that co-owns with TFD Shadewood LLC, took a new lifetime mark for himself while returning $137.80 in the upset. The win also triggered a 9-3-5-8 Superfecta payoff of $20,650.80 for a two-dollar wager. The dash driving leaderboard looks like this after Monday's card of racing: Drew Campbell-47 wins, Greg Merton-44 wins, Shawn Gray-42 wins and Nick Graffam-23 wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (June 5) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Breeders of Massachusetts        

Batavia, NY---Horsemen wishing to race at Batavia Downs for the upcoming summer/fall meet should take note that stall applications are now available for download on the track's website (www.bataviadownsgaming.com). Simply click Live Racing>Horsemen>Stall Application and Agreement and also Stall Reservations. The complete 2018 racing schedule can also be found at Live Racing>Live Racing Schedule. Stall applications are also available at the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association (WNYHHA) office located onsite at Buffalo Raceway. Racing Secretary Joe Zambito stated that stall applications must be received by the track no later than Friday (July 6). The backstretch opens for tack on Monday (July 16) at 8 a.m. and horses may begin arriving on Wednesday (July 18) at 8 a.m. The first draw will be held on Thursday (July 19) for Monday (July 23) which is the first New York Sire Stake engagement of the year at the Downs. Starting this meet, Batavia Downs will now have a six-race paddock with the opening of the new two-race barn which was built adjacent to the existing pre-race staging area. The 16-horse wash stall barn is also incorporated on that campus. Batavia Downs will also offer its new text messaging service for notices about draws, entries and changes to the racing schedule. Horsemen are encouraged to text the word "HORSEMAN" to 51660. You will then need to reply "YES" and you'll be opted in for race office text message updates. The 72nd season of live harness racing at America's oldest lighted harness track features 70 race dates including seven matinee cards. The meet opens on Monday (July 23) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 15). Live racing will be presented on Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m. (through July), Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6:00 p.m. There will also be racing on six Mondays during the meet including July 23 (6 p.m.) and 30 (5 p.m.), August 6 (5 p.m.), September 3 (1:15 p.m.) and 10 (5 p.m.) and October 8 (1:15 p.m.). All stable inquiries should be directed to Todd Haight, Director/GM of Live Racing at 585-343-3750 ext. 6322. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA---Now's The Moment stole the show during Thursday's (May 31) all-trot card when he captured the $20,000 Highland Light Late Closer trot final at Plainridge Park and set a new track standard in the process. Mike Stevenson left with Now's The Moment and led every step of the way. With the best view, they toured the facility in fractions of :27.2, :58.2 and 1:26 before turning for home. With no challengers in sight, Now's The Moment stretched out to a four-length advantage and won in 1:55.1. The winning time was not only a lifetime mark for Now's The Moment; it was also a new Plainridge Park track record for 3-year-old trotting geldings. It was the second consecutive win for Now's The Moment ($2.60) who is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and trained by Mr. Allison Mac Donald. The $20,000 final of the Ralph Waldo Emerson trot final was won by the Massachusetts-bred Pirate, who scored in a sharp off-the-pace finish. Manssive (Ron Cushing) out-left The Lindy Treaty (Shawn Gray) and trotted strong on the lead for three-quarters of a mile until Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) pushed the issue at that station. Pirate (Drew Campbell) who was seventh at the time, tipped three-deep around a stagnant outer flow and was gaining momentum around the far turn. By the head of the stretch Pirate was four-wide and under a full head of steam, eventually engaging and then passing Jericho to win by a length in 1:55.3. It was the third win of the year for Pirate ($27.20) who is owned by Kathy Beaman and Earl Beaman and trained by Ivan Davies. In the $14,000 Winners-Over trot, Buff (Greg Merton) got to the lead past the quarter and was never headed from there. After putting away a challenge from Platoon Seelster (Ron Cushing) by the head of the lane, Buff responded to mild urging from Merton and held off a late rally from Golden Tate (Nick Graffam) to win by one-half length in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark. Buff ($4.00) now has four wins this year for owners Bill Reepmeyer LLC, Jackie Rousse Stables LLC, Frank Witz and Jill Witz and trainer Jackie Greene. Greg Merton and Drew Campbell each had three winners on Thursday's card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA---After putting in a stellar effort in the top distaff event here last week, Iheartquestionmark stepped down in class and scored her third win in her last four starts, taking the $12,000 fillies and mares pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (May 29). Beautiful Lady (Nick Graffam) took the lead and got the girls to the half in :55.2 before Shesgotthebeat (Greg Merton) came calling on the outside to engage the leader for the rest of the race. With Iheartquestionmark (Eric Davis) sitting second-over in the fray, Beautiful Lady and Shesgotthebeat went stride for stride up the backside and to the three-quarters in 1:24. They kept at it around the last turn when Iheartquestionmark tipped three-deep with a full head of steam and a highly animated driver. Davis kept the mare to task and paced away to a one-half length margin of victory in 1:53, which was a new seasonal mark for the mare. The Janet Davis owned and trained Iheartquestionmark was overlooked by the betting public despite the class drop and inside draw and was allowed to go off 17-1. As a result, the venerable 9-year-old returned $36.80 for the win and topped the two post time favorites in a 2-5-4 trifecta that paid $1,344.60. The three leading Plainridge dash drivers continued their winning ways on Tuesday as Drew Campbell and Greg Merton scored two wins apiece while Shawn Gray had one. As a result, Campbell is the leader of the pack right now with 40 wins for the meet with Gray and Merton tied for second with 38 wins each. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 31) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---An assigned outside post and three inside leavers did not dissuade Kenrick N from his preferred style of racing and at the end of the mile, the local wonder from down under notched another big win in the $14,000 Winners-Over feature pace at Plainridge Park on Memorial Day Monday (May 28) in front of a large trackside crowd. Leaving from post seven, driver Ron Cushing floated Kenrick N off the gate and waited for Sailor Jerry (Nick Graffam), Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Pretty Boy Hill (Greg Merton) to find the pylons before he urged his horse to the front just before they hit the half in :53.4. From there the race was basically over. Moving up the backstretch, there were three horses out and three horses in behind the leader but none were making any headway. Cushing popped the plugs right at the three-quarter pole and Kenrick N responded big time. Under mild urging Kenrick N opened up a quick three-length advantage as they approached the top of the stretch where Cushing looked over his shoulder and saw the gap he had opened. Then he simply put his hands in his lap and let Kenrick N cruise to the wire at his own pace a wrapped-up, four-length winner in 1:50, which was a new lifetime mark. Now sporting two wins, a second and a third in five North American starts since arriving in April, Kenrick N ($4.40) is well on his way to a career year for owners Kevin Sywyk and Ron Cushing and his trainer Heidi Gibbs. In the secondary feature $12,000 condition pace, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) played give-and-go with Treasure Mach (Ron Cushing) before taking the lead for good at the quarter pole, en route to a solid one-length victory in 1:51.3. It was the third win on the last four starts for Mysharona Bluechip ($7.00) and his owner A Piece of the Action LLC. Eric Beach was the successful traine Three drivers won nine of the eleven races on Monday. Shawn Gray registered a grand slam while Greg Merton scored a hat trick and Drew Campbell doubled up. Racing resumes on Tuesday at Plainridge Park with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Thursday afternoon in the Commonwealth means an all-trot card at Plainridge Park and today (May 24) was no exception. Highlighted by two late-closer series, favorable weather and a lightning fast track, seven lifetime marks along with two seasonal best efforts were registered during the 10-race program. Two second division legs of the $10,000 Ralph Waldo Emerson late closer series for non-winners of $35,000 in 2017 went in race one and nine and strong performances were turned in by both winners. Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) sat third for a half-mile before pulling out at three-quarters to overpower Dominus Hanover (Greg Merton) and My Little Susie (Drew Campbell) at the wire to win by a length in 1:54 flat, which was a new lifetime mark and the fastest mile of the day. Jericho ($4.40) is owned by Linda Kenney, Robert Kenney and the Di Stefano and Son Stable. John Di Stefano is the trainer. In the second set, Massachusetts-bred and Sire Stake eligible Pirate (Drew Campbell) showed he will be a contender in that series this year after he was parked for a half-mile and still out-battled The Lindy Treaty (Shawn Gray) all the way to the wire to win by a length in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark. Pirate ($13.60) is owned by Kathy and Earl Beaman; the latter also trains the winner. There were also two, second division legs of the $12,500 Highland Light late closer series for 3 and 4-year-olds who are non-winners of two races or $15,000 lifetime. Those events went in races two and four. Quicksilver Kemp (James Tomaso) rode the pylons fourth avoiding a breaker and two horses parked-out most of the mile to find racing room late and close strong in deep stretch to catch the favored Haulin Banc (Shawn Gray) and win by two in 1:56.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Overlooked by the betting public and sent off at 17-1, Quicksilver Kemp ($37.80) pulled the upset for owner/trainer Joel Wheeler. The second leg went to Now's The Moment (Mike Stevenson) who took the lead at the quarter and ran off like a loose horse, winning by a wrapped-up five lengths in a lifetime best 1:55.3. Now's The Moment ($2.60) is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and is trained by Allison Mac Donald. In the $12,000 overnight feature trot, Nathaniel (Drew Campbell) turned his back on the competition, going gate to wire by a gapped advantage, eventually winning by a length in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Nathaniel ($5.80) is owned by Linwood Higgins and is trained by James Dunn. Drew Campbell visited the track photographer four times on Thursday as he registered the grand slam for the day. Besides winning with the aforementioned Pirate and Nathaniel, Campbell also rang the bell with Angel Assault (1:56.3, $16.40) and Bruizn (1:55.2, $3.80). With his four wins on Thursday, Drew Campbell has vaulted both Greg Merton and Shawn Gray (who were both shut-out Thursday) in the standings to take the dash driving lead at Plainridge Park for the meet. Campbell now has 35 wins while Merton and Gray are tied for second with 33 wins apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 25) with post time at 4 p.m. There is a $4,529 carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta wager in race six on Friday. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts        

Middletown, NY---The 2018 Goshen Yearling Sale will be held on Sunday (Sept. 9) at the Mark Ford Training Center in Middletown, NY and an important deadline concerning this year's event is looming. Anyone wishing to consign yearlings will have to hurry as all entries for the sale will have to be made by Friday (June 1). For the past three years, the Goshen Yearling Sale has offered high quality stock from top breeders including Hanover Shoe Farms, Winbak Farm, Blue Chip Farm, Concord Stud, Cameo Hills Farm and Boxwood Farm. The sale has grown each year in both size and popularity and has become a favorite yearling venue for both the buyer and consignor. "We have an outstanding group of colts being offered this year from our top consignors and overall, expect the entry and sales averages to be up across the board" said Mark Ford. "We are looking forward to a large turnout the second weekend of September and will do our best to make sure this year's sale is a total success." The sales facility is located at 90 Slaughter Road, Middletown, NY, which is within an hour's drive of many major race tracks and training centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, making it a very convenient location. It's also only three miles away from the Harness Racing Museum and the Goshen Historic Track, making it easy to visit those historic places during your weekend. Everything you need to know about the fourth annual Goshen Yearling Sale is now available on their website at www.goshenyearlingsale.com where consignment forms, a catalog request portal and hotel information for local lodging all can be found. For any other inquiries please contact Mark Ford directly at 973-568-3253 (cell) or by email at fordstable@frontiernet.net . By Tim Bojarski, for Goshen Standardbred Horse Sales

Plainville, MA---A full field of nine of the best pacing mares on the grounds lined up for the $16,000 Winners-Over distaff pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (May 22) and after a thrilling stretch drive, Angel Or Terror proved she was the best of the bunch. Driver Eddie Davis Jr. took Angel Or Terror off the gate and settled in fourth as Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) made a decisive bolt for the lead where they would then dictate the pace. After getting to the quarter in :26.1, Western Stepp had little pressure to deal with other than Shesgotthebeat (Nick Graffam) who got parked and was floating on the rim third. Campbell slowed the half to :55.1 before trying to get away from the pack in the third panel with a :28 flat split. Under heavy urging around the far turn, Western Stepp opened up a two length advantage and was looking like a winner at the head of the stretch. But the pace must have gotten to the leader as Angel Or Terror came off the pylons from third, tipped three-wide around Caviart Caterina (Mike Stevenson) and collared Western Stepp at the wire to win by a neck in 1:53.1. Owned by Eric Prevost, who claimed her for $15,000 after her first Plainridge start on May 1, Angel Or Terror ($8.80) registered her second 2018 win and a new seasonal mark for trainer Elisha Lafreniere. Three drivers scored two wins on Tuesday. They were Shawn Gray, Drew Campbell and Mitchell Cushing, who lit up the tote board in the ninth race when he won with Freetime at 31-1 and paid $64.40. It also triggered a 3-4-7 Trifecta that returned $2,339 and a 3-4-7-1 Superfecta that paid $4,315.40, both for a $2 bet. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 24) at 4 p.m. where there will be a $3,363 Wicked Hi-5 carryover pool available in the sixth race. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Ron Cushing has been busy filling his harness racing barn with New Zealand bred horses this year and is taking no prisoners when they hit the track. On Monday afternoon (May 21) Cushing and his ownership partner Kevin Sywyk started two of their Heidi Gibbs trained bearcats in the $14,000 Winners-Over feature pace at Plainridge Park and came away finishing first and second while taking two opposite routes to the wire. Delightful Offer N (Ron Cushing) bolted off the gate and took the lead before getting the race to the quarter in a brisk :26. At that Point, Kenrick N (Mitchell Cushing) who had gotten away fifth, pulled early and was slowly making his way up the outside. Cushing tapped the brakes with Delightful Offer N and got a pedestrian :30 second quarter and as a result. Kenrick N who was floating third on the outside, was able to continue to advance in the outer flow and brought Grand Theft (Greg Merton) with him. Sitting chilly with his whip on his shoulder, Cushing rounded the final turn with Delightful Offer N and was pulling away without effort in deep stretch while stablemate Kenrick N was still game, holding off three late closers as they approached the wire. Delightful Offer N was a two-length wrapped-up winner in 1:51.2 ahead of Kenrick N. It was the second straight win at Plainridge Park for Delightful Offer N ($5.40) and also a new lifetime mark for the 7-year-old son of Bettor's Delight. Shawn Gray put on a driving clinic on Monday, winning half the card. Gray was the victorious pilot with Straightoutaconsin (1:53.4, $3.00), Superbowl Party (1:52.1, $5.80), Duke Of Delray (1:54.1, $3.60), Jackson's Image (1:52.2, $3.20) and One To Draw To (1:51.1, $5.60). As a result of his performance, Gray shot past Drew Campbell into second in the dash driving derby, just behind the leading Greg Merton. With Campbell having two wins on the day and Merton getting shut out, Merton now leads with 32 wins, Gray is second with 31 and Campbell is third with 29. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday Afternoon (May 22) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

HARRISBURG PA - Tim Bojarski, the immediate past president of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and now the chairman of the board, the organization's webmaster, and a publicist for Batavia Downs (NY) and Plainridge Park (MA), has been named to a six-year term on USHWA's Hall Of Fame Screening Committee, it has been announced by Shawn Wiles, current president of USHWA, the largest harness racing organization devoted to standardbred communicators. Bojarski, of Akron NY, has a background in harness horse ownership and training, and has driven in qualifying races. He has been a member of USHWA for 17 years, 11 of them as a Director of the Association. Voted in as national second vice-president in 2012, he progressed "up the chairs" to become the organization's president from February 2016 to February 2018, and per the USHWA bylaws will serve as the Chairman of the Board until the 2020 national meetings. Tim is familiar with the procedures of the Screening Committee, as the president of USHWA is an ex officio voting member of all committees, so he has attended the group's last two sets of screening sessions. Bojarski works with his "hometown track," Batavia Downs, as the publicist during their racing season, and since has linked with Plainridge Park near Boston and the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts. He is a regular columnist for Hoof Beats magazine, the acclaimed publication of the United States Trotting Association (USTA). Tim is also kept busy updating the USHWA website, bringing the latest of information about the organization, its activities, and major racing news to all visitors to www.ushwa.net. And in case that doesn't fill all his time, Bojarski also serves as the president and secretary of the Upstate New York chapter of USHWA. "Tim brings with him a wide range of knowledge of harness racing and its vast and glorious history," said USHWA president Wiles upon making the appointment. "As past President of USHWA he is familiar with the inner workings of this committee. He will be a welcome addition to an already-strong slate of members on this prestigious committee." Bojarski will begin his new term, which expires after the 2023 meeting, with the gathering of the Screening Committee during Hall of Fame weekend at the Hall / Harness Racing Museum in Goshen NY, that weekend culminating with the induction of the newest Hall of Famers at a dinner on Sunday, July 1. United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA)

Plainville, MA---Walpole, Massachusetts native George Ducharme left his Vernon Downs base of operations to return home with two of his state-bred trotters and came away with two wins, two lifetime marks and a tie for a harness racing track record for his students after their day of work at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 17). Last year's Massachusetts Sire Stake (MASS) 2-year-old champion Hashtagmadeyalook bounced back from a disappointing start in a $40,600 New York Sire Stake at Vernon Downs last week to defeat nine rivals in the $12,500 Highland Light Series for 3 and 4-year-old trotters at Plainridge today. Leaving from post three, Hashtagmadeyalook (Shawn Gray) took a quarter to get the lead, but when he did it was for good. After cutting fractions of :28, :57.3 and 1:26.3, Gray kept his trotter on task and held off a rush from a late-closing Now's The Moment (Mike Stevenson) to win by a half-length in 1:55.4. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Hashtagmadeyalook ($3.20), who is a 2018 Hambletonian eligible, is owned by his breeder Ray Campbell Jr. Ducharme's other entry was 2016 2-year-old MASS champion Muscles Jared who made heads turn in the $12,000 conditioned overnight trotting feature. In a similar manner to his stablemate, Muscles Jared (Shawn Gray) left and cleared past the quarter and dictated every station after that. After settling the field in with a tepid :57 half, Gray tapped the gas pedal and went back to back :28.1 and :28.4 quarters to win by five, stopping the clock in 1:54 flat. The time equaled both his lifetime mark and the track record for 4-year-old trotting geldings. Muscles Jared ($3.20) is owned by Al Ross. In the second division of the $12,500 Highland Light Series, J-S Miss Carolyn (Steeven Genois) scored an impressive gate to wire victory in 1:57.4. Owned by Adam Friedland and trained by Jim Nickerson, J-S Miss Carolyn ($8.80) scored her first win of the year, and at Plainridge, in her first ever trip here. There was also two divisions of the $10,000 Ralph Waldo Emerson trotting series on Thursday. Saratoga invader The Lindy Treaty (Shawn Gray) took early cover before pulling first-up at the three-quarters to trot by the front-running Manssive (Ron Cushing) down the lane and win by three lengths in 1:54.3, which was a new lifetime mark for the 7-year-old. The Lindy Treaty ($13.80) is owned by Barry Wishard and is trained by Brett Derue. The second division saw Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) follow cover second-over past the half to eventually out-muscle Candy Lane (Matt Athearn) by a nose at the wire in 1:55.1, which was yet another lifetime mark. Jericho ($14.20) is owned by Linda Kenney, Robert Kenney and the Di Stefano and Son Stable and is trained by John Di Stefano. Shawn Gray led all drivers with three wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 18) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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