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Plainville, Ma --- On the heels of facing top Open mares like Shartin N and Bettor Joy N in the Blue Chip harness racing series at Yonkers Raceway this spring, Betterb Chevron N shipped into Massachusetts and captured the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace for fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 24). Shez Sugarsweet A (Ron Cushing) got off the wings best and led the field to a comfortably rated :56.2 half. Betterb Chevron N (Mitchell Cushing) came first-over there with Spilling The Beans (Mike Stevenson) tagging along on the rim. Betterb Chevron N drew alongside Shez Sugarsweet A in the back straight and the two mares paced in unison to the three-quarters and around the far turn before Shez Sugarsweet A grudgingly gave way allowing Betterb Chevron A to take a short lead going into the stretch. With a length separating her from the her closest rival as she headed down the lane, Betterb Chevron N coasted to the wire and won in 1:54. After winning her first three North American starts back in January and February, Betterb Chevron N ($3.00) now added her fourth victory of the year to the card for owner William Hartt and trainer Lance Hudson. Cushing also won two more races to claim a driving Hat Trick on Thursday. In the $12,000 conditioned event Notabadgame ($25.80) got away sixth off the gate and trailed the leader by 10-lengths before pulling second-over at the half, tipping three-deep at the five-eighths and opening up a five-length lead that would get him home first in 1:53.1 Jackie Greene owns and trains the winner. Notabadgame                                       --Tom Melanson photo Then Cushing helped extend the streak of the winningest horse of the current Plainridge meet to five when Gitn Drunkonaplane ($2.80) led at every station before cruising home by a length in 1:54.3. Owned by Simzer and Derue and trained by Brett Derue, Gitn Drunkonaplane has yet to taste defeat at The Ridge in 2019. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 24) with a 12-race card that goes to post at 4 p.m. The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in race six features a carryover pool of $4,172.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- On Monday afternoon (May 20) Mach Doro A asserted his dominance for the second week in a row and overpowered a full field of nine top pacers as he took the $16,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park. Avatartist (Mark Eaton) left from post nine and seated the whole harness racing field as he sped to the quarter in :25.4 over the sloppy track. As the race passed in front of the stands, J JS Delivery (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over and brought Bet You (Heath Campbell) and Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) with him in the outer flow. The race hit the half in :55 and J JS Delivery was drawing closer to Avatartist, but he wasn't doing it fast enough for Mach Doro A as Cushing tipped that one three-deep up the backside and blew past the field. By the three-quarter pole Mach Doro A had cleared in 1:23.1 and that marked the beginning of the end of the race. As he rounded the turn he started pulling away with the rest of the field double-decked behind him. Cushing looked over his shoulder at the top of the stretch and saw he was home free and Mach Doro A strode-out to an unprompted seven-length lead at the wire where he won in 1:52. The time was the second consecutive lifetime mark for Mach Doro A. Now a winner of 33 out of 83 races and $296,246 lifetime, the 8-year-old Mach Doro A is also two-for-two at Plainridge Park this year for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned pace, Passport To Art (Shawn Gray) got a perfect pocket trip behind Pokerface Bluechip (Mitchell Cushing) before tipping in the last turn to launch a strong stretch drive that wore down the leader at the wire where he won in 1:51.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Passport To Art ($12.20) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spaluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Passport To Art                     -Tom Melanson photo Shawn Gray had a huge day at Plainridge on Monday, winning five races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Passport To Art, Gray also scored with Queen For Life (1:59.2, $5.00), Jake G's Champion (1:57.3, $19.00), Chip Walther (1:52.3, $9.40) and Sir Pugsley (1:51.4, $3.00). With that performance Gray now has a commanding lead in the dash win race for the meet topping Mitchel Cushing by 12; 42-30. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 23) at 4 p.m. With now winner in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in race six or nine on Monday, there is a carryover pool of $1,995.95 for that same bet in race six on Thursday.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusett  

Plainville, MA --- Making a second-over trip work to perfection, Nick Graffam guided Only Passing Thru to a strong come from behind harness racing victory to capture the $16,000 Open Handicap trot at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (May 17). Joey Bats (John Beckwith) and Namesmuscle (Matt Athearn) argued heartily for the lead before Joey Bats took it over at the quarter. As the field moved towards the half an outer flow began to form with Northern Skyway (Bruce Aldrich Jr.), Only Passing Thru and Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) marching forward in that order. The race stayed the same up the backside until Joey Bats hit three-quarters in 1:24.4 and started to fade, leaving Northern Skyway on top in the middle with Only Passing Thru tipping three-deep for the stretch drive. When Only Passing Through hit the straight he swelled up and trotted right on down the road and to the wire leaving his competition behind him to win by a length and one-half in 1:54.3. It was the fourth win in 13 starts this year for Only Passing Thru ($6.60) and owner Diane Whittemore. Marissa Chadbourne trains the winner. In the $12,000 co-featured conditioned trot, Lindy The Great got his season off and rolling with his first win of the year as the prohibitive 1-9 favorite. Lindy The Great (Patrizio Ancora) took a leisurely outside stroll to the front and cleared past the quarter in :28.4. Ancora kept him motoring along unimpeded for the next half mile until Sortie Hanover (Drew Campbell) snuck up the rim and the pocket-sitting Front Street (Jay Randall) mounted a mild bid from the three-quarters until they hit the stretch. But Lindy The Great was unfazed and trotted home methodically to win easily and wrapped up in 1:55.2. Lindy The Great                                  --Tom Melanson photo Lindy The Great ($2.20) has now earned $413,810 lifetime in only 32 starts for owners K R Breeding LLC and Robert Rudolf. Domenico Cecere does the training. Last year Lindy The Great faced the likes of Homicide Hunter, Pinkman and Guardian Angel AS. This year he may meet some of them again as he is eligible to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (May 20) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, Ma --- Western Stepp came off a career year in 2018 winning 10 races and over $92,000 in purses. The way 2019 is starting off, those numbers may be in jeopardy as the 6-year-old Western Maverick mare scored her fourth consecutive win while taking the $14,000 Winners-Over pace for fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 16). Bolting to the lead from post seven, Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) grabbed control of the field and hit the quarter in :26.3. Campbell then backed the half down to :57, forcing an outer flow to form with Shady Secret A (Mitchell Cushing) leading the way. Western Stepp kept that one at arm's length, not letting her get closer than one-half a length away to the three-quarters and around the far turn. At the head of the stretch, Shady Secret A faded and Shez Sugarsweet A (Ron Cushing) popped the pocket and came full-tilt at the leader. But Western Stepp was in full stride under a hard drive from Campbell and they hung on at the wire to win by a head in 1:53.2, which was a new seasonal mark. Western Stepp ($5.40) is owned by Diane Dunn and is trained by James Dunn. This was only one of four wins for driver Drew Campbell who also scored with Village Beat (1:54.2, $7.80), GW Show Faith (1:54, $6.60) and Twelve (1:55, $13.80). Another driver who had a big day was 20-year-old "Matty Ice" Athearn who scored a driving hat trick led by Dangerousprecedent who went off 26-1 and blew up the tote board returning $55.20. Athearn registered career high numbers across the board last year and has been red hot so far this meet. He is well on his way to improving those 2018 totals before the end of the season. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 17) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, Ma --- Trainer Heidi Gibbs and driver Ron Cushing brought their big guns Bettors Fire N and Mach Doro A to Plainridge Park to make their first starts since the Levy series at Yonkers Raceway in April and both horses fired in a big way, winning the top two pacing classes at the harness racing track on Monday afternoon (May 13). Bettors Fire N won the $16,000 Open Handicap pace with the fastest mile of the meet to date. Cushing left from post four with Bettors Fire N and dropped in second behind Avatartist (Mark Eaton) who was on a mission to the quarter in :25.4. But shortly after that panel he tugged the right line and Bettors Fire N was out and on the move, drawing alongside Avatartist at the half and by the three-quarters clearing in 1:22.1. He paced sharply around the last turn and after Cushing tapped the disk once at the top of the stretch, Bettors Fire N was on cruise control and the big horse motored home to win in 1:50.1. Bettors Fire N ($5.80) scored his 48th lifetime win and pushed his earnings to just under $790,000. The winning time was also a new lifetime mark. Earlier in the card stablemate Mach Doro A stood out in victory in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace. Mach Doro A got away last while fellow countryman Lettucerockthem A (Jay Randall) was the keeper of the quarters. After stopping the clock in :26.4, :56 and 1:24.1 Lettucerockthem A was doing a good job of holding off a three-horse outer flow that tracked him since the three-eighths. But as they were fanning off the final turn Mach Doro A was wound up from the back of the pack, tipping four-wide under a hand drive. He cleared the leaders at the top of the lane and cruised home as Cushing sat chilly to win handily in 1:52.2. Mach Doro A                                 --Tom Melanson photo Mach Doro A ($8.00) paced his back-half in :55.3 on the rim and also took a new lifetime mark for his effort. Both horses are owned by Kevin Sywyk, Frank Ranaldi and their driver Ron Cushing. Shawn Gray led all drivers on Monday with a Grand Slam performance. He scored with Spark A Dream (1:58.3, $2.20), Deetzy (1:52, $8.00), Modern Yankee (1:56.2, $3.60) and Beachchip Hanover (1:54.3, $4.00). Gray sits in first place this meet for dash wins with 33, six ahead of the second place Mitchell Cushing. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 16) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced that they have retained the services of Heather Wilder and Peter Kleinhans as their on-air personalities for the broadcast of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions which will be held at the track on Saturday (Sept. 14). Wilder will be doing pre and post-race interviews and Kleinhans will provide analysis and handicapping insight. Heather Wilder grew up with solid roots in harness racing being the daughter of Dan and Ruth Altmeyer and later marrying Meadows leading driver Mike Wilder. Her knowledge of every aspect of the sport is extensive as is her relationships with all its participants. Besides being actively involved in racing everyday, Wilder currently handles talent management for the Delaware County Fair during the live TV broadcast of the Little Brown Jug. She has also been a regular part of the United States Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards Banquet both as an onstage host and Facebook live interviewer and producer for many years. While she worked as public relations and marketing director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) she became a pioneer of reporting on racing on Facebook Live and coordinated the promotion of countless on-track events. In recognition of her fine work she was the recipient of USHWA's Lew Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award for industry career achievements in 2013. Wilder's lifelong involvement with the sport and its players will make for interesting trackside and winner's circle interviews throughout the night. Peter Kleinhans started going to Roosevelt Raceway as a teenager and his passion for the sport grew from there. Eventually he started training and driving his own stable and reached the top of the game. Peter Kleinhans            --photo Meadowlands Kleinhans was training a stable of 20 horses led by Enough Talk who was the first trotter in the world to break the 1:50 barrier when he won by over eight lengths in 1:49.3 at Colonial Downs in 2008. Enough Talk also won the Breeders Crown in 2010 and received the Dan Patch older trotter of the year trophy from USHWA in each of those two seasons. Although he still competes as an amateur driver, Kleinhans has expanded his role in the sport to announcer, analyst and host and has recently filled in at the Meadowlands in those capacities. His knowledge and expertise of the sport and articulate delivery of same will provide an informative and entertaining look at the night's races for all who are watching. "We are very excited to add such accomplished and professional talents to our production of the Night of Champions" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "Heather and Peter have performed at the highest levels of the sport both on and off the track and will bring a unique perspective to the show for our fans." The Batavia Downs live racing meet kicks off on Wednesday (July 24) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 14). For more information on the upcoming racing season log on to www.bataviadownsgaming.com/live-racing.   By Tim Bojarski  for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Long time western New York harness horseman John P. Cummings Sr. passed away on Saturday (May 11) after a lengthy illness. Mr. Cummings first got involved in harness racing in 1968 at the age of 22 through his brother-in-law Steve Flanigen. While working full time at both Trico Products and Bethlehem Steel (where he was a tradesman bricklayer) he started jogging and training horses with Flanigen and found what would soon become a lifelong vocation. He started out with a couple homebreds named Clippers Classic and Windjammer Munk and soon added overnighters like Don J and Jack Flood to build his stable. Then through his 42-year career he went on to train horse that included Pembroke Primo (1:55.4, $341,026), Mr. Casanova (1:53.2, $274,073), Cambestion (1:52.4, $184,892), Good Evening Smile (1:57.3, $89,219), Solitaire Hanover (1:53.2, $63,953), Pitch The Prez (1:54.4, $89,396) and New York Sire Stake winner Pass Now (1:55.2, $81,918). Mr. Cummings most notable horse was Arm And A Leg (1:54, $320,791) who in 2009 won 13 out of 39 starts and $86,000 to be named the western New York Horse of the Year in a ceremony held at Batavia Downs. Over the years Mr. Cummings amassed 3,779 training starts with 731 wins, 574 seconds and 466 thirds and earnings in excess of $1.8 million. Although he did also drive, it wasn't too often. Early on he used Flanigen who had more experience in the bike, and then later he had several more viable options that provided him the luxury of staying solely in the jog cart. You see Mr. Cummings is not only known as a trainer at the track, he also has the distinction of being the patriarch of one of the largest family of drivers in New York State. Four of his five children were boys who were brought up in the business since they could walk. John Cummings Jr., Tony Cummings, Todd Cummings and Kevin Cummings were taught the ropes by their father and have all been training and driving since they were old enough to get their licenses. And now Todd's son Kyle Cummings has made his grandfather proud by breaking out on the racing scene earlier this year with his first driving win. All told, Mr. Cummings impact on harness racing through himself and his family has been 54,387 starts with 8,272 wins and over $38 million in earnings. That is a family tradition. Although his wife, children and horses were his primary passion, when Mr. Cummings had any free time he enjoyed playing cards and was also an avid bowler. He did roll a 300 game and proudly wore the ring he received indicating that milestone everyday. "Harry", as he was affectionately known by everyone, had an affable personality and the ability to make people laugh in any situation throughout his entire life and his presence will be sorely missed by all that knew him. John Cummings Sr. was the beloved husband of Lallah (nee Flanigen) Cummings; devoted father of John Jr. (Megan Wilson), Anthony (Barbara), Colleen (Tim) Gallagher, Todd (Tammy), and Kevin (Rhonda) Cummings; son of the late Edward and Dorothy (nee Pike) Cummings; loving brother of Edward (late Clara), Frank, late Dorothy"Snookie", and late Peter Cummings; cherished grandfather of 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren; also survived by many nieces and nephews. Friends will be received on Tuesday (May 14) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home, 4199 Lake Shore Road (corner of Camp Road and Route 5) Hamburg, NY. A mass of Christian burial will be held Wednesday (May 15) at 12 noon at Saint John Paul II Parish 2052 Lakeview Road, Lakeview, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Donations and condolences may be left online at www.lakesidefuneralhome.com.   By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA --- Three starts, three wins and Massachusetts native son Wings Of Royalty remains peerless at Plainridge Park this year. His latest harness racing conquest came on Friday afternoon (May 10) when he won the $16,000 Open Handicap trot in handy fashion. Driver Shawn Gray floated Wings Of Royalty off the gate and settled in third briefly as Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) cut the quarter in :27.3. But Gray pulled out there and rolled to the front as the race passed in front of the stands. He cruised to the half unassaulted in :56.4 but then saw Only Passing Thru (Nick Graffam) to his flank as they hit the three-quarter pole. The race rounded the last bend and at the head of the stretch Wings Of Royalty was trotting between Only Passing Thru and Nows The Moment and both of them were drawing closer. But the race got to the wire before they got to him and Wings Of Royalty maintained his dominance, winning in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the fourth win in nine starts this year for Wings Of Royalty ($3.20) who was bred in Massachusetts by his owner Ray Campbell Jr. John Di Stefano does the training. Wings Of Royalty is eligible to the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that will be held at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 28). 24 outstanding aged-trotters have been nominated to this Grand Circuit event that makes its return to New England's premier harness racing venue this summer. In the $12,000 conditioned trotting co-feature, Make It A Double (Matt Athearn) lived up to his name by winning his second consecutive race despite being parked out the whole mile to do it. After Lindy The Great (Patricio Ancora) took the lead, Make It a Double rolled up alongside and pushed the issue at every station. The two tripped the timers in :28, :56.4 and 1:25.2 before hitting the lane and dueling for another eighth of a mile. With both drivers vigorously urging their horses it wasn't until deep stretch when "Matty Ice" got Make It a Double to the front and won by one-half length in 1:54.4, which was also a new seasonal mark. Make It A Double                                    --Tom Melanson photo Make It A Double ($5.80) is owned by William Phipps and is trained by Gretchen Athearn. Drew Campbell led all drivers for wins on Friday, making three trips to the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (May 13) with post time set at 4 p.m.     Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Western Stepp was one of the toughest resident mares at Plainridge Park last year winning 26% of her starts. This year she's already two-out-of-three after taking the $12,000 Winners-Over pace for fillies and mares on Thursday afternoon (May 9). After being on the engine for the last three weeks, Western Stepp (Mitchell Cushing) found herself in the caboose watching Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) dictate the fractions. That one took to group to the quarter in :27.1 and the half in :57.2. It was at that station Roll With Ann (Nick Graffam) got into the mix on the outside with Western Stepp following second-over in that tier. Try as she did up the backside, Roll With Ann could not get closer than a length of the leader and by the three-quarter pole, Western Step had to tip three-deep around her with Spilling The Beans (Mike Stevenson) going four-wide as well. Now three across the track at the head of the stretch, Shesjustadelight N, Western Stepp and Spilling The Beans fought hard all the way down the stretch before Western Stepp simply out-fought her rivals to win by a neck at the wire in 1:54.3. It was the third win in a row and 30th of her career for Western Step ($8.60) who is owned by Diane Dunn and trained by James Dunn. Cushing added two more wins during the card to finish the day with a driving hat trick. The fastest mile of the session was registered in the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pace for 5-year-olds and under when Notabadgame (Drew Campbell) pulled first-over from fifth past the three-eighths pole and motored to the lead by three-quarters. At that point Sometimes Always (Nick Graffam) came at him and drew alongside at the head of the lane. Three pylons into the straight Sometimes Always took the lead, but Notabadgame came back under methodical urging from Campbell to win by a length in 1:53.4. Notabadgame                                         -Photo courtesy of Tom Melanson It was the third win of the year for Notabadgame ($6.40) who is owned and trained by Jackie Greene. There were some huge payoffs at Plainridge on Thursday for the betting faithful. In the ninth race the 20-cent Wicked-Hi 5 had a carryover pool in excess of $7,700 and one lucky punter scored the winning combination of 8-4-1-6-2 and collected $9,246.38 for the two-dime investment. Then in the 11th race the longest shot on the board, Funny Lena (Nick Graffam), finished second at 59-1 prompting a 1-9-6 trifecta combination that returned $10,328.80 for a $2 ticket. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 10) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- A beautiful spring day and a perfect surface produced some sizzling miles at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (May 6) as only fifths of a second separated the top three pacing races of the week. The main harness racing event was the $16,000 Open Handicap and Some Attitude out-dueled Rock Diamonds N at the wire to capture the winner's share. It was Dapper Dude (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) who set the early fractions and got the group to the half in :55.1. Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) who had been floating on the outside mid-pack, made a rush for the lead and got it on the backstretch and then opened a two-length advantage. Some Attitude (Jay Randall) was following that one and was able to keep up and draw alongside by the three-quarters. After the two shadowed each other coming out of the turn it was a match race from there. Rock Diamonds N was on the inside and Some Attitude was to his right and they paced stride for stride all the way to the wire where Some Attitude just got a head in front before the line and won by a neck in 1:51.1. It was the second win of the year and second consecutive win at Plainridge Park for Some Attitude ($10.60) who is owned by the Kellogg Racing Stables and is trained by Jackie Greene. Then in the first of two co-featured conditioned events, Avatartist drew on his lightning speed to lead at every station and take the $14,000 Winners-Over pace. Avatartist (Mark Eaton) turned some heads and showed his heels to the pack as he smoked the first quarter in :25.4, shrugging off an early challenge from Lettucerockthem A (Nick Graffam). He then went to the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:23.1 before rounding the far bend and not letting the pocket-sitting Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) get closer than a length down the lane before winning in 1:51.3, which was a new seasonal mark. Avatartist        -Tom Melanson photo Avatartist ($4.40) also scored his second win of the year for owners Bob McHugh, Robert Griffin and his driver Eaton, who also trains the horse. Finally in the $14,000 pace for non-winners of nine races lifetime, Tixnstones tripped-out to a close victory and matched his lifetime mark. Coming in off of two consecutive victories, Opus Blue Chip (Jay Randall) was looking to make it three as he went to the front and set fractions of :26.1, :55 and 1:23. But all that time Tixnstones (Jim Hardy) was sitting in the garden spot enjoying the perfect trip. Hardy waited until halfway through the last turn to pull Tixnstones but when he did the horse responded. Opus Blue Chip and Tixnstones went blow for blow all the way down the stretch and it wasn't until the wire when Tixnstones was able to get the advantage and the win by a neck in 1:51.4. It was the first win in three 2019 starts for Tixnstones ($6.00) who is owned by David and Christine Thibault, Ed Nowak Jr. and Jim Winske. Jim Hardy also does the training.  Tixnstones              -Tom Melanson photo "Matty Ice" Athearn led all drivers at Plainridge for wins on Monday, scoring a hat trick on the afternoon. He won with Mouthpiece (1:58.1, $11.80), Mikey Boy (1:55.1, $21.60) and Ok Icon (1:56.4, $7.40). Mikey Boy and Ok Icon were trained by Jennifer Allen who was the top trainer for the day with two wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 9) at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Batavia, NY --- Representatives from Western Regional Off-Track Betting (WROTB) reported Monday (May 6) that a record $2,039,088.30 was wagered on the Kentucky Derby through their outlets including BataviaBets.com, OTB Branches and EZ Bet Locations. In particular the Empire branch in Rochester, NY saw significant growth, up 27% from the previous year. And wagering was also very strong at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, up 7% there. Batavia Downs hosted three separate parties with a full house of happy, gambling revelers enjoying the Run for the Roses. The Park Place Party served an all-time high 751 dinners; well eclipsing the 605 meals sold last year. Thurman Thomas' Sports Bar "34 Rush" had their highest single day total for sales. Down on the gaming floor, $4 million credits were played which was the second highest in their history. The week ending Saturday saw the highest credits played total of all time, with $18.3 Million in Credits Played, beating the previous best seven-day period of $17.4 Million. The results of the 145th Kentucky Derby may have been controversial with the subsequent disqualification of Maximum Security, who was first under the wire, but according to Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of WROTB, Derby Day 2019 was unbelievable all the way around. "The wagering, party and gaming numbers are a continuation and reflection of the solid year Batavia Downs has been experiencing," said Wojtaszek, "We could not have pulled this off if it wasn't for our dedicated OTB branch and Batavia Downs staff, who worked tirelessly on Derby Day. We appreciate the solid support from our loyal customer base." WROTB is already gearing up for the second jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown to be held on May 18 at Pimlico racetrack. Among the events scheduled for Preakness is the $15 Trifecta special that will take place in the Park Place Event Center at Batavia Downs from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Live harness racing return to Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 24) for the meet that will run through Saturday (Dec 14).   By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs Gaming

Plainville, MA --- It was another dark and damp day at Plainridge Park but the conditions were no hindrance for Wings Of Royalty who used a strong stretch drive to defeat a solid field of eight harness racing foes and take the $16,000 Open Handicap trot on Friday afternoon (May 3). Yonkers visitor Joey Bats (John Beckwith) left post eight and settled in the lead past the quarter in :27. With the field settled in single file behind him, he took a :29.1 second panel liberty and looked to be in good shape as the group headed into the backstretch. At this point, Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray) was sixth. Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) pulled first-up from fourth and started an outer flow that also included Namesmuscle (Matt Athearn) and Wings Of Royalty. Jericho pressured Joey Bats around the far turn and into the head of the stretch where the leader finally gave way. But Jericho was not home free as Namesmuscle tipped three-deep and Wings Of Royalty went four-high in pursuit. Those three then battled to be best for half the stretch until Wings Of Royalty burst by under a line drive from Gray to gain a length advantage in 1:55.2, which was his fastest win time of 2019. It was the second consecutive win at Plainridge for Wings Of Royalty ($3.80) who was bred in Massachusetts by his owner Ray Campbell Jr. John Di Stefano does the training. In the $12,000 mid-level conditioned trot, Make It a Double (Mark Athearn) took over a quarter-mile to get the lead but when he did, he opened up a two-length advantage that he held until the stretch where he extended it to three and won in 1:56.2. It was also the second win in two Plainridge starts for Make It A Double ($7.00) who is owned by William Phipps and trained by Gretchen Athearn. Make It A Double Shawn Gray ended the day with three driving wins while John Di Stefano matched that total on the training side. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (May 6) with post time at 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Plainville, MA --- After a successful spring racing at Dover Downs, Bag Pipe Major has found Plainridge Park to be just as successful for him as he bagged another harness racing win in the $12,000 pacing feature on Thursday afternoon (May 1). Bag Pipe Major (Jim Hardy) took a slow stroll on the outside through the first quarter before grabbing the lead at that pole in :27 flat. He crossed-over to the pylons in front of the stands and then cruised along to the half in :56.2. With only an eighth of a mile breather through the first two stations, Bag Pipe Major was now staring Notabadgame (Wally Watson) in the eye as he had drawn alongside and was starting to push the issue. Notabadgame got almost a full length ahead of the leader motoring up the backside but couldn't quite get clear. Bag Pipe Major fought back before they hit the turn and retook the point at three-quarters. But a relentless Notabadgame still stuck like glue until the head of the stretch when Hardy flailed the lines and tapped the disk, asking his horse for more. Bag Pipe Major responded by pacing away down the lane while Hardy sat still and crossed the wire on top by three in 1:51.4. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner. It was the second win in three Plainridge Park starts and the fourth win of the year for Bag Pipe Major ($3.20) who was privately purchased just four weeks ago by David and Christine Thibault and Jan Donaway. His driver Hardy also does the training. The 5-year-old gelded son of Art Major and the Bettors Delight mare Delighted Again has now earned $44,920 in 12 starts this year. Several horse people had multiple wins on the card Thursday. Drew Campbell and Mitchell Cushing led all drivers with three wins each while Jim Hardy and Nick Graffam both ended the day with a double. Trainer Elisha Lafreniere led all conditioners with a training hat trick. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (May 3) with post time set for 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- The Saratoga, New York based harness racing trio of the Kellogg Racing Stables, trainer Jackie Greene and driver Jay Randall shipped two of their big guns to Massachusetts and came away with wins in both feature paces at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (April 29). The day's main event was the $16,000 Open Handicap pace and Hudson Phil brought his A-game for the win and set a new lifetime mark along the way. Leaving from post four, Hudson Phil exploded for the lead and set torrid fractions of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:22.1 before Starznheaven (Shawn Gray) engaged him at the top of the stretch. But Hudson Phil had plenty left in the tank as he came home in :28.1 to win by one-half length in 1:50.2. A 4-year-old son of Shanghai Phil and Hazel, Hudson Phil ($5.40) scored his third victory of the year, 14th of his career and pushed his lifetime earnings over a quarter-million dollars with $253,677 now in the bank. Then in the $14,000 Winners-Over pace, Some Attitude came in 0-for-7 in 2019 and went home with the win, the purse and his fastest mile in two years. Some Attitude watched as Avatartist (Mark Eaton) took command, but came right out to retake just past the :26 quarter. From there he set fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.2, which were almost identical to his earlier-winning stablemate. After swinging around the last turn Some Attitude was under light urging and paced home in hand, holding off all late charges to win in 1:51.1. Some Attitude                                  Photo courtesy of Tom Melanson After three consecutive second-place finishes, Some Attitude ($5.80) finally got across this year and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $203,530 in the process. Although Randall added one more win with Weekend Fling ($20.40) to end his day with a hat trick, Shawn Gray was the top dog again for wins scoring a Grand Slam on the card. Gray won with Opus Blue Chip (1:53.2, $3.00), Jo Pa's Artist (1:56.1, $6.40), Late Night Joke (1:52.1, $18.40) and Flem N Em N (1:52.4, $8.80). The four-win performance hoisted Gray into first place for dash wins at the Plainridge meet with 21, two ahead of Mitchell Cushing who had the lead entering the day. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 2) with post time set at 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Plainville, MA --- Once again dealt a hand of wind, rain and sloppy goings, a trot-heavy card of harness racing horses went postward at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (April 26). And despite the rough going, Wings Of Royalty came to work and scored an impressive two-move victory in the $16,000 Open Handicap trotting feature. Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray) departed post seven and made a beeline for the front, getting there in :27 flat. But as soon as he crossed over, Cash Me Out (Phil Fluet) vacated the garden spot and rushed to be first in front of the stands. By the time the race got to the :57.1 half, a busy outer flow led by Northern Skyway (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) and Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) had drawn even with Cash Me Out and locked Wings Of Royalty on the pylons fourth. Gray kept Wings Of Royalty tracking intently from that position to the three-quarter pole when Nows The Moment hit the wall and gave him room to roam. Rounding the final bend, Wings Of Royalty tipped three-deep and had the lead by the time the race headed into the stretch. From there he pulled away to a two length advantage under a line drive from Gray and won in 1:55.3. It was the second win of the year and a seasonal best time for the Massachusetts-bred Wings Of Royalty ($7.60) who is owned by his breeder, Ray Campbell. John Di Stefano does the training. In the under card $12,000 mid-level conditioned trot, Neverdie (Mitchell Cushing) pulled from third before the quarter to take the lead and then fight off a mid-mile challenge by One Swan For All (Wally Watson) and a late stretch rush by Shorething Fashion (Nick Graffam) and Front Street (Jay Randall) to win by a length in 1:56.2. It was the 40th career win for the hard-hitting 10-year-old Neverdie ($3.60) who is owned by Mike Graham, Steve Wilson and Mike Cushing, who also does the training. Neverdie Live harness racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (April 29) with post time set a 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- It’s safe to say that Shawn Gray stole the show at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (April 25) after winning five of the 11 races carded including a pair of $12,000 co-featured events for both male and female side-wheelers. In the first harness racing division of non-winners of six races lifetime for the 6-year-old and under colt and gelding set, Gray pulled first over at the half and took the lead with Passport To Art and then cut the remainder of the mile, eventually out-muscling Sometimes Always (Nick Graffam) in deep stretch to win by a neck in a lifetime best 1:52.1.  Passport To Art ($9.40) is owned by Elizabeth and Dyce Spalluto and is trained by Alicia Gray. Then in the second split of that same class for the ladies, Gray went to the front right off the gate with Well Said Maria and sped through quarters of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before turning it up coming out of the last turn and pacing away to a wrapped-up six and one-half length margin of victory in 1:55.3. The heavily favored Well Said Maria ($2.10) is owned by Scott Dillon. Jimmy Nickerson conditions that winner.   Well Said Maria         -- Photo courtesy of Tom Melanson Gray rounded out his personal pentafecta with wins by So So Sweet (1:56.2, $5.60), Wood Hunter (1:54.4, $16.00) and Thrownoutofbetter (1:53.4, $7.00). On the strength of Thursday’s performance Gray now has 15 wins at the young Plainridge Park meet and is only one win behind the current dash leading driver Mitchell Cushing (who also had two wins on the card Thursday) who has 16.  Overall Gray sits in third place in North America among all drivers with 499 or less starts to date in the Universal Driver Rating (UDR) with a .388. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (April 26) with post time set for 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

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