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Batavia, NY --- Two longtime Batavia Downs regulars put up big numbers on Friday night (Aug. 17) in front of a packed apron and sold out clubhouse on a beautiful late summer evening in Genesee County. First, perennial driving leader Kevin Cummings won half the card, scoring five wins on the night, pulling away from his fellow drivers for the dash lead at the meet. Cummings won with Keystone Keen (1:56.4, $4.10), Striker Ace (1:57.2, $5.40), Gold Star Sonata (1:57.1, $4.00), Southern Palms (1:57, $21.20) and Northern Matador (1:59, $3.00). Cummings is firmly entrenched as the current driving leader to this point with 27 wins; seven ahead of his nearest competitor. He is chasing his fifth title at the Downs and is off to a flying start. Then legendary western New York horseman Gerry Sarama conditioned the winners of both featured trots, winning each with ease and returning double-digit payouts to boot. In the $10,000 Open Handicap, Southern Palms (Kevin Cummings) got off to a slow start fourth as Ruddy Rusty (Jim McNeight Jr.) was rolling down the road with a four-length lead in a fast :56.4 half. Southern Palms took advantage of the fraction and became second over at three-quarters behind Call My Broker (Ray Fisher Jr.) who was rushing the leader. At the head of the stretch the three were even across the track but Southern Palms trotted home the best and won by two lengths in 1:57, which was a new seasonal mark. The very next race in the $8,000 Open II, Sarama decided to send Theresnoway (Ray Fisher Jr.) right down the road and he never looked back. After getting to the half in :58.2, Fisher let out the lines and Theresnoway opened up five by three-quarters and eight by the top of the stretch and from there he cruised to the wire much the best by eight in 1:57.1, which was also a new seasonal mark. Southern Palms ($21.20) and Theresnoway ($11.40) are both owned by Mike Torcello. Bedsides the big nights had by Cummings and Sarama, driver Drew Monti and trainer John Mungillo each added two wins to their meet totals. The annual Race to Defeat Breast Cancer fundraiser and silent auction that was held by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR) and sponsored by Batavia Downs was a rousing success as donations collected amounted to over $12,000 and beat last year's total. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 18) with post time set at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Plainville, MA --- It was like a sight-seeing tour for Osprey Impact on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 16) as he went gate to wire untested in the $16,000 Winner's-Over trotting feature at Plainridge Park. When the heavy post time favorite Muscles Jared (Greg Merton) made a break before the gate released the field, it made Osprey Impact's (Mike Stevenson) life a lot easier. Stevenson put him right on the point and dictated the rest of this story. After a moderate :28.2 quarter, Osprey Impact backed the half off to :58 and that allowed a now flat Muscles Jared to motor on the outside and draw near the leader going up the backside. But Osprey Impact was trotting well in hand and stepped off a :28.4 third panel just to keep everyone honest and that was enough to tire Muscles Jared who was now backing up in the turn. And Jericho (Jim Hardy), who had watched everything transpire from the two-hole the entire way, had nothing to offer when the opportunity came clear. As a result, Osprey Impact found himself trotting away from the field, eventually winning wrapped-up by four in 1:55.3. The pride of owner Paul Larrabee, Osprey Impact ($13.20) chalked up his 30th win in only 79 lifetime starts, the bulk of which were orchestrated by trainer Robert Marston. In the $11,000 conditioned event for the 6-year-old and under diagonal set, Nows The Moment (Shane Taggart) tracked a front-end speed duel from fifth to the half before pulling second-over behind live cover, tipping three-deep off the last turn to take the lead at the head of the stretch and trot home clear by four lengths in 1:55.1, which tied his lifetime mark. Nows The Moment ($6.20) is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and is trained by Allison Mac Donald. Drivers Jim Hardy and Mike Stevenson ended the day with two wins apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Aug. 20) with post time at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Batavia, NY --- Although Batavia Downs has had their 2018 live racing season underway since Monday (July 23), this will be the first regularly scheduled Friday (Aug. 17) of the meet due to other events going on at the facility. Friday racing will now be conducted weekly until the end of the meet with a 6 p.m. post time. This Friday will feature the best trotters on the grounds vying in Open I, II and III classes. But aside from the racing, there will be much more going on in front of an almost sold out clubhouse. The "Races to Benefit the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester" (www.bccr.org) fundraiser will be held at the track raising both awareness and dollars to fight this deadly disease. This annual event is one of the bigger fundraisers held by this organization and Batavia Downs has partnered with them for years now and is proud to be a part of this very worthy cause. "We have partnered with BCCR for several years now and each year this event gets bigger and better" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. "It's an opportunity for us to help raise money to defeat the scourge of cancer in our lifetime. The generosity of our patrons and horsemen always shine through and I'm sure we will see that again this week." There will be a silent auction held adjacent to the clubhouse with a list of prizes that will please anyone's taste. They include two suite tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert at Key Bank Center on Sunday (Oct. 28), two suite tickets for the Buffalo Bills versus Jacksonville Jaguars game at New Era Field on Sunday (Nov. 25), four suite tickets to the Buffalo Sabres versus Tampa Bay Lightning game at Key Bank Center on Tuesday (Nov. 13), a Buffalo Sabres autographed Jack Eichel jersey, a Buffalo Sabres autographed Danny Gare jersey, one Batavia Downs Hotel night and racing package, two Batavia Downs clubhouse racing packages and a recliner form Max Pies Furniture in Batavia. The track will also be taking cash donations that will be forwarded directly to BCCR. Also on Friday, Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed $1,750 early Pick-5 pool with an $838 carry over. It's a 50-cent base wager that runs from race one to race five. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- After having no luck in three top class attempts at Batavia Downs so far this year, Kaitlyn Rae had a reversal of fortunes as she knocked the apple cart at 12-1 and won the $9,500 fillies and mares Open Handicap pacing feature on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 15). Kaitlyn Rae (Ray Fisher Jr.) saw All Charged Up (John Macdonald) whiz by her to take the lead and was content to sit in the garden spot for most of the mile. Positions remained unchanged from there through a :27.4 quarter and :58 half. Past the stands, Roll With Sparky (Billy Davis Jr.) came to play and hung outside prompting the leader all that way through the top of the last turn. Roll With Sparky tired at that point and Kaitlyn Rae was able to extract herself from the two hole at the head of the stretch. All Charged Up had a two length lead, but Kaitlyn Rae was pacing out of her hobbles under jack-in-the-box urging by Fisher and collared All Charged Up at the wire in 1:55. It was the ninth win in 22 starts for Kaitlyn Rae ($26.00) and it pushed her earnings to $44,695 this year for owner/trainer Riley Asher-Stalbaum. The $8,000 ladies Open II saw Odysseus (Ray Fisher Jr.) get away eighth at the quarter before pulling second over behind Quicksilvercandy A (Ron Beback Jr.) at the half and tip three-deep around the final turn to outpace the leading Aritzia Hanover (John Cummings Jr.) at the wire in 1:57.1. Odysseus ($9.60) got her third win in her last five starts over three different tracks, but it was the first for her new connections Elm Racing and trainer Russell Bratt. There was no winner in either Pick-5 wager on Wednesday and as a result, Batavia Downs will be offering a guaranteed $1,750 early Pick-5 pool with an $838 carry over on Friday (Aug. 17). The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester will also be holding their fundraiser and silent auction on Friday with Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Justin Timberlake suite tickets available for bid all night. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA --- With 16 of the best pacing mares currently racing in Massachusetts gathered in two divisions of Winners-Over $10,000 lifetime events that highlighted the Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 14) card at Plainridge Park with both winners claiming victory via lifetime best efforts. In the first $16,000 division, Empty Gesture (Chris Long) defied her 10-1 odds and went right to the front to cut quarters of :26.1, :54.2 and 1:22.3, parking out Acefortyfour Alex (Mitchell Cushing) and Show Runner (Greg Merton) and then holding off Western Stepp (Nick Graffam) at the wire to win by a neck in 1:52.2, which was a new lifetime mark. It was the seventh win of the year for Empty Gesture ($22.40) and second for owner/trainer Jennifer Allen who claimed the mare for $12,000 back on July 3. The second $14,000 distaff pacing feature was won by Iced Out (Mitchell Cushing) who took a similar path to victory; on the front end cutting fractions of :26.4, :56 and 1:23.3 before rebuffing mild bids from Iheartquestionmark (Eric Davis) and Cameo Delight (Mike Stevenson) to pull away to a two length win in 1:52.3. That time was also a new lifetime mark for the winner. Iced Out ($6.80) scored her first win since the second week of June for owner Little Bapa and her trainer Eric Beach. Beach had the hot hand in the training department on Tuesday, sending four of his students to get their pictures taken. Besides the already mentioned Iced Out, Beach also conditioned Dakota Sleek (1:54, $22.60), Bestfriendforever (1:54.3, $4.60) and Spilling The Beans (1:55.1, $2.60) to victory. Greg Merton led all drivers on Tuesday with three wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Aug. 16) with post time at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- A relentless all-day rain wet down the track at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 13) but it didn't dilute the talent that would compete over that surface. Heading the list of eye-catching performances was Artful Way, who got used both early and late before closing sharply in the lane to capture the $18,000 Open Handicap pace. Artful Way (Steve Nason) left and took the lead, but he passed that off to Starznheaven (Greg Merton) by the quarter in lieu of a garden spot trip from there until the stretch. Positions remained the same until the half when Thisjetsabookin (Shawn Gray) pulled first up with Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) on his back and started to push the issue. The top four were now in a tight pack pacing two in and two out, going up the backside and into the far turn before Thisjetsabookin faded giving Artful Way the opening he was waiting for. Starznheaven looked clear with a two-length advantage but Nason got Artful Way underway and had a full head of steam. With heavy urging from Nason, Artful Way continued to eat up ground all the way to the wire and won by a nose in 1:51.1. It was the 11th win in 24 starts for Artful Way ($6.20) and it pushed his annual income to $110,667 for owner Kellogg Racing Stables and trainer Jackie Greene. There was a pair of undercard features whose winner's efforts defied the elements. The $15,000 Winners-Over pace was won by Poisonous (Jimmy Whittemore) who got a pocket trip behind One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) until the three-quarter pole where he tipped three-deep around the challenging UF Rockin Dragon (Greg Merton) and opened up a seven-length lead before cruising home a wrapped-up winner in 1:52. On the strength of his fourth win, Poisonous ($3.80) has now earned $35,820 in 2018 for owner Jimmy Whittemore and his trainer, Dennis Whittemore. In the other $15,000 condition pace for non-winners of nine races lifetime, Lear Seelster (Mitchell Cushing) got away sixth chasing a speedy :26.4 quarter before pulling second-over at the three-eighths, eventually going three-deep around the last turn to out-pace the front running Bamski (Jimmy Whittemore) under right-handed urging from Cushing to win in 1:53.1, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner. It was the fifth win of the year for Lear Seelster ($16.40) who has now earned $41,124 for owner David Glazer. Jim Nickerson trains the winning gelding. There was also a pair of 2-year-old late closer Open races on the card; one on each gait and both going for $12,500. In the Nauset Light for 2-year-old pacers, Sylvia Trench (Always A Virgin-Miss Maverick) made her first Plainridge start a winning one, tripping out behind Fight Like Mike (Greg Merton) to a two-length victory in 1:57.1, which equaled her lifetime mark. Jim Hardy drove Sylvia Trench ($4.20) who is owned by Rosalie and Paul Vacca, who also trains the filly. In the Wood End Light for 2-year-old trotters, Refi (Chapter Seven-Blazing Musclegirl) got away third, pulled first over and cleared the Massachusetts bred The Fixer (Trixton-Give You My Word) at the top of the stretch to win by a length in 2:01.4. Trained and driven by Domenico Cecere, Refi ($4.80) is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert Rudolf. The horses weren't the only ones putting up big numbers on Monday. Several horsemen had multiple winning efforts on the day as well. Driver Mitchell Cushing teamed up with trainer Jim Nickerson and together they added four wins to each of their dash victory totals for the year. That dynamic duo found the winner's circle with the aforementioned Leer Seelster along with Siskel (1:55.1, $3.80), Star Of Terror (1:54.1, $8.00) and Sunburst Cruze (1:53.1, $4.00). Driver Steve Nason also drove two winners for trainer Jackie Greene. There was no winner of the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta once again on Monday so there is a large carry over pool of $2,216.95 that will be available for the Wicked Hi-5 in the sixth race on Tuesday (Aug. 14) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY---Shawn Gray had the night of his life on Saturday (Aug. 11) as he won seven of the 12 races he drove at Batavia Downs and during that run, garnered his 4,000th career driving win. Gray came into the night needing four wins to reach that plateau and once "The Maine Event" got rolling, there was seemingly no stopping him from getting to the winner's circle. Besides his seven wins (which included the last five straight races of the night), Gray also had a second and two thirds giving him a stellar universal driver rating (UDR) of .685 for the night. Gray reached the 4,000 win milestone with Barn Star (1:57.4, $4.70) in race 10. A native of Waterville, Maine, the 44-year-old Gray has been driving since 1993 when he got his first pari-mutuel win with Timer Choice at Presque Isle, Maine. He has been a regular on the New England circuit for his entire life, but in 2012 he came to western New York and made an instant impact on the racing scene here, taking the driving title at Batavia Downs that year. Gray has also been a regular at Saratoga Raceway and Plainridge Park in recent years and enjoys the same success at those tracks as he does everywhere else. In 19,230 starts, Gray has now won 4,003, has been second 3,098 times and third 2,709 more times making him over 50% in the money for his career. That high percentage performance has earned him $15,114,821 in purses over that time. Gray's best career year was 2012 when he captured 356 victories and earned $1.859 million in purses. A habitual high percentage driver, Gray posted a personal best .440 UDR in 2011 but consistently ends the year in the high .300 range. Gray is currently second in North America in 2018 for UDR with a .404. There was another horseman making history at Batavia Downs on Saturday. Trainer James Clouser Jr. won a track record seven races on the card and posted an unbelievable universal training rating (UTR) of .917 in the process. Clouser won with Freak On A Leash (1:55.2, $7.10), Whosurpapa (1:54.2, $3.20), Lenny Mac (1:57.3, $7.90), Upfront Countryboy (1:53.2, $4.20), Tyler (1:54.4, $2.90), Zipnthruthehall (1:54.3, $3.40) and Autobiographical (1:54.3, $2.60). Shawn Gray drove six of Clouser's seven winners. The top Open pacing and trotting features were also contested on Saturday night. Validus Deo ($4.40) won the $10,500 Open Handicap pace in 1:54.3 for driver Kevin Cummings who also trains and co-owns the winner with Matthew Rosiek and Robert Johnson. And BZ Glide ($29.60) upset in the $10,500 Open Handicap trot in 1:56.2 for driver Mike Caprio. Alana Caprio trains the winner for owner the Caprio Stable. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 15) with post time set at 5 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs      

Plainville, MA---When Ron Cushing took Kehmmywood gate to wire to win the eighth race at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 9), he also hit a career milestone by registering his 2,500th lifetime driving win. Born in Farmington, Maine, the 54-year-old Cushing started his driving career in 1981 at age 17. He has competed and just about every north-east track from Maine to New Jersey and has won numerous driving titles over the years. In his 16,718 starts he has won 2,500, has been second 2,332 times and third another 2,214 to earn $10,458,183 in purses. 2016 and 2017 for Cushing were his best years percentage-wise, finishing with a .315 and .327 Universal Trainer Rating (UTR) respectively. He had a career year for wins in 2006 when he scored 218 and his best season for earnings came a year later in 2007 when he made $1.225 million. Both of those years he was competing regularly at Yonkers and Saratoga. Currently at Plainridge, Cushing has 17 wins in 127 starts with $154,516 in earnings. In the feature trot at the Ridge on Thursday, One Swan For All (Wally Watson) got away sixth behind an up-front speed battle between French Moni (Greg Merton) and Pirate (Ivan Davies) then came third-over and three-wide around the fading Pirate at the three-quarters and around the entire last turn before turning on the speed down the lane to pass French Moni and win by three-lengths in 1:56.1. Overlooked at 10-1, One Swan For All ($23.60) scored his second straight win for owner Joel Wheeler. Lisa Watson trains the winner. Ron Cushing, Greg Merton and Joe Di Stefano all had driving doubles on Thursday. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Aug. 13) with post time set for 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY---Thrilling stretch drives with close finishes were the order of the day at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 8) when the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings visited the Genesee County oval to compete in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for the $109,000 in available purses. Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna) won the first $54,500 division with a big brush from behind. JNR Express (Jim Morrill Jr.) cut a decent first quarter before slowing the half forcing Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) to pull first up with Thunder (Kevin Cummings) following right behind. JNR Express and Chip Chip Conway hooked up and went at it toe to toe from the five eighths all around the last turn with Thunder drafting behind. Thunder tipped three deep at the head of the lane and ran down Chip Chip Conway in deep stretch to win in 1:58.3. "I had to get after him to get him started; he was a little lazy. But he was good once he got started. He's a nice going trotter" said Cummings after the race. It was the second straight win and a new lifetime mark for Thunder ($9.60) who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Jeremy Day and the VIP Internet Stable. John Butenschoen trains the winner. Thunder was bred by Walnut Hall Limited. Cavill Hanover (Muscle Mass-Cr Calendar Girl) took the second $54,500 split after a very hard fought battle to the wire. Horns For Three (Kevin Cummings) went right to the front and Cavill Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) dropped in right in behind him. With the field single file to the half, Cummings backed it off considerably forcing Cavill Hanover to pull and challenge just pass that station. Drawing alongside the leader by the three quarters, Cavill Hanover and Horns For Three were now hooked up in a match race. The two trotted like a mirror image around the final bend, down the stretch and all the way to the wire where Cavill Hanover just got the advantage and won in 1:59.3, with a snappy back half of :57.4. Svanstedt was complimentary of both his horse as well as Horns For Three. "My horse went good, but the horse we beat went good too. The race was very competitive." Cavill Hanover ($3.90) has now won three out of his last four races for his connections, Little E, Vanersol Inc. and Wolfgang A Stable. His driver Ake Svanstedt also does the training. Cavill Hanover was bred at Hanover Shoe Farm. There were also three $15,000 Excel "A" races on the card. Lucky June Bug (Lucky Chucky-Ebbtide Hall) trotted in 2:00 flat and registered a new lifetime mark for driver John Macdonald and trainer Stanley Zombick Jr. Lucky June Bug ($9.30) is owned by Michael Pozefsky, William Pozefsky and Myron Eckstein. Sam Stoltzfus Jr. bred the winner. Lights Come On (Chapter Seven-Starlit Eyes) won in 2:02.4 and took a new lifetime mark as directed by Drew Monti for trainer Anette Lorentzen. Lights Come On ($3.10) is owned by ACL Stuteri AB, Theodore Gewertz and Anette Lorentzen. Winbak Farm was the breeder. Jason's Camden (Muscle Mass-Palm Beach Chic) went wire to wire in 2:00.3 for team Orange Crush: Andy Miller in the bike for trainer Julie Miller. Jason's Camden ($2.90) is owned by the Andy Miller Stable, Harvey Eisman and Little E, who also bred the colt. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA---Anyone interested in racing their 2-year-old trotter or pacer in the Harbor Lights Open Late Closer series at Plainridge Park on Monday (Aug. 13) must make their entries by 9 a.m. Thursday (Aug. 9) when the box closes. The Wood End Light is an Open late closer for 2-year-old trotters with a $12,500 preliminary leg on Monday (Aug. 13) and a $15,000 leg on Monday (Sept. 3). The final will be held on Monday (Sept. 17) with a purse of $20,000. The Nauset Light is an Open late closer for 2-year-old pacers with a $12,500 preliminary leg on Monday (Aug. 13) and a $15,000 leg on Monday (Sept. 3). The final will also be held on Monday (Sept. 17) with a purse of $20,000. Both of these series have no nominating or starting fees and will be divided by gender if there are enough entries to do so. The conditions do not mandate racing in more than one leg to be eligible for final so this is an opportunity for any 2-year-old who got a late start to the season or are currently gearing up for upcoming stakes like the $1.28 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes that kick off on Monday (Oct. 1). For further information or to call in entries, please contact the race office or Race Secretary Paul Verrette at 508-576-4485 or 508-576-4486. by Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park  

Plainville, MA---There is nothing more gratifying in sport than going from worst to first. And that is exactly what Watts Was I Drinkn did in the $16,000 Winners-Over for fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 7). Trainer Eric Beach had two starters in the feature and they got away at different ends of the spectrum. Show Runner (Steve Nason) got out of the gate and went right to the front while stablemate Watts Was I Drinkn (Mike Stevenson) got away last and was watching the action from there. Before they hit the quarter in :26.4, Western Stepp (Nick Graffam) pulled from second and overtook the front, giving Show Runner the trip for a while. As the race approached the half, an outer flow formed with Acefortyfour Alex (Jim Hardy), Angel Or Terror (Greg Merton) and Watts Was I Drinkn, who was still last at this point. Western Stepp carried a two-length advantage to the three-quarters and all around the final turn where Acefortyfour Alex seemed to stall outside. That forced Angel Or Terror to tip three-deep and Watts Was I Drinkn had to go four-high around her. Heading down the lane the horses were now six across the track with Western Stepp fading at the pylons and Watts Was I Drinkn flying widest of all. As they hit the wire, Watts Was I Drinkn got up late and was best of all to win by a length in 1:53.2. It was the sixth win in nine 2018 starts and third win in a row for Watts Was I Drinkn ($7.40) and her connections Little Bapa LLC. In the $10,000 conditioned event for female pacers, Life Isa Shortwalk (Chris Long) took a stroll in the park, going gate to wire by a gapped advantage and winning by four in 1:52.2, which was a new lifetime mark for the 5-year-old. Life Isa Shortwalk ($4.20) is owned and trained by Edward Blash. Drivers Chris Long, Greg Merton, Scott Renz and Mike Stevenson all had driving doubles on the card. There were some huge payouts at Plainridge on Tuesday. In the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta, a carryover pool in excess of $4,800 stoked a $7,732.62 payoff for a 20-cent wager on the winning combination of 3-1-8-5-4 and the Superfecta combination of 3-8-9-4 in the eighth race returned a whopping $14,326.80 for a $2 ticket. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 9) with post time at 4p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Saratoga Raceway regular Artful Way left the friendly confines of the Spa this week in lieu of a New England road trip to race the best resident pacers in Massachusetts. And as he heads back to New York he'll be taking with him a souvenir photo of his win in the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 6). Riding a a two race win streak, Thisjetsabookin (Shawn Gray) left like he owned the place to take the lead. Nestled in second for the ride was Artful Way (Jimmy Whittemore) and the rest of the field seated behind them. Thisjetsabookin paced to the half in :54.3 unfettered by his rivals until halfway up the backstretch when Starznheaven (Greg Merton) pulled from fourth and started to advance to the front. Starznheaven drew even with Thisjetsabookin at the three-quarters and went by him coming out of the last turn. But as soon as he did, Artful Way pulled from second and started to chase him down. Heading down the lane the two horses paced side by side with both drivers rocking and knocking. After battling for the last sixteenth of a mile, Artful Way finally got up on Starznheaven just before the wire and won by a head in 1:50.1. The time reflected his best work of the year. With his tenth win of the season in the books, Artful Way ($5.40) has eclipsed the century mark in earnings, boasting a bankroll of $101,667 in 2018 for owner Kellogg Racing Stable and trainer Jackie Greene. Whittemore did some damage in the secondary featured $12,000 conditioned pace with Tioga Downs regular Major Leaguer, who went gate to wire on the front end without issue to win by three in 1:51.1. Owned by his driver, Major Leaguer ($4.60) collected his fifth win of the year for trainer Dennis Whittemore. Whittemore completed a driving hat trick with Poisonous ($10.20) who led the entire race to win by six lengths in 1:51.2, which was a new seasonal mark. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 7) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Plainridge Park is offering two late-closer events for 2-year-old trotters and 2-year-old pacers on Monday (Aug. 13) as part of their Harbor Lights series. The Wood End Light is an Open late closer for 2-year-old trotters with a $12,500 preliminary leg on Monday (Aug. 13) and a $15,000 leg on Monday (Sept. 3). The final will be held on Monday (Sept. 17) with a purse of $20,000. The Nauset Light is an Open late closer for 2-year-old pacers with a $12,500 preliminary leg on Monday (Aug. 13) and a $15,000 leg on Monday (Sept. 3). The final will also be held on Monday (Sept. 17) with a purse of $20,000. Both of these series have no nominating or starting fees and will be divided by gender if there are enough entries to do so. The conditions do not mandate racing in more than one leg to be eligible for final so this is an excellent opportunity for any 2-year-old who got a late start to the season or are currently gearing up for upcoming stakes like the $1.28 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes that kick off on Monday (Oct. 1). Entries for the first Monday (Aug. 13) events must be made no later than Thursday (Aug. 9) at 9 a.m. when the box closes. For further information or to call in entries, please contact the race office or Race Secretary Paul Verrette at 508-576-4485 or 508-576-4486. by Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park    

Batavia, NY---After a narrow defeat in his first start here, the second time was the charm for Icanflylikeanangel who overpowered the early leader to win the $10,000 Open Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 5). The short field of six was shortened even further with the scratch of last week's winner Dragin The Wagon who called in sick. But the fast five left the gate with usual pace-setter and track record holder Chelseas Chance (Billy Davis Jr.) on the point once again. After a solid :28.3 quarter with the trailers all sitting in, Davis tried to put them to sleep with a :31 second panel as no one would come off the rail. However Icanflylikeanangel (Drew Monti) who had gotten away last, had enough and pulled in front of the stands to make his way up the rim. With moderate acceleration towards the front up the backside, Icanflylikeanangel drew near the leader by the three-quarters in 1:28.3 and the race was on from there. The two trotted around the last turn less than a length apart but when they hit the top of the stretch, Monti woke up Icanflylikeanangel with a spirited drive and hit the wire a winner by a neck in 1:57.2. It was the fifth win in 16 2018 starts for Icanflylikeanangel ($6.80) and it increased his coffers to $48,670 for this year. The 4-year-old Archangel gelding is owned by Joseph Hess and is trained by D Benny Eggers. In the $8,000 Open II Handicap trot, Empire Earl N (Shawn Gray) was a gate to wire winner from the outside post six, besting his five competitors in 1:57.1. It was the seventh win of the year for Empire Earl N ($6.80) is owned by Kim Asher and is trained by Riley Asher-Stalbaum. Driver Drew Monti had a natural Grand Slam on the card, winning races six through nine. Besides winning with Icanflylikeanangel, he also scored with Sara Cola (1:55.3, $10.20), Theresnoway (1:57.4, $5.30) and Stonebridge Marvel (1:57, $6.10) Live racing resumes on Monday (Aug. 6) at Batavia Downs with a first race post time of 5 p.m. This is the only Monday of racing in August. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---In Runaway Bay made his 2018 Batavia Downs harness racing debut a winning one after moving up in class and tripping out the mile to win the $10,500 Open Handicap pace on Saturday night (Aug. 4). Bugatti (Ron Beback Jr.) got away sharp off the gate and went right for the lead. But Lucan Hanover (John Cummings Jr.) wanted to command the race as well and the fight for the front was on. Going hoof to hoof through quarters of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25 flat, Bugatti and Lucan Hanover duked it out while In Runaway Bay (Kevin Cummings) laid-in-wait third on the pegs. Halfway around the final bend, Lucan Hanover succumbed to the pace, making room for In Runaway Bay to pull and advance in the stretch. Bugatti was still live but In Runaway Bay had fresh legs and ran him down at the wire to win in 1:54.1 by a half-length. In Runaway Bay ($17.20) has now earned $34,795 on the strength of four 2018 wins for owner Mark Jakubik and trainer Angelo Nappo. In the $9,000 Open II pacing sub-feature, Validus Deo (Kevin Cummings) sat a perfect pocket trip behind Tioga Downs invader Believe This Bob (Mike Caprio) from the start of the race until just past the three-quarters when Cummings pulled right-line and drew next to the leader. They paced around the final bend together, but then Validus Deo accelerated past Believe This Bob in mid-stretch under strong urging to win by two lengths in 1:54. Looking very sharp off the sick scratch in his last start, Validus Deo ($15.80) now has six wins this year and $35,376 in earnings for owners Matthew Rosiek, Robert Johnson and Kevin Cummings, who also trains the winner. Cummings completed the natural driving hat trick with Rock Fame ($11.20) who paced a season's best 1:54.1 for owner Mike Torcello and trainer Gerry Sarama. There is a $328 carryover pool for the early Pick-5 wager on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 5) which runs from race one through race five. Post time for Sunday's card is 1:15 p.m. Tim Bojarski

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