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In what could only be described as the claim of the year in western New York, Thunderbolt Jaxon who was taken for $12,500 on October 1, has now won his third straight $9,500 Open harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec.3). Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) left sharply and eventually took the lead after being parked out by Inthenameofjames (Drew Monti) to the quarter. When the field settled in, they stayed single file to the half when Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) pulled and started an outer flow with Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) on his heels. Feeling the heat, Fisher let his charge out a notch up the backside and put some space between him and the attackers as they sped by three-quarters in 1:26.1. At the head of the stretch, Inthenameofjames popped out of the two-hole and took a quick shot at the leader. But that challenge was swiftly turned away as Fisher rocked and knocked in perfect timing and Thunderbolt Jaxon sped away to an easy two-length victory in 1:55.1. It was the sixth win in nine starts since being claimed, and 10th win of the year for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($10.80). He has now accrued $53,846 in annual earnings, the bulk of which has benefited his current owner Mike Torcello. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three is trained by Gerry Sarama. In the co-featured $8,600 Open II pace, P H Hellcat (Shawn Gray) led from the quarter pole until about 200 feet from the wire; that's when the pocket-sitting Brees Creek (Drew Monti) paced on by him to win by a neck in 1:56. Brees Creek ($8.70) is owned by the Resilient Racing Stable and trained by Rose Russo. Several horse people had multiple win performances on Saturday night, led by Drew Monti who had a driving triple. Shawn Gray had a driving double while Sean McDonough was victorious with two horses he both drove and trained. And trainers Rose Russo and JD Perrin each sent two students to the Purple Haze Winner's Circle for pictures. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Dec. 7) with post time at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Wanna Rock N Roll had an impressive first part of 2016, harness racing at Yonkers Raceway and Vernon Downs. But after making four starts at Batavia in the distaff Open, the mare was turned out in August. Now in only her second start back from the layoff, Wanna Rock N Roll was victorious in the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 2). Even-money favorite My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) left and became the early race commander, taking the abbreviated field of five through their paces in post-position order in :28.3 and :59.3. When the group passed the five-eighths pole, Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) and Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) both came off the rail and went nowhere, but the move allowed Kruella (Shawn McDonough) to shoot up the pylons from last to third behind the pocket sitting Wanna Rock N Roll (Drew Monti). As the girls came off the last turn, Wanna Rock N Roll tipped out and started pacing by the tiring My Tallia Ideal while Kruella ducked to the passing lane and did the same. But Wanna Rock N Roll had the jump and cruised to an easy length victory in 1:57. This was the eighth win of the year for Wanna Rock N Roll ($14.80) and the purse increased her earnings to $61,970. Rose Campbell owns the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover that is trained by Steve Kiblin. In the co-featured $9,000 Open trot, Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) followed Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) for 7/8th's of a mile before pulling pocket and out-brushing the leader to the wire by a nose to win in 1:58.3. The ninth win of the year raised Noble Legends bank to $68,138 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. Drew Monti scored a driving triple on the card and that pushed him to 102 wins for the meet. Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both had driving doubles while Steve Kiblin also had a training double. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 3) with post time at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Larry Stalbaum has been a regular competitor at Yonkers Raceway and Pocono Downs for many years now. But much like Jim Morrill Jr. before him, the small-town feel of western New York has drawn Stalbaum from the major harness racing circuits and he couldn't be happier about the move to Batavia Downs. Stalbaum made his first start of the year at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 5) and has since been one of the hottest drivers at the track. In only 10 nights of racing his own stable of 16 along with catch drives, Stalbaum has had 79 starts with 20 wins, 12 seconds and 10 thirds. That amounts to a 22% win and 54% in the money percentage, a .329 UDR and $100,570 in purse earnings in very short order. Stalbaum was born in Valparaiso, Indiana and started racing ponies at age seven. He went to work with standardbreds after graduating from high school and has been doing it ever since. Through his early years he worked for many horsemen, but credits Frank O'Mara for teaching him all he knows about harness racing. "I started grooming in Louisville at Latonia and eventually made my first career driving start at Brandywine Raceway in 1986" said Stalbaum. "Since them I have raced just about everywhere, even tracks that most people have never heard of." Racing everywhere has taken Stalbaum 29 years and the numbers that he has accrued in that time are pretty impressive to see; 5,378 wins and over $37 million in purses. Stalbaum lives in Matamoris, PA, which is just across the Delaware River from Port Jervis, NY. He races off his 152-acre farm there and makes the 560 mile, 9-hour round trip to Batavia every race night. His whole operation is family based. Stalbaum's wife, Kimberly Asher, is the trainer and his four children Riley, Kiley, Hawk and Sky jog, train and groom the stock. "My four children are all involved in racing and our business. They all do the horses, they all like the horses and they all want to drive eventually" said Stalbaum. "My oldest daughter Riley just passed her test and got her qualifying license and will start driving very soon. And my other kids will follow along one by one as they get old enough. I don't have any help in my stable right now other than my wife and kids. They do it all." With having much success at bigger tracks that were closer to his home, Stalbaum still made the decision to race at Batavia Downs. "I'm getting a little older and I wanted to slow down a bit. That's part of the reason I was racing at Monticello recently; it was close to home" said Stalbaum. "But the money isn't quite as good there as it is here. What I really wanted to do is just get away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger tracks." "I'm tired of shipping three to this track and four to that track and being on the road every night. I would much rather just ship the whole stable over three days and get them all raced and spend more time at home" Stalbaum concluded. After having raced at Batavia for almost a month now, Stalbaum has become quite comfortable in his new environment. The local racing community has embraced him and he is happy to be competing there. "I like western New York. It's got a lot of farm country like where I was raised and many of the people who race there come from families that have been racing locally for generations, and I like that" said Stalbaum. "I tell people all the time about it and when you tell them about being in New York, they think New York City. Because if you're not from upstate New York, you don't know any better." After the Batavia meet ends, the plan is to move the stock to Buffalo Raceway and stable at the track. "When I go to Buffalo, Kim and the kids aren't coming and that's going to be hard for me because I've never been away from them. But because of the winter, I can't ship like I do right now but also can't move the family up here at this point. But that's what we have to do and we'll see how it goes" said Stalbaum. "If everything goes right, we are planning on moving up here permanently. We'll sell the farm in PA and buy some land in western New York and settle down here and race this circuit". With four children aspiring to make harness racing their livelihood, Stalbaum appreciates the atmosphere in western New York for both raising a family and racing for a living. "The future of this sport is young people and all my kids are interested in it now. I let them choose what they want to do with their lives and they all want to race and that makes me happy. I can't make them a doctor or a lawyer, but I can teach them how to be a solid trainer and driver. I just hope the sport is still here for them" Stalbaum said. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---With another dark and stormy night as the backdrop, Thunderbolt Jaxon didn't despair over the wet harness racing track; he reveled in it as he won his second straight $10,500 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 26). It was basically a two-horse race from the word go. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Ray Fisher Jr.) left and parked Sam Hill (Kevin Cummings) to the quarter in :27.3 before letting him overtake. Once settled in, Sam Hill looked strong on the front and took the group to the half in :56.3. With Thunderbolt Jaxon safely tucked in second, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) came first over past the half and tried to mount a challenge. He did draw alongside the leading pair at three quarters but faded from contention by the top of the lane. There, Thunderbolt Jaxon shot into the passing lane and began eroding Sam Hill's lead with each stride, eventually sneaking by him at the wire by a short neck in 1:55.4. It was the ninth win of the year for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($15.00), five of which were accomplished for owner Mike Torcello who claimed the 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three on October 1. Gerry Sarama trains the winner. In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Southwind Torque ($7.80) made a four-wide move around the last turn to nose out the front running Bakken (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the wire in 1:57.3. It was a four-horse photo finish that saw six horses within one length of each other at the wire. Southwind Torque is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice and is trained by Maria Rice. Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both had the hat trick on Saturday while Ray Fisher Jr. settled for a pair. On the training side, Kim Asher and Maria Rice both sent two horses for pictures. The early Pick-5, which was part of the USTA's Strategic Wagering program on Saturday paid $4,365 for the 1-1-3-5-8 combination. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 30) at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- For the second week in a row, Perfect Rendition stalked quick early fractions before gearing up in the payoff half to win the $10,000 Open trotting harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 25). When the gate released the short but classy field of six trotters, Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) went for the early lead, seating Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) and Perfect Rendition (Larry Stalbaum) in the process. The leader then proceeded to cut quarters of :28.2 and :58 and did it unchallenged as the trailing drivers were content to sit in. The situation remained unchanged until just before three-quarters when Perfect Rendition pulled and started to advance. By the time they hit that panel in 1:27.3, Perfect Rendition was matching strides with Noble Legend and a battle ensued around the final turn. When the pair straightened out at the head of the lane, Perfect Rendition got a slight advantage under Stalbaum's urging and as a result, ended up the best of the bunch as he trotted to victory in 1:57.2 over the rain-soaked track. It was the fourth win of the year for Perfect Rendition ($19.40), half of which were registered at Batavia Downs the last two weeks. The 10-year-old son of Perfectly who is trained by Kimberly Asher has now bankrolled annual earnings to $29,763 for owner-driver Larry Stalbaum. In the co-featured $9,000 filly and mares Open pace, Kruella ($8.60) scored her third win in a row, coming from second-over in the outer flow to tip three-wide at the head of the lane and brush by to a slick 1:56.4 win for driver Shawn McDonough. Kruella is trained by Jineen Simone who co-owns the mare with Bonnie Kowalcyk. Ray Fisher Jr. had a grand slam Friday night, including a natural hat-trick in races four through six. He won with Wicked Elphaba ($6.50), Southern Palms ($11.20), Rock The Dream ($9.60) and Babes Chip ($2.60). Shawn Gray and Larry Stalbaum both registered driving triples on the evening while trainer Kim Asher sent two of her students to the winner's circle. Racing resumes on Saturday night (Nov. 26) with first race post time set at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---The New York State Gaming Commission has approved a request from Western Regional Off Track Betting (WROTB) to extend the current Batavia Downs harness racing meet by two days: Friday (Dec. 16) and Saturday (Dec. 17) will be added to the current schedule. Post time for Friday (Dec. 16) will be 6:15 p.m. and Saturday (Dec. 17) will be 5:00 p.m. "WROTB asked for the additional days to make up for the first Sunday of the current meet that was cancelled due to a shortage in the box and also to accommodate the large number of Christmas parties looking to book the clubhouse during live racing" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "It will also shorten the amount of down time for our horsemen between when our meet ends and Buffalo Raceway starts back up." Please note; there will be a double-draw on Tuesday (Dec. 13) for both Friday and Saturday of that final week. For more, information log onto www.bataviadownsgaimng.com and click on the "live racing" tab. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Old man winter reared his ugly head on Saturday night (Nov. 19) as high winds and driving rain greeted the night's harness racing competitors. However the extremely sloppy conditions couldn't dissuade Thunderbolt Jaxon from his best effort as he splashed to a gate to wire victory in the $10,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Jim Morrill Jr.) left and took the front by the quarter as the rest of the field ducked for cover. The leader and a close-following Spender Hanover (Drew Monti) led pedestrian fractions of :29.2 and :59.1 as an outer flow started to chase. Shady City (Larry Stalbaum), who had been parked out from the start and Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) constituted that bid but neither could sustain up the backside. Around the last turn, it was Thunderbolt Jaxon who could sense the win as he strode out and paced away from Spender Hanover down the lane and crossed the wire well in hand in 1:57.2. It was the first Open class win for Thunderbolt Jaxon ($5.60) at Batavia Downs since being claimed on October 10, and his eighth overall win of the year. He has now earned $43,846 in 2016. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mach Three is owned by Mike Torcello and is trained by Gerry Sarama. Since Larry Stalbaum started racing regularly at Batavia Downs, he's been winning races at a hurried pace. That trend continued Saturday as he scored a grand slam on the card. And the winning horses gave Kim Asher the training grand slam as well. The two teamed up in the winner's circle with Story Book ($5.30), Itsonlyrocknroll A ($2.50), Steuben Patriot ($31.20) and Box Car Johnnie ($3.50). Jim Morrill Jr. had another three-win night to remain the Downs leading dash driver, now with 112 wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 23) with post time at 6:15 p.m. Please note that a double draw will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for race cards to be held on Friday (Nov. 25) and Saturday (Nov. 26). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9:00 a.m. For more information please visit the horsemen's link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---After three outside draws in lower class, Perfect Rendition (Larry Stalbaum) moved into the top class and took advantage of post one to rebuff six harness racing challengers in the $10,000 Open trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 18). Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) left and took a hard fought lead at the quarter in :28.1. But as soon as he crossed over, Perfect Rendition pulled and retook the lead. From there he dictated a :58 half and a 1:27.2 third panel. During that stretch, The Bronx Bumper (Jim Morrill Jr.) came first over to challenge but never got closer than third. At the head of the stretch The Bronx Bumper challenge had ended, but then Nobel Legend popped the two-hole and drew a bead on the leader. Noble Legend gained ground with every stride but he ran out of stretch before they hit the wire and Perfect Rendition won by a head in 1:57.2. It was the third win of the year for Perfect Rendition ($6.70) and it pushed his earnings to $24,763. Larry Stalbaum owns the 10-year-old gelded son of Perfectly who is trained by Kim Asher. Jim Morrill Jr. won three more races on Friday while Shawn McDonough, Ray Fisher Jr. and Larry Stalbaum each won two. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 19) with post time set at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Latham, NY---On Sunday (Nov. 13), the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund and the United States Trotting Association held their annual New York Sire Stakes and District 8 awards banquet in Haughton Hall at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. The biggest names in Empire State racing that gathered to fete the accomplishments of their stars began the evening with a cocktail party sponsored by the District 8 member tracks (including Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Casino & Raceway, Saratoga Casino & Hotel, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs) before being seated for dinner and the awards presentations. The big announcement of the night was that 2-year-old trotting colt Walner was named the District 8 Horse of the Year. Walner (Chapter Seven-Random Destiny 1:51.3, $484,037) is owned by Ken Jacobs, trained by Linda Toscano and driven in all of his starts by Tim Tetrick. Jacobs purchased Walner at the 2015 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $90,000 and placed under the tutelage of his longtime trainer Linda Toscano. Since then, the New York bred colt has developed into the top 2-year-old male trotter in North America. Having won seven of his eight starts in 2016, Walner was not shy to make headlines. After winning two NYSS events over the summer, Walner won the $280,000 International Stallion Stakes at the Red Mile in October, setting a world record of 1:51.3 for 2-year-old trotting colts, breaking the old standard of 1:52.2 set by Southwind Frank in 2015. Three weeks later, he won the $600,000 Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands in 1:53, trotting away from the field by 4-½ lengths. This performance was a track and stake record for 2-year-old trotting colts. Then, to put an exclamation mark on his season, Walner was victorious in the $200,600 Kindergarten Classic final at the Meadowlands in 1:53.2 by an overwhelming seven lengths.  Walner’s achievements during his freshman campaign were both dominant and record breaking and have firmly entrenched him as the early favorite in the 2017 Hambletonian. There were some outstanding seasons put together by those awarded for their performances in the New York Sire Stakes this year including some who impacted the Grand Circuit as well. Smalltownthrowdown (Cash Hall-Ann’s Promise) was named the NYSS 3-year-old trotting colt of the year. After winning five legs of the NYSS during the year, Smalltownthrowdown was crowned the division champion after taking the final at Yonkers Raceway. On Saturday (Sept. 3), Smalltownthrowdown competed in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot and was beaten only a head by Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder, who would go on to become the trotting Triple Crown winner. Smalltownthrowdown had seven wins in 16 starts and earned $446,263 in purses for his efforts. His seasonal (and lifetime) mark of 1:54.4 was taken at Saratoga Raceway. Non Stick (Lucky Chucky-Meucci Madness) was named the NYSS 3-year-old trotting filly of the year. After being crowned champion of the 2-year-old trotting filly division last year on the strength of an undefeated season, Non Stick repeated as 3-year-old champion this year after winning four NYSS events over the summer. The highlight of 2016 for her came at Vernon Downs on Sunday (June 19) when she won the $225,000 Empire Breeders Classic wire to wire from post eight in 1:54, which was a new lifetime mark. Non Stick won six starts in 12 attempts and banked $363,787 in those outings. Jim Morrill Jr. repeated as NYSS Driver of the Year after he posted a 28-26-26 record off of 144 starts, which equated to a .355 UDR. His drives earned his owners just under $1.65 million in purses. Ron Burke repeated as NYSS Trainer of the Year while campaigning 25 horses on the circuit. His students won 20 races and earned checks 70% of the time. Those added up to $1.26 in earnings for their owners. Winbak Farm was once again Breeder of the Year as 24 of their get started 84 times and earned just over $1 million, getting purse checks 73% of the time. Here is a complete list of all the award winners. 2016 USTA DISTRICT 8 CHAMPIONS 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Barn Bella Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Planet Rock Owners: Kenneth Jacobs   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Fad Finance Owners: Purple Haze Stables LLC, Marc Goldberg & Rojan Stables   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER No Clouds Bluechip Owners: Richard Carney, Farrell Carney & Barbara Berger   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Walner Owner: Kenneth Jacobs   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Funknwaffles Owners: Crawford Farms Racing & Susan Oakes   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROTTER Smalltownthrowdown Owners: Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner & Richard Lombardo   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACER Missile J Owners: KJ Stables LLC & Purple Haze Stable LLC   COUNTY FAIR DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Mark Whitcroft RISING STAR AWARD: Joseph Chindano Jr. PARI-MUTUEL DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Jim Morrill Jr. TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Linda Toscano   2016 NEW YORK SIRE STAKES CHAMPIONS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Barn Bella Conway Hall — Bravissima Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC Breeder: Morrisville Col Fdn Inc. Trainer: Steven Pratt Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $200,287   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Tequila Monday American Ideal — Margarita Monday Owners: Susan Oakes & Chuck Pompey Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Chris Oakes Driver: Brian Sears NYSS Earnings: $176,206   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Non Stick Lucky Chucky — Meucci Madness Owners: Ake Svanstedt Inc. & Little E LLC Breeders: Michael Andrew & Steve Stewart Trainer: Ake Svanstedt Driver: Ake Svanstedt NYSS Earnings: $231,907   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Wishy Washy Girl Roll With Joe — Wish All You Want Owners: Michael Cimaglio & Stephen Demeter Breeders: Scott Dillon & Thomas Dillon Trainer: Tracy Brainard Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $172,329   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Devious Man Credit Winner — Miss Garland Owner: Stroy Inc Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Julie Miller Driver: Andy Miller NYSS Earnings: $264,647   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Funknwaffles American Ideal — Hatsoff Hanover Owners: Crawford Farms Racing & Susan Oakes Breeder: David McDuffee Trainer: John Butenschoen Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $234,785   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Smalltownthrowdown Cash Hall — Ann’s Promise Owners: Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner & Richard Lombardo Breeder: David Firmstone Trainer: Dan Daley Driver: Dan Daley NYSS Earnings: $304,447   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Roll Away Joe Roll With Joe — Chatelaine Owners: Howard Taylor, Stephen Demeter & Thomas Lazzaro Breeder: Twinbrook Limited Trainer: Tracy Brainard Driver: Jason Bartlett NYSS Earnings: $312,382   BREEDER OF THE YEAR: Winbak Farm TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Ron Burke DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Jim Morrill Jr.   2016 NYSS CONSOLATION WINNERS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Teasin N Pleasin CR Excalibur – Brontease Owners: Edward Reich, Thomas Corelli & Fred Corelli Breeder: Winbak Farm Trainer: Thomas Corelli Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $63,296   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Zette Starlet Credit Winner – Scottish Starlet Owner: Cozette McAvoy Breeder: William Donovan Trainer: Cozette McAvoy Driver: Charlie Norris NYSS Earnings: $54,280   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Major Millie Art Major – Gravity Owner: SSG Stables Breeder: Flintlock Farm Inc Trainer: Steve Elliott Driver: John MacDonald NYSS Earnings: $58,650   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Top Flight Angel Archangel – Top Photo Owner: Legendary Standardbred Farm Breeder: Alan Hainsworth Trainer: Megan Wilson Driver: John Cummings Jr NYSS Earnings: $28,756   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Royal Bachelor RC Royalty – Becca J Owners: Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV & Michael White Breeder: Kenneth Jacobs Trainer: Dan Daley Driver: Dan Daley NYSS Earnings: $50,800   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE JK Heaven Sent Rock N Roll Heaven – JK Owhatanite Owners: Michi Abday, Barbara & Donald Arnstine Breeder: 3 Brothers Stables Trainer: Gilbert Garcia-Herrera Driver: John MacDonald NYSS Earnings: $41,850   2016 NEW YORK-BRED EXCELSIOR CHAMPIONS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Royal Oaks RC Royalty — Mystical Oaks Owners: Jessica Okusko & Ronald LaClair Breeder: Dunroven Stud LLC Trainer: Jessica Okusko Driver: Stephane Bouchard NYSS Earnings: $41,250   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Pirinea’s Princess Roll With Joe — Chant-A-Nuka Owner: Latz A Luck Stable Breeder: Joseph Pirinea Trainer: Dennis Laterza Driver: Stephane Bouchard NYSS Earnings: $49,100   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Wendy’s Girl Lucky Chucky — East Creek Wendy Owners: Howard Taylor & Edwin Gold Breeder: East Creek Stable Trainer: Tracy Brainard Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $64,950   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Ghost Runner Art Major — Spirit Of The West Owners: Dr. Scott Leaf, Deborah Mackenzie, Gerald Fielding & Tom Jackson Breeder: Stonegate Standardbred Farms Trainer: Erv Miller Driver: Marcus Miller NYSS Earnings: $43,050   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Barn Winner Credit Winner — Hallmarker T Owners: Steven Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Out In The Country Stable Breeders: Moni Market Breeders & Jeffery Ruch Trainer: Steven Pratt Driver: Jeff Gregory NYSS Earnings: $45,000   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Percy’s Z Tam American Ideal — Mintjulep Bluechip Owners: Pat Lachance, Z Tam Stbs LLC, M&M Harness Rcg LLC & Royal Flush Stb LLC Breeder: Michael Parisi Trainer/ Driver: Pat Lachance NYSS Earnings: $58,650   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Just For Today Credit Winner — Brandnewgirlfriend Owners: Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco & Hatfield Stables Breeder: Valley High Stable Trainer: Paul Kelley Driver: Matt Kakaley NYSS Earnings: $46,800   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Endeavor American Ideal — Jett Diamond Owner: Helene Fillion Breeder: Barbara Muschera Trainer: Pat Lachance Driver: John MacDonald NYSS Earnings: $41,850   BREEDER OF THE YEAR: Winbak Farm TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Erv Miller DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Jim Morrill Jr.   2016 NEW YORK COUNTY FAIR CHAMPIONS   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Too Cool To Fool Conway Hall—Travelin Deal Owner: Angela Jackson Breeders: Matthew Gartland & Beryl Taylor Trainer: David Dewhurst Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. NYSS Earnings: $9,550   2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Bonita Island Artiscape — Malita Island Owner: Robert Gale Breeder: White Birch Farm Trainer: Robert Gale Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $7,943   3 -YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT KZ Crazee Crazed — Lindy’s Almond Joy Owner: Beth Smith Breeder: Lindy Farms Of Conn Trainer: Cheryl Whitcroft Driver: Mark Whitcroft NYSS Earnings: $10,527   3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Niche Blue Chip Art Major — PW Spare Owners: Elizabeth & Dyce Spalluto, Veronica Dylo & David Widzinski Breeder: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Trainer: Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. Driver: Drew Monti NYSS Earnings: $10,365   2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT DW’s Revenge Archangel — Princess Maddie Owner: Sally Cartier Breeder: WD LaPage Stable Trainer: Sally Cartier Driver: Mark Whitcroft NYSS Earnings: $11,520   2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Napper Tandy Art Major — Cammara Owner: Donald Cosgrove Breeder: Donald Cosgrove Trainer: Angus MacDonald Driver: Chris Lems NYSS Earnings: $11,025   3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT Trooper Jim Conway Hall — Alpine Goal Owners: Heather & Barry White Breeder: Barry White Trainer: Barry White Driver: Truman Gale NYSS Earnings: $12,617   3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE Midnite Pass Kenneth J — The Company Store Owner: Gary Cartier Breeders: Michelle & Albert Crawford Trainer: Sally Cartier Driver: Mark Whitcroft NYSS Earnings: $17,367   BREEDER OF THE YEAR: Steuben Farms TRAINER OF THE YEAR: David Dewhurst DRIVER OF THE YEAR: Mark Whitcroft   RACING UNDER SADDLE   CHAMPION Vanessa Karlewicz riding Admirable Hanover   HIGH POINT HORSE Jeanie Marie Rider: Heather Reese Trainer: Jennifer Sansone Owner: Mo Choo Inc. & Jonathan Klee Racing   TRAINER OF THE YEAR Michael Miller   By Tim Bojarski 

Batavia, NY --- Harness racing horsemen racing at Batavia Downs are reminded of draw schedule changes for Thanksgiving week. A double draw will take place on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for race cards to be held on Friday (Nov. 25) and Saturday (Nov. 26). The entry box will close at the normal time of 9 a.m. All program information, including driver changes for Friday's card, must be submitted to the judges by 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 22). Saturday's program changes must be received by the Judges no later than 9:30 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 23). Qualifying races will remain at the regular time of 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 23). Entries for Wednesday (Nov. 23) qualifiers must be received by 10 a.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 22). There are 13 more race cards remaining in the 2016 season that has been extended through Dec. 17. Post time for all remaining cards will be 6:15 p.m. with the exception of closing night when the races will kick off at 5:00 p.m. For more information please visit the horsemen's link at www.bataviadownsgaming.com. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---With $125,000 up for grabs to the "blue-collar" horses of western New York, the local harness racing scene became decidedly more interesting on Saturday night (Nov. 12). The 2016 Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series culminated with lots of action on the track, a clubhouse full of owners and a very bettable card of races for the gamblers. In the $20,000 final for $7,500-$10,000 claiming trotters, Love U Forever (Jim Morrill Jr.) tracked a fast first half before pulling first-over at the five-eighths. When he cleared at the top of the stretch, he pulled away into a stiff headwind to take a length victory in 1:59.1. It was the 11th win of the year for Love U Forever ($3.30) and his 2016 earnings are now $59,802 for owners Mike Torcello and Sam Smith. Dave Weston trains the winner. The $20,000 final for $8,000 to $10,000 claiming pacers went to Outoftexas (Jim Morrill Jr.) on the strength of an overpowering performance. Leaving from post five, Outoftexas went right to the front and never looked back, winning by three lengths in 1:55. It was the 10th win if the year for Outoftexas ($4.40) and it inflated his earnings to $53,223 for the year. The 11-year-old Camluck gelding is owned by Dan Antocicco and is trained by Steve Kiblin. The $20,000 final for $5,000 to $6,000 claiming horse and gelding pacers went to War Front (Jim Morrill Jr.). War Front ($3.00) got away mid-pack and pulled at three-eighths with cover. Morrill tipped him three deep at the three-quarter pole and they flew by the field around the last turn before cruising to an easy three-length win in 1:57. Owner-trainer Lee Dahn saw his winner's bankroll increase to $30,308 on the strength of his sixth win this year. The $20,000 final for $5,000 to $6,000 claiming filly and mare pacers was won in commanding fashion by Vals Jett (Ray Fisher Jr.). Taking the lead from post one, Vals Jett was heavily pressured from the half all the way to the wire and refused to let anyone get by her to win by two-lengths in 1:58. Vals Jett ($3.00) has now earned $31,914 and six wins this year for owner-trainer Dave Dylo Jr. The $15,000 final for $4,000 to $5,000 claiming trotters was won by Chrome Finish (Shawn Gray). Gray fired Chrome Finish off the gate like a rocket and led the whole race. He set blistering early fractions of :28, :57.2 and 1:28 before closing it out on top by two in 2:00.2. It was the seventh win of the year for Chrome Finish ($4.60) and it raised his annual earnings to $30,934 for owner Mary Warriner. Ryan Swift trains the winner. The $15,000 final for $4,000 claiming horse and gelding pacers was won by Big Unit (Drew Monti). Monti pulled Big Unit second-over before the half and followed that cover to the head of the lane. When he hit the stretch, he found another gear and motored to the front and pulled away by a length in 1:57.3. It was the third consecutive win for Big Unit ($3.60) and fourth of the year and the purse increased his 2016 earnings to $17,634 for owners Carl and Darrin Monti; the latter also trains him. And finally, the $15,000 final for $4,000 claiming filly and mare pacers was won by Can U Be Fun (Shawn McDonough). Can U Be Fun tucked in second and sat a perfect two-hole trip for the whole mile to the head of the lane. There, McDonough shook her loose and she paced away to an impressive four-length win in 1:57.3, which was a new seasonal mark for her. It was the fourth win of the year and it boosted her bankroll to $21,306 for owner Kathleen Lauer. Shawn McDonough also trains Can U Be Fun. Jim Morrill Jr. wins five more races at Batavia Downs Jim Morrill Jr likes winning in bunches and his penchant to do so was quenched again on Saturday night (Nov. 12). After he scored five wins this past Wednesday and five on Friday, he got five more horses across Saturday to end the week with an exclamation point. Morrill won with Love U Forever ($3.30), War Front ($3.00), Mobil Big John ($6.00), Outoftexas ($4.40) and Littlebitaclass ($3.70). Morrill now has 104 wins during the meet and leads all other horsemen in that category by at least 14 wins. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---BZ Glide drew the outside for the fourth consecutive week, but also found himself in lower harness racing company. So he used his class to overcome post eight and win the $8,500 Open II trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 11). Mike Caprio hustled BZ Glide off the gate and took a lead he would never relinquish. He tripped the timers in :28.2, :59 and 1:28.2 while his seven opponents struck several formations of chase behind him. But it didn't matter who was in and who was out on Friday night as BZ Glide kept his mind on his business, while Caprio kept his whip on his shoulder, and trotted home confidently to win in 1:58.2. It was the fourth win in 17 starts this year for BZ Glide ($7.10) and it pushed his earnings to $33,630 for the Caprio Stable LLC. The 7-year-old Yankee Glide gelding is trained by Alana Caprio. Jim Morrill Jr. kept up his torrid winning pace as he scored five more wins during the night. He visited the Purple Haze Winner's circle with Justgottogetthere ($2.90, 2:00), Caliber Seelster ($10.40, 1:57), Zipnthruthehall ($7.10, 1:56.3), Bags Of Money ($2.80, 1:55.4) and Medolandcampbell E ($8.30, 1:56.4). The quintuple pushed Morrill's win total for the meet to 94, now 10 ahead of second place Drew Monti, who was blanked on the evening. Kevin Cummings moved into third place on the strength of one win Friday, now sporting 69 victories which is one ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. at 68. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 12), featuring seven divisional finals of the Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series with purses totaling $125,000. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The seven divisional finals of the 2016 Batavia Downs Claiming Championship Series will be contested this Saturday (Nov. 12) and the participants will be vying for purses totaling $125,000. The claiming series was point-based and broken down by gait and claiming price and the accrual of points was on a monthly basis. Divisions included $4,000, $5,000-$6,000 and $8,000-$10,000 claimers on the pace and $4,000-$5,000 and $7,500-$10,000 claimers on the trot. Points were awarded to the top-five finishers of each race and accrued monthly. The eight horses from each class category that made final were comprised of the top three point earners from August, (July 25-August 31) and September (September 1-30), and the top two point earners in October (October 1-31). In the finals, the $4,000-$5,000 categories will compete for $15,000 and all other categories will vie for $20,000. "This is the biggest non-stakes event ever held at Batavia Downs" said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "The $125,000 being offered in these events will be competed for and won by our resident horsemen and that is good for the local racing scene." The top two events are the $7,500-$10,000 claiming trot and the $8,000-$10,000 claiming pace, both going for a purse of $20,000. In the $20,000 trot, 10-time 2016 winner Love U Forever has been made the early 8-5 choice. The 4-year-old Andover Hall mare has most recently won in Open III condition company in 1:59.3 after getting away poorly with interference. She has won three out of her last five starts and her only bad outing during that time was over a sloppy harness racing track. Love U Forever's regular driver, Jim Morrill Jr., will again steer in this event from post three for trainer David Weston. Socks N Shuzy is the 5-2 second choice and was a beaten favorite in her last race at the $10,000 claiming level. She got away poorly from post 6 and was 13-lengths off the leader at the quarter. But after fading to last before the last turn, Socks N Shuzy brushed home sharply and was only three-lengths shy of the winner in a 1:59.1 mile. Starting from post four, Ray Fisher Jr. drives for trainer Priscilla Mooney. In the $20,000 pace, Bazooka drew post one and was made the 5-2 favorite by the track handicapper. Although he only won two races all year, they came in succession just three weeks ago and his form has been maintained ever since. After competing in $10,000 and $15,000 claimers the last three weeks, he comes in here sharp and ready. Bradley Jackson drives and trains the 6-year-old Sportsmaster gelding. The 3-1 second choice is Cheyenne Louie who is taking a major class drop for this event. His last two starts were in $20,000 claiming races where he drew consecutive outside posts. And before that at the $15,000 claiming level, he won over a sloppy track in 1:54.4 handily, going wire to wire. That clocking was also his seasonal best time. John Cummings Jr., who drove him to that win, is aboard again for trainer JD Perrin. The claiming series divisions are carded as race one, two, three, four, six, 11 and 12. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

HARRISBURG PA - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's largest and leading membership organization for industry communicators, is very pleased to announce that Hanover Shoe Farms, the southcentral Pennsylvania nursery which has been the leading breeder of Standardbred racehorses every year since records started being kept in 1949, is partnering with USHWA in the presentation of its annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas NV.   Hanover will be the sponsor of the gift bag that will be found at every banquet attendee's seat. So before the very first of the sport's best and brightest will be formally honored on February 26, everybody will be a winner and have a "prize" of special items to take home at night's end - one that will certainly be of greater quality with Hanover's participation. Hanover Shoe Farms continues to improve and grow to remain the world's largest nursery for Standardbred racehorses. They have led the list of leading breeders of racetrack earnings of offspring produced every year since those record were begun in 1949, setting a single-season record of $30,169,439 last year, and they are keeping up close to that pace with $23.7 million won by their produce as of the first week of November. They are the breeders of Hannelore Hanover, winner of the Breeders Crown older mares trot and a leading candidate for Trotter of the Year, and their sire Somebeachsomewhere fathered three of the four winners in the Breeders Crown pacing events for two- and three-year-olds. Tim Bojarski, president of the Harness Writers Association, noted that "USHWA is honored to have Hanover partner with us for the 2017 Dan Patch banquet presentation. They are an institution in our industry that continues to set the bar in all facets of their operation. Their willingness to promote harness racing is exemplary, and we of USHWA are proud they have chosen to support us as we honor the best in our sport early next year." Further information about the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will be held the same weekend that USHWA holds its annual national meetings, is available on the group's website, www.ushwa.org, and will be updated in the next several weeks as awards are announced and final plans are set into place.   by Tim Bojarski, President of USHWA

Batavia, NY---Yonkers Raceway invader Shady City got away last before sweeping the field around the last turn to pull away and win the $10,000 harness racing Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 5). Last week's Open pace winner, China Dream (Shawn Gray), tried to repeat his effort by going to the front in a quick :26.4 quarter. After he settled, the field of six rounded the turn before splitting into two-rows as they motored to the half. Thunderbolt Jaxon (Jim Morrill Jr.) pulled first up in the outer flow with Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) and Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) following right behind him. The group remained three in and three out past the five-eighths when Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) swung three-deep as the leader tripped the third panel in 1:25.2 with a two-length lead. Shady City seemed to stall by the head of the stretch and China Dream was looking like a winner. But Stalbaum went to the stick in the lane and with his tail flagging and ears perked, Shady City made up three lengths and strode by China Dream like an easy day at the office to win in 1:54.1. It was the fourth win of 2016 for Shady City ($9.60) and it pushed him to $53,882 in earnings for the year. Stalbaum owns the 6-year-old son of Metropolitan who is trained by Kimberly Asher. In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Lucky King (Ron Beback Jr.) took the long way home, coming from seventh and parked out from just past the quarter, to swing five-deep in the stretch and win by one and one-half lengths in 1:56. It was the fifth win of the year for Lucky King who is owned by Keith Pinkowski and trained by Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. The grossly overlooked winner returned a healthy $77.00. Drew Monti had a four-win night while visiting reinsman Larry Stalbaum copped three. Shawn Gray and Ron Beback Jr. both took two races apiece. On the conditioning side, Kimberly Asher had the training hat-trick. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Nov. 9) with a guaranteed Pick-5 pool of $3,500. Post time is 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---For the second time in four weeks, Dontch Remember ($3.80) defeated the best resident pacing mares on the Friday night (Nov. 4) harness racing in the $10,000 distaff Open at Batavia Downs. Dontch Remember (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away third as Kaitlyn Akeeper (Kevin Cummings) and V'la Faire Wade Tomaszewski) took the top two spots through the first turn. But not happy with that position, Morrill pulled before the quarter and took the top just after that station in :28. Positions remained unchanged until Who Says That (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over just passed the three-eighths and started a slow grind up the outside. Making up ground with every stride, Who Says That got even with the leader at the three-quarters in 1:26.4, then eventually took the lead from Dontch Remember as they headed around the final turn. But just before they straightened out for the stretch drive, Dontch Remember regained her advantage and surged along the pylons. She held off a stubborn Who Says That and a late surging Kaitlyn Akeeper to win the race by a length in 1:55.3. It was the ninth win of the year for Dontch Remember and the winner's share boosted her earnings to a career one-year high $53,805 for owner Mike Torcello. Gerry Sarama trains the winner. Jim Morrill Jr. padded his dash driving lead by winning four consecutive races on Friday's card, bringing his total for the meet to 86. Shawn Gray got a driving hat trick and Ray Fisher Jr. scored a double. Trainers Mike Carrubba and Maria Rice each sent to winners to post. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 5) with an early 3:30 p.m. post time for a special Breeders Cup day presentation.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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