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Batavia, NY---On a night when overlooked horses took the harness racing spotlight, Edom Up Blue Boy ground-out a hard earned, first-over victory in the $10,500 Open Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 18) despite being dismissed by the betting public at 37-1 Osprey Vision (Dave McNeight III) played give-and-go with the always front running Lutetium (Drew Monti) and seated the latter for the first time since March. Osprey Vision then marched out quarters of :28.2 and :59.1 before Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock C. Vinci) pulled first off the stodgy second quarter. Edom Up Blue Boy eventually pulled alongside Osprey Vision past three-quarters and the two then matched strides from there until the wire. Osprey Vision held a short advantage over Edom Up Blue Boy all the way down the stretch while BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) and Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) were surging and gaining three and four wide. As the wall of horseflesh hit the wire, Edom Up Blue Boy snuck ahead of Osprey Vision while turning away the late closer's best his efforts to win in 1:59.1. It was the fifth win of the year for Edom Up Blue Boy ($57.50) and second Open trot victory at Batavia Downs in the past month. Driver Rock C. Vinci also owns and trains the winner. In the co-featured $8,000 Open II trot, Corleone Hall (Mike Caprio) pulled from fourth at three-quarters to overtake the front-running Winky's Pride (Drew Monti) and win by one-half length in 1:59.3. The winning time was a seasonal mark as it was the first win of the year for Corleone Hall ($16.00) who is owned and trained by Perry Wilson. Mike Caprio and Drew Monti both scored driving doubles on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 19) with a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool as part of the USTA Strategic Wagering program. The early Pick-5 starts with the first race and runs through race five. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA---Although there were two Open Handicap trots on the Thursday afternoon (Aug. 17) harness racing card at Plainridge Park, the best performance of the day came from a mid-level conditioned contest. And the one constant no matter what race was run; Greg Merton remains on fire. In the first $15,000 Open trot, Seeking Steven moved up in class for the third week in a row yet extended his winning streak, all while being let go at 11-1 by the bettors. Guiltywithanexcuse (Jim Hardy) was cutting the mile with little resistance until Black Broadway (Greg Merton) pulled at the half, bringing Seeking Steven (Chris Long) and Bloodstockshalltab (Jim Whittemore) with him. After the two tiers tripped the three-quarters in 1:26.1, Seeking Steven tipped three-wide at the top of the far turn and with Long bouncing up and down like he was sitting on a spring, Seeking Steven flew down the lane and held off a fast closing Bloodstockshalltab to win by a neck in 1:56.1. It was the third straight win for Seeking Steven ($22.20), two of which were at Plainridge Park. The 5-year-old son of Muscle Mass is owned by Arthur Mergenhagen and is trained by Dan Hennessey. In the co-featured $14,000 Open trot, Buff executed a personal best effort while easily putting away his six competitors. Buff (Greg Merton) got away second behind Dial A Chic (Joe DiStephano) and their positions remained stagnant through quarters timed in :26.4, :56.2 and 1:25.2. At that point Buff pulled and trotted alongside the fading leader through the turn. By the time they hit the head of the stretch, Buff had opened up a three-length advantage and with no serious bids behind him, trotted home a winner in 1:54.4. Buff ($4.20) scored his eighth win of the season and the 1:54.4 time also gave him a new lifetime mark. He has now earned $54,901 in 2017 for his owners Bill Reepmeyer, the Jackie Rousse Stable LLC, Frank Witz and Jill Witz. The winner is trained by Jackie Greene. But the fastest trot of the day came in the first race where early-season Plainridge Open winner Tag Up And Go dropped in class and toyed with the field, getting him closer to his third $100,000+ earnings year. Tag Up And Go (Greg Merton) sat a loose third while Tuscanelle (Jim Hardy) took the race to the half in a speedy :55.4. Merton sat and waited until the five-eighths pole when he yanked the right line and put his horse in gear. Tag Up And Go trotted around Maximus Deo (Pat Curtain) and then drew alongside Tuscanelle and those two drew off around the last turn. But when they hit the straight, Tag Up And Go got up and went; down the lane with Merton sitting stoic, to a very impressive five-length win in 1:53.4. It was the sixth win of the year for Tag Up And Go ($2.40) and a new seasonal mark. The win pushed his bank for the year to $79,660 for owners Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro. Monique Cohen trains Tag Up And Go. Driver Greg Merton keeps rolling merrily along at The Ridge as he chalked-up another six-win afternoon. There were smiles all around as the following horses had their pictures taken with "Mass-Merton": Tag Up And Go (1:53.4, $2.40), Olivia's Z Tam (1:53.3, $3.20), Fire N Diamonds (1:55, $7.00), Well Wishers (1:54.2, $5.60), Buff (1:54.4, $4.20) and Paparazzi Prince (1:54, $8.80) Merton now has 140 wins for the meet, more than double the number of his nearest competitor. He also continues to perform at an extremely high level in every driving category including a .450 UDR, 31% win and 61% in the money percentages. Not to be overlooked in the day's proceedings, Chris Long had a driving double while conditioners Monique Cohen and Jackie Greene each sent two students to the winner's enclosure. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon with post time set for 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Batavia, NY---The Canadian owned, central New York based All Charged Up has been plying her trade in western New York for three-weeks now and on Wednesday evening (Aug. 16), she just captured her second straight $9,000 mares harness racing Open Handicap pacing feature at Batavia Downs. All Charged Up (John MacDonald) left, but yielded to Little Santamonica (Larry Stalbaum) who wanted the front and got her way. From there she did all the heavy lifting, setting fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:25.1. At that station MacDonald started to roll All Charged Up to the outside and the mare paced right around the leader. She had command before they hit the stretch and then paced away to an easy five-length victory in 1:53.1, which was only one-fifth of a second off the track record for aged pacing mares (Xenia Hanover 1:53, 2013). It was the 25th lifetime win for All Charged Up ($4.40) and it pushed her career earnings total to $236,532 for owner J P Stables. The 6-year-old daughter of Ponder is trained by "The Prime Minister" John MacDonald. MacDonald doubled his fun by winning the co-featured $8,000 Mares Open II pace with Drea's Good Powow. Getting a similar two-hole trip, Drea's Good Powow sat behind Voltina (Kevin Cummings) until the top of the stretch when he pulled her and paced right by to win by a length in 1:55.2. It was the second win in three starts for Drea's Good Powow ($3.80) and the second win of the night for owner J P Stables and trainer/driver MacDonald. The biggest win mutual of the meet so far was realized in the eighth race on the card. Ray Fisher Jr. took advantage of a fast :55.3 half and swooped the field from worst to first with Canthelpbutwin at 54-1. When the dust had settled from the tote board being blown up, the win price displayed was $101.50 for a $2 wager. That prompted a $2 "7-2" Exacta that paid $1,129, a $2 "7-2-all" Trifecta that paid $1,646 and a $1 "7-2-all-all" Superfecta that returned $464.50. John MacDonald wasn't the only horseman to capture two driving and training wins on the night. Shawn McDonough and Larry Stalbaum also attained the same achievement. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday with post time at 6 p.m. The early Pick-5 on Friday starts with a $1,500 pool and goes as races one through five.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA---Despite being being parked out along way at the start of the race, American Rock still had leg at the end and prevailed in the $14,000 pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 14) in a personal best effort. American Rock (Jim Hardy) left from post five and got parked out to the quarter in :26.2 by Warrawee Nonsuch (Shawn Gray) before eventually seating in front. However Biggie (Greg Merton) who was idling outside during that initial conflict then motored up and took command by the three-eighths. With Biggie now barking orders, Prince Aston (Scott Renz) came first-over and prompted a 1:22.3 third panel. Those two battled around the last turn and into the head of the stretch. Biggie was holding Prince Aston at bay but drifted off the pylons. This allowed American Rock a lane to progress and Hardy got to work. He rocked and knocked and American Rock shot the gap, winning by a neck in 1:51.4. The time of 1:51.4 was a new lifetime mark for American Rock ($5.00) who chalked up his fifth win of the year (the second win in his last three outings) earning him $48,980 this year. The 5-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by Stephen Zajchowski Jr., David Thibault, Christine Thibault and Jim Hardy, who also trains the winner. In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pace, Quick Shot (Shawn Gray) was third at the rail raging with pace until Gray pulled at the half and gave him his head. He collared the front-running Lindy Beach (Greg Merton) at the top of the stretch and relentlessly ground him down at the wire and won by a neck in 1:51.3. Quick Shot ($5.80) is owned and trained by John Bowman. Jim Hardy pulled off a training/driving hat trick on Monday doing double duty with American Rock (1:51.4, $5.00), Dontmesswiththebest (1:54.3, $5.60) and Lots Of Lovin (1:54.3, $9.40). Shawn Gray and Mark Beckwith also had driving doubles on the card. There was one winner in the 6th race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta. The 2-10-6-1-7 straight combination paid out $14,176.40 for a 20-cent wager. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon with post time at 4 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY---Tioga Downs shipper Believe This Bob didn't miss a beat on the half-mile harness racing track and put on a show in winning the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 12)   Believe This Bob (Drew Monti) left from post one and had the lead as soon as the gate released the field, opening up a two-length lead he would maintain the whole race.   Working through fractions of :27.2, 55.3 and 1:23.2, Believe This Bob went unchallenged the whole way and for good reason; the trailing horses had trouble keeping up.   At the top of the lane, Lucky King (Ron Beback Jr.) who had gotten a perfect pocket trip, launched a mild bid at the leader. But Believe This Bob kept his eye on the prize and finished a wrapped-up winner in 1:52.3.   It was the fourth win of the year for Believe This Bob ($4.20) and 43rd of his career. The 9-year-old gelded son of Beach Romeo is owned by Mary Ann Larrimore and is trained by Joe Skowyra.   In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (John Cummings Jr.) was hopelessly locked in fifth at the top of the far turn but found room along the pylons heading down the lane and brushed late to capture the win in 1:54.2. Sir Ziggy's Z Tam ($13.80) is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin.   Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings both had a driving hat trick on Saturday while John Cummings Jr. and Jim Morrill Jr. each had driving doubles.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 12) with post time set for 1:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---After three near misses in the resident top trot, Empire Earl N got the job done in winning the $10,500 harness racing Open Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 11). Striker Ace (Drew Monti) and Osprey Vision (Dave McNeight III) butted heads for the lead for almost a quarter mile before Striker Ace finally took control, but the :27.3 first quarter would take a toll on both later in the race. Past the half Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock Vinci) pulled first-over with Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) right behind. Edom Up Blue Boy made a steady advance and took over the lead by the top of the lane. But his shadow Empire Earl N kept coming, eventually swung clear in the stretch and trotted away to a relatively easy win in 1:59.2. Empire Earl N ($9.40) now has earnings of $45,905 on the strength of five wins this year for his owner Larry Stalbaum. Kim Asher does the training. Batavia Downs defending dash driver Drew Monti had the hot-hand on Friday, winning half the races on the card. His quintuple conquests included Rollovin (1:55.4, $3.10), Tenor Duharas (1:59.1, $3.30), Winky's Pride (1:59.2, $3.10), Lutetium (1:57.2, $8.40) and Skyway Tia (1:57.3, $6.90). With those five wins Monti vaulted himself back into the dash driving lead once again this year, now with 18 tallies. That is one ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. (17) who also had a driving triple on Friday, and two ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. (16) who was at Tioga Downs driving in New York Sire Stakes action. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 12) with post time set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA---After finishing second and third in new track record times in back to back weeks, Mambo Lindy got back to his harness racing winning ways taking the $17,000 Open Handicap trot at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 10). Mambo Lindy (Greg Merton) got away sixth while Guiltywithanexcuse (Jim Hardy) and Black Broadway (Mark Beckwith) took turns with the lead going to the quarter, the latter winning that tussle before slowing the half to a moderate :57. Realizing the brakes were on, Merton pulled the Donato Hanover gelding first-up and started a methodical approach towards the leader. Fourth, third, second; Mambo Lindy could smell blood in the water as he drew alongside Black Broadway at the three-quarter pole and at that moment he dug-in and took off. Mambo Lindy opened up a five-length advantage by the head of the stretch and with Merton deciding his best side for the picture, Mambo Lindy cruised away to a seven-length win in 1:53.2; last quarter in a sparkling :27.2. It was the sixth win in nine starts, all at Plainridge Park, for Mambo Lindy ($4.00) and it enhanced his bank to $55,000 for owner Greathorse of Massachusetts. Frank Antonacci trains Mambo Lindy. In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned trotting event, One Swan For All (Wallace Watson) took the overland route to victory, scoring a 1:56.2 win and blowing up the tote board in the process. Owned by Joel Wheeler and trained by Lisa Watson, One Swan For All was disregarded at 23-1 and paid $49.00. It was tag-team Thursday at The Ridge as three sets of driver/trainers combined for two wins apiece. Greg Merton doubled with two Frank Antonacci charges, Mark Beckwith scored with two Elisha Lafreniere trainees and Wallace Watson won with two of Lisa Watson's students. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday with a Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta carryover of $10,976.45 in the sixth race. Post time for the first race is at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Batavia, NY---After just missing off a perfect two-hole trip last week in the top distaff pace, All Charged Up bounced back and got the job done in winning the $9,500 harness racing fillies and mares Open Handicap at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 9). All Charged Up (John Macdonald) hit the pylons early and let the unsuspecting Jolt Of Jo (Dave McNeight III) dictate the quarters. Taking on the challenge, Jolt Of Jo then went in :28 and :57.3 before the sleeping giant, All Charged Up pulled first over past the stands. The race proceeded up the backside with All charged Up advancing on Jolt Of Jo and eventually taking command with only a quarter of a mile to go. She cleared the front in the final bend and paced away down the lane to open up a two-length advantage, coasting home to a wrapped-up win in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the first win in only her fifth start of the season for the late-starting All Charged Up ($3.10) and owner J P Stables. John Macdonald also trains the winner. In the co-featured $8,500 Mares Open II, Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) made easy work of seven foes as she went gate to wire without much effort in 1:55.3, which was also a new seasonal mark for the winner. Susie's Delight ($6.90) is owned by the Swift Racing Stable and is trained by Ryan Swift. Ray Fisher Jr. found himself being photographed four times on Wednesday as he shooed home Mintiliscious (1:55.1, $3.60), Sin City Shark (1:55.3, $3.90), John's Jesse Bird (1:58.2, $3.40) and the aforementioned Susie's Delight. Jim Morrill Jr. and Larry Stalbaum both chimed in with driving doubles while trainer Maria Rice registered two winners as well. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 11) with post time set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA -- Biggie lived up to his name, charging late from off the pace to capture the $14,000 conditioned pacing feature in impressive style at Plainridge Park on a harness racing Monday afternoon (Aug. 7). Biggie (Greg Merton) left from post six and dropped in third while American Rock (Jim Hardy) went up front to cut the mile. The leader dictated early fractions of :27 and :57 when Lew's Maverick (Mike Eaton) and Warrawee Nonsuch (Michael Stevenson) came knocking in the outer flow. That challenge was short-lived as both horses faded past the five-eighths, leaving the leaders to decide the winner. With American Rock still in control around the far turn, pocket-sitting Allstar Energy (Mark Beckwith) pulled at the head of the lane to try his luck. But Biggie, sitting behind him in third, tipped three deep with a head of steam and wasn't to be denied. With Merton active in the sulky, Biggie out-muscled his competition and paced away to a length victory in 1:52.2. Biggie ($7.60) scored his sixth win of the year and now boasts $40,135 in winnings for his efforts. Michael Huff owns the 4-year-old altered son of Somebeachsomewhere who is trained by Scott Rollins. In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pace, Talldarknhandsome (Greg Merton) pulled first-over before the half and won a heavy-weight fight with Modern Yankee (Chris Long) around the last turn to win by two in 1:52.4. It was the 12th win of the year for Talldarknhandsome ($4.80) and 55th lifetime in only 198 starts. The Jackie Rousse Stable LLC and Steven Greene own Talldarknhandsome who is trained by Jackie Greene. Mark Beckwith scored three winners on Monday while Shawn Gray and Greg Merton each drove two. Trainer Elisha Lafreniere watched as three of her students entered the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (Aug. 8) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY---The competition was keen among the two divisions of harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies in the $117,600 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs as Clear Idea and Angel's Pride both beat post-time favorites to add to their points and earnings in the state-bred series on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 6). In the faster of the two $58,800 divisions, Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) turned a two-hole trip into her eighth win of the year and solidified her spot as the top NYSS 3-year-old pacing filly. Heavily favored Tequila Monday (Matt Kakaley) was a tentative leaver from post five and it took her over three-eighths of a mile to grab the front from Clear Idea (Jodi Jamieson) and finally hit the pylons. After tripping the half in :55.2 Kakaley kept his filly rolling up the backside for the next quarter before Roaring To Go (Dan Rawlings) rolled alongside to push the issue. But into the lane Clear Idea found the passing lane and paced by the rest under steady urging from Jamieson to win by a length in 1:53.3. It was the sixth win in a row for Clear Idea ($4.30) and fifth NYSS win for the filly that has now earned $181,733 this year for owners Hutt Racing Stable and Blake Macintosh, who also trains the winner. In the other $58,800 split, Angel's Pride (Roll With Joe-Angel Place) benefitted from an early break by 1-4 favorite Candlelight Dinner (Jim Morrill Jr.) to score her second NYSS victory this year and move up in the standings. Queen Josephine (Jodi Jamieson) cut the mile from the start and backed off the half to a pedestrian :58.2 as a gapped leader. That lead would soon end as Angel's Pride (Matt Kakaley) pulled from third past the five-eighths and circled to the front by the three-quarter pole and she just kept pacing away from there. Angel's Pride opened up a five-length advantage with Kakaley sitting motionless to win in 1:54.2. Angel's Pride ($15.20) registered her fourth win of the year and second in the NYSS. The filly now has earned $81,356 this year for owners Triple D Stables Inc. and JFE Enterprises LLC. Angel's Pride is trained by Scott Di Domenico. There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series, each going for $15,000. The first division was won by Ameraway (American Ideal-Shyaway) in 1:54.2. Ameraway ($8.30) was driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Erv Miller for owners the Erv Miller Stable Inc., Paymaq Racing, Tangie Massey and Neil Cumsky. The second split went to Roll With Sparky (Roll With Joe-Circle Game) in 1:55.2. Roll With Sparky ($3.10) was driven by Jodi Jamieson and trained by Jim Graham who owns the horse with Lee Winters and Paul Tandlmayer. The final contest went to All About The Pace (Roll With Joe-Queen Of Blues) in 1:56. All About The Pace ($73.50) was driven by Drew Monti and trained by Scott Di Domenico for owners Triple D Stables Inc. and JFE Enterprises LLC.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Two competitive fields of harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies will be on hand at Batavia Downs to compete for $58,800 per division in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 6) and the track record of 1:52.4 may be challenged. Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) ships in to Batavia on the strength of a five-race winning streak and looks to be the one to beat in her division. She has won seven out of her last nine starts including four NYSS events. She took a lifetime mark of 1:50.4 in an overnight at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday (July 7) and has banked $152,333 for her efforts this year. Trainer Blake Macintosh has assigned Jodi Jamieson to drive and he will leave from post one as the early favorite at 6-5. Tequila Monday (American Ideal-Margarita) finished third in a hard-fought Fan Hanover stake at Mohawk back in June that went in 1:49.4 and then came right back in another Grand Circuit event, the Lynch at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs. There she chased fast fractions from the outside and still finished only seven-lengths off. With two NYSS wins under her belt, she comes in with a total of five victories this year and $201,711 in earnings. Former western New York trainer Chris Oakes has called on Matt Kakaley to steer and they have drawn post five, listed at 2-1. Roaring To Go (Art Major-Lionness Hanover) is coming off a season's best effort of 1:52.4 in a gate to wire romp in a NYSS event at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (July 28). It was her first win of the year and certainly an eye-opener. She also raced in the Fan Hanover and Lynch, where she finished second in the consolation of the latter. The filly is versatile and seldom misses the board. Dan Rawlings will drive for trainer Kevin Lare and is the 3-1 third choice leaving from post six. In the other $58,800 split, Candlelight Dinner (American Ideal-Time N Again) comes into the event very sharp off a barn change to trainer Tracy Brainard. After a solid qualifier in June, the filly did not perform well in her first three starts. However last week at Yonkers, she tracked a moderate half and then flew home in :56, last quarter in :27.2 to finish third in 1:53.1 by less than a length in a NYSS event. With a good draw and a short field, this is a good spot to get across for the first time this year. Brainard has tapped local favorite and perennial NYSS leading driver Jim Morrill Jr. to drive and they are listed as the 9-5 morning line favorites from post two. Marquesa Seelster (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mistreos) has won three of her last six starts, but none of them came in NYSS races. It seems her best game is on the lead and having post one in a short field here may give her the opportunity to attempt that strategy. Trainer Jennifer Davis has put the Downs defending dash winner Drew Monti up to drive and they are listed at 2-1 morning line. The NYSS events are races three and four. There are also three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on Sunday carded as races six, seven and eight. Post time for the first race in 1:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Fireyourguns made sure everyone watching knew who the best pacer is western New York is when he destroyed the harness racing field in the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 5).   Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) left like a rocket and never looked back. He cut fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:24.2 before rounding the far turn and opening up five lengths while cruising home to win in 1:52.4, which was a new seasonal mark.   It was the fourth win in nine starts this year for Fireyourguns ($4.30) and it pushed his earnings to $21,900 for owners Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terence McClory, who also trains the winner.   In the co-featured $9,000 Open II pace, Im So Handsome (Jim Morrill Jr.) came from off the pace late to close down the lane and catch front-running Itsonlyrocknroll A and win by a neck in 1:55.3. Gerry Sarama trains the winner for Mike Torcello.   Driver Jim Morrill Jr. scored a grand-slam Saturday night winning with Im So Handsome (1:55.3, $5.00), Chickenwithabanjo (1:54.3, $11.20), Spring Terror (1:55.3, $4.90) and Mr. Bricks (1:58.1, $3.40).   Ron Beback Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. also both had driving doubles.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 6) with two divisions of the NYSS for 3-year-old pacing fillies who will compete for $117,600 in purses. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Heavy storms blew through western New York and provided less than desirable conditions, but an off-track and six harness racing foes couldn't keep BZ Glide from getting to the winner's circle in the $10,500 Open handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 4). Noble Legend (Ray Fisher Jr.) left with the gate and dropped in second behind Lutetium (Ron Beback Jr.) who was not about to give up the front. The race then proceeded from there in single-file order in :28.3 and :59.1. Pulling first-over at that point was Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) who brought BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) in tow fourth. The outer flow was dull and Jim Dandy had trouble getting to the leader up the backside, but he finally drew alongside around the final bend. At the top of the stretch Lutetium and Jim Dandy were joined by three -across by Noble Legend who ducked in the passing lane. But the final blow came when BZ Glide, who had drafted second-over, tipped four-deep around Jim Dandy and out-trotted everyone down the lane, pulling away to an easy length victory in 2:00.1. BZ Glide ($4.00) registered his third win of the year and 33rd win of his career. The 8-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide is owned by the Caprio Stable LLC and is trained by Alana Caprio. In the $8,000 Open II trot, Striker Ace (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled first-over from fourth at the three-eighths and advanced to the lead by the three-quarters before opening up a three-length lead and trotting home handily to win by four in 1:58.3. Striker Ace ($25.60), who is now two for two at Batavia Downs, is owned by Finish Line Investors and John Mungillo, who also trains the winner. "Drivin" Drew Monti had a grand slam Friday winning with Doing Some Damage (1:57.1, $27.40), Tenor Duharas (2:01.1, $5.00), Button Fly (1:56.2, $33.20) and Rollovin (1:57.4, $6.40). Kevin Cummings also had a driving triple and Larry Stalbaum registered a double. Conditioner Rose Russo sent two sent two trainees to the winner's circle for photographs. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night with a guaranteed pool of $6,000 for the early Pick-5 which goes in races one through five. The carry-over pool for that wager is $3,281. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA---After a two-week sabbatical, Beautiful Lady returned to the track and tripped-out to win in the featured $14,000 conditioned event for harness racing fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Aug. 4). Beautiful Lady (Greg Merton) left for position and tucked in second behind the front-running Iheartquestionmark (Steve Nason) at the quarter in :26.2. Positions remained unchanged until the half when Hilaria (Nick Graffam) pulled first-over and started to advance. Hilaria drew alongside Iheartquestionmark and the two matched strides to the three-quarters in 1:24 while Beautiful Lady lay in wait third behind them. The head-end duel continued around the far turn and to the top of the stretch when Beautiful Lady found a sliver of room along the pylons and shot the gap. Merton rocked and rocked and pushed her through and then Beautiful Lady did the rest, pacing away to a one-length victory in 1:53. It was the third win of the year for Beautiful Lady ($4.80) and it pushed her seasonal earnings to $32,467 for owners Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro. The 6-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Monique Cohen. Steve Nason had a banner afternoon at The Ridge driving three winners and training two of them as well. The tracks leading driver Greg Merton also had a driving double on the afternoon. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon with the first post set at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Black Broadway stepped out of the Open trot this week and the class relief was just the ticket as the classy mare returned to her winning ways, beating all harness racing male rivals in the $14,000 conditioned trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 3). In a three-horse duel, Black Broadway (Mark Beckwith) outleft Trotalot (Chris Long) and Just Make Believe (Joe Di Stefano) and headed those two by the quarter in :27.3. When Just Make Believe finally tucked in second at the three-eighths pole, Trotalot immediately pulled from third and rushed for the lead past the half in :56.3. There was no rest for the weary as Namesmuscle (Mark Athearn) pulled at that point and put additional pressure on Trotalot who already used twice, responded well and met the challenge. Those two matched strides up the backside and around the last turn but Trotalot never yielded the lead. At the top of the stretch Money Mayweather (Wally Watson) tipped three-deep around Namesmuscle and now three horses were within a length of each other heading down the lane. Trotalot was keeping those two horses at bay but Black Broadway, who had gotten the trip behind all the action, snuck up the pylons and out-brushed everyone to wire to win by one-half length in 1:55. It was the sixth win in 12 starts in 2017 for Black Broadway ($3.40) whose earnings now total $55,230 for the year. The 4-year-old daughter of Broadway Hall is owned by Mike Eaton and Bob McHugh and is trained by Mike Eaton. In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned trot, Candy Lane (Mark Athearn) also beat an all-male field, including 1-9 favorite Tag Up And Go (Mark Beckwith), with a personal best effort going gate to wire in unfettered fashion to win by three-lengths in 1:55.3. The time was a new lifetime mark for the 4-year-old daughter of Cantab Hall. It was the fourth win of the year for Candy Lane ($15.20) and her owner Linwood Higgins. Gretchen Athearn trains the mare. Drivers Greg Merton and David Ingraham both had two wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Aug. 4) with post time for the first race set at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that was held at Plainridge Park last Friday (July 28) was the latest in a long list of achievements the resurgent harness racing track just south of Boston has added to its resume over the last three years. With a thriving gaming property established and a solid harness racing program in place as a result of the Race Horse Development Fund, the management and horsemen of Plainridge Park have made the most out of every opportunity to enhance their racing product and do what is necessary to nurture its continued growth in the future. Their efforts to date have seen annual live racing wagers increase by over $10 million, live daily average wagers increase by over $60,000 and annual simulcast wagering increase by more than $3 million. And those numbers have been generated solely through local overnight racing. The tracks mission from the start was to stabilize the racing program for all the horsemen who have raced at Plainridge for almost 20 years, but to also make Massachusetts harness racing vital again nationally and bring it into the consciousness of horsemen across North America. The first step in doing that was rejoining the Grand Circuit and hosting the biggest harness race ever held in the history of the state; the $250,000 Spirit Of Massachusetts Trot. A walk through the property on the day of the race gave visual evidence of the success of the event. A completely full parking lot and ramp, programs sold out, hat giveaway completed in 45 minutes, a full betting area in the grandstand and a packed apron by the track. But the optics weren’t the only proof of the interest in the race. At the end of the day the numbers bore it out as well. The handle on track was four-times higher than the average race card and eight-times greater than the average per race for the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot. And the off-track handle was twice as large as an average overnight card. The handle for the Spirit of Massachusetts race alone was the largest single-race handle since Penn National Gaming took the track over in April of 2014. There were also noticeable increases in casino activity and sales at all the restaurants throughout the property. Steve O’Toole is the Director of Live Racing at Plainridge Park and he couldn’t be more pleased with the event itself and the feedback he received from everyone after the race. “The day in, day out customers loved it. The more casual fans were very happy to have a reason to visit the track. Hosting a Grand Circuit event is a source of pride and as a result, the interest in our racing has been measurable and I feel it has been a direct result of our efforts this year putting together the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot” said O’Toole. “We received positive feedback all around. The horsemen were pleased with the detention barn, condition of the racetrack and the dinner reception for the race connections upstairs. Our patrons loved all the extra activities surrounding the race like the New England Patriot’s End Zone Militia and the Massachusetts Mounted State Police being a part of it all day.” Every member of the track’s team worked tirelessly to ensure a quality experience for their customers and clearly their efforts paid off. “The racing staff worked nonstop all afternoon covering all the bases with the production we had planned and they carried it off pretty much flawlessly.  The race itself was interesting to watch and lived up to the hype as well. There is always room to improve and we can certainly identify those areas, however with everything we had going on I think it went very well” said O’Toole.  By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

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