Nichols, NY --- The New York Gaming Facility Location Board has just selected Tioga Downs for the state’s final full casino gaming license. Tioga Downs credits the outpouring of community, political and public support over the past several months for making this decision possible. “Many members of the community were instrumental in demonstrating to the State that awarding a license to Tioga Downs would positively impact our region,” said owner Jeff Gural. “I would like to personally thank the selection committee, Governor Cuomo and the many municipalities and community leaders who made this license for Tioga Downs a reality. In addition, we appreciate every single person who wrote a letter, sent an e-mail or spoke in favor of a full gaming license for Tioga Downs at the public hearing. Your showing of support made all the difference in allowing us to move forward and begin transforming Tioga Downs into a full gaming resort.” A groundbreaking ceremony and news conference are in the process of being confirmed and scheduled for later this month; those details will be announced in a subsequent advisory in the near future. Once complete, Tioga Downs will be transformed into a $195 million regional entertainment destination. The expansion will also represent a significant investment in the local workforce in the form of 840 new direct and indirect jobs and $145 million of spending for the State of New York. Always committed to investing in the community, the expansion will allow Tioga Downs to further assist small businesses and charitable causes. Meanwhile, to thank the community for its support, Tioga Downs will be offering its dinner buffet for free to all guests tonight (Oct. 14), which begins at 4 p.m. “It’s just one small way of saying thanks for believing in us and allowing us to move forward with this exciting new chapter at Tioga Downs,” said Gural. For the full document click on this link. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.
Nichols, N.Y. -- While steady rain in the Southern Tier made for sloppy going by the end of Saturday (September 12) evening's 10-race harness racing card, the spirits of those backing Jim Marohn, Jr. were anything but dampened by his six-win performance on the Closing Night program at Tioga Downs. The "Mighty Mite Part Two" reeled off five wins in the first six races, teaming up with Take Charge Karl ($3.50, 1:55.2), Smellthecolornine ($5.50, 1:54.4), Race Me Rocky ($15.00, 1:54.2), Bugger Bruiser ($17.80, 1:52.1), and Ruthless Ace ($5.50, 1:55.1). In the closing race of the season, a co-featured $14,000 Open Trot, Marohn wasted no time taking charge with Swishnflick ($6.10), sprinting clear of Lutetium (Corey Braden) early on and edging away from a first-over challenge by B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) at the top of the stretch. The 5-year-old Kadabra mare beat the boys by four lengths in 1:55 over sloppy going, with Bourbon Bay (John Cummings, Jr.) emerging from traffic to just nab Lutetium for second. Arthur Green trains Swishnflick for owner Kenneth Westerside. The other featured event on the evening's card, a $14,000 Mares Open Pace, saw Arodasi ($9.90) sustain a first-over move out of midfield, working clear of pacesetter and odds-on favourite Icommandmyspirit (Cummings) in mid-stretch while holding sway of pocket rival Southwind Trini (Marohn) for a 1:53.2 victory. Mike Simons handled the driving duties of the 6-year-old Western Terror mare for owner-trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. and co-owners Peter Shank, Joseph Barbera, and the AGC Stables. Seasonal champions acknowledged With the 61-program season at Tioga Downs in the books, Mike Simons was crowned the leading driver, amassing 82 wins on the meet over Jim Marohn, Jr.'s 76. The race for leading trainer went to Gary Messenger, harnessing 32 winners over Ronnie Morales, III's 28. Mach It a Par was named Pacer of the Year, having reeled off six wins at Tioga in 10 starts, rallying from off the pace to be a formidable force in top distaff events. Dan Clements owns the mare, while Ronnie Morales, III handled the training duties. Bourbon Bay took Trotter of the Year honors, breaking the track record for trotters on Opening Night with a front-end 1:52.1 mile and not looking back, earning seven wins in 12 local starts on the season. John Cummings, Jr. leases the gelding, with Megan Wilson training. Racing will return to Tioga Downs in May of 2016. For updates on the 11th season of harness racing in the Southern Tier, visit www.tiogadowns.com. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
The owner of the Tioga Downs racino in New York’s Southern Tier says a recent presentation to state officials made him optimistic about his proposal to expand his facility into a full casino. Jeff Gural told The Associated Press on Friday that the recent meeting with the state’s casino location review board went well and he’s confident local residents will support his plans at a public hearing scheduled for Friday in Binghamton. Gural also owns Vernon Downs and has said the futures of both harness racing tracks are linked. Tioga Downs submitted a bid for a casino license last year but the board instead recommended three other projects around the state. Tioga Downs submitted a second application when bidding was reopened for a fourth license.
Nichols, N.Y. -- Having taken her past four wins from pacesetting and pocket trips, Non Stick ($3.70) demonstrated increased versatility in her $36,566 New York Sire Stakes win at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 11) evening, sustaining a first-over bid on the backstretch en route to her 1:57.1 harness racing victory. Lucas Wallin eased the 2-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky and Meucci Madness just off the pace, drafting behind Pampered Winner (Mark MacDonald) and Love Crazy Love (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a soft :59 half mile before commencing a bid on the backstretch. Non Stick progressed steadily without the aid of cover, forcing a :28.4 third quarter before working to a clear lead off the far turn. After collaring Pampered Winner, Non Stick held off a late rally from Love Crazy Love, who emerged from the pocket in the final yards to miss by three-quarters of a length. Royal Surprise (Dan Daley) chased her cover to take third. Trainer Ake Svanstedt co-owns Non Stick, now undefeated through five career races, with Little E, LLC. Subsequent $36,566 New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting fillies on the evening's 13-race program went to Posterity ($4.40) and Dizzy Broad ($2.70), both of whom pushed to the lead late to push their respective career win tallies to five. Posterity, a daughter of Lucky Chucky and Vintage Chip, had no part of the early pace, saving ground on the backstretch to pass a parked and beleagured Zette Starlet (Bob Moran) before vacating the pegs and launching a strong bid on approach to the far turn. Posterity collared pacesetter Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) in upper stretch, drawing off to a 2-1/4 length win in 1:57 with trainer Charlie Norris handling the driving duties as well. Carrie Norris, Janine Zito, and Buck Sprinkle share ownership of Posterity. Dizzy Broad likewise worked to the lead late in the mile, but took advantage of a pocket trip behind Franniegetyourgun (Mark MacDonald) before turning up the pressure with just over a quarter mile to go. The two dueled through the far turn, but Dizzy Broad kicked clear with less than a furlong to go, wearing down Franniegetyourgun and staving off an explosive late charge from Dazzling Dollars (Marohn) for a 1:56.4 score. Jim Morrill, Jr. drove the Ron Burke-trained daughter of Broad Bahn and Portia for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Earl Smith. The 2015 live racing season at Tioga Downs concludes on Saturday (September 12), with a 10-race card, car and television giveaways, and a fireworks spectacular on the docket. Post time is 6:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Linda Toscano trainees Cut and Paste ($2.10) and Soft Idea ($2.40) both achieved early leads and never looked back in their respective $31,894 Reynolds Stake divisions for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Thursday (September 10) evening at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs, while Katies Rocker ($2.20, part of entry) was king among five 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings in their lone $64,788 dash. The first division for pacing fillies, contested as race 3, saw Cut and Paste work clear of Twice an Angel (Matt Kakaley) in the initial stages, controlling the terms throughout her 1:54.3 triumph. Jim Marohn, Jr. comfortably rated sectionals of :28.1, :57.4, and 1:26.2 with the daughter of Well Said, and Cut and Paste responded immediately to the late challenge of Twice and Angel to prevail by 1-1/2 lengths. In the second division, carded as race 5, Soft Idea settled off early pacesetters JK Fannie (Kakaley) and Wine Snob (Mike Simons), drafting through a :28.1 initial quarter before brushing to the fore upon entering the home straight on the first occasion. Once clear on the lead, Jim Morrill, Jr. rated a :57 middle half with the American Ideal filly. Off the far turn, Soft Idea dug in to repel dual challengers JK Fannie and Wine Snob, both of which closed in from either side in a dead heat for second, three-quarters of a length behind the odds-on winner. While pupils of Toscano took both filly divisions of the Reynolds, a Jim Campbell trainee prevailed in the lone split for colts and geldings. Katies Rocker worked clear of his four rivals with no trouble at all, sprinting off through a :27.3 initial quarter before Simon Allard rated a :31 breather to race's midpoint. On the backstretch, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding was nudged along by his entrymate Show the Fashion (Kakaley), but Katies Rocker proved far superior in the end. The Fashion Farms homebred edged clear by 1-1/2 lengths, using a :55.1 back half mile to cap a 1:53.4 victory over Safensound Hanover (Morrill), who gave chase from the pocket once clear in the final sixteenth. Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (September 11) evening, with the first of 13 races due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. James Witherite
Twenty-one 2-year-old trotting fillies will contest three New York Sire Stakes events on Friday (September 11) evening's harness racing program at Tioga Downs, with Non Stick looking to keep her undefeated record intact. Non Stick, one of a quartet of four-time winners on the program, has been installed as the 6-5 morning line favourite in the evening's fifth race, carrying a $36,566 purse. The daughter of Lucky Chucky and Meucci Madness was recently a pillar-to-post winner at Yonkers, having taken her career mark of 1:56.3 at Vernon the week prior. Lucas Wallin handles the driving duties for trainer Ake Svanstedt. A pair of four-time winners square off in the second division, carded as race six on the 13-race card. Posterity (9-5 ML) reeled off three straight wins before she was collared at Yonkers in her most recent race, edging clear for a 1:56 win at Vernon on August 14. Trainer Charlie Norris will drive the daughter of Lucky Chucky and Vintage Chip. She will have to contend with Ron Burke trainee Goosebump Hanover (7-5 ML), who comes in off three straight New York Sire Stakes victories, most recently holding sway narrowly for a 1:57.2 win at Saratoga. Jim Morrill, Jr. is slated to drive the daughter of RC Royalty and Good Common Cents. In the third and final division, programmed as the seventh event, Dizzy Broad (7-5 ML) seeks to extend her winning streak to three. Ron Burke and Jim Morrill, Jr. once again team up with the daughter of Broad Bahn and Portia. The penultimate program of the season at Tioga Downs is due to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. James Witherite
Fifteen 2-year-old pacers--ten fillies, five colts and geldings--will vie for over $128,000 in purses as they contest their Reynolds Stake divisions on Thursday (September 10) evening at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs. New York Sire Stakes standout Soft Idea has been installed the 4-5 morning line favourite in the $31,894 second division for pacing fillies, carded as the fifth race on the 11-dash program. The daughter of American Ideal and Walk Softly has amassed over $128,000 so far in her career, winning five of seven races on the Sire Stakes circuit. Jim Morrill, Jr. handles the driving duties for trainer Linda Toscano. Another Toscano trainee has been made the morning line choice in the earlier $31,894 split for fillies (race 3), with Cut and Paste installed at 7-5 off her 1:53.3 maiden-breaking win at Pocono. Jim Marohn, Jr. will drive the daughter of Well Said and On the Arm. Of the quintet of pacing colts and geldings to contest their lone $64,788 Reynolds event (race 7), the Jim Campbell-trained entry of Show the Fashion and Katies Rocker have been made the 6-5 morning line favourite. Katies Rocker, a two-time winner, comes off a 1:53.1 victory at Pocono after earning minor checks in the New Jersey Sire Stakes and the Geers Stake Simon Allard is slated to drive the son of Rocknroll Hanover and Just Wait Kate. Show the Fashion likewise ships in from Pocono, breaking maiden in 1:54.3 in his most recent effort. Matt Kakaley will handle the lines of the son of Well Said and Show and Tell. The first of 11 races on the season's antepenultimate program is due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. James Witherite
Nichols, N.Y. -- Fresh off her upset in the Earl Rowe Memorial at Georgian Downs nine days ago, Rockin With Dewey ($5.40, part of entry) once again sustained a first-over bid en route to victory, collaring harness racing millionaire Classic Martine in a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary event on Monday (September 7) afternoon at Tioga Downs. Away last in the field of five, the 5-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe commenced her rally with a circuit to go, beginning to advance as 3-5 favourite Classic Martine (Matt Kakaley) cleared the lead. After a :56.3 half mile, Bob McClure turned up the pressure with Rockin With Dewey, closing to within a length of Classic Martine through a 1:24.4 three-quarter sectional. The two dueled through the far turn, and Rockin With Dewey ultimately wore down her main adversary, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.1. Trainer Benoit Baillargeon co-owns Rockin With Dewey with Diane Ingham. In addition to the Miss Versatility, the 13-race program featured a pair of sub-featured Open events--one for trotters and one for pacers. The $14,000 Open Trot saw Bourbon Bay ($4.10) set blistering fractions, fully extended on the far turn but able to hold sway from Smoother Ride in 1:54.1. In the $14,000 Open Pace, JK Panache ($18.80) likewise controlled the terms, holding off the steadily advancing Rockeyed Optimist for a 1:50.2 triumph. John Cummings, Jr. handled the driving duties of both Open winners on the day. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Thursday (September 10) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Nichols, N.Y. -- Now a six-time winner, Margaret and Amy Butler's Dayson ($2.10) drew clear at will for a 1:56 triumph in his $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event on Saturday (September 5) evening at Tioga Downs. Jeff Gregory settled the 2-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall and Nervey's Taurus at the back of the main body of the field early on, better than just the far detached Neymar (Harry Landy), who faltered at the start. Dayson sat well off a :27.1 initial quarter before vacating the pegs at race's midpoint, working to within three lengths of 28-1 leader Credevie (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a :57 half. On the backstretch, the Howard Okusko trainee found cover in the form of the first-over Crown Point (Dan Daley), drafting to advance easily through a 1:26.3 three-quarter split before he was left uncovered on the far turn. Just as Crown Point cleared a tiring Credevie, Dayson found another gear, sprinting off through the stretch and ultimately defeating midpack stalkers Southern Palms (Mike Simons) and Chargin Cadet (Ray Schnittker) by 10 lengths to remain undefeated. The other $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event on the evening's program saw Dog Gone Lucky ($9.40) recover from a mild shuffle on the backstretch, rallying off the far turn to defeat odds-on pacesetter Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.3. Jim Meittinis drove the son of Lucky Chucky and Ebbtide Hall for owners Amy Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley as well as trainer Chuck Sylvester. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Monday (September 7) afternoon, with a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary event headlining the card. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Taking advantage of a pocket trip, Icommandmyspirit ($5.50) kicked on in the final yards to defeat 6-5 pacesetting favourite Arodasi in Friday (September 4) evening's $14,000 Mares Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs. The 5-year-old Dragon Again mare outsprinted K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.) and Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) en route to the first turn, working clear through a :26.3 initial quarter before yielding to Arodasi (Mike Simons), who brushed aggressively from fourth with a circuit to go. Icommandmyspirit drafted along through a :55.3 middle half before John Cummings, Jr. turned up the pressure on Arodasi off the far turn. The two dueled in upper stretch, with Icommandmyspirit ultimately prevailing in 1:50.1 by half a length. Southwind Trini held third off her tracking bid, while Mach It a Par (Dan Clements) failed to pose any threat throughout. K J's Caroline faded to finish last of the quintet. Ross Croghan trains Icommandmyspirit for owner/breeder Cheryl Costello. Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers with four wins on the 11-race program. He reeled off a natural hat trick to kick off the evening, winning aboard Hercu Lindy ($6.70, 1:57), Twin B Alibi ($7.40, 1:56.3), and Frenchmen ($2.80, 1:56.4) before teaming up with Somedreamsomewhere ($6.20, 1:55) in the evening's ninth race. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 5) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern. James Witherite
Nichols, N.Y. -- A dozen 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings share the spotlight at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 5) evening in a pair of $53,500 New York Sire Stakes events, while a quintet of older distaff trotters contest a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary on the Labor Day (September 7) harness racing program. Four-time winner Allerage Echo headlines the first Sire Stakes division, carded as the fourth of 12 races on Saturday's card. The gelded son of Conway Hall comes in off a dominant win at Monticello, defeating five foes in 1:58.1 en route to a lifetime mark. Chris Lems drives the 6-5 morning line favourite for trainer George Ducharme. The second division, programmed as race nine, sees five-time winner Dayson installed as the 3-5 morning line favourite. Jeff Gregory will once again drive the undefeated Conway Hall gelding for trainer Howard Okusko, teaming up with him for his recent victories at Yonkers, Batavia, and Buffalo. Of note, legendary racecaller Larry Lederman will stand in for James Witherite on Friday and Saturday evenings, with post time 6:15 p.m. Eastern on both occasions. The Labor Day afternoon program features the fourth preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility series, with millionaire Classic Martine set to square off against Rockin With Dewey. Classic Martine, a 23-time winnter trained by Steve Elliott, was just collared by Charmed Life in this event last year after setting a robust pace. Matt Kakaley will drive the 5-year-old daughter of Classic Photo. Rockin With Dewey, part of the Benoit Baillargeon-trained 6-5 favoured entry, comes in off a 28-1 upset in the Earl Rowe Memorial at Georgian, sustaining a first-over push en route to a 1:53.2 win over the 5/8-mile Ontario course. Her driver in the Rowe, 24-year-old Bob McClure, retains the assignment, thus making his Tioga debut. A pair of $14,000 Opens also take place on the 13-race Monday program, with Six Bax (Jim Taggart, Jr.) and Bourbon Bay (John Cummings, Jr.) squaring off in the ninth-race Trot, and Rockeyed Optimist (Matt Kakaley) headlining the tenth-race Pace. Post time for the Labor Day program is 1:30 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Hall of Fame driver John Campbell prevailed in two of five $10,000 preliminary Kindergarten Classic events on Sunday (August 30) afternoon's harness racing program at Tioga Downs, while Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter scored a double-double--driving a pair of his own trainees to victory. Campbell kicked off the card in style, brushing aggressively to the fore with Waitlifter K ($3.50) in the opener, edging clear on the backstretch and ultimately holding off a late challenge from pocket rival Macy's Big Boy (Jimmy Takter) for a 1:55.3 win. Chuck Sylvester trains the 2-year-old Muscles Yankee colt for Robert Key. While Waitlifter K was the fastest of all 10 colts and geldings to take to the track, filly Celebrity Eventsy ($5.50) matched that 1:55.3 mark in the seventh race to be fastest of 19 fillies on the program. Campbell was also aboard the daughter of Manofmanymissions, sprinting through with her at the pegs to force Coco Truffles (David Miller) into the pocket, ultimately turning her aside off the far turn to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Staffan Lind trains Celebrity Eventsy for Celebrity Farms. Trainer Jimmy Takter accounted for two of the five Kindergarten Classic winners at Tioga, and he drove them both to victory. He took the lead with Haughty ($2.40) through a :28.4 opening quarter in the day's fifth race, ultimately ceding control to Lookin Sharp (Mike Simons) through the middle stages before angling from the pocket on the far turn. After a brief duel, Haughty edged away to a three-quarters length win, prevailing in 1:56. Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, and Sam Goldband own the 2-year-old Donato Hanover filly. Takter's other winner, Gifted Lady ($8.80) wasted no time assuming command in the ninth race, turning aside a mid first-over challenge from Dream Child (Mark MacDonald) before edging clear of pocket rival Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) for a two-length triumph in 1:56. Silver Linden Farms owns the daughter of Muscle Hill. David Miller and Nik Drennan teamed up for the other Kindergarten winner on the day, as Labatt Hanover ($14.80) crossed and cleared for an easy lead before holding off a mild late challenge from pocket rival Hillman (Jimmy Takter) for a 1:57.3 victory. Joseph Davino, Brad Shackman, and the T L P Stable co-own the Muscle Hill gelding. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 4) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Winning races is nothing new for Dein "the Jupiter Gem" Spriggs. In his amateur career the two-time USHWA Amateur Driver of the Year has won over 400 times. Last night, Saturday, August 29, the real estate mogul from South Florida added two more to his career total after having won both Billings races at Charlottetown Driving Park on Prince Edward Island, Canada. But living up to its claim as an international amateur driving competition the CKG Billings Series also offered a trot last night in the USA at Tioga Downs in New York's southern tier where Dave "Steady As" Yarock emerged victorious. Eight top class amateur drivers winged their way to PEI for the always enjoyable races there which also includes a great comradery with the local officials and local horsemen. Besides Spriggs, the USA participants also included Billing Series point- leader, "Hurricane Hannah" Miller and last year's Billings Series Gold Cup winner, "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. In the first Billings split, pace, Hannah Miller sent All Out to the lead from the five hole and they were challenged nearly every step of the mile. After Zuccarello had Caughtfoolinaround a head in front on the outside at the halfway point they tired and although All Out got a short breather up the backside when he turned for home he was all out and Dein Spriggs and Windmere Express shadowing Miller's pacer throughout the mile rallied in the final strides to notch a neck victory in a 1:59.4 clocking. Eyes Of Glory finished third for "Bullet Bob" Davis. Owned by Windmere Farms the winner returned a returned a $16.80 mutuel. In the second Billings event, also a pace, Spriggs never had a bit of trouble after he sent the odds-on favorite, Red Magician, to the lead from two hole and they rebuffed all others en route to a 1:59.1 triumph. However, in the deep stretch, the winner had to reach down for more to hold off a fast closing Whitesand Artist and driver Bob Davis at bay at the finish. Draven Seelster garnered the show dough for Dave "the Litigator" Glasser. Owned by Dan and Ronnie Rennie red Magician paid $3.70 for win. Meanwhile back in the States, Dave Yarock added insult to injury in his Billings event at Tioga Downs when his trotter, Mr Ridgetaker, made a break at the start and then went on to score an eight-length victory in the 1:58 mile. Mr Ridgetaker overtook the pace-setter, Gimme The Loot (Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin), at the halfway point and then trotted away from his competition for an easy victory. Sam's Honeybee with Billings Series president Tony "the Capo" Verruso at the lines rallied from far back to finished second in a tight photo over third place finisher Gimme The Loot. The race winner, owned by his driver, returned a $7.30 mutuel payoff. For Dave Yarock it marked his 54 amateur driving victory in a career which began in 2007. Next up for the Billings drivers will be a contest at Scioto Downs on Fri. Sept. 4 followed by a return trip to Canada in mid-September at tracks in Ontario. by John Manzi, for the C K G Billings Series
Nichols, N.Y. -- Uncontested through a sensible early pace, odds-on harness racing favourite B Yoyo used a :27 third-quarter surge to evade his six trailing rivals in Saturday (August 29) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs, ultimately edging clear for a decisive 1:53 triumph. Vinny Ginsburg wasted no time with the 5-year-old gelded son of Striking Sahbra, seizing command from Bourbon Bay (John Cummings, Jr.) in the first hundred yards. The two continued unchallenged through early sectionals of :27.3 and :57.1, and B Yoyo turned up the tempo at first asking from Ginsburg, edging clear of Bourbon Bay by two lengths through a 1:24.1 three-quarter split while a first-over bid from Six Bax (Jim Taggart, Jr.) failed to materialize. B Yoyo remained strong to the end, holding clear by 2-1/2 lengths under intermittent whip taps while Bourbon Bay and Six Bax were both driven to give chase late. The 1:53 win was B Yoyo's third consecutive success, and the 15th of his career. Bob Bongiorno trains B Yoyo for Bill Lambos and Dionisios Liberatos. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 30) afternoon, with a 13-race program headlined by five preliminary divisions of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-old trotters. Post time is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Nichols, N.Y. -- Leading driver Mike Simons enjoyed a dominant evening at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 28), scoring four wins on the nine-race harness racing card. Among those triumphs was one with Arodasi ($4.50) in the featured $14,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace, as they held off a stout late charge from Mach It a Par to just prevail. After Simons swept the daily double with Puff Mommy ($6.80, 1:54) and Quaint Irene ($6.20, 1:57.3), he settled to the back of the pack with Arodasi in the distaff feature. Second from last in the field of six and trailed only by even-money favourite Mach It a Par, the 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror was far off a torrid :54.3 initial half mile produced by pacesetter Shutthefrontdoor (John Cummings, Jr.). On approach to the far turn, Simons pointed Arodasi second-over to follow the live cover of P L Hula (Aaron Byron), still stalked by Mach It a Par through a :27.3 third sectional. Arodasi swept three-wide at the apex of the turn, ultimately taking the lead just upon entering the home straight--but not home free. Mach It a Par--a winner of her five previous races--kicked cover, chasing valiantly down the grandstand side, but only able to close to within half a length of Arodasi's 1:50.4 victory. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.), boxed on the backstretch and far turn, escaped traffic in upper stretch to just save third. Trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. shares ownership of Arodasi with Peter Shank, Joseph Barbera, and the AGC Stables, Inc. Despite a pair of near misses in races four and five, Simons bounced back to complete his grand slam in the sixth race, a $5,000 claiming trot. Ashcroft ($4.40), a 13-year-old gelding Simons owns in partnership with Albert Abdala, III, made an early push to the lead, holding clear of a late-rallying Berto Adalina (Jason MacDougall) in 1:56.4. Simons's son Shawn trains the 59-time winner. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 29) evening, with the first of nine races due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Fresh off his 1:47 win in the U.S. Pacing Championship, State Treasurer ($3.50) maintained his superiority in the older pacing ranks with a 1:47.2 triumph in the $150,000 Roll With Joe, held Sunday (August 23) afternoon at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs. The 6-year-old Real Desire entire tracked early pacesetters Dancin Yankee (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and Doctor Butch (Brian Sears) through the first turn, brushing to the fore just after a :26.3 first quarter. Assuming control with a circuit to go, State Treasurer rated a :54.3 initial half before David Miller cut him loose on the backstretch. State Treasurer used a :26 third quarter to evade the first-over challenge of Clear Vision (Brett Miller), in fact drawing clear to a four-length lead on the far turn as pocket rival Dancin Yankee could no longer keep pace. State Treasurer prevailed by 3-3/4 lengths in the end, well in hand at the winning post with plenty in reserve beyond his 1:47.2 mile clocking. Clear Vision held second, while Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) stayed on for third off a second-over trip. Dr. Ian Moore trains State Treasurer for owners Sally and Paul MacDonald. Mosquito Blue Chip, Rockin in Heaven upset in EBC finals Earlier in the card, Mosquito Blue Chip ($10.20) mounted a late rally to collar odds-on favorite Divine Caroline in the $269,000 Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired 3-year-old pacing fillies, while Rockin in Heaven ($24.80) sustained a first-over bid before holding off odds-on entrymates Betting Exchange and In the Arsenal--and a few others--in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. In the distaff division, Mosquito Blue Chip found herself locked in just prior to a :54.4 half mile from Divine Caroline (David Miller), just three lengths off the lead but lacking for racing room until the conclusion of the final turn. Off the corner, Jim Morrill, Jr. was able to find room with the Bettor's Delight filly, mounting a three-wide rally past pocket rival Band of Angels (Gingras) in the final sixteenth--and ultimately to just nab Divine Caroline at the winning post for a 1:49.3 score. Trainer Paul Jessop shares in ownership of Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio. In the male division, Arque Hanover (George Brennan) made an early push to the lead, taking over from Betting Exchange (Gingras) with a circuit to go and controlling a :54.4 half before bracing for the first-over Rockin in Heaven. After dueling through a :27.2 third quarter, Rockin in Heaven got the better of Arque Hanover, extending his lead to 1-1/2 lengths at the eighth pole while Arque Hanover faded off the corner. Upon establishing a clear lead, David Miller had to call upon the son of Rock N Roll Heaven for all he had, just staving off a late charge from Artistic Major (Morrill) by a neck in 1:50. A Bettor Hat (Brett Miller) rallied from deeper back, overcoming a fourth-over trip to just miss by half a length, finishing third. Trainer Dr. Ian Moore co-owns Rockin in Heaven with Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte, and Gordon McComb. Reynolds Stakes contested In addition to the Roll With Joe and the Empire Breeders Classic finals, 2-year-old trotters contested a number of Reynolds Stakes divisions on the Sunday program at Tioga. The most notable victor was Southwind Frank ($2.90), a 2-year-old Muscle Hill colt who earned his fifth career win in 1:54.2 just two weeks after his triumph in the Peter Haughton Memorial. Yannick Gingras was in the bike for trainer Ron Burke. Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (August 28) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern. James Witherite