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Columbus, OH --- The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board announced Wednesday the selection of the one winning bid for a casino in each of three defined regions of the State:  Catskills/Hudson Valley (Region One, Zone Two), Capital (Region Two, Zone Two) and Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes (Region Five, Zone Two). In the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, The Montreign Resort Casino in Thompson, N.Y. whose developer Empire Resorts operates through a subsidiary, the nearby Monticello Casino & Raceway, was selected over eight other applicants. In the Eastern Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region, the Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, N.Y. was selected over the other two applicants in the region, Tioga Downs Casino, Racing & Entertainment in Nichols, N.Y. and Traditions Resort & Casino in Union, N.Y. Along with The Montreign Resort Casino and Lago Resort & Casino, the Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, N.Y.  from the Capital Region was the third entity that will be entitled to apply to the New York State Gaming Commission for a gaming facility license. To read the complete report, click here. From the USTA Media Department

An overall increase in handle (total money wagered) and seven track record performances marked a successful 2014 season at Tioga Downs, which concluded on Saturday, September 13.   Overall handle on the 61-day meet was considerably improved in comparison to the 2013 season, with all-sources handle showing a 5.4% increase. This increase was largely due to a more involved simulcast audience, whose handle was 13.4% higher than in the previous season.   "We thank our customers and horsemen for their support of our 2014 racing season," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Regional Vice President of Racing at Tioga Downs. "We are proud of the great competitive racing on our 5/8 mile track, and that it continues to be well received across the North American harness racing audience."   With respect to the record books, four-year-old distaff trotter Charmed Life and driver Jody Jamieson established a new overall record for trotters on New York State's only 5/8-mile track, winning their Miss Versatility preliminary in 1:52.2 as part of the Cane Pace undercard on Monday, September 1.   Trotting geldings Datsyuk (three-year-old, Charlie Norris), Obrigado (four-year-old, Aaron Byron), and Traverse Seelster (older, Brandon Simpson) also turned in track-record performances through the season, scoring in 1:53.1, 1:52.3, and 1:52.4 respectively. Two-year-old trotting filly Jolene Jolene (David Miller) equalled You Want Me's mark of 1:55.2 as well, completing the quintet of record established on the trotting side of the ledger.   Additionally, a pair of pacers entered the Tioga record books, with Sweet Lou's 1:48.3 triumph in the Roll With Joe on Sunday, June 1 (Ron Pierce aboard) equalling Shark Gesture's past mark for older pacing entires. Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill, Jr.) set a new record outright for two-year-old pacing fillies, proving victorious in 1:52.1.   Jim Marohn, Jr. claimed his third consecutive driving title with 91 wins on the meet, 13 more than runner-up Aaron Byron. Top training honors went to Mike Deters, who took his second training title and first outright with 33 wins. Normand Fluet and Gail Wrubel finished in a dead heat for second with 20 wins apiece.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Tirade Hanover and Tyber Tyke proved victorious in Saturday (September 13) evening's co-featured $15,000 Open events at Tioga Downs, headlining an eleven-race closing night card.   Tirade Hanover ($16.60) sustained a sweeping three-wide bid on the far turn for a 1:54.3 victory in the $15,000 Open Trot, staving off a resurgent Oh No Three O. The four-year-old Crazed gelding was well off dueling leaders In Your Room (Mike Simons) and Oh No Three O (Fern Paquet, Jr.) through a :55.3 initial half mile, sweeping three-wide past a stalled Spice It Up Lindy (Tom Jackson) en route to the far turn. Tirade Hanover continued on to the lead 100 yards from the winning post, maintaining his momentum to just hold off Oh No Three O, who split rivals in a late rally from the pocket. B L Class Act (Aaron Byron) gained late down the grandstand side to take third.   Tyler Raymer drove Tirade Hanover to his fifteenth career win. Trainer Leigh Raymer shares ownership with Stephen Moss, Harold Solomon, and Helane Solomon.   Hoosier invader Tyber Tyke ($4.90) kicked clear late in the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace after sustaining a barrage of pressure, emerging from a four-way battle to control a :55.1 initial half mile. The five-year-old Panspacificflight gelding then repelled a stout first-over challenge from Golden Gun (John Cummings, Jr.) before drawing clear to a 6-1/4 length victory in 1:50.3.   Bettorsluckystreak (Jim Taggart, Jr.) took second narrowly after shaking free in the final yards, while Dreamlands Art (Mike Simons) finished a tiring third after stalking from the pocket.   Fern Paquet, Jr. handled the driving duties aboard Tyber Tyke for trainer Daniel Gill. John McGill and Brian Carsey co-own the 19-time winner.   Tioga Downs honored driving champion Jim Marohn, Jr. and training champion Mike Deters during the evening's festivities, along with acknowledgements of Trotter of the Year I Love New York (trained and driven by Bruce Clarke through the meet) and Pacer of the Year Fireyourguns (driven by Aaron Byron for trainer Terence McClory).   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Two-year-old pacers took center stage at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 12) evening, contesting their divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stake on the penultimate program of the 2014 harness racing season.   And while Hall of Terror (Marcus Miller, $3.50) turned in a mightily impressive :54.4 final half mile in his victory, top honors went to Dealt a Winner ($3.90), who set a new track record for two-year-old pacing geldings.   The son of Cam's Card Shark was well off the pace early in the tenth race, moving second-over behind Shooby Said (Jim Marohn, Jr.) after Gallic Beach (Tim Tetrick) brushed from midpack to the fore in a sensible :56.4 half mile. On the backstretch, David Miller angled Dealt a Winner three-wide, pushing past Shooby Said into a joint lead with Gallic Beach on the far turn. The two dueled through the stretch, with Dealt a Winner taking over outright in the final sixteenth and drawing clear for a one-length win. Sicily (Corey Callahan) tracked live three-wide cover on the backstretch, staying on for third.   Dealt a Winner's 1:52.3 victory took a second off the prior track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. Ed Hart handles the training duties for owner Jeffrey Snyder.   McArdles Lightning (Scott Zeron, 1:53.3) and Dragon Eddy (Mike Simons, 1:53.3) were the other two winners in the Reynolds divisions for two-year-old colts and geldings.   Corey Callahan teamed up with two freshman fillies for Reynolds wins as part of a Friday driving hat trick, holding sway with Divine Caroline (1:53.1) and kicking clear with Bettor B Steppin (1:53.3) in their stakes splits. Deli Beach (John Campbell, 1:55) was the other triumphant filly in the evening's stakes races.   The closing night (Saturday, September 13) program at Tioga features an 11-race card, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite

The Meadowlands is pleased to announce the addition of a new wager to its wagering menu. It is a Super High-Five Jackpot that will be offered with a $.20 cent minimum on the last race of each racing program. The wager will offer an industry low takeout rate of eight-percent (8%) and the pool will be seeded with $10,000 on its first night being offered, Friday November 14th. "The W.E.G. circuit implemented this wager this past year and it has had Great Success," said Director of Racing Operations Darin Zoccali. "The jackpot wager has really caught-on throughout North America and we will take it a step further by implementing an industry low takeout rate of just eight-percent." "We are a supporter of the low takeout movement that is currently taking place," Zoccali added. "But it needs industry-wide support to be successful. We are optimistic that this wager will prove extremely successful and will pave the way to lower takeout wagers in the future." The Meadowlands will also give back more each night. "Our carryover will be 25-percent each day as opposed to the standard 45 to 50-percent this wager typically carries," said Zoccali. "We believe that the low takeout combined with paying out a larger portion of the pool each night will create more handle and larger payouts on a nightly basis. Additionally, the pool will be seeded with $10,000 initially which further reduces actual takeout." Meadowlands General Manager and C.E.O. Jason Settelmoir explains that the 8% takeout figure has significant meaning. "Having worked at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs since 2006, I have become well versed on the 'casino' aspect of gaming. The average takeout rate of slot machines or V.L.T.'s throughout the country is 8% and while horse racing is a more intellectual game, the result is the same, more churn and more money in our customers pockets." Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural touched on the success the wager has had at Woodbine and Mohawk. "On the two nights they have had mandatory payouts, there was around $2 Million bet. Given that The Meadowlands is the highest handling standardbred signal, tied into an 8% takeout rate, with a mandatory payout on Hambletonian Day, assuming the bet carries over throughout the meet, I am certain it will be the biggest pool in harness racing history." The Super High-Five is pending regulatory approval and is scheduled to begin on Friday November 14, 2014. Details on the wager are as follows: Jackpot Super High-Five Details $.20 Cent minimum wager Offered on the last race, each race night Low takeout rate of eight-percent (8%) Individual must select the first five (5) finishers in one race in the exact order of finish. Jackpot Super High-Five Payout: Single Winning ticket The entire Jackpot High-5 net pool, plus any previous carryover pool will be paid when there is one and only one winning ticket sold that correctly selects the first five finishers in exact order. Multiple Winning Tickets In the event there are multiple tickets sold that correctly select the first five finishers in exact order, 75% of the net daily Jackpot High-5 pool will be distributed to the holders of tickets with the first five finishers in exact order, and 25% of the net daily Jackpot High-5 pool will be carried over to the next scheduled Jackpot High-5 event and added to any existing carryover pool. No Winning Tickets In the event there is no ticket sold that correctly selects the first five finishers in exact order, the entire High-5 net pool, plus any previous carryover, will be carried in to the next scheduled Jackpot High-5 event. There is no consolation payout in the Jackpot High-5. Pool-Seeding There will be $10,000 added into the pool on the first day of the wager, by The Meadowlands, which will be Friday November 14, 2014. Mandatory Payout The entire Jackput High-5 net pool must be paid out on Hambletonian Day, August 8, 2015. The pool can carryover from one calendar year to the next. From the Meadowlands Publicity Office  

An eleven-race card boasting co-featured $15,000 Open events for trotters and pacers will close the 2014 season at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 13) evening.   "We thank the horsemen and the customers alike for supporting harness racing at Tioga Downs," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing at Tioga Downs. "The horsemen presented full and competitive fields consistently throughout the season along with a strong stakes schedule, and we thank them for helping present an attractive wagering product to our loyal customers."   To kickstart their bankrolls for the closing night program, guests can bring postcards mailed to them in exchange for a mystery betting voucher. Postcards can be redeemed for mystery vouchers from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the east grandstand near the main stage.   Additionally, guests can register at the promotions table starting at 5:15 p.m. to win one of three iPads, one of two 40-inch flat-screen televisions, or a Club Car golf cart, all to be given away throughout the evening.   Once again, the closing night giveaways will be highlighted by Horseplay Car Giveaway, sponsored by Williams Auto Group. After the evening's fourth race, one final entrant will be chosen for a $100 betting voucher and entry into the drawing for a 2014 Ford Fiesta, joining the entrants determined through the nightly mini-foam-horse toss. As in years past, the winner will be determined through a reverse draw, spread out from the sixth race to the close of the evening. The entrant whose name remains in the barrel until the absolute end will win the car, while all contestants eliminated by their prior draws will receive a $25 betting voucher each.   Following the last race of the meet and a special on-track performance from outrider Wendy Ross, a fireworks display will take place to close out the 2014 season.   As is customary, post time is 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

After two successful trial years of winter training, Tioga Downs will expand winter training for the upcoming winter. "The track was great both winters, thanks to the track crew and trainer Jeff Sorenson", said Guy Howard, longtime Southern Tier horseman and president of the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association. The winter training season will begin on November 1, 2014, continuing through March 31, 2015. Trainers will have full access to the track and the exercise wheel for $150 per stall. For more information, contact Guy Howard at 607.765.7168. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Carried three-wide through the far turn, Bettorsluckystreak ($26.80) sustained his late bid en route to a 1:51.4 upset victory in Sunday (September 7) afternoon's featured pace at Tioga Downs.   The $10,000 upper-level conditioned event drew a field of eight, with newcomer Johnny Grippa (Jim Meittinis) handling the pacesetting duties throughout, establishing a solid tempo through a :55 half mile.   With Cashendash Hanover (Brandon Simpson) fading from the pocket and Hasty Western (Aaron Byron) sliding first-over with three-eighths to go, Greg Merton moved the four-year-old son of Bettor's Delight out to track cover en route to the far turn.   While Hasty Western continued two-wide despite the pocket opening up approaching the far turn, Merton moved Bettorsluckystreak three-wide past three-quarters in 1:22.4. The two sustained their rally, passing Hasty Western at the top of the stretch and pulling clear of Johnny Grippa in the final 70 yards to prevail by a length.   Prairie Jaguar, the 8-5 favorite, failed to sustain an extended uncovered bid, staying even to finish fifth.   James Clouser, Jr. trains Bettorsluckystreak for Kenneth Weckstein, Richard Rubin, and Gary Messenger.   Mike Simons and Tyler Buter led all drivers with three wins each on the 13-race card.   The 2014 live racing season concludes at Tioga Downs this upcoming weekend, with Friday (September 12) and Saturday (September 13) cards both scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Eleven-year-old veteran Spice It Up Lindy ($7.50) turned in a most gritty effort in Saturday (September 6) evening's $15,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs, reaching for the line to hold off Walked Into Heaven for a 1:54.2 score.   Jim Meittinis brushed to the fore with the SJ's Caviar gelding after Walked Into Heaven (John Cummings, Jr.) established a solid early tempo through a :27.4 first quarter. With Walked Into Heaven in the pocket, SJ's Caviar relaxed the pace through a :57.4 middle half, accelerating some on the backstretch when Stitch in Time (Brandon Simpson) commenced a first-over rally.   While Stitch in Time would sustain his bid through the stretch, Walked Into Heaven posed the toughest threat, squeezing through at the pegs for a late rally. Spice It Up Lindy dug in to prevail by a long neck, holding sway for a 1:54.2 win. Walked Into Heaven and Stitch in Time completed the top three, while 3-2 favorite Crazy About Pat (Shawn Gray) failed to sustain a three-wide bid off the far turn, finishing sixth.   Santo Zuzolo owns and trains Spice It Up Lindy.   Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers with three wins on the card, teaming up with Sand Wyndham ($3.50, 1:58.3), Stir Me Up ($4.70, 1:55.0), and Ashcroft ($4.10, 1:57.1).   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (September 7) afternoon. The first of 13 races is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. EDT post time.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

On the Cusp ($7.80) seized the lead and never looked back, making every pole a winning one in Friday (September 5) evening's $15,000 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares at Tioga Downs.   Shawn Gray sent the seven-year-old Camluck mare immediately to the fore, tracked throughout by Inittowinafortune (Aaron Byron). With 1-2 favorite Pan Luis Obispo (Jim Meittinis) away just worse than midpack, On the Cusp maintained an honest pace through a :55.2 half mile, far from grueling.   While Pan Luis Obispo never proved a threat, stalling at head-stretch amid her three-wide bid off cover, Inittowinafortune chased stoutly in the final eighth, but On the Cusp had plenty left in reserve to stave her off. On the Cusp prevailed by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51.1 over Inittowinafortune. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) rallied late off a stalking trip to hold third.   Dylan Davis trains On the Cusp for owner Kapildeo Singh.   While visiting driver Shawn Gray took the evening's featured event, Phil Fluet won four of the night's nine races to lead all drivers for the evening. Fluet proved victorious with Weekend Getaway ($15.20, 1:54.0), Martha Michelle ($8.50, 1:56.0), Cashamatic ($10.80, 2:00.0), and Princess Bliss ($10.60, 1:54.4).   Blows Me Away nearly gave Fluet a fifth win on the card, but the pair were outkicked by Aint Got a Home and Aaron Byron in the final yards of the evening's eighth event.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 6) evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Not even an hour after Sassa Hanover ($2.30) equaled JK Molly's 1:52.2 track record for two-year-old pacing fillies at Tioga Downs in her $53,500 New York Sire Stakes event, Mosquito Blue Chip ($6.10) set the record anew in her 1:52.1 Sire Stakes triumph, finding room up the inside off a pocket trip to just prevail on the all-stakes Thursday (September 4) evening card.   The daughter of Bettor's Delight and Sandfly Hanover held pocket position behind a speedy Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore) through a solid yet well-rated :56.4 half mile, tracking intently as favorite Bettor N Better (Matt Kakaley) charged first-over at Devil Child to force a :27 third quarter. Blocked in upper stretch,   Jim Morrill, Jr. wedged through at the pegs with Mosquito Blue Chip in the final 70 yards to take the lead from Devil Child, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Bettor N Better flattened late, still holding third.   Trainer Paul Jessop co-owns Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.   Earlier in the evening, Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) gave Morrill his first Sire Stakes driving win on the evening, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go before turning aside a challenge from My Little Delight (Mark MacDonald) and subsequently kicking clear to a 2-1/4 length 1:52.2 win. Ron Burke trains Sassa Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr.   In addition to New York Sire Stakes action for two-year-old pacing fillies, freshman trotters contested five W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stake divisions. Colts SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller, 1:57.1) and Sixteen Encores (Matt Kakaley, 1:57.2) proved victorious in their divisions, while Gold Cora (Mike Simons, 1:56.3), Allerage Star (Corey Callahan, 1:56.1), and Big Barb (Mike Simons, 1:57.2) scored wins in the three filly divisions.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 5), with first post at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

September 2, 2014 - The week off in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Shoot-Out Handicapping Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs gave the handicappers the opportunity to think over their handicapping strategy and by doing so, they came out guns a blazing with five instances of handicappers scoring net profits of over $1,000 on any given day. When the dust settled, Mark McKelvie was the big winner for the week showing a net profit of $2,586, leapfrogging from 8th to 3rd place. While McKelvie won the week, Bob Zanakis regained the lead over Brandon Valvo with a swing a $2,919.25 thanks to his weekly net profit of $2,094.75. Gordon Waterstone's weekly net profit of $2,103 moved him from 12th place to 6th. On Thursday, August 28, Bob Zanakis started the hit parade, playing a $6 price part wheel trifecta ($144 total) in the first division of the Champlain and it paid off handsomely as he received a dividend of $2,408.40. Other key hits on Thursday were Sally Hinckley's $10 trifecta key ($120l) in the third division of the Champlain which paid $301, Dennis O'Hara's $50 cold exacta in the same race which returned $260, and Ann Stepien's $2 four-horse trifecta box ($48) earned $143.60. On a typical day, Gordon Waterstone's $20 trifecta key ($120) in the third division would normally have been the talk of the town with its $602 return but alas, Zanakis' play overshadowed this accomplishment. On Friday, August 2, the handicappers gathered their collective breaths with no particular breakouts. While the day's action was sedate, there were some individual bets worth noting. Derick Giwner's $150 exacta in the Zweig Memorial returned $405 while in the same race, Hinckley's $25 trifecta key ($150) paid $307.50. Saturday saw three players with big nights. Mark McKelvie led the trio with a net profit of $3,226 thanks to a $20 trifecta part-wheel ($60) in the She's A Great Lady. Waterstone earned $1,403 as a result of a $10 trifecta part wheel ($200) in the same race and O'Hara's $1,097 evening was attributable to a $30 trifecta key ($360) in the Metro which grossed $1,497. Other solid plays were Ray Garnett's $14 trifecta key ($280) in the Metro paid a $698.60 dividend as was Hinckley's $10 trifecta key play, returning $499. In the first division of the Simcoe, Josi Verlingieri had two winning tickets, a $25 exacta box ($150) paid $317.50 and a $125 win, place wager which returned $943.75. With a one day break, the handicappers returned for a Labor Day stanza which belonged to Garnet Barnsdale with his hit in the Shady Daisy. While Barnsdale had listed a $1 superfecta part wheel ($42), his ticket was reduced to a $.30 ticket ($12.60) which paid $2,561.90, reflecting the size of the superfecta pool. Waterstone was the only other player who won on Sunday as his $30 exacta box ($180) paid $438. The current standings after the completion of four legs are: As of September 1, 2014 - Leg 27 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,094.75 $4,303.45   2nd Brandon Valvo ($824.50) $2,780.00 $1,523.45 3rd Mark McKelvie $2,586.00 $1,962.00 $2,341.45 4th Josi Verlingieri $937.40 $1,551.55 $2,751.90 5th Earl Paulson ($504.00) $240.90 $4,062.55 6th Gordon Waterstone $2,103.00 $202.70 $4,100.75 7th Brian McEvoy $67.50 ($110.00) $4,413.45 8th Derick Giwner ($715.00) ($759.23) $5,062.68 9th Garnet Barnsdale $1,331.30 ($894.70) $5,198.15 10th Ray Garnett ($480.40) ($1,102.55) $5,406.00 11th Sally Hinckley ($122.00) ($1,793.90) $6,097.35 12th Ann Stepien ($406.95) ($2,156.06) $6,459.51 13th Rusty Nash ($745.65) ($2,369.76) $6,673.21 14th Dennis O'Hara $467.00 ($2,579.70) $6,883.15 15th Ray Cotolo ($1,150.00) ($5,698.40) $10,001.85 This week, one leg of the contest will be held on Saturday, September 6 at Mohawk Racetrack with a trio of races scheduled, the Simcoe for 3yo open pacers and the Champlain for 2yo open pacers and 2yo filly pacers will be contested. As always, the Grand Circuit Shoot-Out may be followed at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott for HANA

Lyonssomewhere pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2014 harness racing season as he led from start to finish in capturing the first jewel of the pacing Triple Crown, the $437,325 60th annual Cane Pace at Tioga Downs on Labor Day Monday. Sent off at odds of 19-1, he paid $40.20 to win. A $35,000 supplement to the Cane Pace paid off for the three-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere who will now head out to Delaware, Ohio to go after the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Little Brown Jug, on September 18. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Lyonssomewhere left from post seven and went right to the front with Luck Be Withyou (Ron Pierce) taking the two-hole spot from the rail. They sped to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26 seconds. Lyonssomewhere and Gingras were hot on the lead and took the field to half mile marker in :53.3 as JK Endofanera (Brian Sears) started up first-over with race favorite He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) second-over. But to the surprise of all, Luck Be Withyou and Pierce came first-over in front of JK Endofanera as they wanted to go first up again Lyonssomewhere to the three-quarters in 1:21.3. It was then that Gingras realized the good position he was in and started to open up his lead by the top of the stretch with Lyonssomewhere as Tetrick has swept three-wide with He’s Watching and started to gain ground with every stride coming down the stretch. But it was too little too late as Gingras kept his colt going strong to win by a half length in a lifetime best clocking of 1:49.4. Doo Wop Hanover (Corey Callahan) was third. Trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Brentford, Ontario, it was the fifth win in nine starts this year for Lyonsssomewhere.   “Ronnie (Pierce) tried a couple of time to come after us,” said Yannick Gingras, “And he was not one of the horses I wanted to follow. I really did not know what I wanted to do behind the starting gate. I would have followed He’s Watching. My horse is handy enough that I could make my decision once the gate left. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold him off (He’s Watching),” said Gingras, “He’s got an awesome kick. Around the last turn I knew he wasn’t in the top four so I wanted to get some separation between the two of us. It worked.” “We supplemented horse,” Takter said, “And when we got post seven I said to owner Jeff Lyons, Gosh we never get any luck with this horse. He had a great week going into this race. I had a feeling he could do it. I know how good he can be. He is a fantastic horse. “That is why we supplemented him to the Cane Pace,” Takter said, “Because he is so lightly staked we wanted to give him a chance in this race and now we will give him a shot in the Little Brown Jug.” “We are all over the moon and thumbs up after this race,” said owner Jeff Lyons, “We know he is a good horse. This time he got a good trip, a fantastic trainer and driver and so we made it.” The Labor Day card also saw Yannick Gingras triumph in the $25,000 Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, winning the sixth race on the card with Cabrera en route to his title. A pair of wins from Matt Kakaley propelled him into second place, while Ron Pierce finished third. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

CHARMED LIFE UPSETS IN MISS VERSATILITY

Repelling a late challenge from Spice It Up Lindy, Twin B Spike Man ($3.10) proved a gutsy 1:54.4 winner in Saturday (August 30) evening's $15,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs, giving Mike Simons one of his four driving wins on the evening.   The seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding wasted no time achieving the lead, brushing clear of Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) after a soft :29.2 first quarter and immediately accelerating through a :57 middle half. Now with Spice It Up Lindy in a tracking position, Twin B Spike Man entered the far turn with a 1-1/2 length advantage. Despite a late challenge in the final yards, Twin B Spike Man held sway for a one-length victory. Stitch in Time (Jim Taggart, Jr.) tracked the top pair the entire mile, checking in a non-threatening third.   Donald Eccleston and Albert Abdala, III co-own Twin B Spike Man with Simons. Gail Wrubel handles the training duties.   Simons was victorious on three other occasions through the evening, teaming up with Brookside Lily ($37.60, 1:58.2), Rock Star ($3.10, 1:53.2), and Current Image ($7.90, 1:58.2) to complete his grand slam.   Live racing returns on Monday (September 1) afternoon, with the 11-race card set for a 1:30 p.m. EDT start. The blockbuster Labor Day program features the 60th Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, a preliminary Miss Versatility event, and the second half of the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs 

With this being a holiday weekend and with such top notch racing we are doing a second edition of Who Will Win It for this Sunday and Monday. Sunday is headlined by the $175,000 Championship Finals of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for trotters and pacers at the Red Mile plus two divisions of the NYSS at Batavia. Then on Labor Day Monday it’s the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, plus the filly counterpart, the Shady Daisy plus the top older trotting mare battle in the Miss Versatility, all at Tioga Downs. Good Luck! $175,000 Trot Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Colt Final Red Mile 7th race SUNDAY – Even having drawn post nine, Tinder is still the horse to beat in here. He has won both his preliminary rounds including a 1:55.4 mark and has four wins and four seconds in his eight lifetime starts. Use Scacco Matto and Samburu in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Filly Final Red Mile 12th race SUNDAY – Just having six starters in this final won’t make a real difference with Cielle in the field. This filly is nearly unstoppable with six wins and two seconds in eight career starts. She breezed by more than seven lengths last week in a lifetime best 1:57.2 and has beaten everyone else in this field the last few weeks. Use Makeba Hall and Third Sue in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Colt Final Red Mile 13th race SUNDAY – Despite being a late starter this season, On Golden Ponder is making up for lost time for Robert McIntosh Stable. He’s undefeated in both his KYSS preliminary legs including a 1:54.4 romp by four lengths last week. Draws the rail and can win from on or off the pace in here. Use Last Best Chance and Proceed To Party in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Filly Final Red Mile 14th race SUNDAY – Having finished either first or second in her last five starts makes Rollin Deep the one to beat. And she has Hall of Famer Michel Lachance driving to boot! Tough filly can win from on or off the pace as she has in her last two starts. Use Somethinincredible and All Charged Up in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 4th race SUNDAY – Well matched field in here and I am going with Jaded Dream. She won last out at Yonkers in 1:54.4 so she can handle a half mile track and should be able to come from off the pace for Matt Kakley in here. Use Just Add Vodka and Carlota Blue Chip in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 8th race SUNDAY – With seven wins this year and five wins in her last six starts it’s tough to pick anyone else in here but Major Dancer. Class of the field should prevail once again. Use Sweetnsinful and A La Notte Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Mares Open Tioga Downs 3rd race MONDAY – When an entry comes in like world champion Classic Martine and Frau Blucher for the Chris Oakes Stable, you almost can’t pick against them. Yet another entry in the field from Jonas Czernyson includes world champions Maven, D’Orsay and Ma Chere Hall. Now who to pick? I am going with the entry of Classic Martine and Frau Blucher as both are coming off superb victories and may just tag team to win in here. Use D’Orsay/Maven/Ma Chere Hall entry and Charmed Life in exotic plays. $124,325 Pace Shady Daisy 3yo Fillies Tioga Downs 7th race MONDAY – Many will like Fancy Desire in here as she was super game earlier this season but I am going with Katie Said. She has the rail, has been great coming from off the pace in recent weeks with three straight wins and a record mile against top fillies in 1:49.4. Use Fancy Desire and Tyra in exotic plays. $437,325 The Cane Pace 3yo Colts Tioga Downs 9th race MONDAY - All eyes will be on He’s Watching and rightfully so as he is the leading three-year-old in the nation and his connections have set up the Triple Crown as their goal this year. He has been super sharp winning his last four starts impressively. He will be tested again in here but should be up to the task. Use JK Endofanera and Luck Be With You in exotic plays.

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