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Nichols, N.Y. -- While a power outage forced the abandonment of the last eight races on Sunday (June 28) afternoon's 12-race harness racing program at Tioga Downs, the Purple Haze Stables, LLC's Buen Camino ($3.60, part of entry) was able to capture his $61,300 New York Sire Stakes event in advance of the mid-afternoon electrical issues.   The 3-year-old gelded son of Cash Hall and Baby Bella had no trouble clearing the front, passing Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) and Credit Creation (David Miller) to achieve the lead through a :27 initial quarter. After driver Jim Morrill, Jr. rated a :30.1 second quarter with the Trond Smedshammer trainee, Buen Camino responded to mild first-over pressure from Credit Creation, edging clear off the far turn and drawing off for a 2-1/2 length win over Wings of Royalty. The Physician (Daniel Dube) swung three-wide off stalling cover at the top of the stretch, rallying to take third.   Morrill won the previous race as well, taking a $12,000 Open Pace with Believe This Bob ($6.00) in 1:51.3.   Earlier in the card, War Hero ($12.80) sustained a middle move, holding off a late charge from Oh No Three O to take the $20,000 Normand Fluet Memorial Invitational Trot. Chris Lems settled the 7-year-old Ken Warkentin just off the pacesetters before brushing to the fore with just under a circuit to go, working clear of Spice It Up Lindy through a :57.3 first half. On the backstretch, War Hero braced for a first-over challenge from Oh No Three O, accelerating to three-quarters in 1:26.1 and ultimately holding sway by a length for a 1:56.1 triumph. Oh No Three O narrowly held second over Spice It Up Lindy, who was hard pressed for racing room through the final three-eighths of the mile.   Jessica Okusko trains War Hero for owner/breeder Howard Gill.   With respect to the abandoned races (5 through 12), all New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series events will result in an equal split of purse money and standings points among all entrants in each race. The Nichols True Value pacing series final (race 7) will carry over as already drawn to next Sunday (July 5) afternoon's card, but trainers are advised to contact the racing office with respect to driver nominations.   For punters who were live in the early pick three (ending in race 5), the 2-1-all combination (Believe This Bob in race 3, Buen Camino in race 4, and "all" in the canceled fifth race) returns $3.60 on the 50¢ base wager.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (July 3) evening, with first post at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Pushing clear with a circuit to go, Niss Allen, Inc.'s U Belong To Me ($17.20) backed down the second quarter before accelerating clear to a 1:54.3 win in Saturday (June 27) evening's harness racing $10,000 Open II Pace at Tioga Downs.   The 6-year-old Misfit gelding was caught wide early as A Weekend (Mike Simons) worked to clear Flying Cowboy (Dan Clements) through a :28 first quarter over sloppy going. Undeterred by the contested early pace, Fern Paquet, Jr. drove on with U Belong To Me, clearing A Weekend in the first pass through the home straight and subsequently slackening through a :30.3 second quarter. After the breather on the clubhouse turn, U Belong To Me accelerated on the backstretch to evade a first-over bid from T's Electric (Aaron Byron) and dismiss pocket rival A Weekend, who tired on the far turn. Turning up the pace through a :27.4 third quarter, U Belong To Me held clear of T's Electric for a 2-1/4 length victory in 1:54.3. No Monkeys Allowed (John Cummings, Jr.) sustained a belated rally to take third.   Eric Mollor trains U Belong To Me, who recorded his 12th career win.   Mike Simons led all drivers with four wins on the 13-race card, and Dan Clements recorded a driving hat trick. Renaldo Morales, III and Shawn Simons led all trainers with two wins apiece.   Live racing returns to Tioga with a 12-race program on Sunday (June 28) afternoon, featuring New York Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings along with the Normand Fluet Memorial Invitational Trot. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Taking advantage of live cover and a contested early pace, Mach It a Par ($3.80) passed all six of her harness racing rivals to take Friday (June 26) evening's $10,000 featured distaff pace at Tioga Downs.   Dan Clements settled the 5-year-old Mach Three mare at the back of the pack as Purity (Jim Meittinis) worked to clear fellow leavers Smokin N Grinin (Mike Simons), K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.), and Stormunn (Aaron Byron) through a :26.3 first-quarter battle. With three-eighths to go, Purity gave way to pocket rival Smokin N Grinin, and Mach It a Par moved third-over to follow the cover of K J's Caroline and Stormunn on the backstretch, swinging three-wide well past a 1:23.3 three-quarters split. At the top of the stretch, Mach It a Par found her best stride, working clear of K J's Caroline in the final sixteenth to prevail by a widening 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51.4. K J's Caroline held second, while Arodasi (Brandon Simpson) mounted a stand-side rally from the back of the pack to take third.   Clements owns Mach It a Par, and Renaldo Morales, III handles the training duties.   In addition to his victory in the feature, Clements teamed up with Purple N Gold ($3.60, 1:54), Shutthefrontdoor ($4.40, 1:51.4), and Flashy ($13.40, 1:54.2) to lead all drivers with four wins on the 13-race card.   A pair of $6,000 second-round divisions of the Tioga State Bank starter series were contested on the Friday evening program as well, with Philana Chalice ($60.50) drawing clear off a first-over bid for a 1:53 upset score in rein to Kyle DiBenedetto, and Private Interview ($2.50) living up to odds-on billing for a handy 1:52.4 win under Corey Braden.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday evening, with the first of 13 races scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Narrowly missing Fireyourguns in last week's top pacing event, Bettorsluckystreak ($13.00) sustained a first-over grind to just collar even-money favorite That'll Be the Rei in Sunday (June 21) afternoon's $14,000 harness racing open pace at Tioga Downs.   Jim Taggart, Jr. floated into midfield with the 5-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding at race's outset, out-sprinted up the pegs by Believe This Bob (Dan Clements) in the initial stages. Believe This Bob subsequently ceded the lead to That'll Be the Rei (Dan Clements) after a sensible :27.3 opening quarter mile. Just as That'll Be the Rei pulled the pace back through a :56.3 half, Bettorsluckystreak mounted his first-over rally, gaining steadily from fourth to apply pressure at the midpoint of the backstretch. The two would duel through the far turn and into the stretch, with Bettorsluckystreak just collaring That'll Be the Rei by a neck in 1:53.4, also staving off a three-wide push from the second-over Dreamlands Art (Brandon Simpson), who took third placing.   Trainer Gary Messenger co-owns Bettorsluckystreak with Kenneth Weckstein and Richard Rubin.   The 11-race program also featured a pair of second-round Nichols True Value late-closing events, with Let's Foal Around ($7.40, Mike Simons) and Jeneral Patton ($2.50, Jim Marohn, Jr.) both parlaying pocket trips into victories.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (June 26) evening, with post time slated for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

It was Miller Time again last night when the hottest driver currently in amateur harness racing scored yet another driving victory. It came in a CKG Billings Trot at Tioga Downs when "Hot-Handed Hannah" Miller scored an easy seven length triumph with Jacks To Open in a time of 1:55.2. After starting from the three hole Miller was content to let Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff and take command on the first turn with Keystone Thomas. Hechkoff then sizzled by the first stanza in :27.3 with Miller's Jacks To Open close behind. Keystone Thomas tripped the timer at the halfway mark in :57.1 and as they swept toward the three quarters Miller moved Jacks to Open off the pylons and the veteran trotter zipped to the front and coasted home an oh-so-easy winner. CSI What's My Name came from fourth at the head of the lane to finish second for Dave "Steady As" Yarock. Third place went to Insider Access driven the ultimate Billings traveler, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford. "Jack was very good last night and it was made easy for me," Miller said. "I just followed Heckoff and let his horse cut it. When I pulled him he was fresh and full of trot. I'm not sure if that was my fastest parimutuel win but it probably was." Miller co-owns Jacks To Open with trainer Nick Surick. For the 5 year old Conway Hall gelding it was his fourth seasonal triumph. He paid $3.10 for win. Miller's victory with Jacks To Open was her 17th thus far this year. Later on the Tioga Downs card Hannah Miller drove against professional drivers when she reined Casanova Lindy to a fourth place finish in a race timed in 1:55.3. That was my second start against the professionals," she said. "I drove at Freehold in a regular race once with Rev It Now. I get more nervous driving against the professionals than I do in the amateur races. And yes it is a little different than the amateur races, but in a good way." by John Manzi for the Billings Series

Nichols, N.Y. -- Taking advantage of live cover just as he did in his two previous races, Valley of Sin ($9.00) kicked clear in his seasonal debut among Open harness racing company, capturing the $14,000 featured trot in 1:53.4 on Saturday (June 20) evening at Tioga Downs.   After getting away second to last in the field of eight, Jim Meittinis floated the 5-year-old Yankee Glide entire second-over to track the cover of Bourbon Bay (John Cummings, Jr.) before pacesetter Its Payday Friday (Dan Clements) rated a :56.2 initial half mile.   "It's only his third start back in well over a year, so my plan was to lay off the early speed and pick up the pieces at the end," said Meittinis. "Being that this horse has such a will to win, I put him in the race late, and he did the rest." Valley of Sin advanced into midfield with the aid of cover through three-quarters in 1:24.3, and was poised to strike as Bourbon Bay turned up the heat on Its Payday Friday through the far turn.   At the top of the stretch, Meittinis tipped Valley of Sin three-deep, and the response was instant. He kicked past the dueling leaders in mid-stretch, prevailing by a widening 1-1/2 lengths while in hand up to the winning post.   "When I tipped him off cover there was no urging--just a couple taps to keep him to task," concluded Meittinis. "The speed was all him."   Its Payday Friday held second, while Awsome Valley (Aaron Byron) held third up the pegs from his pocket trip.   Earlier in the program, Hannah Miller notched a win with Jacks to Open ($3.10) in a C. K. G. Billings Amateur Driving Series event, powering clear to a seven-length win over CSI What's My Name (Dave Yarock) and Insider Access (Steve Oldford) in 1:55.2.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Sunday (June 21) afternoon, with first post set for 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. --Harness racing driver Mike Simons scored a driving grand slam on Friday (June 19) evening's 10-race card at Tioga Downs, capturing two of the three first-round divisions of the Tioga State Bank starter series.   The series, for pacers who started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in at least one of their last three races, attracted 21 entrants, 20 of which faced starter Greg Wasiluk in three $6,000 divisions. Simons teamed up with Remus Blue Chip ($5.30) and Joe de Fino ($8.60) for a pair of first-round wins, clearing to the fore early and not looking back on either occasion. Remus Blue Chip, a Daniel Gill-trained 7-year-old Art Major gelding, floated past Diamonds Princess (Aaron Byron) to secure the lead past a :27.2 first quarter, controlled the terms while uncontested, and edged away to a 1:53.1 victory over the late-emerging Who Dat Love (Dan Clements). Likewise, 7-year-old Mario Dessureault trainee Joe de Fino crossed and cleared his six rivals to establish the lead in a :27.1 first quarter. After fending off and turning aside the first-over Galex (Aaron Byron), Joe de Fino edged clear in upper stretch, holding a two-length advantage over the late rallying Veal Marsala (Fern Paquet, Jr.) for a 1:54 score.   The earlier Tioga State Bank series division was captured by Private Interview ($4.60), who drew off at will for a 9-1/4 length win over Fine Fine Fine (Dan Clements) and My Fella (Fern Paquet, Jr.) in 1:52.4. Corey Braden drove the 8-year-old Real Artist gelding for owner/trainer Robert Gale.   In addition to his two Tioga State Bank series wins, Simons teamed up for victories with Icapella Hanover ($3.60, 1:56.1) and Last Minute Cindy ($3.10, 1:54.3).   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (June 20) evening. First post for the 12- race card is slated for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs  

After working clear from his assigned outside post position, Fireyourguns ($2.90) held sway for his fifth win in as many starts this year, staving off a late-charging Bettorsluckystreak for a 1:50.2 victory in Sunday (June 14) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs. The 6-year-old American Ideal gelding floated forward before pushing clear of That'll Be the Rei (Jim Marohn, Jr.) on the first turn, clicking off a :26.2 first quarter before maintaining the strong pace through a subsequent :55 middle half. On the far turn, Unlocked (Brandon Simpson) offered a mild first-over bid, but was outkicked off the turn by a three-wide Bettorsluckystreak (Jim Taggart, Jr.). The 19-1 outsider proved the greatest peril for Fireyourguns, who saw his lead diminish past mid-stretch. Aaron Byron called upon Fireyourguns for everything he could offer in the final yards, with the pair prevailing by a scant half length. Bettorsluckystreak chased gamely to finish second, while That'll Be the Rei held third from his pocket trip.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   Two $12,500 first-round divisions of the Nichols True Value late-closing series for pacers took place on the 11-race card as well, with Idealbeach Hanover ($7.70, Brandson Simpson) holding sway for a 1:51.1 win in the first division by a measured 1-1/4 lengths over Respectable Dream (Jim Meittinis) and Big City Jewel (Mike Simons). Jeneral Patton ($3.80, Marohn) proved unwavering in the second division, fighting back to heavy pressure from Let's Foal Around (John Cummings, Jr.) on the far turn to prevail by 1-1/4 lengths as well. Gokudo Hanover (Tom Jackson) hooked three-wide from the pocket to take second, while Let's Foal Around faded to third in the final 70 yards.   Taggart led all drivers with three wins on the 11-race card, while Byron and Marohn each tallied two victories.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (June 19) evening, with first post slated for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Nichols, N.Y. -- After a relaxed midpack start, Bourbon Bay ($7.70) sustained a push to the fore en route to a 1:54.2 victory in Saturday (June 13) evening's $14,000 harness racing open trot at Tioga Downs.   The 4-year-old Sand Vic gelding was away slowly, settling into the fourth spot after Tag Up and Go (Kyle DiBenedetto) and Its Payday Friday (Dan Clements) both broke stride in the early stages. After Awsome Valley (Aaron Byron) crossed and cleared from the extreme outside to establish the lead through a :28.1 first quarter, lessee-driver John Cummings, Jr. strode to the top spot with Bourbon Bay, brushing with a circuit to go before reaching race's midpoint in :57.2. Heading to the far turn, Awsome Valley edged out of the pocket to give chase, but Bourbon Bay held sway under a drive, prevailing by a length in 1:54.2. Tag Up and Go recovered from his early break, closing second-over on the backstretch and holding third.   Megan Wilson handles the training duties of Bourbon Bay, who scored his fourth local win in as many starts on the season.   The sub-featured $10,000 Open II Trot saw Valley of Sin ($9.50) kick cover on the far turn, drawing clear of Twin B Spike Man (Aaron Byron) for a 1:54.3 triumph. Jim Meittinis drove the 5-year-old Yankee Glide entire for trainer John Butenschoen. For Valley of Sin, it was his second victory in as many starts since coming back off a 22-month layoff.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Sunday (June 14) afternoon, with a 12-race program kicking off at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs  

Nichols, N.Y. -- The Tioga Downs race office has announced a starter series for the next three Fridays, open to harness racing pacers who have raced for a claiming price of $5000 or less in at least one of their three most recent starts. A one-time $50 entry fee covers the entire series, with preliminary rounds held on Friday, June 19 and Friday, June 26. The preliminary events will each carry a $6000 purse, and the top nine money earners from those two weeks will meet in a $10,000 final on Friday, July 3. Horsemen are advised to enter as normally, with entries (and thus nominations) due to the race office no later than 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16. Entry fees are due on the day a horse first races in the series.   For more information, contact the Tioga Downs race office at 607.699.7688.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. -- Making her push to the fore on the backstretch yet again, Somenicebeach ($3.20) reeled off her second consecutive victory in Friday (June 12) evening's $14,000 harness racing mares open pace at Tioga Downs. The 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was only better than one of her four rivals in the early stages of the race, settling well behind pacesetter Senorita Santanna (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :55.2 initial half mile. On the backstretch, Mike Simons angled Somenicebeach off the pegs, and she made steady ground, taking a narrow lead from Senorita Santanna through three-quarters in 1:23.3. Senorita Santanna would fight back on the far turn, but was ultimately put away by Somenicebeach at head-stretch. Stormunn (Aaron Byron) angled off the pegs to chase off her pocket trip, but could only close to within a length of Somenicebeach, a 1:52.3 winner over good going.   Sophie Desroches owns and trains Somenicebeach, who earned her 11th career win. Simons scored a driving hat trick on the evening, also teaming up with Maejusmac ($5.70, 1:52.2) and Prince Jubilee ($32.20, 1:54) earlier in the nine-race card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (June 13) evening, with the first race slated for a 6:15 p.m. Eastern post time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

After letting the dust settle through a :26.3 first quarter, Fireyourguns ($3.70) was sure to make good on a 4-5 promise, kicking clear of his five rivals in Sunday (June 7) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs. Fresh off a decisive win at Buffalo, the 6-year-old American Ideal gelding tracked early leavers Believe This Bob (Dan Clements) and That'll Be the Rei (Jim Marohn, Jr.) before vacating the pegs, working clear of them with a circuit to go. He controlled the terms throughout, sprinting off through a :26.4 third quarter--but only opening up a little bit of ground as Believe This Bob worked to keep the pocket closed. At the top of the stretch, Fireyourguns began increasing his margin, ultimately pulling clear by 3-1/4 lengths for a resounding 1:49.2 victory under minimal encouragement from Aaron Byron. That'll Be the Rei rallied late to take second, as Believe This Bob tired off his chasing effort to finish third. Trainer Terence McClory shares ownership of Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   Earlier in the day, Tioga Downs hosted their annual Scholarship Race, made possible by the generosity of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association.   Five local high school seniors joined local horsemen in double-seated jog carts for the 5/8 mile exhibition event.   Adam Layman of Tioga Central High School (teamed with Dan Clements) won the race with Diamond Princess, sweeping three-wide in the final yards to prevail in 1:15.   His victory earned him $3200 toward his studies of Engineering Science at SUNY Broome.   In all, the five participating students shared $9700 in scholarship funds.   Racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 12) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Nichols, N.Y. -- Sent directly to the front for the second consecutive week, Dan Clements's Its Payday Friday ($3.30) registered another pillar-to-post harness racing victory, drawing clear of his seven rivals in Saturday (June 6) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs. The 5-year-old Kadabra gelding made all the pace with his owner at the lines, clearing B L Class Act (Jim Meittinis) through a :27.4 first quarter. He subsequently staved off a first-over challenge from I'm Fabulous (Jim Taggart, Jr.) on the backstretch, edging clear off the far turn after a :57.2 middle half. Its Payday Friday ultimately put three lengths on B L Class Act, proving a solid winner in 1:54. Massacaia (Phil Fluet) overcame mid-race traffic trouble to claim third, rallying up the pegs in the final yards.   Renaldo Morales, III trains Its Payday Friday, who earned his fifth win on the season and the 14th of his career.   The weekend of harness racing at Tioga Downs concludes with an 11-race card on Sunday (June 7) afternoon. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs    

Yogi Berra often professed that "it's ain't over till it's over" and for the home team in the USA vs Spain harness racing "Friendship Competition" it is over after the visiting Spaniards finished first, second and third in both contest races today (June 5) at Tioga Downs.Going into the Tioga races the Spaniards had a big point lead which was only expanded by days end. In the first race, a pace, Augustin Pou, with My Sweet Mandy went for the lead from the two hole and he parked all comers through fractions of :28.3 and :57.4. Alan Schwartz with Harper Lee were parked out first over and followed by Spain's Jaume Riera with Diamonds Princess and Bernado Cirer, with Puff Mommy. Harper Lee began to fade as the field headed for the three quartersbut My Sweet Mandy was still strong on the front end. When Schwartz's pacer tired the Spaniards filled the void and both charged at their countryman who was on the lead. My Sweet Mandy passed the third stanza as the timer tripped 1:25.4 and the pace began to slow a bit. Still Pou's charge had enough in the tank to rebuff both Puff Mommy and Diamonds Princess who finished second and third respectively in the 1:55.2 mile. It was Pou's first victory in the competition His pacer My Sweet Mandy paid $13.40 for win. She is owned by the Allen Sisco Stable and trained by Sisco. Jaume Riera won the second event, a trot, with Simaz in a 1:58 clocking and for Reira it he scored his second driving victory in the five- race competition. In fact the Americans only won one race thus the drubbing. In his racr Riera put Simaz on the lead from the start and they passed the first stanza in :29.1. But as they were heading to the half Herbie Is Gone and the USA's Bernie Boland came charging on the outside on a dead run. He had made a break leaving and the trotter ran (like in off-stride) the entire mile. Perhaps a running Herbie Is Gone was beneficial to Riera in that he kept the challengers at bay. As the field headed to the halfway point Herbie Is Gone was in front of the field still on the limb but in the center off the track. Simaz then gained the lead again at the three quarters but at that point Sand Wyndham, driven by Miquel Capo was alongside Simaz and they raced as a team into the mid- stretch until Simaz pulled away and went on to a one length victory. Nowerland Nathan, with Spain's Bernardo Cirer, rallied to be second and Sand Wyndham faded and finished third.The Simaz is owned by Lynda Cruise and trained by Jimmy Cruise Jr. He paid $4.30 for win. "I guess it's easy for us to say that the Spaniards had the best horses but in reality they out-drove us," said USA team member, Alan Schwartz. "Maybe we can return the favor when we race against them in Mallorca later this fall." On Saturday the Spaniards will fly to south Florida for a three race competition at Pompano Park against members of the Florida Amateur Club. On Sunday they'll head for home in Mallorca. By John Manzi for NAADA

Making her second start back off a three-month layoff, Somenicebeach ($5.20) invaded from Yonkers to take Friday (June 5) evening's harness racing $14,000 Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   Mike Simons settled the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere mare off pacesetters Tipitina (Corey Braden) and K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart, Jr.), tracking loosely through a :56.3 half mile before commencing a first-over bid with three-eighths remaining. Somenicebeach responded instantly once Simons moved her off the pegs, accelerating after Tipitina through a :27.3 third quarter before edging clear on the far turn. A length in front at the eighth pole, Somenicebeach was driven out to hold clear, staving off a stout late charge from Mach It a Par (Dan Clements) for a 1:51.3 victory. K J's Caroline held third off her tracking trip.   Owner Sophie Desroches trains Somenicebeach, now a 10-time winner.   Earlier in the program, a quartet of Spanish amateur drivers competed against a group of their American counterparts, with Agustin Mascaro and Jaume Bassa notching a pair of victories for the visiting team. Mascaro controlled the pace with My Sweet Mandy ($13.40) in a 1:55.2 win in the opener over the blind-switched Puff Mommy (Bernardo Jaume) and Diamonds Princess (Bassa), while Bassa came back to win the second with Simaz ($4.30), rating sensible fractions before staving off a late charge from Nowerland Nathan (Jaume) and far-turn pressure from Sand Wyndham (Miquel Vich).   Live racing returns to Tioga on Saturday evening, with the first of nine live races scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Eastern time, shortly following the simulcast of the 147th Belmont Stakes.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Nichols, N.Y. - While American Pharoah's quest to be Thoroughbred racing's first Triple Crown winner in 37 years is sure to attract plenty of attention on Saturday (June 6), Tioga Downs offers special harness racing events on-track all weekend. Friday (June 5) evening's live program features the third round of the "Spain vs. America" amateur driving competition, with four reinsmen from Palma di Mallorca squaring off against a quartet of American amateurs. Veteran amateur drivers Alan Schwartz, Gerry Fielding, Bernie Boland, and Sam Sbarra represent the United States in the evening's first two races, while Jaume BASSA Riera (2001 European Apprentices Championship participant), Agustin MASCARO Pou (2006 Spanish amateur driving champion), Miquel VICH Capo (three-time Spanish amateur driving champion), and Bernardo JAUME Cirer. Post time for the eight-race Friday card is 6:15 p.m, with fans able to enter a month-long drawing for an all-expense paid trip to the Hambletonian, held in August at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. Saturday (June 6) evening's nine-race card will begin at 7:05 p.m., just after the simulcast of the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park. Racing fans can enter for the chance to win one of 10 $100 gasoline gift cards throughout the evening's races. Sunday's 11-race program begins at 1:30 p.m., and features the annual Tioga Downs Scholarship Race, made possible by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Assocation. Five local high school seniors have teamed up with Tioga Downs trainers over the past few weeks, working side-by-side with them in the mornings to learn the basics of horsemanship, racing strategy, and safety. Participating in the race are: Adam Layman (Tioga Central HS, to attend SUNY Broome for Engineering) Rachel Nelson (Vestal HS, to attend Morrisville State College for Equine Science) Kaylee Pandish (Binghamton HS, to attend SUNY Delhi for Veterinary Science) Kyle Pryor (Owego Free Academy, to attend SUNY Broome for Business and Marketing) Kate Reasons (Horseheads HS, to attend University of Rochester for Biology, Neuroscience, and Chemistry) The five students will race in two-seat jog carts alongside the professional horsemen with whom they have worked over the past weeks. Corey Braden, Edgar "Sparky" Clarke, John Cummings, Jr., Jason MacDougall, and Richard Simard will accompany the seniors for the non-wagering 5/8-mile dash. In all, $9700 in scholarships will be awarded to the five seniors, with first place good for $3200. For more information on racing, gaming, and entertainment at Tioga Downs, visit www.tiogadowns.com. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

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