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Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs announce a new format for the 2014 Drivers' Championship, scheduled to take place on a pair of marquee race days at both New York courses. The first round will take place at Vernon Downs on Friday, August 29, along with the $200,000e Crawford Farms Open Trot and the Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds. The second round is slated for Monday, September 1--three days later--at Tioga Downs, where the Drivers' Championship will share the spotlight with the Cane Pace, the Shady Daisy, and a preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility series for distaff trotters. Past years have seen the six top money-winning drivers in North America and a sponsor's exemption join the leading driver from both Tioga and Vernon, but the 2014 Drivers' Championship will implement a new means to compile the nine-driver field. This year, the leading drivers (by wins) at Tioga and Vernon will be joined by: - the top three (3) Meadowlands drivers (by purse earnings) - the top Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit driver - the top Harrah's Philadelphia/Pocono Downs driver - the top driver aged 25 or younger - a sponsor's exemption As of right now, the field would be comprised of Jim Marohn, Jr., Chris Lems, Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Tim Tetrick, Sylvain Filion, George Napolitano, Jr., Scott Zeron, and the sponsor's exemption. The field will be finalized according to drivers' statistics as of the close of racing on Sunday, August 3. As in past years, the overall winner takes home $25,000--equivalent to a driver's commission for winning a $1,000,000 race. Additionally, the leader at the conclusion of the first round wins $10,000. In addition to a slew of other giveaways and promotions, both tracks will host a Jim Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway in conjuction with the Drivers' Championship to commemorate last year's winner. With a healthy lead over Aaron Byron in the Tioga Downs standings, the "Mighty Mite Part Two" is poised to defend his title. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

After being left to chase Prairie Jaguar in last week's pacing feature, Fireyourguns ($4.70) proved a decisive pace-setting 1:50.3 winner in Sunday (July 27) afternoon's $14,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   The five-year-old American Ideal gelding left strongly, withstanding early pressure from Tell Us More (Larry Stalbaum) and Golden Gun (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :55.0 half mile before sprinting clear on the backstretch.   Entering the far turn, Aaron Byron called upon Fireyourguns for his strongest burst of speed, and he kicked clear of his rivals to lead by nearly six lengths in upper stretch. While Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) was able to mount a late bid from off the pace to take second, Fireyourguns was taken in hand through the final 100 yards, prevailing by 2-3/4 lengths.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 1) evening, with first post slated for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent.     While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend.  Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial.  For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Taking full advantage of a cozy pocket trip, Wisenheimer ($8.10) found ample room up the inside to defeat Dough Dough in Saturday (July 26) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs.   The five-year-old Revenue gelding achieved the early lead, but driver Jim Marohn, Jr. quickly yielded to the pocket, allowing 6-5 favorite Dough Dough (Mike Simons) to handle the pacesetting duties. While I Love New York (Bruce Clarke) advanced two-wide to force a strong :57.0 middle half, Dough Dough accelerated to maintain her advantage.   After reaching the three-quarter split in 1:24.4, Dough Dough was able to dismiss the challenge of I Love New York, but was softened up by the steady pressure. In the final hundred yards, Wisenheimer found room at the pegs to strike the front, prevailing by just over a neck in 1:53.4. Dough Dough held second, while House Money (Aaron Byron) sustained a three-wide bid off the far turn to take third.   Jenny Melander leases and trains Wisenheimer, who is now a 13-time winner.   The drive aboard Wisenheimer was one of three winners on the evening for Marohn, who again took top driving honors on the card.   Live racing returns to Tioga with an 11-race Sunday program. First post is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

Michael Pagonas's Inittowinafortune ($2.90) achieved an early lead and never looked back, scoring a decisive 3-3/4 length victory in Friday (July 25) evening's $14,000 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares at Tioga Downs.   The four-year-old Cams Fortune mare dueled briefly with Cloris Hanover (Brandon Simpson) before clearing the lead on the first turn en route to a sizzling :26.4 first quarter.   After Aaron Byron rated a :29.4 second quarter breather, the Michael Russo trainee sprinted away on the backstretch through a :27.0 third split, only to be chased in earnest by Cloris Hanover to the far turn. Inittowinafortune responded willingly to the pursuit, edging clear in the final 300 yards to win in 1:52.0.   Cloris Hanover was a clear second, while Dirty Girty (Mike Merton) sustained a late rally to narrowly take third from Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.).   Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers on the card with three wins.   Live racing resumes on Saturday (July 26) evening, with the first of nine races scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs   

After an early tussle with Fireyourguns, Prairie Jaguar ($5.10) made the front and did not look back, kicking clear to a four-length win in Sunday (July 20) afternoon's harness racing featured $14,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs.   The six-year-old Spy Hard gelding found himself embroiled in an early speed duel, forcing Fireyourguns into the pocket through a :26.2 initial quarter. After a conservative second quarter, Jim Marohn, Jr. called upon Prairie Jaguar to accelerate up the backstretch, with 6-5 favorite Fireyourguns keeping pace nicely from the pocket through a 1:23 three-quarter split. On the far turn, Aaron Byron angled Fireyourguns to the outside to challenge, but Prairie Jaguar dug in all the more, sprinting clear for a four-length win in 1:50.4. Fireyourguns held second, while Golden Gun (Tyler Buter) stayed on for third off a tracking trip.   Trainer Mike Deters co-owns Prairie Jaguar with Laurie Lee Poulin.   The win was one of three on the day for Marohn, who also proved victorious aboard T's Electric (another Mike Deters trainee) and Will Kane.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (July 25) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

July 20, 2014 – Sebastian K’s defeat in the Maple Leaf Trot broke many a handicappers’ heart but Anne Stepien managed to play the race right and as a result is the weekly champion in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. By having a net profit of $479.06 for the weekend, moving from 12th place to 10th.  Rusty Nash was second best with a net profit of $260 won in the Lawrence B. Sheppard ay Yonkers Raceway, moving up one slot to 13th place.  Although showing only a $5 profit for the week, Bob Zanakis remains in 1stplace with an overall net profit of $2,860.70, $517.20 ahead of 2nd place Brandon Valvo.   There were several key hits for the weekend.  Ray Garnett managed to break even for the weekend thanks to his three horse $10 Exacta Box ($60 total) in the Battle of Lake Erie, which paid $240.  Derick Giwner managed a symbolic $2 profit for the weekend thanks to his $80 Win wager in the Sheppard which paid $252.00.  Rusty Nash’s 2nd place finish came as a result of his $100 Win, Place ticket in the Sheppard which rewarded him with a $510 dividend.  The weekly champion, Ann Stepien managed to earn her victory wheeling Sebastian K in a $4 Key Exacta Box with 8 horses ($64), earning her $619.40.  Bob Zanakis made a $5 profit thanks to his $50 Win, Place ticket ($100) in the Yonkers stake which paid $255.00.  Here are the standings after Saturday night’s action. As of July 19, 2014 - Leg 18 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $5.00 $2,860.70   2nd Brandon Valvo ($210.00) $2,343.50 $517.20 3rd Derick Giwner $2.00 $417.17 $2,443.53 4th Ray Garnett $0.00 $233.85 $2,626.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $28.00 $2,832.70 6th Brian McEvoy $12.50 ($192.50) $3,053.20 7th Earl Paulson ($250.00) ($366.00) $3,226.70 8th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($798.00) $3,658.70 9th Josi Verlingieri ($150.00) ($830.40) $3,691.10 10th Ann Stepien $479.06 ($831.11) $3,691.81 11th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($925.00) $3,785.70 12th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,097.90) $3,958.60 13th Rusty Nash $260.00 ($1,872.40) $4,733.10 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,128.20) $4,988.90 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($3,703.40) $6,564.10 The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out visits the Meadows this weekend on Saturday, July 26, for the $400,000 Adios, $150,000 Adioo Volo, and the Arden Downs for 2yo pacers and 3yo trotters of both sexes. Further contest details may be found at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA

After a dominant 1:53.3 win in last week's sub-featured trotting event, Spice It Up Lindy ($6.50) sustained a first-over bid en route to a 1:54.3 triumph in Saturday (July 19) evening's $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 trot at Tioga Downs.   With the two mares in the field--As Ya'll Like It (Brandon Simpson) and Dough Dough (Mike Simons)--assuming the pacesetting duties with a circuit remaining and Spice It Up Lindy eight lengths off the lead while trailing the sextet, Jim Meittinis angled the 11-year-old SJ's Caviar gelding first-over, progressing steadily after a :57.1 half-mile and into a :27.4 third quarter.   On the far turn, Spice It Up Lindy turned up the pressure on As Ya'll Like It, taking the lead off the corner and kicking clear. In the final sixteenth, Dough Dough found room at the pegs to re-rally, but only got to within a length of Spice It Up Lindy. Mr Web Page (Aaron Byron) followed the winner's cover throughout, staying on for third.   Santo Zuzolo owns and trains Spice It Up Lindy, who scored his 30th career win.   The winning drive in the feature kicked off a hat trick on the evening for Meittinis, who tied Brandon Simpson with three driving wins on the night.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (July 20) afternoon, with the first of 11 races slated for 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs    

Of four New York Sire Stakes events held at Tioga Downs on Friday (July 18) evening, two-year-old sons of top trotting sire RC Royalty proved victorious in three of them.   The first division, carded as the $28,250 third race, saw Royal Lad (RC Royalty-Hostesswithmostess) kick cover off the far turn, rallying for a half-length win in 1:59.4 over Drinksforthehouse and Crazy Levi. Mike Simons drove Royal Lad in the 11-1 upset win for trainer Roman Lopez.   In the following race, Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art of Deception) made an aggressive brush to the lead with a circuit to go, widening his lead through the final three-eighths of the mile en route to a 7-3/4 length win over a late rallying Elusive Action and the first-over Commentary. Royal Deceptor, an easy winner at Buffalo in his career debut, returned a scant $2.70 to win with his effortless 1:58.2 performance. Michael McGivern handled the driving duties for trainer Cheryl McGivern.   The sixth race, devoid of RC Royalty progeny, was the next Sire Stakes event on the evening, with Mambo Blue Chip (Lucky Chucky-Flirty Two) prevailing after a slingshot move on the far turn propelled him to the lead off the far turn. He held on for a narrow 1:57.2 victory, digging in to just stave off 3-2 favorite Habitat, who was mounting a massive late rally after an early break. Jeff Gregory drove the 9-1 Mambo Blue Chip for trainer Linda Toscano.   George Ducharme trainee Wings of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) wrapped up the New York Sire Stakes portion of the program in the seventh race, edging clear for a three-length win in rein to Chris Lems. He held clear of Credit Creation and Azucar in a 1:57.4 mile, prevailing as the lukewarm 5-2 favorite.   Racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Saturday (July 19) evening, with a 13-race card set to kick off at 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2014 Buffalo Raceway live racing season comes to an end on Sunday afternoon but the track will close with a bang as the New York State Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies highlight the final card of the year.   There will be four $27,251 divisions of the Sire Stakes along a trio of $12,600 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,700 Excelsior B race in the 11-race program that is set for 1:05 p.m.   And while there be some talented filly trotters taking to the track, it's like a 'who's who' that will be driving them. Former Western New York regulars Jeff Gregory, Ray Schnittker, Jim Morrill Jr., John Stark Jr., Phil Fluet, Sam Schillaci and John Cummings Jr. all will be returning to Western New York for day. They'll be joined by others including Dan Daley, Chuck Connors Jr., Charlie Norris, Chris Lems, Gates Brunet, Jim Meittinis, Rick Zeron, Robert Shepherd, Jim Marohn Jr. and Tyler Raymer.   The Sire Stakes will be contested in the first, third, sixth and seventh races.   The first leg features Counsellor AS (Gregory) who has a 1-1/2 length win in the Excelsior A Series at Vernon Downs on June 26 in 2:00.1. Counsellor As (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) broke stride in her last appearance at Tioga Downs on July 11. She'll look to rebound starting from the three post as the 3-1 morning line choice.   Her main threat should come from 4-1 second choice Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Daring Marisa) who start from the four post. She has a pair of second place finishes in both of her pari-mutuel starts and will be handled by Connor Jr.   The second division has Betcha (Betcha-Ruccoucou) as the 3-1 choice with Daley in the bike. Betcha cruised to an easy two length decision in the $27,250 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 on July 11. She may play 'catch-me-if-you can' from the four spot.   The toughest leg could be the third which will go as the sixth race. It finds My Twisted Sister (Lucky Chucky-Pretzel Hanover) and Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) ready to battle it out.   My Twisted Sister (Morrill Jr.) showed plenty of heart in posting a neck victory in the $27,750 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 2:00 on July 11. She'll get the inside post and should get a perfect trip.   Barn Doll drew a tough post, the seventh spot, but can overcome it after posting a pair of big victories of more than three lengths in her last two starts, including 1:59.1 decision at Tioga on July 11 in the Sire Stakes. Barn Doll gets Jeff Gregory as her pilot.   The final division has Spell That (Conway Hall-Mouche Hanover) the 3-1 early choice with Sam Schillaci in the sulky. She was last seen on June 26 at Vernon Downs where she suffered a narrow neck defeat in the Sire Stakes. She'll start out of the six post.   The main threat could come from Northern Obsession (Conway Hall-Northernpossession). This 2-year-old has a pair of competitive third place finishes in two Sire Stakes starts and gets trainer-driver Ray Schnittker on the reins. They'll score from the three post.   For more information including simulcast schedule, race replays, results and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway      

It'll be a great afternoon of action on Monday, July 21 when Monticello Raceway features New York-bred 2 year old pacing colts and geldings. There will be five divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stakes which will be joined by five splits of freshmen colt pacers in the Excelsior Series who'll compete for total purses in excess of $50,000. The day will commence with arguably the best $21,800 NYSS division on the 13 race program when two speedy freshmen, Freedomformysoul and Rockntouch, clash in the first race on the card. Both were NYSS winners at Saratoga Raceway on July 12, and both with eye-opening performances. Freedomformysoul, a son of If I Can Dream-Hello Grin, in only his second lifetime start made a quarter pole move to the front and then bristled to a stunning 1:53.3 victory for driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. He'll start from the pole position again with Morrill in the bike. In his first lifetime start Rockntouch, sailed wire to wire for a splendid 1:55 triumph also with Morrill at the controls. However, on Monday Yannick Gingras will be in the pilot's seat when this son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Touch Of Bogart leaves from the two-hole Freedomformysoul is trained by Nancy Johansson for the Freedomformysoul Stable while Monte Gelrod conditions Rockntouch for Freddy Monteleone. In another NYSS division, race four on the card, the undefeated Oneisalonelynumber and Aimo Hanover will lock horns. Both pacers won their respective NYSS divisions at Saratoga in identical times of 1:57.3 Oneisaloneynumber, an altered son of Bettor's Delight-No One Is Alone is trained by Casie Coleman for the West Wins Stable and Adriano Sorella while Aimo Hanover, an Artiscape colt out of Allamerican Celeb, is owned by the Doug Ackerman Stable and trained by D.R. Ackerman. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will drive the former while Jeff Gregory will handle the latter. In a third split, race eight, K Ryan Bluechip gets the nod as the early line favorite. He was a close second to Freedomformysoul at Saratoga officially timed in 1:54.1. The son of Art Major-Fool That I Am won a baby race at Pocono Downs in 1:54.2 on June 20. Joe Pavia, Jr. trains and drives K Ryan Bluechip for Steve Held, Joe Barbera, the AGC Stable, and Harbor Point Hospitality. They will leave from post four on Monday afternoon. Then fourth split, race 10, will feature K-Rock, a Rock N Roll Heaven-Sunduel A colt who was 1:55.1 NYSS winner at Saratoga for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. From the powerful Ron Burke Stable K-rock will be driven by Yannick Gingras when they start from post three. JD He's Da Bomb, who earlier this season won two baby races at Tioga Downs- the fastest in 1:57.1- will be the one to beat in the final NYSS division which will go as race 12. Blocked and beaten just a length in his NYSS split at Saratoga and individually timed in 1:55.4 the Art Major-Cherry Bomb colt will leave from the pole position with Corey Braden at the lines. Paul Bernardo trains JD He's Da Bomb for Joe Martinelli. "These sire stakes races appear to have some of the best pacing colts we've ever seen, especially at this time of the year," noted Eric Warner the track's Sr. Director of Racing. "Fans will be in for a pleasurable afternoon." The undercard also features some nice colts in three Excelsior "A" divisions and two Excelsior "B" divisions. They'll be joined by three overnight events. The 13-race card will get underway at 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Tioga Downs extends an invitation to all horsemen and owners participating at Tioga Downs to join us in the annual horsemen's golf outing on Saturday, August 9. The golf outing will be contested in the four-man scramble format, and will take place at Pheasant Hills in Owego, New York with an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start. A steak dinner and prize ceremony at the course will follow the golf outing. The tournament is free for all horsemen and owners. To sign up, please email Garrett Madison atgmadison@tiogadowns.com or call him at 607.699.7691. We hope that you will make plans to join us on Saturday morning (August 9) for golf, and also on Sunday afternoon (August 10) for racing at 1:30 p.m. featuring divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacers, and the final for the $250,000 estimated Empire Breeders Classic, which features the top three-year-old pacing colts and fillies sired in New York. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit us online at www.tiogadowns.com. From Tioga Downs racing media

Over the weekend both Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff added points to their seasonal totals each winning their respective C.K.G. Billings trotting events; Ehrenberg with TK's Karma at Scioto Downs in the midwest region and Hechkoff with Get Packin at Tioga Downs in the east. In his Midwest region event at Scioto Downs on Friday (July 11) Ehrenberg took advantage of starting from post five with TK's Karma inside of the betting favorite Catching Kate, driven by "Marvelous Marv" Raber, had to leave from post eight. In doing so Ehrenberg hustled his trotter to the lead in a :27.4 first quarter while Raber settled Catching Kate down along the pylons but in eighth position. Ehrenberg kept TK's Karma moving right along on the front end while Raber had to begin to grind toward the leader as the field headed for the half. Catching Kate finally drew even with TK's Karma as the field approached the final turn but in the lane it was all TK's Karma as the 8 year old daughter of Victory Sam trotted away to a two length victory in a time of 1:57.2. Catching Kate held on for second while What Do You Want finished third for Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen. TK's Karma, owned and trained by Terry Millhoan, paid $12.20 for win. And for Ehrenberg it was his 43rd amateur driving victory. Meanwhile the following day (July 12) at Tioga Downs in non-wagering eastern region action Bob Hechkoff and Get Packin made it two in a row in Billings competition when they survived a tight three-horse photo and garnered first money in a time of 1:59.4. Hechkoff had Get Packin on the lead and they rebuffed all challenges and especially the one rallied by Mr. Jim Dandy and Dave "Yes It's True" Offenberg who came from sixth at the top of the lane and passed everyone but the winner who was a head better at the wire. Just another nose farther back in third place was Dreamnwillie driven by "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. Get Packin is trained by Brandon Simpson and owned by Hechkoff, who drove his fourth winner this season and his 48th of his amateur driving career. by John Manzi, for the CKG Bilings Amateur Drivers Series

After facing stout pressure in a :27.0 third quarter, Fireyourguns ($4.70) held sway in the stretch to take the featured $14,000 Open Pace on Sunday (July 13) afternoon at Tioga Downs.   The five-year-old American Ideal gelding wasted no time finding the top spot, clearing Bet On the Law (Tyler Buter) and Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) on the first turn. After rating a :57.0 half-mile, Fireyourguns was pushed along up the backstretch by Bet On the Law, who vacated the pocket with three-eighths to go. He sustained his push through the far turn, forcing a three-quarter split of 1:24.0, but Fireyourguns was up for the task, digging in the whole way to protect his lead. He prevailed by a half-length in 1:53.0, holding off a stand-side charge from Prairie Jaguar, who angled three-wide off the late duel to take second. Bet On the Law stayed on for third.   Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe. The win aboard Fireyourguns was one of three on the day for driver Aaron Byron, who also teamed up with Cool Like Fire (1:55.4) and 46-1 longshot winner P H Thunder (1:56.2).   Jim Marohn, Jr. led all drivers on the day with a grand slam, turning in victorious efforts with Hurricane Howard (1:54.4), Oh My Joepa (1:55.0), Jolly Lester (1:55.2), and Western Trademark (1:55.0).   Live racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Friday, July 18, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

July 13, 2014 - Meadowlands Pace night provided six contest races for HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Most of the handicappers availed themselves of more than one race to play but Bob Zanakis had the patience to wait until the Meadowlands Pace while Garnet Barnsdale decided to play only the first contest race, the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Patience was the word as these two handicappers exploded last night with Zanakis using his weekly gain of $2,925.20 to jump from fifth place to first , while Barnsdale rung up a $1,040 profit to move from twelfth to eighth place. Six other handicappers showed positive results to a lesser degree for the weekend. With Zanakis' performance, he now shows a net profit for the contest of $2,855.70, leading previous leader Brandon Valvo by $302.20. Zanakis unloaded on the Meadowlands Pace by earning $1,053.20 on the Meadowlands Pace Superfecta by playing $144 in $1 Supefecta tickets. Zanakis earned $2,272 by playing $240 in $5 Trifecta tickets. As for Barnsdale, he earned $1,440 by playing $400 on a an exacta of Father Patrick and Nuncio straight. When the day was over, Barnsdale showed a contest net profit of -$548. Other notable plays for the evening were successful. Derick Giwner scored $180 by playing a $50 Exacta on the Stanley Dancer Memorial. Ann Stepien's $48 in $2 Trifecta tickets on the Meadowlands Pace paid a dividend of $454.40. Handicapper Brandon Valvo played in the Stanley Dancer Memorial a $10 Exacta ($60 total) which paid $154; a $90 win wager in the William R. Haughton Memorial pad $180; a $100 win ticket on the Meadowlands Pace paid $310. In the Del Miller Memorial, Josi Verlinigeri $100 place ticket paid $390 and her $.50 Superfecta ($60 total) paid $313.50. As a result of last night's performance, the standings have had some movement. Here are the standings after last night's action. As of July 12, 2014 - Leg 17 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $2,925.20 $2,855.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $244.00 $2,553.50 $302.20 3rd Derick Giwner $20.00 $415.17 $2,440.53 4th Mark McKelvie ($390.00) $278.00 $2,577.70 5th Ray Garnett ($275.50) $233.85 $2,621.85 6th Earl Paulson $2.50 ($116.00) $2,971.70 7th Brian McEvoy $12.50 ($205.00) $3,060.70 8th Garnet Barnsdale $1,040.00 ($548.00) $3,403.70 9th Sally Hinckley ($102.00) ($675.00) $3,530.70 10th Josi Verlingieri $303.35 ($680.40) $3,536.10 11th Gordon Waterstone ($292.00) ($847.90) $3,703.60 12th Ann Stepien $398.83 ($1,310.17) $4,165.87 13th Dennis O'Hara ($390.00) ($1,878.20) $4,733.90 14th Rusty Nash ($260.00) ($2,132.40) $4,988.10 15th Ray Cotolo ($352.00) ($3,453.40) $6,309.10 The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out visits three tracks this Saturday, July 19, starting at Northfield Park for the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie. The Shoot-Out then moves on to Yonkers Raceway for the $125,000 Lawrence B Sheppard for 2yos and Mohawk for the highly-anticipated $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Further contest details may be found at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA  

While Aaron Byron scored a Saturday (July 12) night grand slam at Tioga Downs, he could only muster second honors in the evening's featured $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 Trot, as I Love New York ($18.40) dug in through the stretch to narrowly prevail.   The six-year-old Broadway Hall entire brushed to the lead after Obrigado (Aaron Byron) pushed clear in a :28.4 first quarter, rating a :57.4 middle half before facing pressure on the far turn. With 300 yards to go, I Love New York dug in to turn aside the first-over Stitch in Time (Jim Marohn, Jr.), and dug in late to stave off an inside rally from Obrigado, prevailing narrowly in 1:55.2. Trainer-driver Bruce Clarke co-owns I Love New York with John Coffey and Patricia Waldeck.   While I Love New York took top trotting honors on the night, Aaron Byron took top driving honors, teaming up with Muscles to Spare (1:57.3), B L Class Act (1:55.3), Joann's Princess (1:57.0), and Clearwater Hanover (1:55.1) for his quartet of wins on the card.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs with an 11-race Sunday (July 13) afternoon card. First post is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

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