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Batavia, NY---Horses trained by Tracy Brainard and driven by Jim Morrill Jr. have been tough to beat over the years and Saturday night (Sept. 10) at Batavia Downs was no exception. That dynamic harness racing duo swept both 3-year-old pacing filly divisions of the New York Sires Stakes and claimed the winner's share of $119,300 in purses. In the first $60,200 division, Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) was used early and late before grinding out a victory down the lane. Milky Way Rae left for the lead but was pursued from the outside by American Ivy (Dan Daley) through a :27.3 quarter. By the three-eighths America Ivy had taken a seat third allowing the leader a breather and a :56 half. But before Milky Way Rae could get too comfortable, No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) had pulled from fourth with Dime A Dance (Drew Monti) right behind her. As the trio paced by three-quarters in 1:25, No Clouds Bluechip stalled and Dime A Dance went three-wide around her in the last turn. Starting with a two-length deficit at the top of the stretch, Dime A Dance put on a ferocious drive and took it to the leader, but Milky Way Rae fended off the challenge to win by a nose in 1:54.4. "The race shaped up good for her because she likes to rock on the front" said Morrill. "I thought she could go in 1:52 tonight on this track but it didn't come to that." It was the fifth win of the year for Milky Way Rae ($13.20) and it boosted her 2016 earnings to $86,674 for owner Fortunate One LLC. The second $59,100 leg saw Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All you Want) trip-out for the win and give the Morrill/Brainard team their second winner's circle presentation. Wishy Washy Girl left and dropped in second behind Time On My Hands (Ray Fisher Jr.) who was rolling from the pylons. But despite the two being ahead of the field by a good ten lengths, Morrill pulled and tried to go to the front, cutting the quarter in :27. However Fisher would have none of that and he pushed his filly on and made Morrill see-saw his back into the hole. Between the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4, Art Critic (Drew Monti) pulled and drew alongside Wishy Washy Girl. At the same time, Fisher was highly animated in urging on the front-running Time On My Hands who was clearly running out of gas. This locked in Wishy Washy Girl who was raging with pace until the top of the lane. When the passing lane finally opened up, Morrill popped Wishy Washy Girl through the opening and sped to an instant two-length lead and won in 1:54.4. "She was good but she would have been a lot better if they went 1:22 to three-quarters" Morrill explained. "That's why I came out of the two-hole at the quarter, because when they go too slow she's tough to hold. She was crawling over that horse around the last turn; she was very good." The win gave Wishy Washy Girl three for the year and the purse enriched her bank account to $82,328 for owners Michael Cimaglio and Stephen Demeter. There were also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on the card. Ghost Runner (Art Major-Spirit Of The West) was an easy wire to wire winner in 1:54.1 for Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Erv Miller. Ghost runner ($2.30) is owned by Dr. Scott Leaf, Deborah Mackenzie, Gerald Fielding and Tom Jackson. The Morrill/Miller combo also took the second division with Rolling Going Gone (Roll With Joe-Long Gone) in 1:58, and once again wire to wire. Rolling Going Gone ($2.30) is owned by Ross Bonafield. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. ended the night winning five races.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Jim Morrill, Jr, driving Milky Way Rae, set a new track record of 1:53.4 for three year old pacing fillies at Goshen Historic Track on July 1, 2016. The prior record was set in 2014 record of 1:54.1 and was held held by Spreester.   The daughter of American Ideal actually broke before the start of the $15,000 division of the NY Excelsior race, but regrouped and was still able wire the field, winning by three and one-half lengths. She is owned and bred by the Fortunate One Stable of New York and is trained by Tracy Brainard.    The victory was one of four winners on the program for driver Jim Morrill, Jr.    by Geri Schwarz, for Historic Track      

Now that we're in the heart of the 2015 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the schedule provides five nights of racing each week. That means that it's harder than ever to choose who's deserving of the Weekly Awards, because there are even more candidates from which to select. But we're going to take a deep dive anyway and come up with the best of the best from the week that was at Pocono. PACER OF THE WEEK: CAUTION SIGNS It's been a lot of fun to chart the ascendancy of this 5-year-old stallion in 2015. On April 16, he finished third in a $12,500 claimer at Yonkers. That's when he was claimed by owner/trainer Tracy Brainard, who immediately coaxed better efforts from the horse in New York, as he won two of his next three starts. But that was nothing compared to the run of success he's put together at Pocono. Since arriving at the end of May, Caution Signs has four wins and two places in six races, all while climbing the highest rungs of the condition ladder. On July 4, he completed his climb by beating Open pacers in 1:48:4, his third straight win. On Saturday night he took on Open company again and a field that was reduced to four by a couple of scratches. Although that might have seemed like an easy assignment, Caution Signs was dealing with a sloppy track. And, as he took the early lead, he was also dealing with a horse in Scott Rocks who sat the pocket and wouldn't let him get away to a comfortable margin. In the stretch, Scott Rocks came out of the pocket full of sound and fury looking to upend the even-money favorite. But no horse wins as consistently as Caution Signs has of late without being more than a little game. The stallion, with Joe Pavia Jr. doing the driving, fought hard to hold on to his lead, eventually winning by a neck in 1:49:4, a blistering time considering the sloppy going. Something tells me you wouldn't be able to get Caution Signs for $12,500 right now, or maybe even five times that, considering his current hot streak. Other top pacers this week include: Priceless Edition (Anthony Napolitano, Pierre Paradis), an 11-year-old veteran who cranked out his third straight claiming handicap on Friday night, this one coming in 1:54:4 Union Man Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, Tracy Brainard), who moved up his claiming price on Saturday night to $25,000 and still easily scored his third straight victory, this one in 1:51:4 in the slop. Request For Parole (Anthony Napolitano, Ron Burke), a mare who followed up a win at The Meadowlands with a victory in Friday night's featured pace in 1:49:2, the fastest time posted at Pocono this past week. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: AUSPICIOUS HANOVER When I'm making the morning line odds for some of the top condition races on the card at Pocono, it's always difficult to assign long odds to horses with strong performance backgrounds. There have to be long shots in every race, of course, so I grit my teeth and hope the public sees it the same way . That's my way of explaining how a horse as solid as Auspicious Hanover could ever get away at 25-1 like he did on Saturday night. The 4-year-old gelding from the Chris Oakes barn was coming into the condition trot for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races, which carried the week's top trotting purse of $24,000, off a 6th-place finish at Saratoga, but that was in an Open Handicap. Prior to that he had ripped off back-to-back wins at middling prices on the 5/8-mile oval at Harrah's. Yet he was way back in the betting pecking order, with Madewell Hanover the even-money choice. None of that mattered once the race started. Driver Kevin Wallis urged Auspicious Hanover to the lead at the quarter in a zippy :26:4. He was able to rate things much more reasonably through the middle portion of the race though, so that Auspicious Hanover didn't just withstand the late pursuit of Madewell Hanover, but he actually lengthened the lead at the line to 2 ¼ lengths with a winning time of 1:54:1 in the slop. The win payout was $53.20 on a $2 ticket, so those who waded through the talented field to find the merits of this talented gelding were definitely rewarded. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Can I Say (Tom Jackson, Douglas Berkeley), a mare who beat the boys in a tough condition race on Saturday night in 1:54:1 in the slop. Demons N Diamonds (Simon Allard, John McDermott), a filly who stepped up in class on Sunday night and ripped off her second straight win, this one in a career-best time of 1:54. Born To Fight (George Napolitano Jr., Mark Ford), who stepped up in class on Tuesday night to win his second straight condition won, this one coming in 1:55:2 in the slop. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: BLINTZ This filly made here maiden victory a memorable one on Sunday night, scoring for trainer/driver Bob Krivelin at 55-1, paying off $118 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. On Saturday night we honored George Nap for picking up his 7,000th career victory earlier in the week at Harrah's, and he reminded us of how he reached that milestone by winning the night's first three races. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TRACY BRAINARD Brainard's efficiency at Pocono has been off the charts in recent weeks, and two more victories on Saturday continued that torrid training streak. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA -- The rise and rise of Caution Signs continued at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday, as he won his fourth straight race, and second straight Open, at the harness racing mountain oval, tonight in 1:49.2 over a less-than-prime track on a cooling and wet evening.   The son of Dream Maker was sent right to the front by Joe Pavia Jr., putting up a split of 26.1 to open, and he then came home in 55.1 - 27.2 in the off going to hold off Scott Rocks by a neck, with Blatantly Best third.   The five-year-old was eligible to "non-winners of 5 races lifetime" when claimed for $12,500 at Yonkers on April 16 by owner/trainer Tracy Brainard. Since then Caution Signs has climbed the class ladder while posting a 10-7-3-0 record, earning $92,925 in the three-month period.   A pair of $24,000 co-features, one on each gait, also took to the track Saturday after the rains had come and the temperature cooled. Auspicious Hanover upped his 2015 record with trotting hopples to 3-4, and Pennsylvania record with them to 3-3, when he won wire-to-wire in 1:54.1 for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes. The altered son of Andover Hall, driven by Kevin Wallis, returned $53.20 to win despite beating a very similar crew at Harrah's Philadelphia two races back.   Wallis almost swept the underfeatures, but his charge Mustang Art came up 3/4 of a length to Sparky Mark, a 1:50.4 winner in the pacing event. The winning son of Astreos made an early move to command and held sway to the wire, nudging his bankroll ever-closer to seven figures, with the current total $941,556. Simon Allard guided Sparky Mark for trainer/brother Rene and owners Kapildeo Singh and Michael Assante.   PHHA / Pocono      

Vernon Downs held harness racing Finals in eight divisions of the New York Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night with purses totaling $360,000.   The 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings were first up and provided an 11-1 upset with Commissioner Daley (Conway Hall-Irish Washerwoman) storming through the stretch once he got into the clear and rolling right past Genius At Work late to win in a final time of 1:55.2.   Commissioner Daley is owned by Ann-Mari Daley of Lake Worth, Florida and Michael White of Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Dan Daley is the trainer-driver.   2-year-old trotting fillies were up next and, as opposed to the first of the eight Finals, this one went according to form as 3-5 favorite Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) took the lead in mid-stretch and held off a strong closing kick from Morcredit Bluechip to score a victory in 1:57.   Barn Girl is owned by Steven and Nancy Pratt of Corfu, New York. The trainer is Howard Okusko and she was driven to victory by Jeff Gregory on Saturday night.   Freshman trotting colts & geldings provided the most exciting stretch drive of the night as part of a 5-1 entry, Progression (Credit Winner-Ens Curious), came through an opening on the inside left when the favored Crazshana drifted out in the lane. Progression's final time was 1:57.4.   Progression is owned by Leigh Raymer, who also trains, of Delaware, Stephen Moss of Pennsylvania, Harold and Helane Solomon of New York. Mark MacDonald was the driver on Saturday night.   The sophomore pacing filly race was won in gate-to-wire fashion by Expose (Artiscape-Good News Lady). She took the lead immediately and never was headed again as she triumphed in 1:52.4   Expose is owned by Linwood Higgins of Scarborough, Maine and Stake Your Claim Stable of Seacaucus, New Jersey. Linda Toscano trains and Jim Morrill Jr. was the winning driver.   Archetto Hanover (Bettor's Delight-Arts Masterpiece) took the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace after rallying past the favored Murder He Wrote at the top of the stretch. He went on to win by a length in a final time of 1:51.4   Archetto Hanover is owned by Paymaq Racing of Illinois, Greg Gillis of Ontario, Canada, and Louis Willinger of Kentucky. The trainer is Erv Miller and the winning driver was Marcus Miller.   2-year-old pacing colts and geldings might have provided one of the more impressive wins of the night from Artistic Major (Art Major-Western Dancer). Artistic Major (Brent Holland) made the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away to win by four lengths in a time of 1:52.4.   Artistic Major is owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio of Ohio and Steve Elliott of New Jersey. Steve Elliott doubles as the trainer.   Freshman pacing fillies followed that and Rock Me Gently (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cam Swifty) prevailed in what turned into a clustered finish with multiple horses ending up close together. The final time was 1:55.   Rock Me Gently is owned by Old Block Stables Inc. and Kenneth Klein of New York and The Fra Stable LLC of New Jersey. The trainer is Steve Elliott.   The final Final of the Excelsior "A" Series on Saturday night was 3-year-old trotting fillies and the winner was Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) with Jim Morrill Jr. driving. She took the lead right away and cruised to an easy victory by nine lengths in a final time of 1:56.3   Dreamsteeler is owned by Andrew Herzog of Monticello, New York and Tracy Brainard is the trainer.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Thursday night with an 11-race program. Post time is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity

Batavia, NY - The stars of tomorrow will be on display Sunday (Aug. 17) in four divisions of the $110,000 New York Sire Stake 2-year-old filly trot at Batavia Downs. The first $27,250 NYSS division is programed as race two. Concentration (Conway Hall-Super Starlet) has five NYSS starts to date with two wins and two seconds. Her only miss was at Buffalo when she made a break off the gate from post eight and never got involved. Concentration's seasonal mark is 1:58.2 at Vernon Downs and she is currently second in points on the leader board for this series. She draws post three in here for driver Chris Lems and trainer George Ducharme. Summer Scent (Malabar Man-Summer Hit) is coming off her fastest race time of the year but was also unable to take advantage of a pocket trip to get a victory like she did the week before. She is a very capable trotter over the small track and her 2:00.3 victory at Yonkers is evidence of that. Summer Scent hasn't missed a check in sire stake action and that has put $31,464 in her bank. Driver Dan Daley can use his fillies closing ability to track what looks to be some fast early fractions. Frou Frou (Conway Hall-Nowerland Hana) has four lifetime starts and all four were in NYSS action. After winning the first at Vernon Downs in 1:58.1, she finished a fast closing second in her last two. The Tony Alagna trained trotter has gone off the prohibitive favorite in all of her starts and will look to return to that early winning form in this latest attempt for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. Race four is the second division and they will vie for $27,750. Betcha (Cash Hall-Sienna) has been showing good form for trainer/driver Dan Daley all year. She has two wins and a second in five NYSS efforts with a lifetime mark of 1:59.4 at Tioga Downs. Her good work has put $41,393 on her card as well. She is third overall in points and has proven she can win both in front and from behind and can handle any size track. She once again draws an inside post (2) and looks to be a solid contender. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Lavern Lavec) won her first lifetime start in NYSS action at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 and subsequently has three consecutive second place finishes for her efforts. But two of those were in this series and she came up short to the top two points' leaders respectively in each start. Like Betcha, Nunkeri is a handy horse and can race from any spot in the field. Mark MacDonald, who sat behind her in her lone victory and who had a big day at Batavia on August 1, will be in the bike for trainer Jonas Czernyson this week. Dancewithme Chuck (Lucky Chucky-Vail) and Counsellor AS (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) are both coming off NYSS victories last week at Saratoga Raceway and will be looking to further develop that success. The third leg goes for $27,250 and is carded as race six. Miss B'Ville (RC Royalty-South Jersey Angel) is a bit of an enigma, but a formidable force none the less. She trotted the best race of her life in NYSS action last week at Saratoga, winning wire-to-wire in 1:59.2 from the rail. The start before that, she made a break at Yonkers leaving from the same post. She also has a score at Buffalo Raceway in July and those victories bulked her earnings to $31,749 this year. The formidable training/driving team of Tracy Brainard and Jim Morrill Jr. will bring Miss B'Ville to the gate looking to notch win number three. Hot Start (Lucky Chucky-Mallelujah) raced against world record holder Mission Brief at the Meadowlands in an elimination of the Merrie Annabelle stake on July 25. That race went in 1:53.2 and Hot Start was obviously not ready for that kind of speed at this point of her career. However she did trot in 1:57 herself in that race and knocked over a second off her previous start over the same track. In her only half mile track encounter, Hot Start made a break in the first turn at Saratoga as she seemed to over-trot herself. How she handles the half at Batavia this week remains to be seen. The trainer/driver team of Czernyson and MacDonald send Hot Start to post. The fourth and final NYSS split goes for $27,750 and is listed as the eighth race. The prohibitive morning line favorite at 8-5 is Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and she was given that designation for good reason. She had strung four straight wins before last week, with her best effort a 1:59.1 victory at Yonkers. She is the top point getter in the sire stakes this year for her sex and gait for trainer Steve Pratt. Last week she made an uncharacteristic break in the first turn at Saratoga as the heavy 1-9 favorite and that took her completely out of contention. This week she draws the rail and driver Jeff Gregory will look to make amends for the only start she didn't hit the board all year. Pig Hunt (Conway Hall-Chippewa Street) has been red hot lately, scoring back-to-back round trip victories for trainer Janice Conner. Her 1:59.4 seasonal mark was also at Yonkers and her $45,981 earned is second best in this field. Although she drew post seven and lost Brennan for this start, there will be no lack of talent behind her in the bike as she picks up Jim Morrill Jr. There are also three divisions of the Excelsior Series worth a total of $38,000 on the twelve race card that features a trot in every event. Post time for Sunday's races is 1:15. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

The weather was far from perfect for the Batavia Downs leg of the New York Sire Stake 3-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday (Aug. 13) as premature autumnal conditions presented cold temperatures, rain and a track rated as "good". But the tough got going and in one race, a major upset was the result. In the first $59,100 NYSS division, Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) was sent off as the even-money favorite and proved her backers correct as she made a big move at the half and cruised home victorious. Off the gate, L Dees Scripture (Chris Lems) left for the lead and quickly faced a strong challenge from Oh Sweet Penelope (Dan Daley) up the backside. But just before the quarter that challenger made a break so Lems then guided L Dees Scripture unabated to the half in 1:01. At that point Avalicious was out and rolling from fourth with Jim Morrill Jr. at the lines to push the issue before swooping by the leader to take command at the three-quarters in 1:30.3. Once they cleared, Morrill gave the filly her head and she trotted away in easy fashion to win in 2:00.4. Beauty Of Gray (Jim Meittinis) shook loose for second and Lindys Crazy Dolly (Jeff Gregory) who was aired out hung on for third. Avalicious paid $4.30 to win for owners Michelle Crawford, Albert Crawford and Patricia Crawford. This was her fourth win in 11 starts this year and it pushed her earnings to $148,640 for trainer Ron Burke. The second $59,100 split saw a major upset occur when 1-9 favorite Market Rally made a break attempting to take an early lead. When the car pulled away to start the race, Driving Miss Crazy (Gates Brunet) and Gammy's Girl (Jim Meittinis) both left and got away 1-2 as they straightened out up the backstretch. Market Rally (Jim Morrill Jr.) had tucked fourth off the wings to let the field settle, but then was pulled and started rolling past the eighth pole. As they passed the quarter in :30 flat, Market Rally got ahead of the front runner to take the lead. But just as soon as she crossed over she made a break and ended up last, spotting the new leader about 10 lengths. That leader (Driving Miss Crazy) tended to her task, carrying the field to the half in 1:01.1 and the three-quarters in 1:30.4. After a dull outer-flow offered no challenge through the middle fractions, Annie's List (Tyler Buter) managed to overtake second and a still last Market Rally then tipped three-high around fading horses to start making up ground. As they straightened out for the stretch drive, Brunet was working Driving Miss Crazy to stay alert on the lead, Buter was urging Annie's List to catch her and Morrill was working Market Rally to make up lost ground. After a good stretch drive, the trio hit the wire a length apart from each other with Driving Miss Crazy victorious in 2:00.4. In a tight photo for place, Market Rally did in fact rally for second and Annie's List was third. In the shadow of the overwhelming favorite, Driving Miss Crazy was let go at 10-1 and paid $22.60 to those who supported her. This was the sixth win in 13 starts for Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) who has now earned $124,017 in 2014 for trainer Gates Brunet and owners Theodore Gewertz, Y Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card and chalk bettors were in heaven as favorites dominated both races. Right after the $12,600 first division started, Little Baby Peanut (Jeff Gregory) and Twist Of Faith (Tyler Buter) both made breaks as the group motored into the first turn. That left Classic Belisima (Gates Brunet) on a loose lead with Do You Believe (Jim Morrill Jr.) getting the trip as the group went single-file to the quarter in :30.4 and the half in 1:02.2. Past the five-eighths Morrill pulled the pocket sitter and drew even with Classic Belisima and the two went stride for stride around the entire last turn. When they straightened out, Do You Believe proved to be the better horse as she pulled away to a two-length victory in 2:01.4. Classic Belisima hung on for second and Ginny And Tonic (Ray Fisher Jr.) got up for third. Do You Believe paid $2.30 as the heavy favorite for owners Brian Doolittle and Leigh Raymer, who also trains the filly. In the second $12,700 division, Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) turned in the fastest time of any of the stake races during the night, be they NYSS or Excelsior, in a dominating performance for trainer Tracy Brainard. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. eased Dreamsteeler out of the gate and took his time getting to the front. But once they got there the filly was brave and Morrill had his hands full rating the mile. However he did a perfect job as they scooted through even fractions of :30, 1:00 and 1:30. Down the lane, Morrill sat chilly as Dreamsteeler just jogged home in 1.59.4. How Bout Cash (Chris Lems) and Slice Slice Baby (Tyler Buter) completed the top three finishers in that order. Dreamsteeler went off 1-9 and paid $2.20 to win. It was her sixth win in seven starts and brought the 2014 Excelsior points leading filly's coffers up to $34,950. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. brought home four winners on the night and Gates Brunet and Tyler Buter both piloted doubles. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 15) with a 6:35 pm post. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- The $118,200 New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies invades Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 13) and features the top series performer of the year so far for her sex and gait. Market Rally (Cash Hall-Supreme Dish) enters the night riding a five race winning streak, all in NYSS competition. Her dominance of this group is reflected in the combined 21 length total margin of victory over the course of those races. To date, Market Rally is currently the top point-getter in her division of the NYSS, doubling her nearest competitor. She has won purses amounting to $218,025 and has taken a lifetime mark of 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs for trainer Ron Burke. That $218,025 purse total ranks her fourth in North America for purses won by 3-year-old trotting fillies and eighth for earnings by 3-year-old trotters of either sex. In her last two starts at Yonkers and Saratoga Raceway, Market Rally's win times were 1:56.4 and 1:55.4 respectively. The Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies is 1:57.2 set by Cowgirl Hall in 2012 and then equalled by Bouncing Bax in 2013. So the track record has a very good chance of being reset on Wednesday night. Market Rally will be driven by leading NYSS reinsman Jim Morrill Jr. and has been installed as the track handicapper's prohibitive morning-line favorite at 1-5. Annies List (Conway Hall-Lasting Forever) is the second highest money-earner in this race ($126,273) but has a penchant for finishing second (6 out of 9 starts). She likes to race from off the pace and has solid final quarter speed. Starting in this short field and having Market Rally to give her live cover in an outer flow, Annies List is a definite threat for trainer Amber Buter and driver Tyler Buter. Driving Miss Crazy (Crazed-Schare Hall) has been racing sharp of late for trainer-driver Gates Brunet. She won at Saratoga in 1:57.2 two starts back and tried to out-foot Market Rally last week as she cut the mile at Yonkers. A similar pattern looks to be taking shape here and her success seems dependenton how fast the fractions go. The first $59,100 division is a wide open affair that has 8-5 Avalicious co-favored with 9-5 Beauty Of Gray. Avalicious (RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers) won an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic and finished second in the $217,725 final at Vernon Downs in June. Since that start the filly has encountered some breaking issues in two of her last five starts. Road trouble in her last two further cost her success. Beauty Of Gray (Conway Hall-Armbro Sparkle) has raced well but has not been able to get across first at all in 2014. She has four seconds on her card in her last five outings and has earned just under $100,000 for the year. Jim Meittinis has driven Beauty Of Gray in every start this year and will try to garner her first win of the season for trainer Tommy Anderson. Trainer Julie Miller has a stable entry in the race and that two-for-one offering has been made a 2-1 morning selection. L Dees Scripture (Credit Winner-Graceful Way) and Maud Blue Chip (Credit Winner-Queen Of The Moor) will start from posts one and five respectively and have some of the faster race times on their card in recent outings. L Dees Scripture has only one win this year and that was over a sloppy track at Yonkers on July 14. She has faced Market Rally in four of her last five starts and is getting some definite post relief this week as well and that may be all she needs to score win number two. Maud Blue Chip made her first start for the Miller Stable just three starts ago and has finished third on all three occasions. However she was raced timed faster in each start and should be in a decent stalking position at the end of the mile. There are also two divisions of the Excelsior A Series on the card going for a total of $25,300. In the first division Leigh Raymer's Do You Believe (Crazed-Believe Hanover) has been made the 8-5 morning line choice and in the second split, 8-5 early favorite Dreamsteeler (Cash Hall-Dream Street) brings her three race winning streak to town for trainer Tracy Brainard. Both horses will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Racing fans unable to attend the races Wednesday night can watch the entire NYSS filled program on Time Warner Cable channel 98, in Rochester and the surrounding counties. Post time for the 12 race card is 6:35. By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs  

There were longshots galore in the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Two year old filly trotters were in town and comprised five divisions of the $32,700 Sire Stakes for freshman highsteppers. There was only one favorite who prevailed among stakes fillies on Wednesday as Pig Hunt (Conway Hall) scored a convincing win for driver George Brennan in 2:01.1 at odds of 1-5. The fastest winner of the night for the freshman fillies was Miss B’ville J (Rc Royalty) who wired the field for Jim Morrill Jr in 1:59.2. It was the second victory on the season and easily a new lifetime mark for the Tracy Brainard-trained filly. Miss B’ville J went off at odds of 5-1. Three longshots won the remaining three stakes races as Concentration (Conway Hall) upset for driver Chris Lems at 16-1, Counsellor As (Conway Hall) prevailed for reinsman Marcus Johansson at 17-1 and Dancewithme Chuck (Lucky Chucky) scored at odds of 19-1 with Charlie Norris in the sulky. The New York Sire Stakes return to Saratoga on Saturday August 16th, the same night that the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Free-For-All Pace will take place. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.   Mike Sardella

Batavia, NY - Three divisions of the New York Sire Stake for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings highlighted the Sunday afternoon card and it didn't take long for the youngsters to impress the crowd. Prohibitive post time favorite All Bets Off put on a clinic in winning the first division of the $116,900 sophomore stake and rewrote the record book in the process. Leaving from post five, All Bets Off went right to the front and was never headed. In fact, for most of the mile no one could keep up with him. Driver Matt Kakaley set fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.1 as he sped for the last turn. At that point All Bets Off found a new gear and pulled away to an unprompted eight-length victory in 1:51.2, which set a new track record for a 3-year-old colt and was only one-fifth shy of tying the all-age track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. All Bets Off, who returned $2.60 for the win, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, the Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell and is trained by Ron Burke. The win was his sixth of the year and raised his lifetime earnings to $497,842. The second division looked like it might break the record just set. After settling in second off the gate, 3-5 favorite Winds Of Change (Jim Morrill Jr.) bolted from the hole and shot to the top with a 6 length advantage at the quarter in :26.4. He was in command at the half in 54.1 with a gapped 10 length lead but the pack started reeling him in at the three-quarters. After the leader hit that post in 1:22.4, Forty Five Red (Matt Kakaley) who had come first-over caught the leader by the top of the turn, but Moliere Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was right on his back and it became a two horse race all the way down the stretch. After a hard fought duel, Moliere Hanover won a neck decision over Forty Five Red in 1:53.3 The time was a new lifetime mark for Moliere Hanover who was overlooked by the betting public and returned $24.20. Moliere Hanover is owned by Baymond Racing LLC and is trained by P.J. Fraley. The final split was won by Big Boy Dreams (Jason Bartlett) who presented his best outing of the year. Leaving from post five, Big Boy Dreams immediately took the lead and was never headed. After getting to the three-quarters in 1:25, Bartlett stretched out in the bike and simply urged the colt along with a few taps down the lane where the others attempt to catch him became futile. The mile time of 1:52.4 was a seasonal mark for Big Boy Dreams who returned $3.60 as the favorite. Big Boy Dreams is owned by Dominick Rosato and is trained by Tracy Brainard. There were also two divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior A series on the undercard. The first was won by Murder He Wrote, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. in a time of 1:55.2 for owner Camelot Stable and trainer Linda Toscano. Murder He wrote returned $3.80. The second division went to Archetto Hanover who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:54.2 for owner Paymaq Racing, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Erv Miller trains Archetto Hanover who paid $7.60. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his driving domination as he registered five wins and two seconds on the 12 race card. Morrill is by far the top driver in the New York Sire Stake series and on the year as a whole, sports a gaudy .406 UDR. Racing resumes Wednesday evening (7-30) at Batavia Downs with a 6:35 post time. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia downs

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was closing day at Buffalo Raceway Sunday afternoon (July 20) and the 2-year-old filly trotters in the New York Sire Stakes tried but couldn't beat their divisional track record of 2:00.2 held by Munis Blue Chip from 2009.   So while the standard still stands tall, there were some good efforts with the fastest times of the four $27,251 divisions going to Betcha and Barn Doll who covered the mile over the fast track in 2:01.2. The other winners were Cherry Crown Jewel (2:02.2) and Miss B'Ville J (2:02.0).   In the opening division, Cherry Crown Jewel inherited the lead after Counselor AS (Jeff Gregory) broke stride around the second turn and was never threatened the rest of the way.   "I really didn't want Jeff's horse (Counselor AS) to get the lead but when they broke, we got back on top and it was nice and easy then," winning driver/trainer Dan Daley said. "She's a nice filly and could do well in the Sire Stakes."   Cherry Crown Jewel ($11.40) was easily able to hold off the mild rally mounted by second place finisher Dancewithme Chuck (Charlie Norris), who finished 1-1/2 lengths back, while Stories To Tell (Chris Lems) trotted into third.   The winning time was 2:02.2 and it was the first win in three starts for Cherry Crown Jewel (RC Royalty-Nowerland Kristen).   Daley made it two straight in the Sire Stakes when he guided Betcha ($4.40) to an convincing 3/4 length triumph over Stirling Debutant (Rick Zeron) in 2:01.2 in the second leg. It was the second straight Sire Stakes win for Betcha.   It was a perfectly rated journey for Betcha (Cash Hall-Sienna) as she followed the live cover of Stirling Debutant and exploded three-wide through the stretch to score the victory by 3/4 expanding lengths in 2:01.2.   Daley said of Betcha, "We didn't think she'd be anything special but she keeps chugging along and wants to be a race horse."   Barn Doll (Gregory) was much the best in the third division as smartly trotted past Kaliska (Ray Schnittker) under little urging and posted the two length decision in 2:01.2. Zanna Blu (Gates Brunet) rolled into the show position.   "She's a very well-mannered filly," Gregory said of Barn Doll. "She's done everything they've asked of her. They (owners Purple Haze Stables and Steven and Nancy Pratt) are going to make a lot of money with her."   It was the third victory in four career starts for Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and increased her seasonal earnings to $36,357.   The final division saw Miss B'Ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) use the 'lightning lane' and beat the front-stepping Northern Obession (Schnittker) by a neck in 2:02.   Northern Obession set the tempo with times of 30.3, 1:01.4 and 1:32.2 but had Miss B'Ville J ($4.70) breathing down her neck the entire mile. In the lane, Morrill Jr. dropped Miss B'Ville inside and she responded to post the neck victory.   Owned by KJ Stables and trained by Tracy Brainard, it was the first trip to the winner's circle in three tries for Miss B'Ville J (RC Royalty-South Jersey Angel).   In the $12,600 Excelsior Class A races, Define Royalty (Chris Lems) took the first division in 2:04 and returned $4.20. Barn Girl (Greogry) won the second leg in 2:02.1 and paid $4.60 while in the last leg, The Cuse pulled the surprise ($13.20) as John Stark Jr. sent the winner wire-to-wire in 2:03.2.   The $6,700 Excelsior B series race was won by Untangled Cash (Gregory) and took the victory in 2:05.1 and paid $4.10.   The live racing schedule is now completed for the 2014 season. Simulcasting will continue throughout the remainder of the year at Buffalo Raceway with live racing expected resume in January of 2015.   For simulcast schedule, race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway    

After a stint in the breeding shed, 7-year-old trotter Wishing Stone is ready to make his 2014 harness racing debut in a conditioned handicap Friday at the Meadowlands. Wishing Stone received post 10 in the race and is 9-2 on the morning line. He enters the race off one qualifier, a 1:55.2 effort on June 20 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Undercover Strike is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Mistery Woman at 7-2 and Spider Blue Chip at 4-1. Wishing Stone stood as a stallion at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. He fulfilled contracts for 331 doses of frozen semen overseas as well as being bred to some 30 mares in North America. Although it is common for trotters overseas to breed and race in the same season, that is not the case in North America. Some well-known successes abroad include Ready Cash, who is France's richest trotter in history in addition to being a popular sire, and Coktail Jet and Mack Lobell, who both won the prestigious Elitloppet after performing stud duties. "It's a fun experiment and I think it's going to work," said Mike Gulotta, the CEO of Deo Volente Farms and head of the Wishing Stone Syndicate ownership group. "Actually, the first part of it has worked. We're excited." Gulotta hopes to see Wishing Stone get a boost as a stallion thanks to a new bonus program at the Meadowlands for New Jersey-sired horses. "I think now that people see that things will be changing in New Jersey, there will be a lot more interest in him and other Jersey stallions next year," Gulotta said. "Sometimes people need to see that something is actually happening in order to commit." Wishing Stone is well known in Europe, having competed there at ages 4 and 5. In 2011, he won the French trotting race Grand Prix du Sud Ouest at 1-5/16 mile and also the King's Trophy in Sweden. He was second in the Gran Premio Continentale in Italy. A year later, he captured the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark at a distance of 1-1/4 mile. He finished his European campaign with a second-place finish in the Jubilee Trophy for 5-year-old trotters in Sweden. He returned to the U.S. in August 2012 to continue his career in North America. Lifetime, Wishing Stone has won 21 of 69 races and earned $2.23 million, making him the richest offspring of sire Conway Hall. He has won multiple stakes in the U.S., including the 2010 Kentucky Futurity in straight heats at Lexington's Red Mile. "We'll see now how he races," Gulotta said. "He looks good. I think he's gained weight and grown up a little, actually, which may be helpful to him. We're happy." To read a Hoof Beats magazine story about Wishing Stone's double duty, click here. * * * JK Endofanera, the No. 1-ranked horse on the Road to the Meadowlands Pace, is entered in Friday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands. The colt, which captured the North America Cup on June 21, has won eight of 12 career races and never finished worse than third. The Ron Burke-trainee has earned $913,517 for owner 3 Brothers Stable. He is not the only Meadowlands Pace eligible in the qualifier. He is joined by Jimmy Takter-trained Lyonssomewhere, who was fifth in the North America Cup, as well as Joe Holloway's Always B Miki, Tracy Brainard's Big Boy Dreams, and Ron Coyne Jr.'s National Debt. Lyonssomewhere is No. 4 and Always B Miki is No. 7 in the Meadowlands Pace rankings. Big Boy Dreams, who was second to He's Watching in last year's New York Sire Stakes championship, has not raced in 2014. Eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace will be held July 5 and the $650,000 final is July 12. Elsewhere, Boomboom Ballykeel, who won last year's Metro Pace, is in the first of three divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday. Boomboom Ballykeel has one win, which came in the sire stakes in May, in three starts this season. He is trained by Richard Moreau. The second division includes Meadowlands Pace eligibles Bugger Bruiser, trained by Carmen Auciello, and Erv Miller's Jet Airway while the third division has Ian Moore's Play It Again Sam. Three horses eligible to the Meadowlands Pace are competing in the same New York Sire Stakes division Friday at Buffalo Raceway - Patrick Lachance's Sir Sam's Z Tam, Mark Ford's Twin B Speedo, and P.J. Fraley's Ideal Cowboy. * * * In addition to the previously mentioned horses qualifying Friday at the Meadowlands, Bee A Magician, Royalty For Life, Shebestingin, and Cee Bee Yes will be among others in action. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is winless in three starts this season and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk. Trainer Nifty Norman told Trot Insider the mare scoped sick following the Armbro Flight and would start next against her male counterparts in the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters on July 5 at the Meadowlands. Last year, Bee A Magician's wins included the Hambletonian Oaks. Also being pointed to the Hambletonian Maturity is 2013 Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life. * * Levy Memorial Series champion P H Supercam will look to snap a four-race losing streak in Saturday's open handicap at Yonkers Raceway. The race also includes Heston Blue Chip and last week's winner Digital Z Tam. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications U.S. Trotting Association

On Saturday night, Source Of Pride (American Ideal) became the first horse to win as many as two Open Paces this year at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Tracy Brainard-trainee announced his presence in the Saturday feature with authority last week as he not only prevailed in his first try against the top horses the track has to offer but did so in 1:52, the fastest mile of the season at the Spa. Bruce Aldrich Jr. piloted Source Of Pride once again on Saturday and had to settle for a first over journey to the race's favorite Eighteen (Billy Dobson). Source Of Pride wore down the public choice and emerged with a 1:52.3 victory. His win not only made him the first two-time winner of the Open Pace this year but made him the first horse to win back-to-back Opens since March of 2013. Longshot Recent News (Shawn Gray) closed to be second in the $17,000 feature while Eighteen held on for third. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Source Of Pride (American Ideal) stepped up into the Open Pace for the first time on Saturday night at Saratoga. The Tracy Brainard trainee came into the $17,000 harness racing feature on a three race win streak. Bruce Aldrich Jr.piloted the four year old and moved him to the early lead after a sizzling open quarter of 26.4. The fractions didn't slow down for Source Of Pride but he had enough left in the tank to seal the deal for the first Open win of his young career. The victory came in 1:52 which served as the fastest mile of the year to date on a warm spring night in Saratoga. Lets Rock Together (Billy Dobson) sat the pocket and finished second in the feature while Spinarama (Austin Siegelman) earned the show spot. Source Of Pride was the race's even money favorite and led an exacta that returned a chalky $6.80. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee kicking off at 12:45pm. Melissa Simser  

The final racing nights in April at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs were marked by cold, windy, and rainy conditions that tested the grit and determination of our horses and drivers. We can only hope that the weather is going to turn for the better, but it's a testament to the caliber of racing at our track that the competition was as electric as it was despite such adverse conditions. Here is a look back at the past four racing nights as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: UP FRONT TIM T Most of the time the horses that win these Weekly Awards come from the upper classes and are often the favorites or close to it in their respective groups. Yet the recent achievements of Up Front Tim T, a 7-year-old stallion trained by Bruce Lundstrom, have maybe been more impressive than most if only because he has been so unheralded on his hot streak against the $5,000 claimers. It started on April 13, when Up Front Tim T rallied from far back early to win by a head as a 16-1 shot. He followed that up on May 22 with another late-kicking win, this time a bit more moderately priced but still a mild surprise at 4-1. On Tuesday night, his biggest obstacle was a #6 post position, which meant that he might be shuffled too far back for his late move if he stayed on the inside. Driver Tyler Buter, who was aboard for the previous three wins, sent Up Front Tim T on the outside on the back stretch, taking on some extra distance but giving his horse a chance to uncork his late move. In the stretch, the stallion blew by the leaders and came home a winner going away in 1:55:3, a time skewed by sloppy conditions. This time he was a 6-1 shot, meaning that he's picked up three wins in a row without being the favorite once. Unheralded, yes, but, of late, also unstoppable. Other top pacers this week include: American Shuttle (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a mare who ripped off her Third Straight win over the $15,000 claimers on Sunday night in a career best 1:51:3; Schoolkids (Brett Miller, Tracy Brainard), whose condition win on Saturday night came in 1:50, the fastest pacing time of the week; and Bestnotlie Hanover (Anthony Napolitano, Douglas Berkeley), who won his second straight and third in his last four with a claiming victory on Saturday night in 1:51:1. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: A CROWN FOR LINDY Anyone who knows anything about the trotting game knows that the constant possibility that even the very best of them might go off-stride makes every trot a bit of a nail-biter. As a result, sometimes it's not the flashiest or even the fastest of trotters who gets to the winner's circle with regularity, it's the one who's steady, consistent, and gives itself a chance week in and week out. A Crown For Lindy has found that consistency in his last couple starts. On April 13, he overcame a tough outside post to find the pocket and upset a $7,500 claiming group in a career-best 1:55:4. On Sunday night, the 8-year-old gelding from the Brad Irvine barn had a better post but also moved up into the more rugged $10,000 claiming group, which seemed like a tough test. One by one, horses made their play for the front end in the race, only to break stride. Meanwhile A Crown For Lindy, with Don Irvine Jr. in the bike, stayed flat and strong, eventually making his way to the front for the victory in 1:57. That makes two in a row for the veteran trotter, who has demonstrated in this mini-streak that, for the trotters, steadiness is sometimes as important as speed. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: War Cry Hall (Howard Parker, Jim Raymer), who won a condition trot on Wednesday night against a tough group in 1:56 in the slop; Wind Of The North (Mike Simons, Clifton Green) who posted the best trotting time of the week by a wide margin with a condition in on Saturday night in 1:54:1; and Majestic Stone (Scott Zeron, Bucky Angle Jr.), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition victory in the slop on Wednesday night in 1:56:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: EMBASSY SEELSTER Off-tracks often lead to long shot winners, and that was the case on Wednesday night, when Brett Miller rallied this mare to a claiming handicap pacing win at 22-1, paying off $46.80 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Simon Allard Simon really caught fire in the second half of 2013 at Pocono, and he has continued that hot streak this year. He picked up five wins this week, including a triple on Sunday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Daryl Bier Bier, who is also known as an excellent driver, came up with three training wins this week, including a double on Tuesday and a win with Bandolito on Saturday in the featured Preferred pace. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs    

Muscle Beachboy (Somebeachsomewhere) became the fifth horse to win the Open Pace in five seasonal Opens at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Tracy Brainard-trained pacer went out to the early lead and had to withstand sizzling fractions on a chilly Saturday night before having plenty left in the stretch. Dan Cappello Jr piloted Muscle Beachboy to the 1:54.2, a win time that matched the fastest of the young season at the Spa. Spinarama (Austin Siegelman) finished second in the $18,190 feature while Village Jackson (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Muscle Beachboy, the race’s morning line favorite, returned $8.40 to win. By Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

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