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Batavia, NY --- After only one year of competing full time on the New York Sire Stake (NYSS) harness racing circuit, Tyler Buter claimed his first driving title in the series as its top reinsman for both wins and earnings. In a category long dominated by Hall of Famer Wally Hennessy and Jim Morrill Jr., Buter hopes to become as familiar a name driving champion New York-bred Standardbreds as theirs. Buter will be a busy man on Saturday (Sept. 14) when he returns to Batavia Downs for the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions. A native of Michigan, Tyler Buter has been one of the most consistent and sought after drivers in the northeast over the past 10 years. The 34-year-old Manchester native started driving at age 17 and got his first win at the Gladwin Fair in his home state in 2002 with a horse named I Luv My Pasture. Earlier this year he hit his career milestone 3,000th win with Daddy Let Me Drive at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and in between he has spent time perfecting his craft at tracks in Michigan and Chicago before moving to Monticello, Yonkers and the Meadowlands while earning over $38 million in purses. Currently calling the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono home, Buter still does often compete at the other venues. But an event that occurred this past February that affected both his personal and professional life prompted him to make a career-changing decision. "Earlier this year my longtime owner and friend Gene Oldford passed away and a lot of things changed. After discussing it with my family I decided to get away from running a stable and focus on driving full time," said Buter. "And as it turned out, many of the trainers I have been driving for had horses in the NYSS and I made the decision to commit to making all the dates and it's worked out well for me." Buter had made some sporadic starts in the series before this year but 2019 was the first time he committed his whole summer to it. "There are some excellent horses coming out of New York; the breeding is great and the competition is second to none. I've enjoyed this year and look forward to driving here again next year," said Buter. And based on his results in the bike, the connections of the New York-bred horses he drives are looking forward to it as well. Buter posted 25 wins out of 87 starts and had a stellar .390 Universal Driver Rating (UDR) as a result of hitting the board over 50% of the time in the NYSS and that gave him just over $1 million in purses for those starts. When asked about winning the driving title, Buter was quick to praise his competition and not focus on himself. "Jason (Bartlett, 2017 leading driver) and Jimmy (Morrill, 2018 leading driver) and myself have put in a lot of miles this year and it was a great competition right to the end. All the guys who compete here are tough and make you earn every dollar and that makes you better as a driver," said Buter. Although he missed a lot of starts with overnight horses during the summer, Buter realized something he truly enjoys in his new role. "I really like racing 2- and 3-year-olds. I like helping them to develop and seeing when the light bulb comes on in their head as they mature. That's when they finally get it and move forward. And it's very gratifying to know you had a part in that growth." The $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions that are comprised of eight $225,000 races will be held at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14) with a first race post time of 6 p.m. The draw for that card is on Wednesday (Sept. 11) at noon and will be streamed live on the NYSS website as well as both the NYSS and Batavia Downs Facebook pages. Batavia native and New York State Assemblyman Stephen M. Hawley will serve as the honorary drawmaster. There will be two $7,500 guaranteed pools in both the early and late Pick-4 wagers that night and both will be all-stake Pick-4's (races 3-6 and races 7-10). The pools are part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and free program pages will be available on the USTA's website and through links on the Batavia Downs Facebook page when they become available. Free full card programs will also be available for download from the Daily Racing Form starting Thursday. There will be a T-shirt giveaway courtesy of the NYSS on Saturday night as well. Fans attending the races live only need to swipe their Player's Club card at guest services starting at 4:30 p.m. to receive a ticket to get their shirt after the seventh race. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 29, 2019--Here's one that can't lose...guaranteed or your non-wagering money cheerfully refunded. Yonkers Raceway Thursday night (Aug. 29th) hosts a good, old-fashioned walkover. The 3-year-old pacing gelding It's Rigged (punchline optional) has the honors at about 5:30 PM in a $6,100 New York Sire Stakes Excelsior 'B' event. Tyler Buter, who began the day at 3,209 career wins, is reasonably certain to get another one. It's Rigged, a homebred Riggins gelding, enters with three wins and four seconds in his nine seasonal starts ($13,100). He's owned by Last Hurrah Stable and trained by Eldo Leonelli. Ironically, it's the second consecutive season the Raceway has hosted a walkover. The 3-year-old statebred pacing filly Windsun Magnolia and Jim Marohn Jr. made it look easy last September, disposing of her no rivals in a life-best 1:58. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Trenton, NJ -- David Miller may not be driving one of the more well-known horses in Saturday's (Aug. 3) Hambletonian at The Meadowlands, but he will be driving for one of the more high-profile owners in the race. Miller will be in the sulky behind Reign Of Honor, who has two wins in 21 lifetime races along with four seconds and three thirds. He has won a total of $294,550. This year, Reign Of Honor has one win in the second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. He is a son of Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma. While those figures may appear modest when compared to much of the field, the horse will have a pretty famous rooting section at The Meadowlands, as one of his owners is Jennifer Dalton. Fans of Bravo Network will remember Dalton appearing in Pregnant in Heels in 2012 and one year later she was a season-long guest star in The Real Housewives of New Jersey. A friend of Teresa Giudice, one of the show's top stars, Jennifer is also a Sotheby's realtor who appeared on the show while trying to sell a home for Melissa and Joe Gorga, and she counts Lil' Kim as one of her best friends. And when the gate goes up Saturday, Reign Of Honor will have the Housewives on hand to lend vocal support. "All the Housewives crew are going to be there," Dalton said. "The producer wants to do a show with the horses." It's a show that no one would have thought possible just five years ago. Dalton had no interest in horses for most of her life until one day she went to a race at Yonkers, where John Campbell drove her girlfriend's horse. As they were stuck in traffic while leaving, she saw the horse trailers and became obsessed. Rolling down the window she yelled out to a trainer, who happened to be Pat Lachance. He invited her to see the horses and the two became friends. Soon after, she entered the Meadowlands' "Own a Horse" promotion and "won" 10 percent of UF Fast Feelin. Her first race as an owner was Jan. 2, 2016 and she never looked back. In fact, once the contest ended, she claimed the horse. The horse was eventually claimed from Dalton, which broke her heart. "I never owned a claimer again," she said. "I cried." Once Jennifer got involved in Standardbreds, she discovered a different kind of tension than that which occurred amidst the Housewives controversies. "There's drama in both," she said. "But Housewives of New Jersey I got paid. This one, I pay so much money for horses and training, and you just hope you get paid back." Dalton now has a stable of 19 horses at trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's New Jersey barn. Most of them have something in common -- they honor Jennifer's 5-year-old daughter. "All my horses are named after her," she said. "When you see a 'Reign' somewhere, it comes from us," Dalton's boyfriend Mike Herrera added. Several years ago, Dalton actually brought a horse to Reign's school for show-and-tell. "She had me driving around in a tractor and trailer in Edgewater, N.J., right under the George Washington Bridge," Herrera recalled. Jennifer has completely immersed herself into harness racing. A striking, stylish woman who always looks her best, she surprises folks when they see her cleaning out the stalls. After attending several Hambletonians it became a dream for her to enter a horse in the race. She and Norman staked Reign Of Honor and made the call to enter him. "I'm so happy," said Dalton, who owns the horse with Deo Volente Farms, Tom Pontone, and Kentuckiana Racing Stable. "This horse is so good, he really is. I love this horse." The Hambo is a great morale lifter for Dalton, who suffered a serious stroke at the beginning of last year. She is able to walk and live an everyday life, but is still undergoing speech therapy, and her memory has issues at times. "It was serious, but I'm OK now," she said. Jennifer thinks her horse, who is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Reynolds Memorial and drew the four hole in the second elimination, is pretty OK as well. She and Mike playfully joke about his chances in the Hambo. "You know what, he's a real nice horse, but he's been second to Greenshoe (in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final)," Herrera said. "I don't think we can beat that horse right now. To be honest, I think we're racing for second place." He then directed his conversation to Dalton, saying with a laugh, "You know that; you're a professional, you know that. "A couple of years ago she would have been like 'My horse is the best,' but she realizes the business now, she understands the numbers. I'm just keeping it real." And what is Dalton's version of real? "I want to go for it all!" she said. Either way, it's a big day for the couple. "Imagine," Herrera said, "going from a 10 claimer to a Hambo horse." Sounds like a made-for-TV saga. Mr. Vicktor deserves shot at Hambletonian Tyler Buter doesn't know if his horse can win the Hambletonian, but he knows darn well that he deserves the opportunity to try. Buter will be driving Mr Vicktor out of the five hole in the first elimination Saturday, and he is certain the horse belongs in the field of outstanding competitors. "I thought so early on in the year," Buter said. "They sold him to (trainer) Jennifer Lappe and (husband) John Kokinos and that was the main reason they bought him, to have a horse with the potential to race in the Hambletonian. The only time other than last week that he's been beat was against Gimpanzee, who is one of the top two to win the Hambo in my eyes. When you can keep up and race well against one of the top trotters in the country, there's no reason to believe that he doesn't belong in the Hambletonian." In nine starts this year, Mr Vicktor (RC Royalty-Hawaiian Vicky) has won six and finished second twice. His two seconds were both to Gimpanzee. He made his first Meadowlands start -- in fact, his first start outside of New York -- on July 27 and finished 12th after making a break in the Reynolds. He has rebounded from an abbreviated 2-year-old season, in which he was shut down after breathing issues surfaced. There have been no such issues this season, and Buter felt the Reynolds clunker was an aberration. "He's had a great year; his start last week, I would just throw it out," he said. "It was unfortunate. It was a 12-horse field, two trailers, horses going everywhere in the first turn. It didn't work out. I would not even take that start into consideration and look forward to this week. "He's really good gaited and he has a desire to race. As soon as you turn him to the gate, he wants to go. He's a very willing horse. He's always showed up every week to race." The horse is also owned by Robert Santagata, Diamond Pride LLC (baseball legend Joe Torre) and Joe Lee, and Lee praises the way Buter handles the horse. This will be the driver's Hambletonian debut, although he won the Townsend Ackerman Stakes with Two AM on Hambletonian Day in 2017. "This is something you always look forward to growing up," he said. "It's what you work for. For the trotters, it's the biggest race. It's what you strive for, what you work for all your life. The chance to drive in it at (age) 33 is pretty cool, I think." Forbidden Trade ready for the Hambletonian  Bob McClure won the Dr. John R. Steele Memorial with Dream Together on Hambletonian Day last year, so it was jokingly suggested to him it should be no problem to win his Hambo debut this year. "I wouldn't say that," McClure said with a laugh. "It takes a lot of horsepower and good luck. But it's fun when it does come together." McClure will try and have his fun driving Forbidden Trade out of the one hole in the second elimination. The horse has four wins and two seconds in six starts this year, good for $122,956 in earnings. Last year he won seven of 11 starts and earned $236,244 in winning the O'Brien Award as the top 2-year-old trotting colt of the Year in Canada. The son of Kadabra-Pure Ivory is trained by Luc Blais for owner Serge Godin's Determination Stable. "I don't think he's disappointed anybody yet," McClure said. "He's only been beaten twice. The first time he was on a half (-mile track) and the next time he got locked in. He almost got out to beat Pilot Discretion (in the $185,250 Goodtimes final at Woodbine Mohawk Park). I think every race he's had, he's improved and couldn't be going into the Hambo any better. "I think the sky is the limit for him. He's been a professional from day one. He's made my job easy. If he's in any position to win he usually gets the job done. He's been fun to drive all year. I think he has the potential to be a top Grand Circuit horse." McClure likes Forbidden Trade's versatility, nothing that as a 2-year-old "he just chased horses," and that this year, "out of nowhere in the Goodtimes elim, I left with him. He's very handy either way. He doesn't have a preferred style." On April 25, McClure suffered a broken pelvis in an accident during qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and returned to the sulky May 23 using a hyperbaric chamber three to four times a week to aid his recovery. After all that, needless to say Saturday is a big day for the 28-year-old. "It's exciting," he said. "I definitely never would have thought this two years ago. But I wouldn't be here without Determination Stable. That's a big contribution to it all. I owe it all to them." As for whether last year's Steele victory can help him, McClure said, "It doesn't hurt. Last year we went into it kind of green, but came out OK. I think as long as you've got some good horses and some confidence, you'll be OK." ​by Rich Fisher, for the USTA  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- American Mercury ($6.50) overcame the outside post to start the race then overwhelmed Major March in the stretch to collect the harness racing victory in the $118,800 New York Sire Stakes event for the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (June 5).   Covering the mile in 1:52.4, in was the second straight NYSS victory for American Mercury.   "It's a steep hill to climb from the eight post here at Buffalo," Buter said after the race. "I left hard with him but when things straightened up, I let the leaders soften each other up."   Starting from the outside, American Mercury was able to use some early speed and drop into fourth heading up the backstretch the first time. Major March, Melodies Major and Price Hanover showed no mercy toward each other as they battled for early control.   With a smoking opening panel of :26.4 put up by Major March (Jason Bartlett), American Mercury went first over and was able to come to even terms with the pace-setter at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the meantime, the remaining six entrants found those splits too hot and started to retreat.   It boiled down to a match race in the stretch as American Mercury was just too strong for Major March and never looked back in scoring the 1-3/4-length win. Reigning Deo (Jim Morrill Jr), the 2-year-old NYSS champion, was third 10-1/4 lengths behind.   Trained by Chris Oakes and co-owned by Crawford Farms, Northfork Racing Stable, C. Pompey and S. Bice, it was the third win in fourth tries this season for American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover). The gelding has now earned $105,050 this season and $142,670 lifetime.   There were two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series. Buter drove Quake Blue Chip ($3.00) to the opening bracket triumph with a neck score over Murrow Boy (Bartlett) in 1:55.3. Buter made it a sweep at this level with a half-length win aboard Rickybobbynthehaus ($4.10). They beat the front-stepping Rollonhighway (Morrill Jr.) in 1:56.3.   The $6,600 Excelsior B Series race saw McNulty Z Tam (Pat Lachance) register a head victory over Dancing To Heaven (Shawn McDonough) in 1:57.3 and return $2.50 to his backers.   Buter and Billy Davis Jr. completed the evening with triples while Oakes had three training victories and Sabrina Clevenger two.   Racing will resume on Friday evening at 5 p.m. with a 12-race card slated.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek for Buffalo Raceway

Rebellious (Tyler Buter) captures the featured harness racing Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 2). Rebellious ($4.90) took the lead before hitting the first quarter in :26.3.  He continued to control the pace hitting the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:23.3. Rebellious, who is owned by Joel Warner and trainer Mike Deters, was joined in the stretch by Ideal Feeling (Wally Hennessey).  The two would battle all the way down the stretch.  Ideal Feeling came hard but Rebellious dug in and held on to win in 1:52.1.  Ideal Feeling had to settle for second.  Rockntouch (Mike Simons) finished third. Rebellious is a 5-year-old gelding by Mach Three.  It was his fourth win of 2019.  He now has 23 career victories. Tyler Buter drove three winners on the day.  He teamed up again with trainer Mike Deters getting a win with Hulking ($18.60).  His other win came with Tangled Mind ($28.60). There is no racing at Tioga Downs on Friday (June 7) because of the Chubby Checker concert.  Live racing returns on Saturday (June 8) starting at 6:15 p.m.  There will be afternoon racing on both Sunday (June 9) and Monday (June 10) with a post time of 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com.   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Gimapazee (Brian Sears) wins the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) final ($215,200) for sophomore trotting colts and geldings at Vernon Downs on a special Memorial Day matinee (May 27). He won his 3-year-old harness racing debut and is a perfect 10 for 10 in his career. Mr Vicktor (Tyler Buter) went to the front and was followed in second by Cavill Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) with Gimpanzee ($2.10) in third. Mr Vicktor put up all the early numbers (:28.0, :57.3, 1:25.1). Gimapanzee, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant inc. and S R F Stable, went first over from third just before the final turn. He would be second after three-quarters and battle Mr Vicktor for the lead. He would take over in the stretch but Mr Vicktor would battle back gamely. Gimpanzee found another gear and put him away to win easily in a lifetime best of 1:54.0. Mr Vicktor would settle for second as Travel Winner (Trevor Henry) came up to finish third. Gimpanzee is a 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven. Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) captures EBC final ($209,500) for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) led the way to a first quarter of :27.3. Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer) took over just after the first quarter. She would lead to the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Quincy Blue Chip ($3.40), who is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and trained by Gareth Dowse, went second over as they went around the final turn. She went three-wide at the top of the stretch and flew home to a win in 1:55.0. Sensibility (Scott Zeron) charged late to finish second. Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) was third. Quincy Blue Chip                                         --Fotowon photo Quincy Blue Chip is a 3-year-old filly by Chapter Seven. She picked up her third win of the season. She now owns seven career victories. St Somewhere (Matt Kakaley) and Zero Tolerance (David Miller) each won legs of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Both divisions raced for a purse of $58.700. In the first division St Somewhere ($10.00) came charging late to nip the late rush of second place finisher, Meghan Lynn (Joe Bongiorno) to win in 1:52.1. JK American Beauty (Scott Zeron) was third best. St Somewhere is a 3-year-old filly by American Ideal. Trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing, P Collura, J&T Silva-Purnell&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. It was win number two of 2019. She now owns seven career victories. In the second division Zero Tolerance ($2.10) went flying in the stretch to overtake second place finisher DD Delicious (Matt Kakaley) to win in 1:51.3. So Awesome (Brian Sears) picked up third money. Zero Tolerance is a 3-year-old filly by Heston Blue Chip. She is trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz. It was her second win this season and career win number nine. Zero Tolerance                                  -Fotowon photo David Miller won three more on the card. He got his other wins with Sports Column ($2.70), Gussy's Realdeal ($22.60), and Fool Me Again ($5.80). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 31) with 13 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Vernon Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - In wet weather and over a worsening harness racing surface Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Millies Possesion remained undefeated in her career and after three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes preliminaries for three-year-old trotting fillies, triumphing in one of three $55,168 PaSS divisions, while the four $20,000 Stallion Series sections were divided equally between drivers George Napolitano Jr. (who also won a Sire Stakes) and Tyler Buter. Millies Possesion showed a great deal of fortitude in her 1:56.3 tally. She tucked fourth before the :29 quarter, then looked to make a quarter move for driver Dexter Dunn but was beaten to the punch by Firedbylindie, who moved from third to take the field to the half in :59.2. Dunn had the winning daughter of Possess The Will going again uncovered by the 5/8 and up to challenge by the 1:28.2 three-quarters, with $480,000 yearling, seasonal debutante, and race favorite Beautiful Sin on her back. Through the stretch Millies Possesion showed her talent, closing into a :28.1 last quarter in the muck to win by 1¼ lengths over Beautiful Sin, who was moving very well late; she in turn was a length ahead of Firedbylindie. Now perfect after four career starts, all this year, Millies Possesion is trained by Jim Campbell and pushed her bankroll to $76,184 for Fashion Farms LLC. Napolitano's Sire Stakes win was in signature front-end fashion with the Muscle Hill filly Asiago, who now has two wins and a close fourth in the PaSS after this 1:55.2 triumph. Fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:27 were posted by Asiago, with pocketsitting Fade Into You trying to rally but falling short by 1¼ lengths, with The Ice Dutchess, $320,000 yearling, seasonal debutante, tough customer in 2018, and race favorite, coming third-over from last and moving strongly late to be another ¾ of a length back. Per Engblom conditions Asiago, a winner of $163,626 for Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld, and Black Horse Racing. A sweep of second choices in the Sire Stakes was completed by the Explosive Matter miss Nomo Volo, who notched her first seasonal tally in 1:56. Trainer/driver Jeff Gregory had Nomo Volo in front at every pole, with fractions of :27.4, :58.3, and 1:27.1 preceding the neck victory over Navarone Hanover, last year's Stallion Series champion; favorite Swizzle Sticks had to make two moves and wound up fifth. Nomo Volo now has lifetime earnings of $129,937 for Jesmeral Stable. Morning line favorite Sonnet Grace was scratched sick. In Stallion Series competition, Napolitano was behind the Cantab Hall filly Keystone Abbey, who became the only three-time PaStS winner after leading at every call in 1:57.1 for trainer Chris Beaver, who is also co=owner with Donald Robinson, Martin Yoder, and R.B.H. Ventures Inc. George's other stakes win came with the Explosive Matter miss Matterlei, who went to the lead in front of the grandstand and went on to a new mark of 1:57.4 for trainer Trond Smedshammer and Purple Haze Stable LLC. Tyler Buter's first visit to the Stallion Series winners circle was with the Donato Hanover filly Jezzys Legacy, who sported a second in the Sire Stakes but was lowered a notch by trainer Ray Schnittker and got a popular victory in 1:57.2 for co-owners Schnittker, Little E LLC, Ted Gewertz, and Mary Kinsey Arnold. Buter came back with another daughter of Donato Hanover, Hanovers Best, playing "pocket rocket" to perfection and then holding off Spring In Paris, who had won her first two Stallion Series starts, in 1:57.1 for trainer Rob Harmon and the partnership of Lester Gelardi Jr., Anthony Passafaro, Seafood Delight Stable, and Harmon Racing Stable Inc.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Sunday marked the kickoff to the New York Sire Stakes season at Saratoga Casino Hotel as three year old colt and gelding pacers took center stage on a beautiful afternoon in the Spa City. There were three harness racing divisions of $58,000+ stakes competition and trainer Chris Oakes and driver Tyler Buter stole the show. Buter won four consecutive races at one point on the card including three for Oakes. Two of their victories came in the “big time” Sire Stake races as Shake That House (American Ideal-Shake That Junk-Camluck) and American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover-Somebeachsomewhere) scored impressive wins on the matinee card. Shake That House was making his first NYSS start of the year and wound up as the afternoon’s fastest winner, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 while going coast-to-coast to earn the winner’s share of the $58,100 purse. The victory was the third in three starts in 2019 for the superstar pacer and the sixth in eleven career tries. American Mercury had a rematch with rival Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) on Sunday as those two squared off for the second consecutive time in stakes competition. Two weeks ago at Monticello, Hickfromfrenchlick held off the late bid from American Mercury to secure the Sire Stakes score. The two saw their roles reversed on Sunday though as Oakes’ American Mercury got up in the final stride in the $59,200 stakes try to best Hickfromfrenchlick in a mile paced in 1:52. Buter piloted four winners including a pair in Excelsior A competition as he drove Oakes’ Rickybobbynthehaus (American Ideal) to victory and guided Notwithoutafight (Art Major) to a wire-to-wire score for trainer Erv Miller. On a day in which Oakes and Buter scored two victories among the day’s three big Sire Stakes races, the other winner in a $58,100 event was Fromthestartagain (So Surreal-From The Start-Western Terror) who recorded his first Sire Stakes victory, setting a lifetime mark of 1:53 with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer John Grasso.  The next installment of the NYSS at Saratoga will take place in two weeks when three year old trotting fillies are featured on Sunday June 9th. Live racing resumes at the Spa on Wednesday afternoon with a first post time set for 12:00 Noon.     Mike Sardella

WILKES-BARRE PA - Rockstar Angel A, coming off a wire-to-wire win at Yonkers this past Friday, came right back to win again on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, moving to the lead in front of the stands and going on to a 1:54 triumph over a "sloppy" surface. Driver George Napolitano Jr. watched as Keystone Riptide put Betterb Chevron N behind her to the:27 quarter, then was on the move with the "Angel" to get the lead well before the :55.4 half. The winning daughter of Bettor's Delight, who kept her place in the race because of the "eligible at time of entry" rule, got a bit of a breather though going against the wind to the 1:25.1 three-quarters, then sprinted home over the off going in :28.4 (co-fastest last quarter of the night) to have a length advantage at the wire over a closing Bettor's Up, with early combatants Keystone Riptide and Betterb Chevron N another length back in third in a dead-heat. (This was the third consecutive race where there was a dead heat, the previous ones coming for second and fourth.) Rockstar Angel A notched her third victory in her last five starts after triumphing eleven times in 2018, and now has earnings of $345,122. Hunter Oakes conditions the oft-winning mare for Northfork Racing Stable. The Sportswriter mare Write Me A Song was a dominant winner for the second straight time at Pocono, taking the $17,500 co-featured distaff pace in 1:54.2 in the start following her posting the fastest clocking of the year here for mares, 1:50.1. Tyler Buter, a four-time winner on the night, employed similar strategy here as did "George Nap" in winning the feature with Rockstar Angel A: let the other duelers settle, brush to the lead in front of the grandstand, and then maintain control to the wire. Write Me A Song won by 3¼ lengths while running her career record to 13 victories in only 28 starts and $252,527; Lance Hudson conditions the sharp mare for owner William Hartt. The next card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be on Saturday night, with the 2019 debut of Captain Crunch, last year's divisional champion, in one of three divisions of a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts. First race on Saturday at Pocono will be at approximately 7:30 p.m., as soon as the festivities are finished at The Preakness.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tequila Monday was an in-charge repeat winner in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for mare pacers Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, home in 1:52.1 over a “sloppy +1” track with the mercury hovering around 40. In the companion GNOS contest for open trotters, also worth $30,000, Guardian Angel AS was sharp in his second harness racing outing of the year, winning easily in 1:53.1, with Homicide Hunter never a major factor in his debut for both the year and for the Burke Brigade. Kissininthesand, second after going first-over against Tequila Monday in the GNOS opener last Saturday, was scratched sick here, taking a little of the drama out of the race, but the great 2018 filly champion, even with expected improvement in her second seasonal start, would have had it tough against the razor-sharp winning daughter of American Ideal. The rest of her opposition sure did. Apple Bottom Jeans got her customary flying start even from the outside post seven, with Tequila Monday and Bettor Joy N looped and pressing onward on the first turn. Tequila Monday made the lead nearing the :27 quarter; Bettor Joy N, enjoying her cover until then, went on to get the lead at the three-eighths, backing off the half to :56.1 and the three-quarters in 1:25. However, Bettor Joy N hadn’t raced since the Blue Chip Final on April 20 after her Ohio difficulty, and in the :27.1 sprint home Tequila Monday roared up the famed Pocono Pike, going by easily for a 1¼ lengthvictory. Bettor Joy N held admirably for second, with Apple Bottom Jeans clearing late and coming on for third. Tequila Monday has now won all six of her seasonal races, with earnings of $91,750 this year and $833,462 lifetime, during which she has won 23 of 50 starts. Tyler Buter, who is winning quite more than his share of feature races at Pocono in recent days, had the sulky assignment for trainer Hunter Oakes and the ownership of Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. In the GNOS trotting event, Guardian Angel AS, fourth from the trailing post eleven in his seasonal bow at The Meadowlands after coming from ninth at the ¾, obviously benefited from the outing (the bettors made him the favorite). He let JL Cruze speed away to take the early lead then moved outside to the :27.3 quarter and took command, hanging up middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.1, with La Grange A gaining first-over. Guardian Angel AS                                    --Curtis Salonick photo The victorious son of Archangel, though, had plenty left in the tank, sprinting home in :28 to be 3¾ lengths clear for driver Tim Tetrick, with La Grange A and Weslynn Dancer next in line. Homicide Hunter, unraced since winning the Breeders Crown here last October 27, had a wave of trotters leave inside of him from the outside post eight, settled in fourth, and then stayed in rather than go out for a second move after the long layoff. He was shuffled behind a tired horse in the last quarter, finishing sixth. Guardian Angel AS, meanwhile raised his lifetime bankroll to $544,780 with his 17th win in 42 lifetime trips to the gate. A winner in a Breeders Crown elim here last year (he was fourth in the final), the winner is trained by Anette Lorentzon for ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. Buter and Tetrick, GNOS winners, were the overall leading drivers of the night: Buter with four wins, Tetrick with three complementing his quartet at Philly earlier in the day, while Buter also grabbed three wins at Tioga Downs. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Prairie Panther (Tyler Buter) wins the featured harness racing Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 12). Sir Pugsley (Drew Monti) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.3. Prairie Panther ($4.00)then took control as they went by the stands for the first time. He led the group to a half of :55.0 and three-quarters in 1:22.4. Owned by Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters, he found another gear in the stretch to win by four lengths in 1:52.1. Americanprimetime (Greg Merton) came on late to finish second. Bettor's Edge (Howard Parker) was third best. Prairie Panther is a 5-year-old gelding by Royal Millennium. It was his fifth win in eight starts this season. He now has 26 career victories. Tyler Buter won three on the day. His other wins came with New World Order A ($6.30) and A Bettor Hat ($2.90). Drew Monti teamed up with trainer Joe Skowyra to win a pair on the day. They got their wins with Weekend Atnannies ($5.50) and The Spy ($10.40) Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 17) at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Bettor's Up made her debut for Nick Surick a successful one, sweeping wide off cover and taking the $17,500 distaff pacing feature in the Tuesday harness racing twilight at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:51.4. Matt Kakaley guided the winner of $772,254, one of the best of her division in her filly stakes days, into second-over position, then tipped her three-wide approaching headstretch. Bettor's Up, now five, took it from there, pacing strongly through the stretch as the 2-1 favorite to defeat the longest shot on the board, Culinary Delight N, by 1¾ lengths. Trainer Surick got control of the winner after his Nick Surick Stable LLC acquired her after her last start. The sun shined bright on my old Wilkes-Barre home just before the $14,000 co-featured distaff pace after cloudiness and some rain, and the Sportswriter mare Write Me A Song wrote herself a new mark of 1:50.1 in going wire-to-wire. Driver Tyler Buter took control from the pole from the outset with Write Me A Song, hustling the winner of $243,777 through fractions of :26.2, :54.1, and 1:22.1 en route to a 2½ length victory for trainer Lance Hudson and owner William S. Hartt. There will be plenty of great racing the next two cards at Pocono, with the Pennsylvania All-Stars for three-year-old colt pacers going in three divisions on Saturday, and then $30,000 contests in the Great Northeast Open Series for open trotters and open mare pacers topping a fantastic Sunday night offering. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

With the Kentucky Derby taking place this past Saturday and our traditional double-header of racing on that day, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted five cards of live harness racing instead of the usual four for the week. As if choosing for the Weekly Awards wasn't difficult enough, there are many more possibilities this time around because of the extra races. Let's take a look at who garners the honors for this busy week of harness racing action. PACER OF THE WEEK: HIGHALATOR On Saturday night, Pocono hosted its first big stakes race of the season with the Van Rose Invitational Pace for a purse of $50,000. It was also the first race at Pocono in the Great Northeast Open series, which inaugurated last year to much acclaim and will culminate with big-money finals at the end of the summer. Saturday night's race looked on paper like it would belong to Western Fame, who was coming off a convincing victory in the $500,000 final of the Levy series at Yonkers. But the field was full of top aged pacers, including Highalator, a standout five-year-old stallion from the Jenny Bier barn who always seems to rise to the occasion when he appears at Pocono. He left from the #2 post in a field of nine as the 2-1 second choice, while Western Fame left from the #7 spot at 3-5. Western Fame grabbed the engine while Highalator, with Richard Still in the bike, found the pocket seat early. The key to the race may have been how Western Fame was hounded by long shot The Wall and his first-over bid. In the stretch, the favorite couldn't summon enough to hold off the pursuit. Highalator, on the other hand, began to erupt as soon as the passing lane opened up. He flew home just a neck in front of Bettor Memories, who came out three-wide at the end of the mile with a lot of pace. Highalator paced the mile in 1:49:4 for yet another signature win on the Pocono oval. Other top pacers for the week included: Always At My Place (Anthony Napolitano, Ron Burke), who scored a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:49:1, which is the fastest pacing time of the year to date at Pocono; Dancin Hill (Tyler Buter, Gareth Dowse), who won his third straight race, the last two at Pocono, when he beat a claiming handicap group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:4; and Nine Ways (George Napolitano Jr., Antonia Storer), who moved up the condition ladder for his second straight victory on Saturday night, getting it done in a career-best 1:50:1.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TWO AM With the exception of a break of stride on April 14, this five-year-old gelding from the Todd Buter barn has been a consistent threat at Pocono in the 2019 meet. He has hit the board in three of four races here, peaking with a condition victory in a $21,500 featured condition trot on April 21 in 1:53:2. He returned to action in the $17,500 condition feature on Sunday night following a 6th place finish at the Meadowlands in his previous start. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight, Two AM, who went off as the 1-2 favorite, sat back and let others battle for the early lead on the sloppy track. After some jockeying for position, Truemass Volo grabbed the engine, while Two AM idled in fifth in the early portion of the race. But driver Tyler Buter didn't allow him to sit there for very long, sending him in motion first-over as the field headed into the clubhouse turn. Buter didn't wait around for cover, urging Two AM to engage Truemass Volo with his first-over move. He corralled the leader around the final turn and then left him, and the rest of the field, behind in the stretch. Despite being parked around two turns, the gelding still was out-trotting everybody in the lane, coming to the line a 3 ¼-length winner over Truemass Volo in 1:54:3, a time which was especially impressive considering the sloppy conditions. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tiger's Too Good (Anthony Napolitano, Pete Pellegrino), whose condition victory on Sunday night in the slop in 1:57 gave him two consecutive victories; Rich And Miserable (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who followed up a win at Yonkers with a condition win at Pocono on Sunday night in the slop in 1:56:2; and Karets (George Napolitano Jr., James Cosenza), who powered to a condition win on Monday in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time posted this week at Pocono.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHADY CITY A flying rally in the passing lane gave this condition pacer driven by Larry Stalbaum a victory on Saturday night at 24-1, good for a $51.40 payout on a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO A-Nap certainly enjoyed the double-header schedule on Saturday, as he picked up four driving victories in both the afternoon and evening cards.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TODD BUTER The Buter barn seems to have an endless supply of excellent trotters of all ages, as evidenced by Todd's wins with Two AM and Rich And Miserable on Sunday night. 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

Prairie Panther (Tyler Buter) takes the featured Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs harness racing on Sunday (May 5). Americanprimetime (Greg Merton) went to the lead from his outside post and put up all the early fractions (:27.1, :56.3, 1:24.0). Prairie Panther ($5.70), who is owned bu Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters) road in the pocket seat the whole way.  He went first-over at the top of the stretch and wore down second place finisher Americanprimetime to win in 1:51.1. Finishing third was Owosso Flash (Fern Paquet Jr.) Priarie Panther is a 5-year-old gelding by Royal Millennium.  He is now four for seven in 2019.  It was career victory number 25. Buter had a driving triple on the day.  His other wins came with Seel The Deal N ($8.40) and Race Me Villa ($5.80). Father and son, Mike Simons and Shawn Simons each had a win on the card.  Mike took All About Rusty ($13.40) to the winner's circle.  Shawn got his win with Wildcat Hilton ($3.40). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (May 11) with a post time at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

WILKES-BARRE PA – It was the Tyler Buter Show on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as the harness racing driver who recently passed the 3000 career sulky win milestone hit a “grand slam” in winning the top four races, two on both gaits. In the $17,500 featured trot, Buter got away fifth with the favored Muscle Massive gelding Two AM, but the overland journey posed little problem for the career winner of $377,210 against a front end who had been softened a bit by a contentious early duel. Two AM battled pacesetting Truemass Volo the last 5/16 of a mile, then drew away from that one to have a 3 1/4 length margin at the wire in 1:54.3, with Todd Buter the trainer for Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. In the $17,000 co-featured trot, Rich And Miserable reported home first for the third time in his last four starts, the Explosive Matter gelding winning easily in 1:56.2. Buter moved the recent winner of the $73,000 SOANY series final from seventh early to first by the 3/8, then remained in control to the wire for the same team behind Two AM: trainer Todd Buter and owners Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. The pacing headliners were a pair of $15,000 events, both going to Buter-driven sons of American Ideal, both Chris Oakes trainees with sparkling pedigrees making their 2019 debuts. In the first, American Mercury was a 1:53 winner despite an adventurous trip: briefly three-wide past the 3/8 on a determined move to the top nearing the half, American Mercury drew clear in the stretch to win by three lengths for the ownership of Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey, and Scott Bice. This one could be anything: he’s out of Tessa Hanover; the dam is a Somebeachsomewhere out of Triplet Hanover, who produced six $100,000 winners, including Trim Hanover, who was the dam of American Jewel and Luck Be Withyou … The other eyecatching Oakes-conditioned sophomore was Shake That House, a ¾-brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House, both out of the mare Shake That Junk. From the outside post eight Buter spotted him fifth, then moved him second-over. When he tipped three-wide midway on the far turn, the main question seemed to be the margin of victory, although to his credit JM’S Delight, who had been used three times in the mile, kept the margin to a length at the end of the 1:53.2 journey. Crawford Farms Racing and Northfork Racing Stable returned to partner with Alan Johnston behind this good-looking sophomore. Winning the featured quartet gave Tyler Buter nine wins on the weekend – three Saturday afternoon, two Saturday night, and four Sunday -- but even that total put him one behind Anthony Napolitano (four Saturday afternoon, four Saturday night, two Sunday) going into the last race of the weekend. Both were participants, but it was Anthony Napolitano in the winners circle with Tigers Too Good, making the final weekend score ANap 11, Tyler 9 – just at Pocono. Both made remarkable showings, and between them they won 59% of all the races contested over the Saturday-Sunday period.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Tyler Buter recorded the 3000th driving victory of his career during a special Easter Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Buter rallied Daddy Let Me Drive into a 28.1 last quarter, closing furiously in the last 1/16 to be up right on the money. The 33-year-old Buter, from a famous racing family, showed early talent in the sulky when he recorded his first win with I Luv My Pasture at the Gladwin (MI) fair before his 17th birthday. Along the way to his 3000 wins and almost $35 million in sulky earnings, Buter had his best money year in 2015, when his mounts brought home over $5 million; his best year for visiting the winners circle was 2007, when he won 444 times - while driving at 30 different tracks, more than half fairs in his native Michigan. Tyler Buter was also able to rouse a huge last 1/16 out of Two AM to overhaul favored Fearless Man late and take the $21,500 featured trot in 1:53.2. The Muscle Massive gelding made atonement for an uncharacteristic break last time, tucking in early, then coming on uncovered, and still able to roll home a length to the good over the chalk while raising his earnings to $368,460 for trainer Todd Buter and the ownership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. Two AM The Chapter Seven miss Quincy Blue Chip trotted the fastest mile by a three-year-old filly anywhere in North America so far this year, and trotted faster than any three-year-old on a 5/8-mile track in 2019, when she took her seasonal debut in a lifetime best of 1:53.4 in one of two $17,000 cofeatures. Jim Morrill Jr. had the swift miss behind fast fractions of 27.2 and 55.3, moved out to challenge the pacesetter before the 1:24.2 3/4s, then drew away from her field for trainer Gareth Dowse and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Shadow Cat had an adventurous journey in taking the $17,000 cofeature on the pace in 1:53. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding was looped out of the gate by JK Musicman and remained outside to continue on frontward, only to have to briefly dodge "JK" as that rival went on a break, then went to the infield. Shadow Cat hit the quarter in 26.1 while forcing main rival Tivo Hanover, who was carried wide early, then went to the half in 57 and looked comfortable nearing the 1:25.3 ¾. But Shadow Cat suddenly took a bad step, with Tivo Hanover easing outside from the two-hole. However, the winner of $165,660 righted himself immediately, then dug back in to hold off the surge of Tivo Hanover by a neck in a 27.2 last quarter for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Jennifer Bongirono, and owners Howard Taylor, David Rovine Stable LLC, and Tom Lazarro. The first of the 2019 $30,000 Weiss Series Championships takes place on Monday's twilight card at The Downs, with Ghosttothepost trying to complete a Weiss sweep after taking all three of her preliminaries. She'll be handled by George Napolitano Jr. as she begins from post five in the nine-horse field of pacing distaffs. PHHA / Pocono

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