Nichols, N.Y. -- A trio of prestigious pacing events share top billing on Sunday (August 28) afternoon at Tioga Downs, with over $650,000 on the line in the Empire Breeders Classics for New York-sired harness racing 3-year-olds and the Artiscape for top distaffers. In the $239,225 filly division of the Empire Breeders Classic, carded as the seventh of nine races on the afternoon program, elimination winners Penpal and No Clouds Bluechip square off against seven others. Penpal (post 5), a daughter of American Ideal, vaulted off the cover of Dime a Dance en route to a narrow 1:51.3 victory over sloppy going. Trainer Pat Lachance is once again listed to drive the 4-time winner, whose greatest success on the national stage came in her runner-up performance in the Mistletoe Shalee. No Clouds Bluechip (post 3) captured the other elimination in pillar-to-post fashion, earning her sixth career win in 1:53. Brett Miller was aboard for last week's odds-on win, and he is again nominated to drive the Roll With Joe filly for trainer John Berger. Colts and geldings square off in a $240,475 final, programmed as race eight. American Passport (post 3) found new life in two recent Southern Tier appearances after failed bids in the Adios and the Cane Pace. The Tony Alagna-trained American Ideal colt repelled pressure en route to a 1:51 triumph in his elimination last week, and Scott Zeron is once again nominated to drive (also listed on Craftship). The 5-time winner faces the likes of Rooney winner Missile J (post 2, Tim Tetrick) and last week's other elimination winner Redneck Rally (post 5, Andy Miller), whose 39-1 upset over the likes of the heavily favored Roll Away Joe stunned. A full field of 10 pacing mares are due to line up in the $200,000 Artiscape, the afternoon's finale. Despite the presence of millionaires Venus Delight (post 2, Jason Bartlett nominated) and Anndrovette (post 5, Tetrick), Ontario-based Lady Shadow has taken the distaff division by storm with wins in the Golden Girls and the Lady Liberty. The 5-year-old Shadow Play mare's 2:00.3 victory in the Golden Girls earned her the overall world record for pacers at the 1-1/8-mile distance. Yannick Gingras is nominated to drive the 22-time winner for trainer Ronald Adams. While the three top-dollar events bring the Sunday card to a close, a trio of W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions provide for a healthy undercard. An octet of 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings vie for $55,780 in the Judge Moore (race 1), while ten trotting fillies contest a pair of $29,190 Meda splits (races 3 and 5). Post time for the Sunday card at Tioga Downs is 1:30 p.m., with full coverage on the Tioga Downs Racing Network due to begin at 1:05 p.m. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Freehold, NJ --- Smalltownthrowdown is ready for a small-track harness racing showdown. The Dan Daley-trained 3-year-old is among nine horses entered in Saturday’s (Aug. 27) $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination at Yonkers Raceway. The gelding has raced four times this season on half-mile tracks, such as Yonkers, and won three. He heads to the elimination off back-to-back victories on half-mile ovals in New York Sire Stakes action. Smalltownthrowdown will start the elimination from post two with Daley driving and is 9-2 on the morning line, the third choice behind Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder at 5-2 and Lagerfeld at 4-1. The top eight finishers advance to the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final Sept. 3 at Yonkers. The winner of the Yonkers Trot, which follows the Hambletonian as the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, will receive an invitation to the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Oct. 15. “His game is a half-mile track,” said Daley, who trains Smalltownthrowdown for wife Ann-Mari, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner, and Richard Lombardo. “He seems to trot that (size) track as good as anywhere. A big track doesn’t really pick him up. “To step up against these horses, I don’t know. But he’s been super sharp, so we figured we’d take a shot.” Smalltownthrowdown, his name inspired by a country song, is a son of stallion Cash Hall out of the mare Ann’s Promise. He was purchased for $21,000 at the 2014 SUNY Morrisville Sale under the name Branchport. His half-sister Annies List was a multiple winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and earned $260,083 lifetime. “He was my favorite pick at Morrisville,” Daley said. “He’s a Cash Hall. Not many are high on them, but I’ve been lucky with them. He just had a great look. I knew his sister was a really good filly the year before.” Smalltownthrowdown was winless in his first eight races last year, although he hit the board six times including a second-place finish in the New York Sire Stakes championship at Yonkers. He then won back-to-back races, including the Simpson Memorial Stakes at Vernon Downs, to finish the season. This year, the gelding has won five of 12 races and pushed his career earnings to $278,760. He won in a career-best 1:54.4 on Aug. 9 at Saratoga in a division of the New York Sire Stakes and followed up with a 1:56.2 triumph in the NYSS at Monticello on Monday. “It took him a little while to learn to be controllable and do everything right, but he’s turned out to be a nice horse,” Daley said. “He was really sharp at Monticello, so we put him in here and hope we can get some money.” The field for the Yonkers Trot elimination, in post order, is Iron Mine Bucky, Smalltownthrowdown, Marion Marauder, Lagerfeld, Steed, Cufflink Hanover, Celebrity Express, Hititoutofthepark, and trailer Gleaming Memory. Marion Marauder, trained by Paula Wellwood, is bidding to add the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown to his list of accomplishments. The third jewel, the Kentucky Futurity, is Oct. 9 at Lexington’s Red Mile, but Marion Marauder is not eligible to the event. Supplemental entries, though, are permitted. There have been eight trotters to complete the Triple Crown sweep. The most recent was Glidemaster in 2006. Below are the post positions: PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Iron Mine Bucky - Explosive Matter - George Dennis-Greg Haverstick-7/1 2. Smalltownthrowdown - Cash Hall - Dan Daley-Dan Daley-9/2 3. Marion Marauder - Muscle Hill - Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/2 4. Lagerfeld - Yankee Glide - Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-4/1 5. Steed - Muscle Hill - Brian Sears-Richard Johnson-15/1 6. Cufflink Hanover - Andover Hall - Jason Bartlett-Chris Oakes-5/1 7. Celebrity Express - Andover Hall - John Campbell-Staffan Lind-20/1 8. Hititoutofthepark - Yankee Glide - Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-12/1 9. Gleaming Memory - Muscle Massive - Ake Svanstedt-Thomas Milici-15/1 Saturday’s card at Yonkers also includes the $118,574 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old fillies, which finds Staffan Lind’s Celebrity Eventsy as the 3-2 morning line favorite, and the $109,050 Lady Maud for 3-year-old female pacers, where Newborn Sassy is the even-money choice. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
Goshen, NY -The second annual harness racing Goshen Yearling Sale, slated for September 18, 2016 at the Mark Ford Training Center, has been added to the popular Equineline Sales Catalog iPad App. Goshen Yearling Sale president Bob Boni noted, "More and more technology has become part of the sales tools and our catalog is now available at Equineline to be downloaded to the iPad. This has clearly become increasingly popular with yearling buyers and it is yet another way we are hoping to accommodate our customers." The powerful tool is free and available for any potential buyer at subscribed Standardbred auctions. The app loads sales catalogs to a user's iPad and enables tech-savvy prospective purchasers to write on and highlight catalog pages, assign ratings, make conformations notes, create lists and most importantly search and sort the catalog by sire, dam's sire, state of eligibility and much more. The download is free and the app is free from the iTunes App Store. In addition, a downloadable PDF version of the complete catalog is also available on the sales website: GoshenYearlingSale.com and of course, printed and bound catalogs can also be requested and mailed and are currently available at many of the tri-state racetracks and training centers. The sale features over 160 yearlings, with 118 eligible in New York and 39 in Pennsylvania by hot sires like Chapter Seven and Roll With Joe. Links to videos of many of the yearlings have been added to the sale roster on the website, and more are being added on a daily basis. The Goshen Yearling Sale is centrally located in Middletown, NY, which is within a 90-minute drive from all the major harness racing hot-spots in NY, NJ and PA. Goshen Yearling Sale
Du Quoin, IL - As the county fair and state fair season winds down in Illinois, major harness racing took place over the past two weeks at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield before moving this weekend to the Du Quoin State Fair. Mother Nature tried to put a damper on the racing in Springfield, forcing the cancellation of one card and another to be shifted, but stakes eliminations and finals were able to be contested when the skies were clear. After the completion of elimination races during a hot Friday afternoon on August 12, over five inches of rain fell in a matter of hours in Springfield, forcing the cancellation of the Saturday card on August 13. A couple of dark days included more rain, forcing the postponement of the card on Tuesday, August 16 as that card was moved to the following Thursday. Round the clock work by the Springfield track crew had the surface ready for the finals though on Wednesday, August 16 as the top Illinois-breds took to a fast track. The following were the winners of the Illinois State Fair Championship races: Two-year-old filly trot - Annas Lucky Star Two-year-old colt & gelding trot - Polar B Two-year-old filly pacers - Artemesia Two-year-old colt & gelding pacers - Fox Valley Inferno Three-year-old filly trot - Praise Singer Three-year-old colt & gelding trot - PJ Boy Three-year-old filly pace - Bucklegirl Bobette Three-year-old colt & gelding pace - BS Tyriffic This Saturday and Sunday the Du Quoin State Fair takes place as many of the two and three-year--olds that squared off in Springfield will meet once again. While live wagering is available on-site at the Du Quoin State Fair, races can be viewed online at www.duquoinstatefair.net under the "Entertainment" and "Harness Racing" tab. Post time each day is Noon. Jim Miller
Defending champion Mykindachip (Dan Noble) will face seven of the Midwest's toughest harness racing free-for-allers in the $35,000 Gene Riegle Memorial Friday evening at the Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio. The seven-year-old Art's Chip gelding is owned by Carl L. Atley and conditioned by Jim Dailey. His 1:52 4/5 victory in last year's Gene Riegle Memorial established a new track and stakes record. Mykindachip will have to overcome the outside post #8. Atta Boy Dan (Mike Wilder) should provide the defending champ his toughest challenge. Atta Boy Dan comes from the powerful Ron Burke Stable and has earned more than $130,000 in 2016 and $596,542 lifetime. The seven-year-old gelded son of Western Terror is campaigned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. Atta Boy Dan will leave from post two. The fifth edition of the Gene Riegle Memorial has arguably its deepest and most talented field ever. The eight starters have earned a combined $3.1 million and have an average lifetime mark of 1:50 1/5. The complete field and announced drivers for the $35,000 Gene Riegle Memorial, in post-position order: 1. Hare Craft (Ron Wrenn, Jr.) - 2. Atta Boy Dan (Mike Wilder) - 3. My Buddy Ninkster (Shawn Barker II) - 4. Norma Jean (Kurt Sugg) - 5. Hanky L (TBA) - 6. Tyber Tyke (Walter Haynes, Jr.) - 7. Night Pro (Peter Wrenn) - 8. Mykindachip (Dan Noble). The Gene Riegle Memorial honors one of the greatest trainers in the history of the sport and native of Greenville, Ohio. Mr. Riegle was enshrined into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1992. On the Riegle Memorial undercard is the $22,900 (div) Parshall Futurity and the $15,000 Arnie Almahurst Trot. First post is 5:30 PM. Jay Wolf
Northfield Park played host to eight $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old colts on Wednesday, August 24. Five divisions featuring 37 freshmen pacers and three divisions of 21 trotting youngsters prevailed over the evening's racing card. This was the fourth and final leg of the series and was the deciding factor for many youngsters seeking a starting berth in the $250,000 Championships, set for Sept. 3 at Northfield Park. The Triumphant Caviar colt Fraser Ridge set a new track record clocking of 1:54 en route to winning the first OSS trotting division with Aaron Merriman at the lines. Trained and co-owned by Chris Beaver, Fraser Ridge took command from the gate and never looked back for partners Beaver, Robinson, Mondilo and RBH Ventures. "He's got very high speed but isn't as handy as some in this age group," Merriman noted. "He was trotting so strong that he lost both front shoes tonight." Bred by Steve Stewart of Kentucky, Fraser Ridge upped his career earnings to $75,050. Stormy Kromer (Peter Wrenn) at odds of 5-1 notched second-place honors 3¾ lengths behind the winner, while 35-1 Dejarover (Ryan Stahl) got up for third." Beaver was back in the winner's circle after harnessing Buckeye Boss to win the second trotting division and lowering the track record further to 1:56.3. Bred by Marion Beachy, the son of Triumphant Caviar is owned in partnership by Beaver, Beachy and Synerco Ventures. "He's a very nice horse and does it easily," Beaver admitted. "He's just fantastic and does everything we ask of him and is super versatile." Buckeye Boss has now made a clean sweep of all four legs of the OSS series and has rewarded his partners to the tune of $104,750, with six wins in six lifetime starts. He finished a length in front of 12-1 Magic Vacation (Kayne Kauffman), with 7-1 Rose Run Spanky (Josh Sutton) getting up for third. Beaver then bridled up Always A Good Time to win the third OSS division in 2:00. The Triumphant Caviar colt, who Beaver owns in partnership with Gallagher, Schwartz and Zeehandelar, led from start to finish en route to his second career victory in five tries, pushing his earnings to $60,000. The towering, big-striding youngster was sent off as the 8-5 public's choice, finishing 2¼ lengths in front of 8-1 Cowboy Blue (Kurt Sugg) and 25-1 Bellhaven (Aaron Merriman). Barnabas established a new pacing standard by capturing his OSS division in a front-stepping 1:53.1 with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. in the sulky. Trainer Brian Brown gave the McArdle son a shoeing adjustment prior to this race and it made all the difference in the world to the brown gelding. "He was game in his last race but was just awful gaited," Brown noted. "He wears a very heavy shoe behind but we had normal plates on him and we were finally able to get a set of the heavy shoes for this start. The half-round, half-swedge shoes that he needs are very hard to find because they're a much heavier version of a normal shoe. But we found three pairs of them and snapped them up. The heavier shoe really helps his gait since he's such a big animal. Plus, he's never been a good gaited horse." Brown, who conditions Barnabas for the partnership of Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and William Robinson, said the youngster was a real challenge from the beginning of his training regime. "He was just awful in Florida over the winter," Brian related. "It was March before we were able to start training him and he was always running or was very racky-gaited. So we got tough on him and started jogging him four miles a day and then he just turned around right before we qualified him." Barnabas upped his career earnings to $79,200 for his connections after finishing a neck in front of 9-5 Barley Up (Peter Wrenn) and a head in front of 60-1 Starry Nite Teen (Kayne Kauffman). Longshot (12-1) Big Bad Bruce proved he wasn't so bad as he lowered the track record for 2-year-old pacing colts to 1:53.1 in the second OSS division. The son of Big Bad John was steered by Chris Page for breeder/owner/trainer David Wornstaff, pushing his lifetime earnings to $29,176. "He's a nice colt," Page noted. "I won with him at the Croton Fair a few weeks ago and knew he could come a very nice last quarter, like he had a the fair (:27.3), so I knew he had a big move in him." Big Bad Bruce returned $26.40 to his backers after being parked from the backstretch to the wire, besting rivals 1-5 Scotch McEwan (Josh Sutton) and 14-1 McGold (Mike Wilder) impressively. Big Bad Bruce lowered his lifetime mark by six and 1/5 seconds from his previous record with this triumph. Ron's Pro and driver Chris Page put forth a game effort to best Drunk On Your Love (Dan Noble) in the final strides to win the second pacing division in 1:55.4. It was the third win of the season in five starts for the son of The Panderosa. "This colt is just big and dumb and is still very immature," trainer Ronnie Burke explained. "He's definitely a horse that will be better next season, although he's not too bad right now!" The big-striding Ron's Pro was parked out through most of the mile to the front-stepping leader, Drunk On Your Love, who was second by a neck at the wire, while Happy Harvey (Aaron Merriman) got up for third. Ron's Pro now has $60,000 in his career coffers for owners Burke, Bruscemi and breeders Knox Services. The fourth OSS pacing division saw McLucky prevail in 1:54.2 for owners Michael Creps and trainer Jeff Miller. The son of McArdle was sent off at 9-5 and didn't disappoint his supporters with a wire-to-wire effort, upping his seasonal earnings to $69,398. Corner Con Artist (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), at 7-1 was second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, while 60-1 McDreamy (Aaron Merriman) notched third. Officially Creek (6-5) and driver Chris Page captured the fifth and final pacing division in 1:54, using the front end to get the job done for trainer Brian Brown. The Art Official gelding upped his earnings to $29,050 with his second career win in five tries. "He's not a bad horse now but he'll be even better next season," Brown noted. "He's another youngster who will get better as he matures." Owner Debbie Bird, of Gores Landing, ON, bred the Officially Creek along with Barry Bird. Longshot (50-1) Shooter McGavin (Kayne Kauffman) was second by 2½ lengths, with Drawing Dragons (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) getting up for show honors. by Kimberly Rinker, OSDF Administrator
The $15,000 Minnesota-Sired 2 year old Trot was the featured event on the Wednesday (Aug 24) card of harness racing at Running Aces, and the filly Imapixieatmidnight (by Sos Lunar Eclipse) would post her second lifetime win this evening, and continue the overall dominance of the filles in this division all season long. Trainer/Driver Nick Roland sent his filly right to the lead from post 3, and dominated the early stages through fractions of 30.4, 1:01.0, 1:31.1 and then was able to hold off a furious late charge from last week’s winner Liquor’sKwikker (Rick Magee), stopping the clock in 2:03.0 for a new lifetime mark. She is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC and she paid $6.40 for every $2.00 win ticket. Another impressive performance this night was Goody Two Socks, an 8 year old gelding pacer by Restless Yankee, who delivered his 17th lifetime win in a new lifetime best of 1:53.3 for trainer Alexia Kehl with Driver Rick Magee in the sulky. Goody Two Socks ($12.40) got away in the pocket early from post two, then sat third to the top of the stretch and was steered into a clear path by Magee in the lane to surge past pace-setter and heavy favorite Chewy Baca (Luke Plano) and post a 1 length tally in the $6,000 conditioned event. He is owned by Seppo Hakamaa of Michigan. Buddy’s Hope (Nick Roland) picked up an impressive gate-to-wire win in a $5,300 conditioned event in 1:53.4 in his final local start of the season, as he was never in doubt tonight from post 6 with a 1 ½ length score for Trainer Sean Lancaster, and Owner Jerome Bouvier. He paid $7.60 at the windows this evening. Pa’s Corn Squuezin (Brian Detgen) posted another big win tonight in 1:57.0 in a $4,500 conditioned pace for two in a row for Owner/Trainer Dale Lagerquist, paying just $2.10 as the overwhelming favorite. And the 3 year old Aubrey’s Jesse (Nick Roland) picked up her 7th lifetime win in a $4,500 conditioned Trotting event, posting a new lifetime mark of 2:00.4 for Owners Mr. Caroll D. and Rick Huffman with Trainer Joel Mc Danel, and she paid $3.20 as the public choice. For Driver Nick Roland it completed a Hat-Trick on the program this evening. The next card of Live Harness Racing action will go to post at Running Aces on Saturday, August 27th at 6:00 pm CDT. By Darin Gagne, Running Aces Track Announcer
WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 24, 2016 -- Donttellmeagain completed his sweep of four Pennsylvania Stallion Series preliminary legs when he rolled home in 1:52 -- a national season's mark -- in Wednesday's harness racing action at The Meadows. The $80,000 event for freshman colt and gelding pacers was contested over four divisions, with Dragon Striker, Western Hill and Ozone Blue Chip taking the other $20,000 splits. Aaron Merriman notched a stake double behind Donttellmeagain and Ozone Blue Chip. Jim King, Jr. said he and his wife, trainer Jo Ann Looney-King, knew early on they had a talented horse on their hands but couldn't reach immediate consensus on his stakes schedule with the youngster's owner, Paton Racing Stables. "I suggested putting him in the sires stakes, but the owner wanted to stick with the plan, which was the stallion series," King reported. "I got a horse with a lot of confidence right now -- we haven't taken him apart. I think he was well paid for his efforts. If everything goes fine with the final, that leaves us in a situation where the horse can make any payments that we want instead of expecting the owner to make them." On Wednesday, the Dragon Again-Donttellmewhattodo gelding moved to the front before the quarter and won as he pleased, downing Somebeach Baron by 3-1/2 lengths, with Mr Today third. Stallion series championships are set for Sept. 11-12 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.. Ponderingjacksfame also was seeking a stallion series sweep, but he was stung to the quarter in 27.2 by 60-1 long shot Aplin Hanover. That left him vulnerable to the improbable first-over charge of Dragon Striker -- improbable because the son of Dragon Again-Lady's Portrait was a five-race maiden entering the event. Nevertheless, he defeated Ponderingjacksfame and Marcus Miller by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.3. See You Friday earned show. "The horse sitting second was a long shot, and Marcus' horse definitely was much the best," said winning driver Tony Hall. "I didn't want to get stuck behind the horse in the two hole if he backed me through. So my game plan was to get around him and get back in the two hole. I was stuck out there a lot longer than I assumed I would be. But my horse overcame it and raced a huge mile." Rich Gillock trains Dragon Striker for owner/breeder Bob Key. Western Hill found himself outside and gapping cover in a 26.3 third panel, but he shifted to another gear and prevailed in 1:52.4 for Joe Bongiorno, trainer Tony Alagna and owner/breeder Tom Hill. Early leader Maconupwithedragon was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Papiamento completed the ticket. "I was chasing him a little bit, and he wasn't going on very much, but 26.3 was the reason," Bongiorno said. "When I popped the plugs, he gained so much ground so quick -- I think he came his third quarter in 26.1 -- and he was just gone. That's a serious horse." In the Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Tall Cotton let his stablemate, I Know My Chip, do all the heavy lifting, then kicked past in the lane to score in 1:54.1. Trustworthy Kid shot the Lightning Lane for second, beaten a head, while I Know My Chip saved show. Dave Palone piloted the 10-year-old Revenue S-B Cor Peatra gelding, who extended his career bankroll to $787,541, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Edwin Gold and Howard Taylor. It was one of four wins for Palone on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the program features the $140,000 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Tyler B, a $186,672 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The card begins at the special post time of 11:25 AM to dovetail with the running of the Travers at Saratoga later Saturday. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
Roy D. Davis, harness racing owner of back-to-back Little Brown Jug champions, will be honored as the 2016 Joseph Neville Memorial Award winner by the Delaware County Fair. Mr. Davis was the founder of "Team Spur," which included Barberry Spur and Jaguar Spur, who won the 1986 and 1987 Little Brown Jug, respectively. During a five year period in the 1980's, Mr. Davis won the $1.3 million Governor's Cup Final (Barberry Spur - 1985), a pair of Breeders Crown titles (Kentucky Spur - 1988 and Esquire Spur - 1989), the Adios Pace (Barberry Spur - 1986), the Cane Pace (Barberry Spur - 1986), the Yonkers Trot (Gunslinger Spur - 1986), the William Haughton Memorial Pace (Jaguar Spur - 1988) and the Tattersalls Pace (Jaguar Spur - 1987). Mr. Davis was an active owner for more than six decades and had a longstanding relationship with trainer Dick Stillings. The "Spur" suffix, inspired by an English soccer team, the Tottenham Hotspurs, also reflected Mr. Davis's Texas heritage. He was a part of the ownership group of the Meadows Racetrack in the 1980s and established the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. He was enshrined into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. Mr. Davis was a longtime member of the Little Brown Jug and Hambletonian Societies and was a former director of the United States Trotting Association. Mr. Davis died June 16, 2015 at the age of 85. He is survived by his sons; Roy, Jr. and Richard. Jay Wolf
Vernon, N.Y. -- Paul Kelley trainee Obrigado looks to defend his title in Friday (August 26) evening's $193,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon Downs, but he'll once again have to contend with the likes of Resolve, Homicide Hunter, and Flanagan Memory after squaring off against them throughout the harness racing season. Obrigado (7-2 morning line second choice, post 7) has won 4 of 11 races this year, including the Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia, the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs, and the Cleveland Classic at Northfield. While doing his best work on small tracks this season, his most impressive performance may well have come over two turns in the Cashman Memorial at the Meadowlands earlier in the month, where he escaped traffic on the far turn and stormed home in :26.4 in pursuit of Resolve. Regular driver Mark MacDonald will once again pilot the 6-year-old Boy Band gelding for the partnership of the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45. Elitloppet runner-up and Cashman winner Resolve (5-2, post 6) looks to lead the charge to upend the defending champion in the night's tenth event, having also won the Arthur Cutler Memorial this season. Ãke Svanstedt trains and drives the 5-year-old Muscle Hill entire. Flanagan Memory (9-2, post 8) also enters from the Cashman, finishing a gathered-in third after seizing command through a bold middle move. The 6-year-old Kadabra entire earned all four of his seasonal wins in Preferred company at Mohawk. Brian Sears will take over the lines for trainer Rene Dion. While Obrigado, Resolve, and Flanagan Memory have faced each other on multiple occasions this year, a new shooter is quickly gathering momentum. Homicide Hunter (6-1, post 2)--representing Crawford Farms Racing--enters off a decisive 1:50.1 victory in last week's Sebastian K Invitational at Pocono, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go and edging away to a four-length score. David Miller handles the driving duties of the 4-year-old Mr Cantab gelding for trainer Chris Oakes. In the $170,000 Muscle Hill for distaff trotters (race 9), 21-time winner Hannelore Hanover (5-2, post 7) looks to maintain her dominance after winning 12 of her 13 assignments this year. The 4-year-old daughter of Swan For All proved a decisive and handy winner in her Miss Versatility preliminary at Tioga on August 14, completing the mile in 1:52.4 over off going yet with much in reserve. Yannick Gingras will remain aboard the Ron Burke trainee, who also captured the Miami Valley Distaff and the Armbro Flight, as well as the Fresh Yankee and Hambletonian Maturity over the 1-1/8-mile distance. Among those aiming to hand Hannelore Hanover her second defeat of the year are Jewels in Hock (7-2, post 2, John Campbell), 2015 Empire Breeders Classic winner Barn Doll (9-2, post 4, Jeff Gregory), and double millionaire Shake It Cerry (6-1, post 5, David Miller). A pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings headline the undercard, with the undefeated Serious Major and Funknwaffles due to square off in the $55,500 eighth event. Horsemen are reminded that entrants for the Crawford Farms and Muscle Hill events will race out of the detention barn, and they are due to arrive no later than 8:00 p.m. Thursday (August 25). Horsemen in need of hotel rooms for the weekend are advised to contact the race office at 315.829.6825. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs
HARRINGTON, Del. - Joe and Laurie Davino's Take My Picture ($17, Ross Wolfenden) scored a 1:55.3 win in the harness racing featured $17,500 Open Handicap Trot Wednesday at Harrington Raceway. Royal Becca J made the front near the quarter mile under heavy pressure from a parked out Hemi Seelster while Take My Picture gathered momentum on the outside and surged by at three-quarters and won by a length over I Like My Boss and Royal Becca J. Trained by Nik Drennan, it was the 32nd career win for millionaire trotter Take My Picture, who has banked nearly $1.1 million in his career. Callam Racing's Spunky Jack ($16.80, Roger Plante Jr.) captured the $10,000 sub-feature with an impressive 1:55.2 triumph for trainer Steve Leblanc. Driver Jim Morand won the early double and had three wins on the program. Victor Kirby also had a driving double. Matthew Sparacino
The favorites had their way in the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Two year old trotting fillies took center stage on the Wednesday harness racing card as three divisions of the $53,500 stakes were featured. Barn Bella (Conway Hall) was the evening's fastest freshman filly as she scored a convincing eleven length victory in 1:58.1 for Jeff Gregory. The Steven Pratt-trained Barn Bella was her race's 1-9 betting favorite as she dominated her competition en route to her fourth win of the season and third in a row in NY Sire Stakes action. Sam Schillaci's Mamora Bay (Chapter Seven) had little difficulty scoring in her division of the NYSS on Wednesday as she trotted to a decisive 8+ length victory in 1:58.2 highlighted by a final half of 57.4. Schillaci trains and drives the filly who was the 1-9 betting favorite as she cruised to a first over victory, a win that was her fourth in six career starts as a freshman. The final division of the $53,500 Sire Stakes wasn't won by the favorite but rather the public's 2-1 second choice in the wagering as Amber Ella (Chapter Seven) came on late to record her second straight win in NYSS competition. Hall of Famer John Campbell piloted Amber Ella for trainer Linda Toscano as the freshman filly took advantage of a break by the race's big favorite and trotted past the rest in the stretch to stop the timer in 1:59.4. Live racing continues on Thursday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella
Batavia, NY---The $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 24) was like "Groundhog Day" for the winner as My Tallia Ideal once again came from off the pace to dominate at the end and score consecutive harness racing victories in the Genesee County oval's top distaff class. Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) took a slow slow methodic outside route to the lead after the small but select field of mares broke from the gate for race one. She cleared before the quarter in :27.3 and from that point, the trailing field followed her in post-position order until they straightened out for the half. At the head of the stretch, My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) pulled and began motoring up towards the leader followed by All Charged Up (John McDonald) and Who Says That (Drew Monti) in the outer flow. By the middle of the backstretch, My Tallia Ideal's forward assault was complete when she cleared and tripped the three-quarter timer in 1:25. From there, the gauntlet was laid down as the daughter of Western Ideal opened up by two, then three and pulled away more to a 1:53.4 win over All Charged Up and Who Says That. It was the sixth win of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($5.90) including three out of four Batavia Downs starts, all being in the top class at the Downs. The win pushed her earnings for the year to $43,525 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. My Tallia Ideal is trained by Dave McNeight Jr. Four drivers owned most of the card as Todd Cummings won three races and Kevin Cummings, Jack Flanigen and Dave McNeight III each won two. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. also sent two horses to the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 26) with post time for the first race at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Enter the highly competitive world of Standardbred harness racing, in this exhilarating debut from an insider. The story, however, goes far beyond that and touches on universal themes that every reader will recognise. You’ll be thrust into the front car on a roller coaster ride, through triumph and disaster, that begins on page one. You’ll feel every twist and turn of the story in the pit of your stomach. You’ll laugh and cry with the rough, tough guys who put on the show, rain or shine. You’ll empathise with the women who give this world a heart. You’ll meet the cheaters who use horses as pincushions, who want to win at any price. You’ll get to know the equine athletes who give their all, whatever challenges life throws at them. Last, but not least, you’ll feel the overwhelming sense of community that pervades this world, despite the sharp edges of a highly competitive sport. If that’s not enough, there’s a backstory that will keep you on the edge of your seat, which takes you on a journey from Ontario, Canada to the Rockies, the US, the Caribbean and even the UK. The icing on the cake is an ending full of surprises that will leave you feeling well satisfied. The characters leap off the page: a brilliant harness horse driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, a veterinarian caught between two worlds, young horses unaware of what’s in store for them and trainers whose livelihoods hang by a thread, who face a Hobbesian choice if they are to survive. These are just some of the players in a story where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred. Fascinating, fast paced and with shocking twists and turns until the very last, HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh next read. Standardbred racing originated in the US but the sport is also popular in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe. Tina’s debut novel, HORSE FLESH, was born out of her personal experiences and portrays a faithful and compelling insight into the world of harness racing. About the author: Tina Sugarman has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm a few kilometres from Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. She lives in Poole, Dorset with her husband and their maine coon cat, Juliette and enjoys driving their hackney mare, Mango, in the New Forest. Sugarman still takes a keen interest in the sport. HORSE FLESH by Tina Sugarman (published by Clink Street Publishing September 1st, 2016 RRP TBC) is available to order from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores. For a review copy or interview request please contact: Josh Hamel, Marketing and Publicity at Authoright / email@example.com
In preparation for the harness racing meeting that gets underway Saturday, October 22, the barn area at Cal Expo will open on Thursday, September 1, with the jog track opening the following day and the main track opening on Tuesday, September 6. Harness racing at Cal Expo will be conducted for the fifth straight year under the Watch and Wager LLC banner. For more information, please go to calxharness.com.
Elkton, MD --- Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by Bet America, has a fantastic harness racing program lined up for Thursday (August 25) at 7 p.m. (EDT). Hall of Fame driver David Miller will be on to talk about pacer Betting Line who has been racing very well as of late. Betting Line is coming off an impressive performance in the Battle Of Brandywine at Pocono. Virginia Harness Horseman Greg Trotto will be on to talk about the track progress going on at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. He will also discuss the upcoming 2016 pari-mutuel meeting at Shenandoah Downs. Rene Allard scored yet another Gold Cup and Saucer victory on Saturday with YS Lotus. He will be on to discuss his talented pacer who defeated the great Foiled Again in his last two starts. Our ongoing series with Running Aces Casino and Racetrack continues, as track announcer Darin Gagne sits down with trainer David Flynn to talk about his career. We will also find out what's coming up next week at the Minnesota oval. Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by Bet America, can be heard each Thursday at 7 p.m. on their website at www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com, or on-demand at https://extra.betamerica.com/betamerica-radio-network/.