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Harness racing at Yonkers Raceway bid adieu to August Monday night, hosting $165,375 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old pacing fillies.   The event, neatly divided into a trio of $55,125 divisions, honored the memory of a certified mover and shaker (as well as a fairly decent soul) in the state's racing and breeding program. Bruce's family was on hand for winner's circle presentations, which were dutifully given to... First division-Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore, $8.60), from post position No. 6, rallied from sixth turning for home to pick off sire-stakes debuting Mark MacDonald) by a head in 1:54.2. Bosser's Joy (Jason Bartlett) finished third, beaten a neck. For third choice Devil Child, a daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Homer Hochstetler, James Michaels and South of the Tracks Racing, it was her fourth win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $109, with the triple returning $680. "She's had a tough season, bad posts and some bad luck," Whittemore said of Devil Child. "This was a good win for her." Second division-Odds-on Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras, $2.70) methodically disposed of her six foes, essentially going the distance-from post No, 5-in 1:52.1. The margin was a length-and-a-half, with Luck Be a Lindy (Scott Zeron) second and Heart Major (Brian Sears) third. For "Sassa," a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable and Larry Karr, she's now 4-for-12 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $4.90, with the triple returning $14.60. "Much better the last couple of starts," was Gingras' assessment of career winner of more than $700,000. Third division-Pole-sitting Bedroomconfessions ( Brian Sears, $13.80) was gifted with the passing lane, and she passed, whipping pace-setting Band of Angels (Gingras) by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Divine Caroline (Dave Miller), as the 6-5 choice, was another who pulled pocket and flattened, settling for third. Second choice Mosquito Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.) broke leaving. For Bedroomconfessions, an American Ideal lass co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by trainer Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her third win in 12 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $72, with the triple returning $169. Frank Drucker

Vernon, N.Y. -- Despite being outsprinted early by all six of his harness racing rivals, Cascata ($14.20) kicked cover from fourth-over off the far turn, circling the field for a 1:52 victory in Sunday (August 30) afternoon's featured $7,000 top-level conditioned pace at Vernon Downs.   Frank Milby settled the 7-year-old American Ideal gelding well off dueling leaders Sassy Hanover (Claude Huckabone, Jr.) and Smile a Little (Austin Siegelman), who battled stoutly through a :54.1 half mile. Outer flow developed behind Smile a Little at Race's midpoint, with Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald) chasing from second-over. Tundra (Truman Gale) and Cascata angled third- and fourth-over respectively, and they would both benefit from clear trips off the pressured pace. While Oh My Joepa was first to make a three-wide bid at a 1:23 three-quarter mark, he would ultimately be outkicked by Cascata in mid-stretch after himself collaring the dueling pacesetters. Cascata drew away minimally in the final yards, defeating Oh My Joepa by three-quarters of a length while Tundra stayed on to finish third after he was bothered in mid-stretch by a breaking Melvyn (Roman Lopez).   Dustin Ingraham trains Cascata for Elizabeth Zimmerman.   The afternoon's program also saw six trotters compete in a non-wagering Racing Under Saddle event, and the patient Emma Wahlberg prevailed aboard Sweetie's Secret. Brett Crawford trains the 7-year-old Yankee Glide mare who angled off the pegs on the far turn, pushing clear of a tiring My Friend Charlie in upper stretch before ultimately reeling in Funny Photo, who made a costly break in the final yards after taking charge in the third quarter. Sweetie's Secret won by two lengths in 2:00.4 over Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran), while Alarming Quick (Ashley Eldred) made a mild bid to take third while well detached from the top pair.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (September 4) evening, with post time at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Making steady progress from just worse than midfield, Fleetwood Hall ($5.30) pushed clear of pacesetter Yankee Manny in mid-stretch to capture the featured $7,000 top-level conditioned trot on Saturday (August 29) evening at Vernon Downs.   Fleetwood Hall settled well off the pace in the initial stages, posing no threat until the middle stages of the race, when a first-over bid placed the 5-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe gelding within 3-3/4 lengths of pacesetter Yankee Manny (Chris Lems) after a soft :58.4 half mile. Roman Lopez and Fleetwood Hall intensified the pressure on Yankee Manny coming off the far turn, forcing a :28.2 third quarter before ultimately pushing clear in mid-stretch. Fleetwood Hall drew off to a two-length victory over Yankee Manny, while Frisky Joe (Claude Huckabone, III) rallied late to take third from a tiring Ulster (Brian Russo).   Deedra Johnson trains Fleetwood Hall for the M T Stables, Inc.   Chris Lems led all drivers with four wins on the 10-race program.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (August 30) afternoon, with post time at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Both aided by live cover through the far turn, Asset Management ($11.80) and Table Games ($22.40) charged past 8-5 favourite The Filly Princess in the final yards of Friday (August 28) evening's $7,000 top-level conditioned distaff pace at Vernon Downs--and they hit the line together for a shared harness racing victory.   As The Filly Princess mounted a first-over rally into a soft :57.2 half mile, Table Games chased second-over from the back of the pack, and Asset Management angled third-over on approach to the far turn after she was briefly shuffled to last. With clear sailing on the far turn and the live cover of The Filly Princess cutting into Purity's lead through a 1:25.4 three-quarter sectional, the eventual joint winners kicked cover at head-stretch, both storming home to a dead-heat 1:53.2 win. Mid-stretch leader The Filly Princess gave way in the final yards, only defeated by half a length.   Dan Daley drove Asset Management, a 7-year-old Western Hanover mare, for trainer Allie Berube and owners J & M Racing, while Frank Davis handled the driving duties of Table Games for trainer Paul Minckler and owner Edmund Namiotka, Jr.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 29) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Harness racing trainer-driver John MacDonald mounted a first-over bid through the far turn with Damon Blue Chip ($5.20) in Sunday (August 23) afternoon's $7,000 upper-level pacing feature at Vernon Downs, and the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding had plenty left to hold off a late charge from Tundra at the end of a 1:50.2 mile.   Damon Blue Chip was used just enough in the early stages to track A Fool For Mark (Chris Lems) and Smile a Little (Austin Siegelman) through a :26 first quarter, maintaining that trip through a :54.1 half before commencing his first-over bid.   On the far turn, the 8-5 second choice made gradual progress, working into the lead in upper stretch as A Fool For Mark began to give way.   Just as Damon Blue Chip opened up in the stretch, Tundra (Truman Gale) began closing in from a midpack stalking trip.   Still, Damon Blue Chip prevailed by 1-1/4 lengths over Tundra, while Smile a Little managed to save third off his pocket trip.   The J P Stables own Damon Blue Chip.   Lems wins seven races   While A Fool For Mark was a beaten favorite in the feature, Chris Lems found success with seven of his drives on the afternoon.   The South Dakota native teamed up with Day to Ponder ($5.90, 1:53.1), Princess Elsa ($3.00, 2:00.1), Ardie B Speed ($3.80, 1:53), RG Riptide ($7.10, 1:54), Yankee Manny ($13.60, 1:55.3), Ashton Seelster ($5.80, 1:52.1), and Leah's Ex ($11.40, 1:56.3).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 28) evening.   Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

Trotters and distaff pacers shared the spotlight at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 22) evening, and both $7,000 upper-level co-featured events saw decisive winners. The distaff pacing feature went to Pancakes ($3.00), a Heidi Rohr trainee who brushed to the lead after The Filly Princess (Frank Davis) clicked off a :27.4 initial quarter. After sweeping to the fore from third, the 4-year-old Sand Shooter mare drew clear of her five rivals, opening up a four-length lead through three-quarters in 1:23.1. Pancakes held clear to the end of her 1:51.4 triumph, maintaining 3-1/4 lengths clearance over a mild late rally from runner-up Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore). Truman Gale drove Pancakes for owner Dolores Smiel. While an odds-on favourite prevailed in the distaff feature, Fleetwood Hall ($21.40) scored a minor upset in the trotting feature, commencing his bid from worse than midfield once 3-5 favourite Verdi broke stride on the first turn. Roman Lopez moved the 5-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe gelding off the pegs with well over a half mile to go, sustaining a bold first-over bid through the far turn before pushing clear of pacesetter Ulster (Brian Russo) after passing three-quarters in 1:26. Once he passed Ulster, Fleetwood Hall opened up in the final yards, ultimately putting 4-3/4 lengths on Ulster for a 1:54.4 score. Painite (Truman Gale) sustained a mild bid to take third. Deedra Johnson trains Fleetwood Hall for the M T Stables. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (August 23) afternoon. Post time is 1:15 p.m. Eastern. James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- Finding a seam off the far turn, D'One ($5.90) stormed home to collar 3-5 harness racing favourite Bee a Magician in the $177,000 Muscle Hill distaff trot on Friday (August 21) evening at Vernon Downs.   The 5-year-old daughter of a pair of 1:50.1 trotters, Donato Hanover and Giant Diablo, floated into a close stalking spot, just off pacesetters Bee a Magician (Brian Sears) and Shake It Cerry (Jimmy Takter) through initial fractions of :26.3 and :56.3.  As Handover Belle (Matt Kakaley) began the outer flow just one spot farther back, Örjan Kihlström elected to save ground with D'One, locked in through the far turn but able to wedge off the pegs as Handover Belle faded off the corner.  After Bee a Magician accelerated to a clearer lead through three-quarters in 1:25, D'One found ample room to commence her rally.  She made up 4-1/2 lengths and put another length on Bee a Magician in the end, capping her 1:52.2 triumph with a blistering :26.3 closing sectional.  Allie Labrook (Andy Miller) stayed on for third after tracking closely throughout.   Roger Walmann trains D'One for Stall Kenny 23 of Sweden.   Venus Delight parlays pocket trip to Artiscape success   After working clear of her entrymate through a pressured early pace and subsequently yielding to the pocket, Venus Delight ($5.70, part of entry) made the most of her pocket trip, sprinting clear in mid-stretch and holding off a late threat from Radar Contact for a 1:49.4 triumph in the $194,000 Artiscape distaff pace.   Jason Bartlett sent the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight to the front, sprinting clear of entrymate Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick), Table Talk (Andy Miller) ,and Skippin By (Jim Morrill, Jr.) through a :26 initial quarter. Just upon making the lead, Venus Delight yielded to Anndrovette, and the triple millionaire led the charge through a :54.3 half before Skippin By nudged her along through a 1:22.3 three-quarter sectional. Boxed through the far turn, Venus Delight found clearance at the pegs, driven to the lead at the eighth pole. Meanwhile, the third-over Radar Contact (Scott Zeron) swung four-wide through the stretch, closing stoutly but ultimately missing by a length. Anndrovette held third, while Precocious Beauty (Brian Sears) stayed on for fourth from her second-over trip.   Jeffrey Bamond, Jr. trains Venus Delight for Bamond Racing, LLC.   Obrigado game in Crawford Farms; Flanagan Memory last   While Obrigado ($11.40) had his hooves full in the final three-eighths of the $200,000 Crawford Farms open trot, he succeeded in holding Lindy's Tru Grit at bay for a 1:52 score at the Miracle Mile.   Obrigado used nearly the entire first turn to clear the lead, pushing past Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett) well after a :27.1 initial quarter. The 5-year-old Boy Band gelding managed to catch a breather on the backstretch--but not only by way of a :29 second sectional. First-over challenger and 8-5 favourite Flanagan Memory (Brian Sears) broke stride just upon commencing his bid, changing the complexion of the race entirely. Still, Obrigado faced pressure on the far turn, as Lindy's Tru Grit (Andy Miller) took up the chase in the final three-eighths. The pair would duel off the far turn, and despite being headed off the corner, Obrigado fought back gamely to reclaim command in the final sixteenth. The Paul Kelley trainee prevailed by a scant neck over the game Lindy's Tru Grit, while Melady's Monet hooked three-wide in the final 70 yards to finish a hard closing third.   Mark MacDonald drove Obrigado for the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, Linwood Higgins, William Weaver, III, and Stable 45.   The evening's undercard featured three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies, with Vino and Formaggio ($2.40, David Miller), Soft Idea ($3.00, Jim Morrill, Jr.), and Dime a Dance ($12.80, Matt Kakaley) taking their respective events.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 22) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Harness racing caretakers Malin Boman-Friberg and Viktor Flink-Ideborn enjoy special connections with their horses, D'One and Magic Tonight. It goes beyond simply sharing winning moments. Boman-Friberg was the caretaker of retired Swedish star Giant Diablo, who is the mother of D'One. Giant Diablo is history's fastest female trotter thanks to her 1:50.1 win in the 2007 Allerage Farms Open Trot at Lexington's Red Mile. Boman-Friberg's return to the U.S. with D'One is her first trip back to the States since a second brief visit with Giant Diablo in 2008. "It's a very emotional trip for me," said Boman-Friberg, who looks after the 5-year-old mare D'One for trainer Roger Walmann and ownership group Stall Kenny 23. "Who on earth would believe that I'm first going to go with the mom to America and race and then take her first-born daughter to come here. It's a super privilege." Flink-Ideborn is making his first trip to the States, with the Walmann-trained Magic Tonight. It is a return for the 6-year-old trotter, however, as Magic Tonight was born in Pennsylvania and was a multiple-stakes-winner in North America before being exported to Sweden in 2013. In May, Magic Tonight won the prestigious Elitlopp Invitational at Solvalla Raceway. "It means a lot to me to be here with him," said a smiling Flink-Ideborn, who has been Magic Tonight's caretaker since the horse arrived in Sweden two years ago. "I had to show him Sweden, now he is going to show me America." Magic Tonight and D'One both race Friday at Vernon Downs in New York. Magic Tonight is the 9-2 third choice on the morning line in the $200,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot while D'One is the 7-2 second choice in the $177,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot. Orjan Kihlstrom will drive both horses. Bee A Magician is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Muscle Hill and Market Share is the 5-2 pick in the Crawford Farms. The card also includes the $194,000 Artiscape for older female pacers, where the entry of Anndrovette and Venus Delight is the 5-2 favorite. D'One, a daughter of stallion Donato Hanover whose victories overseas include the Group 1 Swedish Trotting Oaks in 2013, has won 16 of 29 career races and earned $975,375. She heads to the Muscle Hill off a winning North American debut on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands, where she captured the Fresh Yankee by one length over Bee A Magician in 2:05 for the distance of 1-1/8 miles. The time was only three-fifths of a second off JL Cruze's world record for the distance. "We are super happy," Boman-Friberg said. "It was a little unexpected. I didn't think she would be that good directly. She was in quarantine a little more than four weeks, so it's been a long ride, but it turned out really good." The Muscle Hill field includes 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry and Dan Patch Award winning divisional champion Classic Martine in addition to 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician. "It's a really tough race, but that is why we are doing this," Boman-Friberg said. "We want to race good races. We are in a good race. She drew bad again (with post seven), but we're going to give it a shot for sure." Another reason for D'One's trip to North America is to take a crack at breaking her mom's world record time of 1:50.1. "It would be really awesome if she could beat her mom's record, for sure," Boman-Friberg said. "It's going to be super tough, but I think (Walmann) has a goal on this journey and that is to beat her record." Boman-Friberg said there are few similarities between D'One and Giant Diablo. "The only things like her mom, in my opinion, are her ears and eyes," Boman-Friberg said. "She is very nice; Giant Diablo was very tough to take care of. She could bite, kick, she was strong. This one is friendly and loves people." Magic Tonight is a son of stallion Andover Hall out of the mare Miss Possessed. He has won 20 of 56 career races and earned $1.34 million. He is owned by Lennart Agren's SRF Stable. After his own lengthy layoff because of travel and spending time in quarantine, Magic Tonight finished 11th in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial on Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands. "He's fine," Flink-Ideborn said. "He has been good since the race. He hadn't raced for like two months and he usually needs a race. It probably looks worse than it was. He needs time to come here and get settled. Now he's got that time. I hope he is good." The highlight of Flink-Ideborn's time with Magic Tonight has been the Elitlopp victory, but he feels a bond with the trotter regardless. "Just saying Elitlopp winner gives me goosebumps," Flink-Ideborn said. "It's awesome. "He's a really nice horse. He's a good friend. He's the best friend you can have." Following are the fields for the Muscle Hill, Artiscape, and Crawford Farms. Note that post 10 starts from the second row. Muscle Hill - Race 7 1. Rockin With Dewey, Scott Zeron, Benoit Baillargeon, 8-1 2. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1 3. Allie Labrook, Andy Miller, Kristin Shetler, 5-1 4. Charmed Life, Brett Miller, Mark Cecile, 10-1 5. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 5-2 6. Shake It Cerry, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 9-2 7. D'One, Orjan Kihlstrom, Roger Walmann, 7-2 8. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Steve Elliott, 8-1 9. Harley Momma, Jim Morrill Jr., Noel Daley, 10-1 Artiscape - Race 8 1. Skippin By, Jim Morrill Jr., Virgil Morgan Jr., 6-1 2. Radar Contact, Scott Zeron, Noel Daley, 9-2 3. Precocious Beauty, Brian Sears, Gregg McNair, 10-1 4. Table Talk, Andy Miller, W. Bart Dalious, 8-1 5. Lady Shadow, Doug McNair, Ronald Adams, 5-1 6. Sandbetweenurtoes, Brett Miller, Larry Remmen, 10-1 7. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 5-2 8. Venus Delight, Jason Bartlett, Jeff Bamond Jr., 5-2 9. Fancy Desire, Mark MacDonald, Daniel Renaud, 8-1 10. Color's A Virgin, David Miller, Tony O'Sullivan, 7-2 Crawford Farms - Race 9 1. Lindy's Tru Grit, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 8-1 2. Rossini, Doug McNair, Noel Daley, 10-1 3. Flanagan Memory, Brian Sears, Rene Dion, 7-2 4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 5-2 5. Magic Tonight, Orjan Kihlstrom, Roger Walmann, 9-2 6. Melady's Monet, Jason Bartlett, Kevin McDermott, 6-1 7. Obrigado, Mark MacDonald, Paul Kelley, 5-1 8. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1 9. Master Of Law, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 10. Intimidate, Scott Zeron, Luc Blais, 10-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

 Friday night at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, Grand Circuit racing comes to town as the Free For All trotters and pacing mares invade the venerable Upstate New York oval.   The $200,000 Crawford Farms Open (race 9) fields ten top trotting horses with combined earnings of more than $10 million along with an international flair.   Quebec owned Ontario-bred star Flanagan's Memory is currently the hot horse in the division, having won his last two including the John Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands.   Vernon favorite son Brian Sears was aboard for the Cashman win and will come in to drive the Kadabra horse for owner/trainer Rene Dion and partner Liette Flanagan.   American-bred 2015 Elitlopp winner Magic Tonight is making his second start since returning stateside for Swedish connections following what has to be considered a disappointing performance in the Cashman.   Quebec stalwart and 2014 TVG champ Intimidate was the winner of this race in 2013 and returns for the third time while still searching for his top form this season.   Obrigado and Market Share are a pair of talented Americans with the former emerging as a bona-fide star and the latter a Hambletonian champion closing out what has been a stellar $3.7 million winning career.   The top trotting mares are in for the $177,000 Muscle Hill (race 7) as Bee A Magician seeks revenge against D'One, the Swedish invader that tracked Queen Bee down in the final strides of the Fresh Yankee on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands.   Bee A Magician had seemed invincible within her division and was valiant in defeat, used hard early and pressured late before succumbing to D'One in the shadow of the wire.   Sears has this mount as well for Nifty Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and Dave McDuffee.   D'One was largely unknown to the local fans despite winning more than half her European starts and her royal pedigree.   Her sire Donato Hanover and dam Giant Diablo trotted to identical World Record 1:50.1 miles on the same epic afternoon at The Red Mile in 2007.   D'One was reserved off the demanding Fresh Yankee fractions by driver Orjan Kihlstrom and flashed brilliant late trot to dethrone the "Queen".   She races for trainer Roger Waldmann's Stall Kenny 23 of Sweden.   They'll both have to contend with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry and defending Dan Patch divisional winner Classic Martine.   A deep and competitive field of ten pacing mares will meet in the $194,000 Artiscape (race 8).   The inimitable Anndrovette has taken on the mantle of division leader lately as she campaigns for yet another Dan Patch tiara to add to her unequalled collection of four.   The path to the winner's circle is fraught with peril as the competition is fierce led by her stablemate Venus Delight, last year's sophomore leader Color's A Virgin, Ontario terror Lady Shadow, queen of the Delaware valley Table Talk and the iron-tough Radar Contact.   Anndrovette is making her fifth appearance in the Artiscape and was the winner of the stake back in 2011.   A win this year would vault her past the $3.5 million earnings mark in her quest to eclipse the career record held by the great Eternal Camnation.   Tim Tetrick has been aboard for most of Anndrovette's career highlights and will be again on Friday for trainer Jeff Bamond, Jr and owners Bamond Racing and Joe Davino.   Supporting the above stakes will be several divisions of the New York Sires Stakes two-year-old filly pace. Entries for Friday's races may be viewed here.   Vernon Downs Racing  

While both of their harness racing careers have come to an end, world champions Sebastian K and Sweet Lou will be honored this weekend with unique giveaways at the tracks that hosted two of their signature wins. Friday night, fans at Vernon Downs will receive a Sebastian K travel mug (while supplies last), celebrating the world's fastest trotter's win in last year's Crawford Farms Open Trot. This year's $200,000 event is the highlight of a stakes-filled card at the Central New York oval that will also include the $177,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot and the $194,000 Artiscape Open Mare Pace plus the New York Sire Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Pace. The giveaway begins at 5:00 p.m. and a spectacular fireworks show will take place after the races. "Sebastian K superseded all our expectations during his North American adventure and we enjoyed bringing him to many different tracks around the region," said Tristan Sjoberg, who along with his brother own Sebastian K under the Knuttson Trotting banner. "His win in the Crawford Farms Trot at the picturesque Vernon Downs when he wired the field in effortless fashion was one of the highlights of a sparkling season." The nine-year-old Sebastian K was recently retired after a European and North American career where he earned $2,973,252. Sunday afternoon, fans at Tioga Downs will receive a Sweet Lou travel mug (while supplies last); celebrating the 2014 Pacer of the Year's win in last year's Roll With Joe Open Pace. This year's $155,000 renewal highlights Sunday's stakes-filled card that will also include the Empire Breeders Classic Finals and the Reynolds Stakes for freshman trotters. The giveaway begins at 12:30 p.m. with post time set for 1:30 p.m. Sweet Lou earned $3,478,894 during his four-year racing career for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. For more racing and promotional information, visit and Justin Horowitz

Vernon Downs will host the Crawford Farms Open Trot, Muscle Hill Open Mare Trot and Artiscape Open Mare Pace on Friday, August 21. The draw for all three is on Tuesday, August 18 and the box closes at 9:00 am. They are Stakes Barn races with the horses due in no later than 8:00 pm the night before.   There is also a New York Sires Stake for 2YO pacing fillies on the same card.   Horsemen that plan to stay at the Vernon Downs hotel are encouraged to make those arrangements with the Racing Office sooner rather than later. The RO may be reached at (315) 829-6825.   Tioga Downs hosts the Roll With Joe Open Pace on Sunday, August 23 on the same card with the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) Finals and Reynolds Memorial stakes for 2YO trotters. The box for these stakes closes at 9:00 am on Wednesday, August 19. Phone for the Tioga RO is (607) 699-7688.   The Roll With Joe and EBC Finals are Stakes Barn races with the horses due in no later than 8:00 pm the night before.   Condition sheets are available on the USTA website.    

Taking advantage of a second-over trip, Big City Jewel ($3.80) kicked cover at head-stretch and held off a stout late charge from 18-1 longshot Some Or Lis to capture Sunday (August 16) afternoon's featured $8,000 Open II Pace at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   John MacDonald settled at the back of the pack early on with the 4-year-old Artiscape gelding, having no part of the pace while A Fool For Mark (Dustin Ingraham) controlled a :55.4 first half mile.   On the far turn, A Fool For Mark faced pressure from the first-over Its a Good Thing (Chris Lems), and Big City Jewel slid second-over to slipstream dueling leaders off the far turn.   After a :27.4 third sectional, MacDonald fanned Big City Jewel off cover, and the two vaulted to the lead in upper stretch--but they weren't out of the woods yet.   A threat remained from Some Or Lis (Andy Gardner), who hooked to the grandstand side after a mild shuffle on the far turn.   Big City Jewel ultimately prevailed in 1:51.3, a length better than his late-closing rival, while Its a Good Thing held third after he was overtaken from off cover.   Homer Hochstetler trains Big City Jewel for owner Kristofer Heim.   Truman Gale, William Hernandez, and Chris Lems all recorded driving doubles on the 11-race program.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 21) evening, with the Artiscape distaff pace, Muscle Hill distaff trot, and Crawford Farms open trot serving as co-headlines to the blockbuster program.   Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Three-year-old trotting filly Bee the Queen ($4.10) reigned supreme at the Miracle Mile on Saturday (August 15) night, holding off a late charge from Ulster for a 1:55.1 triumph in the featured $7,000 upper-level conditioned trot at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems secured the pocket early with the daughter of Donato Hanover, yielding to Ulster (Fern Paquet, Jr.) in the early stages before brushing after a :28.1 first quarter.   Bee the Queen enjoyed a 30.1 second-quarter breather before she faced mild first-over pressure on the far turn from DC Flashback (Jimmy Whittemore).   After she was nudged along to the three-quarter point in 1:26.4, Bee the Queen shook free of her seven rivals in upper stretch--at least for a moment.   Ulster, finding room to vacate the pocket, charged late at the longtime pacesetter, as did Tioga invader Verdi (John MacDonald) from out of midfield.   Both late threats would come up short, as Bee the Queen prevailed by a head.   George Ducharme trains Bee the Queen for Alfred Ross.   Truman Gale--who earned his 500th career driving win at the Norwich, N.Y. fair on Tuesday (his tally stands at 506 presently)--notched a driving double on the evening's 11-race program, as did Frank Davis.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (August 16) afternoon, with first post at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

Vernon, N.Y. -- Four New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting fillies headlined Friday (August 14) evening's harness racing card at Vernon Downs, and Lucky Chucky filly Posterity ($7.30) proved most impressive among the quartet of winners.   In the $27,250 seventh race, trainer-driver Charlie Norris floated Posterity into midfield from her outside post, rating well off odds-on favourite Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr.) through a :27.4 first quarter before charging to the fore amid a slackening :58.1 half mile. Upon reaching the end of the backstretch, Posterity was able to clear down to the pegs, turn aside a mild challenge from the first-over Credit To Thelimit (Sam Schillaci), and draw clear of her rivals through a dazzling :27.4 final quarter. Her 1:56 mile was the fastest of the four Sire Stakes splits, and she defeated runner-up Dizzy Broad by 3-1/2 lengths.   Carrie Norris, Janine Zito, and Buck Sprinkle share the ownership of Posterity.   Ãke Svanstedt recorded a Sire Stakes driving double, teaming up with Jimmy Takter trainee Pampered Winner ($13.00) in the $27,250 fourth race for his first of two co-featured wins. The royally-bred daughter of Credit Winner kicked clear off a first-over effort, holding off a late charge from Monarchs Sequel (Mark MacDonald) in 1:56.2. Svanstedt also prevailed with his own pupil Non Stick ($6.30) in the $27,750 ninth race, kicking clear from the pocket to defeat Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:56.3.   The greatest margin of victory went to Goosebump Hanover ($6.10), who drew off for a 4-1/4 length triumph in the $ 27,250 sixth race. After brushing to the lead on the first half of the far turn, Goosebump Hanover gradually extended her advantage over Lucky Kristen (Marcus Melander) and I Will Take Credit (Dan Daley), prevailing ultimately in 1:57.2. Jim Morrill, Jr. drove the RC Royalty filly for trainer Ron Burke.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 15) evening. Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs    

Vernon, N.Y. -- Twenty-nine talented 2-year-old trotting fillies take to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 14) evening for a quartet of harness racing New York Sire Stakes events, with a total of $109,500 at stake.   The $27,250 sixth race features a pair of multiple winners in Lima Playtime (Mark MacDonald, post 2) and Lindylicious (Chris Lems, post 4), and both daughters of Credit Winner will square off with five other rivals. Lima Playtime, the Rick Zeron-trained 2-1 morning line favourite, drew clear to prevail in Sire Stakes preliminaries at both Yonkers and Batavia, most recently drawing clear to a 1:59.4 win at Yonkers in dominant fashion. George Ducharme trainee Lindylicious took both her career wins on the Excelsior circuit, since rising to Sire Stakes competition with a pair of runner-up efforts.   Three-time winner Posterity (Charlie Norris, post 7) headlines the $27,250 seventh race, drawing off to defeat her foes at Yonkers and Batavia much in the same manner as Lima Playtime. The daughter of Lucky Chucky is the 9-2 morning line third choice in the third division, having to contend with Ron Burke trainee Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr., post 5). The Broad Bahn filly won her first two career races in Sire Stakes events, and she seeks to acquit herself of a late break at Yonkers last week.   In the $27,750 ninth race, the Ãke Svanstedt-trained and driven Non Stick (post 3) seeks to defend her undefeated record, earning pacesetting victories in her debut at Pocono and in a Sire Stakes race at Yonkers last week. The Lucky Chucky filly faces seven rivals, including fellow two-time winner Go Mary Go (Ray Schnittker, post 6), and 5-2 morning line favourite Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer, post 5). Dazzling Dollars, by Cash Hall, controlled the terms in her Sire Stakes event at Yonkers last week, edging clear for a 2:00.1 maiden-breaking triumph.   The 13-race Friday card begins at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time, and also marks the beginning of the annual Corntastic festivities, which continue through the weekend.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Sustaining a first-over bid through the far turn, Card Knock Life ($9.50) was able to just prevail over even-money harness racing favourite Big City Jewel in Sunday (August 9) afternoon's $8000 Open II Pace at Vernon Downs.   Trainer-driver Truman Gale settled in midfield with the 5-year-old Western Ideal gelding, drafting well behind a :54.4 half set by Big City Jewel (Chris Lems) before commencing his bid on the far turn. Card Knock Life forced a :27.4 third quarter, but was momentarily rebuffed in upper stretch by Big City Jewel. After dueling through mid-stretch, Card Knock Life was able to just wear down his main adversary, prevailing by a half-length in 1:51. Wild Shot Hanover (Fern Paquet, Jr.) rallied stoutly to save third after he was shuffled to last on the far turn.   Donn Lewandrowski and Gail Farrell own Card Knock Life.   Chris Lems led all drivers, tallying three wins on the nine-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 14) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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