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Yonkers, NY - Starting this week, the 50 cent Pick 5 wager at Yonkers Raceway will carry a $7,500 guaranteed pool on Mondays and Tuesdays. The pick 5 begins in race five each night. Monday's Pick 5 at Yonkers features two $77,300 New York Sire Stakes harness racing divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies. In the eighth race, the fourth leg of the Pick 5 wager, Hen Party looks to remain perfect in NYSS action. Hen Party, a daughter of Roll With Joe for the Crawford Farms and trainer Tony Alagna has already won sire stakes legs at Yonkers, Tioga and Vernon. Andrew McCarthy is in the bike once again and is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post five. Yonkers is currently racing four nights a week, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with first post at 7:12pm by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway    

Former "Down-under" champion harness racing reinswoman Lauren Tritton couldn't have scripted it any better. Lauren, wife of accomplished trainer Shane, landed her first win in the USA with 11-year-old gelding Flaming Flutter at last Friday's Yonkers Raceway and Empire City Casino at New York. The old timer (by Bettors Delight-Twice As Hot (In The Pocket) showed there's still spirit in those aging legs with a tough victory in a $17,250 event. It was just Lauren's fourth drive in the US after moving from Australia four months ago. "It was pretty exciting. It did give us a real buzz, particularly doing something like this on the other side of the world," Lauren said. "It would certainly be up there with my most memorable achievements-it was a life goal I'd always thought about," she said. "And it's a nice feeling to have the monkey off my back!" Lauren makes no secret that Flaming Flutter, who Team Tritton races on lease from well-known Victorian horseman Geoff Webster, is her stable favorite. "There was some talk of the horse being retired when we decided to try our luck in the US-but Shane talked them around," she said. "He's a lovely old horse and I was just so rapt with his win because he had to do it hard over the last half. And his time of 1.51 for the race was super." Watch the final stages of the race click here:  Shane said he had to convince the other owners not to retire "Flame" and it did take some doing! "I really wanted to bring him with us, but the funny thing is that I haven't sat in the seat behind him since! Lauren adores him and does all the work with him and he's her favorite by a long stretch." Lauren Tritton has a highlight reel as long as your arm as a driver back home in Australia. She's driven over 850 winners, became the youngest woman in Australian history to drive 500 winners, was the first female to win the NSW Metropolitan Driver's Premiership and she is a winner of over one hundred group-listed races. Harness racing is unquestionably a male-dominated sport in the US, and despite Lauren's passion for competing at the top level, she isn't planning on regular engagements outside her Team Tritton appointments. "I know there's quite a few over here who are surprised to see her drive, but I'm just so proud to see her out there competing," Shane said. "There's no way Lauren would ever just want to do the races as a driver - you have to commit totally to it to be successful, and that means 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "She thoroughly enjoys occasionally driving some of our team and maybe she will inspire some young girls to give it a go. There seem to be others who drive, but just at fairs and not the top level." The maiden victory in the US by Lauren was part of "a good couple of days" for the team. Stable pin-up girl My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring) made it five wins from five starts when she claimed the $33,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers on Thursday. "She's really on fire and we're so pleased because we really had to twist the arm of (NZ-based) owner Mike Siemelink to bring her to the US," Shane said. "Mike sent her over to us from NZ in May last year with the idea to win some races at Menangle and get some quick times to her name and then breed from her. She won six races and was 4th in a Group 3 Final to Bright Energy in 1.50 after storming home from last," he said. "So it was a bit of a radical change of plans, but of all of our horses, 'Ruby' has been the one to acclimatize the quickest. She's in great order; she's dappled up and jumping out of her skin and now we'll look at some of the big mares' races next year with her. "Jordan Stratton has been driving her over here and he's stoked by the way she keeps stepping up. He hasn't had to pushed her right out yet and she's pulled up a treat again." Shane said there was still a learning curve when it came to changes in training methods from the Australian way to the US. "Probably one of the big differences is that we don't work them anywhere near as hard as we did back home. There's been a few other little adjustments along the way, but we'll keep learning and chipping away," he said. "Obviously at some point they'll get on their marks, so we'll just keep making hay while the sun shines." Team Tritton has established an enviable strike-rate since shipping to the States, winning a dozen races from about 40 starters.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since the husband and wife training duo of Lauren and Shane Tritton arrived in the United States this spring, their harness racing stable has been on a tear, winning 10 of its first 35 starts, including a 4-for-17 start at Yonkers Raceway. Of the 12 horses the Trittons brought over from Australia, none have adapted quicker or been more consistent than My Ruebe Star, who brings a four-race win streak to the $33,000 filly and mare open handicap Thursday night (July 30). “The horses have done pretty well,” Shane Tritton said. “We’re still learning and we’re still trying to work out the changes between training in Australia and here, but we’re trying to mold it as we go. The horses have been getting better; we knew they’d get better as we went because we are still trying to work out exactly where to race them and where they needed to be. “(My Ruebe Star) has been the horse that’s acclimatized the quickest. She looks a million dollars and she adapted to the way we’re training here better than the rest. We’re pretty happy with her and hopefully she can keep the ball rolling,” Tritton said. “There’s a couple of little things there that you need to adjust and some horses pick up on it quicker than others. She’s been one that you can just tell by looking at her, she’s dappled up and she’s full of beans. I knew she’d keep getting better, we just don’t know where that will end up.” My Ruebe Star is a 6-year-old New Zealand-bred daughter of Falcon Seelster out of the New York Motoring mare Zenola Star. After showing promise in New Zealand for breeder and co-owner Mike Siemelink, My Ruebe Star was exported to Australia in May 2019 and joined Tritton’s ranks. My Ruebe Star won on debut for her new connections with Lauren Tritton in the sulky in a $14,280 overnight at Menangle June 22, 2019. My Ruebe Star racked up another five wins through the end of February 2020 as she climbed the class ladder. She also finished fourth in the Group 3 Garrards New Years Gift Final at Menangle Jan. 11, in which winner Bright Energy was clocked in 1:50.1. “The guy that owned her in New Zealand sent her over to us just to see how she’s shape up at Menangle and she came to us almost a maiden and she raced right through her grades at Menangle,” Tritton said. “She was probably a season shy of going to the top. She ran fourth in a 1:50.1 mile back home a month before we came over. She was just starting to break into some of the better mares’ races and then we shut her down to bring her over here.” Among My Ruebe Star’s best attributes is her gait. Tritton knew she would fit the American style of racing and the half-mile track at Yonkers Raceway, he just needed to persuade the owners, who had their eyes on stakes races in Australia and breeding her later on. “She’s certainly a horse we were desperate to bring,” Tritton said. “It took a bit of convincing of the owners to bring her over. Once we explained that she should do well here, they were happy enough to give us a crack with her and now they’re obviously pretty happy with the decision. We know she can’t keep winning forever, but she’s certainly got the qualities to take out a big race if she can get the right run. “We just knew that with her gait, she would suit the tracks here and she’s probably fitting them better than we could have imagined,” Tritton continued. “We think she’s only going to get better with a season of racing under her belt here. She really hasn’t taken any harm out of the runs she’s had so far, so hopefully she’s still got a bit in the tank and she can keep stepping up.” My Ruebe Star qualified a runner-up at the Goshen Historic Track June 4 before making her first stateside start in a $10,000 Meadowlands overnight June 12, becoming the first pari-mutuel starter and winner for Team Tritton in America. My Ruebe Star took a lifetime mark of 1:50.1 in repeating a week later. “She was a little bit fresh and needed to get that race start under way,” Tritton said. “First two starts, she came through really well at the Meadowlands and we wanted to get her to Yonkers as soon as we could because we knew she was so good-gaited that she’d have a bit of an advantage there over most horses. Once we got her there, she’s come through those runs brilliantly and it hasn’t really taken much of a toll on her.” Tritton moved My Ruebe Star to Yonkers July 9, where she overcame post eight in a $17,250 overnight, riding a pocket trip behind favorite Feelin Red Hot and utilized a :27.0 final quarter to glide past the pacesetter in the stretch for her third consecutive win. In her latest start at the Hilltop July 16, My Ruebe Star went gate-to-wire in 1:52.3 in a $20,250 overnight to make in four in a row.  My Ruebe Star drew post seven in an open draw in this week’s distaff feature and is 8-1 on the morning line with regular driver Jordan Stratton. Snobbytown, twice a winner and once the runner-up in this class in her last three starts for George Brennan and Ron Burke, is the 3-2 morning line favorite after drawing the inside. The field also includes Imprincessgemma, who’s lone win this season came in the filly and mare open handicap Feb. 14 and who has since finished second in this class three times, including twice behind Snobbytown in her last three starts for the Bongiornos. She drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. Monica Gallagher, Lispatty, Kaitlyn, Robyn Camden, and Diamondtoothgertie complete the field. “It’s a tough draw this week and we know these are the best mares going around Yonkers at the moment, so it’s going to be tough,” Tritton said. “We just know that she’s good enough to mix it with them. When she gets the right run, she’ll certainly be good enough to stick her nose out, that’s for sure.” By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Yonkers, NY - Sire Art Major had two harness racing pacers in Tuesday night's New York Sire Stakes divisions for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers and both came away victorious. In the $75,900 first division, Major Betts led all the way to a two and a half length score in 1:51.1. Dexter Dunn was the winning driver for trainer Mark Harder and owners Jannuzzelli, Harder and Frost.   Major Betts started in the Meadowlands Pace Final in his last race but the return to NYSS action got him back to the winner's circle. In the $77,300 second division, Genius Man got up by a nose in an eventful stretch battle in 1:52.3. Save Me A Dance was second with Splash Brother a neck back in third.   Marcus Miller drove the Art Major gelding to victory for trainer Erv Miller and owners Michelon and Plouffe. Racing at Yonkers Raceway continues Thursday and Friday night this week, first race is 7:12pm by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway  

Yonkers, NY - Tuesday night, Yonkers Raceway hosted three $48,866 New York Sire Stakes divisions for two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies. In the first division, race five, No Pay No Way sprung a 22-1 upset by a neck in 2:00 flat. The daughter of Credit Winner was driven to victory by Scott Zeron for his father trainer Rick Zeron and the Bay Pond Racing Stable of Malvern, Pennsylvania.   In the second division, race six, driver Tyler Buter avoided any mishaps with several early breakers in the field and cruised home to a four and one-quarter length victory with Destined to Dance in 1:58.3. The daughter of Chapter Seven is trained by John Butenschoen and owned by Heritage Standardbreds, Crawford Farms and Preziotti.   In the third division, race seven, Insured Am S was another winning daughter of Chapter Seven, prevailing by one length in 1:59.2. Brian Sears was the winning driver for trainer Marcus Melander and Courant Inc.   Live racing continues at Yonkers Raceway Thursday and Friday nights this week, first post is 7:12pm. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway  

Yonkers, NY - Semi Tough dominated his rivals in the $60,000 M life Rewards Gents Series Final, leading all the way through blistering fractions of 26.3, 54.4, 1:21.4 and stopping the clock in a lifetime best 1:50, just two-fifths of a second off the track record at Yonkers Raceway Monday.. Semi Tough is a four-year-old gelding trained by Ron Burke and driven to victory by George Brennan. Semi Tough had made two recent starts in the Graduate series and has now earned more than $540,000 lifetime.   Yonkers Raceway wrapped up two stakes finals Monday night which saw more than four months pass between preliminary legs and finals. The M life Rewards Ladies and Gents Series' began in the first week of March but were interrupted when racing was halted for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Top performers from the legs that were held in March qualified for the $60,000 Finals. In the M life Rewards Ladies Final, I'm Very Special blasted to the lead from post position eight and never looked back, winning by two and a half lengths in 1:52.2. North Star Ideal finished second and Red River Jane was five lengths back in third.   I'm Very Special notched her fourth win of the season for trainer Peter Pellegrino and owners Melvyn Colby of Great Neck, New York. Jason Bartlett was the winning driver . Racing resumes Tuesday night at Yonkers Raceway with three $48,866 divisions of New York Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies with first post at 7:12pm. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – A pair of $60,000 series finals and $30,000 consolations headline the July 20 harness racing program at Yonkers Raceway. The M Life Rewards Ladies and M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series will each conclude Monday evening after being interrupted and postponed by the efforts to contain the coronavirus in March. The M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series was originally scheduled with three preliminary legs March 2, 9, and 16 with a $50,000 added final March 23. However, due to the coronavirus lockdown that halted racing at Yonkers beginning March 10, only the first two preliminary legs were contested. A pair of 4-year-old mares top the standings heading into the rescheduled final, Affluent Seelster and I’m Very Special, who each won divisions of both preliminary legs. Affluent Seelster took advantage of a pocket trip from the inside post position to post a 33-1 upset in her division of the first preliminary leg March 2. The Paul Stafford trainee utilized a :28.2 final quarter to track down pacesetter North Star Ideal in a neck victory. Affluent Seelster proved the shocking result was no fluke when she repeated a week later as the 3-5 favorite. Affluent Seelster has made three starts since harness racing resumed in the Northeast, most recently connecting with a head win on the front end in a $12,800 overnight at Harrah’s Philadelphia July 8. Affluent Seelster drew post four in the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series Final and is 9-2 on the morning line with Brent Holland programmed to drive. Unlike Affluent Seelster, I’m Very Special was heavily favored in her divisions of both preliminary legs of the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series and made good both times for trainer Peter Pellegrino and driver Jason Bartlett. The American Ideal daughter scored by 2 lengths in the first leg, second division and 3/4 lengths in her second leg split, each time clocking 1:53.4 with a :27.3 final quarter. Affluent Seelster (Seen here winning on the 9th of March this year) I’m Very Special has a pair of placings at the Meadowlands and Harrah’s Philadelphia June 24 and July 3, respectively since returning to racing post-lockdown. In her latest start July 16 at Yonkers, she finished sixth in the non-winners of $25,000 last five condition. I’m Very Special drew post eight in the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series Final and is 8-1 on the morning line. Although sixth in the series standings after a narrow loss to Affluent Seelster in leg one and a fifth-place finish in the second leg, North Star Ideal was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite in the final. The Tom Milici owned and trained mare qualified an 11 3/4-length winner locally June 29, pacing a 1:55.3 mile with a :27.3 final quarter. The Western Ideal daughter then posted a front-stepping win in 1:53.4 in a $13,500 Yonkers overnight July 13. North Star Ideal drew the inside post in the $60,000 final and will employ the driving services of Matt Kakaley after Jason Bartlett opted for I’m Very Special. Kakaley drove North Star Ideal to a pair of open-length victories at Yonkers earlier this year before Greg Merton piloted in the preliminaries and Bartlett drove last time out. The field for the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series Final also includes Platinum Pearl, who returns to Yonkers after racing in the overnights at Northfield Park since late May and HP Xanadu, who enters off a neck loss in a $7,500 Meadowlands overnight July 3. Red River Jane, Triple Dip, and How About Murph complete the lineup. Like its distaff companion series, the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series was originally scheduled with three preliminary legs beginning weekly March 3 and culminating in a final March 24. As the March 10 Yonkers program was the first to fall to the coronavirus lockdown, only the first preliminary leg was contested. There were four divisions of the series first leg, and all four winners from those four splits entered the final. Semi Tough overcame post seven in the first division of the preliminary leg to post a 1 1/4-length victory in 1:54.2. Trained by Ron Burke, the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere son competed in legs of the Graduate Pacing Series at Tioga Downs and the Meadowlands June 21 and July 4, respectively, before posting a 1:51.1 win in a $10,400 Meadows overnight in his most recent start July 13. Semi Tough drew post six in the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series Final and is 7-5 on the morning line for driver George Brennan. The Andrew Harris-trained Tap Tap Tap took advantage of a pocket trip to track down heavily favored rival East Beach in the second division of the preliminary leg to post a mild 4-1 upset in 1:54. A homebred for S S G Stable, Tap Tap Tap finished seventh from post seven, beaten 3 3/4 lengths in the non-winners of $25,000 last five condition at Yonkers in his return June 25. Tap Tap Tap was caught as the pacesetter in his most recent start in a $9,000 overnight at Harrington July 13. Tap Tap Tap and driver Jason Bartlett will start from post one in the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series Final. The pair are 5-2 on the morning line. The third M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series preliminary leg division went to Razor’s Edge by a nose over Lying In Cash and Shamma Lamma, who dead-heated for second in a blanket finish. Razor’s Edge was trained by Ron Burke when last seen at Yonkers in the preliminary, but since moved to the Gilbert Garcia-Herrera stable. Razor’s Edge finished second in a dead heat for his new conditioner in a $13,600 overnight at Pocono Downs June 27 and was up the track in his last start at Harrah’s Philadelphia July 12 after starting from post eight. He is 20-1 on the morning line for Austin Siegelman and will start from post five. Virgin Storm was the only wire-to-wire winner in the series preliminary, having scored by 3/4 lengths for Jason Bartlett and Chris Marino. Now in the barn of Michael Spaccarelli Jr., Virgin Storm has been racing in the Pocono conditions and was most recently third on Independence Day. Mike Simons will drive Virgin Storm in the final at 12-1. First leg runners-up Shamma Lamma, Ehrmantraut, Lying In Cash, and Apex Seelster comprise the field. Yonkers Raceway returns to its normal five night per week live harness racing schedule beginning July 20 and continuing through Dec. 19. First post time is 7:12 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY - Yonkers Raceway hosted two harness racing divisions of New York Sire Stakes action for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings Tuesday night. In the first $75,900 division, Hobbs took control of the race early and led all the way in 1:55.4 by three-quarters of a length over Barn Holden with Take The Credit two lengths back in third.   Hobbs is a three-year-old gelded son of Credit Winner driven to victory by Jason Bartlett for trainer Jim Campbell and the Runthetable Stables of Montvale, New Jersey. Five of the six trotters in the first division were sons of Credit Winner. In the second $75,900 division, driver Brian Sears picked up the catch drive aboard Chaptiama and also led all the way scoring a neck victory over Berkery J in 1:55. It was three and three-quarter lengths back to Bourbon Express in third.   Chaptiama is a three-year-old gelded son of Chapter Seven for trainer Trond Smedshammer and the Purple Haze Stables of Fairport, New York. Four of the six trotters in the $75,900 second division were sons of Chapter Seven. Racing continues at Yonkers Raceway Thursday and Friday nights this week, first post is at 7:12pm. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY - American Courage made a decisive brush to the lead approaching the first quarter and held off the pocket sitting Town Gossip to prevail in the $104,250 MGM Springfield Stakes at Yonkers Raceway Monday by a half length in 1:53.3. American Courage remains unbeaten in four lifetime harness racing starts for trainer Travis Alexander, driver Matt Kakaley and the Fiddler's Creek Stables of West Bloomfield, Michigan.His time of 1:53.3 was a lifetime mark.   The two year old colt by American Ideal is the first foal out of the Art Major mare Nota Fool Bluechip. The heavy favorite in the race, American Courage paid $2.40 to win. Crystal Beach was six and three quarter lengths back in third. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Trainer Erv Miller entered three colts in the eliminations of the MGM Springfield Stakes (formerly the Lawrence B Sheppard) eliminations: Carrythetorchman, Crystal Beach, and Not Today. All three made the $104,250 final, set for Monday night (July 13) at Yonkers Raceway; Carrythetorchman by virtue of a victory and Not Today with a fourth in the second elimination and Crystal Beach with a third-place finish behind American Courage in the first elimination. With Carrythetorchman unbeaten in two baby races and his first pari-mutuel start, he leads the pack against the race’s 8-5 morning line favorite American Courage. By American Ideal out of the Astreos mare Kattimon, Carrythetorchman is a half to Classic Pro, a winner of two Ontario Sire Stakes legs and an earner of over $500,000 to date, and a full to Grand Circuit winner and New York Sire Stakes standout Devil Child. Carrythetorchman was a $70,000 buy from the 2019 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for Miller and owners Ronald Michelon and War Horse Stable. “He’s a good conformation horse. You might want one a little bigger for the big stuff, but for New York, I thought he was about the right size for getting around the half,” Miller said. “So far, he’s proven that. He doesn’t wear any boots and just gets around the half-mile track real easy.” Although Miller says Carrythetorchman showed class from the beginning of his training, the colt began to develop a bad habit while training in Florida over the winter and into the spring as he dealt with minor foot trouble. “Early on, he was really good. Then he went through a phase and I think it was more his feet than anything just had him where he wasn’t happy with what he was doing,” Miller said. “He wasn’t easy to keep under control when they jogged. He’d switch back and forth from the pace to the trot and we got that under control by leaving the hopples on him all the time.  “He was really fussy on the track at one time, but now he doesn’t do anything wrong,” Miller continued. “Since we got him close, a couple weeks before qualifying, he gotten over everything and it seemed like he was way better.” With that hiccup behind them, Miller shipped Carrythetorchman and the rest of his stable from Florida to Pennsylvania’s Wingate Farm uncertain when the horses would be able to qualify. With efforts to contain the coronavirus closing racetracks across North America, Wingate improvised, like many training centers throughout the country. “With COVID-19, it was just one of those things that we had to come up with a new solution. We couldn’t go anywhere to get qualified, so we came up with the next best plan,” Miller said. “I saw it coming when we left Florida, PA is shut down, things aren’t moving, so we better see if we can get our farm OK’d to qualify. That worked out good. We had a couple weeks of qualifiers that got things going.” Carrythetorchman was one of the horses who benefited, qualifying at home over the five-eighths mile track at Wingate June 15. He led his field of four gate-to-wire, stopping the clock in 1:59.2 with a :28 final quarter.  Nine days later, Miller was able to ship to Pocono Downs for a second baby race. Carrythetorchman left from post eight and utilized a :28.2 last quarter to power away from the field to win by 10 3/4 lengths in 1:57.  “He did really well. Because of training and knowing what kind of horse he was, we wanted to get a little faster mile in him there that day than what he did (at the farm) and expose him a little more. We did that and he just handled it really well,” Miller said. Carrythetorchman debuted July 6 at Yonkers, 20 minutes after American Courage posted a blowout 7 1/4-length win in the first MGM Springfield Stakes elimination in 1:55.2. Carrythetorchman left in between horses and glided to the front reaching the backstretch the first time. Driver Scott Zeron was simply a passenger as Carrythetorchman cruised home a 1 1/2-length winner in 1:55.4. Carrythetorchman drew post position three in the MGM Springfield Stakes Final and at 9-5, is the second choice on the morning line. American Courage will start from post four with Matt Kakaley as the 8-5 morning line favorite. “(American Courage) looked really sharp in his qualifier for this race, too. We just have to see how it plays out,” said Miller, who wasn’t sure what will happen when the two unbeaten colts face each other Monday night. Crystal Beach drew post two in the final and is a 20-1 morning line after finishing 9 lengths behind American Courage last week. Crystal Beach left hard from post five in his elimination, but was denied the lead by Major Makeover and was forced to take back into third heading to the quarter. With Crystal Beach keen in the hole, driver Marcus Miller angled to the outside turning into the stretch the first time and brushed to the top before being forced to yield again as American Courage forged to the lead at 1-5. “(Crystal Beach) really raced well the other day, but he was moved a lot, so it’s hard to tell how much he will go when he gets a nicer trip, maybe not used up quite as hard,” Miller said. “He’s also a very handy horse and gets around a half really good.” Crystal Beach was a $36,000 purchase from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned by Miller and Tanah Merah Farm. Crystal Beach impressed training down and won his first baby race by 7 3/4 lengths at Wingate June 15 before finishing second behind Carrythetorchman June 24 at Pocono ahead of his debut in the Springfield elimination. “He’s been a really nice horse. He’s always trained like just a top, top colt. When you’re getting ready to race them, sometimes you don’t get quite what you expect or quite as much as you thought they trained like,” Miller said. “His biggest attribute is he’s just so handy, he’s very handy on a half-mile racetrack.” Not Today is also 20-1 on the morning line after drawing post six and will employ the driving services of Jason Bartlett. A $77,000 purchase as the Harrisburg Sale last fall, Not Today is owned by Anderson, Willinger, and Golemes.  Not Today was second behind Crystal Beach June 15, but won his trial at Pocono June 24 by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:58.4. He finished seventh 10 lengths behind American Courage in an overnight at Pocono June 30 before his fourth-place effort in the Springfield elimination last week. “He’s a little but more of an immature horse, not quite as mature as the other two, but he’s a little bigger, stronger horse. Hopefully at some point, he’ll catch up to the other guys a little bit,” Miller said. Town Gossip, Victory Move, Coalition Hanover, and Major Makeover complete the lineup for the MGM Springfield Stakes Final, carded as the fourth of eight races Monday night. “I think it’s a nice race to have. With everything going on, it’s nice for the 2-year-olds to be able to race for $100,000 right now,” Miller said. “With all the COVID-19, all the races being cut, and schedules being redone, it’s nice to still have this race.” The amended Yonkers Raceway calendar will see live harness racing conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights until July 17. Beginning the week of July 20, the schedule will add Saturday nights as the track returns to its normal five night per week schedule through Dec. 19. First post time is 7:05 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Yonkers, NY -- Due to expected heavy rainfall and high winds, racing and qualifiers have been canceled at Yonkers Raceway for Friday (July 10). Racing is expected to resume on Monday (July 13), with qualifiers being held next on Friday (July 17). From the USTA  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since harness racing resumed in the Northeast United States in late May, Rich And Miserable has not had much luck racing at the Meadowlands. The talented trotter drew post position 10 in his first start back June 12, got stuck following a blazing 1:50.1 mile by Guardian Angel As in his second start June 20, then drew post position 10 in the Cutler Memorial last time out on Independence Day. As a result, Rich And Miserable failed to take home a check in any of those three starts.  Rich And Miserable made one bid away from the Swamp so far this season, heading to Pocono Downs June 27. He drew post two in the featured $20,000 trot and scored a 2 1/2-length win in 1:52.4. Now, Rich And Miserable looks to capitalize again in the $33,000 open handicap trot at Yonkers Raceway Friday (July 10). He is already having better luck at the Hilltop, drawing post four, but moving inside to the three after the early scratch of Photo Bomber.  “We threw him in with the big guns and we got a couple 10 post positions and that wasn’t a very good starting point. We did take him once to Pocono and he raced very well there, so now we’re going to try the half-mile track again at Yonkers,” said trainer Todd Buter. “The first start over there in the open, he had the 10-hole and just followed along,” Buter continued. “Last week in the Cutler, had the 10-hole and in with those type of horses, it’s tough from the 10, but we’re hoping to turn things around.” Besides the advantageous post position, Rich And Miserable has the resume to compete at this level. The Explosive Matter son always showed promise for Buter, but last year at 4, had a breakout season. After posting a 5 1/2-length win and earning two other placings in the preliminary legs of the SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series, Rich And Miserable won the $73,000 series final by a nose last April.  Rich And Miserable also won a leg and the final of the Mr. Muscleman Series at the Meadowlands, won the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Final at Pocono, and captured a local $42,000 open handicap trot from post position eight last fall. The $305,125 Rich And Miserable earned last year boosted his career tally to $417,922 for owners Buter Farm, Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. “Last year was a very pleasant surprise. He showed good things as a 3-year-old and as a 4-year-old, things just kept falling in place and we got a couple nice draws in some big purse races, got good trips, and he lived up to what we were hoping for. It was a great year,” Buter said. “He was always a sound horse as a 2- and 3-year-old and it seemed like he just got bigger, stronger, matured more and could race either way; race on the front, race from the back,” Buter continued. “He just ended up being a very smart horse, very easy on himself. We’re hoping we can turn things around back at Yonkers.” Rich And Miserable raced through the end of December last year before getting some well-earned time off. He was ready to qualify by mid-March, but due to the response to the coronavirus pandemic, harness racing across North America shuttered. Like the rest of the industry, Buter was forced to wait. “We just got put on hold and it was, ‘maybe next week,’ so you’d train them light. ‘Maybe next week,’ so you’d train them a little harder. The next week just train them easy, maybe it will be next week,” Buter said. “Everybody was in the same boat, nobody knew what was going on, so we just had to sit back and wait for them to turn the lights back on and I tried to have him as good as we could.” Rich And Miserable was finally able to qualify May 30 before his bad-luck streak at the Meadowlands began. Friday night will be Rich And Miserable’s first local start since finishing 10th in the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot Oct. 12. Regular driver Tyler Buter will be in the sulky and the pair are 5-2 on the morning line. Rich And Miserable will face six rivals, including 2-1 morning line favorite Melady’s Monet, who will start from post four. The 11-year-old and earner of $1.6 million twice finished second in the local open trot and won a local preferred from post seven before the shutdown. He posted a front-stepping qualifying win in 1:58 at Magical Acres Training Center June 23 in preparation for his first start since March 7.  Swansea earned three wins in the local open before the shutdown and picked up right where he left off in his return June 25, tallying a fourth victory in six starts this season in 1:55.3 for trainer Scott DiDomenico. Swansea was assigned the outside post Friday night and is 3-1 with Austin Siegelman programmed to drive.  Paul Kelley’s 10-year-old Obrigado continues to deliver after emerging from retirement late last year. The $1.8 million-earner won an $18,750 overnight in 1:51.2 at the Meadowlands June 5 and was second to Rich And Miserable in his most recent start at Pocono June 27. Obrigado drew post six Friday night. Mostinterestingman, Elysium Lindy, and Lean Hanover complete the lineup.  “We’ll just have to see how it shakes out,” Buter said of Rich And Miserable’s chances. “He’s raced on the front at Yonkers and won and he’s raced from the back at Yonkers and won. He seems good and healthy and sound, so we’ll hope for the best.” Friday night’s eight-race card also features the $33,000 open handicap pace. The amended Yonkers Raceway calendar will see live harness racing conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights until July 17. Beginning the week of July 20, the schedule will add Saturday nights as the track returns to its normal five night per week schedule through Dec. 19. First post time is 7:05 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY - Tuesday night, Yonkers Raceway hosted four $35,450 New York Sire Stakes Divisions for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters and harness racing stallion Chapter Seven stole the show with his offspring winning three of the four divisions. In the first division, race three, Incommunicado led from start to finish, prevailing by two and a quarter lengths in 1:59. Ahundreddollarbill was second with Dee's Red Delicious finishing third.   Incommunicado is a gelded son of Chapter Seven trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt and owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. of Del Ray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC from New York, New York. In the second division, race four, Special Prosecutor held off a fast closing Super Cruiser by a neck in 2:02.1 with Manuka being placed third after Limitless Winner was disqualified from that show spot.   Special Prosecutor is also a gelded son of Chapter Seven. He was driven to victory by Andy Miller for trainer and co-owner David Dewhurst of Clinton, New York. Philip Hale from New Hartford, New York co-owns the trotter. In the third division, race six, Ambassador Hanover made a strong brush to the lead around the final turn and held off Sevenshadesofgrey by a length in 1:59.1 with Steel finishing third.   Just like the first division winner, Ambassador Hanover is a son of Chapter Seven trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt. Svanstedt also owns the colt along with Order By Stable from Boras, SD and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. In the eighth race final division, In The Cards sat a perfect pocket trip and prevailed by a length in 2:00.1 over the pace-setting Credit Con with Fix-It-Up finishing third.   In The Cards is a gelded son of RC Royalty owned and trained by George Ducharme. Other co-owners are Campbell, Dickson and Cimetti with Scott Zeron the winning driver. Tuesday's card also featured the first pick 5 carryover for Yonkers Raceway since returning from the stoppage. A $5,894 carryover from Monday night produced an additional $39,291 in wagering for the Tuesday Pick 5. The winning sequence of 2-2-3-1-6 returned $462.25 for a 50 cent wager. This week and next week, Yonkers expands to a four day race week, adding Friday nights to the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, first post is 7:12pm each night. by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers Raceway featured two elimination races for the first two-year-old stakes of the harness racing season, the MGM Springfield Stakes, on Monday night. In the first elimination, American Courage brushed to the lead approaching the half and was an easy seven and one-quarter length winner in 1:55.2 over Town Gossip with Crystal Beach third and Major Makover fourth.   The 1-5 favorite, American Courage paid $2.70 to win. The son of American Ideal was driven to victory by Matt Kakaley for trainer Travis Alexander and the Fiddler's Creek Stables of West Bloomfield, Michigan. In the second elimination, Carrythetorchman took control of the race from the start and led wire to wire to a 1:55.4 victory. Coalition Hanover was a length a half back in second with Victory Move third and Not Today fourth.   Carrythetorchman, also a son of American Ideal, also paid $2.70 to win and was driven to victory by Scott Zeron for trainer Erv Miller and owners Ronald Michelon of Northbrook, Illinois and War Horse Stables of Malvern, Pennsylvania. The top four finishers in each elimination return for the $104,250 MGM Springfield Stakes Final next Monday July 13 at Yonkers Raceway by Alex Dadoyan, for Yonkers Raceway  

The following letter was received at Harnesslink from Joseph Faraldo and it pertains to a letter in Harness Racing Update over the weekend from Danielle Henri, the mother of Rene and Simon Allard. If Rene Allard’s mom owned her own  horses for years she should be allowed to race her horses if her only involvement in any of the allegations against Rene, is her being Rene’s mom. A  similar argument could be made for Simon Allard ie., that guilt, by association is similarly wrong. As far as the new trainers they are free to choose who they train for and guilt by association should not be the standard by which the industry further tarnishes otherwise  innocent trainers who are not acting as beards.  The presumption that relatives are as  guilty as those charged, whose guilt is not yet proven,   is a favorite pastime of our industry and is why the industry suffers in the eyes of the outside world , because it comes from inside.  The justice system is competent in ferreting out the guilty from the innocent and those who are guilty should and must be penalized. Those who are complicit with anyone directly involved in breaking regulations whether they rise to the level of crimes or not,  including other trainers, beards, grooms and even owners, should  be punished. Penalizing any of the owners, trainers or a myriad of others who would aid criminal activity should have some modicum of proof, not be applied by mere association. As far as Yonkers, the HRU headline was disgraceful in and of itself but endemic of the mob mentality that is prevalent in this business. Yonkers rightfully accepted her  entry and that was appropriate until the firestorm created by Harness Racing Update article. At that point  Yonkers then succumbed to the mob mentality giving the impression that  the entry was accepted incorrectly and then decided to follow up by sacrificing up this owner to satiate the presumably false narrative that was promulgated by HRU.  It was interesting to hear a  new version  for the Yonkers action and that  was that Rene’s mom made a lot of money  from the prior relationship with her son . One has to wonder if all the owners, some of the biggest to the smallest in the game, should be barred by some or all the tracks in the country or at their own tracks who used any specific  trainer or driver who subsequently violates any rule. The question is which trainer with a valid license may be the next to get get accused of some wrongdoing or trouble. Some very good owners have quit the business because some tracks have taken this just a bit too far, Yonkers included. You can’t make this up.  Think of the hypocrisy inherent in this mob mentality. So many others who have  horses with those indicted or  those charged in an information, are allowed to still race their  horses even though they may have indirectly profited from trainer activities which are alleged to be criminal in nature  but whose activities were  unknown to them. Where is the outcry for similar punishment  to that meted out to  this one owner and driver or is that too  logical for the industry to ask? Or is it simply that the industry does not wish to apply the same rationale to others it gives a pass too.? It is because  all of this, that this current industry sanctioned  approach is wrong and hypocritical for so many reasons. Many presumed guilty  owners have sold their horses because they are now wearing their “scarlet letter” and have quit the game altogether.  Every, let it be repeated that every  successful trainer starting in my memory with George “Buddy” Regan, is suspect of wrongdoing by this wrongheaded mentality. George  was so disheartened he basically quit the game. Lets  acknowledge then that every successful trainer and all their owners in our game are  guilty regardless of the necessity of proof. We all know better than to need proof and we can all just keep demeaning the game instead of better policing it. When speculation becomes the substitute for proof and rumor mongering and innuendo become the basis for action, driven manly from within the game, the game is shooting itself in the foot. The failure to make more serious efforts to regulate the sport by those vested with such responsibility has in part led us to this precipice.   Hopefully, an independent, repeat independent  and hard working organization like Dr Jablonsky has  recommended and USTA president Russell Williams and the Executive Committee has embraced will do its work successfully and the industry will enjoy a reawakening. From Joseph Faraldo

YONKERS, N.Y. – The Grand Circuit returns to Yonkers Raceway with the eliminations of the MGM Springfield Stakes Monday night (July 6). For many trainers across North America whose stables are heavily invested in 2- and 3-year-olds, the resumption of stakes racing post-coronavirus lockdowns has been a huge relief. Blake MacIntosh, who will debut three 2-year-old colts in the Springfield eliminations, includes himself in that group. “For two months there, I was worried. I didn’t have any money coming in and we make all of our money over the summer with the stakes races,” MacIntosh said. “I have 70-something in training and I own at least a quarter of 65 of them, so it’s nerve-wracking. You’re worried about racing coming up and we’re lucky enough all the governing bodies let us start racing and to just have money coming in, cash flow coming in. I can sleep again at night.” Originally scheduled for July 4 with a final July 11, the MGM Springfield Stakes (formerly the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace) was minimally displaced by measures to contain the coronavirus, with the eliminations and final moving to July 6 and July 13, respectively. There were 16 entries to the stakes for 2-year-old pacers, resulting in two full fields of eliminations racing for $25,000 each. MacIntosh feels his trio is led by Major Makeover, part of a coupled entry in the first elimination who drew post position three with George Brennan. A $25,000 purchase out of the 2019 Harrisburg Sale for MacIntosh, Hutt Racing Stable, and Touchstone Farm, Major Makeover shares a stallion with MacIntosh’s 2018 Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice and will be the first foal to race for the Cam’s Card Shark mare Mako Wish. “He’s an Art Major. With ‘Courtly’ being an Art Major, we always look at all the Art Majors,” MacIntosh said. “He was a very good looking individual. He looked very much like ‘Courtly’ I thought. He stood good and he’s just a nice colt. “To drive, he does everything perfect. He does nothing wrong,” MacIntosh continued. “You can do whatever you want with him. He was really good that way. In the barn, he seems like a nice horse. He was actually right close to my office, so I saw him every day. He didn’t do anything wrong as far as I know and was pretty easy to handle.” All three of MacIntosh’s entries sport a pair of qualifiers June 12 and 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Although their times may not appear flashy on paper in comparison to the baby racing at venues like the Meadowlands, MacIntosh says that is by design. “I don’t tell the drivers anything when we qualify them. I don’t want them rolled is the whole thing, I want to make sure their last quarters are their best quarters, sit them in, try to get away third, fourth and let them pace for home is usually what I like to see,” MacIntosh said. “The second qualifier, we may let them go a little more, but up here, it’s not like the Meadowlands where they go fast qualifying. We teach them a little more the first couple times than they do down there. There’s no specific time or anything set for the horse, it’s just teaching them so they can learn.” Major Makeover finished second in his first outing, clocking a mile in 2:00.2 with a :29.2 final quarter. In his second trial, Major Makeover was more aggressively handled, leaving from the gate and initially sitting the pocket before brushing to the lead upon reaching the backstretch. Major Makeover opened up a 4 1/2-length lead under confident handling by driver James MacDonald on the final turn.  MacDonald put the whip on Major Makeover’s tail straightening away and cracked the sulky shaft once with a furlong to pace. Major Makeover finished with a :27 final panel to post a 1:56 win. “He’s probably the best of the three,” MacIntosh opined. “He qualified really well last week, he was under wraps. He’s been very consistent all winter and we’ve been very happy with him. Just a nice little guy.” Ole Joe comprises the other half of the entry in the first elimination. A son of Roll With Joe out of the unraced Western Hanover mare Bandolera Hanover, MacIntosh and partners Hutt Racing Stable and Steve Heimbecker paid $14,000 for the colt at the 2019 Goshen Yearling Sale. “Ole Joe was a pretty cheap yearling. We had some luck with Roll With Joe in the past with Groovy Joe and a couple others,” MacIntosh said. “He’s a nice-looking little guy, wasn’t an overly striking horse, but I’ve had some luck with them in the past. He’s a nice little horse.” Ole Joe finished third in both of his qualifiers and paced a final quarter of :28.3 each time. In his first outing, he clocked in in 2:00.1 and he paced a mile in 1:57.2 in his latest baby race. Although not charted as a break, Ole Joe was a bit steppy around the first turn in his latest outing.  “Last time qualifying, he wasn’t as good as he should have been I felt because training down he’s been a lot better than what he showed qualifying,” MacIntosh said. “I think he got on the big track and got lost. I think he’ll be more of a half-mile track specialist.” Jim Marohn, Jr. will drive Ole Joe from post four. The coupled entry of Major Makeover and Ole Joe is 9-5 on the morning line. The first elimination also includes American Courage, one of only two horses in either elimination to make a pari-mutuel start. The Fiddler’s Creek Stable homebred son of American Ideal won his debut by 6 lengths in 1:54.1 in a $10,400 overnight at Pocono Downs June 30. Matt Kakaley will drive the Travis Alexander trainee. Owned by the same connections as Ole Joe, MacIntosh’s Victory Move will start as part of an entry with Erv Miller’s Carrythetorchman in the second Springfield Stakes elimination. By American Ideal, Victory Move is out of the Powerful Toy mare Ireneonthemove, a multiple Delaware-sired stakes winner of the mid-2000s and later a consistent open-type who earned $846,091. She has produced three winners to date, including 10-time winner and $155,848 earner Carly Girl. MacIntosh and partners paid $65,000 for Victory Move at the 2019 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Victory Move finished second in his first qualifier, clocked in 1:59.2 with a :28.3 last quarter. He was fourth in his second trial timed in 1:58.1 with a :27.3 final panel despite being charted with broken equipment.  “Training down, he was in the top set,” MacIntosh said. “His two qualifiers were as good as we expected out of him.  You have to work him a little more. I think being in New York will be a lot better for him than being up here whereas you can get after them a little more, chase them a little more because he’s a little lazy. Other than that, he’s got a great gait to him and does everything pretty good. “In the qualifiers up here, I wasn’t disappointed, but there was one time I thought he was going to blow by them and he sort of waited on them,” MacIntosh continued. “I know what talent he’s got and I think he’ll be fine. I think Matt (Kakaley) will get the best out of him this week.” With travel restrictions in place at the U.S.-Canada border, the trio of Major Makeover, Ole Joe, and Victory Move shipped to MacIntosh’s New York stable in Middletown, which is headed by Jessica Dowse.  “We stayed on track with the 2-year-olds. The only difference right now is I’m not going down to the barn down there. I train them all up here and then send them down. Usually, I’d be down every week splitting my time 50-50. This year, I won’t be down until they lift the border restrictions because when I come back I have to quarantine 14 days,” MacIntosh explained. “Jessica Dowse will be running the stable down there full time. She sends me videos and we talk every day; she’s a great communicator and we’re able to talk throughout. That’s the only difference right now, but we’ve got them hung up the way we want them and our training track is a tight track, so when I send them down, they don’t have to change much.” With 2-year-old racing commencing across North America, MacIntosh already has four freshman winners this season, including two in Woodbine Mohawk Park overnights and two in the Stallion Series at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The trainer hopes his luck will continue in the Springfield Stakes.  “It’s a little nerve-wracking. You work so hard all winter, you hope everything goes well. You hope you have a couple that can make the money and do well for you,” MacIntosh said. “We’re fortunate enough to have had some luck right out of the gate with the 2-year-olds. We just hope everything keeps going good. We have a big chunk of money out there that we have to make back. If we can win in the first couple and do well and keep going forward and get the bills paid, we’ll be happy.” The amended Yonkers Raceway calendar will see live harness racing conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights until July 17. Beginning the week of July 20, the schedule will add Saturday nights as the track returns to its normal five night per week schedule through Dec. 19. First post time is 7:05 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY  

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