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Batavia, NY - For the second week in a row, an outside invader laid claim to the top pacing prize for fillies and mares in the distaff Open at Batavia Downs. Little Santamonica has been freelancing about New York State for most of the year and has recently chalked up top-class victories at Saratoga and Yonkers Raceway as well as Tioga Downs where she set her lifetime mark of 1:52 on May 16. Tonight she made her first start at Batavia and put another notch on her belt. Starting from post two in the short field of five, even money favorite Little Santamonica (Truman Gale) got away second behind It's De lovely (Drew Monti) and took the pocket trip through fractions of :29.2, :59 and 1:26.4. At that point Gale used the right line and pulled the mare going into the last turn. The team continued to gain ground on the leader before pulling away halfway down the stretch to win by a length over a fast-closing V 'la Faire (Ron Beback Jr.) in 1:55.1. The victory was the tenth in 21 starts for the 6-year-old mare and pushed her lifetime earnings to $228,041. Little Santamonica who returned $4.40, is owned by Kelly Dawn Hope of Vernon, NY and is trained by Jordan Hope. Wednesday night, NFL hall of famer and former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas was on hand as a guest bartender for the night at the races to benefit the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, NY. Each race on the card was sponsored by different groups who made donations to this very worthy cause and those gifts, combined with contributions by fans and horsemen alike throughout the night, amounted to over $7,500. The Downs would like to thank all those who came out to participate and to everyone who made donations to this very worthy cause. Racing resumes Friday night at Batavia Downs at 6:35 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes will be back in town with two divisions for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 29, 2014-New York Sire Stakes continued downstate Tuesday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $201,600 Mike Cohen Trot for 2-year-old fillies. The quintet of races honored the memory of the former Yonkers and NBC Sports publicity director, with his family and friends making winner's circle presentations. The opening ($39,900) event saw a down-the-road Pig Hunt (George Brennan, $9.80), from post position No. 5, break the tape in a spiffy 1:59.4 (:30.2, 1:01.2 and 1:30.1). The effort matched her previous season's-best. Frou Frou (Brett Miller), as the 7-10 favorite, lost her tow when Icy Sprite (Jason Bartlett) broke, then could not get near the winner. The final margin was a length, with Praying Gear (Jeff Gregory) third. For third choice Pig Hunt, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Janice and Jennifer Connor, it was her second win in four first-season starts. The exacta paid $20.20, with the triple returning $53.50. "She shows trotting every start, so I wasn't worried about her," Brennan said. "I was able to back down the half and control the race." Tuesday night's second ($40,900) sire stakes event was a successful debut for Shaqline (Jimmy Takter, $6.20). In play early from post No. 2, she found a :30.1 opening quarter-mil. Then, Concentration (Chris Lems) grabbed the baton (1:01.2, 1:30.2), 17-10 choice Barn Girl (Gregory) trotting in place first-up. Concentration owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Shaqline took to the passing lane like a veteran. She ducked in and went by, the final margin a length-and-a-quarter in 2:00.1. Cherry Crown Jewel (Dan Daley) was third, with Barn Girl winding up fourth. For second choice Shaqline, a Credit Winner trained by Takter for Brixton Medical Ab, her sire stakes debut came after just one baby race. The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $104 and the superfecta paid $439. "She's bred to be very good," Takter said of the full-sister to $400,000-plus winner Shaq is Back. "She had breathing issues and three surgeries. Fortunately, she had some good doctors." The third ($39,900) Cohen division saw Summer Scent (Daley, $17.40)-from post No. 4--sit behind 2-1 choice Kaliska (Ray Schnittker) through fractions of :28.3, :59 and 1:29.2. Summer Scent then made her way past, winning by a half-length in a maiden-breaking 2:00.3. Third went to Duolectra (Corey Callahan). For fourth choice Summer Scent, a Malabar Man miss trained by Daley for co-owners Ann-Mari Daley and Jlrl LLC, it was that first win in five '14 tries,. The exacta paid $16.20, with the triple returning $556. "She keeps at it," Dan Daley said. "She doesn't always want to pass another horse, but she drew better tonight and that helped." The fourth ($40,600) sire stakes event was won by an in-form, 9-10 fave Barn Doll (Gregory, $3.80). Unhurried from post No. 2, she watched as Summers Windsong (Schnittker) and Nunkeri (Callahan) took turns through fractions of :29, :59.4 and 1:30.1. Barn Doll methodically made her move, first-up from fourth before collaring the leader early in the lane. She then edged away to beat Nunkeri by a length-and-a-half in 1:59.1...night's fastest and matching her previous life-best. Summers Windsong was third. For Barn Doll, a Conway Hall lass co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her fourth (consecutive) win in five seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $14, with the triple returning $47.80. "She's a smart filly," Gregory said. "She's able to relax and that's going to help her as she moves along. Tonight, when we moved, there was no one in front of her, but can just as easily chase another." The evening's statebred schedule ended in the fifth ($40,600) grouping, where slight choice Stirling Debutant (Ron Pierce, $6.80) showed good speed on both ends of a first-win 2:01.2 effort. Leaving from post No. 5, "Debutant" wound up sitting behind Northern Obsession (Schnittker) and that one's weight stations of :30, 1:01.3 and 1:31.2. When Zanna Blu (Gates Brunet) attacked the leader with a bold second move, Stirling Debutant extricated herself from the cones and angled out. She then whipped a stubborn Zanna Blu by three-quarters of length. Third went to Meshugana Miss (Jordan Stratton), with Stories to Tell (Lems) fifth-placed-fourth. For Stirling Debutant, a daughter of Credit Winner co-owner by (trainer) Rick Zeron, Cool Cat Racing and James Walker, she's now 1-for-4 this season. The exacta paid $51.50, the triple returned $529 and the superfecta paid $9,871. "I spoke to Rick (Zeron) a couple of days ago, and he said if I just gave her a chance, she'd be alright," Pierce said. "I made the (final turn) decision to take her outside, because with some of these 2-year-olds get a bit skittish when you duck them inside. " New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday night, with $200,900 New York Sire Stakes Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 28, 2014 - After a couple of days worth of hiatus, New York Sire Stakes returned downstate Monday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $226,200 Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. The first of three, $75,400 divisions took on a different look right before post time when odds-on choice Major Dancer (Brian Sears) was scratched-lame. That shifted the role of (4-5) favoritism to Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.). "Blush" led through fractions of :26.4, 56.3 and 1:25.1. However, with a length-and-a-quarter lead entering the lane, she could not lose a pesky Delightful Dragon (Dave Miller).   That one, the Three Diamonds winner from a season ago, seated early from outside post position No. 7. Delightful Dragon engaged the leader in earnest and out of the final turn before picking her off by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. A season-debuting Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras) was third. For fourth choice Delightful Dragon, a homebred daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Adam Victor and Son Stable and trained by Noel Daley, she returned $22.40 for her fist win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $50.50, with the triple returning $260. "She's had her issues her issues this season, but she handled the track very well," Miller said. "Obviously, the race changed when the favorite scratched, but my filly earned it. She took a lot of air and was able to go by." The second NYSS event was a down-the-roader for It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron, $). Leaving from post No. 2 after an inside scratch, she held sway after intervals of :28.1, :57, 1:25.3 and 1:54.2. Spreester (Morrill Jr.), the 1-2 fave, tested the winner from the pocket, but missed a neck, with JK Molly (George Brennan) third. For second choice "Fascination," an American Ideal lass co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Algana, (co-breeder) Riverview Racing and Bay's Stable, it was her third win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $7.10, with the triple returning $27.80. "I would have perfectly content sitting behind Jimmy (Morrill Jr. driving Spreester), but she left the gate on her toes, so I just drove on, " Zeron said. "I've driven her a few times now, and the best thing about her is she's handy. She's comfortable any way you want to race her." Monday night's final statebred event saw a pocketed Medusa (Sears, $5.20) edge away as the 8-5 favorite. In play from post No. 6, Medusa sat behind pole proposition Carlota Blue Chip (Brennan) as that one set sail through subsections of :28.2, :57.2 and 1:26.1. "Carlota" opened a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, but needed more. Medusa angled out and went by, defeating a three hole-sitting Sky Artist (Eric Carlson) by a length-and-a-quarter. Carlota Blue Chip held third. For Medusa Blue Chip, a Bettor's Delight miss owned by W J Donovan and trained by Paul Kelley, she's now 7-for-11 this season (unraced at 2). The exacta paid $90.50, the triple returned $285.50 and the supefecta (Just Add Vodka [Morrill Jr.]) paid $974. "She showed she can leave the gate, and I was able to get her out of there," Sears said. "Out of the last turn, I could see George (Brennan, driving Carlota Blue Chip) having to get after his filly, so I figured it was time to go. " New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night, $201,600 Mike Cohen Trot (2-year-old fillies). Thursday night, it's the $200,900 New York Sire Stakes Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 26, 2014-Sapphire City (Dan Dube) did his damage from off the pace Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Forced to change his tact and race from behind, Sapphire City--assigned post position No. 6--saw Heston Blue Chip (Brent Holland) have work to get around pole assignee Life Up Front (Eric Carlson) after a contested :26.2 opening quarter-mile. From there, a rated :29.1 second interval (:55.3 half) before 9-10 favorite Pancetta (Jordan Stratton) moved from fifth. Sapphire City went along for the toward a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Pancetta ducked in a quick rest stop when Life Up Front gave up the ghost. However, the leader remained such into the lane, with a length-and-a-quarter advantage in and out of the final turn. Sapphire City angled inside and closed stoutly, whipping Heston Blue Chip by a neck in 1:51.1...a tick of his season's-best. Pancetta settled for third, with Dream Out Loud N (Eric Goodell) and P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For Sapphire City, a 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stables and Jordan Sklut, he returned $15.20 (third choice) for his fourth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $48, with the triple returning $152. New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $226,200 Art Watson Pace (3-year-old fillies). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 25, 2014- Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted the $197,500 Milt Taylor Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings, drawn and quartered. Odds-on Gabe the Bear Dean (Jordan Stratton, $2.90), leaving from post position No. 4, sat the loosest of pockets in the first ($49,150) division. He then held off Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) by a length in a snappy 1:58.3. They were both watching Commentary (Jim Meittinis) lead through fractions of :29, :58.1 and 1:28.4 before being tackled passing the three-quarters. The leader did easily hold third, as the other three entrants broke. For "Gabe," a son of Lucky Chucky co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker and Minix Stable, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $9.80, with the triple returning $71.50. "It's the first time I've driven him, but I've driven enough trotters for Ray (Schnittker) that I know always has them rigged correctly," Stratton said. "That was a very solid mile (previous life-best was a sloppy 2:03)." The second ($49,150) had another odds-on number, Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory, $3.50) do his work from first-up. Unhurried from post No. 2, he moved past a soon-to-break Azucar (Gates Brunet) after that one's early fractions of :30.4 and 1:01.2. "Mambo" hit three quarters in 1:31, before finishing his evening in a flat two minutes. He defeated Pier Ho Exotic (John Cummings Jr.) by a half-length, with Titanium (Bartlett) third. For Mambo Blue Chip, a Lucky Chucky colt trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Mal and Janet Burroughs, it was his second win in three '14 tries. The exacta paid $23.20, with the triple returning $58.50. "He's reminds me a of tint Budweiser Clydesdale," Gregory said. "He's big and strong. Once we were able to get around the first turn, that was my biggest concern. I figured we'd be alright after that." The evening's third ($49,150) statebred sojourn took on a different look when 1-5 fave Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) jumped it off in the first turn. That left 49-1 Tango Pirate (Truman Gale) giving the longshot legion fan club a shout-out through weight stations of :30.1, 1:00.1 and 1:30. However, Andy Ray (Brent Holland)-pocketed from post No. 5--closed ranks, then went by early in the lane. He held sway, beating Elusive Action (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half in a maiden-breaking 2:00.2. Wings of Royalty recovered from his misdeed to finish third, beaten nearly eight lengths. For "Andy," a Crazed gelding trained by Erv Miller for co-owners Paymaq Racing, Ronald Michelon and Harvey Eisman, he returned $28.80 (fourth choice) for that first win in a couple of starts (first in NYSS competition). The exacta paid $198.50, with the triple returning $547. "I baby-raced him (Pocono) and he was alright," Holland said. "He's a solid-footed horse and he raced well tonight. I wasn't worried him getting over the track at all." The final ($50,050) sire stakes grouping saw pole-sitting 3-10 choice Royal Deceptor (Mickey McGivern) seemingly with his rivals under control (:29.4, 1:00.2, 1:29.3). He owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, then came down with a case of the staggers. He was passed late by both Credit Creation (Bartlett) and Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), with the latter on the outside getting the nod by a neck in 1:59.1. Royal Deceptor settled for third, beaten a length. For third choice Buen Camino, a Cash Hall gelding trained by his driver for Purple Haze Stables, he returned $16.40 for a successful parimutuel debut. The exacta paid $149, with the triple returning $360. "I was able to get away third (from post No. 4), and he was very comfortable," Smedshammer said. "The colt on the lead (Royal Deceptor) has been racing well, but turning for home, I thought we had a shot. I was all the way on the outside, and I really wasn't sure I beat Jason (Barlett, with Credit Creation) until I heard the starter say my number. "He was supposed to race last week (Tioga), but there was a race office error and we didn't get in. Since he's a Cash Hall, we gelded him right away. I'm happy with the way he's come along." Friday night's pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps-for distaff pacers and all-permitted trotters-were won by Robin Cruiser (Stratton, $5.20) in 1:52.3, and all-age track record holder Quick Deal (George Brennan, $4) in 1:54...fastest local trot mile of the season. New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $226,200 Art Watson Pace (3-year-old fillies). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

"Coach Paul" Minore is a retired Phys. Ed. Teacher and track coach whose most famous pupil was the great track and field star and Olympic Gold Medalist, Carl Lewis. He is also an owner of Standardbreds and an amateur driver and last night (July 24) at Yonkers Raceway he won the $12,000 C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series Final #1 with his Wygant Prince in a time of 1:59.2. Minore has been driving more frequently of late and Wygant Price's triumph was his fifth this season and the 78th of his amateur driving career which began in 1994. Minore, who handles a horse as good as any amateur driver, sat a two-hole trip behind the pace-setter Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff with Get Packin and Minore rallied his trotter in the final strides to eek-out a nose victory. "My horse likes a trip and we got one tonight," Minore said after his victory. "Bob and I finished right together and it was so close at the wire that the starter had to tell us who won." Third place in that mile went to Nearly Uncle driven by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli. Minore occasionally drives against professionals and has been racing his trotter at the Meadowlands on Friday nights. "It's a lot tougher there especially against the pros," Minore said and then added, "My horse loves amateur racing. It's a better class for him and he fits it well." With his victory in the Billings Final #1 Minore has earned a berth in the Gold Cup Championship which will be contested at Harrah's Chester on Sunday, November 23. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 24, 2014-Yonkers Raceway Thursday night hosted the $217,000 New York Sire Stakes $217,000 Michael Sorentino Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. A total of 11 entered a pair of six-figure divisions. The first ($107,500) grouping saw last season's frosh statebred champion Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald, $6.30) finish what he started (:28.1, :57.4, 1:26.3, 1:55.3). What started out of as a quintet quickly become a foursome when 7-5 favorite Expressive Action (Mike Simons) broke leaving in the first turn. Later on, a three-hole-sitting Lukas Hall (Jason Bartlett) also danced. "El Durado," meanwhile, could not shake a pesky Zoey De Vie (Jim Morrill Jr.), though he did eventually whip that one by a length-and-a-half. Daley Lovin (Dan Daley) was third. For third choice Flyhawk El Durado, a son of Conway Hall trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf, it was his third win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15, and there was no triple wagering. "He can leave the gate and just about always trots four turns," MacDonald said. "Last week (NYSS at Monticello), he did make a break but I think it was some sort of an equipment malfunction. "Tonight, he was on his game. Obviously, the other horse (Expressive Action) was one of the ones to beat, and when he made a break, it made my job easier...but (Flyhawk El Durado) went a real good mile and beat another good horse (Zoey De Vie)." The second ($109,500) sire stakes event saw odds-on choice Gural Hanover (Morrill Jr., $2.30) put up cheapy intervals of :28.1, :58.1, 1:27.3 and 1:56.1 en route to a length-and-a-quarter victory. Leaving outside his five foes, he worked around second choice Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern), then watched as that one tested him early from the pocket. Royal Max (Bartlett) was third. For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owner (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Little E and Panhellenic Stables, it was his fifth win (fourth consecutive) in seven '14 tries. The exacta paid $3.30, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $11.20. "He's just two fingers (to drive). You can do anything you want," Morrill-his escort over the past four races-said. New York Sire Stakes continue Friday night, with the $197,500 Milt Taylor Trot for 2-year-old colts/geldings. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Handicappers that closely follow the racing at Yonkers Raceway may have noticed a subtle change in the program information the last month. The morning line odds are now being prepared by a computerized program.   For the last three years, TrackMaster has been developing software to generate automated morning lines. In statistics compiled by TrackMaster, these automated lines have proven to be more accurate than the lines currently being used at most harness tracks   "While this has taken a substantial investment by TrackMaster and the USTA to build the automated line seamlessly into the eTrack race office system, it is of substantial benefit to racetracks and players," said David Siegel, TrackMaster President and Chief Executive Officer. "The lines are demonstrably more accurate in predicting what odds that the public ultimately dictate. Additional benefits include a uniform and unbiased approach to the line, fast turnaround time, perfectly balanced lines, reliability and potential cost savings."   Yonkers Raceway continues its five day a week racing schedule with a 7:10pm first post on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Yonkers has requested permission from the New York Gaming Commission to offer day racing on Sundays beginning November 9 through the end of the meet on December 14. The Sunday racecards would replace Tuesday nights and would begin weekly simulcasting of Yonkers races into the French PMU markets in Europe.   From the SOA/NY

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 22, 2014--Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $200,200 New York Sire Stakes Clyde Hirt Pace. The event--for 2-year-oled fillies--was contested in nearly-quartered, $50,050 divisions. The dance team of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras combined in three of the events...and won each of those. The first grouping was, as advertised, a Westchester waltz for odds-on Sassa Hanover ($2.10). In play from post position No. 5, she pocketed Bin N Heaven (Dough McNair), then strolled through relaxed rest stops of :29.1, :59 and 1:28. A :27.4 final quarter (life-best 1:55.4) saw her end up 2¾ lengths better than "Bin," who herself raced very well from an outside post. Third went to Vraka Hanover (Tim Tetrick). "Sassa," a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Larry Karr, is 2-for-2 (both in NYSS). The exacta paid $6.80, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returned $12.80. With no show wagering, more than $19,000 of the $20,000-plus in the place pool was in support of Sassa Hanover. "I've been impressed since I baby-raced her," Gingras said. "Tonight was basically a training mile. You want to see manners and guts when they're just beginning, and she showed both." Trainer/driver also took down the third and fourth sub-sections with faves Band of Angels ($5) in a night's-fastest/life-best 1:54.4, and Bettor N Better ($2.70) in 1:56. "(Band of Angels) was able to rate (:29, :58.2, 1:27.4), but a '27' last quarter here for a 2-year-old is something," Gingras said. The daughter of Rock N' Roll Heaven defeated One Hot Majorette (Mark MacDonald) by a half-length, with Ameritime (Brent Holland) third. "I thought Bettor N Better may have a behind the other two (Sassa Hannover and Band of Angels) early, but she's catching up fast. I would have been just as happy sitting behind Timmy (Tetrick, driving Zip Code Envy), but it worked out with me cutting the mile. Bettor N Better, a Bettor's Delight lass, was a length better than a first-up Heavenly Bride (Brian Sears) in life-best effort, with Zip Code Envy third. All three of the Burke/Gingras winners are 2-for-2 to begin their careers, with NYSS wins here and Monticello. Newly-minted Harness Hall of Famer Dave Miller and an off-the-pace Bettor Be Steppin' ($16.80) won the second NYSS event in a maiden-breaking 1:56.4. Starting from post No. 6, she held off 58-1 My Little Delight (Jason Bartlett) by a neck in battle of closers, with Bullville Maggie (Gingras) third. Even-money choice She's Heavenly (Mike Lachance) brushed to the lead, met pressure from Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore), then faded to last. "She was zigging and zagging a bit late," Miller said of Bettor B Steppin'. "It was her first start on a half, and the last turn may have come up a bit quicker than she was ready for." The daughter of Bettor's Delight, trained by Joe Holloway, New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday night, with the $217,000 Michael Sorentino Trot for 3-year-old colts/geldings. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

After making one of the best showings ever by an American a few weeks ago in the World Cup of Amateur Racing in Finland where he won two of the nine events in the competition, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford returned to the good ole USA and emerged victorious in a Billings trot at the Fowlerville, Michigan Fair on Monday, July 21 On that beautiful summer afternoon at the Wolverine State's award winning Fowlerville Fair Oldford catch-drove trainer June Du Russel's Rub A Dud to a neck victory over What Do You Want and driver Larry "Overhand Serve" Steenbergen in a time of 2:05.1. The show money went to "Lawbook Larry" Farley with his own Rewrite The Rules. "I had the three-hole and sent my trotter to the lead and we opened up daylight," Oldford said. " We had six or seven lengths all the way until the stretch where Larry (Steenbergen) came charging but we held him off to win it," Oldford said. Oldford couldn't say enough good things about trainer June Du Russel. "I'd really like to thank trainer June Du Russel for her continued her support of amateur racing. She sent out two contenders today in the only leg of Billings action to be raced in Michigan this year. Her second entry, in his first start under June's watch, was the forth place finisher, Bold Strike, with new Billings member Jerry Mihelich aboard. "June has supplied Billings Gold Cup winner Rush N Supreme, Silver Cup winner Starry Night, along with series winners Howmuchubench, Howmacs Amigo, and Ace Hanover . June continues to train and race from her Millington, Michigan farm despite the adverse racing conditions in Michigan." On Thursday the east region of the CKG Billings harness Driving Series will have a semi-final at Yonkers Raceway while on Saturday there will be Billings action in the Midwest region at Northfield Park. And on August 1 at the Meadowlands the annual Hambletonian Amateur Trot is slated. byJohn Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series

A racing oddity will occur on Friday night, July 25 at Yonkers Raceway when three full brothers race there that evening. In the first $6,700 Excelsior Stakes, going as race number one prior to the betting card getting underway, BJ Anthony will be making his first start for a purse. Then, in the $44,000 Open Trot, race eight on the betting card, the $146,000 seasonal winner Tober will again take on the best trotters on the grounds and will likely be the favorite off a 1:54.2 victory against similar company last week. In race nine, a $20,000 conditioned trot, Gaelic And Garlic, a lifetime winner of almos$270,000 with a 1:55.2 victory this year, will start from post one. All three horses are by Credit Winner and out of La Tapitia by Cumin. All were bred by Bernie White of Pine Bush, NY and raised on his Tamarack Manor Farm in the hamlet. White, a longtime owner of Standardbreds was also the president of the Board of Directors of Historic track for over 12 years. "It's not often that anyone sees two full brothers racing on one program but three, that's nearly unheard of," White said. White and Kristie Leigh Farm own BJ Anthony and Gaelic And Garlic while Tober, a career winner thus far of $514,000, is owned by Kristie Leigh Farm and Joe Betro. All three horses are trained by Eddie Hart on Tony Statuto's Kristie Leigh Training Farm in Goshen NY and all will be driven by Jason Bartlett. by John Manzi, for Historic Track

July 20, 2014 – Sebastian K’s defeat in the Maple Leaf Trot broke many a handicappers’ heart but Anne Stepien managed to play the race right and as a result is the weekly champion in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. By having a net profit of $479.06 for the weekend, moving from 12th place to 10th.  Rusty Nash was second best with a net profit of $260 won in the Lawrence B. Sheppard ay Yonkers Raceway, moving up one slot to 13th place.  Although showing only a $5 profit for the week, Bob Zanakis remains in 1stplace with an overall net profit of $2,860.70, $517.20 ahead of 2nd place Brandon Valvo.   There were several key hits for the weekend.  Ray Garnett managed to break even for the weekend thanks to his three horse $10 Exacta Box ($60 total) in the Battle of Lake Erie, which paid $240.  Derick Giwner managed a symbolic $2 profit for the weekend thanks to his $80 Win wager in the Sheppard which paid $252.00.  Rusty Nash’s 2nd place finish came as a result of his $100 Win, Place ticket in the Sheppard which rewarded him with a $510 dividend.  The weekly champion, Ann Stepien managed to earn her victory wheeling Sebastian K in a $4 Key Exacta Box with 8 horses ($64), earning her $619.40.  Bob Zanakis made a $5 profit thanks to his $50 Win, Place ticket ($100) in the Yonkers stake which paid $255.00.  Here are the standings after Saturday night’s action. As of July 19, 2014 - Leg 18 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $5.00 $2,860.70   2nd Brandon Valvo ($210.00) $2,343.50 $517.20 3rd Derick Giwner $2.00 $417.17 $2,443.53 4th Ray Garnett $0.00 $233.85 $2,626.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($250.00) $28.00 $2,832.70 6th Brian McEvoy $12.50 ($192.50) $3,053.20 7th Earl Paulson ($250.00) ($366.00) $3,226.70 8th Garnet Barnsdale ($250.00) ($798.00) $3,658.70 9th Josi Verlingieri ($150.00) ($830.40) $3,691.10 10th Ann Stepien $479.06 ($831.11) $3,691.81 11th Sally Hinckley ($250.00) ($925.00) $3,785.70 12th Gordon Waterstone ($250.00) ($1,097.90) $3,958.60 13th Rusty Nash $260.00 ($1,872.40) $4,733.10 14th Dennis O'Hara ($250.00) ($2,128.20) $4,988.90 15th Ray Cotolo ($250.00) ($3,703.40) $6,564.10 The Grand Circuit Shoot-Out visits the Meadows this weekend on Saturday, July 26, for the $400,000 Adios, $150,000 Adioo Volo, and the Arden Downs for 2yo pacers and 3yo trotters of both sexes. Further contest details may be found at http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HANA

When no one put in a decent bid at the yearling sales for In The Arsenal, White Birch Farms of Allentown, NJ decided to buy their homebred son of American Ideal back and gave him to trainer Kelvin Harrison to prepare for the races. And that move has paid off royally as In The Arsenal was able to lead from start to finish in capturing the $125,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace final for two-year-olds Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Eric Goodell, In The Arsenal was sent right to the lead from start and by the first turn he not only well in command but his main rival, the 2/5 favorite Cartoon Daddy (George Brennan), could not handle the first turn, became rough gated and went off stride. From that point on no one could come close to In The Arsenal as Goodell held the field at bay through fractions of :27.4, :58.4 and 1:28.4 before sprinting home to an easy one and one-quarter length triumph in 1:56.4. Rock N’ Roll World (Eric Carlson), who had the two-hole trip at odds of 42-1, was second with Parklane Eagle (Jordan Stratton) third. “(In the Arsenal) dragged me out of there really good,” Goodell said. “I went faster than I wanted to go early, but he was able to relax after that. “I had no idea the other horse (Cartoon Daddy) made a break. I was just worried about mine and things worked out.” Goodell also won the $44,000 Open Handicap Pace with Dream Out Loud N ($9.70) in 1:51.4, with a :54.4 back half. It was the second straight win for In The Arsenal, who paid $6.30 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 18, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Open Handicaps-for distaff pacers and membership-worthy trotters--were won by a pair of down-the-roads in Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton, $14) and Tober (Jason Bartlett, $5.20). Robin Cruiser, leaving from post position No. 6 (in one notch after an inside defection), worked around pole-assigned Icommandmyspirit (Larry Stalbaum). She then took at it the house, with weigh stations of :27.3, :56.4, 1:24.4 and 1:52.4. Monkey on My Wheel (Brian Sears), as has been her MO, floated away for an early seat before trying it first-up. However, the 3-5 favorite couldn't look the leader into the eyes and Robin Cruiser had a length lead into the lane. Icommandmyspirit tried "Robin" up the cones but missed a half-length, with Monkey on My Wheel, Jonsie Jones (Pat Berry) and Virgin Mary (Eric Goodell) rounding out the payees. For Robin Cruiser, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Pinske Stable and trained by Julie Miller, it was her fourth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $104.50, with the triple returning $356.50. The week's marquee trot saw tepid 8-5 choice Tober, in play from post No. 4, lead at every interval (:28, :58, 1:26.1, season's-best 1:54.2). Slight second choice Coraggioso (Sears) tried the same tactic as Monkey on My Wheel-leaving from an ordered outside post and trying it first-up. Tober fending off that one's advances, opened up 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn, then held off a cones-skimming The Triple Lindy (Eric Carlson) by a neck. Third went to Coraggioso, with Dewycolorintheline (Stratton) and Zooming (Goodell) settling for the remainder. For Tober, a 6-year-old statebred gelding co-owned by (co-breeder) Kristie Leigh Farm & Joseph Betro and trained by Ed Hart, he's now 8-for-20 this season. it was his third win in 11 '14 starts. The exacta paid $32.20, the triple returned $104 and the superfecta paid $369.50. Saturday night's feature is the $125,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 17, 2014-The Empire's best 3-year-old colts and geldings-save for He's Watching-invaded Yonkers Raceway Thursday night for the $221,000 New York Sire Stakes Armand Palatucci Pace. The odds-on gelding Twin B Tenacious (Steve Smith, $3.90) won the first ($72,800) division from second-over. Unhurried from the pole, "Tenacious" chased Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) through intervals of :27.2, :58 and 1:25.4. "Speedo" swung wide and whipped the leader by a half-length in 1:54. Third went to Keystone Honor (Matt Kakaley). Smith is now 4-for-4 since picking up the drive behind Twin B Tenacious. "To be honest, I had the drive the first time (Meadowlands) when a lot of the guys were out of town," Smith said. "He had some chicken lines (breaks) previously, and has doesn't always relax. "I learned you have to let him settle, but when I've asked him, he's finished very well. Twin B Tenacious, a son of Bettor's Delight trained by Casie Coleman for owner West Wins Stable, is 4-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $12, with the triple returning $114. The second ($74,100) statebred event was supposed to be fairly simple work night for Art Rooney Pace winner All Bets Off (Kakaley). However, despite a perfect tow from entrymate I'm All Heart (George Brennan), the 1-5 tandem found themselves run over. Capital Account (Yannick Gingras, $35.80), third-over from post position No. 4, snapped All Bets Off by a half-length in 1:52.4. Big Boys Dreams (Jason Bartlett) was third. Fifth choice Capital Account, a Brittany Farms homebred American Ideal colt trained by Jimmy Takter, is now 4-for-11 this season. The exacta paid $76, with the triple returning $336.50. "This was his best race so far," Gingras said. "Sometimes, he's been known to throw in steps, but tonight, this worked out. When I saw Matt (Kakaley) working (on All Bets Off), I knew I had him beat. "The last time he was here (NYSS last month), he was locked in. If I had come first-up, he'd have won but I had to use him leaving. It was a much better trip tonight." Thursday night's final ($74,100) sires soiree saw Forty Five Red (Brennan, $22.60)-last season's winner of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here-make the lead right at the half and hold sway. Forty Five Red, from post No. 4, took over from Sir Jake's Z Tam (Jordan Stratton) after that one's :27.3 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.3 intermission, it was a 1:24.1 three-quarters and a season's-best 1:52.3 finale, which found Forty Five Red a length better than Winds of Change (Tim Tetrick). Neat (Marcus Miller) was third, while 1-2 choice Stay Up Late (Brian Sears) was a never-in-it dead-heat for fifth. Forty Five Red, a son of If I Can Dream co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Our Horse Cents Stable, has won his last couple after beginning the season 0-for-6. The exacta paid $133, with the triple returning $379.50. "Last week (overnight here), he was all out to win and just didn't race well," Brennan said. "Tonight, I scored him down much harder he was a totally different horse...on the bit and alert." Forty Five Red's winning time Thursday was more than two seconds faster than his previous effort. After Saturday night's $125,000 final of the Sheppard Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings), New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night, with the $200,200 Clyde Hirt Pace for 2-year-old fillies colts and geldings. Four, $50,050 groupings go as races 2,4,5 and 6. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Louisville, KY --- It wasn’t exactly in the cards for White Birch Farms to be racing In The Arsenal, but after capturing his $25,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard elimination at Yonkers Raceway on July 12, in front running fashion, they have to feel vindicated after the colt came home from last year’s Harrisburg Sale rather than being in someone else’s barn. “He didn’t reach his reserve,” said Kelvin Harrison, the colt’s conditioner. “So White Birch bought him back for $7,500. It was because he was small, but not real small. He was also absolutely correct. “I think it was because he was the 14th foal out of this mare (Ladyotra). A lot of today’s yearling buyers will steer away from horses after they are the eighth foal for some reason. Also, the thing is they grow and that’s exactly what he did. Even if he had turned out to be a small 2-year-old that wouldn’t have bothered me as Direct Fight (a former Harrison trainee that earned $825,052 in his career) was and it never bothered him.” The son of American Ideal and the On The Road Again mare Ladyotra, In The Arsenal seeks his second consecutive triumph and the second of his three race career on Saturday (July 19) in the $175,000 Sheppard final. In The Arsenal will leave from post position two with Eric Goodell holding the lines in race five. He is the 5-2 morning line second choice in a field of eight. The colt will face some stiff competition from 8-5 morning line favorite Cartoon Daddy, who is a perfect two-for-two with more than $31,000 in the bank and was the other Sheppard elimination victor. But back to In The Arsenal’s family tree. The homebred’s dam was 21 years old when she foaled him, but Ladyotra, who earned more than $115,000 in her racing career, has been as prolific as they come in the breeding shed. From her 14 foals she has produced Exquisite Art (1998, Artsplace, p,3,1:50.4, $578,544), Otra Sign (1999, Life Sign, p,1:54.2f, $115,458), Queen Otra (2001, Artsplace, p,4,1:51, $200,837) and Premier (2007, Artsplace, p,1:51.3f, $158,233). Ladyotra has dropped nine winners and the 12 yearlings that were sold to other buyers at public auction fetched the sum of $589,000. It is still early in his racing career, but In The Arsenal certainly possesses the genetic material to be a very nice horse. “I watched He’s Watching last year in the final of the (New York) Sire Stakes,” Harrison said. “He was a small horse but he has the same sire as In The Arsenal and he certainly could go fast. I watched him again this year in the eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and he had not grown much from last year but was really muscled out. Then you saw what he did the night of the Meadowlands Pace. 1:46.4. That time speaks for itself. “In The Arsenal has actually grown and is now probably bigger than He’s Watching. He is no longer a small horse but a medium sized one. He’s very muscular and he’s a well put together horse. He is also great gaited. The only thing that ever concerned me with him was he might get a little bit hot.” The colt was sixth in his career debut on July 5, a $15,000 2-year-old race at Meadowlands Racetrack, after having the lead at the half. “It wasn’t the greatest of trips,” Harrison said. “Brian (Sears) chased him up a little bit out of the gate and then he got him going. He put him in the hole and then he didn’t get out of the hole, then was a bit aggressive when he did let him go. He still paced nicely right to the wire. “For the elimination, I thought when the sheet came out, we would put him in the hole and race him from behind, but when I saw what was in there I told Eric (Goodell) to just not get him in trouble.” After Saturday’s engagement, In The Arsenal will appear in most of the major stakes races for his age, gait and gender. “We have him staked up to everything,” Harrison said. “He just has real, real high speed. I think he’s one of those that has enough speed to make his own race. He’s also one of those horses that has never had a bad day. Even when he was training, I trained him with a group and put him behind, etc. He just always did everything so easily. I even worked him at White Birch in 1:59 before I even qualified him. Even then he was really handy.” Here is the field for the Sheppard final, with drivers, trainers and morning line odds: 1-Rock N’ Roll World-Eric Carlson-Nifty Norman-10-1, 2-In The Arsenal-Eric Goodell-Kelvin Harrison-5-2, 3-Perfect Bet, Jeff Dauplaise, Jeff Dauplaise-12-1, 4-Mystical Pacer-Brent Holland-Erv Miller-10-1, 5-Cartoon Daddy-George Brennan-Ron Burke-8-5, 6-Parklane Eagle-Jordan Stratton-Peter Foley-20-1, 7-Lone Survivor-Brian Sears-Sam DePinto-6-1, 8-Byby Landon-Jason Bartlett-Allan Johnson-8-1. Courtesy of Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

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