Day At The Track

Milky Way Rae wins Tioga Downs Feature

02:20 PM 14 Jul 2018 NZST
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Milky Way Rae, harness racing Open Skies, harness racing
Milky Way Rae and driver Aaron Byron
Fred Brown photo
Mary Birdsall and Chris James with their Open Skies in the winner's circle
Fred Brown photo

Milky Way Rae (Aaron Byron) wins the featured fillies and mares pace ($11,000) at Tioga Downs on Friday (July 13).

Heavens Dancer (Cory Stratton) controlled all the early fractions (:27.4, :57.4,1:26.0)

Milky Way Rae ($28.00) followed in the pocket all the way until the top of the stretch. Owned by Fortunate One LLC and trained by Tony Dinges, she would zoom by in the stretch to win in 1:55.0. K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) fired late to finish second. all Charged Up (Mike Simons) was third best.

Milky Way Rae is a 5-year-old mare by American Ideal. It was her fourth win this season and career victory number 20.

Fern Paquet Jr. had a driving triple on the night. His wins were with Open Skies ($16.00), Sunset Dream ($11.00), and Embassy Seelster ($6.30).

When I arrived at Tioga Downs in 2014. I noticed two people that seemed to be here during every race day. Their names are Mary Birdsall and Chris James. They love harness racing and they love Tioga Downs.

Earlier this year Chris James purchased a 5-year-old mare named Open Skies. Two weeks ago they were in the winner's circle for the first time. Open Skies returned to the winner's circle again tonight and they found out it never gets old and is just as sweet the second time as the first time.

Harness racing needs more people like Mary and Chris. It's hard not to root for Tioga Downs number one fans!

Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (July 14) with a 13 race card starting at 6:15 p.m.

For more information go to

by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

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