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Gigfy (Broadway Hall) competed in the Open Trot on a few occasions last year at Saratoga Casino Hotel and while he didn't fare well at that level, he is thriving in the early stages of the 2021 harness racing campaign at the Spa. Brian Mattison trains the seven year old trotter who recorded a win at the Meadowlands this winter after being lightly raced in the '20 season. Last Monday (March 8), Gigfy dropped in class and went coast-to-coast in 1:57.3 for a decisive victory with Alek Chartrand in the bike. This week, looking to repeat, Gigfy drew post seven in a nine-horse field in the matinee's $7,700 featured race. Chartrand was aggressive in the early stages with the sharp trotter and forwardly placed him at the start. Afterthe race's favorite Stone In Love (Brian Cross) surged first-over into the lead, Gigfy followed not far behind and took dead aim on the public's even money top choice around the final turn before reeling him in to score at odds of 4-1.   Gigfy stopped the timer in 1:57.2 on a cold, breezy afternoon in Saratoga to go back-to-back. Stone In Love finished second to complete a $28.80 exacta. If Not Why Not (Brett Crawford) rounded out what was a $191 triple. Gigfy is owned by Gerald D'Alessandro of Ocala, FL and Bridgette Mattison of Watervliet, NY. Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with a Noon first post. For full results, click here. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

VERNON - Little Santamonica posted a gate-to-wire victory in the final $12,000 fillies and mares Open pace on Friday night at Vernon Downs. Chris Lems did the teaming for trainer Jordan Hope as Little Santamonica led through splits of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.3 en route to a 1:52.4 decision over Bijou Theater in Friday's second session. It was the first local score, but the seventh season's tally for the 5-year-old daughter of Little Steven-Tonianne, who is owned by Kelly Dawn Hope of Vernon. The brave-hearted brown mare now sports 17 career victories and earnings of more than $108,500. Lems, the local campaign's second-leading reinsman after 87 programs, earned four first-place finishes during Friday's 11-race card to reach the 100-win plateau. Driver Truman Gale also visited Vernon's Blue Chip Farms winner's circle four times during the program, while driver Adam Capizzano and trainer Robert C. Gale each recorded two victories. DOWNS DOINGS Driver Brian Mattison was unseated when the pacer Prince Pendant fell during Friday's ninth contest and reportedly suffered a hand injury.The 3-year-old pacer Steuben Huckleberi notched his first pari-mutuel win after Capizzano steered him to a 1:58 triumph in Friday's 10th event.The Downs will conclude its 2013 campaign with a special 6 p.m. first post on Saturday (Nov. 9). There will be a 60th Anniversary Season coffee mug giveaway, while supplies last, during the night and a spectacular fireworks display following the evening's 13th and final race. Jim Moran  

VERNON, NY— Gimme The Loot and driver Robert Krivelin gained a victory in the non-betting C.K.G. Billings Series leg for amateur drivers of trotters; JK Panache and The Triple Lindy captured the top pari-mutuel pace and trot, respectively; Gary P. Clark emerged as the track’s leading provisional pilot, while Jimmy Whittemore posted four first-place finishes for the second straight evening during Saturday’s 14-race program at Vernon Downs. Racing for the first time in 2013, Gimme The Loot logged a 1:59.4 triumph in the Billing contest that took place prior to Saturday’s 65th betting card. The spunky 8-year-old gelding raced at or near the lead throughout and closed from second in the stretch to defeat Northmedo Wine Guy, and driver Matt Zuccarello, by three-quarters of a length. Thomas Di Bartolo conditions the career-winner of $190,948 for owner Alessandro Spano. JK Panache, a two-time track record-setter at the Downs this season, powered his way to a 1:51.3 score in Saturday’s $8,000 seventh race, earning his fifth local tally, seventh season’s score and 15th lifetime victory. Whittemore did the teaming for trainer Dave Dewhurst, an owner of the 4-year-old pacing gelding along with Philip K. Hale. The Triple Lindy became a two-time winner at the meet with a 1:54.1 career-best clocking in the $7,000 10th event. Brian Mattison urged the 5-year-old trotting gelding into the lead entering the final quarter, and the brown son of Credit Winner held on to secure his 11th lifetime victory for owner and trainer Paul Kelley and his partners Stephen G. Michaels, Jim Winske and William B. Weaver, III. Part-owner Clark (with Fay E. Clark) steered the 4-year-old pacing mare New York Kitty to a 1:54.1 triumph in Saturday’s $4,000 eighth event that gave the 46-year-old horseman a 3-2 lead over Josh Kinney and Justin Huckabone in this year’s provisional drivers’ derby at the track. Whittemore, a three-time former Vernon dash-winning champion, enjoyed his fifth four-win outing of the track’s 60th anniversary season, while hiking his three night victory total for the weekend to nine. The 29-year-old teamster currently sits third on this season’s race-winning chart with 77 first-place finishes. Leading driver (117 wins) and trainer (46 tallies) Rick Plano won two races during Saturday’s pari-mutuel card, as did Mattison, Kelley and driver/trainer Claude Huckabone, III. DOWNS DOINGS—The Downs will continue its Thursday-Saturday live racing schedule next week, with first post time at 6:45 p.m…A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran

The weatherman cooperated wonderfully on Thursday afternoon, August 15 with the sun shining brightly and the temperatures hovering around 75-degrees. On the racetrack sophomore trotting fillies were featured in three divisions of the $155,000 NY Sires Stakes and five splits of Excelsior Series trots each racing for a $12,700 purse. And to go along with the NYSS filly trots there were two overnight trots, and despite 10 trotting races on the half-mile track still fans wagered $746,943 on the racing card. By and large the competing fillies were well behaved and as usual some stood out. Bouncing Bax’s 1:58.2 triumph in her $52,383 division turned out to be the fastest filly trot of the afternoon although Proclaiming April’s 1:58.2 victory was just a tick slower. And although Barn Babe’s 2:00.2 was the slowest of the three splits it was, nevertheless , equally as impressive and she was the only betting favorite to win an NYSS trot today. The triumph by Bouncing Bax over the odds-on favorite, Long Island Tea, was not only the fastest trip of the day but the daughter of Credit Winner-Bax Machine sparked the biggest pay-off on the afternoon card when she returned a $40.80 win mutuel. In her split, Bouncing Bax got away slowly and after racing along in fourth position some nine lengths off the lead at the three-eighths pole, so driver Howard Parker moved his filly first-up and she continually moved forward and at the top of the lane she was just a head off the pace-setter Wygant Girl, driven by Cat Manzi. When they straightened for home Bouncing Bax trotted around Wygant Lady and then held off a strong late rally by the $135,000 yearling purchase Long Island Tea, driven by Brian Mattison. Wygant Lady faded and finished third. Trainer Jim Raymer joined Parker for the winners circle photograph and was getting ready to hold the filly for a picture when he overheard Parker being asked how come she was so great today? Parker didn’t have a chance answer because Raymer turned quickly and said, “She was that great last week at Vernon (Downs) too, but I just didn’t drive her right.” Owned by the Harbor Racing Stable of Houston, Texas it was the filly’s first win in 10 starts this year and she raised her seasonal bankroll to nearly $73,000. In her $53,383 division Proclaiming April, a daughter of Conway Hall-Lawn Tennis, raced unchallenged on the front end and was an easy winner over the odds on favorite Lola De Vie. Trainer Trond Smedshammer was in the bike and hustled Proclaiming April to front and they had a two length lead by the first stanza in :29.1. At the half in :59.2, favored Lola De Vie and driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr. were in third place some 4-1/2 lengths behind the leader. Lola De Vie closed to within two lengths of the lead at the head of the stretch but in no way could she reel-in Proclaiming April who led her to the wire for an easy 1-1/2 length victory. Fifty Shades and driver Mark MacDonald took home the show dough. “She’s been a good filly all year but last week we had a bad post and she finished back,” Smedshammer said of Proclaiming April who now has bankrolled nearly $150,000 this season. “Post positions make a big difference everywhere but especially on a half mile track.” Proclaiming April paid $12.40 for win and is owned by the White Birch Farm. The other $53,383 split was an oh-so-easy victory for Steven and Nancy Pratt’s, Barn Babe. Sent off as the 1-4 favorite from the pole position, driver John Cummings, Jr. naturally took the lead and despite soft early fractions of :30.3 and 1:02 no one wanted to challenge the daughter of Cash Hall-My Baby’s Momma. As the field headed into the clubhouse turn the pace began to quicken and Barn Babe had a two length lead as she passed the third stanza in 1:31:4. From there, with a :28.3 final quarter, Barn Babe was home free by three lengths in 2:00.2 over Royal Malinda and driver Dan Daley. Bostonz Credit was third for Jeff Gregory. After the race Cummings was asked if he was worried going into the race. “I knew she was the best and we got away with an easy front-end trip but she would have handled this field racing from the back, too.” Now with six wins and three thirds in 11 starts Barn Babe has bankrolled almost $99,000 this year and has lifetime earnings in excess of $245,000. Owner Steve Pratt joined Cummings in the winners circle and he couldn’t resist saying “Not bad for a $5,000 purchase two years ago at (the) Morrisville (Sale). Five $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series , also for 3 year-old trotting fillies, comprised the undercard of which two were won by Gates Brunet. The veteran horseman scored with Bluish And Crush ($8.00) in 2:01.4 and with Tamasin Hall($9.80)m in 2:00.1. Brunet, who trucked in from Vernon NY after his final victory said,” I hated to coming here today because I thought both of my fillies would run since they have been racing on big tracks but I was pleasantly surprised because they stayed at their business and went good miles.” . Other Excelsior winners were Money Show ($4.00) in 2:02 for Jimmy Morrill, Jr., Makes Me Crazy ($6.20) in 2:01.2 for Claude Huckabone Jr. and Maggie O ($3.20) in 2:00.4 again for Jimmy Morrill, Jr.   by John Manzi  

VERNON, NY—The New York-bred sophomore trotting stalwarts Palm Beach Chic and Long Island Tea each stopped the timer at 1:54.4 while winning their respective divisions of Friday night’s $131,774 NY Sires Stakes feature at Vernon Downs. Former Vernon regular Jeff Gregory did the teaming behind Palm Beach Chic in Friday’s fifth race. The Linda Toscano-trained daughter of Conway Hall-Back On Track advanced from fourth in the far turn and closed from third in the stretch to earn a career-best win clocking by defeating the on-rushing Fifth Shades by one length. It marked the third season’s score (second at the Downs) and fifth lifetime tally for the career-winner of more than $121,200, who is owned by Jeff Gregory, Inc. and William H. Richardson. Saratoga regular Brian Mattison did the steering for trainer Paul Kelley in race seven as Long Island Tea (Credit Winner-Strong Tea) made every step a winning one en route to a decisive score and a career-fastest showing. It was the sixth victory in 10 all-time starts (all in 2013) for the lifetime winner of $61,796, who is owned by the Kelley Racing Stable and Steve Stewart. Maggie O (Equinox Bi-Gramola‘s Image) produced a 1:56.3 lifetime-fastest victory in race 10 that proved to be the fastest divisional score in Friday’s $63,000 Excelsior Series contest for 3-year-old distaff practitioners of the diagonal gait. Jim Morrill, Jr. piloted the lifetime winner of $55,473 for trainer Randall Ring and owner Timothy W. O’Brien. Friday’s other Excelsior Series splits were won by Kinda Crazy Lindy (Crazed-Possessed By Lindy) in 1:57, Makes Me Crazy (Crazed-Croupier Lady) in 1:57, Suzie’s Little Vic (Sand Vic-Somethingsosimple) in 1:57.4, and Blush And Crush (Conway Hall-Blushing Jo Anna) in 1:58.1. Gregory also teamed Client Nine to a 1:53.3 victory in Friday’s $10,000 sixth race, the week’s Open trot, while Sheer Brilliance became a two-time winner at the meet after a sizzling 1:50.3 triumph for driver Sean Bier in the $10,000 eighth event, the week’s Open pace. Maryann Plano’s veteran trotter Ulay Boko uncorked a front-striding 1:55.1 triumph for leading driver/trainer Rick Plano in Friday’s 11th event that resulted in the 11-year-old horse becoming the winningest equine performer after 44 programs with six first-place finishes. Gregory amassed four victories during Friday’s 13-race program, while Plano picked a pair of training tallies. DOWNS DOINGS Friday’s purse outlay was more than $20,000… Ulay Boko now leads three fellow trotters and a trio of pacers by one win credit… Thanks to a driving assist from his son, Luke, Rick Plano has already produced five conditioning credits during the current weekend with one program remaining … The Downs will offer simulcast wagering on tomorrow’s entire Hambletonian program from The Meadowlands starting at 11:50 a.m… Saturday night’s live 12-race Vernon program will begin at 6:45… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran

A couple of super talented three year old harness racing fillies squared off on Thursday night at Saratoga as Curtsy Hanover (Cantab Hall) and Crazy About NY (Crazed) competed in a $5,000 non-winners of two race lifetime trot.

It was longshot night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Wednesday (November 21). Two different $110.00+ horses prevailed on the Thanksgiving Eve harness racing card.

New York Sires Stakes notables I'm The Answer, Surface Tension and Some Girls were among the divisional winners in Thursday night's $290,128 harness racing co-features for Empire State-breds at Vernon Downs.

New York Sire Stakes continued downstate Tuesday night (August 2), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $226,510 Scarsdale Trot for 3-year-old fillies. Five, $435,302 harness racing divisions - two on the card, three off--went postward. The first wagering event saw Stell R Time (Jordan Stratton, $8) get up on the money from second-over to whip pace-setting Julianna Marvel (Ted Wing) by a nose in 2:01.3. One Way or Another (Brian Mattison) was a pocket third.

The Tompkins - Geers grand circuit rounded out its four day harness racing weekend on Monday evening at Tioga Downs. One lone $65,910 division for 3-year old filly trotters brought the curtain down on grand circuit weekend. Go Go Dancer and Brian Mattison was sent off as the prohibitive race favorite, and wasted no time getting control of the race past the quarter in 28.1.

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