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Chris Lems would rack up four wins on Friday including the Fillies & Mares harness racing feature ($7,500) with Little Santamonica (Little Steven). Owned by Courtney Crawford and trained by Jordan Hope, the 9-year-old mare would go gate-to-wire in 1:51.1. Little Santamonica ($2.80) never had a tense moment as she won her 53rd career victory. Drea's Good Powow (John MacDonald) would follow the whole way to finish second. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) was a distant third. Lems would begin the night getting the first race victory with 2-year-old first time starter Clive Bigsby (Muscle Mass). Clive Bigsby ($3.80) would take over right before the top of the stretch and win easily by four lengths in 1:58.1. Missus Mia Wallace (Homer Hochstetler) would finish second with Ladydini (Howard Okusko Jr,.) getting third. "Lemsy" would also get a win driving Without A Clue ($18.20) going gate to wire in 1:54.4, just holding off the late charge by Jersey Boy (Ben McNeil). Walk The Floor (Angus Mac Donald) was third. Lems got his other win during race number eight with He's Gone ($3.80) running past Atoastandcaviar (John MacDonald) in 1:55.1. Jackson's Gold (Jimmy Wittemore) was third. Vernon Downs returns to live racing Saturday night (June 24) with a 13 race card starting at 6:45p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs

Harness racing driver Chris Lems wins both Trot features on Saturday night at Vernon Downs (June 17). Lems would win the first of two features piloting Muscles Jared ($2.20) and destroying the rest of the field. The 3 year-old gelding by Muscle Massive who is owned by Al Ross and trained by George Ducharme would win by nine lengths in 1:54.0. Thundercrest (Dustin Ingraham would finish second. Williams Wish (Joe Nassimos) was third. Lems and Ducharme would team up again for the other feature ($5,100) with Patton ($3.00). Patton (Conway Hall) who is owned by Ducharme, Fontaine, and Ross would charge to the front just after the half. The three year gelding would win in 1:54.1. Dewey's Breeze (Dan Daley) was second while Lone Valley Sam (John MacDonald) captured third. A big day of racing during Father's day Sunday (June 18) at Vernon Downs at 1:05 p.m. The Miracle Mile's day will feature two Empire Breeders Classic Finals for 3 year-old trotters. Also featured is four divisions of the New York Breeders Cup for 3 year-old pacers. The Empire Breeders Classic Final for 3 year-old trotting fillies will compete for a purse of $228,250. The morning line favorite is Barn Bella (Conway Hall) at (5-2). Celebrity Ruth (Archangel) is at (4-1). The Empire Breeders Classic Final for the 3 year-old trotting colts for $252,000 will feature Devious Man (Credit Winner) as the (5-2) favorite. Bill's Man (Credit Winner) is the second choice at (7-2). 13 races in all scheduled for the Father's Day afternoon. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs.

Chris Lems celebrates Cinco de Mayo with five wins at Vernon Downs. Lems started the harness racing season with a win right off the bat in race 1. He drove the favorite, Gimme The Cash past front running Pegasus Point (Truman Gale) at the top of the stretch. Gimme The Cash (2.30) pulled away to win by 4 lengths over Jersey Boy (Ben McNeil). Lems would then capture race 4 with It's A Miracle (4.60) in 1:55. He would win race 5 with New Leaf (6.00) going three wide in the stretch to win by two lengths in 1.58.3. The hot driver would win race 7 with My Lucky Word (3.80) in 1:55.1. Race 8 was the feature Fillies and Mares Pace, for a purse of $7,300. "Lemsy" would cap off Cinco de Mayo winning for a fifth time with Tempus Seelster (2.90). Of course he was wearing the number five. Purple N Gold (John MacDonald) would take the lead from post 4 hitting the first quarter in 26.4. Tempus Seelster would then surge to the lead after sitting third by passing both Looney Dune (Ben McNeil) and Purple N Gold. Tempus Seelster would never look back, capturing the main event in 1:52.1. The 4 year-old Big Jim mare is owned by the Holland Racing Stable and trained by Tony Dinges. Purple N Gold would hold on for second with Looney Dune capturing third. Vernon Downs will have a 10 race card tomorrow (May 6) during Derby Day. They will start at a special post time of 3:35. A lucky fan will get the chance to cast a $500 Derby Dream Bet. Derby Day would not be complete without the popular Derby Hat contest. The Miracle Mile will also host a Food Truck Rodeo. For more information please visit our website at John Horne

Vernon, N.Y. - William Ballard's Gimme the Cash ($3.40) held off all comers in Friday (November 4) evening's harness racing  featured $6,700 trotting event at Vernon Downs, living up to odds-on billing. The 5-year-old Cash Hall mare sprinted to the fore early, clearing Count Speed (John MacDonald) with ease before controlling the terms through :27.1, :56.3, and 1:25.2 sectionals. Upon reaching head-stretch, Gimme the Cash responded to pressure from Count Speed up the pegs, but was also faced with a threat from the late-emerging My Lucky Word (Truman Gale) in the last yards. Ultimately, Gimme the Cash prevailed by a nose over My Lucky Word in 1:54.3, while Count Speed was a gamely chasing third. Angus MacDonald trains Gimme the Cash, who took her 13th career win and her third in four tries. For driver Chris Lems, the featured win kicked off a hat trick on the 13-race card only to be outdone by John MacDonald, who led all drivers with four victories on the night. Saturday (November 5) evening's closing night program features the annual "Turn Back the Clock Rewind Race", conducted clockwise at seven-eighths of a mile, as the eighth of 12 dashes carded. Horsemen and bettors alike should note a special 6:00 p.m. post time for the closing night card, with fireworks to follow. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Columbus, OH --- While most harness racing participants in the sport are focusing on what is transpiring in The Garden State prior to the Breeders Crown, George Ducharme and Chris Lems were hard at work in The Bay State. The fruits of their labors were rewarded, as the duo collected all four $75,000 Massachusetts Sire Stakes trotting contests on Monday (Oct. 24) at Plainridge Park. “We have had some good days before back here at home, but never a day quite like that,” Ducharme said. “With the infusion of the slots money into purses it has really helped us. The sire stakes races were only worth about half that last year. Even the overnights have gone up from $6,000 to $12,000 and it really helps out. There are a lot of people here that were just hanging on, waiting for this. Of course you will have some other people bringing horses in, but it’s good to see the people that stuck with it getting a little bit of money in their pocket.” Ducharme and Lems joined forces to meet in the winner’s circle with Onangelwings (Archangel-Anotherpennyplease) in the 2-year-old filly trot, Muscles Jared (Muscle Massive-Tetiana) in the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, Do What You Dream (Conway Hall-Ksenia) in the 3-year-old colt and gelding trot and Royal Right (RC Royalty-Contrarian) in the 3-year-old filly trot. “A lot of my owners like to breed and race their own horses in their home state,” Ducharme said. “Our horses fit very well in these events and we always support racing here.” While the names, speed records and other stakes accomplishments may not jump off the pages of these state champions, there is one in the bunch that nearly punched Ducharme’s ticket to this weekend’s Breeders Crown events in Muscles Jared. Bred by Al Libfeld, the gelding is owned by Alfred Ross. In addition to his newly acquired crown, Muscles Jared has the distinction of coming first-over during Walner’s world record performance (1:51.3) in a $56,000 division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 6 in Lexington. Steered by John Campbell on that day, the gelding came home fifth directly behind Breeders Crown elimination victor Sortie after an adventurous trip over the Red Mile oval. “He was second in his first race down in Lexington,” Ducharme said. “And I was happy how the horse performed in that race against Walner. He was first-over and then was used about three times. We thought about taking him to the Breeders Crown, but brought him here (Plainridge) instead to give him a little bit easier race and have a good chance to win rather than hoping to finish fourth or fifth. It was easier on him, but it was not easy as Andy Miller brought one (Big Man Ev, second) and (Frank) Antonacci brought one (French Moni, fourth). “He’s done for the year now. He’s the kind of horse we think needs to be turned out to give him some time to grow into his frame. When we bring him back next year though, he will be staked to everything, because we think once he grows he will be able to keep up and compete with those horses. We’ll wait on the Breeders Crown this year and point towards next year.” Muscles Jared embarks on his vacation with $150,856 in the bank and a resume of 11-5-2-0. He was also fourth in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship behind Breeders Crown participants Giveitgasango and Moonshiner Hanover. Ducharme also holds out optimism the Massachusetts program will be on the upswing yet again in 2017. “I don’t have my finger on the pulse quite as much as I used to now that I stable most of the time in New York,” he said. “But it is my understanding the state is looking to revisit the amount of revenue Standardbred horsemen receive at the end of the year. Horsemen in Massachusetts receive nine percent, but up until this year Standardbred horsemen received 25 percent of that while Thoroughbreds received 75 percent. Suffolk closed two years ago and there has been no Thoroughbred racing, so this year their percentage was changed to 55 percent. “The state plans on reviewing how the extra money for the Standardbreds is used to improve the communities rather than seeing other people come in just for increased purses. Hopefully, they will approve more money coming to Standardbreds and our stakes will be worth even more next year.” For complete results of the Massachusetts Sires Stakes finals, click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Vernon, N.Y. -- J A T O, the 4-year-old harness racing gelding who climbed rapidly from lower-level non-winners races to the Open ranks at Vernon Downs last fall, suffered his first defeat at the Miracle Mile in Friday (October 14) evening's featured $10,500 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Trot.   Despite a strong early push to the fore through a :27.3 initial quarter mile and a pressure-free :58.3 middle half, J A T O (Chris Lems) would ultimately be upended by pocket rival Waiting On a Woman ($3.10), who made his move off the pegs in mid-stretch and edged away to prevail by a length at the end of a 1:54.3 mile over fast going. J A T O held the runner-up spot, while Its Payday Friday (Ronnie Morales) sustained gradual uncovered gains to take third.   Waiting On a Woman was availed a clear trip throughout by local leading driver John MacDonald, lacking for racing room at no point in the mile. The 8-year-old Northern Bailey gelding captured his 56th career win for owner Michael Polansky and trainer Kyle Spagnola.   In the evening's sub-featured $7,900 distaff trot, Homer Hochstetler and Robert Buddig's Sweet Thing ($4.30) made every yard a winning one, holding sway of My Lucky Word for a 1:55 score. Fern Paquet, Jr. drove the 4-year-old Chocolatier mare for one of his three wins on the evening's 10-race card.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 15) with an 11-race card; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Mark Wamp's Super Soph ($2.90) earned a second consecutive top-level win at Vernon Downs, making all the pace and parrying a late charge from Southern Girl in Thursday (October 13) evening's featured harness racing $10,500 distaff pace.   The 6-year-old Admirals Galley mare wasted no time seizing command in the field of five, sprinting clear of All Charged Up (John MacDonald) through a :27 first quarter. Super Soph would maintain control of the terms throughout, rating a :56.4 middle half before edging away from the all-out All Charged Up at the eighth pole and absorbing a strong late push from Southern GIrl (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who worked into second in mid-stretch after commencing her first-over bid midway on the far turn.   Chris Lems, who drove the 40-time winner for trainer Jackie Rousse, also teamed up with his own trainee Sweet Bettor ($2.50, 1:55.1) and Angus MacDonald trainee Navy Whites ($6.10, 1:56.2) to lead all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card. Jocelyn Gale captured top training honors on the night with a double, sending Tiger Boudoir ($8.40, 1:55) and Sweet Brown ($4.70, 1:57.4) to victory.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs with a 10-race card on Friday (October 14) evening; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- The Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC's St Lads Moonwalk ($3.80) made his Miracle Mile debut a winning one, capturing Saturday (October 8) evening's harness racing featured $7,900 pacing event at Vernon Downs in decisive fashion.   The 3-year-old Mach Three colt enjoyed success in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series through the summer, earning his two most recent preliminary-event wins from off the pace. Tonight, Chris Lems put him in play from the outset, working clear of Major War (Truman Gale) after a :26.2 first quarter, rating a :57 middle half, and sprinting clear of the competition upon cornering for home. St Lads Moonwalk evaded his three foes by 4-1/4 lengths, prevailing in 1:51.2 in his first start for trainer Jackie Rousse. Modern Gesture (Fern Paquet, Jr.) captured second off a conservative stalking journey, and Flying Cowboy (Mike Merton) stayed even for third while Major War faded in the home straight off a failed bid from the pocket.   For St Lads Moonwalk, the win was the 12th of his fledgling career. For Lems, the win was the cornerstone of a driving grand slam following his five-win night on Friday. Lems additionally paired up with Gary Gibson trainee Some Major Beach ($4.80, 1:54.2) as well as Jordan Hope trainees Flashy Trick ($3.90, 1:53.1) and Hurrikane Bud K ($10.60, 1:54.1).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (October 13) evening; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Michael Polansky's Waiting On a Woman ($7.80) waited on no one in Friday (October 7) evening's featured $9,100 top-level trotting event at Vernon Downs, evading his five rivals and giving harness racing driver Chris Lems one of five wins on the 10-race program.   The 8-year-old Northern Bailey gelding, who had most recently been racing in upper-level events at the Meadowlands, Pocono, and Plainridge, worked to secure the pocket from his inside post before switching off the pegs and clearing 8-5 favorite Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) just after a :28 first quarter. Waiting On a Woman would maintain complete control of the terms from that point, rating a :58.1 middle half before accelerating away at head-stretch. The Kyle Spagnola trainee ultimately edged clear of Lucid Thoughts by 2-1/4 lengths for his 55th career win, while Kahoku (Truman Gale) held third off a ground-saving stalking trip.   Waiting On a Woman's 1:54.1 mile earned him the fourth win of his 8-year-old campaign.   In addition to his victory in the feature, Lems teamed up with 13-year-old Grecale As ($9.60, 1:56.4), Engagedatlexington ($6.60, 1:57.1), Airman Batten ($3.10, 1:54.1), and and Hollywood Jess ($4.60, 1:57.2).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 8) evening; the first of 11 races is due off at 6:45 p.m.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- JK Panache ($3.20) made his return to Vernon Downs a triumphant one, bouncing back from a fourth-place finish at Saratoga to wire his four harness racing rivals in Saturday (October 1) evening's featured $9,900 Miracle Mile-Open Handicap Pace.   The 7-year-old Art Major gelding, who won his last local appearance by way of sustained uncovered gains through the far turn, was sent right to the front this night by Chris Lems from his assigned outside post in the field of five. The pair controlled all the terms through sectional times of :26.2, :55.1, and 1:23.1, facing nary a challenge before starting to edge away from pocket rival Quick Art (Fern Paquet, Jr.) on approach to the head of the homestretch. While JK Panache left Quick Art well in his wake, Calvin B (Greg Merton) would emerge wide of rivals to take second off the far turn. Still, JK Panache evaded that late threat by 1-3/4 lengths, prevailing in 1:50.3. Flying Cowboy (John MacDonald) saved third another 8-1/2 lengths detached.   Trainer Dave Dewhurst shares ownership of 44-time winner JK Panache with Philip Hale.   Lems also captured the sub-featured $7,900 upper-level pacing event on the 11-race card with Modern Gesture ($4.90), pouncing from the pocket midway on the far turn and parrying a late charge from No Bad Dreams (Dan Daley) to score in 1:51 for trainer Andy Gardner and owner Mark Jakubik.   Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (October 6); first post is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Calvin B ($3.40) did not disappoint at odds-on in Saturday (September 24) evening's featured $9,100 top-level Miracle Mile pacing handicap at Vernon Downs, sustaining a first-over press to circle the harness racing field for a 1:51.4 triumph.   Chris Lems settled the 6-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding at the back of the quintet early before angling off the pegs with just less than five-eighths of the mile remaining. Calvin B advanced the instant he was switched first-over, working into a pressing role with three-eighths to go and dueling down pacesetter Major War (Fern Paquet, Jr.) in mid-stretch. Calvin B would accelerate clear while driven and evade a late charge from Modern Gesture (Claude Huckabone, III), who worked around the tiring pacesetter to save second off his pocket trip. No Monkeys Allowed (Truman Gale) mounted belated gains from the back to take third.   Calvin B prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the end for owner Dolores Smiel and trainer Heidi Rohr. His seventh seasonal win increased his career tally to 21.   In the $5,000 C.K.G. Billings event for amateur drivers, owner-trainer-driver Tony Ciuffetelli sprung a double-digit upset with Aventure ($23.60), rallying belatedly off live cover to narrowly collar 6-5 favorite Rocket Master (Hannah Miller) in 1:57. The 5-year-old Muscle Mass gelding earned the 15th win of his career.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (September 29) evening; first post is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, NY -- Margaret and Amy Butler's J A T O ($3.80) seized control of the terms early and never looked back on his way to a third consecutive victory in Friday (September 23) evening's featured $10,500 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Trot at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems put the 4-year-old Conway Hall gelding in play from the outset, pushing clear of My Lucky Word (Fern Paquet, Jr.) and Gimme the Cash (Claude Huckabone, III) through a :28.3 first quarter before easing the tempo on the backstretch.   With five-sixteenths of the mile to go, 22-1 longshot Oh No Three O (Jeff Long) mounted a first-over challenge, working to within a length of J A T O at the completion of a :58.4 middle half but leveling off at head-stretch. J A T O maintained control comfortably while hand-driven through the straight, keeping Oh No Three O a length at bay for a 1:55.2 score.   Prairie Fortune (Mike Deters) showed mild staying power off second-over cover to save third on debut from Tioga.   Howard Okusko trains J A T O, who remains undefeated at Vernon Downs by way of his 31st career triumph.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 24) evening, with the first of 13 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs Racing

FREEHOLD, NJ – September 17, 2016 – It was a beautiful day for Freehold Raceways fifth annual Open Space Pace celebration.  The twelve race harness racing card featured two Lou Babic stake finals for two-year-old pacers.  The New Jersey sire If I Can Dream showcased his offspring in both finals. The two-year-old colt pacers kicked the day off in the second non-betting race off the regular scheduled card.  Everyway Out had his way again today, keeping his perfect record untainted in the $62,000 Lou Babic Final.  Tetrick sent his colt out of the gate to take the lead and hold off a late charging Deo Galileo in the stretch for the win in 1:56.3.  Trained by Dylan Davis this makes seven wins in seven starts with $154,155 lifetime earnings.  Firefox Hanover came in third. The seventh race was the Lou Babic Final for two-year-old filly pacers with a purse of $57,000.  Jeff Gregory moved his filly Designated Drinker just past the quarter and sailed home virtually unchallenged in 1:58.2.  Misqued finished second while Maiden Dream with driver Jim Marohn Jr. rounded out the trifecta to finish third.  The Chris Lems trainee Designated Drinker takes win number two on the season boosting her lifetime earnings to $78,820. Freehold will continue its New Jersey Stakes schedule on Thursday, September 22, 2016 with a 12:30 pm post time. Courtney Stafford

Vernon, N.Y. - Margaret and Amy Butler's J A T O ($2.60) kept his perfect Vernon Downs harness racing record intact in the featured $9,900 Miracle Mile/Open Handicap Trot on Friday (September 16) evening, pressing into the far turn and edging clear in the straight to a decisive 1:54 triumph. The 4-year-old Big Apple Deli gelding came away last in the compact field of five, only commencing his rally upon reaching the backstretch after My Lucky Word (Fern Paquet, Jr.) seized command from Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) after a :27.1 first quarter. J A T O advanced first-over to within a length of My Lucky Word through a :57.1 half and proceeded to intensify the pressure on the far turn before edging clear at head-stretch. J A T O wore down My Lucky Word drew off to a two-length victory over pocket rival Lucid Thoughts, while Gimme the Cash (Claude Huckabone, III) stayed on for third off a live second-over journey. Chris Lems drove the 30-time winner for trainer Howard Okusko. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 17), with the first of 15 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- After a narrow miss in last week's top-level distaff, the Kellogg Racing Stables, LLC's Bettorhaveanother ($5.20) controlled an easy pace and sprinted off to evade even-money harness racing favorite Jinxy's Delight in Thursday (September 15) evening's $9,900 Mares Miracle Mile/Open Pace at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems sprinted to the fore with the 4-year-old Bettor's Delight mare, assuming command from Jinxy's Delight (John MacDonald) straight away through a sensible :28 first quarter. Bettorhaveanother would rate a :29.1 second-quarter breather before bracing for and parrying the first-over challenge of Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.) on the far turn. Bettorhaveanother accelerated upon cornering for home, opening up to a 2-1/2 length mid-stretch lead, and holding sway by a length in 1:53 while driven out to the winning post. Jinxy's Delight stayed on well for the runner-up spot, while Southwind Trini (Claude Huckabone, III) posted belated gains to take third.   Jackie Rousse trains Bettorhaveanother, now a 13-time winner.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (September 16) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. - J A T O ($3.70) picked up right where he left off in his return to Vernon Downs, earning his seventh harness racing victory in as many career starts over the Miracle Mile in Friday (September 9) evening's featured $9,900 Miracle Mile/Open Trot. Chris Lems sent the 4-year-old Big Apple Deli gelding right to the front, clearing Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) with ease through a :27.4 first quarter before immediately pulling the tempo back. J A T O's stiffest challenge came on the far turn in the form when Pop I (Jay Randall) charged from last to press a :28 third quarter, but J A T O had no trouble parrying that challenge en route to a 1:54 victory over fast going. Lucid Thoughts, 2-1/4 lengths in arrears, saved second from the pocket, while Gimme the Cash (Claude Huckabone, III) made late gains to take third. Howard Okusko trains 29-time winner J A T O for Margaret and Amy Butler. In the sub-featured $7,900 Miracle Mile trotting event, My Lucky Word ($7.20) proved victorious, controlling all the terms and edging clear for a 1:54.2 triumph over Walk the Floor (Angus MacDonald) and Twice Too Nice (John MacDonald). Fern Paquet, Jr. drove the 4-year-old Lucky Chucky mare for owner Philip Hale and trainer Dave Dewhurst. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (September 10) evening, with the first of 13 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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