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A pair of odds-on favorites proved victorious in the $12,100 Anthony Farina Pacing Series and the $12,900 Catherine Burton Trotting Series finals at Vernon Downs on Saturday (May 7) evening, both employing first-over tactics en route to the harness racing winner's enclosure.   In the Farina final, Galows Nightmare ($3.00, part of entry) began his first-over ascent with half a mile to go, sustaining pressure on early pacesetter No Shame Blue Chip (Brian Connor) through a three-quarters split of 1:22.2 after the latter vaulted clear to set strong early splits of :26.1 and :54.1. Galows Nightmare--a 4-year-old Sportswriter gelding--edged clear off the far turn, ultimately drawing off to a 2-1/2 length win in 1:51.2 under trainer-driver Chris Lems. No Shame Blue Chip held second by 5-3/4 lengths over An Officers Duty (John MacDonald), a distant third off his loose second-over trip.   The Burton final saw Walk the Floor ($3.80) apply heavy pressure to pacesetter Chukkar (Chuck Connor, Jr.) on the far turn, working clear in upper stretch before holding off pocket rival Thats a Bad Boy (Tyler Freese) for a 1:55.3 win. Trainer Angus MacDonald drove the 5-year-old Crazed gelding to a three-quarter length triumph.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (May 8), with the 10-race Mother's Day card due to begin at 1:25 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Perched perfectly from second-over on the far turn, Pocono harness racing invader Shutthefrontdoor ($4.70) vaulted clear in mid-stretch to take Friday (May 6) night's $8,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs.   The 5-year-old Well Said mare settled well off the pace from the outset, allowing Looney Dune (Billy Davis, Jr.) to establish solid early sectionals of :26.4 and :55.3 before working closer through the far turn. Shutthefrontdoor ended up second-over through a 1:24.2 three-quarters split when Little Santamonica (Frank Davis) vacated the pocket to head Looney Dune off the corner. Despite striking the front strongly at head-stretch, Little Santamonica ultimately gave way to Shutthefrontdoor, who drew off by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:51.3 over good going. Little Santamonica was a clear second, 2-1/2 lengths in advance of third-place finisher Keene Olivia (Chris Lems).   Trainer Mike Sinclair co-owns Shutthefrontdoor with Guy Beaulieu and Richard Villeneuve.   Chris Lems led all drivers with four wins on the night, teaming up with Grizzly Mama ($2.40, 1:57), Wings of Royalty ($3.70, 1:55), Hello I'm Johnny ($5.90, 1:58.2), and Gelato Man ($16.80, 1:57.2) Lems's 11 wins on the young season bring him to within one win of leading driver John MacDonald, who was blanked on the 10-race card.   Live racing returns with a nine-race program on Saturday (May 7). Kentucky Derby festivities abound at the Miracle Mile, including a hat contest, mint juleps, and a $1,000 Derby Dream Bet to one lucky fan. First post is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

JK Panache ($8.10) sustained a first-over bid to wear down the odds-on Fireyourguns in Saturday (April 30) evening's featured $8,500 Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs, while harness racing driver John MacDonald captured five of the evening's 13 races.   In the Open Pace, 1-5 favorite Fireyourguns (Claude Huckabone, III) was stretched out by All Stienam (John MacDonald) through a :25.3 first quarter while Chris Lems waited from well off the pace with JK Panache. On the backstretch, JK Panache commenced a gradual first-over bid, working to within a length of the lead through a :55.4 middle half.   Lems remarked, "At the head of the stretch, I was real confident when he (JK Panache) swelled up alongside Fireyourguns, especially after the fractions they went." After dueling briefly in mid-stretch, JK Panache struck the front and drew off to a length victory in 1:49.2.   "I had to chase him, but once he got a head in front, it was all him," Lems concluded. "He's a real good horse."   Fireyourguns was a game second, while Titus Seelster (Jimmy Whittemore) negotiated traffic to save a best-of-the-rest third.   Trainer Dave Dewhurst co-owns JK Panache, now a 38-time winner, with Philip Hale.   In the second round of the Anthony Farina late-closing series for pacers, JDs Brent N Sheree ($2.10, 1:53.4) completed a sweep of the preliminary legs, posting a 4-1/4 length win in his division in rein to trainer-driver Truman Gale. No Shame Blue Chip ($2.70, 1:52.3) controlled the terms in the other division, edging clear under Brian Connor for a 2-3/4 length win after holding Long Legs Linguine (Fern Paquet, Jr.) at bay.   Defending Miracle Mile driving champion John MacDonald led all drivers with five wins on the night, victorious with Stirling Electra ($2.90, 1:55.1), Fox Valley Cadet ($12.40, 1:52.3), Damon Blue Chip ($8.10, 1:52), Little Man Cam ($28.340, 1:53), and Van Gundy Hanover ($10.20, 1:54.1).   The 50¢ Pick 5 was not hit, resulting in a $405.29 carryover to Friday's card. Post time on Friday (May 6) evening is slated for 6:45 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

JK Panache ($9.60) took full advantage of a pocket trip on the far turn of Saturday (April 23) evening's $8,500 Open Handicap Pace at Vernon Downs, finding a seam up the pegs in the final eighth and kicking clear to a 1:50.4 victory in the night's harness racing featured race.   Chris Lems vaulted clear with the 7-year-old Art Major gelding at race's outset, setting demanding early splits of :26.2 and :54.2 before ceding command to 1-5 favorite Ashley's Husband (Fern Paquet, Jr.) on approach to the far turn. As Ashley's Husband worked to stave off pressure from an uncovered Titus Seelster (Jimmy Whittemore) off the far turn, JK Panache was able to draft along behind their :27 third-quarter duel before finding a seam up the inside in mid-stretch and bursting through. JK Panache ultimately put 3-1/2 lengths on his competition, earning his 37th career win and his fourth on the year. Ashley's Husband held second, while Titus Seelster barely saved third from a late-rallying Ilikethemtrashy.   Trainer Dave Dewhurst shares ownership of JK Panache with Philip Hale.   In the first round of the Anthony Farina late-closing series for pacers, JDs Brent N Sheree ($2.40, Truman Gale, 1:53.3) and Galows Nightmare ($7.60, Chris Lems, 1:53) proved dominant in their respective $4,000 first-round divisions.   Truman Gale and John MacDonald each drove three winners on the 13-race card. Of note, Gale also recorded a training hat trick and an owning double.   The evening's 50¢ Pick 5 paid $420.00, with mid-price winners All Stienam ($11.60) and I'm a Pop Star ($14.00) heading the sequence.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (April 29) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Taking full advantage of a soft second quarter, The Triple C Stables, LLC's Sweet Bettor ($6.80) blitzed to the fore, passing all five of her harness racing rivals before reaching the far turn and subsequently winning Friday (November 20) evening's featured $6600 distaff pace at Vernon Downs.   Trainer-driver Chris Lems settled at the back of the pack with the 6-year-old Bettor's Delight mare, not involved at all with the early pace. After Table Games (John MacDonald) and Crucial Moment (Jimmy Whittemore) dueled through a :27.2 initial quarter, MacDonald tried to pull the pace back with 2-1 favourite Table Games--but to no avail. After Table Games rated a :57.2 half, she was overpowered by Sweet Bettor, who seized command just upon reaching the far turn. Not only would the 13-time winner ultimately stave off Table Games, but also a late bid up the pegs from Aritzia Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) who narrowly captured second. Sweet Bettor ultimately prevailed by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:53.4.   The win was the third for Lems on the card; he swept the early double aboard Muscles N Luck ($10.40, 1:58.4) and My Lucky Word ($6.00, 1:55.4). MacDonald and Truman Gale each notched two driving wins on the nine-race card   The 2015 meet at Vernon Downs comes to a close Saturday (November 21) evening, with a long-sleeve shirt giveaway (while supplies last), a $350 handicapping contest, and a fireworks spectacular on tap in addition to a nine-race program. Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- After reeling off five wins in as many tries at Vernon Downs, New York State Fair Circuit standout J A T O ($4.70) handled the jump to the Open II ranks with aplomb, making easy work of more seasoned harness racing rivals in Friday (October 30) evening's $8,000 featured trot at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems floated forward with the 3-year-old Big Apple Deli colt at race's outset, ducking into the third spot to track Lucid Thoughts (John MacDonald) and Photo Mass (Claude Huckabone, Jr.) through a tepid :29 initial quarter mile. Upon reaching the backstretch, Lems angled J A T O off the pegs, and the pair had to work to clear Lucid Thoughts, who strung them out before yielding to the pocket well after a :57.2 half mile.   Having cleared with just over three furlongs to go, J A T O--already softened a bit--braced for the first-over challenge from Waiting On a Woman, who charged past each of his six rivals through the middle half save for one. That one--J A T O--dug in stoutly to keep Waiting On a Woman at bay through a :28 third quarter, subsequently kicking clear off the corner and opening up to a 5-1/4 length win over Lucid Thoughts. Waiting On a Woman faded to third, while McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet, Jr.) made mild late gains to take fourth.   William Okusko trains 25-time winner J A T O for owners Margaret and Amy Butler. The 1:54.1 mile time for J A T O improved his lifetime mark by a fifth of a second over two previous wins at the Miracle Mile.   Vernon Downs leading driver John MacDonald registered a treble on the evening's 10-race program, teaming up with Tarport Andy ($3.10, 1:55.1), Twice TOo Nice ($10.40, 1:56.1), and Fox Valley Cadet ($13.40, 1:54.1).   Live racing continues at Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 31), with an 11-race card kicking off at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. In addition to the annual Four One One grey race and the Turn Back the Clock Rewind races, a pair of Kindergarten Classic finals for 2-year-old trotters feature over $300,000 in purses.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Vernon, N.Y. -- Twenty harness racing 2-year-olds contested a quartet of John Simpson Memorial events on Friday (October 16) evening at Vernon Downs, with driver Chris Lems capturing two of the four stakes races on the night's 12-race card.   In the $25,080 Bret Hanover for pacing colts and geldings, Lems and Toddler Tantrum ($3.00) made an early push to the fore, drawing clear of pocket rival Cenovis (Jim Marohn, Jr.) on the far turn and holding off a late bid from War-n-Munn (Jimmy Whittemore) for a 1:54.4 triumph over sloppy going. Don Tiger and Birnam Wood Farms own the son of Western Terror, and Jessica Okusko handles the training duties.   Lems would have to wait until the eleventh race to complete his stakes double, sweeping late to a narrow victory in the $23,492 Razzle Hanover for pacing fillies with Major Millie ($25.00). The daughter of Art Major tracked the top pair through a relaxed early pace, swinging wide off the far turn and charging late to collar Cut and Paste (Marohn) and Wine Snob (Mike Simons) for a 1:55.2 victory. Erv Miller trains Major Millie for Howard Schneidler's KDM Stables.   On the trotting side of the docket, Dan Daley trainees swept the top two spots in the $25,680 Super Bowl for colts and geldings. Smalltownthrowdown ($7.00, Daley, part of entry) took advantage of a pocket trip, holding off his entry-mate Royal Bachelor (Fern Paquet, Jr.) for a 1:57 triumph. The son of Cash Hall is owned by the partnership of Daley, Crawford, Lombardo, and Brenner.   In the $23,492 Davidia Hanover for trotting fillies, Radiant Beam ($4.40) pulled the pocket and kicked clear for a 3-1/2 length triumph. Jim Marohn, Jr. drove the daughter of Holiday Road to a 1:58.4 victory for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Arrhythmic, LC, defeating Dame Edna (D.R. Ackerman) and I Will Take Credit (Daley).   In the evening's overnight feature, a $7,000 top-level conditioned trot, Margaret and Amy Butler's J A T O ($2.50) earned his 24th career win in 26 starts, holding off a late challenge from Write That Down (John MacDonald) in 1:54.2 by a handy 1-1/2 lengths. Chris Lems handled the driving duties of the 3-year-old Big Apple Deli colt for trainer William Okusko.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 17) evening, with the first of 11 races due off at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Perfect weather and a lightning fast track greeted the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters to the harness racing meeting at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 4) and those participants took full advantage of the conditions to pursue their share of the $120,400 in purses available. Heavily favored Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) rewarded his backers as he turned in a very strong performance, winning his division convincingly in 1:56.3. After pole-sitter Mythology Bluechip (Mark Macdonald) made a break in the first turn, Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) took the early lead until Wings Of Royalty (Chris Lems) motored on by before the quarter in :28.4. The participants then remained single-file behind the leader through a :59.1 half and 1:27.4 three-quarters. At that point Schnittker pulled Gabe The Bear Dean from second and tried to mount a challenge, but the attempt was futile. Lems let Wings Of Royalty out a notch and he flew down the stretch to win easily by three lengths with a snappy :28.4 final panel. "I knew Ray (Schnittker) would let me go (to the front) and once we made it, he was on cruise control. He was very strong finishing the mile" said driver Chris Lems. It was the fourth win in 14 starts for Wings Of Royalty ($3.20) and it raised his 2015 earnings to $178,323 for owner Raymond Campbell. The colt is trained by George Ducharme. The first division was historic as it was the only time a NYSS race at Batavia Downs ended in a dead heat. The judges camera could not separate Fashion Creditor (Credit Winner-Bon Voyage) and Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art of Deception) at the wire. There was a stiff battle off the gate when Royal Lad (Aaron Byron) would not let Maestro Bluechip (Trond Smedshammer) go, who in turn parked-out Royal Deceptor (Michael McGivern) and the three horses went three-wide to the quarter in 28.3. As they hit the turn, they all finally seated with Royal Deceptor being the best of the bunch. At this point, Fashion Creditor (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a gapped fourth watching the proceedings. After the dust had settled, McGivern grabbed leather and grabbed it hard as he gave Royal Deceptor a serious breather with 31 and 30.3 second and third quarters. During that time, Royal Lad made a break from third and Fashion Creditor advanced to that spot, creeping closer to the leader. Then Morrill pulled at three-quarters and began to force the issue. Royal Deceptor still had a three-length lead but the advantage was clearly perilous. At the head of the stretch, Fashion Creditor was trotting his hips off down the lane, gobbling up ground with every stride while Royal Deceptor was expending every ounce of energy he had left to hang on to his lead. At the wire, both horses' best efforts gained them victory in 1:58.3. It was the third win in 13 starts for Fashion Creditor ($2.10), pushing his earnings to $106,380 for the year. The gelding is owned by Joseph Smith and trained by Tom Fanning. For Royal Deceptor, it was his seventh win in 13 starts and it increased his 2015 bank to $137,163 for owners Charles Foster, Michael Sentiwany Jr., and Michael James. The colt is trained by Cheryl McGivern. There were also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior Series "A" trot that went for a combined $30,000 in purses. Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the first division in 1:59.2 for trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The gelding is owned by Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. The second split was won by Bavaro (Credit Winner-Repetitions) in 1:59 flat for trainer-driver Ray Schnittker. Schnittker shares ownership of the colt with Paul Bordogna and Jonathan Kurnit. The winner returned a handsome $46.80. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept.5) with post time set at 6:35 p.m. Tim Bojarski

The conditions were perfect for harness racing on a beautiful summer afternoon, the temperature was 85, the infield flag limp, the track fast, all perfect conditions for a track record at Monticello Raceway. The action started right away in the first race, going for a purse of $53,500. Allerage Echo put his name in the record books by virtue of his 1:58:1 mark. It was his 4th win in a row, for the Conway Hall - Echonomical colt, who was bred by Little E LLC. The easy going son of Conway Hall upping his careers earnings to $121,000, for winning driver Chris Lems. Credevie showed the way as the gate left for Trond Smedshammer. He was followed in hot pursuit by Smalltownthrowdown, Dan Daley tucked Smalltownthrowdown into the 2 hole after briefly being parked down the backside before the ¼ marker. The 2/5 favorite Allerage Echo made his move once Daley settled in and had the lead in a blink of an eye, parked at the ¼ in 29, he then cleared and was never heeded the rest of the mile, taking the field through fractions of 59:1, 1:29:3, Credevie made a break in the paddock turn and the contest turned into a 2 horse race. Smalltownthrowdown came first over but was not able to close the gap. Allerage Echo prevailed to win in 1:58:1 by 4 lengths, for trainer George Ducharme, who has enjoyed much success at Monticello Raceway this season in NY Sire Stake events. Owner Ken Jacobs was ecstatic in the winners circle. "We purchased the colt off a qualifier at Vernon Downs and put him the George Ducharme barn and have had great success," exclaimed Ken Jacobs "He's a beast" said winning driver Chris Lems following the win the in the winners circle, with an ear to ear smile." Race 8, 2nd heat of Sire Stake action had 6 starters. Cupid, driven by Trond Smedshammer for the Purple Haze Stable, tripped the timers in 28:3, 58:3 and 1:28:4, at this point the recent new track record that was barely dry on paper was in jeopardy of being broken. At the top of the lane Cupid was getting leg weary, Dan Daley and Crown Point who had been stalking the leader the entire mile, over took Cupid in a stirring stretch drive. The son of Crazed - Tierra broke his maiden, scoring in 1:59.0, for trainer driver Dan Daley and owners Daley, Crawford and Lombardo. Cupid hung on for second and Dog Gone Lucky was 3rd for trainer Chuck Sylvester and driver John Campbell. Excelsior A - $15,000 Race 4, first division of the A's went for a purse of $15,000. Gremlin Wilson sat the garden spot the entire mile behind pace setter HZ Royalty and driver Jeff Gregory. As the pair turned for home Gremlin Wilson, was not to be denied, using the passing lane to edge HZ Royalty in 2:00:3 for winnings owner and driver John Cummings Jr. The son of Sand Vic is trained by Megan Wilson. The last heat of the A class saw Omaha Set Up (PP4), make a bold first over move at the 5/8 marker to score a measured win over Radical Way in 2:00:4 for the Gideon Stables. The Credit Winner colt is trained by Tyler Freese and driven by Corey Braden. The 1/5 favorite Sweet Royalty made a break before the ¼ and was never a factor. Excelsior B - $6,700 Reasonforpleasin scored his 2nd win in this company for former Monticello Raceway driver Jay Randall and owners Michael Polansky in 2:01:4. The Conway Hall colt now has 2 wins in the Excelsior series under his belt. In Race 3, John Campbell was aboard Dollar Billiards. He left the gate to take the lead but in the middle of the first turn his steed made a break. Ray Schnittker aboard One Chief inherited the lead. The Lucky Chucky - Chippewa Street colt extended his lead at every stanza to win by 7 lengths in 2:02:2 for owners Schnittker, Demeter and H. Burns. Shawn Wiles

Harness racing trainer-driver John MacDonald mounted a first-over bid through the far turn with Damon Blue Chip ($5.20) in Sunday (August 23) afternoon's $7,000 upper-level pacing feature at Vernon Downs, and the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding had plenty left to hold off a late charge from Tundra at the end of a 1:50.2 mile.   Damon Blue Chip was used just enough in the early stages to track A Fool For Mark (Chris Lems) and Smile a Little (Austin Siegelman) through a :26 first quarter, maintaining that trip through a :54.1 half before commencing his first-over bid.   On the far turn, the 8-5 second choice made gradual progress, working into the lead in upper stretch as A Fool For Mark began to give way.   Just as Damon Blue Chip opened up in the stretch, Tundra (Truman Gale) began closing in from a midpack stalking trip.   Still, Damon Blue Chip prevailed by 1-1/4 lengths over Tundra, while Smile a Little managed to save third off his pocket trip.   The J P Stables own Damon Blue Chip.   Lems wins seven races   While A Fool For Mark was a beaten favorite in the feature, Chris Lems found success with seven of his drives on the afternoon.   The South Dakota native teamed up with Day to Ponder ($5.90, 1:53.1), Princess Elsa ($3.00, 2:00.1), Ardie B Speed ($3.80, 1:53), RG Riptide ($7.10, 1:54), Yankee Manny ($13.60, 1:55.3), Ashton Seelster ($5.80, 1:52.1), and Leah's Ex ($11.40, 1:56.3).   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 28) evening.   Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

Three-year-old trotting filly Bee the Queen ($4.10) reigned supreme at the Miracle Mile on Saturday (August 15) night, holding off a late charge from Ulster for a 1:55.1 triumph in the featured $7,000 upper-level conditioned trot at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems secured the pocket early with the daughter of Donato Hanover, yielding to Ulster (Fern Paquet, Jr.) in the early stages before brushing after a :28.1 first quarter.   Bee the Queen enjoyed a 30.1 second-quarter breather before she faced mild first-over pressure on the far turn from DC Flashback (Jimmy Whittemore).   After she was nudged along to the three-quarter point in 1:26.4, Bee the Queen shook free of her seven rivals in upper stretch--at least for a moment.   Ulster, finding room to vacate the pocket, charged late at the longtime pacesetter, as did Tioga invader Verdi (John MacDonald) from out of midfield.   Both late threats would come up short, as Bee the Queen prevailed by a head.   George Ducharme trains Bee the Queen for Alfred Ross.   Truman Gale--who earned his 500th career driving win at the Norwich, N.Y. fair on Tuesday (his tally stands at 506 presently)--notched a driving double on the evening's 11-race program, as did Frank Davis.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Sunday (August 16) afternoon, with first post at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite

A bold middle move was enough for Pounce K ($19.00) to overpower odds-on favourite Count Speed in Saturday (August 8) evening's $8000 Open II Trot at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs.   Chris Lems settled the 5-year-old Donato Hanover gelding just worse than midfield in the initial stages, drafting well off a :28.1 first-quarter duel between Count Speed (John MacDonald) and Gaelic and Garlic (Frank Davis).   On the backstretch, Pounce K made an aggressive move, vaulting clear of rivals en route to a clear lead on the approach to the far turn.   Once Count Speed pulled the half back to :57.4, he struggled to fend off the charging Pounce K, who subsequently opened up the lead to 3-1/2 lengths through a :27.3 third quarter.   Pounce K would hold that margin intact to a 1:54.1 victory as Fleetwood Hall (Roman Lopez) and Frisky Joe (Claude Huckabone, III) mounted mild late bids to round out the top three spots.   Odds-on favourite Count Speed faded to finish sixth in the seven-horse event.   David Dewhurst trains Pounce K for owner Regina Dewhurst.   Lems and Jimmy Whittemore both recorded driving doubles on the 9-race card.   Live racing returns on Sunday (August 9) afternoon, with the nine-race card due to commence at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.   James Witherite 

He's yet to taste defeat and judging from his performance on Wednesday (Aug. 5) at  the harness racing meeting at Batavia Downs, it might be quite some time before that happens. Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus) simply obliterated the competition in his $55,500 leg of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings and set a new lifetime mark in the process. When Dante (Ake Svanstedt) shot to the front for the early lead, Southern Palms (Marcus Miller) made a break and caused momentary confusion to the horses behind him in the first turn. Dayson, who was trotting on the outside at the time, was taken three-deep around the commotion by driver Jeff Gregory and motored to the front to take command. At that point, for all intents and purposes, the race was over. Dayson was a gapped leader for the rest of the contest with Dante and Reve Royale (Chris Lems) chasing, more than following. After setting fractions of 29.2, 59.4 and 1:29.3, Gregory laid the whip on his shoulder and enjoyed the ride home as Dayson opened up four and tripped the timer in 1:59.1, which was his new personal best. "Dayson has been a pleasure to drive this year and he was very strong tonight" said Jeff Gregory after the race. Dayson is now a perfect four-for-four in 2015 with $91,556 in earnings for Howard Okusko and owners Margaret Butler and Amy Butler. The winner returned $3.40. In the second $55,500 NYSS division, Allerage Echo (Conway Hall-Echonomical) took advantage of post one and a perfect trip to score his second victory of the campaign. Chargin Cadet (Ray Schnittker) flew off the wings and crossed over to the lead before the group straightened up the backside. The rest of the field fell in line in post-position order and followed the leader past the half. But even though Schnittker set tepid fractions of 30.1, 1:01.3 and 1:32.1, the race was far from over . Credevie (Trond Smedshammer) pulled from third to try and challenge the leader, leaving Allerage Echo (Chris Lems) sitting chilly in the garden spot. But at the top of the stretch, that bid failed and Chargin Cadet again looked solid. But Allerage Echo was relentless, digging all the way to the wire and eventually getting up for the win in 2:01.1, with a 28.3 final quarter. "He got a very good trip." "And even though they backed down the third quarter, I thought I could get up down the lane" said driver Chris Lems, who did just that. It was the second win in four starts for Allerage Echo who paid $10.80. The winner's share increased his earnings to $58,381 while the time was a new lifetime mark. The gelding is trained by George Ducharme for owner Ken Jacobs. There were also three divisions of the NYSS Excelsior A series that went for $15,000 each. The first went to Cashuz (Cash Hall-Sister Shuzy) and driver John Cummings Jr. in 2:00 flat. Cashuz ($8.20) is trained by J.D. Perrin and is owned by Tessa Roland and Lesa Peters. The second division was won by Gremlin Wilson (Sand Vic-Savannah Montana) and driver John Cummings Jr. once again in 2:03. Meghan Wilson trains Gremlin Wilson ($9.60) for Cummings Jr. who also owns the colt. The final leg saw Kaylon's Prayer (Prayer I Am-Kaylon) victorious for Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings, in 2:03.4. Dennis Laterza trains Kaylon's Prayer ($8.50) for owner Roy Dobbins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 7) with post time at 6:35 p.m. TIm Bojarski

After spotting the field 16 lengths at the quarter pole, things certainly looked bleak for Dayson to keep his unbeaten streak alive. But that huge head start wasn't enough to stop the determined Dayson as he mounted an amazing comeback and somehow score a length victory in the second $52,501 division New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters at the harness racing meeting at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (July 22).   It was the third consecutive Sires Stakes victory for Dayson (Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus) in three lifetime starts. He covered the mile in 2:02.2 over the fast track.   In the first leg, Allerage Echo found little trouble in romping to an impressive five length decision in 2:03.3.   But the story of the night was Dayson.   Driver Jeff Gregory said of the adventurous trip and giving the field an early advantage due to a break at the start. "He was a little fumbly around the turns but I knew he had the speed to get back into the race."   Gremlin Wilson (John Cummings Jr.) set the tempo with splits of 30.0, 1:02, and 1:33.0 but figured the charge from the back of the pack was developing. Chargin Cadet (Jordan Stratton) and Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) looked like the main contenders at the half. But the big-hearted Dayson regrouped and chipped away at the pack, finally getting within two lengths with a final panel to go.   Using a 28.4 final quarter mile, Dayson ($2.70) had plenty left in the tank and zoomed on by for the incredible victory over Chargin Cadet. Smalltownthrowdown took the show spot.   Co-owner Amy Butler said of Dayson's performance. "That was the first time he faced traffic at the start but I knew he had the speed to come back. I knew at the top of the stretch he was going to win." Dayson is also owned by Margaret Butler and trained by Howard Okusko.   A winner now of $64,806 in his three starts, Dayson is the Butler's first Sire Stakes horse ever. "This is just an awesome feeling," Amy Butler said in the winner's circle. "We are going to continue on with him in the Sire Stakes." Next stop is Batavia Downs on Wednesday, August 5.   Allerage Echo (Conway Hall-Echonomical) had no issues in going coast-to-coast in the opener, registering an easy five length victory. Crown Point (Dan Daley) placed a distant second with Rose Run Ransom (John Plutino) taking third.   "He's a nice horse," driver Chris Lems said of Allerage Echo ($5.80). "He was push button. He had a lot left at the wire and I never popped the plugs."   Allerage Echo went right to the lead and had times of 33.0, 1:03.0 and 1:34.3 in romping to the 2:03.3 final time.   Owner Ken Jacobs said of Allerage Echo, a horse he just acquired two weeks ago. "I told George (Ducharme) that he's a real good horse. He changed the rigging some and it has made a difference. George has been training him on a half-mile track and once we got around that first turn, I felt pretty good."   It was the first victory in three attempts for Allerage Echo, now a winner of $30,611 in 2015.   In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series races, Nono Lindy (Gregory) had the fastest time by posting a 2:03.2 time. Nono Lindy paid $4.80 for the victory.   Cashuz ($3.40) took a division with Cummings Jr. in the sulky in 2:03.4 while Do What You Dream ($3.40) went 2:04 for Lems in 2:04.0.   The $6,800 Excelsior 'B' Series events went to Radical Way (Gregory) in 2:06.0 while Thanks For Playin had a $47.60 upset victory for Lems in 2:08.3.   Lems and Gregory each finished the night with a 'hat-trick'.   Ugly Betty returned to her winning ways in the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open II pace by using a 1:55.1 clocking to beat Kisses N Kicks by 1-3/4 lengths. Jim Morrill Jr., who also had three wins on the night, was in the sulky with Ugly Betty ($3.60).   The final week of racing continues on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 10-race program set for 6:35 p.m.   For more information inlcuding the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   Brian Mazurek

Wings Of Royalty had the fastest time of the two $59,100 divisions in the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-colt and gelding trotters Sunday afternoon as he toured Buffalo Raceway's half-mile oval in 1:57.2 at the harness racing meeting on Sunday afternoon (July 19).   Workout Wonder, eligible for the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands in early August, may have taken another step in that direction by coasting to a 1:58.3 victory over the fast track in the other leg.   The times, however, were well short of the track mark of 1:56.4 established in 2014 by Cash Me Out.   In the first division, driver Chris Lems had the rail with Wings Of Royalty ($2.80) but couldn't protect pylon position as Gabe The Bear Dean fired out from the five spot to cease the early advantage.   "I knew Ray (Schnittker) was going to leave with Gabe The Bear Dean so I just thought I'd let him go and I'd drop into the two spot," Lems said. It proved to be the right choice. Wings Of Royalty retook the lead before the quarter pole and never looked back from there.   Setting fractions of 30.0, 59.2 and 1:29.4, a 28.3 final panel was more than enough to hold off the challenge of Military Blue (Mike Simons) and third place finisher Andy Ray (Daniel Dube).   Owned by Raymond Campbell Jr. and trained by George Ducharme, Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparking Cider) has two victories in seven tries this season and increased his bankroll to $76,877 and $204,487 lifetime.   Buen Camino was expected to be a main threat in the Sire Stakes opener but was scratched.   Workout Wonder (Conway Hall-Dear Abs) kept his Hambletonian dreams alive after posting relatively easy victory against a field that was cut down to four due to the scratches of Fashion Creditor and Insomniac.   Dube went right to the lead with Workout Wonder ($3.30) and used soft fractions of 30.2, 1:00.3 and 1:30.2. Then they clicked off a blistering last quarter of 28.1 to turn back Royal Deceptor and salt away the victory.   "I kind of held him back around that last turn, but once we straightened out in the stretch, he took off," Dube said of Workout Wonder's fast last split.   About his strategy with Workout Wonder when going against just three others, Dube said, "I had a lot of confidence in him and just wanted to get him in front. I never even pulled the plugs."   Royal Deceptor (Michael McGivern) finished in second place while Maestro Blue Chip (Trond Smedshammer) took third.   Trained by Ake Svanstedt and owned by All Laid Out Stable, Inc., the win was the second in five outings for Workout Wonder, earning him $83,216 in 2015 and $94,818 lifetime.   In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series, Commentary ($3.70) went the mile in 1:59.3 for Aaron Byron while Smedshammer steered Crazshana ($3.90) to the decision in 1:59.2.   Mark MacDonald drove The African to a popular $3.00 win in the first division of $6,500 Excelsior 'B' series while Patronus ($7.10) took the second leg in 2:01.3 for Mike Simons.   Drew Monti had a driving triple of the steamy afternoon.   Buffalo Raceway starts its last week of the 2015 season on Wednesday night with a 12-race card scheduled for 5 p.m.   The New York Sire Stakes will be back with the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters ready to duke it out.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   Brian J Mazurek

Vernon, N.Y. -- After repelling a challenge from odds-on favorite Hot List through the far turn, Let's Go Higher ($5.80) dug in to stave off pocket rival The Filly Princess in Friday (July 17) evening's $10,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs.   The 7-year-old Cole Muffler mare sprinted out to the lead through a :26.4 first quarter, rating a :30.1 breather on the backstretch before facing stern pressure on the far turn from Hot List (John MacDonald). After she was pushed to a :27.2 third quarter, Let's Go Higher edged clear in upper stretch--only to face a second threat. The Filly Princess (Frank Davis) found room to challenge from the pocket, but Let's Go Higher maintained a half-length advantage to the winning post, prevailing in 1:52.   Chris Lems drove Let's Go Higher for trainer Heidi Rohr and owner Jesse DeLong.   Live racing returns to Vernon on Saturday (July 18) evening. Post time is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

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