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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett guided the two male winners of the $12,000 pacing tri-features at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the Sunday twilight card, with both Nome Hanover and Gonnahaveonemore both stopping the timer in 1:54.3 over a "sloppy" oval. Bartlett used pace-controlling moves during the second quarter in winning both races by wide margins. The Mach Three gelding Gonnahaveonemore established a new lifetime mark in winning by 6¼ lengths for owner/trainer Pasquale Picca; the Well Said gelding Nome Hanover was clear by 2½ lengths on the money for trainer Mark Ford and owners George and Rose Bonomo. NOME HANOVER REPLAY   In the distaff division, the Quality Western mare Peggy J won her second straight start, also hustling to the lead in front of the stands for driver Simon Allard and winning by 1½ lengths in 1:58 for trainer Jeff Sorenson and owner Paula Sarcone. It was a big evening for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and the partnership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs, as their veteran trotters Rich And Miserable and Two AM both won $10,000 contests and pushed the two horses' collective earnings over the $1,000,000 mark lifetime. The Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable (now with $489,036) won in 1:56.1, while Muscle Massive gelding Two AM ($518,034) was home first in 1:57. RICH AND MISERABLE REPLAY   Trotters will be in the spotlight on the Monday afternoon card at The Downs, with a very competitive group set to go behind the gate in the $30,000 Game Of Claims Trotting Series Championship. First post Monday is 12:30 p.m.; program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The three $15,000 harness racing divisions of the third and final preliminary of the Game Of Claims Trotting Series for $15,000 base-priced horses held Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, did absolutely nothing to clarify the picture before next Monday's $30,000 series Championship. Two of the three winners, both missing the first prelim, did not qualify for the final - they will be the two AEs based on the points. The third winner was ninth in the standings going into Monday, but he secured third place in the points - yet he was not claimed (in fact, none of Monday's winners were), while the horses winding up 1-2-4 in the final pointstandings did change hands. Assuring himself a chance at the big money was the 13-year-old Kool De Caux gelding Ursis Des Caillons, fifth and claimed in the first leg, then with a second and here a 1:55.1 win for driver Mark MacDonald, trainer Carmen Auciello, and the ownership of Fox Racing Inc. URISIS DES CAILLONS REPLAY   Golden Son is in AE1 position after going the fastest of the three Game Of Claims contests, rallying along the inside for a 1:55 win for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Kevin Lare, and the Lexington Harness Group LLC. The other winner, Triumphant's Chip, was giving chasing to frontstepping favorite Namje in the stretch when that one went offstride, and he picked up the pieces in 1:55.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Travis Alexander, and owner Adam Friedland. GOLDEN SON REPLAY   TRIUMPHANT'S CHIP REPLAY   The unofficial leading pointwinners for the Championship are Credit Fraud, Willie B Worthy, Ursis Des Caillons, Adagio De La Tour, Broadway Bruiser, Tyson, Meetmeinthemiddle, Explosive Magic and Campbellini. Broadway Bruiser (a double prelim winner, as was Credit Fraud) and Explosive Magic both chose to bypass the third prelim rather than risk a claim, and they had enough points for the strategy to work. Amidst all the series action on the Monday card, a standout was the Bar Hopping sophomore trotting ridgling Top Me Off, who won his seasonal debut by 9¼ lengths in 1:54.2 - a clocking which was not only a lifetime best but also equaled the fastest mile by a three-year-old trotter anywhere in North America this year (also in 1:54.2 so far was the colt Really Fast at The Meadowlands). The winner of his Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship at two (though this race was technically a "nw 1 p/m race"/maiden), Top Me Off could mature into a national-caliber stakes colt for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, who is also co-owner with his wife Christine along with Rick and Regina Beinhauer. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Captaintreacherous gelding Rogerthat Bluechip made an early move to control the pace, rested to the half, then sped home in :55.2 to win the $12,000 pacing feature for males in a lifetime best 1:52.3 during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Jason Bartlett drove the winner, who has now taken two straight since coming to Pocono for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Martin Budkey and Michael Goldberg Racingllc, and may be headed for better things. ROGERTHAT BLUECHIP REPLAY   In the co-feature for distaffs, the Quality Western mare Peggy J spent a long time in the two-wide path to get to the lead in front of the stands, but once there she could not be dislodged and won in 1:54.3. Simon Allard handled the sulky duties for trainer Jeff Sorenson and owner Paula Sarcone. PEGGY J REPLAY   Fastest mile on the card was the 1:51.1 turned in in the nightcap by the So Surreal mare Surreal Feeling, lowering her mark by 2/5 of a second after setting virtually all of the pace and finishing in :27.2. Trainer Dale Lawton co-owns the impressive mare with Chris Lawton, and Jason Bartlett guided her to the quick clocking. In all, eight horses set new lifetime marks during the program, with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. SURREAL FEELING REPLAY   Matt Kakaley led all drivers with three sulky successes Sunday, including the night's fastest trotter, Great Unknown, who reduced his mark to 1:54.2. The Monday afternoon card at Pocono will feature the third and final preliminary of the Game Of Claims Trotting Series action for $15,000 base-price horses, three $15,000 divisions which will decide who will qualify for the $30,000 Championship on March 29 - and out of whose barn the finalists will be racing, what with 24 claims in the first two prelims. Monday's first post is 12:30 p.m. EST; program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono

Cigar Smoking Tony and Salt Life picked up their first victories in the event, and Diamondbeach backed up his impressive win from a week ago with another one in the three $15,000 splits of the third and final leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for harness racing colts and geldings on Wednesday night (March 17) at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Jason Bartlett, Cigar Smoking Tony hustled to the front from the outside post six in the first division, then yielded to race in the pocket behind Sailboat Hanover (George Brennan) after the 27.4 opening quarter. Sailboat Hanover remained on the point at the 56 second half-mile marker, but Bartlett had Cigar Smoking Tony out and on the move prior to the 1:24.3 three-quarters, and Cigar Smoking Tony had the lead back in his possession beyond that station. From there, Cigar Smoking Tony could not be caught as he went on to score by three-parts of a length in 1:54.1. Sweet Truth (Austin Siegelman) rallied for second at 13-1, and 32-1 outsider Social Theories (Tyler Buter) advanced from sixth to third in the last quarter.   Jose Godinez trains Cigar Smoking Tony, a 4-year-old son of Art Major, for co-owners/breeders Joseph Betro, Ian Behar, and Kristie Leigh Farm Inc. Cigar Smoking Tony has a record of 5-1-2 from 11 career starts, and he has now earned $30,600. Cigar Smoking Tony was a 9-2 shot and returned $11.40 to win. The exacta paid $118.00, and the trifecta was worth $407.50. In the next grouping Diamondbeach (Siegelman) worked his way around Lou's Sweetrevenge (Brennan) to take command past a quick 27 second opening quarter. Diamondbeach was all business after that, posting a 55.4 half and a 1:24.4 three-quarters on his way to a 2 1/2 length decision in 1:53.3. Lou's Sweetrevenge held second, with Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) third.   Diamondbeach, a 4-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, is owned and trained by Ricky Bucci. Diamondbeach is now a six-time winner from 19 appearances, and he has banked $51,616. Diamondbeach, the 1-2 favorite, returned $3.10 to win and topped a $7.50 exacta and a $21.80 trifecta. Salt Life (Mark MacDonald) had gotten involved in early pace battles that hurt his chances in the first two rounds of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series, but he avoided that tonight, leading all the way from the pole position en route to a 1:54.3 score at odds of 14-1. Salt Life lined up the field in post position order well before the 28.3 quarter went on the board and continued to be well-rated through the 57.4 half and the 1:26.1 three-quarters. Rolling With Sam (Brennan) marched up into second from first-over on the last turn and tried his best to menace Salt Life, but it was to no avail as the pace-setter kicked home in 28.2 to win by three-quarters of a length over pocket-sitter Panther Time (Joe Bongiorno). Rolling With Sam ended up third.   Another 4-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, Salt Life is co-owned by trainer Bruce Mattison and Carmen Lemorta. Salt Life bagged his sixth career victory, and he has now put away $34,389. Salt Life, who returned $30.40 to win, keyed a $75.50 exacta and a $393.00 trifecta. The M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series comes to a close next Wednesday (March 24) with the $58,400 final and a $25,000 consolation. Series standings are available on Yonkers Raceway's website. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers on Friday (March 19) with three $35,000 divisions of the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and continues on Monday (March 22) with four $40,000 splits of the second leg of MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers. Post time is at 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

The M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series kicked off on Tuesday night (March 2) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $15,000 harness racing divisions that were won by Flirty Forty, Dragon Roll, and Turnthefrownaround. Flirty Forty (Matt Kakaley), sent off at 21-1 in the first split, sat third while 1-9 favorite Pettycoat Business (George Brennan) led through fractions of 28.1, 57.1, and 1:25.3. Sound Idea (Scott Zeron) stalked Pettycoat Business from the pocket and then tipped out two-wide before they turned into the lane, with Flirty Forty tracking Sound Idea's bid before going three-wide in the stretch. It was a thrilling battle to the wire, but in the end Flirty Forty had the best kick, getting up to win by a head in 1:55 1. Sound Idea was second, and Pettycoat Business had to settle for third. Mark Ford trains Flirty Forty, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal, for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. This was her fourth career win, and she has now earned $42,452. Flirty Forty paid $45.40 to win, the 2-1 exacta returned $171.00, and the trifecta kicked back $406.00.   The 4-5 favorite Dragon Roll (Jason Bartlett) dashed to the lead from post five and put up stations of 28.2, 58.3, and 1:27.1 in the next section. Despite the well-rated tempo, Dragon Roll had to dig in determinedly in the last quarter, initially to fend off a first-over try from Pray The Rosary (Brent Holland), and then to deal with a big close from Break The Deal (Zeron) through the stretch. Although she made the chalk players and her connections sweat it out, the wire came up in time for Dragon Roll to tally over Break The Deal by a nose in a 1:57.1 mile. Pray The Rosary held third. Dragon Roll is a 4-year-old Roll With Joe mare owned and trained by Ricky Bucci. Dragon Roll now sports a record of 4-4-8 from 21 career tries, and she has pocketed $149,073. Dragon Roll returned $3.70 to win. The 5-6 exacta paid $29.00 and the trifecta of 5-6-8 was worth $357.50. The last flight saw Somebeachsomefra (Zeron) pop out of the pocket to take over command from Special Achiever (Bartlett) on the way to the 28.3 opening quarter. Somebeachsomefra would continue to front the field to the half in 58 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:26.3, with even-money choice Turnthefrownaround (Brennan) vacating the cones out of third early on the last turn. Somebeachsomefra still had a clear advantage turning for home and responded when Zeron called on her in the lane, but Turnthefrownaround wore her down in deep stretch to prevail by a neck in 1:56. There was a dead-heat for third between Special Achiever and Off The Press (Jordan Stratton). The winner is another 4-year-old by Roll With Joe and is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., and Phil Collura. Turnthefrownaround scored her fifth victory in her 30th trip behind the gate, and she has now banked $129,660. Turnthefrownaround returned $4.30 to win. The exacta paid $11.40, and the two trifectas kicked back $21.60 (Special Achiever third) and $39.40 (Off The Press third). The M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series has additional preliminary legs on Tuesday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 16, and the final is slated for March 23. The boys take their turn in the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series on Wednesday night's (March 3) 10-race card at Yonkers, competing in four divisions of their first round. For full results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Schenectady, N.Y. - United States Trotting Association District 8 has announced the winners of its 2020 year-end awards. For the second year in a row, George Ducharme has been named Trainer of the Year; Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year goes to Jason Bartlett; and Leon Bailey is the County Fair Driver of the Year. Ducharme earned a combined $382,482 in the New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series this year with 77 starts. His stable was led by 3-year-old trotting filly Without A Warning, who took home $231,162, and 3-year-old trotting colt Berkery J, who earned $90,530. Ducharme was also the leading money earner at his home track, Vernon Downs, with $132,121 in purses and a 36.2 winning percentage. Overall, Ducharme's horses have banked $1,298,188 this season and he sports a .403 UTR average. Bartlett has $1.44 million in combined New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior earnings this season and 53 victories on the circuit. He drove the winners of no less than 40% of the NYSS program finals-five County Fair Champions, three Excelsior Series Champions and two Sire Stakes Champions, including Hobbs (3-year-old trotting colt) and King James Express (2-year-old colt pacer). For the year, Bartlett has guided almost 300 winners to nearly $4.7 million in earnings. Bailey finished atop the New York County Fair earnings chart with $66,456 in 91 starts. He drove 33 winners, including New York County Fair Champions Mr. Dunnigans (3-year-old pacing colt) and Miley Rose (2-year-old pacing filly), whom he also trained. In addition, Bailey also earned his first driving championship at his home track of Vernon Downs. This is his first USTA award. Awards will be recognized during the joint NYSS and USTA District 8 virtual banquet taking place this Sunday (Nov. 8) on Facebook Live. The evening will honor champion horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the NYSS, the Excelsior Series and the New York County Fair Series. USTA District 8 Awards for Horse of the Year will be announced live as part of the broadcast. Also honored that evening will be these USTA divisional champions: Aela Jamieson - 2-Year-Old Trotting Filly Owner: Andy Miller Stable Inc, Dumain Haven Farm, Little E LLC Trainer: Julie Miller Steel - 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt Owner: Pinske Stables, Crawford Farms Racing Trainer: Julie Miller Albergita Hanover - 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly Owner: Seth E Coen, George Derocker, Camelot Stable In, Decker's Corner Stable Trainer: Linda Toscano Sauvignon Bluechip - 2-Year-Old Pacing Colt Owner: Robert Sholes, Edward Davis, David Dziengiel Trainer: David Dziengiel C And T's Credit - 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly Owner: Peter Barbato, Samuel Bova Trainer: John Stark Jr. Chaptiama - 3-Year-Old Trotting Colt Owner: Purple Haze Stables LLC Trainer: Trond Smedshammer Hen Party - 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly Owner: Crawford Farms Racing Trainer: Tony Alagna Splash Brother - 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt Owner: Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC, Steven Arnold, Tammy Ann Flannery Trainer: Ray Schnittker "On behalf of our board of directors, I'd like to congratulate this year's winners," said USTA District 8 Chairman Todd Haight. "These horses and horsemen are shining examples of the level of quality coming out of this area and each has represented this district well. We are proud to have this opportunity each year to honor their contributions to our sport, especially this year with all the challenges our sport has faced." Giveaways will also be presented to two lucky winners throughout the night during the NY Sire Stakes Facebook live event. Tune in during the program to see how you can win. Awards will be mailed to all 2020 winners following the program. Questions about the banquet can be directed to Kelly Young at Kelly.Young@gaming.ny.gov. From the New Jersey Sire Stakes

Freehold, NJ --- A field of seven 2-year-old pacers are set to square off in the $56,000  New Jersey Sire Stakes- Standardbred Development Fund Final at Freehold Raceway this Saturday (October 17). Some are looking to build off big efforts, others are seeking redemption.   Renaissance winner King James Express was heavily bet in each of the first two legs, going off at 1/5 in leg 1, and 2/5 in leg 2. Unfortunately for him, he made breaks both times, and lost all chance. When he won the Renaissance, he made an early miscue, but managed to stay pacing the rest of the way. To win this one, he'll have to keep the breaks to a minimum. Jason Bartlett is in the bike from post position seven, for trainer Mark Harder.   The winners of each leg will face off here as well. Captain Fancy lost the Renaissance by a head, then went on to win the first leg, in a sharp 1:58. Trainer Bill MacKenzie elected to bypass the second leg last week, to keep him fresh for the final. Daniel Dube keeps the drive, from post position four.   Not Today won the second leg in gate-to-wire style, setting a cozy pace and cruising to the wire in 1:59.4. Marcus Miller will likely send him to the lead again, from post position three, for trainer Erv Miller.   Cheese Omelet, Imaginary Line, Hurrikane Georgie, and Solid Alibi round out the field. The race is scheduled as the third race, with a listed post time of 1:10 PM.   Post time for the first race on Saturday is scheduled for 12:30 PM.   From Freehold Raceway    

Nichols, NY - The New York Sires Stakes Excelsior A finals were raced at Tioga Downs on Friday, September 11, each for a purse of $50,000. Uhtred won the glamor boy division in the day's fastest 1:51.1 with a gate to wire tour de force from post nine, driver Jason Bartlett's third stakes win on the day. A rallying Levine eked out second in a photo over My Pal Joe.   Unraced at two, Uhtred was making only is sixth career start and winning for the fourth time. The Art Major colt has displayed unusual talent over that short span for trainer Carmen Auciello and owners Earl Hill, Jr and Stephen Klunowski, clearly his best days are before him. Just Joshing (Marcus Miller) kicked off the stakes in the 2-year-old filly trot with an upset of heavily favored Izzy Demsky for trainer Julie Miller in 1:58.2. The Chapter Seven lass sat a pocket behind the fave then out sprinted that one through the lane to post the half-length win. Andy Miller Stable, breeder Windsong Stable and Dumain Haven Farm share ownership of the winner who took a new speed mark in the process. Dresden (Scott Zeron) avenged the loss of the favorite in the opener when the freshman Roll With Joe pacing filly took race three in a personal best of 1:54.1 over Carrington in a largely front stepping effort. Dresden is a Henderson homebred trained to now three wins in four attempts by the venerable conditioner Chris Ryder. Zeron came right back to take the baby colt trot with Linda Toscano's Royson's Punch affording that colt an ideal trip after a hard leave to the lead, releasing heavily favored Barn Hall then out-gaming that one in the shadow of the wire in 1:57. Linda trains the Chapter Seven colt and owns as Camelot Stable in partnership with R and I Farms. Mullinax (Bartlett) took the freshman colt pace as a slight favorite in a forwardly placed 1:53.2 effort. The wire arrived just in time for Mullinax as Hopnroll Heaven was gaining quickly and just missed. Mark Ford trains the winner, a son of American Ideal, for long time owner Bill Varney. "It's been a really hard year on everybody, and this is one bright spot. I certainly wish the late Ed Mullinax who the colt is named for, was here to have raced him. Ed was a great guy to do business with, but an even greater guy to hang out with. He was a good friend," was the heartfelt response of trainer Mark Ford who bred the colt along with Mr. Mullinax. "All of the money Ed made in the business he reinvested and it's a huge loss to all of us that he's gone. The owner of this colt, Mr. Varney, is another really stand-up guy." Tioga's leading driver Wally Hennessey caught the mount on C And T's Credit when trainer John Stark, Jr. sent out a powerful entry in the 3-year-old filly trot and Wally took full advantage of the opportunity. Hennessey had C And T's Credit on the lead through a comfortable 58.1 half and that was enough to seal the deal as the pair won as they pleased in 1:55.1 over Soprese who rallied late for the place. Frank Barbato and Sam Bova Racing are the proud owners of the winner, a daughter of Credit Winner. Bolt Of Beauty became Marcus Miller's second stakes winner on the day. Away from the rail post position, Marcus had the Bolt The Duer filly close up through the early stages then bum rushed Discoforadollar going into the last turn, opened up and held sway over Turnthefrownaround in 1:52.3. Erv Miller conditions the sophomore filly pacer for his own interest as Erv Miller Stable in partnership with Tanah Merah Farms and Sara Miller. Conquest AS (Bartlett) dominated the 3-year-old colt trot field gate to wire with the greatest of ease in 1:55.1. Bartlett pointed him forward from the word go and the driver's work was largely done as the Conway Hall gelding did the rest. Bronze Yankee rode the pocket to a place finish. Trainer Annette Lorentzen had her charge primed, the Lorentzen family owns and bred Conquest AS under the ACL Stuteri AB banner. Tioga Downs will close out the 2020 racing season with a 13 race card tomorrow with post time at 3:00. by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs  

GOSHEN, NY - History was made Sunday (Sept. 6) in Orange County, New York, as Goshen Historic Track hosted the New York County Fair Finals (NYCFF). For the first - and probably only - time ever, the eight races, which each sported a purse of $10,000, for 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits and sex divisions ended their seasons at "The Cradle of the Trotter." Normally, the county fair races kick off July 4th weekend in Goshen, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the competitors had to labor into the September holiday. To qualify for the finals, the competitors needed at least five starts from the 14 County Fair tracks. Due to state guidelines, the competitors didn't have the fans to cheer them on, but that didn't stop the races from being ultracompetitive. In fact, it came down to the final race to determine the NY County Fair's top driver. Leon Bailey, 33, by virtue of his win in the NYCFF for 3-year-old colt & gelding pacers with Mr Dunnigans (American Ideal-Legacy), moved to the top of the driver standings over Claude Huckabone III. There was some confusion when Mr Dunnigans crossed the wire, however, because the colors worn by the driver were not Bailey's. "What better way to pay tribute to him than to wear his colors?" said Bailey, who sported horseman Ed Dunnigan's colors in the victory. The horse is named after Dunnigan - a family friend of Bailey, trainer Jessica Okusko and the ownership team - who passed away in February of 2019. Mr Dunnigans, who is owned by David B. Smith, James S. De Armond, David Earl Towne and James J. Giannuzzi, remained perfect in six seasonal county fair starts. Bailey also made a trip to the winner's circle with his own trainee, Miley Rose (So Surreal-Bellas Bliss), in the 2-year-old NYCFF for filly pacers. After a hard-fought stretch duel, Bailey and Miley Rose, who is owned by Donn L. Lewandrowski and Gail M. Farrell, scored by three-quarters-of-a-length over Jason Bartlett and Elegant Blue. "Any time that I get to drive with the big guys like Jason Bartlett, I always look at it as a pretty good opportunity to test my skills," Bailey said. "Anytime you can race the best and beat them, it's something that I definitely enjoy doing." Bartlett ended up as the big winner of the day, taking five of the eight County Fair Finals. Bartlett won the 2-year-old pace for colts and geldings with Brave Element (Bolt The Duer-Necessary Element) for trainer Claude Huckabone III and owner Go Where The Money Is Stable in a track record for juvenile pacing geldings of 1:57 3/5, breaking the mark set by Gallo Blue Chip in 1999. Bartlett also won on Sunday with: Flexible Credit (Credit Winner-Back On Track) in the 2-year-old filly trot, who is trained by David Dewhurst and owned by Dewhurst and Philip K. Hale. Ready For Workout (Whataworkout-Oven Ready) for owner/trainer Earl J. Sauve in the 2-year-old trot for colts and geldings. Xenia's Chip (Heston Blue Chip-Xenia Hanover) in the 3-year-old filly pace for trainer Jim Graham and owner Keith R. Pinkowski. Crazy For CJ (Crazed-Godiva Lindy) for trainer Huckabone III, who was the top trainer on the NY County Fair circuit for 2020, and owner Chasing Dreams Stable. The win in the 3-year-old trot for colts and geldings was the seventh straight for Crazy For CJ. "To see [the connections of the county fair horses] after the races, they are so happy to win," Bartlett said. "I've been in some big races with bigger purses, but I don't know if you see the smiles and how authentically happy they are with these horses. They work hard all year and to have some success like they did today it's good to see." Driver Mark Whitcroft won the 3-year-old filly trot with Notoutofthewoods (Prayer I Am-Edge Of The Woods), who is owned and trained by his wife Cheryl Davis Whitcroft. In compliance with state protocols, attendance was restricted to owners with advanced reservations who had to remain in designated areas. Due to the generosity of the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, The Hambletonian Society, the Grand Circuit, OnGait.com, Big Dee's Vet & Pet Supply and Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program, the races were livestreamed and can be viewed for a year at www.nysirestakes.com. From the New York Sire Stakes

Trenton, NJ — Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett clearly remembers the first time he trained a horse. The pre-teen thought he was going much faster than instructed, discovered he was going much slower, and came up with a number somewhere in between. “My grandfather (trainer Dick Bartlett) told me to go in (2):15 and I think I went in, like, (2):40, and I thought I was flying,” Bartlett said. “I missed that mark by a lot. I had to come back and lie to him a little bit and told him I went in (2):25 so I wasn’t too far off.” Since that day Bartlett has learned to go fast for real in becoming one of harness racing’s top drivers. He has ranked among the Top 10 in North American harness racing in wins nine times overall and among the Top 10 for purses also nine times. Bartlett has enjoyed great success at his home track, winning nine driving titles at Yonkers Raceway. He has 8,431 career wins and $114 million in earnings. It all started on his family’s farm in Windsor, Maine, where Jason would wile away the hours in the stable when not excelling at football and basketball. “As a kid I was always drawn to it, it was never a chore for me to go to the barn and work and help out,” Bartlett said. “I always loved it. Loved going to the races. It was very easy for me. I kind of knew I wanted to do that. But my grandfather told me to ‘Go to school, get a degree, and this will always be here when you get back.’” Dick had a stable that ranged between 20 and 30 horses, “so on the weekends and school vacations it was almost kind of mandatory I was there at the barn helping.” Aside from performing his duties, Bartlett showed an eye for horses at a young age. One of the favorites among his grandfather’s stable was Pay Or Play, for good reason. “I actually picked him out at a sale,” Bartlett said. “He showed a lot of speed, but he showed a ton of breaks and my grandfather always loved that. I had to drag him to the barn to look at him. He was in one of those far barns and he was like ‘Nah I don’t want to go see this thing.’ I ran over myself and looked at it and I dragged him over and he ended up buying him.” Another special horse from Bartlett’s youth was Geri’s Beauty, with which he won his first race at the Windsor Fair in 1998. “I don’t remember that much,” he said. “I just remember it was at a fair and it actually worked out pretty good. I came second over to three-wide down the backside. I started driving three weeks before that. I think I was a junior in high school. We started out two fairs before that and I finally got my first win at our hometown fair.” Jason Bartlett has enjoyed great success at his home track, winning nine driving titles at Yonkers Raceway. Mike Lizzi Photo. During that period, Bartlett was splitting his time between the stables and the gym. As a standout two-sport athlete in middle school, he needed to decide between basketball and football in high school. He would have opted for the gridiron, but his school did not have a football team, so he chose hoops. That turned out to be a pretty good choice as Bartlett became an explosive backcourt scorer. Heeding his grandfather’s wishes about attending college, Jason took his talents to the University of Southern Maine in Portland, where he became the NCAA Division III scoring champion one year with a 28-point average. Despite those numbers, he never harbored illusions of playing at the next level. “Division III is a whole different beast,” he said. “I’m fast, I’m quick, I can jump, but I was too small, didn’t have enough muscle.” After graduating with a degree in industrial electricity, Bartlett headed straight back to the barn to get started on his “real” career. Asked if that major ever came in handy, Jason laughed. “For the most part if I look at a tool I draw blood,” he said. “If I had to, yes. But I wouldn’t get rich on it. My uncle did that sort of work, that’s why I jumped into that field. But I just got the degree to have it in case racing didn’t work out.” Bartlett worked with his grandfather for the next five years. In 2009, owner Scott Dillon — who owned most of the horses Bartlett trained at the time — encouraged him to go out on his own. Dillon helped him financially in making the move to New York. “I knew some trainers in New York that were originally from Maine,” Bartlett said. “Bobby Sumner and Timmy Case were doing really well at Yonkers at the time. I used to take horses from Bobby Sumner if they weren’t right, he would send them to me so I could race them in New England. “Bobby always had a stable of 40 or 50 horses, he was one of the leading trainers at Yonkers. When I came down, he asked me to drive some of his horses at Yonkers, so I started catch driving for him. We started doing really well and it just took off from there.” Bartlett also trained 25 of his own horses when arriving in New York. But when he started having driving success, he sold them in order to focus on just one aspect of the sport. “Driving was always the one thing I was trying to strive for,” he said. “To be a catch driver, and that was it.” Bartlett points to Dillon, Sumner, and Maine Hall of Famer Don Richards as playing big parts in his success. Richards allowed Jason to live with him during college so he needn’t incur any housing bills. His biggest influence, of course, is Dick, who is still going strong at 80. “Tough love would be one of the big things I took from him,” Bartlett said. “He critiqued me a lot. I always say he was my biggest fan but my biggest critic. Even if we had a great day he was always pushing me to be better. Don’t be satisfied. Don’t be complacent. Just because you’re doing good now doesn’t mean you’ll be doing good in a month. Work hard.” Jason Bartlett and his family celebrated his 8,000th career win in 2019. Katy Gazzini Photo. Bartlett and his wife Kristen are trying to pass along those qualities to their children, who inherited the athletic gene of both parents. Kristen is a former field hockey, basketball and softball player. The Bartletts run their local CYO basketball program and also coach their sons’ teams. Kobe, 13, and Karter, 9, are more into playing sports than working the stables at the moment. Jason speaks with pride at how Kobe’s team finally won New York’s Orange County CYO championship along with the regional title after several years of near misses. “They focus a lot on sports,” Bartlett said. “They play soccer, lacrosse, football. They’ll watch me on TV. I guess Karter is a little more intrigued by it, he loves to go jog. It’s a tough business, a tough way to make a living. They might get into it later but they’re going to have to go to school and stuff, just like my grandfather made me do.” And that seems to have worked out pretty well. Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Yonkers, NY — Despite no concrete timetable for his — or anyone’s — return to the races, harness racing driver Jason Bartlett is well into his recuperation from COVID-19. Bartlett, a 22-year veteran of the sulky with over 8,400 driving wins to his credit, recently discussed his experience recovering from the novel coronavirus with Yonkers, N.Y., media outlet News 12 Westchester. “I was just stuffy,” Bartlett said about his bout with COVID-19. “One thing that was weird was my eyes were killing me — I couldn’t really look side to side; I could only look straight ahead.” After coming in contact with John Brennan — who passed on March 10 from complications of COVID-19 — in late February, Bartlett decided to get tested for the virus after experiencing some of the common symptoms. “I wanted to protect my family and everyone I work with,” he continued, noting concern for the horsemen he works closely with in addition to his son’s youth basketball team, which he coaches. Fortunately, Bartlett has been able to weather the storm well, indicating that he has “been pretty lucky with the whole thing,” but he is quick to show deference to trainers and caretakers, whose round-the-clock responsibilities continue — racing or no racing. “At this time, we’re all one,” Bartlett remarked. “The trainers still have to feed these horses … these horses still have to be taken care of.” The USTA Communications Department

YONKERS, NY – Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts (“Empire City”) announced today the suspension of racing operations at its harness track, Yonkers Raceway, through Wednesday, March 18th . Empire City learned on Tuesday, March 10th that an employee of the Standardbred Owners Association (“SOA”), the harness horsemen association, tested positive for COVID-19 before passing away. The individual had an office in the Yonkers Raceway paddock building located next to the racetrack and was last there on February 28, 2020. His death was announced Tuesday, March 10th by New Jersey officials, as he was a resident of that state. As a precaution, racing was canceled on March 10th and employees who had direct contact with the individual were provided with information to secure testing, self-quarantine, and advised to contact their healthcare providers if they are experiencing symptoms. Professional cleaners were engaged to deep clean and sanitize the impacted areas, including the race office and paddock. In addition to regular cleaning procedures, Empire City has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting protocols, with a specific focus on high-touch surfaces. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the casino. Empire City released the following statement: “The health and safety of our guests and employees remains our highest priority. We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and closely follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials. We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of the colleague we lost. It is a tremendous loss to the sport of racing, the SOA, and the Yonkers Raceway team. He will be missed.” Empire City Casino and its dining entities remain open with regular operating hours.  It was also reported that leading driver Jason Barlett has been quarantine as coronavirus precaution. From Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – The Standardbred Owners Association of New York will make a presentation to the 2019 leading drivers and trainer at Yonkers Raceway Monday night (March 2). Drivers Jason Bartlett and George Brennan, who dead-heated for the most wins last season with 427 each, and trainer Scott Di Domenico, who dominated the trainer’s standings with 180 victories, will each be recognized for their achievements on the racetrack The driver’s race became one of the highlights of the 2019 season at Yonkers and put an unexpected twist on the final few days of racing. After nearly 11 months of competition and over 2,000 starts by the track’s leading drivers, there is typically little left to be settled in the meet’s final weeks. For instance, by Dec. 1, 2018, Jason Bartlett had a 104-win edge on Jordan Stratton. In 2017, Bartlett came into the stretch of the meet with a 153-win margin. However, with two racing days left in the 2019 season, Jason Bartlett and George Brennan were locked in a tight battle for the Yonkers driving title. At Dec. 1, the duo was separated by just three wins, with Brennan ahead 406 to 403. After trading blows throughout December, Bartlett brought a three-win margin into the penultimate night of competition (Dec.16) with 423 wins. It was the closest race in Bartlett’s memory. “Usually by this time, everything is cut and dry of who’s going to get it and who’s not,” Bartlett said. “Between me and George, we drive hard against each other. We’ve always done that. At the end of the day, we still respect each other on and off the track. It’s a good competition, but at the end of the day, we still have a job to do and that’s to win races and get as much money as we can for the trainers.” Bartlett drove four winners on the penultimate card to Brennan’s two, giving the former a 427-423 edge going into the final night of racing Dec. 17. Adding a further complication to the contest, Bartlett missed the final card due to a previously scheduled family vacation. Brennan won four of the first 10 races on the Closing Night program, tying the standings at 427 and had a chance to take sole possession in the final race with Lord Of Misrule. However, when that pacer finished fourth, the standings were final. After 2,657 races from January 7 through December 17, the contest ended in a dead heat. “It was very exciting. I’ve been leading driver before, but this was the most exciting driving race I’ve been involved in. It was a lot of fun,” Brennan said. “I just went about my business and that’s how it ended. It’s a lot of work, a lot of dedication, good clients. It means a lot. “You can’t really think about it. You just have to go about your business and try to stay safe and win races,” Brennan said. “There was something going on with the driving title, but in a sense, it’s secondary because you still have to get the job done, you still have to get the most amount of money for your owners and trainers you’re driving for. That’s the number one priority there.” Bartlett and Brennan both experienced memorable wins in the final week of racing. Bartlett drove Mach It A Par to victory Friday, Dec. 13 in her final career start. The $1.1 million-earning mare aired by 4 1/2 lengths in her bow, her 82nd start and 17th win with Bartlett. Brennan scored with 11-year-old millionaire trotter DW’s NY Yank on the final night of racing in the pair’s 82nd start and 25th win together. Bartlett, 38, won his ninth Hilltop title while Brennan, 52, earned his third. Bartlett saw Brennan as a mentor and an inspiration growing up, making the contest even more meaningful. However, the pair can leave the competition on the track and focus on their work. “He’s a driver that I’ve looked up to my whole life,” Bartlett said. “Being in a competition against him, running for number one, is a pretty big deal for me. Growing up and knowing George and looking up to him. “For me, it means I’m doing my job. I’m there to win races and business is good. Every year, you shoot for it. You’ve got to have a little luck along the way and get some horsepower,” Bartlett said. “It’s a job that I love to do, I’m very competitive at it and it’s really nice to go to work and know every race matters. There’s no messing up. I know a lot of people are watching it.” “I just want to thank all the trainers and owners and caretakers that look after and train the horses, because I can’t do it without them. A big thank you to them,” Brennan said. While Bartlett and Brennan battled to the wire for the driving title, Scott Di Domenico enjoyed an insurmountable lead in the training ranks. The 38-year-old harnessed 180 winners at Yonkers in 2019, 27 more than 2018 champion Rene Allard. It is Di Domenico’s first training title at Yonkers, a goal the he has been working toward for years. He was second in the standings last year with 160 wins and third in 2017 with 117. “It was great. To do that, it’s been something that I’ve been close to a few times over the last three or four years, but never got it solidified. To be able to get it done last year was really special,” Di Domenico said. “It was never anything that I was praying every night that I would get, but you work hard every day and you strive for goals and you strive to win races. When it all comes together like it did, it was really gratifying.” Allard topped the standings through July, but Di Domenico took over a narrow lead in August. Di Domenico extended the margin through the end of the season. However, which such a long season, the title wasn’t something Di Domenico focused on nightly. “Never gave it a lot of thought. Just tried to have our head down working hard and tried to come to work every night prepared and tried to win races,” he said. “The rest of it, it was going to work out one way or the other. I’m glad it worked out the way it did, but it was never something that you sat there every night getting your voodoo doll out and hoping the other guy didn’t win any races.” By mid-November, when he enjoyed a lead of more than 30 victories, Di Domenico could finally step back and look at the big picture. “It was looking promising, it really started to set in, in the middle of November. I was paying more attention to it than I had been at any other point in the year,” Di Domenico said. “But you still try to work hard, and you didn’t want to let up on the gas any to not be able to win. Just tried to stay on the same plan we were on the whole year and tried to keep buying horses and have fresh horses coming in and out all the time and doing the best we could.” Di Domenico averaged 60 to 70 horses in his stable throughout 2019, most of which were pointed to Yonkers, where he made 810 starts last season. Di Domenico credits owners Dana Parham and Jo Ann Fucci not only for being great clients, but also for being great for the industry. “Last year we took kind of a step up. As always, as it’s been since I’ve been out here, Yonkers was my main focus,” Di Domenico said. “All of (the owners), they’re the key to any success. If you don’t have good clientele behind you and guys that are ambitious about buying horses, ambitious about racing, then it is what it is. You’ve got to have people that are ambitious about it and want to win as much as you do.” One of the highlights to Di Domenico’s season was the development of trotter Swansea. The Swan For All gelding joined Di Domenico’s stable in late 2018 and rose through the ranks in 2019. He won three preliminary legs of the SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series last spring before finishing second in the $75,000 Final. Swansea then made the leap to the Open Handicap, winning three local trotting features before year-end. For the season, he went 14-for-29 and earned $255,815. “He was a horse that came from Indiana that nobody had any real high expectations of and to see him come here and make $250,000 and win a lot of races,” Di Domenico said. “He had a little bit of bad luck in the Trotting Series Final in the spring where the trip didn’t work for him as well as we were hoping that night. That horse, he’d have to be at the top of the list. “That series, three horses that really stood out to me now that you can look back on it, Swansea, Joey Bats, and Rich And Miserable,” Di Domenico continued. “It says a lot about that series and it shows how tough that racing can be at Yonkers.” Di Domenico also praised his team for the training title win. “It’s special, those guys work hard every day and certainly they deserve a lot of the credit,” he said. “They’re in the thick of going to the races every night, getting home late, up early, and taking great care of the horses. They certainly deserve a lot of credit for that.” Looking ahead to 2020, Di Domenico hopes for continued success and has his sights set on a repeat. “I’d like to do it again,” Di Domenico said. “It was fun and just the fact that you go to the track and most nights you feel like you’re prepared and you have as good a chance as any to win is a very good feeling. Going home after winning a race or two races is very gratifying.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The M Life Rewards Ladies Series begins Monday night, March 2 while the M Life Rewards Gents Series kicks off Tuesday, March 3. The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will return Friday, March 13 and the Borgata Pacing Series starts Saturday, March 14. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 10, 2020--The second Monday of the month (Feb. 10th) resulted in another admirable Yonkers Raceway harness racing handle. A week after the single-season high ($1,025,349) figure, a total of $982,740 was wagered. The soggy dozen-race card included wins by P L Munson (Renaldo Morales III, $6) in the $16,000, sixth-race pace (1:54.3) and Weona Sizzler A (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) in the $14,500, 10th-race pace (1:54.2). Monday night began the Raceway's $7,500 guarantee Pick 5 pools, which continue each Monday and Tuesday. A total of $11,256 was invested, returning $272.25 for every correct (2/3/3/4/5) combination. Yonkers' Pick 5 remains a 50-cent base wager (races 5 through 9). The Raceway's live schedule continues every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with first post at 7:05 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 7, 2019-- A last-to-first Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett, $4.90) picked off her four harness racing rivals Friday night (Feb. 7th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Watching from the outside post position in the quintet, favored Kaitlyn N was at the rear as Itty Bitty (Dan Dube) led through early intervals of :27.3 and :57.2. Pole-sitter Wishy Washy Girl (Joe Bongiorno) was pocketed and Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) eventually moved first-up from fourth. The later engaged the leader in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters, with a second-over Kaitlyn N getting dragged into contention. The people's preference then moved widest and fastest through the lane, prevailing by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.4.   A reserved Sandy Win (Eric Goodell) did get into second, with Wishy Washy Girl, Itty Bitty and Feelin' Red Hot rounding out the order of finishers/payees. For Kaitlyn N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca and James & Barbara Boese, it was a winning seasonal debut. The exacta paid $25.20, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The 2020 racing season got off to a quick start at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday morning, as the Big Jim harness racing pacing mare Jossie James A won the first qualifier of the season in 1:54 while making her U.S. debut. Yonkers driving leader Jason Bartlett sent the oft-winning mare away quickly from post seven and tucked third. They sat in that position as Lyons River Pride, first or second in his last four starts against good foes at Yonkers, set fractions of :27.3, :56.4, and 1:25.1, then moved out on the turn and overhauled the leader by a half-length for trainer Richard Banca and owner Barbara Boese. Rene Allard, Pocono's leading trainer last season, teamed with his brother Simon for two qualifying wins, with the fast but fractious trotter Magical Journey in 2:01 and the stakes colt Captain Malicious in 1:57.1 in his 2020 bow. They also had seconds with Lyons River Pride and with newcomer Y S Sunshine, a Quebec stakes winner at two and three. The track's leading driver last season, George Napolitano Jr., also posted a first, guiding Nine Ways, a 14-time winner last campaign, to a wire-to-wire win in 1:56.4, one of two on the day for trainer Antonia Storer. Driver Tyler Buter also had a pair of triumphs during the first session. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will offer another qualifying session along with the draw for this Saturday's Opening Night of the 139-card 2020 racing season. The inaugural card will feature two events in the highlight races of February's action, the Game Of Claims Series for various levels of pacers, with elimination rounds determining who will be in the contest to sit on the throne after taking the series' rich Championship races. In the month of February, Pocono will race on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Mondays being added in March and post times shifting to the standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday cards will start at 4 p.m., and they will be joined at that start time in April with Tuesday racing as Pocono expands to its full standard schedule. An introductory press briefing will take place this Thursday to preview the highlights of the 2020 racing season at the northeast Pennsylvania track. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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