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YONKERS, N.Y. - After a bout with a persistent sickness hindered Mamora Bay’s early season, harness racing trainer Sam Schillaci gave the 3-year-old filly some time to recover and brings her back in tonight’s $119,010 Hudson Trot. Schillaci is confident his star trotter is back to her old self and feeling better heading into the Grand Circuit Stakes, one of four on the card at Yonkers Raceway. “She hasn’t quite been herself as far as being really aggressive at the end of the mile because she developed this virus earlier in the year. She’s kind of been fighting it all year. I think as of recent, she seems to be getting healthy again,” Schillaci said. “I feel she’s very good. I think she’s as healthy now as she was her first couple of starts of the year. I’m very optimistic going into this race that she’s going to do very well.” Mamora Bay stood out as a 2-year-old in New York Sire Stakes last year. She won five of nine starts and placed in another four, earning $182,371. Mamora Bay finished second to Barn Bella in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes Final at Yonkers to end her season. Schillaci drove her in all but one start. “She really did have a tremendous season,” Schillaci recalled. “I think everything came so easy for her, that’s what made her so good last year as a 2-year-old horse. Driving her as a 2-year-old was like driving an aged trotter. That’s what made everything so easy for her because a lot of younger trotters have gait issues, you have to hold them together and steady them. That wasn’t the case with her.” Mamora Bay’s success came as a surprise to Schillaci and owner Peter Barbato. Barbato purchased mare Giulie Bi in foal to Chapter Seven out of the 2014 January Mixed Sale for $22,000. Giulie Bi, by Supergill out of the Speedy Crown mare Traffic Jam, had already produced two foals at that stage, including Romeus, a 2012 son of Muscles Yankee who sold for $70,000 at the 2013 Harrisburg Sale. It was the first time Barbato bought a pregnant mare, but for the price, he couldn’t go wrong. “He liked the breeding of the mare and he went to the Meadowlands Sale and got the feeling to buy the mare in foal,” Schillaci said. “He was looking at some other ones and he loved this particular mare. He liked the breeding on her and he just bought her.” Giulie Bi foaled Mamora Bay three months later and Barbato later gave the filly to Schillaci. Training down, Mamora Bay was nothing special. Although she trotted well and was easy to handle, she was afraid of everything and was the horse Schillaci let barn visitors drive in the morning. “Training her down as a 2-year-old, she was one that I actually seldom sat behind,” Schillaci remembered. “I have some friends and some other owners that come on training days and they always want to train a young horse or train a baby. I would always let everyone go with her because she never did anything wrong. “She was very slow developing as far as being a racehorse,” he continued. “She just sat in the back and basically just followed along. She was scared to pass horses, she wouldn’t get up to any horses because she would shy from them, but she never made breaks.” Once Mamora Bay trotted past 2:10, she started to figure out her job. She began beating all of Schillaci’s other trotters in the mornings and enjoyed her work. For Schillaci, who trains with his wife Jodi, bringing a horse through that process and seeing the light bulb go on in the horse’s mind is gratifying. “I used to love it when I was younger, just being a catch-driver, but now that I’ve gotten older and gotten more horses to train, it’s much more rewarding to train and drive your own horses,” he said. “It’s just very rewarding when you buy your own horses as babies and make them into racehorses.” After her breakout freshman year, Mamora Bay started her 3-year-old campaign in May with a second in New York Sire Stakes at Tioga. She got sick around her next start in the Empire Breeders’ Classic Final at Vernon June 18 and finished sixth beaten 10 3/4 lengths. Since then, she has a win, a pair of thirds, and a fourth in Sire Stakes company. Mamora Bay last raced August 4 at Yonkers before Schillaci gave her some time. He qualified her back at Northfield August 17, adding lasix. She won by 3 lengths in 1:57.2. When the Hudson Trot attracted eight entrants and no eliminations were required, Schillaci qualified Mamora Bay again last week and she won by 9 in 1:58.0. “The adding of lasix was because of health reasons. The qualifiers are basically just to keep her tight. She’s not really a horse that’s a good trainer, so we’ve just been racing her in qualifiers to just keep her tight,” the trainer explained. “I was actually hoping that there would have been an elimination to the Hudson Filly Trot last week rather than qualifying her, but there wasn’t, so we had to give her another tightener.” Mamora Bay drew post five in the Hudson Trot and will race on lasix for the first time with Schillaci in the sulky again. She is a 6-1 morning line chance. Trond Smedshammer’s Celebrity Ruth, earner of $221,433 this season after going unraced at 2, is the early favorite at 5-2 from post 4. The field also includes Dangle Then Deke, Chapter Too, Lexi Marie, Sunshine Delight, Evelyn, and Ice Attraction. Although Schillaci would like to be aggressive in a spot like the Hudson, Mamora Bay’s fear of the starting gate may prevent that. As a 2-year-old, Mamora Bay wouldn’t get within a length of the gate and she was never closed than third to the opening quarter. Recently, Mamora Bay has gotten better at the start, Schillaci said. “She’s gotten to the point recently over the last two or three starts where now she’ll go right up to the gate and she’s really good that way. She still really hasn’t developed a lot of gate speed. She tends to fall off the gate as it opens,” he said. “If she would be a horse with gate speed, I probably would be approaching it a lot differently, to try to get out there a little bit and maybe get a little bit better position.” “With a horse like her, there’s really not a lot of reading into the program and looking to get a spot. It’s wherever you land when the gate opens and then you’ve got to kind of make a game plan after that,” he continued. “I definitely think the horse to beat is (Celebrity Ruth). I’m assuming that horse is going to go to the lead. My biggest hope would be that somebody else leaves in there and they get some kind of early speed and then I think that we’ll have a pretty decent shot of being right on the wire.” The Hudson Trot is one of four stakes on the card Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway. The card also features the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, and the $113,880 Lady Maud Pace. First post time is 7:10 p.m. For entries for the card, click here. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Longshot harness racing bettors were ecstatic while the horses crossed the finish of Northfield Park's 10th race on Tuesday (January 17) when #8 Arrow rocketed from the back to win at odds of 60-1. Growth Opportunities, LLC of North Canton, Ohio owns the five year-old pacer. Dean Santantonio trains Arrow and called upon Sam Schillaci for the winning drive. Tuesday's triumph was Arrow's first win this year in three starts and represents his eighth lifetime score. Arrow was followed across the wire by #6 Village Jackson (2-1), #2 Battle Call (2-1) and #4 Moreland Flash (50-1). Arrow returned $123.00 to win; the 8-6 Exacta paid $502.00; the 8-6-2 Trifecta returned $1,831.60; and the 8-6-2-4 20¢ Superfecta paid $695.65. Arrow's win came as the third leg of the evening's $1 Pick 4 which returned a whopping $13,854.50. Although his horse was scratched from race 10 and did not compete against the evening's richest winner, driver Jason Merriman made six trips to the winner's circle on Tuesday's 15-race program. Jason 's triumphs were with Lion Image ($17.20) in race one, Talladega Hanover ($5.80) in race three, Urlacker ($18.80) in race five, Wheres The Clicker ($6.60) in race seven, High Blue ($10.60) in race nine and Albert A' Scootin ($12.20) in race 13. Merriman won his first race in 2003, a $4,900 condition event in 1:59.3, at Pompano Park aboard I C U Talkin. Since breaking his maiden, Jason has scored 2,236 more times with purse earnings approaching $11 million. Ayers Ratlif

Miami Valley harness racing fans waited a month for an inevitable showdown between top trotters Penn and Il Mago on Sunday (February 28) afternoon, but a taxing :26.3 speed duel between the two star squaregaiters ended any dreams for an ensuing memorable stretch drive in the weekly $20,000 Open. Both trotting titans sped from behind the gate with intentions of dictating the tempo, but three other contenders also left alertly in hopes of finding good early seats. When the dust settled, Il Mago (Trace Tetrick) did finally secure the front end as the teletimer flashed the extremely quick first quarter fraction, but Penn (Josh Sutton) was hopelessly parked as the others fell in line at the pylons. Driver Randy Tharps secured the pocket ride for Blackwolf Run, who had been knocking on the door with a pair of place finishes in four recent open starts. Tharps, who recently was the 103rd driver in harness history to join the elite 5,000 career wins club, parlayed the two-hole trip into an upset 1:55.3 victory when Il Mago tired in the stretch and drifted just enough for Blackwolf Run to sneak through and narrowly defeat fellow closers Martz Time (John DeLong) and Dancing Dynamite (LeWayne Miller). Penn, who was riding a five-race win streak, paid the price for his brutal first quarter when he was four and five wide on the bend early, and faded to ninth. Matthew Bencic and Jodi Schillaci own the winner, a six-year-old son of Credit Winner who now sports 14 lifetime wins and is nearing $300,000 in earnings. Sam Schillaci conditions Blackwolf Run, who has now banked $22,000 in five 2016 starts, all at Miami Valley. A $12,000 top condition trot was also contested Sunday with Nordic Venture (Kyle Ater) notching an upset win over Boytown (LeWayne Miller) and Atlas Peak (Sandy Beatty) in a thrilling three-horse photo finish. Gary Campbell trains the 11-year-old gelding, who now sports 57 life wins, for Tony Maione. The 1:58.1 triumph was Nordic Venture's third already this year, with the other two coming at Northfield Park. Gregg Keidel

Ronnie Wrenn Jr. again topped the local harness racing driving ranks in 2015, winning 653 races over the Flying Turns. His nearest competitor, Aaron Merriman, drove 579 winners. Jason Merriman (338), Ryan Stahl (210) and Kurt Sugg (199) completed the top five reinsmen. Wrenn, 29, resides in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and now has four driving titles under his belt. He won the dash titles at Northfield Park in 2013 and 2014 and Northville Downs in 2013. Ronnie's 2015 total victory tally was 796, which ranked him third among all drivers in North America. Only Aaron Merriman (873) and George Napolitano Jr. (832) had more wins in 2015 than Wrenn Jr. Wrenn began driving in 2008 and has since won 2,968 races and purses of $13,731,914. Wrenn's fasted and richest win ever came in last year's $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs aboard Doo Wop Hanover in 1:49.2. Northfield Park's 2015 leading trainer Brian Loney won 54 more races than any other local conditioner. He garnered 153 victories throughout last year. Sam Schillaci finished second with 99 wins. Michael Dowdall (86), Jessica Millner (70) and Andy Rickert (67) rounded out the top five Northfield Park trainers for 2015. Brian, originally from Hager Hill, Kentucky, has relocated to Northfield, Ohio. He and wife Harla Renae have three children: 15 year-old son Gannun, 11 year-old son Payton and six year-old daughter Polly. Loney, 37, has 1,330 career victories and purse earnings of $3,241,750. The 2015 Northfield title is the fourth local dash victory for Brian. He has also won titles at Bluegrass Downs, Fairmount Park, The Red Mile and Thunder Ridge. Brian recalled that his first training win was with the gelding pacer Stealth Fighter at Fairmount Park in 1996. Wrenn and Loney will each be presented with a plaque and dining gift certificate to the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in a winner's circle ceremony later in January. Ayers Ratliff      

Louisville, KY --- She is enjoying her best harness racing season yet, will be gunning for her third consecutive triumph on Saturday (Dec. 26) at Northfield Park and has been a valued member of the Schillaci barn for four years, but when Sam and Jodi purchased Get Your Armor his dad was madder than a hornet. In fact, the transaction that procured her was one big, giant mistake. “My father had more than a few choice words for me,” said Sam Schillaci, the mare’s trainer/driver. “We bought her for $13,000 at the Harrisburg Sale and then found out we bought the wrong horse. What made matters even worse was when we got back to her stall to look at her she was completely toed-in on her front legs. It was not just a cosmetic thing, but a serious problem. Fortunately, Murray Brown was kind enough to allow us to put her through the sale again and my dad refused to take less than a $1,000 loss on her, so we bought her back for $12,000.” A daughter of American Ideal and the Nihilator mare Mystic Money, Get Your Armor is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $13,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace at Northfield Park on Saturday. The 5-year-old mare will have to contend with post position eight and eight rivals as she attempts to break the $100,000 mark for purse money earned in 2015. Schillaci, who recorded his 3,000th driving victory on May 4 over the same oval, will be holding the lines for her mile journey. “She really enjoys the speed of the races here at Northfield Park,” Schillaci said. “They go fast fractions in front early on and that is the way she likes to race. She tends to be hot and it is hard to hold her. At Northfield the pace suits her so that is not a problem. She generally does well here.” Get Your Armor sports a career record of 102-16-21-18, has collected $185,549 and paced her swiftest mile of 1:52.4 on Dec. 11. She has improved each year with $8,718 in the bank from six miles as a freshman, $22,514 from 23 starts as a sophomore, $58,822 from 32 voyages to the gate as a 4-year-old and $95,495 from 41 trips to the post this year. “After we bought her back and realized we were going to keep her I really started looking into her pedigree,” Schillaci said. “It is absolutely outstanding and full of class.” The Ohio native is referring to her dam, who made just shy of $140,000 during her days of competition, and her siblings. Get Your Armor is a half-sibling to Money Sign (Life Sign, $123,573), Mystic Art (Artsplace, $421,903) and Mystic Gold (Artsplace, $199,794). From the 12 foals Mystic Money has produced only three have not won a race, one of which died, and only two, including that foal, have no money on their card. Mystic Art and Mystic Gold cost $210,000 and $145,000, respectively, as yearlings. Racy Kathy, who is by Race Time, is Get Your Armor’s granddam and while she never made it to the races, she produced four $100,000 winners. Despite this mare’s defective conformation and tendency to always want her way, she has always performed like a horse with no physical flaws. “When we were training her down people would not want to jog next to her because they were afraid she would take them out,” Schillaci said. “That is how bad of a paddle she has to her stride. She is so pigeon-toed there has been no way to correct it. Even when you watch a head on view of her in her races, you can see how awful her stride looks. “It has never ever caused a problem for her though. She has not allowed it to. We have never had one problem physically with her and she has never caused us to have any vet bills. It’s really quite shocking for a horse that has that issue. I’ve never seen anything like her.” Although she will have paced 42 pari-mutuel trips this year, Schillaci has not determined when or if Get Your Armor will receive a break from racing. “She has literally raced for two years straight,” he said. “I’ve tried to give her a break and she’s never wanted one. She is really enjoying what she is doing right now and doesn’t want to stop. In fact, she lets us know she will have none of it. I know it’s unusual to race a horse for that long, but if time off is not what she wants to do, then she will continue to race. “There a lot of things about his mare that are unusual though. She has overcome so much adversity just to make the races, let alone make almost $200,000. We are very, very proud of what she has accomplished and look forward to see what she will continue to do. They always say classy horses can overcome anything that is thrown at them and this mare is a prime example of that.” by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Harness racing driver Sam Schillaci scored the 3,000th win of his driving career aboard Pay The Winner in Northfield Park's opening race on Monday evening (May 4). They boldly loomed from far back to pass their rivals, besting the competition by eight and ¼-lengths in 1:58 over a sloppy surface. Sam grew up in the horse business. His father owned harness horses and his uncle and cousin were trainers. Schillaci, 52, drove his first race in in 1979 behind the pacing mare Jenny Roe Gill. She was not only his first drive, but was also the first horse that returned to the winner's circle sporting Schilliaci's maroon and gold colors. Schillaci's richest win was aboard Memphis Flash in the 1998 edition of the $215,300 Cleveland Classic at Northfield Park. Sam credits Memphis Flash as being the best horse he has ever driven. Teeth Of The Dog posted Schillaci's fastest win in August, 2000 when he won the $11,000 Invitational Pace in 1:51.3. Sam's drives have amassed over $11 million in purse earnings. Having been involved with harness racing all his life, Sam does a lot more than just catch drive at Northfield Park. The Macedonia, Ohio resident works very hard and has turned the sport into a way of life. He trains a stable of 32 horses with Jodi, his wife of 15 years. "I have not driven a whole lot for most of the last decade," stated Schillaci. "I had lost most of my interest in driving for the most part, but with racing coming back like it has and the nice purses here at Northfield I have regained my interest and passion. I am now looking forward to my 4,000th win." Ayers Ratliff

From where trainer harness racing Linda Toscano sits, JK Patriot looks like his mom. More importantly, the 4-year-old pacer acts like her too. Toscano trained JK Patriot's dam, JK Majorette, a stakes-winning three-quarter sister to millionaire Yankee Cruiser, in 2007 and 2008. Now she conditions JK Patriot for owners Matt Bencic and Sam Schillaci, and is preparing the gelding for Saturday's $56,000 Escort Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers at the Meadowlands. "They have a similar gait," Toscano said about JK Patriot and JK Majorette. "Sitting behind them, his rear end is the exact same as hers was. "She was a good race mare for me, so to get to race him is kind of a cool thing. He's got a really good desire and she was the same way too. She wanted to win." JK Patriot will start Saturday's nine-horse Escort final from post eight with driver David Miller. JK Patriot, who had a win and a second-place finish in the two preliminary rounds of the series, is 6-1 on the morning line. Toscano also will send Khan Blue Chip into the final. Khan Blue Chip, who had a dead-heat win and second-place finish in his preliminary rounds, is 4-1 from post three with driver Andy Miller. The entry of Major Uptrend and Brick Bazooka is the 8-5 morning line favorite, followed by What I Believe at 2-1. JK Patriot and Khan Blue Chip both were trained by Schillaci before being sent to Toscano for the Escort. JK Patriot has won seven of 24 career races and $59,709. In his last nine starts, dating back to early November, he has five victories and four second-place finishes. Khan Blue Chip, owned by William Heinz and Jack Heinz, has won six of 16 lifetime races and $38,739. "They both came from Jodi and Sammy Schillaci; I babysit for them in the wintertime, and I'm happy to do it," Toscano said. "They're good horsemen and they always send horses that look great and are ready to do exactly what they tell me they're ready to do. "(JK Patriot) was good every start before I got him and he's been holding his form. He's been very sharp. (Khan Blue Chip) is a fast horse. He was unlucky in his first start -- he got caught in -- but finished up good. Last week he raced great." Last week, JK Patriot won his Escort division - which was contested at 1-1/8 miles - by two lengths over Major Uptrend, who was eventually disqualified and placed 11th. Toscano believes the extra distance might help the horse in this week's traditional mile race. "It can't hurt," Toscano said. "I don't think (the horses) notice a difference unless they're on the lead or on the outside. But there's no question it will leg one up. When I'm trying to leg one up training, it's not uncommon for me to go a mile-and-a-half, so why wouldn't it help." Major Uptrend, Company Man and What I Believe each won a first-round Escort division. JK Patriot was joined by Khan Blue Chip and What I Believe, who finished in a dead heat, with victories in round two. What I Believe will start from post four with Ron Pierce driving for trainer Ron Burke. Major Uptrend, who went off stride last week in the race won by JK Patriot, leaves from post five with Corey Callahan at the lines, also for Burke. Major Uptrend is coupled with Brick Bazooka, trained by Larry Remmen, because of common ownership. Company Man, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., drew post one and is 6-1 with driver Tim Tetrick. "It's a good group," Toscano said. "I think the trip will win it. That's what I like about the (JK) Patriot horse; he doesn't seem to need one. The outside hasn't hurt him too much and he's been first up for a long ways. He kind of does what he needs to do. "But there are some really nice horses in there and I think whoever gets the best trip is probably going to be the victor." By Ken Weingartner / Harness Racing Communications / USTA

Jack's Reef (Credit Winner) was one of several upset harness racing winners at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Friday night. Coming out of the barn of leading trainer Jordan Derue, Jack's Reef was a 12-1 longshot in the evening's $8,000 featured trotting race. Showing early speed from post position seven, Jack's Reef made the early lead but gave way at the quarter to the race's favorite Lucid Thoughts (Jay Randall). With several rivals going offstride in the race, Lucid Thoughts and Jack's Reef drew away around the final turn. Derue's ten year old trotter outtrotted the 1-2 favorite in the stretch and wound up drawing away late to win in 1:58.1. It was the second consecutive victory in 1:58.1 for Jack's Reef who won for the fifth time in fifteen seasonal starts. Lucid Thoughts was a clear second while Blackwolf Run (Sam Schillaci) came on for third. Derue holds a six win lead in the trainer standings over conditioner Heidi Rohr. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Monticello Raceway hosted the final leg of the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series for 2 year old filly trotters on Wednesday (Sept. 3). There were three $37,000 splits in the sire stakes and five short fields in the Excelsior Series. And despite eight of the 12 races on the card featuring the up- and -coming freshmen trotters still wagering was good. The owners of all the winners could stand tall especially Braxton Medical AB, the proprietors of Shaqline who, in only her fourth lifetime start, equaled the track record for freshmen trotting fillies when Jimmy Takter guided her to a 1:59.2 triumph in her NYSS split. Shaqline now shares top honors with Lady Riviera who also was victorious in 1:59.2 for Ronnie Pierce in 2012. Takter, driving more now and enjoying it immensely, sent the daughter of Credit Winner-Vivaca Hall to the lead from the pole position and they raced unchallenged on the front- end until the final turn. There, after shadowing Shaqline all the way from the get-go, Mark MacDonald moved Nunkeri out to contest the leader but all Takter had to do was give his filly her head and she remained in front as she trotted a final quarter in :28.4 en route to her track record equaling performance. Nunkeri was three lengths back in second place and Dancewithmechuck took home the show dough for Charlie Norris She's a real good filly," Takter told those who joined him in the winner's circle.. He was asked why this was only Shaqline's fourth career start to which he replied; "She had an entrapped epiglottis and it took three surgeries before the problem got fixed. She's breathing great now and she's going to be a real good 3 year old." Shaqline is a pretty nice 2 year old now, Jimmy, and she'll be the one to beat in her $225,000 NYSS Final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, September 13. Sent of the favorite in the betting Shaqline paid $3.80 for win. The finale will be no cake walk when Shaqline faces some of the other division winners along the way, especially Concentration and Kaliska, who each were victorious in NYSS action at the Mighty M on Wednesday. Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall-Super Starlet, had driver Chris Lems smiling in the winners circle after they scored a 2:00.1 victory over Summer Scent and driver Dan Daley. After a slow start Lems put Concentration on the pylons in third position and they were five lengths off the lead set by Daly and Summer Scent as they passed the quarter in :30. Lems followed the leader until he moved his filly out to challenge up the backside. They easily gained command and at the third stanza in 1:30 they had two on Summer Scent. From there it was catch me if you can, and no one could, as Concentration coasted home a 1-1/4-length winner in 2:00.1. Daley's filly was second and Ray Schnittker got Summers Windsong up for third place. "She's a nice filly and if we get a good (post) position in the final I think she'll be heard from,' Lems added through his smiles. Trained by George Ducharme for owner Chip Campbell, Concentration paid $5.20 for win. Schnittker also got a chance to have his picture taken after he won the final $37,000 NYSS division with Kaliska in 2:00. But he had to work hard for it. After they fell into the two-hole on the first turn behind Dan Daley and Cherry Crown Jewel that duo led the field by the quarter in a swift :28. When they passed the half in :58 Schnittker was out and going and Kaliska took command up the backside. They kept the lead until the finish and Schnittker had to steadily urge his filly but Kaliska held off a late rally on the far outside by Mark MacDonald and Duolectra to win by a neck. Favored Pig Hunt was third for George Brennan. "She's green and I had to keep after her because she tried to pull up three times in the stretch," Schnittker expounded after the mile. The Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian filly is trained by Schnittker and owned by Schnittker, Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable and Fam Alber Horse Racing LLC. She paid $10.00 for win. The undercard featured five divisions in the Excelsior Series also for freshmen trotting fillies. Winners included: I'm Very Lucky (Sam Schillaci) in 2:08.4 ; Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00; Morcredit Bluechip (Jeff Gregory) in 2:00.2; Teacher Pat (Chris Lems) in 2:02.3 and Waiting Room (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) in 2:01.1. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

Crazy About Pat (Crazed) continued his win streak in the Friday harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Paul Kelley-trained trotter started from post eight as he looked to record his third consecutive victory and second in the featured 'Winners Over' Trot. Crazy About Pat got away last and remained last at the half mile pole but when driver Shawn Gray tipped him to the outside heading towards three quarters, the razor sharp trotter took over and accelerated past his rivals before drawing away late to win in 1:56.3. The favorite in the $14,000 feature was Baby Boy Grin (Jim Devaux) who was on the front end throughout before being bypassed late by the winner and held on for second while Pay The Winner (Sam Schillaci) earned the show spot. Crazy About Pat moved his record to three-for-three since moving to the Paul Kelley stable earlier this month. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. Mike Sardella  

Barn Doll got off to a slow start but she finished first and fastest of four divisions of New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Batavia Downs. After getting away a gapped fourth, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) and driver Jeff Gregory watched as Jim Morrill Jr.'s Pig Hunt cut out speedy fractions of :29 and :59.3, while pulling just before that second station. After starting the outer flow, Barn Doll slowly advance towards the leader as they hit the three-quarters in 1:30 flat. Once being eased around the last turn, Gregory got the filly in gear and she simply out-motored the rest to win in an impressive 1:59.4. Summers Windsong (Ray Schnittker) who followed Pig Hunt the whole race was second and My Lucky Word (Mark MacDonald) closed outside to be third. The winner paid $4.70. This was the fifth win in seven starts for the Steve Pratt trained Barn Doll who has now earned $70,712 on the year for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt and the Purple Haze Stable. She is the current point's leader in the NYSS standings for her gait and sex. Nunkeri (Lucky Chucky-Laverne Lavec) won the second fastest division, going wire-to-wire in 2:01. After leaving hard to grab the lead, Mark MacDonald then grabbed leather to perfectly rate the game trotter through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:31.4 before flying home in a brisk :29.1 to register the win. Betcha (Dan Daley) was second and Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) was third. Nunkeri paid $3.50. Nunkeri is owned by Millstream Inc. and the Nunkeri Stable and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. This was her second win in five starts in 2014 and brings her bank up to $49,825. Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) also won her division in 2:01 but had to do it amidst an overabundance of road trouble. At the start of the race, Duolectra (Mark MacDonald) made a break which allowed Kaliska to inherit a quick lead. That lead was subsequently challenged by Summer Scent (Dan Daley) to the quarter in :30.2. Once she cleared, Kaliska and Ray Schnittker followed close behind while watching Concentration (Chris Lems), Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Spell That (Sam Schillaci) make breaks at various points of the mile. Once pulled, Kaliska out-dueled Summer Scent to the wire to win by almost two lengths. Kaliska returned $15.00 to win. The victory was the second of the year for Kaliska and pushed her earnings to $44,957 for owners Tom Spatorico, the Pepin Stable, Farm Alber Horse Racing LLC and Ray Schnittker, who is also her trainer. In the fourth split, Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) proved dominant in what became a very short field very fast. With an early scratch and Miss B'ville J (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Hot Start (Mark MacDonald) making breaks before the eighth pole, Zanna Blu found herself with a commanding lead and only three contenders behind her. Driver Gates Brunet took her through fractions of :30.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1 with a five-length lead, before shutting her down with a line-drive to a length and three-quarter win in 2:01.1. She returned $6.90 to her backers. This was the third win in six starts for Zanna Blu and her owners Albert Crawford, Michelle Crawford and James Crawford. The winners share pushed the Gates Brunet trained filly's cash total to $47,176 for 2014. There were also two divisions of the Excelsior series on the card. Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Darling Marissa) who was driven by Mark MacDonald won the first $12,600 division in 2:00.4 for owner/trainer Janice Conner. Long Summer (Prayer I Am-Summer Ran) driven by Jeff Gregory won the second $12,700 split in 2:04.2 for owner Roy Dobbins and trainer Andrew Byler. And Barn Girl (Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie) was driven by Mark MacDonald and won the last $12,700 session in 2:02.4 for owners Steve and Nancy Pratt. Barn Girl is trained by Howard Okusko. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. registered his 6,000 career driving victory in a non-betting Excelsior B race with Ron's Coren in 2:04.1. Along with the wins, Morrill has pocketed purses totaling $87,659,175 during his career and annually remains one of the highest UDR reinsmen in the sport. Drivers Jeff Gregory and Mark MacDonald both scored driving triples on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 20) with post time at 6:35. The card features two divisions of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2014 Buffalo Raceway live racing season comes to an end on Sunday afternoon but the track will close with a bang as the New York State Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies highlight the final card of the year.   There will be four $27,251 divisions of the Sire Stakes along a trio of $12,600 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,700 Excelsior B race in the 11-race program that is set for 1:05 p.m.   And while there be some talented filly trotters taking to the track, it's like a 'who's who' that will be driving them. Former Western New York regulars Jeff Gregory, Ray Schnittker, Jim Morrill Jr., John Stark Jr., Phil Fluet, Sam Schillaci and John Cummings Jr. all will be returning to Western New York for day. They'll be joined by others including Dan Daley, Chuck Connors Jr., Charlie Norris, Chris Lems, Gates Brunet, Jim Meittinis, Rick Zeron, Robert Shepherd, Jim Marohn Jr. and Tyler Raymer.   The Sire Stakes will be contested in the first, third, sixth and seventh races.   The first leg features Counsellor AS (Gregory) who has a 1-1/2 length win in the Excelsior A Series at Vernon Downs on June 26 in 2:00.1. Counsellor As (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) broke stride in her last appearance at Tioga Downs on July 11. She'll look to rebound starting from the three post as the 3-1 morning line choice.   Her main threat should come from 4-1 second choice Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Daring Marisa) who start from the four post. She has a pair of second place finishes in both of her pari-mutuel starts and will be handled by Connor Jr.   The second division has Betcha (Betcha-Ruccoucou) as the 3-1 choice with Daley in the bike. Betcha cruised to an easy two length decision in the $27,250 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 on July 11. She may play 'catch-me-if-you can' from the four spot.   The toughest leg could be the third which will go as the sixth race. It finds My Twisted Sister (Lucky Chucky-Pretzel Hanover) and Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) ready to battle it out.   My Twisted Sister (Morrill Jr.) showed plenty of heart in posting a neck victory in the $27,750 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 2:00 on July 11. She'll get the inside post and should get a perfect trip.   Barn Doll drew a tough post, the seventh spot, but can overcome it after posting a pair of big victories of more than three lengths in her last two starts, including 1:59.1 decision at Tioga on July 11 in the Sire Stakes. Barn Doll gets Jeff Gregory as her pilot.   The final division has Spell That (Conway Hall-Mouche Hanover) the 3-1 early choice with Sam Schillaci in the sulky. She was last seen on June 26 at Vernon Downs where she suffered a narrow neck defeat in the Sire Stakes. She'll start out of the six post.   The main threat could come from Northern Obsession (Conway Hall-Northernpossession). This 2-year-old has a pair of competitive third place finishes in two Sire Stakes starts and gets trainer-driver Ray Schnittker on the reins. They'll score from the three post.   For more information including simulcast schedule, race replays, results and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway      

Stephane Bouchard recorded win number 8,000 for his career on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The veteran reinsman is a multiple driving champion at Yonkers and Monticello Raceways and has become a full time pilot at Saratoga in recent years. The 47-year-old Bouchard reached the historic milestone while sitting behind trotter Lotto Winner (Credit Winner) for trainer Sam Schillaci. Lotto Winner was coming off a win by more than a dozen lengths last week when she just held on for a wire to wire score for Bouchard on Sunday’s matinee. The Canadian native becomes a very rare driver to pilot as many as 8,000 winners in a career and isn’t close to being done yet. Bouchard, who finished second in the driver standings last season at Saratoga, is once again in the top five this year. He was joined by friends and family for a presentation in the winner’s circle recognizing his terrific achievement. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Easy Strength (Royal Strength) pulled off the upset in the $15,000 Open Trot on Friday night at Saratoga. Jim Devaux picked up the catch drive for trainer Sam Schillaci and positioned the four year old trotting mare In The Pocket behind veteran Pembroke Prayer (Billy Dobson). Easy Strength, the third place finisher in last week’s Friday feature, outclosed her rivals in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:58.1. The win in the local Open was the first for Easy Strength who was the race’s biggest longshot at odds of 9-1 in a race that was very evenly bet by the public. Wind Neath My Feet (Jordan Derue) closed from last to finish second while millionaire Pembroke Prayer held on for third. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Saturday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

Victom As (Striking Sahbra) won the Open Trot on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway in 1:58.3. Trainer-driver Harry Landy moved the six year old trotter out to the lead in a quick opening quarter of 28.1 and held tough, turning back a host of rivals before hitting the line first. Victom As was making just his second start in over two months and followed up a third place finish last week with a victory in the $15,000 Friday feature. Slugfest (Phil Fluet) was the Open’s runner up for the third straight week while Easy Strength (Sam Schillaci) closed for third. Landy scored a training and driving double as his Fandango Dancer (Revenue S) prevailed earlier in the night. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella for Saratoga Raceway  

Harrisburg, PA --- Monarch Blue Chip (hip #1003) topped Thursday’s edition of the Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg, selling for $90,000 to trainer Sam Schillaci for owner Ken Bencic. The colt, a son of Crazed out of the Revenue S mare Reven Crown, bears a bold white blaze. “He is a well-made colt, the three-quarter brother (Rolls Blue Chip) who we raced against this year and he was a good horse,” said Bencic. “Credit Winners cost too much money, although I have two down in Kentucky. We train outside Cleveland at Sahbra Farms, so he’s headed there.” Schillaci says this colt has been in his sights all along. “We targeted him from the beginning,” said Schillaci. “We were hoping he didn’t sell that high. He was right about to the limit of where we were going to go. We’re very pleased to have him and we hope he turns out to be the horse we think he is. Nowadays, people are paying a few extra dollars for a horse that just looks the part and he definitely looks the part.” Ed Lohmeyer and his wife, equine surgeon Dr. Patty Hogan, bred one of the higher priced horses on Thursday, hip #921, the RC Royalty colt Lunch With Jack. He sold for $55,000 to New York-based trainer Gates Brunet. “I’m looking for New York breds and I’m looking for trotters and I’m very short on trotters,” said Brunet.  “I’m focused on trotting colts and he’s a very nice looking individual and I like the fact that there’s a very recent update on the horse. The brother, Crosbys Clam Bake, just won the Grassroots Final in 1:53 in Toronto. “The RC Royaltys, they do good, but there weren’t that many selling that I could see. There weren’t any in Lexington; there were a few at Morrisville. One of his horses won the Hambo (Royalty For Life) and he throws nice looking individuals. In New York, Credit Winners, I can’t touch them. But for that kind of money, $50,000, you get a nice looking individual. I love Conway Halls, but they’re hard to touch, too. “I’d like to win the Hambo, but I buy horses bred for the sire stakes. I bought this one for Ted Gewertz and Clare Chappell; there may be other partners coming in. The colt’s name comes from Dr. Hogan’s family. “Jack is Patty’s father’s nickname; he came over every Wednesday and had lunch with Patty,” said co-breeder Lohmeyer “He passed away about two months ago. John J. Hogan and they called him Jack.  “Per Henriksen raced a half-brother to him for me in Canada this year, Crosbys Clam Bake, named after the first Pebble Beach (golf tournament). He raced real well. He made $90,000 and I sold him for $125,000.” Paul Kelley signed for hip #988, a $60,000 pacing filly by Art Major, named Mowet Blue Chip out of the Matt’s Scooter mare Armbro Savannah. “I saw him at the farm, but if you turn the clock back about 15 years, I actually had her mother, Armbro Savannah,” said Kelley. “I bought her as a yearling and I really liked her a lot. I ultimately ended up selling her to Perretti Farms as a broodmare. She went on to produce what she did (six stakes-winners; five $100,000 winners including millionaire Georgia Pacific) and she’s been a good producing dam. This particular filly I thought was one of her better looking foals. She stood very correct, a lot of the prior foals were a little bit toed-in and they were still able to overcome that kind of conformation fault and be good horses. “This is the first one I’ve had out of the mare. She’s a little but older now, but she (the yearling) is very correct, so I’m happy with her. There will be partners on her, New York people, players to be named later. There are some people very interested in getting in on her, so it shouldn’t be hard to split her up.” Through the first four days of the sale, 1,047 horses sold for a total of $35.9 million and an average of $34,345 against 2012 figures of 1,162 horses sold at an average of $28,889.  This is an improvement of 13.7% over 2012.  “It’s the same trend that’s been going on all week,” said Dr. Paul Spears, president of the Standardbred Sales Company.  “Unofficial numbers show that we’re just short of $36 million gross, 1,047 horses sold for $39,950,500 with average prices $34,345.  We’re up considerably over last year.  New York had the highest average of $39,667 and New Jersey actually did quite well at $38,830.  Pennsylvania is at $35,200 and Ontario’s at $23,354.  “So overall, quite good and I don’t think there were any big surprises, to me.  A few of the highest priced horses today were placed there on purpose by their consignors.  Sometimes being a big fish in a little pond is a good thing.  I thought it was very solid all the way through and again, we have to remember, there are there are more than 500 fewer commercial yearlings being sold in the Mid-Atlantic area at public sales over the last couple years.  When supply goes down that far, the demand is there and so the prices have to go up.”    1,162 horses sold at an average of $28,889. by Ellen Harvey for HRC

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