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Batavia, NY - The first of eight visits by the lucrative New York Sire Stakes takes place Sunday afternoon at Batavia Downs and for the local fans it's a chance to see some of the biggest names in harness racing. The 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be on hand and that means some very exciting action. There will be three legs of the NYSS and two of the Excelsior series and the entrants will be competing for combined purses in excess of $140,000. The first division goes for $39,200 and looks to be the main event as it is loaded with talent and speed. Perennial training leader Ron Burke will start 3-5 morning line favorite All Bets Off, who ships in with some impressive credentials. He won the $300,000 Art Rooney pace at Yonkers Raceway in May and after winning his elimination heat in 1:48.3, finished third in the $500,000 Hempt final at Pocono Downs behind McWicked last month. In that race, McWicked set a new world record for 3-year-old colts on a five-eighths mile track (1:47.3). This will be the third start in the NYSS for All Bets Off this year who won at Vernon Downs in 1:50.2 and just ten days ago finished second at Yonkers in 1:52.4 to Capital Account, who looks to be his toughest competition in today's race. He has earnings of $291,575 already this year. All Bets Off, who starts from post five and will be driven by Matt Kakaley, is part of an entry that includes stablemate Keystone Honor. Capital Account has competed in some high-profile stakes already but without positive results. He drew post eight in both the $69,000 Somebeachsomewhere and $45,500 North America Cup elimination at Mohawk and finished well beaten in both. But even though he does not sport the gaudy numbers of the morning line favorite, he certainly has beaten him. In his last start at Yonkers in NYSS action, Capital Account was pulled third over up the backside before tipping four-deep around the leader All Bets Off at the top of the stretch. He then outpaced the 1-5 favorite to the wire to win by a half-length. The 16-1 shot was overlooked last week but certainly won't be in here. Capital Account is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and will start from post three for leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. The second $39,200 division is headed by Canadian conditioner Cassie Coleman's Twin B Tenacious. After getting 2014 off to an inauspicious start, Twin B Tenacious has now strung together four straight wins (the last a NYSS event at Yonkers) and registered a 1:50.3 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands in the process. Steve Smith, who has been at the helm for all four victories, will once again be in the bike and start from post four. Forty Five Red, who is another entry from the powerful Burke stable, comes in off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway which includes his seasonal mark of 1:52.3 in his last outing. Although he hasn't missed a check all year, his most recent outings have probably been his best to date and indicate he will be a legitimate threat to the favorite. The third division is worth $38,500 and looks to be a wide-open affair. Stay Up Late has been made the morning line favorite but has yet to win in stake action at three. He has gone off the favorite in his last three starts but his sole victory this year came in an overnight event at Yonkers Raceway on July 8 in 1:53.3. He gets Jim Morrill Jr. up for the first time this year and starts from post four Neat draws the rail for trainer Erv Miller and is coming in off three very impressive starts. After just getting beat in 1:53.4 in a NYSS race at Buffalo on June 27, Neat finished second in an overnight at Pocono Downs in 1:50.1 over a sloppy track the following week. He was then back in Sire Stake action at Yonkers his last start where he got away sixth and chased a :56 flat last half parked out to finish third in 1:52.3. Neat is rated at 5-2 for driver Brent Holland. 3-1 third choice Sir Sam's Z Tam has the fastest seasonal mark and the most money earned of any other horse in this race, but also has the only NYSS victory this year. After hitting the board four consecutive times, he found himself parked out in a fast last half at Yonkers before finishing fifth. Sam's Z Tam will start from post three for trainer/driver the Pat Lachance. The undercard features two divisions of the Excelsior series and they are slated to go as race seven and ten. The first split goes for $12,600 and has two horses that have dominated the class; Cabbie's Delight and Murder He Wrote. 8-5 favorite Cabbie's Delight has not been worse than second in six Excelsior starts. In fact he is the point's leader to date in the series. He won four straight out of the gate before finishing two close seconds in his most recent starts. Trainer Sam Serianni has Jason Bartlett in the bike this week as he looks to get back in the winner's circle. 9-5 co-favorite Murder He Wrote has won his last two starts, including a NYSS event at Buffalo Raceway where he blew up the tote board at 45-1. The roan gelding drew immediate respect after that when he went off the prohibitive favorite the following week at Yonkers where he won wire to wire in 1:54.1. Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Murder He Wrote and starts from post five for conditioner Linda Toscano. The final $12,600 Excelsior contest is headlined by 2-1 choice Believeinthespirit. After having negligible success in four straight NYSS races, trainer Ed Lohmeyer reclassified his charge to the Excelsior and the change has proven fruitful. Believeinthespirit has won his last two starts in convincing fashion and looks to continue the streak from post two. 5-2 second choice Archetto Hanover is the second highest point getter in the Excelsior series behind Cabbie's Delight and has three wins and two seconds to show for his efforts. Trainer Erv Miller has Brent Holland up for this trip and will depart from post five. Post time for the first race is 1:15. For more racing information or to watch race replays as soon as they are declared official, logon to www.bataviadonwsgaming.com. Or if you would like to bet online and watch live streaming coverage of the races as they occur, logon to www.bataviabets.com and open an account. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

On Friday evening, July 4th, Monticello Raceway will host 2 year old pacing fillies in both the New York Sire Stakes and the Excelsior Series. Four NYSS events, along with six Excelsior's, will offer over $174,000 to the owners of the fillies most of whom will be making their first pari-mutuel starts. And when the races are completed a Fabulous fireworks display will be presented. The NYSS events mark the first of eight legs for the freshmen fillies at various New York racetracks en route to the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. Along the way the competing fillies will earn points in each leg, depending on the placements, with the top eight point recipients earning a berth in the rich finale. The majority of the entrants are daughters of American Ideal, Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven and Bettor's Delight although an array of other New York sires progeny dot the 10- race program that features only New York-bred stakes fillies. Granted, it's hard to expound on any of these fillies since they are in the infancy of their racing careers but some already have shown signs of brilliance. Take Bob Horowitz's She's Heavenly, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven who'll come into this contest off a 1:55.1 triumph in a baby race at the Meadowlands on June 28. She'll be driven by Mike Lachance. Or, how about Jimmy Takter's undefeated Zip Code Envy, another Rock N Roll filly who has won all three of her baby races at the Meadowlands with her 1:56.1 clocking on June 27 the best of the three. She's owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Brixton Medical Ab and will be handled by Yannick Gingris. Then there's the Bettor's Delight filly, Bettor N Better, from the powerful Ron Burke barn. She comes in off a 1:56.3 victory in a baby race over Gaitway Farm's mile oval on June 23. She's owned by Our Horse Cents Stable and Blue Chip Bloodstock and will have Jimmy Morrill Jr at the controls. However, the last race on the card, a$27,750 NYSS, has by far the strongest field with seven of the eight pacing fillies winners in non-wagering events led by Ronald Mersky's First Delight, a Bettor's Delight filly who is three-for-three over Saratoga's double oval with her 2:01.2 twelve-length triumph in her last start on June 27 the best. Cheryl McGovern trains her and Mike Lachance will drive. Two others in that contest are also undefeated thus far both with two baby race victories. Lady Beth, a Kenneth J filly owned by Ken Jacobs, Slo Down Stable, Ed Namiotka, Jr and Vincent Tangredi, has two consecutive wins for trainer Sam Serianni, the fastest a 1:58 clocking at Vernon Downs on June 20. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. will do the driving. And the Ron Burke -trained Sassa Hanover is also two-for-two with a 1:58.1 record on a 'good' track at Gaitway Farm on June 16. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Buscemi and Lawrence Karr and will be driven by Jimmy Morrill, Jr. Post time for the 10-race card will be at 5:30pm and 20 minutes after the final race fans will be treated to the raceway's 45th annual fireworks display. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway  

VERNON, NY—Drivers Jimmy Whittemore and Rick Plano enjoyed hot outings during a rather chilly Friday at Vernon Downs, winning seven of the evening’s 10 races. Whittemore, a three-time Vernon driving kingpin, captured four races for the fourth time during the track’s 60th anniversary season. One of his first-place finishes was behind Bettor In Jeans, who delivered his first pari-mutuel victory with a hard-fought 1:56.2 photo-finish decision (over the gritty Stoney’s storminway) in Friday’s ninth race, that established him as the fastest 2-year-old pacing gelding at the 64-program meeting. The determined youngster’s success gives the bay son of Bettor’s Delight -Heatherjeankilllean a 1-1-2 summary line after six lifetime starts. Vernon veteran Keith Cluff conditions the promising prospect for the Morrisville College Foundation. Plano, the track’s driving and training leader for the second straight season, piloted three winners during the evening, including a 1:55 career-best tally behind the 5-year-old trotting mare Here Comes Annie in Friday’s seventh session. Owner Andy Gardner trains the bay daughter of Here Comes Herbie-Anne Pancroft, who became a two-time winner at the meet. Plano also directed the 2-year-old pacing filly Aritzia Hanover to a 1:57.4 “maiden” victory in Friday’s second race for trainer Sam Serianni, and the Ed Namiotka, Jr., Ken Jacobs, and Slo-Downs Stable ownership group. DOWNS DOINGS Through Sept. 13, Plano leads in driving wins with 115 and training tallies with 44… Owner/trainer (along with his wife Diane) Ron Harp has driven four winners in the past three programs at the Downs, including the trotter Crazy Over You in Friday’s third race… The Downs will present a 13-race card starting at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday night (Sept. 14)… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com. Jim Moran

VERNON, NY—Table Games rallied along the inside in Thursday night’s $8,000 featured ninth race at Vernon Downs and pulled off a career-fastest 1:52.3 victory. Roman Lopez earned a driving triple during the evening’s top test for female pacers by sending Table Games up the pylon path from third in the final 16th-of-the-mile and was rewarded with a neck triumph over the favorite, Bells Are Ringing. Thursday’s tight tally marked the second season’s score and the eighth lifetime win for the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor‘s Delight-Mack’s Table, who is trained by Sam Serianni and owned by the Slo-Down Stable, Edmund Namiotka, Jr. and Frank H. Kane. She increased her all-time winnings to $104,140. Thursday’s racing also saw provisional pilot Michael Mancini earn his first pari-mutual driving victory (behind the pacer Rocks N Bagels in the fourth race), E. J. Treadway’s Misty Major become the fastest 2-year-old filly pacer of the track’s 60th meeting with a 1:54.3 “maiden” score in the second race (Jimmy Whittemore steering for veteran conditioner Angus Mac Donald), and the freshman colt trotter Resolve, driven by trainer Lopez for owners Michael Pozefsky, William Pozefsky and Edward W. Wilson, became the swiftest member of his class after 40 program with a 1:58.1 initial career victory in the third event. Thursday’s three-win outing by Lopez was his ninth of the season locally, tying him with leading dash-winning driver Plano (79 first-place finishes), who also earned a “hat-trick” during the card’s competition. Whittemore recorded a pair of scores, as did trainer Mac Donald during the 10-race program. DOWNS DOINGS Mancini drove Rocks N Bagels for trainer Jordan Hope and owner Kelly Dawn Hope of Vernon… Plano’s victories were in races five (Sweet Baby Jane), six (Heckuvarosa) and seven (Steuben Ruthless)… Friday night’s 11-race card, which features an $8,000 trot in race seven, will begin at 6:45 p.m… Saturday night’s 13-race program will feature the highly-regarded sophomore trotter Royalty For Life in a final tune-up for the Aug. 3 Hambletonian at The Meadowlands Racetrack… A revised 2013 racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at www.vernondowns.com.  

Skyway Major earned a 1:54.1 career-best record and posted his fourth harness racing victory of the season in Friday night's sixth race at Vernon Downs.

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