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Batavia, NY --- Patricia Ellen (James) Waddell-Snodgrass, age 77, a resident of Philippi, New York passed away Thursday December 30, 2020 in the United Hospital Center. Patricia was born February 13, 1943 in Toronto Ontario Canada, a daughter of the late Lewis and Bernice (Hodgins) James. Patricia was united in marriage on August 22, 1985 to Dr. Ralph R. Snodgrass Jr. who preceded her in death on September 13, 2012. Patricia had a love and passion for horses. She was a member of the United States Trotting Association and was pivotal in publicity for the Canadian Trotting Association. She trained a small stable of horses in western New York including Stonegate Payoff, Gails Rusty, VV Dexter and Patrick Will. She was always highly regarded in the Standardbred community as well as the West Virginia Miniature Horse Club. Pat loved everyone she came into contact with. Patricia is survived by daughter Karen F. Waddell-Wellman, grandson David Waddell, step daughter Wendi Chapman and husband Randall, grandchildren Eric Allan Wellman and companion Ashley Mullen, Patric Christopher Wellman, Lauren and Daniel Yung, great-grandchildren, Islas Yung, Adalynn and Levi Wellman. Donations can be sent to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation in her name. In honor of Patricia's request, cremation will be honored and a celebration of life service will be held at a later date. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Despite the many challenges faced in every aspect of the business from day one right through the final race due to the global pandemic, Batavia Downs was able to race safely throughout the duration of its dates and just completed one of its most successful harness racing meets with regards to nightly handle. "The 2020 season was a rousing success because all parties involved in the racing product worked together to insure the health and safety of everyone on the grounds at all times," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live racing at Batavia Downs. "With the help and cooperation of the New York State Gaming Commission and the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association headed by Bruce Tubin, we were able to formulate a safety plan that got us through the entire meet without incident. That in turn allowed us to engage our customers with quality racing all year and put up record breaking betting numbers despite the absence of a live crowd. That is an accomplishment that all of our racing participants should be proud of." Henry F. Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs added "I am very pleased with another flawless race season at the Downs as everyone pulled together to ensure the facility was safe for our horsemen and horse women, staff and customers. Safety during COVID was our number one goal while still offering a fun, family-oriented and exciting harness racing atmosphere." Despite racing 21 less dates than 2019, bataviabets.com, the online betting arm of Western Regional Off Track Betting (WROTB), saw a huge 67% increase in total handle on Batavia Downs and the nightly handle average saw a spectacular 151% increase during the 42-night schedule. The increase exhibited the strong following the track has via its export signal customers and their taking advantage of the generous monthly rewards of up to 8% on their wagers through the bataviabets.com wagering platform. Another contributing factor was the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program that Batavia frequently utilized during the meet. It helped expose the product to a greater audience through free program pages and enhanced betting pools and the track saw major handle increases on nights where the Strategic Wagers were offered. The OTB handle which includes Batavia bets and our EZ-Bets rose by 52%, the track's export handle grew by 35% and the total betting that included only very limited on-track betting in the clubhouse rose by 21%. Scott P. Kiedrowski, Vice-President of Operations said "We are thrilled with our numbers for the 2020 meet here at Batavia Downs. All of our staff did exceptional work under the most difficult circumstances." Haight added it was a record total betting number since WROTB reopened the track in 2002. The dash winning driver of the meet was Jim Morrill Jr. who notched his third driving title at the Downs. In 408 starts Morrill won 102 races with 72 seconds and 53 thirds for a .391 UDR and winnings of $507,686 for the meet. Morrill also scored his 7,500th career victory at the Downs this past November. Finishing second was Billy Davis Jr. who had 486 starts with 91 wins, 87 seconds and 54 thirds and $422,477 in purses and Drew Monti who had 404 starts with 75 wins, 71 seconds and 62 thirds with $374,608 in earnings rounded out the top three. The dash winning trainer of the meet was Gerry Sarama who captured his first conditioning title at Batavia. Not only did he win 64 races, finish second 36 times and third 28 more for winnings of $286,068, Sarama also registered career training win 1,000 at Batavia this year. Shawn McDonough was second with 31 wins, 24 seconds and 39 thirds out of 214 starts with $138,544 in purses and Maria Rice was third with 30 wins, 30 seconds and 20 thirds from 174 starts and $184,833 in winnings. Upon approval from the New York State Gaming Commission, live racing will resume at Batavia Downs on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

Batavia, NY --- The curtain came down on the 2020 harness racing meet at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 12) but not before Stratosphere captured the final $9,600 Open pace featured race on a mild December night. Driver Drew Monti sent Stratosphere off the wings and took a lead he would not relinquish. With the field in single file fashion, Stratosphere went to the quarter in :28.1 and then backed the half down to :58.2. That prompted Santana Beach (Ron Beback Jr.) to pull first over to try and mount a challenge. When the race rounded the third turn Stratosphere raised the stakes, pacing the third quarter in :28.1 and opening up a two length lead at three-quarters. From there Stratosphere made his way around the final bend and paced away to a wrapped-up three-length romp in 1:55.1. It was the seventh win of the year for Stratosphere ($7.60) who has now earned $54,241 for owner Drew Monti. Darrin Monti trains the winner. In the $7,800 undercard pace, Allstar Energy (Ron Beback Jr.) pulled from fifth at the half and made a brush-and-crush move at the five-eighths to take the lead from Beachy Dream (Jim Morrill Jr.) while pacing a very fast :27.2 third quarter. Once in front, Allstar Energy maintained his advantage to the wire where he won by a length in 1:56. It was the eighth win of the year for Allstar Energy ($11.60) who is owned by Sandra Beback and James Kustra. Ron Beback also trains the winner. Drew Monti scored a driving Grand Slam to lead all drivers on Saturday. Besides winning with Stratosphere, Monti also scored with Big Pocket Teen (1:56.2, $15.80), Mateo (1:56.4, $4.30) and Love The Dragon (1:57.4, $3.30). Darrin Monti and Gerry Sarama were the top trainers with two wins each on the card. The Pick-5 on Saturday had a guaranteed pool of $3,000 and that stoked a new money input of $5,499 into the wager. The combination of 4-4-1,4-5-2 returned a healthy $687 for a $1 bet. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 21) when the 2021 season begins. The management and staff of Batavia Downs would like to wish all their horsemen and customers a very Happy Holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Akron, NY --- As the 2020 Batavia Downs meet draws to a close on Saturday (Dec. 12), the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has announced the top human and equine performers for this past harness racing season. These awards would normally be presented in the winner’s circle on the final night of racing during the annual UNY-USHWA Night of Distinction. However due to state restrictions with regard to the ongoing global pandemic, that will not be the case this year. The award winners will be given gift certificates in the paddock in lieu of the usual trackside ceremony because no one is allowed on the apron. This will be the first time the Night of Distinction has not been held since its inception in 2008. The following were the best on the track from the 2020 Batavia Downs season.   Driver of the Meet-Jim Morrill Jr. A two-time dash title winner at Batavia Downs already, Jim Morrill Jr. notched his third after winning 101 races, finishing 11 wins ahead of the second place Billy Davis Jr. who won this award last year. In 401 starts at Batavia Morrill also had 70 seconds and 51 thirds for a .391 UDR and winnings of $500,000 for the meet. Morrill, who scored his 7,500th career victory at the Downs this past November, currently sits 13th in North America for UDR among all drivers with 500 or more starts and his overall mark of .383 for the year is the highest he’s had since the 2016 season. Jim Morrill Jr                                --Paul White photo For all of 2020 Morrill has 742 starts, 180 wins, 133 seconds and 92 thirds and $1,267,773 in earnings.     Trainer of the Meet-Gerry Sarama Not only did Gerry Sarama register career training win 1,000 at Batavia this year, he also won 62 races, finishing 31 ahead of his nearest competitor to claim his first training title at the Downs. Sarama also had 34 seconds and 26 thirds during the meet with total earnings of $275,112. Gerry Sarama                       --Paul White photo Sarama has had one of his best overall years training in 2020 with 87 wins, 60 seconds and 55 thirds out of 426 starts while posting a UTR of .326 and earnings of $475,635. That UTR is the highest Sarama has had in 22 years as a conditioner. Sarama also trained two of the meet’s three equine award winners.   Pacer of the Meet-Black Is Back (Western Terror-Magic Moments) 1:52.1, $288,875 Black Is Back made 16 starts at the Downs and won six Open I Handicap paces while finishing second and third twice each, banking purses of $33,645 in the process. He registered his season’s best time on August 29 when he toured the facility at Batavia in a sharp 1:53.4.   This is the second consecutive year Black Is Back has been named Horse of the Meet at Batavia Downs. Black Is Back is owned by Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr. and is trained by Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr.   Trotter of the Meet-Il Mago (Kadabra-Northern Style) 1:52.3, $899,763 Il Mago came to western New York through a private purchase back in July and won his first two races upon arrival. Since the Batavia meet began, he has been in the Open I Handicap trot every week and has dominated that class all meet. In 14 starts Il Mago has won seven, was second twice and third once more and earned $35,390 during that time. His best win time at the Downs was 1:56.4, a mark he hit twice during the meet. The classy 11-year-old has 55 lifetime wins and is currently just $237 short of $900,000 lifetime and has a legitimate chance to cross the $1 million dollar threshold before he retires. Il Mago is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama.   Claimer of the Meet-Sir Richie N Sir Richie N started the year racing at the Meadowlands and found his way to western New York through a private sale in January. Although he had moderate success earlier in the year, it was nothing like he would see when he got to Batavia. Sir Richie N raced in claimers ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 during his 18 starts and he won 10 of those along with three seconds. His fastest win came on October 3 when he paced the Genesee County oval in 1:55. His efforts earned him $30,630 in purses and a very strong following at the windows. Sir Richie N is owned by Mike Torcello and is trained by Gerry Sarama. Also, Batavia Downs has announced that the track will offer a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager on Saturday (Dec. 12) with a mandatory payout as this is the final card of the meet. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites or by clicking here.  The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, the closest combination(s) will be paid out on Saturday. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, president, UNY-USHWA

Batavia, NY --- Despite wintry conditions and a sloppy track, driver Ray Fisher Jr. was on top of his game and delivered five horses to the harness racing winner's circle at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Dec. 9) including three straight winners in races two through four for the natural hat trick. Fisher's top score was in the $10,200 Open I Handicap trot with CR Blazin Beauty, who bolted right to the front and called all the shots. With the two post time favorites making breaks before the quarter, CR Blazin Beauty went unchallenged through fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:27.4 and then turned for home with a four-length lead. From there she trotted to the wire under wraps to win in 1:59.1. The victory pushed CR Blazin Beauty ($8.70) to $41,275 in earnings for the year for owner Marissa Russo. David Russo trains. Fisher also won with Lady Justice (2:02.4, $19.20) and Mr. Quaker (2:01.2, $6.90), both of whom are trained by his wife Ryan Swift, and Wonderful World (1:58.2, $5.00) and Awake My Soul (2:00.1, $2.50) who were both trained by Sabrina Shaw. Fisher wasn't the only hot driver on the cold night as Jim Morrill Jr. also had a grand slam on Wednesday. Morrill took the co-featured $10,200 Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares with Blue Bell Bonnie who also went coast to coast. Blue Bell Bonnie tucked third off the gate but Morrill made an early power play pulling past the eighth to take the lead from Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the quarter. Once there, the pair led to the half in :58.1 and three-quarters in 1:27.1. Coming off the last turn Lady London pulled to take a shot at the leader but Blue Bell Bonnie would have none of that. She switched gears and paced away to an easy length win in 1:57.3. Blue Bell Bonnie It was the sixth win of the year for Blue Bell Bonnie ($4.30) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. Morrill filled out his card winning with Le Millienaire (2:02.3, $5.40), Southern Palms (2:00.3, $4.10) and Simonthediamond (2:03.2, $5.40). Live racing at Batavia Downs will resume one more time in 2020 as the meet comes to a close on Saturday (Dec. 9) and the Downs has announced there will be a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager that night. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites on Thursday (Dec. 10). Post time for the first race Saturday is 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Jim Clouser Jr. and owner William Emmons teamed up to win both harness racing feature paces at Batavia Downs on a snowy and sloppy Saturday night (Dec. 5). In the $8,500 Open I Handicap pace, McSpidey coasted behind Tullow N (Dave McNeight III) through quarters of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:27.2 before leaving the pocket off the last turn and outpacing him to the wire in a quick :28.4 last quarter to win by 3/4 of a length in 1:56.2. It was the third straight win for McSpidey ($3.20) and his first Open I victory at Batavia Downs this year. Then in the $7,500 Open II Handicap pace, Long Train Runnin left, took command and never looked back. After getting to the half in a tepid :58.2, Morrill hit the gas and opened up a three-length lead at three-quarters and extended it to five at the top of the stretch. From there he was wrapped up heading for home the easiest of winners in an identical time of 1:56.2.  It was the second win in the last three starts and sixth win of the year for Long Train Runnin ($2.50) who has only missed one check in his last 10 starts. Morrill also won two more races on the card giving him a Grand Slam for the evening. Morrill is the meet’s leading dash win driver, currently with 97 wins. Another Grand Slam winner was trainer Gerry Sarama who scored four with Big Pocket Teen 1:59.1, $89.50), (Beachy Dream (1:58, $3.90), Sir Richie N (1:58.1, $3.00) and Love The Dragon (1:58.1, $5.60). Sarama has 60 wins this meet to lead all other trainers by a minimum of 30 wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 9) and will kick off the final week of the meet. Wednesday will feature a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites on Monday. The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the Saturday (Dec. 12) program. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- A field of Open trotters and Open filly and mare pacers went postward, each for $8,500 on Wednesday evening (Dec. 2) at Batavia Downs and two local harness racing favorites notched additional wins to their already impressive resumes. On the trot, Il Mago (Billy Davis Jr.) continued to dominate the diagonal-gaited gang after grabbing a quick lead and opening up a 2-1/2 length lead going to the quarter in :28.3. He then extended that lead to four lengths at the half and five at three-quarters. Turning for home, Il Mago was already wrapped-up and trotted unabated with 6-1/4 in hand stopping the clock in 1:56.4, which was only one-fifth of a second off his seasonal mark. It was the 55th career win, ninth win of the season and fourth win in a row for Il Mago ($4.60) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. The top distaff pacers saw the return of HP Sissy (Jim McNeight Jr.) after a seven week sabbatical and “Sissy” came to play on Wednesday. After taking command right off the gate, she tripped the timer in :28.1, :58.4 and 1:27.1 before a credible threat presented itself in the name of Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings), who got close to the leader heading into the last turn. But close would be as far as it went as HP Sissy turned for home and held sway to the line where she won by 1/2 length in 1:56.3. HP Sissy It was the seventh win of the year for HP Sissy ($6.50) and owner Finocchario’s Dream Stable. Jim McNeight trains the winner.   Bill Davis Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. both had driving hat tricks on Wednesday while trainers Ryan Swift and Sabrina Shaw each registered two wins. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 5) with post time at 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced that it will be increasing all purses by 20% for the final week of harness racing of the 2020 meet. That would raise the top purse for all Opens from $8,500 to $10,200 all the way down to the bottom purse from $3,200 to $3,800. "It has been a very difficult season for everyone in this business and we are pleased to be raising the purses during the final days of racing to help the horsemen get a jump on their expenses heading into the downtime between meets." said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. "Despite all the challenges this year, we have been able to complete our meet without interruption and that is do to everyone involved working safely and carrying out all our safety guidelines. Hopefully the increased purses will help make the holidays a little better for all." The final week of racing consists of Wednesday (Dec. 9) and Saturday (Dec. 12) with post time for both days at 5 p.m.   Guaranteed $3,000 Pick-5 pool Wednesday at Batavia Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs has announced there will be a guaranteed pool of $3,000 for the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Dec. 2). The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages for races one through five are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites or by clicking here. (https://www.trackmaster.com/freeContent/usta/freeContentFiles/hpl/btv1202x.pdf) The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the Saturday (Dec. 5) program. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Horsemen and horsewomen racing at Batavia Downs should note that the final day of qualifying for the 2020 meet will be held on Wednesday (Dec. 2) at 4 p.m. before the regular card of harness racing begins. Entries must be made by Tuesday (Dec. 1) no later than 10 a.m. by calling the race office at 585.344.6161.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs​  

Plainville, MA --- The 2020 Plainridge Park meet concluded on Friday (Nov. 27) and despite starting over two months late due to the global pandemic, the harness racing track enjoyed a successful and productive year. With stringent safety protocols in place and the strict adherence to them by all racing personnel from day one of live racing, the meet was run in its entirety without any Covid-related incidents. That is a reflection of the hard work put in by the track's staff and all of the horsemen and horsewomen to ensure the safety of everyone and protect their livelihoods as all worked through difficult times. "We are happy with the meet we had given the circumstances we had to deal with. But the only way we were able to operate successfully centered around my incredible staff. Each and every one of them went above and beyond their responsibilities, doing whatever it took to get thru the toughest season we have ever faced in regards to operations,"said Steve O'Toole, Director of Racing at Plainridge Park. "We tried to accommodate the horsemen as best we could, especially the regulars and those local. The $7 million in purses distributed in the shortened season should give them stability until we start next year." On the track, Shawn Gray was the top dash driver with 111 wins, $1,081,476 in earnings and a UDR of .436 followed by Drew Monti in second with 94 wins, $899,901 in earnings and a UDR of .302 and Bruce Ranger a very close third with 93 wins, $907,748 in earnings and a UDR of .300. Shawn Gray (Tim Bojarski Photo) Melissa Beckwith was the winningest trainer with 39 victories in only 89 starts which gave her a win percentage of 44% and a UTR of .541. She also bankrolled $249,700 in earnings. Jimmy Nickerson was right behind her in second with 32 wins, $323,515 in earnings and a UTR of .401. Best Honey Hanover was the most productive horse, visiting the winner's circle eight times during the meet and earning $48,300 while splitting time between barns through claims. There were eight track records broken and one tied during the year. Two of those occurred on Spirit of Massachusetts Trot day in July when Manchego scorched The Ridge in 1:49.3 to set the all-time trotting mark and Shartin N paced in 1:48.1 to break the all-time pacing mark she set just one year ago. Manchego scorched The Ridge in 1:49.3 Shartin N paced in 1:48.1 to break the all-time pacing mark The Massachusetts Sire Stakes held at Plainridge in October also showed how far the state-bred Standardbreds have come as seven stake records were broken and another tied during the four week run of that series. Plainridge Park will kick off their 2021 on April 12 and feature 110 days of love racing. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- After two consecutive third place finishes, Black Is Back returned to the winner's circle after taking the harness racing $8,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Nov. 28). Tullow N (Ray Fisher Jr.) took command of the field and led them to the half in a pedestrian :58.1. Black Is Back (Dave McNeight III) came rolling up first-over from third in front of the stands and started a slow grind towards the leader. It took until the three-quarters to get near Tullow N but Black Is Back was now in full gear and wearing him down. At the top of the stretch Black Is Back swelled up, took the lead and kicked away to a 2-3/4 length victory in 1:55.4. It was the eighth win of the year for Black Is Back ($3.70) and it pushed his earnings to $46,025 for owners Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr. Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. trains the winner. In the $7,500 Open II Handicap pace, McSpidey (Jim Morrill Jr.) destroyed the filed by leading by as much as three lengths while cutting fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:25.3 before turning for home and pacing away to an impressive 1-3/4 length win in 1:54.4. It was the second consecutive win in identical time for McSpidey ($3.80) and owner William Emmons. Jim Clouser Jr. is the trainer. McSpidey Jim Morrill Jr. led all drivers with three wins on Saturday while trainers Gerry Sarama, Jim McNeight and Tammy Cummings all registered two wins apiece. There was a guaranteed $7,500 Pick-5 pool in the first race on Saturday that ended up at $12,783 and there was a winning combination on the wager. 8-1-4-1-1 returned $1,018.50 for a 50-cent bet. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 2) and there will be another guaranteed Pick-5 pool of $3,000 in the first race that day. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages for the first five races will be available on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites Monday, courtesy of Trackmaster. The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren't selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the Saturday (Dec. 5) program. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- With no winner in the harness racing Pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at Batavia Downs, there is a $2,392 carry-over that will move to Saturday (Nov.28) and there is a guaranteed pool of $7,500 for the Pick-5 wager that day.  The pool, which is the largest guarantee of the meet, is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website or by clicking here. (https://legacy.trackmaster.com/usta/btv1128x.pdf) The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on next Wednesday’s (Dec. 2) program.  Post time for the first race Saturday is 5 p.m.  Below is an analysis of the Pick-5 races by Batavia Down's resident handicapper, "Hot Picks".  Race 1: You may be able to escape by just using two horses, No. 4 Journeyman and No. 8 Rainbow Romance N. Billy Davis chose to drive Journeyman over No. 5 Gimme The Pacifics, a horse he has been driving, so I’ll let his choice do my handicapping. The horse has simply faced better, so you could get brave and single Journeyman, since Rainbow Romance has post 8 and hasn’t hit the board this year, despite being in top barns (Scott DiDomenico and Gerry Sarama).   Race 2: Up until this last race, newcomer No. 2 Random Task A may have been a single. He’s still a must- use since Torcello-Sarama-Morrill have teamed up countless times to win with this type of shipper. No. 5 Mateo steps up off a terrific mile and is a big closing threat, even though he does lose regular pilot Drew Monti. If you can spread, maybe include No. 3 Sure Please and No. 4 Raylan Givens.   Race 3: Three to use here, No. 4 Ideal Chance (the Cummings barn has continuously won with newcomers from The Meadows), No. 6 Xenia’s Chip and No. 7 Love The Dragon. Since the No. 3 Pure Image is an unknown factor, a big budget could include, even if the TrackMaster rating numbers say he’s a tick below. And No. 2 Calvery Hill was facing infinitely better in the summer but hasn’t raced in three months. If you’re brave, single No. 4, whose TrackMaster ratings are superior.   Race 4: A narrow budget can maybe survive with just No. 4 Kings Treasure (the speed) and No. 3 Terror O (the closer). No. 1 Jude Hall rarely wins (1-for-23) but he was victorious the last time he drew the cones (albeit in a lower class on Halloween).   Race 5: There’s nothing worse than being alive to the final leg and getting knocked out. It’s conceivable to foresee a few different scenarios on how this race will be run, so several could be in play to win. Thus, spread if you can. No. 1 Carlos Danger and No. 6 Bugatti getting Billy Davis are obvious must-use types, No. 4 Jimmy C R has speed and is dropping and No. 7 Big Pocket Teen has Jim Morrill Jr. but a bad post.   Tim Bojarski

Plainville, MA --- A pair of District 9 events named "The Glenn" for resident harness racing pacers of Plainridge Park were held on closing day Friday (Nov. 27) with big performances put in by both winners. In the $25,000 main event, Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) turned a second-over trip into a five length victory at the wire. Quick Shot (Bruce Ranger) out-left Avatartist (Nick Graffam) and skated to the quarter in :26 flat. Just past the three-eighths Paternity Suit A (Drew Monti) pulled first over, followed by Rock Diamonds N as they hit the half. Paternity Suit A Drew alongside Quick Shot up the backstretch and crossed over for the lead by three-quarters in 1:21.4. But Rock Diamonds N was next to be heard from and he took the lead at the head of the stretch. From there he opened up a five length advantage as he paced to the wire wrapped-up in 1:50.2. It was the fifth win of the year for Rock Diamonds N ($10.60) and it pushed his seasonal bankroll to $73,425 for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs does the training. Rock Diamonds N Then in the $20,000 undercard, Cherokee Hiflyzane (Mitchell Cushing) mounted a late rush to claim victory in the shadow of the wire. Cherokee Hiflyzane got away third while Rockin Cougar (Nick Graffam) took the field to the quarter in :26.3 and the half in :55.1. Just past that station, Waves (Drew Monti) came first up with Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) right on his back. Positions remained the same until Mach Doro A tipped three deep and drew alongside Rockin Cougar at the three quarters in 1:23 and it looked like a two horse race. But at the 7/8th's pole, Cherokee Hiflyzane found room to get off the pylons from fifth and started to pace furiously. He made up the 3-1/2 lengths he was behind at the top of the lane and caught Rockin Cougar at the line by a ¼ length in 1:51.3. It was the fourth win of the year for Cherokee Hiflyzane ($7.00) who is owned and trained by Roger Farrar. Cherokee Hiflyzane Plainridge Park had a $47,420 carry over for the Wicked Hi-5 wager in the sixth race on Friday with a guaranteed $75,000 pool through the USTA Strategic Wagering Program along with a mandatory payout. There was $99,571 new money wagered for a total pool of $146,991 which was the largest ever bet at Plainridge Park. The combination of 9-3-8-5-4 returned $244.98 for a 20-cent bet. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta at Plainridge Park has not been hit since September and the carryover has been growing exponentially. With that pool now standing at $47,420 and the meet ending on Friday (Nov. 27), Plainridge has announced that Friday's Hi-5 wager in race six will carry a guaranteed $75,000 pool with a mandatory payout. If there is no unique winning combination purchased, the track will pay out on the closest winning combination(s) wagered. The Wicked Hi-5 on Friday will be part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering program and as such, a free program page for the race are available on the USTA's website (ustrotting.com) under the "Handicapping Tab" or by clicking here. (https://legacy.trackmaster.com/usta/prc1127x.pdf) The $75,000 guaranteed pool is the largest ever offered in the 21-year history of Plainridge Park. Post time for the first race on Friday is 1 p.m. The $75,000 guaranteed Hi-5 sixth race is slated to go off at 2:40 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park  

Plainville, MA --- A pair of $18,000 condition contests highlighted the harness racing action at Plainridge Park on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 25) with front-end speed prevailing in each. In the District 9 special event "The Brown", Opus Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer Jr.) went right to the front and paced to the half unencumbered in :56.4. Then during the second half he turned back a mid-race challenge from Simply Susational N (Ron Cushing) and held off a late stretch run by Biggie (Mitchell Cushing) to win by 1/4 length in 1:53.4. It was the third win of the year for Opus Blue Chip ($5.40) who is owned by Scott Dillon and trained by Joe Nelson. Then in the 5-year-old and under condition, Whata Foolbelieves (Matty Athearn) got away third at the quarter but pulled at that point and took command by the half in :55.2. Right there Touch Of Character (Steve Wilson) pulled alongside and started to match strides with the leader. The two paced in tandem to three-quarters and around the far turn where Whata Foolbelieves took command by a length and held off late rushes from three closers to win by 1/4 length in 1:53.3. It was also the third win of the year for Whata Foolbelieves ($3.00) and owners Joan Harmon, Normand St. Clair and Michael Foley. Gretchen Athearn does the training. Whata Foolbelieves Whata Foolbelieves Team Graffam had a big day at The Ridge as Nick Graffam had a driving triple and Mike Graffam had a training double to lead all horsemen in their respective categories. There is no racing on Thanksgiving Thursday (Nov. 26) but live racing will resume for the last time in 2020 on Friday (Nov. 27) at 1 p.m. Plainridge has announced that Friday's Hi-5 wager -- which is offered in race six -- will carry a guaranteed $75,000 pool with a mandatory payout. The Wicked Hi-5 on Friday will be part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering program and as such, a free program page for the race will be available on the USTA's website or by clicking here. The $75,000 guaranteed pool is the largest ever offered in the 21-year history of Plainridge Park. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Batavia, NY --- They say it's not where you start, it's where you finish and Lougazi is the poster boy for that motto. And he proved it true once again on Wednesday night (Nov. 25) as he went from worst to first in the $8,500 Open I Handicap harness racing trot at Batavia Downs in a driving rain over a sloppy track. Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) got away last by 15-1/2 lengths as Cordoba Hall (Billy Davis Jr.) and CR Blazin Beauty (Dave McNeight III) were in a speed duel on the point, smoking to the quarter in :27.3 and the half in :56.2. But as they headed up the backstretch for the second time, those two hit a wall and Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) came out of the three hole with Daylon Phantom (Dan Yetman) on his back and Lougazi travelling fast third-over behind him. Southern Palms took the lead but Lougazi was three-deep and flying and he drew alongside Southern Palms in the last turn. The two hit the stretch together but Lougazi said "goodbye" and trotted home in hand by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:58.1. It was the second win in the last four starts for Lougazi ($7.50) who is owned by Mary Warriner and trained by Ryan Swift. The co-featured $8,500 Open I pace for fillies and mares was scratched down to a field of five and Lady Dudette (Kyle Cumming) took no prisoners as she grabbed the lead at the quarter, parked out Tellawoman (Dave McNeight III) to the half and then refused to let anyone else to get close to her as she paced home under a line drive to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:56.2. Lady Dudette ($11.40) scored her eighth win of the year for owner Kyle Cummings and trainer Tammy Cummings. Billy Davis Jr. had the hot hand in the sulky Wednesday, scoring a Grand Slam on the card. He won with SR Radar (2:01, $5.20), Sunset Sid (1:57.3, $19.00), The Land Shark (2:01.2, $10.40) and Expensive toy (1:58.3, $6.40). 12 different trainers accounted for the 12 winning horses on Wednesday. With no winner in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at Batavia Downs, there is a $2,392 carry-over that will move to Saturday (Nov. 28) and it has been announced that there will be a guaranteed pool of $7,500 for the Pick-5 wager that day. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are now available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA's website or by clicking here. (https://legacy.trackmaster.com/usta/btv1128x.pdf) The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren't selected, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on next Wednesday's (Dec. 2) program. Post time for the first race Saturday is 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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