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Two-time defending harness racing dash champion Wally Hennessey drove four winners including Rebellious in the $9,000 Open Pace at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 2). In the Open Pace, Osborne Seelster (Jody Jamieson) and Macheasy A (Mike Merton) battled right out of the gate. Osborne Seelster won the battle and led to the first quarter in a quick :26.0. Rebellious ($4.60) came first up from third and took the lead with a circuit to go. He hit the half first in :54.2. Seel The Deal N (Phil Fluet) was the first to make a challenge as they headed down the backstretch. Rebellious deflected the challenge and led to three-quarters in 1:23.2. Second place finisher Osborne Seelster tried to squeeze in by the pylons but ran out of real estate as Rebellious hung on to win in 1:52.0. Talbotcreekwhiskey (Drew Monti) finished third.   REBELLIOUS REPLAY   Rebellious is a 7-year-old gelding by Mach Three. He is owned by Joel Warner along with trainer Mike Deters. It was his fifth win this season. He now has 46 career victories. Hennessey got his other wins with Runhappy Ten ($8.00), Odds On Cheddar ($4.50), and Caviart Reagon ($8.20). Tioga Downs returns to Live racing on Saturday (May 8) starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. For full race results, click here. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Harness racing driver Braxton Boyd had an opening day to remember with four wins at Tioga Downs on Saturday (May 1). His four wins included the $9,000 featured Fillies & Mares Open Pace with Another Beach Day ($7.10). Another Beach Day got the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :27.4. Persistent Better (Joe Chindano Jr.) went right by as they went by the stands. She led to the half in :58.3 and to three-quarters in 1:26.4. Another Beach Day popped the pocket as they reached the stretch and went right on by to win in 1:55.1. Shecouldbegood N (Mike Merton) came up to finish second. Persistent Better had to settle for third. ANOTHER BEACH DAY REPLAY   Another Beach Day is a 5-year-old mare by Somebeachsomewhere. Owned by Brandy Boyd and trained by Braxton Boyd. It was win number two this season. She now has 11 career victories. Boyd's other wins came for trainer Marc Major. They won with Elm Grove Nellie ($9.10), Seven Credits ($27.80), and Big Mach ($6.80). P L Notsonice ($3.40) cruises to easy win in the $9,000 Open Trot. BJ Lorado (Braxton Boyd) took control and led to the first quarter in :27.0. As they came by the stands for the first time, PL Notsonice came first over and blew right on by and went to the half in :55.3. She would breeze to three-quarters in 1:23.3. As they made the turn for home P L Notsonice gave them all the slip as she won for fun in a lifetime best 1:52.3. BJ Lorado hung on to finish second. Rose Run Rudi (Jody Jamieson) got third money. P L NOTSONICE REPLAY   P L Notsonice is a 4-year-old mare by Kadabra. Owned by Gratitude First LLC and trained by Morales III. It was her first win this season. She now has six career victories. 14-year-old Aruba Vacation (Wally Hennessey) looked like her old self in winning her first race of 2021. Owned and trained by Guy Howard, she has banked over $630,000 in her career. It was so good to see her return to the Tioga Downs winner's circle! Tioga Downs returns to Live racing on Sunday (May 2) with an 8-race card starting at 1:00 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. For full race results, click here. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs will begin their 16th season of live harness racing on Saturday (May 1), with a special post time of 5:00 p.m. The five-eighths mile track from Nichols, NY will race on Fridays (starting May 28) and Saturdays at 6:15 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. Closing night will be Saturday (September 25). Track management is excited to be able to have spectators for the first time since 2019. All spectators must show proof of a negative COVID-19 from no more than 72 hours prior or proof of full vaccination upon entrance to each event. Spectators will be permitted to enter the grandstand and trackside viewing areas through the mutuels lobby with a capacity limit of 20%. Tioga Downs will once again play host to the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for sophomore pacing fillies and colts. They will each race for a purse of $250,000 (Est.). Last year's top driver Wally Hennessey and top trainer Rob Harmon will be on hand this season to defend their titles. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Due to the shutdown of Ontario harness racing, one of the top Canadian harness driving stars, Jody Jamieson ,will spend his weekends at Tioga Downs this May. Jamieson 44, has won over 8,000 races in his illustrious career. He captured the World Championship for Canada in 2001. In 2007 and 2009 he won the Obrien Award as Canada's driver of the year. He also won the North American dash crown with 796 wins in 2009. Jamieson will get to trade blows with Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey. Hennessey is the two-time defending Tioga Downs dash champion. Tioga fans will get the opportunity to witness two of the all-time greats of the sport go at it. Tioga Downs opens for the 2021 season on May 1st. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Vernon, NY-- In conjunction with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and the Food Bank of Central New York, both Vernon Downs Casino Hotel and Tioga Downs Casino Resort recently hosted events to provide the community with free, nutritious meals during this difficult time when many are struggling. Vernon Downs hosted a Nourish New York Food Distribution event on March 27, supplying 825 households with various locally sourced fresh produce and dairy items via a drive-thru in addition to a $50,000 donation to the Food Bank of Central New York on February 26. Tioga Downs provided 5,000 Easter dinners in addition to a $100,000 gift to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and additional meals distributed to 62 various agencies. Jeff Gural, Chairman/CEO of American Racing and Entertainment has long been committed to addressing food insecurity by supporting the Food Bank of the Southern Tier through its annual holiday turkey drive. Since 2009, Vernon Downs Casino Hotel and Gural have contributed more than $630,000 to the Food Bank of Central New York resulting in more than 1.9 million meals for the community. Both Tioga and Vernon Downs are acclaimed for state-of-the-art harness racing facilities located in scenic Upstate New York locations. Open from April to November, Vernon Downs is home to some of harness racing's premier stakes events including the Empire Breeders Classic, Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot, and several New York Sire Stakes Races. Opening day for harness racing this year is April 17 and the highly anticipated Empire Breeders Classic will take place June 18. Tioga Downs, which originated as a quarter horse race track, was revived and refurbished as a harness racetrack in 2006. Now, Tioga Downs is home to the Roll With Joe Open Pace sponsored by Blue Chip Farm, Tompkins Geers Grand Circuit Stakes, the Empire Breeders Classic and the New York Sire Stakes. Opening day for harness racing at Tioga Downs is May 1 and the Empire Breeders Classic finals, a race fan favorite, takes place on August 29. ABOUT VERNON DOWNS: In addition to its video lottery terminals, Vernon Downs offers live harness racing, concerts and other entertainment. Jeff Gural owns Vernon Downs in Vernon, N.Y. and Tioga Downs in Nichols, N.Y. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 1,000 family-sustaining jobs. For more information on Vernon Downs, please visit www.vernondowns.com. ABOUT TIOGA DOWNS CASINO RESORT: Tioga Downs, which opened in 2006, and expanded to Tioga Downs Casino Resort in December 2016, offers live harness racing, casino gaming, sports betting, dining, golf, indoor and outdoor live entertainment, and more. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs as well as Vernon Downs in Vernon, New York. Since opening the new resort in December 2016, Tioga Downs has expanded its gaming offerings to include over 890 slot machines, 28 table games, a 6-table poker room, and a FanDuelSportsbook. The Tioga Downs Casino Resort Hotel spans six stories and boasts 160 rooms, an events center, a full-service AgeLess SPA, an indoor saltwater pool and Jacuzzi hot tub, an arcade, and a fitness room, as well as many other exciting amenities in season such as, an outdoor saltwater pool and Jacuzzi complete with Cabanas and a private Cabana bar (for hotel guests), an outdoor waterslide and plunge pool, and the 18-hole Tioga Golf Course located just minutes down the road. The resort also offers a wide variety of food outlets including their famous County Fair Buffet, Virgil's Real BBQ, and P.J. Clarke's, among others. Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 1,000 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs Casino Resort, please visit www.tiogadowns.com by Nick Salvi, for Vernon & Tioga Downs

Nichols, NY - Tioga and Vernon Downs are requiring that all horses shipping onto the property for both stabling and ship in racing have documentation of a Coggins test and Rabies vaccination within one year and an EHV-1 certificate of vaccination within six months.   There will be no exceptions to this policy.   From Tioga and Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs are announcing policy regarding the horses of which a majority interest of more than fifty percent is held by those harness racing owners affected by the press release of March 6. Any horse sold publicly or privately to disperse those ownership interests must be a legitimate sale to someone other than and not affiliated with the current owners. It is recommended that all prospective buyers/owners read through the "Rules" and "Disputes" section of conditions for stakes administered by The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs which contain language that includes the right to exclude horses from stakes that do not meet the specifications within. It is also recommended that any prospective buyer request from the seller the current stakes schedule for which all required payments have been made toward 2021 stakes. To date, there have been no exclusions or refunds of payments from stakes at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs on the horses that fall into the above category, so those horses are currently eligible to the stakes in which the payments are current. Their eligibility will continue, providing the remaining payments are made by the new owner. The horses described above, if legitimately sold to the satisfaction of the stakes sponsors would become eligible to race in overnight or stakes races at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs sixty (60) days after the transfer is completed. Any horse that is or was trained in the Allard Florida stable will be excluded from overnight and/or stakes races at The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs indefinitely, as written in the March 6 release. From the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs  

Racing/stall applications for both Tioga and Vernon Downs are due by March 25.   They must be completely filled out, back and front, and signed to be valid.   Direct questions to Brett Risi at BRisi@TiogaDowns.com or (607) 699-7688   Tioga Downs application   Vernon Downs application   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga and Vernon Downs

Nichols, NY - Live Harness Racing will make its return to Upstate New York this Spring with Tioga Downs preparing to kick off the 2021 live racing season on Saturday, May 1. Racing will follow a Friday and Saturday evening, Sunday matinee schedule covering 59 dates until September 25.   With the casino operational and revenue projected to return to pre-COVID levels, the purses for the 2021 season will be close to the 2019 levels. It is our hope that live attendance and on-site wagering will be permitted during the racing.   The Southern Tier Harness Horseman's Association (STHHA) plans to reinstate the stabling incentive program.   Tioga Downs offers stabling at no cost to horsemen and the stall/racing applications are currently available on the web. They should be completed in full, signed and returned by March 25.   Questions may be directed to Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at (607) 699-7688 or STHHA President Guy Howard at (607) 765-7168.   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs        

Nichols, NY - The $1 million(e) Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) stakes for harness racing 3-year-old New York sired trotters and pacers will be raced without eliminations in 2021. This format was implemented for the 2020 EBC trotting races and the 2020 EBC colt pace went straight to the final with ten declarations.   In 2021, should ten or fewer declare for any of the EBCs, the stake will go as a single division for the total purse. If eleven or more declare the stake shall be raced in divisions with the purse split equally and the entry fee reduced accordingly.   The EBC colt and filly trots are scheduled for Vernon Downs on Friday, June 18 and the pacers will race at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 29.   The 2021 $650,000(e) Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial will be raced at Vernon on Sunday, August 28 using the "Main events/consolation" format as it has been for the past several years.   The W.N. Reynolds stakes for 2-year-olds will return to Tioga for 2021 and all divisions are scheduled for Friday, September 3.   Vernon and Tioga Downs are set to begin the 2021 live racing season at the customary starting dates for the pair of Upstate New York venues.   Vernon starts first on Saturday, April 17 while Tioga gets underway on Saturday, May 1.   Contact Racing Operations Manager Brett Risi at BRisi@TiogaDowns.com or (607) 699-7688 for answers.          

Harness racing, at its very core, is a career that follows a routine pattern, but at the same time, follows no routine at all. In other words, the everyday routine of each stable is set through a similar schedule – morning feed, stalls, buckets, watering, jogging or training, bathing, lunch, and dinner. Now these schedules vary from stable to stable. Everything from how far a horse is jogged to how much they are fed to how many buckets of water each horse has can be different. But, the routine of a single stable changes as anything can happen in the barn. Horses get sick, pop a gravel, get mysterious injuries, and more. Most horse people at Tioga Downs share a similar routine in the sense of travel. We follow a schedule like birds in the winter. From October to May, we all find ourselves in South Florida at the Winter Capital of Harness Racing, Pompano Park. Only about three Tioga Downs stables remain north during this time. Then, as spring comes to an end and summer begins, we migrate north. All of our horses and necessities to run a stable are jam packed into several trailers headed for a final destination of Nichols, New York. Some trainers ship their own horses, some hire shippers, and others with large stables do a mix of the two. Usually, we race until at least the end of April or beginning of May. That is a part of our routine to follow a racing schedule that doesn’t change from year to year. Or, that’s how it was until this year. This year has been full of surprises, surprises that not even the uncertain harness racing business or even the best handicapper could have predicted. We are used to our horses presenting us with some sort of unusual case; whether it is one of those mysterious injuries or some strange cause of injury. Yet, we are not used to having our entire business shut down in the blink of an eye. March 11th – the last race day of the 2019-2020 race season at Pompano Park. Horses entered in the box for that following Thursday, Sunday, and Monday were unable to race. Now what? A question that breezed through the minds of every horseman on that track. Everyone was about to feel the effects of this shut down, including stables of only one horse to stables of over forty head. We had no idea how long it was going to last and if we would race again at Pompano. The shutdown caused a ripple effect that affected everyone on and off the track – trainers, drivers, owners, grooms, veterinarians, and blacksmiths as well as the companies that provide hay, grain, and sawdust. “As an equine vet with my own practice, it shut my business down,” Dr. Michelle MacDougall said. “There was a money crunch on all owners and trainers that prevented them from doing elective vet procedures.” Owner-trainer-driver Mike Deters said, “It was a tremendous financial burden. Nothing changed in the fact that my grooms made the same amount and my feed bill still came in, but there was no income coming in.” Debbie Gagnon, groom for Mike Deters, said, “we were afraid of how long we would be there. We cut back on treating horses which affected how they are racing now. It was a scary situation to be on hold for so long. Trainers were afraid to do anything.” “Everything was on hold. Everyone is scared for travel or flying, but I have to for my job – from Fort Lauderdale to Pocono and back,” Blacksmith Mike Cable said. “I had a fear for my family. I was traveling in and out of state and in and out of our house. Unfortunately, COVID-19 grabbed my mom and took her life on April 19th. I was quarantined during the first week of April due to traveling for work. I wasn’t able to go to the track to shoe horses and I lost work. “It made life harder for everyone,” Cable continued. “My wife was worried. She could not and did not sleep. She and many others stay home.” Despite the uncertainty of racing and life in general, horsemen also saw the positive side of everything. “We have our own safe and protected community where we were able to keep track of ourselves. We were mentally thinking differently and we now carry our mask in our pocket every day, but we are very fortunate that our [Pompano Park-Tioga] horsemen community is without cases,” owner-trainer-driver Jim McDonald stated. McDonald’s groom, Jim Hogan, said, “I am a groom that is fortunate enough that my trainer kept me employed.” Owner Laurie Poulin said, “I am thankful that the government has helped us out in any way that they could.” Fast forward to mid-May and we are on the road to Tioga Downs. It had been two months since our last start. Yet, most every stable on the grounds was still jogging and training, prepared for if we did see an opening date again. Sadly, it never came. “It’s like baking a cake. Every day we bake the cake – we train and jog. We buy the supplies to bake the cake – we still have to feed and support the horses. But, at the end of the day, since there is no racing it is as if we throw the cake away. And then, we get up the next day and do it all over again,” trainer Michelle Hallett says. Once we got to Tioga Downs, we set up our barn and prepared to “bake the cake” again. This time with a bit more confidence that we would be racing again. Several stables remained in Florida, though. The board of directors and head of racing at Tioga Downs held a mandatory track meeting. If you wanted to race or even be in the paddock, you had to attend – grooms, trainers, and some drivers attended. This meeting focused on proper hygiene and guidelines set by the CDC for COVID-19, such as masks and social distancing. Masks are mandatory in the paddock and there is a system set up to maintain social distancing. At this point, we were all willing to do anything to make up for the months of lost racing time. We signed a sheet that acknowledged we attended and understood the new guidelines for racing. Masked driver Jim Meittinis at Tioga Downs June 1st – Our first Tioga Downs qualifier and our second time we have been able to race since the shutdown. The one other time was May 14th for a qualifying day generously approved by Pompano Park and organized by a joint effort of the Florida Amateur Driving Club (FADC) and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA). We accomplished this by qualifying out of our barns. When it was time for our race, we walked the horse up, hooked them in the bike if they didn’t already have one on, and lead them to the track through the chute. “Putting on my colors again to drive in the qualifiers at Pompano and Tioga Downs was like Christmas morning,” driver Wally Hennessey said. Things were finally starting to feel as a sense of normal again. “It was good to get in the bike again. We are all race junkies and so, yes, the best way to describe it is like it was Christmas morning. At Gilcrest, we kept qualifiers all the time and moved the post times around to give hope to the horsemen. The biggest challenge was the mental stress caused by the unknown,” Gilcrest association President and horseman Verlin Yoder said. Left to right driver Scott Zeron, NYSS head M. Kelly Young and Brett Risi, Operations Manager at Tioga and Vernon Downs. Tioga Downs association President and horseman Guy Howard said, “Our association stepped up. Board members were cleaning the bathrooms and driver’s room, we paid for manure removal, and we helped in getting the track done. Ronnie Morales got the track done in the mornings during the weekend and I did it in the afternoon. It was a team effort to get the track [Tioga Downs] up and running, ready for the horsemen from Florida.” June 7th – the first official race day in months for horsemen at Tioga Downs, opening day for the 2020 season. It was a four-race paddock set up, instead of the usual eight races. Every other stall was used to promote social distancing. Everyone wore a mask. Even though everyone was wearing a mask, you could still see the smiles beneath, happy to be back doing what we all love. Owner and trainer Maggie Audley said, “the strain of having to pay the same number of bills without any income was rough. Thankfully, Mr. Gural is a good friend of horseman and understood our plight. He got us back racing and for that, we are all very grateful.” Throughout this summer and to today, our day-to-day lives are still impacted by COVID-19. Horse racing in North America was fortunate that many tracks were able to reopen during the summer with no spectators while most every other professional sport was shut down. Our race paddock at Tioga remained as a mandatory mask zone up to the final race day. We continued social distancing and the rules for the driver’s lounge were followed. The paddock was upgraded from a four-race to a six-race paddock. After the meet ended at Tioga Downs, horsemen traveled to other tracks to race. Pompano Park opened its doors on October 1st for the 2020-2021 race meet. One by one, horsemen pulled out and made the journey south. By November 1st, the track was over half full. Stables were put back together with harness bags hanging and trunks out front. Everyone was ready for a fresh start at Pompano Park since the abrupt shut down in March. The first few stakes races came first. Due to unforeseen circumstances, opening day was postponed to November 15th. Eldorado’s Vice President of Racing Joe Morris and Pompano Director of Racing Gabe Prewitt have successfully composed our 2020-2021 race season with full race cards and the inclusion of fans, horsemen, and bettors. Race officials at Pompano Park have handled the safety guidelines for operating during the pandemic in a similar manner to Tioga Downs. We are currently racing in a four-race paddock with masks and social distancing. We are hopeful to fulfill our full season; but, unfortunately, we are still experiencing the fears of the unknown due to COVID-19 and the hopes that the new vaccine will bring an end to it all. The pandemic is one race that horsemen cannot wait to end. A race that will hopefully leave most everyone as winners, horsemen and fans alike. By Jessica Hallett, for Harnesslink

Lightfootedlegend (Renaldo Morales III) steals the $7,000 open harness racing trot at Tioga Downs on closing night Saturday (September 5). Lightfootedlegend ($16.00) went to the lead from his outside post and led the group to the first quarter in :27.2. Prairie Fortune (Wally Hennessey) took command as they went by the stands for the first time. He led the way to the half in :57.2. Bj Lorado (Jim Meittinis) was the first to make a move going first-over from third. Prairie Fortune remained in command as he hit three-quarters first in 1:26.1. As they made the turn for home it looked like Prairie Fortune was going to roll to victory but Lightfootedlegend had other ideas as he slid through an opening on the inside to win in a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Prairie Fortune had to settle for second best. Clarion Hall (Mike Merton) came up to get third money. Lightfootedlegend is a 5-year-old gelding by Mr Cantab. He is owned by David Linker and trained by Dale Gilmour. It was his third win of the season. He now owns eight career victories. Leading driver Walley Hennessey drove four winners on closing night. Renaldo Morales drove three winners on the card. Joe Skowyra had a training hat trick with three winners. Wall Hennessey won his second straight diving title with 90 wins. Mike Merton ended up second with 71 tallies. Corey Braden (26), Tyler Buter (24), and Bruce Aldrich Jr. (22) rounded out the top five. Rob Harmon nailed down the trainer's title with 44 wins. Gaston Lareau was second with 34 victories. Joe "Scooter" Skowyra was third with 32 trips to the winner's circle. Jim McDonald (27) and Mike Deters (26) rounded out the top five. Tioga Downs would like to thank all the fans, horsemen, and horsewomen for a successful season even through these are tough times. We look forward to 2021. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne for Tioga Downs

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

NICHOLS, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Finals head to Tioga Downs this Friday, one day prior to the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Finals at Yonkers Raceway. With $400,000 in purse money up for grabs Friday, the event will kick off a weekend of season-ending competition for the top 2- and 3-year-olds bred in the state. The full list of entries can be found here. Heading into the finals, Just Joshing leads the division for 2-year-old filly trotters with two wins and two second place finishes in four starts. Dresden is the morning line favorite among 2-year-old filly pacers, also with a pair of wins through two starts. Undefeated in four starts, Barn Hall is the horse to beat in the 2-year-old colt trot. The freshman has won more than $34,000 for trainer Steven Pratt. Isaac, undefeated in three Excelsior starts, leads among 2-year-old colt pacers. C And T's Credit is looking to pull the double in the 3-year-old filly trot. She won her Final last year and may be poised to do so again as she sits atop her division. The 3-year-old trotting colt to watch is Conquest AS. He has four wins in five starts, with a second-place finish rounding out his season record. The horse is in a competitive division with trainer entries from George Ducharme and Anette Lorentzon. Bolt Of Beauty will hope to fend off challengers to the crown for 3-year-old pacing fillies in one of the most competitive divisions in this year's series. The same can be said for Levine who holds a narrow lead atop the points standings for 3-year-old pacing colts. Owners who wish to attend in-person must email brisi@tiogadowns.com to reserve space no later than Thursday (today) at 5 p.m. Post time o n Friday is 3 p.m. From the New York Sire Stakes

Mike Merton drives four winners including the $6,000 featured harness racing pace with Real Lucky N at Tioga Downs on Sunday (September 6).  In the feature, Devisser (Renaldo Morales III) took the lead and led to the first quarter in :26.4.  Real Lucky N ($3.90) took over as they went by the stands for the first time.  He led to the half in :56.4.  Rockntouch (Brandon Parker) came first-over and put on pressure all the way down the backstretch.  Real Lucky N led to three-quarters in 1:24.3.    As they made the turn for home Real Lucky N shook loose and won going away in a lifetime best of 1:52.3.  Rockntouch held on to finish second.  Mac Anover (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) took third.  Real Lucky N is a 6-year-old gelding by Real Desire.  He is owned and trained by Rob Harmon.  It was his fourth win this season.  He now has 26 career victories.  Merton’s other win came with Whip N Neigh Neigh ($54.50), Majoring Artist ($44.40), and Lofty Beach ($3.70).  With just two live racing dates left in 2020, Wally Hennessey leads all drivers with 84 wins.  Mike Merton is second with 68 tallies.  Corey Braden (26), Tyler Buter (24), and Bruce Aldrich Jr. (21) round out the top five.  Rob Harmon trained three winners on the program and leads all trainers with 42 victories.  Gaston Lareau is second with 32 trips to the winner’s circle.  Joe Skowyra is third on the list with 29 wins.  Mike Deters (26) and Jim McDonald (25) round out the top five.  Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 11) and will feature the New York Excelsior A finals.  Post time is 3 p.m.  For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com    John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Leading harness racing driver, Wally Hennessey drives the winners of both $6,000 co-features at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 5). Tay Tay M ($3.20) takes the featured fillies & mares pace. Tay Tay M charged right to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.2. She would slow things down with a :29.2 second quarter hitting the half in :56.4. Persistent Better (Bruce Aldrich) was the first to make a move going first-over from third getting to within a length as Tay Tay M took them to three-quarters in 1:24.4. As they made the turn for home Gigi From Figi (Mike Merton) made a three-wide bid but Tay Tay M found another gear down the stretch cruising to an easy win in 1:53.3. Gold Star Mysti (Corey Braden) finished second with Grant Me This (Jim Meittinis) taking third.   Tay Tay M is a 6-year-old mare by Six Of Diamonds. She is owned by Richard Dunmire and trainer Kim Sears. It was her third straight win and fifth of the season. She now has 18 career victories. Prairie Fortune ($4.90) dominates the featured trot. Prairie Fortune forged to the front but Choochoocharlie (Phil Fluet) took the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :28.0. Prairie Fortune would re-take the top spot with a circuit to go. He was first to the half in :57.4. Clarion Hall (Mike Merton) came first-up and challenged from second. Prairie Fortune led to three-quarters in 1:26.3. As they went around the final turn, Prairie Fortune started to skip away. As they reached the stretch it would be a battle for second. Prairie Fortune breezed to the win in 1:55.3. Clarion Hall held on for second. Uncle Hanover (Corey Braden) finished third.   Prairie Fortune is an 8-year-old gelding by Arapa Victory. He is owned by Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters. It was his fifth win this season. He now has 62 career victories. Mike Merton drove four winners on the card. He got his wins with Post Time Terror ($18.20), Queen Me Again ($16.00), Quick Deal ($3.20), and Runhappy Ten ($3.70). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Sunday (September 6) with a 10-race card starting at 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

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