Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 13 of 13

HARRISBURG, PA - The remaining winners of Dan Patch Awards in the human and broodmare categories, as voted on by the membership of the United States Harness Writers Association, the sport's leading association, have been announced. The Rising Star and the Breakthrough Awards are for up-and-coming stars in harness racing, in the trainer/driver and non-trainer/driver category respectively; the Good Guy Award is given to someone who thinks and speaks positively about the sport and has a good relationship with the media, while the Unsung Hero is someone performing important tasks for the sport out of the spotlight. In grouping these four awards and their winners for description, the combinations of the foursome falling on male and female lines, as expressed in the title, is interesting. Dawnelle Mock is the Director of Marketing for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. In her three years at the western Pennsylvania track, she has been the spearhead for the MSOA onto multiple digital platforms. She has shepherded several successful charity events; she has reached out to form a partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey team, a project with a large crossover potential; and she has been the MSOA liaison with the operators of The Meadows' racetrack for a number of successful promotions, which contributed to a 6% year-over-year rise in handle at the track. Mock "works well with others," but much of her success has been born of her own initiative and vision. Wanda Polisseni has long campaigned harness horses under the name Purple Haze Stable with success, mostly in her home state of New York. She has founded a humanitarian organization to improve the standard of living - education, human services, civic improvement - in Upstate New York. Long an advocate for the after-track life of racehorses, on both the Standardbred and the Thoroughbred side of racing, Polisseni has now undertaken to buy a farm in New York that will serve as a home and a base for the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program, for state-bred horses, that will also be the headquarters of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. If Wanda Polisseni can help, you can count her in; like Mock, she makes things happen. Both Bob McClure, based in Ontario, and Jim King Jr., who races out of the state of Delaware but competes at all the major tracks, come from generations of horsepeople, and as such are not the type to seek the spotlight, though they cooperate with the media when attention comes their way. Attention came to McClure in a big way during 2019, when he won the most prestigious harness race in North America, the Hambletonian, with Forbidden Trade. The victory was the culmination of a decade of continuous growth for the graduate of smaller raceways to the Grand River-Georgian Downs-Western Fair circuit and then right to the "A" class of his province's racing at Woodbine at Mohawk Park, where he ranks among the colony's top drivers. He earned over $5 million (Can.) for the first time in 2019, despite suffering a broken pelvis on April 25 - he was back racing in less than a month, using the cutting-edge technology of a hyperbaric chamber to aid his recovery. Jim King Jr. has a reputation as a "ladies' man," but only in the best sense. In addition to having in his family two of the sport's best spokespeople - wife Jo Ann Looney-King, a former winner of the Good Guy Award, and the self-proclaimed "harness racing firecracker," awardwinning communicator Heather Vitale - King seems to have a particular touch with the pacing ladies, as evidenced by his two 2019 stars: the free-for-all Shartin N, who won over $2 million in 2018-19, and the precocious two-year-old Lyons Sentinel, North America's biggest earner as a freshman while banking over $800,000. In keeping with his winning the Good Guy award, King will give honest, thoughtful answers to the media's questions, never assuring success, but conscious of the power of the stable that his talents has built. Brittany Farms LLC, breeders of the 2019 "Millionaires' Row" of Bettor's Wish, Manchego, Six Pack, and American History among other top trotters and pacers, was voted as Breeder of the Year by USHWA. Also earning honors was the dam of Manchego, Secret Magic, who was picked as the Trotting Broodmare of the Year. Brittany Farms, owned by Hall of Famer George Segal, was purchased in the late '80s and has been among the leading nurseries in the sport throughout Segal's ownership. In 2019 Brittany ranked third among breeders with offspring winning over $12 million, despite a much lesser number of produce racing than many other establishments. Brittany bred three Breeders Crown winners in 2019 - American History, Manchego, and Reflect With Me - to raise their all-time total to 25 Crown champions, one behind Hanover Shoe Farms. As noted, the Cantab Hall-Chorine Hanover matron Secret Magic earned honors as Trotting Broodmare of the Year, primarily because of the $2 million world champion Manchego, but also contributing was In Secret, a ten-time winner and $200,000 earner against Open company. Brittany bred Secret Magic, raced her, and then kept her as a broodmare until selling her early in 2019 to Hanover. The Art Major-Precious Beauty matron Precocious Beauty has only two foals of racing age - the powerful, Breeders Crown-winning freshman pacing colt star Tall Dark Stranger and the filly Beautyonthebeach, a winner of $540,428 who lowered her mark to 1:49.2 during 2019. These two sharp stakes performers were enough to secure Pacing Broodmare of the Year honors for Precocious Beauty, herself a racetrack winner of $838,004 and with ever-increasing prospects as a broodmare for James Avritt Sr., who bred her, raced her, and continues to own her as a broodmare. This release completes the announcement of the Dan Patch Awards in the human and broodmare categories. The twelve racehorse divisional champions will be announced this Friday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. on The Meadowlands' "pre-races" show, with media releases following (availability to view that announcement will be released shortly). All of the honorees in this release and their connections will be honored at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2019 will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando FL, the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. The Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed for the first time at the Banquet. Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards Banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; "post times" on February 23 are cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets, and other Banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at or 302 359 3630. Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA's website,; a link to the hotel's computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for awardwinners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at or 708 557 2790 (the 2019 journal is online at the writers' website). From the U.S. Harness Writers Association

Goshen, NY - When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association holds their 61st annual Awards Banquet, on Sunday, December 15, 2019, Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable will receive the Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award for their continued commitment to breeding Standardbred race horses in the State of New York. Probably best known as a prominent horse owner and philanthropist, Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable was also one of the leading breeders in the lucrative New York Sire Stakes program this season. Although she ranks fourteenth in the standings, Purple Haze bred just one participant in this year's program and ranks ninth in earnings for breeders with four or less starters. It was her home-bred Chaptiama 2,1:56h-'19 ($182,235), a World Champion 2-year-old gelding by Chapter Seven from the Credit Winner mare Crediama, that put breeder Purple Haze Stables in the NYSS spotlight. Setting a world mark at Saratoga while winning a $76,750 leg of the New York Sire Stakes for trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer, the freshman trotter had eight seasonal starts, with 2 wins, 4 seconds and a third, racing exclusively in New York. Finishing a hard-charging second in the $225,000 NYSS final from post 7 at Batavia, Chaptiana completed the season as the second leading money-winning 2-year-old male trotter in the Empire State. Perhaps overshadowed somewhat by owner Purple Haze Stables' other Standardbred stars, like Breeders Crown champion Winndevie 3,1:53 ($787,682), the breeding arm of the operation is in good company with other successful NYSS small breeders such as Anders Strom's Courant AB, Jeff Gural's Little E, Stefan Balazsi's Order By Stable and Joie De Vie Farm. A resident of Fairport, NY, Polisseni owns over 100 Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds and has previously owned many hundreds more. She has also bred nearly 50 harness horses. It is this close connection to the animals that prompted Polisseni to establish several racehorse adoption and aftercare programs and facilities. Her latest project is the Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program (PHSAP) which sits on a beautiful 100+ acre farm in Oxford, NY that is being outfitted to accept retired New York-bred Harness Horses exclusively. A loyal owner and an avid fan of harness racing, Polisseni is working hard to ensure that racehorses have a safe haven once their competitive days are over. Never one to seek accolades, she quietly goes about her days making life better for those that may not be able to stand up for themselves. She is also the co-founder of the Polisseni Foundation, which is a humanitarian association that assists organizations and groups in meeting community needs and improving the quality of life in the areas of education, human services and civic improvement within Upstate New York. As a breeder, Wanda Polisseni can honestly say that she cares for racehorses from start to finish. In addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honor Mickey Burke (Lifetime Achievement Award); Noelle Duspiva (Excelsior Award); Barbara Martinez (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award); Larry Lederman (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Dave Brower (Phil Pines Award); Tony Verruso (Amateur Driver); Joe Chindano, Jr. (Rising Star), etc. Just a few days remain to place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, please contact Chris Tully immediately at (845) 807-7538 or Email: Tickets for the gala event at The Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club, Middletown, NY, can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at (845) 794-4100 extension 458 or Email: by Chris Tully, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA    

Wanda Polisseni is the type of person who, in her own words, prefers to fly under the harness racing radar. But after her Winndevie won last month's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, providing Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables with its first trophy, that became a little more difficult. Not that Polisseni has any complaints. "I was surprised at the number of people that congratulated me and follow my horses; I'm very appreciative," Polisseni said. "I'm not infatuated with the winner's circle. That's not what I'm all about. But I fully appreciate it. Winning a race like the Breeders Crown makes it all worth it. "There are so many people that have been in (the sport) so much longer than I have and I'd like to see these other people win too. I feel like I've had more than my share of blessings and good fortune. I just love to see my horses race, no matter where they end up, as long as they're healthy and happy." Winndevie returns to the races Thursday in the $176,150 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Dover Downs. In fact, all four 3-year-old Breeders Crown champions - with Dancin Lou, Gimpanzee, and Warrawee Ubeaut joining Winndevie in that group - will be in action in the Matron events for sophomore pacers and trotters. Trained by Trond Smedshammer and driven by Brian Sears, Winndevie is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field that includes Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, who was second in the Breeders Crown, as well as Crown third- and fourth-place finishers The Ice Dutchess and Only Take Cash, not to mention Elegantimage Stakes winner Evident Beauty. Winndevie, by Credit Winner out of Vida De Vie, has won six of 14 races this year and hit the board a total of 13 times. Her earnings of $559,804 lead all 3-year-old filly trotters. For her career, Winndevie has won 12 of 21 starts, including the 2018 New York Sire Stakes championship, and $787,682. Her trip to the Breeders Crown was her first Grand Circuit appearance after spending her career to that point on the New York circuit. Polisseni called the filly's Breeders Crown triumph at Woodbine Mohawk Park, "really a very nice surprise." It is probably fitting because her arrival in Smedshammer's stable was a surprise as well. Polisseni thought she had completed her shopping for yearlings at the Standardbred Horse Sale two Novembers ago until she looked over her list of purchases and realized she did not get a Credit Winner-sired filly. So, after a review of the remaining possibilities, she bought Winndevie (then named Hello Dolly De Vie) for $45,000 on the final day of the yearling auction. "I never told Trond I was going to buy her," Polisseni said, laughing at the circumstances surrounding the purchase. "I knew I wanted a Credit Winner filly and she was the best one that I liked that day. I liked the way she looked on the floor, the way she moved, and the video. I loved her. She's a beautiful filly. "I put her on the truck to go down to Trond's (stable). It was a surprise to him. But he's told me many times in the winner's circle that he's so glad I bought her." Polisseni, who lives in upstate New York, got her start as a harness racing owner about 15 years ago. Smedshammer has trained her horses for a decade. Her Purple Haze Stables has ranked among the top 10 in earnings for owners on multiple occasions, including in 2018 and 2019. "I feel really blessed with the success that I've had and having Trond as a trainer," Polisseni said. "He's the best. He knows how I want my horses treated and it's always the horse comes first. I never have to worry with Trond, there is no stress. That makes the racing so much more fun. "(The Breeders Crown) was all for Trond. That's how I felt. I wanted him to get all the attention and accolades. I was thrilled." Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Dover Downs. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Batavia, NY---Perfect weather and a lightning fast track provided record-breaking conditions for Buen Camino and trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and the pair did not disappoint. They were never headed in a $55,500 division of the New York Sire Stakes on Wednesday night (Aug. 20) at Batavia Downs and rewrote history. In an uncharacteristic move, Smedshammer sent Buen Camino out of the gate and put him right on the point; something the 2-year-old had never done before. But it wasn't done by accident; his driver had a plan. Smedshammer said after the race "It was time to put him on the front end. He was very good tonight." And perhaps very good was an understatement. After cutting fractions of :29.3, :59.4 and 1:29.2, Buen Camino pulled away from the pack while motoring in a :28.3 final panel to post a lifetime mark of 1:58 flat, which was also a new track record at Batavia Downs for 2-year-old trotting geldings. Post time favorite Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) got caught second over in a dull outer flow behind Andy Ray (Brent Holland) and followed that one to the top of the last turn before tipping three deep. But by that time it was too late as Buen Camino had opened up three and was cruising for the wire. Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) who skirted the pylons during the mile caught second and Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) closed well to be third. The winner paid $22.40. This was the second win in only four lifetime starts for Buen Camino (Cash Hall-Baby Bella) and it boosted his earnings to $64,722 for owner Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stable LLC. After the race, Polisseni said "He's been a nice horse since day one but he's had some bad trips along the way. Trond really likes him and we're both very optimistic for next year." In the other $54,500 division, Tidquist (Conway Hall-Appomattox Lady) captured his first lifetime win in a convincing wire-to-wire, 1:59.4 victory for driver Mike Simons. Shooting quickly off the wings, Tidquist took a powerful four-length lead to the quarter pole where most of the field had trouble keeping up with him. After marking the first three stations in :30.1, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1, Royal Deceptor (Michael Mc Givern) who had been tracking him second, finally got close and pulled to challenge at the top of the lane. But Tidquist had another idea and turned on the speed to fly home in a sparkling :28.3 final quarter to win by a widening length and a quarter. Royal Deceptor hung on for second and Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) was third. Overlooked by the bettors, the winner paid $27.60. The win was the first in six lifetime starts for Tidquist and was responsible for the bulk of his $33,196 in earnings for owners Robert Brooks, Jana Bowen, John Buettner and Charlene Long. Tidquist is trained by Jeffrey Long. There were also three divisions of the Excelsior Series that went for a total of $38,000. Abir Hanover (Credit Winner-Are You Ready) captured the first $12,600 division in 2:01.2 for trainer Paul Kelley and driver Jason Bartlett and paid $4.60. Abir Hanover is owned by Paul Kelley, W.J. Donovan and Theodore Gewertz. Lucky Pablo (Lucky Chuck-Classical Princess) won the second $12,700 split, also in 2:01.2 for trainer/driver John Stark Jr. and paid $24.00. Lucky Pablo is owned by Edmund Smith, Crawford Farms LLC, James Giannuzzi and David Smith. And in the third session, Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the $12,700 contest in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and paid $3.50. Crazshana is owned by the Purple Haze Stable LLC. The Purple Haze Stable sent out three winners on the evening and drivers Trond Smedshammer and Mark MacDonald both had driving triples. Racing resumes on Friday (Aug. 22) at Batavia Downs with a 12 race card that has a 6:35 post time.   Tim Bojarski

On Sunday, August 10, Batavia Downs and Sunshine Horses will celebrate the careers and initiate the retirement of three outstanding equine athletes as they move on to a new vocation after harness racing. Arm and a Leg, Perfect Man and Golden Terror have all been solid campaigners at Batavia Downs over the years and although their racing days are over, they still have a lot to offer. These horses demonstrated their talent, drive, and character on the track and left a lasting impression on the Standardbred racing industry in this area. Arm and a Leg (Nobleland Sam-Kelly's Hat Trick) had 52 wins in 234 lifetime starts and earned $320,791.He had a lifetime mark of 1:54 and was owned by Mark Jakubik of West Seneca, New York. Perfect Man (Malabar Man-Perfectly Swift) scored 22 wins in 160 attempts and earned $225,460 for his efforts. His best clocking was 1:57 for owner Howard Ouriel of Webster, New York. Golden Terror (Western Terror-Bell Ami's Love) had 21 win out of 99 starts and contributed $158,405 to the account of his owners, Team Italia Racing Stable of Buffalo, New York. With all three horses now ready for their second career, theywill be in the Winner's Circleone more time with their former owners. And Golden Terror and Perfect Man will meet their new forever families there as well. Each horse will be presented with a commemorative cooler symbolizing their transition from their careers on the track to their new homes. The track will also remember many Western New York horses such as Michael Scores, Tuesdays with Mom and Hitwiththeladies. The day will also feature a visit from Sunshine mini mascot Zack and a silent auction in the paddock room featuring many beautiful items including a recliner, a 50 inch flat screen TV, an autographed Syracuse basketball poster and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly autographed football helmet and football. First race post time is 1:15. Sunshine Horses would like to thank Howard Ouriel, Cathy Barzycki, Todd Haight, and Wanda Polisseni for their generous contributions to this event. Sunshine Horses is a non-profit re-homing and rescue facility for horses located in upstate and central New York. It was founded by Kate Starr in 2003 and has found homes for more than 150 horses to date. Their mission is to find a "forever home" where the horses can be taken care of for the rest of their lives. For more information on the organization and to find out how you can help, logon to Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY --- As the opening night of July 23 nears at America’s oldest lighted harness plant, Batavia Downs, several racetrack and facility improvements continue. "To say it has been a hectic off season would be an understatement," said Todd Haight, director/general manager of live racing. "We currently have several projects going on and all are ahead of schedule. "The first change our customers will see is a temporary entrance. Racing fans and gaming customers will both use the same North entrance. The new front lobby atrium is scheduled to be completed Nov. 1. Access to the historic clubhouse will be through the enclosed grandstand or from the elevator at the valet entrance." Purple Haze Winner's Circle Batavia Downs will have a brand new winner's circle when the 68th season begins, thanks to a donation by Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stables. The Purple Haze Winner's Circle will be seven feet wider and be level with the racing surface. "Material on the racetrack has built up over time and there was quite a dip from the racetrack to the winner's circle, so much so we really haven’t been able to use the winner's circle the last few years," Haight said. "First and foremost the new winner's circle will provide equine safety for all horses heading back to get their picture taken. Additionally, all patrons going out to get their picture taken won’t have to walk on the racetrack any longer, which was a problem, especially on nights the racetrack was sloppy. "Thanks to Wanda, our winner's circle issue has been solved. We are proud to call our winner's circle, the Purple Haze Winner's Circle." Open Grandstand Renovation efforts continue to the open grandstand. Work completed so far includes a new section of painted seating and the entire grandstand is now completely paneled in. Work has also begun on the once popular lower bowl seating area. Those seats, once filled on a nightly basis, haven’t been used since racing returned to Batavia Downs in 2002. “The lower bowl seating project won’t be completed until November, which given our Western New York weather might be a bit late for this season, but for years to come our customers should find the lower bowl a preferred area to view the races," Haight said. by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs

MONTICELLO, NY- After again running another successful awards banquet in late November the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of U.S. Harness Writers donated $3000 to Historic Track at their monthly Board Meeting on November 19. The presentation of the check was made to Bernie White, President of Historic Track's Board of Directors by John Manzi, the chapter's banquet chairman and longtime Historic Track Board member. Moreover, Historic Track gained another $600 as a result of the Monticello-Goshen USHWA Chapter Banquet. At the chapter's awards banquet on November 17, Wanda Polisseni, one of the main honorees, gave Manzi a $500 donation for Historic Track and in lieu of a trophy Gerry Fielding, the Amy Bull Crist Award winner, donated the trophy cost ($100) to Historic Track, also. That donation will be matched and the National Historic Landmark will actually end-up with $7,200. For the 30th consecutive year the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has donated to Historic Track the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Last summer the organization presented a $3000 check to Museum President Ebby Gerry, Jr. prior to the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame Banquet in Goshen, NY on July 7. Since the early 1980's the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA has donated money to Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum. Money raised for the donations is made possible from successful chapter banquets and the continued support of the chapter's charity journals. "We thank all who participate in our annual awards banquets and charity journals and we are very fortunate to be able to raise the money..... and when we do.... it is our pleasure to donate the profits back to the industry; especially to Historic Track and to the Harness Racing Museum, which are not only in our own back yard but very dear to us and to the hearts of everyone in harness racing," noted Chris Tully, president of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA and first VP National. "In addition, we will also be making our annual $3000 donation to the Harness Racing Museum next July. A special thanks goes to John Manzi whose dedicated efforts make the banquets successful." In the early 1980's annual donations by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA were used to support a college scholarship but the members decided back then that when the chapter donates it should be to Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum--both separate not-for profit entities-although over the years the chapter has also donated to many other harness racing industry causes. by John Manzi for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA  

The very first races using the new racetrack configuration in front of the brand new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment grandstand were the Thursday morning qualifiers. Eight races in total were highlighted by several stars of the season using the races as a prep for next week’s opening in the fantastic new facility.   The first qualifier was won by the accomplished older trotter Blacktuxwhitesocks, driven to a closing win from just off the pace over stable mate Bluff by his trainer Trond Smedshammer in 1:57-. The career winner of nearly $900,000 has been owned throughout his career by Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable.   Trond came right back to win the second race with his champion trotter Arch Madness in a tightner for the upcoming TVG last leg on Opening Day, November 23 and the $500,000 Final a week later. The old boy has really found his best form lately, winning the Allerage Farms Open trot elimination at The Red Mile in a career record equaling 1:50.2 and then the final of that race a week later. He trotted along on a happy lead this morning through comfortable fractions tacking a :56 final half and 27.3 last quarter on his 1:54- win. He is the pride of owners Marc Goldberg and Barry Goldstein’s Willow Pond LLC.   The Kindergarten Trotting Classic final winner Southwind Spirit knocked the dust off with a 1:57.4 win, home in 28.2 for regular driver Yannick Gingras. He is one of the leading eligibles for the $430,000e Valley Victory for the Burke Stable, who owns him in partnership with Weaver & Bruscemi, LLC and Stable 45.   Pacers came up in race four, with a couple of nice two year old colts sharpening up for the $500,000e Governor’s Cup. Arthur Blue Chip (Dave Miller) and Somestarsomewhere (Yannick Gingras) went right to the wire together in 1:53.3. Watching the pair of talented freshmen battle rekindled memories of watching their sires, Shadow Play and Somebeachsomewhere, square off in the 2008 Messenger Stakes.   Miller had Arthur on the lead through conservative numbers and Yannick wrestled his mount into a four hole before moving first over around the final bend. Both were willing through the sprint home.   Dr. Ian Moore trains Arthur Blue Chip, owned in partnership with RG McGroup and Serge Savard. Somestreetsomewhere is conditioned by Ron Burke for his own interests with Weaver & Bruscemi, M. Yanek and L Karr.   Freshman pacing fillies were next, Gingras and Miller battled to the wire again with JK Molly (Gingras/Burke for 3 Brother Stable) and Delightful Dragon (Miller for Noel Daley and the Adam Victor & Son Stable) in 1:55- /28. Those two debutantes are among the top candidates for the $400,00e Three Diamonds.   Western Vintage and JK Endofanera paced to the wire together in 1:54.2/28- in a tight finish between two more Governors Cup eligibles. Brian Sears had JK Endofanera forwardly placed throughout for Ron Burke, who trains the Art Major colt for the 3 Brothers Stables. Western Vintage was reserved off the pace and finished strong for Gingras. Perry Soderberg now has a partner in the good Western Ideal colt in Marvin Katz. Nancy Johansson is the trainer.   The next qualifiers will be on Monday evening with a scheduled post time of 6:00pm, the box for those will close at 10:00am tomorrow (Friday).  A preview of the new grandstand will be made available to horsemen with the evening qualifiers of Thursday, November 23, again at 6:00pm.   More information is available on the Meadowlands Racing& Entertainment website. by Nick Salvi for the Meadowlands  

Chairman Shawn Wiles wants to remind members that the  USTA District 8 Membership Meetings along with the District 8 and  New York Sires Stakes  Awards Dinner will be held at Tioga Downs on Sunday, October  27. The informative  programs are run  under the aegis of the United States trotting Association and  Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund. “During the membership meetings there will be a discussion of the proposed rules and suggested by-law changes  and  we’ll have a Q and A period ” Wiles said.  Joining Wiles will be the USTA’s Ellen Harvey. “I’ll have the usual USTA list of activities and some of them I know more about than others, so I can give a summary of those with which I am most familiar and answer some questions,” Harvey added. Also present at the USTA Meetings  will be District Directors, Jason Settlemoir, Mark Ford, Ray Schnittker, Mike Kane, Bruce Tubin and Kim Crawford. The General Membership Meetings will begin at 5:00PM. At 6:30PM there will be a Cocktail Party hosted by Tioga Downs, Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Vernon Downs followed at 7:30PM with the Banquet Dinner and Awards Ceremonies. The membership meetings and discussions are free to all USTA District 8 members. However, tickets to the Banquet and award ceremonies are $30 per person. The top horses  in the New York Sires Stakes program  along with the best  owned by USTA District  8 members will be awarded beautiful trophies. But the highlight of the awards presentations will be the Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal which will be awarded to Wanda Polisseni. Those who plan on attending the awards dinner must  remember to make reservations (518-785-5858) prior to Wednesday October 23 and  then make checks payable to HHBNYS  and mail to: Harness Horse Breeders;  400 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110 by John Manzi for USTA/NYSS

LATHAM, NY---The Harness Horse Breeders of New York State are proud to announce that Wanda Polisseni has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal. For the seventh consecutive year, this award recognizes an individual who has shown outstanding integrity in the sport and also has taken the time to give back to both harness racing and their community in the State of New York. Wanda Polisseni has certainly exemplified these traits since becoming involved in the industry. Polisseni was born and raised in Yates County and her love of harness racing started early as her family boarded Standardbred horses on their farm in the town of Potter, New York. However she would not buy her first one until after her husband, Gene, passed away in 2001. That is when she decided to do something she had always wanted and purchased her first six Standarbreds. Living in Fairport, Polisseni is only minutes from Finger Lakes Racetrack and also enjoys Thoroughbred racing. So she decided to invest in some of those too. Before long, the Purple Haze Stable (the business name chosen for her daughter Kimberly’s favorite color) was home to over 100 horses; about a 50/50 split between both breeds. Polisseni has always been a big supporter of the New York Sire Stakes program and has been heavily invested in New York bred stock since getting into the business. Her successes there have been many and horses like Dajarmbro and Blacktuxwhitesocks have also made names for themselves on the Grand Circuit as well. But there is one thing she enjoys more than watching her horse’s race; and that is helping others. The Polisseni Foundation was formed in the memories of Wanda’s daughter (Kimberly, who died in an auto accident) and husband (Gene) and has the mission statement “Improving the quality of life in upstate New York”. Since its inception in 1983, it has donated millions of dollars to worthy causes in an attempt to make the lives of those in Rochester, New York and the surrounding suburbs better. And they have certainly accomplished what they set out to do. A short list of contributions include building the Polisseni Center for minimally invasive surgery and Endoscopy unit at the Rochester General Hospital, the new ice hockey rink at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the new track and field complex at St. John Fisher College, a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging center at the F.F. Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua, and they have also made major contributions to the Special Olympics of Monroe County, Advent House, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Marine Corp scholarship fund, Upstate Guide Dogs, Equicenter (horseback therapy for the physically impaired), National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. Wanda Polisseni personally takes part in and contributes to any and all track sponsored fundraisers that occur during the racing year. Polisseni was also a driving force in the formation of a horse rescue foundation called the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP). Her contribution there built “The Purple Haze Center”, which is a 10,000 square foot facility housing 12 x 12 foot stalls with stall doors that have a fold down design that allows the horses to interact with barn visitors. Outside there is a 70 x 72 foot riding arena as well as four 60 x 60 foot paddocks for turnout and two 60 foot round pens that allow the horses time on grass. Over 400 horses have been placed in new homes through the efforts of the FLTAP. Character, accomplishment and benevolence are the qualities the Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal seeks to honor every year. And there is no one who displays those more than Wanda Polisseni. The Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal will be presented to Polisseni at the New York Sire Stakes/USTA District 8 awards dinner on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 5:30 p.m. at Tioga Downs. For reservations or more information, contact the Harness Horse Breeders at 518-785-5858 or by Tim Bojarski for Harness Horse Breeders of NY State  

VERNON, NY—The quick-striding pacer Don’t Blame Her, and driver Fern Paquet, Jr. shared the spotlight during Thursday night’s 11-race program at Vernon Downs. Don’t Blame Her became a two-time winner at Vernon’s 69-program meeting with a 1:51.2 victory in the evening’s $10,000 Open for female pacers, while Paquet produced five wins during the card. For the second week in a row, co-owner Joe Bongiorno handled the lines behind Don’t Blame Her as the 10-year-old mare wired four fast-footed distaff rivals in Thursday’s second race, stopping the timer in 1:51.2, a mile that equaled her lifetime speed record and came within two-fifths of a second of Intimidate’s season’s standard for representatives of the diagonal gait at the Downs. The impressive mile resulted in the second straight score, fifth this season and 56th all-time for the bay daughter of Village Connection-Never My Fault, who is also registered to Barbara Bongiorno, and trained by Brad Irvine. It was the 210th start for the career-earner of $780,982. She had obtained her win-mark at The Meadowlands last season. Paquet captured the first, third, fourth, fifth and 10th events to tie Rick Plano, Roman Lopez and Chris Lems at one for most wins by any driver during a single program at the track’s 60th anniversary meeting. Three of Paquet’s victories (Mc Thunderstruck, Salome Marvel and Want More) were for owner/trainer John McNeil, III, who chalked up his initial training triple at the Downs this year. Jimmy Whittemore charted his 13th double at the Downs in 2013 to take an 83-81 lead over Roman Lopez in their battle for second place on this season’s dash-winning driving chart. DOWNS DOINGS Wanda Polisseni’s 3-year-old trotting colt Winnerwind produced his initial pari-mutuel victory after trainer Dan Daley drove the brown son of Credit Winner to a 1:59.1 personal-best mark in Thursday’s seventh session… The Downs will present a 12-race card on Friday that will begin at 6:45 p.m… A revised 2013, 88-program racing and stakes calendar, as well as additional information regarding Vernon Downs, its casino, hotel, racing and promotional events can be obtained at Jim Moran

VERNON, NY—Friday night’s “End of the Summer Showdown” program at Vernon Downs was one of speed and substance. Intimidate captured the $214,000 Credit Winner Open Trot with a 1:51 performance that becomes the fastest mile by a trotter in the 60-year history of the track, and it serves as a new standard for 4-year-old geldings on the diagonal gait. D’Orsay powered to a 1:52 triumph in her first U. S. A. start to win the $202,000 Muscle Hill contest and become the swiftest 4-year-old trotting mare here ever. The season’s standard for 2-year-old pacing fillies locally was lowered twice, finally settling on a 1:52.1 clocking by JK Molly. I’m The Pied Piper sped to a 1:50.2 victory in the night’s $10,000 Open pace that missed the track mark for 4-year-old pacing horses by just two ticks of the timer. Hall of Famer Ron Pierce did the teaming behind Intimidate in Friday’s 11th event, closing from fourth in a :27.4 final quarter to catch and defeat the game Sevruga by ½-length. The time trimmed 1/5th-of-a-second off the previous all-time track trotting mark, set by the great San Pail in 2011. It was the fifth win in six current outings for the bay son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, who is trained by Luc Blais and owned by Canadians Judith Farrow and Les Ecuries Luc Blais, Inc. The gifted gelding is now a career winner of more than $564,700. One race earlier, D’Orsay, competing as part of a two-trotter Jonas Czernyson stable entry, led early, caught a breather in second-place during the middle portion of the mile, and then rallied in the final stages of the contest to defeat the pace-setting Beatgoeson Hanover by three lengths, and secure her fourth victory in 10 current outings. It resulted in the seventh career victory for the bay daughter of Yankee Glide-Danae, now an earner of $302,085 for the Consus Racing Stable. It was one of three victories during Friday’s 12-race card for driver Corey Callahan. JK Molly improved her season’s summary line to 4-1-1 after a career-quickest 1:52.1 effort in Friday’s ninth race, second and final flight of a $106,124 New York Sires Stakes test for 2-year-old filly representatives of the lateral-gait. Tim Tetrick teamed the bay daughter of Art Major-Heather’s Western for noted trainer Linda Toscano and the 3 Brothers Stable. The l-1/2-length tally improved the frisky filly’s career winnings to more than $111,200. Friday’s first NYSS showdown was won by Sweetnsinful (American Ideal-Ali Badali), who reigned as the season’s swiftest frosh distaff sidewheeler locally for a few minutes after posting a career-fastest 1:52.2 score in the seventh race. Jimmy Whittemore did the steering for trainer Homer Hochstetler, an owner along with his wife, Connie, and James B. Michels. The sprightly filly now sports a 3-2-0 performance line and winnings in excess of $106,700 after six official trips to the track. Making just his second Vernon appearance in Friday’s second race, I’m The Pied Piper took the lead after the opening quarter and was never seriously challenged thereafter, winning by three-quarters of a length and authoring one of the faster miles of Vernon’s 60th anniversary season. It was the fourth season’s score and 12th lifetime win for the fast-stepping son of Western Ideal-Lisjune, who reached the $200,000 plateau in career earnings for the Ron Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, JJK Stables and the Panhellenic Stable. Callahan did the chauffeuring for conditioner Ron Burke. Friday’s stellar line-up also included three divisions of a $38,500 Excelsior series match-up for New York-bred first-year female pacers, the fastest of which was won by Spreester in 1:52.3. It was the second local tally for the bay daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree, who currently owns a 6-1-1 performance line after eight career outings. Frank Coppola, Jr. did the sulky-sitting for trainer Paul Zabielski and owner Kimberley Zabielski in the eighth event. The evening’s other Excelsior series first-place finishers were Carlota Blue Chip (American Ideal-Bet Your Life), who earned her “maiden” 1:55.4 victory with Rick Plano piloting for trainer Trond Smedshammer and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables in race 12, and Hay Stacked (Art Major-Monique’s Legacy), who scooted to a 1:56.3 win-mark and her second season’s score in the sixth session, with Callahan at the controls for conditioner Ray Schnittker, an owner along with Theodore Gewertz. DOWNS DOINGS More than $584,000 in prize money was dispersed during Friday’s 61st racing program of 2013… The Regina Dewhurst-owned trotter Ziegler Hanover hustled up his seventh score of the local campaign in Friday’s fourth race and is currently tied with fellow square-gaiter Ulay Boko and the pacer Hot Cowboy for most equine victories through Sept. 6… The Downs will present a 13-race program starting at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday night… 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  Jim Moran

Batavia, NY --- Coming off a big opening night that saw one of the largest crowds in years, America’s oldest lighted harness plant could be just as busy on Wednesday night (July 24), especially in the clubhouse, when it hosts its annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. All 12 races on the Wednesday program have been sponsored with a $250 donation by various Western New York businesses and individuals who understand the importance of helping out such a great cause. A blanket presentation will be made after each race representing the sponsoring party. The blankets are again being donated by Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable. While a minimum of $3,000 will be raised from the night’s festivities, the track is confident that total will grow higher. “It literally takes 15 minutes to find the 12 race sponsors,” Todd Haight, GM of Live Racing said. “All of the night’s sponsors have been helping us raise money for many years now. I think everyone involved appreciates what a great job the folks from the BCCR do with people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.” Haight pointed out there are other ways money can be raised on Wednesday. “Throughout the evening our customers will simply call me over and make a donation; we then have track announcer Joe Zambito make an announcement of the generosity shown by the customer(s) and that gets the ball rolling. A few years ago a horse owner from Florida who races locally was watching us via streaming video and called the racetrack and made a sizeable donation.” Lori Meath, Outreach Coordinator for the Coalition, expressed amazement at what she called “a well-oiled machine.” “This is my first year here and I am awed by the proficiency and enthusiasm of the Batavia Downs effort.” Meath explained that 100 percent of the proceeds from this type of event stay in the Rochester region to provide no-cost support, education and advocacy for families dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. “As a grass-roots community organization, we could not do any of what we do without this type of support.” Racing gates open at 5 p.m. and clubhouse doors open at 5:30 p.m. with first post scheduled for 6:30 p.m. To make clubhouse reservations, call Batavia Downs at 585.343.3750. Admission and parking are free. by Brian J. Mazurek  

1 to 13 of 13