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Tuesday, May 22, 2018


                          BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway          

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 21, 2018—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Tuesday evening’s (May 22nd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $5,145.55 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 Tuesday night (7 through 11 if at least that many races carded). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program.

Monday, May 21, 2018


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 21, 2018—Post positions have been drawn for Yonkers Raceway’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace and $111,444 Lismore.

The 28th Rooney, one of Yonkers’ premier event’s for the sport’s glamour division, offers six 3-year-old colts and two geldings. The event, which began in 1989, a year after the death of Art Rooney Sr., goes as Saturday night’s (May 26th) sixth race.

The open draw probably didn’t bother one elimination winner (Trump Nation [Jason Bartlett, post 4]), though it cheesed off the other (Decoy [Dave Miller, post 8]).

Miller, who has won this race three times, including last season with Downbytheseaside, obviously has his work cut out behind the son of Somebeachsomewhere. Jimmy Takter trains for Brixton Medical, R A W Equine and Joe Sbrocco.

Decoy won his elim going away, by 8½ lengths in a ‘good’ 1:54.

Bartlett, the perennial leading local driver, has never won the Rooney. Trump Nation took over early a week ago, making the lead from an eventual breaker and holding sway. He won by a head in 1:53.3. his fastest purse mile of the season.

The Betterthancheddar colt enters the final with new co-ownership (Evan Katz and Crawford Racing) and  new trainer (Chris Oakes).

The field, with declared drivers…1-Minnie Vinnie (Tim Tetrick), 2-Kwik Talkin’ (Jordan Stratton listed), 3-Springsteen (Brian Sears), 4-Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett), 5-Jimtastic (Eric Goodell), 6-Major Authority (Yannick Gingras), 7-Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller), 8-Decoy (Dave Miller).    

The 14th Lismore, companion event to the Rooney, was carded as the fifth race. Lone elimination winner Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube) landed in post No. 2 among the octet of 3-year-old pacing.

The field, with declared drivers…1-Solitary (Brent Holland), 2-Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube), 3-Believe in Me (Brian Sears), 4-Pass Line Bluechip (Jason Bartlett), 5-Python Blue Chip (George Brennan) 6-Alexa’s Power (Tim Tetrick), 7-Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald), 8-Reign on Me (Brett Miler).

First post for the 12-race card is the usual 6:50 PM.

Two AM wins Open Trot at Tioga Downs.

Two AM (Tyler Buter) won the co-featured Open Trot ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 20).

Dragin The Wagon (Aaron) led the group into first quarter in :28.3.  Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) took over and controlled the next fractions (:57.0, 1:26.3) and led going into the stretch.

Two AM ($5.90), who is owned by Gene Oldford Farms, L.M. Buter, and the Fuhs Stable, while trained by Todd Buter, charged late in the stretch to win in 1:54.2.  Prairie Fortune held on for second with I'm Fabulous (Jim Taggart Jr.) finishing in third.

Two AM is a 4-year-old gelding by Muscle Massive.  He is one for one in 2018.  It was his 13th career victory.

Chantepleure (Austin Siegelman goes gate to wire to take the Open Pace ($12,000).

Chantepleure ($25.60) flew out of the gate like he had wings and led by five lengths by the first quarter Owned by Rose Deluca and trained by Dawn Devaux, he controlled all the fractions (:27.2, :55.3, 1:22.2, 1:50.1).  Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) came up to finish second with Doo Wop Hanover (Jim Meittinis) getting third.

Chantepleure is a 7-year-old gelding by Art Major.  It was his second win of the season and  his20th career win.  The time of 1:50.2 smashed his lifetime best by three seconds

Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 25) at 6:15 p.m..  Tioga Downs will celebrate Memorail Day a day early.  The will have a special Sunday night (May 27) card starting at 6:15 p.m., with firworks following the live performance.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, May 20, 2018—Smalltownthrowdown (Brian Sears, $8.50) was a two-move titan Sunday afternoon (May 20th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $54,800 Open Handicap Trot

The field of eight (seven with nose-to-gate, one in back of bus) went as the opener and the first of four ‘French’ trots. Smalltownthrowdown, three-wide from post position No. 6—in one notch after the programmed pylon number was removed—found an early four-hole.

He watched Buen Camino (Jim Marohn Jr.) and longshot Bluebird Jesse (catch-driver Brent Holland) duel early, with the latter—out two turns—making the lead between a :28.1 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 half.

Smalltownthrowdown was then ready for his cue, extricating himself from the cones and busting the race wide open. The lead was 3½ lengths at the 1:27 three-quarters. After a 1:55.2 milepost, Smalltownthrowdown finished the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:25.4.

Buen Camino found room late to grab a best-of-the-rest second, beaten 3¾ lengths. Bluebird Jesse easily held third, with Kinetic King (Jordan Stratton) and Gural Hanover (George Brennan) relegated to the minors. Seasoned Saint (Jason Bartlett) was a never-in-it sixth as the 19-10 favorite.  

For third choice Smalltownthrowdown, a 5-year-old statebred Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Yves Sarazin and VIP Internet Stable, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $26.80, the triple returned $124 and the superfecta paid $439.50.
Sunday’s return of the ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 9-Forest Blue (Belmont’s 3rd race) and 1-Noble Warrawee (Yonkers’ 7th race) paid $50.75 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $6,254.

The next Sunday matinee is June 17th (post time TBA).  


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ariana G made her return to the races a winning one, scoring in the first of two divisions of the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
The 2017 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown champion was ready to go in her first start as a 4-year-old off a pair of solid qualifiers, marching up to the top just after the quarter, which went in :27.3.
Bill’s Man, the 9-2 second choice in the wagering, came after the leader as he made progress up the backstretch and got into striking position at three-quarters, but Ariana G had been able to rate the middle half in :57.2, leaving her plenty for the stretch drive. After trotting her final quarter in :27.1, she hit the wire three-quarters-of-a-length in front of Dunbar Hall, who had explosive late trot after going a third-over trip. Yes Mickey, one of only three horses to defeat Ariana G a year ago, finished third.
“(Driver) Yannick (Gingras) said she was loaded,” said winning trainer Jimmy Takter. “But I’m always nervous when my horses make their first start of the year.”
He needn’t have been.
As the 2-5 favorite, Ariana G returned $2.80 to her backers for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She trotted the mile in 1:52.1 and now has 22 wins from 27 lifetime starts and earnings of $1.89 million.
The second Graduate division saw a thrilling stretch duel go to Achille Duharas, who nailed International Moni by a nose on the wire in 1:52.2.
Making his first start of the year, International Moni was sharp, working out an inside trip and looking like a winner in deep stretch, but the Toronto invader Achille Duharas ($8.20 to win), with Jody Jamieson driving, got up as they hit the finish. Lord Cromwell was third.
A LITTLE MORE: The total wager of $2,172,322 represented a 25 percent decrease from the corresponding card from a year ago. A total of only 83 horses participated on Saturday’s program, an average of 8.3 per race for the 10 races. Last year, 112 horses were spread over 12 races, an average of 9.3 per race. … One lucky simulcast player in Toms River, N.J. raked the pot in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10. After surviving nine legs, he or she walked away with $15,257. … Harness racing’s biggest pot of gold got a little bit bigger. The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $233,359. … Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday at 7:15 p.m.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 19, 2018—Yonkers Raceway’s foggy Saturday night (May 19th) featured eliminations for both the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces.
With 10 3-year-old boys entering the Rooney and nine sophomore girls in the Lismore, it was three games of ‘musical chairs’ to determine next week’s finalists.
Odds-on favorite Decoy (Dave Miller, $2.20) made short work of his four foes in the first, $40,000 eliminations for the Rooney. Unhurried from post position No. 3, he rolled to the past the half, then rolled away. The final margin over a ‘good’ surface was 8½ lengths in 1:54.
Minnie Vinnie (Brett Miller) closed for second as the 32-1 rank outsider, with Major Authority (Brian Sears) third and early leader Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett) fourth. Matinee Fashion (George Brennan) eliminated himself with a break down the backside the second time.  
For Decoy, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned Brixton Medical Group, R A W Equine & Joe Sbrocco and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $36.60, with no triple wagering offered due to the short field.
“I was pretty happy with him,” Miller said. “He went a good middle half. Now, we hope to good for next week.
Miller has won three finals of the Rooney Pace, including last season with Downbytheseaside.
Saturday other 40-large elim for the Rooney saw Trump Nation (Bartlett, $9) hold off both 4-5 choice Springsteen (Sears) and Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) by a head and a neck, respectively.
Pole-sitting Trump Nation took over from early leader—and subsequent breaker—Handsoffmychips (Brennan), then finish it off in 1:53.3, his fastest purse mile of the season.
Kwik Talkin’ (Jordan Stratton) wound up fourth.
For third choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by (trainer) Andrew Harris and Evan Katz, he’s now 2-for-4 this season. The exacta paid $17.80, with again no triple wagering offered.
“I wanted to control the race,” Bartlett said. “When I saw the cheap (:57.2) half, I thought I was in good shape, but halfway down the lane, when (Springsteen) came at me, I thought I was beaten. He dug in.”
The evening’s lone $20,000 elimination for the Lismore was won by Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, $5.20, part of entry) in a life-best 1:55.1.
Pocketed from post No. 4, Jews Forreal was able to get out when entrymate Python Blue Chip (Brennan) made a bad, first-over break in the final turn. Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett) cut the mile but could not last, beaten a head.
Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald) was third, with Solitary (Brent Holland), Alexa’s Power (Stratton), Believe in Me (Sears), Reign on Me (Brett Miller) and a recovering Python Blue Chip also qualifying for the final.
Krushed Apple (Dave Miller) was outrun.   
For second choice (part of three-headed entry) Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her first win in seven ’18 tries. The exacta paid $12.20, the triple returned $55.50 and the superfecta paid $267.
The finals of both events, worth $300,000 (Rooney) and $111,444 (Lismore), go next Saturday night (May 26th). Open draws take place Monday afternoon (May 21st).
Saturday night’s $44,000 Open Handicap Pace saw favored Evenin’ of Pleasure (Sears, $5.20) repeat in 1:52.3 . The 8-year-old son of Dragon Again, owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, is approaching $900,000 in career coin after a 30th lifetime win.
Sunday matinees return tomorrow (May 20th), with a first post of 12:35 PM.     

Shell I Be Bad wins Vernon Downs feature.

Shell I Be Bad (Truman Gale) wins exciting Vernon Downs featured pace ($5,100) on Saturday night (May 19).

Golden Brit (Adam Capizzano) fired out of the gate and led the way to all the early fractions (:27.2, :56.4, 1:25.2).

Danza (Raymond Vizzi) followed in the pocket all the way to the stretch. He looked prime to win but Shell I Be Bad ($23.40) had other thoughts.  Shell I Be Bad, who is owned and trained by Gale as well, found himself in fifth place after three-quarters.  He went four wide in mid-stretch to swoop by and get the win in 1:54.0.  Danza held on for second with Bosshoss Hanover (Jimmy Whittemore) getting third money.

Shell I Be Bad is 5-year-old gelding by Big Bad John.  It was his first win of 2018 and career victory number six.

Gale added two more wins on the night with Ulysses Bi ($5.50) and Card Knock Life ($4.90).

Vernon Downs returns to live action on Friday (May 25) with a post time of 6:15 p.m.

For more information go to

Fireyourguns Fully Loaded In Buffalo Raceway Win

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fireyourguns may have misfired in his seasonal debut last week but he was fully loaded on Saturday night (May 19) by wiring the field in Buffalo Raceway's $11,500 Open Pace in 1:52.1 over the fast track. It was just a fifth of a second off the all-time track mark of 1:52.0 set ironically by Fireyourguns in 2015.

In the co-featured $11,500 Open Trot, Empire Earl N ended a modest two-race winless streak by going coast to coast to beat a pesky Fox Valley Veto by a neck in 1:58.1, equalling his seasonal best.

Last week, Fireyourguns had a front end journey but stalled out in the stretch and finished sixth in 1:53.3. But that effort proved to be a perfect tightener.

Starting from the three post, driver Mike Caprio guided Fireyourguns ($3.00) to the lead and put up fractions of :27.3, :56.0 and 1:24.1.

In the stretch, Fireyourguns had threats coming from everywhere. Western Conquest (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Bugatti (Billy Davis Jr.) each were making charges late but had to settle for second and third respectively as Fireyourguns held on for the half length victory.

Co-owned by trainer Terence McClory along with Jennifer and Robert Lowe, the victory by the 9-year-old gelded Fireyourguns (American Ideal-Villa Hanover) moved his lifetime earnings to $401,966. 

Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) raced off the starting gate to get the early advantage, putting up a rather pedestrian :30.0 opening panel. With middle times of :59.4 and 1:29.1 splits, Empire Earl N ($6.80) had just enough left in the stretch to fend hold off Fox Valley Veto (Davis Jr.) and BZ Glide (Caprio).

The win was the fourth in 12 tries this year for Empire Earl N (Earl-Santa Nita). The 10-year-old gelding is owned by Kimberly Asher and trained by Riley Asher-Stalbaum. The victory upped to seasonal winnings to $26,013 and $187,873.

Shawn Gray, Monti and Fisher Jr. each had driving triples. Trainer James Clouser Jr. conditioned a trio of winners.

Racing will resume on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. with a 12-race program scheduled.

For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays, results and entries, go to

John Cummings Jr. wins five at Tioga Downs

Sudden Change N (Jim Taggart Jr.) takes the Tioga Downs Fillies and Mares Open 2 ($9,000), on Saturday (May 19).  Harness racing driver John Cummings Jr visits the winner's circle five times.

In the feature, K J's Caroline (Mike Merton) charged out to the lead and controlled all the early fractions (:27.1, :56.2, 1:23.4).

Sudden Change N ($9.70), who is owned by trainer Jody Riedel and Super Mile LLC., went first-over from last just before the three-quarter mark.  K J's Caroline looked like she was a winner in the stretch but Sudden Change N made one more run at her to nip her at the wire in 1:52.2.  K J's Caroline held for second with Kardashian (John Cummings Jr.) finishing third.

Sudden Change N is a 7-year-old mare by Changeover.  She won for the fourth time this season and secured her 20th lifetime victory.

John Cummings Jr. and trainer Jenny Melander combine for three wins on the night.

Cummings Jr. and Melander got wins with My Cherrie Pie ($3.00), Away My Baby ($3.60), and American Assassin ($5.50).  Cummings Jr., also secured victories with Explosive Jet ($31.00), and Gold Star Aurora ($5.60)

Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Sunday (May 20) with a post time of 1:00 p.m.

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by john manzi, for the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series

MONTICELLO,NY-After a CKG Billings Series Midwest regional trot at Scioto Downs last night (May 18) the longest running amateur driving series moved on to Freehold NJ for a contest over the famed double-oval at Freehold Raceway and when the results were finalized, “Tough Tony”Ciuffettelli scored an impressive victory with Better To Be Lucky in a time of 2:00.4 over a soggy racetrack.

Last October Ciuffetelli purchased Better Be Lucky and since then the 6-year-old Lucky Chucky gelding has proven to be a valuable commodity after the trotter notched his fourth seasonal triumph.

I bought him as a back-up Billings horse,” Ciuffetelli explained. “He's a nice horse but he occasionally gets temperamental.”

After leaving softly from the two-hole Ciuffetelli headed for the pylons and watched the speed duel ensue between Annie “Get Your Gun” Stoebe, with betting favorite Uriel, and “Yankee Joe” Lee's, Great Emancipator, who was on the limb fighting for command.

I was feeling good watching Anne and Joe go at it. They were going pretty swift over the muddy racetrack and I was hoping that they'd get tired ... and that's just what happened,” Ciuffetteli said.

With snappy early fractions of :28.2 and :58 Ciuffetteli just bided his time. He was second at the third stanza in 1:29.2 and when Better To Be Lucky cleared on the final turn he had command.

I felt pretty confident as he headed for the wire since the two favorites battled it out early, “Tough Tony” added. “I saw Tyler (Miller) coming at us but he went off-stride before the finish.”

"Young Tyler" Miller finished second with Masster Blue while Anne Stoebe took home the show dough with Uriel.
It seems that Bettor To Be Lucky lived up to his name as he crossed the finish line 1-1/2 lengths in front of Miller's, Masster Blue.

Ciuffetelli, a former corrections officer, also owns and trains the winner who returned $20.20; $7,00 and $3.60. For “Tough Tony” it marked his 54th career driving victory.