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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jessie Pacheco following in father’s footsteps

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

After spending several years under the tutelage of his father Lino, 25-year-old Jessie Pacheco is making a name for himself here at Cal Expo, including a four-bagger on last Saturday night’s program.

Among the performers in Jessie’s barn is the hard-hitting 8-year-old I’m An Athlete, who races for Ronald Rettig-Zucchi and has several wins in the Open Pace to his credit at this meeting, with last week’s top dance among his triumphs. 

Jessie was born in California, but after an accident at age 1, he went to Mexico to live with his mother. While visiting his father at age 9, he was exposed to harness racing and upon his return to the States at 18 he set out to make it his life’s work.

“In Mexico I rode quarter horses, but I knew I wanted to come back here and work with my dad and the harness horses,” he explained.

It was two years ago that Pacheco took out his trainer’s license and he has been making a steady stream of visits to the winner’s circle at this meeting.

“Everything I know about this sport I learned from my dad. I also want to thank the owners who have been very supportive.”

In addition to training, Jessie is slowly segueing into driving with a few evening ventures to his credit at this meeting. “I definitely need to get more experience with the driving,” he noted. “Right now, I’m concentrating on the training.”

Talkin Tootsie, Silverlode headline main event

Talkin Tootsie, who has won three of her last five starts including an upset over division leader Pridecrest two weeks ago; and the hard-hitting Silverlode loom the top combatants in Friday night’s $5,500 Open II Trot.

There will be 12 races on the Watch and Wager LLC program with the headliner going as the fourth event on the evening. A pair of $6,500 California Sire Stakes will be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card.

Talkin Tootsie is a 5-year-old daughter of Cantab Hall from the Westgate Crown mare Minnesota Carol who carries the banner of Martin Garey and Henry Wieseneck, takes her lessons from Bob Johnson and will once again have Mooney Svendsen giving directions.

Two weeks ago in the Open Trot, Talkin Tootsie was patient early, began to pick up momentum turning for home and hung a neck decision on the 1-5 Pridecrest in a 1:57 2/5 performance.

In last week’s clash at the head of the trotting class, Pridecrest returning to his winning ways with a coast-to-coast score, while Talkin Tootsie sat the pocket and had to settle for third that evening.

Silverlode was up to nail her for the place money in that affair and like Talkin Tootsie will appreciate getting away from Pridecrest. She is a 9-year-old British Sterling homebred who races for the Desomer Stables with Vickie Desomer conditioning and Steve Wiseman in the sulky.

Completing the field are Silverhill Volo, The Evictor, Franks Best, Windsun Galaxie and Dougs Hobby Horse.


Meadowlands Media Relations
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Effective immediately, post time at the Meadowlands moves back to the traditional 7:15 p.m.
The mile oval will continue to conduct live racing on a Friday and Saturday basis through the end of the meeting, which is the first Saturday in August.
There are three exceptions to the 7:15 p.m. post time:
·         The first race will get underway at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, when eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace take place
·         On Saturday, July 14, post time is once again 6:35 p.m. when the marquee event is the $650,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace final
·         Post time is noon on Saturday, Aug. 4, for a star-studded, stakes-laden card that features the $1 million Hambletonian

Meadowlands and Winners Bayonne Closed Due to Winter Weather

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment & Winners Bayonne OTW are closed for simulcasting today, Wednesday, March 21 due to the impending winter storm.

Both will reopen tomorrow at 11 am with normal simcluasting operations.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Early Meadowlands Scratch Time

The Meadowlands has moved scratched time for their Friday, March 23 night card to tonight (Tuesday, March 20) by 7pm.

Judges are awaiting calls at 201-460-4146.

The entry box for qualifiers this weekend will close on Thursday March 22 at 10:00 A.M.

WHHC Qualifiers This Saturday at Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- A coveted spot in the World Harness Handicapping Championships at The Meadowlands is up for grabs on Saturday night (March 24) at Buffalo Raceway when the local competition takes place starting at 6 p.m.

Entry fee is $10 at Buffalo Raceway with the winner receiving $500 in cash, hotel accommodations for two nights and paid entry ($1,000 value) into the World Harness Handicapping Challenge presented by at The Meadowlands on Saturday, April 28th. The runner up in the Buffalo Raceway event will pocket $250 with third place taking home $100.

There's a $75,000 guaranteed prize pool in The Meadowlands tournament with $40,000 going to the winner.

In the qualifier, players will get ten 'mythical' $200 win wagers. Entrants must play five races on Buffalo Raceway's card while the other remaining five bets will be played at The Meadowlands.

Entrants must be a Hamburg Gaming Rewards Club member in order to participate. Becoming a member is free to join. You also must be 18 years of age to be a contestant.

For more information including complete rules and regulations, go to


Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will provide horseplayers with one of their first opportunities to qualify for the 2019 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) with a qualifying event on Saturday, March 24. The Meadowlands qualifier will offer three guaranteed seats to the NHC.  

 The Meadowlands qualifier requires a $400 buy-in, with $200 going towards each player’s bankroll and $200 going towards the event’s prize pool. Players can purchase multiple entries.
Contestants must wager on a minimum of ten races from their choice of Gulfstream, Aqueduct, and/or Fair Grounds with a $20 WIN, PLACE, SHOW OR WPS minimum per wager.  

The top three finishers will earn seats to the 2019 NHC Final in Las Vegas. They must be NHC Tour members to qualify for the NHC Final.

For complete tournament information and details, visit

Sunday, March 18, 2018


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, March 18, 2018—Lass NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr., $5.70) finished what she started Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot

The field of a half-dozen went as the late-AM, flat-mile opener in advance of seven ‘French’ trots.

As is her custom, NF Happenstance left the gate. Tepidly favored from assigned post position No. 4, she paid a :27.2 price for the lead, working around Mostinterestingman (Jason Bartlett). A rated :30.3 next interval (58-second intermission) worked for her when Sir John F (Anthony Napolitano) moved from third.

NF Happenstance maintained her lead in and out of a 1:26.2 three-quarters, taking a length-and-three-quarter lead off the final turn. She then held off an inside-diving Mostinterestingman, whipping that rival by a neck in 1:55.3.

In Secret (George Brennan) sat the pylons and showed up late for third, with Always a Good Time (Dan Dube) and Sir John F rounding out the payees. The latter locked wheels in the lane with Money Maven (Jordan Stratton), who finished last. 

For NF Happenstance, an 8-year-old daughter of SJ’s Caviar owned by James Moore III and trained by Carol Jamieson-Parker, it was her sixth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33.20, with triple returning $108.
Sunday’s return of the ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 1-Total Control (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 2-High Glider (Yonkers’ 7th race) paid $11.70 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $6,358.

The next Sunday matinee is May 20th (post time TBA).  


FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 17, 2018—Saturday night (March 17th) offered a quintet of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the opening round of Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.

First Division—From post position No. 2, season-debuting Mach it So (Tim Tetrick, $4) threw down an early series gauntlet, retaking from Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) en route to a handy (:28.2, :57.3, 1:25.3, 1:53.3) win. Chumlee A chased, beaten a length-and-three-quarters, with pole-sitting Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) a three-hole third.
For Mach it So, an 8-year-old Mach Tree gelding owned by Bamond Racing trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was a 41st career victory as he nears $2.5 million in career earnings. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $11, with triple returning $52.50.

Second Division—It was first-up from and first home for Always at My Place (George Brennan, $12.60). From post  No. 2, he engaged last season’s series winner, Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) after that one’s intervals of :27.2; :56.4 and 1:24.3.

Always at My Place forged by late, beating a pylon-skimming Mister Daytona N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 1:54. Christen Me N (Tetrick), angling from the pocket as Keystone Velocity tired, was third, beaten a neck.

As for 3-2 choice Waikiki Beach A (Scott Zeron), his local debut was dreadful. Never involved, he finished seventh (last), beaten nearly 14 lengths.

For third choice Always at My Place, a 7-year-ol Always a Virgin gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, he, too, made a successful ’18 bow. The exacta paid $73.50, with the triple returning $185.50.

Third Division—Polester Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller, $6.30) took one step forward and the of the field deferred. The result (:28.2, :58.1, 1:26.4, 1:55) was a nary more than a public workout. Dr. J  Hanover won by a length-and-a-quarter, with Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) a first-up second and 19-10 fave All Bets Off (catch-driver Yannick Gingras) a loose-pocket third.

For second choice Dr. J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick & Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple returning $50.50.

Fourth Division—Odds-on Rockin’ Ron (Gingras, $2.90)—from post No. 4—rebounded from a poor effort in his final pre-series overnight event and went the distance (:27.1 :56.4, 1:24.3, 1:53). Evenin’ of Pleasure  (Joe Bongiorno) chased the winner in a good try, beaten three-quarters of a length. Western Dynasty (Bartlett) sat a three-hole and pocked off the rest.

For Rockin’ Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC and J&T Silva Stables, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.80, with the triple returning $56.50.

Fifth Division—Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, $21.60) seemed to be minding his own affairs in his ’18 purse debut, when things worked out quite well for him. From post No. 3, the 2016 Levy champ worked out a second-over trip behind 1-2 fave Missile  J (Tetrick). He then rolled over his tow, winning by a neck in 1:53.3. Long Live Rock (Dube) rallied for third.

Great Vintage (Gingras), after fractions of 26.3; 56.4; 1:25, led to the lane before fading to fifth.

For fourth choice Bit of a Legend N, a 9-year-old Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight owned by Von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his 42nd career win (earnings $1.93 million). The exacta paid $52, with the triple returning $279.50.

Sunday racing is back tomorrow (March 18th), with first post at 11:45 AM.


By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Western Joe proved once again why he is top dog at the Meadowlands Saturday night, winning the featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers for a fourth time in six tries this year.
Sent to the gate as the 3-5 public choice, Western Joe was away third around the first turn but was quickly moved to the outside by driver Jim Marohn Jr. as the pair made the top and hit the quarter in :27.3. A sleepy second quarter devoid of movement followed, allowing the favorite to reach the half in :55.4.
Rodeo Romeo and 5-2 second-choice Bettor’s Edge, who won this race a week ago when Western Joe took the night off, tried to mount challenges at the top of the stretch, but Western Joe was in high gear through the lane, sprinting the final quarter in :26.2 to record a safe half-length win in 1:50.4 over a sharp Rodeo Romeo. Artful Way was third.
“I was very happy with the trip,” said winning trainer Chris Choate. “I wanted to see him on the lead. He doesn’t like to get beat. He’s getting more mature and I’m very proud of him.”
Western Joe returned $3.40 to his backers for owner Anthony Ruggeri and has won five of seven starts this year. Lifetime, the 4-year-old son of Western Ideal has won 14 of 36 and earned $216,548.
A LITTLE MORE: Showing no rust in his first weekend back on the track after an extended family vacation, driver Andrew McCarthy followed up his driving double Friday with a four-bagger Saturday. … Chalk players had their way on the program, as eight public choices scored on the 12-race card. … In the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five (Race 9), 3-5 favorite Maajaackkobe hit the wire first, and that suited the player with the only winning ticket just fine, as $14,365 was the payoff. … There was no single-ticket winner in the Late 20-Cent JSH5 (Race 12), raising the pot-of-gold carryover to $148,306. … All-source wagering totaled $2,162,363. … Racing resumes at the Big M Friday. Don’t forget that post time will be 7:15 p.m.

Mach Stockn Barrel, Fox Valley Veto Win At Buffalo

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. ---  It was St. Patrick's Day at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday evening (March 17) but no luck of the Irish was needed by the favorites as Mach Stockn Barrel ($3.30) and Fox Valley Veto ($3.00) won the co-featured Open Pace and Open Trot respectively.

Mach Stockn Barrel (Shawn Gray) used an inside trip to capture the $9,500 Pace by topping Hardts Or Bettor by a half length in 1:56.1 over the fast surface. It was the fifth win in eight starts for Mach Stockn Barrel who has yet to finish off the board in 2018.

Fox Valley Veto, after four consecutive second place finishes, finally got a picture opportunity with track photographer Steve Roth by going coast to coast in turning back Lenny Mac by 1-1/2 lengths in 2:00.2.

In the opener, Mach Stockn Barrel used a ground-saving inside trip to notch the win. Starting from the one spot, Hardts Or Bettor (Davis McNeight III) enjoyed the top for a brief moment before Mach Stockn Barrel retook the lead just past the opening panel.

Cruising along on the front end past the three-quarter marker, Mach Stockn Barrel saw Im So Handsome pull to a brief advantage around the final turn. That was the best Im So Handsome would do however as Mach Stockn Barrel kicked it into high gear and held off Hardts Or Bettor by a half length. China Dream (Billy Davis Jr.) took third. A final split of 28.3 did the trick for Mach Stockn Barrel.

Owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr., Mach Stockn Barrel (Mach Three-Timeless Classic) is a 7-year-old gelding that has earned $26,256 this season and $146,980 lifetime.

Fox Valley Veto wasted no time in taking control of the Open Trot, zooming to the lead and never looking back. A pedestrian :31.3 third panel sealed the deal for fresh Fox Valley Veto as Lenny Mac (Gray) couldn't make any headway down the lane while City Kid (Ray Fisher Jr.) took the show position.

Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable along with Jack Rice, Fox Valley Veto (Piazzazzed-Yankee Victory) is a 7-year-old gelding that is trained by Maria Rice. The victory upped his seasonal bankroll to $21,829 and $416,667 in his career.

Gray turned in a five-bagger while Davis Jr. and Drew Monti tripled. Clouser Jr. had four winners on the training side with JD Perrin adding three.

Racing will return on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with a 12-race program slated.

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