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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tgdn5/8 - Higher And Higher captures Tioga Friday night feature

Higher And Higher made her first appearance back at Tioga Downs on Friday night since her sixth place finish in this year’s Artiscape pace on June 10. Trainer, driver, and co-owner Daryl Bier got Higher And Higher away fifth from post position number seven as the field passed the quarter in 27. All Spirit (Jim Marohn Jr.) quickly shuffled from fourth as the fielded headed by the three eighth’s to take control from Kiddie McCardle past the half in 55.2. Down the backside and headed towards three quarters, Daryl Bier, edged Higher And Higher from fifth to begin the first over grind and began to press the leader by three quarters in 1:23.3.

Around the final turn Higher And Higher stuck a head in front and put away All Spirt, but Kiddie McCardle escaped the pocket and charged three wide. However, through the stretch Higher And Higher proved to much and prevailed in 1:52.1 for her seventh win of the year. Kiddie McCardle (Corey Braden) finished second, while All Spirit (Jim Marohn Jr.) hung on for third.

Mike Merton posted a driving grand slam on the night’s nine race card, while Jim Meittinis scored a double.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, June 30 at 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at .  

M1 - Chapter Seven’s Titan Cup Victory One For The Record Books

East Rutherford, NJ [June 29, 2012] -- Chapter Seven equaled his own 1:50.4 world record as he trounced the competition in the $201,700 Titan Cup on Friday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. 

Chapter Seven and driver Tim Tetrick sat third while Winning Mister carved fractions of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:23.3.  Tetrick angled his charge out at the three-quarter marker and Chapter Seven easily rolled past the pacesetter to a 2 3/4-length victory.  He paid $2.60 to win the sixth race feature.  Arch Madness sat snugly in the pocket the whole way and finished second.  Winning Mister held third. 

“He’s as good as any horse I’ve ever seen,” Tetrick said.  “Last year, he had the will and desire to do it, but he found three seconds.  This horse is just amazing right now.  He’s doing it like he’s going a mile in 1:55.  He’s right on his game right now.  They’re very good horses and Winning Mister is no slouch.  I’ve driven him, and he’s tough as nails.  He’s tough to get by and my horse got by him freehanded.” 

Chapter Seven established the 1:50.4 record, an all-time best for a 4-year-old trotting horse over any size track, in his season debut, the Titan Cup prep, on June 23 at the Meadowlands.  Trained by Linda Toscano, he is the first trotter in history to open his season with consecutive world records.

“He’s a career horse,” Toscano said.  “Everyone waits a lifetime for a horse like this.  Nothing he does surprises me, only that he got ready as quickly as he did this year.   He’s always wanted to do it.  His desire is strong, his gait is good.  He’s a stronger, better version of what he was last year.”

Chapter Seven, a son of Windsong’s Legacy, improved his record to 14 wins in 20 career starts and surpassed $1 million in career earnings in the Titan Cup.  He is owned by Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA, Gary Cocco of Newtown Square, PA, Southwind Farm of Pennington, NJ, and Jerry and

M1 - Meadowlands Pick 4 Providing Bigger Value For Bettors In June

The best bet in harness racing has been even better for Meadowlands bettors in the month of June. 

The Meadowlands Pick 4 on Saturdays normally comes with a $75,000 guaranteed pool total.  But for the last two Saturdays in June, wagering in the Pick 4 has fallen short of the $75,000 guaranteed amount, resulting in extra money being added to the Pick 4 pools.

On Saturday, June 16 $65,801 was wagered in the Pick 4 and on Saturday, June 23 $68,196 was wagered.  Both Saturdays the difference was made up by the Meadowlands Racetrack and the USTA Strategic Wagering Program.

“The last two weeks have presented a great opportunity for Meadowlands bettors,” said Meadowlands Director of Racing Operations Alex Dadoyan.  “In the first week you had a situation where $65,000 was bet and after takeout $63,750 was paid out, so due to the added money, the effective takeout on the Pick 4 that night was less than two percent.  That’s great value for our bettors.”

In all likelihood, the $75,000 Pick 4 guarantee will not be reached again this Saturday, June 30.

“With most of the regular Meadowlands drivers out of town for one more week, there’s a good chance we’ll miss the guarantee again on Saturday,” Dadoyan said.  “But it’s something we wanted to continue.  This is the type of situation where our regular bettors can benefit and that’s important too as we continue to try and attract new fans on track.”

Starting in July, business should really pick up in the Meadowlands Pick 4 wager.  With all of the regular Meadowlands drivers back in town and the stakes season in full swing, the Meadowlands will raise the Saturday Pick 4 guaranteed pools to $100,000 through Hambletonian Day.

For the 2012 racing season, the Meadowlands Pick 4 pool has averaged $76,749, down slightly from the $80,688 average in 2011.  The average payoff this year is $2,990, up nearly 50 percent from the 2011 average payoff of $2,099.

The Meadowlands Pick 4 is a $1 base wager on races six through nine nightly.  It has a $75,000 guaranteed pool on Saturdays in June.  In July, pools will be guaranteed at $50,000 on Thursdays and Fridays and $100,000 on Saturdays.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 29, 2012—New York Sire Stakes once again took over Yonkers Raceway, this time with Friday night's $340,239 Armand Palatucci Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

A trio of consecutive ($113,413) contests, with Lawgiver Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., $19) beginning the parade in a life-best 1:52.2.

Away third from post position No, 2, he watched as 8-5 fave Major Bombay (Jason Bartlett)--three-wide early--led through fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:24.3. Union Man Hanover (Tim Tetrick) was pocketed. Major Bombay, swatting away longshot pressure from Racing Rocky (Brent Holland), owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane.

"Lawgiver" waited for room, then went right by, winning by two lengths. Major Bombay saved second, with "Union Man" third. 

Lawgiver Hanover, a son of Art Major trained by Mark Harder for co-owners Deena Frost, Rick Phillips and W Springtime Racing, is now 2-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $95.50, with the triple returning $247.50.

Forever Just (Tetrick, $7.50) survived an adventurous second-division trip to prevail in a life-best 1:52.4. Four-wide at the outset from post No. 5, he was wrangled back as first Bet on the Law (Morrill Jr.), then Gable Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) found the lead. After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and 56-second half, Forever Just was rushing from fourth.

However, "Gable" wasn't quite done in and out of the 1:24.1 three-quarters, though he dropped anchor soon after. Forever Just had a length-and-a-quarter lead off the final turn, then held off the pylon-skimming Bet on the Law by a head, with Ideal Romance (George Brennan)--second-up behind the winner--and Screen the Call (Holland) rounding out the exotic finishers.

Forever Just, a son of Bettor's Delight trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Fred Wallace and Stake Your Claim Stable, is now 3-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $26.60, the triple returned $111 and the superfecta paid $685.

Defending sire stakes champ Heston Blue Chip (Tetrick, $2.30) surprised few in the final division. After a four-wide-early Coral Snake (Brennan) set sail through early intervals of  :27.3 and :57.3, the prohibitive favorite—leaving from post No. 3--went by.

Coral Snake--who had begun his career with four consecutive wins--eventually broke in the third turn and Heston Blue Chip found a 1:24.4 three-quarters.

With only Steelhead Hanover (Morrill Jr.) in earshot, the leader held him off, winning by two lengths in 1:52.4. Third went to Art of Temptation (Larry Stalbaum). Heston Blue Chip, an American Ideal soph trained by Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs, went past a half-million dollars for his now 15-for-17 career (4-for-4 in '12). The exacta paid $5.40, with the triple returning $27.40.

The pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters and distaff pacers, were won by Fox Valley Iliad (Stalbaum, $3.70) in 1:55.2 and Lightning Treasure (Dan Dube, $3.60) in 1:52.4, respectively,

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.         

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tgdn5/8 - Tioga Downs to offer $5,000 guaranteed pick four each Sunday in July.

Tioga Downs in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s strategic wagering program will offer a $5,000 guaranteed pick four each Sunday in July (July 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29). The pick four will be offered on the last four races of the day on each Sunday afternoon racing program (Post time 1:30 pm). 

“We worked with the USTA for the Bettor’s Delight and Artiscape Events this year and the pick four was a huge success for us getting well over the $5,000 number in the pool. We are excited to work with the USTA once again and are pleased to bring a guaranteed pool to our customers for the month of July” said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast.

Tioga Downs begins its weekend of live racing action on Friday, June 29 at 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at .


To Dream On was ultra-impressive in her career debut, romping to a 1:55.3 score in the first of three $10,588 John Simpson Memorial divisions for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Thursday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Driven and trained by Jimmy Takter, the daughter of Credit Winner-Satin Pillows overshadowed her competitors by 11 lengths.  Her clocking was just 3/5 of a second off the 1:55 Meadowlands track record set by Macaria Hanover in a November 2005 Breeders Crown elimination.  To Dream On was a $200,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld of Ontario

Lady Riviera, a half-sister to world champion Chapter Seven, also showed some star power as she took the second Simpson division in 1:58 over Morningstar, another Takter trainee.  Ron Pierce steered Lady Riviera to a length victory in her career debut.  Richard Banca trains the homebred daughter of Sand Vic-La Riviera for his father, Richard T. Banca of Franklin Lakes, NJ. 

Miss Steele closed in a swift :27.3 to steal the third division from Dewey Lane.  Andy Miller guided the daughter of Muscles Yankee-Edith’s Chip to her first victory for his wife, Julie, and Omer Miller of Humboldt, IL.  Miss Steele was a $22,000 yearling buy at the Lexington Selected Sale.

Caveat Emptor proved his worth with a decisive 1:57 score in the lone $27,065 Simpson division for 2-year-old trotting colts.  With driver-trainer-owner Ray Schnittker in tow, Caveat Emptor brushed to the lead at the half and drew off to a five-length victory over Corky (also from the Takter stable).  He is a son of Schnittker’s 2008 Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe out of the Conway Hall mare Venus Hall.  Schnittker and Caveat Emptor of Middletown, NY paid $60,000 for the colt in Lexington.


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

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 28, 2012—New York Sire Stakes invaded Yonkers Raceway Thursday night, with the $335,804 Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies..

Centralia Hanover (Yannick Gingras) served up a 22-1 upset in the opening ($111,268) event. Leaving from post position No. 6, she wound up pocketed to just-over-ever-money Brownsville Bomber (Jim Morrill Jr.)\, who retook soon after a :27.2 quarter-mile.

A 57-second half and a prompted (by Zellweger Hanover [George Brennan]) 1:25 three-quarters left "Brownsville" with a length-and-a-quarter lead turning for home. However, that one could not stave off the winner, who ducked inside and edged away by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:53.3. The bottom of the ticket went to Vanity Fairest (Pat Lachance).          

For "Centralia," a daughter of Art  Major trained by Mark Harder for co-owners W Springtime Racing and Rick Phillips, she returned $46 (fifth choice among the half-dozen) for her first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $79, with the triple returning $560.

The second ($111,268) grouping saw Gingras sweep the $73 early sire stakes double with prohibitive fave Romantic Moment in 1:52.4.

In play early from post position No. 5, Romantic Moment worked around JK Fine Art (Morrill Jr.), then easily held sway through intervals of :28.1, :57.3, 1:25.4 and 1:52.4. She defeated JK Fine Art by 2 3/4 lengths, with New York Kitty (Brennan) third.

For Romantic Moment, an American Ideal lass owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Hall-of-Famer-in-a-few-days Jimmy Takter, she returned $2.20 for her third win in five '12 tries. The exacta paid $4.90, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $10.20.

"She's for real," Gingras said of Romantic Moment. "Last start (second to American Jewel in the final of Mohawk's Fan Hanover) was the first time I drove her, and she was grabby, but raced very well. Tonight, she was very relaxed, and no problem."

Defending statebred champ Handsoffmycookie (Tim Tetrick, $2.60), back here for the first time since handily winning the $176,484 Lismore earlier this month, made short work of the third and final ($113,268) division.

Leaving from post No. 2, she yielded to Eightunrdolarbill (Brennan) before grabbing the right at the :28.1 opening quarter. From there, a 57-secod half, 1:26 three-quarters and 1:53.2 finale.  Eightunrdolarbill chased to the wire, beaten a measured half-length, with Ramalama (Eric Goodell) third and Ryder Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett) fourth

"For "Cookie," a daughter of Art Major owned by JFE Enterprises and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $4.10, the triple returned $15.60 and the superfecta paid $57.50. She has now won 11 of her 16 career starts (5-for-5 here) with earnings just shy of $740,000.

“She loves this track,” DiDomenico said. “I’ve never been around a horse like her with a determination to win. She’s eligible to the Mistletoe Shalee, but I’m going to speak with the owners and we may just keep her in sire stakes.”  

New York Sire Stakes continue here Friday night, with the $340,239 Armand Palatucci for 3-year-old colts and geldings. It's carded as races 9 through 11 (at $113,413 each) on the 12-race program.

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.         


Thursday, June 28 didn’t start out so well for Mike Merton at Monticello Raceway . But things sure  got good in a hurry later on.
During the morning qualifiers Merton  was up behind  a pacer by the name of My  Hot Pip and  got dumped out on the first turn

“I had a broken line and I couldn’t control my horse and we ran up on the back of Pete Stratton. When  that happened someone hit me from behind and I got knocked off the bike . I wasn’t hurt and  neither were the other guys involved in the accident,” Merton related .” They remained seated and my horse was quickly caught.”
Merton got back up after the mishap and drove in later qualifying events. So much for the bad news.

When the betting  got underway  things went  from the ridiculous  to the sublime for Merton. He won the first five races on the card .
“ I landed on my head and it must have done something for me,” Merton said jokingly. “ I had my best  day in years.”

Merton started the afternoon program with a decisive 1:56.4 six-length victory  with Blue Boy ($3.10) and then won the second race trot behind Marquee T ($10.80) in 2:02.1.
The third race produced win number three  for Merton when he guided  Get Out Of Tune ($7.60) home first in a time of 1:58.4. Still red hot, Merton then delivered another victory in the fourth this time with  17-1 longshot  Don’t Call Us ($37.00). His fifth consecutive win came next  when he hustled Straightistheway  to a 2:00.0 triumph. He also had  a second and two thirds and was off the board only once in nine starts.

When asked if he has ever had a better day than today Merton thought a moment and said: “I won five races  (on one card) three times before but I  never won five- in- a- row. So yes, considering everything, I think this will be my most memorable day  thus far, especially after having been in a wreck in  a qualifying race in the morning.”
Recently Merton passed the 2000-win plateau –now with 2017--and his five victories on Thursday’s   card raised his seasonal total here  to 87; good for sixth place on the local leaderboard.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

M1 - Meadowlands Barn Notes - June 28, 2012

Smedshammer Looks for “Madness” to Continue in Titan Cup 

Trainer Trond Smedshammer understandably has a special fondness for the charismatic trotter Arch Madness.

Smedshammer expects the eight-year-old gelding with career earnings of $3,542,160 to improve in his second start since shipping back from Europe in Friday’s $201,700 Titan Cup final at the Meadowlands Racetrack  

Arch Madness is the defending champion and will make his fifth straight appearance in the event, which is race six on the 12-race card.

Smedshammer will drive his other trainee in the race, Dejarmbro, from post eight, while Arch Madness will be reunited with his regular pilot Brian Sears. Smedshammer and Sears teamed up to win the 2006 Titan Cup with Sand Vic.

Owned by Marc Goldberg of Woodmere, NY and Barry Goldstein’s Willow Pond LLC of Hewlett, NY, the son of Balanced Image has won 30 of 81 lifetime starts.  He has also been in the money 60 times, and moves into the Top Ten on the all-time money list for trotters with a win or a second on Friday.

Last year, Arch Madness destroyed his Titan Cup competition, romping by eight lengths in a world record of 1:50.2.

“I can’t say there is much of a difference in the way he came back from Europe last year to how is now,” noted Smedshammer.  “I mean, last year he won the Prep in 1:51.3 and last week he trotted in 1:51.2.  Obviously, the competition was different in 2011.  I definitely expect him to be better this week, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be enough.  I certainly didn’t expect him to be any better than he was last Friday.  I’m sure it’s going to be one hell of a race.  It’s also going to be a great year.  Don’t forget there are some other serious horses out there like San Pail, Mister Herbie and Daylon Magician.” 

After finishing third in last week’s Prep behind Chapter Seven and Winning Mister, Smedshammer remains confident Arch Madness will make an even stronger account of himself, yet he also expressed concern about the outstanding Prep winner, who reeled off a world record of 1:50.4.   

“I don’t know if Chapter Seven is going to get better off that mile,” said Smedshammer.  “You would think he has license to move forward off that.  It looked like he wasn’t even stretched out at all.  I’ve never seen a horse improve that much from age three to four.  At least it’s nice to see he’s a son of Windsong’s Legacy [Smedshammer’s 2004 Trotter of the Year].”  

Arch Madness recently returned from a successful European trip, finishing a locked in third in the Oslo Grand Prix in Norway.  He then posted a second to Commander Crowe in both his elimination and the final of the Elitlopp at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden.   

“He tied up last year in the Elitlopp, so this time we stabled him in Sweden, he raced good, everything went well and he shipped back in great shape.  I didn’t do a whole lot with him in the first four weeks back here.  We actually didn’t do anything with him in the first week he traveled back.  He hung out at my place and jogged in the woods a little bit.  We brought him to White Birch Farm to train him on the straightaway.  He hadn’t done any fast miles until last Friday.  Last fall, after the Breeders Crown he was tired, so we gave him six weeks off and pretty much started from scratch with him this season.”

In addition to being a fan favorite, the 2007 Breeders Crown winner has given Smedshammer some of his best moments. 

“He’s obviously been a special horse to compete at the top level for so many years in a row.  It’s very unusual.  He’s a tough old horse.  He’s as sound as he’s ever been and I don’t think he’s lost a step yet.  To bring a horse back like him year after year has been a lot of fun. 

“We’ve had our share of headaches with him with regards to his lack of manners.  It doesn’t really show in his races anymore, but I still can’t sit behind him and train him the way I want to.  He just acts up.  Not even my second trainers can do it.  The groom actually does it and that’s when he’s the most quiet.  Therefore, I don’t really have a good feel of how he’s going to be from race to race.  We still use the treadmill, the power cart and lunging in the sand pit.  

Smedshammer won the 2004 Hambletonian with Windsong’s Legacy, he’s a perennial player in the sport’s $1.5 million classic, and Solvato could be his ticket to this year’s big dance on Saturday, August 4.   

“Solvato is a fast enough horse to be in the eliminations.  His Beal elimination was a disaster.  I was looking to follow Ron Pierce and Magic Tonight, but then Modern Family pulled first over in front of them and couldn’t keep up [and broke].  When they go in 1:51.3 [Googoo Gaagga] you can’t go three wide on that final turn at Pocono.  I’m actually glad now he didn’t make that final.  He’s still fresh, and I’ll probably race him a few more times in Pennsylvania before the Hambletonian eliminations.  He’s a trip horse, but hey, I won a Triple Crown with a horse just like him in Windsong’s Legacy.”    

Smedshammer, 45, is known as the American Viking for his Norweigan roots, and has well established himself as an elite trotting specialist.  He has trained ten trotters who banked over $1 million, and, in 2011, his stable surpassed the $2.5 million mark for the ninth straight year.  The 2004 Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year has been a dominant force in the Breeders Crown series and on the Grand Circuit. 

Ppk5/8 - Ranger Sweeps Florida Stakes - Again

The leading driver in the 48 year history of harness racing in South Florida, Bruce Ranger has done it again. He summoned all of his skill to sweep both of the $6,000 purse 3 year old filly events for a second straight week in the Florida Standardbred Breeders And Owners Association (FSBOA) Sunshine State Stakes on Wednesday evening, June 27 at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.

In the 3 year old filly trot event, it didn't look good for Ranger until mid-stretch as Selena was kept far back in the pack until the very late stages. Pinch Of Thyme, driven by Mel Turcotte, came away with the final half lead after scrapping with Mica Michelle in rein to George Lindsay and Dessert Princess with Jim McDonald in tow. Into the stretch, Pinch Of Thyme was clear of the field but could not hold off the final half wide charge of Selena executed by Ranger as they swept up to stop the clock in 2:00. Feel The Haze, in rein to Mickey McNichol, closed best of the rest for third. Selena, by Anythings Possible from the Corleone mare Twenty One Bee, is a homebred owned by DCLD Stables of New York. She's racing in Florida from the care of Stewart Nemiro and the Bruce Ranger Stable.

Ranger's positioning was radically different in the 3 year old filly pace as he found a pocket trip for divisional standout Quail. After vacating that spot turning for home after a three quarter posting of 1:26.2, Quail was able to just edge the pacemaking Diamond Amber driven by Mickey McNichol when the wire arrived in 1:55.2. Gold Star Gidget partnered by Walter Ross Jr. was third and Prairie Lee in rein to Tom Sells was a very tight fourth. Quail, by Six Of Diamonds from the Cam Fella mare Armbro Robin, is owned and trained by the Kim and Jay Sears Stable. In addition to sweeping the Sunshine State Stakes, she's already amassed 6 wins from 7 starts this year.

On Saturday, June 30, there's a 6:45 p.m. non-wagering race for the 3 year old colt pace division of the Sunshine State Stakes before the regular card at 7:05 p.m.

In Wednesday evening's weekly top handicap trot for an $8,500 purse, Mr Party Man used a single well timed stretch brush to win in 1:56.1 with Tom Sells in the bike. Ornellaia Dream, in rein to Walter Ross Jr., took the second half lead and only got caught late to settle for the place position. Wildfire, driven by Mickey McNichol, had the lead in the opening half but that favorite finished well back in third. Mr Party Man, a 4 year old gelding by Malabar Man from the Party Party mare Mrs. Rincon D, is owned and trained by Mike Deters with Laurie Poulin of Okeechobee, FL also sharing in the ownership of the five time winner in South Florida this year.

The current meet concludes on July 28 with post time at 7:05 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing. Free live race night streaming, handicapping selections by Hall Of Famer John Berry, and much more is available in the 'racing' tab at

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Monticello Raceway  has hosted amateur driving events for nearly four decades. Those races, mostly for sportsmen,  usually didn’t produce  fast miles. But as  the younger upstarts seek to pursue  careers as drivers, using the amateur races  to gain needed experience, the final times have  been  faster than usual..

Over the years many notables of today, especially at Monticello Raceway, began their fledgling careers as an amateur driver. Perhaps the most prolific of the aforementioned  former amateur reinsmen  is  last year’s Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks winning driver  and Driver of the Year, George Brennan.

Brennan who grew up in the Monticello area began his illustrious career in amateur races before going on to greatness and today many consider Brennan to be among  the best of the best.

Jordan Stratton, too, another  alumnus of Monticello Raceway’s amateur races today competes regularly with Brennan at Yonkers Raceway  where he is among the Hilltop oval’s leading drivers.

In 2008 Stratton became the youngest driver- at age 21- to win the driving title here at Monticello Raceway after showing his prowess  in amateur events in previous seasons.

But  Brennan and Stratton weren’t  alone in using amateur races to further their careers.  Current Monticello standouts, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. Greg Merton and Mike Merton and Kyle DiBenedetto are also products of amateur racing.

As good as the aforementioned tailsetters were during their pre-professional careers ,  none turned in the fastest mile ever by an amateur driver.

That  record belongs to Gary Campbell. On June 21st Campbell guided Lady On The Attack, to a 10-length  1:56.2 victory in the final of the Catskill Amateur Drivers Series. Prior to Campbell’s triumph Dave Yarock’s 1:56.4 victory with Big John B  was the fastest amateur mile  ever on a double oval

“My mare was real good in the Catskill Final,” Campbell remembered. “I had to gun her the lead in:28.2 and she just kept on going. I was like a passenger-- a smiling one at that. She eased up a bit in the last quarter or she may have approached (1):55 and a piece.”

Two legs of the Catskill  Amateur Driver Club are slated this weekend at Historic Track.

“I’ll be there to  test them,’ Campbell warned. “ Lady On Te Attack should get around the Goshen oval real well.”

M1 - Meadowlands Announces Special Post Time For Pace Night

The Meadowlands Pace Night card on Saturday, July 14 will have a special post time of 6:35 p.m. 

The $800,000 Meadowlands Pace will be the eleventh race on the card, with the top 3-year-old pacing colts going to the gate at 10:15 p.m.  The stakes-laden program will also feature the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters, likely to draw world record holder Googoo Gaagaa, as well as the Del Miller Memorial for trotting fillies and Mistletoe Shalee for pacing fillies.  Two Pick Four wagers will be available on the card in races 6-9 and 10-13. 

The Pace Night festivities include a t-shirt giveaway, boardwalk games and rides, fortune tellers, a vodka tasting and music by Bruce Springsteen tribute The B Street Band (8:30 – 11:30 pm).


During the month of July there will be a change in the racing schedule at Monticello Raceway.  Two Friday cards have been added and the Wednesday, July 4th program will be in the evening with first post at 5:30pm.

“Added to our usual Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday format will be the Fridays of  July 6th and July 13th ,” noted raceway GM Shawn Wiles. “Our Wednesday, July 4th  program will begin at 5:30pm and after the races we’ll have our annual fireworks display.  All the other racing post times during July will be at12:50pm in the afternoon.”

According to Eric Warner the tracks director of racing the Fridays were added to accommodate our horsemen.

“With the (NY) Sires Stakes and the Excelsior Series for 2 year old pacing colts and geldings carded for July 4th they figure to fill the majority of the races that day so we added Friday, July 6th so our regular horse population will get a chance to race that week.” Warner said. “We’ve  also added Friday, July 13  for the national racing promotion of Back to The Track and on that date we will have our second-annual  All-Amateur Day.”


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 26, 2012—Five 3-year-old colts, led by world champion Googoo Gaagaa, have been entered for the 58th edition of Yonkers Raceway's Yonkers Trot, first jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown.

The limited number of entrants makes the race, worth $445,594, a one-dash-for-the-cash event set for a week from Saturday night, July 7.

The quintet, in alphabetical order with declared drivers, are…Archangel (Jim Morrill Jr.), Googoo Gaagaa (Corey Callahan), Market Share (Jeff Gregory), Muscolo (Ray Schnittker) and Stormin Normand (Dave Palone).

The star of the show is, of course, Googoo Gaagaa, he of the pacing sire (Cam's Rocket) and the modest upbringing who has won 11 of his 12 career starts and $345,945. Googoo Gaagaa enters off a world-record 1:50.4 effort in last Saturday's $500,000 final of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono.

Richard Hans is Googoo Gaagaa's breeder, owner and trainer.

Stormin Normand, the only horse to come within earshot (a length-and-a-quarter) of "Googoo" in the Poconos, tries him again. The homebred (Fashion Farms) son of Broadway Hall, with seven wins and three seconds in 10 career tries ($430,085), is trained by Jim Campbell.

New York State is represented by the talented Archangel. A son of Credit Winner, has reeled of five wins in six seasonal starts without ever straying far from the Thruway.

His highlight was a victory in the $233,250 final of the Empire Breeders Classic (Vernon). He was also second in last season's $175,000 final of the New York Sire Stakes and has a frosh sire stakes win over this oval. Peter Arrigenna co-owns (with Alan Hainsworth and Clare Semer) and trains Archangel, who has hit the board in 16-of-19 career race days/night ($324,305).

The companion event, the Hudson Filly Trot, attracted three soph fillies, making it, too, a single scrum ($185,194) event a week from Saturday. The Hudson trio is comprised of Aunt Mel (Brent Holland), Check Me Out (Schnittker) and Real Babe (Schnittker also listed).

Check Me Out, the millionairess ($1,233,252) daughter of Donato Hanover, was last season's divisional champion. She enters fresh off a win in the $519,400 final of Mohawk's Elegantimage, her 17th win (with three seconds) in 20 lifetime starts. Schnittker, co-owns (with Charles Iannazzo) and trains Check Me Out, who makes her small-track debut in the Hudson.

Post positions for both races shall be drawn next Tuesday (July 3rd), during that evening's racing program.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nfld - Northfield Park Racing Action Heats Up in July


Saturday, July 21, 2012 Northfield Park will host the 27th annual $100,000 Battle of Lake Erie.  Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip, Maltese Artist and Foiled Again.

This year, Foiled Again could become the first horse in Northfield Park history to win the Battle of Lake Erie three times. The eight-year-old son of Dragon Again (2000 Battle Champion) won the event in 2009 and 2011, joining Jaguar Spur (winner in 1988-89), Peruvian Hanover (winner in 2002-03) and Maltese Artist (winner in 2005 and 2007) as the only four horses to win the Battle of Lake Erie twice.

Currently twenty horses have sustained to the 2012 Battle of Lake Erie and boast combined earnings of more than $12,500,000, having won almost 300 races. Two millionaires, Aracache Hanover and Foiled Again, are among the eligibles.

In addition, Battle night will also offer guests a spectacular dinner buffet in Lady Luck’s clubhouse. The special Battle of Lake Erie Buffet will be 2 for $29.99 and include admission and a program for each guest. Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the outdoor apron to sample three of northeast Ohio’s most popular food trucks. Seti’s Polish Boys (as seen on the Food network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”) and StrEat Mobile Bistro (winner of the 2012 Fan Favorite at the Northfield Park Kentucky Derby Day Food Truck Festival) will be serving up their special fare. And for dessert don’t miss out on Sweet The Mobile Cupcakery and all of their delicious sweets.


July also features two nights of Ohio Sires Stakes racing action over Northfield’s Flying Turns.  On Tuesday, July 3, Ohio sired two year-old filly pacers and trotters will be the main attraction on the holiday race card. To start your holiday off right, enjoy the concession specials offered trackside. Guests can choose among a barbecued pork sandwich, foot long hot dog or a Guinness Brat with a Pepsi for $4. Or try one of our Miller or Labatt beer specials for $3. 

The month’s second Ohio Sires Stakes, for two year-old colt trotters and pacers, will be contested on the Battle of Lake Erie undercard.


On Saturday, July 28 Northfield Park hosts the 2012 Summit County Fair Stakes. Buckeye-bred youngsters will compete for total purses estimated at $100,000.  In addition to the live racing action, Northfield will open for full-card simulcasting beginning at 12 noon. Over 40 tracks including Saratoga’s world-class thoroughbred meet, are on tap.

Fair Day offers plenty of activities for the whole family. Lady Luck’s clubhouse features a special 2 for $29.99 buffet, while the trackside apron will be the place to relax for the outdoor activities. The food trucks return as Seti’s Polish Boys and StrEat Mobile Bistro are joined by the Nosh Box in offering up their tempting food creations. So Yummy will be here, too, serving their cool and icy summertime treats. Enjoy beer specials and live music at the outdoor Trackside patio. Nearby kids can enjoy the children’s activity area from 5 to 7 pm.

Summit County Fair Day is also a real bargain: fans receive free admission and parking, free carrel seating and $1 live programs.


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 26, 2012—New York Sire Stakes invade Yonkers Raceway this week, with events for 3-year-old pacers of both genders.

Thursday night, it's the $335,804 Art Watson for sophomore fillies, going as the first three races on the dozen-race card.

Defending statebred champ Handsoffmycookie returns here for the first time since handily winning the $176,484 Lismore earlier this month. The daughter of Art Major drew post position No. 2 in the final ($113,268) division.

Tim Tetrick retains the duties for owner JFE Enterprises and trainer Scott DiDomenico. "Cookie" has won 10 of her 15 career starts and more than $682,000.

Thursday's opening ($111,268) sire stakes event includes Brownsville Bomber (Jim Morrill Jr., post 5), a statebred winner at Vernon, The second ($111,268) grouping offers a matchup between sire stakes winners New York Kitty (George Brennan, post 2) , JK Fine Art (Morrill Jr., post 4) and Romantic Moment (Yannick Gingras, post 5).

Friday night features the $340,239 Armand Palatucci for second-season colts and geldings. It's carded as races 9 through 11 (at $113,413 each) on what is also a 12-race program.

The last of those events is led by defending NYSS champ Heston Blue Chip (Tetrick, post 3). The son of  American Ideal, trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs, is a perfect 3-for-3 this season after 11 wins (and two seconds) in 13 frosh tries. He goes past $500,000 in career earnings with a victory here.

Coral Snake (Brennan, post 6), unraced at 2, had made it for lost time with four wins in as many tries, while Steelhead Hanover (Morrill Jr., post 2) has hit the board in 16-of-18 career tries.

The opening sire stakes event includes Breakin’ the Law (Jason Bartlett, post 6), a NYSS winner here last month, while the second division has Forever Just (Tetrick, post 5), also local sire stakes winner that very evening.

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.         


Tgdn5/8 - Tioga Offers $500 Trainer Bonus on July 4

The racing schedule at both Tioga & Vernon Downs will change for the upcoming ‘Fourth of July’ holiday week.

Tioga picks up an extra live date on the evening (6:50PM) of Wednesday, July 4th and that card has been designated “Trainer Appreciation Day”. The trainer of the official winner of each race on that card will be awarded a bonus of $500.

Another wrinkle is the addition of two short series; one for $4,000 claimers, the other for Non-Winners of $1,801 last 5 starts. Both will race in division for a $5,000 purse on July 4th with the top finishers racing for $10,000 in the final on Friday, July 13th. All information is on the Tioga condition sheet.

Vernon Downs will race on the evening (6:55PM) of Tuesday, July 3rd and have a matinee card at 1:15PM on Wednesday, July 4th. Vernon will then continue with Wednesday evening racing throughout July & August. Consult the Vernon condition sheet for more details


For the past 43 years Monticello Raceway has offered local fans the best Fireworks Show in Sullivan County(NY) and this year will be no exception.

On Wednesday, July 4th  the Raceway will stage its 44th Annual Fireworks Extravaganza after the races.  But that night the first post will be at 5:30p.m.
“The fireworks will be presented approximately 20 minutes after the racing program ends on July 4th,” said Shawn Wiles, the Raceway’s Assistant General Manager. “And since there is free admission to the entire facility it’s a great opportunity to come and see the fireworks close-up on the tracks apron where the best view is afforded.” 

Along with the live racing program that evening  the Mighty M also offers simulcast wagering on both harness and thoroughbred races from tracks around the country and at some harness facilities in Canada.

Monday, June 25, 2012


MANALAPAN, NJ – June 25, 2012 – It is last call for the 17th Annual Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey Golf Outing on Monday, July 9, 2012 at Gambler Ridge Golf Club in Cream Ridge, NJ.

Proceeds of the outing benefit the Horsemen’s Benevolent Fund.

There is room for only three or four more foursomes so do not risk being shut out.  Please reserve your spot by July 2.

The $180 player’s cost includes green fees, golf cart, buffet lunch, beverages on the course, prime rib dinner and open bar, prizes and awards.

Raffle tickets will be sold for a 2012 Sport Trainer Jog Cart, donated by Allen Eggert of Pennsbury Enterprises.  There will be a putting contest, 50-50 and a Hole-in-One opportunity for a 2012 Mercedes C300-W4, courtesy of Prestige Mercedes Benz of Paramus, NJ.

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. and the shotgun start after lunch is from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The dinner will run from 6 to 8 p.m.  To attend the dinner only, the cost is $75. 

For more information, call the SBOANJ office at 732-462-2357 or visit

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, June 25, 2012—Yonkers Raceway shall increase the guarantee for its Tuesday late Pick 4 to $25,000, effective July 3rd.

The late Pick 4 consists of races 7 through 10 every racing night.    

"We're pleased with the results of the guarantee since we brought it back in April," general manager Bob Galterio said. "Our fans have supported it, and we know the added guarantee is going to attract even more interest.

"We appreciate the cooperation of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the USTA and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board."

Note that the guarantee for this Tuesday's late Pick 4 remains at $20,000, the same as Monday’s weekly late Pick 4 pot.

As always, program pages for both guaranteed late Pick 4’s are provided for perusal at  

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.          


Joe Thomson, the squire of Winbak Farms, has emerged as one of the leading figures in the Standardbred sport. Over the past ten years or so, Winbak has been among the top  breeding operations in the sport.

Joe Tomson
(Photo by Ed Keys/USTA)
Later this fall the Monticello Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association will honor  Thomson. He will be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the presentation will be made  when the chapter holds its  54th Annual Awards Banquet at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, NY on November 18.

Joe and wife JoAnn founded Winbak Farm in 1991. They had purchased Winfield Farm, where the great Thoroughbred Northern Dancer was foaled. Not being able to use the name Winfield the Thomson’s shortened it to Win and used the initials of their children Bradley, Ashley and Kimberly to form the name Winbak.

Winbak Farm is the Standardbred breeding industry's largest single family owned and operated breeding farm. Winbak specializes in standing, breeding, raising and selling some of the best Standardbred horses in the industry. Winbak Farm is located on 2,000 acres of lush farmland in Maryland horse country near Chesapeake City not far from Philadelphia and Baltimore.
In the last ten years, Winbak bred, raised and sold three Horse of the Year champions: No Pan Intended, Rainbow Blue and Muscle Hill. Winbak is also the breeder for Hambletonian winners Vivid Photo and Muscle Hill. This past year, Winbak bred the 3-year-old Pacing Colt of the Year Roll With Joe. Since 1998  Winbak has bred winners of over $150-million.

 A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. Thomson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics.  Upon graduation in 1966,  he served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Today he is currently a trustee of his alma mater.
Thomson  was recently elected  president of  the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania and is an honoree  of the Little Brown Jug Hall of Fame. He is also  a trustee and director of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., and a director of the Hambletonian Society. He is also   one of four owners of The Red Mile in Lexington, Ky. In addition to his holdings in harness racing, he is president of  Pacer Financial Inc., a financial planning company.

With his outstanding credentials and his dedication to the harness racing industry , there is little doubt that the Harness Racing Hall of Fame will come calling in the very near future.


The Billings Battlers have been in New England this weekend;  at Bangor Raceway on Friday and Scarborough Downs on Sunday. The trip wraps up on Monday at Plainridge Racecourse.

On Friday “Sir Philip” Bo Sowers won the Bangor contest and yesterday at Scarborough Downs Sowers again soured the day for his competitors in a Billings trot when he guided Paradise Magoo to a gate to wire victory in a time of 2:01.1. Also that afternoon Billings Series vice president Steve” You’re Never Too” Oldford  got off the Billings schneid with a hard fought victory with 16-1 shot Black Chip Winner in  a  2:04.1 clocking.
On the other hand Sowers made his triumph with Paradise Magoo look easy. After  gaining command from the pole position Sowers took the field by the quarter in :29.1 and he and his trotter passed the half in :59.2 with all the others in single file behind the leader.

At the third stanza Paradise Magoo had two lengths on the competition and from there only the margin of victory was in doubt. At the wire Paradise Magoo and “Sir Philip” were  two lengths to the good over runner-up Ove  Ove, driven by the Billings Series president Tony “the Capo” Verruso. Third place went to Iroquoindianbrave  with Steve Oldford aboard.
Oldford’s third place finish came on the heels of his initial 2012 Billings Series triumph with  Black Chip Winner.

In the other contest Oldford’s trotter was disregarded by the betting public and had to overcome interference early in the mile and because of that they were 10 lengths behind the leader, Emery Ho, as his  driver Tony  Verruso got the field by the halfway point in :59.1
With Verruso’s charge still in command at the third stanza in 1:31.3 Oldford ‘s chances looked slim and they were still  a solid two lengths behind the leader in third position.

In the lane the quick early fractions took a toll on the leader and Emery Ho began to fade. BWT Everytime, in rein to Robert “Blue N” Gray, scooted to the lead midway through the lane but Oldford kept urging his trotter and Black Chip Winner  steadily moved forward and  at the wire a photo was needed to determine the winner. 
After a short recess the judges posted Black Chip Winner as the victor which gave Oldford his first Billings victory of the year.  BWT Everytime  was nose behind the winner in the picture  and had to settle for second money.  Philip Bo Sowers got  Here Comes Monte up for the show dough.

On Monday the Billings Series moves down to Plainville, Mass. for a seven- horse contest at Plainridge Racecourse.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tgdn5/8 - Fall Bliss captures Tioga’s Sunday afternoon feature.

Fall Bliss and Mark MacDonald captured Sunday afternoon’s $16,500 open pace at Tioga Downs in a new lifetime best of 1:50.3. Starting from post position number four in a field of six, MacDonald settled in fifth as Vlos (Eric Carlson) cut through fractions of 26.1, 54.2, and 1:22.2. As the field passed three quarters, Voice Of Truth (Fern Paquet Jr.) were first over on the outside with Fall Bliss tracking his cover.

Around the final turn Fall Bliss surged off of Paquet’s helmet and in a matter of strides grabbed control of the racetrack down the stretch. Vlos fought back gamely in the lane but had to settle for second, while Big Bay Point (Lewayne Miller) after sitting a pocket trip finished third.

Scott Blackler trains the 4-year old son of Blissful Hall – Fall Festival, who won for the fifth time in nineteen seasonal outings this year. With the win, Fall Bliss increased bankroll to more than $59,000 on the season.

Tioga Downs races next Friday and Saturday at 6:50 pm, and Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm. There will also be a special holiday card on Wednesday, July 4th at 6:50 pm capped off by a fireworks display following live racing.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at .  


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 23, 2012—Sapphire City (Brent Holland) went the distance Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace.

In a hurry from post position No. 2, Sapphire City pocketed longshot Bettor Design (Larry Stalbaum) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. From there, he rated a 29-second next stanza (:56.2 half) before Nob Hill High (Jordan Stratton) moved from fourth.

Sapphire City had things his own way in and out of the 1:24.2 three-quarters, taking a 2½ -length lead into the lane. He finished his night's work winning by three lengths in 1:52. Nob Hill High photoed Bettor Design for second, with River Shark (Eric Goodell) and slight 2-1 choice Hypnotist (Cat Manzi) grabbing the small change.

For Sapphire City, a 4-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, he returned $8.70 (fifth choice) for his seventh win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $75.70, with the triple returning $541.

Special Saturday props to True Desire (Stalbaum), whose 53-1 upset ($109) from the eight-hole in the $26,500, ninth-race pace was the highest local win mutuel of the season.

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.        

M1 - Local Athletes and Racing Community Unite To Raise Funds For Breast Cancer Research

East Rutherford, NJ [June 23, 2012] – More than $4,000 was raised to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program during a day-night event that brought together athletes - both human and equine - on June 23 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

A total of 168 runners sprinted across the finish line in the Meadowlands Racetrack and 95.5 WPLJ’s inaugural Stride For The Cure 5K.  Frank Ayala, 43, of Jersey City, NJ took first place overall in the Men’s division with a time of 19:44 for the distance.  Lindsey McKee, 21, of Hawthorne, NJ topped the Women’s division in 21:17.  McKee, a student at Ramapo College, is the daughter of track announcer Sam McKee.  In addition to their awards, Ayala and McKee each received a pair of free running shoes courtesy of Road Runner Sports of Paramus, NJ. 

Water stations for the event were provided by North Jersey Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute of Clifton.  Sponsors of the event also included Columbus Hospital, Precision Upper Cervical Center, Natalie’s Orchard Island Juice and FlipFlop wine and Rum.  The Ladies Night post-race party included live music, prize drawings, drink specials and spa services such as foot and hand massages. 

The third annual Lisa Photo Stride for the Cure was the featured event on the live harness racing card.  The race was founded by Meadowlands track photographer Michael Lisa and his wife, Annette, a breast cancer survivor, of Montvale, NJ.  Horses and drivers in the race used pink equipment that was auctioned to benefit the American Cancer Society.  The equipment was donated by members of the racing community, including Kelly Ford, Kristen Bartlett and Julie Miller.

Steve Every of Pioneer Sports Inc., whose firm supplies the field paints for the National Football League, applied custom pink ribbons to the Meadowlands infield similar to those found in NFL endzones. 

Tgdn5/8 - Spice It Up Lindy takes home Saturday night feature at Tioga Downs

Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) made it four wins in a row on Saturday night at Tioga Downs in the $16,500 Open handicap trot. Fresh off of his lifetime best of 1:52.4 at Pocono Downs, Spice It Up Lindy returned to Tioga where he had posted two straight wins.

Leaving from post position number six in a field of seven, Meittinis backed Spice It Up Lindy off of the gate in fifth as the field headed through fractions of 27.2 and 56.4. Down the backside Meittinis sent the 9-year old gelding first over to take on the leader Allmar Surprise, through three quarters in 1:25.1. Around the final turn Meittinis asked Spice It Up Lindy for more and he responded opening up in the stretch to win in 1:55.1. The win was the fourth in five seasonal starts for Spice It Up Lindy and trainer-owner Santo Zuzolo, and the seventeenth of his career.

Aruba Vacation (Fern Paquet Jr.) shook loose late in the stretch to finish second, while Heidi Falls (Jim Marohn Jr.) finished third.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Sunday, June 25 at 1:30 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at .  

Ppk5/8 - Pompano Park Barn Notes

Florida Amateur Drivers Step Up Again

Yet another important equine based cause in South Florida has become a recipient of the generosity and charitable spirit of the Florida Amateur Driving Club (FADC).

Following their weekly event on track which was won by driver Jamie Marra with claiming trotter Budlightning in a convincing first over effort in 1:58.1, the FADC members gathered in the winner's circle at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park to make a cheque presentation to the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center of Loxahatchee, FL.

"We feel it's an extremely worthy cause and the fully licensed drivers in the Club donate back their 5% fee to charity, and I'm happy to report the vote on this one was completely unanimous" Jamie Marra of the FADC said. "Soon, we'll hit another milestone with $125,000 in total donations to charitable equine causes in the area" he added.

"The harness racing people at Pompano are extremely generous, and we're fortunate that the FADC is throwing it's support behind us" said Marty Friedman of the Vinceremos Center to the Isle's John Berry in the trackside live TV ceremony. "We have 23 donated horses and we help people of all ages with all kinds of disabilities through therapeutic riding" he added. "As a point of interest, our facility's name, vinceremos, means 'to overcome' in latin."

For more on the latest cause to be helped by the Florida Amateur Driving Club, visit .

Stakes Season Starts For 3 Year Old Colts

The Saturday evening, June 23 card at Pompano kicked off the 2012 Sunshine State Stakes for 3 year old state-bred colts and geldings on both gaits for purses of $6,000 in Florida Standardbred Breeders And Owners Association (FSBOA) series.

Keemosable dominated his pacing rivals as a 1-9 favorite with a front end wrapped up tally in 1:53.4 with Bruce Ranger in the bike. Goldstar Raider, partnered by Walter Ross Jr. secured the pocket early and followed in for second with Diamond Cowboy in rein to Jay Sears next best for third. The Squaw's Fella-Bolero Athena colt Keemosabe is owned by Jerry Glantz of Delray Beach and races from the care of Stewart Nemiro and the Bruce Ranger Stable.

A tropical heavy rain dominated the last half of the Saturday evening proceedings, and in the 3 year old colt and gelding trot division in very sloppy conditions Its Very Possible was a front end upset winner in 2:05. Jim Gluhm of Trenton, FL co-owns, trains, and drove the Anythings Possible-I'm Fashionable gelding to his first lifetime win as the longest offering on the odds board at 23-1. Orleans, in rein to Robert Hoffman followed in for second and Coconspirator with Mickey McNichol in the bike was third.

In the early portion of the card, the Isle Mile Open Handicap Pace for an $8,500 purse saw Northern Companion get past all four of his rivals in the final half to stop the clock in 1:53.1 with Robert Hoffman in the bike. Talk To Tony with Bruce Ranger in tow cut the mile but could not hold off the stretch onslaught of Northern Companion. Neptune Blue Chip driven by Tom Sells was third. Howard Klohr trains Northern Companion, a 4 year old gelding by Cambest-Smoke It Out, for owner Dorothy Zarza of Lake Worth, FL.

The current meet at Pompano concludes on July 28, with post time every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m. Free race night live streaming, handicapping selections by Hall Of Famer John Berry, and much is available in the 'racing' tab at .