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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

M1 - Uncle Peter Is Installed Favorite In $1.5 Million Hambletonian

East Rutherford, NJ --- Uncle Peter was made the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack after trainer Jimmy Takter selected post No. 1 for the colt’s starting position.

The connections of Hambletonian elimination race winners Uncle Peter, Market Share and Knows Nothing earned the right to pick their horse’s post. Trainer Jeff Gillis selected first and chose post three for Knows Nothing, followed by driver Tim Tetrick taking post two for Market Share.

“I wanted (post) two,” Takter said as he debated his selection. “Let’s go with one.”

Broad Bahn won last year’s Hambletonian from post one, as did Muscle Hill in 2009 and Deweycheatumnhowe in 2008.

CBS Sports Network will air the Hambletonian final from 3:30-5 p.m. Saturday.

Uncle Peter, driven by Ron Pierce, brings a three-race win streak to the Hambletonian final. He won his Hambletonian elimination race last weekend by 1-3/4 lengths over Money On My Mind in 1:53.3 over a track labeled “good” because of earlier rain.

“I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of great horses in my days and Uncle Peter is most likely the most gifted 3-year-old trotting colt I’ve been around,” said Takter, who also will drive Guccio from post seven in the Hambletonian final. “(Uncle Peter) has some issues, it’s a little bit up and down with him and he’s not the easiest horse, but … he’s the most gifted horse I’ve been around.”

Takter is a two-time Hambletonian winner, with Muscle Massive in 2010 and Malabar Man in 1997, and was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1. He is bidding to become the first trainer to win the Hambletonian in the same year as his induction.

Uncle Peter has won eight of 12 career races, including last year’s Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, and earned $533,967. He is a son of Cantab Hall and the first foal out of the mare Victory Treasure. He was purchased for $60,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, under the name Pick Up The Tab.

The horse was renamed in honor of Peter Fielding, the late brother of co-owners John and Jim Fielding. Also sharing in the ownership are Christina Takter and Goran Falk.

Knows Nothing, who was unraced last year because of a bone chip, won his elimination by 1-1/4 lengths over Guccio and is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. He has won seven of eight races and earned $217,152 this year for Gillis and Ontario-based owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, Mac Nichol and Stay. Libfeld and Katz were co-owners of 2010 Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive.

In his Hambletonian elimination, Knows Nothing benefited from some patient driving and, according to driver Jody Jamieson, some good fortune. Jamieson and Knows Nothing sat on the rail in the middle of the field before finding room to split Riccolo and Stormin Normand, who were battling side by side for the lead, near the top of the stretch and cruise to victory.

“You have to be lucky in this game, as we all know,” Jamieson said. “When that hole opened up and he took off, I knew within one stride that I was going to win the race. He just explodes. He’s like a pacer; he has that kind of speed when you come off a helmet. It was an amazing experience.

“It’s a humbling experience to be here with the second favorite in the Hambletonian final. It’s the biggest race in the world and you can’t let anybody tell you any different.”

Jamieson and Gillis were in the 2009 Hambletonian with Federal Flex, who finished ninth.

Market Share, who is trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Richard Gutnick, is 4-1 on the morning line. He had the fastest time of the three eliminations, winning by 2-1/4 lengths over Archangel. Last year, Gutnick and Toscano went to the Hambletonian with Chapter Seven, who finished fourth in the final.

Toscano is trying to become the first female trainer to the win the Hambletonian.

“This is unbelievable,” Toscano said. “I never dreamed I would get another chance at it after last year. To have this colt come as far as he has, and he seems to be prepping really well going into this race, it’s a dream come true.”

Market Share, who was 5-for-5 last season competing at Freehold Raceway, has won four of 10 races this year and earned $186,255 and Tetrick hopes the colt can give him his first Hambletonian trophy. Tetrick is the sport’s leading driver in wins and purses this year and has been the top money-winner each of the past five seasons.

“I’ve already had an awesome ride; I can’t believe it’s been this good. You always dream of winning the Hambletonian. Maybe this is my year; I certainly hope so.”

$1.5 million Hambletonian
1-Uncle Peter-Ron Pierce-Jimmy Takter-5/2
2-Market Share-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano-4/1
3-Knows Nothing-Jody Jamieson-Jeff Gillis-7/2
4-Archangel-Jim Morrill Jr.-Peter Arrigenna-9/2  
5-My MVP-Mike Lachance-Tony Alagna-15/1
6-Prestidigitator-Sylvain Filion-R. Dustin Jones-12/1
7-Guccio-Jimmy Takter-Takter-8/1
8-Stormin Normand-Dave Palone-Jim Campbell-15/1
9-Money On My Mind-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1
10-Gym Tan Laundry-George Brennan-Noel Daley-30/1

Tgdn5/8 - Entries for EBC 3yo Pacing Events Being Taken

  Tioga Downs will host the elimination races for the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) 3YO colt & filly pacing events on Sunday, August 5. Both $250,000 EBC finals are set for the following Sunday, August 12. 

  Entries will be taken by the Tioga Downs racing office at (607) 699-7688 until the box closes at 9AM on Thursday, August 2nd. You may access the condition sheet, list of eligibles and race conditions by visiting the Tioga website.

VD7/8 - Vernon Downs is gearing up for Drivers’ Championship and State Fair Weekend

Vernon Downs is gearing up to host its first Drivers’ Championship during State Fair weekend in Vernon, New York on Sunday, August 26th. The Drivers’ Championship which has been a huge hit at Tioga Downs in past years will be re-located to Vernon for 2012, along with the annual bobblehead giveaway featuring last year’s champion, Jody Jamieson. As always bobbleheads will be given away before the races and the drivers participating in the Championship will be on hand for an autograph session and driver meet and greet beginning at 11:45 am on the trackside apron.

If the deadline for the Drivers’ Championship were today (which it is not, deadline is Monday, August 6th) the top seven money winning drivers would be: Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras, George Brennan, Ron Pierce, Brian Sears, David Miller, and Dave Palone. Vernon Downs’ leading driver (in earnings) is currently Jim Morrill Jr. and by the looks should finish as the leader in earnings come down to the deadline.

Vernon Downs is proud to invite all owners and horsemen participating at Vernon Downs during the State Fair weekend (August 24 – 26) to be part of their weekend celebration. Vernon will be putting on a carnival like atmosphere at the track all weekend long, holding owner barbeques and cocktail parties before the races, and hosting a free horsemen’s golf outing.

The State Fair weekend kicks off on Friday, August 24 with the 2-year old filly trotters and pacers with a post time of 6:55 pm. There will be an owner’s barbeque and cocktail reception at the Vernon Downs’ Founders Park at 5:00 pm before the races.

On Saturday, August 25th, Vernon Downs will be hosting a free golf outing for all horsemen and owners in the morning (planned tee time: 8:30 am). The tournament will be held at Rome Country Club and will be a four person captain and crew format tournament. Another barbeque and cocktail reception will be held on Saturday evening at 5:00 pm leading up to the 6:55 pm post for the 2-year old colt and gelding pacers and trotters taking center stage in the State Fair races.

The weekend is capped off with the $700,000 (e) Zweig Trot for 3-year old trotters, and the $50,000 Drivers’ Championship on Sunday, August 26 with a 1:15 pm post time.

Hotel rooms are available at Vernon Downs for the State Fair celebration (August 24 – 26), and all reservations and golf sign ups can be directed to Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast at 607.699.7588 or .

For more information on Vernon Downs please visit us online at .


There’s an old adage that states ‘good things come to those who wait’ and that maxim certainly was germane  to the outcome of Monticello  Raceway’s Munich Mile on Monday afternoon, July 30 when  winning driver Mike Merton waited at the back of the pack in the early going and then rallied to victory in the race for drivers of German descent , which was the fifth leg of the Mighty M’s Heritage Drivers Series.

Merton, up behind  Romi Mystic , prevailed in an exciting 1:58.1 victory which saw five of the pacers come together in a blanket finish.
In a race that was jam-packed with early speed, Greg Decker, Jr. set sails from the five hole with Bet On Lindy but it wasn’t until the pacers passed the quarter pole in :28 that Will Harmon, driving the favorite, Stirling Beauty from the pole position, took back and allowed Decker’s pacer to take charge.

From there  Decker took the field by the half in :57 and was still in command over a tightly bunched field as they paced by the third stanza in 1:27.
They were four wide on the final bend and as the field rushed toward the wire. Romi Mystic, on the far outside, prevailed  by just a  head over Stirling Beauty  and Will Harmon ,who found room down the passing lane to get up for second money. Third place went to the pace-setter Bet On Lindy.

“Things just went our way here today,” winning driver Mike Merton explained as he was being presented the trophy after his driving victory. “They (the leaders) went quick on the front-end which was perfect for me. I moved third-over up the backside and then slid four-deep on the final turn to get around the tightly bunched field. When we came off the turn we had a clear shot to the finish and my mare was the strongest at the wire.”
The winner, a 6-year-old Modern Art mare is owned by Edward Hall of Lebanon, CT. and trained by Dan Gill. She returned a $6.60 win mutuel.

Among the participating drivers was German professional, Wim Paal, who is currently in the States racing a few trotters. He accepted an invitation to drive in the Munich Mile and was excited about driving a pacer in a race because in Europe only trotters are allowed. He finished a very close fifth.
“I had a good trip in the early going and had plenty of horse at the finish but there was no room for us to make a move  in the stretch because the horses were tightly bunched,” Paal told Eric Warner the tracks director of racing after the event had been completed.” But I thoroughly enjoyed my first-time drive behind a pacer and I thank you for inviting me to participate.”

Others who drove and where they finished included; Cory Stratton (4th) Peter Kleinhans (6th) Keith Haase (7th) and Greg Merton (8th)
With his victory Merton earned a berth in the Heritage Series Final, dubbed the All-America Cup, which will be presented later this fall and that race will feature the winning drivers  of the ethnic series preliminary legs.

Monday, July 30, 2012


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 30, 2012--Yonkers Raceway offers its own version of freshman orientation this week, as New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old young ladies make a pair of appearances.

Tuesday night, it's the $288,360 Clyde Hirt Pace for first-season fillies, divided five ways (races 1,3,4,5 and 6).

The opening ($56,792) division finds Summertime Lea (Jim Morrill Jr., post 6) going after a fourth win in a as many tries, The daughter of Lislea owns sire stakes wins at Saratoga, Tioga and  Monticello, with the second of those in a life-best 1:55.1. Ron Burke trains and co-owns (as Burke Racing) with Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith.

Burke also has the early choice with Silk Pajamas (Jason Bartlett, post 7) in the fourth ($57,892) event. The Bettor's Delight miss, co-owned by Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold and Purple Haze Stables, owns a statebred win at Tioga (1:54.4) for her lone win in three efforts.

Early favoritism in the other three events belong to Give Me an Amen  (Tim Tetrick, post 7) in the second ($57,892) division, Hit the Curb (Morrill Jr., post 2) in the third ($56,792) grouping and See Major (Stephane Bouchard, post 2) in the final ($57,892) get-together.            

Thursday night's $285,840 Mike Cohen Trot is also for frosh fillies and also in five divisions (races 2 through 6).

The morning accolades have gone to, in chronological order..

--Lola De Vie (Jeff Gregory, post 3), a daughter of Credit Winner who was a wire-to-wire NYSS winner at Monticello two starts ago;
--Isabella Gal (Morrill Jr., post 6), an RC Royalty lass who drew off in a Vernon NYSS event in a snappy 1:56.2;
--Barn Babe (John Cummings  Jr., post 2), a daughter of Cash Hall who has won her last couple of statebred starts;
--Palm Beach Chic (Gregory, post 4) a Conway Hall ma'am who cruised to a maiden-breaking NYSS win at Vernon in her latest try;
--Royal Malinda (Dan Daley, post 2), a daughter of RC Royalty who was a sire stakes winner at Buffalo to begin her career.

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 - Archangel Brings Congregation Of Fans To Hambletonian

For the last 20 years or so, trainer Peter Arrigenna had the same response whenever someone asked when he would attend the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack rather than watch the race on television.

“I’ll go down when a horse takes me down there,” he said.

On Saturday, Arrigenna will attend the Hambletonian in person. Archangel is bringing him there. And the horse might be bringing more than his trainer on the trip.

Arrigenna, who is based in New York about 20 miles south of Rochester, said a local tour bus company was putting together a trip to the Hambletonian. After Archangel advanced to Saturday’s $1.5 million Hambletonian final thanks to a second-place finish in last weekend’s eliminations, the trip was expected to fill. Arrigenna’s son Mark and daughter-in-law Kristen are traveling from Florida for the race as well.

Much of the interest in Arrigenna’s hometown area was spurred by recent newspaper articles about Arrigenna and Archangel, including one in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle prior to the Hambletonian eliminations.

“There are a lot of people that read the story and have come over to the barn to see the horse,” said Arrigenna, who never raced at the Meadowlands prior to Archangel’s Hambletonian elimination. “These are people that have never been to the races. They want to go and see what this is all about. It’s great to help promote the sport. There’s nothing better than what’s happening here to promote the harness racing industry.”

Arrigenna, who competes primarily on the New York circuit and is vice president of the board of directors of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, owns Archangel with Alan Hainsworth and Clare Semer. The colt is the top money-winning 3-year-old male trotter in North America this year, with seven wins in nine starts for $446,157.

On July 7, Archangel won the $445,594 Yonkers Trot, which is the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, in a world-record 1:54.1. The Hambletonian is the second, followed by the Kentucky Futurity on Oct. 7 at Lexington’s Red Mile.

Eight horses have won the Trotting Triple Crown, most recently Glidemaster in 2006. CBS Sports Network will air the Hambletonian final from 3:30-5 p.m. Saturday.

In his Hambletonian elimination, Archangel and driver Jim Morrill Jr. were in third place between Market Share and favorite Little Brown Fox after an opening quarter-mile of 27 seconds, but inherited the lead when Little Brown Fox went off stride and Market Share remained in second place. Market Share took the lead in the stretch and posted a 2-1/4 length win in 1:52.2, which was the fastest of the night’s three Hambletonian elims.

“Going to the quarter pole, I’m glad I wasn’t sitting between those horses as tight as it was,” Arrigenna said. “It was a tough quarter. Our game plan was to sit in the two hole and sit behind Little Brown Fox and it would have happened if (Little Brown Fox) wouldn’t have made a break.

“(Market Share) ended up getting the two-hole trip behind us; that’s the trip I wanted. Watching the other divisions, it seems like none of the front-end horses were finishing too well.”

Overall, Arrigenna was pleased with Archangel’s performance, which included a :27.4 last quarter-mile that was eclipsed by only Market Share.

“I think he did well,” Arrigenna said. “From watching and talking to people, I think you need a first time around the Meadowlands’ racetrack and the second time they’ll get a little better. I can’t ask for anything better than what he did. I was happy with everything.”

Prior to his Hambletonian elim, Archangel posted a stakes-record 1:54.3 win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes at Tioga Downs on July 21. Archangel’s other wins this year include the $233,250 Empire Breeders Classic (in a track-record 1:53.1 at Vernon Downs) and two legs of the New York Sire Stakes.

A son of Credit Winner, Archangel is the first foal of the multiple-stakes-winning mare Michelle’s Angel and was purchased for $120,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale.

“I’ve known Alan for quite a few years; he doesn’t live too far from here,” Arrigenna said. “He’s had horses and he’d come by and talk. He wanted to buy this horse and wanted me to train it and be partners on it. We got together and got it done. Clare has had some horses with Alan and wanted to come on board. The three of us went together on it and that was it. It’s worked out very well.”

Last year, Archangel wore trotting hobbles while on his way to three wins in 13 starts and $135,193 in purses. This year, the trotting hobbles were removed prior to the start of his campaign.

“That was a big plus,” said Arrigenna, who received the Upstate New York Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Good Guy Award in 2010. “He really needed them at the beginning of the year; he just didn’t have the confidence, especially in the first turn. Later in the year he was coming along good, but I hated to change things.

“This year I didn’t even bother putting them on. I jogged him through the winter and started training him and he showed me right off the bat he didn’t need them. He’s just getting a lot of confidence and is starting to come around. This is the best time it could happen, to peak right now.”

The only downside to not winning his elimination is it put Archangel in the open draw for post position rather than giving his connections the chance to select their starting spot for the Hambletonian final.

“Hopefully, we’ll get something halfway decent in there and whatever happens, happens,” Arrigenna said. “You just have to race the way it is.”


MANALAPAN, NJ – July 30, 2012 -- It is a tradition for the reigning Miss New Jersey to meet her equine counterpart in the winner’s circle of the Thomas D’Altrui Sr. Miss New Jersey Stakes for three-year-old New Jersey-sired pacing fillies. 

Miss New Jersey, Lindsey Petrosh
This year the honors will go to Lindsey Petrosh, a 23-year-old Rowan University graduate student from Egg Harbor City.  She will present the trophy on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

 The Thomas D’Altrui Sr. Miss New Jersey, which has been contested since 1984, is the filly companion event to the Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic, which debuted in 1980.

It was through the efforts of Hall of Fame trainer Anthony Abbatiello and longtime breeder Thomas D’Altrui Sr. that the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey – the SBOANJ -- was founded in 1961.  The SBOANJ is the sponsor of both stakes.

A vocalist, Lindsey Petrosh performed the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” for the talent portion of this year’s Miss New Jersey pageant on June 16. 

In January, she will compete for the title of Miss America.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ

Tgdn5/8 - Dynamic Youth Sets Track Record at Tioga Downs

Dynamic Youth and Mark Macdonald established a new track record for 3-year old gelding pacers on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs in a division of the New York Sire Stakes.

Settling in next to last in a field of six, Dynamic Youth and Macdonald watched as an early battle for control produced quick fractions of 26.2 and 54.1. The race favorite Coral Snake (George Brennan) was battling with Major Bombay (Jason Bartlett) for the lead when Steelhead Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) launched their first over bid.

Morrill had Steelhead Hanover right at Coral Snake’s throat by three quarters in a blistering 1:21.4. Around the final turn, Forever Just (Tim Tetrick) looked to be a winner tipping three wide off of cover, but Macdonald unleashed Dynamic Youth off of Tetrick’s helmet for the win in 1:49.3. The mile destroyed the previous record for 3-year old gelding pacers of 1:50.4 held by Art Z from 2011. It was the fourth win in nine seasonal starts for the 3-year old son of Bettor’s Delight – Always True, who is trained by Aarom Lambert for the partnership of Silva, Tucci, and C&G Racing.

“I settled him in second from last and as they were battling up front he acted like he wasn’t interested. When we got to the five eighth’s mark he caught the field and had a really nice kick off of cover around the final turn and paced home great” said winning driver Mark Macdonald following the win.

In the final division on the afternoon, Heston Blue Chip, was making his first start back since his fourth place finish in the Meadowlands Pace. It was back to business as usual as Heston Blue Chip and Tim Tetrick took control by the three eighth’s pole and cruised to an open length victory in 1:49.2. The mile equaled his track record that he set only six weeks ago in the Historic Series. The 3-year old son of American Ideal – Shot Togo Bluechip will be heading to the Empire Breeders’ Classic eliminations back at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 5th.

Capturing the other division of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year old colt pacers was Racing Rocky (Tim Tetrick) 1:51.2 for trainer George Teague Jr.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Friday, August 3rd with a post time of 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at

Sunday, July 29, 2012


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 28, 2012--Whogoesfirst (Cat Manzi), racing under the radar for much of the season, was seen on the screen Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Assigned post position No. 4, he sat pocketed to 11-10 choice Sapphire City (Brent Holland) as that one threw down intervals of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.4. Four Starz Trace (Jason Bartlett) tried his luck first-up, but was never close as Sapphire City opened a couple of lengths turning for home.

However, in mid-stretch, his hooves began to get heavy and Whogoesfirst closed inside. The latter whipped the former by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4, with Jerry's Brown Gold (Pat Lachance)--last turning for home--Rock 'Em (Jordan Stratton) and BJ's Bequia (Mark MacDonald) rounding out the payees.

For Whogoesfirst, a 4-year-old Cambest gelding co-owned by (trainer) Luanne Case and S & P Racing, he returned $18.80 (fourth choice) for his seventh win in 24 seasonal starts (single-season-best earnings of $132,893). The exacta paid $34.80, with the triple returning $240.

The New York Sire Stakes caravan returns downstate next week, with Tuesday's $288,360 Clyde Hirt Pace (2-year-old fillies) and Thursday's $285,840 Mike Cohen Trot (2-year-old fillies)

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 - Downs to Offer $5,000 Guaranteed Pick Four on Sunday

Tioga Downs in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association’s strategic wagering program will once again be offering a $5,000 guaranteed pick four pool tomorrow (Sunday, July 29). Post time for the thirteen race card is set for 1:30 pm and the pick four wager will begin on race number ten. The thirteen race card will feature Heston Blue Chip competing in one of three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year old colt pacers.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at


MANALAPAN, NJ – July 28, 2012 – Time To Roll and Hurrikane Kingcole turned in winning performances and will advance to the $275,000 Anthony Abbatiello New Jersey Classic and while Rockaround Sue will headline the filly companion race, the $125,000 Thomas D’Altrui Miss New Jersey, both of which will be contested on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at the Meadowlands. 

The elimination races shared the Meadowlands card on Saturday night, July 28, 2012 with elimination heats for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks.

Both the New Jersey Classic and the Miss New Jersey are restricted to New Jersey-sired three-year-old pacers and are sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.

Time To Roll [$2.40, $2.10, $2.10] drew off in the final sixteenth and crossed the wire three-quarters of the length ahead of the fast-closing Rollnlikeabigshot [$3.60, $2.40] in the second race, the first of the two $25,000 New Jersey Classic elims. 

Finishing two lengths behind the two sons of Rocknroll Hanover was Ideal Champ [$3.60] by Western Ideal in third.

Also qualifying for the final from the first elim were Verdad [Western Ideal] and Shakerattlenrock [Rocknroll Hanover].

Time To Roll matched his career best with a 1:50 clocking on a track rated good. 

Trained by Jimmy Takter, Time To Roll was driven to victory by Andy Miller.  His owner is his breeder, Lothlorien of Cheltenham, Ontario.

Time To Roll now has three wins and two seconds in seven starts this year and has finished on-the-board in seven of 10 lifetime starts.  The New Jersey Sire Stakes Champion was runner-up in the North America Cup but was a disappointing ninth in the Meadowlands Pace.  His New Jersey Classic elim victory pushed his career bankroll over the $500,000 mark.

Hurrikane Kingcole [$3.00, $2.20, $2.10], who won the $100,000 Meadowlands Pace Consolation on July 14 with a stunning 1:47.3 mile, was well in hand for his 1:48.3 victory in the second $25,000 New Jersey Classic elim, carded as the tenth race.

Driver Yannick Gingras released the Cam’s Card Shark colt at the half and won well in hand by a length and a quarter.  Two sons of Rocknroll Hanover were second and third: Panther Hanover [$3.00, $2.20] and Simply Business [$2.40], who was four lengths back.

Hurrikane Kingcole, trained by John McDermott, has four wins and two thirds in 10 starts this year and has finished in-the-money in 14 of 24 career outings.  He has banked nearly $394,000 for the partnership of Jeffrey Kuhen, John Levy Racing Stable, Klee Cohen Brewer & Gordon and Hurrikane Racing LLC.

Also earnings spots in the final were All Stienam [Tell All] and I Fought Dalaw [Western Ideal].

The fillies were on display in the seventh race, the $20,000 elimination for the Miss New Jersey as 10 of the 11 starters earned a spot in next week’s $125,000 final.

Andy Miller put Rockaround Sue [$7.80, $4.00, $3.40] on the lead and held on for a two-length tally in 1:52 flat.  The Rocknroll Hanover filly delivered her fourth win in eight tries this year, her third win in a row.

Sarandon Blue Chip [$4.80, $3.60] by Western Ideal was second, edging out Air Guitar Hanover [$10.80], a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover.

Rockaround Sue, trained and co-owned by Tony Alagna, also races in the name of the Uncirculated Stable and Alan Alber of Ontario.  She improved her career record to seven wins, two seconds and one third from 20 starts and earnings of $192,944.

Only Clear View Hanover missed the cut.

Those advancing to the  final, in order of finish, also included Child’s Play [Cam’s Card Shark], Pirouette Hanover [Western Ideal], Notreadytobenice [Western Ideal], Blackjack Princess [Cam’s Card Shark], Ram Rocker [Rocknroll Hanover], Carolsideal [Western Ideal] and Mikeleh [Western Ideal].

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ

Tgdn5/8 - Spice It Up Lindy Repeats in Tioga Downs’ Open Trot

It was just earlier this week (Monday, July 23) that Spice It Up Lindy established a new track record in the $16,500 open trot of 1:53.1. Although he didn’t set any new track records on Saturday night, he repeated his winning performance in the $18,000 open trot on Saturday night.

Leaving from post position number one , Jim Meittinis moved Spice It Up Lindy to the front to gain control of the race from Aruba Vacation by an opening quarter of 28.3. The field then raced in straight alignment by a half in 58.2 and three quarters in 1:27.1 with first over pressure from Tac’s Delight (Lewayne Miller). Around the final turn, Spice It Up Lindy was asked for more and he responded by drawing clear with a 28.1 final panel to stop the timer in 1:55.2.

It was the sixth win in nine seasonal starts for Spice It Up Lindy who with the win increased his seasonal earnings to more than $51,000 for owner-trainer Santo Zuzolo. Aruba Vacation (Fern Paquet Jr.) used a two hole trip to finish second, while Mandinga (Jim Taggart Jr.) stayed along the pylons to finish third.

Tioga Downs continues live racing tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, July 29) with a post time of 1:30 pm featuring three divisions of NYSS for 3-year old colt pacers. Tioga Downs will also once again be offering a $5,000 guaranteed pick four in coordination with the USTA’s strategic wagering program on Sunday, July 29th on the last four races of the day (races 10 - 13).

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

M1 - Divisional Rivals Win Hambletonian Oaks Elims

(Jay Bergman for Hambletonian Society/Meadowlands)

Check Me Out showed her dominance in the first Hambletonian Oaks elimination scoring decisively in 1:53 4/5 for driver Tim Tetrick.

The race unfolded early as Holier Than Thou and driver Yannick Gingras left purposefully for position. Superstar Hanover, with trainer Jimmy Takter in the bike, secured the front at the quarter clocked in :28 1/5. All along the 1-20 favorite Check Me Out sat third biding her time.

Tetrick waited until the halfway point clocked in :57 1/5 before moving his filly to the outside. The Ray Schnittker-trained filly quickly engaged the pacesetter on the turn and secured the front as the pair passed the three-quarter mile marker in 1:25 4/5.

From that point to the wire it was a one-horse race with Check Me Out effortlessly drawing clear of her rivals.

Uncommon Night with George Brennan had sat inside for most of the mile and navigated through the tightest of openings to earn the place spot some two and three-quarter lengths in arrears of the winner.

Superstar Hanover was put to a full drive through much of the stretch and held the third spot with Holier Than Thou and Sassy Syrinx earning the final berths in the final.

For A Dancer, a winner in all six of her starts this year entering the Hambletonian Oaks, was unable to keep up with the winner following her cover on the final turn and finished sixth failing to make the final. Valdonna also lost all chance when she broke at the outset.

Check Me Out has now won six straight races this year after losing her first start of the year.

“I just wanted to keep her comfortable,” said Tetrick in regard to his confident steer of the prized filly. “The only reason she lost those two races last year was because of me,” he joked.

Check Me Out’s connections will now be able to select their post position for the final. Tetrick said he’d probably recommend posts three or four.

There will be two titans in the $714,050 Hambletonian Oaks final after Maven captured the second Hambletonian Oaks elimination in a brisk 1:52 4/5 mile.

With Yannick Gingras in the bike the filly scored her fifth victory of the season in just seven starts.

Maven was able to get away third in the field of seven as D’Orsay and Win Missy B engaged in a brief early battle before Win Missy B took control. Driver Brian Sears seemed to be a passenger as Win Missy B carved out a :27 2/5 opening quarter over the “good” surface and got to the half with a clear advantage in :56 2/5.

Sears’ filly just kept trotting through the third quarter with Maven edging off the rail late on the final turn. The third quarter was reached in 1:24 2/5 with Win Missy B still in control and Maven working her way into the two-hole.

In the stretch Maven angled out early and quickly made up ground on the leader surging to control and drawing clear by three lengths.

Win Missy B was well clear finishing second with Personal Style a distant third.

Dream On Hanover rallied nicely from well back for fourth with Real Babe earning the final qualifying berth.

Driver Gingras praised his filly after the race. “She’s two-fingers to drive,” he said. Trainer Jonas Czernyson talked about the week ahead. “There will be no changes in what we do this week,” he said.

Maven owns the only victory this year over the first Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner Check Me Out having beaten that filly in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race at the Meadows in May.

Check Me Out nosed out Maven in the $519,400 Elegantimage final at Mohawk in June.

The two rivals will each select their posts for the final and the likelihood is not much will separate them behind the starting gate.

M1 - Hambletonian Field Set After Eliminations

Uncle Peter made three authoritative moves in a most impressive victory in the first of three elimination heats for the $1.5 million Hambletonian contested Saturday night at the Meadowlands.

The top three finishers in each elimination, plus the richest fourth-place finisher overall advanced to the track’s marquee event for 3-year-old colt trotters to be raced Saturday, August 4.

Driver Ron Pierce settled Uncle Peter in third as Money On My Mind and Lindys Jersey Boy exchanged the early lead through a :27 4/5 first quarter. Moving down the backstretch Pierce called on his colt for speed and quickly displaced Lindys Jersey Boy.

As the field approached the halfway point driver Dave Miller, behind second choice Banker Volo, made a bold move towards the front with Pierce stinging him just a little before releasing him through the :55 3/5 half-mile clocking.

With Possess The Will, last year’s champion moving without cover on the final turn, Pierce pulled the pocket on the leader and quickly moved to contend with a three-quarters clocked in 1:24 4/5.

Uncle Peter put away Banker Volo in short order and awaited the competition to come. But it never did.

Money On My Mind and driver Andy Miller patiently waited inside for most of the race and angled across the track in early stretch. Money On My Mind responded with a solid late kick to nail down the place spot.

Third place finisher Prestidigitator had an even more eventful trip after arriving from Ontario. With Sylvain Filion in tow Prestidigitator was pushed wide through the opening turn and eventually settled in behind cover. He followed a very lethargic flow and was eventually forced to come extremely wide into the stretch. Despite the length of his journey the son of Kadabra closed stoutly for the show spot in the final berth.

Fourth place finisher Lindys Jersey Boy lacked the earnings to gain a final spot.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the field of eight Uncle Peter returned $3.20 trotting his mile in 1:53 3/5.

It’s been a very big year for trainer Jeff Gillis. The Ontario-based conditioner will have another shot at the Hambletonian after Knows Nothing emerged with a victory in the second of the three Hambletonian eliminations. Knows Nothing, by Ontario sire Kadabra, posted a career best 1:53 1/5 mile as the 2-1 favorite.

The action was again hot and heavy leaving the gate with Beer Summit and driver George Brennan leaving sharply from post five and Riccolo surging early from post seven. Riccolo, undefeated in nine starts this year entering the race, worked to get the lead and passed the quarter in :27 flat.

One In A Million also tried to leave but was unable to find a hole and broke while vying with the pacesetter past the quarter.

Stormin Normand, the 3-1 second choice, got on the move without cover to press the pace before the half. With Dave Palone in the bike the colt worked his way towards the leader as the pace slowed to :56 2/5.

Stormin Normand and Riccolo waged battle through the three quarters reached in 1:25 3/5 with Beer Summit sitting in the pocket and Lightning Storm struggling to keep with his cover.

All along the favorite was sitting third on the rail waiting for the stretch and hoping to find room.

The room came rather quickly as Brennan and Beer Summit angled off the rail wide and Knows Nothing surged quickly between horses. What looked nearly impossible on the final turn suddenly became very easy with Knows Nothing trotting strongly to the front and drawing off by a length and a quarter.

Guccio and driver Jimmy Takter had been mired behind dull cover but the New Jersey-bred trotted powerfully for the second spot. My MVP sat last on the rail for most of the race but was able to rally wide into the stretch and finished stoutly to earn a berth.

Stormin Normand held fourth and grabbed a spot in the final based on superior earnings.

Jody Jamieson, the winning driver, will be looking for his first Hambletonian title as will trainer Jeff Gillis. The pair recently teamed to win the $750,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk with Mister Herbie. That four-year-old will be entered in the Nat Ray on Saturday, August 4 at the Meadowlands.

Knows Nothing has now won seven of his eight lifetime starts with his lone defeat coming in the Goodtimes at Mohawk.

The colorful Jamieson defended his driver sitting in third for much of the mile. “I’d watched Riccolo race last week and I was confident he was a good horse,” he said. “He’s done everything I’ve asked.”

Knows Nothing paid $6 to win.

Linda Toscano hopes to become the first woman trainer to win the Hambletonian next week. Her Market Share captured the third and fastest of the three eliminations scoring in a personal best 1:52 2/5 mile.

The third elimination offered the most activity in the first turn of the three as a host of horses vied for the early lead. Gym Tan Laundry moved to the lead first with George Brennan. There was a tight battle as Market Share and Little Brown Fox were two and three wide across the track, respectively. Between those two was Yonkers Trot winner Archangel, the second choice with Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike.

Market Share surged to the front past the swift :27 opening quarter and Morrill cagily filled the second lane keeping Little Brown Fox parked three wide. Morrill’s presence put added pressure on Little Brown Fox who in turn broke stride losing all chance.

Tetrick and Market Share readily yielded to Archangel as the pace slowed. Archangel backed down the pace and received only token pressure from longshot Big Chocolate as the pacesetter carved out middle half fractions of :55 4/5 and 1:25.

That left Archangel and Market Share clear of the field and ready for a sprint home.

The battle didn’t last very long as soon as Market Share and Tetrick tipped out and exploded past the leader and drew clear to a two and one-quarter lengths victory.

Archangel held well for the place spot with Gym Tan Laundry earning the final qualifying berth.

For trainer Toscano who’s Chapter Seven was in last year’s Hambletonian and will compete in the Nat Ray this year, the victory was sweet. “He’s a real honest horse that needs a trip.” On winning: “It’s a dream. An impossible dream,” she said.

Driver Tetrick credited the middle half fractions. “That helped brave him up,” he said.

The winner paid $8.20 for a $2 wager.

Ppk5/8 - Match Race, Sells Milestone Highlight Pompano's Final Card

The 2011-2012 South Florida live harness racing campaign which began last September 21 at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park is now complete. The meet's final program on Saturday, July 28 delivered a full measure of excitement with the spectacle of a rare match race and a very significant driver milestone going into the record books.

In the $7,500 purse match race offering 70% to the winner, the South Florida track's winningest driver in history, Bruce Ranger, showcased his enormous skill by taking Neptune Blue Chip out to post five on the slanted gate approaching the start against post one starter Northern Companion in rein to Robert Hoffman. As the gate accelerated away Neptune Blue Chip gained a slight advantage but that was all that was needed to set up shop on the lead through fractions of 28, 58.4, and 1:27.2. With his charge's ear plugs deployed in the late stages, Neptune Blue Chip had a 26.3 closing quarter in reserve to hold off Northern Companion when the wire arrived in 1:54.

Jim McDonald conditions Neptune Blue Chip, a 4 year old gelding by American Ideal from the Pro Bono Best mare Ms Pro Steinam, for Ciro Gentile of Boca Raton and Twenty Four Carrot Stable of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. As the seven week hiatus arrives at Pompano, Neptune Blue Chip is a winner of 8 races from 27 starts this year for earnings of almost $43,000.

Tom Sells, highly regarded in the Pompano driving colony for his special skills with trotters and young horses, reached a career milestone of 2,500 lifetime winning drives on the July 28 program. The 66 year old reinsman hailing from Ohio and now making home in South Florida brought in three year old colt trotter Trents Ringer in a non-wagering event in the Florida Breeders Series and conditioned pacer T's Electric to reach the milestone. Among the standouts Sells has campaigned in his career are 1988 standout 3 year old trotter Go Get Lost, American-National 3 year old colt trot winner Prayer I Am, and millionaire older trotter Helluva Hush.

The 2011-2012 campaign in South Florida saw three track record categories rewritten. The 3 year old pacing filly Bombilla Hanover (1:51.4), 3 year old pacing colt Keemosabe (1:51), and older trotting mare Mymomsablizzard (1:54.1) all earned their place as the fastest of their age and gait in the track record chart in the South Florida plant's history dating to 1964.

Following the usual late Summer hiatus, live harness racing resumes on Wednesday, September 19, at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. The full racing schedule, statistics, and much more is available in the 'racing' tab at

Saturday, July 28, 2012

M1 - Can Lightning Strike Twice?

(Jay Bergman for Hambletonian Society/Meadowlands)

In harness racing, the answer is a profound yes.

When 2007 Hambletonian winner Donato Hanover retired to stud there were countless breeders with mares hoping to connect to the outstanding colt and create the next Hambletonian winner. Lightning Storm is among five Donato Hanover colts with an opportunity to win the sport’s most coveted prize. The quest begins on Saturday in three $70,000 elimination heats.

Lightning Storm is a colt bred by Donato Hanover’s trainer, Steve Elliott, who clearly wanted to capitalize on a free breeding to his star. Elliott purchased Lightning Flower, Lightning Storm’s dam in 2008. He bred her to Donato Hanover and then sold the mare in foal to this year’s Hambletonian contender at year’s end.

Purchased for $90,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale in the fall of 2010, Lightning Storm will be making just his 11th career start from post one in the sixth race, the second Hambletonian elimination, at the Meadowlands on Saturday.

“He had some baby soreness last year and we quit early with him,” said trainer Jonas Czernyson.

The colt trained back strongly over the winter and came out with a wild abandon in the late spring. Lightning Storm showed hints of his dad with a 1:53.3, 10-length victory from post nine in his season’s debut on May 25 at the Meadowlands. He followed that up with a similar victory from post ten on June 8 before moving on to stakes competition at Mohegan Sun at Pocono.

Lightning Storm didn’t fare as well finishing fourth in the Beal eliminations and then breaking in the $500,000 final on June 23.

Czernyson said, “He was bearing out in the turn and we have made the adjustment,” in regard to the miscue at Pocono.

Lightning Storm showed he belongs at the top level with a solid third place finish in the Reynolds at the Meadowlands on July 7. That was his first start with John Campbell at the lines.

In Lightning Storm’s final tune-up for the Big Dance he blasted to the front in a $99,438 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event at Pocono before releasing Stormin Normand. The air went around the track one-two with Lightning Storm losing a scant nose in the 1:52.4 mile.

“We’ve been pointing for this race,” said Czernyson who sends out three fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks including Check Me Out conqueror Maven and the record-setting Holier Than Thou, a recent impressive winner in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at Pocono.

The Keystone State is extremely well represented in this year’s Hambletonian with 13 of the 25 colts named by Pennsylvania stallions.

Czernyson seemed extremely happy of getting and retaining six-time Hambletonian winning driver John Campbell for Lightning Storm.

While the rail may be a good place for Lightning Storm to start, the colt may be up against the most formidable division of the three. Stormin Normand starts directly outside of him. That colt has been no worse than second in 12 career starts but will be racing without Lasix for the first time this year.

Beer Summit has also shown high-class ability with a victory in the Goodtimes at Mohawk to his credit this year. Last year’s winning Hambo driver George Brennan will guide him.

It’s also hard to count out trainer Jeff Gillis’ Knows Nothing, a recent Canadian Breeders champion and the undefeated and untested sophomore Riccolo in this division.

“He’s trained very well for this race,” said Czernyson quite confident that Lightning Storm will show up on Saturday.

A lightning storm interfered with the racing program this past Thursday at the Meadowlands.  Owner Thomas Dillon and his new partner Muscara Racing Trust hope their “Storm” can disrupt the ambitions of seven rivals on Saturday and earn a berth in the $1.5 million Hambletonian on August 4.

M1 - Major Athens, ‘Dewy’ Take Peter Haughton Elims; To Dream On Continues To Impress

The field for the $387,250 Peter Haughton Memorial, the Meadowlands’ marquee event for 2-year-old colt trotters, was decided by a pair of elimination races on Friday night. 

Major Athens took the first of the two $20,000 splits in a well-rated 1:56.2.  Driven by Brian Sears, Major Athens brushed to command before the half, easily withstood the challenge of My Man Can and kicked away to a half-length tally.  Corky was a locked in second, while My Man Can held third.  Respective third and fourth-place finishers Aperfectyankee and Hall Of Muscles also advanced to the Peter Haughton Memorial final on Saturday, August 4 at the Meadowlands.  Richie Gillock trains Major Athens, a homebred son of Andover Hall-Miss Athens, for Thomas Brice of Plumville, PA and Charles Receski of Indiana, PA.

Dewycolorintheline came on late to win the second elimination in 1:56 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker.  The son of Schnittker’s 2008 Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe tracked cover into the final turn and brushed past the faltering leader Show Ticket for a length victory.  Fashion Blizzard capitalized on Show Ticket’s mistake to finished second.  Caveat Emptor and Max Andover advanced as the fourth and fifth-place finishers. 

Schnittker and the Dewycolorintheline Stable purchased the colt for $110,000 at the Lexington-Selected sale.  The victory was his first in four career starts.  Dewycolorintheline and Major Athens earned their pick of post positions for the Peter Haughton final with their elimination wins. 

To Dream On coasted to a 1:54.2 victory in the first of two $20,000 eliminations for the Merrie Annabelle for fillies.  David Miller steered the Credit Winner lass to her third straight win for trainer Jimmy Takter and Ontario owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.  To Dream On was a $200,000 yearling purchase at Harrisburg

Raring To Go S sat a pocket trip en route to a 1:55.4 score in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination with Yannick Gingras in tow.  Jonas Czerynson trains the daughter of From Above for owner-breeder Menhammar Stuteri (Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg) of New Canaan, CT.  The field for the $354,450 Merrie Annabelle to be raced on August 4: Bethel Hanover, Dewey Lane, Find The Magic, Lady Riviera, Miss Steele, Morningstar, Raring To Go S, Royal Assets, Time To Kill, To Dream On.


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 27, 2012--Yonkers Raceway's usual Friday night pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps--for trotters and distaff pacers, respectively--were won MM's Lucky Boy (Brent Holland, $8.70) and Ace of Pace (Cat Manzi, $11.80).

Assigned post position No. 6, "Lucky Boy" was away third as given-the-pylons Grain of Truth (Eric Goodell) put up soft intervals of :28.1 and :58.1. MM's Lucky Boy then advanced to challenge in and out of the 1:26.3 three quarters, and the match race was on.

Grain of Truth maintained a short lead in and out of the final turn, and, in point of fact, it took "Lucky Boy" just about the entire stretch to get by. He did, winning by a nose in 1:55.4

Big Sky Storm (Jordan Stratton) was third despite badly gapping the winner until the issue was over, with Wuthering Hanover (Jim Pantaleano) and Bastille (Larry Stalbaum) grabbing the small change. Blacktuxwhitesocks (Dan Dube), as the 11-10 choice, was a non-factor sixth.

For second-choice MM's Lucky Boy, a 5-year-old Malabar Millennium gelding trained by Erv Miller for himself, along with David and John Prushnok, it was his sixth win (second consecutive) in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $106.50, with the triple returning $698.

As for Ace of Pace, leaving from post No. 2, she sat pocketed to 7-5 favorite Run on Luck (George Brennan) as that one threw down fractions of :27.4, :56.1 and 1:24.4. Rock N Soul (Jason Bartlett) offered a protracted, first-up challenge, but the people's preference owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane.

However, Run of Luck was soon out of luck, as Ace of Pace scooted up the cones, winning by a length in 1:53.2. Rock N Soul did get into second, with Shaky Hanover (Dube), a tiring Run on Luck and Naughtytiltheend (Holland) completing the cashers. Billmar Scooter (Goodell), who returned to town after doing very good work in the Poconos, was assigned the eight-hole and beat no one.

For third-choice Ace of Pace, a 4-year-old daughter of Cam's Card Shark owned by Belle Amore Stable and trained by Meir Geller, it was her sixth win in 20 '12 tries. The exacta paid $102.50, the triple returned $849 and the superfecta paid $2,599

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.