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Friday, August 31, 2012

Tgdn5/8 - Cane Pace draw held at Tioga Downs

Friday morning marked the draw date for the 59th annual Cane Pace, to be held for the first time ever at Tioga Downs on Monday, September 3rd (Post time 1:30 pm). Cane Pace elimination winner, Heston Blue Chip, who is a perfect seven for seven at Tioga Downs will have his work cut out for him as he has drawn post position number nine for the $322,716 final.

Meadowlands Pace winner, A Rocknroll Dance, who is fresh off of his win in the $500,000 Battle of Brandywine at Harrah’s Philadelphia, has drawn post position number six. Jim Mulinix trains the 3-year old son of Rocknroll HanoverWichita Hanover for A Rocknroll Dance Stable, and usual pilot, Yannick Gingras, will be on hand Monday to do the driving. A Rocknroll Dance, who has posted four wins, four seconds, and a third in eleven seasonal starts good for earnings of just over $900,000. 

Below is the field for the $322,716 Cane Pace Final:

Race 9: $322,716 Cane Pace Final

#          PP        HORSE                                  DRIVER                    TRAINER
1          4          Dynamic Youth                         George Brennan          Aaron Lambert
1A        6          A Rocknroll Dance                   Yannick Gingras          Jim Mulinix
2          7          Pet Rock                                  Brian Sears                  Virgil Morgan Jr.
2A        8          Mybrothergeorge                      Dan Noble                   Tony Osullivan
3          1          Bettor’s Edge                           David Miller                  Linda Toscano
4          1          Time To Roll                            Ron Pierce                  Jimmy Takter
5          3          State Treasurer                        Mark Macdonald         Ian Moore
6          5          Steelhead Hanover                  Jim Morrill Jr.               Joe Pavia Jr.
7          9          Heston Blue Chip                    Tim Tetrick                   Linda Toscano

The female counterpart to the Cane Pace, The Shady Daisy, drew six entrants into this year’s $100,000 event. Major Look leads a field of six sophomore pacing fillies for Monday afternoon’s eighth race with the field listed below:

Race 8: $100,000 Shady Daisy

#          PP        HORSE                                  DRIVER                    TRAINER
1          1          Rockaround Sue                       Yannick Gingras           Tony Alagna
2          2          Major Look                             Jeff Gregory                 Kevin Mc Dermott
3          3          Blackjack Princess                   Mark Macdonald         Mark Ford
4          4          Bettor B Lucky                         Jim Morrill Jr.               Ron Burke
5          5          Persistent                                  David Miller                 Casie Coleman
6          6          JK Fine Art                              Ron Pierce                   Linda Toscano

Tioga Downs will have a detention barn for the $322,716 Cane Pace final, horses must be in detention at Tioga Downs by 10:00 am on Monday morning (September 3).

Also highlighting the Monday afternoon card will be two non-wagering exhibition events held during the races for under saddle racing. One field of seven and another group of six will go post ward in between the third and fourth, and fourth and fifth events on the racing card.  

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, September 1st with a post time of 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at .


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 31, 2012--Archangel, who won July's $445,594 Yonkers Trot in world-record fashion, returns to Westchester Tuesday night.

He does so as the marquee attraction in the $331,270 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Post time for the 12-race card is the usual 7:10 PM, with the trio of statebred soirees going as races 4,6 and 7. The event pays tribute to the long-time New York Knick player and coach and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, who also just happened to be an avid horseplayer.

Archangel drew post position No. 2 in the $111,090 second division, where he looms a shorter price than his 3-5 early line. Jim Morrill Jr. reprises his role behind the son of Credit Winner, who is co-owned by (trainer) Peter Arrigenna, Alan Hainsworth and Clare Semer.

Archangel's 1:54.1, wire-to-wire Trot victory was a world record for his age group over a half-mile oval and a stakes record for a Yonkers Trot held here. It also matched the local all-aged track record for trotters (Blacktuxwhitesocks). It's the highlight of a season which includes eight wins and two seconds in a dozen starts ($635,754).

Along the way, there have been sire stakes wins at Saratoga, Buffalo and Tioga, along with the $233,250 final of the Empire Breeders Classic (Vernon).

Tuesday's first ($109,090) NYSS event finds a pair of six-figure seasonal performers in Gaelic and Garlic (Morrill Jr., post 2) and Coraggioso (Brian Sears, post 3). The former, a Credit Winner gelding. was a statebred winner at Monti two starts ago. The latter, a son of Conway Hall, has won five times (including his lone YR appearance) in 11 '12 tries.

Gaelic and Garlic is trained by Ed Hart for co-owners Bernard White and Kristie Leigh Farm, while Coraggioso is trained by Gates Brunet for co-owners Joe Spadaro and Tom Durkin.

The evening's final ($111,090) features Trouble (Andy Miller, post 2) and Brookroad Knight (Jeff Gregory, post 6). Each has four wins this season, with "Brookroad"--$164,946 earnings of in 2012--handily defeating Trouble--$183,772 in seasonal cash--in a July statebred event here.   

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.      

Nfld - Northfield Park to Host Freshman Colt and Gelding Ohio Sires Stakes on Saturday

Ohio Sires Stakes action will top Northfield Park’s Saturday (September 1) program, when two-year-old colt and gelding pacers and trotters are featured.  They race in the fourth and last preliminary leg of the 2012 Ohio Sires Stakes, their last chance to earn points to be eligible to the OSS Finals.  Those championships will be held at Scioto Downs in Columbus on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

The trotters lead off in the evening’s fifth race and vie for a purse of $25,000.  Undefeated Heza Rube (Master Lavec-Rubicella-Awesome Goal) is the overwhelming 3-5 morning-line favorite for owner Bob Troyer of Middlefield, Ohio.  Northfield Park Wall of Fame inductee, Marty Wollam, trains the gelding and has called upon regular driver Kurt Sugg to steer.  Heza Rube, making his sixth start, has already posted earnings of $47,585.  He has a lifetime mark of 1:59.2, which makes him the only starter in the race to have earned a mark under 2:00.  Heza Rube will leave the gate from post three.  Completing the field are Flashy Cash, Neely Spring, Masterdream Chaser, Final Breath, Chet N Spanky and Master Miracle. 

 Freshman colt and gelding pacers get their chance in Race 9, which also goes for a $25,000 pot.  That Friske Feelin (Feelin Friskie-Marquee Event-Mark Johnathan) is the 1A and the stronger part of a coupled entry that also has stablemate Phantom Flasher competing.  That Friske Feelin is owned by partners Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold of Pennsylvania and Richard Lombardo of Solon, Ohio.  Kyle Ater has been named to drive by trainer Jim Arledge Jr.  That Friske Feelin is undefeated in his five career starts, sports earnings of $42,158 and posted a 1:53.4 career best at Scioto Downs.  Despite being plagued with the eight hole, that Friske Feelin and entry-mate Phantom Flasher (post position one) have been installed as 5-2 morning line favorites in a field of nine.  They’ll face Feelin Lika Winner, Sectionline Road, My Myster E, Hanky L, Retrieve Forever, Forever Kissed, and My Last Chance. 

Saturday’s first race post time is 7:00 p.m.


Why SBOANJ and Not Fhld?

By now you may be wondering why you always see articles about racing at Freehold being designated as SBOANJ instead of Fhld for Freehold Raceway, as done for other tracks.

It's simple, if not for the SBOANJ writing press releases, no one would be reading about Freehold Raceway because there is no one at Freehold to write press releases.  My feeling is if you can't afford to hire someone to do publicity for you, you don't deserve the credit.

That being said, Carol Hodes does a great job writing press releases for the SBOANJ regardless of them being directly related o Freehold, Meadowlands (which has their own press department which issues releases), or about a New Jersey sired horse having success elsewhere.


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 31, 2012 – Aunt Mel breezed to victory in the $10,000 elimination race, marking the three-year-old trotting filly as the favorite in next week’s $50,000 Helen Smith Final at Freehold Raceway.

Aunt Mel, a daughter of Yankee Glide, had the lead at every call and held on for a three-length tally in Friday’s fourth race, the single elimination race that determined the eight finalists.  The mile was clocked in 1:57.1. 

Finishing second and third were Chilitodayhotamale [Muscles Yankee] and Riverfest [Windsong’s Legacy], respectively.

Eight of the nine starters earned spots in the final on September 7.  The only filly eliminated was Ringside Nguyen, who finished ninth.

Driven by Brent Holland, Aunt Mel extended her winning streak to three, capturing five of her last six starts.  The Erv Miller trainee, owned by Mary Jane Anderson of Long Grove, IL, won a Review division and Zweig consolation in her prior two outings.

She has now finished in-the-money in 16 of 27 career starts for a bankroll of $225,845.

The stakes record of 1:56.3 was established in 2008 by Muscle Shirt, a daughter of Muscles Yankee, driven by Cat Manzi and trained by Chuck Sylvester.

The Helen Smith for three-year-old New Jersey-sired trotting fillies is sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.

The Lou Babic for two-year-old New Jersey-sired pacers drew fields of eight in both the filly and colt divisions and will not need elimination races on Saturday.  Two six-horse preps will be offered for the $106,700 Babic Open and $68,900 Babic Filly.  Bypassing the preps are colts To Beach His Own and Troon, and fillies Gypsy Cards and Panera Hanover.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ



Michelle Ruvola,  one of best female amateur drivers in the United States, will represent her country in the upcoming Ladies World Cup of Amateur Racing in mid-September  in Taranto, Italy.

“Michelle has been chosen because she is an accomplished  amateur on the female side and she exceeds the minimum number of wins to be eligible.,” noted Joe Faraldo, president of the North American Amateur Drivers Association , which as a member of F.E.G.A.T., has the right to be select competitors in European International Amateur  Driving events. “
Ruvola is  a vice president of the Standard Company, a family-owned  national supplier of sanitation and  maintenance  supplies and systems, and she has a great love for the Standardbred sport.

“For the past 15 years my life and passion has been  driving and training harness horses,” Ruvola  said.“It’s so exciting driving the equine  athletes at speed of  30 miles a hour in close quarters and in those instances  where you are the winner…it’s like an explosion of happiness.”
An annual competitor in the C .K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series Michelle is quick to than her  dad for the help of getting her involved in harness racing.

“I’m very grateful to my dad, George Bonomo, for giving me the opportunities to be involved  in this exciting sport and for being  a ‘friendly’ challenging competitor,” she added  referring to the times that  she occasionally drives  against her father in amateur races throughout the country.
A busy business woman, Ruvola tries to make time to race competitively although thus far this year she’s only managed to drive six times.

“The last time I drove was on August 13th  in a Billings trot at Zanesville, Ohio and I won the race and beat my dad, “ she laughed. “ He finished second.”
Ruvola has been driving sporadically since 1996 with 21 the most amount of starts she had in any given year. And for more than half the time the amount of drives she’s had were numbered  in the single digits. Still she has managed to win 34 times including twice in the Billings Series finales.

She and her husband Len are the proud parents  of daughter Lauren(20) and son Zack (17).



The  best fillies and colts in the County Fair divisions of the New York Sire Stakes program convened at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, August 30th to compete in their respective $10,000 divisional finals  and most raced like seasoned veterans. And a few were very impressive.

As often happens in stakes events some dominate which was the case in the trotting divisions.

Harold “call me Joe” Smith and Ashes Cash, a freshman of Kash Hall-Ashameg,  annihilated  their competition in the  2-year-old Trot Final  when they  scored a 20-length triumph in a time of 2:02.1. Far back in second place was Paradise Paintball (Michael Miller) who was a length better than Sandy Rose (Ron Abbott) who garnered the show dough.

For Ashes Cash, a home-bred owned by his driver, it marked the colt’s  ninth triumph in10 starts which boosted his bankroll to  over $20,000. He paid just  $2.80 for win.

Equally impressive was the 2:00.1 mile trotted by Enough Kash in the 3 year old Trot Final. The daughter of Cash Hall-Fashionablefilly, driven by her co-owner, Doug Ackley, romped to an eased- up five-length victory  over the Howard Okusko-driven, Belles Of Churton. Honey Muffin finished third for Truman Gale.

The only time this home-bred filly was beaten-she finished second—was in an Excelsior Series trot at Batavia Downs on July 28th. Her seasonal stats show 15 wins in  16 starts and purses in excess of $28,000.

Despite her impressive stats Enough Kash, owned by Doug and Tyra Joanne Ackley,  returned  a $7.40 mutuel.

The  2 year old Pacing Final saw River Rising  turn in yet another impressive  victory when the daughter of Riverboat King-Ashlee Lynn made a laugher out of her contest when she romped to a 17-length victory in a time of 1:59.

Chris Lems was at the controls and used the front-end route to out-pace  second place finisher Ahead Of The Crowd  driven by John Mc Kearin. Three lengths farther back in third place was Winlightn’strikes handled by Dave Fisher.

Owned by  Andy Gardner, River Rising, a $2000 purchase at Harrisburg last fall, paid $3.40 for win.

The only upset in the NYSSCF divisions came in the  3 year old Pace Final when Lee Dahn  hustled Officer Candidate to a rousing 1:57.3 victory over Neptune  and Joe Chindano in a thrilling finish. At the wire the two pacers were heads apart but it was the 14-1 shot who prevailed.

Officer  Candidate, a son of Riverboat King-One Sad Bister, was a $4700 purchase at the Morrisville Sale last year. He’s   co-owned by his driver and Larry Dahn and paid $30.40 for win. With his victory the colt took a new lifetime mark and now has seasonal earnings of $17,478.


Thursday, August 30, 2012


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 30, 2012 – More than 50 trainers and drivers filled the paddock lounge to listen to and support the efforts of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey to improve conditions at the Monmouth County racetrack at a meeting held on Thursday, August 30, 2012, opening day at Freehold Raceway.

“You need continuity; you need a place to race all year,” SBOANJ President Tom Luchento told Freehold’s horsemen.  Ninety-two days this year didn’t work for us.  While we’ve asked for 192 days in 2013, realistically, we are talking about around 120 dates.

“You need more dates to keep your horses racing, and you need more dates to qualify for our insurance plan,” Luchento explained.  “We’ve lowered the percentage needed to qualify for our program from 51 to 31 percent [of starts] in New Jersey.  The date requests are due in October. 

“We also want you to know that we will keep fighting for you and will monitor the conditions of both the track [racing surface] and the facility,” Luchento added.  “I feel for their bottom line at Freehold, but I’m more concerned about your bottom line.”

“We need the additional days, and we need you to keep fighting for us,” members of the audience shouted out.

Twice Luchento asked the audience if they supported his efforts.

“I’ll take the lead, but I need you behind me,” Luchento said.  The response was in the affirmative each time he asked.

The meeting was triggered by an exchange of comments last week when the SBOANJ leadership expressed concerned about the racing surface, especially as it appeared last spring before the track closed for the summer.  Freehold unilaterally canceled qualifiers for August 23 but subsequently rescheduled them for August 24. 

The SBOANJ conditionally granted approval for simulcasting of the signal from Freehold for the month of September while the association, which represents drivers, trainers, owners, breeders and caretakers, monitors the conditions.  Freehold agreed to review other facilities used by horsemen for which there were safety concerns.

Another point made by Luchento was the need to build out the off track wagering -- OTW -- licenses held by Freehold.

“The New Jersey Racing Commission gave them another six months,” he said.  “But if they don’t build them, we’ll be in court.  We’ll build them if they won’t,”

Luchento noted that he would also be enforcing a provision in the contract between the SBOANJ and Freehold which calls for “two races per day for New Jersey-sired horses…and one per week for New Jersey-owned horses.”

“We need to emulate the programs in neighboring states and increase protection for our New Jersey-bred and owned horses,” Luchento said.

He recommended that Freehold consider creating late closing series, especially for New Jersey horses, to help provide racing opportunities for local horsemen as well as facilitate filling races.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ


Nfld - Northfield Park to Host Freshman Filly Ohio Sires Stakes

Ohio Sires Stakes racing will highlight Northfield Park’s Friday (August 31) program when two-year-old filly pacers and trotters square off.  The fillies are racing in the fourth and final leg of their 2012 juvenile match-ups, their last chance to earn points to be eligible to the Ohio Sires Stakes Championships. They will be held at Scioto Downs in Columbus on Saturday, September 8.

The trotters will start Friday’s show in Race 1 for the $17,000 first split. Royal Fricassee (Royal Strength-Fricassee-Lucky Almahurst) is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for owners Suanne Kochilla of North Royalton, Ohio, June Crawford of Parma, Ohio, Ray Crawford of Northfield, Ohio and Ray Hann of Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  Co-owner Ray Crawford is also the filly’s trainer. He has called upon regular driver Robin Miller to steer.  Royal Fricassee makes her seventh lifetime start, having already posted four victories, including both of her most recent starts.  Royal Fricassee has a lifetime mark of 2:01.4, taken at Toledo’s Raceway Park, and has earned $33,922 so far this season.  She will start from post four.  Also completing the first division will be Diplomats Mistress, Contessa Leigh, Whizzy Izzy, and Ima Count.

Race 3 will be the $17,000 second division for two-year old filly Ohio-bred trotters. Trainer Thomas Daumit will start Trainer Dunn (Neely Dunn-Personal Trainer-Muscles Yankee) as the 9-5 morning-line favorite.  She starts from post one and faces five other rivals.  Tony Hall is scheduled to drive for owner Raneri Farms LLC of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  Neely Dunn enters off a 2:03.2 maiden-breaking score at Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio.  Trainer Dunn has five starts this season and has earned $16,528.  Sheza Lavec, Pinehill Lady, Look At Count, Tiffany’s Victory and TT’s Megapixel complete the line-up.

Freshman filly pacers will take to the stage in Race 10, the $25,000 fourth leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes.  Buckeye sensation Pink Camo (Pine Valley-CG’s Gem-Shady Character) is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for owners Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Jason Melillo of Powell, Ohio and Richard Suda of Darien, Illinois.  Tony Hall has been named to drive by trainer Ron Burke.  Pink Camo has six career starts and is on a four-race win streak.  She sports earnings of $46,445 and posted a career best 1:52.3 at Scioto Downs in her most recent effort.  Pink Camo starts from post seven in a field that consists of Crosswind Colleen, Igottafeelinfran, One Naughty Lady, Norma Jean, Melissa L, Always D Lady and Happy N Memphis. 

Friday’s first race post time is 7:00 p.m.

VD7/8 - Springsteen Concert at Vernon Downs

Wednesday night, Vernon Downs hosted the legendary Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at their outdoor stage.

The weather was perfect as the concert began with a call to post by the E Street Band. Bruce rocked the house for 4 hours to a crowded infield of over 18,000 under a beautiful starlit sky.

The concert was a boost to the local economy and also benefited several local charities. Vernon Downs will contribute 50¢ to the Food Bank of Central NY, 50¢ to the Utica Food Bank and $1 to the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center for every ticket sold. Mr. Gural will personally match each of those donations.

Mr. Gural also personally donated 2,300 tickets for the concert to the USO. The tickets, which totaled $172,500 in value, were distributed through the USO of Metropolitan NY to active military service members and their families stationed at Fort Drum, as well as those serving in the NY National Guard and US Coast Guard.

“It was a great night for Vernon Downs. Everybody had a great time and we were able to give back to the community by contributing money to our local Food Banks and Veterans Outreach Center as well as giving back to our local military that protect our country,” Mr. Gural stated.

Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is open year-round with video gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a live harness racing season, restaurants, a sports bar and special entertainment events. The property employs almost 300 people, offers an all-suites hotel and a newly expanded Events Center.


The North American Amateur Drivers Association will host four Amateur drivers from New Zealand in a series of races against NAADA members in a driving competition to be held at three racetracks in the Northeast.

Races in the competition --dubbed the Kiwis vs. the Yanks-- will kick-off at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, September 5th   and then move on to Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, September 6. The final races will be at Freehold Raceway on Friday, September 7.
“Drivers for the New Zealand team will be constant throughout the series of race. However the USA  team will vary at each racetrack with the exception of Dave Siegel, who’ll drive at every venue,” said NAADA president Joe Faraldo.”Various NAADA members  at each of the participating racetracks will be get a chance to compete  but Siegel, the gentleman who so cordially hosts our East Coast in the West at Cal Expo, will be a constant.”

According to Eric Warner Monticello Raceway’s director of racing, he will dedicate two  races on the September 5th program for the driving competition. The same is  expected at all the other venues, also.
Among the members of the visiting New Zealand amateur team is Gavin Cook, who won the World Cup of Amateur Racing in 2008.

Joining Cook will be other outstanding New Zealand amateur drivers ; John McDermott, Danny Blakemore and Tim Sissons.
“The Kiwis were extremely gracious to us when they hosted the World Cup of Amateur Racing last fall, so much so, that we wanted to reciprocate,” Faraldo added. “ We’ll certainly show them a good time while there here but I’m giving fair warning , there’ll be no favors on the racetrack .”

VD7/8 - New Late Closer for Trotters at Vernon Downs

A Late Closer for 3 & 4 year old trotters that are Non Winners of $20,000 or 2 Pari-Mutuel races (Fillies & Mare Non Winners of $30,000 or 3 Pari-Mutuels) Lifetime as of September 1, 2012 is being offered at Vernon Downs.

The series will have two legs at $6,000 and a final of $10,000 added, estimated to be $15,000. The legs will race on consecutive Fridays; September 28 and October 5 with the final on October 12. Nomination requires a payment of $200 due by Septemebr 14. There are no further fees to be paid.

The nomination form is available here. For more information call the Vernon Race Office at (315) 829-6825.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


County fair racing has always been an integral part of harness racing and although not as prominent as it was prior to pari-mutuel betting  still  the county fairs continue to be the backbone of the industry.

In recent years the sire stakes programs in various states have  been a boon to county fair racing. Purses are in the thousands now as compared to the hundreds prior to the sire stakes programs.
On Thursday, August 30  the Finals in the New York County Fair Sire Stakes program will be presented at Monticello Raceway. Four $10,000 purses are in the offing, one each for 2-year-old pacers and trotters and one each for 3-year-olds on both gaits. Only the leading point earners in each division are eligible to compete.

They’ll go as races five, six, eight and nine on the 14-race card that afternoon.
Darron Hall, with a seasonal record of 2:00.3 at Tioga Downs will get  good backing in the  3-year-old Trot Final. Owned, trained, and driven by Harold Smith the Cash Hall-Highwaytoheaven  gelding will start from post  three in race five. 

River Rising, a 1:55.3 qualifying race winner at  Vernon Downs on  August 24th, will lead the parade  in the  2 Year Old Pace Final. Owned by Andy Gardner the Riverboat King-Ashlee Lyn filly  will leave from post six in race six with Chris Lems aboard.
In the sophomore pace, Ocean Mist, a 1:53.1 winner at Tioga Downs on July 10th will carry the favorites roll into that contest, race eight on the card. The Artiscape-Spring Mist gelding is owned, trained and will be driven by Truman Gale when he starts  from post three.

A final NYCFSS will feature  freshman trotters. Ashes Cash, a Cash Hall-Ashameg colt with eight wins in nine starts will be the one to beat.   He sports a record of 2:02.1 taken at Vernon Downs  and will start from post position  four in race  nine with Harold Smith at the controls.
First race post time will be at 12:50pm


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 29, 2012 – Aunt Mel puts a two-race winning streak on the line in the $10,000 Helen Smith Elimination, the fourth race on Friday, August 31, 2012 at Freehold Raceway.

With nine New Jersey-sired three-year-old trotting fillies in the entry box, the top eight will advance to the $50,000 final on September 7.  The Helen Smith for fillies and the Charles Smith for colts are among the stakes sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association at Freehold.

Friday’s card will also include a $7,000 opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings which drew seven starters.

Aunt Mel is leaving from post four with Brent Holland driving.  The daughter of Yankee Glide won a division of the Review in Springfield, IL and the consolation for the Zweig at Vernon Downs in her last two starts.  She has won four of her last five. 

This year she has four wins, two seconds and two thirds from 13 starts and earnings of $79,920.

The Erv Miller trainee, owned by Mary Jane Anderson of Long Grove, IL, has finished in-the-money in 15 of 26 career starts for a bankroll of $220,845, making her the richest of the nine fillies.

The field for the Helen Smith Elim [from the rail out with sire, driver, trainer and morning line odds]: Champagne Magic, Yankee Glide, Steve Smith, John Butenschoen, 8-1; Chilitodayhotamale, Muscles Yankee, Trond Smedshammer, Trond Smedshammer, 4-1; Shanty Irish, Muscles Yankee, Jim Pantaleano, Ron Burke, 6-1; Aunt Mel, Yankee Glide, Brent Holland, Erv Miller, 3-1; Hope And Love, Muscles Yankee, Marcus Johansson, Randy Beeckman, 12-1; Ringside Nguyen, Muscles Yankee, Kyle DeBenedetto, William Vandervort Jr., 20-1; Chocolatta De Vie, Chocolatier, Cat Manzi, Brian Roland, 10-1; Loose Deuce, Muscles Yankee, Bat Berry, Judith Welty, 15-1 and Riverfest, Windsong’s Legacy, David Miller, Joseph King, 5-1.

The stakes record of 1:56.3 was established in 2008 by Muscle Shirt, a daughter of Muscles Yankee, driven by Cat Manzi and trained by Chuck Sylvester.

The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey will hold a meeting in the Freehold Paddock at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday to discuss matters related to the health and benefits program as well as events at Freehold.  All horsemen are urged to attend.  SBOANJ President Tom Luchento will address the membership and take questions.

Thursday is opening day of the 51-date 2012 summer-fall meet with first race post time of 12:30 p.m.  Admission is always free, and there is a t-shirt giveaway with the purchase of a live racing program, while supplies last.

The Lou Babic for two-year-old pacers drew fields of eight in both the filly and colt divisions and will not need elimination races on Saturday.

Freehold will also be open on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, featuring the first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies.  Labor Day promotions include 50-cent hot dogs and 50-cent small sodas as well as drawings for season’s parking passes.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ


Tgdn5/8 and VD7/8 - Inside Harness Racing Show


Pierce’s thrilling win in Drivers’ Championship, Market Share’s Zweig, Check Me Out’s world-record performance

NICHOLS, NY – Fans were treated to the best harness racing has to offer this past Sunday afternoon at Vernon Downs.

Ron Pierce secured his second Drivers’ Championship victory and $25,000 first place check by winning the last race of the contest with a 16-to-1 longshot.

Hambletonian winner Market Share smashed the track record in his Zweig Memorial Trot victory and super filly Check Me Out matched her own world record of 1:51.3 in the Zweig Filly.

The day to remember is chronicled on this week’s episode of “Inside Harness Racing.” The show airs today (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM and again at 10:30 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports throughout Upstate New York. It’ll also be replayed tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:00 PM. Viewers can also watch this episode online at the Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs YouTube channel (

This week’s action also takes us to Tioga Downs where New York champion Heston Blue Chip captured the Cane Pace Elimination, setting up a much-awaited rematch with divisional leader A Rocknroll Dance in Monday’s $322,000 Cane Pace Final.

Heston Blue Chip was fourth in A Rocknroll Dance’s Meadowlands Pace victory. Driver Tim Tetrick tells viewers why Heston can turn the tables this time.



Lightning struck again at Monticello Raceway. For the second time in less than two weeks  a track record  not only  fell  but was lowered twice on the same race card.

Some of the country’s top 3-year-old pacing fillies were on hand on Tuesday afternoon, August 28  to compete in three $54,125 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes. When they were completed the former track mark -- for their age and gait-- of  1:53.3, which was set in 2007 by Omen Hanover  and driver  Daniel Dube, was initially lowered to 1:52.4 by Handsoffmycookie. Then four races later Romantic Moment  eased that standard  when she was victorious in 1:52.3. A third split was won by another top filly, Major Look in 1:53.3.

“It was definitely an exciting afternoon for racing fans, not only with top fillies here but with top drivers too,” noted Eric Warner the tracks director of racing. “There are seasons that go by without any new  marks and then to have a track record fall twice on one day is amazing, especially when it happened  in sire stakes action two weeks ago with the 2-year-old pacing fillies.”

Railbirds were treated to the expertise of driver Tim Tetrick who was on hand to drive Handsoffmycookie. And right from the get-go there was little doubt that the Art Major-Observe Me filly  would prevail.

Leaving from the three hole Tetrick took Handsoffmycookie to the front and led the field by the quarter in a solid :27.3 with George Brennan and New York Kitty chasing him in the two-hole.

The leaders raced one-two by the half in :56.3  and were still in that order as they paced into the final turn.

From there it was all Handsoffmycookie who opened up daylight with every stride and finished  six lengths ahead of JK Fine Art and driver Ron Pierce. New York Kitty hung on for the show dough.

Trained by Scott DiDomenico  for the Jfe Enterprises, Handsoffmycookie  returned a $2.40 win mutueland raised her seasonal earnings to $261,895.

Similar to what happened  when the NYSS freshman fillies here on August 16 the initial track record didn’t last long when Brittany Farms  Romantic Moment  circled the double-oval in 1:52.3 for Yannick Gringas.

Sent off  ten cents on a dollar, the  daughter of American Ideal-Time N Again took command early and never was  challenged as she slipped through fractions of :28, :56.2, and 1:24.4 before pouring on a :27.4 final stanza  to record a four- length victory over Ramalama and driver Jimmy Morrill, Jr.  Third place went to Brownsville Bomber in rein to Jason Bartlett.

Trained by Jimmy Takter, Romantic Moment scored her sixth triumph  in just nine starts and raised her seasonal  bankroll to $555,573, currently fifth best in  North America.

In the final $54,125 split the Kevin McDermott-trained, Major Look and driver Jeff Gregory,  started slowly and were six lengths behind at the quarter as Shelliscape (Jason Bartlett) and  Bettor B Lucky (Jimmy Morrill, Jr.) battled for the lead. The former gained command and in :27.2 and then led the five others by the half in :56.3 at which point Gregory  set sails  first-up with Major Look. They gained ground slowly and at the third stanza they were  in third position  just 1 ½ lengths off the leader.  On the final turn Shelliscape still had command but trouble was coming.

In the lane Bettor B Lucky and Major Look charged by the leader and raced head to head with Gregory’s filly getting the nod at the wire. Shelliscape held on for third money.

Owned by Joseph Balkunas,  Mark Giordano and Anthony Pancella,  Major Look paid $4.10 for win. It was the filly’s  seventh triumph of the season which raised her earnings to $256,242.

A trio of $12,700 splits in the  Excelsior Series also for sophomore pacing fillies  supplied  solid undercard. Winners included: Blows Me Away (1:55.4-Jimmy Marohn. Jr.); Canamerica (1:57-John Stark, Jr.) and Twin B My Way (1:56-Jimmy Morrill, Jr.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Now the Italian Americans have someone to cheer for in Monticello Raceway’s Heritage  Drivers Series finale after Mike Forte drove Velvety Smooth to an easy 1:58.2 triumph in the Godfather Pace on Monday afternoon, August 27th .

The race, which featured drivers of Italian extraction, was the sixth length of the year-long series and now Forte will join the winners of the previous preliminary legs in the series final, dubbed the All-America Cup, later this fall.

Sent off as the betting favorite from the pole position Forte  was looped on the first turn but when the field straightened  and headed to the quarter Forte was out and going with Velvety  Smooth and the gained command as the timer registered :28.

The 4-year-old I Am A Fool mare maintained a 1 ½ length lead as she passed the halfway point and was still easily leading the pack by the third stanza, clocked in 1:28.3. Around the paddock turn Velvety Smooth began to pace away from her competition and she opened up daylight with every stride and  was an easy  7 ¾ length winner.

It was a tight four-horse photo for second but True Gritty, driven by Rock Vinci got up by a neck over Shezaflamintower, in rein to Antonino Buttitta. 

Fourth place went Girls Luv Diamonds driven by Matt Zuccarello. All of the runners-up were just noses apart and each individually timed in 2:00.

“I thought she (Velvety Smooth) was good prior to the race, but I had no idea she was that good,” Forte related after his victory. “She was impressive and surprising.”

Velvety Smooth is owned by Carl Gillespie and Betsy Phillips and trained by Phillips. She paid $5.90 for win.

Forte had relatively little trouble winning the Godfather Pace but he did have a big problem when he returned to the paddock with Velvety Smooth who is known a nervous sort.

“I was carrying the blanket and the trophy and  as we entered the paddock  gate  and she caught me by surprise when  she bolted and ran up the grassy slope and  then fell backwards  right on me,” Forte  said. “But it was my own fault. I should never have tried to carry the trophy and the blanket back to the paddock knowing she’s (Velvety Smooth) a nervous mare.”

Asked why he didn’t take himself off the rest of his mounts that afternoon Forte explained: “I had a drive in every race today  and some had a real good chance of winning. I was sore but not that bad.”

Later that evening he went to his family doctor and found that he had bruised ribs and a pulled muscle.

Forte is having a banner year here at Monticello Raceway. His victory in the Godfather Pace was one of four on the card for the veteran reinsman had on the August 27th card.

He currently  has driven 164 winners this season and  has 3158 wins  in his career.


Monday, August 27, 2012



MANALAPAN, NJ – August 28, 2012 – It will be a busy day at Freehold Raceway on Thursday, August 30, 2012.

It is opening day of the 2012 fall-winter meet with first race post time of 12:30 p.m. Admission is always free, and there is a t-shirt giveaway with the purchase of a live racing program, while supplies last.

Qualifiers will start the day at 9:30 a.m.

In between – at 11:30 a.m. – the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey will hold a meeting in the Freehold Paddock to discuss matters related to the health and benefits program as well as events at Freehold. All horsemen are urged to attend. SBOANJ President Tom Luchento will address the membership and take questions.

The entry box closed on Monday morning with 10 fields of eight

Stakes action resumes on Friday, August 31 with $10,000 eliminations for the Helen Smith for New Jersey-sired three-year-old trotting fillies. The Helen Smith for fillies and the Charles Smith for colts are among the stakes sponsored by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association at Freehold.

Friday’s card will also include the opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Eliminations for the Lou Babic for two-year-old pacers will be carded on Saturday, September 1.

Freehold will also be open on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, featuring the first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. Labor Day promotions include 50-cent hot dogs and 50-cent small sodas as well as drawings for season’s parking passes.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ

Nfld - Northfield Park News and Notes

Every Day Match Play Continues:  Patrons continue to cash in on Northfield Park’s newest promotion.  Each and every day patrons receive a free $5.00 match play.  The promotional times to receive your free $5.00 are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 2:00 p.m.  Match Play runs through Sunday, September 2.

Upcoming Stakes Action:  Ohio Sires Stakes racing will highlight Labor Day weekend beginning Friday, August 31 when two-year-old filly pacers and trotters square off.  Then on Saturday, September 1, the freshmen colt and gelding pacers and trotters take center stage. 

Both fillies and colts are racing in their fourth and final leg of the 2012 Ohio Sires Stakes, their last chance to earn points to be eligible to the Ohio Sires Stakes Championships.  They will be held at Scioto Downs in Columbus on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Labor Day Happenings:  There will be no live racing on Northfield’s half-mile oval on Labor Day (September 3), but both day and night simulcasting action will be in full swing.  Northfield Park opens at noon on Labor Day for patrons to wager on all of the top harness and thoroughbred racetracks.

Labor Day is also Dollar Day at Northfield.  Patrons can choose from hot dogs, soft drinks, Miller Lite 12 oz. draft beers and much more on the dollar menu.  Guests will also enjoy free parking, admission and private TV carrels all day and night. 


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 27, 2012 -- Hambletonian winner Market Share added the $350,000 Harry M. Zweig Memorial to his portfolio of stakes victories on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at Vernon Downs.

The New Jersey-sired son of Revenue was a two-length winner over Magic Tonight in a stakes and track record time of 1:52.1. 

Market Share, driven by Tim Tetrick, threw in a 26.4 last quarter en route to his sixth win in 13 starts this year.  He also has three seconds and two thirds to his credit, banking $1,236,255. 

The three-year-old trotter has a career record of 11 wins, including the 2012 Hambletonian, and was unbeaten in all five of his starts at two.

Trained by Linda Toscano, Market Share races in the name of Richard S. Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA; the TLP Stable of Kearny, NJ and William Augustine of Hammonton, NJ.  The colt has a total bankroll of $1,272,505.

In the consolations for the colt and filly divisions of the Zweig, the winners were both New Jersey-sired offspring of Yankee Glide. 

In the $75,000 colts consolation, Gym Tan Laundry, driven by George Brennan and trained by Noel Daley, was a two and a half length winner in 1:52.3.  Runner-up Appomattox and Banker Volo in third are also Yankee Glide colts.  In the $40,000 filly consolation, Aunt Mel, from the team of driver Andy Miller and trainer Erv Miller, won by a head in 1:54.1.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ


Tgdn5/8 - Heston Blue Chip impressive in Cane Pace elimination

The hometown favorite, Heston Blue Chip, continued to do what he does best at Tioga Downs, and that is win races. He came into the cane pace elimination on Sunday night a perfect six for six at Tioga Downs and he left now seven for seven. The connections of Heston Blue Chip opted to pay the $35,000 supplemental fee to the Cane Pace as a way to get revenge on some of the top colts in the country after a disappointing fourth place finish in the Meadowlands Pace.

On Sunday night regular pilot Tim Tetrick sat in fourth as Simply Business (Ron Pierce) headed the field by an opening quarter in 26.1. As Pierce hit the brakes on the front end, Tetrick quickly shuffled Heston to the front gaining control of the field by a half in 54.1. Down the backside and headed towards three quarters, Steelhead Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) were left first over by three quarters in 1:21.4 as Tetrick as Heston for more. Down the stretch Tetrick and Heston Blue Chip were in total control opening up on the field to win in 1:49.2. Steelhead Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) put in a huge effort and got second, while State Treasurer (Mark MacDonald) finished third. It was the ninth win in ten seasonal starts for Heston Blue Chip, who just posted his fourth win in a row at Tioga Downs for trainer Linda Toscano.

The $107,572 Cane Pace elimination replay can be seen by following this link

“Hes a really nice horse who goes out every week and can pace in 48 or 49 and he’ll be blown out by the time he reaches the paddock. I can’t say enough good things about this horse he is such a pleasure to drive, it’s like driving a Cadillac out there” said winning driver Tim Tetrick following the victory.

The Cane Pace drew eleven entries with A Rocknroll Dance and Time To Roll accepting byes to the $322,716 final on Monday, September 3rd. The top seven finishers from Sunday night’s elimination joining A Rocknroll Dance and Time To Roll in the final will be: Heston Blue Chip, Steelhead Hanover, Bettor’s Edge, Simply Business, Dynamic Youth, and Pet Rock.

There were three supplemental entries to this year’s Cane Pace including Heston Blue Chip, State Treasurer, and Pet Rock.

In the $40,000 Miss Versatility trotting series, Beatgoesonhanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) sat last as Cedar Dove (Ron Pierce) cut through fractions of 27, 56.3, and 1:25.1. As the field headed around the final turn Morrill and Beatgoesonhanover were loaded with trot heading four wide at the top of the stretch to win in 1:54.1. It was the fourth win in fourteen starts for Beatgoesonhanover who is trained by Richard Norman for owner Neven Botica. Action-Broadway (Brian Sears) trotted home late for second, while Pembroke Heat Wave (Tim Tetrick) hung on for third after a tough first over trip.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, September 1st with a post time of 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at .

Sunday, August 26, 2012


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 25, 2012--Double-millionaire One More Laugh (Eric Goodell) two-moved and prevailed Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Leaving from post position No. 5 as the 6-5 favorite, One More Laugh made the lead before a :26.4 opening quarter-mile. He yielded to Rock to Glory (Dan Dube) in the second turn, retook, then found a :54.4 half.  Code Word (Jason Bartlett) edged from third, though making minimal impact at the 1:23 three-quarters, With Rock to Glory retreating in the pocket, the leader had two lengths turning for home.

He went on to win by a diminishing half-length in 1:52. Second went to Blatantly Good (Mark MacDonald), with Nob Hill High (Jordan Stratton) skimming the cones for third. Unfortunately, he skimmed them a bit too closely (as in went inside a few) and was set down to fifth for his transgression. That moved Code Word and Four Trumps A (Larry Stalbaum) each up one notch. 

For One More Laugh, a 5-year-old McArdle gelding trained by Ray Schnittker for co-owners himself, Creative Racing and  J & T Silva Stables, he returned $4.40 for his fourth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29.60, with the triple returning $113.

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.      


YR - YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 24, 2012--Yonkers Raceway's usual Friday night pair of $44,000 co-featured Opens--this week handicapped for distaff pacers, but not for trotters--were won by a repeating Rock N Soul (Jason Bartlett, $15.40) and favored Second Hand News (Brian Sears, $3.60).

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 24, 2012--Yonkers Raceway's usual Friday night pair of $44,000 co-featured Opens--this week handicapped for distaff pacers, but not for trotters--were won by a repeating Rock N Soul (Jason Bartlett, $15.40) and favored Second Hand News (Brian Sears, $3.60).

Rock N Soul, remanded outside her seven rivals, tucked in fourth as Keeper's Destiny (Mark MacDonald) made the lead around Ticket to Rock (Cat Manzi) right at a :26.4 opening quarter-mile. Rock N Soul was out and moving again in Turn 2, powering past Keeper's Destiny before a :55.4 intermission.

Shaky Hanover (Sears) tried her luck first-up going toward the 1:24 three-quarters, but never seriously threatened. That left Rock N Soul with a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane. She then held off Keeper's Destiny by a half-length in 1:52.2...matching her previous season's best. A belated, 2-1 fave Naughtytiltheend (Brent Holland) was third, with Ticket to Rock and Shaky Hanover completing the cashers.

For Rock N Soul, a 5-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Howard Taylor and Frank Baldachino, it was her fifth win (as the fourth choice) in 21 '12 tries. The exacta paid $62.50, with the triple returning $112.50.

Leaving from post position No. 3, Second Hand News had minimal issues, working past inside number E L Rock (Dan Dube) and putting up early intervals of :28.3 and :58.3. Grain of Truth (Eric Goodell) was out from fourth, but barely trotting in place passing a 1:27.1 three-quarters.

Second Hand News opened to a pair of lengths turning for home, then defeated E L Rock by a measured neck in 1:55.3. Celebrity Bluechip (Bartlett), KLM Express (Steve Smith) and MM's Lucky Boy (Holland) rounded out the payees.

For Second Hand  News, a 10-year-old Pathway to Victory gelding co-owned (as Foulk Stables) by trainer Clarence Foulk and Gary Evans, it was his sixth win (second consecutive) in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $36.80, the  triple returned $120.50 and the superfecta paid $600.

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 - Blackjack Princess captures Tioga Friday night feature

Blackjack Princess and Jimmy Marohn Jr. took home Friday night’s $18,000 fillies and mares open handicap pace at Tioga Downs. Leaving from post position number four in a field of eight, Marohn put Blackjack Princess on the front end by an opening quarter of 27.1. Marohn then used a 30 second breather in the second quarter before stepping on the gas down the backside to reach three quarters in 1:24.4. Around the final turn Blackjack Princess opened up on the field to pace away and win in a new lifetime best of 1:52.2.

It was the second win of the year for the 3-year old daughter of Cam’s Card Shark – Happy Doris who is trained by Mark Ford for owner Robert O Di Nozzi of New York. Runaway Tray (Fern Paquet Jr.) finished second, while Forty Three (Phil Fluet) closed late for third.

Tioga Downs’ leading driver, Jimmy Marohn Jr., posted a five bagger on the night’s ten race card, while Jim Meittinis enjoyed a driving double.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, August 25th with a post time of 6:50 pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at .


Saturday, August 25, 2012


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 25, 2012 – The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey urges horsemen to attend a meeting on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. in the Freehold Raceway Paddock.

SBOANJ President Tom Luchento will discuss the current Freehold matters as well as health insurance issues.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ



Sacramento, Cal - The California Horse Racing Board unanimously approved the license application of new harness operator Watch and LLC at their Thursday, August 23 meeting. The Board also approved the management agreement between Watch and Wager and Golden Bear Racing LLC for the day-to-day operation of the race meet. The approval was contingent on the receipt of a few outstanding safety items.

“We sincerely thank the Commissioners for their strong show of support for the continuation of California Harness Racing,” said Chris Schick of Golden Bear Racing. 

The Watch and Wager meet will kick off on Friday, November 2. The meet is scheduled to run through May 11, with Friday and Saturday programs until December 22, then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday racing through the remainder of the meeting. Overnight purses are estimated to begin at $41,500 per race night, with total purses at $55,000 nightly, including late closers and Sire Stakes.

The purse schedule, a new horse incentive plan and a schedule for the late-closing events will be released next week. New horseman are very much welcome and Cal Expo has ample stalls available on the grounds with no stall rent.

For more information, please feel free to contact Chris Schick at or Ben Kenney at 


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 24, 2012 – The responsibilities of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey include the conditions under which horsemen operate at the state’s tracks.

“While we came to an agreement with the management of Freehold Raceway on Thursday to move ahead with qualifying races on Friday morning, we will continue to scrutinize the conditions of the racing surface for the safety of our horsemen,” said SBOANJ President Tom Luchento.

“We did not ‘retract’ our concerns over past issues with the track,” he noted.  “There have been multiple issues and many complaints by drivers and trainers, warranting our intervention.  We hope those problems are in the past and that there will be no issues when the track re-opens on August 30.”

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ

Friday, August 24, 2012

VD7/8 - Zweig Memorial at Vernond Downs on Sunday

Historic Vernon Downs will revisit its former glory on the afternoon of Sunday, August 26, the final day of the recreation of State Fair weekend. Being raced for the very first time at Vernon, the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial has attracted the very finest three year old trotters in the land.

  Hambletonian winner Market Share heads the $350,000 Zweig Open division (race 10) where he will face New York's finest sophomore Archangel, last season's Breeders Crown winner Uncle Peter and 'Goodtimes' winner Beer Summit in his quest to add the Zweig title to his résumé.

  The $150,000 Zweig companion filly race (#8) may be described as a throw down between two titans of the trot, Ray Schnittker and Jimmy Takter. Both have three entries and the common ownership coupling required in New York has reduced the field of nine to just three betting interests.

  Takter sends out the formidable trio of On The Bright Side, Valdonna and Superstar Hanover, joined by Hambo Oaks winner Personal Style (Brittany Farms owned but from the Nifty Norman barn), into the melee versus Schnittker's battalion, led by world record holder Check Me Out coupled with Real Babe, Lima Playmate and Cowgirl Hall (Ted Gewertz owned interest with Gates Brunet the trainer) for a 4X4 battle royale. The odd girl out is Bob Key's accomplished million dollar winning Win Missy B for trainer Charlie Norris. 

  There are consolations for both of the above and the final round of the 2012 Drivers' Championship will span six of the thirteen races offered.

  Post time is 1:15 PM on Sunday and the afternoon is filled with promise for youngsters both equine and human with a carnival,  Jody Jamieson bobbleheads, T-shirts and a meet and greet with the celebrity drivers competing in the championship at 11:45. Check the Vernon website for further details.