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Thursday, February 28, 2013

BR - Buffalo Raceway World Harness Handicapping Qualifier

The Buffalo Raceway World Harness Handicapping Contest Qualifier gets started this Saturday and continues each Saturday through March 23.  The top 5 finishers each week will compete in the Buffalo Raceway Harness Handicapping Contest Final on Saturday, April 14.  Qualifying rounds will take place March 2, 9, 16 and 23.

The Grand Prize Winner on April 14th will receive entry in the $100,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship at the Meadowlands Racetrack, 2 night hotel accommodations, and $500 cash.  Second through fifth place finishers will also receive cash prizes.

Contestants should arrive by 6:00 pm to allow time for registration. Entry is only $20 for the contests and includes past performance programs for participating tracks including Buffalo Raceway and Meadowlands.

For more information visit or call Art at 716-864-2594.

CalX1 - Thursday Barn Notes


By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

This weekend Cal Expo is proud to feature three series events named for the late horsemen Jim Grundy, Shelly Goudreau and Jim Dennis.

Jim Grundy, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 74, was a California mainstay for several decades. Originally a hockey player in his native Canada, a knee injury forced him to hang up his skates in 1958 and he found himself going into the family business of harness racing.

It was in California that Grundy blossomed into one of the state’s top horsemen. Teaming with owners like Chris Bardis, Lloyd Arnold and Ron Zumbrun, he won countless stakes races with the likes of Googie, Hugabear, Steam and Easel, and was especially noted as a developer of young trotters.

Shelly Goudreau was a rising star of the sport who died as the result of an accident in a race at Hollywood Park in August of 1982 at the age of 34.  He began his career in 1966 at Windsor Raceway, where he led the standings for two years before heading to the United States.

Goudreau raced in Michigan and then made the trek to California in 1977 and almost immediately went to the top of the standings. Between Los Alamitos and Hollywood Park, he won the most races and money for two consecutive years, having his best season in 1981 while competing in both the Hambletonian and Little Brown Jug.

Jim Dennis had an outstanding career that saw him driving and training such stars as Sir Dalrae, his half-brother Mr. Dalrae and Adios Vic, the latter handing the legendary Bret Hanover four of his six lifetime defeats. Dennis piloted 2,677 winners while earning nearly $13 million and passed away in 2004 at the age of 79.



The opening legs of the Jim Grundy Trotting series and the Shelly Goudreau Pacing series, headed by I Love New York and Oompa Loompa, respectively; and a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes are the highlights on Friday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.

The Grundy is set as the eighth on the 15-race card; the Goudreau goes in divisions as the second and sixth events and the two Sire Stakes will be decided as non-betting races.

I Love New York appears to hold the aces in the Jim Grundy. The 5-year-old son of Broadway Hall carries the banner of Jack Coffey, Patricia Waldeck and Bruce Clarke with Clarke doing he driving and training and he turned in a solid runner-up effort in the Open Trot last weekend after returning from a lengthy vacation.

Oompa Loompa is coming out of last weekend’s Open Pace and looms large in the Goudreau. This guy was sizzling hot earlier in the meet for owner Kc C Carvalho, trainer Tim Brown and pilot Luke Plano and has been facing some tough company in his last three appearances.

Its Not Over is strictly the one to beat in the combined stakes for filly and colt trotters. Owned and bred by Debra Budahn with Bob Johnson training and Chip Lackey at the controls, he has been dominating his peers, with a nine-length romp in December and a handy two-length score in the most recent big-money gathering. Show Runner is fresh from a hard-earned added-money decision over Blue Gem and gets top billing in the distaff pacing stakes.




A reminder that there are three wagers offered here with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate – the 50-cent Pick 5, the $1 Pick 4 and the 10-cent Super High 5. Last Saturday night, the Pick 5 paid $2,604 for each 50-cent ticket; the Pick 4 returned a juicy $12,097 for a dollar, while the Super High 5 saw a couple of longshots keying a $2,102 payoff for a dime.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BR - Buffalo Raceway Cancels Wednesday Card

Hamburg, NY - Buffalo Raceway on the Fairgrounds in Hamburg, NY has been forced to cancel tonight, Wednesday (February 27) due to track conditions.

Racing will resume on Friday, first post 6:40 pm.  Friday also kicks off the $7 Fish Fry Day special.  Coupons are available to print at

The Niatross Knockout Series Final and Consolation will be held next Wednesday March 6.

Simulcast wagering remains open until 11:00 pm tonight

Live racing continues at Buffalo Raceway through July 21st. Post time is 5:00 pm Wednesday, 6:40 pm Friday and Saturday.  Simulcast wagering from across North America is available Wednesday through Sunday, year round.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Laman Wins WHHC Qualifier

Laman built his $200 bankroll into $1,113, earning him the $4,720 top cash prize and an $1,000 seat in the World Harness Handicapping Championship on April 13 at Meadowlands Racetrack. Contestants in the qualifier had to bet exactly 10 of the 13 races on the Meadowlands card, with a $20 minimum per race. Wagers had to be win, place (or combination WP) and on one horse per race.

The thirteenth and final race was the pivotal play for Laman. He bet $50 to win on Buckeye In Charge ($42.80) and cashed $1,070.

The next Meadowlands WHHC Qualifier is scheduled for Saturday, March 23.  Visit for complete details.

Tournament Standings – February 23, 2013
Rank, Name, Bankroll, Prize
1, Matthew Laman, $1,133, $4,720 (Plus $1,000 WHHC seat)
2, Ira Sobel, $970, $2,360 (Plus $1,000 WHHC seat)
3, Sidney Zweigbaum, $886, $1,770 (Plus $1,000 WHHC seat)
4, Stan Lubowicki, $706, $1,180 (Plus $1,000 WHHC seat)
5, Ira Sobel, $694, $590
6, Carmine Lavia, $684, $236
7, Robert Chapklin, $636, $236
8, William Meisel, $529, $236
9, John Motusesky, $387, $236
10, Garrett Hoffman, $297, $236

M1 - Meadowloands Momentum Continues

There is a feeling present at The New Meadowlands that had been absent for the past few years. Excitement pervades the grandstand and there's definitely a buzz throughout the industry. The Meadowlands is becoming cool again!

  The competitive racing and climbing handle have resulted in an enticing product for the horseplayer. The results are often subtle; an example being a logical winning favorite might pay $8 rather than $6. The larger exotic pools often equate to more generous returns. An exacta that reads $40 off the parlay may well return $50.

    The mutuel pools, particularly on the exotics, have been strong throughout the meet. The early Pick 4 on Friday was not hit and the carry-over rolled into the late Pick 4 resulting in a pool of nearly $140,000. Saturday's late Pick 4 was nearly $120,000 on its own.

   Compared to last season's data, all-sources wagering on M1 races is up 33% in 2013. Friday's total was up a fantastic 60% over the like date in 2012. Live handle in the building is rising and Winners at Bayonne OTW had its best day ever on Saturday.

  Racing Operations Manager Darin Zoccali spoke to the increased handle, "While I anticipated a positive response to our racing product, this has been overwhelming. All three of our guaranteed multi-race exotic wagers are performing at extremely high levels. Bettors like to bet into big pools and the money wagered continues to grow.

  "The racing itself has been just fantastic. Peter Koch has done a tremendous job of classifying the horses. Many of the races are difficult, but this game is supposed to be challenging. That's what makes it great.

  "In addition we have made some adjustments at Winners Bayonne and have seen a dramatic spike in our business there as a result. We are very appreciative of our customers' support and the excitement building around The Meadowlands is really great to be a part of."

  The racing product itself continues to be stellar. Saturday's card featured the return of this year's top performer Golden Receiver and the finals for three winter series as highlights, but the overnight racing has clearly been the star thus far in 2013.

  General Manager and CEO Jason Settlemoir addressed the new attitude in the building, "Customers are seeing a dedicated effort to customer service, which in my eyes is paramount to the success of any business. We respond to all customer e-mails ( and comment cards, which are read each week at the staff meeting. I personally respond to most and then instruct staff to follow up once the comment has been addressed.

  "We have something special going on thus far, but the reality is that other tracks are getting ready to open and tap in to an already fragile horse supply. Considering that our sole source of income is based upon handle, field size and parity in the races are key. We are grateful to the horsemen who have supported us thus far and hope they will continue to support our efforts at the entry box."  

    Live racing resumes Thursday at 7:15. Visit The Meadowlands website for more details.


When Monticello Raceway presents its 13th annual St. Paddy Pace on Wednesday March 13th they’ll have an honest- to- goodness Irishman in the race in the presence of Dublin native ‘Irish’ Joe Hanney who’ll headline the event.

Hanney,30, came to North America in 2007 where he could pursue his harness racing  career .
“Harness racing is a small industry back home ,” Hanney  told a scribe earlier this year. “Being single and not making any progress in Ireland I decided to make a move to North America . Initially I went to Canada but America is where everyone wants to be because that’s where all the top drivers and top trainers are.”

In the states he began working for top trainers and in 2012 he opened his own stable. Last year he won 17 races in 101 starts and finished with a respectable .263UDR. This year he’s handling a 15-horse stable and competing at Freehold Raceway but longs to be a regular at the Meadowlands.
“I definitely look forward to going under the lights of the Big M; everybody wants to do that who drives a horse,” Irish Joe says. “I’ve driven there a few times already but I’m still looking for my first win there.”

Joining  “Irish” Joe will be  former St Paddy Pace winners, Jimmy Marohn, Jr., John McDermott, Mike Doherty and  defending champion, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. who won last years event with Prince Aidid in 2:00.
Other probable starters include Cory Stratton and Rick Harp. Still eight drivers are needed to have a complete field.

Any driver of Irish extraction who is interested in competing must contact Warner in the race office at Monticello Raceway by calling 845-794-4100 extension 557; or they can contact the track’s publicity office at ext. 455.


If anybody had a doubt as to Tracys Song’s chances to win the Final of Monticello Raceway’s  Name Your Price Claiming Series  for mares on Monday afternoon, February 25 it certainly wasn’t the betting public. They had so much confidence in the 8 year old Astreos mare that they sent her off at odds of 1-9 in the eight- horse field comprised of the top point earners in the four-week pacing series.

And why shouldn’t they have been so confident? After all, Tracey’s Song had five consecutive wins prior to the race and now has won for the sixth time in seven seasonal starts, this one is a seasons best 1:58.1.

Trainer Bob Lounsbury again handed the lines to Bruce Aldrich Jr. who gunned the mare to the front  from the pole position and they took early command only to yield to Romi Mystic and  driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr.  as they approached the  first quarter.

But no sooner had Romi Mystic taken the lead Aldrich was out and going with Tracys Song  and they retook in a soft :29.3 quarter.

Being such an odds-on favorite Aldrich was able quell all comers and get away unchallenged in a 1:00 half.    However, plenty of challenges came up the backside but no one could seize the lead from Tracy’s Song.

When she led the crowded field off the final turn she began to open some daylight and then cruised home in a  :28.3 final stanza  en route to  an easy three length winner in a 1:58.1 clocked mile.

Biding Her Time (Jimmy Devaux),  who rallied  strongly up the backside ,held on for second money while Romi Mystic  finished third.

Tracys Song paid $2.10 across the board.

After the race trainer Bob Lounsbury and owner Nancy Fugure joined director of racing Eric Warner and others for the winner’s circle presentation.

  “Look here, she’s still rearing to go,” Lounsbury said jokingly as Tracys Song began to rear-up and dance  and shuffle around while he was holding her by the head  for the photograph. “She’s ready to go another mile,” he laughed .

“You can bet we’ll raise her price tag the next time she races here,” chimed happy owner Nancy Fugere. “She’s been too good to us to lose her, now.”

With her sixth seasonal victory Tracys Song joins seven others as the horses with the most wins in North America thus far this year.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Monticello Raceway has added a live racing card on Friday, March 1st and after that racing will continue the usual four times weekly with harness action on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

However, beginning March 1 all post times will be at 12:50p.m.

“Since we race during the afternoons it’s imperative that we complete our programs before darkness sets in so during the winter months we go with an earlier post times,” Shawn Wiles, track general manager explained.. “But when March rolls around and the days get longer, our post times are one- half hour later and we’ll continue with times until October 31.”

Among the events slated during March include the 13th annual St. Paddy Pace which will feature the talents of Irish-American harness drivers, and be presented this year on Wednesday, March 13.

Also on tap in March is the 15th annual Passover Pace- the race for the matzos- which will be presented this season on March 28 during the Passover Holiday which comes earlier this year.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

M1 - Oil Magnet is The Sole Survivor at The Big M

On a brisk, rainy night, on a track labeled sloppy, Oil Magnet proved himself best in the Final of the $86,700 Winter Survivor Series.  Gingras moved him into contention past the half mile pole, grabbed the lead turning for home and held off a belated rally from his stablemate, Boiler Bob The QB to win in 1:53.1.

In other Series Final action, Real Babe made every pole a winning one, scoring a decisive wire to wire score in the $47,800 Final of the Charles Singer Memorial in 1:57.2.  In addition, Mr. Dennis returned dividends on his $110,000 purchase price at the January Tattersalls Mixed Sale, winning the $60,200 Final of The Exit 16W with Andy Miller in 1:52.3.

The $3 million plateau has now become the norm and not the exception at the Meadowlands, as the total all sources handle of $3,621,796 marked an increase of 25 percent from the $2,905,427 bet on this same Saturday in 2012.  The live handle was also up once again.  In addition to the successful night at the Meadowlands, Winners Bayonne, the finest OTW in North America had its most successful day since its opening, including an additional $29,129 wagered on the Meadowlands at that facility.

Racing resumes Thursday at the Meadowlands, with first post time at 7:15 P.M.  For more information, log onto


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 23, 2013 --Our Cullenscrown N (Brian Sears, three winners on the 12-race card) continued his form spree Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway $28,000 moist,  winners-over pace.

Leaving from post position No. 4, Our Cullenscrown N sat as Report for Duty N (George Brennan) left around pole-sitting Roadway (Jim Pantaleano) before a :28.1 opening quarter-mile 1:55.1

Stonehouse Adam (Matt Kakaley), as the 13-10 favorite, then attempted to take over the throttle, but was rebuffed coming to the :56.4 intermission.  Our Cullenscrown N then slipped out to catch his parked-out tow moving toward the 1:25.4 three-quarters.

Report for Duty N was holding sway--desperately--in and out of the final turn, but was about to get gobbled up. Roadway ducked inside and Our Cullenscrown N went wide, with wide prevailing by a head in a "good" 1:55.1. Village Beat (Jason Bartlett) grabbed the bottom of the ticket at 54-1, with Stonehouse Adam and Real Flight (Jordan Stratton) grabbing the remainder.   

For Our Cullenscrown N, a 7-year-old Down Under Christian Cullen gelding owned by Muscara Racing Trust and trained by Darren Cassar, he returned $5.10 (second choice) for his third win (with a pair of seconds) in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33, with the triple returning $499.

Though he did not win the feature, Kakaley won just about everythig in a six-pack, with five trained by Ron Burke.

Driver and trainer teamed in the first four races, getting the gravy with Pontiac Luck ($5) in the $18,000, pacing opener (1:54.2), Outrageous Art ($3.20, $9.60 double) in the $18,000, second-race pace (1:55), Morgan Shark ($3.20) in the $18,000, third-race pace (1:56.3) and Sky Mesa ($4.10) in the $18,000, fourth-race pace (1:57).

Kakaley and Burke then won the $32,000, eighth-race pace with Major Belle ($3.60) in the $26,000, eighth-race pace (1:56.2).

Kakaley's lone non-Burke win was behind the Cassar-trained Talktomecourage N ($6.30) in the $21,000, seventh-race pace (1:56).

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.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

M1- Massive Increases on a Friday Night at The Meadowlands

Tonight, it wasn’t a single equine performance that headlined the evening, although Resistance Futile and Quick Deal came close.  Nor was it a driver that necessarily stole the show, although Yannick Gingras can’t be stopped right now.  On this night, it was one of the largest single day increases in handle that could ever possibly be imagined.

The final tally of $3,201,100 in total handle showed an increase from this same Friday in 2012 of $1,201,477, or an unbelievable 60 percent (there was one additional race in 2013).  Equally as impressive was the spike shown in live handle, which was a remarkable 40 percent.  The Meadowlands has shown increases every night of racing so far this year and has now done more $3 million Friday nights than the total number of $3 million nights in 2012.  By the way, it’s only February.

On the racetrack, the aforementioned Resistance Futile was an ultra-impressive round two winner of the Junior Trendsetter series in 1:51.3.  He will tackle another round two winner, Wilcox, in his quest for a series sweep next Saturday night.

On the trotting side, Quick Deal made short work of the featured trot, dominating his opponents in an eye-opening 1:52.4 on a cold February night.  That makes back to back impressive winners for the Ron Burke trainee.

Racing resumes Saturday, for an action packed 13 race card, filled with stakes finals and the reappearance of the sensational Golden Receiver with post time at 7:15 P.M.




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

 YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 22, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's 2012 leading driver, trainer and owner were honored Friday night, with plaques presented by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York.

George Brennan was feted with for a season which saw him lead the locals in both wins (580) and purses (more than $8.8 million). Brennan, who repeated as Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year, is currently third in wins on the Westchester hit parade behind Brian Sears and Matt Kakaley.

Last season’s trainers' race resulted in a "split ticket," with Gilberto Garcia-Herrera leading in wins (125) and Ron Burke leading the purse posse as both trainer and (as Burke Racing) owner (more than $3.8 million). Burke is again the leader in the early-season clubhouse through the first six racing weeks of 2013.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Amateur racing produces strange bedfellows. Take Steve Oldford for instance. The manufacturer’s rep from Crosswell, Michigan had one of his trotters entered in the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Association’s Charity Trotting Series at Monticello Raceway on Thursday afternoon, February 21.

Nothing odd there you say? Well take this into account: Oldford  left his home in  Michigan at 4a.m to make  6am flight directly to Newburgh, NY   where his trainer Alan Sisco picked him up and shuttled him to Monticello Raceway, some 40 minutes away.

And the inconvenience of  the excessive travel  was certainly worthwhile when Oldford won the NAADA Trot with his Oliver Kiss.

Asked why he did what he did Oldford smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said:“What’s the big deal. I fly all over in my business. Just last week I traveled through much of Mexico selling my products  and I have so many frequent flyer miles so to fly from Detroit to Monticello to drive  in an amateur race is no big deal to me. Now I’ve got to catch a plane back to Detroit at 5pm.”

Although Oldford  returned with the trophy his victory included some luck. Sitting third along the pylons as the field turned for home Oldford got lucky when a racing infraction disqualified Mandinga ,the first horse under the wire  in a 2:04.2 clocking.

The DQ of Mandingo, driven by Alan Schwartz, allowed for Oliver Kiss and Oldford to be placed first. Guiding Light and Dave Yarock were placed second and Ace High Hall and Bobby Krivelin—the horse Schwartz’s trotter interfered with—was placed third.

“Hey, call me whatever you want,” a smiling Steve Oldford said after the race. “ I’m addicted to amateur racing and I admit it!”

Oldford owns Oliver Kiss who paid $13.40 for win.


Also on February 21 the final two preliminary legs of the B’s Startrek Trotting Series were contested with Distinct Victory and Digital Photo each emerging victorious in their respective divisions.

Jimmy Devaux, up behind Al Annunziata’s, Distinct Victory, benefitted from a near picture-perfect trip coasting along in second position until the top of the stretch and then rallying down the passing lane to turn back Mr. Lucky Luciano (Cory Stratton) and Strongbow (Jimmy Taggart, Jr.) in a 2:03.clocking.

Sent off as second choice in the nine-horse field Digital Photo paid $7.40 for win.

In the second division Greg Merton  and Digital Photo stalked  the  odds-on favorite Mystical Heiress and Bruce Aldrich, Jr. from the halfway point and  in the lane when it appeared that Mystical Heiress’s  three-length lead would hold up she tired badly  in the last 100 yards and Digital Photo got up in the final strides to emerge victorious by just a nose in a time of 2:02.3.  Iroquouindianmagic took home the show dough for Alan Schwartz.

Owned by Ruth and Jerry Calcagni Digital Photo also turned back eight others and returned a $11.80 win payoff.

Next Thursday the eight top point earners in the B’s Startrek Trotting Series will be eligible for the series finale

M1 - Huge Pick 4 Pool Headlines Thursday at The Meadowlands

A pair of monster payouts early in the card triggered a Pick 4 carryover.  Race 4 saw Jailhouse Rockie squeeze through to score at 60-1 which was immediately followed by Joyful Years winning at 70-1.

With the addition of the Early Pick 4 pool comes the potential for a carryover into the Late Pick 4 pool.  For the second time in as many nights, that was the case.  A carryover of $38,437 sparked a rush to the betting windows that resulted in $140,077 bet into the carryover.  The Late Pick 4 returned $625.60 for a $1 payout.

Tim Tetrick, Dave Miller and Yannick Gingras all scored driving doubles and young Joe Bongiorno teamed up with the ageless Image Of Dawn to a romp in the finale.

Wagering was positive once again as the overall handle has been up each racing day from 2012.  The $1,941,663 was an increase of just under 10 percent from the same day in 2012.  Racing resumes Friday night with first post time at 7:15 P.M.




Thursday, February 21, 2013

WFD - Family Day Is A Hit At The Raceway

London, February 21, 2013 -- The Raceway at The Western Fair District held its annual Family Day at The Raceway this past Monday afternoon.

The event has become one of the most popular on the racing calendar and drew a large turnout again this year.
Aside from all the special events for the kids, there was a special Dash For The Future Pace in which the eight starters were paired with a young child with the winner taking home a $500 RESP. It was 12-year-old Meghan Clark who was teamed up with winning horse More Again who upset the field in the afternoon’s fourth race.

“It certainly was nice to see all the young smiling faces here today,” said The Raceway’s Marketing Co-ordinator Sarah Imrie. “I think we won a whole new legion of fans and once you expose people to live racing, it sells itself!”
World champion Dreamfair Eternal was also on hand to meet and greet fans. The double millionaire, and former Forest City Pace champion, has been retired from racing and is reported headed to the court of Somebeachsomewhere.

The Raceway is coming off its third $400,000-plus handle this past Wednesday. Racing resumes this Friday night with a first post at 7:05 p.m.
For more details on what’s happening at The Raceway, visit

CalX1 - Friday Barn Notes

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

One And Only is on a roll at the moment, coming off a wire job at the head of the class, and owners Richard Morita and David Yamada are having a great time watching this pacer do his thing.

One And Only has accounted for two of his last three appearances under the watchful eye of trainer Lino Pacheco and the confident guidance of Scott Cisco and his 1:53 3/5 score on January 25 was just a tick off the career standard he established here last season.

Morita and Yamada purchased the son of Bettor’s Delight two years ago as an unraced 3-year-old from the Meadowlands sale, despite the fact that he had made breaks in both his qualifiers over the half-mile Freehold oval.

“We liked his breeding, in fact his dam is a daughter of the great racemare Galleria, and took a chance,” Morita explained. “One And Only has developed into a really nice racehorse and is very versatile, comfortable on both the front end and coming off the pace.”

It was a runner-up effort to the hard-hitting Pancetta in a 1:51 1/5 tour back in late December that really impressed his connections. “That race really opened our eyes with One And Only closing very fast. Lino has been very patient, bringing him along slowly and allowing him time to develop. I don’t believe anyone works harder to get the most out of his horses.”

Morita also credits his partner Yamada with their success on the racetrack. “David is very active in looking over horses and making decisions as we approach each sale. We have been extremely fortunate and really enjoy watching our horses here at Cal Expo. We are hopeful that our racing here in California will continue for everyone.



A $6,000 Open Handicap Pace is the feature on Saturday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo and finds One And Only seeking his third snapshot from his last four trips to the post.

A 5-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight from the Western Hanover mare Gallie Too with a 1:53 3 2/5 mark, One And Only carries the banner of Richard Morita and David Yamada with Liberio Pacheco the conditioner and Scott Cisco handling the lines. He has fired bullets in all four of his starts this season and deserves the nod in a contentious cast.

One And Only was nailed right on the money by Saturday rival Haggin Oaks on January 6, then came back three weeks later to get the job done on the front end. He was third in a blanket finish at next asking after doing all the heavy lifting, then got back to the winner’s circle last weekend after being perfectly rated on the lead by Cisco and coming home with a length and a quarter to spare over Amigo De Garcia.

The latter races for Robert Bacon and William Condon and is reined and trained by Steve Wiseman. The Little Steven gelding is closing in on the $100,000 earnings plateau and sports a 1:53 4/5 lifetime standard that was established last year at Running Aces. He worked out a pocket trip two back and surged when it counted to get the job done, then tracked One And Only in last week’s outing and had to settle for the exacta completion.

Haggin Oaks is a hard-knocking daughter of Hi Ho Silverheels with $120,000 in the bank and a 1:53 2/5 mark that was set here two years ago. James Kennedy drives and trains the mare for Shari Burns, Ferris Funk and Gerald Cimini and she has clicked twice from four starts this season and is always a major threat with her best mile.

Oompa Loompa put together an impressive string of victories earlier in the meet while steadily climbing the class ladder for owner Kc Carvalho and trainer Tim Brown, with a third and a fourth-place finish in his last pair when moving up to the top ranks. Completing the line-up are Lady’s Art and Doc’s Zippy.


On a very cold and blustery January 22 Dennis Watson won the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pace, featuring the talents of African-American which kicked-off Monticello Raceways Heritage Drivers Series -2013. And although the 11th edition of the Lady Godiva on Valentine’s Day didn’t attract enough lady drivers for the Valentine’s Day contest the event was postponed and now the ladies will get a chance to battle in the warmer weather in mid-May around the Mother’s Day Holiday.

Other ethnic events slated to be presented monthly this year will feature races for drivers of Irish, Jewish, British, Canadian, Italian, and German descent. Then in the early fall the winners of each ethnic leg will return to the Mighty M  for a final contest to crown  the overall winner in the All-America Cup.

Next up will be the 13th Annual St. Paddy Pace on Wednesday, March 13 because the raceway is dark on Sunday, March 17 St. Patrick’s Day. And of course, that race will feature the talents of drivers of Irish heritage.

Last year Jimmy Taggart, Jr. won the race and he’ll  be back to defend his crown. The veteran reinsman guided Prince Aidid to a 2:00 victory which marked the first time that Taggart has won the St. Paddy Pace.

Also expected to be among this year’s competitors is last year  Mighty M driving champion, Jimmy Marohn, Jr., who won the St. Paddy in 2009 when he reined Ya Gotta Belief to a 1:59:3 clocking which is still the event’s fastest clocking.  

Young Marohn will probably be joined by other former winners including Mike Doherty, who won the inaugural with Southern Justice in 2:04:1 he hasn’t missed a competition since then.

Although Director of Racing, Eric Warner, has a good start with drivers for the St Paddy Pace-2013 he still will need eight reinsmen to have a full field.

Any driver of Irish extraction who is interested in competing is urged  to contact Warner in the race office at Monticello Raceway by calling 845-794-4100 extension 557; or they can contact the track’s publicity office at ext. 455.

M1 - Davis’ Delaware Destroyer Has Eye On The Prize In Exit 16W Final

With some continued fine tuning, Delaware-based trainer Dylan Davis believes his pacer Lindwood Player is focused on the favorites in Saturday’s $60,200 Exit 16W Final at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The four-year-old son of The Panderosa drew post eight in a field of the top ten money winners from the three-week series.  Corey Calahan, the nation’s top driver in wins and money earnings this season, will once again be in the sulky.
The Exit 16W [race six] is one of three finals on a super 13-race program, which also includes the $47,800 Charles Singer Memorial [race three] and the $86,700 Winter Survivor [race 11].

Aside from being a bettor’s delight, the Saturday night card is a fitting challenge for contestants in the World Harness Handicapping Challenge Super Qualifier.  The tournament entry fee of $400 includes program, Harness Eye and dinner, and offers $24,000 in prize money.  The top four finishers qualify for the WHHC on April 13.

 Post Time is 7:15pm.

Lindwood Player sports six career wins and $103,424 for Michael Casalino, Jr. and Davis of Viola, Delaware.
Originally a $5,500 New Jersey Classic yearling, Davis spotted Lindwood Player at last Fall’s Harrisburg Sale and ended up with a late-blooming pacer.

“I bought him at the Harrisburg Mixed Sale [for $45,000] off of Roland Mallar,” noted Davis, 35.  “He fit the nonwinners of three class.  He won twice in a row at Dover Downs in 1:53 and 1:52.3, and I was impressed enough with him.  He’s definitely come a long way.” 
In the first leg of the Exit 16W, Lindwood Player stormed home from last to light up the board at 45-1 and took a new lifetime mark of 1:51.3.  Not only did he overcome a tough trip, but he also shrugged off an issue that has kept him from performing his best.

“His upset in the first leg wasn’t a surprise to me at all,” said Davis.  “The horse has tons of ability, but has some quirk with his left eye that distracts him.  I don’t know if there’s something wrong with it or what.  Anything on his left side, like a whip moving or a driver’s head, he’ll shy away from it.

“I had heard stories about this horse racing at Harrah’s Philadelphia and how he was scared of horses in front of him,” Davis continued.  “The first time I raced him I just had a regular shadow roll and blind bridle on him, and we never saw a problem.  When he won those races at Dover Downs he was much the best and didn’t have to deal with traffic.  We just moved him and away he went.  At the Meadowlands, it’s a whole different game.  When guys were moving in front of him he was shying away from everything.”

Davis got together with driver Corey Callahan and came up with a solution.  In the second leg of the Exit 16W last week, Lindwood Player rallied for third in 1:51 and just missed by a head in a photo finish.
“Corey and I have been fooling with his bridle,” explained Davis.  “He has a Shady Daisy bridle [with a series of straws sticking out of a shadow roll] with Peek A Boo blinds.  It helps him a lot, but he’s still not 100 percent.  Last week, he reacted off the last turn when Corey moved him wide and he kind of went sideways.  Corey felt it might have cost him the race.  Corey and I have a long relationship, and we win a lot of races together.  He started driving for me when he first got his license.

“I would have to agree he’s a classic longshot closer in that race on Saturday, and we’re obviously going to need some luck.  If they go fast fractions I think he’ll be right there again.  He’s definitely got some speed and talent.  Artzina (1:51, $780,063) was my best one, but I put Lindwood Player among the top horses I’ve ever had.”
Originally from Rutland, Vermont, Davis has been a steady force on the Delaware circuit for more than a decade.  Based at Harrington Raceway, Davis is coming off his seventh straight season winning more than 100 races and $1 million. 

Davis shares ownership of Lindwood Player with his longtime client Michael Casalino, Jr. of Freehold, NJ.
“Mike was the first guy to give me an outside horse when I was 18 years old, and he’s my backbone.  He was in the contracting business and he’s retired now.  Knock on wood, I’ve got good horses and great help, and that’s what you need.  Right now, I have 45 in my stable, including a few two-year-olds from the first crop of Artzina.  At this stage, they’re doing everything right.”


It doesn’t seem to matter what barn Haroun Hanover is in. He just keeps winning.

Last week trainer  Andrew Adamcyzk claimed Haroun Hanover  for $4000 from the Danny Gill barn  after the pacer was parked to the quarter in  :28.3 and then  toured the Mighty M oval in the stunning time  of  1:56.3 for Jimmy Marohn, Jr.  in the second leg of Monticello Raceways Name Your Price Claiming Series.

However, on Wednesday afternoon, February 20th   with the same $4000 price tag, driver  Greg Merton  and  the 7 year old Bettor’s Delight gelding  romped to a three-length triumph  in 1:57.2 in the third and final of the  Name You Price  Claiming  Series.  It was Haroun Hanover’s sixth consecutive victory which ties him with four others for most wins  in North America in 2013.

After stating from post seven Merton zoomed Haroun Hanover to the front and made every pole a winning one en route to the pacers sixth consecutive victory. River Waltz N was second for Jimmy Devaux while Bruce Aldrich Jr., got Multiple Choice home for third money. Sent off the odds-on favorite Haroun Hanover paid $3.90 for win.

Meanwhile in the paddock waiting patiently after the completion of the race for the judges to declare whom of the potential claimants won the draw as to who would take Haroun Hanover home, original owners Edward Hall and James Hall, along with their trainer Danny Gill,  cheered  when that they  got  their  horse back at what seems to be  a  bargain price of $4000.

Now in the series Final set for next Wednesday they won’t have to worry about losing their pacer again, at least not  in the Name Your Price Series because no claiming is allowed in the series finale.

A second  Name Your Price Series  preliminary was also contested on February  20 and it turned out to be  one of those proverbial cavalry charges to the finish line with Lascomicstanding and JimmyDevaux holding off a late rally by 20-1 shot Buzzd On Sudzz in rein to Mike Forte to score  in a time of 1:59.1 . But when the field turned for home it appeared that the pace-setter Thomas John N  with Mike Simons  in the pilot seat would prevail  but the  veteran New Zealand-bred  11 year old gelding  tired just yards  before the wire and  finished  third in a tight place photo.

Last week Lastcomicstanding finished second to Haroun Hanover in 1:56.3 clocking but a good two-hole journey  was good enough to give the 9 year old Whelan Willie gelding his first seasonal triumph. Trained by Philip Bo Sowers for  Mo Coo Inc and Jonathan Klee Racing Lastcomicstanding  he paid $8.80 for win.

Nfld - Northfield Park Announces 10% Purse Increase

Northfield, OH – In what is anticipated to be the first step in an ongoing upward trend, Northfield Park has announced that purses will increase 10 percent starting Friday night, March 1, 2013.

Although the Hard Rock Rocksino at Northfield Park is still in the early stages of construction, track management is implementing an increase, which is expected to be just the first in a series of increases as the impact of gaming in Ohio, and specifically the $265 million gaming and entertainment facility being built at Northfield Park, is fully realized.

The best days for horse racing in Ohio lie ahead, and we look forward to opening the Hard Rock Rocksino later this year," said Brock Milstein, Chairman of Northfield Park.

“This only adds to the anticipation felt by everyone at Northfield as we await the opening of the Rocksino,” said Dave Bianconi, Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting.  “Our horsemen and fans have supported our racing for years despite a low purse structure compared to tracks in jurisdictions that have additional gaming.  The purse increases that will take place here over the next few years will improve our product significantly.”

Northfield races over 200 cards per season, with a current live schedule of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights – post time 6:30 PM.

CalX1 - Thursday Barn Notes


By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness
K D Amazin Spirit, who has rattled off four straight victories for Keith Willey and Scott Cisco; and I Love New York, a dangerous invader from the Bruce Clarke barn, get the marquee treatment in Friday night’s $6,000 Open Handicap Trot at Cal Expo.

A 15-race card is on tap, with the headliner going as the third on the evening. First post is set for 5:40 Pacific Time and the action continues Saturday night with another 15-race program under the Watch and Wager LLC banner. 

K D Amazin Spirit is going in peak form at the moment for owner/trainer/breeder Willey and pilot Cisco, proving unbeatable between January 6 and his most recent appearance two weeks ago. The 7-year-old son of Thadrow sports a lifetime mark of 1:56 3/5 that was established in his February 8 victory.

The Willey representative set that career standard in his second straight coast-to-coast score, putting his versatility on display in the prior two wins by playing the role of stalker to perfection. No matter how things shake out early in this affair, Cisco will certainly have his share of options with this razor-sharp gelding.

The main threat will likely come I Love New York, who comes in from Tioga Downs and should be right at home under these conditions; and the Tim Brown-trained Stars and Glides, who is already proven over this layout.

These two trotters tuned up for this assignment in a qualifier last Saturday and finished one-two in an impressive 1:57 3/5, finishing eight lengths in front of Shelby County, who will also suit up in this affair. Trainer Clarke will guide I Love New York, Meagan Beauchamp handles Stars and Glides and Rocky Stidham will be behind his trainee Shelby County. 

Rounding out the cast is Franky Provolone, who has certainly gone his share of big miles here and has Tim Maier at the controls; and Earls Dreamofglory, who does his work from the cozy rail slot with Dave Siegel in the sulky.

A reminder that a trio of wagers is offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and a 100 percent carryover provision in the event of no winning tickets. They are the 50-cent Pick 5 that begins on the third race; the $1 Pick 4 on the penultimate four races on the evening which features a $20,000-guarateed pool on Friday and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturday; and the 10-cent Super 5 on the nightcap.



After a series of eventful trips that included an equipment malfunction, a break in close quarters and other assorted traffic issues, Bit Player had clear sailing on the lead last weekend and came away with a stakes trophy for Steve and Vickie Desomer and driver Steve Wiseman.


The dark-hued 3-year-old pacer is by Moxie out of the Leading Edge mare Linear and has now posed for pictures following four of his 14 career attempts. He was avenging a loss to stablemate Daring Do in the previous big-money gathering over a sloppy track in late December in the process.

“Linear had a 1:53 1/5 mark and was a winner of over $188,000,” Vickie Desomer related. “She was one of four homebreds we sold to the late Dr. Gary Budahn and his wife Debbie very early in her career. When she retired, Dr. Budahn offered her to us in return for raising her first foal, who turned out to be Great Integrity. He took a 1:52 4/5 mark and earned $133,000 for the Budahns.”

Linear also went on to produce a productive performer in Code Blue and has most recently been represented by Bit Player, who appears to have a very nice future under the Desomer Stables banner. As for Linear, she is currently part of a very worthy cause.

“She resides at Harmony Have in Cottonwood and earns her keep as a therapy horse for disabled children,” Vickie reported. And the beat goes on.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, February 19, 2013--Jason Bartlett picked up where Brian Sears left off.

After Sears won 13 of Yonkers Raceway's previous two dozen races (with one dead-heat) over the previous two racing nights, it was Bartlett in the big chair.

Bartlett, obviously Scotchgarding his driving colors, won five races during a soggy Tuesday night. He began at the beginning, winning the $11,000 pacing opener Scottie C ($8.70) in 1:56.1. After a longshot breaker in the second race, Bartlett was a going-away winner (at 20-1) with Gracie's Boy ($42.20) in the $9,000, third-race pace (1:57.4).

He then lasted on the lead in the $9,000, fourth-race pace with Mr. Hollywood Starz ($16.60) in a maiden-breaking 1:59. Bartlett finished second with a fifth-race catch-drive, a bothered fourth in the sixth race and sat out the seventh before May Day ($7.30) went the distance in the $12,000, eighth-race pace (1:57).

Win No. 5 saw Bartlett and a long-gone Fiesty Flyer ($6.90) roll from the pole in the $13,000, 10th-race pace (1:56.4). Bartlett was up the track with an outsider in Race 11, then had the nerve to take the last event off.

Bartlett started the evening fourth in the local driver standings, behind Sears, Matt Kakaley and George Brennan.

The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, 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.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The third and final preliminary legs of Monticello Raceways Name Your Price Claiming Series for mares on Tuesday, February 19 saw   last weeks winners Tracy’s Song and Winsmith Mollie each emerge victorious again in their respective divisions. Although all participants in the $4000 claiming series  could  have  entered any where from $4000-$6000 only one took advantage; that being Tracy’s Song.

The  8 year old Astreos  mare in rein to Bruce Aldrich, Jr. left  the gate like a runner and easily  grabbed command  on the first turn. From there Tracy’s Song passed the first stanza in :28.3 and after Aldrich allowed Sixth Sense (Mike Forte) to fall in behind him he just let his mare roll.
With no foreseeable challenges being made Tracy’s Song  paced the middle half of the mile in 1:00.3 and then  cruised  through a :29.3 final quarter en route to an easy two length triumph in a credible  time of 1:58.4 over the soft racetrack. Sixth Sense held on for second with Fortunes Smile getting the show dough for Kyle DiBenedetto.

Tracy’s Song won her fifth consecutive race after a fourth place finish in her  first seasonal start. Owned by Nancy Fugure  she paid $3.80 for win.
Trainer Bob Lounsbury was undaunted with Tracy’s Song having to start from the eight hole and with good reason.

“We put her (Tracy’s song) in for $6,000 today, and ya’ know, we never had a problem with her starting  on the far outside today,” trainer Lounsbury said trying to hide a smile. “ During the past two weeks she started each time on the outside (post seven) and won both races. She’s really good right now and I guess they’ll all be gunning for us in the final..”
Unlike the relative romp in the first division the second split was a barn-burner with a proverbial cavalry charge to the finish line. The photo finish camera  was needed  to determine the winner when Romi Mystic and driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. rallied up the passing lane but their charge fell short as the pace-setter  Winsmith Mollie and  Jimmy Taggart Jr. held strong for a short head triumph. The final time was 2:00.1.Third place went to Biding Her Time, with Jimmy Devaux aboard.

It was the second consecutive Name Your Price Series victory Winsmith Molly, a 6 year old Badlands Hanover mere owned by Dr. Scott Woogen, Brenda Messenger and Phil  Shapiro.
Trained by Gary Messenger, Winsmith Mollie paid  $9.50 in the field that included two stable entries.

Next Monday the top point earners in the series will vie for a $4000-added purse. Should there be enough entries a $3000 consolation will also be presented .


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 18, 2013--If Brian Sears isn't careful, he could make a living at this.

Sears, fresh off a six-pick of Yonkers Raceway's wins (including half a dead-heat) Saturday night, rolled a seven during Monday's 12-race Presidents' Night program.

Driving in each and every race, he picked up right where left off, throwing down the gauntlet in four of the evening's first five forays.

Death-and-taxes Going Native ($2.20) wired the $9,000, pacing opener (1:55.1) before Double it Up ($5.30) aired in the $11,000, third-race pace (1:53.4). It was Fast and Feisty ($6.30) sticking his nose out at just the right moment in the $12,000, fourth-race pace (1:56.2) and K Slater ($6.80) overcoming the eight-hole (1:54.1) to win the $15,000, fifth-race pace.

Win No. 5 came behind odds-on Glass Pack ($3.80) in the $17,000, eighth-race pace (1:54) and No. 6 with the freshly-claimed Go West Lucky Cam ($4.80) in the $19,000, 10th-race pace (1:53.3) before Sears concluded his winner’s circle welcome wagon with prohibitive choice B J's Guy ($3.40) in the $17,000, 11th-race pace (1:54.1).

Sears began the night leading the local driver standings with 63 wins while getting his picture taken at a nearly 27 percent clip.

For the record, Sears' remaining Monday drives resulted in a second-place finish, a breaker, a sixth, another sixth and getting photoed for the glory in the 12th-race finale.

The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, 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.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Northfield Park today announced new duties for two key executives.  Thomas M. Aldrich, Chief Operating Officer since May, 2000 and General Manager from 1985 to 2000, has been named Vice-Chairman of Milstein Entertainment, the company headed by Brock Milstein which is the majority owner of both the harness track and the $265 million Hard Rock Rocksino video lottery terminal complex under construction in Northfield Village between Akron and Cleveland.  Brent Reitz, Northfield’s Vice-President of Operations and Communications since February, 2011, has been promoted to Vice-President & General Manager and will succeed Aldrich in overseeing the daily activities of Northfield Park and Cedar Downs, the track’s off-track betting facility in Sandusky, Ohio.

Commenting on Aldrich’s new role, company owner Brock Milstein said: “Tom has been instrumental in the growth and continued stability of the business over the past 28 years.  His dedication earned him the respect of employees, horsemen and so many others in the industry.  Tom’s experience and business acumen will be of even greater importance as we expand our gaming and entertainment offerings, and I am delighted that he is continuing his long association with my family and me.  We both look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”  Aldrich, 62, has filled Northfield’s top operations post for half of the track’s existence since its founding in 1957.  A graduate of The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati College of Law, he also served stints as executive assistant to the late Stan Bergstein at Harness Tracks of America’s trade association headquarters, and general manager of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland.

New GM Reitz, 51, is a 21-year veteran of the racing industry.  He was Director of Sales and Marketing at Thistledown for 15 years and served as that track’s vice-president & general manager from 2008 to 2011.  Reitz, a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in Sports Administration, began his career with Cleveland Cavaliers’ Coliseum Management, where he worked as an account executive for seven years.  “Besides being very promotion-minded and customer-oriented, Brent is a consummate operations professional,” stated Aldrich, who will be working with Reitz on the transition.  “He is steady, detail-oriented and a positive communicator who is highly regarded by industry peers and regulators.  I know that he will have the support of our deeply talented staff here, and we are enthusiastic about what lies ahead for him and the rest of the Northfield Park team as we embark on this new and exciting era.”