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Saturday, August 31, 2013


Hometown favorite Marohn begins Monday with 7-point lead on all-star field of drivers

NICHOLS, NY – The eyes of the harness racing world will be focused on Tioga Downs on Labor Day as North America’s top drivers compete for a $25,000 first prize in the final round of the 7th Annual Tioga/Vernon All-Star Drivers’ Championship.

The 13-race card also features the 59th edition of the $360,211 Cane Pace, opening leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Superstar Captaintreacherous has been installed as the 8/5 morning line favorite and will be coupled in the wagering with stablemate Wake Up Peter. Captaintreacherous looks to bounce back from his first loss of the season when he finished second by a nose in a world record equaling 1:47.4 in the Battle of the Brandywine at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs on August 17.

Post time is 1:30 p.m.

Leading Tioga Downs driver Jimmy Marohn, Jr. leads his eight competitors by 7 points after winning the opening leg of the Drivers’ Championship held last Sunday night at Vernon Downs. Marohn won $10,000 as the halfway leader.

Monday’s final round includes five races. Drivers earn 10 points for a win, 7 points for a second-place finish, 5 points for third, 3 points for fourth and 1 point for finishing fifth.

Another unique feature of the Drivers’ Championship is that all nine drivers will be donating their race earnings to a charity of their choice. The host tracks and Jeff Gural will each match the donations.

The charities being supported are New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, Team Rubicon, Brian Michonski Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, Standardbred Retirement Foundation, Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Tier Alternative Therapies.

Plenty of other fun events and giveaways are planned for Labor Day including a Corey Callahan bobblehead giveaway, Drivers’ Championship T-Shirt giveaway, drawings to win iPads and a driver autograph session. All of the on-track excitement begins at 12:30 p.m.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
            YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 30, 2013--Sophomore fillies invaded Westchester Friday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $282,975 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace.  The event annually honors the memory of the former Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, whose contributions to the success of the statebred program cannot be measured. 

            Three divisions--at $94,325 each--comprised the coterie.

            Pocket-sitter defeated pace-setter in the first division, with Sir Lehigh Z Tam (Pat Lachance) beating 2-5 choice Cheyenne Miriam (Andy Miller) by a head in 1:54.3. Road Bet (Marcus Miller) was third.

            "Miriam" quarter-moved, then put up fractions of  :27, :55.4 and 1:24.4. She had a length-and-a-quarter lead turning for home, but "Lehigh," in play early from post position No. 4, ducked inside and picked off the favorite.

            For second choice Sir  Lehigh Z Tam, a daughter of Art Major co-owned by her (trainer) driver, M&M Harness Racing and Ira Rosenblum, she returned $7.90 (second choice) for her third win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta $15.20, with the triple returning $53.

            The second event saw frosh sire stakes champ Summertime Lea (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.10) prevail as the puniest
of parimutuel propositions. Leaving from post No. 2, :"Lea" worked around pole-starting Freetime (Andy Miller), then laid down the law through intervals of  :27.3, :57, 1:26.1 and 1:54.3.

            The final margin was 2¼ lengths over Lismore winner JK Black Beauty (Jason Bartlett), with Freetime holding the bottom of the ticket.

            For Summertime Lea, a daughter of Lislea co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver
Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith, she's now 7-for-9 this season and 15-for-19 in her career. The exacta paid $8, with the triple returning $36.60.

            Friday evening's final Hamilton hoedown was another take-no-prisoners effort, this one by Winbak Heavenly
(Jim Marohn Jr.). Leaving from post No. 3, she stuffed Springforth (Larry Stalbaum) in behind, then set quick quarters of 27 seconds flat and :55.1.

            That's when 2-5 shot Social Scene (George Brennan) came on the scene. However, once she moved from third, it was obvious she was not the age group track record-holder of earlier this summer. Social Scene never seriously threatened by the 1:23.4 three-quarters.

            Meanwhile, Winbak Heavenly, with a couple of lengths entering the lane, held Springforth at bay by a neck in 1:53.2...matching her life-best effort. Brussels Hanover (Brent Holland) closed from last among the six-pack to grab third. As for Social Scene, she tired badly and finishing behind her five foes.

            For Winbak Heavenly, an American Ideal lass owned by Paul Jensen and trained by Mike Deters, she returned $15.40  (third choice) for her seventh win in 15 '13 tries. The exacta paid $76.50, with the triple returning $467. 

            Friday night's pair of $46,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters and lady pacers, were won by Wishing Stone (Brennan, $2.90)--he a double-millionaire--in 1:54.3, and Krispy Apple (Brian Sears, $6.30)--she a millionairess--in 1:53. The effort by Wishing Stone, who overcame the eight-hole to win by 6¼ lengths, was a track record (aged trotting horse).

            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.

Tgdn5/8 - Little Santamonica upsets in Tioga Friday feature

Little Santamonica (Aaron Byron) posted a 10-1 upset victory in the Friday night’s $16,000 fillies and mares miracle mile 1 at Tioga Downs. Byron and Little Santamonica got away fourth in a field of six from post position number one as Prairie Lee (Jim Meittinis) moved to the front by an opening quarter in 27.4. As the field went by the half mile mark of the race in 56.2, Keith Kamann moved last week’s winner, Hot List, first over and battled Prairie Lee down the backside and the duo went by three quarters in 1:23.3. Around the final turn, Byron tipped Little Santamonica three wide off Kamann’s helmet and surged to the front in the stretch holding off a late charge by Brownsville Bomber (Fern Paquet Jr.) to win by a quarter length in 1:52.2. The mile equaled the lifetime mark for the 5-year old daughter of Little Steven – Tonianne N for Kelly Dawn Hope, and trainer Jordan Hope.

Fern Paquet Jr. and Aaron Byron each posted driving triples on the night’s nine race card.  

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Saturday, August 31st with a post time of 6:50pm, for more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at .


MANALAPAN, NJ – August 30, 2013 – In The Clear, on-the-board in all three of his starts, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the $15,000 elimination for Lou Babic Memorial Pace on Saturday, August 31, 2013 at Freehold Raceway.

Eight of the nine entrants in the elim, carded as the seventh race, will advance to the $96,200 final on September 7. 

The Babic Filly division drew six and all will earn a spot on the gate in the $61,900 final also on September 7.

The Babics are restricted to two-year-old New Jersey-sired pacers and are sponsored by the New Jersey Sire Stakes program. 

In The Clear, a son of Western Ideal, drew post three [betting number four] in the Babic open division.  The Aaron Lambert trainee took a mark of 1:53.4 in a preliminary leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands and finished second in the $150,000 final on July 13. 

Andrew McCarthy is scheduled to drive the gelding who has banked $51,390 for the ownership of J&T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY; KR Tucci of Wood Ridge, NJ and C&G Racing Stable of Jackson, NJ.

The field for the $15,000 Lou Babic elim [from the rail out with driver and morning line odds]: Rock N Roll Legacy, Steve Smith, 5-1; Rock Absorber, Kyle DiBenedetto, 10-1; In The Clear, Andrew McCarthy, 3-1; Useful Hanover, Harry Landy, 12-1; Nubble Light, Pat Lachance, 7-2; Gold Rocks, George Brennan, 9-2; Sweet Rock, James Pantaleano, 6-1; Unadorned Hanover, Eric Abbatiello, 8-1 and Rocknroll Reality, Corey Callahan, 8-1.  Unadorned Hanover and Rocknroll Reality are coupled in the wagering.

The field includes one son of Cam’s Card Shark [Unadorned Hanover], two by Western Ideal [In The Clear and Useful Hanover] and the remaining six by Rocknroll Hanover.

The six fillies in the Babic Filly will be Beautiful Lady, Fiyonce, Ideal Helen, Rocklindarock, Rosie De Vie and Seaside Gal.

-Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ

Friday, August 30, 2013


Kyle Di Benedetto bided his time in the early going and then rallied Mor Winning Ways to  a 1:57.1 victory in Monticello Raceway’s  Mayflower Mile for drivers whose heritage can be  traced back to the United Kingdom.

Now before anyone challenges DiBenedetto’s eligibility in this race, it must be understood that Kyle’s grandmother on his mom’s side was born in the United Kingdom.

“My mother, Joanne Kyle, was an only child so in order to keep the Kyle name going my parents decided that  they would name me Kyle,” Di Benedetto explained.

After the late scratch of Elle’s Boy the race got underway with Beal Hanover and driver Peter Gerry hustling out for the lead from the pole position and once he fired up the veteran pacer there was no taking him  back.

Gerry and ‘Beal’ had seven  lengths on the field when they passed the half in :55.3 and although  the pacer’s strides were shortening they still had a two-length lead  as they passed the third stanza in 1:26.2.

“It was a long way home from there,” Gerry admitted after the race was official. “Once I  got him (Beal Hanover) going I was just a passenger the rest of the way.”

While Gerry was cutting up the racetrack the eventual winner followed the cover supplied by Badlands And Art and driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr.  And Di Benedetto made the most of it.

He  was on Aldrich’s back until the pair came off the final turn where  Di Benedetto moved Mor Winning Ways out to challenge and they burst to the lead and coasted home an easy two-length winner over Badlands And Art. Wumizoomi finished third for Mike Merton. As for Gerry, he finished fifth.

“I  got lucky and followed live cover to the head  of the stretch and  then picked up the pieces,” Di Benedetto explained.”Certainly the fast early fractions helped all of us who were in the back of the pack in the early going.”

When he was told that after winning this race he was ineligible to compete in the upcoming Godfather Pace—another leg of the Heritage Drivers Series- in October which is limited to drivers of Italian extraction, Di Benedetto just smiled and said: “That’s OK, today I’m more British than I am Italian.”

Mor Winning Ways  is owned by  Greg Decker of Monticello. He paid $16.00 for win.

The race was the fifth leg of the track’s Heritage Driver Series which will culminate in a final-- dubbed the All America Cup—and  presented later this year after all eight legs are raced. In the series finale only the winning drivers of each preliminary leg will be eligible to compete.

Although a date has yet to be finalized, the next leg of the Heritage Drivers Series will be presented in September. That race-- the ninth annual Munich Mile-- will be for drivers of German descent.