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Friday, February 28, 2014

Perfect Alliance Dominates Again

Perfect Alliance continued her perfection on the racetrack on Thursday night with another powerful win in the $15,000 first division of the second leg of the Charles Singer Memorial.

On a cold and blustery night with temperatures in the high teens and a strong, steady wind facing the horses for the length of the homestretch, Perfect Alliance raced wide around the first turn to make front then drilled home in 28.4 to close out a 1:53.2 new career best. Ray Hall again followed the winner around the track, just as he did last week and was second best. You Rock My World was third. 

The winner’s share put her over $100,000 in lifetime earnings for owners Little E, Settlemoir, Stolz and Geiger. The Credit Winner mare will now go into the $52,600 March 8 final as the prohibitive favorite for trainer Julie Miller and her regular driver Andy Miller.  Coming back bigger and stronger at age four, it appears that Perfect Alliance has an opportunity to become a major factor in the mare trotting division.

The most formidable opposition will likely come from Time To Quit who carries an unbeaten streak of his own into the Singer final. While his wins have been by much smaller margins, Time To Quit has been getting the job done for the Ron Burke barn and Yannick Gingras. This one was a “by the skin of his teeth” nose win over Cajole Hanover in 1:54.1 to put his seasonal earnings over the $60,000 mark for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura.  Yannick Gingras didn’t display much confidence about his chances against Perfect Alliance in the Final, stating “I’m not sure he (Time To Quit) can go with Perfect Alliance, thankfully, she’s in the other division again. She’s done it three (starts) in a row. I think she’s the only horse that can win from the outside, the rest need an inside post and a trip.”

It is certain that the road to the Charles Singer Memorial winners circle goes through Perfect Alliance.

Racing returns with a 13-race program Friday night, featuring a pair of $30,000 Free For All’s, one for the trotters and one for mare pacers. Post Time is 7:15 P.M.


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

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, February 27, 2014—Yonkers Raceway’s Thursday Pick 5, buoyed by a $25,000 guaranteed pool—had the requisite guaranteed interest.

A total of $24,825 of fresh money was tossed in to accompany the $7,500 carryover (via a Tuesday non-hit), so the till was oversized.
The winning combination of 8/5/5/7/1---just one double-digit proposition and one delivered-the-goods favorite--returned $1,741.25 for every two quarters.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager offered on races 5 through 9 nightly. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program.

The Pick 5 offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool every Monday and Tuesday (in conjunction with the US Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program), with program pages for those “guarantee” days available for perusal at

Also of note during a brisk Thursday night at the office, driver Mark MacDonald—sidelined since the last week of January after post-accident (he wasn’t sure which one) surgery on his nose and cheekbone–made a successful return. MacDonald won with his first drive back, angling McEver ($19.80) off the cones to win the $6,500 third-race pace going away in 1:58

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 daily.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Golden Receiver Now Helps “Hairy Angels”

 East Rutherford, NJ - Golden Receiver is a gift that keeps on giving, and the pacer’s charitable contributions now include the Hairy Angel Foundation.

 “The Golden One” has brought life-changing fortune to his breeder and co-owner Nina Simmonds, and she continues to give back and pass on the good karma she’s been blessed with through her charity work.

 Golden Receiver is a nine-year-old pacer by Village Jove, who is one of those rare birds that has simply gotten better later in life, and has risen to be a star and fan favorite at the top level of harness racing for the past few years.

 In 2013, he made it back-to-back Presidential Series sweeps at the Meadowlands, won the Allerage Farms Final at The Red Mile and finished second by a nose in the TVG FFA Final at the Big M.

 With Corey Callahan driving for trainer Mark Harder, Golden Receiver won his 2014 debut at the New Meadowlands on February 22, his 26th tally in 62 starts at the Big M.  He now has 59 wins in 147 career starts and has earned $2,107,636 for Simmonds of Binghamton, NY, and Our Horse Cents Stable of Clifton Park, NY.

Golden Receiver will go for career win number 60 from post six [program number five] in Saturday’s $30,000 feature, carded as race two on a 13-race program.

 Simmonds’ Cinderella story began back in the early eighties when she decided to quit her job and pursued her dream of working with horses.  Simmonds and her late husband purchased Windy Hill Farms, a 60-acre property in Binghampton, NY. 

 After 25 years, Simmonds’ operation fell on hard times, and she was ready to sell the farm, as well as Golden Receiver for a few thousand dollars.

 Fortunately, Golden Receiver got good, real good.  Simmonds sold a share of the horse, sent him to trainer Mark Harder, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not only did Golden Receiver pay off the bills and save the ranch, the pacer has also afforded Simmonds the opportunity to use his earnings to fund several charitable organizations.  To top it off, it was eventually discovered the farm was sitting on the Marcella Shale natural gas source.

Simmonds continues to support Equitarian Initiative, a group that unites veterinarians, blacksmiths and animal caregivers who go on missions in Costa Rica and Mexico.
Simmonds has also assisted New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which retrains racehorses and gives them a new life.

Her latest venture is getting involved with the Hairy Angel Foundation, a charity based in Sedona, Arizona and Dallas, Texas that provides Service Golden Retrievers to special needs children.  The dog raising and training is done by volunteers and professionals before they provide an assistance to and a magical bond with the autistic and challenged. 

Their website is

 “This year I was looking for some sort of little guy charity, and I’ve known the director, Fran Elliott since the early eighties,” said Simmonds.  “We met in New Jersey and she’s been my best friend.  She fell in love with my dog, a Golden Retriever, and saw the potential.  The breed loves children.  Fran moved out to Sedona and started breeding and raising them for autistic children.  She’s been in business for 18 years and placed over 100 dogs all over the country.  We’re trying to fill the backlog of requests.

“They’ll take the puppies when they’re eight weeks old, and train them to become service dogs in public places,” she continued.  “It’s just a miracle when you see these kids who have never smiled or spoken get one of these dogs. Then, they’re suddenly smiling and chattering.  It changes their lives.  Their parents can’t believe the transformation made by this animal that is totally devoted to them.  I went along when we placed a dog last week, and it was such a moving experience.  We introduced the puppy to this boy, and his mother has called everyday in tears thanking us.”

Simmonds admits to being a nervous wreck whenever Golden Receiver is in training.
 “All his races are the same to me,” she noted.  “It doesn’t matter what the purse is.  I want him to look good, and of course, I want him to win.  I’m just so proud he’s still out there plugging away at his age. 

 “Last season, he actually wasn’t as good as he could’ve been because he had a serious hoof abscess or infection.  That plagued him through the whole middle of the year.  They packed it and tried every kind of shoe.  Those things just don’t heal overnight.  But it’s done and it’s gone.  I’m just hoping for another good year.

“He’s always had a big knee and he can’t go on a half mile track.  I’m glad the Meadowlands has a bank on the turns so he can clear that knee.  He does wear these big felt boots and the tough guy just keeps on going.  He has zip in vet bills.  He’s so happy because he’s with the same trainer, Mark Harder and groom, Billy Mandrell.  He knows exactly what’s expected of him.

“We keep forgetting he’s not just a nine-year-old that’s racing.  He’s facing the best horses in the world.  He’s just a dream.  Nobody expected this from some backyard bred by some girl who raced cheap claimers.

“I bred both of Golden Receiver’s sisters to Rocknroll Heaven last year, and they’ve got two gorgeous foals I’m going to sell at Harrisburg next Fall.

 “One day I was jogging a horse on my farm track, looked around and saw my Golden Retriever.  I thought his name had to be Golden something because the dam is Royal Gold, so I came up with Golden Receiver.  It’s just amazing he turned out to be the best one she had.”

Chip Lackey poses proudly with Giant Sculpture

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness                                   

Chip Lackey gave the Gene Vallandingham-trained Giant Sculpture a perfect drive in last week’s Open Handicap Pace, working out a two-hole trip with the son of Village Jolt and posting a four-length decision in a lifetime-best 1:52 clocking.

“I don’t have many winner’s circle pictures on my wall, but this is one I’ll be proud to put up there,” said the veteran Lackey. “Winning an Open Pace and having the picture taken with Gene and Lou Pena was very special.”

Vallandingham and Lackey go back to 1973, when Gene first came to California. “I went to work for Gene when he first got out here, and then I went back with him to Maywood Park the next year and he was the leading trainer.”

The victory with Giant Sculpture was the second in five starts with Lackey in the sulky. “The first time I drove him back in January he was 11-1 and put in a real game, first-over effort and got there by a nose. He had also put in some solid races coming into last week, giving me a good finish every time.”

According to Chip, post position played a big role in his strategy last week. “We had been drawing outside Doc’s Zippy every week and I didn’t want to battle with him early, but this time we were inside and I sent my horse and was able to work out a pocket trip.

“They may have been going :55 to the half that night, but I knew I had a ton of horse. I made sure to ease out a little early so we didn’t get trapped in, and he gave me a super kick. It was very gratifying to go out there and win a race like this for such great people.”

Sire Stakes, Open Pace, Jim Grundy Series on tap 

A $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds that finds King Of The Crop and Rikybrnthegaragdown renewing their rivalry; the opening leg of the Jim Grundy Trotting Series featuring Donna Letsgo and an Open Pace are the main attractions at Cal Expo Saturday night.

King Of The Crop had to settle for second in the first stakes clash for the sophomore pacing colts on January 18, but has posed for pictures following the last two big-money events. The Little Steven homebred carries the banner of Frank Nevarez with James Kennedy doing the driving and training.

The bay performer left little doubt in the February 1 clash, drawing off by five and a half-lengths that evening in a snappy 1:55 1/5 mile. Backed down to 1-5 for the most recent gathering of this group two weeks ago, he had to work much harder as he opened up on the lead at the head of the lane and held by a head over Rikybrnthegaragdown.

The latter is by Living It Up out of the Sportsmaster mare Sports Bra and races for Maryann Plano with son Luke reining and training. He made every pole a winning in the first Sire Stakes of the season on January 18, was a distant third in the next one and then fell just short of catching his arch-rival in that last added-money affair two weeks ago. He returned last week to post a convincing score in a conditioned event.

Last week’s Open Pace saw Giant Sculpture pulling off the upset. He is a 6-year-old son of Village Jolt who carries the banner of A Piece Of The Action LLC, is conditioned by Gene Vallandingham and will once again be handled by Chip Lackey.

He was able to work out a perfect trip in the most recent clash at the head of the class, sitting the pocket and then exploding in the stretch for a four-length score in a lifetime-best 1:52 performance.

One And Only had to settle for the exacta completion that evening while leaving from the outside post as the 1-2 favorite for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, conditioner Lino Pacheco and pilot Luke Plano. He rattled off five straight victories at this top rung between December 21 and January 21, including a score from the demanding No. 10 post


 After the best year of his career where his 645 driving victories were tied for second best in North America, Bruce Aldrich, Jr. continues to be a force in the sulky.

At Monticello Raceway on Wednesday (Feb.26) he reined four winners on the 10- race card to bring his track leading amount to 55 during the winter season here which has seen many race dates  cancelled due to inclement weather.

In spite of the fact  that he has been consistently hot-handed, one of Aldrich’s victories, Real Motivation (2:00.4) in the ninth race, paid $77.00, $84.20 and $15.20 across the board.

That day he also reined the won the fourth race with Thunder Seelster ($2.90) in 1:59.2 and the sixth with Sir Dutch ($7.20) in 1:59.4. Aldrich’s other victory came behind Working Stiffs where he did a masterful job after spotting the field some 12 lengths at the quarter then usung an overland route from the half to get in contention. But when he wheeled her three-deep on the final turn  the mare bobbled but Aldrich got her back on stride and she zoomed by the leaders in the deep stretch to score a 2:00.4 triumph.

“The weather has  been real tough this winter and we lost a lot of days but still my 55 wins puts me in the top 15 this year( in races won). But now that Saratoga is getting ready to open I believe my win totals will increase since I will again be driving there and at Monticello,” Aldrich said.

On Wednesday he was in Saratoga to drive qualifying races there and afterward he planned to head to Monticello to drive several horses on the afternoon betting card but he got buttonholed when  he had  to be scratched off many of his mounts due to unusual traffic on the highways to the Mighty M.

“Qualifiers finished late at Saratoga that day and besides getting a late start, traffic was terrible. Sometimes best made plans go awry,” he reasoned.

Also on the Mighty M Wednesday card the veteran  trotter  V I P won  his fifth race of the fledling season when Jason Ryan guided him to a 2:01.3 victory which ties the trotter with five others for most trotting victories thus far this year.

And V I P surely knows how to rack-up wins. Last year the  8 year old  altered son of Muscles Yankee  won 17 races.


Nominations for 2014 Meadowlands Pace are Way Up

East Rutherford, NJ -- The first round of payments are in for the major Grand Circuit stakes to be raced in 2014 at The Meadowlands and the big news is the dramatic increase in the number of horses nominated to the $750,000e Meadowlands Pace. A total of 58 three year old colt pacers were named to the race, nearly double the 2013 figure of 30, and boast the most accomplished freshmen from last season and a few upstarts among the nominees.

The eligibles include the recently named 2013 Dan Patch Award winning two year old colt pacer He's Watching, Breeders Crown winner Luck Be With You, Metro hero Boomboom Ballykeel and Governor's Cup champ JK Endofanera. Both colts that won divisions of the Buddy Gilmour series so impressively on Saturday, Capital Account and National Debt, have been paid in as well.

Several tweaks in the payment formula resulted in greater participation by nominators. The most noticeable change was the reduction in the nomination fee from $1,000 to $500. Another is the inclusion of a tiered entry fee replacing a flat fee of $6,000 to enter the elimination round to $2,500 to start in the elimination race and then $5,000 to continue on into the final.

Other changes are being implemented going forward which include for the first time a two year old payment of $400 due March 15 on foals of 2012 which will result in a reduction of $2,000 in the sustaining payments for the 2015 Pace. The goal is to maintain and eventually increase the purse of the race while at the same time reducing the burden on the nominators

By mere association the Mistletoe Shalee filly companion stake leaped nearly 40%from 29 to 41.

Meadowlands General Manager and CEO Jason Settlemoir voiced his approval, "It's gratifying to see our signature race experience such a resurrection. It took some thought by the racing department Pete Koch, Darin Zoccali and Nick Salvi to revise a payment plan that was no longer working. The improvement is welcome and appreciated.

"With better weather ahead and the stakes season on the horizon, there is certainly cause for optimism. Saturday past the place felt alive, the crowd was not only large but also engaged. There was definitely the type of buzz in the building that we are expecting for the new grandstand."

Across the board on the stakes menu results were mixed. Substantial increases were realized in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle, a few more trotters were nominated to the Cashman Memorial and the TVG Trotting Championship. Those names include two noteworthy mares, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and world record holder Maven. The older pacing mare stakes were up a bit as well.

The Del Miller for sophomore filly trotters took the biggest hit, down a third and several of the stakes for open older pacers also declined appreciably while the quality of the nominees held up nicely.

Nominations for all the races are now posted on The Meadowlands website. Keep in mind that these lists are subject to omission/correction.

Ugly Betty Rolls To Buffalo Raceway Feature Victory

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ugly Betty was a good looking winner in the featured $8,000 conditioned/optional claiming pace for fillies and mares at Buffalo Raceway Wednesday night (Feb. 26).

Sitting fifth at the half-mile marker, Ugly Betty ($16.60) and driver Jack Flanigen followed the first-over cover of A And G's Doll midway down the backstretch the final time. Flanigen then tipped Ugly Betty three-wide and smartly paced away from the field to register the 3-1/2 length victory over Keep It Fair (Billy Dobson) and the favored Heavenly Place (David McNeight III) in 1:59.2.

A final quarter of 28.3 posted by Ugly Betty put her in command down to the wire as the remainder of the field raised the white flag.

Ugly Betty (Camluck-Red Road Rage) is a 6-year-old mare owned by Margaret Payne and Jennifer Falcone and is trained by Dennis Dylo. It was her second victory in four starts this season and moved her 2014 earnings to $7,998. It was Ugly Betty's 12th career victory as well and increased her lifetime winnings to $119,960.

Racing will continue at Buffalo Raceway on Thursday night with 12 races slated to get underway at 5 p.m. 

For more information including race replays, upcoming schedule, promotions and the latest news, go to

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


At the recently completed national meetings of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Monticello Raceway’s Shawn Wiles was elected  vice president of the organization.

President Steve Wolf ended his two year term at those meetings which then opened the position of second VP as other officers moved up the chairs. Wiles will now serve in his newly elected capacity for two years.
Presently  the general manager of the Monticello Raceway, Wiles has been a longtime member of the Monticello -Goshen Chapter USHWA and currently is the chapter’s vice president.

“I am excited to work with the present youthful USHWA Board,” Wiles said. They are an extremely capable bunch of young men, who I can learn from.”

Wiles is referring to his newly elected president, Chris Tully and vice president, Tim Bojarski, both of whom moved up the chairs to their current  two year positions.

Wiles has long been a director of United States Trotting Association from District 8 where he now serves as the chairman of that district.

His career in harness racing started in the backstretch of Monticello Raceway during the 1970s where he worked as a groom for Richard Sturgis, Robert Camper and Jim Grundy. He then went on in search of a Grand Circuit stable to work for and found success with the famed trotting specialists of Continental Farms under the guidance of Hakan Wallner, Hall of Famer Berndt Lindstedt, and Jan Johnson.

Wiles was the first American second- trainer to work for the famed Scandinavian trotting experts from  1980-1986.

During his tenure as a groom he rubbed many top performers, most notably the crack stakes filly Dominant, and then worked for Castleton Farms from 1986-1988. Wiles joined Monticello Raceway in 1996, working under John Manzi in publicity and Bill Sullivan in operations.

Wiles was initially promoted to assistant GM of Monticello Casino and Raceway, and lately promoted to General Manager of the entire facility. He was recently lauded by the local scribes on his tough stance on racing integrity.

Wiles is actively involved in many civic and community oriented endeavors. He is a past  president, now trustee, of the Fallsburg Central School District Board of Education, past president of the Woodridge Housing Association, and a longtime AYSO soccer coach as well as vice president of the Monticello-
Goshen Harness Writers Association,

The proud parents of Brody , 19, and Samantha, 16, Wiles and his wife, Lisa, Superintendent of the Ellenville School District, reside in Woodridge, N.Y.

Karen Isbell, Earl Kennedy team up with pacer

          By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

When Get Down Tonight ignited in the stretch at nearly 12-1 last weekend with Mooney Svendsen in the sulky, it was the second straight victory for the pacer and his owner/trainer Karen Isbell and Earl Kennedy.

Get Down Tonight, a 6-year-old son of Red River Hanover, was haltered by the pair in January. After a few starts of getting to know the gelding, they have sent him out for back-to-back impressive wins from off the pace.

“Last year Earl helped me with my trotter Boo Coo Blush, who was having some issues with a quarter crack,” jockey/turned harness conditioner Isbell related. “He was the one who picked out Get Down Tonight and thought it would be a good idea for us to go partners on him.

“What he liked was that he had some good races in the past back East and seemed to be a pretty easy horse to train. The night we claimed him he was 1-2 and won off pretty easy.”

With James Kennedy at the helm, Get Down Tonight looped a field of $3,000 sellers to get the job done two weeks ago, then came to test deeper waters at most recent asking and was up to the task at those healthy odds with Svendsen giving directions.

Meanwhile, Isbell is looking forward to one of her passions, which is competing under saddle with the standardbreds. “I think the first competiton will be coming up this summer at Pocono Downs,” she said. “They are always a lot of fun.”

A reminder that there are three wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. They are the 50-cent Pick 5; the 20-cent Pick 4 with a $20,000 guaranteed gross pool on Friday and a $25,000 guarantee on Saturday; and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the finale  

Sire Stakes. Open Trot heading the marquee

A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds and an Open Trot featuring stablemates Inside Broadway and Franks Best are the highlights on Friday evening’s Watch and Wager LLC card at Cal Expo.

The Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies finds the rapidly-improving Duet, who captured the most recent big-money dance for the division, taking on two-time stakes victress De Valeria.

Duet is a daughter of Disco Devil and the Tulane mare Harmony who is owned and conditioned by Rick Cisco with Tim Maier at the controls, while De Valeria is a Little Steven offspring who carries the banner of Eugene Afentoulis with Luke Plano doing the reining and training.

Duet was a promising third in her January 31 debut, then caught a sloppy track at next asking and made a break. She put it all together two weeks ago in the most recent Sire Stakes, as he did her work in first-over fashion for Maier and went on to a convincing two and three-quarter length decision with a solid 1:57 2/5 clocking.

De Valeria proved clearly best in the first two stakes clashes on January 17 and 31. On both occasions she did the stalk and pounce to perfection for Plano while coming away at the end, then had to settle for a third-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in that last added-money gathering for his group.

The dark-hued miss came back last week in a conditioned affair and overcame the No. 9 post to get the job done. Well back early, De Valeria came rolling in the stretch to prevail by three-quarters of a length in a lifetime best 1:56 3/5 final clocking.

In the Sire Stakes for the sophomore trotters, Placer is eyeing his third straight trophy. The Panama Hanover homebred is trained by Vickie Desomer with husband Steve in the sulky and has been very impressive getting the job done with his peers in the last two stakes appearances.


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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, February 26, 2014—You’ve been put on alert…and even given extra time for homework.

Since no one took down Yonkers Raceway’s Tuesday night Pick 5--complete with its $10,000 guarantee--the entire pool (minus takeout) of $7,500 gets rolled over. That carryover turns into a $25,000 guaranteed pool into Thursday night’s (Feb. 27) program.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager offered on races 5 through 9 nightly. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program.

The Pick 5 offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool every Monday and Tuesday (in conjunction with the US Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program), with program pages for those “guarantee” days available for perusal at

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 daily.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Slader Dominates World Harness Handicapping Qualifier

East Rutherford, NJ - Russ Slader blew away the competition in the $400 World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier this past Saturday. 

 The Nutley, NJ resident nailed four winners on the card and finished the tournament with a $1,320 bankroll, securing him the $3,840 top cash prize and an entry into the World Harness Handicapping Championship, to be held April 19, 2014 at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. 

Frank Palmer of Caldwell, NJ, John Golden of Drexel Hill, PA and Tedd Derian from the Bronx, NY also qualified for the WHHC Final. 

 The qualifier format required players to bet 10 Meadowlands races of their choice, working from a $200 bankroll.  Wagers had to meet a $20 minimum per race, with a $200 maximum.  Contestants could only bet one horse per race and wagers could either be win, place or a combination of the two. 

Rank        Name                           Bankroll           Prize 
1              Russ Slader               $1,320.00            $3,840 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 
2               Frank Palmer             $896.00               $1,920 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 
3               John Golden              $845.10             $1,440 (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 
4               Tedd Derian               $700.00             $960    (Plus $800 WHHC seat) 
5               Don Tiger                   $580.00            $480
6               Greg Lipinski              $560.00              $192
7              Lester Block                 $532.00           $192
8               Don Morgan                $475.00            $192 
9               Nick Montemurro         $417.00          $192 
10            Joe Chuisano               $425.60          $192 


Beginning Monday, March 3 and continuing with just one exception through October 31 all post times at Monticello Raceway will be at 12:50 pm. The exception occurs on Friday night July 4 when post time will be at 5:30pm to allow for the annual fireworks extravaganza after the races.

Live racing during the month of March  will continue four times weekly on the afternoons of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“Now that the days are getting longer we will be able to begin our programs a little later in the afternoon and still complete our race cards prior to the darkness,” said General Manager, Shawn Wiles. 

 Simulcast wagering on thoroughbreds—as well as some other harness tracks—will be available during the afternoons while the evenings are largely devoted to harness simulcasts.  


Meadowlands Racetrack offers spot in prestigious World Harness Handicapping Championship to help raise money and awareness

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – When the world’s top horseplayers convene at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, NJ on April 19 to compete in the World Harness Handicapping Championship, an estimated prize pool of more than $50,000 will be up for grabs.

But one prominent player won’t be playing for himself; he’ll be playing for the health and care of retired racehorses.

Rusty Nash, recently the runner-up in the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) harness handicapping tournament, was given a seat in the WHHC by the Meadowlands ($800 value) in exchange for agreeing to donate any winnings in the event to a standardbred rescue organization. The first place prize in the WHHC is $20,000.

“Rusty Nash has been a valued player in previous Meadowlands contests and we are happy that he received the $800 charity buy-in to the WHHC Final, said Rachel Ryan, WHHC Contest Director. “The Meadowlands and HANA have enjoyed a strong partnership and have worked together to promote racing and wagering at the Meadowlands as well as supporting horse retirement and rescue charities.  This event is the premier betting contest for Harness players in North America and we hope this sparks further interest in the World Harness Handicapping Championship.”

"The HANA Harness Handicapping Contest has raised - through its sponsors - over $7,000 for retired racehorses the past two years. The Meadowlands' stepping up to the plate to give one of its top handicappers the chance to earn even more for the horses is truly appreciated. We wish Rusty, as well as all the participants in the World Harness Handicapping Championship, good luck" said HANA Harness Director Allan Schott. 

The WHHC is a one-day tournament, with a welcome reception the evening prior. 

Players may earn a seat in the WHHC through a qualifying event at a partner wagering outlet or through direct $800 buy-in.  The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races from partner tracks.  Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings.  Prize payouts are to the Top 10, with an estimated prize pool of $50,000.

Registration deadline is 10 p.m. on Thursday, April 17.   For the contest entry form and complete rules visit

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Golden Receiver Back – Meadowlands Handle Eclipses $3.6 Million

It was an enticing mix of old and new at The Meadowlands on Saturday night with fan favorite Golden Receiver making a successful return to the track and a couple of lightly raced three year olds with big futures captured divisions of the Buddy Gilmour series.

Golden Receiver has had a remarkable career for trainer Mark Harder and owners Our Horse Cents Stable and Nina Simmonds, winning over two million dollars with many of his greatest victories coming at The Meadowlands. Now aged nine years, Golden Receiver returned to the racing wars with Corey Callahan aboard after a two and a half month respite following his second place finish in the 2013 TVG Pacing Championship final on November 30.

On Saturday, driver Callahan called upon his mount's customary speed and style to set comfortable (for him) fractions of 26.1, 54.4, 1:22.4 before holding off the formidable late bid by the pocket sitting Easy Again by a neck in 1:49.2. Both Harder and Callahan were elated by the return of their "Big Horse" in the same fine form he has exhibited for the past several years.

The Buddy Gilmour series (formerly known as the Jr Trendsetter) for three year old colts and geldings has long been a springboard for lightly raced sophomores to gain needed experience as they embark on what their connections hope will be a summer stakes campaign. The winners of the pair of $17,500 divisions raced on Saturday gave further cause for optimism to their connections who had already made the February 15 nomination payment to the Meadowlands Pace on each.

Brittany Farms has raced many champions through the years and were a partner in last year's Pace winner Captaintreacherous. George Segal's nom de course looks to have another potential prodigy in the American Ideal colt Capital Account.

Trained by Jimmy Takter, Capital Account didn't make his first start until December 21 but has demonstrated unusual speed in his four prior outings with three wins and a place. Saturday's race was another step forward, resulting in a five length win in a new record of 1:51-. Pierce, also from Takter's barn, was second and Grandpa Don, third.

Yannick Gingras has been aboard for all of Capital Account's races and handled him flawlessly again in this one. There's no questioning the colt's speed and once his mind and gait catch up he's going to be a force.

National Debt comes from an entirely different background but was no less impressive in his east coast debut after travelling across the continent. He is being trained in New Jersey by Ron Coyne Jr. for Blair and Ema Corbeil and their partner Kelly Hoerdt, who developed and drove the undefeated colt to four impressive wins in Western Canada last fall. National Debt made a quick impression on the locals with his sharp appearance and long, powerful strides. 

With two qualifiers under his belt for fitness, National Debt and Tim Tetrick caught the similarly unbeaten Dinner At The Met in his Gilmour split. On this evening, after taking an early tuck in third, Tetrick moved National Debt to the lead just past the 56.1 half and let him roll on a bit. When Dinner At The Met rolled up to challenge into the stretch National Debt had plenty in reserve, sprinting home in 26.3 to hold safe by three lengths in 1:50.3.  Most impressive were the two separate bursts of speed National Debt displayed, one, making his bid for the lead past the half, the other in the stretch.  When Tetrick asked for speed in the final eighth, the response was devastating.  National Debt could provide quite the surplus for his connections in 2014.

It was a tremendous night for wagering at The Meadowlands Saturday.  The Total handle was a robust $3,625,092, which was a slight bump from last year.  In addition, on-track handle was up as the facility was packed with patrons taking advantage of the first signs of spring in the northeast.  The attractions at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment will only grow in the spring with the opening of Victory Terrace, the rooftop bar and lounge and The Backyard, which will be the expansion of the track apron with entertainment and dining options galore.

Racing resumes on Thursday, with the second round of the Charles Singer Memorial trotting series, with post time at 7:15 P.M.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 22, 2014—It was “new barn, old result” for Domethatagain (Ron Pierce) Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $33,000 Open Pace.
Unhurried from post position No. 4, the 13-10 choice watched as invading Texican N (Matt Kakaley) made the lead around pole-sitting, defending champ Pan from Nantucket (Eric Goodell).

Texican N made the lead before a 28-second opening quarter-mile and seemed comfy going toward the half. Domethatagain was out and moving when Texican N apparently jumped a shadow on the track.

Regardless, he bolted inside the cones as Domethatagain found the front just after a :57.2 intermission. That left "Nantucket" pocketed and Money Twitch A (Jordan Stratton) first-up.

Domethatagain maintained his advantage in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. The people's preference widened to a couple of lengths at the wire, which he found in 1:52.4...matching a season's-best.

The feature win was one of five for Pierce on the 12-race card.

Pan from Nantucket was a loose-pocket second, with American Rage (Brian Sears), P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) and Sapphire City (Eric Carlson) rounding out the payees.

For Domethatagain, a 5-year-old statebred son of Bettor's Delight now co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bob Hamather and Bruce Soulsby, he returned $4.70 for his third (consecutive) win in four seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $12.80, with the triple returning $63.

The handle of $1,026,419 was the fifth-highest total of the season.

The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues (weather permitting), with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.

Le Reina Road Takes Buffalo Raceway Open Pace

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Le Reina Road made the jump into the $10,500 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway Saturday night (Feb. 22) a successful one by scoring a 1-3/4 length victory over Every Girls Desire in a seasonal best of 1:56.4 over a good track.

Last week, Le Reina Road and driver David McNeight III stunned the field in the Open II with a 33-1 win and thus took his chances against the best pacers on the grounds this time around. It paid off. 

The 9-year-old gelding used a first-over, methodical grind on the outside just before the three-quarter pole to wear down pace-setting Every Girls Desire (Billy Dobson). Le Reina Road ($13.60) was never threatened in the stretch as Every Girls Desire held on for second while Goodnite Goodluck (Ron Beback Jr.) took the show position.

Le Reina Road has now won three times in six starts in 2014, earning $13,922 and increased his lifetime bankroll to $251,391. He is owned by the Limerick Racing Stable and trained by David McNeight Jr.

The semi-finals in the Niatross Knockout Claiming Series were also contested on Saturday night and a pair of long shots took the two divisions. In the first leg, Major Glass (Kevin Cummings) scored a $139.50 win in 1:58.3 while in the second leg, George P Hanover (McNeight III) took the victory in 1:58.3 and paid $22.80.

Besides the two winners, others qualifiers for the $27,500 finals this coming Saturday include Card Dealer, Kamanche Sun, Dawn Of Trey, Spacehill, Nutmeg's Gem and American Sway.

Racing resumes again on Wednesday night with a 12-race program slated to get underway at 5 p.m. The $5,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 wager begins in the fifth race.

For more information including race results, replays, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Statement from Jeff Gural

I want to thank everyone who voted for me as it is indeed an honor to be recognized by the industry in winning the 2013 Railbird Recognition Horse Person of the Year award.  I look forward to thanking many of you in person Sunday night when we honor the true heroes; our great horses.  

Having said that, I would like to once again ask the industry for their support as hopefully winter finally ends and we can complete the outdoor portion of the project.   As you might expect, this winter has been brutal and our import business, which helps pay the bills, has been significantly under budget.  Live racing has done better but obviously even there the winter weather and three cancellations, along with the Super Bowl shutdown have made for a difficult few months.  

With the Pennsylvania tracks opening next month and recognizing that our competitors often have better purses and most people think it is easier to win at the smaller tracks, it is vital that we are able to present a decent thirteen race card every Friday and Saturday with full fields.  I believe our efforts to create a level playing field are working.  We have a great track surface and the best drivers in the world.  The big track is also easier for most horses to navigate and post position is much less important.  In addition, I hope when you do race at the Meadowlands you will come out with friends and family and enjoy the new surroundings, including Trotters which is open to everyone with a racing license.  The facility has received rave reviews and when we hosted the pre-game Super Bowl party for several thousand guests of the sponsors everyone was shocked to see such a beautiful new racing facility.  Hopefully when the weather turns warmer we will once again be able to attract new and younger customers to our great sport but I need full fields and hope that we will have your support.

Once again, thank you for the award and I hope to see many of you Sunday night. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Perfect Alliance gives Andy Miller Number 8,000

The first $15,000 leg of the Charles Singer Memorial was raced in two divisions on a Thursday night card at The Meadowlands and the favorites did not disappoint.

Perfect Alliance came into the Singer off a pair of impressive efforts for the Andy and Julie Miller barn.  She continued to excel on this evening, romping to a seven plus length win in a career best equaling 1:53.3 for Andy Ray.  The win marked the 8,000th in the driving career of Andy Miller.

Biding her time through fractions of 27.1 and 56.2, Perfect Alliance was launched by Miller into the far turn and she stormed right past Cajole Hanover and quickly opened up a three-length lead.  That margin continued to grow, despite Andy Miller not asking his mare for any more effort in the stretch.  She was an impressive, wrapped up winner and appears as the clear favorite in the Charles Singer Memorial.

The Credit Winner mare was stakes placed several times in a useful 2013 season but has blossomed into an imposing presence at age four for Jeff Gural’s Little E, LLC, Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir, Dave Stolz and Artie Geiger.

Not to be out-done was Time To Quit, who is looking to parlay his successful sweep of the Super Bowl series into a successful run at the Charles Singer Memorial.  Tonight, Time To Quit extended his win streak to five in a workman-like effort in 1:56.2.  Coasting along on the lead virtually throughout for Yannick Gingras, Time To Quit was challenged late by pocket-sitter Clementine Dream but was able to close out the mile by a diminishing head over that foe at the wire.

Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura share ownership of Time To Quit, who has returned over $50,000 on their investment in just two months.

The Charles Singer Memorial continues with the second leg next Thursday, February 27th, with the $52,500 Final taking place Saturday March 8th.

Racing returns to The Meadowlands Friday, with post time at 7:15 P.M.  Victory Sports Bar will open early, at 12 P.M. tomorrow for fans to enjoy the Olympic Hockey Semi-Final matchup of the United States vs. Canada.  For all information pertaining to The Meadowlands, visit

Honoring memory of Kirschenbaum, Staley, Shapiro

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

This weekend’s three series finales at Cal Expo honor the memory and contributions of Alan Kirschenbaum, Richard Staley and Marvin Shapiro.

The Alan Kirschenbaum Series is named for the longtime owner and breeder and past president of the California Harness Horsemen’s Association, who died last October.

Kirschenbaum was a major factor in California as an owner, breeder and amateur driver for many years. With his stallions Little Steven and British Sterling standing at Cherry Tree Farm in Wilton, he helped support the industry in California. 

In the past, he had even waived his stallion fees to help the California horsemen breed their mares to help the horse population survive in the Golden State. He was also a huge supporter of the California Sire Stakes and amateur races.

Richard Staley, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 66,was one of the top owners to ever campaign trotters and pacers in California. He was involved in the sport for more than 25 years and during that entire period had only one trainer, Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman.

Over the years Staley and Ackerman would regularly go to the major sales to select and purchase the regally-bred years that became the bulwark of the Staley Stable and provided California harness racing with many of his classiest performers.

Marvin Shapiro was the son of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the Hall of Fame thoroughbred and California-bred champion Native Diver. He was the president of Western Harness Racing Inc. in the 1960s and spearheaded legislation that sanctioned night racing in California. He died in 2003 at the age of 83.

Marvin Shapiro Finale, Open Pace in spotlight

A contentious $7,350 finale of the Marvin Shapiro Pacing Series and an Open Pace headed by One And Only are the main events on Saturday night’s Watch and Wager LLC program at Cal Expo.

Itsabouttonight and Plum Crazy Baby captured the two divisions of the first leg of the Shapiro, while last week saw one division and it was Majestic Lass who come rolling late to post a $47 upset.

An 8-year-old daughter of Art Major, Majestic Lass is owned by Kimberly Andres, is conditioned by Salvador Wenceslao and will have Mooney Svendsen in the sulky. No threat in the first leg of the Shapiro, she came back last week to be up by a head over another longshot in Pip’s Jenny G., with the $1 exacta returning a cool $515 in that affair.

Itsabouttonight will represent owner/trainer Gretchen Smith with Tim Maier at the helm. The Illinois-bred mare dominated her division of the opening leg over a sloppy track, then was a close third last weekend after opening up a large lead at the head of the stretch that evening.

Plum Crazy Baby is a 6-year-old Relentless Yankee mare who carries the banner of Derick Takahashi with Dario Solares training and Dave Siegel doing the honors. She was a very convincing victress in the first leg, then was first over in her most recent appearance and had to settle for the fourth as the 8-5 favorite behind Majestic Lass.

Completing the field are Red Star Gilda with Williams Hernandez; No Mo Parking for Mike Jarvis; Curvacious with Luke Plano in the sulky; Pip’s Jeeny G, Patrick Galbraith; and Little Schoolgirl, who leaves from the outside slot with James Kennedy at the helm.

One And Only gets top billing in the Open Pace for owners Richard Morita and David Yamada, trainer Lino Pacheco and driver Luke Plano. The son of Bettor’s Delight rattled off five straight wins between December 21 and February 1 before having the streak broken at most recent asking after doing his work from the demanding No. 10 post position.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


 It seems like the local scribes can spot talent. In recent years they cited Jordon Stratton and Jimmy Marohn, Jr. as Rising Stars for their driving prowess at Monticello Raceway. And just check their records. Both youngsters are now winning plenty of races and are developing into the  future stars in harness racing.

Last year, too, the area’s harness writers chose 21 year old Austin Siegelman as their Rising Star at the Mighty M. And it appears that the scribes are on the money again.

After he won the honor last fall Siegelman told a reporter of his hometown newspaper, the Citizen’s Voice , “winning the Rising Star Award definitely gives me a lot of confidence going forward.  I plan on being in this business for a long time and hopefully this is just the beginning of great things to come.”

On Wednesday afternoon at the Mighty M, the youngster had his first hat trick of the season. He scored with Carribbean Pirate ($6.40)in 2:00.3 in the  first race and then came back to cop the second with My Cinnamon Girl ($12.00) in 2:04.4. Siegelman’s third win came when he guided  In Regal Attire ($5.10)home first in a time of 2:04.1.

From a limited amount of starts thus far this season among Siegelman’s 19 wins are victories in ‘the big time’ at Yonkers Raceway and the Meadowlands.

Last season he began driving horses for veteran trainer Chris Marino and their union has been good for both.  It was with one of Marino’s horses that the 21 year old Siegelman became the youngest driver to set a track record here when he guided Mymomsablizzard to a 1:57 victory which equaled the mark for older trotting mares at Monticello Raceway.

Again this season Siegelman is driving horses trained by Marino.

“Chris has some nice horses and I’m lucky to be driving for him,” Siegelman said.

And Marino is high on Seigelman.

“He’s a nice young man and he was brought up right,” Marino said of Siegelman. “Although he’s young  he drives a horse really well. I’m very satisfied with what he has done for me.”

Racing fans will definitely read about the future success of the 21 year old driver. And since he showed that he can handle himself against the leading drivers in metropolitan New York all he needs now is the stock to compete again them on a regular basis.

Buffalo Raceway Cancels Thursday Racing

Buffalo Raceway has cancelled the racing card for Thursday February 20 due to thaw related track conditions and forecasted rain this afternoon.

The racing season at the Hamburg Oval will continue Friday February 21 with a first post of 6:40 pm.

Pick 5 Turns 50 Cents Into Nearly 10K

By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

There was one winning ticket in last Saturday night’s Pick 5, returning $9.968 for what proved to be an excellent 50-cent investment. 

The Pick 5 is one of three wagers offered here nightly with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. The others are the 20-cent Pick 4 with a $20,000-guaranteed pool on Friday and a $25,000 guaranteed pool on Saturday; and the Hi-Five on the finale.

Had last Saturday’s winning ticket been paid out under the regular takeout rate, it would have returned just over $9,000, a difference of some $920 to the winner.

“We have had these low takeout bets in place since we took over the meeting in the fall of 2012,” said General Manager Chris Schick. “We are very pleased with the response to these wagers.”

Last Saturday’s Pick 5 sequence got off to a pretty formful start as 2-1 second choice Orlando’s Express got the job done for James Kennedy, followed by co-favorite Diva Las Vegas clicking at $6.60 with Tim Maier and 2-1 second choice Alpine Hawk posing for pictures with Rich Wojcio.

It got a bit tougher when Hi Ho Disguise prevailed at $11.20 in the penultimate leg with Dave Siegel at the controls, then kicked into overdrive after Majestic Lass upset the second leg of the Marvin Shapiro Series at 22-1 with Mooney Svendsen giving directions.

There is another chance to pick up a nice piece of change for a minor investment here Friday night with the reduced takeouts of the 50-cent Pick 5; the 20-cent Pick 4 with a $20,000-guaranteed pool; and the 10-cent Hi-Five on the final contest.

Kirschenbaum, Staley Series Finales headline program

The $7,200 finale of the Alan Kirschenbaum Series headed by Nutmegs Davey and Larry Horse; the $6,600  Richard Staley Series finale featuring Melboy and Big Guy To Win; an Open Trot and and Open Distaff Pace are on tapFriday night program at Cal Expo.

Nutmegs Davey has captured the opening two legs of the Kirschenbaum in convincing style and looms the favorite in Friday’s finale for owner Osman Carrera, trainer Dario Solares and pilot Luke Plano.

The 5-year-old son of Jennas Beach Boy went coast-to-coast in his division of the first leg with Dave Siegel in the sulky while competing over a sloppy track, then held safe by a neck in last week’s penultimate leg over Larry Horse as the even-money favorite with Plano at the controls.

Larry Horse is a popular 12-year-old who goes about his business for Jessie Pacheco and Kristin Swab with Lino Pacheco the conditioner and Gerry Longo handling the lines. The son of Sportsmaster comes into this assignment with $230,000 in his account and a 1:52 2/5 mark.

With Plano in the bike in his division of the first leg, Larry Horse proved a punctual 6-5 choice in the slop, then was handicapped by the No. 9 post last weekend with Longo at the helm and fell just short of catching Larry Horse that evening.

Melboy and Big Guy To Win accounted for their respective divisions of the first leg of the Staley Series, then finished one-two in last week’s clash. Melboy is an 8-year-old son of Western Hanover who is owned by Lili Tremblay, trained by Nathalie Tremblay and driven by Tim Maier; while Big Guy To Win is a 9-year-old from the George Reider barn who carries the Kimberley Hines banner and has Mooney Svendsen giving directions.

The Open Trot finds El Azteca looking for another win at the head of the class for owner/trainer/breeder Marco Rios and driver Luke Plano while leaving from the assigned No.10 post position. Haggin Oaks heads the Open Distaff Pace with trainer James Kennedy in the sulky.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


MANALAPAN, NJ – February 18, 2014 – The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and Freehold Raceway have agreed to the addition of three Mondays – February 24, March 3 and March 10 – to the Freehold live racing schedule to make up for some of the cards lost to snowstorms this winter.

Further decisions, regarding two additional canceled dates, will be addressed in the near future.

Details for the draw schedule for the three Mondays will be forthcoming.

--Submitted by Carol Hodes for SBOANJ

Tioga and Vernon announce 2014 stakes schedule

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Nichols, NY – Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have announced their 2014 stakes schedule, with an estimated $4.3 million in purses to attract the top horses in New York and across North America throughout the season.

Tioga Downs opens their stakes season on Sunday, June 1 with the $200,000e Roll With Joe Open Pace.  New York Sire Stakes races mark the calendar through June and July, leading up to the $350,000e Tompkins-Geers Stakes for two- and three-year-olds of both gaits.  Unlike years past, where the Tompkins-Geers Stakes have been contested throughout an entire week of racing, two-year-old pacers will have their events on Sunday, August 3, while two-year-old trotters and three-year-olds of both gaits will race on Sunday, August 17.  Between the Tompkins-Geers events, New York-sired sophomore pacers will take the spotlight on Sunday, August 10 in the $500,000e Empire Breeders Classic, with separate events for each sex.  If needed, eliminations are scheduled for the week prior.

Labor Day (Monday, September 1) proves to be a banner day in the Southern Tier, with a trio of stakes events headlining the afternoon.  The $110,000e Shady Daisy for three-year-old pacing fillies and a $40,000e preliminary leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares comprise the undercard features for the day, while three-year-old pacers take center stage in the $350,000e Cane Pace—the first leg of the Triple Crown for pacers.

The $125,000 Reynolds Stakes for two-year-olds closes out the stakes schedule at Tioga, with trotting divisions on Thursday, September 4, and pacing divisions on Friday, September 12.

Vernon Downs kicks off their stakes season on Sunday, June 8, with New York-sired three-year-old trotters contesting the $500,000e Empire Breeders Classic (like the pacers, separate events are held for each sex).  If eliminations are necessary, they will take place on Friday, May 30.  New York Sire Stakes events cover the early summer months, leading up to the first of two big nights at Vernon on Friday, August 29.  The $700,000e Harry Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds once again serves as the centerpiece of the Vernon Downs stakes schedule, with top open trotters sharing the spotlight that night in the $200,000e Crawford Farms Trot (formerly known as the Credit Winner).

Two-year-olds of both gaits and sexes contest the $100,000e Simpson Stakes on Friday, October 24, leading up to a blockbuster Closing Night program, featuring a trio of rich events on Saturday, November 1.  Two-year-old trotters wrap up the Kindergarten Classic series with a $200,000e final, and top distaffers compete in a pair of $200,000e events as well—trotters in the Muscle Hill, and pacers in the Artiscape, which moved to Vernon after being raced at Tioga in past seasons.

Nomination forms and more information can be found at and


 On Presidents Day, with well over two feet of fresh snow on the ground, much of it piled along the inside and outside of the racetrack, Monticello Raceway was still able to present its “Not Quite Presidential” Pace despite the fact that three horses were late scratches.

“That we lost three horses to scratches was something we didn’t figure on,” said Eric Warner the tracks director of racing. “When you have drivers coming in from out of town there is always a possibility of losing someone along the way especially when the weather is bad, but losing three horses in the race was something we didn’t figure on.”

And perhaps it was because of the short field that Howard “Zachary” Taylor altered his driving strategy and sent his charge, Red Carpet Tonight, to the front and together they made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:04 triumph over Space Chalet, driven by Don “Herbert” Hoover and She’s A Screamer with Peter Gerry aboard.

“I left with her (Red Carpet Tonight) because I watched replays and she threw her head when she was grabbed into. Therefore decided to roll her out of the gate so that I didn't have to grab her and that we had a short field seemed like the right time to put her on the front-end,” Taylor said after being contacted in the paddock after the race.

When the wings of the mobile gate folded Taylor sent Red Carpet Tonight to the lead and opened-up a three- length lead  as they passed the first quarter in :29.1, From there, Taylor and Red Carpet Tonight had open lengths on the field at every other stanza and at the top of the lane they were five  lengths in front.

“We had a good lead as we headed for home and although my mare was tiring she held off a late charge by Don Hoover’s pacer to win,” Taylor added.

Owned by Leonard Segall and trained by Steve Moore, Red Carpet Tonight paid. $10.80 for win.

Because it was the Presidents Day Holiday the” Not Quite Presidential” Pace was carded  and mainly relegated  to drivers with U.S. Presidential names although Peter Gerry became eligible since his five -times removed Great Grandfather Elbridge Thomas Gerry was a U.S. Vice President under  the fourth President  of the United States, James Madison.

Others who participated in the five-horse race were Dennis “George” Washington, who finished fourth and “Harry” Truman Gale was fifth.