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Thursday, April 30, 2015


East Rutherford, NJ -  It will be a battle to the finish for cash prizes in the new look Meadowlands Racetrack’s Championship meet Survival Challenge 2015 powered by 123Racing, an online handicapping competition that begins tomorrow, Friday, May 1. 
Entries for Friday & Saturday along with Trackmaster Platinum Past Performances are now available at

The game covers the Meadowlands’ Summer Championship Meet, featuring millions in stakes races and the best pacers and trotters in training.  The game concludes on Hambletonian Day on Saturday, August 8.

The winner is determined by the highest total bankroll at the end of the Challenge based on a $2 “across the board” wager [win, place and show] on selections for three designated races each program.        

However, to continue in the game, entrants have to “survive” by finishing in-the-money [first through third] with at least one of their selections each day.  Failing to do so or not making selections knocks the player out of the game.  To aid in the player’s survival a “lucky horseshoe” is given.  The lucky horseshoe is a “free pass” given to all Challenge participants that allows the player to survive if he does not make selections for a race card or all three of his selections fail to hit the board.

The grand prize is $2,000.
The second-place prize is $1,000.
The third-place prize is $500.
There is also a bonus award of $500 for Most Number of Winners

The contest is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada 18 years and older, and all selections must be made through the format provided on the Survival Challenge website page.  No selections will be accepted by phone, fax, e-mail or any other means.  Trackmaster Platinum Past performances for the three designated races will be provided through the game board.

The deadline for selections each day is 30 minutes before 7:15 p.m. post time for the first race.  Exceptions include Saturday, May 2 [first post is 5:30 p.m.], Friday, July 10 [first post is 5:30 pm], Saturday, July 11 [first post is 5:30 pm] and Hambletonian Day [post time 12 noon].  After 30 minutes to post, all selections are final.

To set up a username and password, and for more of the contest rules, visit .


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

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, April 30, 2015—Here’s a quickie quiz, and if you get it wrong, please don’t continue reading…ever.

Multiple choice—Hannah Davis or Tyler Buter—which one graced the cover of the 2015 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and which one has won over 2,300 races and currently sits fifth in the local driver standings?

While you may surmise the lovely Ms. Davis and the lovely (?) Mr. Buter have nothing in common, that would be incorrect. The lady and gentleman are helping Yonkers Raceway celebrate the 141st Kentucky Derby this Saturday (May 2nd).

The two, ahem, beauties, are joining WVOX Radio personality John Marino and WAG Magazine’s Georgette Gouveia as the blue-ribbon panel selecting the winner of Empire City’s annual “Fancy Derby Hat Contest”. The contest is to be held trackside as part of the festivities and the $1,100 in cash prizes--$750 (first), $250 (second) and $100 (third)—are awarded at 5 PM.

Contestants are required to register between 2-4 PM trackside, with all qualified hat contestants receiving a $10 Free Play coupon which can be redeemed at the promotions booth.

In addition, the first 700 Empire Club Members to visit the Gotham Palace promotions booth beginning at
4 PM receive a $2, two-horse exacta box for the Kentucky Derby (limit one per Empire Club member).

As for the 141st Derby, Yonkers Raceway again offers complete Churchill Downs wagering, with first Churchill post both Friday and Saturday at 10:30 AM (Yonkers’ mutuel windows open each day at 10 AM). The entire Saturday card can be advance wagered all day Friday. Post time for the Derby is scheduled for 6:34 PM, with Yonkers’ Saturday card going at the usual 7:10 PM.

Cal Expo Saturday Barn Notes

Trotter speaks loudly when he minds his manners
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

When it comes to the 6-year-old trotter Silence Son, you don’t know if you’re going to get Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde until the gate has rolled.

The George Reider trainee has rattled off two solid wins at the Open II level this month, including a lifetime best 1:55 tour on April 4, but surrounding those scores are a pair of efforts where he failed to be on stride at the start and lost his chance.

Williams Hernandez was guiding Silence Son for the first time in last week’s outing and no doubt Reider and the trotter’s backers were holding their breath when starter Kenny Fowler gave the marching orders. The trotter shot right to the top, carved out all the fractions and held safe by a neck while rewarding the faithful with an $11.80 payoff.

“I’ve been very impressed with his last two wins,” Reider related. “Williams did a great job last week. I told him how temperamental the horse was, we did discuss some strategies and he figured him out.”

As one might guess, conditioning a trotter like Silence Son can test one’s patience, but performances like last week make it all worth the effort. “He’s not that easy to train by any means, but when he minds his manners he is a fun horse to watch. That said, it’s always week to week. I can say that David and Rob Haness and their father Robert really enjoy watching him race.”

Reider gives plenty of credit to assistant trainer Kimberly Hines, and the three of them will soon be headed to Minnesota and Running Aces, which is where George claimed Silence Son for $7,500 last year. “Our expectations are high, because we know he likes that oval,” his trainer added.

In the meantime, Silence Son has one more local assignment on tap here Saturday night, and it will be interesting to see if he’s on his best behavior when the car hits top speed.

Open Trot, Distaff Pace atop the marquee

Silence Son and Winsom Kelly, fresh from a one-two finish last week, head the cast for the Open I Handicap Trot, while Rag Doll will attempt to overcome the demanding No. 10 slot in the co-featured Open II Filly-Mare Pace at Cal Expo Saturday evening. 

This is the next-to-last night of the Watch and Wager LLC winter/spring session, with a 10-race card on tap and a first post of 6:55 p.m. The curtain will fall on Sunday with first post for that nine-race card set for 5 p.m.

Silence Son is a 6-year-old Ohio-bred son of Majestic Son who is owned and trained by George Reider and will have Williams Hernandez doing the honors. He comes into this assignment having captured two of his last four outings.

Silence Son established a new lifetime standard when he tour the oval in 1:55 flat on April 4, then lost his chance with an early miscue in his next trip to the post. He was all business in his most recent try with Hernandez at the helm for the first time, as he made every pole a winning one and held safe by a neck over Winsom Kelly.

The latter is a 9-year-old by Eccentric who carries the banner of Nikki Hudson and Kc C Carvalho with Luke Plano reining and training. He recorded his most recent victory on March 21 under these conditions and closed with a rush to just miss to Silence Son in last week’s clash.

Rounding out the field are the always-dangerous Franky Provolone for Steve Wiseman; the classy Franks Best with Mooney Svendsen; and Sharpshootennorris, who has the benefit of the cozy rail slot.


A reminder that with Sunday being closing night of the winter/spring meet, there will be mandatory payouts in all wagers on that program.

Meadowlands Live Racing Beigins at 5:30 on Derby Day

East Rutherford, NJ – Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 2 is clearly at the top of the horse racing calendar, one of the busiest and most entertaining events of the entire year at all racetracks. The Meadowlands will use the occasion to kick off the 2015 Championship Meet promising a full slate of racing and activities to keep the fans entertained well into the night.

A new wrinkle this year is the early start with the first live race scheduled at 5:30pm to accommodate the appetite of what is expected to be a capacity crowd as they anticipate the Derby. Live racing will break for the running of the Derby which is listed to be approximately 6:24pm, then resume around 7:00.

A brand new wager will be unveiled to celebrate the early start. Christened 4 in 40 minutes, the bet is a Pick 4 that incorporates two live Meadowlands races with two from Tioga Downs featuring a race every ten minutes.

On the racetrack the $47,124 Albatross, a division of the John F. Simpson Memorial stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, continues the Grand Circuit push into the month of May. The race marks the return of unbeaten Winter Series sensation Wiggle It Jiggleit who has had a bit of a freshening in anticipation of his ascension into the top ranks for his division.

Wiggle It Jiggleit seared through his winter assignments, taking a leg of the Sonsam series in 1:49.4 before demoralizing a solid group of sophomores in his Buddy Gilmour sweep. Owner George Teague, Jr and trainer Clyde Francis have conspired to map out a summer schedule that includes stops at all the major races for pacing colts and chose the Simpson to launch their prize pupil's return after a month break and a 1:53 qualifier in preparation. Montrell Teague has his regular role as driver which he has held in every one of Wiggle It Jiggleit’s previous races.

Also on the card is the $54,200 Whata Baron final, named for one of the early equine heroes of The Meadowlands. Rediscovery appears to be the one to beat in the final after setting a career best 1:49.2 record in leg one and overcoming a second tier start to win the second leg. From the powerful stable of Ron Burke, Rediscovery is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura. Meadowlands leading driver Yannick Gingras has the drive.

As the evening continues, Victory and E-Rock Entertainment will be hosting the fight of the century where Floyd Mayweather will take on Manny Pacquiao, undercard begins at 9 p.m. Cover charge $25 for men, $20 for ladies. Reservations are strongly recommended. For reservations call 862.668.2473 or e-mail

The gates open Saturday morning at 9:30, admission is free and there are a plethora of racing, dining and entertainment available, sure to satisfy all desires of the racing patron.

A Cameo In Life Makes It 3 Straight In The Co-Featured Pace.

By Michael Carter, for Buffalo Raceway

Hamburg, NY – Last week it was all about girl power in the featured trot, this week the boys showed Serendipitous how it was done.

Serendipitous (Kevin Cummings) broke at the start of the $8,500 co-featured trot allowing others to take a stab at the big prize.  After she broke stride Justgottogetthere (Jim McNeight) had to battle Vagra (Doug Ackley) early on and was used very hard to get to the lead.  When they went past the ¼ McNeight finally got Justgottogetthere and set some pretty easy fractions going to the ¼ in 29 1/5.

When no one decided to move going up the back stretch Northern Bullet (Shawn Gray) decided he had enough of the slow pace and moved out first over.  Studio City (Ron Beback Jr.) followed with cover and both attempted to take the lead from Justgottogetthere who would give it up.  Turning for home though Shawn Gray stepped into over-drive and Northern Bullet took off winning by a length over Justgottogetthere who had to settle for 2nd and a hard closing Studio City was 3rd.  They completed the mile in 1:58 2/5.

The victory gives Northern Bullet his 3rd win of the year for owner Tessa Roland of Grinnell, IA and trainer J D Perrin.

In the featured pacing event of the night A Cameo In Life (Kevin Cummings) managed to pull off a mild upset.

Ugly Betty returned to take on the mares this week and her normal early speed just was not there.  A Cameo In Life went right to the lead early on, but Fiftyonefifty (Jack Flanigen) wouldn't just let that happen and took the lead past the ¼.  When they moved past the ½ mile marker Kevin Cummings and A Cameo In Life had re taken the lead and tried to slow them down going to the ½ in 58 2/5.  Ugly Betty made her move going into the turn the final turn, and looked strong, but flattened out in the stretch.  A Cameo In Life had to watch out for hard closing Dontch Remember (Shawn McDonough) and Eyemajet (Shawn Gray), but held on just long enough to secure the victory in 1:57 3/5.

A Cameo In Life has now won 7 of 14 starts in 2015.  He is owned by Clark Siminski of Buffalo New York and trained by Kirk Desmond.

Live racing returns to the Hamburg-Oval on Friday night with a first post of 6:35 PM.  Buffalo Raceway on the fairgrounds in Hamburg races on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

RCI Elects New Directors

TAMPA, FL - With the recent elevation of Mark Lamberth, commissioner from the Arkansas Racing Commission, as its 2015 Chairman, the Association of Racing Commissioners International tapped Louisiana commissioner Judy Wagner to serve as Secretary/Chairperson-Elect and Washington State Racing Commission member Jeff Colliton as Treasurer.

Lamberth, a Thoroughbred owner, was appointed to the Arkansas Racing Commission in 2011 after previously serving on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

The elections were part of the 81st Annual RCI Conference on Racing and Wagering Integrity, held last week at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

The regulators also added Bill Phillips (West Virginia Racing Commission), Tom DiPasquale (Minnesota Racing Commission), Steve Suttie (Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency), John Wayne (Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission) and David Loregnard (Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority) to the RCI Board of Directors.

The RCI Board also includes Rick Baedeker (California Horse Racing Board), Rob Williams New York State Gaming Commission, Frank Zanzuccki (New Jersey Racing Commission), Dr. Corrine Sweeney (Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission), Jonathan Zachem (Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering), and Steve Lehman (Ontario Racing Commission).

Re-elected Board members include Eddie Menton (Mobile County Racing Commission), Tom Sage (Nebraska State Racing Commission), Charles Gardiner (Louisiana State Racing Commission), Larry Eliason (South Dakota Commission on Gaming), Constantin Rieger (Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission), and Mike Hopkins (Maryland Racing Commission).

RCI President Ed Martin said the RCI Board “reflects an expertise applicable to every aspect of racing and the group is blessed to have the commitment of so many talented professionals who strive to do right by our horses, greyhounds, and the sports they regulate.”   

Horseplayers and fans will have an important advocate in Judy Wagner. In addition to serving as the Louisiana State Racing Commission, Wagner is also the Horseplayers Representative on the NTRA Board of Directors.

RCI Board Members serve one year terms, with the exception of the Secretary/Chairperson-Elect, who will automatically be elevated to Chairperson of the association at the 2016 RCI Annual Meeting.

Meadowlands Kick’s Off Championship Meet in Style

Keep Calm & Derby On with Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment for the Championship Meet Kick-off on May 1st and Derby Day on May 2nd!

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – April 29, 2015 – Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is racing to victory with a weekend of celebrations. On Friday, May 1st, guests can come out to the track for the Championship Meet Kick-off, which will run through August 8th, and test their luck with a chance to win $100,000 in the Scratch, Match & Win Game!

Beginning at 6:00pm, the first 2,500 people will receive a scratch card of 6 numbers. Live racing will start at 7:15pm and the winning numbers will be announced after races 3 and race 6 with special videos. Guests who match all 6 numbers will win $100,000, 5 number matches will win $1000 and 4 number matches will win $500. Matches from the 1st video cannot be combined with the 2nd video.

The competition does not end there as non -winners can complete the back of the scratch card for a chance to win a betting voucher— 5- $100 and 5- $50 voucher winners will be picked. Victory Sports Bar & Club will open at 5:00pm and will feature their recently launched $5 bar menu.
Guests will have an opportunity to join Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment the following day for their annual Derby Day on Saturday, May 2nd. The sprawling race track and entertainment complex main doors open at 9:30am with free admission.  The 2nd floor Grandstand Level opens 10 am. 
Donning their biggest hats, stylish sun dresses, pastels and khakis, race-goers will participate in a full day of simulcast and live racing action, including the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby live from Churchill Downs. The first Churchill race begins at 10:30 am.

As an added convenience, the Meadowlands will offer a walk-up Teller window in Lot M off of Berry’s Creek Road.  Derby wagers can be placed 12 noon until 6:30 pm. 

The best seat in the house may be the track’s apron and Grandstand where the “141st Run for the Roses” will be simulcast on the 18’x48’ infield HD video screen with post time set for 6:24pm. 

During the day’s festivities, guests will enjoy the finest in dining options. Victory Sports Bar & Club and the CafĂ© will open at 9:30am.  Victory will be hosting a Derby themed lunch buffet for $39.95 beginning at 11:30am. Dishes include savory Southern Fried Chicken, Tangy Coleslaw, Freshly Baked Corn Bread and Homemade Mac and Cheese. For reservations call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446).

Guests can also visit the food court and newly added Buns Sandwich, Chipz Cookies and Pollo Frito restaurants. The food court will open at 12:00pm as well as the Victory Terrace Rooftop Bar. Woodford Reserve bourbon, the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby”, will be served throughout the day along with mint juleps and other libations.

Pink, the tiered dining room with perfect views of the live racing action, will feature a few Southern inspired menu options on their $39.95 3-course menu such as the Cider Glazed Pork Loin and Cajun Rubbed Chicken.  Pink will open at 4:30 pm and reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve a table call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446).

Trotters features a $49.95 buffet ($44.95 for members) beginning at 4:30 pm.  Trotters will also broadcast the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight and serve a late-night snack buffet for $35 ($30 for members).  For reservations please call Marianne Rotella 201-842-5059 or email

Live harness racing will commence at 5:30pm and include a special pick 4 wager featuring two live races from the Meadowlands and two simulcast races from Tioga Downs in Upstate NY.

 Fans can enter the $100 win wager sweepstakes for a chance to win 1 of 10 $100 wagers (wager on live harness racing only). Not to be left out, the belles of the ball will have the option to sign up for the Grand Prize Hat Contest from 2:00pm – 4:45pm for a chance to win a $500, $250 or $100 prize. Judging will begin at 5:00pm. 

Prizes continue into the night with Horseplay  beginning at 6:00pm. Buy a horse for $1 and throw the horse into the car for a chance to win $100 and entry into the August 8th car drawing for a 2015 Scion FRS. All proceeds in the month of May will be donated to The Volunteer Center of Bergen County. Sign-ups for the Million Dollar Ball Drop also begin at 6:00 pm.

After the Derby, Victory and E-Rock Entertainment will be hosting the fight of the century where Floyd Mayweather will take on Manny Pacquiao, undercard begins at 9pm. Cover charge $25 for men, $20 for ladies.  DJ Toro will be spinning beats during the night. Reservations are strongly recommended. For reservations call (862) 668-2473 or email

To make reservations or book your private event, call (201) 843-2446 or email

Meisel Captures 2015 WHHC (Release includes Official Top 10 Standings)

East Rutherford, NJ - The 2015 World Harness Handicapping Championship was conducted on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and the winner, taking home the $14,400 first place prize was William Meisel of Staten Island, N.Y.

The WHHC Final required players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races, one each from Pompano, Meadowlands and Mohawk. Wagers were Win, Place, Show or any combination of WPS with a $30 minimum wager, $100 maximum wager per race. 

Meisel, a court officer by day, is a frequent Meadowlands contest player.  Saturday he cashed on 8 out of 10 contest wagers and was in second place going into the 13th and final contest race.

William catapulted to the win with a $100 last race win wager on the winner, Rockaholic, sending his bankroll to $1,092 to capture the prize. 

Scott Alberg, the 2006 WHHC Champion from Washington Township, NJ, finished in 2nd place with a bankroll of $943 while Brian Volakos, a USTA qualifier from Forest Park, IL, finished in 3rd place with $780.

The list of top 10 finishers is below:

Prize $
Staten Island
Twp Washington
Forest Park
New City
East Brunswick
East Lyme


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 25, 2015—March Awareness (George Brennan, $5.40, part of favored entry) tagged A Cool Million (Jordan Stratton) on the money Tuesday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $66,500 final of the aptly-named YR/SOA of New York Bonus Trotting Series.

Working out a second-over trip from post position No. 5, March Awareness chased A Cool Million as that one threw down intervals of :28, :57.3 and 1:25.4. Bentley Karan (Jason Bartlett) was sequestered second.

The leader’s stablemate/entrymate, Lucky Colby (Eric Carlson), was first-up, towing March Awareness in behind. A Cool Million owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but March Awareness was getting to him.

The latter stuck his tongue out late, winning by a short schnozz in a season’s-best 1:55.4. Third went to Bentley Karan, with Lucky Colby and Massive Talent (Andy Miller) rounding out the payees. Detroit Rapper (Jim Marohn Jr.), Dot Dot Dot Dash (Dan Dube) and ABC Crown Me Queen (Brian Sears) completed the order.

For March Awareness, a 5-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was his fourth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid exacta paid $14, with the triple returning $33.60.

“He had a good trip, a good mile, even though I moved him earlier in the turn,” Brennan said. “They added an inside head pole, and that definitely helped. It worked out very well.”

A $30,000 series consolation was won by Striker Ace (Tyler Buter, $48.60) in 1:57.4.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Meadowlands Special Post Time Reminder

                This is a reminder that The Meadowlands will have a special post time of 5:30 P.M. on this coming Saturday, May 2nd.  Horsemen should visit the horsemen information link on The Meadowlands website for a full paddock schedule for the night’s races, including Time Schedule for Lasix . It can be accessed under “Horsemen,” and “Horsemen Information” or by going to and clicking on the “Derby Day” link.

                Also, a reminder that qualifiers this week will be conducted on Friday at 9:30 A.M.  Qualifiers will return to Saturdays on May 9th.  The Meadowlands will also open the racetrack for those wishing to train their two year olds this coming Thursday, April 30th.

                Please contact The Meadowlands race office with any questions.

Monticello Raceway to Offer NYSS Prep Races

As the start of the New York Sire Stakes program is right around the corner, Monticello Raceway will be offering Prep Races for NYSS/Excelsior eligible horses. “We will be drawing Wednesday April 29, for Monday May 4th, for our first prep race, the purse for these events will be $4,500, our first Sire Stake/Excelsior event is on Monday May 11” noted Monticello Race Secretary Eric Warner.  The first prep race will be for 3 Year Old Trotting Colts.  “With some of the top 3 year Old Trotting Colts are starting to qualify lately, these races may fit perfectly in their schedule” said Warner.  

Monticello Raceways Post Time is 12:50 for its Monday thru Thursday schedule. The  50 cent pick 5 Wager runs in race 3 -7.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cobalt Policy Adopted by Regulators

Tampa, FL - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) is formally notifying regulators and their testing labs of a new policy that would make it illegal to administer cobalt to a race horse.    

The RCI Board of Directors last week voted to sanction trainers of horses that were found to have a cobalt level of 50 parts per billion (ppb) or greater of blood plasma or serum with a “B” penalty, which calls for a minimum 15-day suspension, a minimum $500 fine, and 4 points on the trainers Multiple Medication Violation record.  Owners of horses that raced would also face a loss of any purse money earned and the horse would be excluded from competition until a retest at the owner’s expense proves levels have dropped to below 25 ppb in plasma/serum.

The 50 ppb was based upon the unanimous recommendation of the RCI Scientific Advisory Group which met on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 to review a proposal from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium that was submitted on April 10, 2015.  

The RCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee unanimously affirmed that recommendation on April 23, 2015 and it was adopted that same day by the association’s Board of Directors.

The RCI Board also adopted a policy that would exclude horses from competition that were found to have a cobalt level of greater than or equal to 25 ppb but below 50 ppb of blood plasma or serum.  Those horses would be placed on the Veterinarian’s List and not be allowed to return to competition until a subsequent test proves that high cobalt levels have dropped below 25 ppb.   Subsequent tests would be conducted at the owner’s expense.

The RCI Board of Directors opted to defer action pending further review and comment on an additional recommendation to impose a ten year suspension on trainers of any horse found to have over 300 parts per billion of cobalt in blood plasma or serum.    That recommendation was supported by a majority of the DTSP Committee and five of six members of the RCI Scientific Advisory Group.

RCI policies are embodied in the ARCI Model Rules and the Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, which serve as a regulatory policy guide for commissions.  In some instances, both documents can have the force of law if a jurisdiction or regulatory agency has enacted a policy to incorporate them by reference.

The RCI Board expressed appreciation for the work of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium as well as the following members of the RCI Scientific Advisory GroupDr. Adam Chambers, Dr. Kenneth McKeever, Dr. George Maylin, Dr. Mary Robinson, Dr. Scott Stanley, and Dr. Thomas Tobin.

Tioga Downs approaches 2015 kickoff

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Nichols, NY -- Final preparations are in place for the 2015 live harness racing season at Tioga Downs, as the Southern Tier racetrack is due to commence its tenth Standardbred meet this Saturday, May 2.  Entries for the first weekend's races are due from horsemen on Wednesday, April 29.

"We're looking forward to another great year at Tioga Downs," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing at Tioga Downs.  "We're grateful for the great product our horsemen continue to put on the track and for our loyal fans, both on- and off-track.  We're excited to welcome everyone back as we bring harness racing to the Southern Tier for our tenth season."

The traditional Kentucky Derby Day opener features a special 5:00 p.m. post time, with a T-shirt and schedule magnet giveaway on the tarmac leading up to the races.  Fans can also take part in a Derby hat contest ($300 top prize), and can enter a drawing to win a $1,000 wager on one horse in the Kentucky Derby.

The Williams Auto Group once again sponsors the season-long Horseplay Car Giveaway, where fans can earn entries all season for the chance to drive home in a new 2015 Toyota Corolla on closing night, Saturday, September 12.

Top pacers headline a blockbuster August 23 program, with the Roll With Joe (free-for-all) and Empire Breeders Classic (New York-sired three-year-olds) sharing top billing.  Tioga also hosts the Tompkins-Geers stakes, with divisions for two- and three-year-olds of each gait and sex scheduled for the two Sundays prior.  The Tioga Downs stakes schedule also includes a preliminary division of the Graduate series for four-year-olds, along with preliminary legs of the Kindergarten Classic for two-year-old trotters and the Miss Versatility for trotting mares.  A full complement of New York Sire Stakes events also takes place throughout the 61-day meet.

While opening night carries a special 5:00 p.m. first post, Friday and Saturday evening programs (barring the occasional exception) throughout the season will commence at 6:15 p.m.  Sunday afternoon racing action kicks off at 1:30 p.m.  For a complete schedule, visit

Sunday, April 26, 2015


   By john manzi for NAADA

 Hannah Miller, the 23-year old miss who has been the scourge of the amateur ranks, added yet another  victory to her fledgling resume when she guided Rev It Now to a come from behind 2:01.4 triumph in the seventh leg of the North American Amateur Drivers Series held at Freehold Raceway on Saturday, April 25. And that accomplishment came on the heels of her win in the final event in the USA-French Friendship Competition the night before at the Meadowlands which vaulted the American team to victory over the French squad.

Like she has done in all of her races, the daughter of top trainer Erv Miller, again remained undaunted while competing against her male counterparts.

In Freehold’s third race on the betting card Hannah started slowly with her trotter and got away sixth at the first stanza, some 12 lengths behind  of the early speed duel between Blazing Delores (Jim Marshall IV) and Wygant Prince (Paul Minore). After the :28.3 first quarter Miller waited until the field headed for the halfway point before moving he trotter off the pylons.

Still sixth at the half, but now nine lengths behind Wygant Prince’s lead, Miller began to urge her trotter up the backside and at the three quarters the crowd could anticipate what was going to happen. On the final turn Rev It Now circled the leaders and took command in the homestretch and trotted away to a solid one-length victory over a fast closing 36-1 shot, Bellagio Hanover, driven by Steve Oldford. Wygant Prince held on for the show dough.

 The winner is owned by her driver, her dad Erv Miller, and her boyfriend, Nick Surick who is also the horse’s trainer. Rev It Now paid $5.80 for win.

With her victory Ms. Miller is tops in points in the NAADA trotting series. With just two legs remaining her 59 points is seven better than Alan Schwartz’s 52. Rounding out the top five are;Bob Hechkoff (40),Tony Verruso (35) and Paul Minore (22).

It’s just a shame that the mainstream media doesn’t pick up this story of a young woman defeating her male colleges in a sport completely dominated by men. Her triumph at Freehold was her seventh in 22 starts this season and the talented lady has been first or second twelve times driving along with a .460 average.

Meisel wins the 2015 World Harness Handicapping Championship

The 2015 World Harness Handicapping Championship was conducted on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and the winner, taking home the $14,400 first place prize was William Meisel of Staten Island, N.Y.

Meisel, a court officer by day, is a frequent Meadowlands contest player.  Tonight, he cashed on 8 out of 10 contest wagers and was in second place going into the 13th and final contest race.

William catapulted to the win with a $100 last race win wager on the winner, Rockaholic, sending his bankroll to $1,092 to capture the prize. 

Official standings will be posted Tuesday.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 25, 2015—“The last quarter is her best quarter.”

Such was pre-race assessment and post-race reminder from Jason Bartlett after Venus Delight ($5.80, part of entry) prevailed from the pocket Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway $261,000 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for Open Pacing Mares.

Starting from the inside post position in harness racing’s second-richest race of the season to date (behind the final of the G-M Levy), Venus Delight gave up the early baton to last season’s runner-up, Yagonnakissmeornot (Brian Sears).

That one laid down early intervals of 27-second flats and :56.1 before her stablemate/entrymate Carolsideal (Dan Dube), the other half of the 1-2 favored proposition, moved from fourth.

“Yagonna” and “Carol” moved in tandem toward a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with “Venus” pocketed and Monkey on My Wheel (Dave Miller) working from second-over. Yagonnakissmenot maintained a tenuous lead in and out of the final turn, but Venus Delight was waiting for her close-up.

She ducked in and went by a stubborn leader, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in a season’s-best 1:52.4. Carolsideal held third, with Fancy Desire (Yannick Gingras) and the winner’s parimutuel partner, Krispy Apple (Tim Tetrick), grabbing the final two pay envelopes.

Monkey on My Wheel, String (Eric Carlson) and the retiring Camille (George Brennan) completing the order.   

For second choice (with her stablemate) Venus Delight, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight owned by Bamond Racing LLC and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her third in in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid exacta paid $8.10, with the triple returning $19.80.

“Last week (final series preliminary leg), I wanted to see her on the front because she hadn’t been there in so long,” Bartlett said. “She didn’t seem as comfortable. She’d rather have a target to go after.”

A $75,000 series consolation was won by a first-up For the Ladies N (Sears, $13.40) in 1:53.1.

Upstate Racing Recap -- Saturday, April 25, 2015

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media
Damon Blue Chip upsets in top pace; Anthony Farina series under way
Vernon, NY -- Commencing a rally out of last with five-sixteenths of the mile to go, Damon Blue Chip ($44.00) stunned in Saturday (April 25) evening's $10,000 Open Pace at Vernon Downs, passing every other horse in the race to just prevail.
The six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding came away last of the field of five, allowing odds-on favorite Ashley's Husband (Fern Paquet, Jr.) to establish solid early sectional times of :26.2 and :55.  Before entering the far turn, Ashley's Husband felt strong pressure from the first-over JK Panache (Chris Lems), and John MacDonald moved Damon Blue Chip off the pegs from last as the top pair dueled through a :27.3 third quarter.  Ultimately carried four-wide at the top of the stretch, Damon Blue Chip was urged to gobble up ground through the stretch, prevailing in the final yards over a game Ashley's Husband.  JK Panache flattened at the top of the stretch, narrowly holding third.
MacDonald, also the winning trainer, co-owns Damon Blue Chip with the J P Stables.
The featured event was the cornerstone of a driving grand slam for MacDonald, who also prevailed with another trainee of his, Dragon Fever ($6.40, 1:52).  The Green Knight ($6.90, 1:53.2) and Hot Lemonade ($4.70, 1:54.2) rounded out MacDonald's quartet of driving wins on the evening's 13-race card.
The aforementioned Hot Lemonade was one of two winners in the first round of the Anthony Farina Pacing Series, pouncing from the pocket to defeat Sweet Bobbie (Chris Lems) in their division.  Lilys Real Boy ($7.10) took the other $4,000 split, carried wide when circling to the fore early before kicking clear to a 6-1/4 length 1:53.2 victory with Fern Paquet, Jr. in the bike.

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday evening, with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT.

Fast Movin Train Motors to a Reynolds Upset

Second longest shot in the field scores at 24-1

EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 25, 2015) – The Grand Circuit season got underway with a bit of a surprise.  Dismissed at 24-1, Fast Movin Train scored the upset in the $47,306 W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tar Heel division for three year old pacers.

The early lead was established by Colorful Speech, who reached the quarter in 27.1 before settling into a rhythm and gliding to the half-mile in 56.3.  At that time, Coaster committed first over from mid-pack, carrying Rock N’ Roll World into a live outer flow.  In the meantime, Fast Movin Train, who showed good speed off the gate, was content riding the pocket throughout the mile as Colorful Speech took the field past three-quarters in 1:25.1.  In the stretch, Andy Miller called on Colorful Speech for more speed, but the field was closing in.  Coaster continued to grind away first over and closed the gap, while Rock N’ Roll World was rallying off his cover.  But inside the final eighth of a mile, a seam opened and into the breach came Fast Movin Train, who found the seam and burst through to grab the victory in the shadow of the wire in 1:52.3.

The win was the second in the last three starts for the three year old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven and the first stakes victory of his career, sending his lifetime earnings close to $60,000.  The winner was driven by Dave Miller for Joe Holloway and owner Michael Ouriel.

With 12 horses entered, the second round of the Whata Baron series saw an overloaded field contest one division for $22,500.  In a race that saw six different horses on the lead at one point in the mile, the last horse to reach the lead was round one winner Rediscovery.  Although he was an overwhelming favorite the prior week, Rediscovery escaped from the second tier at 5-1.  He came from well off the pace while racing third over.  There was a scramble for the lead with four different horses having the lead at some point before the half-mile mark of the 1 1/8th miles contest.  It would be Major Uptrend who would settle into the leading position after fractions of 26.1 and 55.1. He would continue to lead around the turn, past three-quarters in 1:23.4, but the field began to close in. Ideal Cowboy was bearing down first over, El Bloombito was rallying off cover and he grabbed the lead inside the last eighth of a mile, but he was quicky collared by Rediscovery who came home fastest of all to complete the 1 1/8th miles in 2:04.2.  Bettorever rallied from far back to be second with El Bloombito third.

The winner was driven by Andrew McCarthy for Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Collura.

Doo Wop Hanover took the $25,000 Four and Five Year Old Open Handicap Pace, giving John Campbell his third win on the card.  Doo Wop sat third early behind the speed of 6/5 favorite Fool Me Once, who was looking to go wire to wire for the second consecutive week. Campbell guided his horse first over into a 55.3 half-mile and by the time the field hit three-quarters in 1:23.1, Doo Wop Hanover was nearly on even terms with the leader.  The former New Jersey Sire Stakes Champion hit the front in mid-stretch and held off a late rally by Dovuto Hanover, while pacing home in a powerful 26.3 to win in 1:49.4.  Dovuto Hanover was second while Fool Me Once saved the show.  Little Brown Jug Winner Limelight Beach sat the pocket throughout and was an even fourth in his 2015 debut.

Doo Wop Hanover is trained by Steve Elliot, who won two races on the card for Peter Blood and Rick Berks.

Gokudo Hanover made it three in a row, winning his division of the Spring Preview for three year old pacers in 1:51.1 by gamely holding off Revenge Shark and Soto.  Gokudo Hanover was allowed to control the tempo again, stealing a 29-second, second quarter in the process.  Soto came first over into a strong third quarter, while Revenge Shark saved ground throughout.  The three lined up across the track and raced to the wire, but Gokudo Hanover would not let anyone by, winning for John Campbell.  The winner is trained by Douglas Hamilton for Sandbur Farms, Valarie Sutton and Joseph Hemingway.

Gweneeee J, the sister to world champion Kenneth J made the third time the charm, scoring her first victory Saturday Night at The Meadowlands.  Sent off as the odds-on favorite for the third consecutive time, the three year old filly took no prisoners, putting herself on the lead and staying there throughout the mile.  Her stablemate, Lady Spartacus, who defeated her last week, was relegated to the pocket throughout and could not get to Gweneeee J, who paced home in 26.4 to score a decisive victory.  John Campbell drove the filly for Linda Toscano and Kenneth Jacobs.
The 2015 World Harness Handicapping Championship was conducted on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and the winner, taking home the $14,400 first place prize was William Meisel of Staten Island, N.Y.  William catapulted to the win with a $100, last race win wager on the winner, Rockaholic, sending his bankroll to $1,092 to capture the prize.
The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 went unclaimed, with the carryover now at $95,311. The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 also had more than one winner and that carryover grew to $68,662.