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Monday, August 31, 2015

NYSS County Fair Finals and RUS Event at Monticello Raceway September 2

By Shawn Wiles

On Wednesday September 2, Monticello Raceway will be hosting a 13 race card featuring the, New York County Fair Finals for all 8 divisions, and the Racing Under Saddle (RUS) New York Fair Series Championship.  Each class of age, sex and gait of the County Fair Finals will race for a purse of $10,000.

The RUS event will be a Non Wagering event between the 6th & 7th race.  The race is sponsored by RUS NY, its charter is to promote the sport and versatility of Standardbreds.  The series began this summer in Sandy Creek at the Oswego County Fair on July 1.  The season consisted of 9 legs and the final.

In order to participate in any RUS NY event, riders will need to participate in a minimum of 2 qualifying miles under saddle behind the starting gate, with at least 1 other horse behind the gate.
The field of 5 starters will be riding for a purse of $2,500.  Monticello warrior Strongbow, will start from the rail for rider Codie Smith. Winners Star K sports a 3 race win streak in RUS events for regular rider Michelle Miller.  The 14 year old American Winner gelding is owned by Lewis Miller of New Berlin NY.

Event organizer Michelle Miller commented “We are extremely pleased to see the growth that we have achieved in the last 2 years, we are hopeful to see continued growth and exposure next year as well. Post Time for the day's card is 12:50.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RUS NY Fair Series Final Just Days Away

This year’s Racing Under Saddle New York Fair Series championship will be held on September 2 at Monticello Raceway along with the New York Sire Stake’s County Fair Finals.

This marks the second year of the series, which included nine races at seven fairs across the state. Horses and riders have been competing the last two months with the hopes of making it into the final race and capturing the championship title.

Horses earned points during the series to determine final entries. Soon, the anticipation of what horses and riders will be competing in the final will be over. The draw will take place this Friday.

All participants will earn $650 for earning their way into the championship race. Monticello Raceway is contributing $2,500 toward the final and the rest of the funds is coming from the series’ flagship sponsor the New York Sire Stakes. The NYSS generously donated $5,000 as initial purse money.

The winner will also receive a championship cooler donated by Peterson’s Harness Shop in Vernon, N.Y. and a lead line donated by Divine Equine Custom Equipment.

A High Point Rider Award will once again be presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series.  To be eligible for the award riders must participate in at least three races.

Horses are required to compete and finish in at least two races throughout the series to be allowed entry into the championship race. Nine horses participated in the series with seven qualifying for the final. Points earned are accrued by horse, regardless of rider in each race. Up to five qualifiers will be eligible for the final race. In the event of a scratch, the horse with the next highest points will be entered into the final. In the event of a tie, charted race lines will be reviewed and the RUS NY Management Committee will select the horse to be entered based on past performance history.

Horses eligible include:

Winner’s Star K leads the group going into the final with 183 points. The 14-year-old black gelding trained by Michael Miller and owned by Lewis Miller has been on a winning streak as of late.  Michelle Miller has ridden the horse to victory at the last three fair races. Winner’s Star K (American Winner- Gina’s Star - BJ’S Super Star) ran his first racing under saddle race at Afton Fair where he placed fourth. From there, he continued to show improvement. He placed second in the first division of the Otsego County Fair in Morris, crossed the finish line in 2:19.0 in Palmyra and Bath and wrapped up the season with a win in 2:13.4 in Trumansburg.

Glorious Winner is sitting in second on the point list with 150 points. The 7-year-old bay gelding has been ridden to victory by trainer Jocelyn Gale twice this season. He set a mark of 2:18.2 in Morris and showed more speed with his 2:16 victory in Hemlock.  Glorious Winner (Credit Winner - Fox Valley Flan - Vaporize) has also earned two second place finishes (Afton and Trumansburg) with Gale aboard.

Strongbow has raced at every fair of the series but Afton. The 13-year-old chestnut gelding is just one point behind his competitor Glorious Winner (with 149). Strongbow (Striking Sahbra- Crooked Lady - Cumin) was generously leased to be used for RUS this year and has been ridden by a new licensed rider Codie Smith and a more seasoned rider Michelle Miller. Strongbow is trained by Michael Miller and has two third place finishes, three second place finishes and was able to get himself into the winner’s circle at the last fair race in Trumansburg.

Iron Will has only participated in two races. However, the 9-year-old bay gelding has remained unbeatable in the series.  Iron Will (Credit Winner - Armbro Archer - SJ’s Photo) is owned by the J Sansone Sables in Vernon, N.Y. Heather Reese rode him to victory with a time of 2:11.0 in Afton and a mark of 2:13.3 in Owego.

Mozart was ridden by Andrea Pratt and Codie Smith during the fair series. The 12-year-old bay gelding accumulated 55 points in four races (one which he was pulled up and did not finish). Trained and owned by Lewis Miller, Mozart (Yankee Paco- Brisco Maud - Brisco Hanover) placed third in Owego, fifth in Afton and second in Hemlock.

My Friend Charlie was acquired by rider and trainer Andrea Pratt late in the season. The 4-year-old brown gelding got his first start mid way through the series at Morris where he placed second. My Friend Charlie (RC Royalty - Sand Moxie - Muscles Yankee) has 49 points and also earned two third place finishes with Pratt aboard in Bath and Trumansburg.

Striking Mystery, aka “Frosty” because of his white color, has raced at three fairs earning 45 points toward the final.  The 14-year old gelding also got a late start in the series.  He placed third at Morris where he made his first start. Striking Mystery (Striking Sahbra - Love A Mystery - Dream of Glory) placed fourth in Bath and second in Trumansburg.  He is owned, trained and ridden by Jennifer Lowrey.

The Fair Series was made possible thanks to the following sponsors:

 • Flagship Sponsor: New York Sire Stakes
 • Monticello Raceway • Divine Equine Custom Equipment
 • Peterson’s Harness Shop (315-829-3924)
 • The Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association, Nichols NY
 • Afton Driving Park, Afton, NY
 • Early Owego Antique Center
 • T&K Harrington LLC
 • Tammy King (Owner of harness and RUS horses)
 • Ashely Eldred(rider)
 • G A Brazee Trucking, New. Berlin, N.Y. (607-343-6608)
 • Prolifiq Sign Studio Edmeston, NY (607-965-4024)
 • Lavigne’s Construction (315-250-0650)

 What is Racing Under Saddle: Also known as Monte Racing, RUS, is a hybrid between harness racing and thoroughbred racing. The sport consists of a rider atop a Standardbred (generally a trotter) in a saddle instead of pulling a sulky. RUS is an exciting part of international standardbred racing and is conducted daily at most european tracks as part of their regular pari-mutuel wagering programs.

The sport has seen a surge in popularity in the U.S. the past few years. The Fair Series is organized by RUS NY, an organization that helps coordinate and promote under saddle races across the state. The main goal is to promote the unique sport, educate about the versatility of the Standardbred breed as both a racing and a riding horse and to help Standardbreds find great homes after they finish their days on the track.

 To keep up on RUS NY happenings follow the group on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.


Allerage Echo sets track mark at Monticello Raceway

By Shawn F. Wiles

The conditions were perfect on a beautiful summer afternoon, the temperature was 85, the infield flag limp, the track fast, all perfect conditions for a Track Record.

The action started right away in the first race, going for a purse of $53,500. Allerage Echo put his name in the record books by virtue of his 1:58:1 mark.  It was his 4th win in a row, for the Conway Hall – Echonomical colt, who was bred by Little E LLC. The easy going son of Conway Hall upping his careers earnings to $121,000, for winning driver Chris Lems.

Credevie showed the way as the gate left for Trond Smedshammer. He was followed in hot pursuit by Smalltownthrowdown, Dan Daley tucked Smalltownthrowdown into the 2 hole after briefly being parked down the backside before the ¼ marker. The 2/5 favorite Allerage Echo made his move once Daley settled in and had the lead in a blink of an eye, parked at the ¼ in 29, he then cleared and was never heeded the rest of the mile, taking the field through fractions of 59:1, 1:29:3, Credevie made a break in the paddock turn and the contest turned into a 2 horse race. Smalltownthrowdown came first over but was not able to close the gap. Allerage Echo prevailed to win in 1:58:1 by 4 lengths, for trainer George Ducharme, who has enjoyed much success at Monticello Raceway this season in NY Sire Stake events.  Owner Ken Jacobs was ecstatic in the winners circle. “We purchased the colt off a qualifier at Vernon Downs and put him the George Ducharme barn and have had great success, exclaimed Ken Jacobs “He’s a beast” said winning driver Chris Lems following the win the in the winners circle, with an ear to ear smile.

Race 8, 2nd heat of Sire Stake action had 6 starters. Cupid, driven by Trond Smedshammer for the Purple Haze Stable, tripped the timers in 28:3, 58:3 and 1:28:4, at this point the recent new track record that was barely dry on paper was in jeopardy of being broken, at the top of the lane Cupid was getting leg weary, Dan Daley and Crown Point who had been stalking the leader the entire mile, over took Cupid in a stirring stretch drive.  The son of Crazed – Tierra broke his maiden, scoring in 1:59.0, for trainer driver Dan Daley and owners Daley, Crawford and Lombardo. Cupid hung on for second and Dog Gone Lucky was 3rd for trainer Chuck Sylvester and driver John Campbell.

Excelsior A - $15,000

Race 4, first division of the A’s went for a purse of $15,000.  Gremlin Wilson sat the garden spot the entire mile behind pace setter HZ Royalty and driver Jeff Gregory.  As the pair turned for home Gremlin Wilson, was not to be denied, using the passing lane to edge HZ Royalty in 2:00:3 for winnings owner and driver John Cummings Jr. The son of Sand Vic is trained by Megan Wilson.

The last heat of the A class saw Omaha Set Up (PP4), make a bold first over move at the 5/8 marker to score a measured win over Radical Way in 2:00:4 for the Gideon Stables.  The Credit Winner colt is trained by Tyler Freese and driven by Corey Braden.  The 1/5 favorite Sweet Royalty made a break before the ¼ and was never a factor.

Excelsior B - $6,700

Reasonforpleasin scored his 2nd win in this company for former Monticello Raceway driver Jay Randall and owners Michael Polansky in 2:01:4.  The Conway Hall colt now has 2 wins in the Excelsior series under his belt.

In Race 3, John Campbell was aboard Dollar Billiards, he left the gate to take the lead, in the middle of the first turn his steed made a break.  Ray Schnittker aboard One Chief inherited the lead.  The Lucky Chucky – Chippewa Street colt extended his lead at every stanza to win by 7 lengths in 2:02:2 for owners Schnittker, Demeter and H. Burns.


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 25, 2015—Hambletonian winner Pinkman and New York Sire Stakes frosh champ Crazy Wow lead a list of 11 3-year-olds entered for the $580,000 Yonkers Trot.

The 61st edition of Yonkers Raceway premier trotting event offers a pair of $40,000 elimination races this Saturday night (Aug. 29), with the first four finishers in each returning for the half-million-dollar final Saturday night, Sept. 5.

First elimination (4th race) – 1-Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), 2-Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick), 3-Pinkman (Yannick Gingras), 4-Workout Wonder (Dan Dube), 5-Wings of Royalty (Brian Sears).

Second elimination (5th race) – 1-Southwind Mozart (Ake Svandstedt), 2-Centurion ATM (Svanstedt also listed), 3-Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett), 4-Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter), 5-Habitat (Gingras), 6-French Laundry (Jimmy Takter).  Note the two Svanstedt horses in this elim are uncoupled due to bona fide separate ownership.

Pinkman, Buen Camino and Massive Lightning are the geldings in the group.

The 60th Messenger Stakes, with eight declarations, becomes a one-dash-for-the-($500,000) cash event, also set for Saturday night, Sept. 5. The entrants, alphabetically, are…Dealt a Winner, Dude’s the Man, In the Arsenal, National Seelster, Revenge Shark, Rock N’ Roll World, Roland in Rock and Rollin’ Ring Afire.   

Both stakes serves as the second jewel’s in their respective gaits Triple Crowns.

This Saturday night also includes two stakes finals for the 3-year-old ladies, the $149,240 Hudson (6th race) and $116,430 Lady Maud (7th race) for trotters and pacers, respectively.

Post time for Saturday’s 13-race card is the usual 7:10 PM.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 24, 2015—Yonkers  Raceway Monday night hosted the $151,624 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies.

            Four divisions, worth $37,556, $37,556, $38,256 and $38,256, comprised the event.

Odds-on choice Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.30)—from post position No. 4--slipped out late, went wide and won the opening grouping in 1:59.1. Credit to Thelimit (Sam Schillaci), who actually beat the winner to the outside, settled for second, a half-length behind. Royal Surprise (Dan Daley) was third    

For “Goosebump,” a daughter of RC Royalty co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Joe DiScala Jr., Crawford Farms and J&T Silva Stables, it was her third win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21.20, with the triple returning $78.

The evening’s second Quaglietta event was strictly a two-lass affair, with pole-sitting Dizzy Broad (Morrill Jr., $6.90) picking off 3-5 favorite Posterity (Charlie Norris) from the pocket in a life-best/night’s-fastest 1:58.1. The margin was a length-and-a-half, with Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer) a best-of-the-rest third.

For Dizzy Broad, a daughter of Broad Bahn co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith Jr., she’s now 3-for-5 in her first season. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $34.80.

Monday’s third sire stakes event was another two-speed number, with short-price miss Non Stick
(Dan Dube, $2.80) handily besting Pampered Winner (Jimmy Takter). From post No. 2, the people’s preference two-moved and won by 2½ lengths in 1:59.4. Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) was a rallying third.    

For Non Stick, a daughter of Lucky Chucky co-owned (as Svanstedt Racing) by (trainer) Ake Svanstedt and Little E LLC, she’s a perfect 4-for-4 to begin her career. The exacta paid $11, with the triple returning $23.40.
The evening’s final statebred division was a maiden-breaker for Franniegetyourgun (Takter, $15.60). She sat pocketed from post No. 2, then eased past Lima Playtime (Scott Zeron) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:59.2. Lucky Kristen (Brian Sears) was third..

For “Frannie,” a Lucky Chucky miss trained by her driver for her driver’s wife, Christina, Herbert Holland, Serafino Barone and Steve Bitlisli, is was that first win in four frosh tries. The exacta paid $110.50, with the triple returning $505.

The Raceway’s live season continues Tuesday with a “French-centric” matinee (first post 1 PM).


by Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ

MANALAPAN, NJ -- August 24, 2015 – Live racing returns to New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway on Friday, September 4, 2015.

The 44-day meet continues through December 12, 2015.  Racing will take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays [plus a holiday program on Labor Day, Monday, September 7].  Post time is 12:30 p.m.

Pre-meet qualifiers will take place on Friday, August 28 with the box closing at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 27.

The initial draw schedule is Tuesday, September 1 for Friday, September 4; Wednesday, September 2 for Saturday, September 5 and Thursday, September 3 for Monday, September 7 [Labor Day].  Declarations are due at 9 a.m. for each draw.

The standard draw schedule for the balance of the meet is Saturday for Thursday, Tuesday for Friday and Wednesday for Saturday.

Opening Day features the first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes – Green Acres for two-year-old pacing fillies and eliminations for the Helen Smith for three-year-old trotting fillies. 

The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey is the sponsor of the Helen Smith [September 11], Charles Smith for three-year-old trotting colts [September 17], Harold Dancer for two-year-old trotting colts [September 17], Marion Dancer for two-year-old trotting fillies [October 9] and a quartet of New Jersey Futurity stakes [September 26, October 16, October 23 and October 24].  All are restricted to New Jersey-sired horses.

The Lou Babic Finals for two-year-old pacers on September 26 are part of the New Jersey Sire Stakes program along with the Green Acres events, which will featured three preliminary legs and a final for each genders two and three-year-olds on the trot and pace.  All the $25,000 finals are in October.

Overnight purses will average $40,000 per day, according to Freehold General Manager Howard Bruno.

Special events include a free t-shirt with a paid Freehold live program, while supplies last, on Opening Day.  On Labor Day, there is a free cap with paid Freehold live program, while supplies last; 50-cent hot dogs and 50-cent sodas and drawings for season parking passes.

The Fourth Annual Open Space Pace, featuring a parade of horses, petting zoo, exhibitions, food trucks and live music, will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2015.

2 Year Old Trotting Colts visit Monticello Raceway

By Shawn F. Wiles

The final leg of the 8 New York Sire Stake divisions will make it farewell stop at Monticello Raceway Tuesday August 25, 2015.

Once the entry box was opened, it was determined that there would be 2 divisions of NYSS, each split going for $53,500, the recent kingpin of the division, Dayson was not entered, which didn’t the break the hearts of the connections of the 13 that entered that group. There will also be2 - Divisions of Excelsior “A” $15,000, and 2 Divisions of Excelsior “B” series going for a purse of $6,600.

Race 1, 1st leg of NYSS action highlights Allerage Echo (Conway Hall – Echonomical)   The Ken Jacobs owned 2 year has a 3 race win streak in this company, Chris Lems will be in the bike for trainer George Ducharme and will start from PP 2. Ray Schnittker brings his ever improving Chargin Cadet (PP3) to the contest.  He has twice been a bridesmaid to Allerage Echo, Ray co owns the son of Conway Hall with Ted Gewertz and Joe Faraldo.

In the 5th race, Reve Royale, has been the model of consistency lately with a tally of 3 - 1 - 1 in 5 starts, he is the fastest and richest colt of the day, with earnings of $65,444 and a lifetime mark of 1:56:3 taken at the Meadowlands. The RC Royalty – Dream Street colt is trained by George Ducharme for owners, Campbell, Fontaine & Ross.  Reve Royale will be driven by regular driver Chris Lems. Trainer George Ducharme who has enjoyed a successful Sire Stakes season at Monticello Raceway having been in the winners circle numerous times.

Dan Daley brings his daily double of Crown Point (PP2) Royal Bachelor (PP6) to the fray.  Daley with drive Crown Point, Jason Bartlett will steer Royal Bachelor.

The Excelsior A’s are carded as races 4 & 10. In the first division Uncle Dan and Gremlin Wilson has both shown that they can trot the half mile oval.  Each have been previously victorious in this class.  On paper Race 10, looks like a good one, with plenty of talent

Races 2 & 3 are the Excelsior B series, 13 colts entered this class, racing for a purse of $6,000. Nohealthnowealth starts from the rail with Jim Marohn Jr. for trainer Rob Harmon in the 3rd race.

On September 2, Monticello Raceway will be hosting the NY County Fair Finals and the final RUS (Racing Under Saddle) Series.  During the card, a BBQ will be held in the paddock, hosted by Monticello Raceway, NY State Harness Breeders and the Monticello Harness Horseman Association.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 23, 2015—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday night’s (Aug. 24) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,863.81 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool (program pages available at  

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Vernon Racing Recap - Friday, August 21, 2015

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

D'One closes furiously, upends 'Bee' in Muscle Hill

Vernon, N.Y. -- Finding a seam off the far turn, D'One ($5.90) stormed home to collar 3-5 favourite Bee a Magician in the $177,000 Muscle Hill distaff trot on Friday (August 21) evening at Vernon Downs.

The 5-year-old daughter of a pair of 1:50.1 trotters, Donato Hanover and Giant Diablo, floated into a close stalking spot, just off pacesetters Bee a Magician (Brian Sears) and Shake It Cerry (Jimmy Takter) through initial fractions of :26.3 and :56.3.  As Handover Belle (Matt Kakaley) began the outer flow just one spot farther back, Örjan Kihlström elected to save ground with D'One, locked in through the far turn but able to wedge off the pegs as Handover Belle faded off the corner.  After Bee a Magician accelerated to a clearer lead through three-quarters in 1:25, D'One found ample room to commence her rally.  She made up 4-1/2 lengths and put another length on Bee a Magician in the end, capping her 1:52.2 triumph with a blistering :26.3 closing sectional.  Allie Labrook (Andy Miller) stayed on for third after tracking closely throughout.

Roger Walmann trains D'One for Stall Kenny 23 of Sweden.

Venus Delight parlays pocket trip to Artiscape success

After working clear of her entrymate through a pressured early pace and subsequently yielding to the pocket, Venus Delight ($5.70, part of entry) made the most of her pocket trip, sprinting clear in mid-stretch and holding off a late threat from Radar Contact for a 1:49.4 triumph in the $194,000 Artiscape distaff pace.

Jason Bartlett sent the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight to the front, sprinting clear of entrymate Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick), Table Talk (Andy Miller) ,and Skippin By (Jim Morrill, Jr.) through a :26 initial quarter.  Just upon making the lead, Venus Delight yielded to Anndrovette, and the triple millionaire led the charge through a :54.3 half before Skippin By nudged her along through a 1:22.3 three-quarter sectional.  Boxed through the far turn, Venus Delight found clearance at the pegs, driven to the lead at the eighth pole.  Meanwhile, the third-over Radar Contact (Scott Zeron) swung four-wide through the stretch, closing stoutly but ultimately missing by a length.  Anndrovette held third, while Precocious Beauty (Brian Sears) stayed on for fourth from her second-over trip.

Jeffrey Bamond, Jr. trains Venus Delight for Bamond Racing, LLC.

Obrigado game in Crawford Farms; Flanagan Memory last

While Obrigado ($11.40) had his hooves full in the final three-eighths of the $200,000 Crawford Farms open trot, he succeeded in holding Lindy's Tru Grit at bay for a 1:52 score at the Miracle Mile.

Obrigado used nearly the entire first turn to clear the lead, pushing past Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett) well after a :27.1 initial quarter.  The 5-year-old Boy Band gelding managed to catch a breather on the backstretch--but not only by way of a :29 second sectional.  First-over challenger and 8-5 favourite Flanagan Memory (Brian Sears) broke stride just upon commencing his bid, changing the complexion of the race entirely.  Still, Obrigado faced pressure on the far turn, as Lindy's Tru Grit (Andy Miller) took up the chase in the final three-eighths.  The pair would duel off the far turn, and despite being headed off the corner, Obrigado fought back gamely to reclaim command in the final sixteenth.  The Paul Kelley trainee prevailed by a scant neck over the game Lindy's Tru Grit, while Melady's Monet hooked three-wide in the final 70 yards to finish a hard closing third.

Mark MacDonald drove Obrigado for the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, Linwood Higgins, William Weaver, III, and Stable 45.

The evening's undercard featured three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies, with Vino and Formaggio ($2.40, David Miller), Soft Idea ($3.00, Jim Morrill, Jr.), and Dime a Dance ($12.80, Matt Kakaley) taking their respective events.

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 22) evening, with post time slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.

Tioga Racing Recap - Friday, August 21, 2015

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Arodasi kicks cover to prevail in Tioga distaff

Nichols, N.Y. -- Enjoying a second-over trip through a :28 third quarter, Arodasi ($4.30) prevailed as the even-money favourite, kicking cover and sprinting clear to a 1:51.1 victory in Friday (August 21) evening's $14,000 Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs.

Mike Simons kept the 6-year-old Western Terror mare off a contested early pace, settling into fourth as Shutthefrontdoor (Dan Clements), Donttellruss (Aaron Byron), and Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) all vied for contention through a :27 initial quarter. After Southwind Trini, who won that three-way battle, rated a :55.2 half, she faced strong first-over pressure from Donttellruss on the backstretch.  Arodasi slid second-over on approach to the far turn, closing in steadily and swinging three-wide as Donttellruss reached the apex of her bid.  While Southwind Trini had enough to repel Donttellruss's challenge, Arodasi was able to vault clear in the final sixteenth, drawing off to defeat the longtime pacesetter by 1-1/4 lengths.  Justhaventmetuyet (Corey Braden) rallied belatedly down the grandstand side to take third.

Trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. owns Arodasi in partnership with Peter Shank, Joseph Barbera, and the AGC Stables, Inc.

John Cummings, Jr. and Jim Marohn, Jr. both recorded driving doubles on the nine-race card.

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 22) evening, with the first of 10 races scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 21, 2015—Favored Set Me Up (George Brennan, $5.10) delivered on her public pact Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s featured $48,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

With the assemblage pared down to six (two ladies came up ill), Set Me Up’s original seven-hole became a cozier five-hole. She then worked around Her Own Land (Eric Carlson), laying down early intervals of :27.1 and :56.4.

Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter), the other beneficiary of those inside defections, left and was wrangled back fourth. She them moved to engage the leader toward the 1:24.4 three-quarters, but the soft (:57.3) middle half would give the leader too much of an advantage.

Set Me Up owned a length lead into the lane, then widened to 2½ lengths in 1:52.4. Jonsie Jones held second, with Her Own Land,. Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) and Handsoffmycupcake (Jeff Gregory) came away with the remainder. Victoria May N (Steve Smith) was outrun.

For set Me Up, a 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi,  it was her sixth win in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $12, with the triple returning $62.

The Raceway’s live season continues Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM), with a pair of $20,000 eliminations for the $189,240 Hudson Filly Trot (3-year-olds) 

Hambletonian Day Wagering Breaks Heat-Format Records

While still awaiting the figures from some foreign sites, at present, the Hambletonian Day handle stands at $7,788,195.  That number has already eclipsed the previous record for a Hambletonian Day where the Hambletonian was raced in heats of $7,660,205 which was established in 2013.  In that year, there were three Hambletonian eliminations, compared to two this year.

The major contributor missing from the total handle is the Cheval Francais Le Trot online handle, which last year was in excess of $387,000.  Therefore, Hambletonian Day 2015 could be the first raced in heat-format to surpass the $8 Million handle plateau.

Overseas, the Hambletonian Day program was especially popular in Sweden, where wagering was up nearly 40-percent.  However, because the value of the Swedish Krona has fallen substantially over the past year, despite the large increase, the handle actually translates to less handle in terms of U.S. Dollars.  But the signal was extremely well received.

The on-track handle showed slight gains with live handle being $1,320,325 compared to $1,280,854 last year.  This marked the first time since 2005 that the on-track handle showed a year-over-year increase.

While history shows that handle is higher on Hambletonian Days where there are not multiple heats, the storyline of Pinkman vs. Mission Brief proved compelling this year and gave an added jolt to what was a spectacular day of racing.  With races like the Cane Pace, U.S. Pacing Championship and John Cashman Memorial as supporting features and a European spark from D’One in The Fresh Yankee, this year’s Hambletonian Day program certainly had a flare for the dramatic and it continues to show why Hambletonian Day is the greatest day in the sport of harness racing.

“I was extremely pleased with the racing product we put forth on Hambletonian Day,” said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural.  “That is what The Meadowlands is all about.  While we all know that handle performs better when there is just a Hambletonian Final, like last year, I thought the Mission Brief/Pinkman story-line created a real buzz around the track, especially considering Yannick Gingras had to make a choice between the two. That kind of excitement can get people interested in our sport. Also, to see the foreign handle figures are likely to push the handle past $8 Million, making this the highest-handling heat format Hambletonian Day ever, is extremely gratifying.  The team at The Meadowlands did a great job of getting the program page for the Hambletonian Final distributed quickly and effectively to both our on-track customers and those betting off-site. We are proud to host the greatest day in harness racing and look for more great things on Hambletonian Day 2016.”

Friday, August 14, 2015


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

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 13, 2015—Yonkers Raceway Thursday night hosted the $168,374 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies.

The event, honoring the memory of a legendary sports publicist, went in two, $84,187 events.

The opening division was won by Barn Girl (Jeff Gregory, $5.60) in a snappy 1:56.4. Unhurried from post position No. 2, she saw pole-sitting Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald) contend with a second move from 9-10 choice Lady Winona (Andy Miller).

Nunkeri owned a short lead into the lane, but Barn Girl—who had chased Lady Winona before falling into a vacant pocket—ducked inside and went by. She beat “Winona” by a 1¾ lengths, with Nunkeri an easily-better-than-the-rest third.

”She was very good in Excelsiors (lower-level statebred races), so they wanted to try her in sire stakes,” Gregory said of Barn Girl. “She’s turned into one of the better one in this group.”

For second choice Barn Girl, a daughter of Cash Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Out in the Country Stable, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with triple returning $28.

Thursday night’s second sire stakes event saw Jewels in Hock (Jim Morrill Jr., $4.60) hold off a troubled-trip, 1-2 favorite in last season’s freshman champ Barn Doll (Gregory). The final margin was a length in 1:57.3. First leader Waiting Room (Miller) held third.

In play from post No. 4, Jewels in Hock retook from Waiting Room as Barn Doll, in search of a ninth consecutive victory, was caught wide early. She eventually found a five-hole before moving again first-up.

For second choice “Jewels,” a Credit Winner miss trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs’ KJ Stables, she’s now 7-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $9.50, with the triple returning $45.20.

“She’s given us a lot of headaches with her equipment,” Toscano said. “John (Campbell, who drove her exclusively earlier in the season) wanted her rigged one way, while Jimmy (Morrill Jr.) wanted her another way. We eventually (and lovingly, we’d guess) told Jimmy to shut up and we’re leaving her the way she was with John, and it’s seemed to work out.”

The Raceway’s live season continues Friday and Saturday (first post both nights 7:10 PM).


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Freshman fillies headline Vernon NYSS

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Vernon, N.Y. -- Twenty-nine talented 2-year-old trotting fillies take to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 14) evening for a quartet of New York Sire Stakes events, with a total of $109,500 at stake.

The $27,250 sixth race features a pair of multiple winners in Lima Playtime (Mark MacDonald, post 2) and Lindylicious (Chris Lems, post 4), and both daughters of Credit Winner will square off with five other rivals.  Lima Playtime, the Rick Zeron-trained 2-1 morning line favourite, drew clear to prevail in Sire Stakes preliminaries at both Yonkers and Batavia, most recently drawing clear to a 1:59.4 win at Yonkers in dominant fashion.  George Ducharme trainee Lindylicious took both her career wins on the Excelsior circuit, since rising to Sire Stakes competition with a pair of runner-up efforts.

Three-time winner Posterity (Charlie Norris, post 7) headlines the $27,250 seventh race, drawing off to defeat her foes at Yonkers and Batavia much in the same manner as Lima Playtime.  The daughter of Lucky Chucky is the 9-2 morning line third choice in the third division, having to contend with Ron Burke trainee Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr., post 5).  The Broad Bahn filly won her first two career races in Sire Stakes events, and she seeks to acquit herself of a late break at Yonkers last week.

In the $27,750 ninth race, the Åke Svanstedt-trained and driven Non Stick (post 3) seeks to defend her undefeated record, earning pacesetting victories in her debut at Pocono and in a Sire Stakes race at Yonkers last week.  The Lucky Chucky filly faces seven rivals, including fellow two-time winner Go Mary Go (Ray Schnittker, post 6), and 5-2 morning line favourite Dazzling Dollars (Trond Smedshammer, post 5).  Dazzling Dollars, by Cash Hall, controlled the terms in her Sire Stakes event at Yonkers last week, edging clear for a 2:00.1 maiden-breaking triumph.

The 13-race Friday card begins at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time, and also marks the beginning of the annual Corntastic festivities, which continue through the weekend.

Wiggle It Jiggleit Favored in Northfield’s Carl Milstein Memorial

Wiggle It Jiggleit has been named the overwhelming 3-5 morning-line favorite in Friday’s $405,000 Carl Milstein Memorial.  Friday’s featured event, the Milstein is a Grand Circuit race for three year-old colt pacers. 

Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 15 of 17 lifetime starts and has already captured the $500,000 Hempt Stakes at Pocono Downs and the $706,000 Meadowlands Pace this year.  The Carl Milstein Memorial’s $405,000 purse is the largest ever offered in Northfield’s 58-year history.

The 2015 $405,000 Milstein Memorial field:

POST  HORSE                      DRIVER                    TRAINER                             M/L
1          Go Daddy Go             Peter Wrenn                Robert McIntosh                     15-1
2          Lyons Levi Lewis       Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.       Ron Burke                               10-1
3          Lost For Words           David Miller                Brian Brown                           4-1
4          Wiggle It Jiggleit        Montrell Teague          Clyde Francis                          3-5
5          Allbeef N Nobull        Chris Page                   Ron Burke                               12-1
6          Rock N’ Roll World   Aaron Merriman          Mark Silva                               20-1
7          The Wayfaring Man    Aaron Merriman          Nicky Comegna                      25-1
8          Wakizashi Hanover     Tim Tetrick                  Joann Looney-King                9-2

The race is named in honor of Carl Milstein, who owned and operated Northfield Park from 1984 until his death in 1999. His son, Brock Milstein, immediately took over as Chairman of Northfield Park and is now also the Chairman of Milstein Entertainment, LLC, majority owner of the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park.

In 1972, the senior Milstein, a Cleveland builder and real estate developer, headed a group of several partners, including George Steinbrenner, which purchased Northfield Park. They leased the facility to other operators through the early 1980s. The track lost significant amounts of money during that period before Milstein took full ownership and control. In late 1984 he successfully applied to the Ohio State Racing Commission for the necessary licenses and, beginning in January 1985, conducted permanent race meetings at Northfield of between 212 and 238 days every year.

Milstein was the driving force behind a resurgence of the beleaguered track, which ascended to among harness racing’s top tracks in attendance and handle. He was an innovator in promotions and advertising and successfully led the track into the era of simulcast racing.

Exciting Undercard

This year’s Milstein Memorial program carries total purses of $663,500.  The 15-race program includes four $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes races for sophomore filly pacers and trotters and three $20,000 Open events.

Another added attraction on the track will be the "Legends Driver Challenge," featuring Northfield leading drivers of days gone by.  Last year’s winner, Dan Ross, will try to defend his title against Gerry Bookmyer, William Irvine, Keith Kash and Don McKirgan, as well as newcomers Jeff Fout, Del S. Miller and William Popio.  The eight veteran reinsmen have all won driving titles at Northfield during a span that covered the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The Milstein crowd will enjoy food trucks on the outdoor apron from 6 to 10 p.m. and Northfield Park dice games and the Majic 105.7 prize wheel with Chip Kullik from 7 to 9 p.m. Classic rock band Unknown Reason will be performing on the trackside apron from 6 to 10 p.m. ESPN Cleveland WKNR’s Bruce Hooley will be broadcasting live from 5 to 7 p.m.

Lady Luck’s Clubhouse Restaurant will be offering a $19.95 signature buffet, inspired by Hard Rock Rocksino Executive Chef Chris Poplin. Due to the expected large crowd reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 330-467-4101.

First race post time for the Carl Milstein Memorial card is 6:00 p.m. Parking and admission are always FREE at Northfield Park.


By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

The barn area at Cal Expo is set to open for the trotters and pacers on Monday, August 17. The back track will open the following day, with the main track set to be open on Tuesday, September 8.

Under the Watch and Wager LLC banner, harness racing will be conducted at Cal Expo beginning Saturday October 24, with the meet running through Sunday, May 8, 2016. There is a generous new horse incentive plan in place and plenty of stall space, free of rent. For details to go

For more information, please go to or phone (916) 800-1395 

Regulation of Breeding Industry Expected to be on Federal Legislative Agenda

LEXINGTON, KY -   The President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) today predicted that the currently unregulated horse breeding industry will ultimately be folded into any federal racing legislation that advances in Washington.

“I fully anticipate that as current proposals advance in the legislative process, Members of Congress will heed comments made by a key supporter of federal intervention about the practices of Thoroughbred breeders that may be contributing to an inappropriate reliance on drugs,” Ed Martin said.   Prior to becoming involved with racing regulatory matters, Martin served as a senior aide on Capitol Hill for almost a decade.

The President of the Humane Society of the United States and a member of The Jockey Club’s coalition, Wayne Pacelle, wrote in a July 20, 2015 column published on the animal welfare website the following: 

“Doping horses for racing is more dangerous today than ever because breeding practices — which select for speed and champagne-glass legs — make the horses less sturdy and more vulnerable to breakdowns than they were even 10 or 20 years ago.”

The Thoroughbred breeding industry and related sales companies are not currently regulated by the states, creating a void that Martin predicted Congress would fill given the universal concern about Thoroughbred racing breakdowns.

Martin noted that state racing commission medication reforms already implemented are starting to reduce catastrophic injuries in some jurisdictions as reported by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at The Jockey Club’s Roundtable conference this past weekend.

He predicted that unregulated sales company medication policies that permit the stacking of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to be used on horses going through the auction ring could be considered permissive.   “I predict that Members of Congress will want to know why drugs need to be given to horses that have never raced and have not been injured,” he said.

The ARCI President said that if a state were to expand the jurisdiction of an ARCI member commission to regulate the breeding industry and sales companies, the association would begin working on Model Rules to assist that agency in meeting the legislative mandate.   To date, that has not happened. 

Monday, August 10, 2015


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. _ Pinkman won the 90th Hambletonian on Saturday, giving trainer Jimmy Takter a fourth training victory in world-famous trotting classic.

Takter continued his domination of Hambletonian Day at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. He swept both the $1 million Hambletonian and the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for a second straight year.

In 2014, it was Trixton in the Hambletonian and Lifetime Pursuit in the Oaks.
This time it was Pinkman in the Hambo, and Wild Honey in the Oaks.

Brian Sears fell into the winning drive  with Pinkman when Yannick Gingras opted to handle the filly Mission Brief in the final.

Gingras steered both Pinkman and Mission Brief to victories in the eliminations earlier that afternoon.

Faced with a fateful decision, Gingras opted for Mission Brief.

That set up Sears for his third Hambletonian win.

“Opportunity knocked,” Sears said. “It was great they gave me the call. What a pleasure the horse was to drive. You’re always a little nervous the first time you drive a horse in race like that, but he was pretty much push button.”
Takter failed to convince Gingras that Pinkman was his best choice.

“I tried to tell him you’re making a great mistake,” Takter said. “And I was right. Pinkman is just such a fighter. He’s not impressive,  but he gets it done every time.”

Both Pinkman and Mission Brief were divisional winners last season. Fittingly, the Hambletonian came down to those two around the final turn.

Sears and Pinkman got the early jump, moving to the lead down the backstretch. That left Mission Brief with a prolonged first-over bid.

The filly was game but Pinkman prevailed by three quarters of a length.
“I knew I didn’t have enough at the top of the stretch,” Gingras said. “You have to give it to Pinkman. He’s a great horse and he’s a winner.”

Pinkman posted his 14th victory in 17 starts to cap another fantastic Hambletonian afternoon for Takter.

And it left Ron Burke, Mission Brief’s trainer, still looking for his first Hambletonian win. This was as close as the meet’s leading trainer has come.

“She raced really good,” Burke said. “If things shook out a little differently, the result might be different. She was the only one still going forward at the wire.  She really gave it her all.”

Pinkman paid $4.60 to win as the 9-5 second choice. The time was 1:52 2/5. The gelding is owned by Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman.

Uncle Lasse was third followed by The Bank as Takter horses finished first, third and fourth, good for $700,000 of the $1 million at stake.

Pinkman overcame post 10 to take first elimination in 1:51 2/5, equaling the world record for 3-year-old geldings on a mile track with The Bank second.

Donatomite, Habitat and  Jacksons Minion also advance to the final.
Pinkman paid $5.60 to win.

Mission Brief took the second elimination by 4 ¾ lengths over long shot Albebaran Eagle in 1:51 3/5.

French Laundry, Uncle Lasse and Wings of Royalty also made the final.

$500,000 HAMBLETONIAN OAKS 3-Year-Old Trotting Fillies

Wild Honey, owned by many of the same members of the Pinkman team, won the companion event, giving trainer Takter a fifth Oaks.

“This little filly overcame her size,” Takter said. “She’s not a very big filly but she’s got a big heart. She gives her all every time.”

Gingras put Wild Honey on the lead midway down the backstretch and she took it from there, securing a 1 ¾ length victory over Rules of the Road with 

Bright Baby Blues third.

She paid $4.60 to win. The time was 1:52 2/5.

Wild Honey improved to 13 for 19 for Christina Takter, the Fielding brothers and Herb Liverman.

It was one of five wins on the afternoon for Gingras.

$389,450  JIM DOHERTY MEMORIAL – 2-Year-Old Trotting Fillies

Broadway Donna extended her unbeaten streak to six with a nose win over Kathy Parker. She took charge entering the final turn and held on in 1:54 2/5 with David Miller in the sulky.

The race, formerly the Merrie Annabelle, was renamed for the Hall of Fame horseman who was a Meadowlands pioneer.

“Jim was a gentleman,” winning trainer Jim Campbell said. “If you bumped into him 10 times, he’d say hello to you 10 times. When I first came to The Meadowlands, he was someone I looked up to.”

Broadway Donna, the overwhelming favorite, paid $2.20 to win for Fashion Farms.

$251,250  LADY LIBERTY FINAL  Free-For-All Pacing Mares

Four-time Dan Patch winner Anndrovette proved she is still a dominant force in the division with a determined victory, the 44th of her brilliant career.

The 8-year-old has now earned over $3.4 million with the 1 ¼ length win over Table Talk with Venus Delight third. The time was 2:04 1/5 for the 1 1/8 miles with Tim Tetrick at the lines.

“When she’s one her game, she’s one of the toughest horses I’ve ever been associated with,” Tetrick said. “She shows up, she’s a true champion, no question.”

Jeffrey Baymond, Jr. trains the multiple champion for Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino.


State Treasurer finally had his Meadowlands moment after losing both the W.R. Haughton Final and the TVG Open by a neck.

The 6-year-old trained by Dr. Ian Moore and driven by David Miller demolished the competition by 3 ¼ lengths in a lifetime best 1:47.

Doo Wop Hanover got second over Foiled Again, the sport’s richest campaigner with over $7 million in the bank, third.

State Treasurer got his 26th win for Sally and Paul MacDonald.

$301,500 JOHN CASHMAN MEMORIAL  Free-For-All Trot

Flanagan Memory made it two straight at The Meadowlands, pulling a 9-1 upset in the Cashman for Sears.

The 5-year-old exploded in the lane following a second-over trip behind Obrigado. The 5-year-old stopped the clock in 2:05 4/5, paying $21 to win.

“We got the kind of trip he likes,” Sears said. “He likes to close it up if he gets some good flow.”

The 5-year-old improved to 12 for 44 for Llette Flanagan and trainer Rene Dion.

$181,450 FRESH YANKEE FINAL  Free-For-All Trotting Mares

Swedish star D’One was a rousing winner in her U.S. debut, rallying from far back to beat 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician by one length in 2:05 for the 1 1/8 miles.

Ojran Kihlstrom drove for trainer Roger Walmann and Stall Kenny 23.

She was sharp as could be despite, not having raced in 10 weeks.

“She’s a horse that can trot pretty good,” Walmann said.

$349,850  PETER HAUGHTON MEMORIAL 2-Year-Old trotters

Southwind Frank took a major step toward next year’s Hambletonian with a decisive 2 1/4 length victory over Brooklyn Hill.

The New Jersey Sires Stakes champion improved to 4 for 5.

“He started out terribly but he has really blossomed into a really nice horse,” winning trainer Burke said.

As usual, Gingras was at the lines for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J & T Silva and Our Horse Cents Stable.

$75,000 VINCENNES Free For All Invitational Trot

Resolve, beaten only a neck in the Hambletonian Maturity here, overcame post 10 with trainer Ake Svanstedt at the line. He paid $4.60 to win for the lifetime best 1:50 4/5 victory.

$319,400 CANE PACE 3-Year-Olds

Dealt A Winner was the 26-1 winner of the opening leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, raced for the first time at The Meadowlands.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, the Meadowlands Pace winner, was victimized by a punishing speed duel with In The Arsenal. The 1-5 favorite finished fourth.

Dealt A Winner won for the first time in eight starts this year. The gelding owned by Jeffrey Snyder was driven by David Miller for Mark Silva.

“They were marching pretty good,” Miller said. “I never to move him until the last turn. He swelled up in the hole and when I moved him, he took off.”

Dude’s The Man survived a judges’ inquiry to get third. He skipped off stride turning for home but was not found to be in violation of the breaking rules.

$109,500 SHADY DAISY  3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies

Stacia Hanover rallied for a 1 ½ length win over the duo of Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline who dead-heated for second.

Scott Zeron drove for trainer Steve Elliott and  owners David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaaglio. She paid $22 to win. The time was 1:49 2/5.

There were $21,968 in attendance for the spectacular card of racing and the North American handle was $6,701,866.  The on-track handle of $1,320,325 was a slight increase from the $1,280,854 wagered on-track last year.  The numbers from international export will be reported soon and the handle will be updated accordingly.

Live harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday, November 13th, and the thoroughbred turf meet will commence on Thursday, October 1st.  Thanks to all The Meadowlands for an outstanding 2015 Championship Meet!

Darin Zoccali