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Tuesday, May 31, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 31, 2016—A friendly reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway’s mid-season intermission.

The Raceway’s next play date is Monday, June 13 (post time 7:10 PM). At that time, the five-program per week (Mon/Thu/Fri/Sat @ 7:10, Tue @ 1 PM) returns.

Afternoon simulcasting—highlighted by the June 11th Belmont Stakes—continues to be offered during the break (save for Tue., June 7th), with evening simulcasting suspended during the hiatus.

When live racing returns, it does so with a Pick 5 carryover of  $1,207.53.

As always, a complete schedule is available at

Registration Open for Standardbred Racing “Town Hall” Meetings in June.

Lexington, KY -  Two Standardbred Racing “Town Hall” focus group meetings to gather input from racing industry participants will take place in June, one at Harrington Raceway in Delaware on Tuesday, June 14th at 10:30am and the other at the NJ Meadowlands on Saturday, June 18th at 1:00pm.

The Town Hall meetings represent an effort by The Association of Racing Commissioners International to unify the racing industry in the US and develop a consensus path to improve the policing of the sport and advance uniform regulatory policies.

A no-cost preregistration is required for all who would like to participate to ensure that everyone has a seat.  

To attend the meeting on June 14th at Harrington, register here:

To attend the meeting on June 18th at the Meadowlands, register here:

While previous meetings have been open to all breeds, the ARCI is planning several “standardbred only” meetings to ensure that standardbred racing has a meaningful voice in the process.  

In addition to the meetings at Harrington and the Meadowlands, the ARCI is also hoping to arrange meetings at Dayton Raceway in Ohio in September and Saratoga Harness in New York later in the year.  

The ARCI effort is comprised of public meetings, private group discussions, webinar meetings.  There will also be an online survey for those unable to participate in person. 

Information for Baby Races on Saturday at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ -  Saturday, June 4 marks the first baby races of the season at The Meadowlands for two-year-old trotters and pacers. There are a total of seven races scheduled including three qualifiers. They will begin at 9:30 a.m.

With only four two-year-old races carded, the official start of the "Breakfast With The Babies" promotion has been postponed until next week. Trotters owners club will be closed this Saturday, but will open for next week's races.

You may download a proof program for the baby races each week when they are posted and see pictures and related articles on the Breakfast With The Babies Facebook page.

Dude's the Man overpowers top Vernon pacers

Vernon, N.Y. -- Commencing his move upon exiting the far turn, M & L of Delaware and Victoria Dickinson's Dude's the Man ($4.30) worked to the fore in mid-stretch to capture the Memorial Day (May 30) feature at Vernon Downs, a $10,000 Open/Preferred Pace.

A stakes contender at three, the 4-year-old American Ideal entire kept well off the early pace, better than only the well-detached Damon Blue Chip through splits of :26.1 and :54.2 dictated by JK Panache (Truman Gale). As JK Panache left pocket rival Rock On Me (Dan Daley) behind on the far turn, Chris Lems angled Dude's the Man off the pegs, gearing up off the far turn into a :27 third quarter. Dude's the Man ultimately collared JK Panache in mid-stretch, holding off a late bid from 21-1 outsider Memory Game (Jimmy Whittemore) to prevail in 1:49.4 by three-quarters of a length. JK Panache faded to third upon giving way.

Jessica Okusko trains Dude's the Man, now a six-time winner.

Lems led all drivers with four wins on the 12-race card.

The 50¢ Pick 5 sequence stymied the Monday punters, chiefly on account of Western Toro's 16-1 upset in the eighth race. The carryover to Thursday (June 2) evening's Pick 5 is $552.54. Post time for the first of nine races on Thursday at the Miracle Mile is set for 6:45 Eastern.

Fireyourguns wires Tioga Open foes

Nichols, N.Y. -- Western New York pacing stalwart Fireyourguns ($3.70) made his 2016 debut at Tioga Downs a winning one, blazing a :26.4 third quarter up the backstretch en route to a 1:51 pillar-to-post win in the featured $11,000 Open Pace on Memorial Day (May 30).

Aaron Byron sent the 7-year-old American Ideal gelding to a clear lead, forcing last week's Open winner Nitro Seelster (Tom Jackson) into the pocket before controlling fractions of :27, :56.1, and 1:23. After his dynamic third-quarter blitz, Fireyourguns worked clear by three lengths at head-stretch and left his rivals fully extended in pursuit. Meanwhile, Byron only mildly encouraged Fireyourguns to keep to task, winning comfortably by a diminishing length. Nitro Seelster held second from Knocking Around (John Cummings, Jr.), who sustained first-over gains off the far turn to take third.

Trainer Terence McClory co-owns Fireyourguns with Jennifer and Robert Lowe.

The win was one of three for Byron on the nine-race card, who also swept the early double with Major Player ($3.50, 1:54.1) and Andreios Kardia ($10.20, 1:52.4).

The 50¢ Pick 5 was hit, returning $153.00 with no winner in the sequence longer than 4.1-1.  By contrast, the corresponding win parlay would have returned $66.19 on every 50¢ staked.

Racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (June 3) evening, with first post at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dayson, Sir Royson impress in Tioga NYSS

Nichols, N.Y. -- Fast miles were the rule on Sunday (May 29) evening at Tioga Downs, as all nine races resulted in lifetime marks over the Jason Bluhm-conditioned 5/8-mile course. Among those lifetime marks was a track-record effort from Dayson ($3.40), who sprinted away from a collapsing pace in his $62,400 New York Sire Stakes event.

Dayson, a 3-year-old Conway Hall gelding, sat second-over off dueling leaders Dante (Oskar Florhed) and Free Willy Hanover (Trond Smedshammer) through fractions of :28, :56, and 1:24. As Free Willy Hanover's valiant first-over attempt started to fade on the far turn, Jim Morrill, Jr. angled Dayson three-wide on the far turn, and the response was instant. Dayson vaulted clear to an 8-1/2 length victory over Allerage Echo (Jim Marohn, Jr.), who rallied into his runner-up position from a third-over trip. Joyful (Mike Simons) gained late into third from well off the pace, while a softened Dante faded to fourth.

Dayson's 1:52.2 triumph was his ninth in 11 career starts, and shaved four-fifths of a second off Datsyuk's prior track record for 3-year-old trotting geldings. The Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, Silva Stables, and Rossie Smith own Dayson.

In the other New York Sire Stakes event, Sir Royson ($4.10) brushed to the fore with a circuit to go, turning aside pocket rival Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) and holding off a late charge from 69-1 outsider The Royal Harry (Florhed) for a 1:54 victory, the fifth of his career. Linda Toscano trains the 3-year-old Crazed colt for R-and-I Farms, LLC.

For driver Jim Marohn, Jr. the win with Sir Royson was one of five on the night. "The Mighty Mite Part Two" also teamed up with Dee's Rocketman ($4.60, 1:52.1), Just For Today ($12.00, 1:56.2), Katch Kanna ($6.30, 1:57.1), and Moneydontbuyulove ($8.40, 1:56.4).

The night's sub-featured $25,200 Nichols True Value late-closing series final saw Erv Miller trainee Fresh Cut ($5.90) pounce from second-over off a contested pace, dueling on the far turn with the first-over Century Chancellor (Simons) to just prevail in 1:53.1. Morrill was aboard the 3-year-old American Ideal colt for the Bay Pond Racing Stable.

The 50¢ Pick 5 carries over to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card, with $772.79 of added money heading into the opening-race wager. First post for the nine-race Memorial Day card is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 28, 2016—In late February, Kryptos (Jordan Stratton, $4.90) was in racing in ‘non-winners of twos’.

She obviously grew up in a hurry, the latest example coming Saturday night in winning Yonkers Raceway’s $100,000 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old fillies.

Sitting chilly early from post position No. 2 over a “good” oval, Kryptos watched as Soft Idea (Jason Bartlett) outleave her five inside foes, getting the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Apple Bottom Jeans (Montrell Teague), the scourge of Delaware, yielded for the pocket, with Cut and Paste (Brian Sears) a pole-sitting third.

Soft Idea found a :56.3 half and 1:25, with Kryptos out and moving from fourth, chased by slight 7-5 choice Dime a Dance (George Brennan).

The leader was about to wear out his welcome in and out of the final turn, with Kryptos going by early in the lane. That one continued her move, getting the needed jump on a passing-lane-diving Apple Bottom Jeans.

The former, as the second choice in the 12th Lismore, whipped the hard-charging latter by a neck in 1:53.3, with Dime a Dance third. Cut and Paste was fourth, with a tiring Soft Idea and an outrun Rock Me Baby (John Campbell) completing the six-pack.

For Kryptos, an unraced-at-2, $24,000 daughter of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned (as Drennan Stable) by (trainer) Nik Drennan, it was her eighth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $20.60, with the triple returning $44.20.

“It’s the first time I’ve driven her, and Nik (Drennan) just said to give her a clean trip,” Stratton said, ironically with his face covered in mud.

Michael’s Victory shocks ‘Rocks’ at Big M

by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Something strange happened to 1-9 favorite Boston Red Rocks in Saturday night’s second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at the Meadowlands: Victory.
More specifically, Michael’s Victory.'

Sent off at 32-1 in the field of five, Michael’s Victory worked out a perfect pocket trip and scored by a half-length over the pace-setting Katies Rocker in a lifetime-best 1:49.1. Boston Red Rocks was third, followed by Don’tcallmefrancis and Ideal Rocky. All The Cookies was scratched.

Things could not have gone worse for the early Meadowlands Pace favorite. As Boston Red Rocks was making his way around the first turn, 9-2 second choice Ideal Rocky broke stride right in front of him, forcing him to take back.
Boston Red Rocks caught the top pair by the half, and had every chance in the stretch, but was outsprinted to the wire.

Michael’s Victory paid $66.80 for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Mark Silva and owner Jeffrey Snyder.
In the second leg of the NJSS for sophomore filly pacers Blue Moon Stride was dominant for a second straight week.

The Mark Harder trainee grabbed the top at the three-eighths and sailed down the road for driver Andrew McCarthy, winning by 2¾ lengths in a lifetime-best 1:50.2 as the 1-9 public choice ($2.20) for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati. Show Time Hill was second with JK Fannie third.

CARRYOVER CONTINUES: The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five, which has not had a single-ticket winner since the start of the current meeting, now has a carryover of $237,882.33 heading into the next program. … Brett Miller led the driver colony with four winners on the night. … On Sunday, the Meadowlands will offer on-site wagering on races nine through 15 from Solvalla, Sweden. The ninth race is the first of two Elitlopp eliminations and has an estimated post time of 9:22 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. … The Meadowlands returns with live racing Friday at 7:15 p.m.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 28, 2016—It was as uneventful an eight-hole trip as Missile J (Brian Sears, $2,60, part of entry) could possibly have wished for Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace.

A week after winning the lone, $40,000 elim for the 26th Rooney, Missile J was blind-drawed behind the eight-ball in a field of two 3-year-old colts and six geldings.

He was in play early over a track that was moisturized by a fair amount of pre-card rain. Missile J fell into an open three-hole behind pole-sitting entrymate Artmagic (George Brennan) and Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube), who left a bit wide from post position No. 2 to make sure Missile J couldn’t get around him early.

Artmagic had things his own way over the “good” surface, getting a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and :56.1 intermission.

The  leader then lost his closest pursuer, as Rodeo Rock gave up the ghost chasing a :27.2 third quarter (1:23.3). Missile J had taken out of third by then, getting into second and picking up the scent of the leader.

Artmagic owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but his night was about to end. Missile J and a handful of closers rolled by, with Missile J drawing out to win by 2¼ lengths in 1:53. Second—at 37-1—went to a much-improved Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker), with Yankee Artillery (Jordan Stratton), Artmagic and Manny (Brent Holland) settling for the smaller remainder.

No Shame Blue Chip (Tyler Buter), Rodeo Rock and a breaking Tap into Power (Jason Bartlett) completed the order.     

For Missile J, an unraced-at-2, $100,000 American Ideal gelding co-owned by Ken Jacobs’  KJ Stables and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables and trained by Linda Toscano, it was his fifth (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51.50, with the triple returning $194.50.

“Last week was his first (half-mile) start and he was a bit aggressive,” Sears said. “Tonight, he was more relaxed and the trip, from an eight-hole, certainly worked out. I was happy with him in the elimination and happier tonight.”

“He just wasn’t ready (last season),” Toscano said. “We had to take our time with him, and it’s begun to pay off. The Rooney was always where we wanted to try him. He has (New York) sire stakes and open stakes on the schedule, and tonight was a good first step.”

Sears won the Rooney for a fourth time (Badlands Hanover-2008, Pet Rock-2012, In the Arsenal-2015), matching the number of one John Campbell.

The race began in 1989, one year after the death of Art Rooney Sr.   

Non Stick remains undefeated in Vernon NYSS

Vernon, N.Y. --Åke Svanstedt, Inc. and Little E, LLC's Non Stick ($2.70) remains undefeated in eight career starts after a comfortable two-length win in her $40,600 New York Sire Stakes division on Saturday (May 28) evening at Vernon Downs.

Mark MacDonald wasted no time with the 3-year-old Lucky Chucky filly, working clear of Goosebump Hanover (Chris Lems) before exiting the straight. Non Stick was uncontested through splits of :28, :57.2, and 1:26, working clear of her seven foes on the far turn. At head-stretch, Goosebump Hanover vacated the pocket to give chase, but Non Stick maintained her clear lead throughout under just mild encouragement for a 1:55 triumph. Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) circled from the rear of the main group to take second, while Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr.) saved third off her cozy tracking trip. Goosebump Hanover lacked any late burst from the pocket, finishing fourth.

Åke Svanstedt trains Non Stick, who has amassed $226,532 thus far in career earnings.

Mario Mazza's Stick of Butter ($7.20) prevailed in her Sire Stakes division off an extended first-over bid, dueling clear of pacesetter Straight A Student for a 1:54.3 win. Trainer Francisco del Cid drove the Lucky Chucky filly.

Fair Winds Farm, Inc.'s Open Access ($33.80) also found the winner's enclosure, vaulting off cover and collaring Fad Finance and Swinging Royalty for a last-to-first 1:54.1 score. Charlie Norris drove the daughter of Credit Winner for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr.

As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, a carryover of $246.95 will head to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card. Post time for the first of 12 races on Memorial Day is set for 1:25 p.m. Eastern.

Coulter scores natural hat trick at Tioga

Nichols, N.Y. -- Longtime Ontario Signature Circuit driver Scott Coulter has quickly worked his way into prominence at Tioga Downs through the first month of the 2016 season. On Saturday (May 28) evening's nine-race card, the "Tan Tornado" copped a natural hat trick to lead all drivers.

In the evening's third race, the 45-year-old Ontarian teamed up with Littlebitaclass ($6.20), who vaulted off second-over cover en route to a 2-1/4 length win over first-level pacers in 1:54.3. Coulter followed up in the fourth race with 11-year-old trotter Red Zeppelin ($7.70), prevailing from the pocket in 1:56.4. Trevor Win For Us ($5.50) completed Coulter's hat trick in the fifth, sprinting off from his eight second-level pacing rivals for a 1:53.4 triumph.

The night's featured race, a $7,200 upper-level conditioned trot, saw owner-driver Corey Braden work Majestic Won ($14.00) to the fore with a circuit to go and never look back en route to a 1:56 victory. Stacey McLenaghan trains the 7-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding.

Later in the card, King Royalty ($5.00, Mike Simons) and RG Riptide ($10.00, Mike Merton) shared a dead-heat victory in a $5,400 third-level pace, both working away from pacesetter Si Semalu and holding clear of a late rally from 3-5 Energy Shakes in 1:52.1.

The 50¢ Pick 5 on Sunday (May 29) evening's nine-race card will have a carryover of $398.32. A pair of $62,400 New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings share the spotlight with the $25,200 final of the Nichols True Value late closing series for 3-year-old pacers. First post is slated for 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

GD Airliner Rallies To Take Buffalo Raceway Feature

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ron Beback Jr. got to pilot GD Airliner via a catch drive on Saturday night (May 28) and he gave the 8-year-old gelding a perfect flight in taking the $9,500 Open I-II Handicapped Pace at steamy Buffalo Raceway.

Getting over a second over trip, GD Airliner ($7.90) tipped three-wide in the stretch and used a 28.1 last quarter to gun down the tiring Lucky Nadotremblay in a seasonal best 1:54.3. China Dream (Drew Monti) rallied for second while Lucky Nadotremblay (Shawn McDonough) hung on for third.

It was a battle for the lead early as Lucky Nadotremblay and Bakken went head-to-head. After the dust had settled just past the quarter pole, Lucky Nadotremblay emerged in front and posted fractions of 28.1, 57.0 and 1:26.2.

Following the cover of the favored Youwillwishyouhad, Beback Jr. swung three-wide with GD Airliner in the stretch and easily overpowered Lucky Nadotremblay, winning by an length.

It was the third win in 13 tries this season for GD Airliner (Panspacificflight-Mackenzie Beth). He is owned by Pete Kibler, Ken Owczarczak, R. Osiejo and Courtney McNeight with David McNeight Jr. handling the training duties. GD Airliner has now earned $18,574 this season and $562,987 lifetime.

McDonough had a triple on the evening while Beback Jr. and Kevin Cumminigs each posting two wins. Kirk Desmond had a training double.

Racing will continue on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race program scheduled. There's an $658 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the fifth race.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

OK Heavenly chases, upsets in Vernon distaff

Vernon, N.Y. -- OK Heavenly ($26.80) sustained a first-over push through the far turn in Friday (May 27) evening's $8,000 Mares Open Pace at Vernon Downs, chasing down and reeling in odds-on pacesetter All Charged Up for a 1:50.2 victory.

Truman Gale settled OK Heavenly last but one in the field of five, having no part of the strenuous pace All Charged Up (John MacDonald) set. After early fractions of :26 and :54.2, All Charged up drew away from pocket rival Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) on the far turn. Love Live Laugh's failure to keep pace on the turn prompted a first-over bid from OK Heavenly, who gradually worked into second off the far turn. The 4-year-old Sportswriter mare sustained progress all the way to the winning post, collaring All Charged up in the final yards and besting her by half a length in the end. Little Santamonica (Frank Davis) escaped far-turn traffic trouble to save third.

Heidi Rohr trains OK Heavenly for the partnership of Steven Kouray, Donald DeLuca, and Peter Daratsos.

Jimmy Whittemore led all drivers with a hat trick, victorious with Gimme the Cash ($11.60, 1:52.4), Southern Girl ($14.40, 1:52), and My Future Ex ($9.00, 1:55.4).

Fillies contest Saturday Sire Stakes

Saturday (May 28) evening is headlined by a trio of New York Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old trotting fillies, carded as races 5, 7, and 9 on the 11-race card. Meadowlands standout Stick of Butter (Francisco del Cid), 2015 2-year-old NYSS champion Non Stick (Mark MacDonald), and locally-based Swinging Royalty (Chris Lems) have all been installed as morning line favorites in their respective events. Post time is 6:45 p.m. EDT.

Campbell’s Big M Fabulous Friday Four

by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – John Campbell put a little more distance between himself and the field Friday night as the leading driver in Meadowlands history steered four winners on the 11-race card.

The Hall of Famer guided Mavens Way to victory in the lone New Jersey Sire Stakes event for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. After racing on the lead – and taking pressure virtually every step down the backside from Southwind Flash – the son of Muscle Hill held off the late-charging 6-5 favorite Jack Vernon to win by a neck in a lifetime-best 1:51.4 for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owners Svanstedt, Burroughs and the T L P Stable. Double L Lindy finished third.

Sent to the gate as the second choice in the wagering, Mavens Way returned $9.80 to his backers.

Campbell also scored with Batoutahill ($6.20 to win, 1:55.1) in a division of the NJSS for 3-year-old trotting fillies, as well as with pair of conditioned pacers, Gweneeee J ($7.00, 1:50.1) and Danish Durango ($5.20, 1:52).

CARRYOVER CONTINUES: The late 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five, which has not once had had a single-ticket winner since the start of the current meeting on November 13 of last year, now has a carryover of $234,671.79 heading into the next program. … Southwind Hope ($3.40, 1:54.1) won the other division of the NJSS for 3-year-old trotting fillies. … The Meadowlands is back with live racing Saturday at 7:15 p.m. … On Sunday morning, the Meadowlands will offer on-site wagering on races nine through 15 from Solvalla, Sweden. The ninth race is the first of two Elitlopp eliminations and has an estimated post time of 9:22 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m.

Shutthefrontdoor emerges victorious in Tioga distaff; Merton wins three

Nichols, N.Y. -- Pinned in the pocket through the far turn, Shutthefrontdoor ($4.90) only managed to wedge out from traffic in the final 60 yards, still collaring pacesetter K J's Caroline for a narrow 1:54.1 score in Friday (May 27) evening's $11,000 Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs.

Dan Clements yielded to the pocket early with the 5-year-old Well Said mare, enabling K J's Caroline (Justin Huckabone) to cross and clear before rating a tepid :59 half mile. On the backstretch, while Southwind Trini (Mike Merton) loomed first-over, K J's Caroline accelerated through a :27 third quarter before facing her stiffest competition at head-stretch. Off the corner, Southwind Trini pressed harder, Elm Grove Inarush (Greg Merton) fanned wide from second-over, and Shutthefrontdoor--with pace--was hard pressed for racing room. Shutthefrontdoor was able to wedge out in deep stretch, and her sudden burst of speed was enough for her to prevail. K J's Caroline just held second, while Elm Grove Inarush's stand-side rally earned her third honors.

Trainer Mike Sinclair co-owns Shutthefrontdoor with Guy Beaulieu and Richard Villeneuve.

Mike Merton led all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card, teaming up with Amber Buter trainees Headsaregonna Turn ($22.20, 1:54.3) and Cracker Coffee ($2.20, 1:53.3) as well as Rich Dane trainee Four Hour Nap ($5.10, 1:54.4).

Saturday (May 28) evening's nine-race card is due to begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT, with a $318.82 carryover in the 50¢ Pick 5.


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 27, 2016—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (May 28) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,525.24.

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 Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. 


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 27, 2016—Favored Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $4.40) saved her best for last Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Unhurried from post position No.3, Mach it a Par watched as outside numbers Anndrovette (Jason Bartlett) and Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) lined ‘em up early.

The former led through early substations of :27.4 and :56.2. It was Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) moving from fourth, with the people’s choice behind the one.

Anndrovette continued to lead in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half margin entering the lane. However, she was done soon after, with Mach it a Par—fifth turning for home—going fastest when it counted. She rolled home by a length-and-a-quarter in a season’s-best 1:52.

Second went to Tessa Seelster, who offered good pace at both ends, with a belated Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton), Lookout Stokk Zone (Tyler Buter) and Anndrovette settling for the remainder.

For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D’Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and the Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her third win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.80, with the triple returning $65.   

Saturday night’s card finds the Raceway hosting a pair of premier stakes events for 3-year-olds in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace (sixth race) and its companion event for the lasses, the $100,000 Lismore (fourth race).

The 12-race program begins at the usual 7:10 PM .

Great Post Helps BZ Glide Score At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It's a very rare occurrence when BZ Glide draws the inside post at Buffalo Raceway. It happened on Friday night (May 27) in the $10,000 Open Trot and BZ Glide took full advantage of it by posting a gate-to-wire victory over Lutetium in 1:57.1 over the fast track.

Usually known for his closing kick, BZ Glide ($3.40) started from the pylons and had to deal with the front-running Lutetium who scored from the two hole. Lutetium tried to leave but BZ Glide and driver Mike Caprio quickly put a stop to that thought. 

Just before the opening quarter pole Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) had decided being parked wasn't the answer and had to settle back behind the pace-setting BZ Glide. With fractions of 28.0, 58.1 and 1:27.4, the race boiled down to a three horse affair.

BZ Glide turned for home a length in front with Lutetium attacking from the inside and Northern Bullet (Jim Morrill Jr.) on the outside. BZ Glide managed to stay strong in the lane and easily held off Lutetium and Northern Bullet who finished in second and third respectively. The margin of victory was a length.

Owned by the Caprio Stable LLC and trained by Alana Caprio, it was the first win in three starts for BZ Glide (Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer). The 7-year-old gelding has now earned $7,000 this season and $176,167 lifetime.

Morrill Jr. had a five-bagger while Kevin Cummings and Shawn McDonough doubled in the bike. Buffalo Raceway leading trainer JD Perrin posted two wins.

Racing will continue on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with an 11-race card scheduled.

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

Friday, May 27, 2016


by john manzi for the Billings Amateur Series

Look out boys the girls now have to be reckoned with in the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series.  For the second time in consecutive days a gal has emerged victorious.

On Wednesday night at Northfield Park, Michelle “the Belle” Ruvola scored an impressive victory and last night, May 26, at Yonkers Raceway “Hurricane Hannah” Miller won her Billings division. And in a second split where there was no female participant with a mount,  “Tough Tony” Ciuffetelli cruised to victory.

It’s no secret that the ladies are making inroads with more of gentler sex participating but especially with the emergence of Hannah Miller. Last year she won 32 races and walked away with the Dan Patch Trophy as National Amateur Driver of the Year and again this season the talented miss is picking up where she left off. Her victory last night was her 10th already this season.

According to boyfriend Nick Surick, three different trainers wanted Hannah to drive their horse in the Billings at Yonkers on Thursday. So after doing some homework Hannah decided to pick Scottish Cross, a veteran trotter from the Rene Allard barn.

“He’s a really nice horse and he was easy to handle,” Miller said of her first time behind Scottish Cross. 

They left hard from the two-hole and had command in a :28.2 first quarter.

“Once the field settled I was looking for a breather (for my horse) and we got to the half in :59.2.  From   there we opened daylight on the field and we were three (lengths) in front coming off the final turn. I still had plenty of horse when we crossed the finish line.”

Scottish Cross traversed the mile distance in 1:59.1 and defeated Celebrity Stimulus driven by David “the Litigator” Glasser by 2-1/4 lengths. Third, some six lengths behind the winner, was Bullet Bob” Davis with Swift Blizzard. 

The winner is owned by Allard Racing Inc.

In the second division Tony Ciuffettelli took no prisoners when he sent Star Studded Cast to the lead  from the seven-hole and they were on top before the turn.

They trotted by the first stanza in :28.1 and from there Ciuffetteli played catch me if you can, and nobody could, as Star Studded Cast  trotted on the a five length triumph in a 1:57.3 clocking over For You Almostfree, and driver “Smokin’ Joe” Faraldo. Third place went to Sam’s Honeybee,  driven by Billings president, Tony “the Capo” Verruso.

“‘Star’ raced big tonight,” Ciuffetteli said via email after his driving victory. “My game plan was to blast off the car and find a spot but after making front so easily I decided to keep him rolling and he responded nicely. He was strong all the way to the finish.”

“Tough Tony” also owns and trains the winner. Both Yonkers  went as non-wagering events.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Omaha Survivor wins on Memorial Day Card – Mike Merton Wins 5 at Monticello

By Shawn Wiles

It is only fitting that on a weekend when we pause and honor those that have served and perished in our country’s Military, that the aptly named Omaha Survivor would prevail against all odds. He gallantly battled back from a break behind the gate and spotted the field 15 lengths at the start, at the ¼ pole the charter had him 11 lengths behind the leader. Now in full charge he was parked 4th on the outside at the 1/2, still taking the overland route on the outside, at the ¾ mile marker he ranging into contention, parked first over from the fraction setting Shark Treasure. Omaha Survivor briefly save some real estate and dove in the 2 hole ever so briefly, at the top of the lane Mike Merton pulled the right line and the veteran 11 year old gelding gallantly charged thru the lane in spirited stretch drive in the middle of the track to be victorious in 1:58 giving Mike his 4th win of the afternoon. Omaha Survivor is trained by Dolores Basilone for owner Greg Gardner of Sheridan MI.

Mike Merton took advantage of the absence of Monticello Raceway’s top leading drivers Bruce Aldrich and Jimmy Taggart Jr. and drove 5 winners on the afternoons 9 race card. The UDRS stat building day started in the second half of the early double, scoring with Last Chance T, he came right back in the 3rd to win with Brooklyn Benny in 1:56.3.  He finished 2nd in the 4th race. In Race 5 he scored with Omaha Survivor.  He also won with Conrad Hanover in race 7 ($3.30) and Mungo in the 8th race ($19.20)

D.R. Ackerman also had a training driving double on the card, reigning Magic Tail, a 3 year old daughter of Muscle Massive to a 2:03 win and Uncle Hanover (Muscle Hill) in 1:59.1.

On Monday May 30, Monticello Raceway will be dark Monday for Memorial Day, live racing resumes Tuesday thru Friday with a 12:50 post.  


By john manzi for the Billings Series

If you don’t think that amateur drivers enjoy the competitions you’d be terribly mistaken. They race for sport and the love of the game. Take Michelle “the Belle” Ruvola, for instance. The business professional winged her way in from Chicago along with her dad, “Chicago George” Bonono, to drive in a mid-west region Billings Series trot at Northfield Park in greater Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 25.

Perhaps somewhat intimidated by handling a longshot and being the only woman in the race still Ruvola was up for the task. After all it wasn’t her first rodeo.

She was up behind Upfront Chip Daddy from post five, a decided outsider at odds of 40-1..But as  NY Yankee slugger Yogi Berra once famously said “it ain’t over till it’s over”.

Not expecting a whole lot Ruvola took advantage of the breaks in the race and worked herself and great trip and much to her surprise her horse was more than ready and she rallied him to a 1:57:3 victory.

Trailing by two lengths in forth position at the head of the stretch Upfront Chip Daddy charged home a one length winner over 1-5 favorite Star Chip driven by Gregg “Fast Greggy” Kiedel. Third place went to Heza Rube and driver Bob “the Lumberman” Troyer.

To say that “The Belle” was overjoyed by her victory would be a gross understatement. Ruvola,  also an accomplished horsewoman, scored her first win in her first seasonal start and the 38th of her limited driving career which began in 1996.

But this longshot victory was special. Besides beating her dad- he finished seventh-she also beat some nice trotters and many seasoned amateur drivers

Contacted after the race Ruvola was exuberant and full of joy.

She started by yelping  “Woo Hoo!!” and added “it isn’t very professional, but add a face-splitting smile to that whoop of joy and you may get an inkling of how I felt crossing the finish line!
I had no idea we had any chance of beating the "big boys".

“This race was one of those rare occasions when the stars aligned and the rest just came together. .

“We came out of the five hole, parked to the quarter and then tucked in the fourth. And as the first three started to open up in a quick (:57.4) first half I hoped if we could just hang with the good horses we'd have a shot at passing them. And then, lo and behold, I asked my horse to go wide on the turn and he went on and never looked back!
 “Can you tell I'm still on an adrenaline high?”

Michelle was quick to share the accomplishment with trainer Crist Hershberger and others behind the scenes. .

“Thanks to everybody who helped us get to the winner's circle tonight.  In horseracing, it truly takes a village,” she gleefully added.

Upfront Chip Daddy is owned by George and Rose Bonomo. He paid $82.20; $20.40; and $5.00 across the board.

Wanna Rock N Roll Wires Field At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It's only been two weeks since Wanna Rock N Roll arrived in Western New York from Yonkers Raceway but she has learned quickly that racing on the front end is the right thing for her to do.

In her second start of the season at the Buffalo Raceway, Wanna Rock N Roll ($3.60) again made every step a winning one in taking the featured $9,000 pace for the mares on Wednesday night (May 25).

In her seasonal debut last week at Buffalo Raceway, Wanna Rock N Roll went wire-to-wire in 1:56.1 in scoring a 1-1/4 length victory. She went even faster this start over the fast track with a 1:55.2 time in easily winning by 4-1/4 for catch driver Jim Morrill Jr.

Blasting from the five hole off the gate, Wanna Rock N Roll had no trouble in reaching the lead and posting splits of 28.1, 56.3 and 1:26.3. In the stretch, the race was all but over as Wanna Rock N Roll went uncontested to the finish line. Who Says That (Drew Monti) won the battle for second place while Passion R Virginie (Shawn McDonough) took third.

Owned by Rose Campbell and trained by Mike Carrubba, Wanna Rock N Roll (Rocknroll Hanover-Cams Leading Lady) is a 5-year-old mare that now has won six times in 16 appearances this season. The victory upped her earnings to $45,475 in 2016 and $205,732 lifetime.

Kevin Cummings had a four-bagger while Todd Cummings, Jim McNeight and Morrill Jr. all had two wins in the sulky. Trainers JD Perrin, Carl Surdyk and John Mungillo each doubled.

Racing will continue on Friday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race card set.

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


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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, May 25, 2016—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Thursday night’s (May 26) Pick 5 wager begins with both a $10,000 guaranteed pool (program pages available at and a tidy carryover of $1,958.04.

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 Tuesday afternoon), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 24, 2016—Odds-on favorite Fat Man’s Alley (Brian Sears, $2.70, part of entry) read the memo just in time Tuesday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $70,500 final of the Jackpot Next Door Claiming Series.

The series featured base $20,000 claiming males in three preliminary legs leading to this final.

A gapping third early from post position No. 3, the ‘Fat Man’ saw Bubbie Boy (George Brennan) stroll through sedate early fractions of 28-seconds flat and :57.2.

Bubbie Boy then threw down a :27.1 third quarter (1:24.1) right as Fat Man’s Alley was getting his work order.  The leader had a length-and-a-half advantage entering the lane, but the Fat Man Cometh.

He wore down Bubbie Boy mid-stretch, eventually beating him by that length-and-a-half in 1:52.3. Innocent Victim (Dan Dube, winner’s entrymate) nosed out pocket-sitting Colonial Road (Scott Zeron) for third, with Can’t it Be Me (Jason Bartlett) getting the final pay envelope.

For Fat Man’s Alley, an 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Jack & Ferne Frydman, it was his sixth win in 17 seasonal starts (career earnings over $734,000). The exacta paid $7.10, with the triple returning $20.

A $30,000 series consolation won by So Good I’m Bad (Eric Abbatiello, $10.40) in 1:53.2.


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 24, 2016—Post positions have been drawn for a pair of Yonkers Raceway’s premier stakes for the 3-year-old pacers.

Saturday’s 26th edition of the Art Rooney Pace, worth $300,000, features two colts and six geldings. The gods of the open draw did no favors for Missile J. The winner of last week’s lone $40,000 elimination race (1:53.2) landed behind the always-welcome eight-ball for the finale.

Brian Sears drives for trainer Linda Toscano.

The American Ideal gelding, co-owned by Ken Jacobs’  KJ Stables and Purple Haze Stables, is again paired in the wagering with the Purple Haze wholly-owned Artmagic (George Brennan, post 1). The Art Major gelding, trained by Trond Smedshammer, was third in last week’s elim.

Rodeo Rock (Dan Dube, post 2), a pocket second a week ago, landed post position No. 2 for the finale. Don Swick trains the gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven, who was second in last season’s Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here.

The remainder of the field is as such (in post position order)…3-No Shame Blue Chip (Tyler Buter), 4-Yankee Artillery (Jordan Stratton), 5-Tailgunner Hanover (Ray Schnittker), 6-Tap into Power (Jason Bartlett), 7-Manny (Brent Holland).  

The companion event, the $100,000 Lismore, attracted just six fillies, who all went directly to the final.

The draw for the 12th Lismore…1-Cut and Paste (Sears), 2-Kryptos (Sears also listed), 3-Apple Bottom Jeans (Montrell Teague), 4-Dime a Dance (Brennan), 5-Rock Me Baby (John Campbell), 6-Soft Idea (Bartlett).

The Rooney goes as the sixth race (approximate post 8:50 PM), with the Lismore listed as the fourth race (approx. 8:10 PM).  Post time for the dozen-race card is 7:10 PM.

State Treasurer Seeks To Make Molson Pace History

By Dave Briggs:

Dr. Ian Moore said winning a fourth straight Molson Pace with his pupil State Treasurer would be almost beyond comprehension.

“It’s been fun just to win it once. A second was a bonus and the third was just unreal last year,” Moore said. “A fourth time would be unbelievable.”

State Treasurer, the 2015 Horse of the Year in Canada owned by Sally and Allan MacDonald of Prince Edward Island and their nephew, Paul MacDonald of Toronto, has drawn the rail for Friday’s $150,000 invitational at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, ON. The pacer’s regular driver, Chris Christoforou, will be in the sulky.

Moore, a PEI native who is based in Guelph, ON during the summer, acknowledged it won’t be easy for State Treasurer to become the first horse to win four Molson Pace titles in the race’s 44-year history. Race secretary Ian Fleming has assembled a crack field of eight tough older pacers, many coming in from the United States. The field has combined earnings of nearly $9 million. That includes the $1.96 million earned by State Treasurer, who is winless in his three 2016 starts since returning from wintering at Southern Oaks Training Center in Florida.

“He hasn’t been quite as good his first few starts, obviously, this year,” Moore said. “It sort of was the same thing last year. It wasn’t until about the third start that he was good at Mohawk and I really think that the first three Saturdays that we’ve been back in Ontario since April 30th the (race nights) have all been very cold. In fact, 37 degrees Fahrenheit and wet snow the last time we raced. I think some of our horses had a little trouble acclimatizing to that.”

Moore said State Treasurer had some mild sickness a few weeks ago and was given five days off after his last start — a fifth-place finish in the $34,000 preferred on May 14 at Mohawk Racetrack — but the seven-year-old son of Real Desire—Ideal Treasure seems fine this week and should be raring to go Friday in London.

“He seems good in every other way. He’s been sound and everything and he’s steering well this year. We hope he’ll appreciate the return to London and away we go,” Moore said. “He obviously likes that track and has done well there in the past. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to roll for the fourth time.”
State Treasurer is currently tied with Jambo Dancer for the most Molson Pace victories. Jambo Dancer also won the race three straight years, taking the title in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

Post positions for the Molson Pace field are as follows:

1. State Treasurer – Chris Christoforou
2. Bettor Rock On N – Jody Jamieson
3. Sunfire Blue Chip – Mark MacDonald
4. Evenin Of Pleasure – Sylvain Filion
5. Machtu N – Trevor Henry
6. Mcwicked – Randy Waples
7. P H Supercam – James MacDonald
8. All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley

The Molson Pace program will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City of London Series finals, a pair of Alliance Claiming Series finals and an added-purse Junior Invitational Pace as part of the undercard. Total purses for the night will be more than $550,000.

There will be a number of promotions on the night, including Scratch and Win program prizes, OSS ‘Be A Winner Contest,’ Party on the Patio, a Molson VIP infield event and much more. The wagering menu has been bolstered to include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 – all low 15 per cent takeout wagers.

For more information, visit

Monday, May 23, 2016

Jim Morrill wins a pair of Sire Stakes at Monticello

By Shawn Wiles

The inaugural event for 2016 New York Sire Stakes took place at Monticello Raceway on Monday May 23. 6 NYSS events were contested, 2 races for each category, the Excelsior A’s, and Excelsior B’s and the upper echelon Sire Stake fields. The front end ruled, as 8 of the cards 11 races where won wire to wire.

Starting off the action in the 2nd race was the first heat of the B division, it was almost too much action, as Sultry Susan made a nasty break in the first turn and went to her knees, scattering the entire field behind her. Dw’sblissfulthinn capitalized on the miscue and made the most of it, scoring a wire to wire win for trainer Debra Miller, and driver Jim Marohn Jr. in 2:00:1 for owner Donald La Page,

The 2nd heat of the B class was the following race, I Got The Life, (Roll With Joe) benefited from a conservative drive by Mark Macdonald.  She settled in 5th, and used the passing lane to score in a photo for a lifetime best 1:59:1. Jim Graham co owns the filly with Ronald Viola.

Race 4, was the first division of the open class of fillies,   Jim Morrill Jr. aboard Soft Ideal showed the field through fractions of 28:0, 56:4, 1:26:0 was stalked the entire mile by the Burke entry of Mother of Art and Art Critic, the filly labored in deep stretch but hung on for the win 1:55:2. She returned a $3.60

Already with 11 starts under his belt and tight, he seasoned Erv Miller trainee Rolling Going Gone (Roll With Joe) won on the front end in 1:57:2 for driver Marcus Miller and owner Ross Bonafield.
Milky Way Rae (American Ideal) was under wraps and raging with pace for driver Jim Morrill Jr, scoring well in hand in 1:55:2, pacing the fastest LQ of the day of 28:2 in the afternoons final Excelsior event, the win gave Morrill a driving double on the card.

The final NY Bred race of the came in race 8, Andy Miller brought his American Ideal filly, 
American Ivy to the fray, the tender footed filly started from Post 5, took the lead before the ¼ from Vino and Formaggio and showed the way, ranging into contention at the ¾ came Time on My Hand, but American Ivy rebuffed the challenge, prevailing in the afternoons fastest race 1:54:3, for owner Joe P Racing LLC of Delray Beach, Fl.

American Ideal had 3 daughters enter the winners circle, followed closely by his Blue Chip Farm stable mate, Roll with Joe who had 2 winners on the 

Molson Pace Post Position Draw Complete

London, May 23, 2016 -- The post-position draw for this year’s $150,000 Molson Pace was conducted during this evening’s pre-game show at The Raceway in London and it was three-time defending champion State Treasurer drawing the coveted rail in his quest for an historic fourth consecutive title.

The son of Real Desire may not be the intimidating presence he would have been at this time last year from post one. He has gone winless so far in three starts this season and his connections will be hoping that another trip to London will get his season back on track.

Last year’s runner-up, All Bets Off, drew the trailing post eight and is coming off a sparkling second-place finish behind Wiggle It Jiggle It in this past weekend’s Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield Park.

Here is a look at the entire field, along with their listed drivers, in post-position order:

1 State Treasurer – Chris Christoforou
2 Bettor Rock On N – Jody Jamieson
3 Sunfire Blue Chip – Mark MacDonald
4 Evenin Of Pleasure – Sylvain Filion
5 Machtu N – Trevor Henry
6 McWicked – Randy Waples
7 P H Super Cam – James MacDonald
8 All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley

Friday night’s program also includes OSS Gold divisions for three-year-old colt pacers, a quartet of City Of London Series Finals and a pair of Alliance Series Finals. First post for the 12-race card is 7:05 p.m.


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 23, 2016—Yonkers Raceway’s Tuesday afternoon (May 24) “French” trots feature the usual bigger fields and longer distances, but one more ingredient gets added into the mix…

...bigger pots.

Beginning with Tuesday’s last five races (7 through 11), commingling of the win and show pools between the North American and French-hubbed audiences takes place for all of Yonkers’ overseas-exported events throughout the season.

“We’re extremely pleased and grateful for all the work that was put in to make this happen,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. “We appreciate everyone’s support and invite fans to play into what are now going to be significantly larger pools.”

After Tuesday, the next scheduled “French” program is June 21 (Yonkers has its live racing hiatus from June 1-12, inclusive). 

Sinclair trainees one-two in Gail's Diner Series Final

Nichols, N.Y. -- Owner-trainer Mike Sinclair's Heavenly Bet ($4.60, part of entry) overcame post 8 and controlled the terms through the middle of the race en route to a 1:55 score over her stablemate Winners Over in the $23,700 Gail's Diner Series Final on Sunday (May 22) afternoon at Tioga Downs.

While Winners Over (Dan Clements) was away most sharply in the field of eight, Scott Coulter gradually worked Heavenly Bet forward through a :27.3 first quarter mile before clearing with just over a circuit to go. The two would continue at the head of the field throughout, with Heavenly Bet spared of pressure due to a failed first-over bid by Ghost Runner (Tom Jackson). After intermediate fractions of :56.4 and 1:24.4 over good going, the 3-year-old Bettor's Delight filly faced a challenge from her stablemate on the far turn. Heavenly Bet proved superior of the Sinclair pair, holding sway by 3/4 length.  Well Shaded (Fern Paquet, Jr.) emerged out of traffic to take third, while Shesgotthebeat--a winner in both her preliminary events--only could manage a fourth-place finish after she was compromised by badly stalling cover on the far turn.

The afternoon's other three featured events--an $11,000 Open Pace and two $7,500 second-round divisions of the Nichols True Value Series--all went to driver Tom Jackson, who led all drivers on the 13-race program with that natural hat trick. Meadows invader Nitro Seelster ($4.40) sustained a first-over push to reel in Believe This Bob for a 1:52 Open win, while Fresh Cut ($44.80, 1:54.2) and Le Gambe ($4.30, 1:54.1) prevailed in their respective Nichols True Value splits.

No one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, resulting in a $208.67 carryover to Friday (May 27) evening's program.

Tioga Downs offers four programs next week, with a 6:30 p.m. EDT first post on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and a 1:30 p.m. EDT Memorial Day card on Monday.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Harness racing’s greatest traveling road show, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved back to Freehold Raceway for two trots in the eastern division of the series and when the judges hung the official signs Tony “the Capo” Verruso and Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Verruso scored with Sam’s Honeybee in 1:59.4 while Hechkoff won with The Franchise in 2:01.

No trotter has recently been more prolific in the Billings than Sam’s Honeybee,  a 10-year old daughter of  Victory Sam.  Beside her victory on Saturday night, her fifth of the season, Sam’s Honeybee has had two wins and a second in her last three starts and has vaulted Verruso near the top of the Billings leaderboard thus far this year.

After getting away softly from post five Verruso decided to go first-up with Sam’s Honeybee as the field approached the halfway point which proved to be a winning move when favored Shanghai Jack made a break while traveling along the pylons which caused some confusion and allowed Verruso and his charge to gain command as the field headed for the three quarters. Once clear on the lead Sam’s Honeybee opened daylight on the field and she cruised home an easy six-length winner over 24-1 shot High Flying, driven by James “Jimmy Boy” Marshall IV. Blazin Delores, in rein to “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello, took home the show dough.

“She's been real good and the light rain made the track very much to her liking,” Veruso said after his driving victory. “I knew there was a lot of speed so I just sat back and came first up and she was so up in the riggin’ I just gave her a tap and she went by and took off.”

After being sent off as a longshot in her last three starts today Sam’s Honeybee wore the favorites crown and returned a $3.60 win mutuel. She’s owned by her driver and is trained by Carl Gillespie.

Sent off as second choice in his split Hechkoff gave The Franchise a perfect journey.

When “Bullet Bob” Davis gunned Wygant Prince to the lead from the three-hole Hechkoff  left the gate swiftly with his trotter and fell into the two- hole behind Davis.Wygant Prince then cut the fractions and when the field approached the halfway point they rebuffed a challenge by Maurel N Hardy who was driven by “Hurricane Hannah” Miller. Davis then proceeded to keep Miller on the limb as the field approached the three quarters.
Meanwhile Hechkoff, cruising along  in the two-hole, bided his time and followed the leaders and when the field rounded the final turn Miller’s trotter showed signs of tiring which allowed Hechkoff  to rally The Franchise in the lane and collar Wygant Prince and go on to a length triumph. Maurel N Hardy finished third. 

Owned by his driver and trained by Kyle Spagnola The Franchise paid $7.00 for win..

Billings action continues with a western region trot on Wednesday, May 25, at Northfield Park followed by two non-wagering eastern region contests on Thursday, May 26 at Yonkers Raceway.

Boston Red Rocks scores at Big M

by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Boston Red Rocks may have been given a bit of a scare at the wire, but ended a trend of high-profile beaten favorites on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, scoring in his 2016 debut in a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

The Steve Elliott trainee, who is pointing toward the Meadowlands Pace, was permitted to set tepid fractions of :28, :56.2 and 1:24.1 while unchallenged. Ideal Rocky, who sat the pocket throughout, stayed with the 1-9 favorite and sprinted home during the final sixteenth to come up just a head short of pulling off the upset. Katies Rocker was third.Boston Red Rocks went the mile in a lifetime-best equaling 1:50.3 with Tim Tetrick in the bike and paid $2.20 to win for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks.

Earlier on the card, chalk players took two big punches to the chin.

Maestro Blue Chip stayed perfect in 10 starts this season, winning a division of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters in a lifetime-best 1:51.3.

Pinkman, the 2015 Hambletonian champion who was upset a week ago in his first start of the year, tasted defeat for a second straight outing as the 3-5 public choice. Like last week, Pinkman had a clear lead at three-quarters but could not maintain his advantage to the wire, settling for third as Crescent Fashion closed to get the place spot, 1½ lengths behind the winner.

Facing by far the stiffest task he’s had this year, Maestro Blue Chip was sent off at odds of 30-1 and returned $63.20 to his backers. David Miller drove the Jo Ann Looney-King trainee for owner Richard Poillucci

In a division of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers, another short favorite went down as Confederation Cup winner Rockin Ron lost for the first time in 11 starts this year, coming up a half-length short to Artistic Major, who scored for the team of Elliott and Tetrick in 1:48.1, a lifetime best.

After grabbing the early lead, 1-5 shot Rockin Ron was shuffled back after several lead changes and had to overcome a three-hole trip. As Artistic Major was tipping off cover and storming home to victory, Rockin Ron was desperately seeking room to race and did not find a clear path until the sixteenth pole. He had explosive pace from there to get second. Split The House was third.

Artistic Major returned $20.40 to win for owners Van Dusen, Cimaglio, Elliott and Patel.
THE CLIMB CONTINUES: The 12th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five once again did not have a single-ticket winner, meaning that the carryover for the next program has now swelled to $231,017.66. … All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,778,867. … The Meadowlands is back with live racing Friday at 7:15 p.m.