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Wednesday, August 31, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 30, 2016—Tuesday afternoon’s gods of the open draw did not torture either prohibitive favorite for Yonkers Raceway’s pair of Saturday night half-million-dollar Triple Crown events.

Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder drew post position No. 4 for Yonkers Trot No. 62 and Hempt Memorial/Adios champ Racing Hill landed the three-hole for the 61st Messenger Stakes.

The Trot goes as the eighth race on the Raceway’s 13-race card (approximate post time 9:35 PM), with the Messenger directly after (approx. post 9:55 PM). First post is the usual 7:10 PM.  

The draw for Yonkers Trot No. 62…1-Iron Mine Bucky (George Dennis), 2-Celebrity Express (John Campbell), 3-Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley), 4-Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron), 5-Lagerfeld (Mark MacDonald), 6-Steed (Brian Sears), 7-Hititoutofthepark (Corey Callahan), 8-Cufflink Hanover (Jason Bartlett).

The draw for Messenger Stakes No. 61…1-Stonebridge Beach (Pat Lachance), 2-Don’tcallmefrancis (Joe Bongiorno), 3-Racing Hill (Brett Miller), 4-Western Fame (MacDonald), 5-Fernando Hanover (George Brennan), 6-Another Daily Copy (Callahan), 7- Dr. J Hanover (Zeron), 8-Manny (Chris Lems).

Note that both Tony Alagna-trained horses (Racing Hill and Dr. J  Hanover) and both Ron Burke-trained horses (Don’tcallmefrancis and Fernando Hanover) shall race uncoupled, as per updated New York State Gaming Commission rules.  Program changes, if any, shall be made Wednesday morning.

In the Trot, the road to the big coin obviously goes through Marion Marauder, who was the handiest of winners in last week’s lone, $40,000 elimination.

“He’s just developed into the perfect horse to drive,” Zeron said. “I raced him from off the pace both times in the Hambletonian, but he had no problem leaving the gate last week.

“I was very impressed with him in his first small-track start. The may the draw played, with me right next to Dan (Daley, Smalltownthrowdown), I can sort of assess everything at the start.

“This is my first drive in this race, and I’d love to win it.”

For the season, Marion Marauder, a 3-year-old son of Muscle Hill, has won seven of his nine starts ($874,905). Paula Wellwood trains for mom, Marion, and son, Devin Keeling.

As for Racing Hill, his trainer nearly had to go for the antacid pills during the post-position pills.

“I watched it on-line,” Alagna said, “and there were two horses and two numbers (3 and 8) left.  I was envisioning having my two horses getting the 7- and 8-holes, but it worked out.”

Try convincing the Manny folks of that.

Racing Hill “trained great on the half at Gaitway and couldn’t be coming into this race any better.” The Tom Hill-owned homebred son of Roll with Joe has been board-perfect (10 starts, 4 wins, 5 seconds, 1 thirds) this season ($961,702).

No eliminations were needed to this race, as only eight entered.  

Alagna co-owned and trained Revenge Shark, last season’s winner.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Details on Upcoming Meadowlands Live Racing

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands will resume live racing for two weekends beginning on Friday, September 9. The racing will follow a Friday & Saturday schedule on September 9 & 10 and 16 & 17.

There will be a double draw for the two weekends in September conducted each Tuesday with a box close of 9:00 A.M. The condition sheet for opening weekend will be online Tuesday, August 30.

Overnight racing will include the popular dash for the “G” note short series for pacing mares, pacing horses and claiming pacers.

The Kindergarten races for two-year-olds trotters and pacers will have a leg here each weekend. The series will then go on hiatus until the fifth and last preliminary leg on October 28 leading into the November 5 $150,000e Finals and Consolations, both at The Meadowlands. The point standings may be seen here.

Qualifiers will be raced on Friday, September 2 at 9:30 a.m. The box for these will close on Thursday, September 1 by 10:00 A.M.

Questions should be directed to the racing office at 201-842-5130.


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 29, 2016—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Tuesday afternoon’s (Aug. 30) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,031.12

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

Note that Tuesday is a matinee card, with first post at 1 PM.


  by john manzi for the Billings Amateur Series

In the first race on the Monday card of August 29 at Plainridge Park in Massachusetts, if one was to wager on a horse because they liked its name, it’s a good bet they’d have wagered on Trotalot, an accomplished 9-year old altered son of SJ’s Photo. And for those game individuals who did, they would be raking in the profits because Trotalot won the trotting contest in the eastern region of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series.

Bob “the Headhuntrer” Hechkoff, an executive recruiter by trade, was at the controls when Trotalot took the lead from the pole position and led the field throughout winning the race in a time of 1:56.4. But that triumph didn’t come easy especially when Just Like Lloyd and driver“Bay State Bob” Kenney came calling at the end of the mile.

Trotalot and Just Like Lloyd matched stride for stride in the deep stretch but Hechkoff’s charge prevailed, albeit by a long neck.

“I heard Bob’s (Kenney) trotter coming at us and gaining slowly but thankfully they ran out of racetrack,” Hechkoff said.

Third place went to Shelikescandy in rein to “Buffalo Bob” Davis.

Trotalot paid $4.00 for win which was the trotter’s fifth victoryof the season and 23rd of the gelding’s career. He’s owned by RBH Ventures and Kyle Spagnola and trained by Spagnola. For Hechkoff, it marked his 10th seasonal driving victory and 87th of his amateur career.
Next Billings action will be in the Midwest region over the five-eighths mile track at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, September 3rd.  

Every Way Out remains undefeated in Reynolds

Nichols, N.Y. -- Every Way Out ($3.00) made every yard a winning one in the $52,780 Solicitor, a W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes event for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Monday (August 29) evening at Tioga Downs.

The son of If I Can Dream and Every Play pushed through up the pegs to establish the early lead, forcing Cougar Bait (Marcus Miller) into the pocket on approach to the first turn. Every Way Out controlled the terms through sectionals of :28.3, :57.3, and 1:26 before he was forced to brace for a bid from Cougar Bait out of the pocket. Every Way Out prevailed by a half length, staving off Cougar Bait while driven to complete the one-mile journey in 1:54. Rock the Boat (John Cummings, Jr.) stayed on from a clear tracking trip to hold third.

Tim Tetrick drove Every Way Out to his sixth victory in as many career starts for owners Howard Taylor, Abraham Basen, Edwin Gold, and Thomas Lazzaro and trainer Dylan Davis.

Tetrick also won the first $31,590 division of the Lorraine, just holding sway with Lets Havea Party ($3.90) over Ella Christina (Marcus Johansson) and Well What's New (Kyle DiBenedetto) in 1:54.1. Tony Alagna trains the Art Major-City Delight filly for Brittany Farms and Marvin Katz.

The other Lorraine split saw Loreenas Ruffian ($13.40) draw clear in hand to a 1:53 score over Touchamatic (Aaron Byron), while odds-on favorite Ameraway (Marcus Miller) could only muster a third-place finish from off the pace. Trainer-driver Charlie Norris co-owns the McArdle-She's a Ruff One filly with Leonard Buckner and Rebecca Ewing.

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 2) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.


August 30, 2016) – RUS America is pleased to announce Racing Under Saddle (RUS) will be returning to Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment on Saturday, November 5, 2016 as a non-wagering event to be conducted between races on the evening program. 

The race will be carded as an ‘open’ event with the Race Office determining the field from those entered.  If enough horses are entered, a second race will be carded to be run the same evening.  Entries will be accepted by the racing office according to the schedule posted on the condition sheet.

In order to qualify for RUS racing, a horse must show within 90 days of the race date (November 5) a clean, charted RUS line with a minimum time requirement of 2:08 over a half mile track, 2:06 over a five-eighths oval; 2:04 over a seven-eighths mile or larger oval.    Qualifying races will be offered for those horses intending to race in the Meadowlands event starting October 14; to be contested after regular qualifiers.  A minimum of three horses will be required for a qualifier to be scheduled.

Trainers who intend to start a horse in a RUS event at the Meadowlands but have not started a horse there this year are advised they must complete and submit a racing application to Director and Race Secretary of Standardbred Racing Peter Koch prior to October 21, 2016 (or prior to October 14 if planning to qualify on the first day of qualifiers).

Additional information will be forthcoming.  At this time, any questions should be directed to Allan Schott at

For further information regarding the RUS event at the Meadowlands or anything else related to RUS in the United States, you are invited to visit  Those interested in Racing Under Saddle are invited to become a member of RUS America.  Membership is free. 

Planet Rock Sets Track Record in NYSS at Monticello Raceway

by Shawn Wiles

Owner Ken Jacobs and trainer Linda Toscano came to Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon with a full quiver.  On the programs first race of the day, the regular Sires Stake for 2 year Old Pacing Fillies, racing for a purse of $52,500 showcased Planet Rock.  The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven – Villa Hanover filly wasted no time leaving from post position 4, in the 5 horse field to show the field thru fractions of 28.2, 58:0, 1:27:1 to win well in hand in 1:55, pacing her last ¼ in 27.4, setting  a new track record for 2 Year Old Pacing Fillies. Breaking the previous record of 1:55.2 set by Freetime in 2012, Planet Rock remain flawless, with 6 wins in as many starts with lifetime earnings of $123,000.

The combination of Toscano/ Trick swept both ends of the early daily double, the second race was first 1st split of the Excelsior A’s Tim Tetrick went down the road with Yourlipstogodsears (Art Major-Role Reversal) score in 1:57.3 for owners South Street Farm & George & Theresa Rath.

The Jacobs/Toscano/ Tetrick combo struck again with yet another impressive filly, Robin J, the daughter of Roll With Joe – Mommy Robin Q, was stellar as she scored wire to wire in 1:56.2 by 3 lengths.   The filly now sports a bank roll of $158,000 thus far in her brilliant freshman career.  The win gave Tim Tetrick a hat trick for the day.

Monday, August 29, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 29, 2016—Post position draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 62 and Messenger Stakes No. 61 shall take place Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 30) in Yonkers Raceway’s winner’s circle.

The pair of $500,000 Triple Crown events go Saturday night, with Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder and Hempt/Adios winner Racing Hill leading their respective fields.

The draws are scheduled between Tuesday’s ninth (approximate post time 4:06 PM) and 10th (approximate post time 4:33 PM) races, the second and third ‘French’ trots on the program.  

Bonnie Insko Dies

Bonnie Christine Insko, 82, wife of Hall of Fame harness driver Del Insko died August 25, 2016, in her home,  with her husband and family at her side.

Born April 1, 1934, in Rolph, IA, daughter of Andrew and Christine (Stephensen) Nelson. United in marriage to Delmer Insko on March 26, 1951, in Humboldt, IA.

Bonnie was the co-owner of the Del Insko Stables, she was for 16 years employed with the Rockton School District and a longtime member of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church.

She is survived by her husband, Del of South Beloit; children, Delvin (Katherine) Insko of Winnebago, Christy (Joe) Taddei of Tulsa, OK, Thomas (Sandra) Insko of South Beloit; grandchildren, Jackie, Erik, Andrew, Aaron, Danielle, Joshua, David, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Christy; great-grandchildren, Gemma, Gabriel, Judah, Mercy, Coby; siblings, DeLon "Butch" Nelson of Roscoe; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceded in death by her parents and brother, Arlo Nelson.

A “Celebration of Life” was held Sunday, August 28, 2016, at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church.Share a memory or condolence at

From Bonnie Insko's Celebration of life service.

Bonnie Insko. A wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, an animal lover, a champion of causes, a heart of gold and the Queen of her family. Those are some of the titles her family gave to her as they pondered over her life. But as the stories of Bonnie’s life unfold, it will be the stories of love and laughter, kindness, selflessness, and grace that will remain in their hearts. She was the Queen. She held everything together. She took care of her household, her family and all the critters that come with living on a farm and raising three kids. Bonnie never gave up – if she believed in something or someone she stood by them and fought for them. If someone needed her help – she would do whatever she could. She would read medical books, consult veterinary manuals and learn whatever it took to help anyone or anything in need. Until the very end – she waited for each of her friends and family to come so they could have the comfort of saying their last good bye. She saw her Great Granddaughter for the first time and made a video that will be cherished. She waited for Sheri Connell and Linda Venucci – some of her very best friends, to come and say their goodbyes because she wanted to hear their voices one last time. She held each person’s hand, or gave them a thumbs up to acknowledge their presence with grace and love. She stayed in the game until she decided it was time to go.

Bonnie Christine Nelson. One week before her 17th birthday – met Delmer Myron Insko, and they became husband and wife. He was only 19 and as Del said it – they were just two dumb farm kids. Those two dumb kids raised a family, ran a farm and stayed together for 65 years. It was complicated they said - but she never gave up. She stayed on that farm, she raised his children, she supported his career back and forth to New York, and she loved him for a life time. It is through complications that love grows. Del sat by her side, supporting her, giving her comfort, and holding her as she made her the passage from her life on the farm to her eternal life in heaven just as he had promised to do a lifetime ago. Til death do us part. There’s nothing complicated about that. There was nothing dumb about those two young farm kids.

With young boys – come critters. They said Bonnie welcomed all kinds, any kind, and if she had a gift for selflessness, it surely became apparent when her first born brought home a baby crow. Most people wouldn’t know where to start at raising a bird. – Not Bonnie. She ripped out the manuals and figured out how to feed a baby crow. One of Ole’s favorite memories was of raising that baby bird by hand with his mother. They would poke bread down its throat and soften it with water. The baby crow survived and soon became a part of the family. They named it Crowder. Crowder followed Bonnie around the farm. When she dug in the garden she gave Crowder the worms. Crowder had a favorite pastime though, He would wait until Bonnie hung the wash on the line to dry. Then he would fly down and pluck the clothespins off the line and watch the laundry hit the ground - then laugh as only a crow can laugh.

Crowder once came home with a dead mouse in his beak. Bonnie was horrified that the mouse was poisoned. Her solution – typical of any mother - was to wash his mouth out with soap.

And as all kids do – Crowder survived.

She loved her animals. One of her favorites was SAM. Sam was a wire haired crazy looking griffin. Sam – well – Samantha - loved to run the farm and get into any kind of smelly thing she could find. But whatever it was - it didn’t matter when Bonnie called. She didn’t call like a normal person would call their dog - SAM was a ranch hand, and when Bonnie wanted SAM to come to the house – she would get on that loud speaker and call – SAM, Come to the house –Just like the other ranch hands, SAM would stop whatever she was doing and make a run for the house. Sam – the stinky dog that she was, got a bath every night -- and before going to bed - was sprayed with Charlie Perfume so she could smell nice and enjoy the good life.

Bonnie and Sam would go out to the barns together every two hours through the night as she would check and care for a mother horse about to deliver. It was Bonnie that made sure that all was going well and be there until the foal was delivered and healthy.

Bonnie was resourceful and frugal. You would often see pods of fry pans that she picked up at rummage sales – filled with water and set out all over the yard for bird baths and for critters that needed water or a cool respite. The animals were her family and she took care of all of them with humbleness and love.

Bonnie’s kids said their mom never really got mad. She would show disappointment but through that disappointment, she taught them to learn and become better people out of every situation. I’m not really sure how that applied to the time she allowed Christy to play at their good wooden desk. The last thing she said was DONT YOU DARE TOUCH THAT INK. Well—What do you that happens when you tell a 5 year old not touch things? When Christy got a little too quiet for Bonnies liking - Christy heard her mom stomping up the stairs to see what was going on. She had to quickly clean up the ink that SOME HOW spilled in the desk drawer. She threw the towels under the white bedspread but when that didn’t work she had no choice but to hide under the bed and hold on for dear life as her mom – the one who didn’t get angry –dragged her out from under the bed . Christy admitted that didn’t turn out so well. – but - with their mom they always knew they would be forgiven unconditionally. Once the incident was over – it was forgotten just as it was with everyone she encountered. That was their mom.

To Tommy, living on a farm - and being much younger than his siblings – was a bit of a struggle. There weren’t a lot of friends to play with. SO his mom stepped in. She became his side kick and best friend. If he was interested in something – it became her interest. If he wanted to golf she went golfing, if he wanted to fish – she took him fishing. Tommy always admired his moms perseverance. On one of their fishing trips, a snake decided to join them. Fear is the usual response to a snake but not for Bonnie. Bonnie picked up a stick and wacked at that snake until she thought she chased it away. Well it soon became a battle of wills. They were near a nest and that snake was protecting her babies. Bonnie was just as stubborn and nothing was going to spoil her day with her son. She wacked at that snake until she won. She wasn’t going to let anything get in her way. I am sure –Tommy - being a young boy, thought it was great fun to whack at snakes with his mom. I don’t know many moms who would outlast a mama snake. Bonnie did and Tommy got a memory to cherish.
Bonnie was stubborn, persevering and strong but If she had any weaknesses it was for her grandchildren. She loved nothing more than being there and being a grandmother to Jackie, Erick, Andrew and Aaron. She was never happier than when the kids were running through the house crashing upstairs and downstairs as little kids do. The kids wanted for nothing from their grandmother – if ever there was a need she was there to fill it. Her greatest wish was for them to be kids and do what kids do.

Bonnie fought the good fight. Life wasn’t always easy for her. She grew up during the depression and often the only food they had to eat was the Bullfish she caught when she went fishing as a small child. Living on a farm wasn’t always easy. She worked hard, she raised her kids, she helped her husband and took care of the household when he commuted between New York and home. She also took care of her parents. They too lived on the farm. Bonnie was there for them as they aged and passed through their golden -and perhaps not so golden years. She WAS the Queen of her household and she fought and cared for all of them as they struggled through life’s challenges. She loved, she laughed, she cried, and she fought for what was right and what she believed in. It was her choice in the end – to not fall prey to the debilitating effects of medical intervention. She lived and died as she chose.
The Apostle Paul, who taught the healing power of forgiveness after living a life of judging and persecuting the followers of Jesus, wrote this from his jail cell as he awaited execution: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.
Christy Sang Jesus loves me – by her mother’s bedside.

One of Bonnie’s final gestures was to raise her arm and acknowledged that she too had fought the good fight.

Bonnie - My Good and Faithful Servant, You have fought the good fight like no other.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Solar Sister defeats Lady Shadow in Artiscape; favorites upended in EBC

Nichols, N.Y. -- Solar Sister ($9.50) stole the show in the final 150 yards of Sunday (August 28) afternoon's stakes-laden card at Tioga Downs, dueling down prohibitive favorite Lady Shadow for a 1:49.4 triumph in the $200,000 Artiscape distaff pace.  Favorites were upended in the Empire Breeders Classics as well, as No Clouds Bluechip ($7.00) and Fresh Cut ($36.00) both took top honors in their respective events for New York-sired 3-year-old pacers. On the undercard, trainer-driver Åke Svanstedt swept a trio of W. N. Reynolds Memorial events for 2-year-old trotters.

Tasked with a second-row start in a field of 10, Solar Sister sat just of a contested pace in the initial stages of the Artiscape, working into fifth early as Lady Shadow (Yannick Gingras) pushed clear of Table Talk (Andy Miller) after a :26.2 first quarter. On approach to the clubhouse turn, Doug McNair angled Solar Sister first-over, only offering mild progress into a :54 half mile. The 4-year-old Mach Three mare did her best work up the far side, working to within a length of Lady Shadow through a :27.2 third quarter and subsequently dueling with the 1-1/8-mile world record holder. The two drew off from a fading Table Talk, and Solar Sister dueled to the fore in mid-stretch. Solar Sister's 1:49.4 mile time gives her a share of the track record for 4-year-old pacing mares that was established by Anndrovette five years ago.

Lady Shadow would have to settle for runner-up honors as the 2-5 favorite, while Devil Child (David Miller) sustained a massive three-wide bid off the far turn to capture third.

Gregg McNair trains the homebred Solar Sister for Ontarians David Willmot and Clay Horner.

Favorites were upended in both Empire Breeders Classic events as well, with No Clouds Bluechip and Fresh Cut both prevailing off cozy stalking trips.

In the $239,225 Filly Classic, Brett Miller pushed No Clouds Bluechip into play with just over a quarter mile to go, overtaking a fading Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) before engaging Wishy Washy Girl (Jim Morrill, Jr.) on approach to the far turn. The Roll With Joe filly edged clear authoritatively, sprinting off by 4-3/4 lengths en route to a 1:50.1 triumph as the second favorite. Wine Snob (John Campbell) posted belated uncovered gains to take second at 59-1, while even-money favorite Penpal (Pat Lachance) could only overcome stale early cover enough to save third down the grandstand side.

John Berger trains No Clouds Bluechip for owners Richard Carney, Farrell Carney, and Barbara Berger.

The development of the $240,475 Classic for colts and geldings came as no surprise, but the outcome stunned. Marcus Miller pushed forward early with Fresh Cut and ultimately established a cozy pocket trip with a circuit to go after yielding to 1-4 favorite American Passport (Scott Zeron) at the winning post. While the shape of the race held true to expected form, Fresh Cut's strong turn of foot from the pocket in the final eighth of a mile proved plenty to reel in American Passport and also stave off a late bid from 41-1 runner-up Stolen Glimpse (Yannick Gingras) for a 1:51.1 victory. American Passport ultimately faded to third after he was gathered in.

Erv Miller trains Fresh Cut, a son of American Ideal, for the Bay Pond Racing Stable.

Svanstedt sweeps Reynolds

Already renowned for his mastery in the kingdom of trotting, Svanstedt revealed why that contention possesses such veracity as he conditioned and steered New Jersey Viking (Muscle Hill-Hall Of Wishes), Ice Attraction (Muscle Hill-The Ice Queen) and Evelyn (Muscle Hill-Viva Las Lindy) to victory in their respective splits. While both New Jersey Viking ($2.90) and Ice Attraction’s journeys ($3.10) to the wire in their contests, which are relegated solely to 2-year-old colts and fillies, were quite straightforward, Evelyn’s ($5.20) provided a much more extensive amount of drama.

Commencing his mile from post position eight, New Jersey Viking went right to the fore and was never threatened as he cruised around the Nichols oval. Owned by Knuttson Trotting and Little E LLC, the colt collected his second career triumph from five trips to the post. Two of his previous engagements were fourth-place finishes in the Peter Haughton Memorial and New Jersey Sire Stakes final.

New Jersey Viking tripped the timer in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark, and increased his bankroll to more than $69,268.

Southwind Moody (Yannick Gingras) and Bill’s Man (Corey Callahan) were second and third respectively.

While not quite as dominant as her male counterpart, Ice Attraction demonstrated why she merits respect. The public’s selection was content to sit in the pocket while Overdraft Volo (Andy Miller) cut the mile, until Svanstedt pulled his charge on the far turn. There was never a doubt who would be appearing in the winner’s enclosure as the filly always had her rival measured.

Owned by her trainer, Douglas Sipple, Mal and Janet Burroughs and Little E LLC, Ice Attraction strode across the finish line in 1:56, a new lifetime best, and scored her second career win to improve her resume to 6-2-1-1. Her earnings now stand at $35,300.

Overdraft Volo and Caviart Wonder (Matt Kakaley) came home second and third, respectively.

Although Evelyn’s trip around the track was not without its impediments, the filly persevered after being shuffled back to fourth from second. Once pulled three-wide at the three-quarter pole, Evelyn passed her dueling colleagues Southwind Avanti (Marcus Johansson) and Treviso (Charlie Norris) to break her maiden in her sixth attempt.

The filly, owned by Svanstedt, Little E LLC, Borge Nasstrom and JT45, equaled the track standard for her age, sex and gait with a final clocking of 1:55.2. Her record now stands at 6-1-1-1 and she has earned $47,310. Despite not winning prior to today, Evelyn had displayed talent with a sixth in the James Doherty Memorial and a second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final.

Southwind Avanti outlasted Treviso for second.


Perhaps not well known but the rules that governed the recently completed North American Amateur Drivers Association Trotting Series at Monticello Raceway stated that the top three in points upon the completion of the 10-week series would be eligible for a drawing with the winner earning an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand when a NAADA Team will compete against their counterparts down under in a Friendship Competition in early December.

Peter Kleinhans was the winner of that lottery drawing on Saturday, August 27. He prevailed over Hannah Miller and Tony Ciufettelli and now he’ll be the captain of the American team in that competition.

Kleinhans competed in seven of the ten legs in the series and drove three winners which earned him 53 points, third best in the 10-week series.

When contacted about winning the drawing Kleinhans was really excited. “I was shocked but I’m absolutely looking forward to race in New Zealand,” he said. “I never thought I’d be in a position to win the trip but I’m thrilled and certainly appreciative. I was there when I was 10 years old and this is a great opportunity to once again return to New Zealand.”

To quell any debates about the lottery drawing NAADA president and founder, Joe Faraldo, photographed the entire procedure and displayed it on Facebook.

“Peter’s name was drawn over the other finalists who were eligible to win a free trip to New Zealand as part of a US team traveling there in December of this year,” Faraldo explained. “Peter has been an asset to NAADA and drives a horse very well. He will be a great ambassador for amateur racing down under.”

But before the Friendship Competition takes place in New Zealand NAADA member and top American amateur driver, Hannah Miller, will represent the U.S.A. in the upcoming World Cup of Amateur Racing which begins on September 7th in Budapest, Hungary.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 27, 2016—A year ago, it was Purrfect Bags. Saturday night, it was Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton, $3) wreaking havoc for co-owner and trainer Jo Ann-Looney King in Yonkers Raceway’s Lady Maud Pace.

‘Sassy’ won this $109,050 edition for 3-year-old fillies, rolling past Apple Bottom Jeans (Jason Bartlett) late in 1:53.

            Odds-on Newborn Sassy, leaving from post position No. 3, left into an immediate two-hole behind second-choice Apple Bottom Jeans.
The fave went to pull pocket, but ‘ABJ’ was not in a giving mood. She reseated her rival, then put up intervals of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:25.2.

Skinny Dipper (Brian Sears) made a move out of third, but backpedaled in a hurry. Apple Bottom Jeans did get some nighttime daylight, opening a couple of lengths entering the final turn.

However, Newborn Sassy closed ranks and angled out, wearing down the leader late and winning by a half-length. Hug a Dragoness (George Brennan) photoed Cheyenne Triengel (Scott Zeron) for third, with Time on My Hands (Dan Dube) settling for the smallest envelope. Skinny Dipper faded to last among the happy half-dozen.

For ‘Sassy,’ a Western Ideal miss also co-owned by CC Racing, it was her fourth win in 13 ’16 tries. The exacta paid $5.70, with the triple returning $21.60.

While King won this race for a second consecutive season, Stratton completed his own ‘double,” having guided Kryptos to win the Lismore Pace for this same division in late May.

“I knew we had a bit of a post disadvantage (against Apple Bottom Jeans), so I took a chance at moving again,” Stratton said. “I’m not surprised Jason (Bartlett) wouldn’t let me go, so I just had to wait.

“She’s a very talented filly, and I knew it pained (regular driver) Timmy (Tetrick) not be get to drive her tonight. I’m just fortunate the connections had confidence in me.”

Saturday’s $45,000 Open Handicaps were won by…

--Pace, Doctor Butch (Brent Holland, $6.70) in 1:50.4;
--Trot, Undercover Strike (Bartlett, $2.50) in 1:54.

Special Saturday props, too, to Kevin McDermott, who earned his 1,500th  career training victory after Badix Hanover (Tyler Buter, $8.40) ‘won the bob’ in the $18,000, first-race pace (1:52.3).  


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 27, 2016—Pole-sitting and pocketed, 14-1 Wildflower (Dan Dube, $31) picked off a drifting, odds-on Celebrity Eventsy (John Campbell) Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $118,574 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old fillies.

The 1-4 choice had no visible excuse, waltzing around the oval (:28.2, 58.2; 1:27.3) with minimal first-up pressure from Windowshopper (Ake Svanstedt). The people’s preference owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but tired late.

Even with high-line urging from her chauffeur, she bore out more than enough to give her pursuer a shot. Wildflower ducked inside and stuck her tongue out a the wire, winning the Kodak moment in 1:56.1.

Southwind Hope (Andy Miler), who slipped out in front of a gapper down the backside, offered good late foot to grab third while beaten a half-length.

Dream Child (Jason Bartlett) and Windowshopper grabbed the final pay envelopes, while Hillosophical (Scott Zeron) was outrun and Dancing in Thehall (Mack MacDonald) broke.

For Wildflower, one of three trained by Svanstedt here (Dancing in Thehall and Windowshopper, all racing separately), the daughter of Muscle Hill is co-owned by her trainer, Douglas Sipple and Mal & Janet Burroughs, it was her third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $60.50, with the triple returning $119.

“It’s the first time I’ve driven her,” Dube said. “I looked at the program and saw she doesn’t make breaks, and thought she’d be a good horse for this track.

“I saw John’s filly (Celebrity Eventsy) starting to drift and thought I had a chance. When she made that last lunge, I thought I won it.” 


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 27, 2016—Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder (Scott  Zeron, $2.60) made short work of his small-track debut, winning Saturday night’s lone $40,000 elimination for the 62nd Yonkers Trot.

“Marion,” starting from post position No. 3 in a Yonkers Raceway game of musical chairs (nine to eliminate one), took things in his own hooves early. The 3-10 choice moved past first leader Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley), then had few issues (:29.2, :58.4, 1:28.1, 1:56.2).

The margin was a length-and-quarter over “Smalltown,” with Iron Mine Bucky (George Dennis) a drifting, three-hole third.

The real fun came in the back of the bus, when the second-tier Gleaming Memory (Ake Svanstedt) made an ugly break that directly wiped out Lagerfeld (Mark MacDonald), while any number of the trailers also broke, were impeded or were just plain outrun.

Steed (Brian Sears) was a best-of-the-rest fourth, with Hititoutofthepark (Corey Callahan), Cuffllink Hanover (Jason Bartlett), Celebrity Express (John Campbell) and Lagerfeld also earning berth into next Saturday’s $500,000 final (open draw for second jewel of Trotting Triple Crown is Tuesday morning).  

For Marion Marauder, a 3-year-old son of Muscle Hill trained by Paula Wellwood, who kept in the family for co-owners Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling, it was his seventh win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $7.80, with the triple returning $22.60.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way he trotted the half tonight,” Zeron said. “I’m confident in his abilities to get the job done in the final.”

"We just wanted him to get off the gate clean and command a race on a half-mile, Mike Keeling, husband of the winning trainer, said. "I think he showed everybody that he can do that.  He steered great and he trotted well."

Saturday’s card also featured a pair of events for 3-year-old fillies, the $118,574 Hudson Trot and $109,050 Lady Maud Pace (3YO fillies).

Jacksrluckytoo vaults clear in top Vernon pace

Vernon, N.Y. -- John Marvin, Jr.'s Jacksrluckytoo ($2.70) vaulted off cover to circle the field in Saturday's $8,000 Miracle Mile/Open Pace on Saturday (August 27) evening at Vernon Downs.

The 4-year-old He's All That gelding was in no hurry early on, settling to last in the field of five while Modern Gesture (John MacDonald) controlled early splits of :26 and :54.1. As Major War (Fern Paquet, Jr.) made first-over gains to push the pace, Jacksrluckytoo followed intently to slipstream cover through the far turn before making his authoritative push off cover to take the lead in upper stretch. Jacksrluckytoo drew off to a 2-3/4 length victory over the late-gaining No Monkeys Allowed (Truman Gale) in 1:49.3, while Major War was an engulfed third.

Greg Merton drove Jacksrluckytoo for trainer Patti Harmon.

John MacDonald led all drivers with four wins on the 13-race card, while Chris Lems notched a hat trick.

Live racing returns to the Miracle Mile on Friday (September 2) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.

Believe This Bob, Prairie Fortune narrowly score in Tioga Opens

Nichols, N.Y. -- Favorites eked out narrow victories in co-featured $13,000 Open 1 events on Saturday (August 27) evening at Tioga Downs, with Prairie Fortune ($6.30) and Believe This Bob ($2.80) both scoring repeat wins.

Prairie Fortune, a 4-year-old Arapa Victory gelding, used his customary tactics to overcome post 8 and capture his 23rd career victory in the Open 1 Trot, carded as race four. Jim Meittinis angled Prairie Fortune second-over behind Rossini (Scott Coulter) on approach to the backstretch, subsequently moving three-wide off the far turn. Prairie Fortune accelerated immediately upon cornering, mowing down pacesetter Its Payday Friday (Mike Simons) in the last yards of a 1:54 mile. B L Class Act (John Cummings, Jr.) held third from a pocket trip.

Trainer Mike Deters co-owns Prairie Fortune with Laurie Poulin.

In the Open 1 Pace, Believe This Bob controlled nearly all of the terms, brushing from the pocket with a circuit to go and digging in to repel a late charge from Andreios Kardia (Aaron Byron) for a 1:50.4 score. The 8-year-old Beach Romeo gelding battled stoutly through the last 300 yards to keep his pocket rival at bay, prevailing by a scant nose while That'll Be the Rei (Mike Merton) stayed on for third.

Mike Simons drove the 39-time winner for trainer Joe Skowyra and owner Mary Ann Larrimore.

Simons led all drivers with a hat trick, also teaming up with Crime of Passion ($4.80, 1:51.1) and Gold Star Roger ($5.10, 1:56.3) on the nine-race card.

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 28) afternoon; post time is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ken Jacobs and Linda Toscano look for a big day in NYSS Action

By Shawn Wiles

On Monday August 29, 2 Year Old Pacing Fillies will be featured on the afternoon’s card. The card has 2 heats of elite Sire Stake vying for a purse of $52,500 each, 4 heats of the Excelsior A’s, with a purse of $15,000 and 3 splits of the Excelsior B, with a purse of $6,600.  Ken Jacobs brings a strong duo of Planet Rock and Robin J to the fray, Planet Rock is the fastest filly of the bunch, and Robin J being the richest.

Planet Rock will start from post position 4 for trainer Linda Toscano in the 1st race of the day, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has been flawless in pari mutuel competition thus far in her brief career.  She has reeled off 5 consecutive wins in this company, with earning s of $97,665 with a speed badge of 1:52 taken at Vernon Downs for owner Kenneth Jacobs of Baldwinsville NY.  Tim Tetrick will drive the filly in the 5 horse field. Roaring To Go, who has been unlucky at drawing inside post positions, will take advantage of the best post of her career, will start from post 3 for trainer Kevin Lare of Snow White fame.  Team Miller brings the respectable Pleasant Roll, the son of Rock With Joe, will start from PP 5.

In the second division, race 8, another 5 horse field, Ken Jacobs brings another outstanding filly, Robin J.  The Roll With Joe lass has shown brilliant closing speed, she comes into the race with respectable credentials, 5 wins in 6 lifetime starts, and $131,605 in the bank.  She is also trained by Linda Toscano, and will be driven by Tim Tetrick. 

Local horsemen Gary Messenger brings Delilah De Vie in race 5, a division of the Excelsior B.  The son of Art Major has drawn post 5 in the 5 horse field.  His looking for his 3rd win a row in the company.  He is owned by Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger.


By John Manzi for the C.K.G.Billings Amateur Driving Series

After being out of action for a while Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford stormed back at the Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio  and guided Celtic Merchant to a near track record victory in Midwest Billings action on Thursday evening, August 25.

After starting from the pole position Oldford went down the road and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.4 triumph.

“It was good to be back in the sulky and even better being in the winners circle,” Old ford said via telephone after his driving victory. “I know Celtic Merchant went a good race but I was surprised when they told me that my old warhorse was just a couple of ticks off the track record.”

According to Oldford, trainer Terry Deters had Celtic Merchant in top form and he got over the track real easy. They trotted through fractions of :30.2; 1:00; and 1:30 before finishing six  lengths ahead of runner-up Patient I D driven by “Lawbook Larry” Farley. Third place went to Rompaway Beau and Gregg “Fast Greggy” Kiedel.

“Greenville is a very nice Fair and everyone there went out of their way to accommodate us,” Oldford  added. “Our race was sponsored by Donuts For Charity and everyone received donuts after the race.”

Celtic Merchant, a 13 year old Angus Hall gelding, notched his fifth seasonal triumph and 47th of his outstanding career while raising his lifetime earnings to over $367,000. Oldford, vice president of the CKG Billings Series and the Harness Racing  Museum’s  multiple recipient of their  Amateur Driver of the Year Award, scored his sixth seasonal driving victory and the 116th of his amateur career.

Southern Girl rebounds in Vernon distaff

Vernon, N.Y. -- Availed a clear pocket trip by Chris Lems, Connie Hochstetler's Southern Girl ($3.40) prevailed as the odds-on favorite in Thursday (August 25) evening's $7,500 top-level Miracle Mile distaff pace at Vernon Downs.

With the withdrawal of Jinxy's Delight leaving a field of four, Southern Girl had no trouble securing the pocket behind early pacesetter Keene Olivia (Truman Gale), drafting comfortably through early sectionals of :27.3 and :56.2. Lems angled the 4-year-old Sportsmaster mare off the pegs with just over a quarter mile to go to avoid being boxed in by Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.), and the pair made their move to the fore just after Keene Olivia completed the first three-quarters of the mile in 1:24. At the eighth pole, Southern Girl had overtaken the fading Keene Olivia, and the now 12-time winner had enough left to hold Asset Management a half length at bay in 1:51.4. Always Flash-n (Andy Gardner) was an even third, while Keene Olivia faded to finish last of the quartet.

For Southern Girl, a Homer Hochstetler trainee, the win was her third in five starts.

Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 26) evening, with first post at 6:45 p.m. Eastern. The 12-race card features the $193,000 Crawford Farms and $170,000  Muscle Hill trotting events, along with a pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 25, 2016—As if a million dollars in stakes purses isn’t enough, marking Saturday, Sept. 3, on the social calendar just became more meaningful.

For Yonkers Trot/Messenger Stakes evening, the Raceway is embellishing the experience with a freebie, as in a green auto commuter travel mug (while supplies last).

Beginning at 4 PM that afternoon, all existing or newly-enrolled Empire Club members can visit the promotions booth to receive their spiffy mug..

Also that evening, there’s an Empire Terrace buffet, with seatings from 6-10  PM. The cost is $19.95 for Empire Club members and $24.95 for non-members (plus tax and 15% gratuity).

Note that those guests who opened a new Empire City Bets account during August shall receive a free buffet coupon via e-mail.  

EBC Finals, Artiscape, Reynolds headline marquee Sunday at Tioga

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Nichols, N.Y. -- A trio of prestigious pacing events share top billing on Sunday (August 28) afternoon at Tioga Downs, with over $650,000 on the line in the Empire Breeders Classics for New York-sired 3-year-olds and the Artiscape for top distaffers.

In the $239,225 filly division of the Empire Breeders Classic, carded as the seventh of nine races on the afternoon program, elimination winners Penpal and No Clouds Bluechip square off against seven others. Penpal (post 5), a daughter of American Ideal, vaulted off the cover of Dime a Dance en route to a narrow 1:51.3 victory over sloppy going. Trainer Pat Lachance is once again listed to drive the 4-time winner, whose greatest success on the national stage came in her runner-up performance in the Mistletoe Shalee. No Clouds Bluechip (post 3) captured the other elimination in pillar-to-post fashion, earning her sixth career win in 1:53. Brett Miller was aboard for last week's odds-on win, and he is again nominated to drive the Roll With Joe filly for trainer John Berger.

Colts and geldings square off in a $240,475 final, programmed as race eight. American Passport (post 3) found new life in two recent Southern Tier appearances after failed bids in the Adios and the Cane Pace. The Tony Alagna-trained American Ideal colt repelled pressure en route to a 1:51 triumph in his elimination last week, and Scott Zeron is once again nominated to drive (also listed on Craftship). The 5-time winner faces the likes of Rooney winner Missile J (post 2, Tim Tetrick) and last week's other elimination winner Redneck Rally (post 5, Andy Miller), whose 39-1 upset over the likes of the heavily favored Roll Away Joe stunned.

A full field of 10 pacing mares are due to line up in the $200,000 Artiscape, the afternoon's finale. Despite the presence of millionaires Venus Delight (post 2, Jason Bartlett nominated) and Anndrovette (post 5, Tetrick), Ontario-based Lady Shadow has taken the distaff division by storm with wins in the Golden Girls and the Lady Liberty. The 5-year-old Shadow Play mare's 2:00.3 victory in the Golden Girls earned her the overall world record for pacers at the 1-1/8-mile distance. Yannick Gingras is nominated to drive the 22-time winner for trainer Ronald Adams.

While the three top-dollar events bring the Sunday card to a close, a trio of W. N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions provide for a healthy undercard. An octet of 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings vie for $55,780 in the Judge Moore (race 1), while ten trotting fillies contest a pair of $29,190 Meda splits (races 3 and 5).

Post time for the Sunday card at Tioga Downs is 1:30 p.m., with full coverage on the Tioga Downs Racing Network due to begin at 1:05 p.m.

Obrigado seeks to defend Crawford title

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Vernon, N.Y. -- Paul Kelley trainee Obrigado looks to defend his title in Friday (August 26) evening's $193,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon Downs, but he'll once again have to contend with the likes of Resolve, Homicide Hunter, and Flanagan Memory after squaring off against them throughout the season.

Obrigado (7-2 morning line second choice, post 7) has won 4 of 11 races this year, including the Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia, the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto Downs, and the Cleveland Classic at Northfield. While doing his best work on small tracks this season, his most impressive performance may well have come over two turns in the Cashman Memorial at the Meadowlands earlier in the month, where he escaped traffic on the far turn and stormed home in :26.4 in pursuit of Resolve. Regular driver Mark MacDonald will once again pilot the 6-year-old Boy Band gelding for the partnership of the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45.

Elitloppet runner-up and Cashman winner Resolve (5-2, post 6) looks to lead the charge to upend the defending champion in the night's tenth event, having also won the Arthur Cutler Memorial this season. Åke Svanstedt trains and drives the 5-year-old Muscle Hill entire. Flanagan Memory (9-2, post 8) also enters from the Cashman, finishing a gathered-in third after seizing command through a bold middle move. The 6-year-old Kadabra entire earned all four of his seasonal wins in Preferred company at Mohawk. Brian Sears will take over the lines for trainer Rene Dion.

While Obrigado, Resolve, and Flanagan Memory have faced each other on multiple occasions this year, a new shooter is quickly gathering momentum. Homicide Hunter (6-1, post 2)--representing Crawford Farms Racing--enters off a decisive 1:50.1 victory in last week's Sebastian K Invitational at Pocono, brushing to the fore with a circuit to go and edging away to a four-length score. David Miller handles the driving duties of the 4-year-old Mr Cantab gelding for trainer Chris Oakes.

In the $170,000 Muscle Hill for distaff trotters (race 9), 21-time winner Hannelore Hanover (5-2, post 7) looks to maintain her dominance after winning 12 of her 13 assignments this year. The 4-year-old daughter of Swan For All proved a decisive and handy winner in her Miss Versatility preliminary at Tioga on August 14, completing the mile in 1:52.4 over off going yet with much in reserve. Yannick Gingras will remain aboard the Ron Burke trainee, who also captured the Miami Valley Distaff and the Armbro Flight, as well as the Fresh Yankee and Hambletonian Maturity over the 1-1/8-mile distance.

Among those aiming to hand Hannelore Hanover her second defeat of the year are Jewels in Hock (7-2, post 2, John Campbell), 2015 Empire Breeders Classic winner Barn Doll (9-2, post 4, Jeff Gregory), and double millionaire Shake It Cerry (6-1, post 5, David Miller).

A pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings headline the undercard, with the undefeated Serious Major and Funknwaffles due to square off in the $55,500 eighth event.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cal Expo barn area opens Sept. 1

In preparation for the harness meeting that gets underway Saturday, October 22, the barn area at Cal Expo will open on Thursday, September 1, with the jog track opening the following day and the main track opening on Tuesday, September 6.

Harness racing at Cal Expo will be conducted for the fifth straight year under the Watch and Wager LLC banner. For more information, please go to

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tioga Downs increases purses

by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media

Nichols, N.Y. -- The Tioga Downs race office has announced a 20 per cent across-the-board purse increase, applied retroactively to races from Friday, August 19, and effective through the end of the current meet (Saturday, September 17).

Top-level Open purses increase from $11,000 to $13,000, maiden purses have been bumped up from $4,000 to $4,800, and similar increases occur across all classes.

Mark McDonald wins a pair of Sire Stakes for 3 Year Old Trotting Colts at Monticello

By Shawn Wiles

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, New York Sire Stakes featuring 3 Year Old Trotting Colts comprised much of the card. 2 divisions of regular Sire Stakes were contested with a purse of $59,100, the Excelsior’s A class racing for $15,000 and 1 the Excelsior B’s going for $6,600.

Smalltownthrowdown took advantage of the short 5 horse field to cut out a wire to wire performance in 1:56.2. The Cash Hall – Ann’s Promise colt won by 8 lengths, trotting his last stanza in 28:1 for winning owners Daley, Crawford, Brenner and Lombardo.  His earnings thus far this year are $157,000, this was his 3rd win in the elite Sire Stake division this season, with a slate of 12-5-2-1 and lifetime earnings of $280,000. He is trained and driven by Dan Daley, who was also celebrating his birthday today.

The Royal Harry and Ake Svanstedt who were making their first start since the Hambletonian made the most of the hugh drop in class to score in 1:59.4.  Winning owners Michael and William Pozefsky were on hand in the winning circle.  The RC Royalty – Wilsonator returned a paltry $2.70 to his backers.  This was his second Sire Stakes victory of the year.

In the Excelsior A events, Boxall was a winner for Trainer Jessica Okusko and owner Little E LLC of NY in 2:02.2, Jason Bartlett drive the son of Credit Winner.  The Perfect Lindy, a Credit Winner $320,000 yearling purchase scored for Swedish trainer Jonas Czernyson in 1:59.1, he is owned by SRF Stable and was driven to victory by Mark McDonald.  McDonald come right back and won the next race with Just For Today in 1:59.2.  The Credit Winner – Brandnewgirlfriend is trained by crack trotting horseman Paul Kelly. 

The Excelsior B class saw local reinsman Bruce Aldrich Jr. steer Hotoff the Skillet to victory in 2:02.1.  The son of Broad Bahn is owned by Winback Farms and was trained by H. Hochstetler. Thanks for Playin, who had a slate of 11 wins in 18 starts coming into the race, added to his tally to score in 2:01 with Jim Morrill Jr. aboard.   The Lucky Chucky – Olympic Cheers colt is owned by Pine Hill Stable.

Monday, August 22, 2016


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 21, 2016—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Aug. 22) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,501.50.

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

Julie Miller trainees sweep Tioga NYSS; EBC fields set

Nichols, N.Y. -- Trainer Julie Miller swept both $54,500 New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings as part of a Sunday (August 21) afternoon grand slam at Tioga Downs.

Devious Man ($3.10) proved most impressive among 2-year-old trotters to negotiate sloppy going on the 14-race card, drawing clear at will after rating a :59 first half in his Sire Stakes division, carded as race nine. The son of Credit Winner and Miss Garland edged away from his four rivals on the far turn, posting a 5-3/4 length win over Swell Chap (Tim Tetrick) and Royal Casanova (John Campbell) in 1:55.3. Andy Miller drove Devious Man for Stroy, Inc.

Devious Man's stablemate Money MacIntosh ($9.80) prevailed three races earlier, but would have to work a good bit harder to do so. Andy Miller angled the son of Credit Winner and Apple Plush first-over on approach to the backstretch, working to wear down Stick With Me Kid (Jason Bartlett) through a :28.1 third quarter before digging in to stave off the late-rallying Zack's Zoomer (Marcus Miller) by a nose in 1:56.2. Another Chapter (Brett Miller) saved third after being mired in traffic on the far side, while odds-on favorite Such an Angel failed to catch the field after an early break in stride.

The Millers also accounted for one of the four Empire Breeders Classic eliminations on the card, posting a 39-1 upset with Redneck Rally ($80.00) in the day's fifth event. The 3-year-old American Ideal ridgling sustained first-over gains up the backstretch to force a :27.3 third quarter, wearing down prohibitive favorite Roll Away Joe (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and holding off a belated push from Artmagic (Campbell) in 1:52.1.

American Passport ($3.90) captured the other Classic elimination for colts and geldings (race eight), brushing with a circuit to go and parrying a stout challenge from Talk Show (Morrill) in 1:51. Scott Zeron drove the American Ideal colt for trainer Tony Alagna.

In the Classic eliminations for fillies, No Clouds Bluechip ($3.80) and Penpal ($5.80) proved victorious.

No Clouds Bluechip had little trouble prevailing in the day's fourth event, working to a clear lead, turning aside an extended first-over push from Soft Idea (Zeron), and holding pocket rival Major Millie (Jason Bartlett) at bay in 1:53. Brett Miller drove the Roll With Joe filly for John Berger.

In the seventh, Penpal made perfect use of live cover through a :55.4 middle half, drafting behind Dime a Dance (Matt Kakaley) before swinging three-wide off the far turn. The daughter of American Ideal rallied to collar both pocket rival Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) and pacesetter WIshy Washy Girl (Morrill) in 1:51.3 with trainer Patrick Lachance in the bike.

The fields for the Empire Breeders Classic finals, scheduled for Sunday, August 28, are as follows (post position, horse, trainer, asterisks denoting elimination winners), with final drivers to be available later in the week:

EBC Filly Pace - $239,225
1 - Soft Idea - Toscano
2 - Wine Snob - Schnittker
3 - No Clouds Bluechip* - Berger
4 - Wishy Washy Girl - Brainard
5 - Penpal* - Lachance
6 - Angels Rockn Pink - Oakes
7 - Major Millie - Elliott
8 - Right Stuff - Toscano
9 - Dime a Dance - Burke
AE1 - Rock Me Baby - Lind

EBC Colt & Gelding Pace - $240,475
1 - Ideal Son - Fanning
2 - Missile J - Toscano
3 - American Passport* - Alagna
4 - Fresh Cut - E. Miller
5 - Redneck Rally* - J. Miller
6 - Fine Diamond - Burke
7 - Stolen Glimpse - Burke
8 - Craftship - Alagna
9 - Artmagic - Smedshammer
AE1 - Nox Vegas Bluechip - Foley

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 26) evening, with post time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.



When the North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA) joined FEGAT in the early 1980’s that earned the organization to opportunity to name the American entrant in the FEGAT World Championship for Amateur Drivers (the World Cup).  Although this competition started as an event every four years it has melded into an international competition every two years.

Hannah Miller, the USA’s National Amateur Driver of 2015, will carry America’s colors when she competes in six races against her counterparts from 13 other international countries in Budapest, Hungary beginning  August  31 and continuing until September 4.

“I’m proud and overwhelmed in being the American representative to the World Cup,” Ms. Miller said. “It will be challenging for me to compete mostly against men who, for the most part, are seasoned veterans, but I look forward to the challenge and I hope I do well."

Miller is the daughter of trainer Erv Miller, the 2005 Trainer of the Year and number three ranked trainer in his in terms of wins with more than 4800, and is the sister of professional driver Marcus Miller.

“Hurricane Hannah” Miller, 24, is a member of many amateur driving clubs including among others, the Billings Series, NAADA, and the Catskill Amateur Drivers Club, and not surprisingly she is the current leader in each series.

Last year when she won the National Amateur Drivers Award she had driven 32 winners, the most ever by an amateur in one season.  She already has 27 wins and is on target to eclipse last season’s stats.

According to NAADA president Joe Faraldo, “Hannah is the best and we’re sending our best to Budapest to race in the World Cup.”

Hannah is no stranger to racing abroad having anchored the American Team when they traveled to Majorca last fall to race against the Spanish amateurs. And earlier she was on the American team which traveled to greater Naples, Italy to race against their veteran amateurs.

Slated to leave for Budapest on August 29 Hannah will be joined by her parents Erv and Heidi Miller, her boyfriend Nick Surick and NAADA founder and president, Joe Faraldo along with his wife Yma.