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Friday, June 23, 2017

Barn Bella Returns To Buffalo Raceway In NYSS

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Barn Bella returns to Buffalo Raceway on Sunday afternoon (June 25) in the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters and she'll be seeking redemption at the half-mile oval.

Last year's 2-year-old Sire Stakes champion, Barn Bella broke stride turning for home at Buffalo Raceway and finished out of the money. a rare occurrence in her brief 15-race career. But it's been more feast than famine for Barn Bella as she has won 12 times. In her other three attempts, she has been totally off the board.

"This will be her toughest race of the year on Sunday with the tight turns," Barn Bella's co-owner and trainer Steven Pratt of Corfu, N.Y. said. "Buffalo Raceway is my home track and I support them. I've adjusted a few things on her for a half mile track and don't anticipate any problems come Sunday."

Drawing the four hole, Barn Bella (Conway Hall-Bravissima) is tabbed as the heavy 3-to-5 morning line pick in the first division worth $58,000. Jeff Gregory, a native of nearby Churchville, N.Y., will handle the driving duties. It is scheduled as the fifth on the 10-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m.

Barn Bella, a winner of $350,005 lifetime,  arrives on a 10-race win streak including a 1:51.3 mile victory in the $228,250 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs last week. That mark tied the track record set by Check Me Out. 

"She had a brutal race last week at Vernon," Pratt said. "She got parked in 26.1 to the first quarter but still trotted home in 27.0. I would say 99 percent of other horses couldn't have done that."

The bad news for others is the fact Pratt believes she'll only get better. "She's just a monster. She's as game as any that I've had including Barn Doll. There's no bottom on her. (Drivers) Jeff Gregory and Jimmy Taggart Jr. each said after Barn Bella's last races that 'there is still plenty left in the tank.'"

With the impressive credentials thus far, Pratt said he along with co-owners Nancy Pratt and The Purple Haze Stables have been offered 'big money' for Barn Bella but there's currently a 'not for sale' sign on her.

"I am content with her and I am enjoying this. She's so easy going, quiet and relaxed." He added, "Barn Bella doesn't train, she just jogs. She knows what to do when she gets behind that starting gate though. It's all business with her."

Pratt stated that Barn Bella will stay on the New York Sire Stakes circuit for the rest of the year but they might supplement her in the Breeder's Crown in October. "That's a pretty big nut to supplement her into that but I truly believe she's one of the top three filly trotters in the country."

The rest of the field trying to spoil the homecoming of Barn Bella includes Maewegonow (Charlie Norris), Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci), Reverend Nanny (John Cummings Jr.) and Mighty Surf (Jim Morrill Jr.).

The second division, slated as the seventh race, will carry a purse of $59,100. It appears to be a wide-open event with Amber Ella (Jason Bartlett) getting the slight nod off the rail at 2-to-1.

Amber Ella (Chapter Seven-Blushed) finished a distant fourth behind Barn Bella in the Empire Breeder's Classic last week at Vernon Downs. She did win four races in eight tries in 2016, piling up $139,193 in earnings. Amber Ella has yet to find the winner's circle in three chances this year, but does have a pair of second place finishes.

Billie Blue (Conway Hall-Lightfoot) starts from the six spot and is a 3-to-1 pick on the morning line with driver Chris Lems. She's won twice in five appearances thus far in 2017 including a 1:55.4 effort last week at Vernon Downs. 

Others ready to do battle in the leg are Deli-Delite (Drew Monti), Scarey Karie (Phil Fleut), Chapter Too (Jeff Gregory) and Heels On Wheels (Morrill Jr.).

The card will also have a pair of $15,000 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,600 Excelsior B Series contest.

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

Saturday is Millennial Night at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Saturday night feature at The Meadowlands is the seventh race, a conditioned pace for a purse of $15,000. The field consists of eight veterans, including the coupled entry of City Hall and Iwillmakeyousaywow who are both owned in part by Gene Oldford and trained by Amber and Todd Buter respectively. Both horses relish the mile track and have enjoyed their best successes here at The Meadowlands.

The competition is diverse with familiar faces like the $1.95 million winner Bettor's Edge (Vic Kirby) who needs no introduction, the well-traveled Calvin B (Jon Roberts) also seems to do his best work over the mile, Saratoga shipper Titus Seelster (Eric Abbatiello) who's been having his way with the top class at The Spa and the former "King of Maine" Seely Man (Christian Lind), undefeated in the "Pine Tree" state at two and three but still looking for his first win elsewhere getting significant class relief on Saturday.

There is certain to be a considerable pari-mutuel reward for the punter that solves that puzzle.

Return of Brett Pelling

An interesting aside to Saturday's races is that Brett Pelling is listed as trainer on Roll N Catch in the third race. The seven-time Meadowlands trainer of the year and the track's all time leading money winner when he left town was last seen in these parts back on December 30, 2005. 

Off the track

The attractions are many, led by a 30 & Under free handicapping challenge, $10,000 in college scholarship giveaways and the Summer Wine Festival on what is being billed as Millennial Night at the races.

Post time is 7:15 p.m.


   By john manzi

It was only one start but for Francesco Laosa a chance to drive a pacer proved fruitful when the Sicilian professional finished second in the one race that he drove at Monticello Raceway on Thursday, June 22.

According to his friend Marco Barone who doubled as his interpreter, the Italian speaking professional driver and his wife Carola are celebrating their honeymoon with a two week holiday in North America. And through some help from friends  LaRosa made a connection with Monticello trainer Dan Gill who offered him a drive behind one of his pupils, Park it Park It, a 4-year-old altered son of Big Bad John.

Sent off at odds of 8-1 from the three hole in race five LaRosa allowed John DeSimone and Eye Candy to take the lead and then was comfortable with a two-hole trip all the way. However, in the lane Park It Park It flattened out and couldn’t gain on the pace-setter and finished second a length behind Eye Candy in the 1:57paced mile.

Asked how it felt to drive a pacer LaRosa replied through his translator, Barone:” It was smooth and steady,” and then added “the pacer was easier to handle than a trotter.”

A winner of a few hundred races in his homeland the opportunity to drive a pacer was special to the 30 year LaRosa since only trotters are raced in Italy, and for that matter all though continental Europe.

LaRosa and his dad handle a considerable stable based in Palermo, Sicily. Their horses compete at racetracks inPalermo, Siracusa, Garigliano and Naples as well as various racetracks in southern Italy.

After the Monticello race Francesco and Carola, along with Mario Barone and his son Rylee, were headed to the Big Apple . After a short stay in New York City the LaRosa’s will be on to California and then to Cancun, Mexico before returning home to Sicily The Barones will leave NYC and  head back to their home in  the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


  By john manzi for both NAADA and the Catskill Club

On Thursday June 23, with the sun bright in the blue summer sky and the temperature hovering around 80-degrees, two amateur races dotted the 11-race card at Monticello Raceway and when the judges hung the official signs, Alan Schwartz emerged victorious in the NAADA trot with Ladys Big Stormont in a 1:58.4 clocking  while Joe Lee was the first home in the Catskill Club pace with TKR’s Metro Specs in 1:59.1

In his contest Schwartz hustled his trotter for the lead but they had to go a steppy :27.4 in order to rest command from Highest Hill and driver Rich Gayton. But once Ladys Big Stormont cleared and settled down along the pylons Schwartz tried to give his charge a breather but as they trotted to the halfway point Bob Hechkoff was out and moving with The Franchise and they ranged alongside the leader as the timer flashed :58.1. The two leaders raced head-to-head up the backside but Ladys Big Stormont was strong enough to rebuff his challenger.

When the field headed for home Ladys Big Stormont opened up two lengths and he needed every bit of that to turn back a late charge by Hannah Miller with Rev It Now.

“My horse went a tough mile especially being parked to the(first) quarter in 27:4 and then having to fight head to head with Hechkoff’s horse,” Schwartz said after the race. “We did draw clear as we headed for home but my guy was understandably tiring and all I could think of in the deep stretch was ‘where the heck is the wire’”

When the photo-finish camera snapped Ladys Big Stormont was a head better than Rev It Now . A short length farther back in third place was The Franchise.

Schwartz owns the winner whose trained by Raheim Strong. Sent off as the even-money favorite Ladys Big Stormont paid $4.00 for win.

Schwartz has been participating in amateur races since the 1980’s  and now has 585 driving victories to his credit. A long time participant at Monticello Raceway against professionals he also  serves as president of the local horseman’s organization.

In the other amateur driving contest New York Yankees assistant locker room manager, Joe Lee once again proved he knows his was around the racetrack after scoring is eighth seasonal driving victory this time with the Woody Hoblitzell-owned TKRs Metro Specs.

Sent off as the hot favorite from the pole position Lee naturally sent his pacer to the lead and once on top they commanded the race and kept Monica Banca’s Fox Valley Leo, who won this event last week, on the limb.

After a :28.3 first quarter Lee slowed the pace and his horse was steadfastly in charge as they led the field by the half in:59.2 and the three quarters in 1:29.2  As they rounded the final turn TKRs Metro Specs had a two length lead which was slowly diminishing as they headed for paydirt. Kennanskingwilliam was enjoying a two-hole trip  and driver Gerry Fielding used the passing lane to put serious pressure on the leader. However, at the wire TKR Metro Specs held tough for a head triumph in the 1:59.1 mile. Third place went to Murphy’s Ideal, driven by Dr. Jennifer Lowrey.

“We had clear sailing all the way until the final strides when my pacer began to get a little leg-weary,” driver Joe Lee noted  “Although Fielding’s horse was coming at us my horse was strong enough to get home with the victory.

Trained by Bruce Aldrich, Sr., TKR’s Metro Specs won for the third time this season and returned a $4.20 win mutuel.


Harness racing’s most decorated driver to be honored on Friday, June 30

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (June 22, 2017) – The Meadowlands Racetrack will honor Hall of Famer John Campbell and celebrate his five-decade career with a series of events and tributes on Friday, June 30, the final night of his driving career.

The 62-year-old is harness racing’s most decorated and accomplished driver with career earnings just under $300 million. He has won a record six Hambletonians, seven Meadowlands Paces, and 48 Breeders Crowns. He was elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990 at age 35, the youngest person ever to receive that honor.

The celebration of Campbell’s five decades in the sport will include a video tribute played throughout the evening and a series of interviews with some of Campbell’s closest friends and competitors over the years that will be in attendance. There will also be an autograph signing with Campbell from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., a commemorative poster giveaway (while supplies last), and a series of contest giveaways featuring signed Campbell memorabilia. A special Campbell retirement cake will also be on display and fans in attendance can enjoy a piece of the cake beginning at 8:00 p.m. in the clubhouse lobby.

“John Campbell is truly the Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and Wayne Gretzky of harness racing all wrapped up into one,” said Meadowlands GM/COO Jason Settlemoir. “Nobody has revolutionized our sport or more importantly, been a better ambassador and promoter of our industry. We hope the night can be a fitting celebration of a true giant in our sport.”

Upon Campbell’s official retirement from driving, he will compete in a pair of exhibition races, one at the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY on July 2 and the other at Clinton Raceway in Ontario on July 30 where Campbell got his start as a driver.

While Campbell will no longer compete on the track, he will still be involved with the sport. Beginning July 1, he will take over as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Hambletonian Society, a not-for-profit organization which supports and encourages the breeding of Standardbred horses by sponsoring and administering stakes and other special events in harness racing.

Fans are encouraged to RSVP to the event on the official Meadowlands Facebook page. Live racing begins at 7:15 p.m.

For more information and complete schedule of events, visit


Freshman Pacing Fillies Highlight Friday Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - A field of seven pacing fillies including the darling of the morning trials Rainbow Room, comprise the first two-year-old race of the 2017 season as race three on Friday at The Meadowlands.

Rainbow Room has impressed onlookers and delighted her connections with a pair of effortless wins in Meadowlands Baby Races. Her first appearance was on June 3 where she toured the oval in the day's fastest of 1:55 and social media lit up with superlatives. She returned Saturday past with a similar effort, closing out the 1:55.2 win with a 26.4 final quarter under no encouragement from driver David Miller.

By Somebeachsomewhere from Rainbow Blue, both World Champions and Horse of the Year following their respective three-year-old season, Rainbow Room clearly possesses the championship gene. She was bred by Vieux Carre Farms and Steve Jones and was a $100,000 purchase from the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale by Crawford Farms, Val D'Or Farms and Ted Gewertz who placed her with trainer Joe Holloway.

Holloway has trained plenty of champions including some of the sport's best filly pacers including the fastest ever in Shebestingin. Joe recognized early on that Rainbow Room had the potential to follow in that tradition and now sets her on that course.

The competition includes several others who have impressed in morning trials including KJ'S Bekah who was a good second to Rainbow Room on June 17 and has gone well in both of her qualifiers. The American Ideal lass was plucked from the Lexington sale by Kenny Jacobs for $140,000 and is trained by Linda Toscano. Tim Tetrick has the drive.

All On Top Hanover is from the first crop of Betterthancheddar and has been an easy winner in her pair of qualifying efforts for trainer Erv Miller and driver Marcus Miller. She was a bargain buy from last year's Goshen Yearling Sale, costing Erv and partners Ron Michelon & GT Golemes a mere $14,000.

It's a ten race program that gets underway at 7:15 p.m.

Obvious Blue Chip, Clear Idea Win In NYSS At Buffalo

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Obvious Blue Chip and Clear Idea took advantage of the long home stretch at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (June 21) and rallied with impressive victories in the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old filly pacers.

The quickest time of the two divisions each worth over $60,000 went to Obvious Blue Chip who covered the mile in 1:54.4 while Clear Idea won her leg with a 1:55.1. Both were well short of the Buffalo Raceway standard of 1:53.3 established in 2015 by Mosquito Blue Chip.

It took a great charge in the stretch by Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) to help post the $12.80 surprise.

Planet Rock (Scott Zeron) set the fractions of 28.0, 56.4 and 1:26.0 and appeared home free turning for the finish line. Trailing by 3-1/4 lengths, Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) uncorked a 28.4 final panel to register the come from behind victory. Planet Rock held on for second with Ann Hill (Larry Stalbaum) taking the show spot.

MacDonald said, "Clear Idea was real sharp. After awaiting the confusion to clear on the final turn, I pulled her out and she dug in to get the win."

Co-owned by trainer Blake MacIntosh and the Hutt Racing Stable, Clear Idea has been in the money in all 10 of her starts this season. With her fourth win of the campaign, Clear Idea has now won $87,759 in 2017 and $102,709 lifetime.

Obvious Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett) didn't need as big of rally to get the job done but hit the finish line in impressive fashion.

Sitting fourth with a quarter mile to pace, Obvious Blue Chip ($2.70) tipped three-wide and buried the field in the lane, winning by three lengths. The pace-setting Studio One (Kevin Cummings) took second and Word Apart (Zeron) finished third.

Bartlett stated of the winning journey, "I let them (Studio One and Artrageous) carry us through the first half mile and once we got through the first turn on the second circuit, I cut her loose down the back stretch. She's a nice filly, really sharp."

Co-owned by the NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski, Obvious Blue Chip (Roll With Joe-Put On A Clinic) is trained by Mark Steacy. It was the third victory in four starts in 2017 for Obvious Blue, a winner of $58,827 this year and $94,306 lifetime.

Robin J ($3.20) was the fastest in the three $15,000 Excelsior A Series races with a 1:54.4 time for driver Scott Zeron. Takeyourbreathaway (MacDonald) lit up the tote board with a $45.80 win in 1:56.4 while Bestgirlfriendever ($12.20) tripped the timer in 1:57.1 for Bartlett.

In the lone $6,700 Excelsior B Series race, Miss Roll Joe ($6.00) got the decision for Jim Morrill Jr. and local trainer Jim Graham in 1:58.4.

Morrill Jr. finished the night with a driving triple while Bartlett, MacDonald and Ray Fisher Jr. all doubled. 

Racing will resume on Friday night with an 11-race program set for 5 p.m. The action will continue on Saturday with 11 races slated for 6 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon beginning at 12:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee will feature the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters with Barn Bella scheduled to compete in the fifth race. 

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, June 21, 2017—Double-millionaire Resolve returns to the scene of his world-record romp Saturday night (June 24th), headlining Yonkers Raceway’s $55,000 Open Handicap Trot.

When last working in Westchester, the now-6-year-old son of Muscle Hill made short of his rivals in last October’s million-dollar Yonkers International Trot. Resolve went the (mile-and-a-quarter) distance in a spiffy 2:23.4.

Resolve began this season by winning the $200,000 Cutler Memorial (Meadowlands), then hightailed it to Solvalla, where he was second (elimination) and third (final) at the Elitlopp.

Assigned outside his seven rivals in Saturday night’s sixth race, trainer Ake Svanstedt takes his usual seat for owner Hans Enggren.
There are few lightweights in this week’s marquee trot.

Obrgiado (Mark MacDonald, post 6) and his $1.6 million resume started his season with a solid second in Scioto’s $200,000 Hill Memorial, while veteran statebred Gural Hanover (George Brennan, post 4) has been rock-solid in his last three tries across the river.

Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett, post 7), though not being able to reach from a 12-hole here a week ago, had won two of his previous three local Open Handicap tries. Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, post 3) defends the honor of the fairer sex going after a 20th career win. 

Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton, post 1), Money Maven (Eric Goodell, post 2) and Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube, post 5) complete the octet.

Saturday night’s co-featured 55-large Open Handicap Pace (8th race) finds Western Fame (MacDonald) banished behind the eight-ball.

Millennial Night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

This Saturday, June 24th is millennial night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.  In an effort to attract the younger demographic at the track, the Meadowlands is hosting a 30 & Under Handicapping Contest and a $10,000 Scholarship Sweepstakes both sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural’s Allerage Farms.

The free handicapping contest is exclusively for fans between the ages of 18 and 30. The contest offers a $5,000 total prize pool, with prize payouts to the top five finishers. 

“We have seen an increase in participation each year and we hope to see the trend continue in this third year,” said Jason Settlemoir, COO and GM of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. “Younger people need to get involved in racing and we feel that the amenities we offer including our Victory Terrace, Happy Hour specials and schedule of summer events can help attract that younger audience.” 

Fans may register up until 7 p.m. on the night of the contest. There is no entry fee. The contest format requires players to make a mythical $2 "across the board" wager on one horse in races 2 – 10 at the Meadowlands. The winner is determined by the player that amasses the largest mythical bankroll from their selections.

All contest participants will also be treated to free hot dogs, hamburgers and other grill items plus soft drinks and water on Victory Terrace, the popular rooftop area at the Meadowlands.

The Meadowlands will also be giving away ten $1,000 college scholarships on Saturday.  Anyone currently enrolled at a college or university full-time may enter the drawing.  Students looking to enter must show their college ID at the Players Club Desk to receive the entry form.  In addition they will also receive a free $5 bet and a live racing program.  Ten winners will be selected after Race 5. 

For more information and complete entry details on the 30 & Under Contest and the $10,000 Scholarship Sweepstakes visit

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Week 5
The Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace – Saturday, July 15

Driver, Trainer, Owner
Justin Horowitz’s Comments
($928,243 – 1:49.0)
T. Tetrick, R. Schnittker
Raymond Schnittker, Theodore Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, Steven Arnold
Raced huge in runner-up finish to Fear The Dragon in the NA Cup with an apparent excuse – Tetrick said Huntsville had some steering issues or else he would’ve won. Regardless, he will skip the Hempt leaving him fresh going into The Pace. A big, imposing colt, he should relish the mile track
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup – 2nd
($863,106 – 1:49.0)

B.Sears, B. Brown
Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, Diamond Creek Racing
Went the fastest half-mile in Mohawk history (:52.1) in the NA Cup and still managed to hold third, beaten three lengths by stablemate Fear The Dragon. Comes right back in the Hempt and would greatly benefit from his stablemate not supplementing to the Pace
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh –North America Cup – 3rd
Classic Pro
($169,375 – 1:52.1)
T.Henry, Dr. I. Moore
Ian Moore, R G McGroup Ltd., Serge Savard
The best of the rest in the NA Cup, finishing fourth behind the big 3. Has never raced outside of Ontario, has only two career wins, but is in the hands of the ultra sharp Dr. Ian Moore who has never won The Pace, but has had plenty of success at the Big M with horses like State Treasurer
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup – 4th
Miso Fast
($288,174 – 1:52.2Q)
M. Kakaley, R. Burke
Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stables
Didn’t have much chance from post 10 in the NA Cup, but did come home in the co-second fastest last quarter in the field. He’s consistent, has danced just about every dance and with the right trip he could get a piece on Pace night
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup – 7th
Blood Line
($152,619 – 1:50.3)
Y. Gingras, J. Takter
Diamond Creek Racing
Drew post 1 in the first Hempt Elimination and thus avoids Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside. Will be reunited with Gingras for the first time in 2017. His gutsy PaSS win two back over Filibuster Hanover was impressive, but took a step back when fourth in latest try
Last Race: 6/1 – PHL – PASS – 4th
Boogie Shuffle
($178,380 – 1:50.3)
S. Zeron, M. Harder
Fox Hollow Farm
Took a new lifetime mark in an overnight win at Pocono against overmatched company while not being eligible to the NA Cup. Drew post 3 in the first Hempt Elimination. Only 2 career wins, but 12 other on-the-board finishes
Last Race – 6/12 – PcD – NW2PM – 1st (1:50.3)
Filibuster Hanover
($174,480– 1:52.0)
T.B.A, R. Burke
Burke Racing Stable, Joseph Di Scala, Jr., J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi
Had an adventurous trip in the NA Cup that included a break while sitting in the two-hole. Previous efforts were all competitive including 2nd in his Elim and runner-up finishes in 2 PASS legs
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup – 8th
Hurricane Beach
($40,150 – 1:50.3)
L. Roy, L. Blais
Laid down some wicked fractions in the NA Cup consolation (:25.1, :53) before wilting down the lane. Has the same type of blazing speed as his brother, Hurrikane Kingcole, but still needs to be more manageable
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup Consolation – 5th
Ocean Colony
($162,903 – 1:50.1)
Y. Gingras, J. Takter
Christina Takter, John Fielding, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband
Never got involved from post 1 in the NA Cup in his first poor start of the year. Has already won at M1 this season and will be perfectly prepared for the Pace by skipping the Hempt.
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup – 10th
Western Hill
($129,007 – 1:51.4)
D. McNair, T. Alagna
T. Hill
Has raced well in Ontario to open his 3-year-old season, culminating with his 5th in the NA Cup. Captured The Stallion Series final at 2, but seems a couple steps slower than the top tier ones.
Last Race: 6/17 – Moh – North America Cup – 5th


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 20, 2017—For the first time ever, Yonkers Raceway is importing races from the world-class thoroughbred meeting at Britain’s Royal Ascot.

Simulcasting shall be offered Wednesday through Saturday (June 21st through 24th, wagering offered on the last five races each day). Yonkers’ mutuel windows open daily at 10 AM, with the first Royal Ascot race each day scheduled shortly thereafter (note the early opening is for Royal Ascot simulcast [fourth floor only], usual 12 Noon opening for all other days).

Among the Royal Ascot highlights are…

Wednesday—Prince of Wales Stakes (distance 1¼ miles)
Thursday—Gold Cup (distance 2½ miles)
Friday—Coronation Stakes (distance 1 mile)
Saturday—Diamond Jubilee Stakes (distance 6 furlongs).

Any number of standout North American-based horses are scheduled to complete during the prestigious meet.


Wine Festival at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment

Sample Wines from Around the Globe Saturday, June 24th

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ –On Saturday June 24th, the wine will flow at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment for the Summer Wine Festival.  Doors open for VIP at 4:30 pm with General Admission at 5:30 pm and wine is poured until 9:30pm. Fest-goers will experience an evening of great wines from around the world,  live-harness racing, music and food.

Over 25 wineries are participating including ones from Italy, France, Spain, South America, California and Oregon.  Festival goers will be sampling Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Rose, Sangrias, Merlots, Cabernet and much more.    A complete list of wines and the full wine lineup will be posted at the week of June 19th.

The Summer Wine Fest will be held in the Backyard and on the East Apron and will open to the public at 4:30 pm for VIP admission.  The VIP ticket is $75 and includes an additional 1 hour of sampling, exclusive VIP Tent wine samplings, and food.  General Admission begins at 5:30 pm and is available in advance for $35 or at the door for $45.  Live musical entertainment by Stereo Junkies will commence at 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Sophomore Filly Pacers To Battle At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- There are two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old filly pacers Wednesday night (June 21) at Buffalo Raceway but there's still plenty of talent ready to tangle in the pair of legs worth more than $60,000 each.

Besides looking for a big pay day, they'll be trying to break the track record of 1:53.3 established in 2015 by Mosquito Blue Chip. The Sire Stakes will go off as the third and fourth events on the 13-race program that begins at 5 p.m., 

The first division looks to be the most competitive on paper. The two main contenders in the race, Clear Ideal and Playing Favorites, drew the seven and eight holes respectively which should really make things interesting.

Clear Idea (American Ideal-Glass Maker) was tabbed the 3-to-1 morning line favorite with Mark MacDonald scheduled to be in the bike. In her last appearance on June 9 in Sire Stakes action at Vernon Downs, Clear Idea went gate-to-wire in a snappy 1:52,0 in posting the 1-1/4 length victory over Gurl Band K. She's been in the money in all eight of her starts in 2017, amassing $57,851 in earnings.

Playing Favorites arrives on a two-race winning streak in the Sire Stakes.The sophomore pacer won at Saratoga on June 2 in 1:55.1 and followed that up with a 1:52.3 decision at Vernon Downs on June 9. Jason Bartlett is expected to take the reins of Playing Favorites (Roll With With Joe-Odds On Lassomyhrt).

Planet Rock, a winner of $202,511 last season, has yet to get in gear in 2017. But she has found success at Buffalo Raceway in the past by capturing a NYSS race last year as a 2-year-old in 1:58.0.

If her last race is any indication, she may make a return visit to the Buffalo Raceway winner's circle. Planet Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven-Villa Hanover) finished a hard-charging second just a length behind Playing Favorites on June 9. Scoring from the three post at 7-to-2, Scott Zeron will be aboard.

Major Master Piece has shown some life in her last two tries. picking up a second and third in the Sire Stakes. Drawing the rail, Major Master Piece (Jim Morrill Jr.) sits at 4-to-1 in the morning line.

The remainder of the first division includes Little Hanover (Daniel Dube), Ann Hill (Larry Stalbaum), Pirinea's Princess (Kevin Cummings) and American Cheer (Rick Zeron).

The second division has Obvious Blue Chip (Roll With Joe-Out On A Clinic) as the 2-to-1 morning line choice. She'll start from the two post with Bartlett in the bike. Obvious Blue Chip has a 1:53.2 victory in the books in Sire Stakes competition at Saratoga but was overwhelmed last time out in a leg of the Fan Hanover at Mohawk Raceway. She has won two out of her last three outings.

Artrageous is the second choice with Stalbaum to guide the Art Major-In Deep Thought filly around the Buffalo Raceway oval. She won a Sire Stakes event at Saratoga and notched a third at Vernon Downs. Drawing the five post, Artrageous has $133,780 in the bank for her career with $102,005 coming last season.

St Helena (American Ideal-Art's Vintage) drew the rail and hopes to take full advantage of it with MacDonald. Trained by Jimmy Takter, St Helena has been in the money in all four of her starts this season including a victory at Yonkers in 1:55.4.

The rest of the field includes OK Jasmine (Morrill Jr.), Studio One (Cummings), World Apart (Scott Zeron) and Gurl Band K (Dube).

There will also be a trio of $15,000 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,600 Excelsior B Series contest.

Horsemen are also reminded of the double draw on Wednesday for the Saturday and Sunday cards. The Sunday program includes New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series races for the 3-year-old filly trotters.

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

Shady City takes Tioga Downs Open Pace !$12,000).

Shady City takes Tioga Downs Open Pace !$12,000).

Shady City (Larry Staulbaum) uses a gutsy performance to win Tioga Downs feature on Monday Night (June 19).  The 7-year-old Metropolitan gelding who is owned by Staulbaum and trained by Kimberly Asher was parked first-over half of the race.  Hot Deuce (Drew Monti) would control the pace right after the first quarter, all the way to the top of the stretch.  The constant pressure from Shady City was too much for Hot Deuce as he tired to finish 5th.  Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Mickey Mc Nichol) made a sweeping move at the top of the stretch and looked like he was going to take the feature.  Shady City the Buffalo Raceway shipper battled back to win by a head in 1:50.4 to win his third straight race.  Maxdaddy Bluechip settled for second as Rockstar (Mike Simons) came flying late to finish third.

Courtney Wright trains big winner at Tioga Friday night.

Courtey Wright always puts her horses in on time, never complains what post her horses get and is just an overall nice person.  It's hard not to root for somebody like that.  On Friday nights card (June 16), she entered Exotic Fling (Western Ideal).  Exotic Fling ($47.80) was driven by leading driver Mike Simons while owned by Laurie Patistas.  Simons would make a three wide move at the top of the stretch and go by to get the upset win in 1:54.4.  Coming up late to get second was Strawb's Chippie N (Rick Dane Jr.).  Finishing third was Kissed By A Dragon (Aaron Byron).

For Wright it was her third training win of the season at Tioga Downs.  It just proves that nice people don't have to finish last.

Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday June 23rd.  Post time is 6:45.
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Out Of Competition Testing Requirements for Meadowlands Stakes

East Rutherford, NJ -- The Meadowlands is announcing that all horses entered in the following stakes; Graduate Finals Trot & Pace, Meadowlands Pace, Mistletoe Shalee, WR Haughton Memorial, Golden Girls, Stanley Dancer Memorial and Del Miller Memorial will be required to be stabled at an approved training facility within a 150 mile radius of The Meadowlands by 8:00 pm (EDT) on Monday, July 3 and be made available for Out Of Competition testing as requested.

Trainers for all of the horses entered in those stakes are responsible for informing The Meadowlands Racing Office at (877) 782-5130 to disclose where each horse will be stabled from July 3 until the stakes have been raced.

A requirement of a similiar time frame will be made for horses racing in those stakes surrounding and on Hambletonian Day, August 5. Further details will be released as they become available.

Devious Man and Barn Bella win Vernon Downs Features (June 18)

Combined report by John Horne of Vernon Downs and the USTA Communications Dept.

Reigning New York champions Devious Man and Barn Bella demonstrated why they possess the crowns in their divisions with extremely impressive victories in their Empire Breeders Classic finals, worth $252,000 and $228,250, respectively on Sunday (June 18) afternoon at Vernon Downs. In fact, Barn Bella equaled champion Check Me Out's track standard of 1:51.3, while Devious Man was just off world champion and Hambletonian winner Market Share's record of 1:52.1 with a 1:52.2 mile.
Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory) was the first to make her appearance in race eight. The daughter of Conway Hall-Bravissima, who is co-owned by Purple Haze Stables, her trainer Steve Pratt and Nancy Pratt, had not tasted defeat since last July and was vying for her 10th consecutive triumph. Leaving from post position nine, the 1-9 favorite and Gregory were content to sit in third while allowing Ostrich Bay (Scott Zeron) to cut the first quarter of the mile, which went in a swift :26.2. Shortly before the half-mile pole, the duo decided it was time to strike the front and pulled to make their move.
The filly clicked off fractions of :55.2 and 1:24 and appeared to be firmly in command of the field of 10. David Miller and Celebrity Ruth (5-2), however, had their own plan on who would be in the winner's circle. Miller pulled his charge from third heading into the final turn and his filly had a full head of steam. She nearly drew alongside Barn Bella for a the briefest of instants before that rival assumed command in the blink of an eye to quickly place two lengths between herself and her closest pursuer.
From there on in it was never in doubt, as Barn Bella strode beautifully to the wire still two lengths ahead of her colleagues. Celebrity Ruth trotted gamely for her second place finish and Sunshine Delight (Brett Miller) closely mildly for third.
With the victory, which was the third fastest trotting mile of the season for 3-year-olds behind champions Ariana G (1:51.1) and Walner (1:51.2), Barn Bella is now a perfect six-for six this year and improved her record to 15-12-0. She has banked more than $350,000 during her career.
"Oh she ranks up there for sure (with the greatest horses Gregory has driven)," said her pilot in the winner's circle. "She is limited to what she is eligible to, but she is pretty much paid up to everything in New York, so she won't be able to go against the big girls, but with what she is doing here, she is sure making us happy."
Barn Bella paid $3.10 to win, while Celebrity Ruth offered $3.70 and Sunshine Delight provided $2.70 to her supporters.
Not to be outdone by a member of the fairer sex, Devious Man supplied his own statement victory  to ponder if his dam, Miss Garland, may earn the lofty distinction of foaling two Hambletonian victors in race nine, as this Credit Winner colt is a half-sibling to Vivid Photo.
With Andy Miller at his customary position in the bike, Devious Man, the 4-5 public selection, left the gate from post six and followed leader Swell Chap (10-1, Brett Miller) behind splits of :26.2, :56.3 and 1:24.4 before Stick With Me Kid, (9-1) with Brian Sears at the lines pulled from the pocket. Devious Man exploded off that one's cover and in a flash, showed the eight other colts and geldings his heels at the top of the lane.
Second choice Bill's Man (7-2, Corey Callahan) made a furious rally from eighth, but could come no closer than several lengths before the finish line. Stick With Me Kid held for third in a photo between he and Bill's Man.
Owned by Story Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, Devious Man is now three-for-three in 2017 and 15-10-1-1 lifetime. Trained by Julie Miller, the colt's purse money is now approaching the $500,000 mark and his time of 1:52.3 is a lifetime best.
Devious Man paid $4.70 to those who wagered upon him and Bill's Man was $3.00 to place. Stick With Me Kid provided the sum of $3.50 to his backers.
When asked after the event what the future plans where the colt, Miller minced no words.
"He did that easy, but the fractions were not real strong, so when he came off cover he just trotted to the wire," he said. "I'm not sure if we are going to Pocono next week (for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial), but pointing him towards the Hambletonian is the goal and hopefully we have some luck there."

Pacing colts compete in NYSS action

In the first division ($30,450), Heavens Gait (David Miller) would win going away in the stretch by five lengths. The 3-year-old colt by Rock N Roll Heaven would be fourth going around the last turn.  Pointomygranson (Brett Miller) took the lead just after the first quarter and controlled the pace with :55.1 at the half and 1:22.2 after three-quarters. That is when Heavens Gait ($2.90) who is owned by John Cummins and trained by Nicholas Devita, looked like he was shot out of a cannon.  Heavens Gait would fly right by taking a last quarter in :25.4 and finishing the mile in 1:49., which was a track record. Pointomygranson would finish second with Joe's Bid (Jim Morril Jr.) getting third. Owned by John Cummings, the Rock N Roll Heaven-Booya Beach colt is trained by Nicholas Devita and was the 1-9 favorite.

In the second division ($30,450) American Wiggle (Scott Zeron) would shock the field with a late four-wide move. Manattack (Chris Lems) would set the early fractions :26.4, :56.0, 1:23.1.  Music Is Art (John MacDonald) would take over at the top of the stretch and it looked like then the favorite Serious Major (Jim Morrill Jr.) was poised to take the victory American Wiggle ($74.00) would make his move.  American Wiggle (American Ideal) who is owned by trainer Eve Bergeron with Geoffrey and Mary Howles would wear them all down in the stretch to win in 1:51.0.  Serious Major would take second with Art Major finishing third.

In the third division ($31,050) it was Funknwaffles (Brian Sears) winning rather easily. The 3-year-old colt by American Ideal, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by John Butenshoen ,took over just before the half. Funknwaffles ($2.20) would hit the half in :55.4, three-quarters in 1:24.2 and win in 1:51:0.  Rock It Scott (John Campbell) would come late to finish second with Twin B Cowboy getting third. The win was the 2016 NYSS standout and Grand Circuit competitor's first of the season.

Winning the fourth division race ($30,450), was In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson). Outkast Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.), would take the first quarter in :26.3. In A Single Bound (Roll With Joe) was restless and took over the lead too take them to the half in :55.4. Owned by Dennis and Simone Noud while trained by Monica Krist, the 3-year-old would open up by four lengths after hitting three-quarters in 1:22.4. Talent Soup (Corey Callahan) would then take a charge at In A Single Bound ($6.00). In A Single Bound would win in 1:50.2 while Talent Soup would settle for second just a length short. Cultural Paradise (Brett Miller) finished third. 

Vernon Downs returns for action on Thursday (June 22) at 6:45.

A F F Bigdaddy A Hunch Player's Dream At Buffalo

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was a hunch player's dream come true in Buffalo Raceway's fourth race on Sunday afternoon (June 18) as A F F Bigdaddy won on the Father's Day program by rolling to an easy five length victory and returned $3.80 in the popular victory.

It was just one of four wins on the 12-race card for Ray Fisher Jr. He also registered victories aboard Santana Beach ($12.80), If You Want Fire ($4.20) and Im So Handsome ($3.00). Fisher Jr. currently sits in second place in the Buffalo Raceway driver's standings with 113 wins. Larry Stalbaum leads the way with 163 after notching a double on Sunday.

Kevin Cummings and Drew Monti also had a pair of wins while trainer John Mungillo posted a triple. 

Racing will continue on Wednesday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 13-race program slated for 5 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes returns with a pair of races worth over $60,000 scheduled for the 3-year-old filly pacers along with action in the Excelsior A and B Series. There's also a $1154 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.

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

Winding Hill takes Tioga Downs feature (June18).

Winding Hill (Mike Merton) would win the featured Trot ($9000) at Tioga Downs Sunday afternoon.  The 6-year-old gelding by Here Comes Herbie found himself fifth and four lengths back after the three-quarters mark.  Noble Anthony (Mike Simons) would lead almost the whole but he battled Another Breath (Mickey Mc Nichol) all the way to the stretch.  Winding Hill ($9.00) would take advantage of the speed duel by charging late in the stretch to beat Another Breath (second) with his last step.  Winding Hill who is owned by Diane Whittemore and trained by Dennis Whittemore won for the third time this season in 1:55.0.  Another Breath would hang on for third.

Merton is having a great start to 2017 with 18 wins .  Mike Simons would capture another driving double to give him 34 wins on the season.  David McGinnis had a training double winning with  Angel Cindy ($5.70 and Eyes Only For You ($7.00).

The large Fathers day crowd also got to enjoy the Ostrich and Camel races.  Along with the beer mug giveaway the crowd all walked away with a smile on their face. 

Racing returns to Tioga Downs on Monday night at 6:50 p.m. with an eight race card.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, June 18, 2017—Westchester Sundays returned (June 18th), with an out-every-step Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno, $47) winning Yonkers Raceway’s $68,000 Open Handicap Trot.

The Father’s Day marquee trot was the first race of the afternoon, one of four ‘French’ trots going at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. It looked much different early as 3-4 choice Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) jumped it off from the pocket.

Meanwhile, there were four different leaders through the first half-mile (:28.1, :57) including Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton), Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube), Not Afraid (Matt Kakaley) and Opulent Yankee (Ake Svanstedt).

As for Rubber Duck from post position No. 7, he was quite wide into the first turn, then able to join the second tier from third-over after a rival broke. He sat outside Opulent Yankee in and out of a 1:25.4 three-quarters and 1:55.2 mile before wearing that rival down early in the lane.

Rubber Duck had enough to hold Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammmer) at bay, winning by three-quarters of a length in 2:26 for the added distance. Red Hot Herbie lost the place photo, while Springbank Sam N and a recovering Hemi Seelster settled for the remainder.

For eighth choice Rubber Duck, a 5-year-old son of Muscle Mass co-owned by Albertans Blair & Erna Corbeil and trained by Richard Johnson, it was his third win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $472, with the triple returning $2,494.   

The latest installment of the ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 2-Divine Miss  Grey (Belmont’s 3rd race) and 1-Jericho (Yonkers’ 7th race) paid $10.20 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,390. 


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 17, 2017—Turns out this season’s model was a tad faster than last season’s model.

A third-over Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $14.20) rolled over a second-up, 9-10 fave Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) Friday night (June 17th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $55,000 Open Handicap Pace.

From post position No. 6, it was Keystone Velocity, the 2017 George Morton Levy Series champ, working out a trip right behind the ’16 Levy winner, Bit of a Legend N.

Both had their sights set on Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) after that one threw down a rather swift gauntlet (:26.3, :55.4, 1:23.4).

Western Fame held a short lead in and out of the final turn, only to get passed by the potent pair. Widest and fastest, Keystone Velocity outgamed Bit of a Legend N by a half-length in 1:52, the highlight of Dube’s four-win night. Western Fame held third, with a from-last Mach it So (Brent Holland) and Artful Way (Greg Merton) rounding out the payees.  

For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Kapildo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stable, it was his fourth win (as the fourth choice) in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $152.50 and the superfecta paid $2,021.  

Yonkers returns to Sunday matinees tomorrow (June 18th), with a first post of 12:30 PM.



East Rutherford, NJ - Rain showers loomed over the morning qualifying session at The Meadowlands, but overcast conditions settled in over the afternoon and into Saturday night's 11-race program.

Saturday night's main event was the $20,000 Preferred Pace, scratched down to a field of six, with Odds on Equuleus out sick. Three of the six arrived into the Saturday's event riding back-to-back wins, with all six starters finishing first or second in their most recent start.

Mel Mara had the pole position and driver Corey Callahan took full advantage, winning the early skirmish into the opening turn to put Bushwacker (John Campbell) in the two-hole, with Rockeyed Optimist (Andy Miller) dropping into third. They raced that way by the quarter in 26.4, and through a very reasonable half-mile in 55 seconds.

The tactical advantage was with Mel Mara after the 28.1 second-quarter breather, and he unleashed a wicked 53 second back half on the lead, easily rebuffing a mild challenge around the far turn from Rockeyed Optimist, to cruise home to a three length win in 1:48. Rockeyed Optimist prevailed in a narrow photo over Bushwacker to hold second.

It was the 20th career win for Mel Mara, the second in three starts this season. Mel Mara is trained by Dylan Davis for the Robert Cooper Stables LLC and the J&T Silva Stables LLC. He returned $3.80 as the 4-5 betting favorite.

Andy Miller had a driving triple and was the only driver with multiple wins on the 11-race program. Kelvin Harrison had a pair of training wins.

Total handle on the 11-race card was $1,986,010. Live racing resumes next Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m.

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Bill's Man and Devious Man win EBC Eliminations at Vernon Downs.

Vernon Downs would host the Empire Breeders Classic Eliminations for 3 year-old trotting colts on Friday Night (June 9).  Also on this great night would be three divisions of the New York SIre Stakes for sophomore pacing fillies.

Bill's Man (Corey Callahan) would win the first of the two EBC Eliminations.  Owned by William Wiswell and M&L of Delaware LLC, the Credit Winner colt would follow Stick With Me Kid (Brian Sears), before blowing by in the stretch to win in 1:53.0.  Such An Angel (Mark MacDonald)  would come up for second behind Bill's Man ($3.90).   Stick With Me Kid would hang on for third.  Top Flight Angel (Marcus Miller) would finish fourth to qualify with the other three for Sunday's Final (6-18).

Devious Man (Andy Miller ) would win the second EBC Elimination.  Swell Chap (Corey Callahan) would take charge and lead just before the half.  Lord Cromwell (John Campbell) would brush by and control the tempo swelling to a two length advantage at the top of the stretch.  Devious Man ($4.10) who is owned by the Andy Miller Stable and Stoy Inc.  and trained by Julie Miller would make his move with a burst of speed overtaking Lord Cromwell (third) and runner-up Swell Chap in 1:53.4.  Dw's Revenge (Brian Sears) would finish fourth.  All four colts would reach next Sunday's final as well. 

Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) would capture the first division of the NYSS for 3 Year-old pacing fillies ($39,900).  Clear Idea ($8.10) the 3 year-old filly by American Idea is owned by Hutt Racing Stable and trainer Blake Macintosh, went Gate to wire in 1:52.0  Gurl Band K (Dan Dube) was second with Artrageous (Andy Miller) third.

Angel's Pride (Brian Sears) would take the NYSS sophomore fillies second division ($40,600).  The 3 year-old Roll with Joe filly who is owned by the Triple D Stables Inc. and Jfe Enterprise LLC, while trained by Scott Di Domenico, won with a late move in the stretch to win in 1:51.0.  Angel's Pride ($14.60) held off Major Master Piece (Jim Morrill Jr.) while St Helena (Mark MacDonald) got third.

The third division of the NYSS for sophomore fillies ($40,600) was taken by Playing Favorites (Jason Bartlett).  The 3 year-old Roll With Joe filly who is owned by Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Charles Rowe while trained by Jenny Melander, used a late move to overtake Planet Rock (John Campbell) to win in 1:52.3.  Playing Favorites paid $13.20 for the upset win.  Magic Forces (Marcus Miller) took third.

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