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Sunday, October 22, 2017


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 21, 2017—It wasn’t quite heat racing, but Home’n Dry (Jason Bartlett, $10.80) won his second event in five nights Saturday (Oct. 21th), this one Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot.

The field of seven was essentially pared to five after Winds of Royalty (Steve Smith) and Consolidator (Eric Goodell) both jumped early. It was 13-10 choice Dayson (George Brennan) leaving over Murmur Hanover (Victor Kirby), the latter returning to town for first time in April of 2015 having won his last five races.

Dayson, 23 days out between starts, led through seemingly cheap intervals of 28 seconds flat and :57.2.  Home’n Dry, away third from post position No. 4, took out after the leader toward the soft 1:26.2  three-quarters.

No resistance was offered, with Home’n Dry opening two lengths into the lane. He defeated the people’s preference by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:55, with Murmur Hanover, Kanthaka (Brent Holland) and Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton) rounding out the payees.        

For third choice Home’n Dry, a 5-year-old Credit Winner gelding owned by J L Sadowsky LLC and trained by Robert Bresnahan,  it was his sixth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.20, with the triple returning $145.

No one took down Saturday night’s Pick 5 wager, so Monday night’s (Oct. 23rd)  gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,460.60 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11).

Dreams Beachboy easily wins Vernon feature.

Dreams Beachboy (Chris Lems)would be victorious in the Vernon Downs featured pace ($9,000) on Saturday (October 21).

Dreams Beachboy (Somebeachsomewhere), who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Gates Brunet, would takes over just before three-quarters.  the 5 year-old gelding found another gear and won by four lengths in 1:50.1.  Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) finished second with Let Foal Around (Harry Landy) getting third.  

Dreams Beachboy ($6,10), won for the sixth time this year while picking up career win number 18.

Lems would also get wins with Galows Nightmare($12.80), and Maceiver ($5.40)

Fox Valley Cadet (Leon Bailey) would win for the fifth straight time at the Miracle Mile.  Owned and trained by Harris O'Brien, the 5 year-old blew them away in the stretch winning by five lengths in 1:52.4 and paying $4.10 for the victory.

Vernon Downs returns to live action on Thursday (October 26), with leg number five of the Kindergarten Classic, featuring all 2 year-old classes.  The 10 race card starts at 6:45 p.m.

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Owen Scores Double in Handicapping Contest

(October 22, 2017) –  The old axiom is “It only takes one race”, and it was evident this weekend in the Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge.  What made it strange was this was proven twice this weekend by one handicapper as Bryan Owen was the top handicapper this week.  For the second week in the row, Rusty Nash sits on top of the overall contest with a shuffling of the standings below him.

While Rusty Nash had five winners selected on Friday (10/20) night at Hoosier Park, it was good only for second place as Owen selected Ella Christina ($72.00) in the Breeders Crown elimination for three year old pacing fillies as his lone winner for the evening.  With his selection of the daughter of Western Ideal, Owen picked up a net profit of $98.40 for the evening the dividend for win, place, and show on Ella Christina was $123.60.    

On Saturday (10/21) night, the axiom was even more evident as Sally Hinckley pick seven winners on the Breeders Crown Elimination night card yet ended up with a net loss of $4.90.  However, completing the double was Owen with a net profit of $58.40 despite having no winners for the evening.  This was accomplished thanks to Beckhams Z Tam finishing third which was good for a $92.80 show mutuel, the beneficiary of a failed bridge jumper gambit. 

For the second week in a row, Nash topped the season-long standings, 37.38 points ahead of his nearest competitor Anne Stepien who moved into second place.  Gordon Waterstone moved up one spot into third place while Megan Maccario slipped from second to fourth place. A total of 50.30 points separates first from fourth place meaning the contest may come down to the last day of the contest.  
Standings thru Saturday, October 21, 2017 - Leg #71

Total Points Earned
Legs Won
Points Back
Last Week
Rusty Nash

Anne Stepien

Gordon Waterstone

Megan Maccario

Matt Rose

Dennis O’Hara

Sally Hinckley

Russ Adams

Steve Horoky

Ray Garnett

Bryan Owen

Jay Hochstetler

Terry Wilson

Michael Carter

Ray Cotolo

Rich Mattei

Next Up: While the focus will be on the Breeders Crown races on Friday and Saturday (10/27-28), the contest week begins on Thursday (10/26) as the Kindergarten Classic’s fifth and final preliminary leg will be contested for late blooming juveniles on Thursday (10/26) at Vernon Downs.  Hoosier Park will host in addition to the Crown finals The Pegasus for three year old fillies of both gaits on Friday; three year old colts and geldings on Saturday. 

The following week, Saturday (11/4) has an overflow of stakes from the Meadowlands and Hoosier Park of which the ten races will the highest purses will be used for the contest.

The 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge is sponsored by Adam Friedland, DRF Harness, Green Acquisition Corporation, The Hambletonian Society, Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Red Shores Charlottetown/Summerside, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Wellbourne Farms, and WEG Entertainment.  The contest is administered by HANA Harness, the harness racing division of HANA, the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Fans may follow the challenge by visiting the contest site at http;//  

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sweet Ashley T takes trot feature at Vernon.

John Horne for Vernon Downs.
Sweet Ashley T (Jimmy Whittemore) captured  the featured trot ($9,000) at Vernon Downs on Friday night (October 20, 2017). 
Pop I (Chris Lems) would carve out all the early fractions, :28.2, :58.1, 1:27.1.  Sweet Ashley T (Conway Hall), who is owned by South Of The Tracks Racing Inc. And trainer Homer Hochstetler, would sit the pocket all the way to the stretch.  She would slip by on the inside to win in 1:55.4.  Pop I settled for second with Jersey Boy (Ben McNeil) nailing down the third spot.
Sweet Ashley T ($15.80) won for the fourth time this season and the ninth time in her career.
Whittemore added two more wins on the night .  His other wins were with McKenzies Star ($2.90) and Pier Ho Exotic ($2.10).
John MacDonald keeps on rolling he would  add four  more victories on the night.  He won with Stirling Accord ($47.80), Steuben Magic Ride ($3.90), Major Master Piece ($2.10), and Master Of Puppets ($6.90).
Michael Miller piloted big longshot American JJ (RC Royalty) to a win by charging late down the stretch in 1:55.3.  The 4 year-old horse would pay $90.00 for the win.
Vernon Downs returns to live action with a 10 race card on Saturday (October 21) starting at 6:45 p.m.

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By Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Manchego continued her unbeaten ways capturing the second of two $20,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for juvenile trotting fillies Friday night at Hoosier Park. Yannick Gingras was in the sulky for the victory, which was clocked in 1:54.1.

Gingras and Manchego floated out at the start and allowed rail-starting Looking For Zelda to take control of the race and cut the opening fraction of :27.3. Manchego was rated to take command after the first three-eighths and was able to set well-rated fractions sprinting off in the late stages for her 11th win in as many career starts. Lily Stride went a brave trip racing much of the mile without cover to gain the second spot, though a full 2½ lengths off the winner.

A $120,000 yearling purchase by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman from last year's Lexington Selected auction, Manchego is a daughter of Muscle Hill from the Cantab Hall-sired mare Secret Magic.

Asked about the threat to Manchego at headstretch, trainer Jimmy Takter offered this: "It would take one heck of a filly to go by this filly," he said. "So far, we haven't seen anyone.”

Manchego, a 1-20 proposition, returned $2.10 for the victory while pushing her career bankroll to $573,948. In addition to the winner and Lily Stride, Top Expectations, S M S Princess and Looking For Zelda all advanced to next Friday's finale.


By Gerry Connors, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Despite not having raced for 32 days, the Explosive Matter-Phaeton filly Phaetosive ($4.60 to win) set a Hoosier Park track record for freshman filly trotters in winning the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations Friday night, stopping the timer in 1:53.3.
Basquiat, the even-money favorite, went to the lead despite the outside post eight, and set fractions of :27.4 and :57.1 while Phaetosive and trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer bided their time third. Phaetosive moved out raw into the far turn, trotted up to Basquiat by the 1:25.4 three-quarters, put that rival away quickly, and finished in :27.4 to win by three lengths in hand. Seviyorum closed on the far outside to catch Jordan Blue Chip for second, with Atlanta and Hey Blondie also earning their way into next Friday’s final.
Phaetosive, owned by the Purple Haze Stables LLC and another Hanover Shoe Farms-bred winner, now sports a career record of 6-4-2-0, with her only two defeats coming to the undefeated Manchego, who won the division’s other elimination in 1:54.1. That matchup next week could be spectacular.
Smedshammer said he hadn’t been to Hoosier Park in 20 years: “And I even got lost coming here.” Fortunately, there was no deviation of course with Phaetosive: “I got her into striking position, because I knew Yannick (Gingras, with Basquiat, who would finish sixth) would be leaving. I moved her out at the half, and she trotted up strongly and went right on by.”


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 20, 2017—H P Sissy (Greg Merton, $14.80) cleared down the backside Friday night (Oct. 20th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Away fourth from post position No. 2, H P Sissy saw outer entities Freakonomics (George Brennan) and slight 2-1 choice Newborn Sassy (Tyler Buter) leave with purpose. Locally-debuting Freakonomics worked around ‘Sassy’ before laying down early intervals of :27.1 and :57.4.

HP Sissy then extricated herself from the cones, blowing right by Freakonomics before the 1:24.4 three-quarters. A second-up Diva’s Image (Brent Holland) badly gapped the eventual winner, making the job of third-up Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) that much more difficult.

HP Sissy opened 2¼ lengths off the final turn, then held a noticeably-drifting (she does that now) Mach it a Par at bay by a length-and-a-quarter n 1:54.

Newborn Sassy, returning Matchmaker victress Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton) and Betabcool N (Eric Goodell) rounded out the payees. Alas, there would be no ‘Sissy’-‘Sassy’ exacta.  

For fourth choice HP Sissy, a 4-year-old daughter of Up the Credit owned by Claude Hamel and trained by Rene Allard,  it was her ninth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $76.50, the triple returned $208 and the superfecta paid $962


By Gerry Connors, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Overdraft Volo drafted nicely in the pocket until the head of the stretch, moved out to the lead, then held off the late move of favored Ice Attraction to win the single Breeders Crown elimination for 3-year-old Trotting Fillies in 1:53.3 at Hoosier Park Friday night.

Driver Andy Miller pointed the daughter of Yankee Glide forward at the start and yielded to Fine Tuned Lady to sit the covered two-hole trip. Fine Tuned Lady put up fractions of :27.2, :57.1, and 1:25.3, the speedup in the third quarter due to a big move from first-over Checkmate Time, who went off stride midway around the far turn.

Miller moved out with Overdraft Volo in early stretch and went right by Fine Tuned Lady, and the sophomore then had to be game to withstand the consistent inching in of Ice Attraction, holding on to a neck margin at the finish while returning $11.00 as the fourth choice.

As was the case with their pacing counterparts earlier, the sophomore trotting fillies drew 11 entrants, and under the Breeders Crown rules at Hoosier, which starts nine across and a trailing 10 horse, the top two horses accepting byes automatically got in next week’s championship. The remaining nine raced Friday to eliminate one. Champion mare Ariana G, who will undoubtedly be a heavy favorite next week, accepted a bye, as did Thats All Moni.

Overdraft Volo will draw for a post between 1 and 5 because of her elim victory, while the rest, including the bye horses, will go into an open draw. Following Ice Attraction in order was Fine Tuned Lady, Sunshine Delight, Highland Top Hill, Dream Baby Dream, and then three who made a break in stride: second choice Dream Together and Checkmate Time, who recovered well enough to make the final, and Southwind Avanti, who did not.

The “Team Orange” combo of driver Andy and trainer Julie Miller has kept this filly in prime fettle throughout the stakes season as she notched her fifth win of the campaign for owners Pinske Stable and Kentuckiana Racing Stable. Kentuckiana also was part of the breeding of the filly, along with Jorgen Jahre.

“I got the trip I wanted,” Andy Miller noted after the race. “When I pulled out she was strong, went to the lead and sprinted away, and then she stayed strong when the other filly (Ice Attraction) came to her.” The Millers hope that Overdraft Volo stays strong for another week, with a date facing Ariana G looming seven days away.


by Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Youaremycandygirl captured the second $20,000 Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old pacing fillies with an eye-catching 1:51 victory at Hoosier Park Friday night. Yannick Gingras guided the daughter of American Ideal to the score.

Stablemate Strong Opinion and Matt Kakaley bolted to the :26.2 opening quarter lead but Youaremycandygirl, the 1-9 betting choice, shunned an early tuck and drove to take command between the first- and second-quarter mark. From that point the Ron Burke-trained filly cruised to victory easily holding off runner-up Reign On Me by a half-length.

A $150,000 yearling purchase from last fall’s Harrisburg auction, Youaremycandygirl is owned by W J Donovan of Delray Beach, Florida.

"She was a little excited tonight," said Gingras after the race. "I heard the other filly (Reign On Me) and I asked her. She's a very honest filly."

Youaremycandygirl won for the sixth time in eight career starts, which includes an impressive score in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk.

Joining Youaremycandygirl in next Friday's Breeders Crown finale for juvenile pacing fillies will be Reign On Me, along with Strong Opinion, Pueblo Blue Chip and Im With Her.

The overwhelming betting favorite Youaremycandygirl paid $2.20 to win.


By Frank Cotolo, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Rainbow Room, with David Miller in the sulky, won the first of two
eliminations of the Breeders Crown 2-year-old Filly Pace at Hoosier Park Friday night in 1:52.3.
Trained by Joe Holloway for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Val D’Or Farms and Theodore
Gewertz, and breeder Vieux Carre Farms, Rainbow Room drew away in the stretch to win by 3

Rainbow Room (Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Blue) left brightly with Firestorm and Percy
Bluechip but overtook that pair to get to the top and stay there through fractions of :26.3, :56
and 1:24.1, staying in full control to the wire.

Firestorm, who followed third most of the way, was all out to take second. Come See The Show
came up the rail for third. Majorsspeciallady was fourth with Rock On Ladys fifth.

“I was worried about cutting the whole mile but she still had pace at the end,” said Holloway.
Rainbow Room was the 6-5 favorite, paying $4.60 and goes to the final with a career bankroll
of $359,624.


By Gerry Connors, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – The Western Ideal filly Ella Christina, who had demonstrated her disregard for the tote board when she won a division of the Adioo Volo at the Meadows at $114.80, again pulled a big upset, this time in the Breeders Crown 3-year-old Filly Pace elimination Friday night at Hoosier Park, storming home from seventh at the top of the stretch to post a 1:51 victory and return $72.00 to her scattered backers.

The favorites were all in the early mix, as Caviart Ally left from the rail, putting Agent Q in behind her, then let Idyllic Beach go near the :26.2 quarter, only to retake in early backstretch. Nearing the :55.2 half, even-money favorite Blazin Britches came with a big burst but could not clear the leader on the turn, and started to back off past the 1:23 three-quarters.

Caviart Ally had the lead into the stretch, with Idyllic Beach going to the passing lane and Agent Q swinging wide to challenge. But this group was joined late by Ella Christina, who was angled progressively wider by driver Tim Tetrick and went around Agent Q, storming down the center of the track to edge Idyllic Beach by a head, with Agent Q another length back.

This division drew 11 entrants, and under the Breeders Crown rules at Hoosier, which starts nine across and a trailing 10 horse, the top two horses accepting byes automatically got into next week’s final. The remaining nine raced Friday to eliminate one horse. Tequila Monday and Obvious Blue Chip were the two fillies getting byes into the championship event.

Ella Christina will draw a post between one and five as a result of her victory, while the rest go into an open draw. Behind Idyllic Beach and Agent Q in order were Carol’s Z Tam, Caviart Ally, Inverse Hanover, Blazin Britches, Jaye’s A Lady, and Terrortina, the last-named the unfortunate “odd filly out”.

The winner tallied for the seventh time this season for trainer Nick Surick, whose Nick Surick Stable LLC co-owns the winner with J. L. Benson Stables Inc., William Daggett Jr. and Lawrence Vukovic. Surick noted that the Hanover Shoe Farms-bred filly had not been at her best in her previous start, the Courageous Lady at Northfield where she finished sixth, but he was all smiles after this event.


By Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Nike Franco N cruised to victory in the second $25,000 elimination of the Breeders Crown Mares Pace Friday night at Hoosier Park. Tim Tetrick guided the 2-5 favorite to a 1:51.2 score.

Call Me Queen Be took the lead early but Nike Franco N was able to regain command past the :26.2 opening quarter and then set even fractions of :55.3 and 1:24 with Medusa offering token pressure. In the stretch, Nike Franco N cruised to a handy victory with her :27.2 final quarter putting her 2¼ lengths ahead of runner up Bedroomconfessions at the wire.

Owned by Richard Poillucci of North Easton, Massachusetts, the 7-year-old by McArdle was a winner for the 29th time in her 52-race career. Jim King Jr. trains Nike Franco N.

"She's just a sweetheart," said Tetrick. "She's just as good on or off the pace. When they let her go 1:24 to the three quarters, she likes that, too."

Nike Franco N returned $2.80 to win. Joining the top pair in the October 27 Breeders Crown finale will be L A Delight, Seventimesavirgin and Sassa Hanover.


By Frank Cotolo, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. – Darlinonthebeach, with Brett Miller in the sulky, won the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations for mare pacers in 1:49.3 at Hoosier Park Friday night.

The winner is trained by Nancy Johansson for owner-breeder White Birch Farm.

Darlinonthebeach left alertly, with Lady Shadow by her side, letting that one get the lead in a
first quarter of :26.

Lady Shadow cut the half in :54.4 as Pure Country went first over to chase the top two. Three-
quarters went in 1:22.4.

Darlinonthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere-Darlin’s Delight) was game around the turn and into
the stretch and sprinted by Lady Shadow, who held the second spot.

Windsun Glory closed late to get the show dough with Pure Country finishing fourth.

Assistant trainer Marcus Johansson said he was “happy here with her effort” though he said she
had a slow start this season.

Darlinonthebeach, who went off at 5-1 and paid $13.80 to win, lifted her lifetime earnings to just under $950,000.