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Sunday, April 23, 2017


    By john manzi for the Billings Series

Harness racing’s greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, moved on to Freehold Raceway on Saturday afternoon (April 22) where a seven-horse field went to post and when the judges hung the official sign Bobby “Rapid Rail” Krivelin emerged victorious with his own Permanent Joy in a 2:01:1 clocking.

In a race marred by breaking horses on the first turn “Hurricane Hannah” Miller cleared the confusion with Winwood Scout from the seven- hole but had to sizzle to a :28.4 first quarter which arguably  took its toll later in the race. She did get her trotter a breather but “Buffalo Bob” Davis kept the pressure on with Mr. Butterworth.

However, the eventual winner, Permanent Joy wasn’t quite as lucky in clearing the breaking horses .

“Permanent Joy is handy little horse so I was able to avoid the confusion On the first turn but by then I was 10 lengths back of two leaders,” Krivelin related via email.

As the field headed up the backside the final time around Winwood Scout was joined by Permanent Joy and from there a battle ensued.  

 “Once I caught the field I felt I had a shot (to win). Coming around the final turn I thought I would go right by Hannah (with Winwood Scout) but she did a great job keeping her horse alive and we battled till the (finish) line. Fortunately I came out on top.”

The margin of victory had to be determined by the photo-finish camera and when the judges developed the print Permanent Joy won by a head.
Third place went to Windsong Illusion driven by “Slate Hill Allen” Sisco.

The crowd sent the winner off at odds of over 7-1 and Permanent Joy returned $16.80 to those who backed him.

Krivelin owns and trains the veteran 9-year-old Permanent Vocation gelding who years ago was the State of   Maine’s  3 year old trotting champion. For Permanent Joy it was the trotter’s second seasonal victory and for Krivelin, a three-time National Amateur Driving Champion, it was his fifth win in just nine seasonal starts.


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017—When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don’t want to disappoint him.

Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $310,600 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker.

Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third…all three away in post position order.

Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former).

It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in.

Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide.

It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva’s Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third.

That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear.

For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout).

"I thought I have to race her from off the pace,” Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels.

A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1.

Saturday night’s $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4.



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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017—Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $24.80) was hard-used early and hard-headed late Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $529,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.

The sport’s richest race of the season to date again honored the memory of the Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway.

At the outset of the 30th Levy, pole-sitting McWicked (Matt Kakaley) was—not surprisingly—put into play. He was joined by Keystone Velocity, who from post position No. 4, forged to the lead just after a spiffy :26.1, opening quarter-mile.

Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett), leaving right outside of Keystone Velocity, was caught three-wide and forced to wrangle back to fourth.

McWicked, who had retaken the lead in the second turn, found a :54.4 intermission before longshot Blood Brother (Brian Sears) moved from third. He uncoupled stablemate Somewhere in L A latched from second-over, with even-money choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick) and last season’s champion, Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton), at the back of that train.

McWicked maintained his advantage through a 1:22.3 intermission three-quarters (:27.4 third station), taking a tenuous lead into the lane.

However, his night was about to come to a unsatisfying conclusion. McWicked was done early off final turn,  but nor before taking Keystone Velocity to the promised land of the passing lane. It was Keystone Velocity fighting off the race’s other tough mile, beating Somewhere in L A by a head in 1:51.2.

Missile J settled for third, beaten a length, with a very-wide Bit of a Legend N fourth and 107-1 proposition  Soto (Brett Miller) grabbing the final pay envelope. .

Blood Brother, Pcovocativeprincen (Yannick Gingras) and McWicked completed the order.

For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned (as Allard Racing) by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr and VIP Internet Stable, it was his third win (as the fifth choice) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $135.50, the triple returned $593 and the superfecta paid $2,406.

"Rene (Allard) and I talked before the race and we decided we had to leave the gate,” Dube said. “I was just hoping Matt (Kakaley, with McWicked) could get me to the lane. My horse felt very strong, but I did see the other one (Somewhere in L A) coming.”

The driver/trainer combination was this race two seasons ago with Domethatagain, also with a two-hole trip. 

A $100,000 series consolation was won by Clear Vision (Miller, $8.40) in 1:51.3.  


Pat Lachance authors 111-1 upset with Semalu Express

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 22, 2017) – The Meadowlands winner’s circle was painted orange on Saturday night as Andy Miller swept the co-featured upper level paces en route to a four-win night during the 11-race program.

Miller scored in the $18,000 conditioned pace with the red-hot Special T Rocks by a head in 1:50.4 over the narrow 2-1 favorite Alberto Contador. That came two races after Miller prevailed in a three-way finish with Artful Way, who shipped down from Saratoga for the victory in the co-featured $18,000 event.

In between those races, Iwillmakeyousaywow lived up to his name by surviving brutal fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:21.4 to win the $17,500 Dash For The G-Notes Final from post 10.

The biggest fireworks of the night came in Race 10 when Pat Lachance steered 13-year-old Semalu Express to a last-to-first win at 111-1 odds. He was followed by fellow 13-year-old Stormin Rustler, who was 95-1.

The lucky $2 exacta returned $5,231.60 while the $2 trifecta with 6-5 favorite Camturo Beach came back $25,279.20.

Corey Callahan and Jim Marohn, Jr. each had two driving wins while Eric Foster and Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. each had two training wins.

Total handle was $2,326,485 for the 11-race card.

Racing resumes next Friday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit


Hot Deuce Goes Lifetime Best In Buffalo Raceway Win

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Just imagine if Hot Deuce would have seen a pylon.

Being parked the entire mile in Buffalo Raceway's $10,000 Open pace on Saturday night (April 22), Hot Deuce still incredibly managed to post a lifetime best 1:53.0 over the fast track in nipping the front stepping Shady City by a head. 

Shadowing Shady City (Larry Stalbaum) on the outside, Hot Deuce (Drew Monti) eventually managed to wear down the stubborn pace-setter in deep stretch to pull off the $21.80 upset victory. Gallant Seelster (David McNeight III), last week's Open winner, took the show spot.

Owned by Mike McAllister and trained by Sabrina Clevenger, the 5-year-old gelded Hot Deuce (Armbro Deuce-Hot Dam Here I Am) has now won four times in 10 races. He has earned $18,196 in 2017 and $54,056 lifetime.

Monti, Stalbaum and Jim Morrill Jr. all doubled in the sulky while Bo Sowers trained two winners.

Racing will resume on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race card scheduled. 

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

Rose on Top Heading into By-week of Hambletonian GC Handicapping Contest

(April 23, 2017) –   With the Matchmaker and Levy Series in the books, the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge heads into the first by-week with Matt Rose maintaining a slight lead over Rusty Nash with a score of 251.63 vs. 246.00.  Both handicappers have three leg victories each, accounting for six of the twelve legs contested thus far. While Rose leads in total points, Nash reverses the standings with regards to net profit, $51.40 vs. $32.40. 

For this past week, a quadruple dead-heat for the Friday (4/21) leg occurred as Russ Adams, Steve Horoky, Megan Maccario, and Dennis O’Hara each successfully picked Da Magician ($4.50) as the winner of Fraser Down’s Kenny Linton Memorial, a bonus race on the calendar.  On Saturday (4/22), Michael Carter was the sole leg winner as he tabbed three of the five winners on the contest card; Hidden Land ($9.50) in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Consolation; Clear Vision ($8.40) in the George Morton Levy Memorial Consolation; Yoga Pants ($2.30) in the Penny Bath Memorial (from Fraser Downs, another bonus race).   

Standings as of Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Leg #12
Total Points Earned
Legs Won
Overall Net Profit
Matt Rose
Rusty Nash
Russ Adams
Gordon Waterstone
Ray Garnett
Megan Maccario
Steve Horoky
Michael Carter
Bryan Owen
Dennis O’Hara
Jay Hochstetler
Adam Friedland
Ray Cotolo
Sally Hinckley
Anne Stepien
Terry Wilson

Next Up:  Six straight weeks of racing at Yonkers Raceway earns the handicappers a well-deserved week off before the Grand Circuit becomes the traveling road show it has always been known for.  The contest resumes with a three-day stand (May 6-8) with Saturday action from Freehold Raceway with the kick-off of the Road to the Hambletonian as the finals of the Lady Suffolk (3yo filly trot) and Dexter Cup (3yo open trot) are contested.  Contest action continues in the evening at the Meadowlands with the AJ Cutler Memorial (Open trot) and the first leg of the Graduate series (4yo open pace) on the docket.  Sunday and Monday has the Miami Valley Distaffs scheduled with Sunday featuring 4yo and older mare trotters; Monday the 4yo and older mare pacers.  Following these races, there will be a final by-week after which there is contest action every week until the contest’s conclusion.

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, April 22, 2017

Meadowlands Qualifiers

East Rutherford, NJ – The big guns are beginning to show up at The Meadowlands for qualifiers and there were more than a few Grand Circuit stars of last year sprinkled throughout Saturday morning’s card. Under overcast skies at 54f with a slight headwind facing them in the stretch, things got underway right on time at 10 a.m.

Hambletonian winter book favorite Walner got things off to a grand beginning by looking good in a training mile around 2:00 before the races with his driver Tim Tetrick in the bike. He certainly is an imposing presence.

Last year’s top pacing colt Huntsville (Tetrick) made his return to racing and was a workman like 1:53.2/26.3 winner from just off the pace in race ten. Tetrick held him in third through comfortable fractions, followed up when Brett Miller moved The Wall from the pocket to engage, then put away the leader and required minimal encouragement to edge by that willing rival late. Ray Schnittker trains Huntsville and owns the colt in partnership with Gewertz, Iannozzo and Arnold.

Hannelore Hanover (Gingras)  looked as good as a horse can look for the second time this spring, trotting away from JL Cruze and Broadway Donna in a 27.1 final stanza on the end of a 1:54 flat mile in race six for older trotters. As fantastic as her 2016 season was, Hannelore may be even better this year.

She was also Ron Burke’s fifth consecutive winner of the morning.

Sophomore trotting fillies opened the day with Myammie Drama (Tim Tetrick/Ron Burke) holding Princess Aurora (Yannick Gingras) at bay through a 27.4 end to a mile in 1:58.2 in the second race.

Several GC winners met in the third and Sianna Hanover (Gingras) was an easy front end winner for Ron Burke’s barn in 1:55.2/28-, her second impressive effort of the spring. Amber Ella (John Campbell) another nice looking Chapter Seven from Linda Toscano’s barn was a comfortable second and Goldsmith Maid winner Magic Presto (Brian Sears) was a closing third after being reserved toward the rear for much of the race in her first appearance of the season.

Trotting colts came around in the fourth and last year’s NJSS champ What The Hill (David Miller) scored a closing win in 1:55.3/28.3 in his second solid showing of the young season. Explosive Ridge (Marcus Johansson) went well, cutting the mile before giving way to the winner just near the wire.

Both Sianna Hanover and What The Hill are owned by Burke Racing with partners Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva. Deo Volente joins the group on What The Hill.

After a training break, three-year-old filly pacers came on to the track and last year’s Breeders Crown and Kindergarten final winner Someomensomewhere made her first appearance for new connections. Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Farms and Bob Boni have possession and placed her in Jimmy Takter’s barn. On this day Someomensomewhere followed another Takter trainee, Somesleazetoplease (Brett Miller) around the racetrack to be second with something in reserve for Tim Tetrick in 1:54.4/27.1.

Last year’s Dan Patch division winner Idyllic Beach (Gingras) and her Three Diamonds conqueror That’s The Ticket (D. Miller) met in the eighth race. Both were reserved off the early pace and finished strong into a 27.4 final quarter with That’s The Ticket getting a bit of a jump on her chief rival and prevailing in 1:54.4. Chris Ryder trains the winner.

Boogie Shuffle (Scott Zeron) was not a marquee name among pacing colts last season, but he was second in Downbytheseaside’s world record equaling 1:49 at The Red Mile and was stakes placed on several other occasions. He has returned well for trainer Mark Harder, cutting the 1:51.4/26.4 mile this morning while drawing away from some pretty good colts.

Blood Line (Mark MacDonald) was a winner for the Takter stable closing stoutly into a 26.4 end to a 1:53.1mile to nip Western Joe (Gingras) and Summer Side (Schnittker).

The day’s fastest mile came when a really good bunch of four-year-old pacing horses gathered for race eleven. Lyon’s Snyder flashed his customary aggressive style and speed dragging Dave Miller to the front and setting lively fractions while being tracked by the undefeated scourge of the Maine state-bred program Seely Man (Brett Miller) and major stakes winner Western Fame (MacDonald). As they straightened up for home off the 1:22.2 three quarters, Boston Red Rocks (Tetrick) joined the fray from mid-pack and was charging the widest as Western Fame moved inside Lyons Snyder and that pair hit the wire together.

The four-year-old mares were the last to go with last season’s bitter rivals Pure Country and Darlinonthebeach picking up just where they left off, right next to each other in posts five and six. On this occasion however, it was Blue Moon Stride, emerging form the considerable shadow of the aforementioned mares to cut the mile and hold that pair off in 1:51.4/26.4 for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Mark Harder. Pure Country, Darlinonthebeach and Rock Me Baby followed her in.

 With major Grand Circuit stakes such as the Cutler Memorial FFA trot and Graduate four-year-old pace now on the horizon the fun is just getting started.


European import lives up to hype with 1:52.1 win

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (April 21, 2017) – Tuonoblu Rex, the American-sired, Italian-bred, and Dutch-trained son of Cantab Hall, entered Friday's $20,000 Preferred Trot at the Meadowlands with a healthy amount of hype following an eye-catching qualifying win in his first appearance on Big M soil two weeks ago.

After grinding past millionaire Crazy Wow with a :27 second final quarter to win in 1:52.1 in his North American parimutuel debut, the bandwagon might need some more seats.

"T-Rex" sat third as Crazy Wow showed the field through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:24.4 for three-quarters while Opulent Yankee chased from the pocket. Around the final turn, Andy Miller launched the 5-year-old, who earned nearly $200,000 during his 14-race European career, first-over after the 3-5 favorite Crazy Wow.

The two trotters battled down the stretch, but "T-Rex" had enough late to win as the 2-1 second choice.

"We were very pleased with him," said trainer Julie Miller. "He definitely met our expectations tonight. Andy said he was perfect to drive. He has trained down great since arriving in the U.S."

Tuonoblu Rex is owned by Cees J. Faber's Stable Why Not. He is eligible to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands on May 6 as well as the Cashman Memorial and TVG Free For All Series.

In the $18,000 pacing mare feature, Breeders Crown champion Call Me Queen Be settled for second in her 4-year-old debut behind the sharp Inittowinafortune. The 3-5 favorite Penpal disappointed with a late-closing, but non-threatening third place finish.

Hall of Famer John Campbell won three races for the second straight Friday night. Corey Callahan also won three.

Total handle was $2,502,644 for the 11-race card.

Racing resumes Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit


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

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 21, 2017—‘Twas the night before the finals of the George Morton Levy and Blue Chip Matchmaker and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

…except for Jordan Stratton.

The lad had himself a Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Apr. 21st), winning a personal-best six races during the 11-race card.

“I can’t explain it,” Stratton said. “Everything I drove raced very well. It was just one of those nights.”

What made Stratton’s run that much more impressive was there was nary a favorite in sight. He swept the $150 early double with a first-up That’ll Be the Rei ($20.20) in the $23,000, first-race pace (1:53.2) and a down-the-road Mass Balance ($15) in the $27,000, second-race trot (1:57).

After taking the third race off, Stratton struck again in the $27,000, fourth-race pace, this time with a closing Ambro Courage N ($43.40) in 1:54.3.

Win No. 4 came behind a come-from-behind Lease Ness Monster ($32.60), roaring from the back of the bus in the $27,000, fifth-race pace (1:54.4). Stratton was then parked leaving from the eight-hole in the fifth race--backpedaling to last—then ‘won the bob’ in the night feature.

Freeze Out ($15.60) rallied to take the $40,000, seventh-race Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace by a scant schnoz in 1:54.2.

Stratton’s happy-half dozen concluded with Platoon Seelster ($21), who scooped up the $27,000, eighth-race trot (1:57.1) after 3-10 favorite Frost Free Hanover (George Brennan) jumped it off on the lead.

Stratton ended his night finishing fourth, third and second, respectively.

Additional props to driver Brent Holland for his hat trick Friday night.

No one took down the Pick 5, so Saturday night’s (Apr. 22nd) gimmick begins with a carryover of $3,206.32 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11).    

The Raceway’s seven-figure Saturday includes the sport’s two richest races of the season to date.

$310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker—8th race (approximate post 9:35 PM)

PP-Horse                                 Driver                          M/L
1-Lispatty                                Brian Sears                  7-1
2-Shesjustadelight N               Ron Cushing               4-1
3-Mach it a Par                        Jason Bartlett              2-1
4-Mackenzie A                        Jordan Stratton           20-1
5-Regil Elektra                        Yannick Gingras         5-2
6-Medusa                                Matt Kakaley              20-1
7-Bedroomconfessions           Scott Zeron                 6-1
8-Diva’s Image                       Joe Bongiorno             20-1

$529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial—10th race (approx. post 10: 15 PM)

PP-Horse                                 Driver                          M/L
1-McWicked                           Matt Kakaley              3-1
2-Blood Brother                      Brian Sears                  12-1
3-Missile J                               Tim Tetrick                  4-1
4-Keystone Velocity               Dan Dube                    9-1
5-Somewhere in L A               Jason Bartlett              2-1
6-Bit of a Legend N               Jordan Stratton           5-1
7-Provocativeprincen              Yannick Gingras         20-1
8-Soto                                     Brett Miller                 12-1