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Friday, July 28, 2017

Meadowlands Racing Plan for Next Weekend

The Meadowlands - The condition sheet is out for next week at The Meadowlands.

While it is Hambletonian weekend and there are a number of stakes, the hope is to have 12 races on Friday and 16 on Saturday so there will be plenty of opportunity to race overnight horses.

There are 2-Year-Old Non Winners of 2PM overnight races for all divisions to go on Friday and a $25,000 Open Trot & Pace written for Saturday. With the top older horses racing in the stakes, these races should provide a good spot for the Open types to show their stuff on the big day.

Hambletonian Day is a showcase for the sport on its greatest stage.

The races will be simulcast internationally as well as televised on CBS Sports network from 4:00 to 5:30.

We'd like it to be the best it can be.

Questions should be directed to the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130.

Hambo Oaks Heads Up Saturday Meadowlands Card

The Meadowlands – A pair of eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks heads up a dynamite Saturday night card at The Meadowlands.

Two fields of nine 3-year-old trotting fillies, each for a purse of $40,438, will race to decide which ten will move on to next week’s $500,000 Oaks final.

The path to the winner’s circle in the first division (race six) goes through Ariana G. Last year’s divisional champion is four of five thus far in her sophomore season, her only loss coming in the Beal Memorial final against colts. Ariana G (PP #4) has handled the girls with something left in each win but is facing a talented group on Saturday.

The mercurial Glitzy Gal leaves from the inside rail, lightly raced Canadian import Dream Together was ultra-impressive in the Del Miller and leaves from just inside the favorite while the unbeaten scourge of the Keystone state, Treviso will be firing from the outside.

Jimmy Takter trains the homebred Ariana G for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and Yannick Gingras is her pilot.

Division two (race seven) features the queen of the Ontario program, Magic Presto. She’s another in a long line of really good to great Kadabra fillies (Bee A Magician anyone?) Nifty Norman has trained for Mel Hartman, Dave McDuffee and Herb Liverman with Jeff Gural along for the ride this time via his Little E LLC. Magic Presto returned stateside for the Del Miller where she finished second behind Ariana G but there is an element that question whether that result would have stood if driver Brian Sears could’ve found room a bit earlier in the stretch. Time will tell, as it always does.

The competition includes another Takter filly that has found her best form recently in Feed Your Head and Team Miller’s hope Overdraft Volo.

Also on the card is the $49,580 Scott Frost eleven colt trot, a division of the WN Reynolds Memorial stakes in the ninth race. All ten that are Hambletonian eligible moved up one notch on the depth chart when the news broke on Thursday of Walner being unable to race next week. Odds-maker Dave Brower settled on Bill’s Man as a slight choice over What The Hill.

There’s also a 3-year-old Open trot (race two) with seven other legitimate Hambo hopefuls reaching for that golden ticket to the big dance on August 5 and a pretty salty $20,000 Preferred pace where six really fast horses sharpen up for next week’s Sam McKee Memorial.

But wait, there’s more.

It’s Seafood Fest with a cornucopia of delights awaiting your palate both from the festival and a special menu in Pink.

Finally with the horseplayer in mind, the $68,933 Jackpot Super Hi 5 carry-over in the last race has been deemed a mandatory pay out. This creates a rare situation where with new money added to the existing jackpot, a negative take out is achieved up to a point.

Free partial Past Performances are available each night courtesy of The Meadowlands and Trackmaster.

It all starts at 7:15 p.m.

Regal Roxy, Major Millie each each win Vernon features Thursday night.

Regal Roxy (Shawn McDonough) would take the Fillies and Mare feature of the two co-features ,Thursday night (July 27) at Vernon Downs.

Regal Roxy (Stonebridge Regal) would have the lead at the first quarter but would yield to Major Millie (John MacDonald) before the first half.  Major Millie (Art Major ) would then control the race all the way to the top of the stretch.  Regal Roxy ($17.80) who is owned by Kathleen Lauer and trained by Misty Carey, would come out of the pocket in the stretch and wear down Major Millie (second) to win by a head in 1:54.1.  Finishing third was E R Rhonda.

Regal Roxy would pick up her fourth win on the season and her 20th career victory. 

The 13 year-old veteran Gelato Man (Chris Lems), would win the featured trot. 

Choke Hold (John MacDonald) would control the first half of the race with fractions of :27.1 and :57.2.  Gelato Man (Incredible Abe) would work hard but eventually get the lead before the three-quarter mark.  Owned and trained by Angus Macdonald, the gelding would hold off a late drive by Yankee Manny (Fern Paquet Jr.) to win the mile in 1:56.1.  Yankee Manny (Yankee Glide) would settle for second best.  Engagedatlexington (Jimmy Whittemore) finished third.

Choke Hold ($7.30) would win his fifth time this season and would notch his 56th lifetime win.

Vernon Downs returns to live action with another eight race card Friday night (July 28) starting at 6:45 p.m.

For more information go to


 by joe faraldo with assistance from john manzi

The night of July 27th  in northern Italy started off with the Italian team once again besting the Americans, scoring yet another victory. It came in the first event over Padova's half mile oval when Ortello Zorzetto piloted Urgara wire to wire which dashed hopes of any chance for team America.
Aided by a teammate riding shotgun the Americans have yet to forego the individual sacrifice for a team effort, which is  frowned upon by US regulators and bettors alike but seemingly acceptable on this side of the pond.
Tony Ciuffetelli, the most consistent of the American team thus far, picked up a fourth place the first race. But depression was fast setting in.
Then came the second chance in the next event and the least likely to emerge a winner after two horrible experiences the night before was the so called team leader, Joe Faraldo, who racketed a fractious Tieppo Mrs to the lead from her outside post at 21-1 and she never yielded and went on to win in 2:01:4.What was especially pleasing  for Faraldo was that the fractious mare had made breaks in half of her previous 15 starts.
According to Faraldo, " it was a long time since my first ever win with my P license which came here at this track, Padovanelle, 25 years ago with the horse Aggonismo from the stable of Mr. Valpo".
Mario Greco the trainer and regular reinsman for Tieppo Mrs was shocked at Faraldo’s win but very, very happy with the share of the win from his mare's most often unpredictability and her difficulty to drive, especially for an amateur.
After his recent driving victory at Vincennes it was a little bit disquieting for Joe who claimed to get only wins across the pond .
 Alan Schwartz, got a taste of the Italian team racing as he was charging for second but got the tarantella from Team Italia pushing him so wide to rest second from his grasp and forcing him to to a third place finish.
The evening ended with a visit from Walter Destro, the 15 year president of the Veneto club who started the friendship competition with The North American Amateur Drivers Association 25 years ago. That special treat and a super dinner at Villa D' Italia with Team Italia topped off a night when previously the US team was just treading water. Hopefully, Ciuffetelli,the most consistent point getter,will be picked up by Tony Verruso, Schwartz and Faraldo to pull the preverbal rabbit out of the hat.
Tomorrow the American team meets the former Italian Champion Michele Canali and another team of Italian super amateurs at the beautiful Cesena racetrack by the sea. Frequented by large crowds, the Americans will need to be at their best and will need some bocca lupo for sure.


    By john manzi for NAADA

Guess what? Hannah Miller won again today. This time she copped the final leg of the NAADA summer trotting series which was presented at Monticello Raceway on a muggy Thursday afternoon (July 27). She guided the veteran Pine Tab to a gate to wire victory in a 1:58.4 clocking and with that triumph she finished with the highest points total in the eight race event where races were presented at both Monticello and Yonkers Raceways. And she’ll undoubtedly be the one to beat in the upcoming $15,000 series finale which is slated to go to post at the Westchester(NY) oval on August 4.

In today’s $5000 contest Hannah made easy work of it after sending Pine Tab to the lead from the six-hole and taking command on the first turn. From there the talented miss  and her trusty steed cruised past the first stanza in:29.3 and they were three lengths to the good as they journeyed by the halfway point in 1:00 flat.

However, as Pine Tab approached the three quarters he had company.

As Hannah explained: “When the gate sprung my horse (Pine Tab) left strong and we crossed over on the first turn.  From there we were on cruise control until the three quarters when Paul Minore’s trotter (Wygant Prince) joined us but my guy dug in and he held tough all the way through the lane.”

At the wire Pine Tab was a 1-1/2 length victor over Wygant Prince. Eight lengths in the rears in third place was Zorgwijk Impact in rein to Joe Pennacchio.

Trained by Nick Surick, Pine Tab paid just $3.00 for win. It was the trotter's fourth seasonal triumph and for Ms Miller her 16th driving victory of the season  to go along with 11 seconds and five thirds for a whopping .466 UDR.

Meanwhile in Italy, a four-man NAADA team, led by president Joe Faraldo and joined by Alan Schwartz, Tony Verruso and Tony Ciuffettelli  were competing in the USA-Italy Friendship Competition and as of this writing the American team is on the short end of the points totals.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Haughton and Doherty Elims on Friday at The Meadowlands

The Meadowlands - As the 2017 Championship Meet at The Meadowlands draws to it's August 5 conclusion, the stakes action increases to a fever pitch.

Friday night brings with it elimination races for the track's top freshman trotting races, the Peter Haughton and Jim Doherty Memorials.

The Peter Haughton drew fourteen declarations, necessitating a pair of seven colt elims, the first of which comes in race six while the Doherty fillies number 16 and race in the ninth and tenth.

Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter has entered six of his freshmen trotters in the Haughton and sends out the top three morning line choices in the first division, led by the $350,000 Muscle Hill yearling purchase You Know You Do. The colt breezed through his Meadowlands morning trials and a PA All Stars division before tasting defeat in a PASS at Harrah's in his latest start.

You Know You Do races for the partnership of Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and leaves form the rail for driver Yannick Gingras.

The second division (race eight) contains a really talented bunch of trotting colts that include NJSS champ You Need Stones from the Ronnie Burke barn and PASS winner Met's Hall, the slight ML choice for the Millers.

You Need Stones had his way with three other Jersey-breds throughout the sparsely attended sires stakes but he did that in very impressive fashion. He trotted to a fast 1:55.2 in each of his last two starts with 27 and change last quarters in both, compelling his connections to take a crack against open company. You Need Stones gets introduced to a new driver in Tim Tetrick on Friday and starts from post six for owner / breeders Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Larry Karr.

Met's Hall has also won all of his races, including two stakes in Pennsylvania the most recent in track record time of 1:55.1 at Harrahs. The sharp looking Cantab Hall colt is owned by Stroy Inc and the Andy Miller Stable, trained by Julie and driven by Andy Miller.

Trainer George Ducharme has enjoyed remarkable success with trotters including a Hambletonian win in 2013 with Royalty For Life. This year George brings his filly Hey Livvy to The Meadowlands as the favorite in the first Doherty division (race nine). She's a speedy Donato Hanover lass the Ducharme and long-time owner (and a partner on Royalty For Life) Paul Fontaine paid the bargain price of $35,000 for at the Lexington sales last fall. Brian Sears drives Hey Livvy from post six.

Takter and Gingras team up again in the second Doherty split with the unbeaten Muscle Hill filly Manchego (PP #2). In a field of fast, talented fillies Manchego is the fastest thus far with a 1:54.4 win a PA Sires action at Pocono. She's been perfect through all five of her public appearances for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman but faces her toughest test to date on Friday.

The top five official finishers from all eliminations will move on to next week's rich finals on Hambletonian Day.

The undercard has several interesting contests led by a powerful field of Open trotters in race two that includes the return of 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman, 2016 Breeders Crown champ Flanagan Memory and speedy import Tuonoblu Rex as they prepare for the upcoming Cashman Memorial.

Open pacing mares are also on the card in anticipation of the Lady Liberty stake. Golden Girls winner Nike Franco N leads seven others in the $20,000 seventh race.

Just when it seemed things just couldn't get any better they did with Friday's Christmas In July promotion where gift cards will be awarded to lucky sweepstakes winners.

For the horseplayer Friday is a "Must Pay" night on the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi 5 carryover of $35,864. For the uninitiated that translates to a $35,864 head-start in that pool which will grow quickly with new money.

Post time is 7:15 p.m.


          by joe faraldo, leader of the visiting American team, with help from john manzi

Pasta with tears. Never heard of it? Well just ask the four Americans who were led to slaughter in Treviso, Italy in the first of three legs of the Italian American Challenge rematch. In the two contest races today the Italians decimated the Americans. The best the visiting Americans could muster was a fourth place finish by Tony Ciuffetelli.

Treviso is a 1,000 meter, or 5/8ths mile racetrack, and each race was predictably won by the Italians; Maurizio Scala won the first followed in the winners circle by the affable Giancarlo Moretti , whose famed Morano glass factory is world renowned.

The unfamiliarity with the horses and surroundings didn't help the Americans but excuses aside, the Italians once again out-drove the Americans. ."We can't blame the horses, we can only blame ourselves", Faraldo reasoned. “But as it always seems when you don't do well there is always something  or someone else to blame and the truth is when you don't drive well it is your own fault".

However, both Tony’s , Ciuffetelli and Verruso, drove well but the horses they drove could have been more competitive with those  our Italian friends had. However, our hosts have been treating us as well as could be expected, especially with good food and great wine preparing us for what might well be out fate.

As Mike La Chance once said after losing a race in Delaware, Ohio," I just turn the page and get ready for the next one."

Tomorrow’s races are at Padova and for us a fresh start. It has to get better, otherwise we Americans will have nothing to hope for but a good meal and more outstanding wine.

If team USA fails to catch up to the seemingly insurmountable Italian lead by the final leg at Cesena on Friday, the former Italian amateur champion, Michele Canale and friends will be waiting to carve up the remainder of what may be left of our American team.

While it is true that amateur racing is all about human relationships it is sad not to bring home the bacon while enjoying the tremendous hospitality of our Italian hosts. The American team will heed the advice of Mike La Chance and trek on behind the starting gate tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Mandatory payouts of both jackpot wagers on July 28 – 29

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (July 26, 2017) – The Meadowlands Racetrack will offer horseplayers a rare opportunity this weekend with mandatory payouts in the track’s two jackpot super high five wagers.

The Meadowlands will pay out the jackpot in the Race Five wager on Friday and the jackpot in the last race wager on Saturday.

The Race Five jackpot $35,864 while the last race jackpot is $68,933 and will grow into Saturday with one more night of action, assuming it is not taken down on Friday night. Both wagers have a 20-cent base wager and carry a 15 percent takeout. On nights when there is no single winning ticket, 25 percent of the net pool is added to the jackpot amount while 75 percent of the net pool is paid out to the multiple winners.

The wagers represent a tremendous opportunity and value for horseplayers. In Friday’s mandatory payout race (Race 5), players will be wagering into a zero percent or negative takeout pool with up to $239,093 in new money wagered. In Saturday’s mandatory payout race (Race 12), there will be a zero or negative takeout scenario with up to $459,553 in new money wagered. The lower the takeout rate of a wager, the more money that is returned to players holding winning tickets.

Friday’s mandatory payout race features a full field of 10 trotters racing at the bottom level condition of non-winners of $3,500 in their last five starts or optional claiming price of $10,000.

Saturday’s last race mandatory payout also features a full field of 10 pacers racing at the non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime condition.

The Race Five jackpot has grown since May 20 when it was hit for $43,641. The last race jackpot has grown since December 11 when it was hit for $68,028.

For more information, visit


    by joe faraldo, leader of the US team competing in Italy

Mauro and Fabio Biasuzzi, twin brothers, are and have been central figures in racing in Italy for sure but as well in the United States. Their father, Bepi, started the dynasty in the 1960s and while he never drove himself both boys became accomplished reinsmen. In fact, Mauro won the World Cup of amateur racing in Australia in 1966.

Scudieri Biasuzzi has a presence in America in the form of all those "Bi" (pronounced Bee) horses popping up all over the place from mates bred to American  sires. A top horse right now on the European scene is Twister Bi trained by Jerry Riordan, who is sure to be invited to the  International Trot on October 14 at Yonkers Raceway. Surely there will be other Bi horses invited ensuring the Scudieri's presence.

Tonight the USA-Italian challenge is hosted at the Hippodromo Treviso owned by Fabio Biasuzzi. You can always see a Biasuzzi at the major racing events from the Prix d'Amerique to the Hambletonian and the big sales in the US. Some evidence of their success is seen here on one of their many trophy  display tables at the Scuderia in Merano. With Fabio and Mauro at the helm Pepi's legacy has spawned a worldwide dynasty in international harness racing.


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

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, July 26, 2017—Yonkers Raceway Friday night (July 28th) plays host to the  ladies, with the $167,499 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-old fillies.

The draw came up ‘three sixes,’ with divisions (races 4,5 and 6) worth $55,833 each. First post for the dozen-race card is the customary 7:10 PM.

The Cohen—honoring the memory of the former publicity director of both Yonkers Raceway and NBC Sports—is the second local go-round for this group.

Tequila Monday (Brian Sears, post 3) looms a short number in the opening event. The daughter of American Ideal drilled her statebred rivals (as fresh Lasix) here earlier this month, her fifth win in eight seasonal starts ($187,543).

The Lismore champ is trained by Chris Oakes for co-owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Ponpey.

Clear Idea (George Brennan, post 2) should make ‘Monday’ work for it. Another American Ideal miss, she’s 6-for-12 this season, including three consecutive NYSS wins. Blake MacIntosh co-owns (with Hutt Racing) and trains the lass, who has hit the board in each and every ’17 start.

Friday’s second Cohen event didn’t come up nearly as potent as the opener. World Apart (Jason Bartlett, post 2) and Queen Josephine (Brett Miller, post 6) were both bridesmaids in their latest (NYSS) tries, the latter in her last couple.

The final NYSS grouping includes Ann Hill (Sears, post 4), fresh of her 11-1 upset here in her latest try. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, co-owned by (trainer) Richie Silverman and Neal Oksenberg, has won twice in seven tries this season.

Roaring to Go (Brett Miller, post 1), among the best in her freshman class, hasn’t raced back to it at 3. The Art Major miss is winless in a half-dozen ’17 starts.

Friday’s card also feastures the $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace, with Medusa (Miller) remanded outside her seven foes. 

Spotlight on Honoree Jeff Gural: To Receive Moelis Award at Equine Advocates 16th Annual Gala in Saratoga on 8/3

Saratoga Springs, NY – Jeff Gural is a tower in Standardbred Racing. As the owner of three racetracks: The Meadowlands in New Jersey (which features Harness racing and a short Thoroughbred meet), in addition to Standardbred tracks, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs, both located in New York State, he has become a driving force in keeping trainers suspected of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs and those trying to buy or sell horses to slaughter out of his three racetracks. Gural will receive the Ellen and Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award for his commitment to the humane fate and aftercare of horses bred for racing, their safety during their racing careers and toward maintaining integrity and honesty in racing.

The world-renowned equine surgeon, Dr. Patricia Hogan, who was honored by Equine Advocates at this event in 2008, had this to say about her friend, Jeff Gural:

"Horse racing faces many modern challenges today, not the least of which is a shaken public confidence in the integrity of the competition itself, but also in the racing community's ability to handle the whole host of welfare issues surrounding the care (and aftercare) of our magnificent horses. Jeff Gural has certainly been a trailblazer in implementing innovative ideas that have chipped away at these problems and started some very important conversations in racing that no one wanted to have, but were sorely needed. Oftentimes, he is doing these things alone - at great personal and financial cost. He richly deserves this recognition and more from our industry."

Also being honored are actress and author, Cornelia Guest and the Honorable Ed Whitfield of Kentucky who served in the House of Representatives from 1995 – 2016. The gala will be held on Thursday, August 3rd at the historic Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs.

Guest, who can currently be seen in the return of “Twin Peaks” on Showtime, is being honored for her equine rescue work, for her strong public stance and activism against horse slaughter and for founding the Artemis Farm Rescue in New York State for abused and slaughter-bound equines.

Ed Whitfield will receive a Special Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work and dedication to the protection of horses. He has been a staunch opponent of horse slaughter, horse soring and all forms of equine cruelty both personally and throughout his years in Congress where he fought hard to prevent equine abuse.

The evening includes a cocktail hour, silent & live auctions, gourmet dinner by Mazzone Hospitality, award presentations and a performance by the popular country band, Skeeter Creek. The live auction will include many exciting and unique items including authentic halters worn by champions California Chrome and Arrogate. Some tickets are still available at $250 per person. For more information, please call (518) 392-0175.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Red Mile Opens 2017 Live Race Meet

Lexington, KY – Harness Racing returns to Lexington, Kentucky with the historic 143rd season at The Red Mile beginning on Thursday, July 27. More than $7.5 million in purses will be offered over 32 race dates concluding on Sunday, October 8.

Thursday's offering is a ten race overnight card with a $6,200 Preferred Handicap feature pitting eight solid pacing mares in the second race.

The pre-Grand Circuit meet will cover 24 programs, racing live Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through September 17 with a post time of 7:00 p.m. each night.

This early meet will feature the enriched $2 million Kentucky Sires Stakes starting on August 17 with the foals of 2015 now benefitting from a mare residency policy. All purses for the three preliminary legs for two-year-olds will be $30,000 with all finals set at $250,000.

That policy contains language that states the resulting foals of all horses bred during the 2014 breeding season will be eligible for nomination to the KYSS if the horse is out of a mare, even if sired by an out-of-state stallion, that resided in Kentucky during the year of conception for 180 consecutive days and nominated to the fund or by a stallion that stood in Kentucky and nominated to the fund for that breeding season.

In addition to the change in eligibility, funding for the program has seen significant increases largely due to the pari-mutuel tax on historical horse racing, which is now offered at The Red Mile.

The KYSS for three-year-olds will offer two legs for a purse of $15,000 ($10,000 divided) and $175,000 finals. All finals will be raced on Sunday, September 17.

The Kentucky Sire Stakes is funded by the Kentucky Standardbred Development Fund (KSDF) and the Kentucky Standardbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund (KSBIF).

The $5 million Grand Circuit meet consist of eight cards and will follow a Thursday through Sunday schedule with post time at 7 p.m. on September 28, 29 & 30 then a matinee 1 p.m. post time on October 1, 5, 6. 7 & 8.

The time-honored Bluegrass Stakes for all divisions will highlight week one. The International Stallion Stakes will provide racing for the freshmen in week two while closing weekend brings with it the 125th Kentucky Futurity, Tattersalls Pace and Allerage Farms series for the FFA set.

Information on all racing is available by calling the Racing Office at (859) 258-7670.

The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale will featured the highly anticipated first crops of Captaintreacherous, Father Patrick, Sweet Lou and Trixton among others along with the top quality consignments that sell at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion annually. The sale starts at 7:00 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, October 3.

Information on the city of Lexington including accommodations, dining and entertainment options is available from


     By john manzi for the Billing Series

The Midwest region of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series moved back to harness racing roots  on July 24th when five members ventured to the double oval at the Fowlerville (Michigan) Family Fair for a trotting contest  and when the judges hung the official Steve “You’re Never Too” Oldford was victorious with The Budster in a time of 2:03.3.

The 12 year old altered son of Broadway Hall notched his fourth seasonal victory and the 46th of the veteran trotter’s illustrious career.

The Budster pretty much had things his own way after leaving from the two hole. Oldford used the front-end en route to victory over Gespacho and driver“Jerry the Jet” Mihelic while third place went to Truth In Action with Gregg “Fast Greggy” Keidel at the controls.

It was a reunion of sorts for Oldford and The Budster.who are together again after a long hiatus.

“During his 3-year old season we (Oldford Racing) had owned  The Budster and we  won the Old Oaken Bucket with him  at Delaware, Ohio that year.,” Oldford related. "He had raced real well for us and we sold him after his 3 year old season.

"Jessica Schroeder, now with the USTA, used to  rub The Budster when  Pete Foley was training him for us back then. Late last  year Jessica called and told me that The Budster  was headed to the Amish and since the old guy was so good to us way back when I decided to buy him and race him in the amateur series in Florida this past winter,” Oldford explained “And we even won a few races together at Pompano (Park) earlier this year.”

Oldford was excited to tell The Budster story and even more excited about the way the old fellow trotted to victory Monday night at the Fowlerville Fair.

“Although his recent form hasn’t been real good he was super tonight at Fowlerville. So much so that I may even  drive him in some future Billings races,” Oldford said jubilantly.  

Jason Bartlett wins 4 NYSS at Monticello Raceway on Monday July 24

On a track that was listed as good, from a morning deluge and unseasonably cold temperatures, the adverse conditions did not deter the newest member of the 7000 club Jason Bartlett, as he won 4 races on the 13 race program.

By virtue of his Sheppard Elimination win, the public betting made Persist Blue Chip (PP2) the favorite.  After a brisk 28.4 opening stanza, Matt Kakely slowed the pace to a 59.1 half, the tempo at the ¾ was a leisurely 1:28.3 from then on it was all cruise control. He went on to score a wire to wire win in a lifetime best of 1:58.1 over Carolina Magic by a scant nose. The son of Roll With Joe – Real Reflection is owned by Burke, Martin, Switala and Weaver Bruscemi. 

In the second $27,750 contest Delightful Joe left first and fast from the gate, once the field settled in down the back side Matt Kakaley used the same tactic as in his first win and went down the road to play catch me if you can with Topville Olympian and had the lead first over at the ¼ in 29.0.  The bay son of American Ideal – Our Sophia was at the half in 59 and had 2 lengths on the field, the margin was cut to 1 length at the ¾ pole in 1:28.0 Delightful Joe was in perfect position throughout but to no avail as Topville Olympian threw down a LQ of 28 to take a new lifetime mark of in 1:56. He is owned by Menary and Billy & Anthony Timmins of Great Britain. 

Jason Bartlett notched his 2 win on the card with Casual Cool, a winner in Sire Stakes company last start at Buffalo, he was content to let the dust settle on the front end while Rock Lights showed the field through fractions of 28.3, 58:1, 1:27.3, at this point Casual Cool was in the outer flow and gaining ground on the outside to win by 2 lengths in 1:56, tying his lifetime best. The $165,000 son of American Ideal – Sight To See, is owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano.

In one of the afternoons more impressive performances, Jimtastic, was making his pari-mutuel debt from the rail for trainer Andrew Harris.  The son of Art Major -  Jimmy The Terror was dominant in his qualifier at Mohawk, winning by 8 in 1:57.3, he was equally impressive today, scoring in 1:57.1 for Jason Bartlett over Real Rayenbow.

Aces In Heaven, ($4.40) took no prisoners as he soundly defeated his Excelsior A rivals in 1:57.1, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven was trained and driven to victory by John MacDonald, he was bred by Crawford Farms LLC.

It was an afternoon of doubles, trainers Linda Toscano, Ron Burke and Andrew Harris each had a pair of winners, Matt Kakaley also had a driving double and Winbak Farms has 2 winners on the breeding side.  In the breeding shed Sires, American Ideal, Roll With Joe, Rock N Roll Heaven and Betterthancheddar each has 2 sons visit the winners circle.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stalbaum, Asher Sweep Buffalo Raceway Awards

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2017 debut at Buffalo Raceway for the dynamic duo of driver Larry Stalbaum and trainer Kimberly Asher couldn't have gone much better as the pair swept all the season-ending honors at Hamburg half-mile oval.

Stalbaum was named Driver Of The Year while Asher was selected Trainer Of The Year for the 2017 campaign. To top off their incredible meet, two horses in the stable belonging to the tandem, Quicksilvercandy A and Empire Earl N, were named Pacer and Trotter Of The Year respectively.

Despite the season be cutting short by three days due to a tornado, Stalbaum and Asher put up some gaudy numbers. 

Stalbaum finished the season at Buffalo Raceway with 194 victories in 839 starts, winning $1,010,597 in purse earnings.

Ray Fisher Jr. finished in second place in the driver's standings with 134 wins while Drew Monti took third place with 130. 

Asher in the meantime dominated the training standings from start to finish. In 367 starts, she complied 115 wins for $575,663 in purse money and an astounding UTR of .473. Asher currently is atop the leader board nationally in the 300-499 start category with a .468 UTR and is seventh overall in training wins with 119.

Four-time defending training champion JD Perrin finished in second place with 74 victories while Gerry Sarama took third with 66.

Quicksilvercandy A, a 13-year-old mare, produced 13 wins on the year and earned $66,629 thus far to easily take the Pacer Of The Year award. The 13 victories is currently the second most nationally. She has been in the money 23 of 26 attempts this year and has a lifetime bankroll of $635,363.

Empire Earl N made it a clean sweep for the Stalbaum/Asher stable as he took the Trotter Of The Year award. He captured four races in just 11 starts but put $31,700 in the bank with most of his races coming from outside posts in Open competition.

There were four track records broken during the meet. Plunge Blue Chip started things off on June 30 by winning the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters in 2:00.0, breaking the old mark of 2:00.1 established in 2009 by Munis Blue Chip.

The aged (5+) pacing mare mark of 1:54.2 set by Majic Laughter in 2014 was tied by Deliciouslynaughty in 2017 by was eventually broken by Sarah Cola on July 12 as she toured the half-mile oval in 1:54.1.

The long-standing 1:54.0 record of Civil Attack set in 2008 stood the test of time as the aged (5+) pacing horses couldn't beat it until late in the season. Ironically, it was shattered twice in a week as Show Stopping put up a 1:53.4 time on July 8 only to see Utah Beach come along on July 15 and wipe out that time with a 1:53.2 mile.

There were career milestones that were reached as well as driver Ray Fisher Jr. notched his 4,000th lifetime victory on March 29 and Ron Beback Jr. drove to his 2,000th career win on April 19.

On February 25, it was a unique night for the McNeights as driver David McNeight III drove home three winners for three generations of his family. He first guided Sea Star to the victory for his father David McNeight Jr. and then helped himself out be winning aboard his own, Lucky Millionaire. On the last event on the card, McNeight III won for his grandfather, David McNeight Sr., with Spring Terror to complete the unusual trifecta.

For the season, Buffalo Raceway had a 41.95 winning percentage for post time favorites.

In the handle department including the export, Buffalo Raceway broke even compared to the 2016 numbers. Director of Operations Jon Cramer said, "We are holding our own. We are very pleased with our simulcast network."

The 2018 season is expected to begin in mid-January.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Simons Sunday at Tioga Downs (July 23).

Andreios Kardia (Aaron Byron) wins an action packed Tioga Downs Open Handicap ($12,000) on Sunday Afternoon (July 23).  Leading driver Mike Simons would win five times.

Golden Gun (John MacDonald) would take the lead into the first quarter.  Fireyourguns (Scott Coulter), would then take command and lead into the half.  Andreios Kardia (Badlands Hanover) would go first over on the back stretch and take over at three-quaters.  Owned by Ina Madill and trained by Jeff Byron, the 7 year-old would open up by two at the top of the strecth and hold on after a late charge by Time Out I'm Tired (Jim Marohn Jr).  Andreios Kardia ($9.30) would finish the mile in 1:50.3.  Time Out I'm Tired (Artiscape) would finish second with Bettorsluckystreak taking third.

Mike Simons would get victories with Y S Joe ($13.60), Rebel Jet ($5.70), A Breath Of Fresh Art ($3.00), No Bad Dreams ($3.30), and would win number five with M G Home Run ($7.40).  He now has 56 wins at Tioga Downs for the season.

One True Friend was victorious in the special non-betting Racing Under Saddle (RUS) race at Tioga.

The lady riders put on a great non-betting performance at the Nichols, NY track on Sunday.  One True Friend (Dream Vacation) went gate-to-wire putting up the fractions :30.1, 1:00.2, 1:30.3, 2:03.3. 

Admirable Hanover (Vanessa Karlewicz) would follow the whole way to finish second. Railroad Lane (Michelle Miller) finished third.  Iron WIll (Heather Reese) came in fourth.  Boy Can She Fly (Codie Smith) was fifth with Stirling Accord (Sasha Moczulski) finishing sixth.

There will be no live racing at Tioga Downs on Friday (July 28) due to a 38 Special concert.  Live racing returns on Saturday (July 29) with a post time of 6:50p.m.

For more information go to


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 23, 2017—Yonkers Raceway’s perennial leading driver, Jason Bartlett, reached the next plateau Sunday afternoon (July 23rd) with the 7,000th victory of his career.

The milestone number came behind favored I C Caviar ($4.40) in the $11,000, seventh-race trot.

The 6-year-old Malabar Millennium gelding, making his first start for trainer Richard Banca, went up and over Me the Boss (Dan Dube) down the backside, then defeated 65-1 rank outsider Mr. Protab by a couple of lengths in 1:58.2. The winner is co-owned by Joseph & Vincent Barbera, Allan Alkes and Richard Facciola.

But back to the man of hour, who suffered through an un-Bartlett-esque dry spell (3-for-35) before earning his requisite congratulatory sign.

“Longest three days of my life,” Bartlett said, “I’m so happy it’s over, and the kids are, too. “They were asking me, ‘Daddy, do we have to go to the track again?’ “   

“I was talking with my wife (Kristen) the other day,” Bartlett said. “We’re been down here (Yonkers) close to 10 years now, and when I first came, I was around 2,000 wins.

“It’s been a helluva ride.”

The 36-year-old Bartlett, native of Augusta, ME, has $87.7 million in career purses. He began Sunday leading the locals in wins (297) and purses ($6.1 million).


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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 23, 2017—Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $6.10) who missed a hard-charging head a week ago, had no such angst this time around, winning Sunday afternoon’s (July 23rd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $68,000 Open Handicap Trot.

The last of three early leaders, Homicide Hunter—from assigned post position No. 7 among the dozen--took over after Bueno Camino (Scott Zeron) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) each had a spin in the big chair.   

Homicide Hunter, as the 2-1 wagering choice, made the lead in the second turn, between a :28.3 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 half. His ascension to the throne left Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) first-up, sitting outside.

Homicide Hunter (1:28.3 three-quarters, mile in 1:55.4) hade few issues thereafter, widening to 2½ lengths in the lane before ‘running’ away by four lengths. The mile-and-a-quarter went in a spiffy 2:24.3.
Buen Camino edged Springbank Sam N for second, with Fashion Creditor (Eric Goodell) and Awsome Valley (Greg Merton) settling for the minors.

Hemi Seelster, who has had success in races where he’s been out every step, couldn’t replicate it here, winding up last among the dozen.    

For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $25.20, with the triple returning $94.

Sunday’s installment of the ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 5-Uncle Mojo (Saratoga’s 3rd race) and 2-I C Caviar (Yonkers’ 7th race) paid $10.70 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,231.

Note the Raceway’s post time next Sunday (July 30th) is 11:30 AM.

(Author’s aside…I C Caviar was Bartlett’s 7,000th career win. Separate story/pix shortly).

Horoky Week’s Best; Nash Retakes Lead in HSGCHC

(July 23, 2017) –   Steve Horoky was the top handicapper for the weekend of July 21-22 in the Hambletonian Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge by earning 67 points, besting Anne Stepien by 5 points with her 62 points.  Rusty Nash finished third for the week with 50 which allowed him to retake the overall lead by the largest margin of the season. 

Horoky owes his victory thanks to a trio of winners (Seven Iron, $6; Grand Teton, $6.20; Kissin In The Sand $3.20) and a couple of second place finishes in the Kindergarten Classic series at the Meadowlands Friday evening which gave him first place for the evening with an $18.00 net profit.  Also with three winners were Nash who finished second with a profit of $11.60 while Russ Adams landed in third with his $8.00 profit.

Saturday evening, the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace from Saratoga Raceway was the sole race on the card and the victory of Bit Of Legend N ($32.20) was a surprise to all but handicapper Anne Stepien who took down the longshot for first place honors for the night.  A quintet of handicappers dead-heated for second as Boston Red Socks took show honors to salvage the card for them. 

Nash’s overall performance the weekend places him in first with 591.95 points, approximately 40 points ahead of Matt Rose’s 552,13 pts.  Megan Maccario remains in third place with 525.48 points while Russ Adams completes the superfecta with 499.12. 

Standings as of Saturday, July 22, 2017 - Leg #32
Total Points Earned
Legs Won
Last Week
Rusty Nash
Matt Rose
Megan Maccario

Russ Adams

Gordon Waterstone
Sally Hinckley
Ray Garnett
Dennis O’Hara
Steve Horoky
Anne Stepien
Jay Hochstetler
Terry Wilson
Michael Carter
Bryan Owen
Adam Friedland
Ray Cotolo

Next Up:  The Handicapping Challenge heads to Western Pennsylvania with Friday’s slate of Arden Downs races for 2yo trotters.  In addition, the Grand Circuit Challenge visits Plainridge Park for their inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts for Open Trotters.  Saturday afternoon, the series returns to the Meadows for the Adios and Adioo Volo for 3yo trotters plus the Arden Downs for 2yo pacers while the Meadowlands takes center stage in the evening, hosting the Reynolds for 3yo trotters plus the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations.  The following week, the Meadowlands Hambletonian Day card takes center stage.

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;//