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Friday, March 31, 2017


Pick Four pools also show year-over-year increase

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (March 31, 2017) – With the first quarter of 2017 coming to a close, the Meadowlands has shown a substantial 22 percent increase in the size of its Pick Five pool versus the same period in 2016.

Fueled in part by two carryovers, the average Pick Five pool has been $59,854 versus $48,845 during the first three months of 2016. If you remove the two carryovers, the pool size is still up nearly 4 percent.

“I think the first three months of the year show once again how important low takeout and carryovers are in boosting our multi-race wagers,” said Jason M. Settlemoir, Meadowlands General Manager and COO. “We were fortunate to have two carryovers and one night where we seeded the Pick Five pool and it is no surprise those three nights produced the largest Pick Five pools of the year.”

The Pick Five is a 50-cent base wager with a 15 percent takeout rate. It is offered each night on Races 1 – 5.

The Pick Four wagers have also shown an increase year-over-year of nearly 2.5 percent. The Early Pick Four covering Races 3 – 6 sports an average pool size of $54,627 and the Late Pick Four covering Races 7 – 10 has an average pool size of $71,515. Both wagers also carry a 50-cent minimum with a 15 percent takeout rate.

Despite fewer races carded this winter versus last winter, per race handle has still held strong at $208,958.

For more information, visit

Derby Preps, Final Four & Harness Racing, Oh My

East Rutherford, NJ - Another action filled Saturday is on tap at The Meadowlands with two important Kentucky Derby preps filling the afternoon followed by eleven live races once darkness falls.

The Florida and Louisiana Derby each go for a million dollars with the winners gaining important entry points and momentum on the path to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

Here on the home track, there's action a plenty for horseplayers including the "$50 Last Chance Qualifier" to get a seat in the Big Kahuna, the $50,000 Guaranteed World Harness Handicapping Contest on April 29 right here at The Meadowlands.

On the course, the feature race is the sixth where a field of eight talented pacers square off for a purse of $20,000, led by the gritty five-year-old Artistic Major. A career winner of more than a half million dollars, the Art Major horse has enjoyed success over the Meadowlands mile including his 1:48.1 career fastest in a leg of the Graduate Series here last spring for owner/trainer Steve Elliott and partners David Van Dusen, Michael Cimaglio and Gunjan Patel. Artistic Major moves back into overnight competition on Saturday after a pair of unsuccessful tries against top competition in the Levy FFA series at Yonkers.

The NCAA March Madness tournament continues with Final Four match-ups and it's also Raining Cash at The Meadowlands on Saturday evening, adding two more entertainment options to your evening of possibilities.

It all starts at 7:15 p.m.


  by john manzi for the CKG Billings Series

When the 36th season of racing in the C.K.G Billings Series kicked off at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, March 30 two precedents were set. It was the first time in a Billings Series opener that a horse got placed first because of a racing infraction; and it was also the first time in her career that “Hurricane Hannah” Miller won a race by default.

“I guess a win is a win no matter how it happens,” said the talented miss, who is no stranger to the winners circle. “My horse (Winwood Scout) had a second-over cover trip but when David Glasser’s horse (Celebrity Stimulus) was cited for a change of direction the  stretch and despite being the first under the wire the judges  disqualified him and placed him fourth.”

It was the second consecutive victory for Miller and Winwood Scout having won a NAADA trot at Yonkers last week when they teamed-up for a 2:00.1 victory.

However, Celebrity Stimulus’ driver, David “Poppa” Glasser, was philosophical about the whole ordeal.

“I learned a good lesson tonight, and a rather costly one at that. It was a $2200 pain in my wallet,” he said with a laugh. 

“I was on the front-end from the start but in the deep stretch I was so concerned about beating the outside horse (Wygant Prince) that I let my trotter drift down into the passing lane which was a violation. I’ll be careful to never let that happen again.”

The 6-horse field went to post prior to the first race on the betting card. When the starting judge said ‘go’ Glasser sent Celebrity Stimulus to the lead from the pole position. They cut fractions of :28.4; :58.3 and they were still fairly comfortable as they passed the  third stanza in 1:29.1 But in the lane they had company.

At the wire Winwood Scout was a neck behind the winner and was placed first. Third under the wire was “Coach Paul” Minore’s Wygant Prince who ended-up it the place money and The Franchise and driver Bob “the Headhunter” Hechkoff ,was placed third.

The race winner, Winwood Scout notched his third consecutive victory. He is trained by Chris Marino for Howard Jacobs. And for "Hurricane Hannah" Mille, two time National Amateur Driver of the Year, it was her third seasonal victory.


By john manzi for NAADA

After the first leg of the North American Amateur Drivers  Association’s (NAADA) Trotting Series  was snowed out at Monticello Raceway on March 16 the series got underway at the Catskills mountain oval  on March 30 and when the two divisions were completed each leg was won  by a former National Amateur Driver of the Year.  Alan Schwartz copped his leg with Ladys Big Stormont while Robert Krivelin won his division with Current Crisis.

In his split, Schwartz went down the proverbial road and made every pole a winning won en route to a 2:00 triumph.

“I hadn’t planned to be on the front-end from the five-hole but when the gate sprung my horse left like a runner and we were on top before the turn,” Schwartz related after his driving victory. “Although he (Ladys Big Stormont) had been racing well this was the first time I had him on the lead. And he really seemed comfortable there, so much so, that I might have to send him to the front again.”

After Ladys Big Stormont gained command Schwartz and his trotter coasted through fractions of :30.1; 1:00.2 and 1:30.2 before kicking in a :29.3 final panel to score an easy one length victory  over Sim Brown and driver John Kokinos. Joe Lee took home the show dough with Woody.

Sent off at odds of over 2-1 Ladys Big Stormont returned a $6.30 win mutuel. It was the second seasonal triumph for the 6-year-old Earl of Stormont gelding who’s also owned by Schwartz and  trained by Raheim Strong.
For Schwartz, the National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000,  his driving victory was the 579th of his amateur career.

In the other division Krivelin also sent his trotter to the lead but they didn’t gain command until the first stanza which was trotted in 29.1. From there Current Crisis showed the way past the half in .59.4 and by the three quarters in 1:30.1. At that point Tony Ciuffetelli mounted a charge with Tropical Storm Bi and although they were charging in the deep stretch they fell a nose short in the 2:00.1 clocked mile. Third place went to The Fighter, driven by Alan Schwartz.

“He’s been a good horse for me ever since I bought him from Donnie Richards at the end of his 3 year old season where he was the Maine Sires Stakes champion,” Krivelin said of the 8-year old Current Crisis. “Over the years I won two Billings Finals with him and he’s earned me well over $200,000.”

It was the third seasonal triumph for Current Crisis who’s owned by Krivelin’s Hero Stables and also trained by Krivelin. Sent off at odds of over 6-1, Current Crisis paid $14.20 for win.

For Krivelin, who was National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2001, 2012, and 2014, the victory was the 205th of his career.

Harold Winslow qualifies for WHHC at Monticello Raceway

39 contestants were entered in the qualifying leg of the $50,000 Bet America World Harness Handicapping Championship at Monticello Raceway on Thursday March 30th, the final will be held at the Meadowlands on April 29. Harold Winslow was declared the winner, he started off strong in the contest and was a wire to wire winner. Stanley Mentrka of East Meadow, Long Island was the 2nd place finisher and received a $125 wagering voucher and local Monticello resident James Walker was 3rd and received a $75 wagering voucher.  Contestants had to select 1 horse in races 1-10 and amassed a mythical bankroll if their choice finished first or second in the designated race.

Harold Winslow of Clinton NY, is no stranger to Bet America Handicapping contest, his past performances include a prior appearance in the final and a top 3 finish.  Harold also received a $200 check for traveling expenses courtesy of the Monticello Harness Horseman Association. 

Monticello Raceway Director of Simulcasting Maureen Flynn said “the contest added a lot of excitement in the simulcasting parlor, hopefully we will implement more of these type contests in the future for our patrons”.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


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

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, March 30, 2017—Nominations for Yonkers Raceway’s Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings close this coming Saturday (Apr. 1), with a however…

…and that however is since deadline day occurs during the weekend, nominations may be postmarked up to Monday (Apr. 3). The $100,000 (est.) race is scheduled for Saturday night, July 15th, with eliminations (is necessary) set for the previous Saturday (July 8th).  

The form is available at For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627.

Cal Expo Saturday Advance

Gorilla Monsoon pins his rivals
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness            

After failing to make the exacta in his first 11 starts this season, Gorilla Monsoon got the job done last weekend when ending up on the right end of a nose photo.

Owned by Ron Rettig-Zucchi, trained by Lino Pacheco and handled by veteran Chip Lackey, the 5-year-old son of Cam’s Card Shark was a 1:52 winner last year at Running Aces.

You could say that at the wire in last week’s assignment, this pacer got his foes in a submission hold

Wresting fans with a few years on their driver’s license will no doubt recognize the name Gorilla Monsoon, as he was one of the most popular participants in the sport for many years before becoming a commentator and backstage manager during the 1980s and 1990s.

Known to his friends and family as Robert James Marella, he died on October 6, 1999 at the age of 62 but lives on through this Pennsylvania-bred pacer who got back to business in his most recent trip to the post.


A reminder that there are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate, offering great value for the players.

They are the 50-cent Pick 5, which is decided on the first five races; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which also features a $30,000-guaranteed pool on Fridays and a $40,000-guaranteed pool on Saturdays and is decided on the penultimate four races on the program.

Trot brings out Lodi Dorian Blues

Lodi Dorian Blues, who has been knocking heads with Silverlode and Fort Valley AS in his last two starts, gets some class relief and a cozy rail draw in Saturday night’s featured Trot.

The main event will go as the fifth event on an 11-race card under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post at 6:15 p.m. There will also be a pair of California Sire Stakes for 4-year-old pacers to be decided as non-betting events prior to the regular card.

Lodi Dorian Blues is an 8-year-old son of New Age Hanover who races for Scott Ehrlich and George McChrystal, hails from the Kathleen Plested barn and will have Steve Wiseman doing the honors.

The hard-knocking performer recorded his most recent victory on March 3, as he sat a tracking trip to the stretch and then put in his patented last move to win going away by two and a quarter lengths that evening.

His last two starts have come at the Open level, where he finished fourth behind Silverlode two back and then checked in third behind Fort Valley As last week while competing over a sloppy track.

In the Sire Stakes for the pacing males, the very talented Allymx’sliventexas will look add to another trophy to his mantle. A homebred son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s, he races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, hails from the Bob Johnson barn and will as usual have Mooney Svendsen giving directions.

He has dominated his Sire Stakes rival this season, including a sizzling 1:51 4/5 romp by 11 lengths in the February 4 big money dance for the division. He cruised home by nearly 10 lengths in the most recent Sire Stakes, and has since added a conditioned victory and a runner-up finish behind the red-hot Barbarian in last week’s Open Pace.

David Miller Returns on Friday at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford NJ - Two-time defending Dan Patch "Driver of the Year" David Miller makes his first local appearance of the season as racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday evening with eleven contests scheduled beginning at 7:15 p.m.

The trotting feature is race six, a conditioned event for a purse of $18,000. It's a well matched field of seven with Second Sister, Appomattox and Classical Annie moving up off winning efforts, Doubleday and Crazy About Pat shipping in from Yonkers while Crosby's Clam Bake and Opulent Yankee defend their turf at the top level.

Classical Annie's gets underway from post five in the seven horse field. Last week's win was via disqualification, though she was beaten a mere nose for the conventional score. She's always in the hunt for the Burke Stable and will have the services of the above mentioned Dave Miller.

Second Sister absolutely dominated  a field with her gate to wire romp in a career best 1:54.1 last Friday. The Ontario-bred has drawn the coveted rail post position for owner Jerold Hawks and the father son team of Todd (trainer) and Tyler (driver) Buter.

Appomattox has been the shining star for Lucas Wallin's fledgling operation thus far with a pair of easy wins against lesser in three 2017 starts. The young Scandinavian opened his own barn last fall and his work with this class master should draw the interest of potential clients. Reima Kuisla Stable owns and "Captain" Corey Callahan will drive from post three on Friday.

The always hotly contested amateur races are on the bill in races two (pace) and three (trot) as legs of the current Meadowlands based GSY short series.

The standard horizontal wager guarantees are in place and free program pages are available to get a leg up on the $50,000 Late Pick 4.

Make plans to attend on Saturday where the $50 entry fee "Last Chance Qualifier" gives one final shot at a seat for the  $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Challenge set for April 29. It's a good opportunity to secure a spot in the Big Show for small money.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ray Fisher Jr. Gets 4,000th In Buffalo Raceway Win

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- "I never thought I'd get my first win or even get a hundred wins let alone four thousand," driver Ray Fisher Jr. said after he posted his 4,000th career victory aboard Autocorect Hanover ($9.80) in the eighth race at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (March 29).

"I didn't even know I was close to four thousand wins until a few weeks ago. I was kind of surprised," Fisher Jr. said.

The 48-year-old Fisher Jr. suffered a broken back in a track mishap in 2013 and that slowed his march to 4,000 wins down. It possibly could have ended his career but he was positive he would come back.

"Not driving again never entered my mind," Fisher Jr. said about the possibility of not getting on the sulky again. "I may have come back too soon physically after breaking my back but mentally I had to get out there as quickly as I could. It was just something I had to do."

He's definitely back in his comfort zone now as he currently sits in third place at Buffalo Raceway with 56 victories. Fisher Jr. piled up 81 wins last season at the Hamburg half-mile oval and added 98 more in the fall meet at Batavia Downs.

Fisher Jr. said he enjoys the competition of driving, especially going against the likes of Jim Morrill Jr., Larry Stalbaum, Shawn Gray and Kevin Cummings on the Western New York circuit. "They are tough to beat for sure but I am fortunate that I get to do it."

And is 5,000 wins in the cards for Fisher Jr., a winner of nearly $17 million in career purses? He didn't discount it. 

"With the evolution of the catch driver now, you can get a lot of chances every night. I've always had good opportunities here or at other tracks so hopefully that will continue," Fisher Jr. said in conclusion.

In the co-featured $8,200 paces for the mares, the two favorites found the winner's circle. Dontch Remember (Morrill Jr.) won the opener in 1:57.2 and returned $3.10 while Ben McNeil piloted Looney Dune to the $5.00 victory in 1:56.1.

Drew Monti tripled and Morrill Jr. finished the night with a driving double. JD Perrin conditioned a pair of winners.

Racing will resume on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with an 11-race program scheduled for 5 p.m.

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

Last Chance BetAmerica WHHC Qualifier at the Meadowlands

 Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is running a low roller BetAmerica World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier this Saturday, April 1.  The Qualifier is a great way for those new handicapping contests or harness racing to get involved, have fun and win some cash. 

The Meadowlands qualifier requires just a $50 buy-in, with $30 going towards each player’s bankroll and $20 going towards the event’s prize pool. Players can purchase multiple entries.

 Contestants must bet a minimum of five races from the Meadowlands with a $6 WIN minimum per wager.  

The winner receives a seat in the BetAmerica WHHC Final on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

 For complete tournament information and details, visit

Monticello Raceway Handicapping Contest on Thursday March 30

Entries for the Monticello Raceway Handicapping Contest are due prior to the first race on Thursday March 30, post time is 12:50.  The winner of the qualifying leg at Monticello Raceway will become eligible to the $50,000 Bet America World Harness Handicapping Championship final at the Meadowlands on April 29.  The Monticello Harness Horseman Association are sponsoring the travel expenses to the Meadowlands.

Participants will have to select 1 horse in races 1 through 10, there is no entry fee to enter the contest.  Cash prizes will be awarded to the second place finisher ($125) and for 3rd place $75.00.  Rules for the contest can be found on

Task-Force to discuss the future of harness racing live on Hubrail Insider Show

By Fred Hudson

(March 29 2017) - This Friday at 11:00AM (EST) March 31, 2017 a harness racing task-force will be having a roundtable discussion regarding the future of harness racing. There will also be a Question and Answer segment at the end of the show that will be open to the general public. This will give the general public an opportunity to call in to the show or email their questions and thoughts to the participants.

The round table discussion will be broadcast on the Les Salzman Hubrail Insider Show with Les as the moderator. The task-force participants are Jason Settlemoir (CEO Meadowlands), Bob Marks (Hall of Fame Journalist and former GM of Perretti Farms), Bob Pandolfo (Professional handicapper & DRF, USTA, and American Turf Monthly Journalist), Freddie Hudson (harness racing promoter and co-author of the Roosevelt Raceway book) and Andy Berg (harness racing fan and gambler).

To call into the show and ask questions 888 627-6008
or email questions to Les at

To just listen to the show visit and click on the listen live button or to listen by phone call station one at 605 475-1600

Cal Expo Friday Advance

Franky Provolone back where he belongs
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

After a brief hiatus, the 10-year-old trotter Franky Provolone entered the winner’s circle last weekend while returning $25 to his backers in the process.

The veteran sidewheeler is owned and trained by Robin Clements and was given a perfect trip by Mooney Svendsen from the cozy rail start, igniting when it counted to post a two-length score over the sloppy going.

“I figured Franky would run well, but I wasn’t expecting to beat (4-5) Cadet as we were going up in class,” Clements related after the win. “The race fell his way and Mooney gave him the perfect drive.”

The win pushed the son of Armbro Scribe over the $212,000 earnings plateau and he established his lifetime standard of 1:55 4/5 three years ago.

“He’s my all-time favorite horse and a pleasure to be around and work with,” Robin noted. “He’s got a great personality and is such a happy horse. Yet he does have a little playful side to him when he takes a nip at you and then looks the other way, as if to say I didn’t do that.”

It’s horses like Franky Provolone that make harness racing so much fun to follow, as they go out there each and every week and give everything they have. Here’s hoping this guy makes a lot more trips to the winner’s circle before he calls it a career.

By the way, his upset last Friday night sparked some pretty nice payoffs in addition to this $25 win mutuel. The exacta paid $123 for a buck, the trifecta came back $85 for a mere 20-cent investment and the superfecta payout was $120 for each winning 10-cent ticket.

Sire Stakes, Open II Pace headline card

A California Sire Stakes for 4-year-old trotters featuring My Little Susie and an Open II Pace that brings out Jazzmanian Devil and Why Ask Why are the highlights on Friday night’s program at Cal Expo.

There will be 12 races presented by Watch and Wager LLC, with first post set for 7:15. The Sire Stales goes as the third event, while the Open II Pace occupies the eighth-race slot.

My Little Susie is clearly the one to beat in the Sire Stakes as this mare has dominated both big-money events for the division decided this year. The 4-year-old daughter of Claudius Augustus is owned by A Piece Of The Action LLC, is conditioned by Gene Vallandingham and will have Mooney Svendsen at the controls.

The bay miss was a seven and a half-length victress in the initial Sire Stakes for his group on May 3, then played the role of stalker in the most recent clash on March 3 and drew off in the stretch by three and three-quarter lengths. No matter how things shake out early, she figures to be tough once again.

Taking her on are Lodi Bank Robber for Pierre Girard; Breezani, Chip Lackey; Yes She Will, who will have the services of William Hernandez; and Delta Breezeoflodi with Luke Plano at the helm.

In the co-featured Open II Pace, Why Ask Why is a 7-year-old son of No Pan Intended who carries the banner of Windy City Farm with Chip Lackey doing the driving and training.

He was a sharp runner-up to Barbarian in the March 17 Open and will be looking for his third win on the year from a dozen trips to the post. Completing the field are Jazzmanian Devil, Bettormeboy, Anderlecht, Buddy’s Hope and Rusty Carter.


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 28, 2017—A pocketed Never Say Never N (Jason Bartlett, $7.10) out-tripped 2-5 favorite Awesomeness (Scott Zeron) Tuesday night (March 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s ‘sloppy’ $61,800 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series.

The annual Teddy Roosevelt-A-Thon was open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers (guys only, girls went at in the Petticoat) who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec. 1.

            Leaving from post position No. 2, Never Say Never N tracked pole-sitting Prejudice (Jordan Stratton) from the outset. Meanwhile, Awesomeness—from post No. 5—tried to leave, but was wrangled back into a fourth-hole.

            That trio were the only ones in the final who had each won both of their series starts (one scheduled leg was snowed out).

After early intervals of :28.1 of :58.2, Awesomeness was out and moving, trying to stomp out Prejudice in and out of a 1:26.2 three-quarters.

Prejudice owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but was surrounded. Awesomeness was resilient, but Never Say Never N had the shorter route and the bigger envelope. The latter whipped the former by a head in a moist 1:54.2.

Prejudice was third, beaten a neck, with Sure Fired Bet (Yannick Gingras) and Artmagic (Brent Holland) settling for the remainder. Ideal Son (George Brennan), Wishiwasagigolo (Dan Dube, coupled with Prejudice) and Stirling Escort (Matt Kakaley) finished off the order.   

            “He’s quick and fits this track very well,” Bartlett said. “Ever since I qualified him, I’ve been impressed with him. I knew Jordan’s horse (Prejudice) would take me to the lane, and it was up to him from there.

For second choice Never Say Never N, a 4-year-old Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight co-owned by Gerard Stuchbury and Thomas Lazzaro and trained by Heidi Rohr, he’s now 5-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $20.20, with the triple returning $30.80.

“His best stride has always been near the wire, but sometimes he shuts himself off, so they added a mini bit tonight and it helped.”

As for Awesomeness, whose own win streak ended at six, “We lost a lot of round in the last turn and Jason (Never Say Never N) was able to get the jump,” Zeron said. “(Awesomeness) was out two turns and really running in, so I can’t fault the effort.”    

A $30,000 series consolation was won by Magical Cowboy (Gingras, $5.40, part of entry) in 1:55.2.

Three Win Seats to 2018 NHC

Charles O’Mara from Nutley, NJ, captured the March 25th National Handicapping Championship Qualifier at the Meadowlands Racetrack.  The $400 no-takeout contest attracted a field of 112 players representing several different states.  All entry fees were added to the prize pool of $22,400

 The Meadowlands NHC Qualifier required each contestant to make at least ten $20 minimum Win bets on their choice of races from Gulfstream, Aqueduct, and Oaklawn. 
O’Mara built his $200 bankroll into $1,691.20 earning him the $8,960 top cash prize and seat in the 2018 NHC Final in Las Vegas.  His largest score of the day netted $1,640 when he put a $200 win wager on #5 Groton St Scout in Aqueduct’s ninth and final race. 

Also earning berths into the National Handicapping Championship Final were Roger Cettina of Rumson, NJ and Michael Sweeney of Rye Brook, NY. 

The top ten finishers along with contest prize payouts are below.

Prize $
Rye Brook
Vail III
Pine Brook
Fort Lee

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monticello Raceway Pick 5 carryover

On Tuesday March 28, Monticello Raceway’s pick 5 carry over is $1,841, it comes on the heels of the tracks qualifying round for the $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship which will be held on Thursday March 30, post time 12:50.  Race Secretary Eric Warner has put together an 11 race card on Thursday which features 2 divisions of NAADA events.


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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 27, 2017—You just have to admire someone who was in a sow barn by day and a Yonkers Raceway winner’s circle by night.

“She’s the best horse we’ve ever had,” owner Jeffrey Williamson said after not-quite-death-and-taxes Cousin Mary (Jordan Stratton, $2.70) easily disposed of her seven rivals in Monday’s (March 27th) final of the $61,000 Petticoat Pacing Series.

The series was open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec. 1 and pretty much closed once ‘Mary’ strutted her stuff.

After hat-tricking her three Petticoat prelims, Cousin Mary won the draw for the final. Yielding early to St. Kitts (Jason Bartlett), the people’s choice took over eight before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. From there, is was quite simple (:57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54.3) after putting away a first-over bid from Vintage Babe (Yannick Gingras).

The margin, a length-and-a-half entering the lane, was 2¾ lengths at the wire. St. Kitts was second, with a closing A Crafty Lady (Dan Dube) third. Vintage Babe and Real Diva (George Brennan) settled for the minors, while Northern Soiree (Matt Kakaley), Rei’s Star Cross (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) rounded out the order.

For Cousin Mary, a 4-year-old daughter of Camluck owned by Williamson—a hog farmer northwest of Toronto—and trained by Andrew Harris, it was her seventh win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.20, the triple returned $170 and the superfecta paid $704.

“Honestly, when she first came to me, I didn’t think that much of her,’ Harris said. “She was handling (Yonkers’) lower conditions, but not going that fast. When she moved up from non-winners of four (races) to non-winners of eight, she lost but raced better than she did when she was winning.

“That’s when I thought she had a future. Tonight was the first time the series Jordan (Stratton) popped her plugs, and I don’t know where her bottom is.”

A $30,000 series consolation was won by a Winners Over MacDonald, $36.60) in 1:55.1.
Monday night’s Pick 5, which began with a $5,353.51 carryover, attracted $22,248 worth of fresh investors. The winning combination of 4/1/4/5/1 paid $60.87 for every winning half-a-buck-wager.

The $61,800 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series goes Tuesday night (March 28th).      

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Rose, Garnett Win Legs of Hambletonian Society GC Handicapping Challenge


(March 26, 2017) –  Matt Rose swept Friday night’s (March 26) three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series to take a solid lead early on in the 2017 Hambletonian Society Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge by opening up a 50.5 point lead over Ray Garnett who managed to muscle into second place by 1 point over Rusty Nash by winning Saturday’s leg of the challenge by winning two of the four races.  Rose has now won two of the four legs contested thus far.     

Clearly, Rose is taking advantage of the early legs at Yonkers, his home track, by winning all three races on Friday’s slate including Empress Deo ($25), Mackenzie A ($4.60), and Bedroomconfessions ($2.90) which allowed him to net $41.70 for the evening.  However, even a home track can be cruel as Saturday night was a different story, resulting in him having to settle for a couple of show placings.

Garnett and Russ Adams both had two winners on Saturday evening, but the difference was Garnett’s tabbing of Keystone Velocity ($13.20) in the first division of the Levy which allowed him to eke out a net profit of $12.60.  Also selecting Keystone Velocity was Anne Stepien.

In the overall net-profit competition, Nash ($62.10) remains on top, leading Rose ($58.80) by $3.30. Ray Garnett moves into third this week with a net profit of $36.80 as Ray Cotolo fills out the top quartet with a net profit of $22.60.

The standings thus far after four legs are:
Total Points Earned
Legs Won
Matt Rose
Ray Garnett
Rusty Nash
Dennis O’Hara
Russ Adams
Ray Cotolo
Gordon Waterstone
Sally Hinckley
Steve Horoky
Anne Stepien
Adam Friedland
Bryan Owen
Jay Hochstetler
Michael Carter
Megan Maccario
Terry Wilson

Next Up:  The Challenge returns to Yonkers Raceway on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 for the third legs of the Matchmaker and Levy Memorial Series.  The Challenge remains at Yonkers Raceway until the conclusion of the two series on April 22.

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;//