Day At The Track
Rainbow Room

Rainbow Room 1:52.4 in first juvenile race

Regally-bred daughter of harness racing champion Rainbow Blue wins in 1:52.4. Nearly five years after her world-champion full sister Somwherovrarainbow won her first career start, Rainbow Room debuted with an eye-catching harness racing victory Friday night in the first two-year-old race of the season at the Meadowlands. Rainbow Room, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Rainbow Blue, had been the talk of the morning after a pair of impressive Meadowlands baby race victories earlier this month. She backed up the hype in her first appearance under the lights in a $10,000 maiden event. David Miller put the 1/9 favorite on the front end and led the field through fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:26.3. That's when All On Top Hanover ripped off her cover and pulled nearly even to Rainbow Room midway down the stretch. Rainbow Room found another gear and held off the Erv Miller trainee to stop the teletimer in 1:52.4 to win by a length. Despite the loss, All On Top Hanover deserves watch moving forward as she was charted with a last quarter mile in :25.3. Rainbow Room was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned in partnership by Crawford Farms Racing, Val D'Or Farms, and Ted Gewertz. She is trained by Joe Holloway. The big night for Crawford Farms continued in the $17,500 trotting feature when their Cufflink Hanover converted a pocket trip to victory in 1:51.1 over pacesetter In Secret. Cufflink Hanover had most recently finished third behind Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder in a division of the Graduate at Tioga Downs. Fellow Graduate leg winner Trolley also tuned up for the $250,000 Graduate Final on July 8 with a 1:51.4 win in a $13,000 conditioned trot. The Erv Miller trainee had equaled the all-time track record at Tioga Downs of 1:52.1 in his previous Graduate victory 12 days ago. Corey Callahan and Tyler Buter each posted driving doubles. Total handle on the 10-race card was $1,836,992. Racing resumes Saturday night. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

Little Santamonica

Chris Lems wins four at Vernon Downs

Chris Lems would rack up four wins on Friday including the Fillies & Mares harness racing feature ($7,500) with Little Santamonica (Little Steven). Owned by Courtney Crawford and trained by Jordan Hope, the 9-year-old mare would go gate-to-wire in 1:51.1. Little Santamonica ($2.80) never had a tense moment as she won her 53rd career victory. Drea's Good Powow (John MacDonald) would follow the whole way to finish second. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) was a distant third. Lems would begin the night getting the first race victory with 2-year-old first time starter Clive Bigsby (Muscle Mass). Clive Bigsby ($3.80) would take over right before the top of the stretch and win easily by four lengths in 1:58.1. Missus Mia Wallace (Homer Hochstetler) would finish second with Ladydini (Howard Okusko Jr,.) getting third. "Lemsy" would also get a win driving Without A Clue ($18.20) going gate to wire in 1:54.4, just holding off the late charge by Jersey Boy (Ben McNeil). Walk The Floor (Angus Mac Donald) was third. Lems got his other win during race number eight with He's Gone ($3.80) running past Atoastandcaviar (John MacDonald) in 1:55.1. Jackson's Gold (Jimmy Wittemore) was third. Vernon Downs returns to live racing Saturday night (June 24) with a 13 race card starting at 6:45p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com John Horne for Vernon Downs

Brent & Dee Holland

Brent Holland wins his 5,000th race

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 23, 2017 - Harness racing driver Brent Holland won the 5,000th race of his career Friday night (June 23th), doing so at his place of residence, Yonkers Raceway. Holland and Delightful Dragon ($7.40) lasted on the lead by a scant schnoz in the 6th race $40,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace, giving the 46-year-old (as of this past Sunday) the milestone (season's-best 1:53.2) mile. The affable Holland is a native of Wilmington, OH, who began working with horses for a neighbor, Maynard Hagemeyer. "He and Bob Farrington in Chicago both taught me a lot," Holland said. His first winner came in in his first parimutuel start, as an 18-year-old with longshot E C's Best in 1989 at Lebanon Raceway..."pouring down rain," he said. "When I won my first, I used to look up to all the great drivers and never thought about a number like 5,000," Holland said. Asked for some winner's circle wit, Holland offered that 'The horse did all the work.' In the case, the hard-working lass-now 4-for-18 this season-is a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned and trained by Noel Daley. Holland, who migrated east from the Chicagoland circuit not quite a decade ago, has more than $54.2 million in career purses. He was joined by his wife, Dee, and friends for a winner's circle presentation. Frank Drucker

Freeze Out

Freeze Out administers a beating at Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 23, 2017 - Freeze Out (George Brennan, $13.60) did just that to her harness racing rivals Friday night (June 23rd), administering a beating in Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The field was pared to seven after Betabcool N was scratched-lame after the post parade. Away an early second from became post position No. 2, Freeze Out found herself third after last week's victress, I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley), two-moved to the lead. Settled though early intervals of :27.1 and :55.3, Freeze Out challenged and conquered down the backside the second time. She ground down 'Diamonds' well before a 1:23.3 three-quarters, slapping a half-dozen length on the lasses in and out of the final turn. The final margin was a wrapped-up three lengths in life-best 1:52. Jewel Lehigh A (Dan Dube) did get into second, with Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) third. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Hidden Land (Brian Sears) rounded out the payees, while the 9-10 fave I Said Diamonds walked home sixth. For fifth choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Ricky and Sean Bucci, it was her eighth win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $199, the triple returned $991 and the superfecta paid $2,347. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (June 24th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,660.17.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) charges late to win the Fillies & Mares harness racing open 2 handicap ($9,000) at Tioga Downs Friday (June 23). The 5-year-old Total Truth mare found herself fourth all the way to the top of the stretch. K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) set the pace for the field of seven putting up the early fractions :26.2, :55.1, 1:23.1. Once they turned for home Truth and Liberty ($6.80) who is owned by Tracy Moss and trained by Robert Lounsbury blew by them all, winning going away by three lengths in 1:52.4. KJ's Caroline gutted it out to hang on for second. Goldstar Rockette (Aaron Byron) finished third. Simon's who picked up wins 35 and 36 on the night, won the nightcap with Iaquinta ($8.60). The 5-year-old Artzina mare was last until just after the first half. By the top of the stretch Iaquinta who is owned Brian Calvert and trained by Fred Cohen was heads apart with front-running Sinspirational (Tom Jackson). Iaquinta would fly right by to win in 1:54.0 for her fourth victory of the season. Sinsperational was second with Watt A Funny Face (Doug Bowins) getting third. Mike Merton remained hot with two more wins himself. He would win with Celebrity Lampert ($6.10) in race number four. He would win race number 6 with Pokerface ($7.40). His 21 wins on the season are second to Simons. Tioga Downs returns to action Saturday night (June 23) with a 10 race card starting at 6:50p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne For Tioga Downs.

On a night filled with longshot winners at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Tataria (Four Starzzz Shark) upset in the harness racing $14,500 Fillies and Mares Open. One of three winners on the card for driver Mark Beckwith, Tataria sat the pocket behind Tipitina (Frank Coppola Jr) who set fast fractions on the front end. Surging up the inside in the stretch, Tataria stopped the timer in a lifetime best 1:52, scoring at odds of 7-1. Tipitina wound up second best while the favored Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) had to settle for third. It was the first Open victory for Tataria who debuted at Saratoga for trainer Melissa Beckwith earlier in the meet. It was win number six in twenty tries in 2017 for the five year old mare who paid $16.80 to win. The exacta and triple with the favorites underneath returned $111.50 and $329.50, respectively. Six of the winners on the ten race program paid $14 or more to win with one paying as much as $58.50. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

The granddaddy of all amateur harness racing organizations, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, moved north of the border on Friday night, June 23, for two contests at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario. The first, a trot, saw Sherwin "the Magician" Edwards rein Willyorwonthe to a 1:58.4 triumph while the second, a pace, went to Shane "the Freelton Flash" Arsenault and Lulu's Boy in a 1:58.2 clocking. Being that the Billings races were in Canada most of the participating drivers were Canadian except for Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford and "Buffalo Bob" Davis. In his contest Sherwin Edwards sent Willyorwonthe to the lead from the three-hole and quickly gained command and in doing so he played hardball with Natasha "Lady" Day who was up behind the betting favorite Hldontghtoyurdrms. Edwards parked her through fractions of :28.1; :58.1 and 1:28.2 until Ms. Day's trotter began to get leg weary after they passed the third stanza. However, Willyorwonthe still had on his trotting shoes and began to draw clear of the competition. When the field straightened for home Shane Arsenault and Lexis DJ who were traveling along with cover, took aim at the leader after enjoying a two-hole journey. But Edwards' trotter was up to the task and he rebuffed the challenge and charged home a 1-3/4 length victor over Lexis DJ. Hldontghttoyurdreams held on for the show dough. The winner, an altered 4-year-old son of Angus Hall, is owned and trained by William Megens. He returned a $6.60 mutuel to his backers. In the pacing contest, Shane Arsenault aped Sherwin Edwards' journey in the first event and sent Lulu's Boy down the road and they made every pole a winning one. Although pressured in the deep stretch Arsenault's pacer dug in and held off a late charge by Bet on Art and driver by Dave "Modern Legend" Drew. Every Girl's Desire, with Brent Hollingsworth is the pilot's seat, rambled home two lengths behind the winner in third place. The veteran 10 year-old Art Major Gelding is owned by Louis Sorella and Gene Miller and trained by Robert Fellows. He paid $9/90 for win. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

ANDERSON, Ind.-June 23, 2017 - Enoch, with Trace Tetrick in the bike, provided a slight upset in the featured harness racing event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, June 23. With a final time of 1:49.2, Enoch recorded his second consecutive Hoosier Park victory and established a new lifetime mark in the process. Tetrick elected to use off-the-pace tactics with Enoch as he was uninvolved in the early stages of the going to settle along the rail in sixth. Sam Widger had Night Pro pointed to the front but would have to work for position as New Talent and Todd Warren also left aggressively. Night Pro was able to grab the lead through a snappy opening panel of :25.3 while New Talent opted for the pocket seat. Night Pro continued to call the shots down the backside as the hot pace continued through the second station in :53.2. As the field approached the final turn, John DeLong had Shooter's Dream on the attack first-over and Enoch quickly grabbed the cover through the three-quarter clocking in 1:22.3. Night Pro was still in charge turning for home but the torrid pace was beginning to take its' toll. Shooter's Dream was able to wear down the leader but Enoch was poised to strike. Using a :26.2 final panel, Enoch coasted on to the wire a length in front of his competition. New Talent rallied gamely in the lane but had to settle for second place honors. Shooter's Dream held on for third. Slightly dismissed at the betting windows, Enoch returned $10.80 to his backers at the betting windows. Trained by Ron Burke, the four-year-old gelded son of Panspacificflight-Kienna's Angel has now won three of seven seasonal starts. Recording his tenth lifetime victory from 32 outings, Enoch pushed his lifetime bankroll to $134,740 for his owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, P. Collura, and F. Baldachino. It was a Trace Tetrick early double as he also found the winner's circle in the second race of the evening behind Gerries Sport for trainer Tyler George. Stopping the timer in 1:49.1, Gerries Sport recorded his fourth seasonal victory and also a new lifetime mark. Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, June 24 with a 12-race card. With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 17. The 24th season of live harness racing is highlighted by the 34th edition of the Breeders Crown, harness racing's championship event valued at $6 million, on Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com Emily Gaskin

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Kelvin Harrison knows Lynch Memorial hopeful Concerto is stepping up in class, but he thinks it could be a stepping stone. Unraced at age 2, Concerto has won four of eight races this season as she prepares for Saturday’s eliminations of the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. All of Concerto’s victories have come in conditioned races, but the filly held her own in one start in state-restricted stakes action and has Harrison looking forward to her future. “It’s just an experience thing with her,” Harrison said. “Each time she races she seems to get a little bit better. I think this is pretty wishful thinking this week going in against these fillies, but eventually I believe she’ll be up to that level.” Concerto competes in the third of three Lynch eliminations. The six-horse field features the top two finishers from last week’s Fan Hanover Stakes --- nose winner Bettor’s Up and runner-up Agent Q, with Agent Q getting the 2-1 nod in morning line favoritism over 5-2 Bettor’s Up. Concerto is 10-1. The first elimination is led by Lismore Pace winner Tequila Monday (2-1) and returning Dan Patch Award winner Idyllic Beach (3-1). In the second elimination, multiple stakes winner Roaring To Go (2-1) and Pennsylvania Stallion Series standout Brazuca (5-2) are the top choices. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $300,000 Lynch final July 1 at Pocono. Saturday’s card at Pocono also includes eliminations of the Ben Franklin for older male pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, and Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers. Concerto is a daughter of stallion Bettor's Delight out of the Badlands Hanover mare Born Storyteller. The filly is owned by breeder Ron Mario, who also bred and raced Born Storyteller. Born Storyteller won an elimination of the Lynch in 2005 and finished fourth in the final. A year later, she finished second to Burning Point in the Breeders Crown Mare Pace. Concerto’s half-sister Beach Story was third in the 2014 Jugette. Concerto suffered from soreness as a 2-year-old and was turned out. She made her debut in March with a 10th-place finish at the Meadowlands, but since then has finished worse than second only twice. One time was on a sloppy track at Harrah’s Philadelphia, where she went off stride, and the other was a fifth-place finish in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, where she was beaten by only 1-3/4 lengths. She has two wins and a second in her most recent three starts. “We brought her back late last year and got her ready to race,” Harrison said. “She wasn’t the fastest learner; she was a little aggressive. But she’s settled in good. “When they don’t race at 2 and they have to go against these horses at 3 it’s a little harder for some of them. She raced once in the sire stakes at (Philly) and she was really pretty good and I think she’s improved since then. This is a tall order, but I think she can develop into being this type of filly.” For a look at all the entries for Saturday at Pocono, click here. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Columbus, OH --- He is a harness racing world champion and one of the few horses to possess the distinction of besting Always B Miki and Sweet Lou, yet Mel Mara has not visited the winner’s circle for a stakes race since he captured the 2012 edition of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold final at Flamboro Downs over that year’s Little Brown Jug winner Michael’s Power. His connections are hoping this is the year the 8-year-old stallion collects his fair share of hardware beginning with a victory in his $35,000 Ben Franklin elimination on Saturday (June 24) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “We have a different plan with him for this year,” said Robert Cooper, his co-owner. “We supplemented him to this very same race last year, but he already had a number of starts in him. We would like to space his races out a bit more throughout the year so we have a fresh horse. Right now he is a happy horse and Dylan (Davis, his trainer) is very happy with him. We think he’s coming into the race very well off his win in 1:48 at The Meadowlands last weekend.” With his regular pilot Corey Callahan at the controls the son of Lis Mara-M L Revrac will commence his journey on Saturday evening in what should be the first of many 2017 stakes engagements. Mel Mara will leave from the rail in the third of three eliminations. He is the 2-1 morning line selection, but faces a field that includes the ever dangerous Rockin Ron (7-2, Yannick Gingras), Rock N' Roll World, who paced the swiftest mile of the season (1:48.3) at Hoosier Park (5-1, Brian Sears) and a potent horse-for-the course in Luck Be Withyou (3-1, George Napolitano Jr.). “We know there are a lot of very nice pacers in this race,” Cooper said. “And not just in Mel’s elimination but all three of them. The difference this year is we don’t have Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, so there is no clear leader in the division but with those kinds of horses in this race, we know we are going to have to be very fast to win.” Mel Mara was privately purchased by Cooper and J&T Silva Stables in April 2016 from Brittany Farms and Riverview Racing. Prior to competing for his new connections, Mel Mara had amassed $468,364 from 51 trips to the post. Since switching barns, the stallion has earned $265,600 and his lifetime record now stands at 74-20-12-7. In just three starts this season, he is just a nose from being undefeated and has been visually impressive in all three of his miles. “We gave him a nice long turnout over the winter down at Hunterton Farms in Kentucky with Steve Stewart,” Cooper said. “Steve does such a terrific job and Mel came back to us looking like a million bucks.” There are several other differences for Mel Mara than when he was in the same position last year. In fact, 2016 marked the first full year of campaigning for him after a layoff of nearly 16 months and the stallion also struggled through some issues with his feet that certainly hampered his performances. “He is absolutely sound and knock on wood his feet are perfect,” Davis said. “We are also going to ship him really early to Pocono so he will have some time to adjust. We are also going to race him more rather than train him all this year. Like he didn’t train hard this week and did a lot of swimming. That’s not because he’s not healthy, but he’s a hard horse for me to train. He just wants to go fast all the time and can be headstrong. “That’s why I like to warm him up a couple of trips before each of his races. The first time he goes out and goofs around being a show-off. Then the second time he starts to settle down when he gets his mind on business. “You can do anything you want with him in a race and he’s great to drive, but ideally we would like to have a prep race, if you want to call it that, before he goes into a stake so he’s not off for three weeks or so before, like he was at certain times last year. I just think that kind of program will work best for him. “That is one of the advantages of having a smaller stable in that you can take all the time to find out what you need to do that works for the horse, what they like and they don’t like, and that’s what we are doing with Mel.” The Davis family also spends many hours just lavishing affection on the horse. “He just has so much personality,” Davis said. “My wife and my 6-year-old feed him bags of carrots every Sunday and he’s such a smart horse that you don’t hear a sound out of him when my six-month-old is around. “Mel is the kind of horse that screams and hollers and tosses his head around to get attention. He wants people to look at him and it’s hard not to because he does have that personality. He’s also such a beautiful horse and when you look at other horses, then look at him, you see the difference. “He is definitely spoiled, but he is the kind of horse that deserves it. I’m really looking forward to this year with him because he is such a happy, healthy horse right now.” Like Davis, Cooper has a tremendous amount of faith in the stallion and is eagerly anticipating his appearance at Pocono Saturday night. “I just want the horse to have the opportunity to really show himself,” Cooper said. “He’s had some tough luck in big races and has always went up against the best horses. Then he didn’t race for a year and a half. “We think he deserves to win a race like the Franklin, the Haughton or the U.S. Pacing Championship. Sure Dylan and I would like to win those races too, but when I say this, it’s really about the horse. Mel is a world champion and he should have his picture taken in one or more of these races because of the kind of horse he is. We are hoping this is his year.” For a look at all the entries for Saturday at Pocono, click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

WASHINGTON, PA, June 23, 2017 -- Fifth by 6 lengths when he launched his relentless uncovered move, Dapper Dude nailed Lincolnjames in the shadow of the wire to capture Friday's $18,000 harness racing winners over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Lincolnjames opened a 2-length lead turning for home, but a 26.2 opening panel over a sloppy surface left him vulnerable to Dapper Dude's pressure. The 8-year-old son of The Panderosa-Dress To Suggest edged Lincolnjames by 1/2 length in 1:50.2 for Aaron Merriman, with the rallying Knocking Around third. With the victory, Dapper Dude vaulted over $1.1 million in career earnings for trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury. Dave Palone collected five wins, including a pair for trainer Ron Burke, on the 12-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, first post 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

HAMBURG,N. Y. --- After getting saddled with a post position of six or worse in the past month, Empire Earl N must of felt he was heaven with the five hole. He took advantage of the 'better' starting position and scored a half length harness racing victory over BZ Glide in Buffalo Raceway's $10,000 Open Trot on Friday night (June 23).   Despite the outside posts since May 19, Empire Earl N was still very competitive during that time by earning a check in four of the five starts including a win, second and third.   BZ Glide got parked to the opening quarter mile by Lutetium and Jim Dandy as the feature event unfolded. Setting fractions of 29.0, 59.0 and 1:29.4 over the sloppy track, BZ Glide looked liked he might steal the win in front-running style.   But Empire Earl N had other ideas. Sitting in fourth place and second over with a final panel to trot, driver Larry Stalbaum got Empire Earl N ($4.70) into high gear four wide in the stretch and collared BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) at the wire by a half length. Gwally (David McNeight III), who broke just before the half mile marker, regrouped in time to capture third.   Owned by Stalbaum and trained by Kimberly Asher, it was the third win in 14 tries this year for the 9-year-old gelded Empire Earl N (Earl-Santa Nita). The victory increased his seasonal earnings to $29,270 and $115,195 lifetime.   John Cummings Jr. tripled in the sulky with Stalbaum and Ray Fisher Jr. each getting a double. JD Perrin picked up three training victories and Asher two.   Racing will resume on Saturday night at 6 p.m.with an 11-race card set. There's a $448 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Ernest Bohn used to raise harness-racing horses and drive them in races in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He's been married to his wife Pamela for 46 years, and they have two children. Ernest Bohn came into Event #40: $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, his fourth World Series of Poker tournament, with nary a recorded live cash to his name. He left it a WSOP champion with a gold bracelet and $173,228 in prize money after getting through a field of 595 players. The long, grueling days of tournament poker can be a grind on anyone. But, a 68-year-old relative tournament novice playing a 13-hour slog on Day 3, when tournament decisions are most pressure-packed and taxing on the mind? One could be forgiven for expecting such a situation to take its toll, but Bohn said he felt right at home. "I'm not a good sleeper anyways," he said. "If I get two hours of sleep, three hours of sleep, that's enough. So, I was wide awake." Indeed, Bohn appeared to be the man with the advantage against Bill Kohler as the night wound deeper, with the two battling short-handed and then heads up for several hours. Sipping the occasional Scotch, Kohler kept things lively throughout much of the day with a relatively constant stream of chatter. However, by the night's end, even when he had surges into the lead during heads-up play, Kohler's table talk died down, as it took all of his energy just to get the proper betting amounts out. The man from Cincinnati had come second in this very event in 2009. "He was starting to play a little loose," Bohn said. "I said, 'This is my tournament.' I picked up on it right away." However, Bohn didn't deviate much at all from his initial game plan. He came into Day 3 looking to play a solid game, and it was a plan he executed to perfection. He didn't seem inclined to do much stealing and seemed to have it almost every time he bet strongly, with his weakest holdings at showdown being mostly strong one-pair hands and one-way low hands. "I made up my mind," he said of his approach to Day 3. "I'm gonna play cautious, I'm not gonna chase, and I'm going to play the best hands possible. It worked." Most of Bohn's poker experience, he said, comes from playing in a $0.50/1 home game that runs every other Friday, with much of the action coming in stud and split-pot games. He also used to put in some hours at the tables in Atlantic City, once a haven for stud players, in years past. It turned out to be enough to conquer a final table that included multiple-bracelet winners Ted Forrest and Max Pescatori, as well as high stakes expert Justin Bonomo. While they battled and took each other out one by one, Bohn sat quietly, grinding and listening to his "good old rock 'n roll and country" to keep himself occupied and in line. He took the lead into heads-up play, but despite the stacks being short, Bohn and Kohler sparred for two hours until the 68-year-old took command with a series of pots in the final level before they'd have bagged to come back for an unscheduled Day 4. When it was all over, Bohn let out an excited shout after showing hardly an ounce of emotion over the course of 13 hours. "We're both retired now, my wife and I," said the former harness racing trainer. "We've been together 46 years, and we like to travel. We're going to do a little sightseeing. I'm happy as all hell." 1. Ernest Bohn, U.S. - $173,228 2. William Kohler, U.S. - $107,063 3. Hal Rotholz, U.S. - $74,200 4. Tim Finne, U.S. - $52,272 5. Justin Bonomo, U.S. - $37,441 6. Max Pescatori, Italy - $27,275 7. Shannon Petluck, U.S. - $20,214 8. Ted Forrest, U.S. - $15,245 (Article courtesy of World Series of Poker)

BOSTON — The nation's largest horse track operator is showing some interest in bringing racing back to Massachusetts. Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer at the Stronach Group, told the News Service in an interview from California this week that his company has talked with George Carney, the owner of a former dog racing track in Raynham, about a potential partnership or lease. "We're very, very early in preliminary discussions," said Ritvo, whose company is also a supplier of pari-mutuel wagering technology. "There's no plans other than to say we're interested in the Boston market." Stronach officials, who run Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course and Gulfstream Park, have talked with Massachusetts Gaming Commission Executive Director Ed Bedrosian and Commissioner Gayle Cameron, Ritvo said. "Boston's an unbelievable racing community. Boston's a big market," said Ritvo, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but grew up in Revere. Horse racing is at an all-time low in Massachusetts, but industry supporters say it's worth saving, arguing a professionally-run track is profitable and can create jobs while helping to preserve horse farms. Asked about critics who have long dismissed it a dying industry, Ritvo said the horse racing business has been holding steady in the United States at $10 billion a year for the last five years. Stronach has a $4 billion market share, he said, and believes there's room for further growth. "We believe that marketed properly, that racing still has opportunity for growth," he said, speculating that casino operators have not been attentive to the needs of tracks at their facilities. The next steps for Stronach, which does not operate any facilities in Massachusetts, include plans to visit the Raynham site, and an exploration of state rules and regulations as they pertain to simulcasting rights and electronic betting, more formally known as advanced deposit wagering. Battle in Boston Meanwhile, the battle over the future of horse racing in Massachusetts is also being fought on Beacon Hill. Pending legislation (H 208) sponsored by Reps. Adrian Madaro of East Boston and RoseLee Vincent would extend existing simulcast rights for one year, including those held by Suffolk Downs, the former East Boston track that was recently sold and has been running limited races in recent years. The Legislature over the years has repeatedly extended the simulcast laws, but this year the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association is fighting against an extension, arguing the state needs to instead pass a different bill (S 175) that gives the Massachusetts Gaming Commission broader powers to regulate the racing industry and pass regulations they believe are in the best interests of the industry's development. Bill Lagorio, president of the association, told the News Service the bill repeals antiquated racing laws and gives the commission powers that would allow it to maximize the impact of the Race Horse Development Fund, which is financed with expanding gaming revenues and was created to bolster the industry. The fund's current balance, $13.5 million, is being eyed by those in the horse businesses as well as by lawmakers facing an overall state budget squeeze. Limited racing at Suffolk Downs — 15 days of racing over the past three years — won't facilitate the industry's growth in Massachusetts and simulcast rights now held by Suffolk should be reconsidered by policymakers and regulators if they are interested in putting the race horse fund to good use, Lagorio said. The fund has helped Plainridge Park Casino to more consistently run harness racing and its potential to boost the racing industry will increase when casinos being built in Springfield and Everett open. Like Plainridge, those casinos will deliver a percentage of gaming revenues to the fund. The bill empowering the Gaming Commission, which has already consumed the responsibilities of the former state racing commission, is sponsored by Winthrop Sen. Joseph Boncore. A version of the legislation cleared the Senate last session, Lagorio said. The legislation states that its intent is to grant the Gaming Commission "all necessary authority to oversee and regulate all aspects of horse racing in the Commonwealth with the object of promoting its efficient operation, and the honesty and integrity of the wagering process related to it." The bill instructs the commission to "utilize best efforts to ensure that the horse racing industry be preserved and sustained for, amongst other reasons, the preservation of open space, the agricultural benefits associated with horse racing, and the creation and preservation of jobs and businesses associated with horse racing." Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby this month weighed in with lawmakers about the Race Horse Development Fund, saying he's aware of efforts to divert the monies to "other worthy causes." Racing to success? Crosby views the commission as "stewards" of the legislative mission, enshrined in the 2011 casino law, to "enhance and strengthen the horse racing industry in Massachusetts," he wrote in a letter. He noted the commission's push for legislative reforms to boost racing and said thoroughbred racing could see the kind of lift that the commission has seen at the standardbred track in Plainville. Plainridge Park Casino is running 125 racing days, up from 80; purses have increased from $2.6 million in 2014 to $7.4 million in 2017, the live racing handle has more than doubled to $7.6 million to $18 million, and annual registered yearlings (one-year-old standardbred horses) have increased from 36 to 51, according to Crosby. Crosby wrote: "Though thoroughbred racing is in the process of losing its one operative race track with its minimal number of racing days, there is reason to believe that the thoroughbred industry in Massachusetts can be resurrected, if all of the strategic tools the Legislature envisioned are put into play. It is the Commission's belief that with a reorganized regulatory structure, and empowering the Gaming Commission to strategically manage all the thoroughbred revenue streams - including the Race Horse Development Fund, that there is a legitimate chance of designing a sustainable strategy, for thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts." As for Ritvo, his interest in the Massachusetts market runs deeper than his role with Stronach. In the 1980s, Ritvo won 500 races as a jockey at Suffolk Downs. He met his wife, Kathy Ritvo, at Suffolk Downs and she went on to train Mucho Macho Man, the horse that won the Breeder's Cup Classic in 2013. She is the only woman to have trained a horse that won a $5 million race, Ritvo said. "Racing's been really good to me and my family," he said. By Michael P. Norton State House News Service Reprinted with permission of The Gloucester Times

YONKERS, N.Y. - Qualifiers at Yonkers Raceway are sporting a new look. Over the past several weeks, the track has expanded the use of the second tier in the morning trials as part of an experiment to improve the quality of harness racing for both bettors and horsepeople. Traditionally, qualifiers, like overnights races, feature a maximum of eight starters who each have their nose on the gate. Over the past several weeks, depending on the field size of each qualifier, the trials have sported configurations of four on the gate with two trailers, four on the gate with one trailer, and most recently, three one the gate with three trailers. This Friday (June 23), two qualifiers will start with two tiers of four each. The idea to move the outside starters to the second tier was first floated a few years ago when a group of industry participants from Australia visited Yonkers Raceway. SOA of NY Executive Director Alex Dadoyan recalled an Australian regulator being surprised that Yonkers holds races in an eight across configuration. “He said at the small tracks, they do six across and put the rest in the back. They’d go six and four, six and six, or whatever it might be. It sounded weird at first because it wasn’t anything that’s done in the United States, but the more we thought about it, the more we thought it might be interesting.” Although Yonkers Raceway already utilizes the second tier in French trots that feature 10 and 12 horse fields, successful tests in qualifiers could result in use of the second tier in eight horse fields. The races could sport a six and two configuration or a four and four configuration. The idea could also impact the French trots, which could sport two tiers of five or two tiers of six. Jordan Stratton, who is second in the driver standings at the Hilltop Oval with 170 victories this year and a member of the SOA of NY Board, offered insight on the experiment, which aims to increase movement early in the mile and mitigate the effects of outside post positions. “The original idea was to have it with trotters in the 10 or 12 horse fields on French day with the extra distance,” he said. “Then, if they had four trailers or six on the gate and six trailers, that there would be more movement early on and there wouldn’t be so many lineups. The whole idea is to experiment and maybe it will work, maybe it won’t work, but at least we’re trying something.” While Stratton is supportive of expanded use of the second tier, he prefers the second tier be used in trotting and longer distance races, citing safety concerns. For example, if a pacer breaks stride at full speed leaving the gate, it is often a much more dangerous situation than if a trotter breaks. “With a normal eight horse field at the mile marker, when we leave the gate, we’re going as fast as we can. But with a mile-and-a-quarter, everyone still has tight lines and you’re not really gunning them into the first turn,” he explained. “It’s a little more conservative and I think with the trotters, it’s a little safer. I would say 99 percent of drivers feel safer with the trailers being trotters rather than pacers.” Despite these reservations, Stratton thinks the second tier offers many upsides. “Four and four would prevent guys taking back off the gate and going nowhere because it’s going to be awfully difficult to strangle back to last when you’re four high going into the first turn,” he said. “If there’s a 5/2 or a 1/9 and he’s a trailer, it’s going to be interesting for him to finally work his way to the front. It would be a lot different than people just taking back and letting the favorite get to the front so easy.” Yonkers Raceway’s experiment with expanded use of the second tier comes concurrently with the introduction of the track’s new finish line. Dadoyan thinks the initiatives share similar motives to improve racing, but each takes a different approach. “I think the two things are totally independent,” he said. “This finish line move has been something that’s been in the works for many years. There was a long process to get it approved, but it’s finally approved and in use. I think both ideas work toward the same goal of making more competitive races with more action, more movement or more of a chance for everybody than what was occurring in the past. I think they do that in different ways.” Expanded use of the second tier will stay confined to the morning, at least for now. Regulations from the New York State Gaming Commission currently limit the unique starting configurations to qualifiers. Ultimately, steps down the road could include trials in non-betting races for purse money and finally, in pari-mutuel fields. No timetable has yet been set for implementing these phases. Although the idea is sure to have its critics, Dadoyan and Stratton are happy the track is willing to try new things to improve the quality of racing for both bettors and horsepeople. “I think there’s going to be downsides to anything that’s new,” Stratton opined. “But I think the gamblers would appreciate something new, so maybe this will be it.” by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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Regally-bred daughter of harness racing champion Rainbow Blue wins in 1:52.4. Nearly five years after her world-champion full sister Somwherovrarainbow won her first career start, Rainbow Room debuted with an eye-catching harness racing victory Friday night in the first two-year-old race of the season at the Meadowlands. Rainbow Room, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Rainbow Blue, had been the talk of the morning after a pair of impressive Meadowlands baby race victories earlier this month. She backed up the hype in her first appearance under the lights in a $10,000 maiden event. David Miller put the 1/9 favorite on the front end and led the field through fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:26.3. That's when All On Top Hanover ripped off her cover and pulled nearly even to Rainbow Room midway down the stretch. Rainbow Room found another gear and held off the Erv Miller trainee to stop the teletimer in 1:52.4 to win by a length. Despite the loss, All On Top Hanover deserves watch moving forward as she was charted with a last quarter mile in :25.3. Rainbow Room was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned in partnership by Crawford Farms Racing, Val D'Or Farms, and Ted Gewertz. She is trained by Joe Holloway. The big night for Crawford Farms continued in the $17,500 trotting feature when their Cufflink Hanover converted a pocket trip to victory in 1:51.1 over pacesetter In Secret. Cufflink Hanover had most recently finished third behind Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder in a division of the Graduate at Tioga Downs. Fellow Graduate leg winner Trolley also tuned up for the $250,000 Graduate Final on July 8 with a 1:51.4 win in a $13,000 conditioned trot. The Erv Miller trainee had equaled the all-time track record at Tioga Downs of 1:52.1 in his previous Graduate victory 12 days ago. Corey Callahan and Tyler Buter each posted driving doubles. Total handle on the 10-race card was $1,836,992. Racing resumes Saturday night. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz
Chris Lems would rack up four wins on Friday including the Fillies & Mares harness racing feature ($7,500) with Little Santamonica (Little Steven). Owned by Courtney Crawford and trained by Jordan Hope, the 9-year-old mare would go gate-to-wire in 1:51.1. Little Santamonica ($2.80) never had a tense moment as she won her 53rd career victory. Drea's Good Powow (John MacDonald) would follow the whole way to finish second. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) was a distant third. Lems would begin the night getting the first race victory with 2-year-old first time starter Clive Bigsby (Muscle Mass). Clive Bigsby ($3.80) would take over right before the top of the stretch and win easily by four lengths in 1:58.1. Missus Mia Wallace (Homer Hochstetler) would finish second with Ladydini (Howard Okusko Jr,.) getting third. "Lemsy" would also get a win driving Without A Clue ($18.20) going gate to wire in 1:54.4, just holding off the late charge by Jersey Boy (Ben McNeil). Walk The Floor (Angus Mac Donald) was third. Lems got his other win during race number eight with He's Gone ($3.80) running past Atoastandcaviar (John MacDonald) in 1:55.1. Jackson's Gold (Jimmy Wittemore) was third. Vernon Downs returns to live racing Saturday night (June 24) with a 13 race card starting at 6:45p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com John Horne for Vernon Downs
YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 23, 2017 - Harness racing driver Brent Holland won the 5,000th race of his career Friday night (June 23th), doing so at his place of residence, Yonkers Raceway. Holland and Delightful Dragon ($7.40) lasted on the lead by a scant schnoz in the 6th race $40,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace, giving the 46-year-old (as of this past Sunday) the milestone (season's-best 1:53.2) mile. The affable Holland is a native of Wilmington, OH, who began working with horses for a neighbor, Maynard Hagemeyer. "He and Bob Farrington in Chicago both taught me a lot," Holland said. His first winner came in in his first parimutuel start, as an 18-year-old with longshot E C's Best in 1989 at Lebanon Raceway..."pouring down rain," he said. "When I won my first, I used to look up to all the great drivers and never thought about a number like 5,000," Holland said. Asked for some winner's circle wit, Holland offered that 'The horse did all the work.' In the case, the hard-working lass-now 4-for-18 this season-is a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned and trained by Noel Daley. Holland, who migrated east from the Chicagoland circuit not quite a decade ago, has more than $54.2 million in career purses. He was joined by his wife, Dee, and friends for a winner's circle presentation. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 23, 2017 - Freeze Out (George Brennan, $13.60) did just that to her harness racing rivals Friday night (June 23rd), administering a beating in Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The field was pared to seven after Betabcool N was scratched-lame after the post parade. Away an early second from became post position No. 2, Freeze Out found herself third after last week's victress, I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley), two-moved to the lead. Settled though early intervals of :27.1 and :55.3, Freeze Out challenged and conquered down the backside the second time. She ground down 'Diamonds' well before a 1:23.3 three-quarters, slapping a half-dozen length on the lasses in and out of the final turn. The final margin was a wrapped-up three lengths in life-best 1:52. Jewel Lehigh A (Dan Dube) did get into second, with Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) third. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Hidden Land (Brian Sears) rounded out the payees, while the 9-10 fave I Said Diamonds walked home sixth. For fifth choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Ricky and Sean Bucci, it was her eighth win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $199, the triple returned $991 and the superfecta paid $2,347. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (June 24th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,660.17.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker
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