Day At The Track

DAYTON, OH. - The $17,500 Open Distaff Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Friday night (Dec. 8) proved to be a buzz-kill for those who say young horses can't compete with seasoned harness racing veterans. Two of the three 3-year-old fillies in the full 10-horse field of southwest Ohio's finest mares finished 1-2 in the 1:53 mile on a cool (26 degree) evening. The betting public apparently didn't like the youngsters chances either as the 6-1 winner Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith) paid $14 and coupled with 17-1 runnerup Firstup (Kyle Ater) the exacta kicked back $151. Favored American Girl (Trace Tetrick) rallied for third to round out a $674.80 $2 trifecta. Ellies Jet N (Chris Page) worked hard to get the first call at the :26.4 quarter-mile mark, followed by Rock Me Baby (Josh Sutton) and Firstup. Addy's Way (Dan Noble) launched a first-over bid before the :56.2 half-mile station with Juslikeaqueen in tow in the outer flow. Ellies Jet N stayed game through the 1:24.1 three quarters, but the :27.4 third panel left her helpless in the stretch. Addys Way did get a brief moment in front but was swallowed up by the first three finishers through the lane. Juslikeaqueen now sports ten wins in her sophomore season, including three in the open ranks from her last five tries. The daughter of Palone Ranger earned just $4200 in three winless starts in her first season at the races, but has banked $84,245 thus far in 2017. She is owned by Antonia Storer and trained by Dan Maier. Saturday night's card at Hollywood Dayton will feature the 3rd annual Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Driver's Challenge pitting five of Hoosier Park's top reinsmen against Dayton's five leaders in the current meet dash derby. The Buckeyes won the inaugural event in 2015, but the Hoosiers turned the tables and triumphed in 2016. This grudge match will be decided over six races of spirited, instense direct head-to-head competition. The visiting Hoosier squad is comprised of Trace Tetrick, Sam Widger, John DeLong, Ricky Macomber and Brandon Bates. The five Buckeyes trying to defend their home turf will be Josh Sutton, Dan Noble, Kayne Kauffman, Tyler Smith and Kyle Ater. First race post time is 6:15 p.m. The Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes contest races are 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 11. Gregg Keidel  

DOVER,Del --- Art Stafford Jr. became part of harness racing history driving a winner in back-to-back races at Dover Downs on Pearl Harbor Remembrance day, Thursday, Dec. 7. Former Down Under champion Christen Me N scored his fastest career victory winning the $30,000 Preferred pace in 1:49.2. Corey Callahan drove four winners, Stafford three straight. In the 7th race, Stafford driving Gentlemen's Bet and Ascaryone Hanover with Corey Callahan could not be separated by the photo finish camera in 1:52.2. $16,000 Winners pace. Both horse reached the finish line in identical time of Jason Skinner trains and co-owns Gentlemen's Bet, a Bettor's Delight-Misty Speed gelding, with Justin Skinner. Gary Simpson and Eric Good own the Yankee Cruiser-A Filly To Fear three-year-old gelding trained by Eddie Dennis. One race later, Stafford guided Cajon Lightning to catch front-pacing Sicily and Montrell Teague in 1:49.4 to dead-heat the $25,000 Open pace. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farm owned Cajon Lightning, a Mach Three-Tex In The City gelding, who chalked up his eighth win of the year. Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing own the Wayne Givens trained Sicily, now a seven-time winner this season. Stafford Jr. came right back with a strong come-from-behind 1:52.3 victory, his third on the card, in an $11,000 Winners pace. Christen Me N, a heralded New Zealand star won for the fourth time in his last five starts in Delaware coming from last at the half in a six-horse $30,000 Preferred/ Handicap to bolt past leader Major Upstart just past the three-quarters and pulled away for a 1:49.2 triumph with Ross Wolfenden driving for trainer Jim King and owner Rich Pollucci. Soto (Stafford) got up for second in front of Bettor Memories (Russell Foster). Christen Me n is a nine-year old Christian Cullen-Splendid Dreams gelding who has won $$99,784 this season and $$2,092,914lifetime. Corey Callahan's third win came behind owner-trainer Josh Parker's Sawbuck Hanover in a $35,000 Claiming pace. With a 1:51.1 mile. Cyclone Kiwi N (Morgan) closed fast for second. Rock On Precious (Allan Davis) was third. George Teague's speedy Daiymir notched his second consecutive win for Montrell Teague pacing a 1;51.1 score to win an $18,000 Winners pace, his seventh win of a $89,750 of a rookie season for the Mr. Wiggles-Cookie Money sophomore. Hypothetical (Morgan) and Doubleshottahott (Stafford Jr.) were second and third respectively Allan Davis' first of three winners came steering JJ Tanner home in 1:53 in a $15,000 Winners pace for trainer Jason Johnson and owner Charles Nitkowski. Better To Believe (Jonathan Roberts) was second with River's Quest (Stafford Jr.) the show horse. Bill Sartin and Mark Salerno's Special T Rocks, trained by Joe Hunderpfund, got up in the final stride to best previously unbeaten Bailey's Rock N (Callahan), who had won his previous four U.S.A. starts in 1:51. El Bloombito (Sean Bier) cut out the fractions and finished third. The win was Allan Davis' third on the program. Dover Downs now features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

DAYTON, OH. - Milford's Z Tam surged in deep stretch to capture his first harness racing $18,500 Open Handicap Trot at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Thursday night (Dec. 7). Driver Dan Noble floated out from the 8-hole behind the starting car, settling third over in the outer flow when the :28.4 opening split was posted by Jesse's Promise (Kayne Kauffman), with Cantab Lindy (Tyler Smith) and Another Breath (Randy Tharps) in hot pursuit. Another Breath moved first-up prior to the :57.4 halfway point with Impressive Chief (Josh Sutton) right on his back. When Another Breath nudged ahead nearing the three-quarter pole, clocked in 1:26, Impressive Chief swung a lane further out to challenge while favored Gloire Dream (Trace Tetrick) was forced wider yet to make his bid for victory. A four-wide stretch duel ensued with Milford's Z Tam finding the quickest closing step between horses for the 9-1 upset triumph in 1:55.2, despite a 24 degree temperature. The photo finish camera couldn't separate Another Breath and Gloire Dream, who dead-heated for place; while Impressive Chief was a close-up fourth. Z Tam Stables LLC owns the winner, a 4-year-old black gelded son of Swan For All. It was the 11th career win for Milford's Z Tam and boosted his lifetime bounty to $231,724. Jim Arledge Jr. is his trainer. Gregg Keidel        

ANDERSON, Ind.; - Dec. 7, 2017 - The Indiana Horse Racing Commission approved Hoosier Park Racing & Casino's 2018 harness racing dates during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Live harness racing will be conducted Friday, March 30 through Saturday, Nov. 10. The 160-day season will offer live racing every Tuesday through Saturday, with exception of Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4 in which there will be no live racing. Additionally, Hoosier Park's signature $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes will take place on Friday, Aug. 10 and will highlight a full stakes schedule in 2018. The official first post time of the 2018 racing season is still to be announced. Racing updates and more information about Hoosier Park can be found by visiting About Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Hoosier Park Racing & Casino holds multiple awards for customer service, entertainment, gaming, dining, and team member culture. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully-integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live harness racing each year. Simulcast wagering is offered year-round at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Winner's Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Downtown Indianapolis and Winner's Circle OTB & VooDoo BBQ & Grill in New Haven/Fort Wayne, Ind. For more information on upcoming entertainment and promotions at Hoosier Park visit Kiersten Flint

It was unanimous. The USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year Award Committee has named "Yankee Joe" Lee the National Amateur Driver of the Year for 2017. The ever- improving 38-year-old Bronxville, NY native is enjoying his best season in the harness racing sulky while being a member of multiple amateur organizations. When contacted, Lee was at Yankee Stadium where he is the New York Yankee's assistant equipment manager, thus the moniker "Yankee Joe." When told of his recent accolade, Lee paused a moment and then said: "I'm greatly honored and I'm humbled by the award. This is only my third full season of amateur driving and I love it. And I'm especially grateful for the confidence that the owners and trainers have shown in my abilities" Lee could be considered a true amateur in that he owns no racing stock nor does he have any specific trainer to drive for exclusively (save Bruce Aldrich, Sr. at Monticello Raceway) and has taken the reins from at least 15 different trainers this year alone. This National Award comes on the heels of the local Amateur Driver of the Year Award from the Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA ,which, by the way, pioneered showcasing the talents of amateur drivers back in the 1980's. Currently Lee has a career best 15 driving victories to go along with 11 seconds and 10 thirds. Arguably the most prolific was the triumph in the 1-1/4-mile $25,000 CKG Billings Gold Cup Final at Yonkers Raceway with Dizzy Rizzy on November 26. However, it didn't come easy. And Lee recalls that triumph vividly. "We had tough trip that that night but we got the job done. I tried leaving but Steve Oldford , with Gonna Fly, was giving Paul Minore and Wygant Prince a tough time. I then tried to slip down along the pylons to no avail but got lucky when Bob Krivelin's horse made a break. "Sitting third I thought I had a good spot. Then Oldford pulled the pocket with over a half mile to go so I got to slip into the two hole. At the top of the stretch I rolled out of the pocket grunted at her (Dizzy Lizzy) a little and she scampered past the leader and got there in time. I was real honored to win the Billings Gold Cup for her connections." However, Lee's fastest victory this year was a 1:54.3 triumph with Soul Train at the Meadowlands on September 8th for trainer Al Annuziatta. Not bad for a kid who began with show jumpers. "Once I jogged a (harness) horse I never had anything more to do with jumpers," he said. Lee credits his friend Buzzy Sholty as his mentor. " I love the sport and once this game gets into your blood it consumes you. And the more involved you become the more dedicated you are to the sport of harness driving." Lee alleges. Says competitor and two time National Amateur Driver of the Year, Dein Spriggs: "Joe Lee demonstrates what I feel is required to receive the 2017 National Amateur Driver of the year Award" "He's a strategic driver using tactics and not losing composure during a race while readjusting strategies during the race to overcome his competition. He's of good character and moral standing besides being the 2017 Billings Gold Cup winner." Lee will receive his accolades at the National US Harness Writers Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida during late February, 2018. by John Manzi for USHWA National Amateur Driver of the Year Award  

Thursday afternoon featured the Snowflake Mini Series for harness racing trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel. There were two divisions of the lone leg of the Mini Series that will culminate next Thursday with a $15,000 Final. Driver Phil Fluet piloted the winners of both divisions, each of them pulling off upsets. Fluet guided the Lisa Zabielski-trained Wrightwood (Powerful Emotion) to a 1:59.2 score on Thursday as the four year old came from well off the pace before storming past his rivals to pull off the upset in the $7,000 tilt. Despite coming off a win, Wrightwood was dismissed at odds of 16-1 as he repeated and secured his third victory of the season. The other division, which was slated to have nine participants, went for a purse of $7,490. The field shrunk to six after three scratches and again it was Fluet who wound up making a trip to the winner's circle after guiding longshot Mr Butterworth (Mr Lavec) to victory in 1:58.3. The 13-1 shot Mr Butterworth parlayed his pocket trip to score for Fluet and trainer Laurie Tranowicz. Fluet piloted three winners on the matinee card. The Mini Series is for trotters who had earnings of less than $12,500 in 2017 or were non-winners of $20,000 in '16-'17. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

SCARBOROUGH — A group of well-known local business owners Thursday confirmed they have a contract to purchase the 480-acre harness racing Scarborough Downs property. The sale to Cross Roads Holdings, which was first revealed in October, is not expected to be finalized until early January. What was not revealed until Thursday is that the principals of Cross Roads are the owners of Risbara Bros. Construction, longtime developers in southern Maine, and Peter and Richard Michaud, former owners of Michaud Distributors. All have deep roots in Scarborough. In a press release, Rocco Risbara III said, “We care about our town’s future and it (will) be a privilege for us to develop this land.” Few details were available about possible redevelopment plans for the Downs. But the partners said they expect it to be a long-term project, and plan to keep the historic race track open, at least for now. As part of the agreement, Cross Roads Holdings will lease the track back to its current owners and, in the process, preserve more than 60 track jobs. “For years, we sought after prospective buyers that were connected to the community and willing to work toward the preservation of our heritage,” Scarborough Downs owner Denise Terry said in the press release. “The Risbara and Michaud families present a perfect match (and) our family and employees are excited to work with (such) respected, local business owners,” Terry said. Scarborough Downs has hosted harness races since 1950. It also offers off-track betting and holds various special events throughout the year. The Downs has long sought to be allowed to offer other forms of gambling, but a series of referendums that would have allowed slot machines were all defeated. Last spring, Thom Powers led a group of Massachusetts-based developers that specialize in distressed properties and mixed-use projects in a bid to buy Scarborough Downs. That deal fell through, leaving the way open for the Risbaras and Michauds. No purchase price was announced, but according to published reports, Downs owner Sharon Terry had previously asked $7.5 million for the property, which includes a grandstand and clubhouse, barns, half-mile racetrack and outlying land. In speaking of the team behind Cross Roads Holdings, Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said it “has a great track record and I’m confident that they will have Scarborough’s best interest in mind as they redevelop this property.” The town is developing a new Comprehensive Plan and redevelopment of the Downs property is a top priority, Hall added. The town’s Long Range Planning Committee was scheduled to have an initial meeting with Cross Roads Holdings on Friday morning, after The Forecaster’s deadline. At Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, Hall called the presentation to the Long Range Planning Committee “the first step in the creation of a master plan” for the Scarborough Downs property. On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the team of developers said it’s their intent to make the master planning process inclusive and open, and they want to get input from residents and town officials. In 2013, Scarborough approved a new development zone for the Downs property, which allows several different uses, from residential to commercial to municipal. “Cross Roads Holding will work collaboratively with the town, residents and end-users to determine the most successful and desirable ways to develop the large portion of land in the center of town,” the press release said. Meanwhile, Scarborough Downs is still part of a long-shot bid by the town to get Amazon’s new headquarters. Amazon, based in Seattle, asked municipalities or regions to submit proposals to build a second headquarters, known as HQ2, that would eventually employ 50,000 workers. Cross Roads Holdings “is currently performing inspections and surveying the land as part of the due diligence process,” the press release said. “When that work is complete, the (sale of the) property will close.” In an introduction letter to the Long Range Planning Committee, the consultant for Cross Roads Holdings, Gorrill Palmer, said it would “be a long-term development project with a 15- to 30-year build out.” The phased development is designed “to incrementally deliver a return on investment, capitalize on market demand and steadily build out a diverse, mixed-use community,” the letter said. By Kate Irish Collins  Reprinted with permission The Forecaster

The start of a harness race is extremely important, and when it comes to getting the harness racing fields away in good order here at Cal Expo, Kenny Fowler is the man. Along with his assistant/driver Larry Dana, Fowler is responsible for making sure everybody is up close and personal with the starting gate when the car starts to speed ahead to send them on their way. "I'm coming up on my 30th year," said Fowler. "I started in 1988 with Larry Jones and then I spent 20 years as the driver with Bill Vallandingdam, and that experience was invaluable." For the last four years, Fowler has been the starter here at Cal Expo and does an excellent job of giving every horse and driver the best possible start. Much like a referee in a sporting event, when you don't hear much about them, that means they are doing a good job. One of the changes that has been made over the years is the switch from the traditional Cadillac to a four-wheel drive, which is especially import when it comes to traction and off tracks. "There are special challenges when it's raining, no question about that," Kenny related. "One is getting the wings on the starting gate closed before you get into the turn. When the wings are open all the weight is on the back of the car, so it's a little tricky. "To be honest, the wind and the fog are much tougher obstacles than the rain and a muddy racetrack." Robert Staats Prep matches pacing distaffers A well-matched field of eight pacing fillies and mares will do battle in Saturday night's featured Robert Staats Prep, with Rockin Repeat and Be My Lucky Lady among the major contenders. The feature will go as the eighth on an 11-race program under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Rockin Repeat and Be My Lucky Lady will have a rematch Saturday after finishing a head apart in a conditioned event here last week. Rockin Repeat got the better of that skirmish after sitting a pocket trip that evening. A 3-year-old daughter of Rockin Image, Rockin Repeat is owned by George Reider and Dave and Rob Haness with Reider training and Luke Plano once again doing the honors. Last week's 1:53 2/5 victory established a new lifetime mark for the sophomore. Be My Lucky Lady is a Hi Ho Silverheel's homebred who takes her lessons from Kathie Plested and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls. She has been runner-up in her last two trips to the post and is a nice fit with this group while leaving from the No. 6 post. Cenalta Call Girl took the measure of several of these rivals in the Annette Funicello Final last month and should be right in the thick of things. The Canadian miss races for Rene Goulet and Helen and Myrna Empey with Goulet reining and training. Rounding out the field are Cenalta Couger, Yeswellnomaybe, Alwaysalittlemore, Free Radical and Wizzel Stix. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness

WYOMISSING, PA -- December 7, 2017 -- Penn National Gaming, Inc., the largest operator of Standardbred racetracks in North America, today announced the inaugural Penn National Gaming Harness Racing Challenge, to be conducted throughout the 2018 racing season. The series includes six separate stakes events with purses totaling an estimated $800,000. The races will be conducted at three Penn National Gaming owned, or jointly owned racetracks – Freehold Raceway (Dexter Cup Final and Lady Suffolk - May 5), Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway (Dayton Trotting Derby and Dayton Pacing Derby - September 28) and Plainridge Park Casino (Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton Distaff - July 26.) The top owner, driver and trainer based on points accumulated in the series will receive two (2) round trip airline tickets to Las Vegas and a three (3) night stay at either the Tropicana Las Vegas or M Resort in Henderson, NV, both Penn National Gaming owned properties. “We have had a similar successful series in place the past few years for our Thoroughbred racetracks and thought with our strong presence in the harness racing industry, and having key stake events throughout the season, this would be a nice incentive for those competing in our major races,” said Mark Loewe, Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for Penn National Gaming. The series will feature two events at each track, both conducted on the same day. A new stakes race on the calendar this year will be the Clara Barton Distaff for aged pacing mares to be conducted at Plainridge Park Casino. “The Clara Barton fills a needed void for this division in this time frame and is a great compliment to our Spirit of Massachusetts (aged trot) which debuted last year as the richest harness race ever in the Commonwealth,” said Steve O’Toole, Director of Racing for Plainridge Park Casino. Complete rules and the point system for the Penn National Harness Racing Challenge will be posted shortly on the websites of the participating racetracks. Penn National Gaming

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica is excited to announce the harness racing nominees for the 2017 Post Time with Mike and Mike awards. Mike and Mike would like to thank the fans of harness racing who took time out to nominate their favorite person or horse for each award. We were flooded with nominations for each category and used a panel of six to help narrow the nominees to six in each category. Voting begins on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 12:00 and will end on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 12:00. Voting can be done via the duo's webpage, or via Post Time With Mike And Mike - Online . Please note that there is only one vote per person allowed.   "Ted Barcus" Race Fan of the Year Nathan Bain is an up and coming harness racing fan who has a strong passion for announcing races. Bain is currently attending Belle River High School in Canada and has shown his passion for calling races by announcing at Grand River Raceway and Pompano Park. He also does selections and a pre-game show for Leamington Raceway. He announced his first race at Leamington Raceway in 2014. Garnet Barnsdale is a Daily Racing Form contributor for the WEG Circuit in Canada and has written many publications around North America. Barnsdale is active on social media and writes the "Buzzworthy" column in Harness Racing Update. He also helps provides analysis during the live broadcasts that are done each year by Post Time with Mike and Mike. Barnsdale is also part-owner of five racehorses through The Doug Martin is a member of the Facebook group, A Real Harness Handicapping Group and shares a passion and love for the sport of harness racing. He supports the WEG circuit with wagering dollars, but also promotes the sport by helping to share some of the Daily Racing Form selections for the WEG circuit. Tammie Jackson (@hoosiernations - Twitter) is a member of the fractional ownership group, Cya Racing. Jackson consistently posts photos on Twitter and attempts to brighten days with her "good morning" posts. She is consistently sharing stories and is at her home track of Hoosier Park on a regular basis. Tom Dubrick has an extensive Facebook following and is a three-time Post Time with Mike and Mike award nominee. Dubrick brings a positive presence to the industry through his numerous Facebook posts regarding the racing action at Hoosier Park. Kurt (Russ) Adams is a passionate harness racing fan and has been to almost every track on the east coast. He created the Facebook group, A Real Harness Handicapping Group, and he consistently promotes the sport of harness racing on that page. Russ enjoys meeting anyone involved in racing and is known for going up and striking a conversation with anyone who cares to talk about racing. Also nominated to the category were Nicholas "Ace" Barnsdale, Kimberly Moiser,Rich "The Natural" Mattei, John Polvinale, Albert Nash, and Sydney Weaver. "Sam McKee" Race Call of the Year, presented by the Kentucky Sire Stakes Steve Cross is the announcer at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino. Cross had two race calls nominated for this award in 2017. As Hoosier Park played host to the 2017 Breeders Crown, the weight on Indiana was on the shoulders of Beckhams Z Tam and Jamie Macomber. Beckhams Z Tam roared past to the lead in mid-stretch to defeat a game Downbytheseaside in one of the seasons most epic battles. Barry Vicroy is the announcer at Scioto Downs, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, and Miami Valley Gaming. Vicroy is nominated for the 2nd year in a row for his call in the Jim Ewart Memorial. In 2016, his nomination was the historic stretch battle between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki. In 2017, his nomination surrounds McWicked nailing Rockin Ron on the wire winning in 1:49.3. Jim Beviglia is the announcer at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania. Beviglia has called many races including Breeders Crown events at Pocono alongside the late Sam McKee. Beviglia's call of the 2017 Ben Franklin featured an epic stretch duel between Keystone Velocity and Mel Mara. The race was won by Keystone Velocity who battled strongly late up the passing lane. Ayers Ratliff is the announcer at Northfield Park in Northfield, Ohio. Ratliff has called many stakes races, but one of the most exciting races that he got to call in 2017 was the Carl Milstein Memorial in August. The race featured a much anticipated duel between Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside who was the eventual winner of the race. Pete Medhurst is the long-time announcer of Rosecroft Raceway and is the regular Navy football announcer. Medhurst announced the 2nd Annual Potomac Pace at Rosecroft, which was won by Keystone Velocity in what was one of the more memorable races for aged open pacers. Joe Zambito is the long-time announcer and race secretary at Batavia Downs Gaming in Western New York. Joe has gotten to call some very good horses during his tenure including the Seven Million Dollar Man, Foiled Again. Foiled Again won the Kane Invitational, the signature race at Batavia, three times. Joe's race call of the Kane Invitational in 2016 was nominated for a Post Time with Mike and Mike award. This year, his call of Foiled Again in an invitational held at Batavia Downs Gaming on October 7, 2017 was nominated. That night Foiled Again defeated Fireyourguns who is a top Open pacer in New York who has a mark of 1:47.3 at Vernon Downs. Also nominated to the category was Steve Cross's call of Hannelore Hanover winning the Breeders Crown, Darin Gagne's call of Firedrake's track Record, and Scott Warren's call of the Zweig at Vernon Downs. Horsewoman of the Year One of the saving graces of the race track is a good outrider. Missy Rothfuss is currently the well experienced outrider at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. She has been known to make some amazing catches and helps to keep all of the horseman safe. Rothfuss also gives back to the sport of harness racing by helping support racehorse aftercare and ensuring that racehorses are saved from slaughter. Jamie Macomber won her first Breeders Crown in 2017 at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino with Beckhams Z Tam. It was one of the most emotional victories of her very young career. Macomber, who is based out of Indiana during the spring and summer, while spending her winters at Pompano Park in Florida, is the wife of driver Ricky Macomber Jr. She currently has 205 career victories with a little over $2.1 million in earnings. Jackie Ingrassia became the first woman driver to win a Triple Crown race when she guided Goalfish to victory in the 2000 Yonkers Trot. She topped the 1,000-victory plateau in 2003. The 1999 Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame Inductee has earned over $6.2 million in a career that spans 40 years. This year, she has 18 driving wins in 118 starts, driving mainly for husband Frank Ingrassia. A majority of her wins have come in Pennsylvania Stakes competition, and upper conditioned trot races at Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (Bio by Michael Bozich). Emily Gaskin enters the 2017 Post Time with Mike and Mike awards on the heels of winning the award in 2016. Gaskin has been nominated three times for Horse Woman of the Year. Emily is the media analyst and a representative at Hoosier Park. She owns her share of horses and helps to actively promote the sport of harness racing on Twitter and Facebook. She has worked very hard to help promote the Hoosier Park brand and is an intrical part in helping Hoosier Park pull off the 2017 Breeders Crown. Gaskin helps interns that work at the track to learn how to be industry professionals and ensure success in their futures. Jessica Otten is a Michigan Native and is currently enrolled at Mott Community College majoring in business management. She helped make her presence felt in the sport of harness racing by providing behind-the-scenes access to the happenings at Northville Downs. Otten is a pivotal part of the Post Time with Mike and Mike live broadcast team and has grown as a broadcaster since joining the team. Amy Hollar is the face of the Ohio Harness Horseman's Association at Northfield Park in Ohio. Amy runs a stable with her husband, Calvin and is Brian Brown's sister-in-law. Hollar has been the representative at Northfield for 17 years and can be found promoting the sport of harness racing via her Facebook page. The other nominees included: Vicki Wright, Megan Maccario, Ann MacNeil, and Emily Hay. "Larry Rheinheimer" Small Stable of the Year, presented by Hoosier Park Racing and Casino Trainer Bill Crone is based out of Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana. Through his career he has 273 victories in just under 2,500 starts with just under 3.3 million in purse earnings and a UDRS of .206. His biggest season so far has been 2017 where he trained two-year-old trotting superstar Fiftydallabill to a Breeders Crown victory against some of the sports top two-year-old trotters. Fiftydallabill had raced on the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit and had been racing extremely well, but made a break in the Super Final just before the Breeders Crown eliminations where he rebounded to make the final. Crone began his training career at Balmoral Park in Illinois. Andy Rickert is based out of Fredonia, Pennsylvania and races on the Ohio Circuit and at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Rickert has a powerful stable and has consistently made $500,000 each season from 2010 to the present. 2017 has so far been his best season earnings wise with earnings of just under $800,000. One of his top trotters, Keystone Chester, has made his stamp against Open ranks over the past year, being in the money a majority of the time. To date Rickert has 802 victories, 801 seconds, and 753 thirds in just under 6,000 starts with purse earnings of $6,215,577 and a UDRS of .257. Jeff and Helene Gregory race a majority of their horses on the New York circuit. Jeff Gregory is most known for his training duties of Barn Doll who he currently owns in partnership with the Jesmeral Stable. Barn Doll was second in the Kentucky Filly futurity in 2016 and was 4th in the TVG Mare Final this year at The Meadowlands. Helene promotes the sport of harness racing by working with the Racing Under Saddle series in New York. She also participates in those events at other tracks. In just three years training full-time after many injuries, Jeff has won major stakes races in different states. Jeff and Helene Gregory are two-time nominees of the Larry Rheinheimer Small Stable of the Year award. Jackie Matheson is a conditioner that races at Charlottetown Driving Park in Prince Edward Island, Canada. To date Matheson currently has 443 victories with 403 seconds, and 363 thirds with purse earnings of just under $1,000,000. Matheson's stable was led by 2017 successes like the return of Maritime FFA star DGs Camme, plus a win from stakes pacer Ashes To Ashes, and top-tier distaff competitor Shadows Mystery. Jamie Macomber won her first Breeders Crown in 2017 at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino with Beckhams Z Tam. It was one of the most emotional victories of her very young career. Macomber who is based out of Indiana during the spring and summer, while spending her winters at Pompano Park in Florida, is the wife of driver Ricky Macomber Jr. She currently has 205 career victories with a little over $2.7 million in earnings. Don McKirgan is an Ohio horseman based out of Northfield Park in Ohio. McKirgan has been both a driver and trainer since he began his career in 1977. He trained fair superstar Sweet Honey in 2017 who finished 2nd in the Ohio Fair Championships at Northfield Park. One of his highlight horses is champion Like Old Times who has been a staple on the Ohio circuit for past couple of years. She is a multiple world record setter and currently holds the world record for an aged mare on a half mile track, tied with Barn Girl who tied the record just a few short weeks ago. At age 77, McKirgan still shows every day that he can train with some of the big names and still be competitive in the Ohio Sire Stakes program. Innovator of the Year, presented by The United States Trotting Association Ken Terpenning runs the Facebook page, Harness Racing Replays, where replays are posted for harness racing fans. He draws new fans to the sport by allowing those that have not seen or know little about the sport to watch key races around the country. He also posts replays for owners/trainers/drivers/grooms who wish to share their on-track successes with friends, family, and others. He started with no followers and has steadily grown his page's fan base to over 2,500 followers and likes. He also posts congratulatory videos for folks when they achieve a milestone in their career (first driving win, first training win, etc.). Ken also shares his stable's successes (partnered with trainer Rob Zink) sharing their entries, wins, personalities of their horses, and even his 82-year-old mother known as The Carrot Lady. Adriano Sorella is one of the most visible and well known owners in Harness Racing. In an attempt to attract new fans to the sport, Sorella started a Team Sorella Scratch and Win giveaway program through social media outlets. He gave away many prizes as part of the promotion, all paid for out of pocket. Additionally, Sorella has used his expertise in Internet and Social Media marketing in order to prove that there are new fans of the sport to be had, they just have to be activated to get involved (Bio by Garnet Barnsdale). Ryan Clements received numerous nominations throughout the process for his creation of the Off And Pacing Mobile App. Since its inception earlier this year, Clements and his team have worked tirelessly at making sure they continue to expand the development of their game. It has helped create new fans in the sport of harness racing in a lot of different countries. The game has over 20,000 downloads, and between 7,000 - 8,000 active users. Ryan Macedonio, creator of the Trotcast, has done a lot of work in the sport of harness racing over the past year. Towards the end of 2016 he announced his run for President of the United States Trotting Association. Though his bid was unsuccessful, he has continued to support the sport of harness racing by working with the Breeders Crown and going on multiple adventures to different tracks. He provides interviews and backstories of some of the sports individuals who may not be in the limelight on a consistent basis. Macedonio also works on the website for Allard Racing. Chris Gooden is the track photographer at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Pennsylvania. Gooden posts his pictures and many of his collages on Facebook so that harness racing fans and connections can see the work being done on the racetrack. Gooden has created some very impressive drone shots and helped lead the way for new technology of covering races, which includes providing a live feed of the finish line of each race at The Meadows. Anthony MacDonald is the founder of A long time horseman Anthony along with his wife Amy started in hopes of creating new and aspiring fans in the sport of harness racing. Since its inception last year they have created many more owners and gotten many more trainers involved in what they were trying to help create. Recently they had an Open House at their farm to help show new people what The Stable is all about. Anthony regularly posts videos containing information on the horses in his care and also posts videos showing the horses abilities while training. Also nominated to this category was Ben Blum, The Landy Family, Raymond Lance, Rod Allums Jr., Jim Brown, and SOANY/Yonkers Raceway. Upset of the Year Hannelore Hanover faced the boys a lot in 2017. She made one of her attempts in the inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts stakes at Plainridge Park. Turning for home it looked like it would be down to Crazy Wow, Resolve, and Hannelore Hanover, but JL Cruz had other ideas flying up the passing lane to win at odds of 60/1. The US Pacing Championship has long been one of the classics for aged pacers and leading the way for what is to come in the 2nd half of the harness racing season. In 2017, Meadowlands track announcer Sam McKee passed away. The race name was changed to the Sam McKee Memorial. Mel Mara led the field into the stretch and it looked like he would draw off to win the race easily, but Check Six came flying on the outside late and as Ken Warkentin put it "he was charging hard" for the upset. Ice Attraction proved that rainy weather and a sloppy track did not bother her in the Kentucky Filly Futurity as she shocked Ariana G in the final strides at the Red Mile in October. Ariana G's connection made the decision to race her in the easier Filly Futurity. the 2nd heat, however, proved to be too much for her. Hannelore Hanover entered Hoosier Park for the $70,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Final with a few narrow defeats, but on this night she faced easier than normal company. Hannelore led for the first ¾ of the race, but when Churita got to her turning for home she used the passing lane to move by the champion and score the victory by 4½ lengths. Beckhams Z Tam entered the Breeders Crown with the hopes and dreams of the state of Indiana on his shoulders as he faced some of the top three-year-old pacers in the country. Downbytheseaside controlled the pace of the race, but around the last turn Ricky Macomber Jr., made a very impressive move to cruise by in the final hundred yards to give trainer Jamie Macomber her first Breeders Crown victory. Snowstorm Hanover completed a weekend of upsets when he rallied by Devious Man in the 2nd heat of the Kentucky Futurity to win in 1:53.2. International Moni made a break before the start and proved never to be a factor in the race. When the field turned for home Yes Mickey was in front, but he dealt with pressure from What The Hill and a covered up Snowstorm Hanover who stormed to victory providing a 5/1 upset after finishing 2nd at 82-1 in his elimination. Also nominated for this award was Pure Country's victory in the 2017 Breeders Crown. "Foiled Again" Iron Horse of the Year, presented by Off and Pacing Tough Love has raced throughout Ohio and Kentucky during his short 14-year-old campaign. He was purchased for $9,000 on October 2, 2004 at the KY Standardbred sale. He has raced over many racetracks throughout his long career and was a Virginia Bred Champion at age 2 winning the final in 1:53. Tough Love set his life time mark of 1:50.4 on November 18, 2009 against claiming company at Pocono Downs and tied the mark at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 18, 2010. He has won 57 lifetime races with 59 seconds and 59 thirds out of 434 starts and has earned just under $600,000. Tough Love is owned by Wesley E. Davis of Piqua, Ohio and is trained by the owner. Quicksilvercandy A was purchased in May 2009 by her current owner Larry Stalbaum from Australia. She began her winning ways by capturing a matinee race in the Cradle of the Trotter at Goshen Historic Track in Goshen, NY. Quicksilvercandy A successfully raced against Open mares at Pocono and Yonkers. She set her lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In 2017, Quicksilvercandy A set Western New York on fire as she has climbed up and down the class ladder winning 20 races in 44 starts while banking just over $108,000. She has won 61 lifetime races with 38 seconds and 38 thirds out of 238 starts and has earned $675,228 in purse earnings. Quicksilvercandy A is trained by Kimberly Asher and owned by Larry Stalbaum of Matamoras, PA. (Bio by USHWA President Tim Bojarski). Weskey is a fourteen-year-old trotting gelding that seems to keep getting better with age. He has raced exclusively in claimers on the Ontario "B" circuit this year, and has amassed an impressive record for any horse, let alone a senior citizen who is competing in his final year of racing. Weskey has compiled a record of 8-6-6 from 36 starts for earnings of $28,067 for trainer/driver Tyler Borth of Ingersoll, Ontario, who also owns the gelding in partnership with his father Bill Borth. Weskey has earned more than $323,000 the hard way, he has made 290 starts exclusively on the B tracks and didn't earn a dime of his money in stakes. He has amassed an impressive record of 59-57-37 in those 290 starts behind the gate, for a 20% win percentage and a 53% rate of finishing in the top three (Bio by Garnet Barnsdale.) Spunky Vic is a 13-year-old trotter who was purchased for the small price of $3,500 at the Windy City sale in Illinois on August 20, 2005. He is currently owned and trained by Arty Foster of Harrington, Delaware. Spunky Vic starts his career on the Illinois circuit under the care of Roger Welch. He raced against some very good company in the Su Mac Lad at Balmoral Park, where he finished fifth in both the elimination and the final. Shortly after he was transferred to his current connections. He has faced Open company and strong conditioned company on the Delaware and Pennsylvania circuits throughout his career. He has 322 starts with 42 victories, 65 seconds, and 53 thirds and has $682,925 in purse earnings. Hello Carlo was purchased at 2-year-old and sent to trainer Larry Clabaugh where he spent his entire racing career. He raced on the Ohio circuit, and had a few starts in Western New York during his career. Hello Carlo set his career mark of 1:55.4 at Scioto Downs during a late closing event on August 1, 2009. During his career he won against Open company and scored his final win of his career on February 7, 2017 against conditioned horses at Northfield Park. He concluded his career with 377 starts, 70 firsts, 47 seconds, and 40 third place finishes with purse earnings of $348,363. He is owned by Mario Caponi, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and was trained by Larry Clabaugh. Captain Primeau is a 13-year-old trotter currently racing on the Freehold circuit in New Jersey. Captain Priemau started his career at Hippodrome 3R and Rideau Carlton Raceway in Canada. He was sold in 2007 to his current owner/trainer Conny Svensson, where he began racing on the New York and New Jersey circuit. Captain Primeau has currently made $397,347, with 47 wins, 30 seconds, and 30 thirds in 271 starts. He set his lifetime mark of 1:53.1 on June 4, 2010 at the Meadowlands at age six. By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

ROCHESTER — After a decade without it, some form of harness racing may be coming back to the Rochester Fair in the near future. Newly hired Rochester Events Manager Vicky Poland announced Thursday morning during a special business roundtable meeting that the Rochester Fair’s leadership is exploring the possibility of adding amateur harness demonstrations into the mix as they work to retool the struggling fair into a small, more traditional community event. “Certainly, it will be nothing like it was in the past,” said Poland, referring to the old 10-day fairs that featured horse racing attendees could bet on each day. “This will be more a chance for people to come into that area and watch that kind of event.” The Rochester Agricultural and Mechanical Association, the nonprofit group of stockholders that owns the fair and fairgrounds, canceled the 2017 Rochester Fair due to declining revenue and debts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This year’s event would have been the 142nd Rochester Fair. In recent months, RAMA has made a number of changes that have allowed it to be confident in announcing that the Rochester Fair will return as a smaller, four-day agricultural fair from Sept. 13-16, 2018. Those strides include a reorganization of its board of directors, the hiring of Poland to bring additional events and revenue to the Lafayette Street fairgrounds, and a restructuring of the property’s $383,944 mortgage, which is held by Holy Rosary Credit Union. Numerous RAMA stockholders and longtime fair patrons have expressed feelings this year that the spirit of the old Rochester Fair changed when harness horse racing ceased in 2008. Fair officials have said they ended the once-popular program because it had been losing money for a number of years, in the process preventing RAMA from making key infrastructure repairs and improvements that will now be necessary to turn the fairgrounds into a more viable, year-round events venue. Should harness horse demonstrations occur at the 2018 fair, Poland said they would be held in the grandstand area. During recent Rochester Fairs, that space had been used primarily for a demolition derby. Poland said RAMA is attempting to hold “some kind of car derby” on one day of the 2018 fair, and is also exploring the possibility of having snowmobile grass drag racing. Thursday’s business roundtable was a joint meeting of the Rochester Economic Development Commission and the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s Business Advisory Board. Poland, a veteran of the local fair and event management circuit, was the featured and only speaker. In addition to disclosing details about horse events for the first time, Poland also outlined a number of events that are in the works for the fairgrounds over the next year. Those events include a cross-country snowmobile race, the return of the World’s Largest Yard Sale, car rallies in both April and October, a car swap in May, and a number of winter events, such as a winter carnival, sledding or sleigh rides to take advantage of the fact that Rochester stores its plowed snow on the fairgrounds property. Poland also reiterated the emphasis that will be placed on securing local vendors for the 2018 Rochester Fair and giving community groups the opportunity to be front and center in the festivities. She also announced that RAMA recently contracted with Cushing Amusements, of Wilmington, Massachusetts, to operate 20 or so rides in the fair’s carnival area. Previously, Fiesta Shows provided the carnival rides. Poland has said rides at the 2018 fair will be located near the back of the property and, unlike past years, won’t be the immediate focus as attendees walk through the main gate. Several of the 15 or so individuals in attendance at Thursday’s meeting said they came away impressed by RAMA’s new approach, mindset and vision for what the fair and fairgrounds could be in the coming months and years. One man described Poland’s remarks as “refreshing.” City Councilor Sandra Keans, a newly appointed interim member of RAMA’s board, said she thinks, based on Poland’s comments, that the Rochester Fair “might actually come back and be a successful event in the community. By Kyle Stucker Reprinted with permission of site

Pompano Beach, FL...December 7, 2017...Diamond Dagger and Prairie Fortune won their respective feature events at Pompano Park on Wednesday night as the South Florida oval presented a pair of $10,000 Open Trotting events, while harness racing driver Bryce Fenn reached a milestone, reaching his 2,500 career win in the sulky.   Diamond Dagger, the sharp five year-old daughter of ABC Garland, was driven by Peter Wrenn and scored by three-parts-of-a-length over a game Vicki All, handled by J.D. Yoder with the final time being 1:55.1. She's All In, with Rick Plano in her sulky, was third, 3 1/2 lengths away while Miss Flora and Pinky The Intern completed the order of finish in the quintet.   At the outset, Shes All In, burst off the wings of the gate along with Vicki All with the former taking command and Vicki All settling in the garden spot. At the opening station in :28.1, Diamond Dagger was next but, three-eighths in, began her jaunt forward and moved alongside the leader half way through in :57.4.   On the backside, Diamond Dagger forger to the front and opened up a clear lead past the third station in a picked up 1:26. In the lane, Vicki All gave futile chase but fell short as Diamond Dagger sealed the deal with her :29.1 finale.   After the race, driver Peter Wrenn said, "I wasn't too worried about her stepping up from last week's win. She handled the nine post in that one and was very sharp--both leaving and on the backside when I asked her.   "Tonight, she was just as sharp and she seemed as confident as I was when I gave her the 'go' sign heading towards the half. Mark (trainer O'Mara) always does such a great job and he had her ready tonight!"   O'Mara co-owns the rugged mare along with Paul Johnson and Melvin Schmucker.   Diamond Dagger now has a11-3-5 scorecard in 34 starts and $77,010 on her card. Lifetime, she banked $223,182 on the strength of 24 wins in 108 career starts,   As the 3 to 5 favorite, Diamond Dagger paid $3.20 to her multitude of backers.   Prairie Fortune, driven by Jim Meittinis, used his typical late charging strategy to roll by his competitors midway through the lane to score in 1:55.2--his margin 1 3/4 lengths over Boli, handled by Wally Hennessey. Sooo Handsome, driven by Rick Plano, finished a fast closing third while the early leader, Bobs Hope, was fourth, The favorite, Rockn Stien, made a miscue leaving but did recover to pick up the nickel in the octet.   Indeed, it was Bobs Hope who flashed speed leaving along with Boli, who began his journey from the outside post.   After the :27.4 opening panel, Boli took command and took the field half way home in a well rated :58.   At this point, Prairie Fortune was seventh but on the move with a double-bubble binge that took him to fourth past the three-quarter mark in 1:27.   Turning for home, Prairie Fortune pulled along side Boli and took command with authority on the strength of a :28 final quarter.   In a post-race interview, driver Jim Meittinis related, "Well, I was a bit concerned with at the half (:58). I would rather have seen :56 and a piece but it is what it is.   "I just gave him the racetrack on the backstretch and he responded like he usually does. He can brush a long, long way and he did that tonight."   The five year-old gelded son of Arapa Victory won for the ninth time this semester and 36 time during his splendid career measuring 82 starts.   Trained by MIke Deters, who co-owns with Laurie Poulin, Prairie Fortune now has $278,910 in lifetime earnings--$74,365 this year.   Off as the 8 to 5 second choice, Prairie Fortune paid $5.40 to win.   Driver Bryce Fenn reached a career milestone on Wednesday night by driving An The Thunderolls to a sharp win in 1:54. The win was the third straight for the three year-old altered son of Canyon Wind and turned out to be the 2,500th career victory for Bryce Fenn, who was in the bike for owner-trainer MIke Sweeney.   Said the soft-spoken Fenn of his accomplishment, "It's nice. Mike (trainer Sweeney) has him very sharp right now, so I'll just give the credit to the horse and leave it at that!"   Fenn has been in the harness racing industry for over four decades and was featured on a 1975 Hoof Beats cover when he was 15 years old.   Racing continues on Sunday night with a trio of carryovers awaiting in the opening superfecta ($3,338.68), Pick-6 ($4,139.65) and Super Hi-5 ($12,331.33).   Post time is set for 7:20 p.m.   -30-   Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park        

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday night at The Meadowlands brings eleven overnight races led by the $17,500 final of the popular "Dash for the G-Note" short series. That race comes up as the seventh on the harness racing card, kicking off the $50,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Pool.   Ron Burke sends three entries out in pursuit of the top prize including ten-year-old class-master Ideal Matters, a recent addition to the barn. Ideal Matters (PP #9) has raced the best around the East coast for the past few seasons then finally found the claimers a few weeks ago and eventually was transferred via a private purchase.   The fresh surroundings apparently agreed with him (a perfect trip from driver Anthony Napolitano certainly didn't hurt) as he dashed from the pocket to wear down 1-5 race favorite Kotare Yael N for a comfortable win with something left.   Ideal Matters now races in the Burke stable colors for the interests of the trainer as Burke Racing, LLC in partnership with Weaver Bruscemi, LLC and Napolitano retains the drive on Friday.   Moonlight Ransom collected his first win of the 2017 season in last week's elim and has drawn well, starting from post three on Friday. Moonlight has shown steady improvement since joining the Jenn Bongiorno stable for owner Michael Singer and is poised to contend for driver Simon Allard.   Justified is the third horse returning off a win last week for trainer-driver Eric Abbatiello. Another "War-Horse" the nine-year-old winner of nearly a third million dollars went the fastest mile in the elims when he crossed the wire in 1:52.2. He races in the familiar colors of The Red Man Stable.   Promotions-wise The Meadowlands is in holiday mode with the direction being cash for the giving season. Friday it's that old chestnut "Money Machine Fever", a true fan favorite, that is not to be missed.   The fun starts at 7:15 p.m.   There will be a Pick Five carryover at the Meadowlands Friday for the second straight week. $17,117.45 will be added to the pool tomorrow that covers Races 2-6. It carries a 50-cent base wager and a low 15-percent takeout rate. Free pps for Friday’s Pick 5 can be found here - In other Meadowlands wagering news the Early Pick 4 (Races 3-6) returned $10,625.    Nick Salvi    

DOVER,Del.---- Enhance Your Mind showed why she was Dover Down's harness racing 'Horse of the Meet' last season turning back seven adversaries in 1:51.2 to win this week's $25,000 Mares Open pace. With regular driver Vic Kirby at the controls, Enhance Your Mind raced to the front at the half and then held off a strong challenge from Sweet Bobbie (Art Stafford Jr.) before pulling off to her ninth win of the year for owner-trainer Bryan Truitt. She now has won three of her last five races. Jag Out (Tony Morgan) took the early lead and later closed to finish second. Sweet Bobbie was third. Enhance Your Mind is a five-year-old daughter of forgotten stallion Riggins from the dam Enhance Your Night. She has now earned $138,020 in 2017. Take Em overcame starting from post 8 to score a 1:52 triumph in a $15,000 distaff semi-feature. It was the third win for Corey Callahan driving for trainer Bob Reeser and owner Shirley Le Vin. All About The Pace (Jonathan Roberts) was runner-up. Cocktail Time (Morgan) came on for third. Ross Wolfenden guided Empress Deo to a 1:52.3 victory holding off a strong stretch bid from Hold It Hanover (Callahan). Wayne Givens trains the Rocknroll Hanover-Little Miss K mare for legacy Racing of Del. A winner of three of her last five races, Empress Deo has now banked $110,240 this campaign. Corey Callahan, the track defending champion, won three times to move into second-place in the standings with 32 wins. Tony Morgan, now only 23 wins shy of number 16,000 in his career, had two wins as did Ross Wolfenden and Allan Davis. The usually outstanding Thursday card is headed by a $30,000 Preferred pace featuring Mel Mara and Christen Me N and a $25,000 Open with Bag To Riches seeking a second straight win. Dover Downs now features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad                

Batavia, NY---The lake effect snows blew into Genesee County making Batavia Downs look like the North Pole and Mydelight Bluechip made like Rudolph and led all the way to win the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace on the last Wednesday night (Dec. 6) of harness racing for the meet. Mydelight Bluechip (Ben Mc Neil) was on a "take no prisoners" mission as she left and parked Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) and Voltina (Kevin Cummings) to the half in :56.3. As the race went on to the second circuit, Little Joke continued to apply the pressure but Voltina faded away, allowing Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) room to advance to the outside from sixth and move into a closer third position. Moving through the last turn Mydelight Bluechip put away both of those challengers and led by two lengths. At that point it looked like she'd wrapped things up until Squeeze This (Drew Monti) and Hey Kobe (Shawn McDonough) came flying late, gobbling up ground in the stretch. But Mydelight Bluechip dug in and pulled out the win by a narrowing margin in 1:57.2. Privately purchased on November 11 by Ellen Mc Neil, Mydelight Bluechip ($20.80) scored her first victory for her new owner and third of the year overall. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight is trained by John Mc Neil III, rounding out the Mc Neil trifecta in the race. In the co-featured $8,000 distaff Open II, Sportsmuffler (Drew Monti) took the lead before the half and from there, left the rest of the field in her rear-view mirror as she pulled away to a seven-length win in 1:56.2. Owned by Lav Racing Stable and trained by Mike Carrubba, Sportsmuffler ($3.70) registered her 10th win of the year and pushed her earnings to $54,149 as a result. Drew Monti was red hot on a cold night, winning four races on the card. Besides scoring with Sportsmuffler, Monti also won with Tymal Luckynpink (1:57.1, $5.50), Juxlivin My Dream (1:59.2, $10.20) and Hold On Tightly (2:02.3, $21.20). Monti actually won a fifth race with P L Hellcat in the tenth race but was disqualified and placed second for a Eurorail violation. Open Water (Jim McNeight Jr.) who finished second in that tenth race was placed first and gave trainer Jim McNeight his 1,000th career training victory. McNeight's training win total has earned $3,495,864 in purse money for his connections. McNeight also has 3,587 driving wins with an additional purse amount of $13,133,205 to go along. In the Downs eleventh race, the heavily favored Heavenly Way (Ray Fisher Jr.) was soundly backed in the show pool and finished fourth in a five-horse wire photo. With Heavenly Way being off the board, it prompted eye-popping show payouts of $77.50, $108 and $264. The driver's race just got a little more interesting after Wednesday night. Larry Stalbaum still leads with 122 wins and Ray Fisher Jr. is second with 119. But on the heels of his big performance, Drew Monti draws into a closer third with 116 wins, only six behind the leader with only four days of racing left in the 2017 meet. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 8) with post time set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

DOVER, Del.--- Another Thursday and another banner harness racing program at Dover Downs headlined by A $30,000 Preferred and a $25,000 Open pace on a speedy card on Dec. 7. All six starters in the $30,000 Preferred are used to racing in 1:50 or faster. Mel Mara, owned by Robert Cooper and J&T Silva stables with driver Corey Callahan, has a personal record of 1:47, Major Uptrend won in 1:49 this year at Dover Downs with Tony Morgan in the bike. Richard Pollucci's Christen Me N, a $2-million winner and former star New Zealand champion leaves from the outside with Ross Wolfenden. Since arriving in the U.S, Christen Me N has three wins and a close-up second in his last four starts. Mel Mara, arguably one of the fastest horses in North America, is approaching the $1-million mark in career earnings. Major Uptrend has been a local favorite since entering the Tim Crissman Stable. He leaves from the rail after a1:49.2 near-wire-to-wire win last week. Other potent rivals are Soto, handled by Art Stafford Jr., who races for Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta, is an ultra-consistent perfomer who shows in his seven recent races with three seconds and three thirds. Sweet Rock, piloted by Vic Kirby, has a win, two seconds and a third in his last four outings for Reg Hazzard , G.P.Calloway and Legacy Racing while Gus Dovi's Bettor Memories, with Russell Foster, has battled top class Pacers in Preffered and Open company. The $25,000 Open Handicap is another strong affair. Last week's winner, Only Money Inc. and trainer Jason Skinner's Bags To Riches (Foster), the only three-year-old in the field won in 1:49.4. Sicily (Montrell Teague) finished second while Cajon Lightning (Stafford Jr.) only three-quarters of a length back after starting from outside post 8. JoAnn Looney King's Q's Cruise (Kirby) was fourth. The rest of the field includes Mildred Ventriglio's Kid PK (Morgan), Arque Hanover (Callahan) owned by Tom Lazzaro, Abe Basen, and Robert Cooper Stables. With George &Tina Dennis Racing's Forty Five Red (Eddie Davis Jr.) assigned post 1. There is also a talented supporting card on the 13-race program. Dover Downs has added a 50-cent Pick 5 wager, starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad