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There were co-features on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the Fillies and Mares Open joined the regular Saturday feature the Open Pace to highlight the evening's thirteen race card. Each of the co-features went for a purse of $14,500 and each saw the favorite prevail. The Open Pace was won by Carolina Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) who was offensive minded from the get-go on Saturday night. Wally Hennessey overcame the outside post with Carolina Beach, the race's 4-5 betting favorite, as he moved the Melissa Beckwith-trained pacer out to the early lead. Laying down fast fractions of 27 and 55.4 in lap one, Carolina Beach had something left for the stretch run to prevail in 1:52.1 while holding off Texas Terror N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and securing his second consecutive win in the Open and eleventh victory overall in the 2018 campaign. Texas Terror N was the runner-up while longshot Rise Up Now (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. The Fillies and Mares Open, the regular Friday night feature at the Spa, was pushed back a night due to a New York Sire Stakes-filled card on Friday. Rene Allard's Eclipse Me N (Real Desire) swooped the group to win the local Open for the first time. Leading driver Billy Dobson worked out a cover trip for the 6-5 favorite as Eclipse Me N drafted second-over behind the track's defending Pacing Mare of the Year Truth And Liberty who was making her first local start of the season. Eclipse Me N made a powerful move around the final turn and drew out to win by a length and half, stopping the timer in 1:53.2 for her sixth victory on the campaign. Regular Open star Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr) came from last in the Open for distaffers before finishing second while longshot Better Said (Brett Crawford) earned the show spot. Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with New York Sire Stakes competition highlighting the thirteen race card. Two year old pacing colts and geldings will be featured in stakes action. First post time is set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Gruden (Muscles Yankee) added trotting hopples a few weeks ago after enduring breaking trouble in previous months. The Rene Allard trainee won the qualifier at Pocono with hopples on and was dynamic at Saratoga Casino Hotel last week while winning his local debut in 1:55. Gruden moved up in company on Tuesday night as he took part in the $12,000 Winners Over. The five year old trotter who scored nine wins in seventeen tries in 2017 was bet down as the 1-9 favorite on Tuesday Leading driver Billy Dobson moved Gruden out to the early lead, paying a bit of a stiff price to get to the top. Parked at the start, Gruden crossed over to cut the mile after guiding the way through a first quarter of 27 seconds. The big favorite had little difficultly opening up a big lead but was beginning to tire as a pair of dangers, Silent Pine (Bruce Cooper) and Entranced (Dan Cappello Jr) were making steady progress towards the leader. Gruden had enough to hang on and win in 1:56 while Silent Pine came up second best. Entranced earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Wednesday evening at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Quid Pro Quo (Yankee Cruiser) went coast to coast in Thursday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Trainer Kim Myers manages a small size stable and has had a terrific season in 2018 thus far. On Thursday, her Quid Pro Quo drew the rail in the $7,250 feature for fillies and mares on what was the final matinee card at the Spa until the second week of September. The four year old distaffer wound up as one of the co-favorites as she looked for her third victory in the last four starts. Leading driver Billy Dobson powered the mare out to the early lead aided by her inside post and Quid Pro Quo cruised to a wire-to-wire win in 1:55.4, matching the lifetime mark she set earlier in the season. The victory was the fifth on the year for Quid Pro Quo in fifteen tries. Trainer Kim Myers now has six wins this season and has seen her trainees hit the board nine times in just seventeen starts in '18. The live racing schedule moves to all evenings beginning this weekend with racing taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights with first post time set for 7:05pm each evening. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Bob Mondillo had no idea where to set his expectations when he began buying horses two decades ago, but chances are that wherever he set them he would be pleased with the results. Mondillo has enjoyed a number of successes, most notably with retired millionaire Nob Hill High and continuing with stakes contenders including Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace-bound Rodeo Romeo. Mondillo, an investment advisor from Ohio, was introduced to harness racing by his friend Don Robinson. The first horse they owned together was a claimer, who in turn got claimed from the duo after several starts. It was a result that spurred Mondillo to change his approach to the sport. "I really didn't like that," Mondillo said, laughing. "If I was going to sell a horse I wanted to have some control over it and not just put it in a claiming race and lose him. I thought, why don't we up our game and get into the stakes competition. That's what we did and we never looked back. It's been a great run." In 2001, Mondillo and Robinson purchased then 18-year-old broodmare Anniecrombie, a Dan Patch Award-winner during her racing career, from a dispersal sale. Two years later, Mondillo watched McArdle win the Magical Mike at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. Those moments mattered because Mondillo and Robinson bred Anniecrombie to McArdle in 2005 and the result was stakes-winner Nob Hill High. He was Anniecrombie's final foal. "At least on paper she saved the best for last," Mondillo said. "I really liked McArdle a lot, so we ended up breeding Anniecrombie to him. The rest is history, I guess. Watching Nobbie do what he did, I never expected I would own a millionaire in the sport. When you first get started, you don't know how to set your expectations, how high or how low. He's a wonderful horse." Other top horses for Mondillo have included stakes-winners This Is The Plan, Fraser Ridge, That's The Ticket, National Seelster, Moonlit Dragon, Time On My Hands, and Martini Hanover. Two-year-old male pacer High On Paydaze, from Nob Hill High's first crop, is 2-for-2 on this year's Ohio Sire Stakes circuit. And then there is the late-blossoming Rodeo Romeo, a 6-year-old pacer who is having the best season of his career to date. The stallion, trained by Chris Ryder, has won five of 15 races this year and earned $123,330 for Mondillo and Oompa's Farm Inc., which is headed by Pete Mazzella. Mondillo first met Ryder when he trained McArdle. "He's just a quality guy and he has a wonderful family," Mondillo said. "He's just a pleasure to work with. I probably talk with him daily and we talk about things other than horses. We just have that kind of relationship. It's been a great experience for me. "Don is a very knowledgeable guy and Pete has a great deal of knowledge too. I learn from all of them and I try to absorb it all like a sponge and hope that most of it is retained." All five of Rodeo Romeo's victories have come in his past 11 starts, during which time he also posted three second-place finishes and a third. He has two wins and two seconds in the Great Northeast Open Series and was third in the Commodore Barry Invitational. "He's done very well," Mondillo said. "He did not race as a 2-year-old; he was beset by a number of different ailments as a 4-year-old and as a 3-year-old. Finally those appear to be behind him and he's racing very well. Fingers crossed, he'll stay healthy and we'll continue to move forward. "We've always had a horse we believe in, and knew he was talented, but we just couldn't keep him sound or healthy enough to show what he could do until this year. He's well cared for by his groom, Alexz Goldin. I think without her taking such good care of him, he might not be where he is right now in terms of his accomplishments." Rodeo Romeo will start the Gerrity Memorial from post seven in an eight-horse field. The remainder of the group is defending champion Bit Of A Legend N, Evenin Of Pleasure, Killer Martini, Mach It So, Missile J, Rockin Ron, and Somewhere In L A. "I think that given the right trip he can be in there," Mondillo said about Rodeo Romeo. "He can race from behind, he can race on the front end. Certainly he's not going to be on the front end in this race from that post position, at least not initially. We hope at the end he will be there. He's going to have to have some kind of a trip to do well, I believe. "I like the fact there is no quit in that horse," he added. "I can't tell you how much he means to Pete and myself and certainly Alexz and the Ryder Stable. He's certainly been a bright spot. We're thrilled with him." The Gerrity Memorial was created in 2009 to honor Joe Gerrity Jr., a highly respected figure in the area's equine development and an integral leader of Saratoga Harness. Gerrity was a breeder of horses in Loudonville and licensed harness driver before becoming chairman of the board for Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. in 1987. He later oversaw the expansion and development of the facility before it became the premier property to feature video lottery terminals in New York State. Gerrity passed away in 2005. Racing begins at 7:05 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. Parking and admission are free. Below is the field for the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Missile J-Brett Miller-Scott DiDomenico-9/2 2-Bit Of A Legend N-Jordan Stratton-Peter Tritton-5/2 3-Killer Martini-Wally Hennessey-Ricky Bucci-12/1 4-Evenin Of Pleasure-Joe Bongiorno-Jennifer Bongiorno-4/1 5-Somewhere In L A-Jason Bartlett-Richard Banca-6/1 6-Rockin Ron-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-3/1 7-Rodeo Romeo-Billy Dobson-Chris Ryder-8/1 8-Mach It So-Jim Morrill Jr.-Jeffrey Bamond Jr.-10/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

The veteran harness racing trotter Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) has been a winning machine throughout what has been an illustrious career. Cash Me Out romped in his return to the track two weeks ago while competing in a condition race and subsequently was back into the $14,500 Open Trot on Sunday afternoon. Leading driver Billy Dobson piloted Cash Me Out and wasted no time cruising the odds-on favorite out to the early lead.  A Saratoga regular throughout his career, Cash Me Out coasted to a wire-to-wire score on Sunday to register his first victory in the Open Trot this season. The win time of 1:55.1 matched the mark he set while prevailing in his previous start. Entranced (Dan Cappello Jr) made his debut in the Open Trot on Sunday and closed sharply up the inside to finish second. Tropical Storm Bi (Phil Fluet), who won the previous installment of the Open at Saratoga, was assigned the outside post this week and still came from the back of the pack to earn the show spot. Cash Me Out was the public's 3-5 betting favorite as he won for the 33rdtime in his career. The veteran trotter now has lifetime earnings of more than $890,000. The exacta and triple in Sunday's Open paid $16.80 and $137.50, respectively. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee kicking off at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Vernon, NY - Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Sportswriter) had raced twice in the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel this spring before the Rene Allard trainee went to Pennsylvania to compete for a couple of months. The six year old harness racing pacer returned to the Spa on Saturday night with an Open win and a second place finish to his credit from his starts in May. Maxdaddy Blue Chip made his return to town a winning one as the 1-5 betting favorite in the $14,500 Saturday feature. Reinsman Billy Dobson moved Maxdaddy Blue Chip out to the early lead and together they enjoyed a very comfortable first lap that was paced in 56.2. The favorite never faced a legitimate challenge and lengthened his lead seemingly with every stride before pacing away from his rivals to prevail in 1:51.3 on a beautiful summer night in Saratoga Springs, NY. Deetzy (Jimmy Devaux), who parlayed his pocket ride to victory in last week's Open, again got the two-hole trip on Saturday night but had to settle for a strong second place finish. Longshot Tullow N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Maxdaddy Blue Chip, who won fifteen times in 2017, prevailed for the third time in '18. The meet's leading driver, Dobson piloted three winners on the Saturday card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Gramster (Yankee Glide) won the $9,000 feature for trotters on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jordan Derue trainee set a lifetime mark two starts back when he swooped the group from post eight to upset at odds of 34-1. Following that career-best 1:57 romp, Gramster threw a clunker the following week while on the front end. On Thursday, leading driver Billy Dobson sat behind the five year old trotter who was the favorite in the race for winners of two but not more than five races lifetime and got away third in the early going. Things weren't looking good for Gramster who stayed inside and got shuffled a bit after a half mile clocked in 59 seconds. Pappagiorgrio (Dan Cappello Jr) was carving out the fractions and appeared strong after going past three quarters in 1:28.2. Gramster then shook loose around the final turn and came surging late to win in 1:58.2 for Dobson. Pappagiorgio finished second while Chili (Brett Crawford) earned the show spot. Gramster is set to compete once again in the claiming ranks on Sunday afternoon as he looks to go three for his last four. Live racing continues at the Spa on Friday evening with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

While Saturday night's Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel featured the return of defending Horse of the Year Artful Way, it was a different returnee who wound up prevailing in the $14,500 feature. Somewhere Fancy (Somebeachsomewhere) has been competing at a high level at Yonkers for much of this season and was assigned post five in a six-horse Saturday Open. Billy Dobson piloted the Rene Allard trainee and powered him out to early lead. Part of a speed duel in the early going, Somewhere Fancy set sizzling fractions of 26.3 and 54.4 in the first half. Facing just mild pressure, Somewhere Fancy stepped on the gas and kicked away from his rivals after posting three quarters in 1:23 and cruised to victory in 1:51.1. Panocchio (Gerry Mattison) toughed it out first over and wound up as the runner-up in the Open Pace for the second consecutive week while Lachie Maguire N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Artful Way, who was coming from last and got caught very wide in the final half, never wound up being a factor as the race's even money favorite. Somewhere Fancy, who has competed locally in the past, returned $6.20 to win in his first score in the local Open. The exacta and triple paid $40.60 and $116, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Driver Billy Dobson reached the 4,000 win plateau on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. At just the age of 34, Dobson has piled up victories at an incredible rate since coming to Saratoga about a decade ago. The Michigan native quickly became one of New York's top catch-drivers when he moved east and found a home at Saratoga. Dobson won his first local driving title in 2010 and went on to be the top driver at the Spa for five consecutive seasons. Though 2014 was the last time he was the track's leading reinsman, Dobson has continued to finish in the top three every year since. Here in '18, Dobson is not only back atop the driver standings at Saratoga but has been dominant throughout the first four months of the season. Dobson, who is currently driving to the highest percentage of any year in his career to date, piloted young pacer Short Term to his third consecutive victory in the Friday opener to move his career total to 3,999. Dobson sat behind the Jim Nickerson-trained Osprey Blue Chip in the evening's tenth race and the track's leading driver made history. Osprey Blue Chip cruised to an open length score in 1:54.4 for Dobson who made his 4,000th career trek back to a winner's circle. At just 34, Dobson achieves the 4,000 win milestone at such a young age that there is no telling how high that win total will go over the course of the remainder of what has already been an illustrious career. Congratulations to Billy Dobson on his historic achievement. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Tempus Seelster (Big Jim) owned three wins in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel when she drew the rail in Friday night's feature. Billy Dobson is the regular driver for the five year old Jim Nickerson-trained mare who was again tasked with defeating the weekly Open favorite Spreester. Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr) got away last in the six-horse feature while Tempus Seelster cut the mile. After first half fractions of 27.2 and 56.1, Tempus Seelster dug in when approached by a first over Glenferrie Bronte N (Bruce Aldrich Jr). All the while Spreester was second-over, following her live cover into a striking spot. Tempus Seelster was confronted by both mares turning for home but would not be denied, stopping the timer in 1:52.4 for a new seasonal mark. Spreester wound up as the runner-up in the $14,500 Open while a beaten favorite for the fifth consecutive week. Glenferrie Bronte N earned the show spot. Tempus Seelster paid $5.30 as the betting public's 8-5 second choice. The exacta and triple came back $14.60 and $58.50, respectively. Dobson piloted four winners on the card, two of which for Nickerson. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Trainer Paul Kelley unveiled a trio of young filly trotters on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The top flight conditioner focuses mainly on young horses and thus hadn't had any of his trainees compete at the Spa thus far this season before Thursday's matinee card. Kelley's Byway (Muscle Mass) got his day started win a victory when the three year old filly went coast to coast in 1:59.3 to break her maiden with Billy Dobson in the sulky. The meet's leading driver also piloted Kelley's Fast Love (Chapter Seven) to a wire-to-wire win when she cruised to a 1:59.4 score to break her maiden. Kelley looked for the Thursday hat trick when his The Russian Spy (Credit Winner) competed in a $7,500 non-winners of two race lifetime or $25,000 lifetime trot. The Kelley stable moved to three-for-three on the day when The Russian Spy jogged by open lengths in 1:57.3. Kelley has his group of young trotters prepped and ready for New York Sire Stakes season which has just gotten underway. The first NY Sire Stakes to be contested at Saratoga will be on Sunday afternoon (May 27th) when three year old pacing fillies are featured on the fifteen-race program. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Harness racing driver Billy Dobson won five consecutive driving titles at Saratoga Casino Hotel from 2010-2014. While Bruce Aldrich Jr and Frank Coppola Jr (two in a row) have won the last three local driver championships, Dobson has remained in the top three in the standings every year. The 2018 racing season kicked off on Sunday afternoon at the Spa and the 33 year old Dobson came into the start of the meet on a recent tear while driving at Yonkers Raceway. Following a trio of Sunday scores for Dobson, Monday afternoon brought about more trips to the winner's circle for the standout catch-driver. Dobson piloted the winner of the Monday feature as the Guy Howard-trained Trotamundo (RC Royalty) pulled off the mild upset in the matinee's $7,500 event for New York sired trotters. Trotamundo sat the pocket behind the race's favorite who made a break around the final turn. The five year old then inherited a big lead, one that was extended to six and a half lengths when he hit the wire first in 1:59. The victory was one of two on the day for Dobson who has gotten off to a strong start to his '18 campaign. Matinee programs are scheduled for Thursday and Sunday this week at Saratoga with action beginning each day at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 12, 2018—He came. He saw. He conquered. Thrice. Harness racing driver Billy Dobson celebrated Abe Lincoln’s 209th birthday Monday night (Feb. 12th) with a honest-to-goodness memorable Yonkers Raceway performance. The Saratoga standout came downstate for three drives, resulting in three off-the-pace wins…even if one was behind a trotter. Said trotter was Western Credit ($14.60), who reeled in a stubborn fave Aruba Vacation late in the $7,500 second race. The margin as neck in 1:58.1. Next, a last-to-first Stonedust ($41.60), overcoming the eight-hole in the $10,000, third-race pace (1:56.2). The 4-year-old Sagebrush gelding was making just a seventh career start. Dobson’s three-fer was completed in the $17,000, seventh-race pace, pouncing after a contested battle to prevail with Gussy’s Dragon ($10.20) in 1:55.3. ‘Gussy’ held off 8-5 choice Queen Josephine by a scant nose. Donald Billings trained Western Credit, who turned out to be a one start rent-a-trotter, while Monica Krist trained both Stonedust and Gussy’s Dragon.       Frank Drucker  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Billy Dobson finished second in the driver standings at Saratoga Raceway in 2017 and the 33-year-old proved Friday night at the Meadowlands that he is anything but a one-trick, half-mile track pony by guiding four winners over the mile oval on the 14-race harness racing card. Dobson got underway in the third race $10,000 claiming pace, scoring with Windsong Gorgeous in 1:53 at odds of 5-1. His second winner would come about 20 minutes later as Duluth took the fourth race conditioned trot in 1:55.2 as the 9-5 favorite. Long Story Short would bring Dobson's third victory after taking the ninth race conditioned trot in 1:56.4 at odds of 3-1 before A Jersey Contract completed the four-bagger by winning the 11th race conditioned trot in 1:55.3 at 7-2 on the tote board. Dobson picked up that drive when Bill Mann took off his late assignments after taking ill. A LITTLE MORE: One lucky simulcast bettor at Arlington (Ill.) Park raked the pot in the ninth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five, cashing a ticket worth $11,656.22. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, allowing the carryover to swell to $72.275.75. ... Anthony Napolitano and Brett Miller both recorded driving doubles. ... Total wagering on the card was $2,356,344. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 6:35 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - On an evening that saw competitive harness racing, a $9,700 payout in the Pick 10 Survivor wager and no fewer than four drivers winning at least two races, Joe Bongiorno and Billy Dobson were the biggest winners of all, as both guided three horses to victory lane Friday night at the Meadowlands. Bongiorno's three-bagger began with Woodbine shipper More Than Talk in the second race, who trotted the mile in 1:55.1 and returned $5.00 to win as the favorite for trainer Ron Burke. Cracklin Rosie followed in the sixth for trainer Carmen Auciello, paying $10.40 to win after pacing the mile in 1:53. Joe B's triple treat concluded in the ninth when Elysium Lady scored, paying $6.00, after trotting the mile in 1:54 for Burke. Dobson got underway in the fifth race guiding Kyle Spagnola-trainee No Recess to a 14-1 upset ($30.80 to win). The winner trotted the mile in 1:53.3. Carobbean Pacetry took the eighth race pace in 1:51.3, returning $10.40 to her backers for trainer Meir Geller. Dobson's third winner came in the 13th race pace as even-money choice Talbot Chanel ($4.00) scored as much the best in a lifetime-fastest 1:53. The win gave Burke a training triple on the card. A LITTLE MORE: It was a night for the chalk players as favorites reigned supreme in eight of the 13 races. ... Jim Marohn Jr. and Anthony Napolitano each recorded driving doubles. ... The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High Five again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, pushing the carryover past the $50,000 mark. ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $2,459,528. ... Racing resumes Saturday night at the Big M. Post time is 6:35 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

Deetzy (Jereme's Jet) won his first harness racing 'Open Pace' at Saratoga Casino Hotel last month. The Heidi Rohr-trained pacer came from the back of the pack in a race that featured blistering fast fractions in lap one. In that start, Deetzy scored in a career-best 1:50 with Billy Dobson in the sulky. Following back-to-back third place finishes in the $18,000 feature, Deetzy was the public's betting favorite on Saturday night and Dobson wasted no time setting sail with the five year old pacer who is in the midst of his career year. Deetzy posted fast first half fractions of 27 and 55.1 before cruising through three quarters in 1:23. Pocket sitter Rocknroll Wildcats (Jimmy Devaux) made his debut in the Open on Saturday and wound up second best to the 6-5 favorite Deetzy who stopped the timer in 1:50.2 in what was the second Open score in his young career. Dancin Yankee (Mark Beckwith) hit the board for the fourth consecutive week in the Open by earning the show spot. Deetzy moved over the quarter million dollar mark in career earnings with the victory, which was his fifth of the season. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

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