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Akron, NY --- She was born to harness racing and hit the ground running this, her first year of training. And hard work and perseverance has paid instant dividends for Riley Asher-Stalbaum and that is why she was named the 2018 Rising Star at Batavia Downs by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Asher-Stalbaum was brought up in the business, the daughter of accomplished trainer Kim Asher and longtime driver Larry Stalbaum. And having them first as parents and then as tutors have helped her to become very successful in life as a young lady and also in harness racing in her first venture as a full-time conditioner. This year, Asher-Stalbaum has raced a small but powerful stable that featured win-machines Quicksilvercandy A, Kaitlyn Rae and Empire Earl N who combined have a total of 38 victories and $231,488 in purses earned in 2018. At Batavia Downs her numbers showed 124 starts with 17 wins, 15 seconds and 17 thirds and $133,409 in earnings. All those statistics are very impressive for a first year trainer only 11 days removed from her 19th birthday. Asher-Stalbaum aspires to make a living doing what she loves and follow in the footsteps of her parents. And if the results of her first year are any indication, the business better take notice of the girl in the red and white silks in the coming years. Riley Asher-Stalbaum will receive her trophy in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 14). by Tim Bojarski, for UNY USHWA Chapter    

Akron, NY --- The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) has announced that Steve Pratt will receive their Lifetime Achievement Award during the Night of Distinction at Batavia Downs on Friday (Dec. 14). Pratt first got his grooms license in 1970 and from there has been involved in harness racing ever since. He has been training and racing horses in western New York since the late seventies when the star of his barn was an Open trotter named Willow Hill Boy who under the reinsmanship of the legendary Gaston Guindon, won 42 races in only five years against the best horses on the grounds at the time. Pratt moved on from racing overnights to concentrate on breaking and developing young horses. He became a presence on the New York county fair circuit but made the move to the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) in the mid-nineties. There he found early success with horses like Sal The Barber (1:58.2, $114,887) and Choyote's Miss (1:59.1, $121,785). But he really got on a successful roll in the NYSS starting in 2012. For the last seven years Pratt has been a trotting force in the state-bred series with a string of "Barn" named horses that have competed in the NYSS, the Excel series and also at the county fairs. The parade of his champions is led most prominently by Barn Doll (1:52.1, $874,083), Barn Bella (1:51.3, $742,350), Barn Girl (1:52.3, $734,668), Barn Babe (1:54.2, $350,463) and Barn Winner (1:56, $165,273). During those seven years Pratt-trained horses have earned over $2 million in only 227 starts, winning 97 races which gave him a phenomenal 42% win percentage. Pratt's Universal Trainer Rating (UTR) for that same period is a stellar .558 and all this was accomplished racing primarily in stake competition. Steve Pratt will receive his trophy in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle between races during the live card. By Tim Bojarski, president, Upstate New York USHWA

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- "It was a good but a trying season," Buffalo Raceway Operations Director Jon Cramer said in reflecting back on the recently completed 2018 campaign.   Buffalo Raceway had originally been scheduled to have an 89-day meet but lost 29 of those dates due to weather issues and a shortage of horses. But once things settled down, the trotters and pacers got rolling and put in some stellar performances.   There were a total of 12 track records either tied or broken during the year including both the all-aged pacing and trotting marks. Sir Ziggy's Z Tam became the fastest horse ever at Buffalo Raceway when he paced the mile in 1:51.2 on June 9 and Fox Valley Veto took down the all-aged trotting standard with a 1:56.0 mile on July 20.   Drew Monti won his first driving championship at Buffalo Raceway with 123 victories as the 23-year-old went over $700,000 in purses. Shawn Gray took the runner up spot with 106 wins and Billy Davis Jr. finished in third with 100 in his initial season at the track.   James Clouser Jr. took his first training title at the Hamburg half-mile oval with 81 wins and over $415,000 in earnings. JD Perrin ended up second in the standings with 63 victories while Maria Rice rounded out the top three with 42 victories.   The "Trotter of the Year" went to Fox Valley Veto while the "Pacer of the Year" award went to Lightning Raider N (Christian Cullen-Talent Hanover) as the 13-year-old gelding posted 12 victories in 21 starts in 2018.   Winning favorites took 311 of 673 races in 2018 for a 46.21 percent average.   The one post captured the most victories on the season with 174 while the four post was next with 126 wins.   Buffalo Raceway and the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association have agreed on a contract for 2019 season with an option for a second year. There will be 66 scheduled days of racing starting in the end of January, 2019. Racing will then continue twice a week in February and March and three cards per week in April, May, June and July. The exact dates and starting times will be announced in the future.   "We expect to keep the same purse structure next year as it was when we completed the 2018 season," Cramer noted.   Buffalo Raceway's simulcasting area is closed now through August 21 due to the Erie County Fair.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Barry Hanover ($10.60) looked like a prize fighter bobbing and weaving in the stretch, seeking for some racing room in Buffalo Raceway's co-featured $9,700 Open II Pace on Saturday night (July 21). But driver Billy Davis Jr. was patient but persistent and finally found a gap in guiding Barry Hanover to a neck victory over Bugatti in 1:55.3.   In the other $9,700 Open II event, In Runaway Bay N found the 'lightning lane' early and was straight as an arrow to the finish line to notch a $34.20 upset win in 1:55.1.   Bugatti (Ron Beback Jr.) showed the way in the opening feature as he set the tempo with fractions of :29.3, :57.4 and 1:26.3. Barry Hanover, who was sitting fifth at the top of the stretch, looked in every direction before Davis Jr. was able to dip him into the passing lane and rally in the shadow of the wire for the victory. Bugatti had to settle for second with Southwind Torque (John Cummings Jr.) taking third.   Owned by John Sixt and trained by Judith Blaun, it was the second win in 15 starts this season for the 4-year-old gelded Barry Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Beachbunny). The win increased his seasonal earnings to $17,628 and $105,609 lifetime.   In Runaway Bay N (Shawn McDonough) got the perfect stalking trip behind the pace setting Dark Horse and squeezed out a head victory. With panels of :28.2, :57.1 and 1:26.2, a :28.3 final quarter plus clear sailing through the stretch enabled In Runaway Bay N to collar Dark Horse. Tyler (Shawn Gray) took the show position.   Owned by Mark Jakubik and trained by Angelo Nappo, it was the third win in 21 starts in 2018 for 7-year-old gelded Runaway Bay N (Mach Three-Pullover Brown). His bankroll jumped to $29,515 this year and to $171,135 in his career.   Gray finished the evening with three winners in the bike with Monti and Davis Jr. adding two apiece. Dave McNeight Sr. had two training victories.   With the 2018 season now complete, the track announced its award winners for the year on Saturday night.   Drew Monti won his first driving championship at Buffalo Raceway with 123 victories as the 23-year-old went over $700,000 in purses. Shawn Gray took the runner up spot with 106 wins and Billy Davis Jr. finished in third with 100 in his initial season at the track.   James Clouser Jr. took his first training title at the Hamburg half-mile oval with 81 wins and over $415,000 in earnings. JD Perrin ended up second in the standings with 63 victories while Maria Rice rounded out the top three with 42 victories.   The "Trotter of the Year" went to Fox Valley Veto who broke the all-aged trotting record on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway with a 1:56.0 victory to solidify the honor. Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory Om) is co-owned by the Vogel & Wags Nags Stable along with Jack Rice. The 7-year-old gelding is trained by Maria Rice and won five times in 16 tries at Buffalo, amassing $40,489 in purse money.   The "Pacer of the Year" award went to Lightning Raider N (Christian Cullen-Talent Hanover) as the 13-year-old gelding posted 12 victories in 21 starts in 2018 for then owner Mae Smith. Lightning Raider N had bankrolled $38,349 until he was claimed last weekend by Marissa Russo and Kenneth Urbanczyk for $5,500.   He didn't last long in their barn as Mike Torcello claimed him on Saturday night for $8,000 with Gerry Sarama listed as the trainer. Lightning Raider N finished fifth in the race.   Simulcasting at Buffalo Raceway will be closed from July 23 through August 21 due to the Erie County Fair.   Live racing at Buffalo Raceway will return in January of 2019.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fox Valley Veto ($8.90) figured things are cheaper by the dozen as for 12th time this season, a track record has either been tied or broken at Buffalo Raceway.   Going gate-to-wire, Fox Valley Veto broke the all-aged trotting standard at Buffalo Raceway with a splendid 1:56.0 victory over the fast track in the $11,500 Open Trot on Friday night (July 20). It eclipsed the old mark of 1:56.1 set in 2014 by Gural Hanover and tied this year by Chelseas Chance and BZ Glide.   Starting from the three post, driver Billy Davis Jr. and Fox Valley Veto fired off the starting gate and assumed the top position quickly. Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) also tried a leave attempt but broke stride and it extinguished his hopes.   With fractions of :29.1, :58.0 and 1:27.1 on the board, Fox Valley Veto wasn't home free turning for the finish line. Southern Palms (Kevin Cummings) and the first over Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) each were within striking distance but couldn't cut into the lead and settled for second and third respectively.   Co-owned by the Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory Om) is trained by Maria Rice. It was his fifth victory of the season in 21 attempts, upping his earnings to $50,709 and $441,441 lifetime.   The track record was just the start of a great night for Davis Jr. as he finished the program with five victories while Monti added a pair. Rice and David Russo had productive evenings with training doubles.   The 2018 season comes to a close on Saturday night with a 10-race card slated for 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays, results and entries, to to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Melodies Major has been nothing but spectacular thus far in his brief career and he continued to sparkle on Wednesday night (July 18) at Buffalo Raceway by toppling the 2-year-old pacing colt record with a 1:54.2 victory over Jack Nation in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for the freshman pacers.   Cruising to an easy 3-3/4 length win in his $53,500 division, Melodies Major ($2.10) crushed the old mark of 1:55.4 set in 2013 by He's Watching.   In the other NYSS leg, Bicorne Hanover went gate-to-wire in 1:56.3 and held off Jojo's Place by three-quarters of a length.   But is was Melodies Major (Art Major-Hilarious) who stole the show. Driver Tyler Buter said after the race, "I drove him with two fingers. He's such a pleasure to drive. When I asked him to go, he just went faster."   Getting splits of :28.2, :57.1 and 1:26.0, Melodies Major never was asked for more in the lane as Buter tucked away the whip and enjoyed the view of the Buffalo Raceway home stretch. Despite being in cruise control, he still put up a :28.2 last panel. Jack Nation (Jim Morrill Jr.) took second while Covered Bridge (Mike Simons) nailed the show position.   Melodies Major is a perfect 3-for-3 in his brief career and has two track records now with the first coming at Monticello on July 4 with a 1:54.3 clocking. Owned by Martin Scharf and trained by Mark Ford, Melodies Major has put $80,000 in the bank already in 2018.   Bicorne Hanover (Kevin Cummings) took advantage of the inside draw and wired the field in a solid 1:56.3.   Leaving from the rail, Bicorne Hanover established fractions of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:28.0. Jojo's Place (Jason Bartlett) made a valiant charge at the end but came up three quarters of a length short at the line. Bean (Scott Coulter) took third place.   Co-owned by the Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi, James Martin and William Switala, Bicorne Hanover (Art Major-Boldnbrash Hanover) is trained by Ron Burke. It was the first victory in three starts this season for Bicorne Hanover, now a winner of $44,110 in 2018.   Murrow Boy (Drew Monti) was the fastest in the $15,000 Excelsior A Series races with a 1:55.4 time, returning a healthy $17.00 to his backers. Mark Witha K ($6.20) took the other leg with a 1:59.0 victory for Morrill Jr.   Morrill Jr., who completed the evening with a driving triple, captured the $6,400 Excelsior B event with a 1:58.4 win aboard Baby Maker Hanover ($5.10)   Cummings had a double in the bike while trainer Russell Bratt notched a pair of victories.   Racing will continue on Friday night at 5 p.m. with a nine race program scheduled and the 2018 season will come to a close on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. with a 10-race program set.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Buffalo Raceway has seen 10 track records either tied or broken during the 2018 season and when the 2-year-old colt and geldings step onto the racing surface Wednesday night (July 18) in a pair of $53,500 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), a pair of long-standing marks could be in serious jeopardy.   The oldest record currently listed is for 2-year-old geldings of 1:56.3 established in 2010 by Roadside Delight while the colt's barrier of 1:55.4 was set in 2013 by He's Watching. With near perfect weather conditions in the forecast, another editing of the record book is possible.   One entrant is already in possession of a track standard at Monticello and that is Melodies Major (Art Major-Hilarious) who will appear in the opener on the 10-race card. He's a perfect 2-for-2 in his brief career including a record time of 1:54.3 at Monticello on July 4. That time erased the previous barrier of 1:55.2 clocked by Freedomformysoul in 2014.   Melodies Major, who has captured both his Sire Stakes races, drew the two post and is the even money morning line favorite with Tyler Buter getting the call in the sulky. Melodies Major has yet to trail in any of his pari-mutual starts and has amassed $53,250 already.   His main competition could come from Jack Nation, a winner last time out in the NYSS on July 4 at Monticello in 1:57.0. Drawing the rail with Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, Jack Nation (American Ideal-Ladyjack) was 12 lengths behind at one point but closed like a train to pull off the half-length score over Covered Bridge (American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses).   The field of six also includes KJ Leo (Jason Bartlett), Keystone Dakota (Kevin Cummings), Covered Bridge (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Rock American (Scott Coulter).   The second division, slated for the back half of the early daily double, looks to be a wide-open event with Bicorne Hanover getting the slight 2-to-1 morning line edge from the pylons. Cummings will steer the Ron Burke-trained freshman colt. Bicorne Hanover (Art Major-Boldnbrash Hanover) has a second and fourth place finish in his two Sire Stakes appearances.   Jojo's Place (Roll With Joe-Angel Place) hopes to get out of a third place rut. Conditioned by John Butenschoen, he's had two show finishes in his pair of NYSS outings and will get the services of Bartlett out of the four spot.   Completing the field will be Shanghai Bobby (Morrill Jr.), Bean (Coulter), P Zonka (Drew Monti) and Jet Rock (Marohn Jr.).   There are also a pair of $15,000 Excelsior A Series races on the program and a $6,400 leg of the Excelsior B Series. First post is 5 p.m.   It's the last week of action in 2018 at Buffalo Raceway. For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Horsemen are reminded that Buffalo Raceway will conduct a double draw on Tuesday morning (July 17) for the closing weekend programs on Friday and Saturday nights.   With just three cards left in the 2018 campaign, the action will begin on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. with a 10-race program which will include the New York Sire Stakes for the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers in two divisions worth $53,500 each. There will also be a pair of $15,000 Excelsior A Series events and one $6,400 race in the Excelsior B classification.   On Friday, the non-betting Erie County Fair races will be conducted starting at 1 p.m. at the Hamburg half-mile oval with the regular wagering card to follow later in the day at 5 p.m.   Closing night will be on Saturday with a 6 p.m. post. It will be Erie County Fair Night at the track with admission tickets to be given away throughout the program to lucky fans.   Buffalo Raceway's simulcast center will be closed from July 23 through August 21 due to the Erie County Fair.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Now they are even. After Classic American N ($3.90) suffered a heart breaking nose setback last week to Western Conquest in Buffalo Raceway's $11,500 Open Pace, he returned the favor on Saturday night (July 14) by pinning a demoralizing head loss on the hard charging Western Conquest in 1:56.0.   For the second consecutive week, the Open Pace was reduced to four entrants with Best Ears and Sir Ziggy's Z Tam both scratched due to illness. So that left a quartet to battle it out over the good track.   This time around, Classic American N got the upper hand early and set the tempo as Western Conquest had to give chase. With fractions of :28.4, :58.0 and 1:27.2, it ended up being a repeat of last Saturday's race between the two.   In the lane, Classic American N (Billy Davis Jr.) managed to stay in front as Western Conquest made a late surge but ran out of real estate. Focus Power (Drew Monti) took the show position.   Co-owned by the Nick Surick Stable LLC and the J L Benson Stables, Inc. and trained by Sabrina Clevenger, it was the fourth win in 21 starts for Classic American N (American Ideal-Classic Vicolo). The victory increased his seasonal bankroll to $32,270 and $271,455 in his career.   Ray Fisher Jr. had four trips to the winner's circle with Davis Jr. getting three and Monti a pair. Trainer Russell Bratt had three victories.   Buffalo Raceway will start its final week of racing this year on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a 10-race program slated. It will be the last appearance in 2018 for the New York Sire Stakes at the Hamburg half-mile oval with the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers in action.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- BZ Glide ($9.00) got the early jump on the field in Buffalo Raceway's $11,500 Open Trot on Friday night (July 13) and just kept right on rolling to post a solid three-quarter length victory over Barn Winner in 1:57.4.   It was a wide open affair according to the tote board with Fox Valley Veto (Jim Morrill Jr.) sent off as the lukewarm 5-to-2 post time favorite while BZ Glide, Southern Palms and Barn Winner were each dismissed at 7-to-2.   BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) nabbed the front end with relative easy, registering fractions of :28.4, :59.1 and 1:29.0 on the fast track. He braced himself for challengers in the stretch but no one could come up with the answer. Using a :28.4 last panel, BZ Glide never wavered in the lane and held off the timid bids of Barn Winner (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Fox Valley Veto who had to settle for the second and third place checks.   Owned by the Caprio Stable LLC and trained by Alana Caprio, BZ Glide (Yankee Glide-Bloomer Zoomer) is a 9-year-old gelding who was won three times in nine attempts this season. The victory pushed his 2018 earnings to $27,600 and to $283,602 in his career.   Fisher Jr. and Morrill Jr. each had driving doubles on the card.   Racing will continue on Saturday night at Buffalo Raceway with an 11-race program scheduled for 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was another harness racing day at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (July 11) and there was another track record broken as Amal Hall ($3.20) did the honors this time with a hard-fought neck victory in her $36,000 (approx.) division of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for the 2-year-old filly trotters.   Amal Hall (Andy Miller) went the mile in 1:59.0, blowing away the previous mark of 2:00.0 set last season by Plunge Blue Chip. It was the tenth track record either broke or tied at Buffalo Raceway in 2018.   Miller swept the NYSS early daily double as he guided With Out A Doubt ($3.70) to the win in 2:00.4 while Safe Word ($5.10) captured the final bracket with a 4-3/4 length decision in 2:01.0 with Jeff Gregory in the bike.   In the opener, Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) set the pace while Sensibility (Scott Zeron) and Amal Hall tucked into second and third respectively. Approaching the three-quarter marker, Miller tipped Amal Hall first over and began to chip into the lead turning for home.   Eventually, Amal Hall wore down the pace-setting Quincy Blue Chip and managed to stick a neck in front at the wire for the win. Sensibility took the show position.   "When I pulled her out, she kept going faster and faster," Miller said of Amal Hall. "I am happy with her performance. She's a nice filly."   Co-owned by the Andy Miller Stable, the Getty Stable and the Dumain Haven Farm, Amal Hall (Credit Winner-Arabella Hall) is trained by Julie Miller. The win was the second in three tries this season for Amal Hall who pushed her earnings to $47,058.   Miller made it two straight as he used the passing lane to give With Out A Doubt a three-quarter length score over Gobi Princess (Zeron) and Exotic Diamond (Morrill Jr.).   Summermusic'chapter (Dan Daley) set the tempo with splits of :30.0, 1:01.1 and 1:31.2 but was under siege as the field turned for home. With Out A Doubt dropped to the 'lightning lane' and was the quickest in the dash to the wire.   Co-owned by Ross Bonafield, Robert McCarthy and James Moran, With Out A Doubt (Conway Hall-Queen Of More) is trained by Erv Miller. The win was the first in three attempts for With Out A Doubt, now a winner of $29,140.   The final division was a stroll for Safe Word as she went right to the lead and never looked back in posting a solid 4-3/4 length triumph over Liquorstoreblues (Morrill Jr.). It's My Party (Sam Schillaci) took the show position.   Safe Word posted splits of :30.3, 1:01.4 and 1:32.0 and had no threats in cruising to the finish line.   Owned by driver/trainer Gregory, William Richardson, Martin Garey and Henry Wieseneck, Safe Word (Credit Winner-Fifty Shades) has now posted two wins in three starts, earning $44,321.   Miller finished the night with three wins as he drove Song Chapter ($5.00) to a victory in a $15,000 division of the Excelsior A Series with a mile of 2:04.0. Barn Tease ($5.10) took the other leg as Claude Huckabone Jr. steered her to the decision in 2:03.2.   In the $6,600 Excelsior B events, Ms O'Reilly ($12.60) took her race for Gregory with a 2:04.4 mark while Morganslovin Dream (Daley) trotted the mile in 2:04.2 and returned $5.10 in the victory.   Racing will continue on Friday night at 5 p.m. with a 10-race program scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway    

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- They may be young and inexperienced but the 2-year-old filly trotters that are entered in the New York Sire Stakes at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (July 11) seem to have started off their careers in pretty good fashion.   There are 17 freshmen fillies that will be involved in three divisions worth $36,000 (approx.) each, With a combined 32 starts between them, the ladies have produced six victories, 10 second place finishes and a trio of thirds.   With nine track records either being tied or broken at Buffalo Raceway thus far in 2018, the 2:00.0 mark for the 2-year-old filly trotters established last year by Plunge Blue Chip looks very vulnerable with warm, dry conditions expected.   The opening leg, scheduled as the first race, is certainly the stacked race. Amal Hall (Credit Winner-Arabella Hall) was installed as the 7-to-5 favorite with Andy Miller slated to drive. Amal Hall has a first and second place finish in her two career outings, both coming in the NYSS. She captured her bracket in 2:02 at Monticello on June 25 and was second at Yonkers Raceway on July 3, losing by 3/4 lengths in 1:58.2.   Sensibility (Muscle Mass-Twin B Sensation) looms as the main threat thanks to a pair of narrow second place finishes in Sire Stakes. Scott Zeron will steer Sensibility from the two post at 3-to-1.   Others involved include Lifetime Credit (John Stark Jr.), Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Blue Ribbon Gal (Jonathan Drury).   With Out A Doubt (Conway Hall-Queen Of More) headlines the second division which will go off as the back half of the early daily double. She lost by a mere head at Yonkers on July 3 to Safe Word. Miller will guide With Out A Doubt from the three hole as the 8-to-5 morning line pick.   Exotic Dream (Rc Royalty-Not A Diva) is the lone entrant that has a win thus far in her brief career. She picked that up in the Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway on June 25, winning by a head in 2:05.3, making up nearly 12 lengths along the way.   The remainder of the field includes Gobi Princess (Zeron), Lindy In The Sky (Claude Huckabone Jr.), Somermusic'chapter (Dan Daley) and Royal Trumpery (Jeff Gregory).   The last leg is scheduled for fifth race and Safe Word gets the slight 2-to-1 nod with Gregory in the bike. Safe Word (Credit Winner-Fifty Shades) won her last outing by a head over With Out A Doubt in 2:00.4 in the Sire Stakes at Yonkers on July 3.   Hot Chapter (Chapter Seven-Some Like It Hot) drew the rail for Miller and is the 5-to-2 second choice. She has a second and third place finish in her two starts this season, both in NYSS competition.   The rest of the participants include It's My Party (Sam Schillaci), Pittstop Beki (Daley), Bit Coin (Drew Monti) and Liquorstoreblues (Morrill Jr.).   There's 14 races scheduled on the card which begins at 5 p.m. The Excelsior Series will feature a pair of $15,000 events in the "A" division while the "B" classification will have two races going for $6,600 apiece.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- "That was crazy. Horses aren't supposed to go that fast here," driver Brett Miller said after Hitman Hill annihilated the Buffalo Raceway track record for 3-year-old gelded pacers with a 1:51.4 mile on Sunday (July 8) in winning his $39,000 (approx.) division of the New York Sire Stakes. The previous standard was 1:53.1 established in 2016 by Missile J.   Other winners were Rootin Tootin ($2.90) who posted a 3/4-length victory in 1:53.4 while Trump Nation ($3.00) notched a 3/4-length win in 1:54.0 on the crystal clear afternoon.   Things didn't go the way Miller had hoped at the start with Hitman Hill. "I wanted to get to the lead and go from there but they (Rockapelo and Topville Olympian) were just going too fast so I had to drop into third."   After watching splits of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:24.2, Miller guided Hitman Hill to the outside with a panel to race and used a :27.0 last quarter to secure the victory in record time. Topville Olympian (James MacDonald) took second with Rockapelo (Jim Morrill Jr.) securing the third place check.   Co-owned by Tim Hill and the Northfork Racing Stable., it was the second win in seven tries in 2018 for Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker). The win upped his seasonal bankroll to $115,870 and $262,403 in his brief 14-race career.   Rootin Tootin used the passing lane to gain the lead and managed to hold off a late rally by Twin B Tuffenuff (Miller) to post the victory in the opening leg. My Delight took the show position.   With My Delight (Scott Zeron) setting the pace with fractions of :28.0, :57.0, and 1:26.1, Rootin Tootin eventually shook free from third and poured it on with a :27.2 last frame.   Morrill Jr. said of Rootin Tootin, "He doesn't like the front end so I took him back. He gets lazy on the front end. But when we found racing room in the stretch, he sprinted to the line. It all worked out well."   Co-owned by trainer Blake MacIntosh, Stuart McIntosh, Fred Brayford and Robert MacNeil, it was the third victory in seven starts this year for Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe, Wild Retreat). The 3-year-old colt has earned $49,195 in 2018 and $113,041 lifetime.   Trump Nation, the winner Rooney Pace earlier this season at Yonkers, never got to the lead until past the opening quarter marker and hung on late to beat Real Surreal (MacDonald) in the final division.   "I wanted to follow the four (Real Surreal) but that didn't work out so I had to go," Bartlett said of making the big brush to the top early.   With fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26.3, Trump Nation needed every moment in going :27.2 in the lane to hold of the late charges of Real Surreal (MacDonald) and Major Authority (Morrill Jr.). "He dug in when he had to," Bartlett said of Trump Nation..   The 3-year-old colt is co-owned by the Crawford Racing Stable and Evan Katz. Trained by Chris Oakes, Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N) has produced $209,346 in winning this year and $259,656 lifetime.   Driver/trainer Ray Schnittker took both the $15,000 Excelsior A race and the $6,500 Excelsior B event.   Schnittker registered a $14,20 surprise with Major Sugar Rush in 1:54.1 in the "A" race and then captured the "B" bracket as Damion Diesel Hahn cruised to a $9.30 score in 1:55.4.   Bartlett, Morrill Jr. Schnittker and Ray Fisher Jr. each had doubles on the program while Oakes and Schnittker had two training victories.   Racing will return on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a 14-race program scheduled. The card will be highlighted by the New York Sire Stakes with the 2-year-old filly trotters ready to compete.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Buffalo Raceway's co-featured $11,500 Open Pace may have been scratched down to a field of four but that didn't stop them from putting on quite a show on Saturday night (July 7).   Western Conquest ($8.90) was the headliner as he went gate-to-wire, winning a terrific stretch duel against Classic American N, to register a nose victory in 1:53.2. The time tied the track record for aged (5+) pacing horses set by Utah Beach in 2017.   In the co-main event, the $11,500 Open Trot, Empire Earl N ($3.30) had to get reacquainted with the inside post and took full advantage of it, coasting to a front-running 1-1/2 length score over Chelseas Chance in 1:57.4 over the fast surface.   With China Dream and Sir Ziggy's Z Tam both excused due to illness, it left a quartet to duke it out in the Open Pace.   Scoring from the inside, Western Conquest (Ray Fisher Jr.) zoomed immediately to the lead, setting fractions of :28.0, 56.4 and 1:25.2. With a quarter mile to pace, it appeared the first over and heavily favored Upfront Countryboy (Shawn Gray) was ready to launch a serious bid but that quickly fizzled out.   It left Western Conquest to deal with the pocket sitting Classic American N (Ron Beback Jr.) who made a valiant attempt to collar the pace-setter but lost by a nose in the photo. Best Ears (John Cummings Jr.) took the show position.   Owned by the Tanah Merah Farms LLC and trained by Ryan Swift, it was the fifth win in 12 outings for the 7-year-old horse Western Conquest (American Ideal-Aries Conquest). The victory jumped his seasonal earnings to $28,575 and $287,136 lifetime.   It's been quite a while since Empire Earl N drew the inside post and Buffalo Raceway's defending Trotter of the Year felt right at home, storming off the gate and never looked back.   Setting moderate splits of :30.0, :59.1 and 1:28.3, Empire Earl N (Monti) used a :28.4 last panel to hold off any potential threats from Chelseas Chance (Billy Davis Jr.) and Bold Dresser (Shawn McDonough) who had to settle for second and third place respectively.   Owned by Kimberly Asher and conditioned by Riley Asher-Stalbaum, it was the sixth win in 19 appearances this year for the 10-year-old gelded Empire Earl N (Earl-Santa Nita). The victory upped his 2018 earnings to $46,618 and $208,458 in his career.   Fisher Jr. and Monti completed the evening with driving triples. Trainers Steve Kiblin, JD Perrin and Swift each had a pair of victories.   Racing will continue on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. with a 12-race program set. The New York Sire Stakes will highlight the card with the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers set to clash. There will also be action in the Excelsior A and B series.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The New York Sires Stakes for the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers is nearing the halfway point and Sunday afternoon (July 8) at Buffalo Raceway, precious points that are needed to reach the finals are starting to come at a premium.   A trio of races, worth approximately $39,000 each, has attracted 17 sophomores looking to solidify their spots for the finals on Saturday, September 22 at Yonkers Raceway. In the current point standings, 10 of the top 20 boys will be in action on Sunday. Along with a nice check, 50 critical points will be put into the account of the victors.   Entrants include defending 2-year-old NYSS champion Jersey Jim, 2018 Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation, current NYSS point leader My Delight and Hitman Hill, a winner of nearly $250,000 in just 13 career starts.   The first leg will feature My Delight (Betterthanchaddar-Kg Delight) who currently sits atop the points standings with 87. He hasn't missed the board in six starts this season, putting $49,599 in the bank. My Delight, who has a first, second and third place finish in NYSS competition in 2018, will begin from the four post and be driven by Scott Zeron.   The major threat could be Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat) who currently sits in second place in the points race with 55. Jim Morrill Jr. will guide Rootin Tootin from the second hole.   Others in the field include Lisburn (John MacDonald), Twin B Tuffenuff (Brett Miller) and Handsoffmychips (Jason Bartlett).   Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) arrives coming off a third place finish the $500,000 Hempt Finals at Pocono Downs, losing by a mere head. A participant in last year's North American Cup final at Woodbine, Hitman Hill has a lifetime best of 1:49.3 at Pocono. Brett Miller will steer him from the six post.   It's a stacked field against Hitman Hill as all his foes are in the top 20 in points including Rockapelo (Morrill Jr.), Lyons Steel (Drew Monti), Topville Olympian (James MacDonald), Ghost Dance (Scott Zeron) and Rock Lights (Bartlett).   Ghost Dance was victorious in the NYSS last season at Buffalo Raceway with a 1:57.3 decision with Mike Saftic in the sulky.   The third division, scheduled as the fifth race, has reigning champion Jersey Jim (Artiscape-Jersey Pearl) entered. It's been a rather slow beginning this season for him, earning just $13,101 in seven tries this season after putting $177,483 in the bank in 2017. Things could be looking brighter however for Jersey Jim (Ray Fisher Jr.) as he comes off an impressive 4-3/4 score in 1:52.2 at Saratoga Raceway on June 30.   The main competition should come from Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N), the winner of the $300,000 Rooney Finals at Yonkers on May 26 in 1:51.3. With a bankroll of $189,746 already in 2018, Trump Nation drew the rail with Bartlett slated to drive.   Other scheduled to compete in the final bracket include Major Authority (Morrill Jr.), Cross My Mind (Zeron), Real Surreal (MacDonald) and Love Yourself (Steven Rybka).   The track records for the 3-year-old pacing colts is 1:52.3 by Steelhead Hanover in 2012 and 1:53.1 for the geldings established in 2016 by Missile J.   Also on the program will be one $15,000 Excelsior A race and a $6,500 Excelsior B event.   Post time for the 12-race card is 12:30 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- A power outage just before the start of the fifth race at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (July 4) forced officials to cancel the remaining six harness racing events on the program.   A transformer failure in the Hamburg area cut power throughout the town including the Buffalo Raceway facilities.   Due to previously announced scheduling changes, Buffalo Raceway will be dark on Friday night but the simulcasting area will be open as usual. Live action will return on Saturday with an 11-race program set for 6 p.m. Then on Sunday, there's a 12:30 p.m. matinee which will feature the New York Sire Stakes with the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers ready to clash.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

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