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YONKERS, N.Y. – Trainer Chris Oakes will start Agent Q in Friday night’s $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway, but in the daughter of Western Terror’s previous local start, the pair were on less friendly grounds.  Agent Q’s only other races at the Hilltop came in the elimination and final of the Lismore Pace in May 2017. Agent Q captured her elimination and started as the 1-5 betting favorite in the $140,770 final for then conditioner Aaron Lambert. However, Oakes’ filly, Tequila Monday, upset Agent Q with a 4-1 score from post seven. “That was a good one, I don’t think I was supposed to win that race,” Oakes said with a laugh as he recalled the action. “I remember her following Agent Q, Agent Q cleared, and Tequila Monday sat outside of her and pulled right up alongside of her. Probably nobody else could have kept up. She cleared her and was gone. That was a big mile.” Tequila Monday traded blows with Agent Q throughout last year with the latter taking the Lynch Memorial and Matron Stakes. Instead of continuing to race against her, Oakes added Agent Q to his training roster when owners Crawford Farms, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara purchased the filly.  “Quite honestly, it just tells you how much power I’ve got as far as owners go,” Oakes said. “She’s a good horse and instead of having to fight against her, we ended up buying her and putting her on the team. If you can’t beat them, join them. That’s the way I look at it. “I just knew she was solid, she raced from the front, from the back and every time she raced, she put in a really solid effort,” he continued. “I knew coming back at 4, she’d probably be one of the top mares this year and I already had one, so they complement each other. Although Agent Q vetted out with a chip in her left hind ankle, Oakes and the ownership went through with the purchase. Agent Q underwent successful surgery to remove the chip over the winter and came to Oakes’ Florida barn in February to prepare for her 4-year-old campaign. Although she wasn’t a physical standout, her attitude signaled her talent. “Nice mare, she could have been a little bigger and stronger,” Oakes said. “She wasn’t an overly powerful looking horse, but definitely has the spirit and the heart, you could tell she’s real feisty. Definitely a really good horse. “Right off the bat, she got down to Florida for the winter and she was fine, there was never really any problems with her,” he continued. “She was eating decent. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a great caretaker. I’ve got Therese Pierce and she’s amazing. She got the filly and just loves on her all day long. It’s personal with them, they work all day long and they love what they do.” Agent Q won her first two starts for Oakes in the Great Northeast Open Series at Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Philadelphia May 13 and 20, respectively. Her debut effort came as a shock to her trainer as Agent Q raced last of eight around the racetrack before riding cover three-wide to the top of the stretch. Still in last with a furlong to pace, Agent Q quickened under urging from David Miller and streaked past the field to record a 1:52.3 score at odds of 5-2. “First win was actually a big surprise,” Oakes said. “She sat last pretty much the whole mile and Dave Miller, who had been driving her for the previous connections, I just told him, ‘just take care of her, first start, race her easy,’ and he did and she still won. She was dead last turning for home and just flew by them.” After her quick double to star the year boosted her record to 15 wins from 32 stars and $1.2 million in the bank, Agent Q recorded three straight losses, including a ninth-place finish in her Roses Are Red elimination where she was beaten 15 ¾ lengths at Mohawk June 9. Oakes took time to regroup. “It’s just weird how you take a wrong turn and you’re just trying to get back to where you were,” he said. “The horse had a bad night and we had to straighten her out and we’re back on track now.” Agent Q qualified back at Pocono Downs July 11, finishing second to 3-year-old star Springsteen. She was individually timed in 1:53.3 with a :27.1 final quarter. The effort gave Oakes enough confidence to enter Agent Q into the distaff feature Friday night. Starting from a drawn post six with Eric Goodell in the sulky, Agent Q is a 10-1 morning line. Agent Q’s six rivals include Magic Forces, who won two straight Filly and Mare Opens June 29 and July 6 before finishing eighth from post eight last out July 13. The Burke trainee drew post five and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Caviart Cherie is the 5-2 morning line choice off a win in the Filly and Mare Preferred last week while Newborn Sassy is 3-1 from post seven off a win in last week’s feature. Bronze Over, Lispatty, and Medusa complete the lineup. Oakes admits this is a difficult spot for Agent Q to make her return. “I think she’ll race well. She’s in a little bit of a tough spot, there’s speed inside of her. I think she’ll race well, but is she going to go the mile of her life? No, she’s coming off a little bit of a layoff in a qualifier, so I think she’ll be better off another race or two.” First post time Friday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo oversaw the selection of the 24 trotters for the French American Trotting Club, even he was surprised when Alpha d’Urzy showed up to qualify Saturday (July 7) at Yonkers wearing only an open bridle, an ear hood, and trotting boots with no overcheck or poles. The trotter wears less equipment than any horse in trainer Rene Allard’s stable. I said, ‘Joe, it’s because we understand each other. I speak French to him,” Allard said. “He just laughed.” With his minimal equipment, Alpha d’Urzy led at every call of the 1 ¼-mile trial with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. He stopped the timer in 2:32.4 and posted a :29.1 final quarter, besting Aladin du Dollar by 4 ½ lengths. “He trotted a good back-half. He’s good-gaited, he’s straight, and he gets around the turns perfect,” Allard said. “I barely have any equipment on him and he gets around Yonkers perfect. Maybe I just got really lucky. Jason said he was even better on the turns than in the straightaways.” Alpha d’Urzy is an 8-year-old son of Opus Viervil out of Amazone River and sports a 6-for-56 record with 118,550€ earned. He’s one of 22 French geldings who shipped to New York last month for the SOA of NY’s new series, which begins August 5. Two of the 24 trotters were unable to make the trip to America as they got sick and were unable to pass the stringent quarantine testing requirements for importation. The series required 24 participants to buy in at $28,000, with $25,000 allocated to purchasing the horse and $3,000 to travel. Trainers Ray Schnittker, Ron Burke, and Mike Lachance hand-picked the trotters and the horses were distributed to their new connections in a random draw. “I was the first one that sent the check in, as soon as I heard about it,” Allard said. “I’m always into progress and love to see new things happen and be involved in it. I thought it was a great to have a chance to get horses from a different place. I went to the Prix d’Amérique with my father for his 60th birthday and I went to all the farms. I was excited about it, especially knowing they were going to do races just for them.” Although Allard kept his expectations in check, he’s been pleasantly surprised by Alpha d’Urzy so far. The trotter arrived at his stable in great shape and was eager to get to work. “He looked really healthy, really good, he had a nice coat on him, he was in great shape. His front-end is a little narrow, but other than that, he looked good. When I trained him the first time, he looked like he was really fit, really in great shape,” Allard said. “Whoever took care of him for the few weeks before we got him, obviously they did the right thing and kept the horses in good form.” Since Alpha d’Urzy’s arrival in mid-June, Allard has trained the gelding two 1 ½-mile trips. Both times, the trotter impressed without exerting himself. “I trained him the first time and he did it really effortless and he was really fit,” Allard said. “I came back the week after, I trained him faster. I gave him a good back-half, good last quarter and he wouldn’t blow a candle out. He was really fit and really in great shape. I figured there was no sense in waiting, I’d just put him in to qualify.” The quick turnaround came to Allard’s surprise. Accustomed to horses arriving from Australia and New Zealand underweight, stressed, and sick due to the change in seasons from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere, Allard was happy to see Alpha d’Urzy handled his trip across the Atlantic well. “My horse never got sick, never missed a meal. He adjusted really well,” he said. “When he got here, I could have raced three days later, he was perfect. When they got here, I thought it was going to take a while before they were ready. I was even concerned about being ready in the beginning of August for the series, but surprisingly, mine came really great.” Allard’s experience has been shared by trainer Chris Oakes, who received 7-year-old trotter Bioness. The son of Sam Bourbon and Quiradelle D'hilly earned 119,590€ in 40 European starts before shipping to the U.S. When he arrived at Oakes barn, Bioness drew comparisons to Oakes’ $1.2 million earning trotter Homicide Hunter. “I love him, I absolutely love him, loved him right from day one,” Oakes said. “Big strong good-looking horse. I have a horse called Homicide Hunter and that’s who he reminded me of. Even when I trained him I told people, this horse reminds me of ‘Homicide.’ It’s funny because nobody knows what horse you’re going to get, you know nothing about any of them, other than you’re getting a horse. Rene came up and looked at him in the paddock at the qualifiers and he said, ‘this thing looks just like Homicide Hunter.’ ” Oakes found Bioness to be good-gaited, good-mannered, and intelligent. Like Alpha d’Urzy, the trotter wears minimal equipment. “I had no equipment card of any kind. Just a horse: four legs and a tail. You just feel them out as you go,” Oakes explained. “I could see he was sensible, so I ended up going with an open bridle. I could see the way he traveled, he didn’t need any boots at all. I just put a light set of trotting boots on and that was it. He’s very clean-gaited and wears next to nothing. I think we drew a nice horse.” Oakes put Bioness into an American style of training and the gelding responded. Oakes also thinks ample time spent turned out has helped the trotter adjust to his new surroundings. “I basically put him into our American style of training. I’ve got my own farm, so he’ll train and then he gets turned out a lot. I’m sure they’re used to that, they like that and I’m fortunate enough I’ve got my own farm, so they spend a lot of time out in the field just to keep them happy,” Oakes said. “He seems to have adapted really well. I’ve only had him here two or three weeks. I put him right to work and he didn’t skip a beat. He’s happy with his new home and seems to have adapted to our style. It’s going to be a little different than what he’s used to, but he shows he’s got speed.” Bioness qualified last Wednesday (July 4) at Pocono Downs with Oakes’ 20-year-old son Hunter in the sulky. It was Hunter’s first time in a charted race and he made his father proud. Bioness tracked in third throughout the 1-mile trial. Although he was 4-lengths behind Allard-trainee Gruden at the three-quarters, Bioness came home in :28.1 to finish second beaten just a neck. He was individually timed in 1:56.1. I just told him, ‘be careful out there. Make it a good experience for the horse and yourself.’ He’s very conservative with the horse and said if he had asked him he would have won it easy,” Oakes said. “(Hunter) has been training and schooling behind the gate, but never in a real charted race. I’m really very proud of him because he did a really nice job and it went really well and I’m going to let him qualify again this coming week.” Yonkers will host qualifiers exclusively for the French Trotters at the 1 ¼-mile distance July 14 and 21 ahead of the start of the French American Trotting Club Series August 5. The second and third legs of the series will be held August 19 and 26, respectively and the $100,000 final is set for September 2. For more information, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Monticello, NY - The marque division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) featuring 3-year-old pacing colts will be showcased on Monday June 18 at Monticello Raceway. 3 divisions of Sire Stakes will race for $140,00, spilt into 3 heats of $39,200, 2 heats of the Excelsior A class - $15,000 and 1 division of the Excelsior B -$6,800. In the first division Real Surreal (PP4) has been installed the 5-2 favorite with Scott Zeron in the bike, the game son of So Surreal has been knocking on the door to the winner's circle for trainer Mark Steacy. Real Surreal finish second at Tioga Downs last start and a 3rd place third place at Vernon Down the prior week. Topville Olympian, who took his lifetime mark of 1:56 at Monticello as a 2-year-old has drawn the rail for trainer David Menary, the son of American Ideal is making his first seasonal start in Sire Stakes company and is seeking his first win of the year. Jordan Stratton. will handle the driving chores. Jersey Jim, the winner of the NYSS Final at Yonkers last fall drew PP 6 in the 1st division, racing for a purse of $39,200. The son of Artiscape has yet to regain his 2-year-old form, Jim Devaux will drive. The 2nd heat is a 7-horse field, the morning line favorite Trump Nation will start from the far outside from post position 7. The son of Betterthancheddar was the winner of $300,000 Rooney Final winner at Yonkers in 1:51.3 and was 2nd in his division of the Reynold Stake also at Yonkers. The Chris Oak trainee is owned by Crawford Farms and Evan Katz of Seaford NY. Ostro Hanover is a Monticello Raceway pupil for trainer Frank Yanoti. The son of Betterthancheddar will be driven by Jim Taggart Jr. Already a 6-time winner this year, he has picked up checks in his last 2 Sire Stake starts, looking impressive in his 3rd place finish at Vernon Downs in a blanket finish, pacing his mile in 1:50. Rockapelo (PP5) is moving up in class from the Excelsior A group, he scored an impressive win last start out at Tioga Downs were he jogged in 1:51.4 to win by 5½ lengths, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven is trained by Linda Toscano for owner. Enviro Stables. My Delight (PP4 - Marcus Miller) highlights the final heat, the bay son of Betterthancheddar has won a Sire Stakes event this year at Vernon Down in 1:49.4, he is coming off a second-place finish in the same company at Tioga Downs. My Delight sports impressive tally this year with 2 wins and 3 thirds in 5 starts and $44,895 in 2018 earnings. Rock Lights (Rock N Roll Heaven) will benefit from the 2-post position, Scott Zeron at the helm. In the Excelsior A class, first division race 2, Casual Cool is being brought along very slowly this year by trainer Linda Toscano, the America Ideal filly has 4 qualifiers under her belt. A 5-time winner at 2, she will start from post 7, with owner Ken Jacobs favorite driver, Tim Tetrick. 2 local connections in this group, Rocknroll Delight (Gary Messenger - PP5) and Prophet Blue Chip (David Dziengiel PP6) Trainer George Ducharmes Rocksapatriot is the favorite in the other Excelsior A dash. The son of Rockincam will start from the rail, he has been first or second in his 4 seasonal starts, with Scott Zeron in the bike. The track record for 3 YOPC is 1:52.1 set by Kenneth J in 2007. by:Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway               All emails from Empire Resorts, Inc. and its subsidiaries, and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are considered privileged and confidential and may not be used by either party in any pending or future legal proceedings. Empire Resorts, Inc., 204 State Route 17B, Monticello, NY 12701 845-807-0001  

Columbus, OH --- Homicide Hunter and driver Aaron Merriman moved to the lead following the halfway point of Saturday’s (June 9) Charlie Hill Memorial and never looked back, winning the $200,000 event for older trotters by 4-1/2 lengths over In Secret in 1:50.3 on a track labeled good at Eldorado Scioto Downs. Charmed Life finished third. Defending champion Crazy Wow and two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Marion Marauder were scratched sick, reducing the field to seven horses. Race favorite Will Take Charge went off stride at the start and finished sixth.The winning time equaled the world record for an older gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and was a stakes and track record. I Know My Chip took the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter-mile before seeing Smalltownthrowdown get the top spot prior to the half-mile point. Driver Sam Widger moved I Know My Chip back to the lead at the half, reached in :54.2, but faced pressure from Homicide Hunter, who was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:22. Homicide Hunter is a 6-year-old gelding by Mr Cantab out of Evening Prayer. He is owned by Crawford Farms Racing of New York and trained by Chris Oakes. The horse was bred by Patrick Graham. For the year, Homicide Hunter has won two of three races and earned $116,500. For his career, he has won 32 of 65 starts and banked $1.22 million. The Charlie Hill Memorial honors Hall of Famer Charles Hill, who was the founder and former president and chairman of the board of Scioto Downs. Homicide Hunter went off at odds of 3-1 and paid $8.60 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 26, 2018-The polls have closed, and it's officially Trump Nation. The colt by that very same name proved quite the best Saturday night (May 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The $300,000 28th Rooney saw six 3-year-old colts and two geldings start, but seven ended up chasing in vain. From post position No. 4, Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) was forwardly-placed, as was Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller). The latter made the first lead, before the former played leapfrog. Trump Nation seized the day (night?) just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Trump Nation, who won the second of last week's two elimination races, then rated a 29-second next subsection (:56.3 half), which would serve him well. Along came 3-5 favorite Springsteen (Brian Sears), first-up from fifth, and the race was underway in earnest. Kwik Talkin' (George Brennan) slipped out to race second-over, but gapped badly. Meanwhile, the leader and his 'prompter' rolled through a :26.4 third quarter (1:26.2), with the people's preference packing it in readily. Trump Nation owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn. Babes Dig Me edged from the pocket, while Minnie Vinnie-the scourge of Iowa-had room after sitting third. However, the Trumpster was up to the challenge, defeating Minnie Vinnie by a length-and-three-quarters in 1:51.3...a life-best by a good number. Babes Dig Me was clearly third, with 124-1 rank outsider Major Authority (Mark MacDonald) and Decoy (Dave Miller) rounding out the payees. Kwik Talkin', Springsteen and Jimtastic (Eric Goodell) completed the order. Decoy, the other elim winner, had a no-chance trip after the open draw buried him behind the eight-ball. For second choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned (as of this past Monday) by Evan Katz & Crawford Racing and trained (as of this past Monday) by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $113.50, the triple returned $731 and the superfecta paid $6,643. "I couldn't have ask for the race to work out any better," Bartlett said. "I was able to back down the half and pick it up when Springsteen came at me. "I thought the two outside horses (Babes Dig Me and Decoy) had to leave, and when I saw Brett (Miller, Babes Dig Me), I let him go and retook "I have to say that (former trainer) Andrew (Harris) really did the right thing with him last season, wanting to race him from off the pace. He deserves a lot of credit." As does the chauffeur, who won his first Rooney Pace in his 11th try. "It took me long enough," Bartlett said. ALEXA'S POWER TAKES LISMORE FINAL YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 26, 2018—If there isn’t talk about changing the name the Lismore to the Tetrick, perhaps there ought to be. Driver Tim Tetrick has made the race his own personal playground, winning Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night (May  26th) edition with the homebred Alexa’s Power ($3.70). The $111,444 companion event to the Art Rooney Pace attracted eight 3-year-old lasses after one was given lovely parting gifts in last week’s lone elimination. As for Alexa’s Power, she—from post position No. 6—was away third, behind Pass Line Bluechip (Jason Bartlett) and Believe in Me (Brian Sears). Her position was secured after Python Blue Chip (George Brennan) and elim winner Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube) both made early breaks, the latter ending up racing inside the cones. Pass Line Bluechip found a 28-second opening quarter-mile, before Alexa’s Power moved again. It took her just about a quarter-mile to wrest the lead, eventually doing so before a :56.2 intermission. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald), as the 69-1 bombardier, went first-up from fifth, not getting close to the leader and her 1:25.2 three-quarters. Alexa’s Power held a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, then held off her two pursuers. Pass Line Bluechip took her shot from the pocket as did Believe in Me from the three-hole. The leader hung tough, however, Alexa’s Power won by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4. Pass Line Bluechip photoed Believe in Me for second, with a ground-saving Reign on Me (Brett Miller) and Solitary (Brent Holland) grabbing the minors. Python Blue Chip, Checker Past and Jewels Forreal rounded out the order.     For Alexa’s Power, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere owned by Jeff Snyder and trained by Jim Campbell, is was her third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.40, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $29.4 and the superfecta paid $231. Tetrick won this race for a fifth time, including Tyra’s stakes-record 1:52.1 four seasons ago.   For Alexa’s Power starting nose-to-gate was refreshing after second-tier getaways here in a division of the Reynolds Memorial and last week’s elimination race. “I thought I’d end up second-over,” Tetrick said. “I wound up getting away third, and from there, I wanted to put her on the lead. “Jordan (Stratton, last week’s driver) told me she was loaded then, so I had all the confidence in her. She dug in when she had to. “It takes a special sort of filly to win the Lismore,” he said. “You need one that can handle an audible if the plan changes.” It doesn’t hurt to have Tetrick calling the plays, either.   Saturday night’s $44,000 Open Handicaps were won by Theartofconfusion A (Miller, $40.80) and DW’s NY Yank (Brennan, $8.20), taking the pacing and trotting events in 1:51.1 and 1:54.3, respectively. The evening’s last race resulted in the fastest local mile of the season, a 1:51 beat down by odds-on Bettor Memories (Bartlett, $3.20) in the $27,500 pacing finale.     The Raceway now goes AWOL for live racing and evening simulcasting until Friday, June 8th. Afternoon simulcasting continues each day except Tuesday. by Frank Drucker, for Empire City @ Yonkers

ANDERSON, Ind. - Split The House made his second move worthy of winning the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Hoosier Park Saturday night in a sparkling 1:48.1. Harness racing driver Brett Miller drove the winner, who hit the finish one length in front of McWicked. Split The House (Rocknroll Hanover-Shake That Junk) left alertly but settled for second as All Bets Off soared from the outside nine post to take the early lead. The first quarter came up in a sizzling :25.4 as the shuffling began. From the second tier the first takeover came when Keystone Velocity went to the outside and brushed to the lead, putting All Bets Off in second, but not for long. Split The House retook the lead with another brush, passing those two. The battles were not over as All Bets Off returned to the outside and took on Mach It So, one of the early leaders shuffled, as the lead exchanged through a half in :53.4 and three-quarters in 1:21.1. Into the stretch, the duelers were Mach It So and All Bets Off, but neither could handle the second move by Split The House, as he passed the battling duo and took the win. McWicked took advantage of the late duel and flew by the pair to take second. Mach It So earned the show spot. Both were sent to the gate at odds of 2-1, with Mach It So the slight actual favorite. Fair Winds Farm bred Split The House, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Chris Oakes trains the 5-year-old gelding, who won his second race of the season in only his sixth start of the year. Split The House paid $18.40 to win. By Frank Cotolo, for Breeders Crown

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Jereme's Jet gelding Alta Jerome N, who won his last start at Yonkers, shipped back to the "home track" of his harness racing trainer Chris Oakes and promptly made it two in a row, taking the $20,000 featured conditioned pace Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.3. Top driver George Napolitano Jr., noted for his aggressive steering of horses, played a well-timed waiting game in the feature, sitting just behind pacesetting favorite Bushwacker, who led through early splits of 25.4 and 55.1, and Archangel Three, who popped the pocket to challenge the leader in a huge third quarter, with the third marker reached in 1:22. "George Nap" kept his pacer to the inside, ducked into the famed Pocono Pike, and went on to get a half-length decision over Bushwacker while equaling his lifetime best (North American, anyway). Alta Jerome N went over the quarter-million dollar lifetime earnings plateau for Northfork Racing Stable and Sam Dalia. On a generally-bad night for chalk at Pocono, two favored horses owned at least in part by the VIP Internet Stable LLC won the $16,500 co-featured paces, with both cuts going faster than the feature event. First out, in the very first race, was the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Allstar Partner, who never looked back for driver Anthony Napolitano while lowering his lifetime mark over two seconds to 1:49. Andrew Harris trains the winner $543,126, and VIP owns him outright. In the other feature, the Sportswriter gelding Maxdaddy Blue Chip was a pocket rocket, getting home first in 1:50 for the brother team of driver Simon Allard and trainer Rene Allard. The late-developing speedster is co-owned by VIP with Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, and How's That Stables Inc. PHHA / Pocono

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 13, 2017 - It's a Homicidal hat trick. Odds-on favorite Homicide Hunter (Brent Holland, $3.70) made it three consecutive harness racing victories Sunday afternoon (Aug. 13th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away fourth from behind the eight-ball among the dozen, Homicide Hunter saw Smalltownthrowdown (Greg Merton) and Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) takes turns fronting the field (:28.1, :57.2, 1:27.2). Homicide Hunter was then out and moving, setting his sights upon the leader. He dove into a rest stop past the 1:55.1 milepost when Smalltownthrowdown backed away. 'Hunter' then became the hunted in the final turn, finding himself with a three-length lead after Hemi Seelster made a wild break and a hard right turn, back down into the paddock before completing his appointed rounds. Homicide Hunter won it easily, defeating Dewycolorintheline (Dan Dube) by 4¼ lengths in 2:26 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Last week's upsetter, Taco Tuesday (Steve Smith), was third, with Sumatra (Eric Goodell) and Theraputic (George Brennan) picked up the remainder.. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his sixth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51, the triple returned $389.50 and the superfecta paid $2,118. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 2-Kelsocait (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 11-Awsome Valley (Yonkers' 5th race) paid $44 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,623. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (Aug. 20th) is 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 23, 2017 - Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $6.10) who missed a hard-charging head a week ago, had no such angst this time around, winning Sunday afternoon's (July 23rd), Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. The last of three early leaders, Homicide Hunter-from assigned post position No. 7 among the dozen--took over after Bueno Camino (Scott Zeron) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) each had a spin in the big chair. Homicide Hunter, as the 2-1 wagering choice, made the lead in the second turn, between a :28.3 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 half. His ascension to the throne left Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) first-up, sitting outside. Homicide Hunter (1:28.3 three-quarters, mile in 1:55.4) hade few issues thereafter, widening to 2½ lengths in the lane before 'running' away by four lengths. The mile-and-a-quarter went in a spiffy 2:24.3. Buen Camino edged Springbank Sam N for second, with Fashion Creditor (Eric Goodell) and Awsome Valley (Greg Merton) settling for the minors. Hemi Seelster, who has had success in races where he's been out every step, couldn't replicate it here, winding up last among the dozen. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $25.20, with the triple returning $94. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 5-Uncle Mojo (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 2-I C Caviar (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $10.70 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,231. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (July 30th) is 11:30 AM. (Author's aside...I C Caviar was Bartlett's 7,000th career win. Separate story/pix shortly). Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA – Harness racing driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes combined to take both $25,000 winners-over pacing features Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, scoring first with Scott Rocks and then with Split The House.   Split The House was in the tougher of the two divisions, but nonetheless was sent off at 3-5 odds and justified the confidence of his backers by posting a 4¾ length victory in 1:48.2, a personal mark, the fastest mile of the season at Pocono, and believed to be the fastest mile of the year on a 5/8-mile track, bettering by a tick the number put up by Rockeyed Optimist at Philly last Sunday.   The winning Rocknroll Hanover gelding was outleft by Ideal Cowboy early, but “George Nap” was soon doing his own Rocknroll behind the horse, kicking the plugs out before the first turn and urging the horse to go on to the top, which he made by the 26 first quarter.  Split The House made the half in 53.3, and then opened a big lead down the backstretch to and past the 1:20.3 3/4s, keeping the open margin to the wire. Barimah A, the Van Rose Pace winner here, nosed out The Real One for second behind the winner, who now sports a bankroll of $392,833 under the ownership of Crawford Racing Farms.   GNap, Oakes, and Rocknroll Hanover also combined to take the other $25,000 pace, as the gelding Scott Rocks, an even money shot, quarter-moved to command, laid down a pedestrian half, then sprinted home in 54.1 to withstand the Pocono Pike charger Betting Exchange by a neck in 1:50. Scott Rocks, who took his mark of 1:48 here last year, shows earnings of $548,079 for the partnership of Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - If you ever look up the term "horses for courses" in the dictionary, it's 1-20 odds that you find a picture of Luck Be Withyou harness racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono as the illustration.   The six-year-old son of Western Ideal was 1-20* in Saturday's $20,000 pacing feature, and he yet again justified the fans' faith by going wire-to-wire in 1:49.3, equaling his season's mark taken last week - in fact, Luck Be Withyou has recorded his seasonal best here in each of his five years of racing. He has won 15 of 22 times racing at the mountain oval, and his lifetime bankroll over the brick-red surface went over $700,000 with Saturday's victory, boosted substantially by wins in the Breeders Crown at two and the Franklin Final at four.   Luck Be Withyou was sent straight to the top as usual by George Napolitano Jr., and after making the lead before the withering 25.4 opener, "Luck" had better luck with the fractions, posting middle splits of 54.2 and 1:21.4. A last quarter in 27.4 and patented Napolitano rocking were enough to keep the winner clear of an onrushing Anwar Hanover by a length as he triumphed once more for trainer Chris Oakes and owner John Craig.   Luck Be Withyou     In an $18,000 claiming handicap pacing co-feature, the Tell All gelding Tell Us More went wire-to-wire to win in 1:50.3, equaling his lifetime best, and giving him 11 victories in the 2017 season, that total tying him at the top of all North American racehorses for the season with two others. Both of his co-leaders have a chance to reclaim some part of the lead tomorrow: Private Interview will look to extend his own winning streak to ten at Rideau Carleton, while Cousin Mary will attempt to make it nine straight, but in a very difficult circumstance - starting from post eight against Lady Shadow and the fastest females in the $150,000 Betsy Ross Pace at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Top trot on the Saturday card was a $16,500 contest taken by the four-year-old mare Celebrity Eventsy, a starter in the Breeders Crown Final against Broadway Donna last year, rallying to catch pacesetting Skates N Plates in 1:54.2. The daughter of Manofmanymissions is now 2-for-4 on the season for driver Christian Lind, trainer/father Staffan Lind, and owners Celebrity Farms.   Celebrity Eventsy     Simon Allard had three sulky wins on the Saturday card, allowing him to regain second in the local drivers derby ahead of Matt Kakaley, and moving his lifetime total to 2996 victories. Simon had a fourth driving win at Pocono Saturday, so he is now at 2997 -- three away from the milestone 3000th win.   PHHA / Pocono

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono continues their end of year Awards on closing night, Saturday, Novemer 26th, honoring the harness racing driver and trainer of the Year in special ceremonies in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle. George Napolitano Jr. will again come out on top of the driving colony, as he has been the pacesetter from practically the first "They are underway!", while trainer Chris Oakes had a terrific end to his local campaign to take home the trainers' title. George Napolitano Jr. was far clear in the drivers dashwinning derby - his total of 359 victories has been eclipsed locally in one season only by the 407 victories "George Nap" rang up last year. This was the 10th year where George led the Pocono drivers colony in sulky successes, and it was the eighth time he posted the highest UDR of the meeting, with a .383 "batting average" with three local cards in 2016 to go. "GNap" got many of his victories behind horses trained by Chris Oakes, as Oakes, winning his third Pocono trainers title, with scorching fractions late in the year, posted 34 PcD victories since October 1 (32 of them driven by Napolitano) to bust open what had been a good battle with three-time defending champion Rene Allard. Closing night will also be a special Fan Appreciation Night, giving back to the loyal fans watching and wagering on Pocono racing all season. Fans can win up to $100 in live racing vouchers and other prizes, printing right from the tote machines starting at 6:00p.m. Pacer's Clubhouse will also be open one final time for the season with dinner starting at 5:00p.m. by reservation only, 1-888-WIN-IN-PA. Pocono will also be airing their special "Farewell video", spotlighting the season's best races; horsemen; and the track team members. The video is produced by International Sound Corporation in conjunction with Pocono Marketing. Jennifer Starr  

WILKES-BARRE PA - In the last five Saturdays at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the $18,000 claiming handicap pace for harness racing horses valued at $25,000 to $30,000 has been taken by four different horses: Terror Time A, Rockin Rambaran, double winner Freeneasy Hanover, and this week Pappy's Pal. The amazing thing about this high-class array of high-tagged horses? They have all been trained by Chris Oakes and driven by George Napolitano Jr. Last week trainer Oakes and owner Hunter Oakes claimed Pappy's Pal for $25,000, probably knowing that their Freeneasy Hanover was likely to be plucked out of the same race for the same price. For this week's matchup, Pappy's Pal went from post six to post three, while Freeneasy Hanover went from post three to post seven, and this positional change, along with the hot hands of Oakes/GNapolitano, probably caused the crowd to make Pappy's Pal Saturday's favorite. Pappy's Pal, a Cam's Card Shark gelding, took advantage of his inside positioning, forcing a late first turn tuck, then stinging Freeneasy Hanover (this week guided by George's brother Anthony) past a 26 quarter, which was wind-aided, before surrendering the lead. Pappy's Pal and "GNap" sat contentedly behind the leader through middle splits of 54.4 and 1:22.3, then came out headstretch and paced through the strong wind to take the lead 100 feet out and win by a neck over "Freeneasy" in 1:52. If Oakes is to continue his streak in the top claimers during next Saturday's season ending card, it won't be with Pappy's Pal -- and it is hoped the horse did not unpack too much under the Oakes shedrow -- for he was claimed by trainer Rene Allard ... but the streak might continue powered by Freeneasy Hanover, who was re-claimed by Oakes here! The track was "fast," the temperature was 49o, and no moisture had yet fallen when Pappy's Pal won; the skies were starting to leak, but it was still 49o and "fast," when ABC Muscles Boy also used pocket rocket tactics to win the evening's featured trot, a $15,500 conditioned event, in 1:53.3. Simon Allard rallied the ABC Garland gelding to take a 1 1/4-length decision over fast-closing Fashion Creditor for trainer/brother Rene and the ownership combine of Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr.   By the time the $20,000 conditioned pacing feature rolled around, conditions had really deteriorated: 34 degrees, and a "sloppy +2" surface. But the 10-year-old Western Hanover gelding Clear Vision didn't earn $2,549,697 in his 197 career starts by insisting on perfect conditions; he just wanted a pocket trip, which seemed to be the key to winning Pocono features on Saturday. From there, Clear Vision was able to get home first ahead of Theartofconfusion A by half a length for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Ron Burke, and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, The Panhellenic Stable Corporation, and James Koran.   PHHA/Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Freeneasy Hanover again defeated Terror Time A, who had a six-race win skein snapped in his last start, taking the $18,000 claiming handicap harness racing pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.4 despite a reading of 40o at post time. Last week the Western Ideal gelding Freeneasy Hanover debuted for the barn of the meet's leading trainer, Chris Oakes, and he was sent three-wide in front of the stands by the meet's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., to take an advantage that no one could take away from him. Terror Time A, mired with post eight, was a fast-closing third after traffic trouble, and with "Terror" moving from PP8 to PP4 tonight, the crowd sent him off as the 3-10 favorite, with Freeneasy Hanover (PP4 last week, PP3 tonight) again held at 2-1 odds. And again, an early move to the lead was the route to victory for Freeneasy Hanover, who moved after the 26 opening quarter to get the lead before the 54.2 half, then posted a 1:22.2 third clocking along the way to winning by 1½ lengths. Terror Time A, not noted for his early speed, again had to come from seventh at the ¾, but this week he did get up for second, a neck ahead of Always N The Money, behind the sharp winner, who is owned by Susan Oakes. Oh - did we mention that the claiming handicap feature was the first race on Pocono's Saturday night card? Pocono fans certainly consider that worthwhile information - as "GNap" and Oakes have now won the first event on six of the last nine cards at Pocono, and on three of the last four Saturdays (on the other occasion, the duo had to "wait" until race two to click). Speaking of race two, George Napolitano Jr. came back to sweep the Double behind the Mark Ford trainee Mariner Seelster. It was George's 351st local victory of the season - and the first in which he paid more than $50+, just nudging over that line with a $50.80 win return. The GNap Double returned $107.00. At Pocono, the motto is that one longshot win deserves another quickly, and 89 minutes later Eric Carlson guided Keystone Dylan to a late rallying victory, paying $61.80 on the front end. For Carlson, it was his third $50+ winner at Pocono in the last five cards; for trainer James De La Rosa, it was perhaps an even more memorable occasion, as it was his first trip ever as a trainer to Pocono's winners circle. The two bombers also marked the 14th occasion that Pocono has had a pair of $50+ horses on one card this season--11% of the time. Carlson set the pace in the $15,500 tenth race conditioned pacing co-feature with 13-1 shot Bestjetyet, but they were caught by ¾ of a length by the favorite and "pocket rocket," Dreams Beach Boy, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and who after his 1:51.2 victory (it was 37o by then) now has a career bankroll of $152,124. The guidance behind the Sombeachsomewhere gelding Dreams Beach Boy? Driver George Napolitano Jr. (his fifth win of the night , 20th during November's six cards at Pocono, and 36th overall in the first 12 days of the month) and trainer Chris Oakes (his third tally of the evening, all with GNap). They combined to win another, so George won six and Chris four on the night.   They also combined on the fastest winner of the night, Alta Jerome N, who won his U.S. debut in 1:50.3 despite the outside post eight. Alta Jerome N, a 6YO Jereme's Jet gelding, had won 18 races and $183,882 Down Under, including his last race where he won in 1:52.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Scott Rocks, a member of an elite club of double season's leaders on the various sizes of North American harness racing tracks, opened an insurmountable lead on the far turn in Saturday's $20,000 pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then coasted home to a 2½ length victory in 1:50 - the fourth mile to go in 1:50 on, fittingly, a low-50s temperature night at The Downs. The meet's winningest driver and trainer, George Napolitano Jr. and Chris Oakes, clicked for the second time on the night with the victorious Rocknroll Hanover gelding, with the final time especially impressive when one notes that once making the lead Scott Rocks and "George Nap" were able to rate the second quarter to 29.2. There was no getting to the winner of two straight races after that as defeated the winner of last week's feature, E Street Plan, for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey, who saw the pacer elevate his bankroll to $156,174 for the year and $493,279 lifetime. Scott Rocks set the season's record for older pacing geldings for 5/8-mile tracks with a 1:48 mile at Pocono May 28 (at the time the fastest mile in North American harness racing in 2016), and he set a world record of 1:49 over the half-mile Northfield oval on September 3. Nine horses are double season's leaders - eight of them set world records in at least one of their spotlight efforts, and three (Always B Miki, Hannelore Hanover, and Huntsville) went on to become Breeders Crown champions. One winning streak had to fall (barring a dead-heat to win) in the $18,000 claiming handicap pace, as Terror Time A came into the event having won his last six starts and Rockin Rambaran had triumphed in his last five. But both streaks went by the boards as Freeneasy Hanover went three-wide under the finish line the first time, into the wind, to get the lead before the half and go on to victory in 1:50. The Western Ideal gelding was making his first start after a claim for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes, and driver George Napolitano Jr. was named on four horses in the race, including the two streakers - but those who followed him to "Freeneasy" got a $6.40 return. Terror Time A, the favorite, was trapped to headstretch and was zooming late for third, while Rockin Rambaran got unlucky and was hung without cover; indeed, he was the horse that Freeneasy Hanover circled the first time under the wire.   PHHA / Pocono      

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (October 25, 2016) - The Meadowlands Racetrack has sent a formal request to the New Jersey Racing Commission asking to have both Breeders Crown horses trained by Chris Oakes to be scratched from this weekend's harness racing Finals for failing to cooperate with an agreed-upon surveillance and out-of-competition testing program. The two Oakes horses are Luck Be Withyou, owned by John H. Craig, and Split The House, owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Both were entered in the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace. "Mr. Oakes had originally agreed to relocate his horses to White Birch Farm in New Jersey," explained Meadowlands Chairman Jeffrey Gural. "The horses did not arrive by the Sunday deadline. I then compromised and gave them until Monday and then Tuesday. I even offered to allow the horses to continue to be stabled and trained at Mr. Oakes's farm in Pennsylvania provided I could have 24-hour surveillance on the horses at my own expense. Mr. Oakes and his lawyer Howard Taylor have refused to respond to these requests." Justin Horowitz A copy of the email request sent to the New Jersey Racing Commission is below. Mr. Zanzuccki, Trainer Chris Oakes has refused to relocate his two Breeders Crown horses ("Split The House" and "Luck Be Withyou" both aged pace Breeders Crown entrants) entered at the Meadowlands to a training facility and or farm here in New Jersey. We also offered Mr. Oakes a compromise where as we would allow him to continue to train his two horses at his farm in Pennsylvania but under 24 hour surveillance paid for by us. Mr. Oakes at this time has continued to refuse as we have not heard from him and or his attorney Howard Taylor. The New Meadowlands Racetrack under the direction of our Chairman Jeffrey R. Gural is hereby requesting that both Mr. Oakes horses be scratched from the aged Breeder Crown finals this Friday, October 28th. Again, the two horses are Split the House and Luck Be Withyou.

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