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Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory), wins a leg of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing 3 year-old trotting fillies at Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 10), for a purse of $117,600. It was the start of corntastic weekend at the Miracle Mile with free corn but but she was the "Bella" of the ball on this night. Celebrity Ruth (Jason Bartlett) would charge out to the early lead, but Barn Bella (Conway Hall) wouldn't wait and takeover before the quarter. Owned by the Purple Haze Stables with Nancy and trainer Steven Pratt, she would control all the fractions :27.0, :56.2, 1:26.0, 1:53.2. Celebrity Ruth (Archangel), would follow and stay close. Once they got to the top of the stretch Celebrity Ruth (second) would attempt to make a run at Barn Bella ($2.30), but the 3 year-old filly would put it in another gear and win in the end by two lengths. Amber Ella (Jim Marohn Jr.) would finish third. Barn Bella has now won 10 of the 11 starts as a sophomore trotter. Her last time at Vernon Downs she won the Empire Breeders Classic ($228,250). She has now captured five legs of the NYSS. Her only blemish was a fourth place finish at Buffalo (NYSS) after going on a break. Jimmy Whittemore would win three races on the card. He would win with Hustleonhome ($13.60), Northern BB ($8.20), and Love Live Laugh ($8.10). Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (August 11) with a 10 race card starting at 6:45. Corntastic weekend continues at the Miracle Mile on both Friday and Saturday. John Horne for Vernon Downs.

The sensational harness racing filly Barn Bella (Conway Hall) was at it again on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Steven Pratt-trained filly was the 3-5 betting favorite in the $91,550 New York Sire Stake for three year old trotters. Regular reinsman Jeff Gregory sat behind her as she looked to go move her record to eight for nine in 2017. Gregory was patient with the odds-on favorite sitting fourth while major danger Celebrity Ruth (Jason Bartlett) carved out the fractions. Barn Bella powered up first over but never got too close to Celebrity Ruth until mid-stretch. At that point, the superstar filly surged past the leader to take over and win in 1:55. Celebrity Ruth had to settle for second while Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci) earned the show spot in the featured trot for sophomore fillies. Barn Bella has now scored 14 victories in her 18 career starts en route to almost $430,000 in earnings. Southwind Tesla (Chapter Seven) recorded her first NY Sire Stakes win on Thursday as Jordan Stratton piloted the Rene Dion-trained filly to a wire-to-wire score in 1:55.2. The earnings from the win in Thursday's $89,950 race more than doubled the career bankroll for the Ontario-based trotting filly. Live racing continues on Friday night with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

Uncle Dan (Conway Hall) set a new lifetime mark in Thursday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The four year old trotter has thrived since moving to the barn of trainer Jaymes Mcassey in late May. After prevailing in the first start out of his new barn on 5/25, Uncle Dan had hit the board three more times in four starts heading into Thursday's try in the $9,300 feature for New York sired trotters. Starting from the inside post, Uncle Dan moved out to the early lead and never had an anxious moment before stopping the timer in 1:57.4, lowering his previous career mark by better than two seconds. Billy Dobson piloted the race's 9-5 second choice in the wagering. Take The Cash (Jim Devaux) was the race's favorite and came up second best while Thanks For Playin (Dan Cappello Jr) earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Friday evening at Saratoga with a first post time scheduled for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

June 23, 2017 - Uno Italia (4m Conway Hall-Italia Uno-Varenne) scored an easy harness racing victory in the Prix Ubatuba Oaks (purse €13,200, 1650 meters autostart) at Milano on Friday. Lorenzo Baldi teamed the winner of this four year old event that was timed in a sharp 1.10.9kr (mile rate 1:54.08) as Uno Italia was victorious by open lengths. Uisconsis Vol (4m Napoleon-Georgia EK-Bon Vivant) was second ahead of Ulberto (4m Broadway Hall-Depuis Blue-Esotico Prad). Thomas H. Hicks

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Barn Bella returns to Buffalo Raceway on Sunday afternoon (June 25) in the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters and she'll be seeking redemption at the half-mile harness racing oval.   Last year's 2-year-old Sire Stakes champion, Barn Bella broke stride turning for home at Buffalo Raceway and finished out of the money. a rare occurrence in her brief 15-race career. But it's been more feast than famine for Barn Bella as she has won 12 times. In her other three attempts, she has been totally off the board.   "This will be her toughest race of the year on Sunday with the tight turns," Barn Bella's co-owner and trainer Steven Pratt of Corfu, N.Y. said. "Buffalo Raceway is my home track and I support them. I've adjusted a few things on her for a half mile track and don't anticipate any problems come Sunday."   Drawing the four hole, Barn Bella (Conway Hall-Bravissima) is tabbed as the heavy 3-to-5 morning line pick in the first division worth $58,000. Jeff Gregory, a native of nearby Churchville, N.Y., will handle the driving duties. It is scheduled as the fifth on the 10-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m.   Barn Bella, a winner of $350,005 lifetime, arrives on a 10-race win streak including a 1:51.3 mile victory in the $228,250 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs last week. That mark tied the track record set by Check Me Out.   "She had a brutal race last week at Vernon," Pratt said. "She got parked in 26.1 to the first quarter but still trotted home in 27.0. I would say 99 percent of other horses couldn't have done that."   The bad news for others is the fact Pratt believes she'll only get better. "She's just a monster. She's as game as any that I've had including Barn Doll. There's no bottom on her. (Drivers) Jeff Gregory and Jimmy Taggart Jr. each said after Barn Bella's last races that 'there is still plenty left in the tank.'"   With the impressive credentials thus far, Pratt said he along with co-owners Nancy Pratt and The Purple Haze Stables have been offered 'big money' for Barn Bella but there's currently a 'not for sale' sign on her.   "I am content with her and I am enjoying this. She's so easy going, quiet and relaxed." He added, "Barn Bella doesn't train, she just jogs. She knows what to do when she gets behind that starting gate though. It's all business with her."   Pratt stated that Barn Bella will stay on the New York Sire Stakes circuit for the rest of the year but they might supplement her in the Breeder's Crown in October. "That's a pretty big nut to supplement her into that but I truly believe she's one of the top three filly trotters in the country."   The rest of the field trying to spoil the homecoming of Barn Bella includes Maewegonow (Charlie Norris), Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci), Reverend Nanny (John Cummings Jr.) and Mighty Surf (Jim Morrill Jr.).   The second division, slated as the seventh race, will carry a purse of $59,100. It appears to be a wide-open event with Amber Ella (Jason Bartlett) getting the slight nod off the rail at 2-to-1.   Amber Ella (Chapter Seven-Blushed) finished a distant fourth behind Barn Bella in the Empire Breeder's Classic last week at Vernon Downs. She did win four races in eight tries in 2016, piling up $139,193 in earnings. Amber Ella has yet to find the winner's circle in three chances this year, but does have a pair of second place finishes.   Billie Blue (Conway Hall-Lightfoot) starts from the six spot and is a 3-to-1 pick on the morning line with driver Chris Lems. She's won twice in five appearances thus far in 2017 including a 1:55.4 effort last week at Vernon Downs.   Others ready to do battle in the leg are Deli-Delite (Drew Monti), Scarey Karie (Phil Fleut), Chapter Too (Jeff Gregory) and Heels On Wheels (Morrill Jr.).   The card will also have a pair of $15,000 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,600 Excelsior B Series contest.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - This season the top trotting ranks seem to switch out every week with a new star emerging at the Hippodrome 3R. And it could be another new face in the limelight come Tuesday evening in the sixth race Invitational. Returning from victory lane last week is Commissioner Daley for trainer, driver and co-owner, Guy Gagnon. The six-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall starts from post three and is seeking his sixth win of the season. Currently on a two-race win streak, Commissioner Daley was able to wire the field last week and barley hold off Caroluzzo to win by a head. The prior week he also led from start to finish at Rideau Carlton with a 1:57.4 triumph. Caroluzzo, who starts from post six for driver Stephane Gendron, had left hard from post five last week and got a perfect trip right behind Commissioner Daley, but could not pass him at the wire. He has won the Invitational earlier this season for trainer Daniel Martin and is the slight morning line favorite Tuesday evening. The closely matched race also features the 2017 debut of Capteur De Reve for trainer Maxime Velaye. The three-year-old colt by Muscle Mass was last year's Quebec-Bred Series Champion at age 2 and is taking on older horses for the first time. Capteur De Reve is prepping for the upcoming Breeders Cup Series at H3R that begins in July. He has qualified twice, finishing second by a head in 2:02.4 and then winning last week in 2:02.4 at Rideau Carlton and could be poised for a big effort. It is not often that three-year-old's take on older horses in their seasonal debut. Both Rocky Boy (post four) and Four Starz Speed (post 5) have won the Invitational at H3R this season and Theregoesthegroom (post 2), an 11-time winner in 2017, is making just his second start this season and will be a factor in the race for trainer, driver and co-owner, Denis Filion. Both the third and fifth race trots Tuesday feature a large number of three-year-old trotters getting ready for the Breeders Cup Series at H3R starting Tuesday, July 4. Each of the three preliminary legs race for $7,500 per division and the finals on September 3 go for $65,000 per division. Post time Tuesday evening is 7:00 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It's been all or nothing for Studio City this season as the harness racing 8-year-old gelding either wins or is out of the money. But for the second straight week, Studio City ($8.70) has been something as he now has posted back-to-back victories at Buffalo Raceway with a 1-1/2 length decision over Jim Dandy in a seasonal best 1:58.2 over the fast track in the $10,000 Open Trot.   It was the third win of the campaign in eight appearances for Studio City (Conway Hall-Yagot Prestige).   It was a mad scramble to the lead as BZ Glide, Winkys Pride and Osprey Vision all battled for supremacy to the first quarter. When things calmed down, BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) was able to set the splits while Winkys Pride and Osprey Vision tucked in second and third respectively.   There was plenty of movement approaching the half as Kahoku was first over while Studio City followed the live cover to the three-quarter marker in 1:28.3.   Fanning out five wide for the drive to the wire, Studio City (Kevin Cummings) was by far the fastest with a 29.4 last panel. He was able to register the 1-1/2 length win over a rallying Jim Dandy (Jim McNeight Jr.) with BZ Glide holding on for the show spot.   Co-owned by Dr. Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison, Studio City is trained by Lisa Lederhouse. The triumph pushed his seasonal winnings $14,760 and $283,470.   Cummings, Drew Monti and Ray Fisher Jr. all had triples in the sulky with Larry Stalbaum adding a double. Trainer Bob Gruber III had a pair of victories.   Racing will resume on Saturday night at Buffalo Raceway with 12 races on tap at a special 7 p.m. post time which will enable fans to watch and wager on the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park. There's a $584 carryover in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.   For more information including upcoming promotions, race replays,results and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Scarey Karie (Conway Hall) prevailed in the $9,950 harness racing co-feature on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Phil Fluet trains and drives the filly who was fresh off a second place finish in a $40,000+ New York Sire Stakes try in her last start. On Thursday, Fluet moved the odds-on favorite out to the early lead, a lead she would never surrender. The sophomore stopped the timer in 1:58.1 for a new lifetime mark in the co-feature for New York sired trotters. In just twelve career starts, Fluet's Scarey Karie now has four wins and four seconds en route to more than $72,000 in earnings. Starlingmoon (Stephane Bouchard) pulled off the upset for the second straight week in the other co-feature as the Andy Byler-trained trotter came from well off the pace to prevail in a career best 1:58.2 at odds of 10-1. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

The New York Sire Stakes champion from a year ago is back in search of a repeat as the lucrative NYSS season kicks off Sunday evening at Tioga Downs with three divisions for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters. Each sports a purse of over $40,000. A Steven Pratt trainee, Barn Bella (post position 3, 2-1 on the morning line, Jeff Gregory driving) won the NYSS Final last September at Yonkers Raceway to complete a season in which she won six-of-nine races and banked just over $200,000. The daughter of Conway Hall has prepped for Sunday's fifth race by winning her first three starts of 2017, the most recent at Tioga on May 20 in a sparkling 1:54. "I struggled with her in her first two starts (last year)," said Pratt. "On a half-mile track she wanted to run in, but we put a Murphy Blind on her that did not let her see to the side. After that, she was good to go. She (went off stride) in all three of her losses. She only beat herself. I think she's the best New York Sire Stakes filly." One race earlier, trainer Staffan Lind sends out 5-2 second choice Sunshine Delight, a daughter of Credit Winner. Lind's 25-year-old son Christian, who got his 'A' driving license just last week, will be in the sulky from post 7. "I expect good things from her this season," said Staffan. "She's a versatile horse. She can leave or race from off the pace. She's laid back, almost lazy, but she always does what you want her to do." Sunshine Delight was an easy winner in her seasonal debut at Pocono Downs in 1:55.2 after making the lead at the half. She then finished second at Pocono coming from well off the pace in her last start on May 16. The 2-1 favorite from post 2 in that dash is the Trond Smedshammer trained and driven Celebrity Ruth, a daughter of Archangel. Unraced at 2, she is off her first career victory in three tries, a superb 1:54 clocking at the Meadowlands on May 19. In race 9, the third and final NYSS division finds the John Butenschoen-trained Northern Courtney as the 2-1 choice. The Deweycheatumnhowe product leaves from post 4 with Mike Simons in the driver's seat. "Last year, she was physically and mentally immature," said Butenschoen of his student, who failed to hit the board in any of her three 2016 outings. "But this year she came back and qualified well in Florida. She broke in her first start at Philadelphia but since then I watched her a little bit. I put her in a non-winners of three at Pocono to get some education (she won in 1:55.4). Then, we found a nice little spot for her in a series at Tioga (on May 6 and 20, she won both races)." Northern Courtney's main foe looks to be Chapter Heaven, a Rick Zeron trainee who will be handled by Rick's son, Scott. The Chapter Seven product will start at 3-1 from post position 5. Post time for the first race at Tioga is 6:50 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State  

May 20, 2017 - US harness racing export Workout Wonder (5m Conway Hall-Dear Abs-Muscles Yankee) captured the HKH Prins Daniels (400,000SEK to winner, 1609 meters autostart, 10 starters) in a rousing finish for driver Tommi Kylliainen, trainer Jarno Kauhanen and owner Workout Club-Finland. The Wonder was timed in 1.10kr and recorded his eighth career win in 37 starts for 2,779,556SEK earned. Off at 12/1 the happy winner(s) bested Wild Honey (5f Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy-SJ’s Photo) at 4/1 and 43/1 Rod Stewart (7m Love You-Valley Lane-Lindy Lane), the latter trained by Jerry Riordan. The winning Workout Wonder last raced in the USA in April 2016 when then trained by Noel Daley. He’ll likely have earned an Elitloppet start. Workout Wonder The confirmed Elite starters per Elitloppet 2017 website are: Bold Eagle, Timoko, Propulsion, Up and Quick, Resolve, DD’s Hitman, Dante Boko, Elian Web, Spring Erom, Cruzado Dela Noche  Takethem. Thomas H. Hicks

Reasinforpleasin (Conway Hall) put in a harness racing career best effort in the Thursday co-feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Spagnola trainee picked up second over cover approaching the half in the $9,000 feature for New York sired trotters and charged hard in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:58.1 to lower his lifetime mark. Reasinforpleasin enjoyed success as a freshman two years ago and also did well in 2016 as a sophomore despite having only started nine times. On a scorching hot Thursday afternoon in the Spa city, the four year old trotter recorded his second win in seven seasonal tries with Frank Coppola Jr in the sulky. Scarey Karie (Phil Fluet) came on late to be the runner-up while longshot Thanks For Playin (Dan Cappello Jr) earned the show spot. Steve La Belle's Kinda Naughty (Conway Hall) prevailed in the other co-feature going coast-to-coast in 1:59 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

The New York Sire Stakes champion among freshman harness racing fillies last year, Barn Bella (Conway Hall) has picked up right where she left off. The Steven Pratt-trained filly went six-for-nine as a two year old in 2016 including a victory in the Two Year Old Filly Final on the $225,000 Night of Champions last season and moved her record to two-for-two in '17 on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Barn Bella was the public's 1-5 betting favorite in her second start back this year and looked every bit the part on Thursday. Coming off a win in which she prevailed in 1:57.4, Barn Bella romped in 1:56.2 this week, dominating her rivals for a nearly ten length victory in the $9,000 co-feature for New York Sired trotters. While regularly piloted in the NY Sire Stakes by Jeff Gregory, Claude Huckabone Jr. has sat behind Barn Bella in both of her wins thus far in 2017. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

May 9, 2017 - Franck Nivard teamed Victoria Luis (3f Conway Hall-Danae del Ronco) to an easy harness racing victory in the featured Gr. III Prix Fama (purse €66,000, 2700 meters, nine European starters) at Paris Vincennes. Salvatire Minopoli trains the winning filly for Allenamento Team Minopoli. Race time was 1.16.6kr off rated fractions. Everglades (3f Rodrigo Jet-Penang) was second for Thomas Levesque, also trainer, for breeder/owner Pierre Levesque. Third was Elite du Ruel (3f Timoko-Romance du Ruel) for trainer/driver Franck Anne and breeder/owner Annick Bazin. Fourth was Elusive Feeling (3f Goetmals Wood-Quechua de Charue) for J-M Bazire. The Ready Cash daughters Elegantissime and Encore Plus were fifth and seventh. Thomas H. Hicks  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- After making two starts at Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland to begin his 2017 campaign, Studio City had a successful return to familiar harness racing territory, that being Buffalo Raceway on Friday evening (April 21) and captured the featured $8,200 trot with a length victory over Noble Legend in 1:59.2.   Studio City, who had five wins on the Western New York circuit in 2016, made two uneventful starts at Rosecroft earlier this month before shuffling off to Buffalo.   It was a mad scramble for the lead in the early going as Kahoku, Noble Legend and Studio City battled for command.   Noble Legend won the dash to the quarter pole, parking out Kahoku along the way while Studio City ($7.70) tucked into the pocket. With fractions of 28.4, 57.4 and 1:29.0, the race eventually boiled down to that trio who pulled away from the pack.   Studio City (Larry Stalbaum) rolled to the lead from the passing lane while a stubborn Noble Legend (John Cummings Jr.) settled for second and a tiring Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) hung on for third.   Co-owned by Scott Woogen and Lisa Denison and trained by Lisa Lederhouse, the 8-year-old gelded Studio City (Conway Hall-Yagot Prestige) has now earned $5,660 in his young 2017 season and $274,370 lifetime.   David McNeight III swept the mid daily double with Mr Bricks ($64.50) and Hunter Valley ($85.50) to produce a massive $1433.00 payoff. The big bombs also created a $1712 carryover in the Pick-5 going into Saturday night's 11-race program which begins at 6 p.m.   Larry Stalbaum had a triple with Drew Monti, Jim Morrill Jr. and Ray Fisher Jr. all doubling in the bike. Trainers Kim Asher and Darrin Monti each had a pair of winners.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Reasinforpleasin (Conway Hall) prevailed in the $9,630 harness racing co-feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday afternoon. The Dave Spagnola-trained trotter followed up a solid two year old campaign with a strong three year old season in 2016 despite being lightly raced. Reasinforpleasin scored four wins in nine starts in '16 and secured his first victory of the year on Thursday in a race for New York sired trotters. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted the Spagnola trainee and after situating him third in the early going came first over with the public's 1-2 betting favorite. Reasinforpleasin wore down the front-running Thanks For Playin (Dan Cappello Jr) before stopping the timer in 1:59.1. Thanks For Playin held second while longshot Wygant Angel (Alek Chartrand) earned the show spot. Trainer John Podres' Red Cash (Cash Hall) set a lifetime mark in the other half of the co-feature on Thursday behind a three-wide score that came in a career best 1:58.3 with Mark Whitcroft in the sulky. Live racing continues on Friday night with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Slugfest (Conway Hall) continued his winter dominance on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the Maureen Salino trainee scored another victory in the Open Trot. Reduced to a five-horse field after a scratch, the $12,000 harness racing feature saw Slugfest make the early lead and never look back. Jay Randall has been the regular driver behind the two-time Trotter of the Year at the Spa and confidently piloted the race's 4-5 favorite on Sunday as Slugfest coasted to a wire-to-wire victory in 1:58.1. Pocket sitter Lucid Thoughts (Frank Coppola Jr) was the runner-up while Just Make Believe (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. In three tries in the local Open this winter, Slugfest has two wins and a second. His victory was the second on the afternoon for his owners Tom Vassilou and Nick Tallarico whose A Jersey Contract (Lucky Chucky) prevailed earlier in the day for Salino and Randall. For the eight year old Slugfest, it was career win number 37. Live racing resumes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15pm first post. Mike Sardella

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