Day At The Track
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Cartier Volo (Cash Hall) completed a double for her connections on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the three year old filly prevailed in the harness racing matinee's co-feature. Frank Coppola Jr. piloted Cartier Volo to her fifth win of the season for trainer Dave Spagnola and owner Mike Polansky while competing in the $11,250 feature for New York sired trotters. The sophomore moved out to the early lead and after getting past by a first-over rival, rallied back on the inside and wound up proving best in the co-feature, stopping the timer in 1:59. Coppola and Spagnola also teamed up for a Thursday score with Polansky's Yamaka (American Ideal) who came from off the pace to prevail in 1:57.3. Explosive (Chapter Seven) scored in the other co-feature, overcoming post position eight to win in 2:01 with Mark Beckwith piloting for trainer Brian Walker. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

Cartier Volo (Cash Hall) sprung the upset in Thursday's co-feature for New York sired trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Leading harness racing driver Frank Coppola Jr. blasted the longshot out from post position eight in the $12,000 co-feature and the sophomore filly never looked back. The Dave Spagnola trainee moved up into the winners of two but not more than five race lifetime class last week when she finished a strong third. Dismissed at odds of 28-1 on Thursday, Cartier Volo lasted on the lead in 1:58.1 on a rainy afternoon in the Spa City. The win was the third in the last four starts for Cartier Volo and served as one of five on the afternoon for Coppola who has surged into the lead in the driver standings in the past few weeks. The other co-feature was won by Dave Dewhurst's New York Chrome (Deweycheatumnhowe) who held on to win in 1:58.4 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. Live racing continues on Friday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

Congo King (Conway Hall) set a new lifetime mark on Thursday afternoon as he scored in the $10,250 co-feature for harness racing New York sired trotters at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Spagnola trainee came into the race winless in 2017 but on Thursday was up to the task. Red hot reinsman Jimmy Devaux piloted Congo King for the first time and set sail with him in the co-feature. After recording pretty comfortable fractions on the engine, the five year old trotted away from his rivals before stopping the timer in 1:58, a new career best. Devaux, who is getting close to the 5,000 win mark for his career, has been on a tear of late both at Saratoga and at Monticello, where he is the leading driver. Devaux scored five victories last Thursday at the Spa and had another five-win day at Monticello on Monday. On Thursday afternoon, the veteran reinsman piloted four more winners as he continues his pursuit of victory number 5,000. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

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

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

Riverofroyalty (Rc Royalty) won the harness racing award for Three Year Old Trotter of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel in 2016. On Friday night, the Dave Spagnola-trained highstepper made her seasonal debut in the evening's $7,500 co-feature for New York sired trotters. The four year old mare sat back patiently throughout as her main rivals battled it out. Driver Frank Coppola Jr. activated Riverofroyalty around the three quarter pole and she picked off horses one by one before winning a photo with Intensify (Phil Fluet), stopping the timer in 2:02.3. Riverofroyalty paid $9.10 in her first win of the year as she bested Intensify and third place finisher Cuda Hall (Pat Curtin). Coppola won the other half of the co-features as well with Jackie Greene's Buff (Credit Winner) who recorded his first local victory on Friday, prevailing in 2:01 on another cold March night in the Spa City. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Riverofroyalty (RC Royalty) set a new lifetime mark in Thursday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Spagnola-trained three year old is enjoying a solid season in which she has now prevailed five times. Riverofroyalty was the 8-5 betting favorite in the $9,950 featured race for New York sired trotters and moved first over on Starlingmoon (Billy Dobson) who rode a three race win streak into Thursday's tilt. Riverofroyalty powered past that rival but was met with a late challenge from longshot Gotalottacredit (Jim Devaux) who wound up coming up second best while Starlingmoon held on for third. Riverofroyalty's fifth career victory came in 1:58.2 to give her a new lifetime mark. The filly was piloted to the win by Frank Coppola Jr who is now less than two weeks away from securing his 11th driving title at Saratoga. Live racing continues on Friday night at the Spa with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Vernon, N.Y. - The W. Springtime Racing Stable and Shannon Brott's Skip Jive ($9.70) made every yard a winning one in a sparkling 6-1/4 length victory in Friday (October 28) evening's harness racing featured $7,900 Miracle Mile Pace at Vernon Downs. The 3-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding achieved the early lead from his midpack draw, sprinting off from Cheyenne Raider (Truman Gale) and controlling the pace through splits of :26.4, :55.1, and 1:22.3. Skip Jive edged away upon turning for home, leaving Cheyenne Reider well in his wake at the completion of his 1:51.3 mile. Modern Gesture (Chris Lems) emerged late to take the runner-up spot off a clear stalking trip, defeating the tiring Cheyenne Reider by 1-1/2 lengths. Odds-on favorite Super Soph (Brett Derue) only managed fourth place off an even effort. Fern Paquet, Jr. drove Skip Jive for trainer Dave Spagnola. Leading driver John MacDonald proved victorious in half of the evening's 12 races, teaming up with Azucar ($5.30, 1:57.3), Triple Charm ($5.30, 1:55.4), Jinxy's Delight ($3.60, 1:53.3), Some Major Beach ($3.60, 1:53.4), Well Excuuuse Me ($3.10, 1:54.2), and Ittakestwobaby ($7.80, 1:56). A 12-race card is on tap for Saturday (October 29) evening at Vernon Downs; post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Frank Coppola Jr. introduced trainer Dave Spagnola at Tuesday's Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame ceremony and on Thursday night, the veteran harness racing pair teamed up for a trio of victories at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Spagnola's Reasinforpleasin (Conway Hall) pulled off a bit of an upset in the $9,950 feature for New York Sired trotters as the three year old scored in 1:59. Reasinforpleasin fanned off the cover of the race's favorite before cruising home in the stretch to prevail at odds of 7-1. Spagnola's No Tears Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) and Broad Beach (Broad Bahn) each broke their maiden on Thursday in upset fashion with Coppola in the sulky, doing so at odds of 5-1 and 10-1, respectively. No Tears Blue Chip was coming off his two best career efforts and was aggressively piloted by Coppola who guided the three year old pacer to a strong 1:55.1 victory to break his maiden. Broad Beach bypassed her race's front-running favorite en route to establishing a 2:01.4 lifetime mark. All three Spagnola trainees that scored on Thursday are owned by Mike Polansky of Loudonville, NY. Coppola enjoyed his best day of the year as he piloted six winners on the card. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

The Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame & Museum Announces it's Annual Harness Racing Induction Ceremony/Open House, Tuesday June 14, 2016 at the Museum- 352 Jefferson St, Saratoga Springs, NY. The museum is located off the Jefferson St. Entrance to Saratoga Casino Hotel.   This year's inductees are Dave Spagnola, trainer & Ackbro Ms Perfect, horse.   Spagnola, a longtime local trainer is the leader in all time training wins at the Spa Oval .    Dave Spagnola Dave Spagnola grew up on the family farm in Ft Johnson, NY.  Along with their riding horses, the family had harness horses trained by Bert and Yves Breton at Saratoga, developing his interest in racing at an early age. During his high school years he worked for Yves Breton, and after graduating he started working for Earl Bean. He spent a few years working for the Simser’s in Florida and even more with Jimmy Richards, working his way up from groom to assistant trainer before striking out on his own in 1986. He had a one horse stable with claiming pacer ID Guy, who he improved to 8-8-0 in 20 starts. Dave’s philosophy has always been that you put the time into the horse first to get results; you’re not rewarded with good performance up front. More owners and the 1987 Peerless McGrath award for up and coming trainer followed. Dave trained 1988 3YO Pacer of the year Vic’s Fortune, and was voted USWHA’s trainer of the year for 3 consecutive years 1989-1991. He would repeat that honor another 4 times in 1993, 1998, 2000 and 2001. 2002 marked the fourteenth year in a row his UTRS training percentage was over 300. Dave credits his longevity to having great owners over the years, and also his collaboration with Saratoga Hall of Fame driver Frank Coppola.  The two were roommates early in their careers, and both had the same viewpoint that you had to help your horses last throughout the yearly meet. Frank always gave a lot of solid facts about a horses condition, owners used Dave to train because Frank was a steady driver for him. Other notable Spagnola trainees include Amazing Grace who was 3YO Trotter of the Year in 2007 and $7500-10,000 claiming pacer of the year Artiology, with owner Michael Polansky. Dave’s stats to date are 7,385 LT starts for a record of 1,225-1,153-1,086 and $5,121,203 in purses (approx. since 1992) His stable today stands at about 30 horses, he likes training young trotters, and along with longtime owner Michael Polansky has several broodmares.    Ackbro Ms Perfect, owned by Dan & Steve Ackerknecht, and trained by Scott Mongeon was the 2007 Trotter of the Year.    Ackbro Ms Perfect   Ackbro Ms Perfect was foaled in 2003, a bay trotting mare by Credit Winner out of Lady Lindy. She was the third foal of Lady Lindy, a mare whose promising career had been cut short by injury at a young age. Dan Ackerknecht, convinced that she would make a good broodmare prospect, approached his brother Steve to get into the breeding business and chose upcoming NY sire Credit Winner to cover her in 2002. The pair approached longtime Saratoga trainer Scott Mongeon to break and train the filly, he would also become her regular driver for her stellar career. He remarked that she was built long and lean with great conformation, never made breaks and never wore trotting hopples. Ackbro Ms Perfect broke her maiden at Saratoga in a NYSS 2YO Filly Trot in July of 2005. She ended her 2 YO campaign with 8 starts 3-1-1 and $57,508 in purse money. The 3 wins were in the NYSS, finishing fourth in the late closer (now excelsior) final at Monticello. The 2006 campaign was a year of solid performances for the always well-mannered filly. She was undefeated in 5 NYSS starts, setting a track record of 1:56.3 at Saratoga.  She finished the year 8-1-2 for 15 starts with $137,531 in purses and a third place finish in the NYSS Night of Champions Final at Saratoga. 2007 turned out to be the breakout year for Ackbro Ms Perfect. She continued her winning ways now competing in the Open Trot classes at Saratoga, she turned in solid efforts week after week finishing the season with 36 starts for a record of 8-6-4 and $86,000 in earnings.  She was awarded both Aged Trotter of the year and Trotter of the Year by USHWA at year’s end. Ackbro Ms Perfect finished her career with stats of 38-26-17 for 157 starts and earnings of $389,165. Her 3YO mark of 1:56.3H was her fastest. Both Steve and Dan are grateful to Scott Mongeon and the Mongeon family for doing such a wonderful job with her over the years.   In addition we will be presenting the sixth annual Virginia O'Brien Memorial 110% Award. This award honors individuals who devote their life to the pursuit of the sport of harness racing, such as a groom or backstretch worker, who might not otherwise be in the limelight. The nominees are chosen by their peers from the Saratoga Harness Horseperson's Association.   The gates will open for the event at 5:30 pm, with the ceremony starting at 6:30 pm. Refreshments and light food will be served.   For more information contact Director, Dave Oxford at 518-526-3138 or email: doxford@nycap.rr.com    

There was a pair of mild upsets in the two series harness racing finals that took place on Saturday night at Saratoga. The Virginia O'Brien and J P Morel Memorial Pacing Series reached their conclusion on Saturday and while both races featured odds-on favorites, it was two horses who drew post position one that wound up prevailing. Eight fillies and mares battled it out for their share of the $27,500 purse in the Virginia O'Brien Final and while B B Royale (Stephane Bouchard) was the race's 3-5 it was She'snobeachboy (Dave Panlone) who prevailed in 1:57.1 after a first over journey. The Dave Spagnola-trained She'snobeachboy returned $9.50 to win as he bested runner up Stormin Spree (Mark Beckwith) while Southwind Marilyn (Billy Dobson) finished third. Brigadoon (Billy Dobson) was the 1-5 betting favorite in the J P Morel Memorial Pacing Series Final and wound up second best as the race's frontrunner Hillbillycashflow (Cam's Card Shark) held on to win it in 1:56.2. Jimmy Devaux piloted Hillbillycashflow for trainer Heidi Rohr and coasted along unopposed in a slow first half of 59 seconds before holding off the late charge of Brigadoon to win by a head. Hillbillycashflow returned $15.00 to win. Brigadoon had to settle for second in the $27,100 Final while Wishes In The Rain (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella  

Not many harness racing trainers can boast having their own stable at aged 20 - but Kyle Spagnola of Saratoga Springs in up-state New York can boast almost three years of conditioning. The former Ballston Spa High School student currently works a team of six in his home town.

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