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Monticello, NY - On Wednesday afternoon October 16, harness racing driver Jim Taggart Jr won 4 races on a soggy afternoon at the famed Catskill Mountains oval. Taggart wasted no time in getting on the board as he scored a 2 length victory in the first race with Needles And Pins in 1:57.3 ($2.90) for trainer Anthony Regina, giving the aged mare by Village Jove her 7th win of the year. Next up in race 6 was Coco Hall in 2:01.1 ($3.50) owned by Brenda Messenger and Scott Woogen for trainer Gary Messenger, the 5-year-old Amigo Hall mare has won 4 of her last 6 outings. Keystone Honor gave Taggart his 3rd win, the Dennis Laterza trained son of Bettors Delight won by 5 lengths in 1:57.2 and returned $10.60. In the last race is was Angelic Speed in 2:04.1 ($2.20) the win gave Gary Messenger a training double on the card. The four wins on the card helped Taggart boost his seasonal win tally to 198 wins for the year, gaining ground on leading dash winner Michael Merton with 207. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Monticello, NY -  Monticello Raceway held the 3rd Annual Elizabeth Miller Memorial on Wednesday afternoon  Elizabeth was the matriarch of the prominent Miller clan of New Berlin NY who have raced in central NY for decades. Elizabeth was active for many years at the Otsego County Fair and served as secretary of the New York Sire Stakes as well as tending the family's dairy farm and harness racing operation. The memorial race was a RUS (Racing Under Saddle) event with 4 horses going in behind the gate. As the gate sprung RCS Ready PP3 (Hillary Hartnett) and Funny Photo PP4 (Sophie Engerran) trotted in tandem and went stride for stride with each other with RCS Ready cutting the mile with Funny Photo parked on the outside. The duo passed the quarter in 30.2 and the half in 1:01. RCS Ready began to tire going into the clubhouse turn the second time, but the fit Funny Photo had plenty left in reserve despite being parked to the half. Sophie Engerran keep the 10-year-old son of Classic Photo on the bit and had 4 lengths on the pack when she reached the ¾ marker in 1:34. Their lead continued to increase coming down the stretch and won in 2:06.4 by 10 lengths, trotting the last quarter in 32.4. Railroad Lane (Cathy Gearwar) rallied in the lane to finish second, with RCS Ready 3rd. Funny Photo is also trained by Sophie Engerran and is owned by Enge Training Stable LLC of Stillwater NY. Jim Taggart Jr. dominated the harness racing card Wednesday winning five races on the afternoon, four of the victories came in consecutive races. The win streak started in the second half of the early daily double in race 2 aboard Road Untraveled from the rail, the Dave Dziengiel trained son of the recently deceased Stallion Grimfromeartoear notched his 9 win of the year, scoring in 1:57 ($3.80) Natalie Hanover was up next from post position 6, she worked hard to make the front end but once she did, she cruised to a win in 1:59 ($4.90) Needles And Pins also started from the rail had a similar trip as Natalie Hanover and scored in 1:58 ($5.00), the 11 year old gelding by Village Jove scored his 5th seasonal win for trainer Anthony Regina. Race 5 saw Lightupbullville bull his way to the front end and never looked back, scoring an easy 7 length win and the fastest mile of the day in 1:56.3 ($2.80) for longtime Monticello Raceway trainer Murray Bassen for owners Gray Thunder II Stables of New Rochelle NY. After a brief 2 race hiatus, he scored with former Monticello Raceway Horse of the Year Warrawee Preferred, the 8-year-old gelded son of Federal Flex is trained by Gary Messenger and won it 1:57.3 ($4.00) and is on the cusp to eclipse over $225,000 in lifetime earnings. The 49-year-old Taggart currently is in second place in the Monticello driver's colony with 184 wins, trailing leader Michael Merton with 203 wins, rounding out the top 3 leading dash winners is Austin Siegelman with 143. For full race results and entries click here.  by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

On Thursday afternoon June 20, Jim Taggart Jr. put on a harness racing driving clinic and won 5 races on the card, Taggart didn't get hot until race 5 where he drove TKR'S Metro Specs to victory in 1:58.2 and returned a $8.70-win pari mutuel. Next up was College Hanover ($2.40) who scored a 5-length wire to wire win in 1:57 for trainer Richard Dunn. Cheyenne Danny won from the 8 hole in 1:56.2 - $3.20, the son of Cheyenne Rei is trained by Dan Gill. Taggart's fourth trip to the winner's circle came aboard the Bob Loundsbury trained Persist Blue Chip (1:57 - $3.50) Needles and Pins ($2.80 - 1:57.4) would account for the 5th winner of the afternoon, it was the third win of the season for Needles and Pins, the 11 year old gelding is trained by Anthony Regina. Taggart currently is in third place (109) for leading dash winning drivers at Monticello Raceway, behind Austin Siegelman (143) and Michael Merton (131) $736,029 was wagered on the 12-race card, New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-Old Pacing Colts is on tap for Monday afternoon June 24, post time is 12:50 for the 9-race card.   By: Shawn Wiles

Roundtown Rocker (Jim Taggart Jr.) charges late to take the Tioga Downs featured harness racing pace ($9,000) on Saturday (May 18). Meadowbranch Ricky put up all the early fractions (:27.4, :57.0, 1:25.2). Roundtown Rocker ($14.20), who is trained by Rick Dane for owners Scott Dane and the Rock&Roll Stable, was third after three-quarters. He went flying in the stretch and wore down second place finisher Meadowbranch Ricky to win in a seasonal best time of 1:55.3. Jack Rules (Andy Santeramo) came up late to finish third. Roundtown Rocker is a 6-year-old gelding by Hard Rock N Roll. It was his second win this season. He now has 33 career victories. Jim Taggart Jr. had two more wins on the night. His other wins came with Soho Hanover ($9.00) and Six Bax ($6.00). Live racing returns to Tioga Downs with a 13 race card on Sunday (May 19) starting at 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs

The countdown is on to the Breeders' Crown, now just a couple weeks away from taking place at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Based on some of the incredible stakes performances being delivered recently at other tracks around the country, this has the making of one of the most memorable Breeders Crown editions in many years. We can't wait, but we also don't want to give short shrift to the excellent overnight action going on each and every racing night at Pocono. With that in mind, let's hand out some Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: PEMBROKE WILDCAT Throughout the summer and even into the early part of September, this six-year-old gelding competed against the toughest claimers on the grounds at Pocono. He was often a kind of best-of-the-rest competitor, but that started to change when worked out a pocket trip for a victory in the $30,000-$40,000 claiming handicaps on September 22 in 1:50, a new career-best. The following week, Pembroke Wildcat once again worked out the perfect trip and scored, this time in 1:51.4. On Saturday night, he once again faced off with the $30,000-$40,000 claiming handicappers, leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight. Pembroke Wildcat was made a 6-5 second choice behind Ideal Kiss at 2-5, even though he had beaten Ideal Kiss in one of his previous two victories. Perhaps bettors were a bit skeptical about the fact that he had need a trip to win the previous two. When Pembroke Wildcat got away mid-pack while Ideal Kiss set the pace, it was time for him to prove that he had another trick up his sleeve. Driver Anthony Napolitano sent Pembroke Wildcat, trained by Brittany Robertson, on a first-over journey on the back stretch to try and corral the leaders. Once he pulled up even, Pembroke Wildcat flew right on past the defenseless Ideal Kiss and kept right on rolling until he hit the line in front by two lengths in 1:50.1. There shouldn't be any more lingering doubts about this gelding, because he certainly picked up that third straight victory the hard way. Other top pacers this week include: Voracity (Eric Carlson, Ron Burke), who moved up in class on Saturday night but still managed his second consecutive condition win in sub-1:50 territory, pacing the mile in 1:49.4; Zero The Hero (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), who tore it up on Saturday night for this third straight claiming win, this one coming in 1:49.4; and That Man Of Mine (George Napolitano Jr.,), whose win on Saturday night in a claiming handicap in 1:51.4 gave him five victories in a row, four of which have come at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TWO AM Sunday night's featured condition trot with a purse of $21,500 was filled to the brim with trotters who were having excellent seasons. Two AM, a four-year-old gelding trained by Todd Buter, came into the race with four victories on the season, but none quite at the level he was dealing with on Sunday night. Still, he had won his previous race at Pocono on September 29 in 1:53.4, and was a star as a three-year-old, so the move up in class wasn't completely out of the question. With Tyler Buter in the bike, Two AM sat back early as the pace was set by Crazshana. Tyler Buter waited for some cover and then sent the gelding second-over once he found that cover on the back stretch in the form of Elysium Lindy. That horse carried Two AM as far as he could go before starting to tire. The same fate befell Crazshana, who started to feel it in the lane as well. That left Prairie Fortune, the 3-2 favorite who was sitting in the pocket, and Two AM, who was revving up out wide. Two AM may have had the tougher journey, but it didn't stop him from showing powerful closing kick. In fact, he out-trotted Prairie Fortune and came up a winner by three-parts of a length. His winning time of 1:52.4 was the fastest that anyone trotted at Pocono this past week. With his second straight victory, this time against the toughest trotters on the grounds, Two AM is looking very much like the big earner he was just a year ago. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Mighty Macko (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), a three-year-old filly who scored her second straight condition win on Sunday night, this one in 1:55.3; Silvermass Volo (Eric Carlson, Michael Holcman), who powered to a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:53.3; and Cant U Spell (George Napolitano Jr., Jody Riedel), who moved up in class on Tuesday night to captures his second straight condition trot and get it done in a career-best 1:54.2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RAISING KERCKHAERT It was a memorable maiden victory for this trotter, as he picked up a condition won on Sunday night with Jim Taggart Jr. in the bike at 49-1, paying off $101.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JIM TAGGART JR. Taggart was the guy you wanted this week if you liked long shots, as he brought home a 49-1 on Sunday night with Raising Kerckheart and then scored at 10-1 with Sneak On Bye on Monday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT DI DOMENICO Di Domenico always seem to bring in a high percentage of winners at Pocono, and he managed victories with both of his starters on Sunday night. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs  

Tioga Downs hosted three harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old colts and geldings on Friday ((July 20). Each division raced for a purse of $37,966. Cavill Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) wins first division of the NYSS. JNR Express (Jim Marohn Jr) jumped out to the lead hitting the first quarter in :28.0 and the half in :59.3. Cavill Hanover ($8.20) took control on the backstretch. Trained by Svanstedt for owners Little E LLC., Vanersol Inc., and Wolgang A Stable inc., he would lead them to three-quarters in 1:27.3 and win going away in a lifetime best of 1:56.4. JNR Express held for second. Kredit Karma (Brian Sears) finished third. Cavill Hanover is a 2-year-old colt by Muscle Mass-Cr Calendar Girl. He is now two for two in his young career. Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) is impressive in the second division of the NYSS. Brady Bunch (Andy Miller) controlled all the early fractions (:29.0, :59.0, 1:27.3). Gimpanzee ($3.40) went first-over from third before the three-quarter mark. Trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., and SRF Stable, he wore down second place finisher Brady Bunch to win easily in 1:56.1. Chapter Fashion (Mike Simons) was third best. Gimpanzee is a 2-year-old colt by Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows. He used a career best time to go two for two in his career. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggert Jr.) is an upset winner in the third division of the NYSS. Leap Year Lucky (Dan Daley) led the trotters to a first quarter of :28.4 and to the half in :59.4. Winning Habit (Andy Miller) took the lead just before hitting three-quarters in 1:28.2. Chip Chip Conway ($22.40) was third heading to three-quarters. Owned by Ken Weckstein and trainer Gary Messenger, he charged late down the stretch to win in a lifetime best of 1:58.0. Our White Night (Jim Morrill Jr.) came flying late to finish second. Winning Habit settled for third. Chip Chip Conway is a 2-year-old gelding by Conway Hall-Get Chipped. It was his second win in four lifetime starts. Tioga Downs returns to live racing with a 13 race card on Saturday (July 20) starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Two Pocono "longshot specialists" were the harness racing winning team behind $58.80 upsetter Dunn Dealin in the sixth race - Jim Taggart Jr., whose third $50+ winner tied him for the meet lead with Anthony Napolitano, and trainer Judy Welty, the first conditioner to have a pair of bombers to her credit in 2018. That makes four $50+ winners in the last three cards at Pocono - after the win price totals of the entire card on Sun Stakes Saturday elimination night was $60.40! WILKES-BARRE PA - The above was written after the tenth race feature on Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Little did we know that the Jim Taggart Jr. Show was just beginning. Taggart, a 48-year-old who has won over 4500 races, added a note of the dramatic in the twelfth race, as his nearly 8-1 shot Angel's Pride could not be separated from Skinny Dipper (Eric Carlson) for the win at the end of a 1:52.1 mile. And then in the finale, Taggart, among the Top Ten drivers at both The Downs and Monticello, rallied the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Tempster Hanover from second-over, going by pacesetting favorite Allstar Partner, who earlier in the meet had been claimed for $39,000 to tie the highest claim price ever paid at Pocono. Tempster Hanover, himself a $20,000 claim in May, overpowered his field by 1¾ lengths in 1:52 for Taggart and trainer Joe Pavia Jr. - and, overlooked after a scratch and so-so recent form, bounced back and paid $203.40 to win! This was the second-highest price of the season, after a $250.80 return by Highland Dynamite (Simon Allard) in a PA All-Stars event, and it gave Taggart a meet-leading fourth victory with a $50+ longshot. And it's not like Tempster Hanover has never been an upsetter, and a late-night one to boot - he paid $57.40 on May 8 in the next-to-last race of the card, and now $203.40 in the night's getaway event to be the only $50+ repeat winner at the meet! From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing driver Jim Taggart Jr. is having a superb season at Monticello Raceway, and if Thursday night is any indication, he may be heading for some wintertime success at the Meadowlands as well. Taggart guided Master Of Puppets to an ideal second-over trip, and as the favorites weakened late, he tipped his 23-1 chance off cover when they straightened away at the head of the stretch before going on to a three-quarter length win in the Dash For The "G" Notes Final. May I Cruise West was second, with Acton Onelasttime third. In the early going, 9-5 second choice Esprit De Kayjay A, seeking his seventh straight score, was on the lead, but yielded to even-money public choice Walks Of Life. The leader was sailing along on the point as May I Cruise West started his grind at the five-eighths, towing Master Of Puppets with him. Walks Of Life was clear at three-quarters, but over a surface that has been unkind of late to horses racing on the lead, his crunch-time gas tank was on empty as Master Of Puppets scored with ease for trainer Dan Morrissey. The winner, a 7-year-old gelded son of Ashlee's Big Guy, paid $48.80 to win and paced the mile in a season's-best 1:52.3. He now has 34 lifetime wins in 183 starts. A LITTLE MORE: Jim Marohn Jr., fresh off winning his third straight Finn Tack Driver of the Week award, won twice on the card, giving him 11 winners over the last four racing programs. ... Brett Miller also scored a driving double. ... The Late 20 Cent Jackpot Super High 5 failed to result in a single-ticket winner, pushing the carryover to $47,447. ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $1,520,576. ... Effective immediately, and until the end of February, post time at the Big M shifts to 6:35 p.m. ... Racing resumes Friday evening. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

The productive Wednesday, November 8th afternoon started quickly for Jimmy Taggart in the 1st race with Perfect Road, as he scored a well in hand 3-length win in 1:58.2, for his second consecutive win for harness racing trainer Gary Messenger. Majestic Dreams (PP7) in the 3rd race, quickly assumed a 3-length margin over her closest competitors at all splits to barely hang on to win by a nose in 2:02:2 ($15.20). The 3-year-old If I Can Dream filly is trained by Richard Gayton for winning owner Majestic View Farms of Gardiner NY, for her 3rd win of the season. Taggart came right back in the following race with Literate Hanover (PP4) and benefited from a pocket sitting journey behind Crown Isle (Jim DeVaux) to win in 1:59.2 for owner, trainer William Mintz of Harris, NY. After a brief 3 race hiatus, the last win of the afternoon came in the 8th race aboard Connie Keeper, another Gary Messenger trainee. The 7-year-old Muscles Yankee mare notched her 6th win of the season for owner Scott Woogen in a wire to wire win in 1:58.3 and returned $11.40. The longtime Pocono Downs mainstay has recently enjoyed much success at his new home base at Monticello. The affable Taggart is the 2nd leading dash winner at Monticello Raceway with 218 wins with earnings over $920,000. By: Shawn Wiles

K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) was just too tough in Tioga Downs Fillies and Mares feature on Friday night (July 21). The 7 year-old mare by Roddy's Bags Again would come firing out of the gate and control the race from the start. K J's Caroline ($5.30), who is owned by Scott Woogen and trained by Gary Messenger would put up the fractions of :27.3, :55.3, 1:24.0, 151:4, to go gate-to-wire. Gweneeee J (Jim Meittinis) would go after her but fall short and finish second. Iaquinta (Tom Jackson) would take the show position. Mike SImons still has huge lead in the driver standings. He would add one win to up his total to 50 wins on the season. Mike Merton is in second with 32 wins. Jim Taggart is third with 30 tallies. Tom Jackson is fourth with 28 wins. Jim Meittinis would win two on the night giving him 27 for the season.. Trainers standings continue to be wide open. Mike Deters and Tony Dinges are tied for first with 17 wins. Patti Harmon finds herself in third, tied with Gary Messenger with 14 wins a piece. Dave McGinnis has 13 wins on the season which lands him in 5th Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (July 22) at 6:50p.m. Fireworks will follow racing. For more information please go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs.

Bettorsluckystreak (Jim Taggart Jr.) took the harness racing featured matinee pace on Sunday afternoon (July 16) at Tioga Downs. Believe This Bob (Aaron Byron) would take the lead and own all the early fractions, :25.4, :55.1, 1:22.3. Bettorsluckystreak (Better's Delight), who is owned by Ken Weckstein, Richard Rubin and trainer Gary Messenger, would ride the pocket the whole way until the top of the stretch. He would storm to the front and win with a lifetime best of 1:51.0. Bettorsluckystreak ($11.60) would win for the fourth time in 21 starts this season. Team Captain (Fern Paquet Jr.) would come late to finish second. Believe This Bob would settle for third. Scott Coulter who is known as "The Tan Tornado" was the only storm that hit Tioga Downs on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Coulter would win with Gold Star Spike ($8.00). His second victory came with Fritzie Pic Up Man ($3.80). "The Tan Tornado" would guide Ideal Legacy A to an upset victory, paying $37.60 for the win. His last win came on the last race of the day, leading Anderlecht ($6.20) to a gate-to-wire victory. Mike Simons added 2 more wins on Sunday giving him 49 for the season. Mike Merton is in second with 31 victories. Tioga Downs is back live on Friday (July 21) starting at 6:50. The track from Nichols, NY will be featuring their annual "Miss Tioga Downs Pageant" in between races. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs

Sudden Change N (Jim Taggart Jr) makes a late four wide move to steal the harness racing Fillie's and Mare's Open at Tioga Downs on Saturday Night June 30.   Gweneeee J (Jim Meittinis) took the lead just after the first quarter and lead all the way to the top of the stretch.  The pacers went four wide in stretch.  Yes You Can (Tom Jackson) shot out first to claim the lead but Sudden Change N ($15.60) came widest and fastest of all to win in 1:51.4.  Sudden Change N (Changeover) is owned by Super Mile LLC and trainer Jody Reidel, would win for the third time this season.  Yes You Can captured second. Gweneeee J hung on for third. Taggart Jr. would win two others on the night.  Winning with Classic Can Dream ($4.60) in 1:53.2.  His first win of the night came with Townline Momma ($9.50). Leading driver Mike SImons would win four on this muggy Friday night in Nichols, NY.  Simons would win the second race with Iaquinta ($3.60) winning gate-to-wire by 11 lengths in the end in 1:52.0.  In race five he would command Caviart Griffin ($7.20) to the front before the half and hang on to win in 1:56.1.  Simon's next win would come during race eight with Charming Hill ($11.40) using a late move to win in deep stretch in 1:53.4.  Simon's would complete the grand slam with a win in race 12 driving Simple Saver N ($11.80) to victory in 1:52.2. Tioga Downs will not race on Saturday (July 1) because of the 38 Special concert.  Racing returns on Sunday (July 2) with a 13 race card starting at 1p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

Barn Bella (Jim Taggart Jr.) wins the Open Trot ($12,000) at Tioga Downs Saturday night. Barn Bella is five for five as a 3 year-old. At Tioga Downs this year the Conway Hall filly, who is owned by Purple Haze stables along with Nancy and Steve (trainer) Pratt is three for three. She has either equaled the track record or beaten it in each start. Tonight she raced the five-eighths harness racing oval in 1:52.4 beating her own mark of 1:53.3. Wisenheimer led the field to the first quarter but Barn Bella ($3.60) brushed by to take over with one lap to go. She would lead by four lengths at the top of the stretch. That is when the late-charging Praire Fortune (Jim Meittinis) would take a run at her. Just when it looked like he might catch her she found even another gear to smash her record. Barn Bella used this as a tune-up as she will run in the Empire Breeders Classic Final ($228,000) on Sunday June 18th at Vernon Downs. Leading driver Mike Simons added to his total tonight winning three times with Explosive Drama ($4.00), Noble Anthony ($3.70), and Winning Wizard ($9.50). Racing returns Sunday (June 11) afternoon at Tioga Downs at 1:00 P. M. The 13 race card features the Graduate Series Leg three for 4 year-old pacers and trotter as the Grand Circuit makes it's first 2017 trip to Tioga. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs.  

On a rainy afternoon harness racing card, it was raining wins for drivers Jim DeVaux and Jim Taggart Jr. and as they each won 4 races at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon. Jim Taggart Jr. had been mired in a brief 2017 win slump, only having won 3 races thus far this year. He set the tone early and added to his tally by winning the first race with Cevina De Chakrika in 2:00 for trainer Anthony Regina, he came right back in the 3rd race to score with Future Life from the rail to returned a $8.40 win ticket. Jim DeVaux started his 4 bagger in race 4, behind PITA ($6.00) for Monticello Raceway leading trainer of the year Dolores Basilone. The DeVaux/Basilone tandem took race 5 with Fly To The Angels in 2:02.4 over a track rated sloppy. Big Payout scored from the 8 hole for Taggart Jr. in race 6, Taggarts last win of the day was in the 8th race with Adorable Ben (PP3) DeVaux was halfway there, For Kevins Sake, won in race 9 Thinkyoucandance was the 4th win of the day for James DeVaux and Dolores Basilone. 2016 Leading trainer Dolores Basilone was the trainer for all of James DeVaux 4 wins. By Shawn Wiles

On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, Jim Taggart Jr. won his 4000th career win, the win came in the 7th race on the harness racing card, aboard Classic Can Dream. The If I Can Dream mare won in 1:58:3 for Trainer Gary Messenger and Owner Kenneth Weckstein. The Monticello born and raised Taggart started his career in the backstretch of Monticello and started driving here in 1988, his career earnings are in excess of $19,000,000. On hand in the winner's circle he was surrounded by family members and fellow horseman and well-wishers. By Shawn Wiles

Nichols, N.Y. - Scott Woogen's K J's Caroline ($9.80) took full advantage of a pocket trip in Friday (September 9) evening's co-featured harness racing $13,500 Mares Open 1 Pace at Tioga Downs, only reaching the lead in the last 15 yards of a 1:51.2 mile. The 6-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare was involved from race's outset as she customarily does, repelling Northern Beauty (Mike Simons) on approach to the first turn before yielding control to Yes You Can (Aaron Byron) after a :26.3 first quarter. K J's Caroline enjoyed a clear pocket ride through middle sectionals of :55.1 and 1:22.4. Jim Taggart, Jr. angled K J's Caroline out of the pocket just above the eighth pole--but another threat would emerge deeper out in the form of Northern Beauty, who hooked three-wide off the turn once able to shake free. K J's Caroline gained the upper hand in the nick of time, just collaring runner-up Yes You Can by a neck and likewise staving off third-place finisher Northern Beauty in a three-way stretch battle. Gary Messenger trains K J's Caroline, now a 28-time winner. Brandos Muscle Man elevated to first in featured trot In the $13,500 Open Handicap Trot, 17-1 outsider Brandos Muscle Man ($37.40) was elevated to first after his stretch bid from the pocket was interrupted by pacesetter Dragin the Wagon (Byron), who bore out off the far turn and clipped Brandos Muscle Man amid their stretch duel. Mike Merton drove the 8-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding to his 30th career win in 1:53.3, albeit by default. Dragin the Wagon was relegated to second for his upper-stretch foul, while Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) could only muster enough momentum to capture third from off the pace. Rick Dane, Jr. trains Brandos Muscle Man for the Rock and Roll Stable, Inc. and Monica Banca. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 10) evening, with the first of 13 pari-mutuel events due off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

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