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Brookdale Bruiser (John MacDonald) captures the $6,000 featured harness racing pace at Vernon Downs on Saturday (October 12). Brookdale Bruiser ($5.20) battled early with Card Knock Life (Leon Bailey). Brookdale Bruiser cleared and hit the first quarter first in :27.1. He used a :29.3 second quarter to hit the half in :56.4. Tempster Hanover (Justin Huckabone) came first-over and got to within half a length as Brookdale Bruiser hit three-quarters in 1:24.4. Brookdale Bruiser, who is owned by the J P Stables and trained by MacDonald, made the turn for home and breezed to an easy win in 1:53.1. Tempster Hanover was second best. Bay Rum (Howard Parker) finished third. Brookdale Bruiser is a 5-year-old gelding by Roll WIth Joe. It was his 10th win in 2019. He now owns 18 career victories. Howard Parker drove three winners on the night. He finished first with Sometimes Said ($4.40), Napper Tandy ($3.30), and Golden Brit ($5.60). John MacDonald, Jennifer Lappe, and Claude Huckabone Jr, each had driving doubles. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (October 18) starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Vernon Downs.

Batavia, NY --- Mr. Euroman had a two-month vacation this summer before the start of the Batavia Downs harness racing meet and since returning to action in late August, has won four out of his eight starts in Genesee County.   The most recent win came on Saturday night (Oct. 12) in the $12,500 Open Handicap pace at the Downs. Leaving from post one, Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) watched as Sir Pugsley (Drew Monti) fired off the gate and took command of the race heading around the first turn. With the field in single file, Sir Pugsley went down to the half in :57 before stepping up the pace to the three-quarters with a :27.3 split. Mr. Euroman was the beneficiary of cover to this point of the race and continued to trip-out to the top of the stretch. Davis pulled the pocket at the head of the lane with Mr. Euroman and out-dueled Sir Pugsley to the wire to win by one-half length in 1:53.2. It was the seventh win of the year for Mr. Euroman ($16.00) who is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags, Jack Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock and is trained by Maria Rice. There were a pair of $11,000 Open II races on the card that both provided some stellar performances. The first split saw Down On My Luck (Drew Monti) get away third before pulling first-over at the three-eighths, clear the leading Barry Hanover (Dave McNeight III) by the three-quarters and then pull away to an easy 2-¼ length win in 1:53.3. Down On My Luck ($3.10) is having a career year for owner Robert Woodburn, now with eight wins and $47,867 in earnings. Patrick Shepherd trains the winner. In the second division, What's Goin On (John Cummings Jr.) sat second behind the pace-setting Rise Up Now (Shawn McDonough) from the start until the top of the stretch where he found room on the pylons and shot through like a rocket to out-pace four other fast finishers and win by one-half length in 1:54.4. What's Going On ($8.70) now also has eight wins this year and $65,821 earned for owners Marissa and Joe Russo. David Russo does the conditioning. Drew Monti scored a driving triple to lead all drivers on Saturday while John Cumming Jr. and Renaldo Morales III scored two wins apiece. Trainer Patrick Shepherd also sent three horses to the Purple Haze Winner's Circle while James Clouser Jr. and Joe Skowyra each watched two of their stable win during the night Racing resumes at Batavia Downs with the final matinee card of the year on Monday (Oct. 14) with the annual Columbus Day special. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Larry Stalbaum won the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the fifth time in the last seven Saturday nights when his Lord Willoughby A (Mach Three) went last to first in the $18,000 harness racing feature. Lord Willoughby A was assigned post six in the six-horse Open but benefited from an early speed duel on Saturday. With a pair of rivals going toe-to-toe in a fast first half of 55.2, Lord Willoughby A got underway past the half and moved third over heading to three-quarters. He wound up four-wide around the final turn but once he straightened up in the stretch, Lord Willoughby A had enough to come on and win in 1:53.1. The Tracy Tarantino trainee paid $8.30 in what was his second consecutive victory in the Open and his fifth win in the last six local starts. The favored Vasari N (Jimmy Devaux) made his debut in the local Open and was tested from the start of the race while on the engine before digging in to finish second. Betterlatethnnever (Mitch Cushing) closed to be third in the $18,000 feature. The exacta and triple came back $27.80 and $119, respectively. Lord Willoughby A's two Open wins come just a few weeks after Stalbaum and Tarantino's Crockets Cullen N scored victories in three of four tries in the Open Pace. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a first post time set for 12 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Majestic Fire (Dan Daley) captures the $7,000 featured harness racing trot at Vernon Downs on Friday (October 11). First Call (Homer Hochstetler) took the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :27.4. She use a second quarter of :29.4 to lead to a half of :57.3. Majestic Fire ($6.40) started to make his move as they headed for the half. He got to within a half length as First Call was first to three-quarters in 1:27.0. Majestic Fire, who is owned by Joshua Cukerstein and trained by Wayne Cukerstein, went side by side with First Call all the way down the stretch. Majestic Fire muscled on by just before hitting the wire in 1:55.2. First Call had to settle for second. Spoiler Alert (Leon Bailey) was third best. Majestice Fire is a 4-year-old gelding by Majestic Son. It was his eighth win this season. He now has 14 career victories. Jennifer Lappe was trainer-driver for three winners on the night. She won with Here Comes Numbers ($17.60), Super Betcha ($5.60), and Multitaskr Hanover ($9.00). John MacDonald and Claude Huckabone III each had driving doubles. MacDonald won with Lunar Stride ($10.40), and Kabu ($12.20). Huckabone III went to the winner's circle with Frisky Joe ($10.40), and Art Angel Baby ($10.80). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (October 12) with a 13 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com.   John Horne for Vernon Downs.

Batavia, NY --- The final matinee of the 2019 meet at Batavia Downs will be held on Columbus Day Monday (Oct. 14) with post time at 1:15 p.m. Besides a full card of great harness racing action featuring the fillies and mares Open Pace, there are also some great food specials throughout the facility during this Batavia Downs traditional event. The clubhouse will feature their famous Center Street Smoke House chicken barbecue special from noon until 3 p.m. For only $12.95 you will receive a complete chicken dinner with sides plus $10 in gaming Free Play and a $2 horse wager at the track. If chicken is not what you're craving there will also be $1 Sahlen hot dogs, $1 draft beer and $1 soda available at the Homestretch Grill from noon until the last race. This will be the final dollar day of the meet. On track programs will also cost only $1 and will be available at all the regular on-track outlets. After Monday's card of racing there are only 24 nights of racing left in the season, which runs through Saturday (Dec. 14).   By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Veteran pacer Dinner Guest (No Pan Intended) did something on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel that is very rare in harness racing. Normally, parlaying a pocket trip to victory after drawing the rail in a low-level condition race wouldn't be anything of note but Dinner Guest is fourteen years old. An award winner in 2018 as top Claiming Pacer of the Year at the Spa, the Frank Multari-trained veteran earned his first victory of the season on Wednesday as he came on to prevail in 1:55.4 in a conditional pace that went for a purse of $4,815. Dinner Guest enjoyed a nine-win campaign last year but mustered up only a couple of second-place finishes as well as five thirds in a winless '19 season before shaking loose late on Wednesday to score in 1:55.4. Veteran driver Dan Cappello Jr. sat behind the fourteen year old who went over the $730,000 mark in lifetime earnings with the win. It is rare enough for any horse to still be racing at the age of fourteen, the maximum age for a standardbred to compete in a pari-mutuel event, but to still have enough in the tank to register a victory is certainly uncommon and impressive. The win was career number 76 for the classy veteran who is wrapping up a sensational dozen years of racing. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon with first post time set for 12 Noon. There is a $5,000 guaranteed Pick Five pool on Thursday as the Saratoga Harness Horseperson's Association has teamed up with Saratoga Casino Hotel to offer the guarantee. The Pick Five, which begins in race one, is a fifty cent minimum wager.   Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 5, 2019-San Domino A (Jason Bartlett, $17.40) escaped unscathed Saturday night (Oct. 5th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Pace. It was a strangely-contested contest, with 3-5 choice Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland)-from post position No. 2-in no hurry early. He was set to get away fourth until one leaver, Benhope Rulz N (Shaun Valle) broke, wiping out another leaver, I'marocnrollegend N (George Brennan). Mac's Jackpot then defaulted into a pocket behind pole longshot Highland Tartan (Dan Dube) before a :26.1 opening quarter mile. Continuingly content to sit, Mac's Jackpot saw Highland Tartan find a :55.1 intermission. San Domino A, away third from post No. 3, then moved to engage Highland Tartan. As the former was overhauling the latter before a 1:22.4 three-quarters, Mac's Jackpot seemed to want to extricate himself from the cones. With The Real One (Pat Lachance) to his outside, Mac's Jackpot couldn't go anywhere, eventually dropping back noticeably. Meanwhile, San Domino A opened to two lengths off the final turn, disposing of The Real One by a length in 1:50.4. Highland Tartan held third, with Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman) and Havefaithinme N (Eric Goodell) settling for the minors. Four fourth choice San Domino A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Andrew Harris for co-owners Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing, it was his fifth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $110, the triple paid $447 and the superfecta paid $1,625.   by Frank Drucker Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 28, 2019--American History (Joe Bongiorno, $2.30) matched Yonkers Raceway's all-age track record Saturday night (Sept. 28th), dusting an age-restricted harness racing handicap field in 1:49.3. Assigned outside his five rivals in the $35,000, fifth-race pace, American History floated into a four-hole as Turbo Hill (Eric Goodell) laid down a flat 27-second opening quarter mile and :55.1 intermission. American History then went after the leader, the tandem throwing it down in a :26.4 third quarter (1:22). He then put away Turbo Hill shortly thereafter, taking a length lead into the lane. After some driver encouragement, American History widened, whipping 36-1 outsider Ideal Flip (Brent Holland) by three lengths. Turbo Hill and Tiger Baron (George Brennan) rounded out the gimmick finishers. Fresh off his win in Harrington's Quillen Memorial--in an identical 1:49.3--American History won his fourth race in 15 seasonal starts. The 4-year-old son of American Ideal is co-owned by (breeder) Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz & American History Racing and trained by Tony Alagna. "He's scary fast," Bongiorno said. "He probably went a :26.1 third quarter and I never had to pull the plugs. There's no telling just how much he can go in his next start at Lexington." The exacta paid $41, the triple returned $249 and the superfecta paid $523. Saturday's effort equaled Theartofconfusion A's (Austin Siegelman) track record from four weeks ago. It also set a new record for American History's weight class, displacing himself (1:50) from five weeks ago. Saturday night's pair of $42,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --Pace, None Bettor A (Jason Bartlett, $3) in 1:50.4, --Trot, Rich and Miserable (Tyler Buter, $7.30) in 1:53.4. Rich and Miserable set a track record for 4-year-old geldings, eclipsing Lord Cromwell (1:54.1), taken last October. FRANK DRUCKER Publicity Director

Batavia, NY --- Utilizing his usual method of starting slow and finishing fast, Lougazi scored his seventh harness racing win of the year in the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 20). With Southern Palms and Jailhouse Buckaroo breaking off the gate, the abbreviated field of six turned into an immediate quartet led by Rose Run Speedster (Shawn McDonough) who took the group to a moderate half of :58. Keystone Apache (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled first-up followed by Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) and the backstretch got a little more interesting. The top four horses were within two-lengths of each other and the tempo quickened with a :28.2 third quarter. With everyone having a shot coming off the turn, Keystone Apache made a break, leaving Lougazi uncovered and finding new gears. Fisher got after him and Lougazi trotted up a storm down the lane, making up a 1-3/4 length deficit and then stretching out to a 1-1/4 length victory in 1:56.1. On the strength of that win, Lougazi ($3.90) pushed his bankroll to $72,250 this year for owner Mary Warriner and trainer Ryan Swift. In the $11,000 Open II trot, Put On The Day (Jim Morrill Jr.) bounced back from a disappointing break last week to score a one-length victory off a three-wide move at three-quarters in a seasonal best performance of 1:57.3. Put On The Day ($11.80) is owned by his driver Morrill and is trained by Steve Andzel. Morrill had a total of four wins on the card to lead all drivers on Friday. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 21) with post time at 6 p.m.     By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs  

Tioga Downs welcomed two harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshmen pacing colts & geldings on Monday (9-2-19). Both divisions raced for a purse of $52,000. Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) captures the first division. Cigars And Port (Ray Schnittker) lead to the first quarter in :26.3. He continued to control the pace as they hit the half in :55.2. Groovy Joe ($3.20) made his move first-over from third and started to close in as Cigars And Port hit three-quarters first in 1:22.4. Groovy Joe, who is owned by trainer Blake Macintosh and Hutt Racing Stable, took over as they made the turn for home. Cigars And Port fought gamely but Groovy Joe was too strong and won in a lifetime bast of 1:52.0. Cigars And Port had to settle for second money. Save Me A Dance (Scott Zeron) finished third. Groovy Joe is a 2-year-old colt by Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk. He has won seven of his nine career starts. American Rebel (Tyler Buter) is a gate-to-wire winner in the second division American Rebel ($4.80) led to the first quarter in :27.1. The betting favorite Freedom Warrior (Jim Morrill Jr.) went on a break as they went by the stands for the first time. American Rebel used a :29.3 second quarter to lead to the half in :56.4. He continued to control the pace as they hit three-quarters in 1:24.3. American Rebel, who is trained by Patti Harmon for owners Robert Robinson and The Harmon Stable, had plenty in the tank as they hit the stretch. Genius Man (Marcus Miller) made a late charge but had to settle for second as American Rebel won in a lifetime best of 1:53.2. Splash Brother (Ray Schnittker) finished in third. American Rebel is 2-year-old colt by American Ideal-Restive Hanover. It was career win number five in just nine starts. Wally Hennessey and Mike Simons each drove three winners on the day. Hennessey was first with Mr Dunnigans ($4.60), Sporty Redhot ($3.90), and Ascot Encounter A ($5.30). Simons got his wins with Surreal Sergeant ($28.80), Rockintouch ($12.80), and Road Untraveled ($3.00). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 6) at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com.   John Horne for Tioga Downs

Brookdale Bruiser hangs on to win the $6,000 featured harness racing pace at Vernon Downs on Monday (September 2). Brookdale Bruiser ($3.40) jumped out of the gate and hit the first quarter in :27.1. He controlled the pace to the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:25.0. Brookdale Bruiser, who is owned by the J P Stables and trained by MacDonald, turned for home in front. He looked like he was going to win easily as they hit mid-stretch. Jet Rock (Howard Okusko Jr.) found an opening in the stretch and came flying like a rocket. Brookdale Bruiser braced for the late charge and held on to win by a quarter-length in 1:53.0. Jet Rock had to settle for second. Tempster Hanover finished third. Brookdale Bruiser is a 5-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe. It was his seventh win this season. He now has 15 career victories. Young rising star Dylan Huckabone-Miller won the first two races on the afternoon. The 18-year-old, who drove his first career winner a day after he graduated from high school, went from last to first with Nubble Light ($6.10) to win race one. He took Dream Of Fortune ($3.60) to the winner's circle in race two. It was his first career driving double. Both winners are trained by his father Claude Huckabone III. Joe Nassimos drove two winners on the afternoon as well. He got wins with Golden Brit ($3.90), and The Band K ($7.10). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 6) at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com.   John Horne

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019-It there was a better harness racing advertisement for New York-breds than the one Yonkers Raceway displayed Saturday night (Aug. 31st), one would be hard-pressed to find it. Odds-on favorite Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, $2.60) gave nothing else a chance in the 65th Yonkers Trot, dusting his seven foes in a track-record performance. From post position No. 4 in the $500,000 foray, Gimpanzee took the lead from 127-1 number Sheena's Boy before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. The early portion of the race included a pair of jumpers in Osterc (George Brennan) and Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller). While those two miscreants were leaving the course, Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) was easing into a four-hole. That four-hole became a three-hole after Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) broke. Meanwhile, Gimpanzee was all by his lonesome at the :56.4 half. Then, for good measure, he threw down a :56.4 back half, the result a 1:53.3, 4¼-length win in the second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. The mile was a track record for 3-year-old cots and the fastest Trot held here (Windsong's Legacy won the 2004 edition at Hawthorne in a stakes-record 1:53.1). Forbidden Trade, though no threat to the winner, was a credible, two-move second (in horse's and driver's first local appearance). A recovering Soul Strong was third, with 199-1 rank outsider No Drama Please (Jason Bartlett) and HL Revadon (Jim Marohn Jr.) moved up to fourth and fifth, respectively, after Sheena's Boy broke in a tiring pocket, disqualified from fourth to sixth. Osterc and Livinonthedash rounded out the order. For newly-minted millionaire Gimpanzee, a statebred son of Chapter Seven co-owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, it was his fifth win in seven seasonal starts (career 14-for-26, $1,145,996) The exacta paid $8.50, the triple returned $18 and the superfecta paid $269. Gimpanzee has won all five of his Westchester starts, while Sears won his fourth Yonkers Trot. "All the credit to Marcus (Melander) and his outfit," Sears said. "He's been a total pro from the first time I sat behind him, just so mature and he was ready tonight. It's just a pleasure to be a part of it." "When the draw came out, I knew it was his race to lose," Melander said of the defending statebred and overall divisional champion. He's been great on a half (-mile track). "He lays down in the turns over like a motorcycle. "This is an amazing race to win and I don't think there is a better 3-year-old on a half-mile track and I think he showed it tonight." A race later, the half-million-dollar 64th Messenger Stakes found American Mercury (Tyler Buter, $16.20) finding room inside and picking off 1-20 favorite Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn) in 1:51.3. Pole-sitting Bettor's Wish, as expected, left the gate, while American Mercury-from post No. 3-stepped around Branquinho (Ray Schnittker) and into an early pocket. They weren't going that much (:27., :55.3), not even when U S Captain (Bartlett) moved from fourth. That one did draw alongside Bettor's Wish, however, in a modest 28-second (1:23.3) third quarter. That left Buter with a decision...swing off the cones or hope to find room inside. Bettor's Wish-the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the race-owned a length lead into the lane, gradually disposing of U S Captain. A patient American Mercury was loaded, though, needing a path to ply his craft. He was obliged when Bettor's Wish bore out and the pursuer took down the prohibitive fave, winning the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown by a head. U S Captain was third, with Branquinho and Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) grabbing the minors. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), Aflame Hanover (Sears) and Reigning Deo (George Brennan) brought up the rear. American Mercury (No.3) picking off 1-20 favorite Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn)   --Mike Lizzi photo It was the first Triple Crown win of Buter's career. For second choice American Mercury, a soph Empire-bred American Ideal gelding co-owned by Crawford Racing, Northfork Racing, Chuck Pompey & Scott Bice and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his seventh win in 10 '19 tries. The exacta paid $22, the triple returned $57.50 and the superfecta paid $308.50. "He was super-sharp coming into the race," Buter said. "First and foremost, I owe [trainer] Chris [Oakes] a big thank you for giving me a shot on this horse. It's been a fun ride all summer, driving him and traveling New York. He definitely came through tonight and showed everybody what he can do. "I came off Dexter (Dunn)'s helmet there and he kicked on the gas. I think that might have been the winning move, because if I stayed there, Dexter was probably going to back into me as much as he could. So then, as soon as I was off his helmet, Dexter stepped on the gas, and I was able to get back down the inside and find a little room late, and it worked out" Asked when the 'switch went on' for American Mercury, Oakes offered, "When I gelded him. He was kind of a big, growthy 2-year-old. He had a lot of ability; we loved him training down, and quite honestly wasn't quite as good as I thought he would be at 2, even though he raced some pretty good miles. Bringing him back at three, he was training good, but I just thought he'd probably be more focused, mentally, for racing, as a gelding. We made that decision and I honestly believe it helped him a lot. "He means business now."   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019--It was an loud Saturday night (Aug. 31st) exclamation point after the stakes portion of Yonkers Raceway Triple Crown harness racing program. Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman, $8.30) rewrote the local track record books to the tune of 1:49.3, Yonkers Raceway's first-ever sub-1:50 mile. From post position No. 4 in the $30,000, 11th-race pace, Theartofconfusion A ('I just let him roll,' Siegelman said) gave nothing else a shot. The confirmed off-the-pace number this night plowed through intervals of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:21.3. His lead increased from 2½ lengths at the half to five lengths at the three-quarters to six lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin was an obscene 10 lengths, taking two-fifths of a second off the previous Westchester record held in thirds by The Real One (Pat Lachance, 2016). Tequila Monday (Matt Kakaley, this past June) and American History (Joe Bongiorno, a week ago Saturday). Mach N Cheese (Eric Goodell) was a more-than-distant second as the 4-5 favorite, while Fine Diamond (George Brennan) and Elwell (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounded out the gimmick finishers.                                                                                            --Mike Lizzi photo For second choice Theartofconfusion A, a 9-year-old Down Under Riverboat King gelding co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Barbara & Donald Arnstine, it was his sixth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.60, the triple returned $297 and the superfecta paid $1,279.   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019-Golden Tricks (Andy Miller, $17.20) inherited the pocket, then snapped 9-10 favorite Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot for harness racing 3-year-olds. A race later, odds-on Trillions Hanover (George Brennan, $2.80) whipped four rivals first-up from last in the $122,224 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Golden Tricks, from post position No. 3, was actually the first leader before yielding to Starita (Dexter Dunn). The latter jumped it off in the second turn after a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. While Starita was misbehaving, Quincy Blue Chip was out and moving, making the lead before a 57-second intermission. It was a seemingly-sensible 1:27.3 three-quarters after minimal grief from 70-1 Magical Beliefs (Brian Sears). Quincy Blue Chip had a comfortable length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Golden Tricks methodically wore her down. Golden Tricks stuck her tongue out of the money in 1:56. Starita was a recovering third, with Magical Beliefs hanging around for fourth. For third choice Golden Tricks, daughter of Trixton owned by Brixton Medical and trained by Ake Svanstedt, it was her fourth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $60.50, the triple returned $91 and the superfecta paid $489. "I tried to keep her quiet," Miller said after his first drive behind Golden Tricks. The lass had made a Zweig (Vernon) break in her last start. Ake (Svanstedt) said she warmed up good and she felt very good As for Trillions Hanover, who has been knocking hooves with the best in her division all season, a first career half-mile oval appearance wasn't pretty, but it was effective. From post No. 4, she was unhurried, beating no one early in the field that was reduced to a quintet. Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett) made the lead and put up subsections of :27.3; :57.1; and 1:24.4. The speedy third quarter was when Trillions Hanover came to visit. The latter went by early in the lane, defeating a pocketed JK American Beauty (Jordan Stratton) by a length. Bestseller Hanover did hold off a second-over Blue Ivy (Tyler Buter) for third. For Trillions Hanover, a Somebeachsomewhere miss trained by Tom Fanning for co-owners VIP Internet Stable, Falcon Racing & Paul Lang, it was her third win in a dozen '19 tries. The exacta paid $10, with triple and superfecta wagering scrapped due to the abbreviated assemblage. Trillions Hanover                                                          --Mike Lizzi photo "She tries hard, which is something I can't always say about the fillies," Fanning said. "I was worried about the turns, but she hung in there."   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

First Call (Homer Hochstetler) wins the ($7,000) featured harness racing trot at Vernon Downs on Friday (August 23). Only Passing Thru (Jimmy Whittemore) grabbed the early lead. First Call ($5.10) took over the lead just before hitting the first quarter in 28.2. Only Passing Thru had to settle for the pocket trip and watched as First Call went to the half first in :58.2. First Call continued to lead hitting three-quarters in 1:27.1. Only Passing Thru popped out the pocket as they made the turn for home. The two trotters slugged it out all the way down the stretch. First Call, who is trained by Homer Hochstetler for owners Robert Buddig, Allen Schwartz, and Connie Hochstetler, dug in and would not be denied winning in 1:55.2. Only Passing Thru had to settle for second. American JJ (Michael Miller) finished third. First Call is a 4-year-old mare by Credit Winner. It was her third win this season. She now has won 13 times in her career. Jimmy Whittemore drove three winners on the night. He got his wins with Gracie G ($35.60), Bold Fresh ($9.40), and Southwind Vixen ($10.00). Gates Brunet was driver-trainer for two wins. He got his wins with Meghan C ($12.60), and Michelle Christine ($2.50). Ben McNeil drove two winners on the night. He came in first with Jersey Boy ($8.90), and Gimmesomeroom ($3.70). Vernon Downs returns to Live racing on Saturday (August 24) with a 13 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Vernon Downs.  

Two year old harness racing pacing fillies took center stage on Wednesday evening at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the New York Sire Stakes highlighted an action-packed fourteen race card. Merga Hanover (American Ideal-Magic Starlight-Real Desire) has emerged as the top freshman filly in NYSS action this summer and the Ron Burke-trained two year old drew the rail for her $53,500 try on Wednesday. Matt Kakaley sat behind Merga Hanover, who cruised to a decisive victory at odds-on and paced the mile in 1:54, the fastest time of the freshman fillies on the evening. Merga Hanover moved her record to five-for-six as she powered away from a strong group of rivals at the Spa. The trend of favorites prevailing continued in the second division of NYSS for the two year olds as John Berger's Galleria Gal (Art Major-Just A Glimpse-Jate Lobell) made good as the public's 4-5 top betting choice. Galleria Gal opened up a big lead in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:55 to register her second victory of the summer in stakes competition. Tyler Buter piloted the star freshman who now has piled up earnings of more than $82,000 in her seven lifetime tries. The final of the three stakes races on the night went to The Fun Marshall (So Surreal-Hallmark Hanover-Arturo) who was one of her race's three 2-1 shots. Scott Zeron drove the freshman filly for trainer Richie Silverman. It was the second win in six tries for The Fun Marshall who came from off the pace to secure the score in the $52,500 stakes event. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post.   Mike Sardella

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