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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund has released annual Breeders Awards for the 2019 racing season, totaling $1,000,000. A total of 332 New York-bred horses earned awards for 154 different entities. A total of 18 breeders earned more than $15,000 in awards. The full list of awards can be found at the New York Sire Stakes website. Last year's 2-year-olds returned 14.5% of their NYSS program earnings to their breeder, while 3-year-olds returned 15.5%. The largest single Breeders Award earner was Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven). The trotting filly won three legs and the NYSS Final in her sophomore season. She returned $53,150.23 to breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Combined, Blue Chip Farms and Blue Chip Bloodstock earned $128,881.90 in breeders awards for 29 offspring. Breeder Steve Jones received the most in awards with $134,208.19. Jones bred four horses that earned more than $100,000 last year, including three NYSS Champions-Cigars And Port, Hickfromfrenchlick and The Fun Marshall. Other top earners included Crawford Farms LLC with $88,990.49, generated by standout performers like Brooklyn Lilacs and Stella Jane; Winbak Farm with $58,461.12, led by top earners Artie's Ideal and Hanna Dreamgirl; Little E LLC with $33,958.44 earned largely by campaigner Seventimesalady; and The OK Corral with $29,410.17, produced largely by filly So Awesome. "Breeders are at the core of the racing industry's positive economic impact in the State of New York and the Fund is pleased to recognize their contributions to our agricultural vitality," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "It is through their investment that New York has become known for its exceptional breeding and racing opportunities." The Breeders Awards program provides rewards for each level of NYSS racing: Sire Stakes, Excelsior Series and County Fairs. The awards are residency based, rewarding breeders who keep their mares in New York State for at least 180 days surrounding conception, thereby contributing to the agricultural economy. The program is designed to stimulate New York State's agriculture sector and support New York farms. The Fund has previously announced that another $1 million will be available to breeders for the 2020 racing season. It's not too late this year for breeders to make their mare eligible for Breeders Awards in the future. Once a mare is in the state, the first step to establishing residency is by submitting a Form A to the Fund. Those wishing to find out more about New York's mare residency program should check out the guidelines. and call or email the Fund office with any questions at 518-388-0178 or info@nysirestakes.com. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the Fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the State. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research. From the New York Sire Stakes

Middletown, NY---The 2020 Goshen Yearling Sale will be held on Sunday (Sept. 13) at the Mark Ford Training Center in Middletown, NY. This is a real sweet spot for the harness racing sale this year as it's slotted between the Yonkers International Trot and New York Sire Stakes finals at Yonkers Raceway which will be contested on Saturday (Sept. 12) and the New York Sire Stake consolations which will go at Monticello Raceway on Monday (Sept. 14). With the sale being conveniently located between those two events, owners and trainers competing will have the opportunity to easily schedule and attend this sale. Since 2015, the Goshen Yearling Sale has brought quality New York bred stock to the ring from the industry's top breeders including Hanover Shoe Farms, Cameo Hills Farm, Winbak Farm and Blue Chip Farm. Horses like Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star 1:48.4, $638,677), Aflame Hanover (Russell Hanover-Applique Hanover 1:49.1 $336,796), Groovy Joe (Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk 1:52 $230,845) and Cigars And Port (So Surreal-Sweet On Art 1:54 $192,351) are all alumni of this sale along with a host of other high speed, quality stake winners. The Goshen Yearling Sale has grown each year in both size and popularity and has become a favorite venue for both the buyer and consignor. And 2019 was its best year yet as attendance and sale records were set across the board. "We're coming off a banner year and are planning on outdoing ourselves once again in 2020," said Mark Ford, on behalf of the Goshen Yearling Sale. "We have plans to enhance our already user-friendly amenities both on-site and online to make it even easier for our clients to just concentrate on the yearlings they want and buy them. We can't wait for September." One important deadline to keep in mind concerning this year's event is Monday (June 1), as that is the final day for all consignments to be made for the sale. The sales facility is located at 90 Slaughter Road, Middletown, NY, which is within a ninety-minute drive of many major race tracks and training centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, making it a very convenient location. It's also only eight miles away from the Harness Racing Museum and the Goshen Historic Track, making it easy to visit those historic places during your weekend. Everything you need to know about the 2020 Goshen Yearling Sale is available on their website at www.goshenyearlingsale.com where consignment forms, a catalog request portal and hotel information for local lodging all can be found. For any other inquiries please contact Mark Ford directly at 973-568-3253 (cell) or by email at fordstable@frontiernet.net . By Tim Bojarski, for Goshen Standardbred Horse Sales

LATHAM, N.Y. - The harness racing schedule and updated conditions for the 2020 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) racing season were approved Monday (Dec. 30) at a meeting of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Board of Trustees. The NYSS racing season will open on Tuesday, May 5, at Yonkers Raceway with 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters and provide eight legs for all eight divisions of 2 and 3 year olds. The $1.8 million NYSS Day of Champions, featuring eight Finals worth $225,000, will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, at Yonkers Raceway. The program will also feature the International Trot and offer a special afternoon post. "Racing fans had such a great response to the NYSS Day of Champions and International Trot in 2017. We are so excited to partner with Yonkers Raceway again to offer another blockbuster card in 2020," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund. "The New York Sire Stakes program is key to the success of the state's harness racing and Standardbred breeding industries and we look forward to working with all tracks in the state to offer another outstanding year of state-bred racing." The NYSS Consolations are scheduled at Monticello Raceway on Monday, Sept. 14. The Excelsior Series Finals are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19, at Tioga Downs. The purses for the Consolations and Excelsior Finals have been adjusted and each division will offer $50,000 purses for the season-concluding events. The full schedule of NYSS and Excelsior racing dates is now available. Dates for the County Fair Racing Series will be announced in the coming weeks. Total purses paid out for the three tiers of the New York Sire Stakes program equaled $14.79 million in 2019. Purses are budgeted to be similar in 2020 with more than $13 million in added money approved at the meeting. The newly approved conditions for the Excelsior and County Fair Series in 2020, along with conditions for yearlings nominating in 2020 (foals of 2019), can be found at the New York Sire Stakes website: www.nysirestakes.com. Also approved at the meeting, $150,000 has been made available for next year's Grant Awards. A grant application will be issued in early 2020 encouraging certified 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations to apply for consideration. Organizations are asked to review the Fund's Grants Policy to determine their eligibility before applying. Deadline for submission will be March 2, 2020. From the New York Sire Stakes      

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Board of Trustees has approved $1 million in Breeders Awards for the upcoming 2020 harness racing season. In addition, New York Sire Stakes Breeders Awards earned for the 2019 racing season, also total $1 million, will be mailed to the recipients in the month of January. The Breeders Awards program provides rewards for each level of NYSS racing: Sire Stakes, Excelsior Series and County Fairs. The awards are residency based, rewarding breeders who keep their mares in New York State for at least 180 days surrounding conception, thereby contributing to the agricultural economy. The program is designed to stimulate New York State’s agriculture sector and support New York farms. Complete guidelines for mare residency and the Breeders Awards program can be found on the New York Sire Stakes website. Breeders who have not done so already have until Jan. 30 to file their 2019 Mare Residency Form B to finalize their 2019 residency for future Breeders Awards. As a reminder, you can now begin filing Mare Residency Form A for 2020 to start the residency period in 2020. “We are proud to recognize the breeders who support the state’s harness racing industry by maintaining exceptional broodmares within the state and breeding to New York-registered stallions,” said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. “The demand and quality of New York-bred horses continues to be strong, generating economic and agricultural benefits, and further investment in the state.” From the New York Sire Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The three-year-old harness racing pacing colt Hickfromfrenchlick has been named the Unites States Trotting Association District 8 Horse of the Year. The award was presented to trainer Ray Schnittker at the New York Sire Stakes & USTA District 8 Annual Awards Banquet on Nov. 10. The So Surreal-My Girl's A Star colt has earned $500,136 this year and won 11 of his 15 starts. His sophomore season featured wins on the New York Night of Champions and in the Empire Breeders Classic. Bred by Steve Jones, he has banked $638,677 lifetime for owners Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. Tyler Buter was also honored at the banquet as USTA District 8 Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year. Buter is about to cross the career milestone of $40 million in earnings and has solidified himself as a leading driver on the New York circuit as well as the Grand Circuit. As the regular driver of American Mercury this season, Buter won the $500,000 Messenger Stakes and five legs of the NYSS. The pair was also third in the Little Brown Jug. So far in 2019 the driver has recorded $5.27 million in earnings and 313 trips to the winner's circle. George Ducharme took home the USTA District 8 Trainer of the Year award. He had a career-best season with $1.9 million in earnings and 94 training victories. He also had the leading money-winning stable at his home track of Vernon Downs. In addition to earning more than $700,000 in the NYSS and starting three finalists on the Night of Champions, he won four Massachusetts Sire Stakes finals this year. Other honorees at the event were Claude Huckabone Jr., who was named both County Fair Driver and Trainer of the Year; Jason Bartlett as NYSS Driver of the Year for leading the series in earnings; Trond Smedshammer as NYSS Trainer of the Year; and Winbak Farm as NYSS Breeder of the Year. From the New York Sire Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes and USTA District 8 are reminding interested parties to RSVP for the Annual Awards Banquet scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 10 at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The evening will honor the harnes racing champion horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the NYSS, the Excelsior Series and the New York County Fair Series. Guests are asked to please RSVP to Sarah Quinn at squinn@caphill.com or 518-694-5002. The title of Leading Breeder will go to Winbak Farm for the second year in a row. Winbak Farm bred seven champion horses across the three NYSS racing tiers, led by 2-year-old trotting filly Zero Tolerance. Trond Smedshammer will be named Leading Trainer in a season that saw him earn $749,955.71 with 14 horses in the NYSS and Excelsior divisions. Jason Bartlett will be honored as Leading Driver, finishing atop the NYSS and Excelsior charts with $1,715,282.91 and 65 wins. Claude Huckabone Jr. was named both Leading Trainer and Leading Driver in the NYSS County Fair Series. Huckabone drove 2019 champion Flow With Joe and is trainer/co-owner of Roll With Mimi. This 30th edition of the NYSS Night of Champions was held at the Batavia Downs on Sept. 14. Eight champions were crowned, taking home a combined $1.8 million in purses. The 2019 champions are: Zero Tolerance, Quincy Blue Chip, The Fun Marshall, Hypnotic AM, Cigars and Port, Third Shift, Gimpanzee and Hickfromfrenchlick. The evening will honor the NYSS Excelsior Champions, who took home $55,000 each at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sept. 21. The 2019 champions are Ideal Perception, C And T's Credit, Century Ferrari, Fool Me Again, Book Seven, Certify, Alleyesonme AS, and Hanna Dreamgirl. The NYSS County Fair Champions were crowned at Monticello Raceway on Sept. 5 following two months of racing at 20 county fairs across New York State. Each final carried a purse of $10,000, collected by Notoutofthewoods, Discus Hanover, Xenia's Chip, Flow With Joe, Reckless Image, Certify, Roll With Mimi, and Jericho Willie. Awards will also be given in the RUS-NY (Racing Under Saddle) series. RUS-NY is sponsored by Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and Oneida Veterinary Associates PLLC. Hillary Hartnett will receive her accolades as 2019 Rider Challenge Champion and Akhenaton will be honored as County Fair Final Champion and 2019 Top Point Earner. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., hosted by USTA District 8 racetracks. Dinner and awards will follow immediately at 7:30 p.m. A USTA District 8 meeting will precede the banquet and is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the hotel. Tickets are $35.00. Special room rates are available in which banquet guests can receive 15% off a reservation at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Click here for booking information. Payment should be made out and sent to: Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Fund c/o CHMS 230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 101 Albany, NY 12203 From the New York Sire Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes and USTA District 8 will host their Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Saratoga Casino Hotel, honoring the top horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the 2019 harness racing season. Awards will be presented to the 2 and 3-year old champions of the NYSS, the Excelsior Series and the New York County Fair Series. USTA District 8 will also present divisional awards, along with Horse of the year and honors for leading breeders, trainers and drivers. Racing Under Saddle-NY will also present year-end awards. The banquet will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., hosted by USTA District 8 racetracks. The banquet will follow immediately at 7:30 p.m. A USTA District 8 meeting will precede the banquet and is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the hotel. Tickets are $35.00 and include reception and dinner. Special room rates are available in which banquet guests can receive 15% off a reservation at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Click here for booking information. Guests are asked to please RSVP no later than Monday, Nov. 4. RSVPs can be given to Sarah Quinn at squinn@caphill.com or 518-694-5002. Payment should be made out and sent to: Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Fund c/o CHMS 230 Washington Avenue Extension, Suite 101 Albany, NY 12203 From the New York Sire Stakes

Batavia, NY --- Howard Owens, who is the Publisher and Editor of the online news source The Batavian, produced a compilation highlight video of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions that was held at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14). It features many great harness racing shots of the track, the fans, the horses and also includes several interviews from participants of the night's activities. The video can be viewed here. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPF8vSjRfWA) Howard Owens is originally from San Diego, California where he started his journalism career over 20 years ago. He launched The Batavian on May 1, 2008 as the first local, independently operated online-only news source for Batavia, New York and Genesee County. Since its inception 11-years ago it has become Genesee County's most popular online news site. On Wednesday (Sept. 18) the Pick-5 pool at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel will be guaranteed at $2,500.  The Pick-5 wager begins in race one and runs through race five. It is a 50-cent base wager and if all five winners aren’t selected, the carryover amount moves to the Friday program. Wednesday’s guaranteed pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the USTA’s website (www.ustrotting.com). By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Down

Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett won six races including five of the eight New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolations ran at Vernon Downs on Sunday (September 15). All divisions raced for a purse of $40,000. Here are all the NYSS consolations in the order they raced. Gobi Princess (Bartlett) much the best in the race for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Avalonia (Tyler Buter) led to the first quarter in :27.1 and to the half in :57.0. Gobi Princess ($2.80) took control just after the half and was first to three-quarters in 1:54.4. Gobi Princess, who is owned by Knuttson Trotting Inc. and trained by Annette Lorentzon, turned for home with the lead. Avalonia tried to comeback but Gobi Princess was too strong and won easily in 1:54.1. Avalonia was second best. Amanda Blue Chip (Tyler Buter) finished third. Gobi Princess is a 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass. It was her third win this season. She now has four career victories. Heavens Challenge (Bartlett) charges late to nip Boogie Roll (Joe Bongirono) in the sophomore pacing fillies consolation. Boogie Roll led the three horse field to a first quarter of :27.1 and half of :57.1. Heavens Challenge ($3.70), who is trained by Chris Height for owners James Slendrom, Jeffrey Levine, and Joe Cornacchia, led to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Boogie Roll rallied back and took the lead back as they reached the stretch. Heavens Challenge made one more charge and won by a nose in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Boogie Roll had to settle for second best. Heavens Challenge is a 3-year-old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven. It was her third win this season and seventh career victory. Genius Ma(n (Bartlett) too smart in consolation for freshmen colts & geldings. Always On The Hunt (Ray Schnittker) went to the lead and put up all the early fractions (:26.0, :55.0, 1:23.1). The first to give him a challenge was stablemate Teton Sunset (Tyler Buter) as the two went side by side. Genius Man ($3.40), who is trained by Erv Miller for owners Ron Michelon and Daniel Plouffe, went second-over third as they made the turn for home. He held off a late charge by second place finisher Ideal Artillery (Jim Morrill Jr) to win in a lifetime best of 1:52.2. Teton Sunset was third best. Genius Man is a 2-year-old colt by Art Major-Unred Hanover. It was his second win in eight career starts. Dragon Roll (Howard Parker) sneaks by late to capture NYSS consolation for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Coconut Beach (Bartlett) was first to the quarter in :27.1. Fashion Hill (Tyler Buter) took control on the backstretch and led to the half in :57.0 and to three-quarters in 1:24.4. Dragon Roll ($11.40), who is trained by Chris Ryder for owners Craig Henderson, Robert Mondillo, and Lawrence Minowitz, went first-over at three-quarters. She wrestled the lead away in deep stretch and held off the late charge of Hen Party (Matt Kakaley) to win in a lifetime best of 1:53.3. Hen Party had to settle for second. Fashion Hill held on for third. Dragon Roll is a 3-year-old filly by Roll With Joe- Little Miss Dragon. It was her second career victory in six starts. Brady Bunch (Bartlett) easily wins NYSS consolation for 3-year-old trotting colts & geldings. Whimzical Chapter (Dan Daley) led to the first quarter in :26.4. Brady Bunch ($3.80) then blew right by to take them to a half of :56.1. He then used a :29 third quarter to hit three-quarters first in 1:25.1. Brady Bunch, who is trained by Erv Miller for owners Michael Anderson, Joseph Faraldo, and Eddie Gran, had a lot in the tank as they reached the stretch. He breezed to an easy victory in a lifetime best of 1:53.2. Skyway Kon Man (Tyler Buter) came up late to finish second. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Morrill Jr.) was third. Brady Bunch is a 3-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass. It was his fourth win of the season and of his career. Bro (Tyler Buter) is upset winner in the consolation for sophomore pacing colts & geldings. Bro ($22.80) led to the first quarter in :26.3. Respect Our Flag (Joe Bongiorno) then went to the front as they headed for the backstretch. Covered Bridge (Jim Morrill Jr.) then would take his turn and led to the half in :55.1. As they headed for the final turn Bro went to the front again and led to three-quarters in 1:22.2. Bro, who is trained by Homer Hochtetler for owners Jay Hochstetler and Finkelberg Racing LLC, was strong as they turned for home. He breezed down the stretch to win in a lifetime best of 1:50.2. Respect Our Flag was second best. Chatelroll (Howard Parker) finished third. Bro is a 3-year-old colt by Rock N Roll Heaven. He was winless as a freshmen and now has won four wins as a sophomore. Discus Hanover (Jason Bartlett) scores in the NYSS consolation for freshmen colts & geldings. Discus Hanover ($6.50) took the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :27.1. He continued to lead to the half in :58.2. Take The Credit (Jim Morrill Jr) took over and led to three-quarters in 1:28.0. All Rise (Tyler Buter) took a short lead in the stretch. Discus Hanover, who is owned by trainer David Dewhurst and Phillip Hale, squeezed through an opening on the inside. Praying Ruby (Matt Kakaley) made a late three wide move but Discus Hanover was not to be denied and won in 1:57.0. Praying Ruby had to settle for second money. All Rise held on to finish third. Discus Hanover is a 2-year-old colt by Credit Winner-Dancing Flames. It was his 11th straight win in 14 starts. No Mas Drama (Joe Bongiorno) wins NYSS consolation for 2-year-old trotting fillies. Flotus (John Stark Jr.) was first to the quarter in :27.2 and first to the half in :57.0. No Mas Drama ($4.40) took the lead as they hit three-quarters in 1:26.3, No Mas Drama, who is trained by Jenn Bongiorno for owners J And T Silva Stables, Joe Bongiorno, James DiScala Jr. and Eleven Star Stable, went toe to toe with Flotus in the stretch. She would take the lead and hold on after a late charge by second place finisher Charlotte Chaplin to win in a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Flotus held on for third. No Mas Drama is a 2-year-old filly by Muscles Yankee-Massive Drama. It was her second career win in eight career starts. Bartlett's sixth win came of the night came with JDS Brent N Sheree ($4.60). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 20) with a post time of 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs    

Batavia, NY --- The weather was perfect, the track was lightning fast and 3,500 excited harness racing fans filled the property to watch eight divisions of the $1.8 million New York Sire Stake finals during the Night of Champions at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14). Two stake and three track records were rewritten during the night led by 2-year-old trotting filly Hypnotic Am (Chapter Seven-Daydream Am S) who remained undefeated in 2019 and now sporting a seven-race winning streak. Hypnotic Am (Brian Sears) tucked in second for just a moment before coming back out and taking the lead by the quarter in a soft :29. She was just cruising on the lead past the half and to three-quarters while Sevntimesalady (Ake Svanstedt) moved into position behind her and tried to keep up around the turn for a stretch run. In the lane Hypnotic Am was trotting up a storm and had no intentions of letting anyone get near her. Sears sat chilly with the whip on his shoulder while Hypnotic Am pulled away to an easy three-length victory in 1:57.1. The time was a new stake record (formerly 1:57.2 set by Barn Bella in 2016) and a new track record (formerly 1:59 set by Plunge Blue Chip in 2017). "She is a very nice filly and does anything that you want her to," said Sears. "Marcus (Melander) does a wonderful job getting his horses ready to compete." Hypnotic Am ($2.10) was bred by her owner Courant Inc. and is trained by Marcus Melander. The next history-making race was won by 2-year-old trotting colt Third Shift (Chapter Seven-Overnight Command) who upset after the favorite Barn Holden made an untimely break. Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt) was all business right from the start as he took the front in :28.2 and led by two-lengths. They trotted past the half and on to the second circuit when Third Shift opened up a three-length lead and looked very much like a winner. Heading into the last turn, Barn Holden (Andy Miller) who had been stalking from second, had a shot at the leader but made a break halfway through the bend. Chaptima (Trond Smedshammer) who was drafting third continued to gain ground and Svanstedt started to feel the pressure. But he got after Third Shift and worked him down the lane and outlasted Chaptiama to win by a length in 1:56. The time was a new stake record (formerly 1:56.3 set by Gimpanzee) and a new track record (formerly 1:57.1 set by Barn Holden) Third Shift ($10.00) is owned by Melby Gard Inc. and Ake Svanstedt, who also trains the winner. Third Shift was bred by Winbak Farm, The third record beaker was 2-year-old pacing colt Cigars And Port (So Surreal-Sweet On Art) who turned in a lifetime best effort for the win. Cigars And Port (Jason Bartlett) and Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) both left and seated one-two in the turn. They remained that way past the quarter and to a half that Bartlett backed down with a :30.2 split. The race moved up the backstretch still in single file, but Groovy Joe was in the two-path waiting to make his move. Kakaley pulled the trigger halfway into the turn, came aggressively and drew even with the leader. At the top of the stretch, Groovy Joe took a short lead from Cigars And Port and looked to have the advantage. But Cigars And Port swelled up and came back to open up a length lead at the wire where he won in 1:54. "Training over the winter I knew this was the horse that would be real good in the sire stakes," said Bartlett. "He was a little bit of a handful scoring down but he was perfect in the race." The time was a new track record (formerly 1:54.1 set by Melodies Major in 2018) Cigars And Port ($4.80) is owned by Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing, Ted Gewertz and Steve Arnold and trained by Ray Schnittker. Steve Jones bred the colt. The night also produced a record handle as a result of the excellent card. Monies wagers beat the all-time handle by 93% since Western Regional Off Track Betting re-opened the track in 2002. "These finals were all we had hoped for and more and we would like to thank the trustees for selecting Batavia Downs as the 2019 site," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Racing at Batavia Downs. "This event had a substantial impact on the local economy with all neighboring hotels sold out and other businesses in the area getting additional business over this past week. It was good for racing, but it was also good for the entire economy of the Genesee County region." Here is a recap of the rest of the stakes. 3-year-old pacing fillies Zero Tolerance (Heston Blue Chip-Feelinglikeastar) Driver - Jim Morrill Jr. Owner - Val D'Or Farms and Ted Gewertz Trainer - Joe Holloway Breeder - Winbak Farms Time - 1:54.4 Mutuel - $2.30 Zero Tolerance (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away third while So Awesome (Tyler Buter) cut pedestrian fractions of :28.2 and :58.1 to the half. Morrill then pulled Zero Tolerance first-up past the half and drew even with So Awesome at the three-quarters. After pacing side by side for about an eighth of a mile, Zero Tolerance just pulled away with a two-length lead and hit the wire a wrapped-up winner over Brooklyn Lilacs (Joe Bongiorno) by 1-¾ lengths in 1:54.4. "She followed some good early fractions and came home real well," said her trainer Joe Holloway. "She'll be going to Lexington next and then to the Breeders Crown." 3-year-old trotting fillies Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Sirenuse) Driver - Jim Morrill Jr. Owner - Barabara Boese, James Boese and Richard Banca Trainer - Richard Banca Breeder - Blue Chip Bloodstock Time - 1:56.4 Mutuel - $4.50 Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) took no prisoners and went right to the front. With Blue Ribbon Gal (Brian Sears) and Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) making breaks in the first turn, Sensibility (Scott Zeron) who also left, easily grabbed a two-hole trip behind the favorite. Morrill backed the half down to 1:00 and forced Stella Jane (Corey Callahan) and Winndevie (Jason Bartlett) to come in the outer flow to chase. Quincy Blue Chip hit the gas on the second circuit, smoking a :28.1 third quarter that thwarted the outside attackers short-lived challenge. Morrill then let his filly have her head around the last turn and into the lane and she trotted home without issue ahead of a fast-closing Winndevie (Jason Bartlett) in 1:56.4. "I got to the half in a real soft fraction and then let her trot home all by herself," said Morrill. "She does it all by herself; she's a real nice filly." 2-year-old pacing fillies The Fun Marshall (So Surreal-Hallmark Hanover) Driver - Scott Zeron Owner - Richard Silverman, Mary Kinsey Arnold, Edward Mcenery and Michael Gluckman Trainer - Richard Silverman Breeder - Steve Jones Time - 1:54.2  Mutuel - $7.50 The Fun Marshall (Scott Zeron) was automatically in front off the pylons as no one else left in the race. She got to the quarter in :27.4 and the half in :58.1. There, Cash Roll (Andy Miller) started to pursue from the outside with Merga Hanover (Matt Kakaley) on her back. The group sped up the backside in :28 flat when Kakaley made a bold move and tipped Merga Hanover three-deep going into the last turn. With the pace still stiff around the final bend, Merga Hanover's bid failed and The Fun Marshall began to extend her lead as they came to the wire where she won by five in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2. "We took our time with her all year and she really developed, and the rail helped tonight," said Zeron. "I've never had her on the front before and when that horse tipped three-deep she just opened up. She paced as fast as she could down the lane." 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) Driver - Brian Sears  Owner - Courant Inc. and S R F Stable Trainer - Marcus Melander  Breeder - Order By Stable Time - 1:56.2  Mutuel - $2.10 Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) was all business and left nothing to chance from the start. He went right to the front and did things at his own discretion. With no one making any moves behind him, Sears cut very soft fractions of :29 and :59.1 before speeding it up a bit to 1:28.1 in the third panel. Winnerup (Trond Smedshammer) who had moved from the back of the pack, made his way to second and got as close as Sears wheel. But the party was over from there as Gimpanzee stretched out and flew home in :28.1 to win by two-lengths in 1:56.2. 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star) Driver - Matt Kakaley  Owner - Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico Trainer - Ray Schnittker  Breeder - Steve Jones Time - 1:54  Mutuel - $2.10 Hickfromfrenchlick (Matt Kakaley) had post one but let Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) take the lead off the gate. That courtesy was short-lived as Kakaley pulled Hickfromfrenchlick back out and retook the front at the quarter in :28. They got to the half when Buddy Hill (Tyler Buter) came calling from fourth and challenged the leader. Hickfromfrenchlick and Buddy Hill battled side by side up the backstretch to the three-quarters and around the last turn. But as game as Buddy Hill was, Hickfromfrenchlick was just better. He pulled away in the lane and won by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54. "He's a real good colt. He was sore last year and came back good this year," said trainer Ray Schnittker. "He was real good tonight." In Batavia Downs signature event, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Invitational pace, Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) got away fifth while Our Max Factor N (Jason Bartlett) took the field to the half in :57. Southwind Amazon (Jim Morrill Jr.) came first-up and drew even with Our Max Factor N and it became a match race for a while from there. The pair paced furiously in a quick :27.3 third panel and continued the battle into the final turn. When it looked like one of them would win, Kakaley shook Dorsoduro Hanover loose at the head of the stretch, tipped three-deep entering the lane and made up three lengths in the final eighth to win by a head in 1:52.2. "He went a real game mile and closed well off the slow fractions up front," said Kakaley. The millionaire son of Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss scored his 15th lifetime win and added to his earnings total that now sits at $1,449,151. Dorsoduro Hanover ($4.30) is owned by Burke Racing, J & T Silva,Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Ron Burke trains the winner. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Seven industry publicists and harness racing handicappers give their selections for the $1.8 million New York Sire Stake Night of Champions finals and the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace. Dave Brower-Meadowlands broadcaster, handicapper and oddsmaker Race 2 7-2-1 Zero Tolerance has been virtually unbeatable in NY so far this year, but could get a nice test from the outer draw. So Awesome has picked up her game of late and might be able to sit a "garden trip" with a big kick at the end. Race 3 3-7-8 Let's take a shot here with Quincy Blue Chip, who benefited from the post draw over Winndevie! She has beaten that foe a couple of times and I think her inside edge will make the difference, AS long as she trots! Race 4 7-4-1 Merga Hanover should have no trouble crossing over in here and has been the dominant force on the NYSS circuit so far. I'm not even worried about the outside post. She's simply the best of these. Race 5 2-3-4 Hypnotic AM hasn't lost yet this year and it's not going to happen tonight, after the very "friendly" draw of post two. This is just a killer in the making, and I hope we get to see her go Grand Circuit in Lexington after this. Race 6 4-1-5 Dorsoduro Hanover got a nice break after "keeping up" in the McKee on Hambo Day and had the perfect prep for this at Scioto. This is a race he will be "aimed" for and I think he just outclasses these for the Burke Brigade and Matty K. Race 7 8-1-4 Just to make things interesting, Groovy Joe got stuck behind the eight-ball, but it might not matter. He's beaten pretty much every horse in the field already and he's also proven he can overcome a bad post. Easily best with no American Rebel around. Race 8 6-7-2 In the night's most wide-open contest, I think Berkery J might have a little speed edge on the outside-drawers. Sears was listed on two in and I hope he took this one. That will put the Ducharme colt over the top! Race 9 7-2-4 If you want to bet against Gimpanzee, I suggest you go buy a hot dog instead!!! Post seven won't matter for this super-talented Melander-trained colt and it's on to the Grand Circuit against his stablemates after this.. Race 10 1-4-6 I've really enjoyed watching Hickfromfrenchlick mature this season for the duo of Schnittker and Kakaley. This is a real nice colt, and he's getting better and more mature. The draw puts the race in Matty's capable hands, and I think they will be very tough to catch! Michael Carter-Social Media and Publicity Director-USTA Race 2 2-3-7-1 This race becomes a little more wide-open with Zero Tolerance drawing towards the outside. She hasn't raced from the outside on a half in a while and that is obviously a little concerning. So Awesome has been a consistent filly who has the speed to ration out the fractions. Race 3 6-3-7-2 Pilgrims Lass added Hopples and seems to be over whatever breaking issues she may have been having. She is one to watch late as she will be coming from off the pace. Race 4 7-1-4-3 Merga Hanover is going to be a tough beat from out here, the start three back from post six at Batavia is really hard to ignore. I'm not sure that you beat her here. Race 5 2-3-8-4 This is going to be an interesting race, because the top three horses have only faced each other once a piece and so far its been all about Hypnotic AM. She is a tough filly, who already has proven her Grand Circuit potential. Race 6 2-7-4-3 My hometown hero, Southwind Amazon, gets a try against Grand Circuit caliber again tonight. He has been able to hold his own against some of the top level horses, look for him to be sneaky good tonight. Race 7 8-1-5-3 While post eight will be tough to overcome, Groovy Joe has raced from out here before with little to no problems. Not sure you'll get much of a price on him, but I like his chances. Race 8 3-5-2-7 This is one of the more competitive Sire Stakes finals of the night and that makes it a fantastic betting race. Hobbs gets some much needed post help, and if he fires like he did two back after a perfect trip, he wins. Race 9 2-7-5-8 This becomes a whole new race with Gimpanzee drawing the outside, even though he is the obvious class of the race. Lucky Weekend gets Morrill back in the bike and if anyone can win from this spot and take down the champ it's him. Race 10 4-1-8-3 Shake That House entered even though he is eligible to the Jug on Thursday, he looks to rebound following a tough effort in the Empire Breeders Championship. He is as versatile as they come. This is a whole new race with American Mercury skipping. Bob "Hollywood" Heyden-Handicapper Race 2 3-7-6 Excellent and one of the more wide open NYSS events, Sulky Queen reunites with Sears and gets the jump on the outside leavers. Race 3 8-7-3 Get those Pick-4 tickets going and don't be shy about hitting #8 a few times. Remember that sire Credit Winner won the first SIX NYSS finals he was ever in back in 2004-2005! Race 4 8-7-3 NO-this is not a mirror image-the SAME numbers two races in a row. A very consistent sort Galleria Gal can take advantage of a lot of uncertainty ( XTRA Lead changes) and roll by late. Race 5 2-3-8 Melander and a perfect freshman Hypnotic AM-I think we've seen this movie before. Division championship will be hers with a win tonight and a Breeders Crown. Race 6 4-5-6 2018 Jug Runnerup but then the divisional champion Dorsodoro Hanover finds himself in a good spot to get the latter half of his season rolling. This should be a barn burner. Race 7 8-7-5 Groovy Joe has never been worse than second-including three back when he started from the same post. Luke-warm call for him in a race where you might want to hit the all-button if you've caught something early. Race 8 7-5-1 Chaptiama has gotten hot at just the right time for Trond Smedshammer. Bred by Winbak Farms, remember they more than doubled any other breeder in the NYSS program in 2018 with better than $1.8 Million and are on the doorstep of their 10,000th winner! Race 9 7-5-2 Gimpanzee The King should have no issue dispensing these en route to his 15th career win. His stirring Yonkers Trot win was everything it loo0ked like and more. Race 10 3-1-8 Arties Deal is my upset special for the night. The rail is sure to get way overbet, and the leavers figure to be many. His 2 and 3 YO season look amazingly alike 2/11 at 2 125G; 2/11 at 3 134 G. Good spot to get his REAL season into gear. Ken Warkentin-Track Announcer-The Meadowlands Race 2 7-6-3 Zero Tolerance draws a challenging post, yet the undefeated top points-getter in her NYSS division is tough to deny fresh off an easy win @ Batavia Race 3 2-8-7 Stella Jane just missed to Sensibility with a perfect trip @ Yonkers, that may have signaled a return to top form & she has the inside advantage on the major players in here Race 4 1-7-6 The Fun Marshall was a solid runner up to Merga Hanover last out @ Vernon Downs, a rousing winner @ Saratoga before that & now has rail control to trip out Race 5 2-3-8 Hypnotic AM has simply been flawless for the red-hot Team Melander, Grand Circuit caliber filly draws inside where Brian Sears can control her destiny Race 6 6-4-7 Hayden Hanover, a 1:47.3 Meadowlands performer this season, regained form in his last two, just missed to Iamarocknrollegend N last out @ Yonkers Race 7 3-8-5 Save Me A Dance was a hard-charging second in the Sheppard Final, tuned up with a solid third @ Tioga Downs & draws inside the standout Groovy Joe Race 8 4-7-9 Note the 1:54.4 tally @ Vernon Downs on 7-25, rebounded with a close second last out, plenty of potential here & Ake Svanstedt will have him primed for the big money Race 9 7-8-4 2018 undefeated Dan Patch Award winner Gimpanzee was a very good third in the Hambletonian Final & crushed in the Yonkers Trot, world class colt Race 10 4-1-3 Shake That House was a decisive upsetter in the Hempt, got torched in the EBC, regrouped & draws well for the rematch with Hickfromfrenchlick Gordon Waterstone-Associate Editor-The Horseman And Fair World Race 2 2-3-7 Zero Tolerance is obviously the one to beat and will be the betting favorite, but So Awesome has a post advantage so let's take an early stab that she'll use that to turn the tables and pull the upset. Race 3 3-8-7 Quincy Blue Chip has only beaten herself this year so as long as she tends to business she will be tough to collar. Winndevie and Sensibility should be moving forward off the gate and if the choice makes a mistake, they'll be the ones taking advantage. Race 4 1-7-3 Merga Hanover has been nearly flawless but again the post advantage here goes to The Fun Marshall and that gives her the edge to finally reverse the order. Race 5 2-3-8 Hypnotic Am comes into the race unbeaten and she will come out of the race unbeaten as she looks head and shoulder above the rest. Seventimesalady is the horse to key underneath for exotics. Race 6 4-2-3 Dorsoduro Hanover finally gets away from Lather Up and outside posts, and that combination should make the difference and lead to victory. Toss Southwind Amazon's last start as well as Hitman Hill's, and you have the rest of the ticket filled. Race 7 5-8-1 If Groovy Joe had drawn anywhere inside he would have been hard to beat, but post 8 negates his advantage so the edge goes to Cigars And Port, who should get a great trip in here. But don't overlook Sandy's Bolt, who has post 1 and comes in off a layoff and heavy backing in his previous attempts. Race 8 6-8-7 The early speed is all on the outside here and it seems likely Berkery J and Bourbon Express will be the last ones to the front. It will be a battle from there, but don't overlook Barn Holden or even Chaptiama, who has won two straight. Race 9 7-5-4 It's not a question if Gimpanzee wins here, but a question of "by how many lengths?" He's in his own league here, and among the other starters give Livinonthedash the nod. Race 10 1-4-3 Hard to imagine a scenario from post 1 that Hickfromfrenchlick won't have the lead at the first-quarter call, whether he forces the issue or there is some quick give-and-take. Shake That House could be auditioning for a Little Brown Jug appearance here so a big effort is expected. Garnett Barnsdale-Public handicapper Race 2 3-7-2 In races like these on 1/2-mile tracks, post position is often the great equalizer and the best horse (Zero Tolerance) may get compromised by post 7. Sulky Queen for the upset. Race 3 3-2-8 Quincy Blue Chip jogged vs. most of these here on August 23rd and she will be mighty tough if she stays flat this time. Consider Stella Jane for Exacta and Pick 4 value. Race 4 1-7-2 The Fun Marshall gets the nod here mainly due to post position advantage over Merga Hanover. Zeron should be looking to send this filly coast-to-coast on the engine. Race 5 2-3-8 Hypnotic AM has been sensational all season long and her perfect record should remain intact here. Seven Times A Lady could trip out and add a bit of value to the Exacta. Race 6 4-3-1 Dorsoduro Hanover was raced conservatively after missing a month between starts last time and he produced a good closing effort while being hopelessly wide. Expect aggression here. Race 7 8-1-2 Groovy Joe has already shown he can overcome an outer post on a 1/2-miler and getting the 8-hole here will boost his price. Race 8 4-6-8 With so much speed lined up on the outside of the gate here, this race could set up for a closer to upset and I'll look to Third Shift to turn the trick. Race 9 7-2-5 It's hard to imagine Yonkers Trot winner Gimpanzee getting beat in this spot. Look for value underneath. Race 10 1-4-3 There's a very good chance that Hickfromfrenchlick will control this race from start-to-finish using rail control and there appears to be little value in this race. This may be a spot to cold punch a $10 Tri or Super. Tim Bojarski-Media Relations and Track Handicapper-Batavia Downs Race 2 7-2-1 Despite not having Miller behind her for the first time in her life, Zero Tolerance gets it done again. Race 3 3-8-5 Even with the sporadic breaks, Quincy Blue Chip is worth that gamble. Race 4 7-1-3 Merga Hanover is on a serious roll and I don't see that changing here tonight. Race 5 2-8-3 Hypnotic Am could be the Dan Patch 2-year-old trotting filly of the year. She is total class. Race 6 4-1-3 The all-time track record goes down right here. Dorsoduro Hanover has the class advantage and should set the pace. Race 7 2-8-4 One of only two horses to beat Groovy Joe all year, Freedom Warrior won the draw and will win the race. Race 8 5-6-7 Barn Holden is the hometown favorite and will deliver for the fans. Race 9 7-5-8 Gimpanzee is peerless in here. I don't see any way he loses. Race 10 1-4-3 Hickfromfrenchlick beat Shake That House right here with a similar draw. He gets the advantage again and the result will be the same.   byTim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

Vernon Downs will play host to the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolations for freshmen and sophomore harness racing pacers and trotters on Sunday (September 15). Purse for all eight NYSS races is $40,000. The 6-5 morning line favorite for the NYSS consolation for 3-year-old trotting fillies is Gobi Princess (Jason Bartlett). The filly by Muscle Mass is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and trained by Anette Lorentzon. She has two wins this season including a win in the Continental Victory Stakes at the Meadowlands (August 2). In the NYSS consolation for 3-year-old pacing fillies the 6-5 morning line favorite is Money Shot Hanover (Tyler Buter). The filly by Art Major is owned by trainer Mark Harder, Rick Phillips and Deena Frost. She is winless so far in 2019 but has three career wins including a lifetime best mark of 1:53.0 at Vernon as a freshman. The top choice in the NYSS consolation for freshmen pacing colts & geldings is the Erv Miller trained Genius Man (Jason Bartlett) at 2-1. The colt by Art Major-Unred Hanover is owned by Ronald Michelon and Daniel Plouffe. He has a win, two seconds, and a third in seven career starts. The Chris Ryder trained entry of Dragon Roll (Howard Parker) and Turnthefrownaround (Joe Bongiorno) is the 9-5 morning line favorite in the NYSS consolation for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Dragon Roll (Roll With Joe-Little Miss Dragon) is owned by Craig Henderson, Robert Mondillo, and Lawrence Minowitz. She has a victory in five career starts. Turnthefrownaround (Roll With Joe-Knockout Pout) is owned by Craig Henderson. She won a leg of the NYSS at Tioga Downs for his lone career win. The 5-2 morning line favorite in the NYSS consolation for 3-year-old trotting colts & geldings is the Erv Miller Trained Brady Bunch (Jason Bartlett). The gelding by Muscle Mass is owned by Mary Jane Anderson, Joseph Faraldo, and Eddie Gran. He has three wins and two second in five starts this season. The NYSS consolation for sophomore pacing colts & geldings features the 5-2 morning line favorite Covered Bridge (Jim Morrill Jr.). The gelding by American Ideal is trained by Jessica Okusko for owners David Smith and James Gianuzzi. He has three wins this season plus an impressive third place finish in the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Tioga. The 9-5 morning line favorite in the NYSS consolation for 2-year-old colts & geldings is Discus Hanover (Jason Bartlett). The colt by Credit Winner-Dancing Flames is owned by trainer David Dewhurst and Philip Hale. He has won his last seven races including a victory in the New York County Fair final his last time out. He is now 10 for 13 in his career. Flotus (John Stark Jr.) is the 5-2 morning line choice in the NYSS consolation for freshmen trotting fillies. The filly by RC Royalty-Miss Fidget has two wins, two seconds, and two thirds in eight career starts. She is owned by trainer Starks Jr., David Smith, James and Daniel Gianuzzi. The 11 race card starts at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs  

Batavia, NY --- When 64 of the best New York-bred harness racing trotters and pacers enter the paddock at Batavia Downs for the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions on Saturday (Sept. 14), there will be three horsemen that will have a homecoming of sorts as their careers all got started in Batavia at the oldest lighted harness track in America. Ray Schnittker from Tonawanda, New York, Steve Pratt from Corfu, New York and Chris Oakes from Akron, New York all mastered the trade they have excelled in so well over the years at Batavia Downs. Schnittker got his start in 1977 racing horses owned by his father. By the late 1980's he moved his colors to New York City and found success driving on that major circuit. His rise to prominence in the sport eventually led to his greatest career success of a Hambletonian victory with his Hall of Fame trotter, Deweycheatumnhowe (Muscles Yankee-Trolley Square) 1:50.4 ($3,155,178). With his base of operations in Goshen, New York now for many years now, Schnittker has been a regular on the NYSS circuit racing many great 2- and 3-year-olds over that time. Schnittker's lifetime stats as a driver show 2,795 wins and $42,809,617 earned and as a trainer 1,266 wins with $39,755,029 in purses. This year Schnittker has three starters in the finals. 3-year-old pacing colt Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star) 1:48.4 ($414,427) and 2-year-old pacing colts Splash Brother (So Surreal-Sugarcoated) 1:54.2 ($48,961) and Cigars And Port (So Surreal-Sweet On Art) 1:55.3 ($79,851). Hickfromfrenchlick has developed into one of the best sophomore pacing colts around. He currently has the sixth fastest win time of the year (1:48.4) for a 3-year-old and is the ninth richest ($275,866) second-year pacing male in North America. He has four NYSS wins this year, but he also won the $238,200 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga in a lifetime best effort. He comes into the finals on a four-race winning streak and looks extremely tough to beat on Saturday. Pratt started in the business in 1970 and had much success racing overnights, and mostly trotters, at Batavia Downs. Although he competed his own stable part-time, he eventually got into racing young horses at the fairs and made the move to the NYSS in the 1990's. Over the last eight years he has been a constant in this series with a string of highly competitive trotters that all had "Barn" in their names that also went on to be accomplished overnight performers as aged horses. A very high percentage trainer, Pratt's career numbers show 236 wins out of only 823 starts and $2,785,646 in earnings; the bulk of which came in the last eight years competing in the NYSS. 2-year-old trotting colt Barn Holden (Conway Hall-Barn Babe) 1:55.3 ($126,168) is Pratt's starter in the finals this year and he's as solid a performer as any he's had to date. Barn Holden is the points (224) and earnings ($126,168) leader in his division and comes into the final with three wins, two seconds and two thirds out of eight starts. His only lifetime start at Batavia was on August 7 when went wire to wire by 8-3/4 lengths in 1:57.1 to set a new track record for 2-year-old trotting colts. It's a short ship from Corfu (where Pratt still lives) to Batavia and Barn Holden will return to the scene of that record Saturday to try and repeat his performance. Oakes got his trainer's license in 1984 and campaigned horses for his father in western New York for several years. He made the move to Pennsylvania and (then) Pocono Downs in 1992 and it was there his career took off. A very winning and high percentage trainer, Oakes has won multiple training titles at his home track the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and his horses have won a plethora of major stakes across North America. In his career Oakes has sent 1,875 winners to post and has earned $28,853,311 in purses. Oakes has two starters in the NYSS finals this year and both are in the same division. They are 3-year-old pacing colts Shake That House (American Ideal-Shake That Junk) 1:47.4 ($452,804) and Buddy Hill (Roll With Joe-Lessofit Hanover) 1:52 ($141,313). Shake That House won two out of three NYSS starts this year but went on a real tear in between. He won his elimination and then the final of the Max C. Hempt Memorial at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in back to back miles of 1:49 and 1:49.2. Then two weeks after that he scored his lifetime mark of 1:47.4 in his second NYSS win taken at Vernon Downs. That time annihilated the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts and was just one-fifth of a second off the all-time pacing track record there. After a two-week rest, Shake That House had a qualifying tightener that he won in 1:53.1 in preparation for this start and comes in fresh for the race. The $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions that are comprised of eight $225,000 races will be held at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14) with a first race post time of 6 p.m. Peter Kleinhans will be the tracks guest host and handicapper for the in-house and simulcast broadcast and Heather Wilder will be in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle interviewing the winners and all their connections after each stake race. There will be two $7,500 guaranteed pools in both the early and late Pick-4 wagers that night and both will be all-stake Pick-4's (races 3-6 and races 7-10). The pools are part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and free program pages will be available on the USTA's website and through links on the Batavia Downs Facebook page when they become available. Free full card programs are now available for download from the Daily Racing Form Harness. There will be a T-shirt giveaway courtesy of the NYSS on Saturday night as well. Fans attending the races live only need to swipe their Player's Club card at guest services starting at 4:30 p.m. to receive a ticket to get their shirt after the seventh race. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Harness racing drivers competing in the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14) will be available trackside for a meet and greet autograph session before the races get underway from 5-5:30 p.m. They will be set up next to the Purple Haze Winner's Circle for this event. Drivers who will be signing include Hall of Famer Brian Sears, Jason Bartlett, Tyler Buter, Corey Callahan, Matt Kakaley, Jim Morrill Jr. and Scott Zeron. "These guys have driven here multiple times this year and have developed quite a following from our fans," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Racing. "We hope they take the opportunity to come down and talk face to face with some of the best drivers currently competing in North America before they hit the track for the biggest night of racing in the history of western New York." By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

BATAVIA, N.Y. - New York's richest night of racing will be contested at Batavia Downs this Saturday, Sept. 14, with the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes "Night of Champions," celebrating its 30th year. Eight harness racing events featuring the best state-bred 2- and 3-Year-Olds will be contested for $225,000 purses each. Post time is 6:00 p.m. A full list of entries can be found here. Batavia Downs was selected as the site of this year's "Night of Champions" through a competitive proposal process among tracks which host NYSS events. Tracks were considered on various criteria, including the offering of a 24-hour detention barn, and the ability to promote the event and offer an exciting fan experience. "We are thrilled to be at Batavia Downs this year, which has done an amazing job of generating excitement in the 'Night of Champions' being held in Western New York," said M. Kelly Young, Executive Director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "On the track, our horses proved once again that New York State is a major player in Standardbred breeding and racing and we are excited to showcase their talents." "The management of Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel was proud and excited to be named the site of the 2019 Night of Champions," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Racing. "Western New York has been a hotbed of harness racing since pari-mutuel betting was legalized in 1940 and remains that way today. Western Regional OTB has put numerous improvements into this facility over the years to draw better horses and in turn, maintain a strong customer base. We look forward to hosting all the connections of these championship-caliber New York-bred horses on Saturday and putting on the best show possible for everyone." Race sponsors for the event include New York-based breeders and institutions: Race 2: Cameo Hills Farm Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies Race 3: Allerage Farm Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Fillies Race 4: Winbak Farm Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Fillies Race 5: Crawford Farms Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Fillies Race 7: Genesee Valley Farm Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Colts Race 8: Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Colts Race 9: SUNY Morrisville Equine Institute Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Colts Race 10: Blue Chip Farms Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Colts A cocktail reception for the connections of the horses in the finals, co-sponsored by Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program, will take place prior to the event. The NYSS Consolation Finals will be held at Vernon Downs on Sunday, Sept. 15. The finals for the NYSS Excelsior A Series are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The New York Sire Stakes program promotes the breeding, buying, and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State, and is administered by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. It was the first program of is kind, featuring 2- and 3-year-old colts and fillies, and has become the model for state-bred racing programs in North America. From the New York Sire Stakes

Batavia, NY --- Zero Tolerance comes into her $225,000 New York Sire Stake (NYSS) Night of Champions final at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept. 14) with quite a body of work. She is the undefeated top point-getter (250) and highest earning 3-year-old pacing filly in her division ($177,500) and is currently the fourth richest filly in North America overall this year with $382,423 on her harness racing card. She is a naturally talented filly that has been developed and managed masterfully by her Hall of Fame connections of driver David Miller and trainer Joe Holloway. Zero Tolerance was a first crop daughter of Heston Blue Chip and was a $30,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Select Sale in 2017 and it's no surprise why her trainer Joe Holloway decided to buy her based on a couple successful fillies he had previously raced. "I selected her for her maternal side. I had Somwherovrarainbow and Rainbow Room and they were both out of Rainbow Blue and I had good success with both them. And this filly is out of a sister to Rainbow Blue named Feelinglikeastar," said Holloway. Zero Tolerance started her 2-year-old campaign strong with a win at the Meadowlands in 1:51.3. Her first NYSS race was the following week where she finished second by a neck after cutting the mile. After being sick and having three weeks off, she returned to the track and rattled off five consecutive wins including the Geers and Reynolds stakes at Tioga Downs and NYSS legs at Vernon Downs and Monticello Raceway. She did not race in the NYSS final, rather closed out the year with an aggressive Grand Circuit schedule where she won the Bluegrass at the Red Mile before finishing second in the Breeders Crown at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Three Diamonds at the Meadowlands. This year, Zero Tolerance came out of the gate and won her first three NYSS races by a combined 16-3/4 lengths. She hit the Grand Circuit again for two starts finishing second in the James Lynch Memorial at Pocono in 1:49.3 and fourth in the Mistletoe Shalee at the Meadowlands. She returned to New York and won the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga in a lifetime best of 1:50.2 and two more NYSS races at Saratoga and Batavia to go five for five in the series. "She's been good in the NYSS this year so far. Each time she has raced she's performed for us and that was the plan. When she looked like she was dominant, I was going to go to the Jugette. But where it's New York, and it's such good money, basically close to the same money as the Jugette after you've got to go heats, we decided to race here instead," said Holloway. In that last start at Batavia, Zero Tolerance got away third to the half before pulling with cover up the backstretch and simply paced away from the field with no urging down the lane to win easily in 1:54.2. There has been almost three weeks between starts for Zero Tolerance but her routine didn't change that much. "As far as the time off, I usually don't train her too much anyway. So I trained her real hard a week out and I trained her lightly on Wednesday (Sept. 11). The seven hole doesn't help us in the final but she'll be alright," said Holloway. "Overall she's a nice filly although she gets a little bit high strung now and then. But a lot of my better fillies have been that way. Probably the biggest thing she does this year is she's bad in the winner's circle. She kicks and I don't want her hurting herself so we haven't been in the winner's circle to long when she gets there." The NYSS final will not be the last race of the year for Zero Tolerance. Holloway indicated that she would be going to Lexington for two weeks before the Breeders Crown and the Matron. Zero Tolerance comes into the NYSS finals as one of the richest participants this year with $868,236 made lifetime and she will be looking to substantially add to that total on Saturday night. The $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions that are comprised of eight $225,000 races will be held at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 14) with a first race post time of 6 p.m. Peter Kleinhans will be the tracks guest host and handicapper for the in-house and simulcast broadcast and Heather Wilder will be in the Purple Haze Winner's Circle interviewing the winners and all their connections after each stake race. There will be two $7,500 guaranteed pools in both the early and late Pick-4 wagers that night and both will be all-stake Pick-4's (races 3-6 and races 7-10). The pools are part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and free program pages will be available on the USTA's website and through links on the Batavia Downs Facebook page when they become available. Free full card programs will also be available for download from the Daily Racing Form starting Thursday. There will be a T-shirt giveaway courtesy of the NYSS on Saturday night as well. Fans attending the races live only need to swipe their Player's Club card at guest services starting at 4:30 p.m. to receive a ticket to get their shirt after the seventh race. $4,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool Friday As a result of no one selecting a winning combination in the Pick-5 wager at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 11), there will be a $1,302 carryover and a $4,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool when racing resumes at 6 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 13) at the oldest lighted harness track in America. Friday’s guaranteed pool is also part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program which offers free program pages courtesy of Trackmaster for the Pick-5 races at Batavia Downs under the “Handicapping” tab at www.ustrotting.com .  The Pick-5 is a 50-cent base wager that begins in race one and runs through race five. There is no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners, the entire pool (minus takeout) will be carried over once again. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

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