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Plainville, MA --- Piercewave Hanover climbed up the class ladder after last week's inaugural Plainridge Park victory, but the move made little difference. After turning back multiple challenges, Piercewave Hanover handily took the $14,000 Winners-Over trot on Thursday afternoon (June 21) in a career best effort. Shawn Gray went right for the lead with Piercewave Hanover but the pair would be under duress the entire mile. First, Just Make Believe (Joe Di Stefano) left right along with them and acted as a prompter for the first half of the race. Parked out from the word go, Just Make Believe pushed the quarter in :26.2 and the half in :55.1. As they moved up the back stretch the rim-rider faded but Piercewave Hanover would still not get a breather. Approaching the three-quarter pole, Osprey Impact (Mike Stevenson) tipped three wide around Just Make Believe and moved right alongside Piercewave Hanover. These two trotted in close proximity to the seven-eighths pole when Osprey Impact packed it in. The final push came from Buff (Greg Merton) who had gotten a perfect pocket trip. He made a late charge, but it was short lived as Piercewave Hanover trotted away under a loose-line drive by Gray to win in 1:53, which was a new lifetime mark. Piercewave Hanover ($5.00) now tops $40,000 in seasonal earnings for owners FBP Racing Stable and Jordan Derue, who also trains him. Trainer Domenico Cecere and the connections of Lindy Farms remained hot on Thursday winning both $10,000 conditioned trotting co-feature events. Kinda Lucky Lindy (Greg Merton) took a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2 after scoring from off the pace by three lengths in the first race and French Moni (Patrizio Ancora) also registered a career best effort after winning by three lengths from behind in 1:54.1 in the eighth. Greg Merton, Drew Campbell and Shawn Gray all had driving triples on the card. Live racing returns to Plainridge Park on Friday (June 22) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Robert Gary Gray, age 56, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 10, 2018 at Saratoga Hospital, surrounded by his family. He was born on October 28, 1961 in Norway, Maine, the son of Hazel Toothaker Gray and the late Gary R. Gray. After finishing school Mr. Gray entered the Army and learned to drive truck while serving his country. This is a skill would stay with him for the rest of his life. Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Gray drove everything from commercial tractor-trailers to horse transportation vans of all sizes and became a friend to everyone who met him while shipping race horses all over New England and the Northeast for years. Aside from earning a living to support his family, Mr. Gray's true passion had always been harness racing and he took part in the sport whenever time allowed. First attending the races with his father, he did the same with his children as they grew up and all enjoyed the races together as a family affair. Mr. Gray was a trainer and driver and was first licensed in 1982. He was an amateur driver his whole life and competed in the CKG Billings series as well as amateur races in Maine and most recently in Massachusetts at Plainridge Park in 2017. On the training side, Mr. Gray oversaw a small stable most of his career and posted 1,412 lifetime starts with 189 wins, 183 seconds and 169 thirds. Those starts earned his trainees $564,166 in purses. His best two years were 2011 and 2012 when he won a combined 108 races and $300,328 in purses. He did everything he could to provide the best for the horses in his care, but always made time to help those that needed a hand at the racetrack. All of his racing colleagues, who affectionately knew him as Bobby, have truly lost a great friend. He has been a fixture in the harness racing community for many years and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Mr. Gray cared deeply about his family, was a proud husband and father and always gave all he had to them. He is survived by his beloved wife Sheryl Gray; daughters Dawn Gray and Mikayla Gray; son Zackary Gray; sisters Patricia Mandeville (Scott) and JoAnn Nichols (Butch); brother John Gray (Omar Vazquez); mother-in-law Patricia Phipps; devoted friend Jim Nickerson (Heidi) along with many nieces, nephews and friends who will miss him dearly. A funeral service will be held at 10 am on Friday, June 15, 2018 at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Family and friends may call from 6 pm to 8 pm on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Ave, Saratoga Springs, New York. There will be a celebration of life at 11 am on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the American Legion, 46 Griffin St., Gardiner, ME. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association, 2 Pine West Plaza, Albany, NY 12205. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help defray the cost of this unexpected tragedy. It is getting close to hitting its goal and if you would wish to help, you can go to www.gofundme.com/5nu43jc?member=290172 to donate. Also, if you wish to express your online condolences please visit www.compassionatefuneralcare.com . By Tim Bojarski for USHWA  

Plainville, MA---Lindy Racing head trainer Domenico Cecere brought a group of their prospects from the farm's Somers, Connecticut base for some early season work and at the end of the day, captured the pair of $10,000 conditioned trotting events at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 7). In the first feature, Kinda Lucky Lindy (Greg Merton) got away second and sat the pocket behind On First (Mark Athearn) to the half when the outer flow eventually locked him in moving to the three-quarters. Leading that rim-rush was Now's The Moment (Mike Stevenson) who cleared and opened up a four-length advantage. Still looking for racing room and seemingly out of it around the last turn, Kinda Lucky Lindy got a break when Pirate (Ivan Davies) made a break, clearing the way for Merton to pull his charge around the fading On First and set dead aim on the leader. With a lot of ground to make up in the last eighth of a mile, Kinda Lucky Lindy went to work and trotted like the wind under a mere hand drive by Merton and closed the gap with every stride to win by a length in 1:55.4, which was a new lifetime mark. After starts in the New York Sires Stakes and elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic, Kinda Lucky Lindy ($9.60) scored his first victory of 2018 for owner Lindy Farms of Connecticut. The second $10,000 event saw French Moni (Patrizio Ancora) get away third off the gate before making an early move for the front at the quarter and once there, led the rest of the way. As they passed the half in :58.1, One Swan For All (Wally Watson) came barreling up the outside and drew within a neck of French Moni by the three-quarters. But Ancora sped up that third panel to :28 flat and quenched the threat of One Swan For All. Now in command by two heading off the last turn, French Moni had one more bid to put away as the pocket-sitting L Dees Yoyo Ma made a late lunge at the leader, but the attempt was too little too late. Ancora had French Moni all but wrapped-up and crossed the wire an easy winner in 1:55.3. It was the second win of the year for French Moni ($5.20), both of which were registered at Plainridge Park. The Moni Maker Stable owns the 4-year-old son of Love You. At the end of the day Cecere had the training hat trick as he also took the first race with the Greg Merton-driven Shortie Joe ($2.20) who won his second in a row this year, lifetime and at Plainridge Park. The 1:56.4 clocking was also a new lifetime mark for the Fred Monteleone Stable LLC-owned 3-year-old Chapter Seven colt. Greg Merton was Thursday's winningest driver with three trips to the circle. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (June 8) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA---Now's The Moment stole the show during Thursday's (May 31) all-trot card when he captured the $20,000 Highland Light Late Closer trot final at Plainridge Park and set a new track standard in the process. Mike Stevenson left with Now's The Moment and led every step of the way. With the best view, they toured the facility in fractions of :27.2, :58.2 and 1:26 before turning for home. With no challengers in sight, Now's The Moment stretched out to a four-length advantage and won in 1:55.1. The winning time was not only a lifetime mark for Now's The Moment; it was also a new Plainridge Park track record for 3-year-old trotting geldings. It was the second consecutive win for Now's The Moment ($2.60) who is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and trained by Mr. Allison Mac Donald. The $20,000 final of the Ralph Waldo Emerson trot final was won by the Massachusetts-bred Pirate, who scored in a sharp off-the-pace finish. Manssive (Ron Cushing) out-left The Lindy Treaty (Shawn Gray) and trotted strong on the lead for three-quarters of a mile until Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) pushed the issue at that station. Pirate (Drew Campbell) who was seventh at the time, tipped three-deep around a stagnant outer flow and was gaining momentum around the far turn. By the head of the stretch Pirate was four-wide and under a full head of steam, eventually engaging and then passing Jericho to win by a length in 1:55.3. It was the third win of the year for Pirate ($27.20) who is owned by Kathy Beaman and Earl Beaman and trained by Ivan Davies. In the $14,000 Winners-Over trot, Buff (Greg Merton) got to the lead past the quarter and was never headed from there. After putting away a challenge from Platoon Seelster (Ron Cushing) by the head of the lane, Buff responded to mild urging from Merton and held off a late rally from Golden Tate (Nick Graffam) to win by one-half length in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark. Buff ($4.00) now has four wins this year for owners Bill Reepmeyer LLC, Jackie Rousse Stables LLC, Frank Witz and Jill Witz and trainer Jackie Greene. Greg Merton and Drew Campbell each had three winners on Thursday's card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA---After putting in a stellar effort in the top distaff event here last week, Iheartquestionmark stepped down in class and scored her third win in her last four starts, taking the $12,000 fillies and mares pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (May 29). Beautiful Lady (Nick Graffam) took the lead and got the girls to the half in :55.2 before Shesgotthebeat (Greg Merton) came calling on the outside to engage the leader for the rest of the race. With Iheartquestionmark (Eric Davis) sitting second-over in the fray, Beautiful Lady and Shesgotthebeat went stride for stride up the backside and to the three-quarters in 1:24. They kept at it around the last turn when Iheartquestionmark tipped three-deep with a full head of steam and a highly animated driver. Davis kept the mare to task and paced away to a one-half length margin of victory in 1:53, which was a new seasonal mark for the mare. The Janet Davis owned and trained Iheartquestionmark was overlooked by the betting public despite the class drop and inside draw and was allowed to go off 17-1. As a result, the venerable 9-year-old returned $36.80 for the win and topped the two post time favorites in a 2-5-4 trifecta that paid $1,344.60. The three leading Plainridge dash drivers continued their winning ways on Tuesday as Drew Campbell and Greg Merton scored two wins apiece while Shawn Gray had one. As a result, Campbell is the leader of the pack right now with 40 wins for the meet with Gray and Merton tied for second with 38 wins each. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 31) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---An assigned outside post and three inside leavers did not dissuade Kenrick N from his preferred style of racing and at the end of the mile, the local wonder from down under notched another big win in the $14,000 Winners-Over feature pace at Plainridge Park on Memorial Day Monday (May 28) in front of a large trackside crowd. Leaving from post seven, driver Ron Cushing floated Kenrick N off the gate and waited for Sailor Jerry (Nick Graffam), Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Pretty Boy Hill (Greg Merton) to find the pylons before he urged his horse to the front just before they hit the half in :53.4. From there the race was basically over. Moving up the backstretch, there were three horses out and three horses in behind the leader but none were making any headway. Cushing popped the plugs right at the three-quarter pole and Kenrick N responded big time. Under mild urging Kenrick N opened up a quick three-length advantage as they approached the top of the stretch where Cushing looked over his shoulder and saw the gap he had opened. Then he simply put his hands in his lap and let Kenrick N cruise to the wire at his own pace a wrapped-up, four-length winner in 1:50, which was a new lifetime mark. Now sporting two wins, a second and a third in five North American starts since arriving in April, Kenrick N ($4.40) is well on his way to a career year for owners Kevin Sywyk and Ron Cushing and his trainer Heidi Gibbs. In the secondary feature $12,000 condition pace, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) played give-and-go with Treasure Mach (Ron Cushing) before taking the lead for good at the quarter pole, en route to a solid one-length victory in 1:51.3. It was the third win on the last four starts for Mysharona Bluechip ($7.00) and his owner A Piece of the Action LLC. Eric Beach was the successful traine Three drivers won nine of the eleven races on Monday. Shawn Gray registered a grand slam while Greg Merton scored a hat trick and Drew Campbell doubled up. Racing resumes on Tuesday at Plainridge Park with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Walpole, Massachusetts native George Ducharme left his Vernon Downs base of operations to return home with two of his state-bred trotters and came away with two wins, two lifetime marks and a tie for a harness racing track record for his students after their day of work at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 17). Last year's Massachusetts Sire Stake (MASS) 2-year-old champion Hashtagmadeyalook bounced back from a disappointing start in a $40,600 New York Sire Stake at Vernon Downs last week to defeat nine rivals in the $12,500 Highland Light Series for 3 and 4-year-old trotters at Plainridge today. Leaving from post three, Hashtagmadeyalook (Shawn Gray) took a quarter to get the lead, but when he did it was for good. After cutting fractions of :28, :57.3 and 1:26.3, Gray kept his trotter on task and held off a rush from a late-closing Now's The Moment (Mike Stevenson) to win by a half-length in 1:55.4. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Hashtagmadeyalook ($3.20), who is a 2018 Hambletonian eligible, is owned by his breeder Ray Campbell Jr. Ducharme's other entry was 2016 2-year-old MASS champion Muscles Jared who made heads turn in the $12,000 conditioned overnight trotting feature. In a similar manner to his stablemate, Muscles Jared (Shawn Gray) left and cleared past the quarter and dictated every station after that. After settling the field in with a tepid :57 half, Gray tapped the gas pedal and went back to back :28.1 and :28.4 quarters to win by five, stopping the clock in 1:54 flat. The time equaled both his lifetime mark and the track record for 4-year-old trotting geldings. Muscles Jared ($3.20) is owned by Al Ross. In the second division of the $12,500 Highland Light Series, J-S Miss Carolyn (Steeven Genois) scored an impressive gate to wire victory in 1:57.4. Owned by Adam Friedland and trained by Jim Nickerson, J-S Miss Carolyn ($8.80) scored her first win of the year, and at Plainridge, in her first ever trip here. There was also two divisions of the $10,000 Ralph Waldo Emerson trotting series on Thursday. Saratoga invader The Lindy Treaty (Shawn Gray) took early cover before pulling first-up at the three-quarters to trot by the front-running Manssive (Ron Cushing) down the lane and win by three lengths in 1:54.3, which was a new lifetime mark for the 7-year-old. The Lindy Treaty ($13.80) is owned by Barry Wishard and is trained by Brett Derue. The second division saw Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) follow cover second-over past the half to eventually out-muscle Candy Lane (Matt Athearn) by a nose at the wire in 1:55.1, which was yet another lifetime mark. Jericho ($14.20) is owned by Linda Kenney, Robert Kenney and the Di Stefano and Son Stable and is trained by John Di Stefano. Shawn Gray led all drivers with three wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 18) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---While the eighth race pacers were taking their final score before going to the gate, a severe storm blew into the area and forced the cancellation of the rest of the races for Tuesday afternoon (May 15). There were four more contests scheduled to be run. With a severe thunderstorm warning posted by the National Weather Service until 9 p.m., torrents of rain and steady lightning engulfed most of eastern Massachusetts by 6:30 p.m. and with no letup in sight, the welfare of the horses, horsemen and horsewomen became the main priority of the track. "Due to a severe thunder and lightning storm, we were forced to cancel the remainder of today's card at Plainridge. The safety of everyone involved was the main reason for the cancellation as lightning and darkness overtook the area" said Director of racing Steve O'Toole. Live racing will resume at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 17) with post time for the first race at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---In a blanket finish that had four horses within a length of each other, Grand Theft got up in deep stretch to capture the harness racing $20,000 Henry David Thoreau pacing series final at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (May 14). Grand Theft (Greg Merton) got away sixth in the field of nine as even money favorite Mysharona Bluechip (Pat Curtain) bolted for the lead, registering a :25.4 first quarter in the process. Manceiver (Steve Nason) who had floated out of the gate for position was now stuck out in the brisk pace with no choice but to tread water from third and hope something developed. As the race approached the half, Grand Theft pulled from mid-pack and got right behind Manceiver as they hit that station in a stiff :54 flat. He was then forced to go three-deep around the tiring rim-runner but was still five-lengths off the leader. When they hit the three-quarters in 1:21.3, Mysharona Bluechip was starting to tire, forcing Bo Master (Drew Campbell) to pop out of the two-hole and go right around him. At the same time Grand Theft had found new life and was now second outside of that one. As the field bunched, Grand Theft got a head in front of Bo Master while keeping the closing Jackson's Image (Shawn Gray) and Sailor Jerry (Nick Graffam) at bay to hit the wire first in 1:51.2. Setting a new lifetime mark in the process, Grand Theft ($7.80) won his second start of the year for owners Kristie Leigh Farm Inc., Joseph Betro, Stephan Giagni and Stephen Demeter. Monique Cohen trains the winner. The weekly $16,000 Open pacing feature also provided a stellar race that saw Calvin B (Drew Campbell) come second-over at the half behind Electric Western (Greg Merton) to ride that one's back to the top of the stretch before blowing past him down the lane to win by a length in 1:51.3. Calvin B ($12.00) nabbed his third victory of the year for owner Dolores Smiel and trainer Jim Nickerson. Greg Merton led all drivers with three wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (May 15) with post time for the first race at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Fresh off a front-end effort that saw him come up just short in 1:54.3 last week, Manssive took a two-hole trip to victory this time in the $14,000 trotting harness racing feature at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 10).   Ron Cushing left to get Manssive forwardly placed and dropped in second behind Nathaniel (Drew Campbell) who led the way to the quarter in :27.1. The field stayed in line from there allowing the front runner a solid second quarter break.   Campbell revved Nathaniel up the backside with a :28 flat third panel attempting to put some space between them and the field. However Manssive tracked the move well and stayed right on his back. As the race headed down the stretch, Manssive pulled and drew alongside Nathaniel and eventually wore him down at the wire to score by a head in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner.   Manssive ($15.20) is owned by Kevin Sywyk and his driver, Ron Cushing, and is trained by Heidi Gibbs.   In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned trot, Dream Massive (Shawn Gray) got away second last before coming third over in the outer flow and tipping three-deep at the three-quarters to pull away to a four-length win in 1:55.1, which was also a new lifetime mark.   Dream Massive ($2.60) is owned by William Emmons and is trained by Alicia Gray.   Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 11) at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---Western Stepp, steered by a patient Drew Campbell, sat tight in the mile before shaking loose late to head her competitors in a three-horse photo and win the harness racing featured $14,000 Fillies and Mares Winners-Over pace at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (May 8). Iced Out (Greg Merton) cut the mile from the start but was quickly greeted by a strong outer flow at the half with Dandy's Beauty (Chris Long), Stylish Beachwear (Nick Graffam) and Ask Queenie (Shawn Gray) all on the move as they passed that station in :56.1. Western Stepp sat on the pylons behind the leader and watched the action while well covered. The outside contenders continued to press the issue up the backstretch, around the last turn and to the top of the lane, but Iced Out was relentless and Western Stepp was desperately looking for racing room. That room came mid-stretch when Campbell pulled out around Iced Out and outpaced that one to the wire to win by a head in 1:53.2. It was the third win in nine 2018 starts for Western Step ($18.20) who is owned and trained by James Dunn. In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pacing event, Deo Galileo ($4.60) got away third before pulling first-over past the half, taking the lead in the stretch and eventually winning by two-lengths in 1:53.4. Campbell also drove this winner, in a lifetime best effort, for owner/trainer Milt Vickerson. Drew Campbell also had two more winners on the day with Grand Dad Joe ($16.20, 1:54.2) and Strings ($3.00, 1:54.2) giving himself a driving grand slam on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday with first post at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---After getting hung out to dry every step of the mile last week in his North American harness racing debut, New Zealand import Kenrick N cleared and won in a rout in the $15,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (May 7). Leaving from post three, Ron Cushing pushed Kenrick N right to the front, overtaking Ace of Clubs (Shawn Gray) past the quarter in :26.4. And from there he never looked back. When the heavily favored Americanprimetime (Greg Merton) came calling past the stands, Kenrick N stayed on task while setting fractions of :54 to the half and 1:22 to the three quarters. By that time Americanprimetime had enough and the pocket sitting Ace of Clubs had no answers and as a result, Cushing and Kenrick N cruised to a comfortable two length victory in 1:50.2. It was the first northern hemisphere win and a new lifetime mark for Kenrick N ($9.40) who is owned by Kevin Sywyk and his driver, Ron Cushing. Heidi Gibbs trains the winner. In the undercard $12,000 conditioned pacing event, Pocono invader Electric Western (Greg Merton) was never headed en route to his second score of 2018, winning in a career-best tying mark of 1:50.3. Electric Western ($10.20) is owned and trained by Mark Ford. Two $10,000 divisions of the Henry David Thoreau pacing series were also contested on Monday. The first division went to Mysharona Bluechip (Pat Curtain) who went gate to wire in 1:51.2, which was a new seasonal mark. Owned by A Piece of the Action LLC and trained by Eric Beach, Mysharona Bluechip returned $2.80. The second division went to Sailor Jerry (Nick Graffam) who tripped-out behind the front running Bro Hanover (Steve Nason) to hit the wire first by a head in 1:52.3. Sailor Jerry ($9.60) is owned by Chris Hamilton, Sylvia Hamilton and Mike Graffam, who also trains the winner. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon with post time for the first race at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Making amends for a runner-up effort last week, Buff moved up in class, put in a game effort and came away with a "W" in the $14,000 Winners-Over featured trot at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 3). Last week's winner, Manssive (Ron Cushing), took early command and cut quarters of :27 and :56.2 before Buff (Greg Merton) pulled first-over on the attack. Buff caught the tail of Manssive by the three-quarters in 1:25, but the leader was trotting strong on the front and would not let him get any closer than that around the last turn. But when they hit the stretch Buff drew even and the two trotted together to the wire where Buff put a head in front for the win in 1:54.3. Buff ($4.00) made his second win of the year his seasonal best effort for owners Bill Reepmeyer LLC, Jackie Rousse Stable LLC, Frank Witz and Jill Witz. Jackie Greene trains the winner. The Merton and Greene combination also struck in the co-featured $12,000 conditioned trot when Stirling Cadet went gate to wire, holding off a strong finishing Dream Massive (Shawn Gray) to win by a neck in 1:54.3, which was also a seasonal mark. The Kellogg Racing Stable LLC owns the winner. Merton eventually won three races on the card, besting all his rivals for the day. The string of colossal win payouts continued at the Ridge on Thursday when Joe Di Stefano left like a rocket from post nine with 44-1 Dial A Chic to take the lead before yielding to 1-5 Battle Mage (Shawn Gray) and settling into a perfect garden spot trip. From there he sat until mid-stretch when Di Stefano pulled him and went right by the leader to win in 1:55.3, which tied his lifetime mark. Dial A Chic, who is owned by the Di Stefano and Son Stable and is trained by John Di Stefano, returned $90.20 to some very happy bettors. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 4) with the first Friday card of the season. Post time is 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---After winning wire to wire at Plainridge Park last week, Ask Queenie changed her strategy but produced the same result; a win in the $15,000 harness racing fillies and mares winners-over feature pace on Tuesday afternoon (May 1). Ask Queenie (Shawn Gray) tucked fifth while Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) and Caviart Caterina (Mike Stevenson) played leap-frog off the gate where each horse took a turn at the top by the quarter in :26.2. When they passed that station, Caviart Caterina was the leader. But with no rest for the weary, Keene Olivia (Greg Merton) came first-up past the three-eighths and was neck and neck with the front runner heading up the backside. By the three-quarters, Keene Olivia had packed it in and Ask Queenie tipped three deep around Happy Heart (Chris Long) who had been tracking the fader second over. At the top of the stretch the three horses were strung even across the track; Caviart Caterina, Happy Heart and Ask Queenie from the inside out. But when Gray lifted the lines and leaned back in the bike, Ask Queenie responded gamely and paced away from the competition, winning by two in 1:52.4. It was the second straight win for Ask Queenie ($7.80) at the Ridge and fifth overall in 2018. The 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror has now earned $33,037 this year for owners Edward Hall and James Hall Jr. Craig Mosher conditions the winner. Ask Queenie was the top horse of the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta combination of 7-9-1-2-4 that returned $5,584.88 Shawn Gray registered three wins on the card, leading all drivers for the day. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (May 3) with post time at 4 p.m. Please note that Friday racing begins this week as Plainridge moves to a four day a week live schedule (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Coming of a season’s best effort, Cherokee Hiflyzane bounced right back to score once more in the $15,000 Winners-Over feature pace at Plainridge Park on an overcast and rainy Monday afternoon (April 30). After tucking fifth off the gate to watch Commondiscourtesy (Drew Campbell) dictate early fractions, Mike Stephenson decided to pull Cherokee Hiflyzane first-over past the three-eighths pole and started motoring up the outside. Once the pair sidled the leader at the three-quarters, Cherokee Hiflyzane took a slight advantage over Commondiscourtesy rounding the last turn, but this race was far from over. Commondiscourtesy fought back and regained the front by the time they hit the stretch. As the tightening group headed down the lane, Campbell and Stephenson were rocking and knocking with their horses near even until Cherokee Hiflyzane swelled up, got the edge and held it across the wire to win by a half-length in 1:53.3 over the wet track rated as “good”. It was the second win in three starts for Cherokee Hiflyzane ($4.40) who is owned by Roger Farrar II and Barrie Farrar, who also trains the winner. Monday also saw the first two $10,000 legs of the Henry David Thoreau late-closer series go postward for non-winners of $35,000 in 2017.   In the first division Manceiver (Steve Nason) tripped out behind Jackson’s Image (Jim Hardy) to gain a late advantage and win by a length in 1:53. Manceiver ($9.40) is owned by Crissy Crissman-Bier and is trained by his driver, Steve Nason. In the second division Mysharona Bluechip (Pat Curtain) led the race from gate to wire, besting his foes by three lengths in his 1:53.3 victory. Mysharona Bluechip ($11.20) is owned by A Piece Of The Action LLC and is trained by Eric Beach. With co-favorites Grand Theft and Kid Courageous A finishing out of the top four, the superfecta combination of 1-6-4-7 returned a whopping $11,998.60 for a $2 wager. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (May 1) with post time set for 4 p.m. Tim Bojarski

Plainville, MA---After three solid outings at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Manssive shipped to the Commonwealth for the first time in his life and left an impression at the Ridge with a harness racing lifetime mark and on a select group of happy bettors who backed the 60-1 shot as he took the $12,000 conditioned trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (April 26). Manssive (Ron Cushing) took command by the :28.1 quarter before yielding the front to Muscles Jared (Truman Gale). From there a pocket trip would be the call for Cushing who took full advantage of being forwardly placed off the wings. Muscles Jared, who came off a strong winning effort last week, looked game once again as he went to the half in :57.4 before a challenge by Buff (Greg Merton), who hastened the fraction up the backside to :28.1 once again. When the pack hit the head of the stretch, Muscles Jared had a two-length advantage and looked pretty solid. But just like that, he'd had enough and started to give way to a wall of horses coming fast. Manssive was to his left on the pylons and Buff, Nathaniel (Drew Campbell) and Boohya TJ (Nick Graffam) were fanned outside to his right. Those four horses were now a half-length ahead Muscles Jared and a mere neck apart from each other as they hit the wire with Manssive getting there first by a head in 1:56. It was the second win of the year for Manssive ($129) who is owned by Kevin Sywyk and his driver, Ron Cushing. Heidi Gibbs does the training. The largest win mutual of the meet also triggered stout exotics. The 4-1 exacta returned $280.40 and the 4-1-5 trifecta paid $1,529.40 in the short six-horse field. It also prompted a 4-1 late double that paid $815.80. All payoffs were for two-dollar wagers. In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned trot, Candy Lane (Drew Campbell) scored her first victory of the year as she trotted wire to wire in a five-length, 1:56.2 romp. Candy Lane ($6.20) is owned by Linwood Higgins and trained by James Dunn. Shawn Gray scored three driving wins on Thursday's card while Mike Hitchcock bagged a training double. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (April 30) with post time at 4 p.m. Please note that the racing schedule also changes at Plainridge next week as racing goes to four days a week with the addition of Friday starting on May 4. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

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