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Plainville, MA --- The most lucrative races ever offered for Massachusetts-bred Standardbreds will be contested at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 30) when the eligibles for the $800,000 Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) finals convene. Eight $100,000 divisions will go postward starting at 1:30 p.m. when the first of two non-betting events will start. The regular pari-mutuel program begins at 2 p.m. and features six more MASS contests that are carded as race one through six. Trainer George Ducharme who is a native of Walpole, Massachusetts, is bringing the largest contingent of entrants to these finals as nine of his students will go postward. They include the series undefeated 3-year-old trotting filly Ithinkthatsmine and 2-year-old trotting gelding Simple Kaos. Ithinkthatsmine (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) is three for three in the preliminary legs and she won them by a combined 17 lengths. For the year she has nine wins in 16 starts and having already competed in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), has $112,280 on her card. Shawn Gray will team Ithinkthatsmine once again in the non-betting event. Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) won his three legs by a combined 14 lengths and has pocketed $73,750 this year. He has had random breaks throughout the year but when he behaves himself, has looked peerless. Jimmy Whittemore will team Simple Kaos who is the 3-5 morning choice. Other undefeated horses coming into the final are I'm A Clown, Victorias Maverick and Karan's Choice. 3-year-old pacing gelding I'm A Clown (I'm Gorgeous-Lordy Miss Scarlet) has been devastating in the MASS so far, trouncing his competition by over 24 lengths. He will be looking for his fourth straight win on Tuesday. Mitchell Cushing is up in the rigging again and is tabbed the early 7-5 favorite. Much like I'm A Clown, 2-year-old pacing gelding Victorias Maverick's (Western Maverick-Perfect Launch) three wins came with a 16 length total margin of victory and his competitors have not been able to get close in this series. Despite an outside draw for the final, he still looks like the one to beat once again. Heath Campbell looks to have another big week behind the favored 3-5 Victorias Maverick. 2-year-old pacing mare Karan's Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) won her first two legs easily but just got up to catch Cominrightatyou (Western Maverick-Express Ball N) last week. This well-seasoned first year competitor raced in Ontario Sire Stakes (OSS) this summer and knows what it takes to seal the deal. Jim Hardy drives in the non-betting event. Where some of these races may appear somewhat one-sided, there are several events offering solid match-ups that should provide close finishes and value betting. In the 2-year-old trotting filly split, Taylor Swiftly (Trixton-True Diva) won her first start in the series last week after shipping in from Lexington, but for a while she was chasing the quickly improving Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) who had a two-length lead in the last turn before making an untimely break. Had she stayed flat that race could have gone a different direction. Scott Zeron will team the 3-5 Taylor Swiftly while the 7-2 Crystalline will be driven by Shawn Gray. The 3-year-old trotting males division has been a heavyweight match between Hashtagmadeyalook (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) who has won twice and Kinda Lucky Lindy (Lucky Chucky-Kinda Crazy Lindy) who won their last match-up last week. They will square off once again here with the title on the line. Shawn Gray will drive Hashtagmadeyalook at 6-5 and Scott Zeron will team Kinda Lucky Lindy at 9-5. And finally the three-headed monster in the 3-year-old pacing filly division features Delco Dusty (Jereme's Jet-Gypsys Good Girl), Gonna Hear Me Rohr (Western Maverick-Heather K) and Rock Me Threetimes (Rock N Roll Heaven-Love Rocks) who have all finished in the top three in all three legs. This may be the best race all day and who wins this week probably depends on how the race unfolds. Delco Dusty (Shawn Gray) is 7-5, Gonna Hear Me Rohr (Drew Campbell) is 8-5 and Rock Me Threetimes (Mitchell Cushing) is 5-2. Tuesday will also see Plainridge Park play host to the richest Standardbred in the history of the sport. The $7.59 million winner Foiled Again will make a farewell tour stop at The Ridge on Tuesday afternoon as part of the biggest day of harness racing in Massachusetts this year. Foiled Again's lifetime win count now stands at 105 as he comes to Plainridge off his victory at Harrington Raceway. Foiled Again has been in New England before, winning his 103rd lifetime victory at the Windsor Fair in Maine last month and in 2009 when he won the Beckwith pace in 1:50.4 at Plainridge with Dave Palone driving. Owned by Burke Racing, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and JJK Stables and trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again will not compete in a race on Tuesday. However he will go a training mile in front of the crowd, lead several post parades and greet his fans in the Winner's Circle for pictures. And if that weren't enough, to add even more entertainment value to the program the fans on hand can look forward to gift card giveaways after every stake race throughout the day sponsored by the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Wisely avoiding an early front-end fracas, Jericho brushed late in a slick steer by his owner to win the $13,000 "Old North Church" trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 16). Shorething Fashion (Nick Graffam) got off the gate the best, flying to the top before the first turn. But Tag Up And Go (Mitchell Cushing) was out and rolling and took the lead at the quarter in :27.1. He then surrendered it immediately to Dial A Chic (Joe Di Stefano) in front of the stands before coming back to retake the top as they headed to the half. As they passed the half in :56.1 Shorething Fashion had pulled from third and was now challenging Tag Up And Go for the lead once again. All this time Jericho (Robert Kenney) was watching the race from last. With three horses now in the outer flow as the race progressed up the backside, Jericho pulled from eighth and trotted up to be fourth-over at the three-quarters and immediately tipped three-deep. With Shorething Fashion opening up a two length lead around the far turn, Jericho was trotting up a storm and passing horses like pylons. At the top of the stretch Jericho engaged Shorething Fashion and the two trotted in-sync to the wire where Jericho got the nod by a head in 1:56.1. It was the second win in the last three starts and the fifth win of the year for Jericho ($10.40) who now has pocketed $49,991 for owners Linda and Robert Kenney and the Di Stefano and Son Stable. John Di Stefano trains the winner. In the co-featured $13,000 "Abigail Adams" pace for fillies and mares, Twist Of Fate (Jimmy Whittemore) led the first quarter before settling into a two-hole trip behind Angel Or Terror (Drew Campbell) until the top of the stretch. There she came out to challenge down the lane and outpaced Angel Or Terror to the wire to win in 1:53.1. Let It Ride Stable acquired Twist Of Fate ($16.80) in a private purchase on September 26 and their investment has paid immediate dividends. This was her second win in only three starts since then and the time was just two-fifths off her lifetime mark. Mitchell Cushing led all drivers with three wins on the day followed by Drew Campbell and Jimmy Whittemore who each had two. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) return to Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 22) and Tuesday (Oct. 23) with the third leg for both 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits and sexes. The MASS finals will be held on Tuesday (Oct. 30). Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Oct. 18) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The $1.5 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) kicks off at Plainridge Park next week with the first leg of the 3-year-old trotters and pacers of both genders competing in the first leg on Tuesday (Oct. 2) going for $35,000 per division. Many of the horses eligible to the MASS have also competed in other racing jurisdiction's sire stake programs as a result of the resident mare program in Massachusetts. The duality of eligibility is one of the benefits of breeding in Massachusetts along with the growing purse structure year over year. Here are some of the MASS eligibles who will be probable starters the first of next month and a look at what they have been doing so far this year. 3-year-old pacing colts Twelve (Shady Character-Sabine Hanover) has had a stellar year on the Maine Sire Stake (MSS) circuit, winning four legs and finishing second and third two times each as well. His mark is 1:57 at Scarborough Downs this year and he has earned $35,977 for his efforts. He was a major player in the MASS last year, tying a stake record of 1:56 for his division and it looks like he has continued to improve since then. Dean Malin bred and owns Twelve and has Eddie Davis Jr. doing the training. Pembroke Pharoah (Baron Biltmore-Migraine) has also been a star on the MSS winning five legs and earning $34,807 so far this year. He took a mark of 1:56.4 at Windsor and has hit the board nine out of 11 times. He did win one leg of the MASS at two, but was disqualified for interference after the race so he will look to get his first official win in that series this year. William Varney owns Pembroke Pharoah with his driver, Heath Campbell and also bred the horse with his trainer, Valerie Grondin. Last year's 2-year-old champion I'm A Clown (I'm Gorgeous-Lordy Miss Scarlet) has been lightly raced back this year, getting only five starts between Plainridge Park and Harrington Raceway. But he has been improving of late and will be back to defend his freshman title for his owner Nelson Malin III and trainer Kevin Switzer. Malin and Switzer bred I'm A Clown. 3-year-old pacing fillies Gonna Hear Me Rohr (Western Maverick-Heather K) has five wins and two seconds in MSS action to date with a lifetime mark of 1:58.1 at Skowhegan with earnings of $35,205. That's quite a turnaround from her only two starts last year where she was distanced in both and it's quite possible that she will be the one to beat in this division this year. Bradford Veilleux owns Gonna Hear Me Rohr who is trained by James Dunn and was bred by Heidi Rohr. Rock Me Threetimes (Rock N Roll Heaven-Love Rocks) has won three races in eight starts this year including a 1:53.1 lifetime best effort at Plainridge Park, however she hasn't seen any stake action since the 2017 MASS. But her overnight efforts show she looks ready to compete. KDK Standardbred bred and owns Rock Me Threetimes and Kevin Switzer is the trainer. Delco Dusty (Jeremy's Jet-Gypsy's Good Girl) was the 2-year-old champion in this division last year and set a stake record of 1:53 in the process. But she is off to a slow start in 2018 and winless to this point. Her latest effort has been much improved and she will have to step up to try and regain last year's success. Jesse De Long bred and owns Delco Dusty who is trained by Jimmy Nickerson. 3-year-old trotting colts Hashtagmadeyalook (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) was the MASS 2017 2-year-old champion and is looking to do the same at three. He started out this year racing in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) before dropping down to the Excelsior "A" series. There he found a good spot scoring two wins, two seconds and a third in five outings while earning $29,815. Although he made the Excelsior finals by points, he was scratched sick on August 10 and has been off ever since, just qualifying back on September 21. If he regains his summer form, he will be a major player in the MASS this year for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. and trainer George Ducharme. After seeing substantial Grand Circuit action last year, Kinda Lucky Lindy (Lucky Chucky-Kinda Crazy Lindy) has only had limited stake engagements to date in 2018, those being two starts in the NYSS and an elimination of the Empire Breeders Championship. However he does have three overnight wins and has taken a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2 earlier this year and is very familiar with the Plainridge track. Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred and owns Kinda Lucky Lindy who is trained by Domenico Cecere. 3-year-old trotting fillies Ithinkthatsmine (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) was the top point-getter in the NYSS Excelsior "A" series this year. She had four wins, three seconds and a third out of eight starts and earned $52,730 as a result. Although she got beat in the final, it was only by three lengths from post seven. She will come into the MASS ready to roll off her competition in New York this year. Ithinkthatsmine is owned and bred by Ray Campbell Jr. and is trained by George Ducharme. Bag O Chips (Sierra Kosmos-Heather Spur) was the 2-year-old MASS champion last year but hasn't had much success in 2018. After not getting qualified until July 13, Bag O Chips was scratched sick and didn't make her first start until July 26. In her limited starts she has had some breaking issues that seem to have been worked out in subsequent qualifiers leading up to her first MASS start this year. Bred by Linwood Farm, Bag O Chips is owned by Ray Campbell Jr. and trained by George Ducharme. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes kick off the 2018 season on Monday (Oct. 1) with four divisions of 2-year-old trotters and pacers each going for an estimated $35,000. The 3-year-olds will hit the track on Tuesday (Oct. 2) for their first leg. Horsemen be advised that the draw for both days will be held on Thursday (Sept. 27) with the box closing at 9 a.m. Here is the complete MASS schedule. Monday (Oct. 1) 2-year-old First Leg $35,000 added Tuesday (Oct. 2) 3-year-old First Leg $35,000 added Monday (Oct. 8) 2-year-old Second Leg $35,000 added Tuesday (Oct. 9) 3-year-old Second Leg $35,000 added Monday (Oct. 22) 2-year-old Third Leg $35,000 added Tuesday (Oct. 23) 3-year-old Third Leg $35,000 added Tuesday (Oct. 30) 2- and 3-year-old Finals $85,000 (est.)   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- It's not too often a driver wins half a card of harness racing but that's just what Mitchell Cushing did on Thursday (Sept. 20) at Plainridge Park. Cushing drove six winners on the 12-race program including a victory in the $15,000 6-year-old and under condition pacing feature with Lear Seelster. Lear Seelster started from post two and stayed right there behind Tixnstones (Jim Hardy) who cut the mile. The race incrementally went :26.3, :56.1 and 1:24.1 under the challenge of an outer flow. But at the top of the lane it came down to Tixnstones and Lear Seelster and Cushing made the push that got the job done as Lear Seelster pulled away by a length to win in 1:52.3. It was the seventh win of the year and a new lifetime mark for Lear Seelster ($5.00) who is owned by David Glazer and trained by Jim Nickerson. Cushing also won with See Me Streakin (1:53.4, $13.40), Sports Lightning (1:51.4, $8.00), Jefferson Tare (1:52.2, $5.40), Manny (1:52.1, $3.00) and Siskel (1:52, $35.40). In the eleven races Cushing drove, he also finished second and third twice each and combined with the six wins gave him an amazing Universal Driver Rating (UDR) of .707. Cushing is having a career year with 173 wins out of 788 starts earning $859,421 in purses and sporting a .363 UDR for the year. Plainridge Park is well represented in North American harness racing as three of the top 10 percentage drivers compete daily at The Ridge. Drew Campbell is second with a .420 UDR, Shawn Gray is fourth with a .390 UDR and Mitchell Cushing is ninth with a .363 UDR. In the day's top aged pacing event, Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) went gate to wire to win the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap in 1:51.2, holding off a late charge from Moonlight Artist (Shawn Gray) at the line to win by a head. Quick Shot captured his 10th win of the year and has now earned $96,060 for his owner Kathleen Brewer in 2018. John Bowman trains the winner. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Sept. 24) with post time at 2p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- After acquitting herself well against the toughest harness racing Open mares in North America her last two starts in the Lady Liberty at the Meadowlands and the Artiscape at Tioga Downs, Apple Bottom Jeans came to Plainridge Park on Tuesday (Aug. 28) and toyed with the field; going from worst to first to win the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap for distaff pacers. Apple Bottom Jeans (Jimmy Whittemore) got away last while the lead changed hands twice between Western Stepp (Nick Graffam) and Watts Was I Drinkn (Jim Hardy) by the quarter. As the field was pacing by the half, they were four in and three out with Empty Gesture (Chris Long) putting pressure on the front running Watts Was I Drinkn while Apple Bottom Jeans was still sixth and third over in the second tier. Positions remained unchanged up the backside and Watts Was I Drinkn was looking strong in command. When they hit three-quarters, Empty Gesture's advance had stopped and Whittemore tipped Apple Bottom Jeans three-deep into the final turn. Apple Bottom Jeans started to pace with purpose, circling from sixth to second by the time they hit the straight. As soon as she had Watts Was I Drinkn in her sight, Apple Bottom Jeans dug in and blew past the leader and paced home alone in 1:52.1 while Whittemore smiled for the photographer. KDK Standardbreds has now benefitted the amount of $140,817 in 2018 from the accomplishments of Apple Bottom Jeans ($3.60) who has won eight times this year for trainer Kevin Switzer. In a real oddity, 11 different drivers won the 12 races on the card with Jim Hardy being the only one to visit the circle more than once. And 12 different trainers accounted for the day's 12 winning horses. There was no winner in the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta again on Tuesday so a carryover pool of $6,291 will be available in the sixth race on Thursday (Aug. 30) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park with post time at 4 p.m. Thursday will be the last 4 p.m. post for 2018 as the starting time will be moved back to 2 p.m. beginning on Labor Day Monday (Sept. 3) and will remain there through the end of October. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---Although Eddie Davis Jr. hasn't had as many starts at Plainridge Park this year as he's had in the past, there's no question he is still one of the craftiest reinsmen to regularly compete in the Commonwealth. One Monday (July 16) Davis illustrated that point when he scored a driving triple that included wins in both feature races. In the $16,000 Winners-Over pace, Davis directed Bet You from post four and hit the pylons while One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) left hard in :26 flat. But his passive attitude was short-lived as he rolled Bet You to the outside past the three-eighths and motored up towards the leader. In a grinding fashion, Bet You inched his way towards One To Draw To and by the 1:22.3 three-quarters was dead even with him. The two shadowed each other around far turn but by the head of the stretch, Bet You had taken the lead and extended it to two lengths. He hit the wire by himself and stopped the clock in 1:51, which equaled his seasonal mark. It was the fourth win of the year for Bet You ($3.00) who is owned by Scott Dillon and trained by Joe Nelson. And in the $12,000 conditioned undercard pace, Davis took control at the start with Attention Please and never let go. Attention Please set fractions of :26.2, :55.2 and 1:22.3 while never letting anyone get closer than a length. Rounding the final bend and heading down the lane, Davis provided some moderate urging to keep him on task but Attention Please didn't really need it as he cruised home an easy winner in 1:51.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Attention Please ($15.40) also registered his fourth win of 2018 for owner Kathleen Brewer and trainer Timmie Griffith. Davis's also won with Rapid It Up Art (1:54, $5.20) who completed the hat trick. Once again, no one hit the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race and as a result, there is a large carry over pool of $10,931 in the sixth race on Tuesday afternoon (July 17) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---There were two harness racing stars at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 12); one was in front of the race bike and one was sitting in it. Massachusetts-bred Muscles Jared made a visit home from his New York base at Vernon Downs and impressed the locals by winning the $14,000 Winners-Over trotting feature. And sharing the spotlight was reinsman Drew Campbell who drove five winners during the 10-race card. Muscles Jared (Shawn Gray) was a determined leaver and took the front with authority. From there he set moderate fractions to the half before Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) came first-up and tried to push the issue. But as the outside interloper drew near, Muscles Jared switched a gear and trotted up the backstretch in :28 flat. As the race headed into the final turn, Jericho packed it in and Muscles Jared continued on cruise control. He opened up a five-length lead by the head of the stretch and after Gray looked over his shoulder and tucked away his whip, Muscle Jared flew home a wrapped-up winner in 1:54.1, which was only one-fifth off his lifetime mark. His homecoming was also the 11th win in 37 lifetime starts for Muscles Jared ($4.20) who now boasts $380,034 in earnings for his all Massachusetts connections that include owner Al Ross of Dartmouth and trainer George Ducharme, originally of Walpole. North American leading UDR pilot and Plainridge Park top dash driver Drew Campbell was on fire Thursday, winning half of the 10 races on the card. In the eight races he drove in, Campbell won five and was second and third one time each giving him an unbelievable .736 UDR for the day. These numbers clearly illustrate why he leads in both of these categories. Campbell had his picture taken with Prayers Do Matter (1:56.2 LTM, $2.20), Armenian Warrior (1:51.2 LTM, $2.80), Panhellenic (1:53, $13.40), Vodkancaviar (1:55.4, $10.40) and Nathaniel (1:53.4 LTM, $8.00). Campbell now has 96 wins for the meet, 29 ahead of second place Greg Merton. He also maintains his North American UDR lead with a .429 mark to date. There were no winners in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race today and as a result, there will be a carry-over pool of $8,723 in tomorrow's sixth betting event when live harness racing action resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (July 13) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---They were one class apart and took different paths to victory. But the commonality between Quick Shot and Bet You was they both came up big in the top two featured paces at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (July 9). In the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace driver Drew Campbell reversed his strategy of recent weeks by leaving hard and fast with Quick Shot to take early command of the race. Once on the point, Quick Shot got to the quarter in a blistering :25.1 and had everyone seated. As they headed down the front stretch, Campbell grabbed two handfuls of leather and backed off the second quarter to :30.4, stacking up the trailers and coaxing Moonlight Artist (Jim Hardy) to begin an outer flow. Moonlight Artist continued to advance but as soon as he got within a length of the leader, Campbell let Quick Shot out a notch and he immediately opened up a three-length advantage. Rounding the last turn, Quick Shot was under moderate urging from Campbell and coasted home to a length victory in 1:51.1. It was the seventh win of the year and third top class win in a row at Plainridge Park for Quick Shot ($5.00), who is owned by Kathleen Brewer and trained by John Bowman. Quick Shot now has $66,860 in earnings for the year. In the $12,000 conditioned pacing secondary feature, Bet You (Eddie Davis Jr.) sat fifth off the pace, watching Kenrick N (Ron Cushing) and Electric Western (Greg Merton) battle it out to the half before following the outside cover of Ace Of Clubs (Shawn Gray) to the head of the stretch where he tipped three-deep and exploded with pace to the wire to win by a length in 1:51. In his first Plainridge start of 2018, Bet You ($13.20) got his third win of the year and came away with a new seasonal mark. Bet You is owned by Scott Dillon and is trained by Joseph Nelson. Plainridge Park defending dash winning driver Greg Merton is not accustomed to going off at 50-1, but that is what happened in race four and Merton made the most of it. Merton maneuvered Mr. Blissful, who had spent the last three weeks racing at Yonkers, from worst at the quarter to first the wire and paid $102.80 for the win. Despite the two favorites finishing second and third, the large win mutual generated bountiful gimmick payouts as well. The 7-5 exacta paid $262.40, 7-5-3 trifecta paid $1,166.40 and the 7-5-3-8 super returned $4,729.80. Eddie Davis Jr. led all drivers for wins on Monday, visiting the track photographer three times. Racing resumes on Tuesday afternoon (July 10) at Plainridge Park with a Wicked Hi-5 carryover pool of $5,210 in the sixth race. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---The epic growth of harness racing in Massachusetts since the introduction of gaming at Plainridge Park in 2015 has produced increased handles and purses, a higher caliber of horse competing and in turn, more reinsmen here to steer them as well. As evidence of that, the current driver colony at Plainridge includes Drew Campbell and Shawn Gray, who are currently the top two leading UDR drivers in North America for drivers with 500 or more starts, along with fast-rising star Mitchell Cushing who is the seventh best on the continent for those with 300 to 499 drives. Drew Campbell is the top UDR driver nationally with a .426 and is also at the top of the win charts at the Plainridge meet with 88 victories in 385 starts and $601,863 in earnings. He's also sporting a .397 UDR and has hit the board 59% of the time. Campbell also is the leading driver at Scarborough Downs where his numbers are equally impressive. There he has 76 wins in 235 starts and $191,227 in purses. He has a UDR of .477 and hits the board at an unbelievable 65% clip. Campbell is on course for a career year for wins and earnings in a career whose annual numbers are already impressive. He currently sits at 4,737 wins and is just short of $13 million in earnings while hitting the board 53% of the time since 1989. Shawn Gray is right behind Campbell nationwide with a .417 UDR and currently sits third in victories at Plainridge with 62 behind Greg Merton (65) who is the defending driving title holder here the past two seasons. Gray has also pocketed $455,966 in purses, hit the board 58% of the time and has a local UDR of .371. Gray splits his time at Buffalo Raceway and is the second winningest driver there with 103 tallies in 301 starts behind Drew Monti (114) who leads the locals in Western New York. At that meet, Gray's UDR is a lofty .483 and he's extracted $511,544 from that track's coffers to date. Like Campbell, Gray is also on track for new personal one-year standards for wins and earnings and is almost certain to get them. For his career to date, Gray has 3,970 wins and just under $15 million in purses. Plainridge's sixth leading dash driver is Mitchell Cushing who ranks seventh in North America for drivers between 300 and 499 starts and is only .010 out of second place in that category. At the Ridge, Cushing has 23 wins in 147 starts, $154,278 in the bank and a UDR of 261. He has hit the board at a 40% clip while sporting a phenomenal 90% return on investment rating that illustrates how many times he's brought the long-price horse back to the winner's enclosure. Cushing also drives at two tracks and is currently second (behind Campbell) at Scarborough Downs with 47 wins, $132,184 in earnings and a UDR of .385. Cushing is only 20-years-old and is a driver whose career is taking off. After racing in Maine and Massachusetts since he was 16, Cushing decided to up the ante and made the move to the Meadowlands this past winter to compete with some of the best in the business. He got his first win on the big stage on March 17 behind Fly'n With Royalty in gate to wire fashion and since returning home to New England, has exhibited skills and patience that have gotten noticeably sharper. As a result, he has become a sought-after catch driver at both tracks. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---Longtime New England horseman and Plainridge Park regular Wally Watson hit a career milestone in the eighth race on Thursday (July 5) when Cyclone Artist pulled three-deep around the last turn and paced away to win in 1:53.3, giving Watson his 2,000th career driving victory at the Ridge. Watson, who lives in Cumberland, Maine, started his driving career in 1987 and has been a full-time participant in the sport ever since. He has a total of 16,413 lifetime starts with 2,000 wins, 2,332 seconds and 2,377 thirds and $5,545,755 million in earnings. Watson had a single season career high 168 wins in 1998 and just completed his best ever season for earnings in 2017 when he made $455,685 in purses. At the current Plainridge meet, Watson has 18 wins in 190 starts with $178,103 in earnings. Watson also has 6,137 training starts during his career with 722 wins, 925 seconds and 908 thirds with $2,555,499 million in the bank. Wally Watson was greeted in the winner's by friends and family after the race along with every driver competing on the Thursday card. While Watson captured the spotlight for top human achievement of the day, Osprey Vision stole the show for the equine set by winning the featured $12,000 conditioned event for the diagonal-gaited. Osprey Impact (Mike Stevenson) left sharply and grabbed the lead by the eighth pole before letting Nathaniel (Drew Campbell) overtake that position by the quarter. These two raced in that order to the half in :57.1 and three-quarters in 1:25.1 with a pesky French Moni (Patrizio Ancora) parked outside prompting the leaders. Coming off the far turn the top three held the same positions, but Nathaniel started to tire and drifted away from the pylons. This provided Osprey Impact a clear path and shortest route to the wire. While French Moni continued to drive on the grandstand side, Osprey Impact barreled down the stretch on the inside and out-muscled them all; winning in 1:55. It was the third win of the year and second straight victory at Plainridge Park for Osprey Impact ($6.80) who is owned by Paul Larrabee and trained by Robert Marston. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 6) with post time at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---Following fast fractions and live cover on a humid afternoon that hit 92 degrees, Quick Shot beat the heat, an outside post and six rivals in taking the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap feature pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (July 2). BJ's Guy (Eddie Davis, Jr.) left with authority and sped the field to the quarter in :25.2. With no one feeling frisky enough to pull into that fraction heading to the half, Drew Campbell stepped up and pulled Quick Shot from fifth and eventually flushed Vegas Dream (David Ingraham) who then escorted him up the backside. As the group tripped three-quarters in 1:22.2, BJ's Guy succumbed to the pace while Vegas Dream, Quick Shot and Soho Jackman A (Chris Long) were flying three-wide and pacing in unison around the last turn . Vegas Dream had the lead in the pylon path but was passed in short order by Quick Shot and Soho Jackman A who were now both set to battle down the lane. Quick Shot gained a small advantage and despite the best effort of Soho Jackman A, he could not get by the classy Quick Shot in the stretch and he won by a length in 1:51, which tied his season's best outing of last week. It was the sixth win of the year for Quick Shot ($4.20) who has now earned $59,860 for owner Kathleen Brewer. The 6-year-old gelded son of Art Major is trained by John Bowman. The $12,500 final of the "2007 Sox" $10,000 claiming series was won by Sports Lightning (Mitchell Cushing) who pulled just past the quarter and toughed-out a first over trip to overtake the front-running Dr. C Z Tam (Greg Merton) in the stretch and win by a length in 1:52.3, which was a new seasonal mark. Sports Lightning ($4.20) is owned by William Emmons and is trained by Jim Nickerson. Drew Campbell led all drivers with three wins on the card while Mitchell Cushing and Nick Graffam had two wins apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (July 3) with post time at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---Osprey Impact took full advantage of early position en route to his first win of 2018 at Plainridge Park in the fastest division of the $10,000 Paul Revere trot for horses with a Trackmaster rating of 88 or lower on Thursday afternoon (June 28). Nathaniel (Drew Campbell) went right to the front and Osprey Impact (Mike Stevenson) would shadow him to the top of the lane. Trotting in line; one-two for seven-eighths of the mile, Nathaniel and Osprey Impact went :27.3, :56.4 and 1:24.1 by a gapped margin as the rest of the field tried to keep up. At the head of the lane, Stevenson pulled Osprey Impact and they went right past Nathaniel without any resistance. Osprey Impact was a wrapped up winner when he hit the wire in 1:54.1, which was a new seasonal mark. Osprey Impact ($9.20) is owned by Paul Larrabee and is trained by Robert Marston. In the first $10,000 division, Ugly Stik (Ron Cushing) overcame a slow start that had him last at the three quarter pole before tipping four-deep at the head of the stretch to close with a rush and win by a neck in 1:55.4, which was a new seasonal mark. Ugly Stik ($10.00) scored his fifth victory of the year for owner Lucia Les and trainer Heidi Gibbs. Drew Campbell topped all drivers with four wins on the day while Ron Cushing ended up winning three races himself. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (June 29) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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      

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