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Plainville, MA --- Harness racing driver Scott Zeron was all business at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 26) as he won four of the eight Massachusetts Sire Stake finals, including three straight to start the day. Trainer George Ducharme and owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. also combined for three stake wins and five in-the-money placings during the afternoon. There were eight $90,000 divisions combined for a total value of $720,000. Zeron struck first with the 2-year-old trotting gelding Incommunicado (Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla) who took an early lead and marched on the point by 1-1/2 lengths all the way to the three-quarters. At that station Incommunicado kicked-away from the group and opened up six lengths around the last turn and stretched that advantage to 17-1/4 at the wire where he stopped the timer in 1:56.2, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner.   It was the third straight MASS win for Incommunicado ($2.60) who is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz. Ake Svanstedt is the trainer. The Moni Maker Stable bred Incommunicado who was an $80,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2019. Next in the 3-year-old male pacing division, Zeron sat behind the heavily favored Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) and similarly called the shots on the front. When the race got to the half, Spatterdash (Mike Stevenson) moved alongside and presented a real threat as the pair matched strides to the three-quarters and halfway around the last turn. There, Wyatt J pulled away by a length but still had to quell a late charge from R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) and Han Solo (Shawn Gray) to win by 1/2 length in 1:52.1. Now undefeated in four starts in Massachusetts, Wyatt J ($2.20) has also won eight straight starts this year for owner Ken Jacobs. Linda Toscano is the winning trainer. Wyatt J was bred by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and was a $245,000 yearling purchase at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale. Zeron's natural Hat Trick was completed in the 2-year-old male pacing division with Mullinax (American Ideal-Up Front Kellie Jo) who took an early lead to the quarter in :26.4 before Maui (Shawn Gray) tipped and took control. At the five-eighth's pole Call Me Maverick (Mike Stevenson) and Bumpah Stickah (Jim Hardy) drew even with Maui and Mullinax and the foursome paced away from the field. At the top of the stretch Bumpah Stickah tipped three deep and Mullinax went four wide and got the best of the insiders by only a neck at the light in 1:53.4. The time was a new stake record and tied the existing track record that Mullinax set himself earlier this month. It was the sixth win of the year and second straight for Mullinax ($5.00) who is owned by William Varney and trained by Mark Ford. Mullinax was bred by his namesake, Ed Mullinax. Zeron completed the Grand Slam in the 3-year-old trotting filly division behind Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who took the lead off the gate and was never headed after that. The filly trotted through quarters of :28, :58 and 1:26.2 when Zeron let Without A Warning out a notch and she swelled up down the stretch with a 6-1/4 length lead at the beam, timed in 1:55. Without A Warning ($2.10) swept the MASS for the second straight year and is now a two-time champion for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Without A Warning has also never lost a race in the state of Massachusetts and is a perfect nine-for-nine lifetime. The 2-year-old filly pace went to Purameri (American Ideal-J K Pure Pearl) who got away sixth behind the front-running So Amazing (Bruce Ranger). At the half Suzie Blue chip (Shawn Gray) was out and rolling and driver Nick Graffam followed that cover with Purameri all the way to the top of the stretch where they swung wide and paced up a storm passing So Amazing. Once in front, Purameri opened up a 2-1/2 length lead and won in 1:54.1 in a 7-1 upset. Purameri ($17.00) scored her second and biggest win in Massachusetts for owner the Purple Haze Stable and trainer Jessica Okusko. Next was the 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings and Double Dealing (RC Royalty-Heather Spur) dug deep to get the win. After getting away third behind Life Is A Feast (Scott Zeron), Shawn Gray pulled Double Dealing at the half and motored up the rim towards the leader and engaged him on the backstretch. The two trotters tangled to the three-quarters, around the last turn and into the stretch where Double Dealing opened up a two length lead and cruised to the wire under a line drive in 1:57.1. It was the third MASS win and seventh overall of the year for Double Dealing ($4.60) and owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner. Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) won her fourth straight MASS race after capturing the 2-year-old trotting filly division. Me Too Baby (Matty Athearn) opened up a quick three-length lead on the field while Royal Envy sat fifth. But that was short lived as Shawn Gray came early behind Moni For Lindy (Scott Zeron) who was on the move in front of the stands. Moni For Lindy cleared at the half before Royal Envy crossed over for the lead past the five-eighths. With no serious challenge from behind, Gray line-drove Royal Envy from that point all the way to the wire where she won in 1:57.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Royal Envy ($4.00) now has four wins out of six lifetime starts for owners/breeders Al Ross and Ray Campbell Jr. The filly is also trained by George Ducharme. Finally in the 3-year-old pacing filly group, Ry's Red Rocket (Sunshine Beach-Mo Molly Blue Chip) took no prisoners as Matty Athearn sent her to the front and she never looked back. Ry's Red Rocket tripped the timer in :26.4, :56.1 and 1:24.4 with Rojas Blue Chip (Drew Monti) right on her back, but her back was all the competition would see as Ry's Red Rocket turned for home and paced smartly to the wire on top by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54. Ry's Red Rocket ($3.60) got her second stake win and sixth of the year for owner/breeder Linwood Higgins. Gretchen Athearn trains the winner. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Aside from being the most prolific Standardbred breeders in the state, Ray Campbell Jr. is also the president of the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts. He has been involved in the sport for most of his life and has seen first hand the ups and downs of breeding and racing in Massachusetts, as well as the growth it has experienced in recent years. Campbell's first interaction with harness racing was at a yearling sale at Young Meadow Farm (now the UMass Equine Research Farm in Hadley). They held fair racing there years ago over a five-eighth's mile track, but there were also stallions standing at the farm. "My interest in the beginning was fair racing. Back in the 80's and 90's there were multiple venues from the western part of the state to the central part and it was typical fair racing only without the fair. You would race out of your trailer for a couple thousand dollars and a cooler and it was really all about the competition," said Campbell. Campbell transitioned and started breeding in the early 1990's, standing his first stallion at Sawmill River Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts. He then started buying broodmares and it became a family enterprise. "My father and I were all hands on deck with the whole operation. Our focus was to race horses in Massachusetts but also have some that could compete in New York," Campbell explained. "Then about 20 years ago the fairs started fading away, Foxboro closed and the sport had pretty much come to a halt here. It changed everything." However everything changed again, only this time for the better after the Race Horse Development Fund was instituted in 2015. Since that time breeding and the performance of the horses that were bred has improved exponentially each year and people who would have never thought of racing young horses in the commonwealth, now want in. "First and foremost there is a much greater degree of interest. Next there are inquiries about "how do I get involved?" Now we have more people participating each year and that is driving the number of eligible resident mares up each year," said Campbell. "As the horse population grew, farms were in great demand and stalls were hard to find. Eventually that improved as some farms started to pop up and reclaimed some of the land and now there's more availability for boarding." Campbell explained that the issues people had trying to race in years past are gone and have now been replaced with opportunity. "It was difficult before when you had 2 and 3-year-olds here, you just couldn't get them raced. You would find yourself in races with added conditions facing older horses. But they have really done a great job with enhanced purses and restricted races and that has been very good for the program," explained Campbell. "It's a terrific thing to have young horses racing here now, although the racing is tough; there is nowhere to hide. I've been doing this a long time and the days of two and three horse fields are a thing of the past." In recent years the track and stake records have continued to be broken and that is a true indicator of how far the program has really come. And that shouldn't really be a surprise because of the number of quality mares that have been bred. There are currently 146 eligible to race as 2-year-olds in 2021 and that number seems to climb year after year. "To keep the program moving forward and growing, it's vital to have Plainridge Park remain a thriving and viable venue. This keeps people engaged in the sport and the revenue that it, along with the other casinos generate, help fund the RHDF which in turn makes the stakes a worthwhile investment that people want to get involved in," concluded Campbell. The finest Massachusetts-bred Standardbreds will be on display Monday (Oct. 26) when the $720,000 Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will be held at Plainridge Park. Post time is at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Since shipping into Massachusetts, Eurobond has been performing at a high level and did again on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 25) when he won the $15,000 Winners-Over harness racing trot at Plainridge Park. Eurobond (Drew Monti) settled in fourth while Midnite Craze (Kevin Switzer Jr.) led the field to the half in :58 flat. Monti had Eurobond out and rolling at that point and they took control by two lengths at the three-quarters in a swift :27.4 third panel. From there Eurobond kicked-away around the turn and down the stretch and opened up by 4-1/2 lengths at the wire where he won in 1:54.2.   It was the second win in the last three starts at Plainridge Park for Eurobond ($2.60) who is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert Rudolph and trained by Domenico Cecere. In the co-featured $15,000 conditioned trot for 5-year-olds and under, Manruptcy (Mitchell Cushing) tripped out to the half behind Just Dreamin (Mike Stevenson), tipped at the five-eighths and grabbed the lead before the three-quarters. Manruptcy continued to trot with authority in the turn and down the lane, holding off a pesky Split Rail (Shawn Gray) at the wire to win in 1:55.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Manruptcy ($11.80) is owned by Justin Hale and is trained by Kyle Spagnola. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) at 2 p.m. when eight divisions of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes will go postward for a total of $720,000.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing trainer George Ducharme has been one of the top trainers competing in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for years and his success in the series is no surprise as many of the horses the Walpole, Massachusetts native starts are tight and experienced coming in off their New York Sire Stake races. This year he brings a "Ducharmy" of nine starters to Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) including a pair of defending 2-year-old champions looking to repeat and take their share of the $720,000 up for grabs in purse money. Here is a look at his starters followed by some comments by Ducharme. In the 3-year-old trotting filly division, Ducharme has a three headed monster led by Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who is one of those returning champions. Without A Warning race against Love A Good Story and Hypnotic Am all summer in the NYSS and finished third in the $225,000 final. She has now won three in a row in MASS competition, taking a new lifetime mark and setting a MASS stake record of 1:54.2 in the process. He is also starting Dramatra (Trixton-Bourbon 'n Grits) who is a sister to 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life and Greyscale (Credit Winner-Global Beauty) who has had some light stake work in New York. "Without A Warning is just a nice horse. She raced those three good fillies in New York all year and held her own. She was just maybe a step below them, but it has definitely bravened her up for the competition level she's had to race so far." "Dramatra was just growthy and sore last year so we quit with her. This year she's come back to be a useful racehorse that has held her own in stakes so far. Greyscale is a good honest little horse, not quite as fast as the other two, but one that has done what we've asked of her to this point for sure." Ducharme has two 3-year-old trotting colts starting including another returning champion, Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) who was racing in the Ontario Sire Stakes and Double Dealing who was a NYSS Excel A finalist. "I just got Life Is A Feast back a couple weeks ago. I trained him down last winter and then sent him up to Canada for his Canadian stakes. He hadn't raced in almost three weeks before his first MASS start the other day and I think he needed the race. So hopefully he should be a little better this week." "Double Dealing has just turned into a real honest little horse. He trots 55-ish every week and he can do it on the lead or from behind and I'm pretty happy with him." Another two starters appear in the 2-year-old trotting colts division with In The Cards (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) who had a win and a third in NYSS action and Beantown Madness (Conway Hall-Armbro Archer) who Ducharme has been very pleased with his progression coming in. "Beantown Madness has turned out to be a really nice little horse. We were very slow with him, we raced him in the NYSS Excel B races and let him learn because he wasn't the biggest horse at the time. But he's grown and filled out and really come into his own and he's learning how to make speed. I couldn't be happier with him." Ducharme's last trotting entry is 2-year-old trotting filly Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) who seems to be peaking at the right time and is three-for-three in MASS action. "Royal Envy was growthy and sore most of the summer and that hindered her progress. I qualified and tried to race her and she just wasn't good so we backed off on her, blistered her up a couple of times, brought her back and she's been really good. She definitely has plenty of speed and she's finishing her miles real good right now. I think she'll become a useful horse, hopefully Monday, and then into next year." Ducharme is also starting one pacer, a 2-year-old filly named So Amazing (So Surreal-Teddy Ballgirl) that has actually raced up to her name. "So Amazing is just a nice filly. Last week I was really impressed with her, having horses at her the whole mile without a breather and finish the way she did. And to pace in 1:53 as a 2-year-old against a good group of fillies. That's a real good division because there are three or four in there that have taken turns every week depending on how the trips go." Ducharme also commented on how far the stake has come since the Race Horse Development Fund was put in place in 2015. "Every year this stake gets more competition as the quality of the mares gets better. And the numbers are getting better because people have faith in the program at Plainridge and Massachusetts right now. I think all of the class groups are in the 20's next year so a lot of them could go split divisions next year," said Ducharme. "We bought a couple more Mass-bred yearlings in Lexington this year besides our home-breds so we're going to keep supporting the program for sure." By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Ken Jacobs has never had a horse compete in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes. But when the man who has competed harness racing standouts Heston Blue Chip (American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip $1.78 million), Kenneth J (Bettors Delight-Advantest $1.56 million), He's Gorgeous (Art Major- So Ravishing $743,844) and Walner (Chapter Seven-Random Destiny $567,652) finally does comes to town, it's no surprise he has the favorite in the glamour division of the $720,000 Massachusetts Sire Stake finals at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26). Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) is the heavy morning line favorite in the 3-year-old male pacing division. He was a $245,000 yearling purchase at Lexington in 2018, the highest price paid for any American Ideal yearling that year. And although his stature in the ring is what ultimately made Jacobs decide to buy him, it was also the reason he didn't meet his early expectations until this year. "I liked him going in; he was such a beautiful big horse, I had to have him. I usually don't go for big horses because I like a more medium size because we race on a half a lot in New York. But he was just gorgeous looking. As it turned out he was too big for his age and he had to grow into it," said Jacobs of Wyatt J. "As a 2-year-old he wasn't mature at all. He was so big I didn't want to hurt him. He did race decent at Vernon but that's a big track and I didn't want to put him on the smaller tracks so we shut him down and let him grow into his body. And he's done a pretty good job of that." His first two starts at three were 1:49 miles at Tioga and Vernon Downs against the top 3-year-old male pacers in New York and he acquitted himself pretty well. But Jacobs said he wasn't ready for that out of the gate and he decided to take him to Yonkers and get him brave in the non-winners classes and look past stakes in New York and forward to Massachusetts. "I sent him to Linda (Toscano) and that move worked out well for us. He kept winning races and kept getting better with each start. And he has just kept getting braver every week. They know when they're winning and they swell up, and that's what he's doing. And we want to keep that going for one more week," said Jacobs. Since moving to Yonkers, Wyatt J has won four straight races there before moving to Plainridge Park where he is now three for three in MASS competition. He has also set a new stake record of 1:51.3 for a 3-year-old pacing geldings in the process. Jacobs has never been to Plainridge Park, but plans to attend the finals this Monday. He said he has been impressed with the Sire Stake program and likes what he has experienced first hand this year. So much so he has already purchased another Massachusetts eligible yearling at Lexington named Knockout Lindy (Muscle Hill-Kinda Crazy Lindy) who was the sales topper for the third session and sold for $175,000. It's interesting to note that Knockout Lindy's dam, Kinda Crazy Lindy, is a sister to Big Man Ev (Chapter Seven-Possessed By Lindy 1:53.3, $231,921) who was the 3-year-old MASS trotting colt champion in 2017 and holds the stake and track record at Plainridge of 1:53.3 for 3-year-old trotting colts. Eight divisions of the $720,000 Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will take place at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- Heavily backed at the windows, Black Is Back delivered for his harness racing supporters after going gate to wire in the $8,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 24). The red-hot Dave McNeight III pushed the car away with Black Is Back and took the point passing the quarter in :28 and led a single file field to the half from there. Rounding turn two, McSpidey (Denny Bucceri) and Cultural Paradise (Kyle Cummings) pulled into the breeze and prompted the third quarter to a snappy 1:25.2. Rounding the last turn, Cultural Paradise tipped three deep, Percy's Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) went four wide around him and McSpidey shook loose from the pylons and all five horses were charging down the lane. With a highly animated group of drivers doing their best to get there first, McNeight and Black Is Back refused to lose and hung on by ½ length in 1:54.4. It was the seventh win of the year for Black Is Back ($2.80) who is owned by Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zedjelar Sr. Mihajlo Zedjelar Jr. trains the winner. The $7,500 Open II Handicap pace went to Machlicious (Drew Monti) who got away fourth before pulling first-over at the half, taking the lead at the three-quarters and then maintaining a 1½ length lead to the wire where he won in 1:55.2. Machlicious ($5.10) captured his third win in his last four starts for owner Jim Caradori and trainer Darrin Monti. Dave McNeight III led all drivers on Saturday with driving Grand Slam but Ron Beback Jr. had a big night as well, winning three races as both a driver and a trainer. There was a $5,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool at Batavia Downs on Saturday that paid out big. The winning combination of 6-3-5-5-4 returned $6,065 for a $1 wager. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 28) at 5 p.m. There will be another guaranteed Pick-5 pool of $3,000 on Wednesday and it will again be part of the USTA's Strategic Wagering Program with free program pages available on both USTA and Batavia Downs websites starting early next week. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA --- Last week from post seven, Major Leaguer did not get involved in the early pace and finished where he started as a result. This week he was back on the point and circled the field at 17-1 in the $17,500 Winners-Over harness racing pace at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Oct. 22). Nick Graffam sent Major Leaguer to the front ahead of Tisadream N (Drew Monti) and got to the quarter in :26.1. Moving on the outside second at that point was Sgt Papa Daddy (John McDonald) and Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) who were both in the wind around the second turn and up the backstretch. Hudson Phil tipped three-deep around a fading Sgt Papa Daddy and brought Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) with him. Major Leaguer and Hudson Phil were fully engaged around the last turn when Rock Diamonds N joined the fray in the stretch. The three paced in close quarters to the wire but Major Leaguer was not to be denied and hung on by ¾'s of a length for the win in 1:50.3.   It was the seventh score of the year for Major Leaguer ($37.60) who is owned by Jimmy Whittemore. Marissa Chabourne is the trainer. Graffam also drove the winner of the $15,000 undercard conditioned pace for 5-year-olds and under, Benny Is A Jet, who became the winningest horse at Plainridge Park this year after scoring his sixth win of the meet. Benny Is A Jet got away fifth behind the leading Sea Isle City (Shawn Gray) and pulled second over behind Jackie Gheeson (Bruce Ranger) at the half. These two cleared and were one-two at the three-quarters, but Benny Is A Jet said goodnight to Jackie Gheeson and then held off the fast-closing Tucker Creek (Drew Monti) to win in 1:52 to claim his fifth straight race. Benny Is A Jet ($6.00) is owned by Braford Veilleux and Anthony Loiko and is trained by James Dunn. Nick Graffam ended up with three wins on the card to lead all drivers on Thursday. Amanda Kelly was the 10/22 leading trainer sending two for pictures herself. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 23) with post time at 2 p.m. Just a reminder, the $720,000 (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will be held at Plainridge on Monday (Oct. 26) with post time at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- Western New York racing legend and former Grand Circuit driving star Gerry Sarama reached another harness racing career milestone after getting his 1,000th training victory with Ohio Prince in the 12th race at Batavia Downs. Sarama has been around the sport his entire life as his father owned and raced horses. He started driving at an early age and quickly found himself at the top of the driver colony in western New York and won many driving titles at Batavia Downs. Sarama made a move to Roosevelt Raceway in the late 1970’s and successfully competed with the best in the nation on the biggest stage at the time, racing side by side with the likes of Carmine Abbatiello, Herve Filion, Billy Haughton and all the other great New York City reinsmen of that era. But he eventually found his way back to his roots and continued to be at the top of his game ever since. The one constant of Sarama’s career regardless of what track he was competing at, he was always a highly sought after catch driver.    During his driving career, the now 78-year-old Sarama amassed 2630 wins and bankrolled $11.5 million dollars. But he curtailed that activity in 2007 and turned his attention to training full time. Since doing so Sarama has found as much success in the jog cart as he did in the sulky. He currently oversees about 14 horses and since taking over conditioning duties full time, his stable has won in excess of $5.6 million. During his entire training career Sarama has made 6,153 starts with 1,000 wins, 931 seconds and 843 thirds giving him a .292 UTR. The entire staff at Batavia Downs as well as all our horsemen would like to congratulate “The man with the hands” Mr. Gerry Sarama on this accomplishment.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- A rain-soaked track greeted horsemen for the night’s proceedings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) but stellar harness racing performances were still on display, especially by top class winners Before I Die and Tellawoman. A scratch-shortened field of six horses went to post in the $8,500 Open I Handicap trot and the race turned into a tale of two races. Chapter one was Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) who screamed off the gate and sped away to an eight-length lead at the half in :58 and looked like a walk-over tonight. At that same station, Before I Die (Jim McNeight Jr.) was sitting fourth and 11 lengths in arrears. Chapter two was when McNeight pulled Before I Die at the five-eighths and started making tracks towards the leader and doing it in a timely fashion. At the three-quarters Il Mago’s lead was down to four and diminishing with every stride while Before I Die was in full gear. When they hit the top of the lane Il Mago was digging in and determined to win, but Before I Die wrote his own ending by a head; winning in 1:58.2. It was the second top class victory this year at Batavia Downs for Before I Die ($8.70) and his owners Caren and Jamie Dubay, the latter who also trains the winner. Then in the $8,500 Open I Handicap for for pacing fillies and mares, HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) led the field to the half in :27.4 but when Bucceri tapped the brakes in a :30.1 second panel, Morrill pulled Tellawoman and took control by the five-eight’s pole. As soon as he did, Bucceri came right back out with HP Sissy and rode alongside the leader with Yankee Secret (Dave McNeight III) now traveling three deep. Heading into the stretch HP Sissy faded and Carly Girl (Drew Monti) was trying to get out between her and Tellawoman while Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings) was also now flying down the stretch. When they hit the wire four horses were only a length apart in very close quarters and after an objection and two inquiries (none of which were allowed) Tellawoman won in 1:57, only 1/2 length ahead of Lady Dudette and HP Sissy who dead-heated for second. It was the second win in the last three starts for Tellawoman ($7.10) and owner Rose Campbell. Russell Bratt trains the winner. Jim Morrill Jr. and Drew Monti topped all drivers with three winners each on the night while trainers Sabrina Shaw, Kevin Cummings and Gerry Sarama tied for top conditioning honors with two apiece. With no winner in the Pick-5 wager on Wednesday there is a $2,152 carry-over pool that will move to Saturday (Oct.24) and it has been announced that there will be a guaranteed pool of $5,000 for the Pick-5 wager that day. The pool is part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Batavia Downs and USTA websites. 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, any carryover pool will be moved to the Pick-5 wager on the following Wednesday (Oct. 28) program. Post time for the first race Saturday is 5 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- The third session of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for 3-year-old contenders met at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 19) to compete for the $112,500 in available purses with two early harness racing favorites ending the day three-for-three in the stake. The 3-year-old male pacers saw Wyatt J (American Ideal-Think Pink) successful for a third straight week after hanging on for the win. Wyatt J (Scott Zeron) took early command and led a single file field through five-eighths of a mile without movement. The first one to flinch was R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer) who moved towards the leader up the backside and got within a length at the 7/8th's pole. There, Han Solo (Shawn Gray) pulled from fourth and swung three-deep into the lane and looked like he would take the prize. But Wyatt J was tougher and hung on to a neck victory in 1:52.3.   Owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano, Wyatt J ($2.20) should head into the final as the prohibitive favorite. Bred by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Wyatt J was a $245,000 yearling purchase at the 2018 Lexington Selected sale and drew the highest sale price of any American Ideal yearling that year. The other undefeated participant was Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who bested the 3-year-old trotting fillies for the third straight week in a non-betting event. Without A Warning (Scott Zeron) followed RFL's M London (Jim Hardy) for a quarter mile before Zeron tipped, took the lead and ran off with the money. The filly stayed close to the field until the top of the lane where she kicked away to a 2-1/2 length win in 1:57. After tangling with the likes of Love A Good Story and Hypnotic Am in the New York Sire Stakes all year, Without A Warning has shown her class in this series with three easy wins for trainer George Ducharme. Without A Warning was bred by her owner, Ray Campbell Jr. In the 3-year-old male trotting division, Dazzling Lindy (Crazed-Lindy On The Rocks) got his first MASS win and did it with a career best effort. Dazzling Lindy (Drew Monti) took no prisoners and went right down the road with hectic fractions as the favored Life Is A Feast (Scott Zeron) following closely. Dazzling Lindy cut quarters of :27, :55.2 and 1:24.1. At that last station, Life Is A Feast pulled the pocket and tried to advance, but Monti popped the plugs and Dazzling Lindy trotted on. He opened up two lengths at the top of the stretch and held off a late lunge from Double Dealing (Shawn Gray) to win by 1/2 length in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Dazzling Lindy ($10.20) scored his fourth overall win of the year for his owner the Lindy Farms of Connecticut, who also bred the gelding. Domenico Cecere is the trainer. Finally the sophomore pacing fillies were tamed by She's A Fireball (Western Maverick-Fire Can Fly) on the strength of a big three-quarter move. Rojas Blue Chip (Drew Monti) stepped to the half in a swift :55.3 with Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) and Shes A Fireball (Ron Cushing) right behind her. As they hit the 5/8th's, Cushing pulled Shes A Fireball and went right around Rojas Blue Chip and opened up two lengths on a fast approaching Ry's Red Rocket. Those two fillies broke away from the field heading into the stretch but Shes A Fireball was wrapped up and not to be caught, winning by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:54.1, tying her lifetime mark. Shes A Fireball ($5.80) has now won two of the three MASS legs for owners Ron Cushing and Adams Racing. Lucia Les and Kenneth Clairmont bred the winner. The $720,000 (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stake finals will be held on Monday (Oct. 26) at Plainridge Park with post time for the first race at 2 p.m. All eight finals will be held on that day. Live racing at Plainridge Park will resume on Thursday (Oct. 22) at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The third harness racing leg of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds of both gaits and genders was held at Plainridge Park on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 17) with $113,750 in purses up for grabs. In the first of two divisions of 2-year-old male pacers, Mullinax (American Ideal-Up Front Kellie Jo) made his presence known while winning in a big way. Mullinax (Scott Zeron) got away third as the undefeated Call Me Maverick (Mike Stevenson) set fractions of :27.3, :57.3 and 1:26.1 with the field in single file behind. Entering the far turn, Maui (Shawn Gray) pulled from second and took his best shot at the leader as they headed into the stretch, but it was Mullinax who tipped three-high around both and paced furiously to the wire to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4. The winning time was a new track and stake record for a 2-year-old pacing gelding.   It was the fifth win of the year for Mullinax ($4.00) who is owned by William Varney and trained by Mark Ford. Ed Mullinax and Mark Ford bred the winner. The second set of first-year side-wheelers saw Beantown Bruschi (Dragon Again-Wondrous Grace) overcome a late miscue to take the win. Beantown Bruschi (Mitchell Cushing) also sat third while Edelman (Ron Cushing) played hardball with post time favorite Dancing Lew (Bruce Ranger) to the quarter in :27.1. Dancing Lew took that trip to the half where he pulled and brought Beantown Bruschi (Mitchell Cushing) and Bumpah Stickah (Jim Hardy) with him. Rounding the far turn they fanned three across when Beantown Bruschi made a break, appearing to leave Dancing Lew and Bumpah Stickah to decide the winner. But Cushing gathered Beantown Bruschi together and steadied him down the stretch where he caught the leaders at the line in 1:54.3, which was a new lifetime mark. It was two wins in a row for Beantown Bruschi ($10.60), owner/breeder Michael Goldberg Racing and trainer Jeff Lieberman. The 2-year-old colt and gelding trot was basically a walk-over by Incommunicado (Chapter Seven-Gran Cavalla) after three horses broke by the quarter. Incommunicado (Scott Zeron) trotted on the point with a loose lead to the half in :58.2 and three-quarters in 1:28.1 while Tbtwelve (Steve Smith) and In The Cards (Nick Graffam) tried to stay close. But when they turned for home Incommunicado had opened up a three length lead and bolted to an eventual 8-1/4 length victory in 1:57.3. The win was the second straight in the MASS for Incommunicado ($2.80) and owners Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz. The Moni Maker Stable bred Incommunicado who was an $80,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2019. The first-year pacing fillies were up next and So Amazing (So Surreal-Teddy Ballgirl) was in complete control while putting on a dominating show. After taking the lead immediately off the gate, So amazing (Bruce Ranger) maintained a quick pace while working through challenges from Ideally Sweet (Steve Smith) to the half, Purameri (Nick Graffam) at the three-quarters and then holding off deep stretch challenges from trippers Rightfully Mine (Scott Zeron) and Suzie Blue Chip (Shawn Gray) to win by a 3/4 of a length in 1:53.1. So Amazing ($20.80) scored her first MASS win along with a new lifetime mark for owners/breeders Nancy and Domenic Longobardi and trainer George Ducharme. Lastly the freshman filly trotters took the track and Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) scored off a late closing kick. Me Too Baby (Matty Athearn) went to the front while Moni For Lindy (Scott Zeron) followed in second as they rounded the first turn. At the three-eighths pole, Royal Envy (Shawn Gray) pulled and advanced only to third, where he hung for most of the next half mile. As the trotters approached the three-quarters, Moni For Lindy tipped out and took the lead from Me Too Baby while Royal Envy was still floating on the rim about four lengths behind. When they hit the stretch Moni For Lindy looked like she was home, but Royal Envy finally found his footing and trotted up a storm to the wire, beating Moni for Lindy by 1/2 length in 1:58. Royal Envy ($4.80) scored his third straight MASS win for owners/breeders Al Ross and Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme also trains this filly. Live racing at Plainridge Park featuring the third leg of the 3-year-old Massachusetts Sire Stakes will convene on Monday (Oct. 19) at 2 p.m. The $720,000 (est.) MASS finals will be held on Monday (Oct. 26) at The Ridge with post time for the first race also at 2 p.m.    By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Batavia, NY --- Although it was a short field after the scratch of Mr. Euroman, Cultural Paradise was grossly overlooked and ended up putting regret in the wallets of those who ignored him after he handily won the $8,500 Open I Handicap harness racing pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 17). As Stratosphere (Drew Monti) and Manceiver (Denny Bucceri) traded leads going to the half, Cultural Paradise (Kyle Cummings) stayed third on the pylons, chasing the pace. Positions remained unchanged in the abbreviated five-horse group by the half and to the three-quarters where Cultural Paradise tipped out and started to move towards the front. Halfway through the last turn, Cultural Paradise cleared Manceiver and opened up by 1-3/4 lengths down the lane and hit the light first in 1:54.1 at 19-1. For Cultural Paradise ($36.00) it was the fifth win of the year, all taken in his last seven starts. Don Rothfuss trains for owner Howard Ouriel. In the $7,500 Open II pace, Beachy Dream (Jim Morrill Jr.) followed PC's Expresso (Dave McNeight III) for 7/8th's of a mile before pulling the pocket at the top of the stretch and out-sprinting him to the line for a one-length victory in 1:55. The ultra-consistent Beachy Dream ($2.60) is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. Shawn McDonough had a busy combined night, winning two races as a driver and three races as a trainer. Individually, Kyle Cummings had a driving hat trick with Jim Morrill Jr. scoring two wins and trainer Jim Clouser Jr. had two wins as well. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at 5 p.m. when there will be a guaranteed $3,000 Pick-5 pool in race one. As part of the USTA Strategic Wagering program there will be free program pages for races one through five available early next week at the Batavia Downs and USTA websites. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- One week after taking a new lifetime mark of 1:52 at the Meadowlands, The Fun Marshall bounced right back and made it two in a row in the $15,000 harness racing feature for 5-year-old and younger filly and mare pacers at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 16) on a very rainy afternoon. The Fun Marshall (Mitchell Cushing) left from post nine and ducked in fifth while Kitty Hoyne (Nick Graffam) grabbed the lead by the quarter and took the field to the half in :56.1. By that point The Fun Marshall had already been rolling up on the outside and by the three-quarters, had cleared and opened up a two length lead. From there Cushing sat chilly as The Fun Marshall kicked-away with every stride and ended up a seven length winner in 1:53.   The Fun Marshall ($6.00), who earned $179,496 last year and was crowned the New York Sire Stake 2-year-old pacing filly champion paid instant dividends for her owners Jim Winske, David Winske and Stephen Michaels, who just purchased her last week . Melissa Beckwith trains the winner. In the undercard $10,500 mid-level conditioned distaff pace, Odds On Algorithm (Shawn Gray) remained perfect in Massachusetts after winning her third straight race at Plainridge Park. After taking the lead just before the three-quarters on the strength of a three-wide brush, Odds On Algorithm paced sharply on the point all the way to the wire while holding off a fast-closing Hilaria (Mike Stevenson) to win by 1/2 length in 1:53. Odds On Algorithm ($4.60) registered her seventh win of the year for owner The Green Machine Stable and trainer Alicia Gray. Melissa Beckwith led all trainers with three wins on Friday and that made her the winningest trainer of the meet with 25 wins. Alicia Gray was right behind with two wins on the card. Driver Shawn Gray also had the Hat Trick Friday and he is the leading driver of the meet so far this year, now with 92 wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 18) with post time at 2 p.m. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes also resume at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 18) and Monday (Oct. 19) when the third leg for all age, gaits and genders will be contested. The MASS finals will be held at The Ridge on Monday (Oct. 26). Post time for all stake race days are 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- Recent Australian import Leonidas A has paid early dividends since arriving in this hemisphere in July and he shone best once again after taking the $17,500 Winners-Over harness racing pace at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 15). After Paternity Suit A (Drew Monti) and Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) traded leads off the gate, Leonidas A (Shawn Gray) was out and rolling at the three-eighths, motored towards the front and grabbed it before he hit the half in :56.4. Right at the point, Ideal Star N (Greg Merton) and Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) started an outside advance as the race moved to the three-quarters. The two attackers made up some ground as they travelled up the backstretch and into the final bend. But as they spun off that apex, Leonidas A kept a now three-wide cavalry charge at bay and maintained a length advantage as they headed down the stretch. Pacing for the wire, Leonidas A was under a line-drive and extended his lead to 1-3/4 lengths when he stopped the clock in 1:52.2.   It was the second straight win at Plainridge Park for Leonidas A ($8.60) who is owned by the Jesmeral Stable and trained by Sheena Mcelhiney. Gray also won the secondary featured $15,000 condition pace with Sea Isle City ($2.80) who took the lead from OK Kudo (Mitchell Cushing) past the quarter and then controlled the rest of the race. Pacing unchallenged down the lane, Sea Isle City hit the beam clear by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:52.3. Sea Isle City is owned by William and Barbara Ethier and trained by Jamie Gerard. Shawn Gray ended up winning three races all tolled ahead of Mitchell Cushing and Nick Graffam who tallied two. Trainer Irwin Rosenthal also won two races on Thursday. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 16) with post time at 2 p.m. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes resume at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 18) and Monday (Oct. 19) when the third leg for all age, gaits and genders will be contested. The finals will be held at The Ridge on Monday (Oct. 26). Post time for all stake race days are 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- The top class for both pacing mares and trotters were featured on the Wednesday (Oct. 14) card of racing at Batavia Downs and the public’s choice came through in both harness racing events. In the $8,500 Open I Handicap distaff pace, HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) got away fifth while Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) paced on the lead through five-eighths of the mile. That is where HP Sissy came calling first-up on the rim, drawing close to the leader at the three-quarters. Protect Blue Chip and HP Sissy then strode neck-and-neck around the far turn and into the stretch where HP Sissy started to inch away, clear and then hold off a late closing Lady Dudette (Kyle Cummings) to win in 1:55. HP Sissy ($5.40) scored her sixth win of the year for owner Finocchario’s Dream Stable and trainer Mike Ohol.   Then in the $8,500 Open I Handicap trot, CR Blazin Beauty (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a similar path to victory, getting away third behind Majestic Kat (Billy Davis Jr.) before tipping at the half and trotting unhurriedly outside the leader for the next three-eighths of a mile. At the head of the lane, CR Blazing Beauty just switched gears and sped away to a two-length advantage by mid-stretch and then just jogged home a winner in 1:57.2, which was a new seasonal mark. CR Blazin Beauty ($6.30) is owned by Marissa Russo and is trained by David Russo. Drivers Dave McNeight III and Drew Monti both scored Hat Tricks on Wednesday while trainer Rose Russo did so as well on the conditioning side. Triple Sticks and Drivin’ Drew are the two hottest drivers at the Downs over the last five days, winning 14 and 13 races respectively. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 17) at 5 p.m.    By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA --- Massachusetts-bred Finnbar took advantage of a favorable draw and made an early move that proved fruitful as he won the $15,500 harness racing feature pace for 4-year-olds and under at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 12). Finnbar (Shawn Gray) got away fifth as Stihl N (Kevin Switzer Jr.) led the troops through the first turn, but Gray tipped quickly before the quarter and marched to the lead in front of the stands. Finnbar continued to pace sharply with Stihl N on his back and hit the three-quarters in 1:25.3. Motoring around the final bend it had turned into a two-horse race and Stihl N came off the pylons to take his best shot at Finnbar as they headed into the stretch. But Gray had his horse on cruise control and line-drove Finnbar to the wire and won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.3, tying his lifetime mark.   Scoring his second win of the year, Finnbar ($2.40) is owned by his trainer, Nancy Longobardi. Finnbar (Real Desire-Unbeachable) has been competing in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for the past two weeks, but entered an overnight event on Monday as the stake had a bye this week. He was not the only eligible to do that and some of the others who did, ended up in the winner's circle as well and all three took new lifetime marks in the process. The 2-year-old pacing colt Beantown Bruschi (Dragon Again-Wondrous Grace) made a three-wide three-quarter move from seventh and pulled away down the stretch to win by 7-1/2 lengths in 1:55.2. Driven by Mitchell Cushing, Beantown Bruschi ($2.60) is owned by Michael Goldberg Racing and is trained by Jeff Lieberman. The 3-year-old pacing filly Lily's Delight (So Surreal-My True Delight) left from post seven for Mitchell Cushing and went gate to wire, scoring a one-length win in 1:57.2. Lily's Delight ($8.00) is owned by The Right Move Racing and is trained by Brewer Adams. The 3-year-old pacing gelding Mr. Puzzles (Western Maverick-Dicey Miss) took an early lead but then tripped out from the quarter on, finding racing room in the stretch to win by 3/4's of a length in 1:55.4. Mr. Puzzles ($14.60) is owned by Richard and Wendy Humphrey and is trained by his driver, John Nason. The MASS resumes at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 18) and Monday (Oct. 19) with the finals taking place the following week on Monday (Oct. 26). Plainridge saw its second dead-heat in less than a week as Somesizesomestyle (Drew Monti) and Sign To Inverell A (Mitchell Cushing) traded blows all the way down the stretch and then couldn't be separated by the camera at the line in 1:53. Somesizesomestyle ($2.60) is owned by The Jesmeral Stable and is trained by Sheena Mcelhiney and Sign To Inverell A ($3.20) is owned by Bret Pisarski and is trained by Andrew Adamczyk. It was the 68th lifetime win for the venerable 13-year-old Sign To Inverell A. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Oct. 15) at 2 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

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