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Plainville, MA --- Shawn Gray put on a harness racing driving clinic Monday afternoon (Aug. 10) at Plainridge Park, winning five of the 11 races on the card and posting a .694 universal driver rating for the day. Gray won the featured $10,000 condition pace for 5-year-old and under fillies and mares with Mary Goodnight who took control in front of the stands going to the half. Mary Goodnight paced smartly to the three-quarters in 1:24 and opened up a two length advantage at the top of the stretch. From there she paced home unchallenged and stretched out to a 4-1/2 length win in 1:52.4.   Mary Goodnight ($4.40) is owned by Joey Mcwhinnie and is trained by Scott Rollins. Gray also won the fastest $10,000 division for 5-year-old and under male pacers with Sea Isle City in a career best effort. After taking the early lead, Sea Isle City eventually got shuffled back to fourth by the three-quarters. When the race reached the stretch, Gray was able to find racing room and shot Sea Isle City up the middle of the track and outpaced Spatterdash (Mike Stevenson) to the wire and won in 1:53, which was a new lifetime mark. Sea Isle City ($17.80) is owned by William and Barbara Ethier and is trained by Jamie Gerard. Gray rounded out his big day with wins behind All About Rusty (1:54.4, $5.60), Dreamzzzz R For U (1:54.1, $4.80) and Passport To Art (1:52.3, $3.20). Drivers Mitchell Cushing and Kevin Switzer Jr. and trainers Alicia Gray and Jamie Gerard each had two wins apiece as well. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (Aug. 13) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs played host to the New York Sire Stakes 2 and 3-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 9) and the perfect weather brought out some exceptional performances. Outstanding 2-year-old colt American Courage (American Ideal-Nola Fool Bluechip) remained undefeated when he won his $50,400 NYSS division. After starting a bit off the gate, American Courage tucked in fifth momentarily before driver Matt Kakaley pulled and advanced him to third at the quarter behind the leading Carrythetorchman (Marcus Miller). But just past the three-eighths, Kakaley had him out and rolling again and this time right to the front. American Courage cleared and took the lead by the five-eighths pole and really dug in from there. Kakaley sat chilly as American Courage opened up four lengths at the three-quarters, six lengths by the top of the stretch and then jogged home by 10 open lengths, wrapped up in 1:54.2. "The gate got going a little fast and got away from us. I just wanted to get away clean and get around the track," said Kakaley. "This is a serious colt." American Courage ($2.10) remains perfect, now winning six of six lifetime starts for owner Fiddler's Creek Stable who also bred the winner. Travis Alexander is the trainer. The other $50,400 2-year-old division went to Town Gossip (American Ideal-Fibbertigibbet) who led at every station from post one. Jim Morrill Jr. backed down the half to a pedestrian :59 before stepping on the gas and letting Town Gossip accelerate away from the field. After hitting the three-quarters in 1:28.1, Town Gossip turned for home and opened up a 5-1/4 length lead at the wire for a 1:57.1 win. It was the second NYSS win of the year for Town Gossip ($3.00) who is owned by Robert Weinstein. Jennifer Bongiorno trains the $25,000 Lexington Selected acquisition who was bred by Winbak Farm. The sophomore set saw it's best performance come in the second $55,000 split when the 3-year-old colt Groovy Joe (Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk) went coast to coast in the fastest mile of the day. Matt Kakaley rushed Groovy Joe off the gate and out-muscled Save Me A Dance (Jason Bartlett) for the lead at the quarter in :27. The race proceeded in single file to the half and past the five eighths before anyone decided to pull on the leader. Splash Brother (Tyler Buter) tipped from last midway up the backstretch and tried to push the issue but came up short in the last turn. Groovy Joe was clear in the lane by two lengths with only the pocket sitting Save Me A Dance with a chance at him. He did close strong down the lane but Groovy Joe hung on to win by 1/2 length in 1:52. It was the second NYSS win this year for Groovy Joe ($4.30) who is owned by Hutt Racing Stable, Blake Macintosh, Ozzie Mackay and Hoofbid Racing. Blake Macintosh also trains the winner who was a $17,000 Goshen Yearling sale purchase that was bred by Winbak Farm. The first $54,000 3-year-old division was won by Major Betts (Art Major-Southwind Johanne) for driver Dexter Dunn who made his first ever driving appearance at Batavia Downs. Major Betts took the lead and cut fractions of :27, :56.4 and 1:25.4 before his first challenge of the race came from Blank Stare (Corey Callahan) who pulled within a length of him at that third station. Major Betts successfully rebuffed that attack and headed down the lane on top by a length. But as he drifted just off the pylons, the pocket sitting Ideal Perception (Jason Bartlett) shot up the cones to take his best shot. Major Betts still had pace and stood his ground to win by a head in 1:53.3. It was the third straight NYSS victory for Major Betts ($2.10) and owners Joseph Jannuzzelli, Mark Harder and Deena Frost. Mark Harder also trains the colt who was bred by Southwind Farms and sold at the Lexington Selected sale for $70,000. There were seven $15,000 divisions of Excelsior A and four $6,600 divisions of Excelsior B races Sunday as well and those results can be found at this link. ( Matt Kakaley, Jason Bartlett and Drew Monti all had hat tricks on the all-stake card with Tyler Buter and Jim Morrill Jr. each scoring two wins as well. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Percy Z Tam started slow but put on a spirited late rally to capture the $8,500 Open I pacing harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Aug. 8). Getting away fifth, Percy Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) watched as Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) took command and led the group to the half in :57. Thor De Vie (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled at that point and Percy Z Tam followed one back as the race moved around the clubhouse turn. From there, positions remained unchanged until halfway through the final turn when Morrill tipped Percy Z Tam three-deep into the head of the lane and started to accelerate. First he circled Mr. Euroman (Billy Davis Jr.) who came off the pylons and then caught Under Paid before the wire to win by 1/2 length in 1:54.2. It was the fifth win of the year for Percy Z Tam ($8.80) who is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. In the $7,500 Open II pace, Iluvtomakemoney (Ray Fisher Jr.) was hopelessly boxed in at the three-quarters yet managed to find racing room in the last turn. Fisher then went three-high turning for home and Iluvtomakemoney was able to catch Atlantis (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the wire by a nose to win in 1:55.3. Iluvtomakemoney ($8.70) scored his fourth win of the year for the Tanah Merah Farms and Swift Racing Stable. Ryan Swift is the trainer. Shawn McDonough remained red hot at Batavia, winning three more races as both driver and trainer. Jim Morrill Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. also both had three driving wins Saturday while trainer Jim Clouser Jr. also had a hat trick. Trainer Gerry Sarama and Maria Rice each scored two conditioning victories as well. With two weeks of racing now in the books, Jim Morrill Jr. is the current dash driving leader with 13 wins followed by Billy Davis Jr. with 10, Dave McNeight III with seven and Shawn McDonough with six. On the training side, Gerry Sarama and Shawn McDonough are tied for the lead with seven wins apiece followed by Jim Clouser Jr. with six and Maria Rice with five. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 9) with a special early post time of 1:15 p.m. It's an all New York Sire Stake card featuring 2 and 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- A marathon 15-race card will be held at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 9) when the New York Sire Stakes roll into town for the second and final time this summer. Four NYSS harness racing divisions of 2 and 3-year-old male pacers headline with an undercard featuring 11 Excelsior Series legs that all tolled offer $341,200 in purse money. Nine 3-year-olds will go to post in two NYSS divisions and will feature some very fast horses. The first $54,000 leg has Major Betts (Art Major-Southwind Johanne) listed as the morning line favorite and for good reason. Major Betts took a lifetime mark of 1:49.4 at Tioga Downs in a NYSS event in June before competing in the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace in July. In that stake he drew post eight, got away tenth and chased a 1:47.2 mile in vain. The following week he jogged in 1:51.1 in another NYSS race at Yonkers. Dexter Dunn is scheduled to make his first-ever driving appearance at Batavia Downs to drive Major Betts for trainer Mark Harder. The other three horses in the short field of four have all been race timed under 1:50 this year but will definitely have their hands full on Sunday. Blank Stare (Bolt The Duer-Hypnotize) took his mark of 1:50.1 in a NYSS race at Tioga, Genius Man (Art Major-Unred Hanover) has won his last two starts and Ideal Perception (American Ideal-Southwind Siren) has not missed a check in NYSS action this year. Blank Stare gets Corey Callahan for trainer John Butenshoen, Genius Man has Marcus Miller up for Erv Miller and Ideal Perception will have Jason Bartlett driving for Andrew Harris. The second $55,000 split features three closely spotted starters. Splash Brother (So Surreal-Sugarcoated) is a winner of three out of five races this year including one NYSS victory and his 1:48.2 lifetime mark at the Meadowlands in June. That is the fastest mile paced by a 3-year-old gelding so far in 2020. Groovy Joe (Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk) who won six NYSS races last year at two before finishing second in the final. In three tries this year he has only one win, but it was a lifetime best effort of 1:48.4 at Vernon Downs. Save Me A Dance (Heston Blue Chip-Dance Hall Girl) has three consecutive second place finishes in NYSS action after winning his seasonal debut at the Meadowlands in 1:51.1. Tyler Buter drives Splash Brother for trainer Ray Schnittker, Matt Kakaley will steer Groovy Joe for Blake McIntosh and Jason Bartlett will team Save Me A Dance for Andrew Harris. 12 2-year-olds will also compete in NYSS action in two $50,400 splits and this division features one of the top freshman horses in North America. American Courage (American Ideal-Nola Fool Bluechip) is undefeated coming in to Batavia, going five for five this year and including two NYSS wins. He also won the $154,250 MGM Springfield Stake at Yonkers. He took his lifetime mark of 1:51.3 in his last start at Tioga Downs and that win pushed his earnings to $119,908. To date he is the fastest 2-year-old pacing colt, the richest overall 2-year-old pacer and the third winningest overall 2-year-old pacer in North America. Matt Kakaley will drive American Courage for trainer Travis Alexander. Trying to take their best shot to beat him is Carrythetorchman (American Ideal-Kattimon) who won a preliminary leg of the MGM Springfield at Yonkers and has finished second in two NYSS events and Sauvignon Bluechip (Art Major-Some Girls Do) who tripped-out behind American Courage last week to finish second at Tioga. Marcus Miller will drive Carrythetorchman for trainer Erv Miller and Tyler Buter will team Sauvignon Bluechip for trainer David Dziengiel. The other 2-year-old leg has two competitors getting some relief from chasing American Courage, but who will now face off against each other. Town Gossip (American Ideal-Fibbertigibbet) has raced American Courage three times this year and finished second behind him twice. He did win his only start when not facing him in a NYSS race at Tioga where he went wire to wire in convincing fashion. King James Express (Art Major-More Diamonds) tripped-out and won his first NYSS event at Saratoga before drawing in with American Courage at Tioga and getting a rough overland trip where he was parked over half the mile. Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Town Gossip for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and Jason Bartlett will be behind King James Express for Mark Harder. There are also seven $15,000 Excelsior A races carded along with four $6,600 Excelsior B races. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA --- After winning in a seasonal best time just last week, Dial A Chic moved up in class and came right back to the winner's circle, winning the $12,000 Winners-Over trotting harness racing feature at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (Aug. 7). Dial A Chic (Joe Di Stefano) settled in third from the pylons off the gate while stablemate Jericho (Mitchell Cushing) hit the quarter first in :28.1. Di Stefano quickly pulled Dial A Chic in front of the stands and made his way up the rim, eventually pulling alongside Jericho past the half. Jericho and Dial A Chic trotted stride for stride up the backstretch, around the far turn and halfway down the stretch before Dial A Chic was finally able to wrangle the lead away from Jericho and then hold of late drives by Uknow What To Do (Nick Graffam) and Namesmuscle (Mark Athearn) to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:56.   Dial A Chic ($18.20) is owned by the Di Stefano and Son Stable and is trained by John Di Stefano. The co-featured $12,000 trot for 6-year-olds and under was the scene of a huge upset when Dixie Slippers (Wally Watson) mounted a late rally from third-over at the three-quarters to collar the front running Mad Dog (John Beckwith) and Just Dreamin (Mike Stevenson) at the wire to win by a head in 1:56.3 at 56-1. It was the first win of the year and a lifetime mark for Dixie Slippers ($115.20) who is owned by John and Susan Muldoon and trained by Lisa Watson. The fastest two trots of the day went to Shake A Leg (Jay Randall/Jimmy Nickerson 1:54.4, $6.60) and Chav Hanover (Steve Nason/Nicole Nason 1:55.4, $4.80), both of which were new lifetime marks. And the most noteworthy victory on the all-trot card came when the venerable Roadshow Vic ($6.20) scored his 50th lifetime win for owner/trainer Mike Cushing when his nephew Mitchell Cushing, pulled from fourth at the three-quarters and exploded down the lane to catch Muscana (Bruce Ranger) and win by 3/4 of a length in 1:57.1. The time was a seasonal new mark and the fastest race the 13-year-old has gone in two years. In an interesting occurrence, nine different drivers and nine different trainers won a race during the nine race card. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (Aug. 10) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA --- The harness racing field saw nothing but his heels because Rock Diamonds N led from gate to wire as he won the $14,000 Winners-Over pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 6). Ron Cushing took early control with Rock Diamonds N and went full throttle with him during the race. After setting quarters of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:22, Rock Diamonds N spun off the last turn with a 3-1/2 length advantage and with minimal urging down the lane, held off a fast closing Starznheaven (Jay Randall) to win in 1:50.1.   For Rock Diamonds N, the time was a new seasonal mark and only one-fifth of a second of his lifetime best. It was also the second win of the year for the 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover-Dancing Diamonds gelding who is owned by Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs trains the winner. In the $12,000 upper-level conditioned pacing event, Beachchip Hanover (Shawn Gray) pulled first over from fifth and tracked down a headstrong Zack Lee (Dan Deslandes) who had been marching on the point from the start, to win by 1/2 length in 1:53.1. It was the second consecutive win for Beachchip Hanover ($9.20) and owners Jeffrey Epstein, Ronald Bolduc and Steven Gondelman. Jamie Gerard is the trainer. Another $12,000 condition race for 5-year-olds and under saw Major Crisis A (Mitchell Cushing) leave four-deep from post eight, take the lead before the half and then race neck and neck with OK Kudo (Jay Randall) from that point until the wire where he won by a neck in 1:52.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Major Crisis A ($4.40) captured his fifth win of the year for owners Kevin Quinn and Phillip Zabielski. Paul Zabielski is the trainer. Shawn Gray led all drivers with two wins on the card while trainers Randy Bickmore and Jolene Andrews also won two races each. Andrews completed a full day as she also scored a driving win in the first with Denver Dolly (1:55.2, $3.20) in the New England Amateurs Driver's race. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Aug. 7) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park

Batavia, NY --- There were some big performances put forth at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 5) as Gia's Surreal muscled her way to victory in the top distaff pace and Jim Morrill Jr. won five races on the card to extend his driving lead for the meet. After coming up short from a tough spot last week, Gia's Surreal put an exclamation point on her performance in the $9,000 fillies and mares Open I pacing feature at the Downs. Gia's Surreal (John Cummings Jr.) settled in fifth off the gate but only until the eighth pole, where Cummings pulled her and flew to the lead by the quarter in :28.1. She didn't get much of a breather from there as HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) pulled before the half and was on the attack and pushing the issue. HP Sissy fully engaged Gia's Surreal and kept the fractions honest going up the backside, but after the 1:25 third panel on the rim, she tired while Gia's Surreal accelerated. Cummings commenced bouncing in the bike around the far turn and opened up 2-1/4 lengths by the top of the stretch. From there the race was history as Gia's Surreal extended her lead to 3-1/2 at the wire where she won in 1:54.4. It was the fourth score of the year for Gia's Surreal ($4.50) who is owned by Edward Peron, Lee Winters, Thomas Mariano and Jim Graham, who also trains the winner. The top trot of the night was the $8,000 Open II event where Noble legend (Billy Davis Jr.) took a new seasonal mark of 1:58.2 after leading unchallenged at every station to score his second win of the year. It was the 35th lifetime win for the 8-year-old son of Kadabra-Lovin It and the purse pushed his total earnings in excess of $300,000; now with $302,519 in the bank for owners Vogel & Wags Nags, Team Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice trains Noble Legend. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. turned heads once again on the strength of his five win outing on Wednesday. He was a frequent visitor of the Purple Haze winner's enclosure as he made his way back there with Lyra (1:55.3, $12.40), Littlebitaclass (1:57.3, $3.80), Mighty Nicky (1:59.2, $7.80), All Music (1:59, $3.00) and The Bay Front (1:56.3, $2.30). He ended the night with a .535 universal driver rating. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 8) with post time at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs    

Plainville, Ma --- Overlooked on the morning line and also at the windows, 36-1 shot Royalty Again turned a furious stretch drive into an instant harness racing jackpot in the $12,000 distaff pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 3). Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) grabbed the lead and took the field to the half in :54.3, and it was there things started getting interesting. Rockin Ellie (Bruce Ranger) was parked and made her way to the leader in the second turn. Behind her was For Chips Sake (Mitchell Cushing) and Free Exchange (Drew Campbell), leaving Royalty Again (Drew Monti) last at the five-eighths. At the three-quarter pole all seven horses were now only three lengths apart from each other and fanned three deep heading into the last turn. Ry's Red Rocket put away the challenge of Rockin Ellie leaving Free Exchange now breathing down her neck. Right behind Free Exchange was Royalty Again who was swinging four wide and still four behind, but pacing like the wind down the lane. About 100 feet from the wire, Royalty Again bolted past everyone, took the lead and won by 3/4 of a length in 1:53.3, which was a new lifetime mark.   It was the first win of the year for Royalty Again ($74.00) who is owned by Richard Knight and trained by Randy Bickmore. In the secondary $10,500 event for pacing mares, Weekend Getaway (Mitchell Cushing) came first-over from sixth at the half and chased down the leading That's Incredible (Drew Monti), eventually taking the lead at the top of the stretch and pulling away to a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:52.3. It was a new seasonal mark and the third straight win for Weekend Getaway ($17.60) who is owned by Jeffrey Kaylor and trained by Joe Therrien. Drivers Drew Monti and Bruce Ranger both scored driving hat tricks on Monday. Monti is currently the leading dash driver at the meet with 20 wins, Ranger is second with 15, Nick Graffam is third with 12 and Mitchell Cushing is fourth with 11. The 11-race card yielded new lifetime marks for seven of the winning horses. Racing resumes on Thursday at Plainridge Park with post time set for 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- It was a big stake day at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 2) as an all-New York Sire Stake card of harness racing featured 2 and 3-year-old trotting fillies vying in four divisions for a total of $213,400 in purses. The highlight of the day was Love A Good Story (Chapter Seven-Celebrity Lovin) who took the second $55,000 division for 3-year-olds in memorable style. Driver Andy Miller floated Love A Good Story off the gate and dropped in third while Without A Warning (Scott Zeron) got to the quarter in a quick :27.4. Positions remained unchanged in the throttled-down :30.2 second panel until Love A Good Story pulled first up as she made her way into the turn. Past the five eighths, Love A Good Story drew alongside Without A Warning and the two trotted side-by-side up the backstretch and to the three-quarters in 1:26.2. The match race continued around the last turn and down the lane when Love A Good Story got the edge with Miller urging her on and hit the wire in 1:55.1. The time was a new track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies, besting the standard of 1:55.4 set by Quincy Blue Chip just last year. It was the 10th win in 15 lifetime starts for Love A Good Story ($2.50) who has now earned $400,484 for owners the Pinske Stables, the Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe. Julie Miller trains the winner. Love A Good Story was bred by Celebrity Farms and was a $90,000 Lexington Selected yearling purchase. The first $54,000 split had an abbreviated four-horse field that saw Island Lily (Chapter Seven-Up Front Hotsey) dominate. Tom Jackson put Island Lily on the front and then led at every station with Destiny Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) on her back. After fractions of :29, :58.4 and 1:28.2, Destiny Blue Chip pulled the pocket and took a run at the leader in the turn. But Island Lily headed for home and trotted away clear to an easy 4-1/2 length victory in 1:57.2 Island Lily It was the first lifetime win for Island Lily ($4.90) who was unraced at two. Fred Grant both owns and trains the filly. Island Lily was bred by Noel Daley and Up Front Racing and sold for $70,000 at the Harrisburg yearling sale. The freshman class saw the best performance come in the second $52,200 division from Destined To Dance (Chapter Seven-Go Go Dancer) who dropped in fourth from post seven as Eliza B (Scott Zeron) scooted to the quarter in :29 flat. With four horses breaking early, the field was now in two groups with the top quad playing follow the leader to the half. Past the five-eighths Just Joshing (Andy Miller) came from third and made a move for the lead while Destined To Dance was still a gapped fourth. But after they entered the final bend, Tyler Buter hit the gas and Destined To Dance responded in dynamic fashion. Still three lengths off the lead, Destined To Dance dug in hard and with a full head of steam, flew down the stretch with ease while reeling off a :28.1 quarter to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:59.1. Destined To Dance It was the third straight win, all in NYSS action, for Destined To Dance ($3.80) who is owned by Heritage Standardbreds, Crawford Farms Racing and Rich Prezzioti. John Butenshoen trains the winner. Destined To Dance was bred by Crawford Farms and sold for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected yearling sale. The complexion of the final $52,200 division changed quickly as post time favorite No Pay No Way (Scott Zeron) broke going for the lead. But Ake Svanstedt was happy to take her place when he guided Broad Strokes (Chapter Seven-Lady Marian) to the front and then never looked back. Broad Strokes slowed the half down to 1:01.1 as no one challenged and Svanstedt continued to grab leather into the second circuit. Credit Income (John Stark Jr.) finally advanced on the outside and got within a length of Broad Strokes in the final turn and the two were on a breakaway. Broad Strokes and Credit Income traded leads all the way down to the wire where Broad Strokes got a slight advantage and won by 1/4 length in 2:01.2. Broad Strokes It was the first lifetime win and a lifetime mark for Broad Strokes ($6.80) who is owned by Little E, Joe Sbrocco, L. Berg Inc. and Triple Play Trotters. Ake Svanstedt also trains the winner. Broad Strokes was bred by Fair Winds Farm and was a $50,000 Harrisburg yearling sale acquisition. There were six $15,000 divisions of Excelsior A races held on Sunday as well with the following results.   3-year-old trotting filly Excel A winners:   Lady Jeter (Muscles Yankee-Salt Hill Brigid) 1:59.2, $22.40 Owner-Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV and Donald Brenner Trainer-Dan Daley Driver-Dan Daley Breeder-Salt Hill Farm Morrisville sale-$22,000   Reciprocalbluechip (Chapter Seven-Fraction) 1:59, $5.90 Owner-Carrie Norris, M T Pockets Stable, Acadia Farms and G and B Racing Trainer-Charlie Norris Driver-Charlie Norris Breeder-Diamond Creek Farm Lexington Selected sale-$65,000   Soprese (Conway Hall-Isabella Gal) 1:59, $8.30 Owner-Crawford Farms, James Crawford IV and Ann-Mari Daley Trainer-Dan Daley Driver-Dan Daley Breeder-Crawford Farms Lexington Selected sale-$25,000   2-year-old trotting filly Excel A winners:   Lovely Belle (Chapter Seven-Somebody To Love) 2:02, $3.20 Owner-Crawford Farms Racing Trainer-Tony Alagna Driver-Jason Bartlett Breeder-Crawford Farms Lexington Selected sale-$110,000   A Million Chuckles (Lucky Chucky-Win A Million) 2:04, $3.70 Owner-Peter Peck Trainer-Jim Shupe Driver-Tyler Buter Breeder-Peter Peck Homebred   Enchanting Woman (Deweycheatumnhowe-Enchantment) 2:04, $7.70 Owner-Hossman Trainer-Robert Gale Driver-Jimmy Whittemore Breeder-Dunroven Stud Lexington Selected sale-$15,000       By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- The New York Sire Stakes makes its first of two stops at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 2) and will feature both 2 and 3-year-old trotting filly divisions.  There are 16 freshman fillies divided into two divisions, each going for $52,200.  The first group features No Pay No Way (Credit Winner-Not A Diva) who has one NYSS win in only one lifetime start. After qualifying handily at the Meadowlands in 1:56.4, No Pay No Way took a come from behind win at Yonkers on July 21 in a state-bred race, banking the bulk of the $$48,866 purse after the win in 2:00.  Scott Zeron will be in the bike for trainer Rick Zeron.  Titans Hope (E L Titan-Fiery Manes) made an impressive first start at Yonkers, finishing third after a mid-mile move. A change in barn and driver seemed to step her up from her qualifier and she looks to continue improving in here. Jason Bartlett drives for trainer Andrew Harris. Also in the race is Credit Income (Credit Winner-Income De VIe) who won an Excel A outing in 2:01 at Saratoga Raceway on July 8 before stepping up to a top level, second place finish at Yonkers where she trotted in 1:59.2.  John Stark Jr. drives for trainer Maureen Salino. The second division has Destined To Dance (Chapter Seven-Go Go Dancer) starting from post seven and looking for her third consecutive win on the year. This filly has won gate to wire at Saratoga on July 8 in 1:59.4 and from off the pace at Yonkers on July 21 in her lifetime best 1:58.3.  Tyler Buter will steer again for trainer John Butenschoen.  Just Joshing (Chapter Seven-Jodi’s Jayme) has two consecutive wins in Excel A company and both were very impressive. She takes the next step here and looks to be a formidable force against the top group this week for driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller.  Elize B (Chapter Seven-Legal Lady) made a stellar debut after cutting the mile and just getting beat in 1:59.2 at Saratoga. She made a break in her next outing at Yonkers from post seven and looks to make amends for that misstep. Scott and Rick Zeron are also the driver/trainer team on this filly.  There are only nine entrants in the sophomore soiree that will also go in two groups for $54,000 and $55,000 respectively.  The first division has four starters who are winless this year but who also show a lot of potential.  Destiny Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Chasin Clouds Away) was caught up in a torrid 1:53 mile at Tioga Downs on June 21, chasing Love A Good Story who is in the other division. In her last start at Vernon Downs, she was parked out for over three-quarters of the mile before tiring in the last turn in a race that went in 1:52.1. She is now in a short field that looks like she should be able to make use of those tighteners.  Ake Svanstedt both trains and drives.  Starystarrynight (Conway Hall-Makes Me Crazy) has won three times last year but has still not found the winner’s circle in 2020. After winning her qualifier on June 15 at Yonkers, Starrystarrynight has been racing overnight condition races at Harrah’s Philly where she was recently race timed in 1:55.2. Now back facing her own age and gender, she should be well prepped for a top effort in her first stake start this year.  Billy Davis Jr. drives for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera.  Island Lily (Chapter Seven-Up Front Hotsey) showed good early work this year before finishing fourth in an Excel A event. After a month layoff, she qualified in a lifetime best time of 1:56.4 by 3-1/2 lengths at Pocono. She steps up to the top level here but comes in looking the part. Tom Jackson drives for trainer Fred Grant. The second $55,000 leg is stacked with three of the top five point-getters in this division. Love A Good Story (Chapter Seven-Celebrity Lovin) has won both of her NYSS outings this year taking a lifetime mark of 1:52.1 at Vernon Downs on July 11. She also finished second to Hypnotic Am in the $207,250 Empire Breeders Classic and most recently competed in the $253,500 Del Miller at the Meadowlands against Hambletonian hopeful Ramona Hill who won it in 1:50.3.   Team Orange Crush handles Love A Good Story with Andy Miller in the bike for trainer Julie Miller. No Mas Drama (Muscles Yankee-Massive Drama) hasn’t missed a check all year until an impossible trip in the Del Miller where she found herself 10th at the quarter chasing a 1:50.3 mile and Munster (Chapter Seven-Richesse Oblige S) has also cashed in four starts behind the gate. However both are still looking for win number one of the year. Jim Morrill Jr. Drives No Mas Drama for trainer Jenn Bongiorno and Tyler Buter will team Munster for Per Engblom. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m. Black Is Back in season's best at Batavia Downs The first Open I pace of the year saw Black Is Back impose his will on a field of seven, going gate to wire handily to capture the $10,000 feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (July 31). Driver Dave McNeight III seated the field after taking a quick point position with Black Is Back and then went to the quarter in :28.3 and the half in :57.4. It was there that Class Six (Renaldo Morales III) pulled first-over and made his way up the outside. Class Six got to within a length of Black Is Back at the three-quarters before hanging there around the last turn. And that was as close as he would get as Black Is Back rebuffed the challenge and paced away to a 2-1/4 length win in 1:54.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the 32nd lifetime win in only 110 starts for Black Is Back ($3.90) who is owned by Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr. Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. does the training. The $9,000 Open II saw a raw speed duel between Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) and Atlantis (Jim Morrill Jr.) who left from post seven and eight respectively. Under Paid got the lead and parked out Atlantis for three quarters of a mile while going fast fractions of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:25. When Atlantis understandably tired in the last turn, Don McWhite (Billy Davis Jr.), who had the perfect pocket trip, tipped out and looked to go by the leader. But the leader wasn't done and Under Paid finished strong to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54.2. It was the second win in a row for Under Paid ($13.00) who is owned by Jennifer Rogowski and trained by Mike Ohol. Shawn McDonough's stable had one big night at the Downs on Friday. Horses he trains made seven starts and scored four wins, one second and two thirds. Of those seven starters, McDonough drove six of them. He won three, had one second and two thirds. This all equates to McDonough having a Universal Trainer Rating of .746 and a Universal Driver Rating of .703 for the night. Statistically, that is one of the best dual performances ever recorded at the Genesee County track. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs with a special Sunday (Aug. 2) matinee card featuring all New York Sire Stake races. Post time Sunday is 1:15 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- Back in Massachusetts after recently taking a lifetime mark of 1:51.3 at the Meadowlands, Nows The Moment showed early speed and late resolve in capturing the $14,000 Winners-Over trotting feature at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (July 31). Nows The Moment (Mike Stevenson) battled three other horses early off the gate and grabbed the first lead before Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray), who was four-wide in the first turn, took the top past the quarter in :26.3. Gray kept the brisk tempo going, pushing Wings Of Royalty to the half in :54.3 and the three-quarters in 1:24.1 with Nows The Moment glued to his back. The two horses separated from the pack going up the backside and when they proceeded into the turn, Stevenson tipped Nows The Moment, circled the leader and pulled away into the lane. When they straightened out in the stretch, Nows The Moment was trotting away from the field on his own and opened up a 4-3/4 length margin at the wire and won in 1:53.4. It was the third win of the year for Nows The Moment ($3.40) who is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and trained by L Alex Mac Donald. Mike Stevenson had a big day on the all-trot card at The Ridge Friday, winning a total of three races during the afternoon. Besides Nows The Moment, he also won with Just Dreamin (1:57.2, $15.00) and Just Enuf Sass (1:56.4, $9.00). Driver Drew Monti and trainer Domenico Cecere also teamed up for two wins on the card. Racing resumes at Plainridge on Monday (Aug. 3) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA --- Thursday's (July 30) card at Plainridge Park featured a pair of $12,000 condition races that both yielded well-backed harness racing winners on another very hot afternoon. In the 5-year-old and under group of non-winners, the Massachusetts-bred CBF Bantam (Shawn Gray) came from off the pace to score a new lifetime mark. Besidetheseaside A (Ron Cushing) took early command and rattled off swift fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.2 while being challenged by the favored Meetmeatthedance (Bruce Ranger) for that third quarter. Around the last turn, CBF Bantam (Shawn Gray) shook loose from fifth and tipped three-deep around the tiring Meetmeatthedance, taking dead aim at Besidetheseaside A. As they headed down the lane, CBF Bantam got the lead and paced strong to the wire and won in 1:52.4, which was a new lifetime mark. CBF Bantam ($5.80) is owned by Glenn Harris and Marion Phelps and is trained by Barrie Farrar. Then an upper-level aged group of condition pacers saw Tisadream N (Drew Monti) win his second straight race after leading at every station. Bettors Fire N (Ron Cushing) got to the front by the eighth pole but yielded the lead to Tisadream N before the quarter in :27. Once on the point, Monti tapped out splits of :56.2 and 1:25 before Quick Shot (Bruce Ranger) got within a length going around the last turn. But that was as close as he would get as Tisadream N swelled up in the stretch and pulled away to a 1-½ length victory in 1:53. Tisadream N is owned by Tony Gruppo and Tim Bojarski and trained by Scott Rollins. Drivers Nick Graffam and Shawn Gray each scored two wins, both in successive races. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 31) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts    

Batavia, NY --- The 2020 harness racing season got underway at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 29) with owners only on hand to watch the action. But absent a crowd and the usual fanfare, the horses showed up and took full advantage of a lightning fast track. A pair of $10,000 Open events headlined the card and the winner of each took a new seasonal mark for their efforts. In the Open I trot, Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) proved he was the best on the grounds this week after making every step from gate to wire a winning one. Morrill shot Il Mago off the gate and to the front and the race could have been called at that point. Trotting like a loose horse on the point, Il Mago went quarters of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26 flat, while extending his lead at each station. With only Chuckabuck (Drew Monti) remotely close, Il Mago was up by 3-1/2 at the top of the stretch and rolled home in front by 4-1/4 in 1:56.3. It was the third win in the last four starts at three different tracks for the classy Il Mago ($2.80) who now has 49 career wins and $869,373 in earnings. The son of Kadabra-Northern Style is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama. The fillies and mare Open I was also contested Wednesday and Julio's Girl (Dave McNeight III) upset the apple cart for the second straight week. HP Sissy ( Jim Morrill Jr.) left best and Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr.) followed while the rest of the field followed in post position order. After HP Sissy got to the half in :56.3, McNeight pulled Julio's Girl first over entering the third turn and started the outside grind toward the leader. After a quarter mile in the breeze, Julio's Girl got even with HP Sissy at the top of the stretch and then paced clear down the lane to win by a length in 1:54.2, holding off a late rush from Protect Blue Chip (Billy Davis Jr.) and Gia's Surreal (John Cummings Jr.) in the process. After returning $33.60 in victory last week, Julio's Girl blew up the tote board again in her seventh win of the year and rewarded her backers with $35.20 this week at Batavia. Julio's Girl is owned by William Emmons and is trained by Jim Clouser Jr. Jim Morrill Jr. Had the hot hand in the bike on opening night, scoring a grand slam during the evening. Besides the already mentioned Il Mago, Morrill also won with Lyra (1:55.2, $4.90), Leaderofthepack (1:59.4, $4.00) and Edom Up Blue Boy (1:58.4, $2.30). Dave McNeight III and Billy Davis Jr. also had productive nights, getting three wins each on the card. Trainers Gerry Sarama and Jim Clouser Jr. led all conditioners with two wins apiece. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (July 31) with post time at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Plainville, MA --- The extreme heat that caused the postponement of Monday's (July 27) card at Plainridge Park had somewhat subsided when the harness racing horses took the track on Tuesday (July 28) to contest those deferred races and several stellar performances were put forth by both man and beast. There were a pair of $10,000 condition paces that were featured on Tuesday and both winners followed similar come-from-behind routes. In the first co-feature, Touch Of Dragon (Kevin Swtizer Jr.) got away sixth behind a fast :26.3 quarter set by the favored Pure Sunshine (Ron Cushing). As the race moved past the grandstand, Switzer tipped Touch Of Dragon and motored up the outside and drew alongside Pure Sunshine by the top of the stretch. From there, Touch Of Dragon responded favorably to moderate urging from Switzer and paced away to the wire where he won by three lengths in 1:53.4, which was a new lifetime mark.   Touch Of Dragon ($11.20) got his second win in six 2020 starts for owners Michele Nelson, Walter Hight and Jeffery Foss. Joe Nelson trains the winner. Then later in the card, Tucker Creek (Drew Monti) floated out from post eight and dropped in fourth while Mcbeantown (Drew Campbell) led the group to the quarter in :26.3. Positions remained the same until just before the half when Monti pulled Tucker Creek first-up and pulled alongside Mcbeantown at the three-quarters. At that point Monti just raised the lines, tapped the bike shaft once and Tucker Creek motored home on cruise control to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:53.1.   It was the second consecutive win for Tucker Creek ($3.20) and owners Joe Hayes Jr. And Paul Paoletti. Jimmy Nickerson is the trainer. Another participant who had consecutive wins was driver Drew Monti who scored a natural grand slam in races four, five, six and seven. Besides the already mentioned Tucker Creek, Monti also won with American Fighter (1:57.3, $14.80), What A Hooligan (1:55, $3.20) and Worth Watching (1:56.1, $14.00). Not to be outdone, Bruce Ranger also had a big day in the bike, winning three races with Plus One (1:52.3, $5.80), Hollywood Deemon (1:58.4, $17.60) and Maui (1:54, $3.20). The 1:54 win by Maui (Bettor's Delight-Barbara Ann), who is Massachusetts-bred and stake eligible, set a new track record for a 2-year-old pacing gelding, breaking the record of R Maddy Blue Chip set just last year. Maui is owned by KDK Standardbreds and trained by Kevin Switzer. After only eight cards of racing so far this year, there have already been four track records broken at The Ridge. There was an instant jackpot in the Wicked Hi-5 wager in the sixth race where a 20-cent ticket on the combination of 3-5-2-1-9 returned a whopping $14,603.70. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 30) with post time at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Batavia, NY --- The 74th season of live harness racing at Batavia Downs kicks off on Wednesday (July 29) and opening night features some of the best horses on the grounds, including the Open filly and mare pacers and the Open class trotters. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m. The Downs will conduct a 43-day meet in 2020 that for the first week will race on Wednesday (July 29) and Friday (July 31) before changing to a Wednesday/Saturday schedule for the remainder of the meet. Post time for Wednesday is 5 p.m. and Saturday is 6 p.m. Post time for Friday (July 31) is 5 p.m. There are two special Sunday matinee cards that will be held on August 2 and August 9 when the New York Sire Stakes come to town. Those cards will feature all-stake races that will see the 2 and 3-year old trotting fillies compete on Sunday (Aug. 2) and the 2 and 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings go to the gate on Sunday (Aug. 9). Post time for both of these dates is 1:15 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes will be the only stake races at the Downs this year as the track's signature race, the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Pace, will not be contested in 2020. "We look forward to another exciting race meet," said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Western Regional Off-Track Betting, the owner of Batavia Downs. "During these difficult times, we've made a series of adjustments that we hope will lead to a successful season." There will be no fans allowed to attend the races at this point due to ongoing concerns and New York State regulations surrounding the Coronavirus. However listed owners of horses in to go will be allowed on the track apron starting opening night as per New York State Gaming Commission regulations. Listed owners must make a reservation to attend in advance and be put on a list that will allow them to enter. Reservations must be made 24-hours before race time by calling Mary Bucceri at 585.344.6144 or by e-mailing your request to Listed owners who register will receive an e-mail confirmation. Security will only let in those who are on the list. There will be no food or beverage service available however owners may bring food, water or soft drinks in until the gaming floor opens. Upon arriving at the Downs, a temperature check and health status questionnaire must be completed by each listed owner in the lobby. Once that process is complete you must then proceed through the Park Place Event Center hallway to the apron. No one is allowed to walk through the gaming floor to the apron. Also there is no access to the second floor unless you are a hotel guest. Anyone coming to the track as a visiting owner on the apron or as a trainer, driver or groom in the barn area or paddock must wear a mask at all times and practice social distancing. This will be strictly enforced. Listed owners only will be allowed in the winner's circle for pictures if their horse wins while wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Also please be aware that any horsemen or owners coming from states that are on the New York State Coronavirus Quarantine List are not allowed to Batavia Downs attend at anytime. Wagering will be available at all WROTB branch or EZ Bet locations, WROTB Dial-a-Bet System for account holders and online at The Downs signal is also simulcast to a vast number of brick and mortar and ADW betting sites and may also be wagered on through them. Replays of the Downs races can be viewed the following day at, where all Downs racing information can also be found. On the track, all the local horsemen will be back including 2019 driving champion Billy Davis Jr., Jim Morrill Jr., Dave McNeight III, Drew Monti, Shawn McDonough and Ray Fisher Jr. On the training side, last year's conditioning champ Jim Clouser Jr. brings his stable back along with Maria Rice, Gerry Sarama, Mike Ohol and Ryan Swift. "This is definitely going to be a different year for us," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing at Batavia Downs. "Without fans allowed in the stands, we won't have any promotions this year like our traditional dollar hot dog and draft days, Family Fun days including the wiener dog races, nightly giveaways and our Labor Day driver's bike race that goes back to 1978. Right now we are happy that the horsemen can continue to work and hope that with constantly improving Covid test numbers in the state, we may welcome back our guests at some point before the meet ends." The 2020 meet runs through Saturday (Dec. 12). by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Plainville, MA --- Manchego put on a display of devastating speed in a gate to wire victory in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26) and set a new world record for aged trotting mares over a 5/8th's mile track when she tripped the timer in 1:49.3. Manchego broke her own world record of 1:50.1 set at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 2019. The time also smashed the all-age track trotting record at Plainridge Park, besting the 1:51.2 set by JL Cruze in the 2017 Spirit Trot. Dexter Dunn had Manchego revved up off the gate and shot right for the lead with Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) dropping in the pocket from post seven as the race passed the quarter in a blistering :25.2. The field remained in single file as Manchego marched to the half in :53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:21 with Atalanta in deliberate pursuit. As the pair trotted away from the field around the last turn, Gingras pulled Atlanta off the pylons to take her best shot at the leader. But as soon as she pulled, Manchego accelerated, opened up two lengths and proceeded to the wire under no urging at all to win wrapped-up by 2-1/2 lengths. Atlanta held on for second and Run Director (David Miller) closed fast to finish third.   It was the 31st career win for Manchego ($3.00) and it pushed her lifetime earnings to over $2,342,705. The 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic is owned by Black Horse Racing and is trained by Nancy Takter. One race earlier in the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace, Shartin N made herself right at home again at Plainridge as she broke the all-age track record that she set here just last year. Tim Tetrick put Shartin N on the point immediately as Kissin In The Sand (Yannick Gingras) left from post four and followed closely with the two-hole trip. After the quick :26.2 quarter and with no pressure at all, Tetrick backed down the second panel to :28.1 and the race seemed well in control for him at that point. By the five-eighths, Gingras pulled Kissin In The Sand and tried to draw alongside Shartin N, but never got closer than a length around the far turn. Tetrick eased the lines a bit and gave Shartin N her head and the mare swelled up down the lane, opening up 2-1/4 lengths in a :27 flat last panel and won in 1:48.1. Stablemate Soho Burning Love A (Jordan Stratton) rallied late to finish second and 38-1 shot Philly Hanover (Dexter Dunn) completed the board.   The time was a new all-age track record at Plainridge Park which was set last year in this same stake by Shartin N when she cruised home in 1:49.1, and it was only one-fifth of a second off the world record of 1:48 for an aged pacing mare over a five-eighths mile track that is co-held by her and Somwherovrarainbow. This was the 44th career victory for Shartin N ($2.60) who has now earned $2,244,946 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and Tim Tetrick. The 7-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin is trained by Jim King Jr. By Tim Bojarski, for Plainridge Park  

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