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Owners of mares in foal that are based in New Jersey are reminded that the deadline to register a mare for the 2018 foaling season to the Standardbred Development Fund is February 28. The registration fee is $100 and the mare registration forms are available on the New Jersey Sire Stakes website-www.newjerseysirestakes.com. All checks should be made payable to the New Jersey Sire Stakes and mailed to New Jersey Sire Stakes, P.O. Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625. Registered mail is encouraged to be certain that the envelope is postmarked no later than February 28. Any questions or requests for further information can be directed to Chris Castens, NJSS Executive Director at 609-292-8830 or to agmcast@ag.state.nj.us.  

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica is excited to announce their harness racing line-up for Thursday mornings show at 10:30 AM. Rich Johnston will join the program to talk about the Hervey Award in the broadcast division that he, T.J. Burkett, Allison Conte and Dave Briggs helped report on. Johnston produced the John Campbell retirement video that the USTA used on their Youtube channels and other forms of social media. We will talk with Johnston about his career and how he got into the sport of harness racing.   Dave Briggs won the news/commentary category of the Hervey Awards for his story about the Classy Lane fires, and the barns being rebuilt. The story was in the January 8th issue of Harness Racing update and provided raw details of how the area was working to re-build after the devastating fires. For Briggs this is his ninth Hervey Award and his third in this category. Briggs will discuss his illustrious career with Mike and Mike, talking about how he got into the sport of racing and how his journalism career began.   Trainer Marcus Melander, has a trotter that made a good amount of noise in 2018. He trains 2-year-old Male Trotter Fourth Dimension who made his presence felt in a good amount of stakes races, but notably won the $464,650 Valley Victory at The Meadowlands and $59,400 International Stallion Stakes division at the Red Mile. Melander joins to discuss the future for Fourth Dimension and also talk about his career.   Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 AM via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN.   By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike  

Goshen, NY - Time is running out for members of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame to submit Immortal nominations for the Class of 2018! All Museum members have the privilege of nominating persons and horses who they feel have made a significant contribution to the sport of harness racing. The nominees must be deceased at least three years to be eligible for consideration. Nominations must include a complete biography of the subject and detailed harness racing career statistics, when applicable. Nominations must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2018. They may be emailed on or before that date to director@harnessmuseum.com or mailed to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. NOTE: Nominees selected by the Immortals Committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in 2018 will be inducted in July 2019. Janet Terhune  

Doug McNair does not remember the exact moment he knew driving racehorses is what he wanted to do for a living, but he knows it came early. Probably around the time he was 6 or 7 years old and his father, harness racing trainer Gregg McNair, would let Doug hop into the race bike following a training mile and bring the horse back to the barn. “I’d go on Saturdays down to the farm and watch them,” McNair said. “I’d walk a quarter of a mile up the track and as soon as they got done finishing, dad would jump off and let me drive the horse back in the race bike and he would walk back. That was pretty cool, especially being 7 years old or 6 years old, whatever it was. “That’s probably when I knew that’s what I wanted to do. That was a lot of fun.” A little more than two decades later, McNair is still having a lot of fun. Eleven days ago, McNair received the O’Brien Award for Canada’s Driver of the Year. McNair, who was a finalist for the honor in 2013, was the top driver on the WEG circuit. He led all drivers in Canada with C$5.92 million in purses and was third in wins with 318. In addition, McNair was the regular driver of three O’Brien Award winners -- Stay Hungry, Bettor’s Up, and Sandbetweenurtoes -- captured his first Breeders Crown (with Stay Hungry), won two Ontario Sire Stakes championships (with Western Passage and The Joy Luck Club) and drove Dr J Hanover to the fastest mile in Canadian history, 1:46.4, in June at Mohawk Racetrack. “It’s a pretty good feeling when they call your name,” the 28-year-old McNair said. “I was nervous. I had a pretty good year, and you never know if you’re going to have a nice year like that again to have a shot at winning an O’Brien. I’m glad I got it.” McNair started driving in 2008 and has won at least $1 million in purses every year of his career. He was the youngest driver to earn $1 million, at the age of 18, and in 2010 became, at the time, the youngest driver to 1,000 wins. He has won 2,906 races lifetime. Over the years, McNair has seen himself mature as a driver. “You just take it race by race,” he said. “You race horses the style they like to race. You try not to get in too much of a hurry. I noticed that (I’m not in as much of a hurry) in the last year and a half, even in overnight races. I see myself not getting in a big hurry off the gate. Sometimes, you have to. Other times, you just slow things down and watch what everyone else is doing and try to make the best choices as it comes. “Everybody has one or two game plans, but it doesn’t always work out, and you don’t have much time to think. I think I’ve been able to read a race a lot different. Confidence is a big thing, too, for a driver. Even if you get a lot of top drives, you have to have the confidence or you’re not going to win those races. You have to be confident in yourself and know the right choices are coming.” McNair hopes to build off his 2017 campaign and continue to attract attention, particularly when it comes to Grand Circuit races. “I’m hopefully going to get a lot of opportunities when guys are bringing live horses up from the States for stakes races,” McNair said. “Hopefully they’ll think of my name. I think (the O’Brien Award) really helps. There are a lot of good drivers. You want to be on the best horse. When you’re winning a lot of races, guys are going to give you a shot. I used to be second and third shot and now you get top shots at it. It makes a big difference. “I just hope I stay at the same level; that things keep working out. There are going to be a lot of bad days, too, so you just have to stay positive. I just want to keep trying to win a lot of races.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

Pompano Beach, FL...February 14, 2018...Sooo Handsome, who earned a world record mark of 1:09.3 for five-eighths of a mile on a similar sized track just a week ago at Pompano Park, smashed that mark on Tuesday night by sizzling that same distance in 1:09 for harness racing trainer-driver Rick Plano. The homebred five year-old gelded son of Cash Hall used his rail post position to perfection, out-dueling the anxious opposition early and sprinting through fractions of :27.2 and :55.2 before tacking on a 13.3 final eighth to hit the wire 5 1/4 lengths to the good over William Star, handled by Wally Hennessey, finished second while Legend Field, teamed up with Corey Braden, next. Love Hunter and Overnight Shipper completed the order of finish in this quintet. In reflecting on his second world record performance in just seven days, Plano said, "He did it very easily tonight. You know, he's a very good gaited horse and he's very handy, so all I did was ask him for a bit early and he gave it to me. He was on cruise control the whole way. "He's very fond of Florida and loves this weather. It's especially gratifying because he's a homebred and we have had him since day one." In response to whether a short distance event makes training for a longer event more difficult, Plano responded, "I usually train him a mile-and-a-half and then a mile-and-a-quarter, so I really don't think it will bother him. We'll see how he does against the Open horses where he's been competitive over the last several starts." Now showing a 3-2-0 scorecard in five starts this year, Sooo Handsome has banked $19,000 this semester and $112,340 lifetime in 73 starts to go along with his 1:54.1 mark at Pompano Park set as a three year-old. Off as the 1 to 10 favorite, Sooo Handsome paid $2.20 to win. Racing continues on Wednesday night duet of $11,000 Open Handicap trotting events highlighting the competitive card. Prairie Fortune makes a return following a brief respite from the racing wars and will have Born To Thrive, Zoraze, Uncle Hanover and Foundonabeach as his rivals while A TC Queenie looks for a repeat in the companion event for mares. The Super Hi-5 finale has ballooned to $193,652 for the Wednesday card with post time set at 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

DOVER, Del. --- Elysium Linda used the passing lane to end Royal Becca J's two-race win streak in the $25,000 Open/Handicap trot while Soda Pump made several moves en route to a harness racing victory in the sub-feature. Jack Parker Jr. rushed Royal Becca J from the outside into the lead at the quarter in :27.1. The gelding held the lead through a :564 half and 1:25.3three quarters and continued to lead until deep in the lane when Corey Callahan took the passing lane and got up by a neck in 1:53.3. Theresademoninme (Jonathan Roberts) closed strongly to nab third place in the field of eight. The previous race, a $13,00 Winners-Over trot, found Soda Pump used several times during a 1:53.1 mile. Tim Tetrick spend most of the race two wide and apparently beaten before rallying in deep stretch for his third win of the year for trainer Scott DiDomenico and owners Tetrick and Triple D Stables. Horses were two and three wide at several points with Perseverance (Art Stafford Jr.) challenging at the half-mile and later Tough Mac (Corey Callahan) three-wide before the three-quarters snatching the lead and seemingly opening up on his eight opponents until Soda Pump's late rally. Crazsahana (Allan Davis) also came on to edge Tough Mac for place. Stafford Jr. and Filled Donut scored an impressive 1:54 triumph in a $13,500 trot. L Dees Yoyo Ma (Steve Nason) was a fast-finishing second with Torkil (Montrell Teague) the third-place finisher. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta AND Lou Walls own the Andover Hall-Miss Gertrude gelding who now is three-wins, a second and a third in five races this year. Bro Hanover won the $12,000 Winners, the card's top pace. Sean Bier drove the Somebeachsomewhere-BurningPoint gelding's third win in four 2018 starts for owner-trainer Crissy Crissman-Bier. Sonny Somewhere (Tony Morgan) was runner-up. Takeittotheface (Tetrick), third. NEWBORN SASSY, BETTORHAVEANOTHER JOIN $25,000 MARES OPEN Stakes seasoned Newborn Sassy and newcomer Bettorhaveanother  are new faces in this week’s $25,000 Mares Open/Handicap on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Dover Downs. An $18,000 and a $13,000 female pace head the undercard . Post time is 4:30 p.m. In the $25,000 distaff feature, Gary Ewing’s solid Sweet Robbie drew the rail with driver At Stafford Jr. is  one of the meet’s most consistent performers and last season’s Horse of the Meet; Enhance Your Mind and Vic Kirby and JFE Enterprise’s Scandalicious, now only less than seven dollars from earning  $500,000 will be driven by Jonathan Roberts. These are the 1-2-3 starters in post-position order. Newborn Sassy, owned by CC Racing and JoAnn Looney-King, is the richest in the eight-mare field at $762,415. The two sharpest among the stats are Divas Image with Tony Morgan with outside post 8 for owners Our Hrs Cents, Stable 45 and J&T Silva stable’s Divas Image who won this event four of the last five weeks and Terror At night racing for Ed Maas, Arlene Paisley and Nanticoke Racing,  a winner of three of her last four outings. Eddie Davis Jr. will pilot Claim To Fame’s Hold It Hanover, who completes the field. Heading the undercard, in the $18,000 Mares Winners pace with four starters fresh from victories: Brian and Carrie Malone’s Rosy Outlook (Morgan); Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms; Roselily (Art Stafford Jr.) She’s No Spinster (Davis) and Marion Beachy’s Berazzled (Tetrick) making her first local start. Live racing is featured four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Dover Downs’ features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Watch the live racing and enjoy fine food at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, in conjunction with Green Acquisition Corporation, announces the donation of a breeding to the stallion Uncle Peter, to benefit the MSOA's Collegiate Scholarship program.   A trotter, Uncle Peter was a star on the racetrack, taking a mark of 150.3f and earning more than $1.2 million. The son of Cantab Hall now stands at stud at Hickory Lane Farm in Ohio for a fee of $6,000.   "We have donated breedings to the MSOA Scholarship program in the past," said John Green, principle at Green Acquisition Corporation. "It helps to bring youth into a business that needs youthful attendees. It's for a good cause, is a well thought out program, and we are pleased to support it."   Rich Gillock, President of the MSOA, said, "Thanks to donations from people like John and Green Acquisition Corporation, we have been able to give scholarship money to dozens of college-bound students over the past decade. It's a program that we at the MSOA are quite proud of, and it wouldn't be the success that it is without the help of our partners."   Green has been a longtime active member of the MSOA, owning several horses that have raced at The Meadows in recent years. He previously donated breedings to the stallion Trainforthefuture.   The breeding to Uncle Peter will be auctioned to the highest bidder in a seven-day auction on the website www.ongait.com, which is currently underway and will end at 12 Noon Eastern time on Tuesday, January 20.    

On Friday, February 16, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment is celebrating Chinese New Year with an Asian inspired buffet in Pink Restaurant. The Asian fusion buffet is $29.95 and features all the classic Asian-American dishes. Guests can start their night with wonton soup, steamed dumplings, spring rolls, and cold sesame noodles. Buffet entrees include, shrimp with broccoli, sweet & sour beef, General Tso's Chicken, and pork fried rice. Fortune cookies, almond cookies, and coconut cake are the perfect desserts to round out the delicious meal. Reservations can be made by calling 201-THE-BIGM. Live harness racing kicks off at 6:35 pm. Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Visit PlayMeadowlands.com for additional details, live racing schedule & specific times. Rachel Ryan  

Hightstown, NJ --- Chuck Sylvester believes he’s got a nice trotter returning from last season in 3-year-old filly Hey Blondie. He’s hoping to discover additional nice ones among the six harness racing 2-year-olds joining Hey Blondie in his winter stable at Spring Garden Ranch in Florida. That group includes $240,000 yearling purchase Girl With A Past. Hey Blondie won five of 13 races and earned $295,595 last year, ranking No. 3 in purses among all 2-year-old female trotters in North America. Her victories included the Kindergarten Series championship and a division of the International Stallion Stakes. Her best win time of 1:53.1, set in her International Stallion triumph at Lexington’s Red Mile, was tied for fourth fastest among 2-year-old female trotters. “She just came back into training,” Sylvester said. “If we handle her like last year I think she should have a real nice year. We let her race from behind and she liked that; she passed horses all the time. When it was right toward the end (of the season) we let her roll and she responded. She’s just not a filly that can go to the front and race every week. But I think in spots she’ll do fine.” Hey Blondie, who flashed final quarter-mile speed as fast as :26.4, led at the halfway point of a race only three times last season, winning twice. Her loss came in the season-ending Goldsmith Maid, where she went off stride and finished 10th. The race was won by Plunge Blue Chip. “I didn’t have her quite right her last start or she would have had some more money,” Sylvester said. “It was my fault. (Plunge Blue Chip) was sharp right then; I don’t know if we would have beaten her, but we should have been an easy second.” Hey Blondie is a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Winbak Blondie -- who is a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill -- and sold for $125,000 under the name Whovian Hanover at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale. Andy McCarthy drove her throughout last year. The filly is owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey Arnold, Paul Bordogna, and David McDuffee. Last season’s group of 2-year-old filly trotters was led by undefeated Dan Patch Award winner Manchego, trained by Jimmy Takter. Other fillies at the top of the division in earnings included Ake Svanstedt’s Plunge Blue Chip, Julie Miller’s Seviyorum, and Trond Smedshammer’s Phaetosive. “If Manchego comes back as good as she was last year, she’s going to be tough,” Sylvester said. “Ake, I’m sure he’ll have his filly right when the time comes. It won’t be easy, but we’ll pick up some piece and we’ll be OK.” Sylvester’s group of 2-year-olds is made up of four filly trotters and two colt trotters. Girl With A Past (Cantab Hall-Shared Past) sold for $240,000 under the name So Diane Hanover at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Her dam was a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion and her family includes millionaires Dejarmbro and Manofmanymissions. The remaining fillies are Chanel De Vie (Cantab Hall-Lola De Vie), Lollipop Lindy (Cantab Hall-Dana Boko) and Shes A Bronxbomber (Donato Hanover-Housethatruthbuilt). Lola De Vie was an Empire Breeders Classic champion. Housethatruthbuilt was a Dan Patch Award winner and is the dam of three horses to earn six figures, including stakes winners Real Babe and Murderers Row. The colts are Gardepat (Father Patrick-My Dream Gar It; original name Patrick’s Diamond) and Lucky Weekend (Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation). Sylvester trained Lucky Chucky, a two-time Dan Patch Award winner and earner of $2 million lifetime. “Right now they’re all training and nobody is on the shelf, so that’s good,” Sylvester said. “We’ve been in the (2):40s, that’s all, which is OK. “The weather hasn’t been very favorable. We’ve had a lot of rain and we’ve missed a lot of days. It’s just been nice the last 10 days where we’ve been able to train more consistently. But it seems like no matter what, when it’s time to go the good ones will be ready. I’m not one that’s going to drop one from (2):40 to (2):25, but if we have good weather and nothing happens we’ll be ready whenever the time comes.” by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Pompano Beach, FL…February 13, 2018…Harness racing driver Tom Eichas has been named Florida Amateur Driving Club’s Driver of the Year. In making the announcement, F.A.D.C. President Dein Spriggs noted Eichas’ overall contributions on the club’s behalf along with his U.D.R.S. of .444 during the 2016-2017 season. “Tom has been our Secretary-Treasurer for the past six years and has made remarkable contributions in the promotion of our sport and its contributions to worthy charitable organizations and society, in general. “He has also demonstrated his prowess in the sulky with his skill enabling that lofty .444 batting average.” Eichas is no stranger to harness racing, having purchased his first horse back in 1978. He has been a member of the Florida Amateur Driving Club since its inception in 1998 and is part of that organization that has donated their driving fees totaling over $180,000 to charity. Upon learning of his award, Eichas humbly remarked, “We, meaning our entire club, don’t do this for the recognition. We do it because we believe that this is what our sport can do for society. Of course, I am appreciative of the award and am gratified, but this will only provide me with more incentive to work on behalf of this great sport.” Eichas will receive his award at the upcoming FSBOA Awards ceremonies on Sunday, February 18. by John Berry for the Florida Amateur Driving Club

And the winner of the E. Roland Harriman Award as the 2017 Horse of the Year is .......... At approximately 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, emcees Roger Huston and Jason Settlemoir will fill in the blank at the annual U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla. If you aren't among the attendees at the dinner you can still watch the big announcement -- as well as that of Trotter of the Year and Pacer of the Year -- as the entire awards ceremony, sponsored by Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Ron Burke, will be broadcast live on USHWA's Facebook page, which can be accessed here. The entire video will also be available on the U.S. Trotting Association's YouTube page the following day, Monday, Feb. 26. Dinner tickets must be ordered by Tuesday, Feb. 20, by contacting Judy Wilson via email at zoe8874@aol.com or by phone at (302) 359-3630. You can also order the $175 dinner tickets on the USHWA website at www.ushwa.net. Dinner selections must be made at the time of ordering, with the choices either filet mignon, Caribbean spiced grouper or a vegetable plate. All meals are prepared gluten-free. Post time for the evening is 6 p.m. with a one-hour cocktail reception sponsored by the Downbytheseaside Syndicate getting things under way. A special guest will be Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair, considered by many to be the greatest professional wrestler of all-time. Flair is attending the Dan Patch Awards dinner as a guest of one of the honorees and will also be meeting and greeting attendees on the Dan Patch Red Carpet, sponsored by Hoosier Park. Also starring on USHWA's version of the Red Carpet will be Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, with the two Heathers broadcasting live on their individual Facebook pages. It's your guarantee to see who's wearing what and what the attendees have to say about the festivities. Heather Vitale's Facebook page can be found here. Heather Wilder's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/heather.k.wilder. Rooms at Rosen Shingle Creek are nearly sold out so if you plan to attend and still need to book, you can access USHWA's special portal by going to the website www.ushwa.net. Ken Weingartner

Pompano Beach, FL...February 13, 2018...All Charged Up, perfectly handled by harness racing trainer John MacDonald, used a late power surge to take top honors in Pompano Park's $11,000 Open Handicap Pace for Mares on Monday night (February 12) in 1:52.3. The seven year-old daughter of Ponder bolted through along the pylons once they straightened away for home to score by a length over Wild Wanda, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr. Ubetterbeturlife, with Brett Miller making a rare Florida appearance, finished third while Strings finished fourth. Embassy Seelster picked up the nickel in the classy sextet of ladies. As the Hummer Starting Gate left the station, Wild Wanda and All Charged Up both left with alacrity with the latter taking command early before quickly yielding to Wild Wanda at the opening station in :27.2. A well rated second panel left Wild Wanda with the lead half way through in :56.4 with the pace then quickening on the backside as Wild Wanda tried to shake loose from her foes. With three quarters on the board in 1:24.3, Wild Wanda turned for home with a 1 1/2 length lead but drifted out a bit allowing All Charged Up to surge on through along the pylons to score the win--her third of the year in five starts. In a post-race interview, driver John MacDonald said, "my mare (All Charged Up) lives up to her name when the wings fold. She likes to join the party early and tonight was no exception. It was kind of a blessing when Ricky's (Macomber) mare made that early move because my mare likes the cover. In the lane, the inside opened up a bit and she pounced on the opportunity. Lots of traffic last week, not so bad this week! That's the story in a nutshell." All Charged Up, owned by J P Stables, now has 35 career wins in 124 starts, good for lifetime bounty of $295,212. As the slight favorite at 3 to 2, All Charged Up paid $5.00 to her many faithful. A pair of $7,500 co-features for mares also highlighted the Monday program with Galarina and Iced Out annexing those. Galarina, a seven year-old daughter of Dali, enjoyed a picture perfect journey from trainer Andy Santeramo to score in 1:52.4--her winning margin 1 1/2 lengths over Northern Dali, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. Drea's Good Powow as third for John MacDonald after a first over bid around the final bend while Metro Glide rallied from last to finish fourth. Layer Cake earned the minor award in the septet. Galarina is now four-for-six this semester with earnings of $17,425 for owners Ron Ruggles and Tom Santeramo. She paid $5.00 as second choice in the betting. Iced Out, driven by Ricky Macomber, Jr., found some room turning for home and, first, mowed by the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Fox Valley Hermia (George Napolitano, Jr.) and then held off the late surging Sue's Night Out (Wally Hennessey) to score in 1:53.2 for her first win of the year in five starts. This eight year-old daughter of Western Ideal, trained by Eric Beach for Little Bapa, was off as the longest proposition on the tote-board at 68 to 1 and returned $138.20 to win. The Iced Out-Sue's Night Out exacta (3-7) paid $832.20 and proved to be the end of anyone enjoying a Pick-6 win, which now has a carryover going into the Tuesday program. Racing continues on Tuesday night with a carryover in the Super Hi-5 finale ballooning to $185,469. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Millstone Township, NJ - February 13, 2018 - The Standardbred Retirement Foundation has many breedings for sale and anticipates others to become available throughout the season.   To access the list, or to donate a breeding and receive a tax deduction for your gift, please contact Tammy at 732 446-4422, or via email at SRFHorsesandKids@gmail.com.   The list of current available breedings can be accessed at AdoptaHorse.org.   SRF is Different: * Is the largest Standardbred adoption program in the U.S. * Helps Standardbreds exclusively, young, aged, injured, neglected, or abused. * Is feeding and caring for more than 300 trotters and pacers. * Is providing lifetime homes for more than 150 retirees and provides lifetime follow-up for every adopted horse, never to be at risk again.   Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 12, 2018—He came. He saw. He conquered. Thrice. Harness racing driver Billy Dobson celebrated Abe Lincoln’s 209th birthday Monday night (Feb. 12th) with a honest-to-goodness memorable Yonkers Raceway performance. The Saratoga standout came downstate for three drives, resulting in three off-the-pace wins…even if one was behind a trotter. Said trotter was Western Credit ($14.60), who reeled in a stubborn fave Aruba Vacation late in the $7,500 second race. The margin as neck in 1:58.1. Next, a last-to-first Stonedust ($41.60), overcoming the eight-hole in the $10,000, third-race pace (1:56.2). The 4-year-old Sagebrush gelding was making just a seventh career start. Dobson’s three-fer was completed in the $17,000, seventh-race pace, pouncing after a contested battle to prevail with Gussy’s Dragon ($10.20) in 1:55.3. ‘Gussy’ held off 8-5 choice Queen Josephine by a scant nose. Donald Billings trained Western Credit, who turned out to be a one start rent-a-trotter, while Monica Krist trained both Stonedust and Gussy’s Dragon.       Frank Drucker  

DOVER, Del. ---Papa Ray won the Lincoln’s Day feature at Dover Downs, one of three harness racing victories for driver Victor Kirby, trainer Wayne Givens and owners Reggie Hazzard and Legacy Racing on Feb. 12. Kirby finished with four wins. Gallic Beach (Corey Callahan) raced alongside Papa Ray from the three quarters until mid-stretch when Kirby finally shook off his challenger to pull away for a 1:51.triumph, his first of the New Year in four tries giving the Village Jolt-Liamatters horse his 43rd lifetime win to up his career earnings to $613,488. Gallic Beach was followed by Pretty Boy Hill (Jonathan Roberts) third. The same driver, trainer, owners combination came back to races later when Downthehighway turned back eight opponents in 1:52.1 to beat I Found My Beach (Callahan) and Hide Me Away ( ).The five-year-old winner is a son of Dontgetinmyway-Happy Tears and is a $368,937 lifetime winner. Earlier, Inforce, a Western Hanover-Kats Treasure five-year-old scored a 1:54.4 success to start the trio of Kirby, Givens winners. Skyful Of Lighters (Sean Bier) was runner-up. Bobby The Greek (Callahan) finished third.   Kirby finished with four winners, Givens , Legacy Racing and Reggie Hazzard had three winners, Morgan and Russell Foster had two wins. ROYAL BECCA J, ONE TO BEAT, IN $25,000 OPEN TR0T TUESDAY Super-sharp Royal Becca J takes on Theresademoninme, Celebrity Pegasus and Moonlight Cocktail in an eight-horse field on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Riding an impressive two-ace win streak in the Open and a winner of three of her last five starts with two seconds, Jack Park Jr. drives the blossoming eight-year-old owned by Chip Moore from post 7 facing two multi-winners of this event, Mike Casalino and Dylan Davis' Theresademoninme with Jonathan Roberts at the controls and Art Stafford Jr. driven Celebrity Pegasus, from outside post 8 for trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta and Minisink Farms. The list also contains Richard Gutnick and TLP Stable's Moonlight Cocktail leaving from the rail with Tony Morgan in the bike. Former Delaware-bred champion I Like My Boss and Allan Davis is alongside. Lazurus piloted by Tim Tetrick has a win, a place and a show in his last three outings for Dana Parham, CC Racing and Triple D Stables. John DeVito's fast Golden Son reined by Russell Foster and newcomer Elysium Lindy piloted by Corey Callahan for Burke Racing, J. Di Scala and Weaver Bruscemi make up a strong lineup of contenders. A strong card of trotters includes a $13,000 Winners-Over led by driver Tim Tetrick and Triple D Stable's Soda Pump, a winner of two of his last four; Midsize Construction's Blownoutofthewater (Vic Kirby) a winner last start; Wood, Dittmar, Iaquinta and Tribbett Racing's Perseverance (Stafford Jr.) drew the rail with Jenny Melander leased Wisenheimer (Roberts) alongside after a wire-to-wire qualifying win over an off track. Not to be overlooked in the field of nine are Mike Casalino's steady Tough Mac (Callahan) from the second tier; Bamon Racing's Crazshana (Allan Davis), dropping down from the Open; William Cantrell's Deacons Valley (Eddie Davis Jr.), William Mofftt's sharp Gillie The Kid (Ross Wolfenden) with an inside post; and Mark Ford's Moose Madness (Kirby). A $13,500 trot has Wood, Dittmar, Iaquita and Walls' Filled Donut , the program favorite; Magic Maddy (Morgan), fresh from a win for Lou Catana and Vince Bradley and Fred Hertrich's Gravitator (Eddie Davis Jr.) among nine starters. Dover Downs features a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races. Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. An excellent selection of food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book. Marv Bachrad

Monticello Casino & Raceway is reportedly not in any danger of closing despite the Feb. 8 opening of the new 1.6 million square foot, luxury five-star casino located in Thompson, Sullivan County, approximately 90 miles north of New York City. The Times Herald-Record reports that several visitors who attended Thursday’s grand opening of the $920 million Resorts World Catskills wondered if the owner-operator of both properties, Empire Resorts, Inc. (NYNY:NASDAQ GM), would turn its back on the harness racing track and racino that opened its doors almost 60 years ago. Not so says Charlie Degliomini, Executive Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Corporate Communications for Empire Resorts. “We think of it as a business that will still be active and vibrant,” said Degliomini. According to Degliomini, who has been an employee or consultant of Empire Resorts, Inc. since 2004, the property which added the casino component in 2004 and currently offers approximately more than 1,000 video lottery terminals (VLTs) and 40 electronic table games including blackjack, roulette, three card poker and craps, all of the venue’s features will be maintained and it will continue to book musical acts, reports the Times Herald-Record. Degliomini reportedly said that they [Empire Resorts] “definitely wanted to keep it open,” and that “There’s still jobs there.” He went on to say that about 200 people are employed by Monticello Casino & Raceway and that that level will be maintained, with some moving back and forth between it and Resorts World Catskills located just 10 minutes away. Village Manager David Sager reportedly said that the racino’s VLTs provide Monticello with “substantial” revenue. He reportedly estimated that the village receives approximately $180,000 a year. Sager went on to say that while he doesn’t think the racino will be a big-time draw for visitors to Resorts World Catskills, he said that he believes “certain people will be overwhelmed by the five-diamond resort casino” and visit it providing an opportunity for increased activity, according to the news agency. Sager said he is hopeful that the continued presence of both Empire Resorts’ properties will be a catalyst for the return of visitors to the area. Degliomini reportedly said that recently the company has made improvements to the racino including the successful replacement of the buffet with a sports bar, installing a new mini grandstand and relocating betting and horse racing operations nearer to the casino floor in order to create a more compact experience. According to the Times Herald-Record, the opening of Resorts World Catskills has Degliomini feeling optimistic that the racino will be successful. While he did not give specific numbers, he reportedly described visitor turnout at the racino as “competitive,” and that they win their fair share of the market. He said, “it’s been steady and continues to improve.” K Morrison Reprinted with permission of World Casino News

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