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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It has been a long time between drinks for harness racing's 2015 Hambletonian champion Pinkman, but his extended wait to return to the winner's circle is finally over. The Jimmy Takter trainee, who last won on May 29, 2016 in a stakes event in Sweden, took the featured conditioned trot Friday night at the Meadowlands in 1:52 by a half-length over Misslarose. Opulent Yankee finished third. Prior to his score in Sweden, Pinkman's previous North American victory came in the October 10, 2015 Kentucky Futurity, two months after he hoisted Hambletonian hardware. Friday night, driver Andy McCarthy was in the sulky as Pinkman, who never saw the rail, was in a live second-over flow heading for three-quarters. He tipped off his cover in midstretch and rolled to his 19th career win in 42 starts for owners C. Takter, John and Jim Fielding, J. McClelland and H. Liverman. Lifetime, the 6-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter has earned $2.65 million. As the 3-1 second choice in the wagering, Pinkman returned $8.00 to win. Lindy The Great, the 3-2 public choice, broke stride before the quarter. HAMBO HOPEFULS: The Paula Wellwood-trained Southwind Chrome crushed an overmatched field in a non-winners of two earlier on the card. The Hambletonian eligible, a son of Chapter Seven, was driven by Scott Zeron and completed the mile in 1:54 as the 1-5 favorite for his first-ever win in his fifth start. Zephyr Kronos, trained and driven by Takter, won a non-winners of three later in the evening. The son of Ready Cash, another Hambo eligible, scored on the front end in 1:53 as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering. A LITTLE MORE: The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $262,148. ... One lucky player walked away with $11,470 after being the only bettor to survive eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-9. ... All-source wagering on the nine-race card totaled $1,767,338. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 22, 2018 - It was nary more than a qualifier for money for odds-on Lispatty (George Brennan, $3.40), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The lone leaver from assigned post position No. 4, Lispatty worked around pole-sitting Medusa (Brian Sears). She then effectively ended the suspense (:28, :57.2) at the intermission. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fifth, but a :27.1 third quarter (1:24.3) made sure the outer tier did not figure. Lispatty owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn, then easily held her pocketed pursuer at bay. She defeat Medusa by a length-and-a-half in 1:52. The ground-saving trio of Lovineveryminute (Mark MacDonald), Freakonomics (Eric Goodell) and Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For Lispatty, a 5-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her fifth win (third consecutive) in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.60, the triple returned $55 and the superfecta paid $267. Saturday night's (June 23rd) dozen-race program features the return of 2016's Trotting Triple Crown champ, Marion Marauder. Second in last fall's million-dollar Yonkers International Trot, Marion Marauder was banished behind the eight-ball in the $44,000, seventh-race co-featured Open Handicap Trot. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Kruella (Mike Simons) charged late in the stretch to win theTioga Downs Fillies and Mares Open Handicap harness racing pace ($11,000) on Friday (June 22). K J's Caroline (Mike Merton) went right to the front and controlled all the early fractions (:26.1, :56.0, 1:24.0). Kruella ($8.40) was fourth after three-quarters. Owned by Two Gals Stable LLC., and trained by Jineen Simone, she used a sweeping three-wide move to blow by to win in a lifetime best time of 1:52.2. A Wish For Wings (Fern Paquet Jr.) charged home late to finish second. K J's Caroline hung on for third. Kruela is a 6-year-old mare by American Ideal. She is two for two this season and she secured career win number 34. Aaron Byron leads all drivers in wins so far this season with 26. Jim Taggart Jr is second with 24 victories with Jim Meittis in third with 23 tallies. Mike Merton is fourth with 21 times to the winner's circle. Last year's driving champion, Mike Simons rounds out the top five with 16 wins. Tioga Downs was blessed with a flyover during tonight's National Anthem by 3 T6 Texans. They will be at the air show sponsored by Tioga Downs at the Greater Binghamton Airshow at the Greater Binghamton Airport from 12-4 on Saturday (June 23). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday with a 12 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Prairie Fortune (Mike Deters) wins the harness racing featured Open Trot ($9,000) at Vernon Downs on Friday (June 22). Icanflylikeanangel (Roman Lopez) took them to a first quarter of :26.3. Foundonabeach (John MacDonald) then took the field to the half in :55.3. Barn Bella (Claude Huckabone Jr.) came first-over from fourth to take over before hitting three-quarters in 1:24.4. She looked like she had it wrapped up with a two-length lead in the stretch. Prairie Fortune ($10.60) was seventh after the half and sixth after three-quarters. Owned by Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters, he flew by like he was shot out of a cannon to edge Barn Bella (Second) by a head to win in 1:53.2. Muscles Jared (Howard Okusko Jr.) finished third. Prairie Fortune is a 6-year-old gelding by Arapa Victory. It was his eight win of the season and fourth in a row. He now has 45 career victories. John MacDonald won four on the night. He got his wins with Alex The Great ($3.60), Hammer Time ($9.70), Quick Trot ($7.90), and Expo ($12.20). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (June 23) with a 13 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

One of the more enticing features of the CKG Billings Series- the granddaddy of all amateur organizations-is that its members are, and have been, offered competitions on all size racetracks. Tonight eight gentlemen drivers lined-up behind the mobile starting gate on the Meadowlands mile-oval with each having visions of reaching the winners circle. But when the race was declared official it was "Joltin Joe" Pennacchio and his trusty steed Super Manning who led his rivals to the finish line while stopping the timer at a very creditable 1:55.2. Sent off as the betting favorite from post six it didn't make much difference if Super Manning ever saw the pylons, the veteran 10-year old Diamond Goal gelding raced with cover on the limb until Pennacchio moved him as they approached the three quarters. Second on the outside when the field passed that marker once they squared for home they began to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the field. At the wire Super Manning was two lengths better than runner-up Toss Cartwright, driven by Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans who shadowed the winner from the three quarters but came up short. "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli took home the show dough with Aventure. The winner is owned by Pennaccio's, J P Racing LLC, and trained by Allen Sisco. For Pennacchio, a retired executive, it was the 172nd career victory for the talented amateur reinsman. To say that "Joltin' Joe" currently has a hot hand would be an understatement. With the Billings season not yet half completed Pennacchio already has a start on his best year ever. He has victories in three of his last four starts and thus far this year he has 10 wins, 7 seconds and 2 thirds and a UDRS of .401 from 39 seasonal trips behind the mobile gate. by John Manzi, for the Billings Harness Driving Series    

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fox Valley Veto ($13.20) didn't want any part of a hotly-contested front end battle in Buffalo Raceway's featured $11,500 Open Trot on Friday night (June 22) and his patience was eventually rewarded with a head victory over B Z Glide in a seasonal best 1:56.3.   It was a mad charge to the lead as Call My Broker, Kahoku and Chelseas Chance were three-wide across the track in hitting the quarter pole in :28.2. Finally grabbing the top, Chelseas Chance tripped the timer in :56.4 to the half. The outer flow then started to develop as Call My Broker and Kahoku began to retreat.   Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) was the first over and brought B Z Glide in tow to the three-quarter marker in 1:27.2. as Chelseas Chance was ready to throw in the towel.   In the stretch, it was a match race with Fox Valley Veto digging in gamely and managed to hold off the late bid by B Z Glide (Mike Caprio). Empire Earl N (Drew Monti) took the third place check, rallying from last.   Co-owned by the Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Fox Valley Veto (Pizzazzed-Yankee Victory Om) is a 7-year-old gelding that is trained by Maria Rice. It was the fourth win in 18 tries this season for Fox Valley Veto, now a winner of $43,492 in 2018 and $438,211 lifetime.   Drew Monti registered a driving triple while Davis added a double on the night.   Racing will continue on Saturday evening with a 12-race program slated to begin at 6 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

CHESTER PA - Strong Opinion, a winner of over $195,000 at two, achieved her first harness racing victory at three in her fourth seasonal start when she won the $16,000 featured pace for females Friday at Harrah's Philadelphia in a personal best of 1:51.1. Corey Callahan worked out a good trip behind the strong backstretch cover of first-over Brunhilda, who cleared to the lead at the 1:23 3/4s. The victorious daughter of Well Said continued forward, and in a long stretch drive collared her main rival to win by a half-length; Aldine Hanover, shuffled after the backstretch lead change, rallied for third. The Ron Burke trainee now has a lifetime bankroll of $207,764 for Burke Racing Stable LLC; Jack Piatt II; Silva, Purnel & Libby; and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Two-year-old pacing females were out for their pari-mutuel debuts, with the Well Said - Watercolor Hanover miss Art Lecture closing strongly for driver Brett Miller off a pocket journey to trip the timer in 1:55.3. Art Lecture had won two baby qualifiers at Pocono, and continues to develop for trainer Jake Leamon and the partnership of Old Block Stables Inc., Kenneth Klein, and the A&B Stable. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Nichols, NY -- Several local horsemen, including farrier Dennis Payne, who passed away over the past year, will be remembered during a memorial service prior to the first race at Tioga Downs, Nichols, NY, on Sunday, June 24, 2018. Born in Binghamton, N.Y., on February 27 1944, Dennis Leo Payne was raised in the Southern Tier region of New York and in Central Florida. He got into the horse business with his grandparents on his mother's side, and he learned shoeing and blacksmithing from his stepfather Robert. Over the course of his 50-plus years of shoeing horses, he was responsible for the foot care of three Hambletonian winners, including Continentalvictory, Self Possessed and Victory Dream. He quietly shod dozens of World Champions and superstars of the sport of harness racing...too numerous to mention. In fact, when Niatross visited Monticello Raceway in 1980, it was Dennis Payne who re-set the iconic pacers footwear. Payne passed away on February 1 2018, and is survived by his loving wife Joann Murns-Payne, 2 sons, Danny Payne (Carol Ann) Ga., John Payne (Dawn) S.C., a daughter Amie Payne, Ga, a step daughter Casey Huckabone (Claude) N.Y., a step son Dustin Miller (Margaret) N.Y., a brother Richared Wride, fifteen grand children and ten great grandchildren, along with many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Robert and LaRita Wride and a brother Russell Payne. The Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association is coordinating a memorial service with horsemen and women walking from the Tioga Downs paddock to the Winner's Circle at 12:50 pm on Sunday for a brief memorial service, honoring members who have passed in the last year. Food and refreshments will be served, along with the sharing of fond memories, from 1 pm to 2 pm in the Tent on the Tioga Downs apron.  by Chris Tully on behalf of the Payne family                      

Monticello, NY - For the majority of 56 2-year-old trotting fillies that dropped in the box for Monday June 25 at Monticello Raceway, they will be making their first harness racing pari mutual debut, and for many, the first time on a half mile track. The entire card is comprised of Sire Stakes competition, the green group were split into 4 regular Sire Stakes - $26,750, 3 heats of the Excelsior A's - $15,000 and 2 dashes of the Excelsior B's $6,500. The opening Sire Stakes has a trio of nice fillies, starting from the rail is Hot Chapter, a bay filly by Chapter 7, in her first baby race at Gaitway Farms she was second, trotting her mile in 1:57.2, she is trained and driven by Team Miller. Just Priceless (PP2) is also looking to extend her winning streak to 3 wins for trainer Homer Hochstetler after back to back baby race wins at Vernon Downs, Charles Norris will sit behind the Muscle Yankee filly for the first time. Monticello Raceway's 2nd leading trainer, Gary Messenger will send forth Summertime Fever (PP3) for owner Scott Woogen of Mechanicsville, PA, she took a mark of 2:01.3 at Pocono Downs. Liquorstoreblues (PP4) knows her way around the half mile oval quite well, the Conway Hall filly is undefeated in her 2 starts at Saratoga Raceway, trotting home in a blistering 28.4 in her first LT start, leading Yonkers Raceway driver Jason Bartlett will be in the bike. In the second division, Sensibility (PP1) has been a 2 time Q winner at Vernon Downs, she won her last start in 2:00.1 by 6 ½ lengths, Scot Zeron will drive the Muscle Mass filly for owners W.Donavan, J. Sbrocco, J. Winske and George Ducharme. Amal Hall will look to shed her role as bridesmaid as she has finished 2nd in both of her qualifiers for trainer Andy Miller. The fleet Credit Winner- Arabella Hall lass shows trotting both of her last quarters in 28.2 and 28 in her qualifiers at Gaitway Farms. Third heat of Sire Stakes Somermusic'chapter (PP1) With Out A Doubt (PP2) and Helen Goldstein(PP4) were all winners in their last start. Exotic Diamond toured the Monticello oval last week in her qualifier where she finished 3rd for Buzzy Sholty, Scott Zeron will drive the RC Royalty offspring. EV'S Girl has been installed the 5-2 favorite in the last division, she will start from post position 4 in the 6-horse field. The Crazed - Lindys Lullaby offspring was ultra-impressive in both of her baby races, winning both in identical times of 1:58.4 for trainer Julie Miller, Andy Miller will drive. Winndevie (Credit Winner - Vida De Vie) will start from the rail for Trond Smedshammer for longtime stable patron Purple Haze Stable LLC, she showed high speed in her only baby race, trotting her last quarter in a brisk 27.4. Successful NYSS driver Jeff Gregory, brings Safe Word (PP2) Credit - Winner - Fifty Shades to the contest, she finished second to EV's Girl in her first lifetime start. Post time is 12:50 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello

YONKERS, N.Y. – Driver George Brennan will take the lines behind Lispatty, Always At My Place, and DW’s NY Yank in this weekend’s $44,000 features for distaff pacers, open pacers, and trotters. Brennan shared his thoughts on his horses and their chances this weekend: Friday, Race 7 - $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace Lispatty – Post 4 – 2-1  Lispatty finished third in a leg of the Matchmaker Series earlier this year before trying the competition in the Pennsylvania Open Series in May. She earned a fourth-place check in three of five starts in that series before shipping back to Yonkers June 8. Since her return to the half-mile track, Lispatty dominated competition in two straight $22,000 overnights; she won wire-to-wire by 4 ½ lengths in 1:52.0 June 8 and stopped the clock in a blistering 1:51.1 last time out June 15 in an effort that surprised even Brennan. Lispatty, a 5-year-old daughter of McCardle who’s won 20 races and $524,445, won the local distaff feature four times last year.  “She’s got a good spot, she’s got the four hole. She’s been good. I’ve driven her for a couple years now and at Yonkers, she’s never been better. She went in 1:51.1 last week and at Yonkers she’s never been better. She gets around that track really good. I mean, 1:51.1, that’s a big mile that she did last week. She’s been very good and she’s actually getting better with the warmer weather. "She wasn’t at her best in the colder weather in the Matchmaker. She’s going to fair good. She’s inside her competition, she’s got the four hole, she can leave really well and she fits real well in there. I’m not saying she’s the best in there, but she’s got a good spot.”  Saturday, Race 6 - $44,000 Open Handicap Pace Always At My Place – Post 4 – 3-1  After going 10-for-31 last year good for $188,963, Always At My Place is just 2-for-12 halfway through the 2018 season; he captured a leg of the George Morton Levy Series March 17 and upset the $100,000 Levy Consolation at odds of 22-1 April 21. Always At My Place enters this week’s pacing feature off a string of narrow defeats. He was second to Heaven Rocks in a 1:50.0 mile in the Open Series at Pocono June 3, was beaten a head by Somewhere In LA in the local Open June 9 while pacing 1:52.0 and suffered a nose defeat to Western Dynasty after setting the fractions in a $27,500 overnight last Saturday.  “His last two races at Yonkers have been the best two races he’s had at Yonkers in the past two years. He gets around the track a lot better than he used to. He’s inside and he’s got a good chance. He struggles around that track a little bit, but he has an inside advantage and he’s good, he’s a good horse. He’s a solid horse, he knows how to win a horse race. "Last week he got beat a lip on the wire in 1:51.1 and came home in :27.1. There’s not many horses that do that at Yonkers, come home in :27.1 and get beat on the wire. No horses come home at Yonkers in :27.1 with a mile in 1:51.1.” Saturday, Race 7 - $44,000 Open Handicap Trot DW’s NY Yank – Post 6 – 6-1  The 9-year-old trotter proved he’s just as good as ever when winning the local Open Handicap Trot in 1:54.3 May 26. The speedy mile saw DW’s NY Yank assigned the outside post last out June 9, which he was unable to overcome as he finished fifth beaten 7 ¾ lengths behind Tight Lines. The earner of $1.2 million seeks his 50th victory Saturday night, but will have to do so from post six. “That’s going to be a tough spot, he’s got the six hole and that’s a tough spot. There’s speed inside and it’s hard. He’s a good horse, he’s a 9-year-old. "He’s got a track record he set as a 4-year-old of 1:54.2 and then as a 9-year-old he just won in 1:54.3. He’s still just as good, but he’s got a real hard spot. On that track, I just have to pick his spots a little bit. He is such a great horse, he’s a terrific horse, one of my favorites.” First post time Friday and Saturday is 6:50 p.m. For entries to Friday’s races, click here. For entries to Saturday’s races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

The last time Atlanta competed in a parimutuel race, the 3-year-old filly by Chapter Seven won the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) Final (238,6130) at Vernon Downs on May 28th. She not only won the race but set the overall track record with a time of 1:50.3. She returns to action on Sunday (June 24) at Tioga Downs in the second of three divisions in a leg of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS). All three divisions will race for a purse of ($40,600). Atlanta driven by Scott Zeron, is the overwhelming morning line favorite in the second division at 4-5. Trained by Rick Zeron for owners Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor, and Bradley Grant, the filly is three for three in 2018. She has seven career victories. The main rivals in the second division is the entry of Ciao Dolce (Jason Bartlett) and Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt). They are both trained by Svanstedt and are the morning line second choice at 3-1. Ciao Dolce is a 3-year-old filly by Credit WInner. Owned by Kjell Anderson, she has won her last two races. Both victories were NYSS wins. Plunge Blue Chip is a 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass. Owned by Svanstedt, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., and Tomas Andersson, she is two for three in 2018. Her only loss this season was a second place finish against Atlanta in the EBC Final. She has won 11 times in 13 starts in her career. In the first division of the NYSS, Lucky Ava (Ake Svanstedt) is the morning line 2-1 favorite. Owned by Svanstedt (trainer), Little E LLC., and Van Camp Trotting, she is four for five as a sophomore. The 3-year-old filly by Lucky Chucky has captured three legs of the NYSS already this season. The second morning line choice is Tribute To Seven (Scott Zeron). Trained by Linda Toscano for owner Richard Gutnick, the 3-year-old filly by Chapter Seven is two for six in 2018, including winning a leg of the NYSS. In the final division of the NYSS to be run on Sunday the morning line choice at 3-1 is Fury Road (Ake Svandstedt). Trained by Svanstedt for owner Knutson Trotting Inc., the 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass has won two legs in the NYSS already this season. She has five wins and five seconds in her racing career. The second choice in the third division at 7-2 is the Chapter Seven filly, Repentance (Scott Zeron). She is owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Linda Toscano. She is one for three in her sophomore season. She was fifth in the EBC Final. The 15 race card for Sunday (June 24) at Tioga Downs is set to start at 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 21, 2018-New York Sire Stakes returned downstate Thursday night (June 21st), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $172,499 Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. There are three consecutive divisions-worth $56,833, $57,833 and $57,833, respectively-comprised the event. The opening event saw favored Newsday (Jim Marohn Jr., $4.50) do her damage from off the pace in 1:55. Unhurried from post position No. 5, she advanced from third-over behind Betterthangraduate (Matt Kakaley) and Painted Lady (Eric Goodell). The outer tier inhaled early leader Tell Me a Joke after that one's road work of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:24.4. Newsday closed widest and fastest, measuring off Painted Lady by a neck. Third went to Kimberlee (Jason Bartlett) in a good effort, with Betterthangraduate and Better Than Happy (Jordan Stratton) rounding out the payees. Tell Me a Joke faded to sixth. For Newsday, a daughter of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Richie Silverman, Michael Gluckman, Mary Arnold and Edward McEnery, it was her second win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $27.80, the triple retuned $135 and the superfecta paid $523. Thursday's second NYSS division had another wagering choice, Pueblo Blue Chip (George Brennan, $5.20), outgame Ms. Cheesman (Jimmy Whittemore) in 1:54, matching her life-best effort. Away a loose third from post No. 6, Pueblo Blue Chip watched as Hurrikane Shorty (Marohn Jr.) led through intervals of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.2. About the time Pueblo Blue Chip was approaching the leader, Ms. Cheesman bulled her way out of the pocket, forced the eventual winner three-wide. Both lasses eventually went by Hurrikane Shorty, with Pueblo Blue Chip whipping Ms. Cheesman by a half-length. Hurrikane Shorty saved the bottom of the ticket, Silk Reed (Morrill Jr.) and Azreal As it Gets (Brian Sears) came away with the minors. For Pueblo Blue Chip, an American Ideal miss trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Blue Chip Bloodstock, Michael Guerrero and Menary Racing, it was her second (NYSS) win in three '18 tries. The exacta paid $16.80, the triple (three wagering choices in order) retuned $63.50 and the superfecta paid $473.50. The evening final's statebred grouping was another formful result, as odds-on Wisdom Tree (Scott Zeron, $3.40) went down the road (:27.2, :56.2, 1:24.1, night's-fastest 1:52.1). From post No. 5, Wisdom Tree gave nothing else a chance, opening down the backside and giving last season's frosh divisional champ, Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr.), too much work to do. Wisdom Tree had three lengths off the final turn, then defeated a two-move Alexis Faith by a length-and-a-quarter. Presto Blue Chip (Stratton), Apothic (Brennan) and Believe in Me (Sears) picked off the minor moolah. For Wisdom Tree, a Betterthancheddar lass co-owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher & trained by Ed Hart, it was her sixth win in eight seasonal efforts. The exacta (two wagering choices in order) paid $8.30, the triple retuned $47.40 and the superfecta paid $400.50 The next New York Sire Stakes visit is Tuesday's (June 26th) $158,000 Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

The following story appeared today on the Paulickreport.com by Joe Gorajec. This is a story of a positive test for a Class 1 drug that was lost for eight months, then ignored for a year, only to resurface now. Here's the short version. On September 11, 2016, a field of eight Standardbreds competed in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship at Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Pa. Ten days later, the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory (PETRL), the official racing laboratory, issued a report to Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) headquarters in Harrisburg with a finding of oxycodone in the blood and urine of a horse that won part of the purse money. What happens next is – nothing. At least nothing happened for the next eight months. From September 21, 2016, until approximately May 31, 2017, this information remained in limbo. Not even the judges at the track were aware of the lab report. After May 31, 2017, the matter was ignored. Below is a statement from Brett Revington, director, Pennsylvania Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing. It's dated June 19, 2018, and was sent to me via email in response to several questions I asked for an article that I was writing on this matter. It is important to note that this statement is the first public acknowledgment of the positive test: I can confirm that the 9th race of September 11, 2016 was the PA Sire Stakes Championship. On May 31, 2017, I became aware that there was a test result by PETRL on a particular sample for the 9th race of September 11, 2016 that had not been called.  At the time, the Commission and the Bureau were in a state of transition in a few key personnel areas and unfortunately, this test result was not timely addressed. When we discovered the PETRL test result approximately nine months later, we concluded, in consultation with our legal department, that due to the unusual length of time between the race date and our discovery date, we decided that we could not properly proceed with the matter against the individual trainer or owner. The matter has been closed since June of 2017. No penalties were imposed as a result of human error. In light of this circumstance, new procedures we're (sic) put in place to prevent another such occurrence. There are three non-negotiable characteristics that are expected of racing's regulators: Be fair, be consistent, and be transparent. Fail in any of these areas, and you lose the trust and respect of the public. Or in this case specifically, the horsemen. Fairness and Consistency The positive finding from the lab on the Sire Stakes horse did not occur in a vacuum. In the latter half of 2016, the PHRC and the drug oxycodone were not strangers. The PHRC prosecuted four laboratory findings of oxycodone between July 2016 and December 2016. Here is a synopsis of relevant laboratory findings in the above-mentioned time period. In all four cases that penalties were assessed, the judges were notified within days of the lab report's being issued. Their first step was to promptly notify the horse's trainer. Each trainer received a year suspension and a $5,000 fine and the purses were ordered to be forfeited and redistributed. Each trainer appealed. The penalties were reduced due to mitigating factors. The suspensions and fines were rescinded but the purses remained forfeited. The oxycodone finding in the Sire Stakes Championship was the only outlier. No notice. No hearing. No appeal. No forfeiture of purse. Owners and trainers in the $252,000 stakes race were denied money that was retained by the connections of a horse testing positive for oxycodone. Is that fair and consistent? Transparency Even after eight months in limbo the judges were ready to proceed with the standard protocol. But as soon as the lab finding came to their attention in late May 2017 they got word to back off. Don Harmon was the Presiding Judge at the Chester track. The judges were told by Mr. Revington not to pursue this matter. Mr. Revington had become Mr. Harmon's supervisor when Mr. Revington was hired in November 2017 as the director of the Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing. How unusual was Mr. Remington's directive? Mr. Harmon said, “There has never been a time in my 25 years of judging that I received a report for a positive test that I didn't follow up on it. Until this time.” Mr. Harmon met with Mr. Revington twice in person to voice his concerns. According to Mr. Harmon's calendar, the first meeting took place on June 4, 2017, at the Oxford Diner in Oxford, Pa. This meeting was held at Mr. Harmon's request. His main purpose at the meeting was to discuss the lack of action on the laboratory findings in the 2016 Sire Stakes Championship. “I told him we can't do that, I don't want to be any part of that. I said it's wrong. I said it's a positive test. I have the paperwork and we have to treat this like any other positive test.” According to Mr. Harmon, Mr. Revington could not be persuaded. This case was not going to be pursued. Undeterred, Mr. Harmon met again with Mr. Revington later in the summer at the track in Chester to plead his case. “We had another discussion about it. I told him I can't be any part of it. Something needs to be done. These things are going to come out and somebody is going to get in trouble for this.” Mr. Harmon added, “He just told me that nobody would ever find out, and nobody would ever do anything with it.” The Chester meet ended on December 17, 2017. The following day, Mr. Revington informed Mr. Harmon that his employment with the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission was being terminated. Mr. Harmon had served as a judge in Chester for 10 years. The only reason given was that they wanted to move in a different direction. Reprinted with permission from the Paulick Report

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

Tioga Downs, the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, and the Harness Horse Breeders' of NYS are joining together once again to host its Annual "Scholarship Race" for high school seniors on Sunday (June 24). The students will ride in a double seated jog cart with one of the professional drivers that day. Each student will receive a $1,700 scholarship for participating. The lucky students and their high schools are Paxton Jobson (Newark Valley), Joshua Dolphin (Union Endicott), Angel Keppler (Owego), Audra Jayne (Tioga Central), and Sarah Kasson (Vestal). The scholarship race will be after the second race on Sunday. Post time for the 15 race card is 1:00 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

CHESTER PA - Bill's Man joined the illustrious company of harness racing greats Chapter Seven and Father Patrick by tying their track record time for four-year-old trotting horses, 1:52.1, in winning the $17,000 feature on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. A record was in the works from the 1/8 pole when EI EI O refused to let Arch Credit go by for the lead, forcing the latter to tuck before the 26.1 quarter. EI EI O went on to a 54.3 half, then was pressured by first-over Top Flight Angel to the 1:23.3 3/4s, with Bill's Man in pluperfect position second-over. Top Flight Angel wrested the lead by the top of the stretch, but Corey Callahan then asked the son of Credit Winner to trot on and he did so with power, equaling the track record as well as the season's record for the division (4-up) shared by Marion Marauder and Fraser Ridge. Trainer John Butenschoen saw Bill's Man raise his earnings to $556,229 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M&L of Delaware LLC, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. Skates N Plates, a career winner of $437,944, extended his recent regaining of form to three straight victories in taking the $14,500 top trot for the older set. George Napolitano Jr. gunned the son of Revenue S away from the outside post eight and didn't have much trouble from there, stopping the timer in 1:54.4 while two lengths clear for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Robert Key. Freshman trotting colts made their pari-mutuel debut at Philly in 2018, with the Explosive Matter - Up Front Annika colt Ginger Tree Skyr trotting away in the stretch to a 4¼ length victory in 1:58.4. The winner came his own back half in 57.4 for driver David Miller, trainer Steven Cook, and the ownership of Ginger Tree Ventures LLC and Don Marean. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

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