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Join the conversation with harness racing fans from around the globe on social media by using the hashtag #International18 leading up to the $1 million Yonkers International Trot Saturday October 13 at Yonkers Raceway. The Standardbred Owners Association of New York will once again be the source for all updates and information about the World Championship of trotting through the website created for the race www.internationaltrot.com as well as on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SOAofNY/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/soaofny There will be contests each week where fans can win great International Trot merchandise including hats, t-shirts, flags and polo shirts. Follow the SOA of NY on Facebook and Twitter for your chance to win. Once the field for the $1 million race is finalized, www.internationaltrot.com and SOA of NY Facebook and Twitter will have key past races for the contenders as well as interviews and features on the participants. The post position draw for this year’s Yonkers International Trot will take place on Tuesday October 9 and will be shown live on the SOA of NY Facebook page. Free live video streaming of the races are available from Yonkers Raceway every racing day and the afternoon card on International Trot day is no exception, with the free live feed always at http://www.empirecitycasino.com/racing/live-video/ From the SOA of New York

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 25, 2018--Consider this a final reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway's rare Wednesday (Sept. 26th) live program. It's an eight-race card, with the usual first post of 6:50 PM. For those looking ahead to October, the Raceway is dark Friday night (Oct. 12th) in advance of the Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13th, $1 million International Trot. Again, information regarding that day shall be sent when available. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Empire Casino at Yonkers Raceway's publicity department has been pretty busy as of late, scoring harness racing stories nearly every week in the newspapers and on television news. Headed by Nicholas (Nick) & Lence Nicholas along with assistance from the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the pr staff at Yonkers have been doing an excellent job and today's article is wonderful for our sport and tracks throughout the industry should be making the same efforts to get great positive stories about our industry. Click below for the latest story on the track. https://www.lohud.com/story/sports/2018/09/24/reins-hand-enthusiasm-high-driving-horse-yonkers-raceway/1205135002/

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 22, 2018-What did we learn Saturday (Sept. 22nd) during Yonkers Raceway's hosting of the Empire State's richest night of racing, the 29th New York Night of Champions? The $1.8 million event-eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals for freshmen and sophomores of both sexes and gaits-produced the expected, the unexpected and the 'it's a good thing no one was hurt." ACT I-The Expected Odds-on numbers Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, $2.30), Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, $2.30), Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt, $2.20), Wisdom Tree (Tim Tetrick, $2.50) and Helpisontheway (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.50) delivered their short parimutuel promises. Winndevie grinded by leader Quincy Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.), winning the Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot in 1:59. The latter led through intervals of :28.2, :59 and 1:27.4, but couldn't stall the first-over (from post position No. 2) foe, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length. Sensibility (Jordan Stratton) was third, with Amal Hall (Andy Miller) fourth. The daughter of Credit Winner, trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, is now 6-for-7 this season (3-for-3 here), with earnings of $227,858. The exacta paid $8.50, the triple returned $42.40 and the superfecta paid $108.50. Despite the win, Winndevie's 'date' did not seem impressed. "She wasn't at her best," Smedshammer said. "She's much better in the turns than she was tonight. Very bumpy. She won because no one else was there with her." Smedshammer said Winndevie was eligible to the Breeders Crown, but '"the way she was tonight, she's better off out in the field." Gimpanzee made it 7-for-7, winning the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot in 1:56.3...a track record for his weight class. From post No. 5, he was third at the :28.2 quarter-mile, then made the lead before a :58.2 intermission. He then finished it off, getting a 1:27.1 three-quarters before that new track standard. Gimpanzee defeated Thunder (Jason Bartlett) by a half-length, his narrowest margin of victory this season. Our White Knight (Miller) was third-some dozen lengths behind-with Horns for Three (Jim Maroon Jr.) fourth. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven, saw the bankroll improve to $278,858 for co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $3.40, the triple returned $11.40 and the superfecta paid $94. "Very professional, very mature," Sears said, "He knows what he has to do and goes out there and does it." "I knew all along he'd be a good one, from when he was training down," trainer Marcus Melander said. "Just a good horse to be around." All-age track record-holder Plunge Blue Chip had nary more than a qualifier for money in the Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Trot. From post No. 2-and one Svanstedt's five entrants in the race-she strolled early and lost 'em late (:29.2, :58.1, 1:26.3, 1:55.3). Plunge Blue Chip avenged last season's poor sire stakes finale effort, rolling home by seven lengths. Lima Novelty (Morrill Jr.) was the best of the rest, with Ciao Dolce (Miller) and Fury Road (Dan Dube) rounding out the gimmick finishers. Plunge Blue Chip, a Muscle Mass lass, has six wins, three seconds and thirds in 11 '18 tries ($485,101). She is co-owned by her driver/trainer Blue Chip Bloodstock, Little E LLC, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables. Wisdom Tree was the best in her division coming in and coming out, easily winning the Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace. From post No. 4, she worked around Newsday (Stratton), then had few issues (:27.4, :57.1, 1:25.2, 1:53.2). Wisdom Tree defeated Newsday by a length-and-a-half, with a first-up Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr.) third and Checkered Past (Bartlett) fourth. It was the 11th win in 14 seasonal starts ($387,351) for Wisdom Tree, a daughter of Betterthancheddar co-owned by Thomas Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart. The exacta paid $9.10, the triple returned $22.40 and the superfecta paid $63.50. "I'm glad it's over," Hart said. "She's been racing on the front every start, probably because she's the best in there. We haven't put her in a lot of the open stakes since we wanted to stay in the sires, but she's eligible to one at Indiana (Hoosier), Northfield and the Matron (Dover), so she's not done yet." As for Helpisontheway, he was certainly helped by Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack being ineligible to the final (not enough prelim starts). So, after finished second to that in the Trot and a statebred event here, Helpisontheway had his way in the Morrisville College Equine Institute 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot). Away fourth from post No. 4, he watched Winning Shadow (Mike Simons) lead (:28, 57, 1:25.3) before that one was put away by 50-1 Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley). Helpisontheway was towed behind that live longshot, widening to win by 2¼ lengths. An out-the-mile The Veteran (Stratton) was second, with Purpose Blue Chip, who outraced hid odds, and Winning Shadow were respectively third and fourth. Helpisontheway, a Chapter Seven colt trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Camelot & Bay's Stable and Little E LLC, has seven wins and four seconds in his 13 '18 tries ($467,775). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $15.40, the triple returned $188 and the superfecta paid $568. "Versatility," Toscano said. "He can leave and sit back the way he raced tonight. "Last season (1-for-8), he was immature. Some 2-year-olds just don't get it. The ability was there. He just needed to figure it out." ACT II-The Unexpected Reigning Deo (Morrill Jr., $42.20) closed from third-over, winning the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace in 1:54.4. From post No. 4, he watched as Hickfromfrenchlick (Tetrick) led through intervals of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.1. The Sheppard winner slugged it out with Melodie's Magic (Tyler Buter), who surprisingly did not leave from the pole. Deepest of all arrived Reigning Deo, who whipped 'Melodie' by a length-and-a-half. Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) was a pocket third, with Hickfromfenchlick fading to fourth. For fifth choice Reigning Deo, a son of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by (breeder) Deo Volente Farms, (trainer) Brett Pelling and Brian Gordon, it was his third win in seven first-season starts ($193,712). The exacta paid $89, the triple returned $661 and the superfecta paid $2,355. "We wanted to go through the (sire stakes) program with him," Pelling said. "I mean, he's always carried himself well. We weren't planning to race him at Batavia (10 nights ago), but he was seventh in points, so we figured we needed to." They were correct, and rewarded. Moneyshot Hanover (Buter, $10) 'won the bob' over So Awesome (Tetrick) in the Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace. So Awesome was the first leader before giving up to St. Somewhere (George Brennan), That one laid down the law (:27.4, :56) before making an ugly break down the backside the second time. So Awesome then inherited the front of the fray, getting three-quarters in 1:24.4. She owned a length lead into the lane, but Moneyshot Hanover was able to tag her at the line. Third went to JK American Beauty (Sears), with Hurrikane Norakane (Dube) fourth. For third choice Moneyshot Hanover, a daughter of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Mark Harder, Rick Phillips and Deena Frost, she now 3-for-8 ($203,408) this season. The exacta paid $25.20, the triple returned $151.50 and the superfecta paid $750. "She's two fingers to drive," Buter said. "She was bumpy around the last turn, but she dug in ACT III-The 'It's a Good Thing No One Was Hurt' The outset of the night's final statebred event, the Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace, was the sort of stuff one can't unsee. Pole-sitting 6-5 favorite Springsteen (Sears) was off the gate at the start, then hung a dead right, perhaps the victim of some equipment issue. Equipment or not, he impeded those who did not leave, including Heavenly Sound (Marohn Jr.), Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald) and Twin B Tuffenuff (Brennan). Getting the worst of it was Ghost Dance (Morrill Jr.), who ended up locking wheels with Springsteen as both found their way to the back fence. That left three horses in contention, with Rockapelo (Bartlett, $11.40) moving from third down the backside the second time and taking over the lead. From post No. 4, he won by 4½ lengths in 1:53.1. My Delight (Brent Holland) was second, with Ostro Hanover (Dube) third and Heavenly Sound fourth. Neither two- nor four-legged creature involved in the incident seemed any worse for wear. For third choice Rockapelo, a Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Toscano for owner Enviro Stables, it was his third win in 13 seasonal starts ($203,5452) and pushed Bartlett over the $100 million career earnings plateau. The exacta paid $82.50, the triple returned $482 and the superfecta paid $1,943. "I didn't see what happened, but I heard yelling and I know when you the inside and you go right, it's not a good thing," Bartlett said. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace and Trot were won by Great Vintage (MacDonald, $45.80) in 1:52.2, and Yes Mickey (Bartlett, $5.60) in 1:54.2. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers Raceway will host eight finals of the New York Sire Stakes Saturday night (September 22) worth a combined $1.8 million. Tim Tetrick will drive seven of the 64 statebreds who seek championship titles, and the 36-year-old is confident in his horses. “The New York program is great. The New York breeding program is very strong and when you have that much money, you get better bred horses. It’s good for them to showcase their breed, “Tetrick said. “It could be a really good pay day.” Tetrick’s name tops the earnings list of North American drivers with his horses taking home $9.5 million so far this year. Tetrick drove Shartin to victory this spring in the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final, Yonkers’ signature race for mares, and finished fourth in the Hambletonian Final with Crystal Fashion. The latter leads all standardbreds in earnings this season with $908,207 in the bank while the former is ranked seventh with $759,111 earned. “It’s been very good. I was close to getting my second Hambo’ there, winning the first heat and coming up short in the final,” Tetrick said. “Shartin has been a very good mare in the aged group and I’ve got some nice two-year-olds that are racing good. All in all, it’s been a pretty good year.” Tetrick will look to add to his impressive tally in Saturday’s finals and the star driver took time to catch up with the SOA’s Brandon Valvo about his chances. Race 2 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Fillies Hanna Dreamgirl – Post 8 – 20-1  Daughter of Chapter Seven won in the $10,000 Kindergarten Classic at The Meadowlands July 20 with Tetrick in the sulky and earned a spot in the Sire Stakes final with a victory in the series at Vernon Downs August 23 for Jim Morrill, Jr. The Linda Toscano trainee has another six seconds and thirds from nine starts with $97,164 earned.  “She’s pretty nice. Kind of a big mare. A half probably isn’t the best spot for her, but she has raced good and done OK on the half. She likes to trot, and you never know with the two-year-old trotting fillies. You might say it’s a bad spot, but three or four might run and then you’re sitting in the right spot to pick up the pieces. She’s a nice filly, got a lot of quality. I’ll just play it by ear. When I’ve driven her, she hasn’t been the biggest leaver. I’ll probably just look over to my left and hopefully some people make mistakes and she’ll definitely have to win from the back, that’s for sure.” Race 3 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings Chapter Fashion – Post 7 – 7-1  Jim Campbell trainee won from post seven locally August 20, doubling up on a 1:56.1 score in the Tompkins Geers at Tioga Downs August 10. Tetrick drove in the latter race and looks forward to getting behind the son of Chapter Seven again after Jason Bartlett chose rival Thunder. Chapter Fashion enters off a break in stride in his last start September 14, but Tetrick isn’t concerned about the miscue.  “I’ve only driven him one time and he raced really good that time. I left out of there a little bit, floated, got away third. When I pulled him, he trotted right by the front-end horses and raced really well. He did it right. Jim’s having a great year, his horses have all been doing really, really well and I think the horse is definitely a player. If we had drawn in one or two spots, I would have liked him even more, but he’s still going to get a shot to get good money. "Jim asked me if I was going to be there, I said yeah and he said, ‘I’m putting you back on that horse.’ He’s a little squirrelly in the post parade. You think he’s going to be really aggressive, he wants to pull and lug on you but when you go to the gate, he says, OK what am I going to do here, and he lets me do my job. He’s all trot and doesn’t want to make breaks, so he’s pretty nice. I’m not worried about that. Jim will have him right. Who knows what happened, maybe he just got in a bad spot or took a bad step, but Jim said he didn’t really have an answer for it.” Race 4 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Colts and Geldings Hickfromfrenchlick – Post 6 – 9-2 Tetrick will take the lines for the first time behind the Schnittker-trained colt. The So Surreal son recorded a blowout 14 ¼-length win in the Landmark at Goshen in his debut June 29 and won the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace July 14. Hickfromfrenchlick posted two wins in Sire Stakes company in his next four starts, including a 1:51.3 lifetime best at Vernon September 3. “I’ve seen him race. He looks like he’s pretty tough, he looks like he can leave the gate good and he’s very versatile. He won the stakes race earlier in the year with Ray driving and I’ve always done good for Ray and Ray’s always done good for me, so I’m excited to get to drive him. I’ll talk to Ray and watch some replays and go from there. Mainly just feel the horse out when I get out there.” Race 5 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Fillies So Awesome – Post 6 – 2-1 Tetrick drove the daughter of So Surreal to three wins, including her maiden-breaking score in Sire Stakes at Yonkers July 6, another local leg of the Sire Stakes July 24, and a Sire Stakes split at Saratoga August 31. The freshman filly also earned a Sire Stakes win at Batavia with Morrill in the sulky. She’s earned $176,190 to date, the most of any 2-year-old on the card, and all four victories have come in wire-to-wire style. “She’s been awesome. She’s a professional, she goes out there and does her job. You want to leave, you want to duck, she’s got tons of speed and she’s been at the top of her class all year. I think she’s definitely the one to beat in there. She’ll be going forward. When you’re one of the better ones, it’s hard to give up three or four lengths early whenever you think you have the best horse. She’ll definitely be looking left when you go out of there. She’s all professional, she does what she’s supposed to do. She acts like she’s six years old and acts like she’s done it more than me.” Race 6 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Fillies Repentance – Post 8 – 9-1 Tetrick returns to the bike behind Diamond Creek Racing’s homebred Chapter Seven filly. She finished sixth with Tetrick in the Mary Reynolds at the Meadowlands July 7 and fourth in the Frank Zanzuccki on Hambletonian Day. The Linda Toscano trainee went 3-for-4 in Sire Stakes this year, winning at Tioga, Batavia, and Saratoga in her most recent start September 7. Toscano sends out two other trotters in this race while Åke Svanstedt will start five. “I’ve raced her a few different times and she is a talented mare. She’s well bred. I know the eight hole is going to be tough for her, especially with the entries. We’ll just have to play it by ear and hope somebody makes a mistake. We’ll have to get into the race somehow late in the mile. A couple times she’s raced good for me and a couple times she hasn’t. When I’ve gotten to drive her, it’s been against open company. That makes a difference, sometimes it’s a little tougher.” Race 7 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies Wisdom Tree – Post 4 – 7-5 After going 3-for-11 as a 2-year-old, Wisdom Tree drew post eight in the Sire Stakes Final and made a break, finishing seventh. Now 3, the daughter of Betterthancheddar out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom has 10 wins from 13 starts and $274,851 earned this year. Wisdom Tree’s crowning achievement to date came when she beat open stakes rivals in a 1:49.4 score in the $142,000 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park July 6. Trainer Ed Hart will hand Tetrick the lines for the first time since last year’s Sire Stakes Final. “I drove her last year in the two-year-old final. She had go, but she made a break or got run into. She’s come back and been a great three-year-old. I’m excited to get to drive her again. It just worked out because Scotty (Zeron) and Matt (Kakaley) both had to leave and I was in the right place at the right time to get her back. They told me she’s just one good drive away from winning, so if she gets beat it’s my fault.” Race 8 - $225,000 NYSS Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Colts and Geldings Cruising In Style – Post 5 – 8-1 The Andrew Harris-trained colt has just one win this year in a Yonkers overnight, but made the Sire Stakes Final with five seconds and thirds in the series this spring and summer. Jason Bartlett drove the son of Muscle Mass to victory in last year’s $50,000 Sire Stakes Consolation at Monticello and was named to drive in the final, but Tetrick picked up the drive when Bartlett opted for rival Clive Bigsby.  “I’ve never driven him. That was a pick up after they saw me on the sheet. He’s a good trainer, the kid does good. We’ve got the five hole, I know Åke’s horse and Linda’s horse are pretty tough, but hopefully we can get a good piece of it.” By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. - New York's richest night of racing returns to Yonkers Raceway this Saturday with the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes "Night of Champions." Eight finals races featuring the best state-bred 2- and 3-year-olds will be contested for $225,000 purses each. Post time is 6:50 p.m., with the first NYSS Final scheduled as the second race of the card. A full list of entries can be found here. The star-studded evening features a number of familiar names and impressive resumes, including Plunge Blue Chip. The 3-year-old trotting filly holds the all-age track record at Yonkers with a 1:53.1 posted this season. She will be competing against last year's NYSS champion Lucky Ava in the sixth race. The other returning champion, Alexis Faith, will take on the 3-year-old filly pacers in race seven. This year's Yonkers Trot runner-up Helpisontheway is featured in the 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings division (Race 8) and Gimpanzee will look to extend his season long undefeated streak in the final for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters (Race 3). "New York-breds provided an exciting racing season this year, with track record performances across the state and Grand Circuit victories on the road, so we are guaranteed an exciting night of racing," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We'd like to congratulate all the owners, trainers and drivers on another successful season, and thank our fans for their continued support." "The New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions highlights the best young horses bred in New York State and shows off our tremendous Standardbred breeding and racing program," said Richard A. Ball, Commissioner, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee. "These races have great energy and truly should not be missed." Race sponsors for the event include New York-based breeders and institutions: Allerage Farms, Blue Chip Farms, Cameo Hills Farm, Crawford Farms, Morrisville College Equine Institute, and Winbak Farm. The New York Sire Stakes program promotes the breeding, buying, and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State, and is administered by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. It was the first program of is kind, featuring 2- and 3-year-old colts and fillies, and has become the model for state-bred racing programs in North America. The NYSS Consolation Finals will be held at Batavia Downs on Sept. 21. The finals for the NYSS Excelsior Series are scheduled for Sept. 23 at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Earlier this month, the Fund announced that Batavia Downs will serve as host of the 2019 "Night of Champions." From the  Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 21, 2018-For years in Boston Celtic green, Larry Bird taunted, tortured and tormented New York. Saturday night (Sept. 22nd), his 'nicknamesake' tries to take it. Hickfromfrenchlick drew post position No. 6 in 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding event during Yonkers Raceway's $1.8 million New York Night of Champions. The race, sponsored by the state's Agriculture and Horse Breeding Development Fund, is the fourth of a dozen-race card and the third of eight consecutively-contested $225,000 sire stakes finales. Hickfromfrenchlick is no stranger to the spotlight, having won the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here in mid-July (1:55.4). The son of So Surreal returned to Westchester in late August, picking off divisional leader-and tonight's pole-sitter-Melodie's Major in a New York Sire Stakes event (1:53.3). It was off to Vernon Downs after that and a down-the-road, life-best 1:51.3 statebred romp. For the season, he's won four of six tries ($120,541), though he did not fire in his final NYSS try (Batavia). "Stuck behind some bad horses who had no reason to pull," Ray Schnittker said. Fortunately for Hickfromfrenchlick's co-owner/trainer and sometime chauffeur, those sort of nights have been few and far between. Schnittker drove that night (as he did at Vernon), but is AWOL (Meadows) Saturday, so he enlists Tim Tetrick this time around. "Training down, he was good, so I'm not surprised," Schnittker said of the $47,000 (Goshen, NY) lad who's also co-owned by Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. "He had a :27 and change last quarter (in a Landmark event) at Goshen, so I knew he was ready. "I trained his mother (My Girl's a Star) and she had a record of (1):52 and 2 as a 2-year-old. (Author's aside...My Girl's a Star was a solid New York Sire Stakes lass, winning 7-of-11 and more than $139,000 as a frosh [2010] despite having the misfortune of being in the same age group as one See You at Peelers). "I told Mark (MacDonald) he was going to win the Sheppard, so just don't screw it up, which he didn't." Any such guarantees for Tetrick before he and Hickfromfrenchlick Saturday night? "No one can outleave Melodie's Major if they wanted to, but I think (Hickfromfrenchlick) can get around some of the others, and if he's close, he wouldn't stun me." Regardless of Saturday's outcome, Hickfromfrenchlick is finished for the season. "He's done everything we've asked," Schnittker said. Post time for the New York Night of Champions fun and frolic is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 20, 2018-With Yonkers Raceway dark Friday night (Sept. 21st) in preparation for the New York Night of Champions, the leading overnight ladies had their weekly close-up an evening early. Hence, it was a Thursday night (Sept. 20th) $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. That was good news for Vorst (George Brennan, $27.60), who parlayed a perfect trip and a makeshift passing to win in 1:53. Getting the first lead from assigned post position No. 5, Vorst handed the baton to Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.4 intermission, even-money fave Medusa (Brian Sears), who had left for a seat fourth, was out and moving again. She hooked Mach it a Par in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, the pair pacing in tandem entering the lane. Vorst, meanwhile, closed ranks from a loose pocket and found room inside in a three-way scrum. She defeated Mach it a Par by a head and Medusa by a neck. Jewel Lehigh A (Scott Zeron) and Sell a Bit N (Austin Siegelman) rounded out the payees. For fifth choice Vorst, a 5-year-old daughter of Four Starzzz Shark owned and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her fourth win in 22 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $138.50, the triple returned $241 and the superfecta paid $1,992. Friday was quashed to allow the paddock to be used for Night of Champions detention. Saturday night's (Sept. 22nd) $1.8 million finales-eight at $225,000 each-again comprise the richest night of racing in the state. Those events go as races 2 through 9, with first post for the dozen-race card at the usual night standard of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, September 19, 2018- Brian Sears, he of the recent 10,000 career harness racing win plateau, was the subject of Tuesday (Sept. 18th) profile by News 12 Westchester. Sports anchor/reporter Pete Ruf spent a Yonkers Raceway evening with Sears. They discussed his career (Sears', not Ruf's), starting with learning his craft from his father, Jay, through the early years in upstate New York, his countless stakes victories, Hall of Fame induction and remaining among the sport's premier drivers. The story can be viewed by clicking here. A note of appreciation to Ruf and News 12 for their continued interest in the Raceway side of Yonkers Raceway. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, September 19, 2018- Yonkers Raceway is offering these horsemen reminders... --Horses for Saturday's (Sept. 22nd) eight New York Night of Champions races are due in the paddock detention area no later than 4 PM Friday (Sept. 21st). Paddock opens at 12 Noon and the track itself shall be available, if needed. --There's a double draw Thursday (Sept. 20th) for the race cards of Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (Sept. 25th and 26th), Note the special Wednesday card replaces the program of Friday night, cancelled due to detenting. --Entry box for both days closes at 3:30 PM. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers, NY - Empire City Casino President & CEO Timothy J. Rooney, who has owned and operated Yonkers Raceway since 1972, has been selected among the most influential people of the Hudson Valley in City & State Magazine's Westchester Power 50. The Westchester Power 50 list honors the fifty most influential people in business, government relations, culture, and social services. All were saluted Monday, September 17 at an invite-only reception at the Radisson Hotel New Rochelle. Additional Power 50 honorees can be found here. "Good business always starts with community," said Rooney. "It's a privilege and honor to be recognized among so many leaders in their field who always ensure that Westchester and its residents remain a priority." In 2006, Yonkers Raceway underwent a $250-Million renovation to refurbish and revitalize the property, making way for Empire City Casino. After the completion of an additional $50-Million expansion in 2013, the casino now offers more than 5,300 video slot machines and electronic table games and is the largest private employer in the City of Yonkers with nearly 1,200 employees. A passionate philanthropist, Rooney is known for his quiet philanthropic involvement supporting hundreds of charitable organizations throughout Yonkers, New York and beyond, with contributions of more than $1-Million annually made in the form of sponsorships and donations supporting non-profits in the areas of education, hunger, the arts, medical research and more. He regularly makes Empire City Casino available for charitable functions and fundraising activities and provides continuous support of community programs and organizations year after year. As a life-long horse breeding and racing enthusiast, Mr. Rooney has bred standardbred and thoroughbred horses for over 40 years and continues to breed and train them today. He and his wife June have been married for more than 50 years and have five children, Kathleen Mara, Margaret Galterio, Timothy Rooney, Jr., Bridget Koch, and Cara Moore, 24 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. From Empire City Casino  

YONKERS, NY, - Monday, September 17, 2018- At 2, he won Grand River's Battle of Waterloo. At 3, he's a Yonkers Raceway track record-holder. For a horse that owns all of four career victories, he's certainly living right. Locally-debuting Simple Kinda Man (Jim Marohn Jr., $6.10) found his way into the annals Monday night (Sept. 17th), wiring his way to happiness in 1:51.2. That effort, in the $16,000, seventh-race pace, is the new Westchester watermark for 3-year-old geldings, wiping away Gokudo Hanover's 1:51.3 in 2015. From post position No. 5, Simple Kinda Man cruised through intervals of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:23, then finished it off by four lengths for just his second win in 13 seasonal starts. "I've had him about 10 days," trainer Bruce Saunders said. "The owners (M&L of Delaware) are hands-on and they said to race him with an open bridle because he can be a runaway. I saw the line where he was down in three-quarters in (1):21 and 2/5 in Canada, so I knew he was fast. "The plugs were in and I spoke to Jimmy (Marohn Jr.) after and he never felt as if the horse was getting away from him, so I'm very happy with the effort." by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, September 17, 2018-Post positions have been drawn for Saturday's (Sept. 22nd) $1.8 million New York Night of Champions, with Yonkers Raceway again hosting the 29th edition of the Empire State's richest night of harness racing. Eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals, each sponsored by a prominent breeding farm or organization, feature the best 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Here's a hot-off-the-presses thumbnail of the divisions, which go as the races 2 through 9 during the dozen-race card. First post is the usual evening standard of 6:50 PM. 2nd race (Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot) - Division points leader Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, post 3) won her first five seasonal starts before a second-place finish at Saratoga. The daughter of Credit Winner, trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, won twice here, as did Conway Kellyanne (Charlie Norris, post 5). Amal Hall (Andy Miller, post 6) has three wins and four seconds in her seven tries, while Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr., post 7) has been board-certified in all seven starts (4 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third). 'Quincy' has earned $125,712, making her the richest lass among the octet. 3rd race (Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot) - Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 5) has been more untouchable than Eliot Ness, as in 6-for-6 ($166,358) by a combined margin of 23¼ lengths. The son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Gimpanzee enters off a handy win here, as does Thunder (Jason Bartlett, post 3). The son of Conway Hall has won half of his eight seasonal efforts, with all the win in his last five tries. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr., post 8) has hit the board in seven of his nine tries this season. 4th race (Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace) -Melodie's Major (Tyler Buter, post 1) has won just about everything this season (8 starts, 6 wins, 1 second, $166,433), including the draw for the statebred finale. The Art Major colt is trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf. Hickfromfrenchlick (Tim Tetrick, post 6) has the 100G final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here leading his 4-for-6 resume. Major Blake (Bartlett, post 8) has won thrice in his five tries. 5th race (Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace) - So Awesome (Tetrick, post 6) led the points parade, winning four races (two here) during here frosh foray ($176,190). The So Surreal miss is trained by Scott DiDomenico for owner William Hartt. St. Somewhere (George Brennan, post 2) strung together three consecutive NYSS wins in July, also with a pair here. Moneyshot Hanover (Buter, post 3) tried her luck in open company north of the border after a pair of statebred wins. 6th race (Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Trot) -All-age track-record-holder (1:53.1) Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt, post 2) has been a beast all season (10 starts, 5 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds, $372,601). She did thrown down the new record in the $129,014 Hudson two starts, ago, then won a Saratoga NYSS event by seven-and-change widening lengths. One of her rare poor performances came in last season's statebred finale, however. Svanstedt trains for himself, Blue Chip Bloodstock, Little E LLC, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables. Lucky Ava (Bartlett, post 4) did upset to became the frosh champ a season ago and has five wins among her 10-for-11 board finishes this time around. Repentance (Tetrick, post 8) has won her last three tries, a pair in NYSS and a division of the Woodbine/Mohawk Simcoe. 7th race (Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace) - 'Defending' champ Alexis Dream (Morrill Jr., post 3) has not lost a step ($228,000-plus last season, $230,000-plus this season). The daughter of American Ideal is co-owned by West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding J. Robert Darrow & Kevin McKinlay and trained by Casie Coleman. The $112,904 Lady Maud here earlier this month was one of her four seasonal wins. Wisdom Tree (Tetrick, post 4), the group's point leader, has been vicious this season, as in 10 wins and a second in a baker's dozen tries ($274,851). Newsday (Jordan Stratton, post 1) owns a pair of local sire stakes wins. 8th race (Morrisville College Equine Institute 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot) - With Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack AWOL, runner-up Helpisontheway (Morrill Jr., post 4) becomes one of the targets. The Chapter Seven colt, trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Camelot & Bay's Stable and Little E LLC, has six win and four seconds in his 12 '18 tries ($355,275). He had four wins in a row earlier this season. Winning Shadow (Mike Simons, post 3) has five wins this season, while The Veteran (Stratton, post 8) has six wins and over $194,000 this season despite drawing poorly more than once. 9th race (Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace) - No one has exactly stepped up and grabbed the baton in the state's glamour division, Springsteen (Sears, post 1) won a draw-time 'tiebreaker' to get into this race, then won the draw. Thrice a winner in a dozen seasonal starts ($346,729), the Rock N Roll Heaven colt has been tough to figure. Rene Allard co-owns (with Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh) and trains. Ghost Dance (Morrill Jr., post 5) enters with consecutive statebred wins, while Rockapelo (Bartlett, post 4) has hit the board in nine of his 12 '18 efforts. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Victorian trainer John Meade flew out to the USA on Sunday night thinking what could have been with his stable star Sparkling Success.  Meade was forced to withdraw Sparkling Success from next month’s US $1 million International Trot last Monday after scans confirmed the gelding had a hole in his suspensory. The couple decided to still make the trip to America without the horse after the months of planning and preparation that had gone into their once in a lifetime opportunity. “If the Yonkers track is what I think they are, I think they’ll look after us pretty well when we get to the track because I haven’t ripped anyone off,” John Meade said. “I did the right thing by Yonkers, it wasn’t my money I was spending going to America, it was someone else’s money. “You can’t rip someone off for $70,000 and not give them some miles, if the race had been next week we would have probably raced him but there was so much work he needed to do between now and the big race that it was only right to scratch him.” Sparkling Success is set to spend more than 12 months on the sideline recovering from the injury and Meade is looking forward to getting him back to the races. “The vet said the hole is contained within the suspensory, it hasn’t blown the side out of it. “He had platelet-rich plasma treatment last Thursday and I have had it done on my old horse Crescent Glory with great success but in saying that Sparkling Success is still going to need rehabilitation, six months in the paddock, then a bit of light work and then I just hope for the best.” The son of Great Success has suffered from leg injuries in the past but Meade confirmed this was a new injury. “It is definitely not the problem he had after winning the Vicbred as a 4-year-old, that was on the other leg. “His front feet stick out past his nose when he is trotting at top speed, the entire breed does it, and that puts immense pressure on the tendons and suspensory but do you want a horse that does that and can win races or have a slow horse that struggles to win.” Meade noticed there was some slight filling on the suspensory in the lead up to his last run in Australia and hoped it was nothing too serious. “I thought it might have been dermatitis he picked up from boot rub and I treated him for that and on the night of his last run when I put his shin boots on he felt really good and he raced really well. “When I got home after the race I treated his leg and the next morning it looked good and he wasn’t sore but I just had a gut feeling something wasn’t right so I asked the vet to scan his leg and that’s when we got the bad news.” Sparkling Success has won 17 of his 37 starts and earned $420,170 in his career. Greg Hayes

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 15, 2018-Trainer Jeff Gillis made no secret about why he hijacked Will Take Charge from the stakes schedule and into Yonkers Raceway for Saturday night's (Sept. 15th) co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. "There's no reason other than we want an invitation to the International Trot," Gills said. "He didn't race well in his last start (final of the Maple Leaf Trot) for whatever reason. We wanted to prove he belongs, and it would be an honor for me." The issue of whether or not Will Take Charge gets to represent the Great White North (either by himself or with some company) in the million-dollar, Saturday, Oct. 13th, event wasn't going to be settled this night, though the road test supplied by odds-on Will Take Charge (Mark MacDonald, $3.20) had to impress. Two-moving to the lead from post position No. 7 (everyone in a notch after a pole defection), Will Take Charge was third early behind Gruden (Brian Sears) and Fashion Creditor (Brent Holland). He then made the lead between a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.3 intermission. Not surprisingly, the teletimer gapped out the field as Will Take Charge and Gruden offered an unscheduled match race. After a 1:24.3 three-quarters, Will Take Charge owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Gruden was resurgent, however, taking another 'run' at the leader before missing a nose in 1:53.2. Fashion Creditor held off Lord Cromwell (Jordan Stratton) for third, with Barry Black (Austin Siegelman) getting the final pay envelope. The mile matched the local aged gelding standard set by former all-age track record-holder Quick Deal in 2013, while also equaling the second-fastest Westchester trot mile, a tick behind the 1:53.1 of filly Plunge Blue Chip two weeks ago. "Jeff told me not to lose, so I guess I'm good with orders," MacDonald said after his date hit town for the first time since late April. "There aren't too many trotters who can get down to the half that fast here and hang on, so I was impressed.." For Will Take Charge, a 5-year-old Kadabra gelding owned by Mac Nichol, it was his ninth win in 19 seasonal starts (earnings at $409,965). The exacta paid $9.40, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $23.80 and the superfecta paid $111.50. Saturday night's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a pole-assigned, pocketed Chantepleure (Stratton, $23.20) in 1:51.3. By Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Bringing Will Take Charge to race in Saturday night’s Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway isn’t an expedient move for Jeff Gillis. He’s passing up a chance to race in the $200,000 Caesar’s Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park next week and he was certain to be assigned post eight in the weekly $44,000 trotting feature. However, Gillis made the choice to race the 5-year-old gelding at the Hilltop with good reason: the International Trot is just a month away (October 13), and Gillis is determined to represent Canada in the $1 million stakes. “That’s the whole reason for being down here. He’s eligible to a race at Hoosier next Friday that I may bypass. I’m not sure about racing him off six days with all the travel,” Gillis said. “It wasn’t a convenient time to come down from a scheduling perspective, but I really want to be in that race and I’m going to do anything I can to get him noticed.” Although Will Take Charge is in the midst of a career year, winning the Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia in May, taking the Crawford Farms Trot at Tioga in a romp in July, and finishing second in both the Cutler Memorial and Cashman to the tune of $387,965 this season, Gillis doesn’t think the son of Kadabra has made enough of an impression to earn one of the 10 invitations to Yonkers’ signature race for older trotters. “The Maxie Lee, he was spectacular that day. To that point, he’d won off of cover and he’d won on the front, but we’d never grinded out first-over. That was the hand we were dealt that day and I was really impressed with him. I would argue that’s been his best race for me,” Gillis said. “The race at Tioga, I don’t think the field was quite as deep and he was never really threatened. Two very different races.” Will Take Charge finished eighth beaten 6 ½ lengths behind likely United States representative Crazy Wow and probable Canadian representative Marion Marauder in the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk September 1. Gillis doesn’t think Will Take Charge was at his best that night and believes his trotter will deliver a standout performance worthy of garnering an invitation Saturday night. “I gave him four days off after the Maple Leaf Trot and then just jogged him up until Wednesday and trained him. He’s ready to go tomorrow,” Gillis said. “We haven’t yet received an invite and I certainly want it. I’m hoping for him to race well tomorrow and in turn receive that invite. “I feel like after the Maple Leaf Trot, I’m not sure if they’ll invite more than one Canadian horse, but I was concerned that Marion Marauder had the upper hand on us and the only thing I could do to turn the tables is bring him down here and hopefully showcase him a little bit,” Gillis said. Will Take Charge will start from post eight in Saturday’s sixth race. The 1-mile trot attracted last week’s dominant Preferred winner Gruden and July 7 Open winner Weslynn Dancer. Madhatter Bluechip, New Heaven, Barry Black, Fashion Creditor, and Lord Cromwell comprise the lineup. Despite his outside assignment, Will Take Charge is the 5-2 morning line favorite with Mark MacDonald down to drive.  “I’m going to leave it up to Mark MacDonald. I don’t want him to get away eighth. I expect him to go forward in some manner,” Gillis said. “I think it will depend on how many leavers there are inside of him. I’m confident if he has to go to the lead, he’ll be good and I’m confident that he can do it from off the pace as well.” Will Take Charge won a local $30,000 Preferred Handicap in April, racing from off the pace to score a 1:56.1 win. Gillis believes Will Take Charge excels on small tracks and relishes the tight turns of the half-mile oval. “He trots the turns as fast as any horse I’ve ever had, as fast as the straightaways really,” Gillis said. “The smaller tracks are really his bread and butter; in fact, I’ve developed the opinion that he hasn’t raced quite as well at home as he has on the road and most of his starts on the road have been on the smaller tracks. “I really think, with him trotting the turns so good and I don’t know that this horse particularly tires,” Gillis continued. “He’s been a mile-and-an-eighth a couple of times and been second beat a neck both times. I think on a half, the advantage kind of shifts to him. I’d really like the opportunity to find out for sure.” Saturday’s 12-race program co-features a $44,000 Open Handicap Pace in race eight and a $35,000 4-year-old Open Handicap Pace in race nine. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY  

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