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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  

YONKERS, NY - Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Sept. 14th) wrapped up its New York Sire Stakes legs--all 16 of 'em--with the $156,200 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old harness racing colts and geldings. Friday's event once again honored the memory of 'Tootie,' whose unmatched PR savvy in the golden age of the game helped make the nascent Roosevelt International Trot a happening. The evening's first ($77,400) grouping saw odds-on Thunder (Jason Bartlett, $3.10) do it handily in 1:58. From post position No. 2, he made the lead around Brady Bunch (Andy Miler) after an early break of Kredit Karma (Brian Sears). After that, no issues for the fave through dawdling (:29.1, 59.2, 1:29) fractions. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) tried it first-up from third, settling for second to the winner (as he did at Vernon), with the final margin three lengths. Brady Bunch and Quiksilver Bluchip (catch-driver Jordan Stratton) completed the gimmick finishers. For Thunder, a son of Conway Hall trained by John Butenschoen for co-owners Crawford Racing, VIP Internet Stables and Jeremey Day, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts (all in last five tries). The exacta paid $12.20, the triple returned $17.20 and the superfecta paid $98.50. "He's handy, he gets over any size tracks and he's getting better," Bartlett said. "We're ready for next week (sire stakes finals here)." The evening's second ($78,800) statebred sojourn was a mismatch on paper and in practice for divisional leader Gimpanzee (Sears, $2.10), making it 6-for-6 ($166,358) during his froshfest. All the wins have come in New York Sire Stakes competition, the latest after weigh stations of :29, :57.4, 1:28.1 and (identical to first event) 1:58. From post No. 6, he waited his turn to get by an eventually-breaking Captain Krupnik (Dan Dube) and Chapter Fashion (Bartlett). The latter eventually did the dance of the damned coming to the half, which led to an extremely gapped-out gang. The lead was eight lengths at intermission. Our White Knight (Miller) did cut in that passing the three-quarters, but the outcome was even more death-and-taxes than death-and-taxes. Gimpanzee won by 3¾ lengths, with Out White Knight safely second over Certify (Jeff Gregory). Fourth went to Captain Krupnik, as his break wasn't as costly as the other three misbehavers...even though all four were 'distanced' in the chart. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, has won his half-dozen starts by a combined 23¼ lengths. The exacta paid $23.20, the triple returned $222 and the superfecta paid $920. "He's done nothing wrong and tonight was the same," Sears said. The Raceway hosts the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions Saturday night, Sept. 21st, with eight, $225,000 divisional finals. Friday night's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Medusa (Sears, $6.60) in 1:52, the lady's 35th career victory in her 120th start. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 14, 2018-Yonkers Raceway is altering its September racing dates. In preparation for the Saturday, Sept. 22nd, New York Night of Champions, the Raceway shall be dark Friday night, Sept. 21st. This was necessitated by the use the paddock as a detention area for the Night of Champions participants. The make up the date, Yonkers is racing Wednesday, Sept. 26th, with a usual night post of 6:50 PM. We apologize for the late notice and appreciate everyone's cooperation. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

New York Sire Stakes Finals and Consolations All horses must be entered at Yonkers Raceway by Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, no later than 3:30 p.m. for both the New York Sire Stakes Finals and Consolations. Yonkers Raceway will draw post positions for the Finals, to be contested on Saturday, Sept. 22, and transmit the remaining entries to Batavia Downs to draw post positions for the Consolations, to be contested on Friday, Sept. 21. Purses for the New York Sire Stakes finals will be $225,000 for each division. Purses for the Consolations will be $40,000 for each division if five or more horses are carded. Purses will be prorated for divisions with four horses. New York Excelsior A Series Finals All horses must be entered at Saratoga Raceway by Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, no later than 9:00 a.m. for the Excelsior A Finals, held on Sunday, Sept. 23. Purses for the Excelsior A Finals will be $55,000 for each division. Racing Reminders 1) To enter, horsemen are reminded that horses must still meet the requirements of: (a) a charted satisfactory performance line within 30 days of declaration that meets the qualifying standards in the conditions, and (b) cannot have two consecutive breaks in the last two charted performance lines. If a horse does not meet these criteria, it must qualify before being entered. 2) Horses must start in at least three legs of the Sire Stakes or Excelsior Series to be eligible for the finals. If not enough horses with three starts enter, the highest point earner which entered with two starts will be selected, etc., to fill the first tier. 3) Only two entries from a common owner will be permitted to race in the final events. There is no limit on horses from the same training stable with separate ownership. Any horse that changes ownership within 30 days before the date of entry for the finals must have these changed approved by the Fund to race in the final events. 4) If there is a tie in the point standings for the last entry in a final event, the judges will draw by lot from the horses tied. 5) A horse may only race in one final event-NYSS Final, Consolation or Excelsior A Final. 6) There are no entry fees for any final events in 2018. **NOTE: This is a summary of conditions related to the Finals and Consolations meant to assist with the most frequent questions by participants and is not meant to replace or supplant the conditions governing the New York Sire Stakes and New York Excelsior Series. The NYSS Finals and Consolations and the Excelsior Finals are governed by the conditions and the rules of the New York State Gaming Commission. Questions regarding the NYSS Finals, Consolations or Excelsior Series Finals should be directed to Kelly Young, Executive Director of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund at 518-388-0178 or From the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund   

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 13, 2018--We're done. Not really. Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Sept. 14th) hosts its 16th and final leg of New York Sire Stakes competition with the $156,200 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Of course, this is the final chance to electrify the electorate before the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions here a week from Saturday (Sept. 22nd). Friday's event once again honors the memory of 'Tootie,' the sport's quintessential PR man and unsung hero behind the huge, back-in the-day success of the International Trot. The first ($77,400) grouping goes as the fifth race, with Thunder (Jason Bartlett, post 2) and Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr., post 4) again opposing one another. The pair finished 1-2 at Vernon late last month, the former's third sire stakes win in his last four starts. Thunder, a son of Conway Hall, is trained by John Butenschoen for co-owners Crawford Racing, VIP Internet Stables and Jeremey Day. The frosh bankroll of $113,121 dwarfs that of his rivals, though his previously-mentioned nemesis has put away $73,119. Chip Chip Conway has a win, three seconds and a third in five (NYSS) tries adding the straps. The Conway Hall gelding is co-owned by (trainer) Gary Messenger and Kenneth Weckstein. The evening's second ($78,800) statebred sojourn sees divisional beast Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 6) display his perfect 5-for-5 ($126,958) record. They haven't come within sniffing range of Gimpanzee, whose 'slimmest' margin in the five wins--ail in NYSS completion--has been 2¾ lengths. He aired here from an eight-hole last month in 1:57.3 and returns off a life-best 1:54.3 number at Vernon. The son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Chapter Fashion (Bartlett, post 4) also won a statebred event here and has hit the board in all but one of his six tries. Post time for the dozen-race card is the evening standard of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes and Yonkers Raceway will be live streaming the draw for the 2018 "Night of Champions," via Facebook on Monday, September 17. The finals for New York State's premier harness racing program for 2 and 3-year-olds, known as the "Night of Champions," is set to take place the following Saturday, September 22. The eight race event will hand out $1.8 million in purse money. Monday's draw will begin at 5:00 p.m. and can be accessed through Yonkers Raceway and New York Sire Stakes' Facebook pages. "There has been so much excitement around New York-breds this year with some big wins in the Grand Circuit. We want to capture this excitement and are happy to give owners the opportunity to see first-hand how their horses draw in real time," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. "With the level of talent we've seen on the track this season, the 'Night of Champions' promises to be another memorable night for our program and we look forward to kicking it off with the live draw event." Owners, breeders, trainers and other horseman are also welcome to attend the live draw and reception in person at Yonkers Raceway starting at 4:00 p.m. in the Red Room. Reservations are required to attend in person and can be made via email to: no later than 12:00 p.m. on Friday, September 14. 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. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research. by Jason Politi, for the NYSS

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 11, 2018-Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack returned to the scene of his handiwork Tuesday night (Sept. 11th), dominating a division of Yonkers Raceway's $172,000 New York Sire Stakes Milt Taylor Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt, $2.10) found himself parimutuelly partnered with Trot runner-up Helpisontheway (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the second ($86,750) statebred soiree. The pole-sitting latter stung Six Pack-from post position No 3-through a 27.1 opening quarter-mile. Six pack then rated a 30-second next subsection (:57.1 half), before finishing it off (1:25.4, 1:54.3). The widening margin, four lengths in and out of the final turn, cosmetically closed to a length-and-a-half at the tape. Helpisontheway barely held second, with I'm the Muscle (Jason Bartlett) third. The Veteran (Jordan Stratton) and Winning Shadow (Mike Simons) came away with the remainder. For Six Pack, a Muscle Mass colt co-owned by his trainer/driver, Little E LLC, Stall Kaimer and Lars Berg, it was his seventh win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid an even-money $7.50 and the triple returned $17. Superfecta wagering was not offered. Tuesday night's opening ($85,250) sire stakes event saw Perlucky (Trond Smedshammer, $32.20) roll pace-setting Clive Bigsby (Bartlett) from second-over. Away a bit tardy from post position No. 2, Perlucky watched as pole-sitting 'Clive' seated Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley) and Lindsey's Pride (Brent Holland) jumped it off. After early intervals of :28.1 and :58.1, Perlucky hitched a ride behind Don (Stratton) going toward a 1:26.4 three-quarters. Clive Bigsby owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Perlucky was poised. With minimal urging, he went by, winning by a length in a life-best 1:56.1. Clive Bigsby saved second over a needing-room Purpose Blue Chip, with 13-10 choice Cruising in Style (Morrill Jr.) a belated fourth. For sixth choice Perlucky, a son of Lucky Chucky trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, it was his second win in 10 '18 tries. The exacta paid $99, the triple returned $348 and the superfecta paid $1,209. Ironically, both of Perlucky's wins have come at odds of 15-1. New York Sire Stakes downstate prelims conclude-the 16th of 16 legs-with Friday night's (Sept. 14th) $156,200 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts/geldings. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

John Meade was on Monday night downing a few stubbies and doing bit of dairy work. The 63-year-old dairy farmer/trainer was doing his best to take his mind off things after experiencing one of his toughest days in harness racing. Meade was feeling “hollow” after scans confirmed his star trotter Sparkling Success has injured his near front suspensory ligament and is set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines. “My gut was telling me something was wrong, so I got my vet to check him out. I wasn’t feeling too good when he was scanning him; I’ve seen a few scans in my time, and when you see black holes it’s not what you want to see,” Meade told RSN927. “It could be a 15-month injury. It’s like getting hit by a bolt of lightning. One day it’s chocolates, the next day it’s boiled lollies; we’re down to the boiled lollies.” A winner of Saturday night’s Group 3 Maori’s Idol Free For All at Tabcorp Park Melton, Sparkling Success was only days away from heading to America for the famed Yonkers International Trot in New York on October 13 – a race worth $500,000 USD ($700,000 AUD). “It was that big of an opportunity, I didn’t even dream about it,” Meade said. “We’re still going to go (to New York). I’m going to front up and tell the people from Yonkers that I’m sorry I couldn’t get here with him; I tried my best.” Bred by Meade (Great Success out of Diamond Insitu), Sparkling Success has won 17 of his 37 career starts, including the 2016 Group 1 Vicbred Super Series final (for four-year-old entires and geldings) and this year’s Group 1 Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star for earnings in excess of $400,000. An emotional Meade, who lives on a farm with wife Mary, said: “I love my animals. My mother always told me that if you treat them right, they’ll treat you right. You can imagine how much we love this horse and how much he’s done for our farm and our lives."   Trent Masenehelder

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 8, 2018-A week after the 2018 Yonkers Trot, there was a renewal of the 2017 edition, complete with similar outcome. Top Flight Angel (Brian Sears, $17.20) two-moved from the eight-hole Saturday night (Sept. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. He grinded his way up and over Yes Mickey (Jason Bartlett), just as he did in last season's Trot. The margin was a nose when they went for a half-million-dollars then and a length here. The mile went in 1:55 after Yes Mickey's intervals of :28.1, 57.3 and 1:25.4. Third went to a belated Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory), Charmed Life (catch-driver Mark MacDonald) and Elysium Lindy (George Brennan) settled for the minors, while slight 2-1 choice Rose Run Sydney (Jim Marohn Jr.) jumped it off early. For fourth choice Top Flight, a 4-year-old son of Archangel owned by Legendary Standardbred Farm and trained by Julie Miller, it was his fourth win in 10 seasonal starts (career earnings over $614,000). The exacta paid $80 ($79.50 in the '17 Trot), the triple returned $225 and the superfecta paid $1,413. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace saw pole-assigned Sunfire Blue Chip (MacDonald, $7.50) retake from 7-10 favorite Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), then win comfortably in 1:51.3 (off early subsections of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23). Back for his first visit in nearly three months, Sunfire Blue Chip defeated a first-up Theartofconfusion A (Sears) by a length-and-a-quarter, with Evenin' of Pleasure, Somewhere in L A (Bartlett) and Always at My Place (Brennan) coming away with the remainder. For second choice Sunfire Blue Chip, an 8-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine, it was his sixth win in 18 '18 tries (career earnings over $1.4 million). The exacta paid $37.60, the triple returned $105 and the superfecta paid $632. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 7, 2018-As was written seven short nights ago, Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton, $6.10) is just better these right now. She proved it again Friday night (Sept. 7th), easily winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace while becoming the sport's newest millionairess. Not even an assigned eight-bole hindrance could deter her appointed rounds here. Strung out early by Medusa (Brian Sears). Newborn Sassy made the lead before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a rated :29.1 next station (:56.3 intermission), 6-5 favorite Magic Forces (George Brennan) tried it first-up from fifth. However, a :27.4 third quarter (1:24.2) dismissed that one as Newborn Sassy owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Medusa edged out, but wasn't close to reaching, the final margin a length in 1:52. Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett), Angel's Pride (Brent Holland) and Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) settled for the minors. Magic Forces retreated to seventh. For second choice Newborn Sassy, a 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal owned by CC Racing & Joann Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her ninth win in 27 seasonal starts (fifth in last seven tries, career 32-for-76, earnings $1,007,445). The exacta paid $21.80, the triple returned $99 and the superfecta paid $470. "She can race either way," Stratton said. "This week, some of the better mares she's been facing weren't here, but she beat a good group and the eight-hole is never an easy job." Walkover race makes news on Yahoo.sports The story of Windsun Magnolia has apparently found its way into the nation’s consciousness…to some degree. The good folks at Yahoo sports wrote about the WCBS-TV (Ch. 2) feature (see below) regarding her Yonkers Raceway walkover/maiden-breaking win, certifiably extending her 15 minutes of fame.     Yahoo’s story can be view here… by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY - Longtime owner and very capable amateur driver, Dave "the Rave" Offenberg got a very pleasurable ride behind his own veteran trotter, Fiji, when together they out-footed seven others to win the Billings Trot Friday night (Sept. 7) at Yonkers Raceway. Together they toured the double oval in a time of 1:58.2. When the starter said "go" , Uriel and "Annie Get Your Gun" Stoebe darted to the lead from the two-hole and they trotted by the first stanza in a soft :29.3 despite Fiji and Offenberg challenging on the outside. The two continued to race noses apart by the halfway point but at that station Fiji had his head in front as the timer flashed :59.4. Despite being on the limb all the way when the leaders headed up the backside Fiji circled Uriel and was the first to pass the three quarters as the timer flashed 1:28.4. But as the field rounded the final turn Fiji began pouring it on and opened up daylight and cruised home an easy 4-1/4-length winner over Uriel. Billings president "Tony "the Capo" Verruso gained the show dough with Stitch In Time. Weeks ago Offenberg and Fiji won an amateur event at the Meadowlands in a very creditable time of 1:53.3. Fiji, a 5-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall, is trained by "The Little Red Man", Eric Abbatiello. It marked the fifth seasonal victory for Fiji which raised his yearly earnings to over $41,000. He is owned by Offenberg's Allister Stable. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings  Series  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 6, 2018-There say there's a story everywhere (hey, just buy the premise) and Yonkers Raceway proved that again Thursday night. Sometime around 5:30 in the early evening, Windsun Magnolia had the track all to herself in a good, old-fashioned walkover. The $6,100 lower-level New York Sire Stakes Excelsior event attracted her and her alone. If there's an easier way to break one's maiden, we'd be hard-pressed to find it. Windsun Magnolia, a 3-year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar, entered with a career 0-for-16, with all but one of those starts coming this season. For her part, Windsun Magnolia toured the turns in 1:58 for her first victory. The event's uniqueness caught the attention of WCBS-TV (Ch. 2) sports anchor Steve Overmyer, who came out to do a story about the 'lonely' lass. Overmyer, who earlier this season did a feature-and subsequent updates-about Foiled Again's quest for his 100th career win, discussed the 'race' with driver Jim Marohn Jr. "She's pretty happy to be here," a wry Marohn Jr. said in the winner's circle, with Mother Nature raining on the parade. "I think she (Windsun Magnolia, not Mother Nature) knows what she did. "It was a lot more fun that I thought it would be." A copy of the race (hers was the first non-bettor) can be found at The WCBS-TV story may be viewed at by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 6, 2018--In no particular order, the marquee performers during Yonkers Raceway's Thursday night (Sept. 6th) were... --Jordan Stratton, who won six races from his eight drives. One of wins came in a dead-heat, while two were part of the $168,499 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-olds fillies. Stratton won the first ($55,833) division with a pocketed Line Dancer ($12.40) in a life-best-matching 1:54.2. The daughter of Art Major, co-owned by (trainer) Ricky Bucci and Blue Meadow Farm, has won five of her 18 seasonal starts. Stratton doubled his sire stakes pleasure in the second ($55,833) Cohen event, when a first-up Newsday (S7.20) matched Line Dancer's 1:54.2 effort. The At Major miss, co-owned by (trainer) Richie Silverman, Mary Kinsey Arnold, Edward McEnery and Michael Gluckman, is 4-for-13 this season, including a pair of NYSS wins here. "It was one of those nights that everyone I drove raced well," Stratton said. --Wisdom Tree (Matt Kakaley, $2.70), who continued her statebred dominance in the night's final ($56,833) Empire grouping, a down-the-road night's-fastest 1:53.2 Her sire stakes resume reads six wins (including two here) and a second in seven tries. The daughter of Betterthancheddar, co-owned by Tom Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart, has won 10 of her 13 '18 tries. "She's smart and she's fast and I love her," Hart said. "Every so often I'm entitled to one of these," Kakaley said. --Naughty Maravu N (Dan Dube, $96), who led a quartet of longshots (9-1, 70-1, 92-1) home in the $10,000, fifth-race pace. New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night (Sept. 11th), with Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack in the $172,000 Milt Taylor Trot (3-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 4, 2018--New York Sire Stakes return downstate Thursday night (Sept. 6th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $168,499 Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-olds fillies. The event, remembering the publicity director at the Raceway as well as NBC Sports, goes in triplicate (races 8, 9 and 10). The ($55,833) opening division is seemingly the lightest, with Line Dancer (Jordan Stratton, post 1) retuning to statebred competition after winning an local overnight two starts ago. The daughter of Art Major, co-owned by (trainer) Ricky Bucci and Blue Meadow Farm, was a sire-stakes bridesmaid at Monti last month. Beachin' N Kissin' (Jason Bartlett, post 2), Betterthangraduate (Brett Miller, post 3) and Checkered Past (Jim Morrill Jr., post 5) all have recent overnight wins. The second ($55,833) Cohen event finds Solitary (Miller, post 2) returning off a closing second in this past Saturday night's (Sept. 1st) $112,904 Lady Maud. The American Ideal miss, though just 1-for-15 this season, has paid her win against the statebreds. Newsday (Stratton, post 5) owns a local NYSS win (and another 'heater' win at Monticello), while Mink Pink (Bartlett, post 3) was the scourge of the Excelsior ranks earlier in the season. Thursday night's final ($56,833) sire stakes grouping is the marquee matchup, featuring Lady Maud winner Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr., post 4). This daughter of American Ideal won that race (1:53.4) by (barely) extricating herself from the pocket. 'Alexis,' trained by Casie Coleman for co-owners West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay, is 4-for-11 this season ($226,388). Alexis Faith opposes the red-hot Wisdom Tree (Matt Kakaley, post 1), whose sire stakes resume reads five wins (including one here) and a second in six tries. The daughter of Betterthancheddar, co-owned by Tom Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart, has won nine of her dozen '18 tries overall ($246,435). She's a month out since whipping the Catskills crowd (1:52.4) and owns a 1:49.4 life-best in the $141,200 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier. There's also a coupled-entry, Ron Burke-trained two-fer in Jewels Forreal (George Brennan, post 2) and Tell Me a Joke (Miller, post 7). Post time for the dozen-race wagering card is 6:50 PM, however those early (5:30 PM) attendees can watch a good, old-fashioned walkover. Windsun Magnolia (Jim Marohn Jr.) has the oval all to herself in a $6,100 second-level Excelsior event. Can 'Magnolia,' Marohn Jr. and track announcer John Hernan handle the pressure? Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

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