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  Yonkers: Rockstar Angel A Wins Friday Night 44G Distaff Derby
Posted by: Admin - 10-27-2018, 04:38 AM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies

BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 26, 2018—Favored Rockstar Angel A (Eric Goodell, $5.90) went from first-up to first home Friday night (Oct. 26th), handily winning Yonkers Raceway’s $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Unhurried from post position No. 5, the lass watched Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) make the first lead, doing so before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Artrageous (Mark MacDonald) was not happy with that arrangement, having to work as she moved from the pocket before a quick :55.4 intermission.

Meanwhile, Rockstar Angel A began her assault, and she did it with purpose. Moving from fifth, Rockstar Angel A blew by, grabbing the gauntlet well before a 1:24.1 three-quarters. She opened to 3½ lengths in and out of the final turn, widening to four lengths at the (1:53) wire.

Second went to Keystone Wanda (Brent Holland), with Vorst (George Brennan), Artrageous and Medusa (Brian Sears) rounding out the payees.   

For Rockstar Angel A, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Rocknroll Hanover owned by Northfork Racing Stable and trained by Chris Oakes, it was her ninth win (second consecutive) in 25 seasonal starts  The exacta paid $59.50, the triple returned $490 and the superfecta paid $2,663.

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  Meadowlands: At The Big M, Wear The Crown As You Drink From The Cup
Posted by: Admin - 10-25-2018, 07:17 PM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies

Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Meadowlands regulars – as well as those customers who tend to come only on the big days – are in for a treat over the next two weekends, as in addition to the recently resumed live harness action, the mile track will be hosting the best and brightest in both harness and thoroughbred racing over its extensive simulcast network.

Racing fans will be able to watch and wager on the Breeders Crown Finals this Saturday evening, Oct. 27. Next weekend, it's the 14-race Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be conducted over two race programs: Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3.

The Breeders Crown, which will have all 12 of its championship events Saturday at Pocono Downs, has a first-race post time of 5:30 p.m. for the 14-race program. The Crown events will be conducted on races three through 14. The third race has a post time of 6:10 p.m.

The Breeders' Cup will be held at Churchill Downs with five of the events to be held on Nov. 2 during the course of a program that gets underway at 12:55 p.m. On Nov. 3, post time will be 10:45 a.m. Among the nine races on the Nov. 3 agenda is the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic (post time 5:44 p.m.), which caps a spectacular weekend of racing at the home of the Kentucky Derby.

For Big M fans who want to catch some "Cup Fever", they can come for a special $39.95 buffet in the track's Pink Restaurant for the Nov. 3 program. The dining room opens at 11 a.m. and the seating ends at 6 p.m. to make way for the evening harness diners. Call 201-THE-BIGM to make reservations.

The Big M's live action kicks off this Friday night at 7:15 p.m. with eight divisions of the sixth and final leg of the Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-olds while Saturday night's 12-race card will offer plenty of opportunities for players with full 10-horse fields being offered on each of the final seven races on the card.

As usual, the Big M will offer a low 15 percent takeout on its popular multi-race wagers: the 50-Cent Pick-5 (which offers a guaranteed pool of $25,000) and the 50-Cent Pick-4 (which sports a $50,000 promise).

Last weekend saw a mixture of well-known names, as well as some not-so-well-known do good things at the Big M.

Over the course of the two programs contested on Oct. 19-20, Tony Alagna led the trainers with four wins, followed by Ron Burke and Andrew Harris, who had two apiece.

Vincent Ginsburg topped the driver colony with five winner's circle visits, followed by Dexter Dunn, Mitchell Cushing and Pat Berry, all of whom had three each.

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  Expose Yourself Wins Meadows $20k F&M Trot With Late Kick
Posted by: Admin - 10-25-2018, 01:13 AM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies


WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 24, 2018 — Expose Yourself angled off the cones out of the final turn and blew by Rose Run Sydney in the lane to capture Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot in 1:54.3, matching her career best.

Rose Run Sydney got the jump on Expose Yourself with a first-over bid that carried her to the lead. But when Dave Palone showed Expose Yourself racetrack, she found another gear and downed Rose Run Sydney by a length. Early leader Glidinthruparadise finished third.

Ron Burke trains Expose Yourself, a 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Muscle Shirt who lifted her career bankroll to $136,561, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

Palone had four assignments on the 13-race card and won three of them — all for Burke, who added four victories to Tuesday's six-bagger.

[Image: DqUPK4pVYAAbeMb.jpg]

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  Yonkers: George Brennan Doesn’t Look A Day Over 10,000
Posted by: Admin - 10-25-2018, 01:12 AM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies

FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, October 24, 2018—About seven weeks ago, an evening or so after Brian Sears won the 10,000th race of his career, there was George Brennan, sitting next to him inside Yonkers Raceway’s drivers’ room.
“We’re the old guys in the room,” Sears said.
Well, ‘Old Guy’ Brennan joined Sears in the five-figure club, mimicking Sears and winning his 10,000th career race this past Friday night (Oct. 19th) at the pair’s home away from home, Yonkers Raceway.
When diminutive Down Under Our Zak Whitby A went the distance in that evening’s second race, chauffeur Brennan became the 16th North American driver to reach that number.
            A rare race off the night before allowed the 51-year-old Brennan a chance to reflect on what was then a milestone-in-waiting.
            “It’s a good number, nothing I was aiming for,” Brennan said, “but I understand it’s significant.
            “I don’t know if my approach is any different than when I was 30 or 40. I still love what I do, show up every night, keep myself in good shape and know the horses.”
            Of course, getting dibs for Ron Burke and Scott DiDomenico, among other leading trainers, doesn’t hurt.
            “The horsepower is the key,” Brennan said, adding, “The game has changed. Speed stays longer, the horses—pacers and trotters—have a lot more go-go. You don’t always have to be forwardly-placed, but it usually doesn’t hurt.”
            If there has been one concession Brennan had made, it’s to his schedule.
            “I’m here (Yonkers) about 98 percent of the time,” he said. “There’s no more traveling and getting home at three in the morning. Sometimes, I go to Freehold, the Meadowlands or Philly, but always local.
            “It keeps me fresh.”
            The Brennan resume recital is too meandering for this missive—the man’s no one-hit wonder--so he was asked to choose a few that stood out.
            In no particular order… 
            Glidemaster (2006 Yonkers Trot) – “It was unfortunate for John (Campbell). The colt won the Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity, then John was injured and (trainer) Blair (Burgess) asked me to drive. The race was late that season (Nov. 25th), and it was a very cold night here. He won first-up in (1):55 [actually 1:55.4] to win the Triple Crown, so to be a part of that was pretty special.”
            (author’s aside…Brennan had driven Glidemaster in his previous start, finishing second in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine)   
Artist’s View (2007 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Colt/Gelding Pace, Meadowlands) – “Without a doubt, one of my favorite races. He was out every step from the 10-hole and won (at 42-1). His trainer, Buzzy Sholty, is one of my best friends, so that was great.”
            Holborn Hanover  (2006 U-S Pacing Championship, Meadowlands) – “I put a world record [1:46.4] on him that day. Old bike, record lasted for years. Loved him.”
            (another author’s aside…Holborn Hanover’s effort remains the standard for aged pacing geldings. He was five at the time)   
…and then there was THAT day, Aug. 6, 2011, at the Meadowlands. In a span of 35 minutes, Brennan polished off the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks (Bold and Fresh, 1:53.1) and $1.5 million Hambletonian (Broad Bahn, 1:53) at odds of 24-1 and 6-1, respectively.
“Who thinks that’s going to happen?,” he said. “It was a hell of a day.”
During the conversation, around a mundane 10-race overnight card, Brennan bemoaned one aspect of the game that he says has changed.

            “I miss not having the classy 10- and 11-year-olds out there competing they way they used to,” he said. This night featured ‘just’ three 10-year-olds, although several of the races were age-restricted.
It didn’t take very long to connect the dots between that musing and one Foiled Again
“What’s he’s done has been incredible,” Brennan—who won thrice with him—said of the sport’s richest-ever equine. “It was a honor to get to drive him.”
Alright, George Brennan, let’s put the finishing touches on ‘What 10,000 Wins Mean to Me’.
            “I think what I’m really proud of is that when I came down here (New York metropolitan area) for good in 1994, I didn’t have 1,000 wins,” Brennan said. “So, to win 9,000 or so races driving against top-notch competition, that’s something to me.”
Brennan, a native of Monticello, NY, won his first race--behind Rob Ron Romper--at his hometown track as a high school junior back in 1982. His career purse earnings exceed $171 million, ranking seventh all-time, according to the U-S Trotting Association.
Asked when he thought he ‘became good,’ Brennan offered that “I was going to drive horses for a living regardless, but when I had early success at Monticello (inserting credit to stepfather Joe Ricco Jr.), it helped.
 “I’m 51, but I’m still learning, so if younger drivers are picking things up from me, I’m picking things up from them, too.”

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  Yonkers' Thursday Pick 5 Features $4,300 Carryover, 15G Guarantee
Posted by: Admin - 10-25-2018, 01:11 AM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies

                          BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway          
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 23, 2018—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Thursday evening's (Oct. 25th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,388.11 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program.
The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 Thursday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. 

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  The Meadows: McDazzle Takes Meadows $18k F&M Pace, Part Of Burke's 6-Bagger
Posted by: Admin - 10-24-2018, 01:24 AM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies


WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 23, 2018 — McDazzle repelled the challenge of newcomer Touchamatic and went on to a facile victory in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows.

Dave Palone gave McDazzle a comfortable 57.1 first half, which aggravated the difficulty for the first-over Touchamatic, who had turned in some big recent miles at Yonkers. A fresh McDazzle put her away in the final turn and drew off to down the pocket-sitting Shesasmokinlady by 2 lengths in 1:52.4. Real Fine finished a ground-saving third.

Ron Burke trains McDazzle, a 4-year-old daughter of Art Official-Dream McQueen who extended her career bankroll to $146,806, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

Three horseman rolled up big numbers on the 13-race card, including Burke with six wins, Palone with five and Mike Wilder with four.

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  Yonkers: Brian Sears...King Of The Longshots?
Posted by: Admin - 10-23-2018, 06:46 PM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies

BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Monday, October 22, 2018—Turns out Brian Sears' 30-1 upset with Cruzado Dela Noche in the million-dollar Yonkers International Trot was puny parimutuel potatoes.

Monday night (Oct. 22nd), Sears and---we kid you not—82-1 A Oliveinmymartini became Yonkers Raceway's largest win mutuel of the season, to the tune of $167.50 for ever correct couple of bucks.

This was far for a 'shortest distance between two points' number. From post position No. 8 in the $16,000, third-race pace, the lass missed the memo, spotting her rivals about a half-dozen lengths at the start.

A Oliveinmymartini did catch the field, racing fourth along the pylons before slipping out and widest in the final turn. She defeated 11-1 Successful Outlook (Jordan Stratton) by a half-length, with 17-1 Bullvillekarla (Dan Dube) third and 6-1 Fine Art (Brent Holland) fourth.  

Making her first start for owner Samuel Abdoo and trainer Amber Buter, the 3-year-old daughter of Three Olives was patrolling the Ohio fair circuit before winning at Dayton 18 nights ago. The 1:55.2 in her local debut was a life-best performance and led a $1,433 exacta, $10,899 triple (base $2 payout, $1 ticket worth $5,449.50) and $129,551 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $6,477.55).

A Oliveinmymartini won for the third time in 10 seasonal starts.

Now, about that incorrect indefinite article in her name... 

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  Classic Banker Finds Late Room, Takes Meadows Feature; Brown Wins 4
Posted by: Admin - 10-23-2018, 03:06 AM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies


WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 22, 2018 — Classic Banker found racing room into the final turn and brushed through the lane to capture Monday's feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Conditioned Trot.

Although hammered down to 4-5, Classic Banker was shuffled to fourth down the backside. But when Brady Brown angled him wide off the cones and showed him racetrack, the 8-year-old Classic Photo-Banker's Review gelding roared past Rising MVP and held off the rallying Banker Volo by 1/2 length in 1:55.1. Rising MVP saved show.

Joe Urban trains and owns Classic Banker, who now boasts $191,685 in career earnings. It was one of four wins for Brown on the 13-race card.

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  Meadowlands: Favorites Fall During Big M's Return To Racing
Posted by: Admin - 10-18-2018, 08:26 PM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies

Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Value players were loving life during the Meadowlands return to live racing last weekend (Oct. 12-13), as 16 post-time favorites took it on the chin over the course of the 21 races offered at the mile oval.

In addition, odds-on choices (those going off at odds of less than even-money) went only one-for-five on Friday before rebounding somewhat, hitting twice in three tries Saturday.

Overall, favorites scored at a paltry 23 percent.

The Big M's popular signature wager, the 50-Cent Pick-4 (which features a low 15 percent takeout and a guaranteed pool of $50,000), saw total pools of $70,276 on Friday and $66,922 Saturday. Handicappers who were sharp enough to use Stratocaster (13-1) Saturday night were rewarded with a $667.95 payout even though the biggest-priced winner among the other three horses in the sequence returned $7.20.

Andy Miller had the hot hand opening weekend, driving five winners. He was followed by Andy McCarthy (4), Tim Tetrick (2) and Mike Merton (2).
Julie Miller, Mark Silva and Linda Toscano all had training doubles.

Racing will be conducted this Friday and Saturday with a first race post time of 7:15 p.m.

The Kindergarten Classic continues Friday with eight divisions, with the series' finals slated for Saturday, Nov. 3.

CUP RUNNETH OVER: This year's edition of the Breeders' Cup World Championships will be conducted at Churchill Downs, with all of the action to be simulcast to the Big M.

The dates for the two-day event are Friday, Nov. 2 (post time, 12:55 p.m.) and Saturday, Nov. 3 (post time, 10:45 a.m.).

IT ALL COMES DOWN: The Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs kicks off this weekend with 10 eliminations on Friday and 14 more on Saturday. Watch and wager on all 24 races at Big M. First-race post time is 7 p.m.

Breeders Crown bettors will get some big-time bang for their buck as all wagers for these programs as well as the BC Finals on Saturday, Oct. 27 have a takeout that will be reduced to 15%.

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  Trainer Wayne Hite: 'The King Of Iowa' At The Meadows
Posted by: Admin - 10-18-2018, 08:25 PM - Forum: Harness Racing - No Replies


WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 18, 2018 — You really ought to give Iowa a try, a song from The Music Man famously implores us. Six years ago, trainer Wayne Hite took that advice literally. Now, purchasing and campaigning Iowa horses has become a major part of his business at The Meadows.

Two more of Hite's Iowa purchases will be on display Saturday. Cash Vaughan (race 3, post 7) and Some More Prince (race 12, post 5), both with Jim Pantaleano aboard. First post is 1:05 PM.

Hite's involvement with Iowa horses and owners began quite by accident.

"We were at the Harrisburg sale in 2012, eating at a restaurant," Hite recalls. "We saw a fellow sitting there wearing a harness racing hat and struck up a conversation. He turned out to be Gary Liles, an Iowa horseman, who said at the end of the season there he usually had some horses to go because he didn't have anywhere else to race them, and would we be interested in them.

"He called me later with a list of horses. We didn't have the resources that year to buy more than one or two, but they worked out. Now, I buy all his horses at the end of the Iowa season, and I also purchase from Paul Liles, Gary's father. They're both outstanding horsemen, and they've become like family to us."

While other trainers have enjoyed success with purchases from the Hawkeye State, Hite is the "King of Iowa" at The Meadows. He and his wife Trudy have purchased and campaigned about 50 Iowa horses over the past six years — the Hites often are joined on the ownership team by their friends, the Kalchthaler family, and Wayne's sister, Janis Hite-Niemiec — including 13 that are racing now or soon will. Hite notes that Iowa imports can offer several advantages. They are, for example, race sharp.

"They're seasoned horses that have learned how to race," he says. "They have a couple years under their belts, and they've been racing all summer, sometimes under bad conditions."

They also have what might be called an "eligibility edge" in events written for non-winners of a race, or two or three races, life. In such events at The Meadows, victories in non-betting races, as Iowa fairs races are, don't count against a horse's win total. So horses may have a number of wins on their cards and still be eligible for NW1 or NW2 events, which they often dominate.

Consider Saturday's pair. Cash Vaughan is a four-time winner In Iowa but will compete in a NW1. Some More Prince won five Iowa races before cruising to a 5-1/4-length romp in his Oct. 13 debut at The Meadows in a NW1.

But Hite cautions others who might want to follow the trail that he's blazed that "you can't catch them with a butterfly net."

For one thing, his success is built on the relationships he's developed over six years, an asset others may not have initially. For another, Iowa horsemen aren't greenhorns; they know full well what their horses may be worth at other venues, and they're not giving anything away. Hite has paid as much as $55,000 for his Iowa imports, a responsible price anywhere.

Perhaps the key to Hite's record is the value he and his family add to the equation. For example, they focus on certain kinds of horses and typically spend a lot of time re-rigging them.

"We target big trotters," Hite says. "We drop about six seconds off them, so if they're able to trot in 2:01 or 2:02 in Iowa and stay flat, I know they'll do here. We also hang them up to suit our track. There are a lot of head poles and boots that we can eliminate. That frees them up."

Hite is a third generation horseman. Sons Kris, a trainer at The Meadows, and Justin, a trainer/driver/ blacksmith at the Aiken Training Track, comprise the fourth generation while Kris' son Bryce, who works with the family when he's home from college, is the prospective fifth generation.

"I give a lot of the credit to Trudy," Hite says. "She has a good business head and calls most of the shots when it comes to classification and value. Justin flies up once a month to shoe all our horses."

Saturday's card offers a number of attractive wagering opportunities, including a pair of rich pool guarantees — $10,000 for the Pick 5, $7,500 for the Pick 4 — and a $1,589.30 jackpot in the final-race Super Hi 5.

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