Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two Track Records Go Down on Steamy Sunday at Tioga Downs

A Crown For Lindy and Howard Parker captured Sunday afternoon’s $39,000 Williams Auto late closer final and lowered the track record for 4-year old trotting stallions for the third consecutive week.

Parker and A Crown For Lindy were sent off as the 1-5 betting favorite from post position one and as the field passed the quarter pole in 27.4, Parker moved towards the front.

With Aviewtoakill (Fern Paquet Jr.) and New Revenue (Corey Braden) sitting one-two for trainer Jamie Paquet, Parker had to work for the front and got there at the half mile mark of the race reached in 56.3.

The duo then breezed through a third quarter of 29 stopping the tele-timer in 1:25.3, before sprinting away from the field in a new lifetime mark and track record of 1:54.

“When I got to the front he (A Crown For Lindy) got a little relaxed, which he does, but then when I asked him for more in the last turn he moved up about three gears in three steps,” said winning driver Howard Parker following the victory.

New Revenue (Corey Braden) trotted home late in the stretch to pick up Aviewtoakill (Fern Paquet Jr.) in the final strides to take home the place spot.

It was the third straight victory for A Crown For Lindy at Tioga Downs, and his fourth victory on the year.

Frank Antonacci trains the 4-year old son of Cantab Hall-Lady Starlet for Lindy Racing Stable of Connecticut.

Where’s Waldo also established a new track record in the $15,000 Open Handicap pace for 4-year old gelding pacers in 1:51.2 breaking the old track record of 1:51.3 achieved on four separate occasions.

Bruce Ranger and Matt Kakaley each posted driving triples on the afternoon’s 13-race card, while Jimmy Marohn Jr. notched a double.

The second week of the $6,000 guaranteed pick six was once again not hit and $781.50 will be carried over to next Sunday’s live race card (races 4 – 9) with a special post time of 6:30 PM.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Shepherd Captures Saturday Night Feature at Tioga Downs

The Shepherd and Fern Paquet Jr. captured the $15,000 Open Handicap trot on Saturday night at Tioga Downs.

Paquet sat in fourth as All About Justice (Jim Taggart Jr.) led the field through fractions of 27.2, as the field passed the three eighth’s pole Paquet attempted a brush to the front, but Taggart would not release him.

The Shepherd was left first over through fractions of 57, and 1:25.4 before tiring down the pacesetter and capturing victory in 1:57.

All About Justice (Jim Taggart Jr.) held on for second, while pocket sitting Diva Diva (Andy Santeramo) had to settle for third.

It was the fourth win in 18 seasonal starts for the 5-year old son of Kadabra-Love’s Caress, who is trained by Scott Blackler for Pump Handle Stables LLC of Delaware.

Fern Paquet Jr. posted a driving triple on the night’s 10-race card, while Corey Braden captured two victories.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Sunday, June 26th with a post time of 1:30 PM featuring its guaranteed $6,000 pick six on races four through nine.

Tioga Downs is Gearing Up for its Fourth Annual Drivers Championship

The fourth annual Drivers Championship at Tioga Downs is rounding into shape as the stakes season rolls on.

The top seven money-winning drivers in North America, along with the top money-winning driver at Tioga Downs, and one sponsor's exemption will battle it out in Nichols, New York on Sunday, August 1st for more than $43,000 in prize money.

The winner of the event will take home $25,000, second place $5,000, third place $4,000, and places four through nine will each receive $1,500.

As in years past, the Drivers Championship has always had a theme.

This year is themed around super heroes.

The top seven money-winning drivers as of the morning of Sunday, July 26th will be given an invitation to participate.

If the field were set today the following drivers would be competing in the 2010 Driver’s Championship:

1. Tim Tetrick: ($5,099,662) “The Bionic Man” has been on a roll and heading into stakes season has mounts such as Put On A Show and One More Laugh. With more than $5 million in earnings Tetrick leads the way more than halfway through June.

2. George Brennan: ($4,585,168) “The Minister of Speed” has been on fire at The Meadowlands in 2010, and with stakes season rolling in to form Brennan steers the best Free For All Pacer in the business with Shark Gesture.

3. Jason Bartlett: ($3,893,564) 2009 Defending Drivers’ Champion, Jason Bartlett is the leading driver at Yonkers Raceway and is in perfect positioning to defend his crown. The fourth annual Drivers’ Championship will also feature a Jason Bartlett bobblehead giveaway in honor of his 2009 victory.

4. Ron Pierce: ($3,791,981) Ron Pierce has participated in all three of the Drivers’ Championships, and was a win away from capturing it in 2009 until he was beaten in the 5/8th’s mile Dash For the Cash.

5. Brian Sears: ($3,744,475) Sears was co-champion with Yannick Gingras in 2007 in the inaugural Drivers’ Championship, and has competed in all three at Tioga Downs.

6. Dave Palone: ($3,488,459) Palone has been the leading driver at The Meadows in Southwestern Pa. for more than 20 years and will be the newest inductee into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York in July.

7. Yannick Gingras: ($3,334,722) Gingras was co-champion with Brian Sears in 2007, and took home the outright title in 2008. Gingras has steered top free for all pacer Foiled Again to victory on many occasions in 2010 and will continue to be a threat in the top events.

8. Bruce Ranger: Tioga Downs leading money winning driver thus far in 2010. Ranger currently leads Corey Braden by $17,000. This is the first year that Ranger has made his summer stop at Tioga Downs.

Sponsors Exemption: Who will the 2010 sponsors exemption be? There is plenty of racing left to be done and plenty of money to be won, stay tuned to see which nine drivers compete for more than $43,000 in prize money on Sunday, August 1st at Tioga Downs.

We would like to thank our sponsors who make this event possible: Accumark Digital, Allerage Farms, All Events Engraving, Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies, Binghamton Senators, Bow River Jewelry, CGL, Clear Channel Community Press Paper, Delaware County Fair, Horsemen and Fair World, Hub International, Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, LP Ciminelli, L.V. Harkness & Company, Maine Source, Oakdale Mall, Roberts Communication Network, STHHA, Stueben Farm, Tele-photo Technologies, Tioga Downs, and Winbak Farm.

Boots Place Captures Tioga Feature on Friday Night

Jimmy Marohn Jr. and Boots Place captured the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap pace on Friday night at Tioga Downs.

With Howard Parker and Lucy Lucy leading the field of nine pacing mares to the quarter in 27, Boots Place settled in last from post position eight.

Parker continued to lead them through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24 before heavy pressure came from Mike Micallif and Princess Michi.

The field was caving in on Lucy Lucy coming from everywhere with Penny Pincher and Corey Braden slipping through at the rail.

Marohn rallied Boots Place from the clouds to nail Penny Pincher on the wire in 1:54.

It was the sixth win in twenty starts for the 5-year old Park Place-Put The Boots mare, who is trained by Ross Claridge for Bernard Segebade of New Jersey.

Penny Pincher (Corey Braden) got nosed out and had to settle for second, while Sadies Place (Kevin Hough) and Impressive Char (Bruce Ranger) rounded out the $2,365 superfecta.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Saturday, June 26th at 6:50 PM, and also on Sunday, June 27th at 1:30 PM featuring the $6,000 guaranteed pick six, in races four through nine.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tioga Downs Debuts New Weekly TV Show

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are proud to announce the debut of “Inside Harness Racing.” This 30-minute weekly television show will be available on Time Warner Cable Sports On Demand throughout Central New York and the Southern Tier. It can also be seen online at the Tioga Downs YouTube site. (

The show is hosted and produced by Justin Horowitz , features Jason Settlemoir and Wendy Ross as field reporters, while Jim Rotundo handles videography and production. Each week, “Inside Harness Racing” will take viewers inside the sport with interviews, features and race recaps from both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and is aimed at both the longtime fan and the newcomer to harness racing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tioga Downs' Take-Out Reduction Yielding Positive Results

Tioga Downs made headlines this spring when a reduction in take-out on wagers to the minimum allowed by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board was announced.

The results are in for the first 18 live cards (May 1 - June 13) and, in the face of handle declines across the entirety of North American horse racing, it appears as though there is merit to the theory of price reduction.

Bucking the Trend
Overall handle is up 4.6% thus far, as compared to the 8.74% decline Standardbred Canada is reporting to date for our harness neighbours to the north.

Handle figures published in Blood Horse magazine for US thoroughbred racing reveal a negative trend in handle of 8.37% for the first five months of 2010.

No figures are available for US harness racing at this time.

The handle on Tioga's exported signal has increased by a healthy 9.9% over figures for the same period (18 programs) in 2009.

Live handle on Tioga's races is 8.6% below 2009 levels, with those negative numbers (at least in part) reflecting some unseasonably cold and wet weather in May, even for upstate New York.

Regional VP of Racing & Simulcast Jason Settlemoir had this to say, “The export numbers are encouraging and we are in hopes that they will grow even more now that we have added Pick Six Sundays with a guaranteed pool of $6,000. All of us at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are committed to leading the way when it comes to promotions, giveaways and other ideas for the sport of harness racing, if anyone ever has an idea that they would like to share please let us know.”

Fan-Friendly Website
In yet another effort to encourage play, the Tioga Downs website now offers a page geared toward information on handicapping the races.

The site includes a link for TrackMaster programs, race replays, updated info on each card (including driver choices), a list of all locations taking the Tioga signal and a link to the USTA's "How To Bet" page.

Unique to the site is a handicapping contest on the Tioga races sponsored by the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) and their forum.

Four expert opinions, two human and two computer generated (including the "Chatsworth Consortium" program graciously donated by TrackMaster and the USTA and currently leading the contest), are offered on all races in an effort to provide those unfamiliar with Tioga racing some welcome guidance on the races.

Those "Chatsworth Consortium" picks regularly sell for $10 per card, but will be available free on this page for the entirety of the Tioga meet.

Tioga races live each Friday & Saturday at 6:50 and Sunday matinees at 1:30 and should be available at a simulcast location near you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Andover America Captures Open Trot at Tioga Downs

Andover America captured his first victory since shipping to Tioga Downs from Pompano Park on Saturday night in the featured $15,000 Open Handicap trot.

Bruce Ranger sat fourth on the rail as Jon Win (Corey Braden) took the field of eight to the quarter pole in 27.4 with One Awesome Master (Howard Parker) pressing the leader and taking control past the three eighth’s pole.

Braden moved Jon Win back to the front and tripped the half mile tele-timer in 58.2 as Ranger rolled Andover America outside for the first over challenge.

As the field reached three quarters in 1:26.4 Ranger was head to head with a tiring Jon Win and surged past the leader in the turn.

Ranger put Andover America back on the rail and rolled through the stretch to victory in 1:55.4 over The Shepherd (Jim Marohn Jr.).

Earlivic (Fern Paquet Jr.) closed late for third, while Jon Win (Corey Braden) hung on to round out the superfecta.

It was the sixth win of the year for the 5-year old son of Andover Hall-Armbro Array, who is trained by Stewart Nemiro for McTrade Enterprises Inc.

Andy Santeramo posted a driving triple on the night’s 10-race card, while Corey Braden and Bruce Ranger each earned doubles.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Sunday, June 20th (Father’s Day) with a post time of 1:30 PM and will feature a riding lawnmower giveaway.

Also on Sunday, the $6,000 guaranteed Pick 6 debuts. The wager begins on race 4 and features a takeout rate of 21%. That is the lowest allowed by law in New York. If the Pick 6 is not hit, there will be a 25% consolation payout with 75% being carried over to the next Sunday of live racing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ubetterthink Think Captures Feature at Tioga Downs on Friday Night

Bruce Ranger and Ubetterthink Think took home the featured $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap pace at Tioga Downs on Friday night.

Ranger sent the mare to the front from post position number five through fractions of 26.4, 56.4, and 1:25 before Allamerican Celeb (Fern Paquet Jr.) took a shot first over from fourth.

Ranger and Ubetterthink Think repelled the first over challenge and as the duo headed into the stretch braced themselves for the pocket sitting Penny Pincher (Corey Braden).

Ubetterthink Think paced right to the wire with a final panel of 28.1 winning by a length over Penny Pincher (Corey Braden), and the late charging Lucy Lucy (Howard Parker) in 1:53.1.

It was the sixth win of the year for the 6-year old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Pensive, who is trained by Mark Ford for Robert O Di Nozzi.

With the victory Ubetterthink Think increased her seasonal earnings to more than $137,000.

Bruce Ranger posted a driving triple on the night’s 10-race card, while Corey Braden and Gaston Lareau each had driving doubles.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Saturday, June 19th with a post time of 6:50 PM.

Gural, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs to Help with Richie Ingrassia Family Benefit

In an effort to help the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association with their efforts to raise proceeds for the family of the late Richie Ingrassia, on Sunday June 20th, Jeffrey Gural, Owner and Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, who has personally donated $2,500 already to the fund, has stated that Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs will match the proceeds for each person that attends the breakfast at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame this Sunday in Goshen, New York.

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs will at least contribute a minimum of $2,500 and hopefully more to the fund depending on the turnout.

“It is always a tragedy when someone dies at a young age, and it’s nice to see the industry step up to help his wife and children, we are happy to match any money raised at the event," said Jeffrey Gural Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment which owns and operates both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.

The breakfast runs from 8 AM to Noon and is $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children.

“Pick 6 Sundays” to Begin at Tioga Downs with a $6,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tioga Downs is proud to announce that it has partnered with the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association and Peter Kleinhans to offer its bettors a $6,000 Guaranteed Pick 6 on Sunday afternoons being tagged “Pick 6 Sundays” at Tioga Downs.

Beginning this Sunday (June 20th) Tioga Downs will offer a Pick Six that begins on race four and runs through race nine with a takeout rate of 21%.

That is the lowest takeout rate allowed in New York State.

If the Pick Six is not hit, there will be a 25% consolation payout with 75% being carried over to the next Sunday of live racing.

“Bettors want their money guaranteed when they are going to put a ticket together for a pick six, and we are thankful that the STHHA and Peter Kleinhans are working with us to put this together,” said Jason Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast.

“We are hoping to get some more exposure out of the bet, we have already lowered our takeout rates to the state minimum, and by adding this maybe some of the thoroughbred players on Sunday afternoon will pick up a program and throw a few bucks at it. We are not afraid to give anything a try at Tioga, and we have the full support of our horsemen’s organization who is also willing to step out on a limb with us,” said Settlemoir.

Tioga Downs races on Friday and Saturdays at 6:50 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 1:30 PM.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bosnjak, Fahy Awarded Dewey Degree Scholarships

The Dewey Degree Scholarship was initiated by generous donations from Ray Schnittker and Jeff Gural and is administered by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. It was named after Schnittker’s great Hambletonian winning trotter Deweycheatumnhowe who is currently standing at Westwind Farm in Strathroy, Ontario.

The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2010 edition of the Dewey Degree College Scholarship are Anjelka Bosnjak and Chelsea Fahy.

This year, UNY-USHWA had a large response of applicants and the field of eligible students was stellar. After the committee spent days reading over the transcripts, references, and essays, the group was narrowed to two. We then realized that both girls were scholastically outstanding and worthy of the award so it was decided we would recognize them both and each will receive a check for $1,500.

Anjelka Bosnjak is from Grand Valley, Ontario. Her parents Nikki Branigan and Zeljko Bosnjak have been breeding and racing Standardbreds for as long as she can remember. She started working in their barn at age four and had her groom’s license by age 10. Her love for horses eventually made her realize she wanted to make it her career.

She enrolled at the University of Guelph where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences in 2007. She is currently studying at the Ontario Veterinary College, pursuing her degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She is in her second year of study and will be graduating as a licensed Veterinarian with the class of 2013.

Although she carried a 3.5 GPA upon graduation, Anjelka was not accepted to the Veterinary program on her first try. She took 11 non-degree science courses in 2008 and then re-applied in 2009, where she was accepted. Since then she has excelled in the course, scoring “A’s” in biochemistry, veterinary medicine, clinical medicine, health management and medical genetics.

One of her Professor’s described Anjelka as “dedicated to work and work ethic, is a quick learner, has an eye for detail, has excellent leadership skills, applies knowledge well and is quick to question results and procedures. She has simply done outstanding with all her course work.”

Anjelka is currently working at McMaster-Powell Equine Services. Other veterinarians and clinics that helped mentor her are Dr. Terry Ruch from the Barrie Equine Clinic, Dr. Jodi Kendrew, Dr. Richard Bryson and Linwood Veterinary Services.

Her perseverance towards her ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian and the excellence of her work once that opportunity presented itself are reasons why we felt Anjelka Bosnjak was deserving of this award.

Chelsea Fahy is from Washington, Pa., and is the daughter Moira and Bill Fahy. Moira had her own stable before marrying Bill, who is most notable for campaigning the likes of Western Hanover and Jenna’s Beach Boy. She grew up surrounded by horses so it was inevitable that her career would fall somewhere in the racing field. Since health and science were always a passion for her, she decided to become a veterinarian.

She is currently attending the University of Findlay in Ohio and has completed her first year of study with a major in pre-vet and a minor in math. Her transcripts show a 3.93 GPA and an “A” next to each of the 14 courses she took in the first two semesters. And oh yes, she made the Dean's list twice. Did I mention she aced Calculus II and outperformed everyone in U of Findlay’s Pharmacy program in that course?

On top of her heavy course load, Chelsea also works two part time jobs, interns at the Canon Hill Veterinary Clinic at the Meadows, and helps her parents with their racing stable.

After getting her degree, Chelsea plans on strengthening the sport of harness racing by first strengthening the immune systems of its horses. She wants to educate people to use alternative methods of health care on harness horses in order to reduce the unexpected side effects of currently used methods. She wrote “I believe my education in veterinary medicine and my innate skills, along with my passion and commitment to the harness racing industry will allow me to be a leader in the future of harness racing.”

One of her Professors wrote of Chelsea, “She has a great work ethic, pays attention to detail, inspires trust in others, has excellent communication skills, has shown herself to be a loyal friend, consistently shows concern over other people’s welfare, and is an asset to our University.”

Dr. Nicholas Loutsion, who Fahy works with, commented, “You would be hard pressed to find a young person who is motivated, is a self starter, who has a thirst for knowledge, as well as being an intelligent, caring, and well grounded individual. All these attributes must be used when describing this fantastic young lady!”

Congratulations to these two industry leaders of tomorrow. The formal check presentations will be at Tioga Downs next month.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scholarship Dash for Cash a Success at Tioga Downs

Sunday afternoon saw a few firsts for Tioga Downs in Nichols, New York.

It had its first sub-1:49 mile in history and also held its first High School Scholarship race for five seniors from area high schools.

The students worked on three separate occasions with trainers from the Tioga Downs backstretch and then teamed up with drivers Sunday afternoon between races two and three for their dash for cash.

Teamed up in double seated jog carts, the students raced one time around the 5/8-mile track.

It was a photo finish at the wire as all five students were within a length-and-a-half of each other.

Hannah Allford (Athens Are High School) was teamed up with Phil Fluet and came in first place, receiving a $3,000 scholarship.

Katherine Cybulak (Sayre High School) with Mike Deters came in second while earning a $2,000 scholarship to further her education.

Martha “Mattie” Van De Wall (Waverly High School) with Tyler Freese earned a $1,200 scholarship for finishing third.

Mary Goodspeed (Tioga Central High School) and Corey Braden finished fourth and earned an $800 scholarship, while Kaylee Goodrich (Owego Free Academy) and Edgar Clarke finished fifth and will receive a $500 scholarship.

Tioga Downs would like to thank each participating high school, the horsemen at Tioga Downs who helped with the event, the Harness Horse Breeders of NYS and the STHHA (Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shark Attack! Shark Gesture Sets New Track Record in $228,000 Bettor's Delight

Shark Gesture and George Brennan courageously held on at the wire to win the inaugural running of the $228,000 Bettor's Delight on June 13, 2010 at Tioga Downs.

Shark Gesture held off the oncoming rush of Hypnotic Blue Chip and Won the West to set a new track record of 1:48.3.

Shark Gesture is the top-ranked horse in the standardbred rankings. He's won 23 times from 70 lifetime starts and has career earnings of more than $2.1 million.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kash N Credit Takes Third Straight at Tioga Downs

Kash N Credit and Corey Braden captured their third consecutive victory on Saturday night at Tioga Downs.

Leading driver Braden settled in third past the quarter in 28.3 and then moved Kash N Credit to the front as the duo easily cut through fractions of 57.3, 1:26.2, before opening up on pocket-sitting Levity’s Pride and strolling to victory in a new lifetime best of 1:56.

Clint Galbraith trains the 4-year old homebred son of Credit Winner-Esta Kash, for his partners Barbara Galbraith and Arnold Howard Rothschild.

It was the third win in five seasonal starts for Kash N Credit, and with the victory increased his career earnings to more than $124,000.

Levity’s Pride (Jim Taggart Jr.) sat a pocket trip and hung on for second, while Super Lotto (Howard Parker) finished third.

Corey Braden and Fern Paquet Jr. each posted driving triples on the night’s 10-race card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Sunday, June 13th with a post time of 1:30 PM featuring the $228,000 Bettor’s Delight.

Shark Gesture (George Brennan) gets ready to take on nine of the best free for all pacers in the country, including four from the Burke Stable, led by Won The West (David Miller) and Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Horsepower and Star Power Invade Tioga Downs for Bettor's Delight

Three of the country's top five ranked horses and the two top-ranked drivers in the country will be in town for Sunday's $228,000 Bettor's Delight for free for all pacers.

Shark Gesture is the number one ranked horse in the latest harness racing rankings. Won the West is number four. Foiled Again is fifth.

Strength in Numbers
Trainer Ron Burke will send four pacers into Sunday’s (June 13) $228,000 Bettor's Delight at Tioga Downs, where the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing will be waiting for the challenge.

Burke’s stable will be represented by Won The West, fresh off his victory in the $293,280 Molson Pace in Canada, along with Molson runner-up Foiled Again, Atochia and McCedes in the Bettor's Delight. Shark Gesture, who beat Won The West by a half-length in last month’s $200,000 Graduate. and is the top-rated horse in the sport’s most recent poll, also is among the 10-horse Bettor's Delight field.

Shark Gesture drew post six while Burke’s horses all received inside positions: McCedes in post two, Won The West in three, Foiled Again in four and Atochia in 10 (which is on the rail in the second tier, behind Mr Wiggles, who drew post one).

“We figure if we can’t beat him (Shark Gesture) we’ll throw them all at him,” Burke said, laughing. “If Mr Wiggles wasn’t there, we’d have the whole inside cornered. As it is, it’s hard to get around all four of mine. The ones of mine that want to leave are to the outside and the other two that will look to try to shuffle through late drew the inside. The only way I could’ve drawn it up better is 1-2-3-4, but 2-3-4-10 works all right.”

Lay of the Land
Won The West, who has won 29 of 75 lifetime starts -- including the 2009 Breeders Crown Pace in a stakes-record 1:47 -- and earned $2.35 million, should feel at home on the five-eighths-mile oval at Tioga Downs. The horse has finished no worse than second in 18 of 24 career races on a five-eighths track. Among his 14 five-eighths wins is a victory at Tioga Downs in the 2007 Tompkins-Geers.

Foiled Again also excels on the small tracks. He has 17 of his 38 lifetime wins on five-eighths-mile tracks and has finished no worse than second in 19 of his last 20 starts on half-mile tracks dating back to October 2008. Foiled Again has won 38 of 101 career races and earned $1.49 million.

“I think the five-eighths-mile track closes the gap between West and Shark Gesture,” Burke said. “I don’t know how much of a gap there was to begin with; we’ve beaten him as much as he’s beaten us. But I think on the smaller track, it definitely does not bother us and I don’t think it helps him.

“It looks like (Shark Gesture) is going to have to be two- or three-wide into the turn this week if he’s going down the road. I’m anxious to see how he handles it. It doesn’t matter to West or Foiled. They’re both probably better on the smaller tracks.”

Danger: Shark in the Water
Shark Gesture, who last raced on a five-eighths-mile track in November 2006, opened eyes last Friday when he prepped for the Bettor's Delight with a 1:48.2 qualifier mile at the Meadowlands. The time was the fastest qualifier in harness racing history.

“I know people think it was an extraordinary mile, (but) people go around the Meadowlands so fast these days it’s unbelievable,” trainer Larry Remmen said. “He was well in hand; George never pulled the earplugs or anything. We’re very excited and looking forward to this weekend.

“He had the time off, and he thrives on work. We wanted him to go racehorse time, but went with a qualifier because you can be comfortable and go your own lick.”

Shark Gesture, driven by George Brennan, who recently notched career victory 6,000, has won two of three starts this season and earned $133,000. The 7-year-old has won 22 of 69 lifetime races and earned $2.03 million. He was unraced from July 2007 to December 2008 because of an abbreviated stud career.

Remmen and his brother Ray trained Beach Towel, the 1990 Horse of the Year, but Shark Gesture gets the nod as the stable’s brightest star.

“He’s a tough son of a gun,” Remmen said. “He’s by far the best horse we’ve ever trained. We’ve never had an animal like him. We’ve had some nice horses; Beach Towel was a great horse. This horse is just a phenomenal horse.”

The Field
Following is the field for Sunday’s $228,000 Bettor's Delight at Tioga Downs, in post position order with listed drivers and trainers. McCedes, Foiled Again and Atochia are coupled for betting purposes. Atochia starts from the second tier: 1. Mr Wiggles, Tim Tetrick, George Teague Jr.; 2. McCedes, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 3. Won The West, David Miller, Ron Burke; 4. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5. Hypnotic Blue Chip, Jody Jamieson, Kevin McDermott; 6. Shark Gesture, George Brennan, Larry Remmen; 7. Blatantly Good, Richard Silverman, Mark Kesmodel; 8. Pacinello, John Campbell, Jim Doherty; 9. Jeremy’s Successor, Tim Tetrick, Dean Eckley; 10. Atochia, Jim Morrill Jr., Ron Burke.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers to Play Tioga Downs

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Little Anthony and the Imperials will play Tioga Downs Friday, June 11 at 8:00 PM. Tickets begin at just $10 and can be purchased at the Tioga Downs Gift Shop and all Ticketmaster outlets. Here's a preview of the concert courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin:

A couple of years ago, "Little Anthony" Gourdine had just about given up hope of being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The inspiring R&B harmonies of Little Anthony and the Imperials — famous for hits such as "Tears on My Pillow," "I'm On The Outside (Looking In)," "Take Me Back" and "Goin' Out Of My Head" — had been overlooked enough times by the powers that be that Gourdine didn't even think much about it anymore.

Until the group got the call in 2009.

"This time, people like Paul Shaffer, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, all of those people said, 'This is ridiculous!' They were on the committee," Gourdine said last week during an interview from Las Vegas. "When I asked one of the bigwigs up there how that works that we were never chosen, he said, 'Man, just an oversight, that's all. We got it, we caught it, and you're in.'"

So the Imperials finally had their day, inducted alongside Metallica, Run-D.M.C., Jeff Beck and Bobby Womack.

"It was the greatest time of my life, because now I'm up there with Elvis Presley and the Beatles and Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones," Gourdine said. "I got to meet so many wonderful people — Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and Metallica — and we all hung out, eating dinner and laughing and talking to each other at breakfast."

Few could have foreseen such an honor when the Imperials first formed in Brooklyn's Fort Greene projects in 1958. In those days, it seemed like every street corner in New York City featured a vocal group trying to get attention.

"There were so many record companies that any kid could get a gig — anybody could get a record deal," Gourdine said. "You'd walk into a place and say, 'Hey, I want a record deal.' (They'd say) 'OK, kid, sing for me.' You actually auditioned. We were doing the 'American Idol' thing long before 'American Idol,' only we did it at the record companies."

What made "Tears" an instant smash was Gourdine's expressive falsetto, which prompted legendary DJ Alan Freed to dub him "Little Anthony" — a name that stuck and was added to the group's moniker.

Although the Imperials are often grouped with "doo wop" performers, Gourdine bristles at the label and rightly insists that their sound is not locked into any particular style. Their 2008 CD "You'll Never Know," which celebrated the group's 50th anniversary, shows not only that Gourdine's voice has not diminished over the decades but that the Imperials can deftly handle jazz, R&B ballads, even a couple of Latin numbers.

At concerts — such as the one Friday night at Tioga Downs — they not only serve up their best-known songs but also covers from Sting, Foreigner and whatever else they can make their own.

Many vocal groups that started during what Gourdine calls the "Stone Age of rock 'n' roll" now perform with only one original member remaining. Not so the Imperials, whose touring act boasts three singers from the hit-making years: Gourdine, Ernest Wright and group founder Clarence Collins, who are now joined by Harold Jenkins.

While the group changed lineups and labels over the years (with Gourdine leaving twice for a solo career), they have never stopped performing. Gourdine credits a higher power with guiding his 52-year journey as a professional singer.

"I had a plan laid out for me before I was born, man. I am doing what I'm supposed to do and I'm in the place where I'm supposed to be," he said. "I did everything in my power to mess up, but this wonderful God — and I realized it later in life — was the one who was orchestrating this whole deal."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Special Wednesday of Racing Featuring Fan Appreciation Day

Play hooky from work and come out to Tioga Downs Wednesday for a special 1:30 PM post time featuring Fan Appreciation Day. Enjoy $1 drafts and sodas, $1 hot dogs, $1 popcorn and $1 race programs.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dreamfair Eternal Shatters Track Record in Artiscape Pace Win

The dust never settled in the $160,000 Artiscape Pace on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs.

The quick fractions led to a track record time of 1:49.4 for winner Dreamfair Eternal and Anthony Kerwood.

On The Glass (Yannick Gingras) fired out of the gate from post position seven and cut through an opening quarter of 26.1, as Tug River Princess (John Campbell) was parked and pressing.

Gingras was not in the giving mood and gave Campbell the cold shoulder through a half of 53.2 and three quarters in 1:21.3.

Chancey Lady (George Brennan) slipped out behind Tug River Princess, and kicked three wide off cover pacing by the tiring pacesetter.

However, her toughest rival was the one she couldn’t see in Dreamfair Eternal.

Kerwood was three wide with the Canadian shipper around the entire last turn, then tipped four wide off Brennan’s back, pacing by Chancey Lady in the lane for a length-and-a-half victory in 1:49.4.

The mile was a new seasonal mark for Dreamfair Eternal and was the first sub 1:50 mile in Tioga Downs’ history.

"When I saw the fractions they were putting up early I was very happy," said winning driver Anthony Kerwood. "I knew she could follow right along and not get tired out. About halfway through the last turn I knew I had a good shot when I was three wide with her and saw Brennan pull three wide and I was still gaining on him."

Chancey Lady and George Brennan held on for second while longshot Shanghai Lil (Stephane Bouchard) paced home late to hang on for third on the wire.

Dreamfair Eternal is a 6-year-old daughter of Camluck- JCs Nathalie who is trained by Patrick Fletcher for John Lamers of Canada.

It was the fourth win in five seasonal starts for Dreamfair Eternal, who increased her career bankroll to more than $848,000 with the victory.

Tim Tetrick posted a driving grand slam on the afternoon’s 12-race card and Yannick Gingras posted a driving double.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Wednesday, June 9th with a post time of 1:30 PM.

The $200,000(e) Bettor’s Delight for Free For All Open Pacers will take center stage on Sunday, June 13th at 1:30 PM and will feature some of the world’s best pacers.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Baseball Express Speeds to Feature Trot Win on Saturday Night at Tioga Downs

Baseball Express and Howard Parker captured the $15,000 Class A Handicap trot on Saturday night at Tioga Downs.

Leaving from post position three, Parker sent Baseball Express to the front and would not relinquish the lead parking Sharpshootennorris (Greg Merton) through fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:25.1.

As the field headed around the last turn, Parker went to work on Baseball Express and rebuffed the first over challenge of Andover America (Bruce Ranger) to win in 1:54.1.

New Revenue (Fern Paquet Jr.) trotted on late to take second, while Think Gold (Scott Mongeon) finished third.

Michael Deters trains the 6-year old son of Conway Hall-Pine Booth for Kevin Burch of Springboro, Ohio.

It was the sixth win of the year for Baseball Express in 17 starts and increased his seasonal earnings to more than $53,000.

Howard Parker posted a driving double on the night’s 10-race card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Sunday, June 6th at 1:30 PM featuring the $160,000 Artiscape Open Mare Pace featuring some of the best pacing mares in the world.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Harper Lee Pulls Off $55 Shocker in Friday Night Feature

Harper Lee and Mike Micallef paced home late through the stretch to capture the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Class A Handicap on Friday night at Tioga Downs.

The favorite Four Starz Horndog (Howard Parker) took control of the field past the three eighth’s pole through fractions of 26.4, 56, and 1:23.1 before tiring on the lead and giving way to the first over challenge of Gerries Madison (Jim Taggart Jr).

Micallef was just buying his time second over and as the field reached the head of the stretch, Harper Lee was in full attack and captured the victory in 1:52.4.

Penny Pincher (Corey Braden) threw in a late challenge, but came up short and held to settle for second while Gerries Madison hung on for third.

Harper Lee, the 4-year old daughter of Real Artist-Yankee Fresca, established a new lifetime mark with the victory for trainer Paul Blumenfeld and rewarded her backers with a $55.00 mutuel return for the win.

Leading driver Corey Braden, and Matt Kakaley each posted driving doubles on the night’s 10-race card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Saturday, June 5th with a post time of 6:50 pm.

10 Leading Ladies Line Up Sunday in $160,000 Artiscape Pace

$8,731,860 in career earnings, 181 career wins, multiple world champions, and three divisional honors are just a few of the highlights of the combined resume of the 10 pacing mares that will be at Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon (June 6th) for the $160,000 Artiscape Pace.

The fifth edition of the $160,000 Artiscape Pace will headline Sunday afternoon’s 12-race card with a post time of 1:30 PM.

The Artiscape Pace goes as Race 9.

Tug River Princess won last year’s edition, and will start again this year as part of a three-horse entry owned by Jerry Silva (#1 Southwind Tempo, #1A Tug River Princess, and #1B Ginger And Fred).

The entry has been given the morning line nod as the 8-5 betting favorite, with On The Glass being second choice at 3-1.

Below is the field for the $160,000 Artiscape Pace:

Artiscape Pace: Open Mares Sunday, June 6th
Race 9: Purse: $160,000
# PP Horse Driver Trainer
1 1 Southwind Tempo Tim Tetrick Jeffrey Webster
1A 4 Tug River Princess John Campbell Jeffrey Webster
1B 8 Ginger And Fred Jason Bartlett Ron Burke
2 2 McGibson Bruce Ranger Kevin Mc Dermott
3 3 Chancey Lady George Brennan Mark Kesmodel
4 5 Dreamfair Eternal Randall Waples Patrick Fletcher
5 6 Up Front Kellie Jo Matt Kakaley Perry Simser
6 7 On The Glass Yannick Gingras Ron Burke
7 9 All Spirit Jimmy Marohn Jr. Tim Lanpher
8 10 Shanghai Lil Stephane Bouchard Mark Ford

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Week at Tioga Downs

The 2010 Racing Season continues this week at Tioga Downs.

Racing Friday and Saturday night, post time 6:50 PM and Sunday afternoon at 1:30 PM.

The country's top older mare pacers will hit the track Sunday for the $160,000-estimated Artiscape Pace.