Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tioga Downs Kicks off 2011 Race Season in Style

Tioga Downs kicked off its sixth season of live racing on Saturday night in front of a crowd of eager harness racing fans in the Southern Tier.

More than 11,000 showed up during the day to enjoy simulcast action of the 137th Kentucky Derby and the launch of the 2011 race season.

In Saturday's featured event, newcomer Ed Hensley quickly found his way to the Winner's Circle with 5-1 shot Lickcreek Jazzy, whom he also trains and co-owns with the JJJ Stable.

Hensley left aggressively from post position number two and released Ken Holliday and Artistry In Rhythm through an opening panel of 27 seconds.

Hensley then played follow the leader through fractions of 57.3 and 1:26.1 before pulling the pocket around the final turn to win by a length over Penny Pincher (Corey Braden) in 1:54.3.

It was the third win of the season for the 7-year old daughter of Hi Ho Silverheel's – Lick Creek Rosa, and with the lion's share of the $16,500 purse increased her seasonal bankroll to more than $31,000.

Four divisions of the Morrisville College Sale Trot were also contested on Saturday night each leg for $7,500.

I Love New York stole the show when he turned in the most impressive performance of the night as Greg Grismore set the tempo through fractions of 27.1, 57.3, and 1:27.1 before easily coasting away from the field in a new lifetime best of 1:55.2.

It was the first win of the year for the 3-year old colt by Broadway Hall – Mac's Love for trainer Bruce Clarke.

Winners of the other legs included Dream Lake – Fern Paquet Jr. (1:57.3), Take Heart – Greg Grismore (1:58.1), and Ooga Booga – Greg Grismore (1:57).

Newcomer to Tioga Downs Greg Grismore enjoyed immediate success as he posted a driving grand slam on the evening's 10-race card, while Lewayne Miller opened up 2011 with a driving double.

Tioga Downs resumes live racing on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm, and will feature a $10,000 guaranteed Pick Six in races 8 – 13.

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