Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dramatic Comebacks on Inside Harness Racing

This week's episode of "Inside Harness Racing" highlights three horses from Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs who have overcome unique injuries and illnesses to find success on the racetrack. 
"Inside Harness Racing," a weekly, half-hour television show, airs today (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports throughout Upstate New York.  For the second year in a row, the show will also be broadcast on HPI TV in Canada.  Viewers can also watch every episode online at the Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs YouTube channel (
New York Attitude captured a division of the New York State Fair at Vernon Downs after recovering from Lyme's disease last summer while Cowgirl Hall stamped herself as one of New York's top 3-year-old trotting fillies following her recovery from a freak stall accident for Vernon Downs based trainer Gates Brunet.
Plus, Settlemoir's Spotlight introduces viewers to the 2011 Rising Star Award winner, Dan Noble, who has become a Sunday regular at Tioga Downs.
"Inside Harness Racing" is hosted each week by Justin Horowitz, who encourages fans to interact with the show by sending him a Tweet @ItsTheJHo.
Watch this week's episode right now below:

Monday, May 28, 2012

New York State Fair Stakes highlight Memorial Day card at Tioga Downs

13 divisions of the New York State Fair Stakes highlighted a Monday afternoon racing program at Tioga Downs.

Ideal Griff speeds to a lifetime mark in the New York State Fair
Posting the fastest mile of the day was Ideal Griff (Jim Morrill Jr.) who with the help of the extreme heat blasted to a new lifetime best in the first race of the afternoon

Morrill put the colt on the front end early and cut through fractions of 26.3, 55, and 1:22.3 before sprinting away clear of the field in 1:51.

Steve Elliot trains the 3-year-old son of American Ideal – Little Betty, who posted the second win of the season and the fourth of his career.

Posting the fastest mile for 3-year-old filly pacers was L Diz (Shawn Gray) who captured the third division of the NYSF.

Leaving from post position number six, L Diz and Gray shuffled off some swift fraction of 26.2, 54.4, and 1:22.2.

Around the final turn Gray got some separation from the field and was able to hang on at the wire in a new lifetime best of 1:51.1.

Jim Graham trains the 3-year-old daughter of Artiscape – Hosel Rocket for Ted Cupp of New York.

Other division winners for the colts included: Art's Delight – 1:52.3 (Jason Bartlett), Fireyourguns – 1:51.3 (Jim Morrill Jr.), Domethatagain – 1:52.1 (Jim Morrill Jr.), Sir Melo's Z Tam – 1:53.2 (Pat Lachance), Art Of Temptation – 1:52.1 (Stephane Bouchard), and Screen The Call – 1:52.4 (Jim Morrill Jr.).

Division winners for 3-year-old fillies included: Jamie Sue – 1:52.3 (Pat Lachance), Brownsville Bomber – 1:53 (Jason Bartlett), Canamerica – 1:53.2 (John Stark Jr.), Winbak Speedi – 1:55 (Jim Morrill Jr.), and Blows Me Away – 1:53.2 (Jim Marohn Jr.).

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Friday, June 1st with a post time of 6:50 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Future Character takes home Sunday night feature at Tioga Downs

Future Character (Rick Dane Jr.) parlayed a first over grind into an Open pace victory on Sunday night at Tioga Downs.

Leaving from post position number four in a field of six, Future Character got away fifth and began the first over journey as the field reached the half mile in 55.3.

Future Character wins the Sunday night feature
Last week's Open winner, Vlos (Fern Paquet Jr.) was on the front, but offered little resistance to the first over threat as the field reached three quarters in 1:23.

Around the final turn, Future Character and Dane cleared to the lead and opened up on the field to score in a seasonal best of 1:52.

It was the second win of the season for the 8-year-old son of Shady Character – Red Sea for the Rock & Roll Stable of Chicago, IL.

Hay Goodlooking (Rick Plano) found room late to get up for second, while Sheer Brilliance (Jim Taggart Jr.) was third. 

Dan Noble posted a driving grand slam on the night's 12-race card, while Corey Braden enjoyed a double.

Tioga Downs continues with live racing on Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day) with a post time of 1:30 pm featuring 13 divisions of the New York State Fair Stakes for 3-year-old pacers.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

High School students prep for scholarship race at Tioga Downs

The 2011 Scholarship Race coming down the stretch
Tioga Downs kicked off training for its third annual Scholarship Race on Saturday morning for five local area high school students who will take part in a scholarship harness race on Sunday, June 10th.

Participants from Binghamton, Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley, Johnson City, and Maine-Endwell High Schools are in the process of learning some of the tricks of the trade from some of the top drivers-trainers at Tioga Downs.

Corey Braden, Jason Mac Dougall, Judy Lanpher, Jamie Paquet, and Paul Bernardo have all volunteered their time to assist in helping the high school students get a better understanding of the sport of harness racing and some of the daily care that goes into the horses.

The race will take place on Sunday, June 10th at Tioga Downs in between the live races, which will also feature the $200,000(e) Bettor's Delight Open Pace and its counterpart the $200,000 Artiscape Pace for open mare pacers.

The students will ride in a double seated jog cart with a professional driver-trainer who they have learned from for the past three weeks.

Scholarships for the event will be given out in the order of finish of the race, 1st place: $3,000, 2nd place: $2,000, 3rd place: $1,200, 4th place: $800.

The sponsors helping support the third annual Scholarship race are the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association, New York Sire Stakes, and Tioga Downs.  

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us on our website at

Friday, May 25, 2012

New York State Fair Stakes headline Tioga Downs' Monday race card

Tioga Downs will host a special racing program on Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day) at 1:30 pm featuring 13 divisions of New York State Fair Stakes.

Seven divisions for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers will be contested, while there will be six divisions for 3-year-old pacing fillies.

Leading the way for the State Fair Stakes for the fillies is Jamie Sue from the Mark Ford Stable.

The 3-year-old daughter of Art Major – Road To Pandalay has already posted a NYSS victory this season when she dead heated with Brownsville Bomber at Vernon Downs last weekend.
Jamie Sue (inside) captures a NYSS prep race earlier this season

She will go to the post in the first division for fillies on Monday afternoon, sporting a record of five wins and four seconds in 11 seasonal outings, good for earnings of more than $80,000.

Leading the way for the colts is Domethatagain from the Erv Miller Stable.

The 3-year-old son of Bettor's Delight – Road Sign has already posted two second place finishes in sire stakes action, but will look for the second win in his fifth seasonal start on Monday in race number seven.

The New York State Fair Stakes will be part of the Excelsior Series this year in New York, and points will be awarded in the state fair stakes for the Excelsior Series.

Vernon Downs kicks off the New York State Fair Stakes weekend on Friday night (6:55 pm) with seven divisions for 3-year-old trotting fillies, and four divisions for 3-year-old colt trotters.

Tioga Downs continues with live racing on Saturday night (May 26) at 6:50 pm, Sunday evening at 6:30 pm (with fireworks immediately following live racing), and wraps up its holiday weekend of racing on Monday, May 28 at 1:30 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Monday, May 21, 2012

5/21/12 Daily Clips from NY Gaming Association

New York State
1)      They’re off! Pols push sports bets - New York Post

“Place your bets here!

A Queens lawmaker wants to legalize betting on professional sports in New York — and his proposed legislation has the backing of one of the state’s top prosecutors, Brooklyn DA Charles “Joe” Hynes, The Post has learned.

State Sen. Tony Avella’s bill would allow betting on baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer at the Aqueduct and Yonkers racinos and all casinos across the state, as well as off-track betting parlors outside the city.

Currently, only betting on horse racing is legal.

Such legalized betting in the sports-crazed Big Apple could become a cash cow for the state, where fans passionately follow — and often illegally bet on — the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets Knicks and Rangers.

Citing a study conducted by the New York City Partnership five years ago, Democrat Avella said betting on pro sports would generate more than $2 billion.

He said the state’s cut from the racino sports book would go to fund schools.

“We have to think out of the box. I’d rather come up with revenue this way rather than raising property taxes,” said Avella.

He claimed said studies show illegal sports betting generates more than $100 billion nationally and as much as $15 billion to $30 billion in New York City alone — much of it feeding organized crime.

And that’s why Hynes is supporting the measure. He said sports betting should be regulated by the government and benefit the public, not crooks.

“Right now, sports betting is a cash cow for the mob,” said Hynes. “I’ve been in favor of legalized sports betting. It has always made sense to me.”

Hynes feels so strongly about authorizing sports betting that he will write letters to urge Gov. Cuomo and the state District Attorneys Association to back the legislation.

“It would be a huge win for the state of New York,” he said.”

2)     NYRA told to come up with reform plan ASAP - Times Union

“For the second time this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presided over a face-to-face meeting with trustees of the New York Racing Association, and this time his brow was full of creases, according to people close to those in the room.

In the first meeting two weeks ago, Cuomo stated his position indirectly but diplomatically to a dozen NYRA trustees in Albany. He told them things must change.

But last Friday in Manhattan, with the NYRA board's executive committee, the governor was more like a prosecutor. He bluntly stated that things will change.

The stronger message comes after the governor took exception to the board appointing a new president and general counsel when he would have preferred interim leaders while two state investigations of NYRA play out. The probes are covering the circumstances of a 15-month period of overcharging bettors leading to $8.5 million in unlawful commissions. NYRA's new president, Ellen McClain, was on duty as a top financial and compliance administrator during those 15 months.

Governors don't normally sit down with NYRA trustees for private meetings — so secretive that Cuomo's aides refuse to even acknowledge the sessions are scheduled, one even pleading ignorance when 12 NYRA trustees were converging on the Capitol.”

3)     NYRA wins at Preakness - Times Union

“The biggest winner of Saturday's Preakness Stakes was the New York Racing Association. That's because I'll Have Another, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, is coming to town.

For the next three weeks, I'll Have Another is going to be a bigger Big Apple sports name than Derek Jeter or Henrik Lundqvist.

Horse racing hasn't seen a Triple Crown winner since 1978, and here comes I'll Have Another, on the cusp of thoroughbred immortality.

The New York Racing Association, which has been battered, beaten and humiliated over the last two weeks, finally got a break.

On June 9, there will be life at Belmont, a place that has had little cheer.

On May 4, the takeout scandal cost Charles Hayward, NYRA's president and CEO, his job. Patrick Kehoe, the organization's chief counsel, also got the heave-ho.

A week later, it was announced that Ellen McClain would be the organization's new president, but she was the chief finance officer for the majority of the takeout scandal.

The New York State Inspector General is conducting an ongoing investigation.

NYRA has lost the trust of many a horseplayer. Just over six months ago, the future was bright for New York racing when the casino at Aqueduct opened and purses soared. Now the scandal.”

4)     SARDELLA: Ray Sharpe continues success in Saratoga - The Saratogian

“Ray Sharpe is a relatively new name to fans of Saratoga Casino and Raceway but it’s a name you should get used to hearing. Sharpe first started training horses back in 2004 but it wasn’t until the last few years that he has been doing so on a full-time basis.

In 2009, the conditioner had his best season according to purse money earned as he tallied more than $115,000 with his trainees in just 63 starts. Training in New Jersey and racing almost exclusively at Freehold Raceway and the Meadowlands, Sharpe had nine wins and nine seconds en route to the six-digit season. After only starting 36 horses in 2010, Sharpe started to go at it full time in the ’11 season and began competing at Saratoga in nearly all of his races.

The Ray Sharpe Stable had a breakout year in 2011, doing it almost solely at the Spa. In 104 total races, Sharpe recorded 14 wins and hit the board 46 times, amassing just shy of $100,000 in earnings and finishing with a training average of .274.

Sharpe had enough success to not only race at Saratoga full time but also to move here. The conditioner now calls Saratoga Springs home and has certainly found a home for himself at the raceway. In last week’s action, Sharpe had his best stretch since coming to town last year. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Sharpe started horses in three races and he swept them.”

5)     I'll Have Another Arrives in NY One Win Away - Blood Horse

“Trainer Doug O'Neill has full confidence in the potential for I'll Have Another to handle the grueling 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after the colt captured the first two jewels of America's Triple Crown.

“He’s got the mind,” O’Neill said at Pimlico Race Course the morning after I'll Have Another nipped Bodemeister by a neck in a thrilling renewal of the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). “You’ve seen the way he’s handled the attention in Kentucky and here in Baltimore. He’s got a great confidence about him and he’s got the stride of a horse that a mile and a half won’t be a problem. He’s got the pedigree; so much stamina on the female side."

Meanwhile, after a second agonizing loss to I’ll Have Another in the Preakness, trainer Bob Baffert said Bodemeister will remain in training but skip the Belmont.

“I’ve had enough,” Baffert quipped.

Reddam Racing's I'll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) by 1 1/2 lengths two weeks before the Preakness, was loaded onto a van the morning of May 20 to begin his journey to Belmont Park and a date with racing history.

He arrived at Barn 9 at Belmont Park following the ride at 2:53 p.m. EDT.

“We got kind of held up for about an hour and a half,” said Jack Sisterson, assistant to O’Neill. “I have no idea where we were, but besides that the horse was happy. He was just looking out the window the whole time. He and Lava Man were together, they were just chatting away the whole time. We were at Pimlico almost two weeks and we shipped in a week before at Churchill, and now we’re here for the three weeks. So far, so good.

"It’s kind of working out for us, so we’re not going to change that. I think the sooner he gets over the track and gets familiar with the surroundings. We’ll walk him tomorrow and then take it from there. One day at a time.”

After winning the Preakness in front of a record crowd of 121,309, the chestnut son of Flower Alley is the first since Big Brown   in 2008 to win the first two legs of the series. He will try to become the 12th horse to capture American racing’s most treasured prize – and the first since Affirmed in 1978 – in the Belmont June 9.”

6)     Exhibitors fight Javits teardown - Crain's New York

“A powerful group of businesses in the trade-show industry has coalesced to fight Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to tear down the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to ensure they have a voice in the final decision.

After nearly six months of intense meetings and conference calls, senior executives of companies that produce the vast majority of the shows at the Javits Center took a bold public stand, sending a letter to the governor late last month stating their opposition to the demolition of the Far West Side facility. The letter was also distributed to some 600 officials, including state and city legislators.

The executives insist they will not patronize the much larger venue in Ozone Park, Queens, at the Aqueduct raceway that is to be built by the casino operator Genting Americas. They prefer a proposed, but troubled, development plan at Willets Point near Citi Field, which is closer to Manhattan. "Javits customers are adamant that the Javits Center remain open long term," their letter stated.

Calling themselves Friends of Javits, the group is composed of 21 of the largest trade-show companies in the business—which produce such events as the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show and the New York International Gift Fair—as well as organizations such as the Toy Industry Association and the National Retail Federation, which also produce big events at Javits.

A seat at the negotiating table

The governor's dramatic announcement in January of a Javits replacement in Ozone Park surprised the executives, but they are determined to get a seat at the negotiating table now.

"We wanted to let the governor know that there is a strong base of support [for keeping the facility] and to ask him to reconsider tearing it down," said Britton Jones, chief executive of Business Journals Inc., which produces 17 events at Javits a year, including the Accessories and Moda Manhattan shows.

Without the trade-show industry's support, the proposed 3.8 million-square-foot convention center at Aqueduct—the largest in the country—would be tough to fill.

"This is a real strong message by the industry, which is saying, 'Just because you build it, it doesn't mean we'll come,' " said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which produces the annual New York International Auto Show at Javits.

The auto show's name does not appear on the letter because Mr. Schienberg is willing to move his weeklong event to Aqueduct, although he supports the industry's position on Javits. "They can easily pull their shows from New York City," he explained. "I can't."

The New York Hotel Association also recently sent a position paper to its members expressing its support for the Javits Center to remain open.”

Other Articles of Interest

1)     Compulsive gambler bans himself from Ohio casino - Lancaster Eagle Gazette

Ohio's casino commission has set up a way to help problem gamblers from giving into temptation and going into the state's casinos.

Compulsive gamblers or anyone else can ask the commission to ban themselves from any of the four casinos opening in the state.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the new state program makes it a crime for those on the list to enter.

People can ask to be banned for a year, five years or life.

So far, one northeast Ohio man is on the list and 10 others are awaiting approval. The casino commission thinks between 5,000 and 10,000 people will participate.

Ohio's program is similar to those in 15 others states.

2)     When is so much gambling too much? -

“It's getting tougher to do business in the Northeast casino market. That's the conclusion of many of those who study such trends. Given the explosion in the number of gambling venues in recent years and the finite number of gamblers, it's hardly surprising that "oversaturation" is having a big impact on a domestic gaming industry that not too long ago was confined (legally, anyway) to the Nevada desert.

But casino gambling came to Atlantic City in the late 1970s, and now every state from West Virginia to Maine has some combination of commercial casinos, Native American-run casinos and lotteries. Massachusetts has all three, and New York might have a casino in Manhattan within five years. Parimutuel wagering, horse racing and lotteries are also popular. Taken together, and counting gambling destinations in other parts of the country — including storied Las Vegas — "oversaturation" pretty much describes what's going on in the gambling business.

And a lot of casinos are hurting as a result.

That the politicians in various states who have been selling gambling as a cure for their states' financial woes don't recognize the worrisome trend may be surprising or not, depending on one's views of politicians generally. David Cordish, whose company is opening yet another huge new casino in Maryland next month, says politicians don't understand oversaturation and "think you can have casinos like Starbucks" — on every corner.

Atlantic City is proof positive that such an attitude is just plain wrong. Though New Jersey gaming officials say gross profits are up significantly over the last two quarters, the more than a dozen casinos there have been enduring a five-year slump that has seen a lot of the resort town's former gambling patrons being siphoned off by newer casinos in Pennsylvania. The glitter of the Atlantic City gaming experience faded a while ago. Some of the casinos are showing their age, and from anecdotal accounts, we hear customer service happens more by accident than by design. A new casino, Revel, is being counted on to reverse Atlantic City's fortunes, but some experts at this year's East Coast Gaming Congress said what the town really needs is fewer casinos, not more.”

3)     Jimmy Buffett talks about his new Mississippi casino - USA Today

“Jimmy Buffett the businessman is expanding his empire.

The poster child for the laid-back lifestyle got his first paid performing job in Biloxi, Miss., and opens a Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant there Tuesday. It joins a chain of restaurants and bars, a hotel in Pensacola, Fla., online game, clothing line, casino at the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas and other ventures. Another casino in Bossier City, La., is in the cards for next year.

Jimmy Buffett appears before the Mississippi Gaming Commission Thursday as the final step toward opening a Margaritaville Casino and Resort in Biloxi, Miss.  Buffett, 65, never intended to be a corporate king. But he has negotiated the shark-infested waters of the music business and tries new ventures because "it's kind of fun," he drawls.

The Pascagoula, Miss., native says of the Biloxi casino, where a hotel also is planned: "I didn't know if I wanted to do it, but then the storm (Katrina) came along. I was contacted by (former Mississippi Gov.) Haley Barbour, who said, 'We need to get back.' " Buffett and a partnerbuilt the casino, adding 1,000 jobs to the local economy.”

Vlos captures Tioga Downs Sunday afternoon Open Pace

Vlos used his early tactical speed to capture Sunday afternoon's $16,500 Open Pace with driver Fern Paquet Jr. at Tioga Downs.

Leaving from post position number five in a field of eight, Paquet got away with a soft opening quarter of 27.4 and was uncontested through a half mile in 56.

As the field headed towards three quarters, Vlos was asked for pace and he responded, clicking off a 26.4 third quarter to reach three quarters in 1:22.4.

Down the stretch, it was a full on assault as Hay Goodlooking (Rick Plano) and the field closed in on the leader but came up short in 1:51.3.

Eric Mollor trains the 8-year-old son of Dragon Again – Sweet Tender for Bella Rosa Racing of New Jersey.

It was the first win of the year for Vlos, who recorded his 28th win in 90 lifetime starts with earnings of more than $476,000.

There was also a minor accident in the Open Pace when Voice Of Truth (Jim Meittinis) broke a hopple hanger around the final turn and stumbled.

Golden Terror and Dan Noble were then caught with Voice Of Truth and Dan Noble was unseated and thrown to the racetrack.

However, all horses and drivers involved escaped without any serious injury.

Lewayne Miller was the only driver to post multiple driving victories on the afternoon's 13-race card and he recorded two.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, May 26th at 6:50 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Evictor repeats in the Open Trot at Tioga Downs

Lewayne Miller and The Evictor made it a repeat performance in Saturday night's $16,500 Open trot at Tioga Downs.

Although dismissed by the betting public after drawing post position number nine, Miller left alertly and got an early seat in the action through an opening quarter of 28.

The duo then chose to stalk from third as the battle raged for control of the lead.

A fresh face to the Tioga Downs open trot, Magnum Kosmos took the field through fractions of 56.2, and 1:25.1 with race favorite Aruba Vacation stalking closely in second.

As the field headed down the stretch it was a three horse battle to the wire.

Lewayne Mille and The Evictor went to the outside, while Aruba Vacation (Fern Paquet Jr.) found room up the pylons as they both desperately tried to reach Magnum Kosmos.

As the field reached the wire, it was The Evictor who nosed out Magnum Kosmos in 1:55.1.

John Butenschoen trains the 4-year-old son of Valley Victor – Expressive Chip for William Wiswell and Jean Goehlen.

Jimmy Marohn Jr. posted a driving triple on the night's 12-race card, while Corey Braden and Mike Merton each posted doubles.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Sunday, May 20 at 1:30 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Friday, May 18, 2012

Archangel impressive in NYSS victory on Friday night at Tioga Downs

The New York Sire Stakes rolled into Nichols, New York on Friday night featuring three divisions for New York-bred 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters.
Posting the fastest mile for the three divisions was Archangel (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the second division for $44,266.

Leaving from post position number six, Morrill put Archangel into play past the opening quarter in 28.4 taking over control of the race from Flyhawk Jester (Stephane Bouchard).

The duo raced in line through fractions of 57.2 and 1:26.3 until the pair straightened up through the stretch, but Archangel was too strong posting a 27.4 final quarter to win in 1:54.2.

The mile established a new lifetime mark for the 3-year-old son of Credit Winner – Michelle's Angel who is trained by Peter Arrigenna.

Flyhawk Jester held tough for second, while New York Attitude (Fern Paquet Jr.) was third.

The night's third division featured the high priced Royal Shyster versus the hometown connected Coraggioso for Tioga Downs regular Phil Fluet.

Fluet placed Coraggioso on the lead early and then relinquished the lead to Royal Shyster, who made a brief break going to the three-eighth's pole.

After regaining his composure, Royal Shyster and George Brennan cut through fractions of 57.2 and 1:26.

As the field straightened up in the stretch the field was circling the leader and Fluet was over loaded with trot looking for daylight.

Coraggioso and Fluet eventually found the room they needed to win by a length in 1:55.4.

Fluet trains the 3-year old son of Conway Hall – Electra Hanover for Joe Spadaro and Tom Durkin, both of New York.

Delano (Ray Schnittker) was an impressive winner in the first division in a new lifetime best of 1:54.4 in their first start of their sophomore campaign.

Jim Morrill Jr., George Brennan, and Ray Schnittker all posted driving doubles on the night's 12-race card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday, May 19 at 6:50 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New York Sire Stakes action set for Friday night at Tioga Downs

The New York Sire Stakes roll into Tioga Downs on Friday night featuring three divisions for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters.

Headlining the entries on Friday night is Royal Shyster, who was purchased for $450,000 at the Harrisburg Sale in November by William Weaver III and Jim Winske for trainer Noel Daley.

He will make the second start of his sophomore campaign in the third and final NYSS event for $44,266 in race number nine.

George Brennan will make the trip to Nichols, New York to drive the colt, who is listed as the 3-1 morning line favorite.

In the second division (race 6) Jim Morrill Jr. will handle Archangel for trainer and co-owner Peter Arrigenna.

The 3-year-old son of Credit Winner finished second in last year's NYSS final behind Royal Shyster and then went on to finish second in his Breeders' Crown elimination later in the year at Woodbine.

Archangel leads a field of seven trotters as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Delano and Ray Schnittker look to be the heavy favorite in the first division slated for race number three on the 12-race card.

The 3-year-old son of Credit Winner – Kelly Hall still holds the track record for 2-year-old colt trotters at Tioga Downs from his impressive 1:55.2 win last year.

The duo have been given the nod as the 2-1 morning line favorite from post position number two despite making breaks in two of his three qualifiers this season.

Tioga Downs kicks off its three-day racing weekend on Friday night at 6:50 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Catch up with Lucky Chucky on this week’s "Inside Harness Racing"

After earning back-to-back Dan Patch Awards and earning more than $2 million on the racetrack, Lucky Chucky began his stud career last year at Winbak Farm in New York. We travel to the farm and catch up with "Chucky" on this week's episode of "Inside Harness Racing."

"Inside Harness Racing," a weekly, half-hour television show, airs today (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports throughout Upstate New York. For the second year in a row, the show will also be broadcast on HPI TV in Canada. Viewers can also watch every episode online at the Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs YouTube channel (

"Lucky Chucky won the Zweig at Tioga Downs during his 3-year-old season and had a great following so we're excited to be able to visit him and update his fans on his new career as a Daddy," said the show's host and producer, Justin Horowitz.

Leading Vernon Downs driver Chris Lems is also featured on this week's show in Settlemoir's Spotlight.

Plus, Sapphire City broke the Tioga Downs track record on Sunday. We'll recap his sub-1:50 performance and talk with driver Tyler Buter, who was aboard for the win.

Watch this week's episode right now below:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sapphire City sets track record in Tioga's Sunday feature

Sapphire City continued with his career best form on Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs in the $16,500 Open pace, winning in 1:49.4.

The mile by Sapphire City established a new track record for 4-year-old gelding pacers on the five-eighths mile track.

Leaving from post position number three, Tyler Buter was unhurried as Eastend Eddie (Jason Bartlett) was putting up scorching fractions of 26, 54, and 1:21.1 on the front end.

Around the final turn, Sapphire City was tracking the leader and eating up racetrack with every stride to easily draw clear and win in a new lifetime best.

The 4-year-old gelded son of Metropolitan – Spectre Almahurst is owned by Centaur Stables and Jordon Skult and is trained by Mitchell Mac Kenzie.

It was the sixth win of the year for Sapphire City, who with the win, increased his seasonal bankroll to more than $68,000.

Voice Of Truth (Jim Meittinis) closed late for second, while Sheer Brilliance (Sean Bier) was third.

Jim Meittinis, Greg Merton, and Phil Fluet each posted driving doubles on the afternoon's 12-race card.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Friday, May 18 at 6:50 pm.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

The Evictor takes Saturday night Tioga feature

The Evictor, (Lewayne Miller) despite making his initial start in 2012 following two qualifiers, used a first over grind to score in the $16,500 Open Trot on Saturday night at Tioga Downs.

Leaving from post position number two, Miller drifted out of the gate and settled in fourth as Diamond Hunter (Jimmy Marohn Jr.) cut through fractions of 28, 58.1, and 1:27.

As the field reached the top of the stretch, The Evictor, had the leader collared and drew clear of the field down the stretch to capture the night's featured event.

John Butenschoen trains the 4-year-old gelded son of Valley Victor – Express Chip for William Wiswell and Jean Goehlen.

Aruba Vacation (Fern Paquet Jr.) couldn't find room until deep in the stretch to get up for second, while A Gentleman (Phil Fluet) was third.

Jim Taggart Jr. posted a driving triple on the night's 10-race card, while Fern Paquet Jr. made his way to the winner's circle on two occasions.

Jim Meittinis and Fern Paquet Jr. are tied in the driver's standings for wins through four racing cards in 2012 with six wins each.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Sunday afternoon (May 13) at 1:30 pm with a 12-race card.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Miss Versatility Series Kicks Off At Mohawk

The first leg of the popular Miss Versatility series for trotting mares is scheduled for Sunday, May 20.

The series will make its first appearance north of the border, one of several adjustments in the format for the upcoming season.

The number of preliminary legs has been increased from three to four, with Mohawk Racetrack hosting the first two with the second leg on Sunday, July 1st.

The Meadowlands hosts leg three on Friday, August 17 and the last leg will be at Tioga Downs on Sunday, August 26.

The Delaware County Fair will again host the final on Little Brown Jug Day, Thursday, September 20.

The connections of those mares racing in the final will receive a hospitality package including tent access, courtesy of the LBJ.

The purse for each leg has been increased from $25,000 to $40,000 ($30,000 div) and the final will be well in excess of $100,000 this season.

The list of nominees and race conditions may be found here.

The draw for the May 20 card is on Wednesday, May 16.

Further draw info is available by following this link or calling the Mohawk Race Office at (905) 854-7805.

The declaration fee in the amount of $2,000 in US funds should be made payable to Mohawk Racetrack.

The declaration fee is required only once, regardless of the number of legs raced in.

There is no further entry fee due for the final.

Mares must start in a minimum of two legs to be eligible to race in the final.

NYSS prep races highlight Friday night card at Tioga

A duo of NYSS prep races highlighted Tioga Downs' Friday night, 12-race card, with Jamie Sue posting the fastest time of the night.

Jim Meittinis sent Jamie Sue to the front after the field went by the opening quarter in a soft 28.4.

The duo then cut through fractions of 58 and 1:27 before heavy pressure was applied by the first-over Marinade Hanover (Sam Schillaci).

Meittinis had to ask Jamie Sue for all she had down the stretch to fight back and find the wire first in 1:54.2.

Mark Ford trains the 3-year-old daughter of Art Major – Road To Pandalay for Robert Di Nozzi of Ossining, NY.

Brownsville Bomber (Fern Paquet Jr.) was victorious in 1:55.4 in the second division of the NYSS preps on Friday night for trainer Ed Hart.

Fern Paquet, Jr. posted a driving triple on the night's 12-race card, while Jim Meittinis and Jim Marohn Jr. each collected two driving victories.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Saturday night (May 12) at 6:50 pm with a 10-race card.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

“Inside Harness Racing" TV show returns for third season

Harness racing fans, both new and old, will once again have a TV outlet for their favorite sport.

"Inside Harness Racing," a weekly, half-hour television show, returns for its third season. The first episode airs today (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM on Time Warner Cable Sports throughout Upstate New York. For the second year in a row, the show will also be broadcast on HPI TV in Canada. Viewers can also watch every episode online at the Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs YouTube channel (

"We're very excited to once again offer fans a television outlet for the great racing, great stories and great characters at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs," said the show's executive producer and host, Justin Horowitz. "TV is one of the best outlets to promote our game and we're grateful to our partners at Time Warner Cable Sports for once again giving us a prime outlet."

Each week, the show will not only cover the major races at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs with replays and interviews, but also will go beyond the races with special features to introduce viewers to the personalities and horses behind the scenes.

Fan education will also be a major focus with a regular segment called "Harness Racing University" that will teach new fans and horseplayers about the wagering side of the sport.

A story that aired on "Inside Harness Racing" was awarded an honorable mention in the 2011 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing broadcasting.

The debut episode can be viewed below

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cowgirl Hall sets national season's record in NYSS prep at Tioga Downs

Tioga Downs continued with its second day of live racing action on Sunday afternoon.

Highlighting the 13-race card were two divisions of NYSS prep races for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

In the second division, Cowgirl Hall and Gates Brunet, showed that they are ready for the sire stakes which are just around the corner.

Leaving from post position number five, Brunet was insistent on having control of the fractions and was used twice to finally gain control at the half in 56.3.

From there, Cowgirl Hall did everything she was asked trotting away impressively from the field in a new lifetime mark, and a current national season's record for a five-eighths mile track of 1:55.1.

The 3-year-old daughter of Cash Hall – Centerfold Hall is owned by Gewertz, Rosenthall, Brunet, and Brunet and she is trained by Gates Brunet.

In the first division, Miss Connor stayed perfect in her young racing career by posting her second win in as many outings for trainer Chris Ryder in 1:58.2.

Jim Morrill Jr. posted a driving triple on the afternoon's card, while Jim Meittinis and Sean Bier each scored doubles.

Tioga Downs continues live racing on Friday night (May 11) at 6:50 PM.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Tioga opens live racing to packed house on Saturday night

Tioga Downs kicked off its opening race card for the 2012 race season on Saturday evening in front of more than 11,700 patrons in the Southern Tier.

Live racing began at 5:00 PM this year to capture more fans for live racing by drawing off of the early Derby crowd during the day, and the results were a huge success.

"Today at Tioga was probably the largest crowd in years at a harness track in New York State," said Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, Jeff Gural, during the opening day festivities.

Highlighting the 10-race card at Tioga were three New York bred prep races in preparation for New York Sire Stakes just around the corner.

Two divisions for 3-year-old colt trotters led the way, but Coraggioso stole the show by posting a powerful front end performance in 1:55.3.

The mile demolished his previous lifetime best by nearly three full seconds, and sent the message throughout New York that the homebred son of Credit Winner – Electra Hall for Joe Spadaro and Tom Durkin is ready for action.

Phil Fluet trains and drives Coraggioso who sports a record of five wins, two seconds, and a third in 10 lifetime starts.

Flyhawk Jester (Howard Parker) took home the other division for sophomore trotters in 1:56.2, while Lewayne Miller and My Boogie Shoes scored in the lone division for 3-year-old pacers in 1:53.4.

"All of us at Tioga Downs would like to thank the community for showing their continued support to harness racing in the Southern Tier by once again flocking to opening day for racing, and look forward to another great year at Tioga Downs," said Jason M. Settlemoir, VP of Racing and Simulcast.

Tioga Downs continues live racing action on Sunday afternoon (May 6) at 1:30 PM.

For more information on Tioga Downs please visit us online at

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kentucky Derby Analysis by America's Handicapper Toby Callet

#4 - UNION RAGS heads into the biggest test of his career moving in the right direction. Homebred son of DIXIE UNION not only raced against the bias in The Florida Derby, but also lost a shoe on two separate occasions that day. He's trained like a "wild beast" since arriving in the Bluegrass State and appears ready to give these guys a good old-fashioned beating! #3 - TAKE CHARGE INDY had the best of it when defeating the top choice in their most recent. He exits the right prep and should outrun his odds. #15 - GEMOLOGIST is two for two under the "Twin Spires." The Longshot is #16 - EL PADRINO.

Suggested Wagering Strategy:

Exacta/Trifecta/Superfecta Key: 4/3-15-16.

Exacta Part-Wheel: 3-15-16/4.

Exacta/Trifecta/Superfecta Box: 3-4-15-16.

Trifecta Wheel: 4/3-15-16/All and 4/All/3-15-16.

Toby Callet, a professional horseplayer himself for nearly 40 years, provides Toby's Key Plays and Horses To Watch. He's a nationally recognized public handicapper as well. Four-time panelist at The 2007 Horseplayers' Expo at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Callet has been involved in many aspects of thoroughbred handicapping. Two-year-old Pedigree Analyst at Calder Casino and Race Course ( since 1997, his Key Plays focus primarily on maiden races and turf events. For more information about Toby Callet, his work, and the venues he covers, please visit or or email him at

Friday, May 4, 2012

Low Takeout Returns to Tioga Downs in 2012

Horseplayers will once again be treated to some of the lowest takeout rates in all of harness racing when Tioga Downs opens its seventh season of live racing tomorrow (Saturday).

For the third year in a row, Tioga Downs will offer low takeout rates of 15% on Win/Place/Show wagers; 17% on Exactas/Daily Doubles; and 21% on all other exotic wagers.

"We’d like to thank the Southern Tier Harness Horsemen's Association for their continued cooperation with our low takeout," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast. "We believe our low takeout rates and competitive racing continues to make the Tioga Downs signals one of the best bets in harness racing."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Loaded Stakes Schedule, Full Menu of Promotions Highlights Tioga Downs Season

When Tioga Downs opens for its seventh season of live racing this Saturday, fans will once again be treated to a full menu of fast horses and exciting promotions.

Special opening day post time is at 5:00 PM.

The first three races of the card will be contested then a break will be taken at 6:00 PM to allow fans to watch and wager on the 138th Kentucky Derby. Following the Run for the Roses, the remainder of the 10-race card will be run, starting at approximately 7:00 PM.

The season-long festival at Tioga Downs begins with a Cinco de Mayo themed party featuring a live mariachi band, margaritas and mint juleps plus the traditional race date t-shirt and magnet giveaway and a spectacular fireworks show following live racing.

Giveaways will be presented at least once a month with daily promotions designed to help introduce and engage fans with harness racing.

For the second year in a row, Tioga Downs presents the Million Dollar Ball Drop promotion. Fans can enter each racing day for a chance to win $1 Million on September 3 when 500 golf balls are dropped from a fire truck.

The always popular Horseplay Car Giveaway also returns. For a $1 donation to a local charity, fans can throw a mini rubber horse into a moving car. Each night, one successful fan will receive a $100 betting voucher and also be entered into the Grand Prize drawing to win the 2012 Toyota Yaris on Closing Night, Saturday, September 15.

New this season is Hot Dog Weekend featuring pig, ostrich and camel racing. The festivities take place June 16-17. July includes "Back to the Track" weekend featuring a free concert by former American Idol contestant Aaron Kelly. The now famous Corntastic Weekend, celebrating all things corn, returns in August.

On the track, Tioga Downs features a loaded stakes schedule worth more than $2.5 million, highlighted by the $400,000 Cane Pace, opening leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Eliminations are scheduled for Sunday, August 26 with Finals on Labor Day, September 3.

North America's fastest standardbreds return on June 10 for the $200,000 Bettor's Delight. The previous two editions of the event have produced world record performances, including Bettor Sweet's 1:48.1 victory last year. The pacing mares share the spotlight on the same day when they contest the $200,000 Artiscape, won last year by Dan Patch Award winner, Anndrovette.

Tioga Downs will also host several legs of the lucrative New York Sire Stakes throughout the season beginning May 18.

The full 2012 stakes schedule is listed below:
June 10 - $200,000E Artiscape Aged Mare Pace (Post Time 1:30)
June 10 - $200,000E Bettor’s Delight Open Pace (Post Time 1:30)
June 17 - $300,000E Historic 3YO Trot & Pace (Post Time 1:30)
July 19-22 - $720,000 Tompkins-Geers Grand Circuit Stakes (Post Time 6:50)
July 22 - $720,000 Tompkins-Geers Grand Circuit Stakes (Post Time 1:30)
August 5 & 12 - $500,000E Empire Breeders Classic 3YO Pace (Post Time 1:30)
August 26 - $40,000E Miss Versatility Open Mare Trot (Post Time 6:50)
August 26 & September 3 - $400,000 Cane Pace 3YO Open Pace (Sept. 3 Post Time 1:30)
September 3 - $125,000E Shady Daisy 3YO Filly Pace (Post Time 1:30)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dan Noble and Mark Macdonald to join Sunday driving colony at Tioga Downs

2011 leading dash winning driver, Dan Noble, will be joining the Sunday afternoon driving colony at Tioga Downs for the 2012 race season, starting with this coming weekend on Sunday, May 6.

Noble, who posted 773 wins in 2011, currently ranks sixth in harness racing for driver wins with 179 in 2012.

"I'm looking forward to coming to Tioga on Sunday afternoons to compete against some of New York's finest drivers," said Noble.

Also joining Noble and Jason Bartlett at Tioga Downs on Sundays this year will be the recently New York placed Mark Macdonald, who has been driving full time at Yonkers Raceway.

"I'm really excited to be coming to Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoons," said Macdonald. "I love afternoon racing and I was there once last year and it is a beautiful facility in a beautiful little area. I'm also looking forward to seeing and racing out of the new paddock."
Tioga Downs is set to open for the 2012 race season on Saturday, May 5th (Kentucky Derby Day) with a special post time of 5:00 PM.

Tioga Downs will be holding the first three live races on the card from 5:00 – 6:00 before taking a break during the Kentucky Derby, and then continuing with the remainder of the race program around 7:00 PM.

Entries for Saturday should be called into the Tioga Downs race office by 9:00 AM on Wednesday.

Tioga Downs will also host live racing on Sunday, May 6 with a post time of 1:30 PM.

For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit us online at