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Racing Roundup: Obrigado ties Tioga all-age mark
Saturday, August 09, 2014 - by harness publicists across North America

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Saturday's (Aug. 9) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Batavia Downs, Running Aces Harness Park, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Kawartha Downs.

Obrigado ties Tioga all-age track mark

Nichols, NY
---Fresh off a pair of Open wins at Saratoga, Obrigado ($8.70) pounced from a rated tracking trip to take the $15,000 Open Trot on Saturday (Aug. 9) at Tioga Downs, equalling the all-age track record of 1:52.3 in the act.

Fred Brown Photo
Obrigado  won the Tioga Open in 1:52.3, tying the all-age trotting track record. 

From the outset, Aaron Byron kept the 4-year-old Boy Band gelding well off an ambitious pace set by Wisenheimer (Jim Marohn Jr.), only starting to move a closer second on the far turn after a 1:23.2 three-quarter split. While pressing on the far turn, Obrigado gained into a joint lead coming to the top of the stretch, driven out in the final sixteenth to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Macs Bad Boy (Mike Simons) rallied off a stalking trip to narrowly take second from Wisenheimer, while odds-on favorite Traverse Seelster (Brandon Simpson) simply had too far to rally, finishing fourth.

The mark, shared by Manningly and Autumn Escapade, also gave Obrigado outright ownership of the track record for 4-year-old trotting geldings, eclipsing the past record of 1:54.3 shared by Martino and Brookroad Knight.

Trainer Paul Kelley co-owns Obrigado with the partnership of Higgins, Weaver, and Stable 45.

Later in the card, Pan Luis Obispo ($13.20) sustained a first-over bid to prevail in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, wearing down Inittowinafortune in 1:51.4. Vinny Ginsburg handled the driving duties of the 4-year-old No Pan Intended mare for trainer Robert Bresnahan and owner Robert Bresnahan Jr.

Live racing resumes on Sunday (Aug. 10) afternoon, with a stakes-laden program headlined by the finals of the Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired 3-year-old pacers.  Post time is 1:30 p.m. EDT.

--James Witherite

Vernon Downs
Oh My Joepa (Rocknroll Hanover-Nittany Lion) made a move
on the far turn of the $6,500 feature at Vernon Downs on Saturday night and rode that move all the way to the winner's circle. A Fool For Mark (Dustin Ingraham) took the lead at the outset and carried the field through the first quarter in 26.2 seconds and the half in 54.4. After setting a fast pace, A Fool For Mark was passed by You Bet Your Glass (Frank Davis), who took control once the field was past the half-mile and led to the three-quarter mark in 1:23. Oh My Joepa (Claude Huckabone III) made the aggressive first-over move to challenge the leader on the far turn, taking over once the field made the turn for home. Cabbie's Delight (Jimmy Whittemore) followed the live cover from the eventual winner, but could never get past Oh My Joepa, who posted a time of 1:51.1 for the mile. Cabbie's Delight had to settle for second and A Fool For Mark came on once again to get up for third. The complete order of finish was: Oh My Joepa, Cabbie's Delight, A Fool For Mark, You Bet Your Glass, Redneck Outlaw, Dutch Richman, and Firethorn. Oh My Joepa is owned and trained by Michael Deters of Coconut Creek, Fla.
The driving star of the night at Vernon Downs was Jimmy
Whittemore, who posted a natural hat trick of winners in the middle of the 11-race program. Whittemore went gate-to-wire in the fourth race with favored Moonlight Ransom (Artiscape-Windsun Caprice). He then followed with an excellent drive to bring Team Edward (Bettor's Delight-Tarport Julie) up the inside in the stretch to win the fifth race. Whittemore wrapped up the threesome with a win in the sixth race driving Market Force (Rocknroll Hanover-Endless Dreams).
Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Thursday
night with a 9-race program. Post time will be 6:45 p.m.

Batavia Downs
While most people had their eye on 3-5 favorite Fireyourguns who shipped in off three Open wins in four weeks at Tioga Downs, they overlooked Big Unit who three starts ago paced one of the fastest miles in western New York this year (1:53.2). When they hit the wire tonight, Big Unit was the better man. Flying off the gate from post one, Big Unit (Kevin Cummings) took the group to the quarter in 27.2, seating everyone in the process. But right after they hit that pole, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) immediately pulled from fifth and paced into the turn to make up lost ground. The pedestrian 29.2 second split made it easy for Caprio and his charge to draw near the leader, but as they hit the three-quarters in 1:25 flat, the closest they would get was a length away. At the top of the lane, Cummings popped the plugs on Big Unit and the 5-year-old Armbro Deuce gelding hunkered down to stave off the late challenge from all comers to win by a half-length in 1:54.1. Pocket-sitting Rock N Roll Legend (Dave McNeight III) was second and a courageous Fireyourguns hung on for third. The winner paid $8.90. This was the sixth win in 24 starts this year for Big Unit, bringing his 2014 earnings to $35,630 for owner Elizabeth Fair of Ancaster, Ontario.Jack Flanigen, Drew Monti, Kevin Cummings, Ron Beback Jr. and Shawn McDonough all scored driving doubles on the night.
Racing resumes Sunday (Aug. 10) at Batavia Downs at 1:15
p.m. Next week Wednesday (Aug. 13) the New York Sire Stakes are back in town with two divisions of 3-year-old trotting fillies who will be vying for their share of $105,000 in purses.

Running Aces Harness Park
Country Jewel and driver Nick Roland zoomed up the passing lane to capture Saturday's $9,500 Open Mares Pace at Running Aces, narrowly besting Love Live Laugh (Tim Maier) and Kiss On The Lips (Gerry Longo).  In doing so, she became the sixth different winner in the eight distaff opens staged thus far during the 2014 meet.  For the second straight week, the top seven mares were all within 2-1/2 lengths at the finish in the highly competitive weekly feature.  Owned by trainer George Reider, Country Jewel now has 19 career victories and eclipsed the $100,000 earnings plateau with Saturday's victory.  She is the likely favorite in the older division for Minnesota-sired pacing mares when Minnesota State Championship night is staged on closing night, Aug. 30.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Ronny Bugatti (Art Major) posted the second fastest mile in the history of Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saturday night’s Open Pace. The fractions were sizzling early and the 3-5 favorite Ronny Bugatti and driver Austin Siegelman sat patiently through a first half in 54.4. The four year old Allan Johnson-trained pacer moved first over and fought gallantly before edging away in the stretch to prevail in a dazzling 1:50.4. It was a clean sweep of the Opens this weekend for Siegelman and Johnson as Backstreet Hanover and Campanile swept the Friday night “double feature” and Ronny Bugatti completed the Open hat trick with the historic Saturday score. Panocchio (Gerry Mattison) followed the winner’s cover to end up second in the $17,000 feature while BJ’s Guy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) held on for third. The only faster mile in track history than the one put up by Ronny Bugatti on Saturday came in last year’s Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace when Bolt The Duer stopped the clock in an eye-popping 1:49. The 2014 edition of the $260,000 Gerrity Pace will take place next Saturday night.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05 p.m. first post.

Kawartha Downs
One Badland Nite, a regular performer at Fraser Downs in
BC earlier this year, made her first 2014 start in Ontario a winning one for Steve Hudon tonight at Kawartha Downs. Hudon sent the 3-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover to the top where she reeled off splits of 29.1, 59 and 1:28.2 enroute to the 1:58.1 effort over Better Art and Thetoadandme. One Badland Nite had three wins in seven starts this spring in BC before shipping east. Elizabeth Okum trains and co-owns the winner with Hudon. In tonight’s eighth race Galagher Seelster kept his winning streak alive despite moving up a class. The 3-year-old gelding by Mister Big rolled to his fourth straight victory in 1:54.3. Driver Jerry Robinson and trainer/owner Charlie Peake keep their perfect records intact as well. The next race night at the Peterborough oval is October 16 which will feature Hands On Horses. Post time is 7 p.m.

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