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Racing Roundup: Silver Sierra takes the Saturday Shenandoah feature
Saturday, October 01, 2016 - by harness racing publicists across North America

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Saturday night's (Oct. 1) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Shenandoah Downs, Vernon Downs, Batavia Downs and Saratoga.

Silver Sierra takes the Saturday Shenandoah feature

Woodstock, VA --- Silver Sierra came on in the stretch and surged past Day To Day just before the wire to capture the featured $8,000 Open Handicap Trot Saturday afternoon (Oct. 1) at Shenandoah Downs. Roger Hammer, who trains the 4-year-old Sierra Kosmos gelding, was in the sulky for his charge.

Dee Leftwich photo
Silver Sierra gets up in the final strides to collect a victory in the featured event at Shenandoah Downs.

Day To Day, trained and driven by Tyler Stillings, led from the start and even carried a five-length lead past the three-quarter pole. Silver Sierra came outside in the final turn and methodically pecked away at the lead. The winner, out of Heather Spur by SJ's Caviar, crossed the wire in 1:57.2 and captured his 11th lifetime race.

Hammer had another training win earlier in the card with Arycca Hanover. The sophomore filly pacer connected for her first career triumph.

Herman Hagerman's Hot Rod Mindale and Gerry Longo's Magnifique both entered Saturday action looking for their third straight win. The pair came away with respective hat trick performances. The former became the first horse to win at the Shenandoah meet from post position eight while the latter wired the field.

Driver Joey Mapes guided Hot Rod Mindale to a dominant, 6-1/2 length win. The 12-year-old Real Artist gelding had no problem overcoming the outside starting spot. He was in third with a first-over trip at the opening panel, took control in the second turn and never looked back. Out of Nani Oakly by Jate Lobell, Hot Rod Mindale crossed in 1:57.0 and his lifetime bankroll increased to $353,936.

Longo's pacer, which he drove, held off four others in a $7,000 Open Handicap. The 5-year-old Tell All mare led by less than a length through most of the mile. She crossed 1-1/4 lengths over Indian Hero in 1:58 1/5 for her eighth win of the year. Magnifique is out of Jardin Des Arts by Jeremys Gambit.

Potential Horse of the Meet candidate, Last Chance Harvey, came outside at the half of his $3,500 conditioned pace, slid into the pocket and eased by front-stepping Three Large in the stretch to score his second straight. The 7-year-old Henry Lewis trainee has reached the winner's circle six straight times at Woodstock going back to the Shenandoah County Fair, but was disqualified and placed second in his Sept. 17 start.

Racing returns to Shenandoah Downs on Sunday (Oct. 2) at 1 p.m. and guest caller Roger Huston returns to the microphone for a second straight day. The "Wine & Trotter" festival continues Sunday and starts at 11 a.m.

--- by Darrell Wood

Vernon Downs

JK Panache ($3.20) made his return to Vernon Downs a triumphant one, bouncing back from a fourth-place finish at Saratoga to wire his four rivals in Saturday evening's (Oct. 1) featured $9,900 Miracle Mile-Open Handicap Pace. The 7-year-old Art Major gelding, who won his last local appearance by way of sustained uncovered gains through the far turn, was sent right to the front this night by Chris Lems from his assigned outside post in the field of five. The pair controlled all the terms through sectional times of :26.2, :55.1, and 1:23.1, facing nary a challenge before starting to edge away from pocket rival Quick Art (Fern Paquet, Jr.) on approach to the head of the homestretch. While JK Panache left Quick Art well in his wake, Calvin B (Greg Merton) would emerge wide of rivals to take second off the far turn. Still, JK Panache evaded that late threat by 1-3/4 lengths, prevailing in 1:50.3. Flying Cowboy (John MacDonald) saved third another 8-1/2 lengths detached. Trainer Dave Dewhurst shares ownership of 44-time winner JK Panache with Philip Hale. Lems also captured the sub-featured $7,900 upper-level pacing event on the 11-race card with Modern Gesture ($4.90), pouncing from the pocket midway on the far turn and parrying a late charge from No Bad Dreams (Dan Daley) to score in 1:51 for trainer Andy Gardner and owner Mark Jakubik. Racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (Oct. 6); first post is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

Batavia Downs

An all-day rain left the track sloppy for the card at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1), but some of the fastest times of the meet were recorded during the evening. The one Highview Conall N registered while winning the $10,000 featured Open Pace at the Genesee County oval was quite impressive. The red-hot Jim Morrill Jr. fired the New Zealand bred off the gate and to the lead as the rest of the field watched in single-file fashion. After fractions of :27.3 and :56.2, Highview Conall N and the second place Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) had a two-horse breakaway in place as they opened up six lengths on the rest of the field while motoring up the backside. As those two continued to compete alone, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) pulled from fourth and started to close the distance with the leader. Around the far turn, Highview Conall N was widening the gap between himself and Heaven Rocks as Knocking around was closing it from third. When they straightened out down the lane it was Highview Conall N pacing strong to the wire for a 1:53.2 win with Knocking Around closing well for second over Heaven Rocks. It was the eighth win of the year for Highview Conall N ($4.10) and it raised his annual income to $74,770. The 7-year-old son of Christian Cullen was a recent acquisition for owner/trainer Nick Gampietro Jr., who purchased him privately on September 26. For the second night in a row, John Cummings Jr. scored a driving grand slam. He returned to the Purple Haze winner’s circle with Cheyenne Louie ($6.70, 1:54.4), Normandy Invasion ($2.70, 1:54.4), Youwillwishyouhad ($63.00, 1:55.1) and Bags of Money ($6.00, 1:57.4). Jim Morrill Jr. was a close second with a triple and Drew Monti came through with two. Trainer JD Perrin also conditioned two winners on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 5) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m.


In The Huddle (American Ideal) pulled off a mild upset in the Open Pace on Saturday night (Oct.1) at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Joe DeCarlo trained pacer rode a three-race win streak into his debut in the local Open. Reinsman Jimmy Devaux took the 9-1 shot In The Huddle back early as the fractions were fierce in lap one of the $16,000 feature. After sitting patiently while first half splits of :26.3 and :54.4 were carved out, In The Huddle made his move up the backstretch before fanning to the far outside turning for home. The 4-year-old pacer emerged victorious from a scramble in the stretch, coming on to win in 1:52.4, besting BJ’s Guy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and Southwind Amazon who finished second and third, respectively. Less than three lengths covered the entire field at the wire in what was one of the most competitive local features in the 2016 season at the Spa. In The Huddle, a $10,000 claim back in June, has rattled off six wins in his eight starts out of the DeCarlo stable. Paying $20.40 to win, In The Huddle led an exacta that paid $75 and a triple that came back $460.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 2) featuring a Pick-5 carryover of $2,586. The matinee kicks off at 12:15 p.m.  


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