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Track Talk: Hometown Harness Rankings

The Best at Buffalo Raceway

Here's one observer's opinion of the current pecking order at Buffalo Raceway (with local starts, wins, seconds, thirds, earnings, gait, fastest winning mile, trainer, driver and date of last race.) Horses are dropped if they haven't raced in a month. Your opinions and suggestions are always welcome by e-mail at rsummers@buffnews.com.

1. Cry For Cash (7-2-1-1, $13,500, p, 1:58 2/5. Ron Beback Jr., Ron Beback Jr., 3/20): 5-year-old gelding wired the field in 1:58 2/5 to win the $9,000 Open Handicap Pace from post 3 on Feb. 27 to become the first horse to win the Saturday night feature twice this season. ... Owned by the threesome of J.D. Critelli of Lockport and W.L. Switala and J.J. Martin of Clarence.

2. A Work In Progress (9-3-1-3, $19,710, t, 1:59 3/5. Sherri Holliday, Ken Holliday, 3/19): 6-year-old gelding by SJ's Caviar pushed his career bankroll over the $100,000 mark with a win in the $9,000 Open Handicap Trot on Jan. 15. ... “His blood got all messed up at Batavia last year, so we gave him some time off,” Ken Holliday to Raceway publicity director Sam Pendolino. “It’s good to have him back to his old self." ... Owned by Betty Tauber of East Brunswick, N.J.

3. Newberry Winner (9-5-1-2, $25,980, p, 1:58 4/5. Neal Russo, Jamie Dunlap, 3/19): 6-year-old granddaughter of Three Wizzards (the sixth-place finisher in Buffalo Raceway's Hopeful Pace in 1990) won a $7,500 Fillies & Mares Open II Handicap in 1:59 4/5 in her 2010 debut as driver Dunlap got his second Hamburg winner after a five-year absence. ... Owned by Howard M. Ouriel of Rochester. ... Won third race of the season in 1:59 3/5 from post 7 in the $9,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace on Feb. 5. ... Took her fourth win on March 12 with a 2:02 mile in the slop. ... Posted fifth win on March 19 from post 7 in a season's best 1:58 4/5. ... With bankroll of $25,980 she is the richest horse of the meet.

4. Nifty Prescott (8-2-3-2, $17,610, p, 1:56 3/5. Sherri Holliday, Ken Holliday, 3/12): 6-year-old gelding wired the $7,500 Open II Pace by 7 3/4 lengths while posting the fastest time of the night on a very sloppy track. ... Came back the next week to take the $9,000 Open Handicap from post 6 to become the richest horse of the meet at the time. ... “This is a really nice horse,” Ken Holliday told Raceway publicity director Sam Pendolino. “He just needed Lasix, and he’s a totally different animal”. ... Owned by Betty Tauber of East Brunswick, N.J. ... Scratched injured on March 20.

5. Jack Sparrow (9-2-2-1, $15,480, t, 2:01 2/5. Jim McNeight, Jim McNeight, 3/19): Must give respect to the big guy even though he started the season just 1 for 6, but four of those losses came from the 8 hole, where he was assigned to start because of his past success, most notably a victory in an $18,000 race at Yonkers in December. ... Won in 2:03 3/5 in the slop on March 12. ... Owned by Michael Calimeri of Falconer.

6. Arm And A Leg (8-1-2-1, $12,240, p, 1:56 2/5. Stacy Keene, Kevin Cummings, 3/20): Last year's top horse and No. 1 pacer appeared to be back in top form with a wire-to-wire victory in 1:56 2/5, the second fastest mile of the season with Stacy Keene listed as his trainer for the first time on Feb. 20. ... Owned by Mark Jakubik of West Seneca and longtime trainer John Cummings Sr. of Hamburg.

7. Hello Carlo (8-2-3-0, $16,920, t, 2:00 2/5. Larry Clabaugh, Russell Swartz, 3/19): Hard-luck trotter has been snake-bitten (a disqualification and broken equipment) but finally broke the jinx to win the $9,000 Open Handicap Trot with authority on Feb. 12. ... Won the weekly trotting feature again on Feb. 26. ... Owned by Mario Caponi of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

8. Bankers Dream (10-3-1-1, $14,265, t, 1:59 1/5. D.J. Millner, Ron Beback Jr., 3/19): After losing as the 9-5 favorite on Jan. 15, he came back and won in 1:59 1/5, the fastest trotting mile of the meet so far. ... Owned by Melinda Kash of Medina, Ohio.

9. New York Prime (10-1-3-3, $15,660, p, 1:56 3/5. Alex Giuliani, Tom Agosti, 3/20): 7-year-old son of Bettor's Delight, the champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old pacer of 2000 and 2001 respectively, battled Nifty Prescott through a 57 1/5 half and then pulled away to a 6-length victory in 1:56 3/5 in the $9,000 Open Handicap Pace on Feb. 13. ... Owned by the Brothers IV Stable of Webster.

10. Goal Cam (7-7-0-0, $20,000, p, 1:56 4/5. John Kina, Kevin Cummings, 3/20): 10-year-old Michigan-bred son of Camluck won his seventh straight at Buffalo Raceway with a 1:56 4/5 front-running mile on March 20. ... Owned by Jennifer Carpenter of Onsted, Michigan.

Special Mention

Market Value (5-4-1-0, $9,300, p, 1:59 2/5. Carl Cummings, Kevin Cummings, 3/20): 5-year-old gelding zipped home in a 28 1/5 final quarter while easily winning a mile in 2:00 3/5 on Feb. 24. ... Came right back on March 6 with a win in 1:59 2/5 from post 7 and won from post 3 in the slop on March 13. ... Won again in 1:59 with a 28 4/5 last quarter on March 20.

Michael Scores (7-2-0-0, $9,720, p, 1:55 4/5. James Compton, Jamie Dunlap, 3/20): After starting the season 0 for 5, the classy 9-year-old drew the rail position twice and won two consecutive $9,000 Open Handicaps. ... Owned by trainer James Compton and wife Sandra of East Bethany.

Justlikeart (3-3-0-0, $6,800, p, 1:57. John Cummings Sr., Kevin Cummings, 3/20): After finishing fifth and sixth at Yonkers against $20,000 and $12,500 claiming company, this 5-year-old gelding, recently acquired by John Cummings Sr. and Earl Scheelar, both of Hamburg, had earned only $1,800 in his last five starts, which made him a perfect fit for the "Non-winners of $2,000 last five starts" conditions of the third race on March 3, which he won as the 3-2 favorite. ... He followed up with a 2:00 3/5 win on March 13 and won again on March 20 in 1:57.

Pacific Mariner (3-2-1-0, $5,350, p, 1:56 2/5. Patricia Sackett, Ray Fisher Jr., 3/20): 8-year-old gelded grandson of two-time Horse of the Year Cam Fella (1982-83) hadn't raced in more than a year and a half before showing up at Buffalo Raceway. In his second start of the season and 101st race of his career on March 10, he parked Robin Of Locksley to a 56 1/5 first half and won in 1:56 2/5, the co-second fastest race of the meet. ... Repeated 10 days later with a win in 1:57 4/5 against Open III company. ... Owned by Ryan Swift of Batavia.

Kelly (8-5-1-1, $17,050, p, 1:58 3/5. Bob Gruber, Jack Flanigen, 3/19): 8-year-old mare has won five of her last six, including three straight against $15,000 claiming females. ... She's won twice in 1:58 3/5. ... Owned by Mark Gacek of Orchard Park, James Kustra of Buffalo and trainer Bob Gruber of Lakeview.

Boomer Berman (6-3-0-0, $7,300, t, 2:00 3/5. Lisa Lederhouse, Jack Flanigen, 3/19): This 14-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding won for the 79th time in 223 career starts when he took a 2:00 3/5 mile on March 19 with a $9,000 claiming tag, his third straight win. ... It was his 34th Western New York win, and eighth for trainer Lisa Lederhouse, since he took an Open Handicap race at Hamburg in 2:01 on May 10, 2002 for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel. ... Owned by Kathy Schoeffel of Evans City, Pa.

Up Front Lady Gray (5-4-2-0, $10,750, p, 1:58 3/5. Paul Wright Jr., Troy Boring, 3/19): 4-year-old mare by Dragon Again is 2 for 2 with earnings of $6,100 since being claimed for $7,250 by Earl Kirbis Jr. of Tonawanda.

Fox Valley Flyby (2-1-0-0, $1,750, p, 1:58 1/5. Veronica Dylo, Daniel Dylo, 3/17): Classy 8-year-old gelding won his second start on March 17 after being acquired by trainer/owner Veronica Dylo, who returned to the Buffalo Raceway winner's circle for the first time since June 15, 2006, when her Rhiannon O Rhye paid $221 for a $2 win ticket.

Jim (7-6-1-0, $11,550, t, 2:02 2/5. Dennis Millner, Ray Fisher Jr., 3/17): 8-year-old son of SJ's Photo, the 1995 champion male trotter, is cheap but consistent. He started the Buffalo Raceway season with five straight wins, three with a $4,000 claiming tag and then two against $6,000 company. ... Won for the sixth time in seven starts on March 17. ... Was claimed out of the March 17 race for $6,000 by Mike Ventura, a client of trainer Jim McNeight.

Hard Hitter (4-2-0-1, $8,500, p, 1:57 2/5. Bob Gruber, John Cummings Jr., 3/13): 10-year-old gelding with much back class won the March 6 $9,000 Open Handicap in 1:57 2/5 with a 28 4/5-second last quarter. ... Owned by Long Island's Cookie N Mo Stables and Jonathan Klee.

Horses to Watch

Clay Hill King Pin: Finished fast with a 29 2/5 last quarter but couldn't catch winner on March 17.

Woodmere Gal Friday: Pacing mare had all kinds of traffic trouble en route to a fourth-place finish on Feb. 26. ... Finished seventh on March 5. ... Finished fifth on March 12 and fourth on March 19.

Up Front Denise: 4-year-old pacing mare finished second from post 7 on Feb. 26 and just missed catching a front-running winner who set some easy fractions en route to a 2:01 3/5 mile. ... Won and paid $3.10 on March 5. ... Finished second on March 19.

Martin Hanover: Driver Kevin Cummings had this 3-year-old gelding nicely tucked into a pocket trip on March 3 and everything was going OK until the pace-setting favorite quit in front of him and left him in a boxed-in pickle. He still managed to finish third. With decent luck, he should do better against limited winners. ... Won on March 17 in lifetime mark of 2:00 4/5 and paid $6.50.

Season's Fastest Winning Pacers:

1:55 2/5: Allamerican Danube (Jan. 23)

1:55 4/5: Michael Scores (March 20)

1:56 2/5: Arm And A Leg (Feb. 20)

1:56 2/5: Pacific Mariner (March 10)

1:56 3/5: Nifty Prescott (Jan. 23)

1:56 3/5: New York Prime (Feb. 13)

1:56 3/5: Coris Lucky Guy (March 6)

Season's Fastest Winning Trotters:

1:58 4/5: Australian Stock (March 19)

1:59 1/5: Bankers Dream (Jan. 22)

1:59 3/5: A Work In Progress (March 5)

2:00: Ryan's Caviar (Jan. 22)

2:00 1/5: A Work In Progress (Feb. 5)

Season's Richest Pacers

$25,980: Newberry Winner

$20,000: Goal Cam

$17,610: Nifty Prescott

$17,540: Patch Adams N

$17,050: Kelly

Season's Richest Trotters

$19,710: A Work In Progress

$16,920: Hello Carlo

$15,480: Jack Sparrow

$14,265: Bankers Dream

$14,220: Carolina Raider

Season's Winningest Horses

7 wins: Goal Cam ,p, (Jan. 16, $3,000 purse, 2:02 3/5; Jan. 27, $4,200, 2:00 2/5; Feb. 6, $5,800, 1:58 1/5; Feb. 27, $5,800, 1:58 3/5; March 6, $6,200, 1:57 3/5; March 13, $7,500, 1:58 4/5; March 20, $7,500, 1:56 4/5).

6 wins: Jim , t, (Jan. 15, $3,000, 2:02 2/5; Jan. 22, $3,000, 2:04; Feb. 3, $3,000, 2:04; Feb. 17, $4,600, 2:08 2/5; Feb. 24, $4,600, 2:06 3/5; March 17, $4,600, 2:02 3/5).

5 wins: Patch Adams N , p, (Jan. 16, $5,800, 2:01 3/5; Jan. 30, $5,800, 2:00; Feb. 6, $5,800, 1:59 2/5; Feb. 13, $6,500, 1:59 3/5; Feb. 27, $6,500, 1:59 3/5).

5 wins: Newberry Winner , p, (Jan. 15, $7,500, 1:59 4/5; Jan. 29, $9,000, 2:00 4/5; Feb. 5, $9,000, 1:59 3/5; March 12, $9,000, 2:02; March 19, $9,000, 1:58 4/5).

5 wins: Kelly , p, (Feb. 12, $5,000, 2:00; Feb. 19, $5,000, 1:58 4/5; March 5, $6,200, 1:58 3/5; March 12, $7,500, 2:00 1/5; March 19, $6,200, 1:58 4/5).

On The Mark

Congratulations to the following horses and their connections for recently setting new lifetime marks.

Pacers

2:00 4/5, Martin Hanover: 3-year-old gelding by Western Ideal (lifetime mark 1:48) earned $1,600 for his second win in eight starts on March 17. ... Tom Agosti drove him to a wire-to-wire victory in 28 4/5, 59 1/5 and 1:30 3/5 to crush his previous mark of 2:06 1/5 set at Buffalo Raceway on Feb. 3, 2010. ... Trained by Gerry Sarama for owner Michael Torcello of Hamburg.

--- Bob Summers

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