The Downs at Mohegan Sun

The Downs at Mohegan Sun week in review

It's been a wild week of harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In fact, there's been so much going on that we're going to temporarily suspend the Weekly Awards and instead look at some of the headlines from the week that was. PURE PERFECTION NO MORE In Saturday night's first elimination race for the $300,000 Miss Pennsylvania stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies, Pure Country put her perfect record on the line. She went ten-for-ten as a 2-year-old last year, completing the season with a Breeders Crown title. But Darlinonthebeach, herself a big earner a year ago for the Nancy Johansson barn, had other ideas. With David Miller in the bike, she pounced from the pocket to win in 1:50:4 and hand Pure Country her first ever loss. The other Miss Pennsylvania elimination winners, I Said Diamonds and Call Me Queen Be, also used pocket trips to get up as favorites in their splits. Pure Country did make the final with a third-place finish, so she'll be looking for revenge on Saturday night. BURKE BARN STACKED FOR CLASSIC It's not out of the question that the superfecta for the inaugural $500,000 Pennsylvania Classic could consist entirely of Ron Burke trainees. In the two eliminations on Saturday night, both winners, Check Six and JK Will Power, came from the Burke barn, as did Check Six, who finished second only a nose away from Check Six in his split, and Manhattan Beach, who came in third in his. That means Burke will have four entrants in the big-money final, and that Yannick Gingras, who drove both elimination winners, will have a difficult choice to make. DEAD HEAT DRAMA Saturday night's $25,000 condition pace featured some serious power, with four million-dollar earners in the field out of seven. 4-year-old Cooperstown, winner in the same class the previous week, showed no fear of the big earners despite 11-1 odds, as he came up flying late. Doctor Butch, one of those million-dollar horses who was still looking for his first victory of the season, went off at 14-1 but battled his way into striking position in the stretch. They hit the line inseparable, and sure enough, the photo showed a dead heat for the win between the two long shots. Cooperstown's shared victory was part of a six-win night for driver Anthony Napolitano. TANGO IN THE NIGHT No, we're not celebrating an underrated album by Fleetwood Mac. We're referring to Southwind Tango, who went to gate as the 5-2 second choice Sunday night in the $30,000 Bobby Weiss late closer series final for three and four-year-old fillies and mares on the pace. With David Miller in the bike, the filly from the Chris Ryder barn came up first-over to challenge to lead of Black Widow Baby. Those two fought a ferocious stretch duel, with Southwind Tango, who had hit the board in all four of the Weiss preliminary legs, coming out on top by a neck in 1:53:4 on a sloppy track. 3-5 favorite Heavenly Bet finished third. WE GOT THE MEMO In the $30,000 Weiss final for three and four-year-old colts, stallions, and geldings on the pace, Sentencing Memo, driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Eric Foster, went off as the 7-5 favorite. In his previous start in a Weiss preliminary, the 3-year-old gelding who usually prefers to flash early speed was forced to come off the pace for a win. That versatility came in handy in the Sunday night final, as Sentencing Memo came up second over on the back stretch and three wide around the final turn. Callahan had him flying late and he blew by the field for the win in 1:52 in the off-going, taking it by a length-and-a-half over game 26-1 long shot Iwillmakeyousaywow. That makes nine wins in 14 races this year for Sentencing Memo, none bigger than this one. STERLING STIRLING Despite a sloppy track and an objection lodged by another driver, nothing could stop Stirling Debutant from competing her sweep of the Bobby Weiss series for three-and-four-year-old trotting fillies and mares. After winning the first four preliminary legs, the 4-year-old mare from the Steve Salerno barn went off at 1-9 in Tuesday night's final. After briefly giving up a bunch of lengths to pacesetting Coherent, Anthony Napolitano coaxed a first-over brush on the back stretch from Stirling Debutant, and she blew the field away from there to win in 1:57:3 in the sloppy conditions. Her winning margin of 12 1/2 lengths should tell you all you need to know her dominance, as she moved to five-for-five in the Pocono meet. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia                           As per the established contractual relationship between Downs Racing LP dba Mohegan Sun Pocono ("MSP") and any third party conducting business with MSP, the information contained in this message may be privileged, proprietary and/or confidential and protected from disclosure. Any information cannot be reproduced and/or shared with anyone outside of the intended recipient(s) without the expressed written consent by MSP. If the reader of this message and associated attachments is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copy of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer.

Check Six (No. 1)

Burke sends four in quest for Classic title

Harness racing trainer Ron Burke will send four horses to Saturday night's $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and he is undecided, at this point, which is the best. Of course, with three of them leading the morning-line odds, it is easy to understand why. "It looks like they're all at least good," Burke said about his quartet, led by morning-line favorite Check Six and also including JK Will Power, Big Top Hanover, and Manhattan Beach. "If there is anyone that I'd lean toward that I think is my best one, especially on a big track, it's Check Six. But after the other day I really couldn't tell." Check Six and JK Will Power won last weekend's eliminations for Saturday's final, which is for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-old male pacers. Check Six edged Big Top Hanover by a nose in 1:50.4 and JK Will Power defeated The Catamount Kid by a neck in 1:51.1, with Manhattan Beach finishing third. Last year, Check Six won four of nine races and earned $114,889 for owners Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, William Switala, and James Martin. He put together a four-race win streak after a third-place finish in his debut and second-place finish two weeks later. But he stepped on a nail and was slow to regain his form after battling an infection. A son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Southwind Vanna, Check Six is 2-for-2 this season and will start the Pennsylvania Classic from post four with driver Yannick Gingras. Check Six is a half-brother to Sagamore Hills Pacing Series champion Rodeo Romeo and his family includes 1994 O'Brien Award winner Village Jiffy. "I thought he was my best colt last year, for sure," Burke said. "I didn't even think it was a question. Then he stepped on a nail and it took him forever to get over the infection. But he's come back great." JK Will Power, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, also is 2-for-2 this year. Last season, the son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the stakes-winning mare Whats New Pussycat won two of nine races and earned $123,757 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. His family includes past Breeders Crown champ Molly Can Do It and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Billie Bluechip. "He was super," Burke said about JK Will Power's elimination, where he took the lead prior to the halfway point and held off The Catamount Kid. "He doesn't love the lead, and he still fought off (The Catamount Kid). He's a little bit lazy; he's better with a target." JK Will Power, who starts Saturday from post three with driver David Miller, battled growing pains last year but is much improved this season. "I think it's going to lead to him being a lot better horse," Burke said. "I can see him taking a big step in the right direction." Big Top Hanover won last year's Matron Stakes and a division of the International Stallion and finished second in the Breeders Crown. All totaled, he won four of 15 starts in 2015 and earned $450,253 for owners JT45 and Burke Racing Stable. This year, he has a second- and third-place finish in two starts. The colt is 4-1 on the Pennsylvania Classic morning line and will leave from post one with driver Matt Kakaley. His second dam, Ain't No Stopn Me, was a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion and the mother of stakes-winner Cheyenne Rei. His family also includes stakes-winners Ain't No Stopn Him and Lon Todd Hanover, as well as Artstopper, who is the dam of Breeders Crown winner Always B Miki and Blue Chip Matchmaker Series winner Yagonnakissmeornot. "He's not the flashiest colt, but then you put him in a race and he does even better than you think he's going to," Burke said. "I don't know how good he is. But (post one) is a great spot for him." Manhattan Beach will start the Pennsylvania Classic from post nine in the nine-horse field and is 10-1 on the morning line. The gelding will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Last year, Manhattan Beach won one of nine races and earned $97,559 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Geoffrey Lyons Mound, and Wingfield Brothers. He has a win and a third in two starts this season. A son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the world-champion mare Benear, he is a full brother to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship runner-up Momas Got A Gun. "He was the only one that finished (last week) raging with pace," Burke said. "I thought it was a great prep for him. Where he drew is a disaster, but it is what it is." Burke said it was a challenge to get horses ready this early for a major test, but the allure of a half-million-dollar purse was too difficult to pass. "Most of the horses going in there were coming off qualifiers or one start," Burke said. "It was hard to get them ready like that. But it's very hard to give that race up. You win this race, for any of these colts, their year is made." Pocono will conduct two race cards Saturday sandwiching the Kentucky Derby. The first card, with first-race post time of 11 a.m., features three divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for 3-year-old male trotters. The evening card, in addition to the Pennsylvania Classic, includes the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-old female pacers. Ken Weingartner

Quotable Quotes

Quotable Quotes the quickest Tuesday

Chris Sharpe and Alex Hawes' Quotable Quotes ($9.80, Montrell Teague) scored a wire-to-wire 1:52.3 win in the harness racing featured $16,000 Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway. The Charlene Sharpe-trainee and 5-year-old daughter of Well Said had control over the pace on the lead throughout the mile and held off Springforth and Hostess Lisa, who rounded out the trifecta, en route for her 12th career win. After winning just one race in 2015, Quotable Quotes has six victories already this year. Tony Morgan had three winners on the program. Ross Wolfenden and Montrell Teague each had a double. Matthew Sparacino      

The inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff

Elitlopp Playoff heads Mother's day matinee

The inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff (a Grand Circuit event) will be the featured first race on a special Meadowlands Mother's Day matinee card beginning at 12:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 8. Nine of the continent's finest trotters with collective career earnings in excess of $12 million comprise the field.   The idea for the Elitlopp Playoff was conceived last August when Directors Christer Haggstrom and Markus Myron of Solvalla Racecourse visited The Meadowlands for Hambletonian week. During their stay, they met with Jeff Gural, Jason Settlemoir and Sam McKee to discuss ways the Elitlopp and Meadowlands trotting stakes may better compliment one and other.   After much discussion and considerable effort on the part of both organizations, a brand new international racing bridge was created. Solvalla officials will be on hand Sunday to present the winner with an invitation to compete in the Elitlopp on Sunday, May 29 at Solvalla Racecourse in Stockholm, Sweden.   The idea to memorialize the great Mack Lobell, a two-time winner of the Elitlopp, with the race title was submitted by a racing fan via the Harness Racing Fan Zone.   The talented field includes Bee A Magician, the undefeated Horse of the Year in 2013 and at $3.7 million and currently the third leading money winning female trotter of all-time. The six-year-old daughter of Kadabra has won 42 of her 66 career starts for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and Dave McDuffee.   "Queen Bee" has perhaps never looked better than her first 2016 start, an easy 1:52 win with her final quarter charted in 26.1. She has been trained throughout her illustrious career by R. Nifty Norman and her regular driver Brian Sears will handle the duties from post 7 on Sunday.   JL Cruze was the rags to riches story of 2015. Plucked from the 2014 Harrisburg fall sale for a mere $37,000 by trainer Eric Ell on behalf of owners Ken Wood, Bill Ditmar and Steve Iaquinta, JL Cruze started the season by winning his way through the winter series program at The Meadowlands and never stopped. By year's end he had annexed the $250,000 Graduate Series final in a world and Meadowlands track record 1:49.4 and the $443,000 Hambletonian Maturity on his way to over $600,000 in earnings and Trotter of the Year recognition.   JL Cruze has returned in fine form as well, winning all three 2016 starts in 1:53.2 or faster and was absolutely vicious in a 1:53 qualifier on Saturday. He starts from the rail for Hall of Fame driver John Campbell, who was aboard for all of last year's successes.   The race also includes two of Sweden's most accomplished expatriate trainers in Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt.   Shake It Cerry has drawn the far outside post nine for trainer Takter. A winner of $2.4 million for Solveig's Racing Partners, Shake It Cerry was crowned Trotter of the Year in 2014 while winning virtually every major stake at ages two and three. Hall of Famer Dave Miller is her driver.   Svanstedt trains and drives Resolve, winner of the TVG FFA Championship final and over $700,000 last year for owner Hans Enggren. The Muscle Hill five-year-old has drawn post five for the race.   Meadowlands leading trainer Ron Burke sends out a triumvirate of accomplished trotters. From post two is DW's NY Yank (Matt Kakaley) who is just $5,000 away from a million dollars in his career for Burke Racing, Howard Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi. 2014 New York Sires Stakes champ Gural Hanover (Yannick Gingras from post six) races for Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic while multiple 2015 Grand Circuit stakes winner Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick) begins from post eight for Our Horse Cents, JT 45, J&T Silva and Deo Volente Farms.   Wind Of The North is in and he actually made the trip over for last year's Elitlopp during a successful 2015 campaign where he collected over a quarter million dollars for owners Jenny Bier and Joann Dombeck. He comes in from Pompano Park where he's had a successful start to his season, winning two of three for trainer Daryl Bier who has enlisted George Brennan to drive on Sunday.   Obrigado continues to live a fairy tale, emerging from virtual obscurity despite championship seasons in Maine at two and three to a respected national presence. He picked up over $400,000 with his Crawford Farms FFA at Vernon Downs win the seasonal highlight for trainer Paul Kelley who owns the six-year-old Boy Band gelding with Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45. Mark MacDonald is the driver.   The first seven Meadowlands races on Sunday's card will be simulcast to Sweden, with races 1-6 (all trots) constituting the V64 Pick-Six wager for that day and the seventh being the $25,000 Open Pace with Takter trainee Always B Miki among the entrants.   The Meadowlands tiered dining room Pink has a delightful Mother's Day buffet planned and the fan favorite Diamond Dig promotion is also scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Make your reservations soon for this special matinee card.   Horses for the $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff below:       First Race   MACK LOBELL ELITLOPP PLAYOFF Live Purse:  $150000   Trot Distance: 1 Mile H PP Horse Driver Trainer Yrs. Best Last 3   1 1 Jl Cruze Jo Campbell E Ell 1:52.2 1-1-1   2 2 Dw's Ny Yank Ma Kakaley R Burke 1:53.2 1-2-1   3 3 Wind Of The North Ge Brennan D Bier 1:52.2 2-1-2   4 4 Resolve Ak Svanstedt A Svanstedt   4-3-1   5 5 Obrigado Ma Macdonald P Kelley 1:55.4 5-1-1   6 6 Gural Hanover Ya Gingras R Burke 1:53.0 2-2-3   7 7 Bee A Magician Br Sears R Norman 1:52.0 1-1-3   8 8 Crazy Wow Ti Tetrick R Burke 1:55.0 2-1-2   9 9 Shake It Cerry Da Miller J Takter 1:55.0 3-2-1       Meadowlands Media Relations    

Of all the winners of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation's (SRF) Elitlopp harness racing raffle fundraiser, this year's winner, Joe Sbrocco, an Ohio resident, couldn't contain his excitement and shock.   Joe Sbrocco has been an owner for nearly forty years and has enjoyed tremendous success, most recently with Captaintrecherous, and Artspeak. "You gotta be kidding," were his first words when SRF's Director, Judy Bokman called him with the news. The excitement continued for him. "I'm seventy-five years old and I feel like I was just born!"   The seasoned owner is still in the game with a small stake in horses being trained by Brian Brown, Tony Alagna, Paul Kelly, Nancy Johannsen, Jonas Czernyson, Ake Swendsted, Jimmy Takter and Jimmy Arledge.   Mr. Sbrocco and his wife will enjoy a fabulous five day trip to Sweden visiting famous breeding farms, taking a trip to Mendhammer, visiting a yearling auction, sightseeing, enjoying authentic dining at an old world restaurant dating back to the 1700s, and attending the great race at Solvalla.   SRF is a 27 year old organization, unique in its work, as it never relinquishes ownership of its horses. The Elitlopp raffle, as well as the raffle for a trip to the Prix d'Amerique help fund the care of 205 trotters and pacers of which 130 are retired due to age or injuries under the full care and expense of SRF.   SRF thanks Marc and Marcia Goldberg of the Arch Madness fame for their generous gift of sponsorship of the trip from the SRF's Twelve Days of Giving campaign in December 2015. "We can only give these horses a chance when special people like the Goldbergs, and our supporters of this fund raiser make it possible with their kindness; we so appreciate this wonderful support," Paula Campbell, SRF's President added.   Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535  

Well over $1 million in harness racing purses will be up for grabs during Miami Valley Raceway's closing weekend this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (May 6-8). A total of $381,000 will be doled out following the Friday program, which includes eight $40,000 divisions of first leg Ohio Sires Stakes action for 3-year-old pacing and trotting fillies. 2015 champion Miss Me Yet, who won the $225,000 O.S.S. final for freshman pacing fillies last September, will begin her defense of the title in the 6th race, one of five pacing divisions, for the Teague Racing Stable and driver Montell Teague. Other stakes winning 2-year-olds who are hopeful of a winning start towards qualifying for Ohio's big prize, the $250,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship at Northfield Park on September 3, include John's Sunny Girl, Big Bad Ashley, She Gone, My Tweed Heart, Queen Ann M, Ohsowigglesspecial, and Naked By Nine. Filly trotters will go postward in three divisions with defending champion Count On Kami beginning her title defense in Friday's fourth race. She will face a stiff challenge from Kerfuffle Cookie, who established a divisional Miami Valley track record of 1:57.1 in her final O.S.S. tune up. Other notable stakes winning freshman fillies commencing their 2016 stakes seasons include Consolidator, Oneeyedmomma, Belle'svictoryring and Evanora. The Saturday night card will feature multiple Ohio Sires Stakes divisions for the Buckeye state's best sophomore pacing and trotting colts. A strong undercard will include a $20,000 Open Pace as well as a full menu of higher price claiming events. The Grand Circuit comes to Miami Valley on closing day, Sunday (May 8). A pair of $100,000 stakes races for North America's best older pacing and trotting mares will be featured, plus a $20,000 Open for both pacing mares and a $20,000 Open Trot. Notables expected for the $100,000 Sam 'Chip' Noble Memorial for pacers include Color's A Virgin, Yagonnakissmeornot, Katie Said, Purrfect Bags, Coffee Addict, Lady Shadow, Show Runner and Safe From Terror. The $100,000 Miami Valley Distaff trot starters will likely include Barn Doll, Churita, Daylon Miracle, Hannelore Hanover, Like Old Times, Oho Diamond, Rockin With Dewey and Smokinmombo. Gregg Keidel

Harness racing handicapper Stanley Koper, 67, of Chicago Ridge, IL captured the $16,600 grand prize in the 2016 World Harness Handicapping Championship on Saturday, April 30 at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Koper finished the tournament with a $1,100 bankroll to top the field of 83 players from across North America who competed for $41,500 in prize money. Koper won his spot in the BetAmerica.com & USTA Qualifier hosted in March. "Everyone at BetAmerica is excited to see Stanley win the World Harness Handicapping Championship," said Merv Huber-Calvo, Tournament Director at BetAmerica. "BetAmerica offers harness racing handicapping contests every single day; Stanley is obviously a sage handicapper, and he keeps his contest skills sharp by playing contests regularly on BetAmerica." The WHHC contest format required contestants to bet 10 races: seven Meadowlands races of their choice, plus one mandatory race each from Vernon Downs, Buffalo and Meadowlands racetracks. Bets had to meet a $30 minimum, $100 maximum per race. Contestants could only bet one horse per race and wagers could either be win, place, show or a combination of the three. Koper, a retired operating engineer, cashed on six of his ten bets and had an early $420 score with $100 to win on Roll N Catch in Race 2 at the Meadowlands. His largest score of the night was $450 on $100 win bet on Intheblinkofaneye in Meadowlands' sixth race. This win gave him a total bankroll of $1,215 with six contest races remaining. Koper cashed one more $100 win bet on Alexie Mattosie in the ninth at the Meadowlands. The next closest competitor, Todd Cross, finished well behind with a $688 total bankroll. In addition to the Meadowlands, the following partner outlets sent players to compete in the 2016 WHHC: USTA via BetAmerica.com, BetAmerica.com, Buffalo Raceway, Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Hawthorne, and Standardbred Canada. Prize $ Bankroll First Last City State $16,600.00 $1,100.00 Stan Koper Chicago Ridge IL $8,300.00 $688.00 Todd Cross Seaman OH $6,225.00 $685.00 Whitney Nassimos Madison NY $4,150.00 $570.50 Arch Glenn Columbus OH $2,075.00 $550.90 Gary Scogna Carmel NY $830.00 $536.50 Brandon Downing Decatur OH $830.00 $488.00 Karen Fossli Yorktown NY $830.00 $453.25 John Murphy East Lyme CT $830.00 $440.20 Wladyslaw Kiczko Fairfax VA $830.00 $436.00 Dean Barone Huntingdon Valley PA   Rachel Ryan

Harness racing driver David Miller could well get to $200,000,000 on the Tuesday card at Pocono, as you'll see in the attachment!   race 10 2  $    7,500  $             199,998,751 race 11 2  $    2,125  $ 200,000,876 race 14 5  $       425  $             200,001,301      $ 36,490           If that doesn't work out, …   WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AT PHILLY         race 6 3  $    1,680   race 7 5  $       600   race 8 4  $       960   race 9 4  $    1,280   race 10 2  $    3,500   race 12 8   ---    race 14 6  ---         $    8,020           JOHN CAMPBELL   $295,959,607 RON PIERCE   $215,343,639

Saturday April 30th Freehold Raceway set the stage for harness racing three-year-old colt trotters in eliminations of the Dexter Cup. The first elimination was taken by Cufflink Hanover, the son of Andover Hall. He settled in for a two-hole trip behind the favorite Steed. Cufflink Hanover took the lead in the stretch to win in a brisk 1:57.3 for driver David Miller. The three-year old colt trotter is trained by Nifty Norman and has secured a spot in the Dexter final. Dominion Beach was favored to win the second elimination and did just that. Marcus Johansson and Dominion Beach held off a late surge by Sir Royson in the stretch to win in 1:58.0. Trained by Nancy Johansson the Muscle Beach colt looks to repeat in the final. Dante driven and trained by Ake Svanstedt took the lead from the word go and never looked back in the third and final elimination. The son of Credit Winner defeated the favorite Inukchuk Chuck in 1:58.3. The $140,800 final will be held on Derby Day, Saturday May 7th, at Freehold Raceway. The three winners will be accompanied by the three-second place finishers: Steed, Sir Royson and Inukchuk Chuck, and two of the third place finishers. Credevie, Cloud Nine Hanover and Hillman will draw for the two remaining spots in the final, by lot. Courtney Stafford

Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by Bet America will be giving away one free entry into the Bet America Harness Racing Handicapping Contest on it's show coming up Thursday Night at 7:00 PM.   The Handicapping contest has a guaranteed pool of $10,000, and is limited to 100 entrants.   It will take place on Saturday Night, May 7th, 2016.   To be eligible for the free entry, visit posttimewithmikeandmike,com, and click on contest information.   You have until Thursday, May 5th, at 6:00 PM Eastern to register for the free entry.   For more information on the Handicapping contest itself, visit https://www.betamerica.com/extra/handicapping-contests/10000-harness-game/      

If you have been following the Meadowlands over the past few years, you have seen amateur races that were titled as GSY Amateur events. Ever wonder what GSY stands for, who they are, and why they race? VFTRG had the opportunity to talk to two officers of the GSY Amateur Driving Club, David Glasser and David Yarock, to get some answers. The GSY Amateur Series is named after Jeff Gural, Jason Settlemoir, and David Yarock who are the club founders. The series was established four years ago in an effort to add additional races to the C.K.G Billings Amateur Driving Series. Originally, the series was centered around Tioga Downs but included several other tracks. Today though, the series is focused on the Meadowlands even though on occasion they will compete at other area tracks; tracks such as Tioga Downs, Pocono Downs, Monticello Raceway, Harrah's Philadelphia, and Freehold here they are the featured amateur race on Open Space Day.. At this point, GSY's goal is to support the Meadowlands and provide competitive races for amateurs at the most recognized track in the United States. Members of GSY belong to other clubs as they look forward to racing as much as possible. In addition to GSY, many are members of the Freehold Amateur Driving Club as well as NAADA (which races primarily at Monticello, Yonkers, and Freehold) in addition to being members of the CKG Billings series which races nationwide. The beauty of amateur club racing is it give horse owners and others the opportunity to leave their desk job on a Friday afternoon and head to a track's locker room full of professional drivers, including members of the Hall of Fame and they compete on the same racetrack. As to the question of the ability of amateur drivers, there is a misconception as to their ability since 90% of amateurs hold a full license and are able to compete against professionals in regular races. Glasser pointed out he learned to drive in the 1980's when there were no amateur races, others have followed the same path. Bob Krivlen to name one continues to race against professional drivers with some success, while drivers like Glasser, such as Dein Spriggs, Roy Marohn, Bob Davis, and others who cut their teeth before amateur races were regularly contested raced with regular drivers successfully. One may think professional drivers resent the fact these amateur races are on the race card but you would be wrong as many of the pros are supportive of the amateurs. Just recently GSY and the amateur club at Pompano Park held a Pro-Am at Pompano Park which Dave Miller and Tim Tetrick participated in. A Pro-Am may be held at the Meadowlands in the fall and some pros have already indicated an interest in participating if one is added to the schedule. With amateurs racing weekly, how do they get the horses to race? Some drivers provide their own horses but other horses are provided by trainers. To help pay the expenses for these horses, the purse structure has been modified so every horse earns at least 3% of the purse if they finish out of the money. The club works with the racing secretary in determining the class of horses which should compete in this series and this year they are racing horses which would fill non-winners of $3,500 in their last five starts with $10,000 claimers also eligible to race in the 'B' series while those who are non-winners of $6,000 in their last five starts with $15,000 claimers racing in the 'A' races which is the same class which will compete on the Billings circuit. They primary key is to have competitive races so all the horses have a chance to earn money as this is an expensive 'hobby'. As you know, amateurs don't accept compensation for driving in these races. So where does the GSY driver commissions go to? Back in 2009, David Yarock started a scholarship fund in memory of his father and step-father to give scholarships to students seeking to pursue equine and harness racing studies as well as providing scholarships to those in the harness racing industry and their families seeking to pursue higher education. Since inception, over $150,000 has been distributed in scholarships. In addition to the driver commissions, annual club dues are also contributed to the fund. The club seeks racing opportunities to raise funds; the previously mentioned potential Meadowlands Pro-Am will raise additional funds for scholarships. Further information on the scholarship fund is available here. The club makes no secret of the fact they work in partnership with the Meadowlands. They supply races when the Meadowlands needs them. While the drivers enjoy racing for the sake of racing, they also aim to help the Meadowlands survive. With the slots-infused tracks drawing horses away from the Meadowlands, GSY helps fill races to complete the racing card. When GSY races at other tracks, it is either because they wish to support amateur racing and/or have races they need filled. From the amount of money being wagered, it appears the punters are pleased with the amateur races being carded on the wagering program. Glasser feels in some ways having races with amateur drivers is a plus because "anything can happen". He further feels some of today's gamblers want more random possibilities than the predictable outcomes one sees at many racetracks, citing the popularity of slot machines. The GSY races have growing pools and less predictable outcomes. Make no mistake, while fans don't want amateurs to take over an entire card (something done at Monticello Raceway sometime around 2013), they do like the fact amateur racing adds something to a few races on the wagering card. Of course, racing every week, handicappers have the opportunity to get used to the drivers and their abilities. When asked if GSY races could be added to Saturday night programs, it was made clear they are satisfied with the ability to race on Fridays. Dave Yarock always felt amateur racing could have a significant positive effect for the sport and is thoroughly delighted the betting public has embraced GSY races. With all the negative publicity the sport gets, the industry can be proud of the positive feedback coming out of the amateur driver movement; it is truly a growth area in an otherwise stagnant industry Of course, the appreciation goes two ways. The members of GSY appreciate the gamblers support because their wagering is what allows them to continue to race at the Meadowlands. Asked a hypothetical question if they would consider expanding to racing under saddle should pari-mutuels be approved for the sport, Glasser said it would be interesting to consider but they would have to gauge the interest of track officials and their members to see if there would be any interest in pursuing it. Of course, there are a lot of things which would have to happen before it would be an issue they would need to visit. by Allan Schott, for View From The Grandstand  Check out View From the Racetrack Grandstand.    

Elysium Lindy, let go at 21-1 despite a win and two seconds in the first three preliminary legs of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting males at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, overhauled 1-5 favorite Celebrity Bugatti in the shadow of the wire to post a 1:55.1 win in one of two $15,000 divisions of the fourth and final preliminary round for this harness racing group Tuesday night. In the other division, Magenta Man was on his best behavior and posted a 1:56.1 victory.   Celebrity Bugatti came into Monday's race having gone a perfect 3-for-3 to date in the Weiss, and in midstretch he looked ready to complete a sweep of the prelims. But the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Elysium Lindy had another idea, being moved outside from third late on the final turn by driver Jim Marshall III, and then kicking into overdrive in the last 1/16 to get a head decision while lowering his lifetime mark, posted in a Weiss event last week, by a tick. Donna Marshall trains the developing youngster for owner George Beck.   Magenta Man had finished second to Celebrity Bugatti in a Weiss cut last week after making a break in his only other start in the series, but this week all systems were "go" as the four-year-old altered son of Muscles Yankee, bet down to 3-5 favoritism, was put on the lead and held off a spirited late charge by Explosive Yankee to post a ¾-length victory. "Magenta" and "orange" may not be two colors you often see together, but for driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller (collectively known as "Team Orange Crush"), along with owners Little E LLC and RBH Ventures Inc., the sight of Magenta and Orange in the Pocono winners circle after next Monday's $30,000 Weiss Series Championship would be beautiful indeed.   Despite tonight's upset, Celebrity Bugatti was still the #1 prelim pointwinner for this group; behind him in line in qualifying for their Championship are Elysium Lindy, Dominus Hanover, Steed, Taxed To The Max, Explosive Leggs, Magenta Man, and (tied) Sweet Royalty and Dominion Beach.   The $30,000 Weiss Championship for trotting distaffs headlines the Tuesday night card at The Downs. Stirling Debutant will likely be a heavy favorite from post three for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Steve Salerno after sweeping her four prelims, and her task was made easier by the fact that the Todd Schadel duo of South Side Hanover and Real Caviar, #2 and #3 in the prelim pointstandings with five prelim victories between them, were not dropped in for the Championship. They will reportedly be heading to The Meadows Saturday afternoon for the 2016 debut of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action in a three-year-old trotting filly event, to be drawn tomorrow.   PHHA / Pocono    

This Saturday, Kentucky Derby Day at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, will provide top harness racing action for three-year-old racehorses, whether pacing, trotting, or running, during a doubleheader card at the northeast Pennsylvania oval. First post for the first card will be at 11 a.m.; after those ten races are completed, the thoroughbreds will take center stage for their Bluegrass classic via simulcasting; and immediately after the Derby is completed (approximately 7 p.m.), there will be a second card of 14 live races at The Downs.   Sticking to the Standardbred side, the Saturday highlights will come during the evening card, as The Downs hosts the inaugural edition of the $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic Final for the best Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with their filly counterparts going for $313,800 in the first Miss Pennsylvania Final. The sophomores earned their way into the open-draw Finals through high finishes in elimination races this past Saturday, and there are no coupled entries in either event.   Trainer Ron Burke sent out both Pennsylvania Classic elimination winners, JK Will Power and Check Six, and that pair drew beside each other in posts three and four respectively. Both are sons of Somebeachsomewhere who ran their 2016 records to 2-for-2 in the eliminations: JK Will Power won in 1:51.1 for owners the 3 Brothers Stables, while Classic Six edged his stablemate Big Top Hanover in 1:50.4 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala, and James Martin.   Something will have to give between these two fast colts in the Pennsylvania Classic; an early indication may come Tuesday morning, when Yannick Gingras, who guided both of them to victory, will have to pick between the two at scratch time.   Big Top Hanover, as mentioned before also a Burke trainee, drew post one Saturday; Manhattan Beach is the fourth member of the Burke barn to make the Classic Final, but he drew the outermost post nine. Trainer Chris Ryder qualified three horses for the Classic Final, but they also had poor luck at the draw: Western Dynasty, JJ Flynn, and Duke Of Delray will start from posts six, seven, and eight, respectively.   The Pennsylvania Classic is race 12 of the Saturday evening card; a race earlier, the top locally-sired fillies will have their turn in the spotlight in the Miss Pennsylvania Final. There were three eliminations for the filly final last Saturday, and the fastest winner was Darlinonthebeach, who won in 1:50.4 to remain unbeaten in two seasonal starts, and she drew post four for driver David Miller, trainer Nancy Johannson, and owner White Birch Farm.   Call Me Queen Be, like Darlinonthebeach a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, will start just to that foe's right in post five after winning her seasonal bow in 1:51.3 for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Ross Croghan, and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc and Dana Parham. Not so fortunate at the pillshake was the other Miss Pennsylvania elim winner, the Well Said filly I Said Diamonds, who won her elim in 1:51 in her seasonal bow but Saturday must solve the difficult outermost post nine for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Matias Ruiz, and owners Little Bapa LLC.   The Miss Pennsylvania Final will also be interesting to watch to see if two Jimmy Takter trainees can bounce back from thirds in their elims. Pure Country, undefeated in ten starts at two and voted national divisional champion, was caught in the stretch in her elim, her seasonal debut, and the fast filly will be looking to regain her winning ways from post six for driver Brett Miller. Ivy League, a daughter of former Takter champion mare See You At Peelers who also was third in her elim, drew the rail, with Yannick Gingras taking over her sulky seat after David Miller, who drove her last week, picked Darlinonthebeach for this race.   **********   Also on the outstanding Saturday night card will see a showdown of the top free-for-all pacers on a "neutral site" in the race six $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational, named after the former area harness racing writer. Pocono is a "neutral site" because of the leading FFA duo, Rockeyed Optimist has as of late been unstoppable on the mile track at The Meadowlands, while Bit Of A Legend N won all five Levy Series prelims over the half-mile Yonkers oval and then came back to take the $609,000 Levy Final.   Rockeyed Optimist got an advantage at the post draw, landing post six for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Steve Elliott, and the ownership combine of Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, A And B Stable, and Joseph Battaglia. The five-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding has six wins and two seconds in eight 2016 starts including a 1:48.2 seasonal best at Dover, and a 1:48 lifetime mark.   Bit Of A Legend N, a seven-year-old son of Bettors Delight, had already earned $650,000 racing in New Zealand before being brought to these shores for this campaign by owner Harry Von Knoblauch. And the Kiwi import has started off his North American career in, well, legendary style, with two wins and two seconds before going on his six-race Levy tear which gave him the biggest bankroll in North American harness racing this year, $451,250. But between the quality of this field and the difficult post nine, this may be the toughest test yet for Bit Of A Legend N, who will be driven by Jordan Stratton for trainer Peter Tritton.   To show the overall quality of the Van Rose field, one could cite facts like five of the entrants are millionaires, including double millionaire JK Endofanera, and that their average lifetime mark is 1:49.2, with ironically the possessor of the least-speedy mark being Bit Of A Legend N at 1:51 - but remember that he has only raced ten times here, and only over the Yonkers half-miler; it'll be interesting to see how he "stretches his game out" over the 5/8-mile Pocono oval. And the field clashes at Pocono in good form - of the 51 charted lines shown without qualifiers or scratches, the field boasts of 25 victories showing, despite the fact that several made one or more starts against each other in the Levy Series.   The field, from inside post position to out, is Take It Back Terry, P H Supercam, Hall Bro, Luck Be Withyou, JK Endofanera, Rockeyed Optimist, Cooperstown, Bushwacker, and Bit Of A Legend N.   * * * * * * * * * *   But wait - there's more! The first card also has a trio of stakes events, as the Pennsylvania All-Star Series for state-sired horses opens its 2016 stand at Pocono with three $30,000 divisions of the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding event, carded as the last three events on the ten-race curtainraising card.   The final of the trio of contests looks the most interesting in terms of returning horses with accomplishments, as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisional champion Lagerfeld makes his first 2016 start from post two for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. Also in this heat is Make Or Miss, who deadheated for the win in the Valley Victory Final at The Meadowlands at the end of last season (post four, trainer Ron Burke, driver Joe Bongiorno), and Pennsylvania Stallion Series champ Mr Right (post six, trainer Leigh Raymer, driver George Napolitano Jr.); these two will make their first starts in 2016 as well in this contest.   PHHA / Pocono

If you're not going to Churchill Downs in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, Empire City Casino is the place for New Yorkers to watch the "Run for the Roses." Real Housewives of New York megastar Bethenny Frankel, the daughter of the late and legendary Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, will host the casino's Kentucky Derby Viewing Party on Saturday, May 7, trackside at historic Yonkers Raceway. A bevy of trackside activities at the casino's historic Yonkers Raceway will be highlighted by the opportunity to meet and take a photograph in the winner's circle with the wildly-popular Frankel from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The annual Kentucky Derby "Fancy Hat Contest," a free two-horse exacta box on the "Run for the Roses" to the first 1,000 Empire Club members, the Cooler than Julep made with Bethenny's Skinny Girl Sangria and Skinny Girl Vodka, live entertainment by DJ LAX, and of course the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby at 6:34 pm will turn Empire City into Churchill Downs East. Empire City's Kentucky Derby extravaganza is open to the public, and gets underway at 3:00 pm on the raceway apron. Frankel is among the most popular reality television personalities in America with 1.5 million twitter followers, has hosted the talk show Bethenny, and is the best-selling author of four self-help books, chef, entrepreneur, and founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails. Participants can register for the Fancy Hat Contest trackside from 3:00-4:30 pm, and the winner will be announced at 5:00 pm. The Grand Prize is $500 in cash; second place wins $250 cash, and third place receives $100 cash. A celebrity pick will be announced at 5:30pm and the winner receives $750 cash. While the traditional and classic Mint Julep is on the menu, the Cooler than Julep rules at Empire City. Its ingredients include: Skinny Sangria, Skinny Vodka, Raw sugar, Lime, and Mint. Simulcast locations include trackside, the Winner's Circle Bar in Empire Terrace on the 2nd Floor, the Simulcast Room on the 3rd Floor, the 4th floor Grandstand and Dan Rooney's Sports Bar. The first 1,000 Empire Club Members to visit the entertainment lounge beginning at 4:00 pm will receive a two-horse exacta box for the Kentucky Derby whiles supplies last. With Churchill Downs first post at 10:30 AM both Oaks and Derby Day, Yonkers shall open selected mutuel windows at 10 AM. Advance wagering for the entire Saturday Churchill card begins Friday, including the Oaks/Derby daily double and the Oaks/Woodford Reserve Turf/Derby Pick 3. Yonkers' first post both days is the usual 7:10 PM. Please note that Churchill has set minimum wagering amounts for their gimmicks both Friday and Saturday. Frank Drucker

Peter Venturini and Peter Venturini III and harness racing trainer Brian Malone's Smart Rokker ($9, Tony Morgan) was a 1:52 winner in the $16,000 Open Pace Monday at Harrington Raceway. Bandolito (Daryl Bier) battled Bad Boy Matt for the early lead before the former made the lead in 27.1 under pressure from Vapour N (Pat Berry), who eventually cleared at the half-mile in an action packed 54.2. Special T Rocks (Ross Wolfenden) mounted a first-over attack with Smart Rokker (Rocknroll Hanover) perched perfectly second-over before tipping three-wide and prevailing in 1:52. Special T Rocks held second gamely while Sparky Mark, whose three-race win streak was snapped, finished third. George and Tina Dennis' Allstar Preview (George Dennis, $31.20) sprang an upset in 1:54.2 in the sub-featured $12,500 Open. Trained by his co-owner/driver, it was his second straight win. Morgan had four winners on the program, while Dennis had three. Victor Kirby and Allan Davis had a double. Matthew Sparacino  

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It's been a wild week of harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In fact, there's been so much going on that we're going to temporarily suspend the Weekly Awards and instead look at some of the headlines from the week that was. PURE PERFECTION NO MORE In Saturday night's first elimination race for the $300,000 Miss Pennsylvania stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies, Pure Country put her perfect record on the line. She went ten-for-ten as a 2-year-old last year, completing the season with a Breeders Crown title. But Darlinonthebeach, herself a big earner a year ago for the Nancy Johansson barn, had other ideas. With David Miller in the bike, she pounced from the pocket to win in 1:50:4 and hand Pure Country her first ever loss. The other Miss Pennsylvania elimination winners, I Said Diamonds and Call Me Queen Be, also used pocket trips to get up as favorites in their splits. Pure Country did make the final with a third-place finish, so she'll be looking for revenge on Saturday night. BURKE BARN STACKED FOR CLASSIC It's not out of the question that the superfecta for the inaugural $500,000 Pennsylvania Classic could consist entirely of Ron Burke trainees. In the two eliminations on Saturday night, both winners, Check Six and JK Will Power, came from the Burke barn, as did Check Six, who finished second only a nose away from Check Six in his split, and Manhattan Beach, who came in third in his. That means Burke will have four entrants in the big-money final, and that Yannick Gingras, who drove both elimination winners, will have a difficult choice to make. DEAD HEAT DRAMA Saturday night's $25,000 condition pace featured some serious power, with four million-dollar earners in the field out of seven. 4-year-old Cooperstown, winner in the same class the previous week, showed no fear of the big earners despite 11-1 odds, as he came up flying late. Doctor Butch, one of those million-dollar horses who was still looking for his first victory of the season, went off at 14-1 but battled his way into striking position in the stretch. They hit the line inseparable, and sure enough, the photo showed a dead heat for the win between the two long shots. Cooperstown's shared victory was part of a six-win night for driver Anthony Napolitano. TANGO IN THE NIGHT No, we're not celebrating an underrated album by Fleetwood Mac. We're referring to Southwind Tango, who went to gate as the 5-2 second choice Sunday night in the $30,000 Bobby Weiss late closer series final for three and four-year-old fillies and mares on the pace. With David Miller in the bike, the filly from the Chris Ryder barn came up first-over to challenge to lead of Black Widow Baby. Those two fought a ferocious stretch duel, with Southwind Tango, who had hit the board in all four of the Weiss preliminary legs, coming out on top by a neck in 1:53:4 on a sloppy track. 3-5 favorite Heavenly Bet finished third. WE GOT THE MEMO In the $30,000 Weiss final for three and four-year-old colts, stallions, and geldings on the pace, Sentencing Memo, driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Eric Foster, went off as the 7-5 favorite. In his previous start in a Weiss preliminary, the 3-year-old gelding who usually prefers to flash early speed was forced to come off the pace for a win. That versatility came in handy in the Sunday night final, as Sentencing Memo came up second over on the back stretch and three wide around the final turn. Callahan had him flying late and he blew by the field for the win in 1:52 in the off-going, taking it by a length-and-a-half over game 26-1 long shot Iwillmakeyousaywow. That makes nine wins in 14 races this year for Sentencing Memo, none bigger than this one. STERLING STIRLING Despite a sloppy track and an objection lodged by another driver, nothing could stop Stirling Debutant from competing her sweep of the Bobby Weiss series for three-and-four-year-old trotting fillies and mares. After winning the first four preliminary legs, the 4-year-old mare from the Steve Salerno barn went off at 1-9 in Tuesday night's final. After briefly giving up a bunch of lengths to pacesetting Coherent, Anthony Napolitano coaxed a first-over brush on the back stretch from Stirling Debutant, and she blew the field away from there to win in 1:57:3 in the sloppy conditions. Her winning margin of 12 1/2 lengths should tell you all you need to know her dominance, as she moved to five-for-five in the Pocono meet. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia                           As per the established contractual relationship between Downs Racing LP dba Mohegan Sun Pocono ("MSP") and any third party conducting business with MSP, the information contained in this message may be privileged, proprietary and/or confidential and protected from disclosure. Any information cannot be reproduced and/or shared with anyone outside of the intended recipient(s) without the expressed written consent by MSP. If the reader of this message and associated attachments is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copy of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer.
Harness racing trainer Ron Burke will send four horses to Saturday night's $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and he is undecided, at this point, which is the best. Of course, with three of them leading the morning-line odds, it is easy to understand why. "It looks like they're all at least good," Burke said about his quartet, led by morning-line favorite Check Six and also including JK Will Power, Big Top Hanover, and Manhattan Beach. "If there is anyone that I'd lean toward that I think is my best one, especially on a big track, it's Check Six. But after the other day I really couldn't tell." Check Six and JK Will Power won last weekend's eliminations for Saturday's final, which is for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-old male pacers. Check Six edged Big Top Hanover by a nose in 1:50.4 and JK Will Power defeated The Catamount Kid by a neck in 1:51.1, with Manhattan Beach finishing third. Last year, Check Six won four of nine races and earned $114,889 for owners Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, William Switala, and James Martin. He put together a four-race win streak after a third-place finish in his debut and second-place finish two weeks later. But he stepped on a nail and was slow to regain his form after battling an infection. A son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Southwind Vanna, Check Six is 2-for-2 this season and will start the Pennsylvania Classic from post four with driver Yannick Gingras. Check Six is a half-brother to Sagamore Hills Pacing Series champion Rodeo Romeo and his family includes 1994 O'Brien Award winner Village Jiffy. "I thought he was my best colt last year, for sure," Burke said. "I didn't even think it was a question. Then he stepped on a nail and it took him forever to get over the infection. But he's come back great." JK Will Power, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, also is 2-for-2 this year. Last season, the son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the stakes-winning mare Whats New Pussycat won two of nine races and earned $123,757 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. His family includes past Breeders Crown champ Molly Can Do It and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Billie Bluechip. "He was super," Burke said about JK Will Power's elimination, where he took the lead prior to the halfway point and held off The Catamount Kid. "He doesn't love the lead, and he still fought off (The Catamount Kid). He's a little bit lazy; he's better with a target." JK Will Power, who starts Saturday from post three with driver David Miller, battled growing pains last year but is much improved this season. "I think it's going to lead to him being a lot better horse," Burke said. "I can see him taking a big step in the right direction." Big Top Hanover won last year's Matron Stakes and a division of the International Stallion and finished second in the Breeders Crown. All totaled, he won four of 15 starts in 2015 and earned $450,253 for owners JT45 and Burke Racing Stable. This year, he has a second- and third-place finish in two starts. The colt is 4-1 on the Pennsylvania Classic morning line and will leave from post one with driver Matt Kakaley. His second dam, Ain't No Stopn Me, was a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion and the mother of stakes-winner Cheyenne Rei. His family also includes stakes-winners Ain't No Stopn Him and Lon Todd Hanover, as well as Artstopper, who is the dam of Breeders Crown winner Always B Miki and Blue Chip Matchmaker Series winner Yagonnakissmeornot. "He's not the flashiest colt, but then you put him in a race and he does even better than you think he's going to," Burke said. "I don't know how good he is. But (post one) is a great spot for him." Manhattan Beach will start the Pennsylvania Classic from post nine in the nine-horse field and is 10-1 on the morning line. The gelding will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. Last year, Manhattan Beach won one of nine races and earned $97,559 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Geoffrey Lyons Mound, and Wingfield Brothers. He has a win and a third in two starts this season. A son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the world-champion mare Benear, he is a full brother to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship runner-up Momas Got A Gun. "He was the only one that finished (last week) raging with pace," Burke said. "I thought it was a great prep for him. Where he drew is a disaster, but it is what it is." Burke said it was a challenge to get horses ready this early for a major test, but the allure of a half-million-dollar purse was too difficult to pass. "Most of the horses going in there were coming off qualifiers or one start," Burke said. "It was hard to get them ready like that. But it's very hard to give that race up. You win this race, for any of these colts, their year is made." Pocono will conduct two race cards Saturday sandwiching the Kentucky Derby. The first card, with first-race post time of 11 a.m., features three divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for 3-year-old male trotters. The evening card, in addition to the Pennsylvania Classic, includes the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-old female pacers. Ken Weingartner
Chris Sharpe and Alex Hawes' Quotable Quotes ($9.80, Montrell Teague) scored a wire-to-wire 1:52.3 win in the harness racing featured $16,000 Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway. The Charlene Sharpe-trainee and 5-year-old daughter of Well Said had control over the pace on the lead throughout the mile and held off Springforth and Hostess Lisa, who rounded out the trifecta, en route for her 12th career win. After winning just one race in 2015, Quotable Quotes has six victories already this year. Tony Morgan had three winners on the program. Ross Wolfenden and Montrell Teague each had a double. Matthew Sparacino      
The inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff (a Grand Circuit event) will be the featured first race on a special Meadowlands Mother's Day matinee card beginning at 12:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 8. Nine of the continent's finest trotters with collective career earnings in excess of $12 million comprise the field.   The idea for the Elitlopp Playoff was conceived last August when Directors Christer Haggstrom and Markus Myron of Solvalla Racecourse visited The Meadowlands for Hambletonian week. During their stay, they met with Jeff Gural, Jason Settlemoir and Sam McKee to discuss ways the Elitlopp and Meadowlands trotting stakes may better compliment one and other.   After much discussion and considerable effort on the part of both organizations, a brand new international racing bridge was created. Solvalla officials will be on hand Sunday to present the winner with an invitation to compete in the Elitlopp on Sunday, May 29 at Solvalla Racecourse in Stockholm, Sweden.   The idea to memorialize the great Mack Lobell, a two-time winner of the Elitlopp, with the race title was submitted by a racing fan via the Harness Racing Fan Zone.   The talented field includes Bee A Magician, the undefeated Horse of the Year in 2013 and at $3.7 million and currently the third leading money winning female trotter of all-time. The six-year-old daughter of Kadabra has won 42 of her 66 career starts for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and Dave McDuffee.   "Queen Bee" has perhaps never looked better than her first 2016 start, an easy 1:52 win with her final quarter charted in 26.1. She has been trained throughout her illustrious career by R. Nifty Norman and her regular driver Brian Sears will handle the duties from post 7 on Sunday.   JL Cruze was the rags to riches story of 2015. Plucked from the 2014 Harrisburg fall sale for a mere $37,000 by trainer Eric Ell on behalf of owners Ken Wood, Bill Ditmar and Steve Iaquinta, JL Cruze started the season by winning his way through the winter series program at The Meadowlands and never stopped. By year's end he had annexed the $250,000 Graduate Series final in a world and Meadowlands track record 1:49.4 and the $443,000 Hambletonian Maturity on his way to over $600,000 in earnings and Trotter of the Year recognition.   JL Cruze has returned in fine form as well, winning all three 2016 starts in 1:53.2 or faster and was absolutely vicious in a 1:53 qualifier on Saturday. He starts from the rail for Hall of Fame driver John Campbell, who was aboard for all of last year's successes.   The race also includes two of Sweden's most accomplished expatriate trainers in Jimmy Takter and Ake Svanstedt.   Shake It Cerry has drawn the far outside post nine for trainer Takter. A winner of $2.4 million for Solveig's Racing Partners, Shake It Cerry was crowned Trotter of the Year in 2014 while winning virtually every major stake at ages two and three. Hall of Famer Dave Miller is her driver.   Svanstedt trains and drives Resolve, winner of the TVG FFA Championship final and over $700,000 last year for owner Hans Enggren. The Muscle Hill five-year-old has drawn post five for the race.   Meadowlands leading trainer Ron Burke sends out a triumvirate of accomplished trotters. From post two is DW's NY Yank (Matt Kakaley) who is just $5,000 away from a million dollars in his career for Burke Racing, Howard Taylor and Weaver Bruscemi. 2014 New York Sires Stakes champ Gural Hanover (Yannick Gingras from post six) races for Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic while multiple 2015 Grand Circuit stakes winner Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick) begins from post eight for Our Horse Cents, JT 45, J&T Silva and Deo Volente Farms.   Wind Of The North is in and he actually made the trip over for last year's Elitlopp during a successful 2015 campaign where he collected over a quarter million dollars for owners Jenny Bier and Joann Dombeck. He comes in from Pompano Park where he's had a successful start to his season, winning two of three for trainer Daryl Bier who has enlisted George Brennan to drive on Sunday.   Obrigado continues to live a fairy tale, emerging from virtual obscurity despite championship seasons in Maine at two and three to a respected national presence. He picked up over $400,000 with his Crawford Farms FFA at Vernon Downs win the seasonal highlight for trainer Paul Kelley who owns the six-year-old Boy Band gelding with Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45. Mark MacDonald is the driver.   The first seven Meadowlands races on Sunday's card will be simulcast to Sweden, with races 1-6 (all trots) constituting the V64 Pick-Six wager for that day and the seventh being the $25,000 Open Pace with Takter trainee Always B Miki among the entrants.   The Meadowlands tiered dining room Pink has a delightful Mother's Day buffet planned and the fan favorite Diamond Dig promotion is also scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Make your reservations soon for this special matinee card.   Horses for the $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff below:       First Race   MACK LOBELL ELITLOPP PLAYOFF Live Purse:  $150000   Trot Distance: 1 Mile H PP Horse Driver Trainer Yrs. Best Last 3   1 1 Jl Cruze Jo Campbell E Ell 1:52.2 1-1-1   2 2 Dw's Ny Yank Ma Kakaley R Burke 1:53.2 1-2-1   3 3 Wind Of The North Ge Brennan D Bier 1:52.2 2-1-2   4 4 Resolve Ak Svanstedt A Svanstedt   4-3-1   5 5 Obrigado Ma Macdonald P Kelley 1:55.4 5-1-1   6 6 Gural Hanover Ya Gingras R Burke 1:53.0 2-2-3   7 7 Bee A Magician Br Sears R Norman 1:52.0 1-1-3   8 8 Crazy Wow Ti Tetrick R Burke 1:55.0 2-1-2   9 9 Shake It Cerry Da Miller J Takter 1:55.0 3-2-1       Meadowlands Media Relations    
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