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WILKES-BARRE, PA - George Napolitano Jr., the track's all-time leading driver who earned his first spot in a Breeders Crown championship with freshman trotting filly Stella Jane here on Friday, still knows what he's doing in the overnight races as well, winning the $18,000 claiming pace feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday with Ideal Kiss in 1:52, with the mercury only a half-dozen digits above freezing. Napolitano made a "patented" quarter-move with the American Ideal gelding past a 26 quarter, then went on to post midsplits of 55 and 1:23 en route to a 3¾ length victory, his tenth of the year. Ideal Kiss, who is owned by Northfolk Racing Stable, now has earnings of $109,050 this year and $193,750 lifetime. Napolitano is an "equal-opportunity driver" for the highpowered Team Oakes - he won here on Sunday with two horses that father Chris trains, and two with pupils of son Hunter, including Ideal Kiss. A pair of $17,500 conditioned events were co-featured on Sunday. In the trot, Two AM took his third victory in his last four trips to the gate, with Tyler Buter also using quarter-moving tactics en route to a length win in 1:54.1. Todd Buter trains the Muscle Massive gelding, the winner of his 2016 Pennsylvania Stallion Series division and $296,761 careerwise, for Gene Oldford Farms LLC, Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. On the pace, it was "George Nap" again reporting back to Victory Lane, this time with the rapidly-improving Somebeachsomewhere gelding Blayde Hanover in 1:51. Fractions of 27.2, 56.1, and 1:23.2 laid down from the pole were too much for his opponents to handle, with Blayde Hanover 2¾ lengths clear for trainer Brandon Todd and Belrose Standard LLC while boosting his bankroll to $159,151. In all, Napolitano had five winners on the Pocono card, on top of the three races he took at Harrah's before heading up the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike for his Sunday Pocono duties. Brother Anthony had three winners on the local card - the Breeders Crown may have cost them a chance at the combined 31 winners total they posted in just 53 races here last week (58%), but they're both still red-hot. FINISHING LINES - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association congratulate Pocono regular Mike Simons on notching his 4000th career win. The leading driver at Pocono in 2002, Simons, who splits his year between Pennsylvania and Pompano Park, won with his first pari-mutuel drive of the season in the Sunshine State, with the Mickey McNichol-trained Blueberry Heaven. With the Breeders Crown eliminations in the books and ten of the twelve Championships for this Saturday's $6,000,000 Championship Night already drawn, the final two casts of characters - the Open horses of both gaits - will learn their post positional fates at a noontime press conference at The Downs on Tuesday. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- Keystone Riptide recorded her third win in her last four starts, quarter-moving to the lead and going on to a 1:52.4 victory in the $17,500 distaff pacing feature Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Driver Marcus Miller brushed with the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere past the 27.1 quarter, then put up midsplits of 56 and 1:24.1. The winner of $260,800 stayed strong in the lane to win by two lengths over closing Forever Liza, with favored Sail To The Beach having to settle for third behind the Randy Bendis-trained mare; Bendis is also co-owner with the eight-time 2018 winner with Thomas Pollack.   In a thrilling internal battle that lasted the entire week, Anthony Napolitano notched five winners on the Tuesday card while his brother George took down two heats, making their "final score" for the four-day race week Anthony Nap 16, George Nap 15. The Napolitanos thus won 31 of the 53 races conducted during the week -- which means that some combination of their red and white colors was seen in the winners circle an extraordinary 58% of the time this week!   Speaking of "extraordinary," as the saying goes, "It all comes down to the Breeders Crown," and the Breeders Crown now comes to the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, bringing the cream of the harness racing crop to northeast Pennsylvania.   The only Friday night card of the year, at 7 p.m., will see ten elimination races for two-year-olds; on Saturday starting at 7, all fourteen races will be Crown elimination for three-year-olds and for the older set. Those advancing out of their eliminations will be back a week from Saturday, October 27, for the $6,000,000 2018 Breeders Crown Championship Card, with the Pocono action on the huge night beginning at 5:30 p.m.   From the PHHA/Pocono Downs    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Mach Three gelding Rebellious gave driver Anthony Napolitano his sixth of seven winners on the Saturday card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when he won the $21,500 featured pace in 1:51.3. The three-year-old Hitman Hill, favored against more seasoned rivals despite not having raced since his Little Brown Jug elimination, moved to the lead past the 26.2 opener and got a big breather to the 56.2 half. "Anthony Nap" had Rebellious second-over by the 1:24.2 ¾ clocking, and through the lane the sharp pacer, still last at the stretch call, swept past everybody to claim a 1¾ length victory, coming his personal back fractions in 54.1 - 26.2 despite 46-degree temperatures. Michael Deters trains the winner of two straight and 13 races overall in 2018, and co-owns him with Joel Warner; the pair purchased the late-bloomer after he started the 2018 season hot at Pompano for Team Zeron. In the $18,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature, Onlythetuffsurvive was the first horse to show off the gate, but with constant lead changes and challenges, he found himself fourth-inside past the ¾. But in the stretch the innermost part of the Pocono Pike opened up to the altered son of A Stud Named Sue, and driver Marcus Miller's horse was full of pace to catch Pembroke Wildcat, going for his fourth straight win, in 1:52.1. Onlythetuffsurvive, who lost a streak of his own last week - he had been second five straight times before going offstride in his last outing - got back to winning form in a big way for trainer Donald Billings and Samuel Abdoo, and paid $51.20 to win in the bargain. But that price was almost "chalk" considering the previous race, where trotter Atlantic Crest, whose previous three races were a win, a break on the lead, and a win, handled an upgrade in company with aplomb for owner/trainer/driver Sergio Corona, also using the Pocono Pike to win going away and return $98.00 for a two-dollar ticket. This was the eleventh time this meet that Pocono has had two $50+ winners on one card, and the second in three days - it also happened this past Monday - but the first time that longshots had clicked in successive races since April 3. Anthony Napolitano's brother George, the meet's leading driver, had three wins on his own Saturday, putting "the Nap brothers" in double digits for the 13-race card. FINISHING LINES - Pocono goes into high Breeders Crown gear on Monday, when both all supplemental entries must be made and the fields for the two-year-old eliminations, to be raced Friday, will be drawn. Elims for the three-year-olds and the older divisions will be drawn Tuesday and raced Saturday. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Pembroke Wildcat, who was second to Ideal Kiss last week in his return to owner/trainer Brittany Robertson after a $30,000 claim, turned the tables on his rival in the $20,000 claiming handicap pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking advantage of a perfect trip to tally in 1:50. Ideal Kiss, going for his fifth straight victory in this company, made the lead despite the outside post nine in 28.1, but then had to post identical middle splits of 27 to keep out challenger Pickled Preacher, himself a winner of four of his last six vs. lesser and stepping up off a claim. While those two argued that wicked 54 middle half, Pembroke Wildcat was tagging along in the pocket for driver Anthony Napolitano, and in the stretch the victorious altered son of Western Maverick proved the strongest by 1¼ lengths. Pembroke Wildcat now sports career earnings of $336,227, and the 1:50 time gave the six-year-old a new mark. In the $17,500 conditioned pace co-feature, the pocket also proved to provide the winning journey, as Sir Pugsley made it two of his last three by coming on late to post a 1:50.3 victory. Driver Pat Berry hustled the son of American Ideal to command before the 27.1 quarter, but Feeling Cam Lucky was out and clambering for the front by that point, and Berry let him go to sit behind midrace fractions of 55.2 and 1:22.4. In the stretch, Sir Pugsley had more pace left than the pacesetter, going by by a neck for trainer Ron Burke and the team of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trainer Mike Deters and driver Anthony Napolitano combined successfully for the second time on a dank (55 degrees, "sloppy +1" surface) Sunday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when Prairie Fortune won the $17,500 featured trot in 1:53.4. "Ant'ny Nap" used the rail to advantage and worked out a good two-hole trip behind pacesetter Crazshana with the victorious altered son of Arapa Victory, then pulled away in the lane to be 3½ lengths clear of that rival at the finish, coming his own last half in 56.3. Trainer Deters co-owns the winner of $398,495 with Laurie Lee Poulin. Earlier, the backers in the crowd were few but were loud, as 99-1 shot College Hanover overcame a first-over trip for driver Drew Chellis to hold off 85-1 shot Takethemoneyandrun by a head in 1:55, returning $336.40 for a $2 ticket. That number was the biggest win mutuel at Pocono since November 17, 2015, when Lady Of The Lake and driver Joe Antonelli returned $400.60 to win after a nose victory. College Hanover, trainer by Richard Dunn for the MBC Stables LLC, did have some license in his pedigree - he is a Well Said out of the $590G winner Castanet Hall, and his ¾ brother Cashendash Hanover pushed his earnings over $575G when he won at Philly last Sunday. But the crowd was discouraged by College Hanover's 0-for-32 lifetime record - not knowing that the 33rd time would be the charm for the sophomore. Pocono is scheduled for a "dark night" tomorrow, as the scheduled annual local golfing tournament is as rabidly followed and enjoyed as much as a Super Bowl or a Wrestlemania card. The weather gods just may smile on the golfers, although rain is the 2-5 favorite at the moment (but if a horse can pay $336.60, ...).   Jerry Connors Jr.

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Summertime fled The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a hurry - it was 59 degrees when the races started on Saturday evening -- but the change in temperature made no difference to the American Ideal gelding Ideal Kiss, who won for the fifth time in his last six starts when he won the $20,000 claiming handicap pacing feature in 1:50.4 over "good" going. Ideal Kiss made the lead before the first turn for driver George Napolitano Jr. despite beginning from the outside post seven, "and he improved his position from there," responding to mild stretch rocking to keep pocketsitting Big N Bad at bay by 1¼ lengths at the finish. The win was the third of the night for "George Nap," giving him 16 over the last five Pocono cards, and his second of the evening teaming with trainer Hunter Oakes. Northfork Racing Stable the owner of the winner of $170,630, with almost half of that, $80,930, won in just over eight months this year. Music Is Art and JJ Flynn accounted for the $17,500 co-featured conditioned paces, though their styles of racing - and margins of victory - couldn't have been more different. First up was Music Is Art, a son of Art Major who swept four-wide on the far turn from third-over, then - aided by some tight quarters in traffic inside of him spinning for home - drew away by seven lengths in 1:52.1. The winning race favorite, who raised his earnings to $162,240, was guided by Anthony Napolitano as he won for trainer Mike Deters and owner Rick Berks. In the other division, driver Marcus Miller had the Western Ideal gelding JJ Flynn in high gear from the start, cutting all the pace then holding off pocketsitter Feeling Cam Lucky by a neck in 1:51.2. Now with a career bankroll of $326,608, JJ Flynn is trained by Josh Green, who is a co-owner of the winner with Richard Lombardo and Charles Cochran III. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Putting aside the cooling night and sloppy track at The Downs at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Monday evening, the $13,000 featured pace boiled down to a classic harness racing confrontation - a pair of horses who had been first or second in their last three starts, each against each other; the first choice and second choice; the pacesetter and the pocketsitter; and to add a local touch, two very talented brothers in the sulky. The two horses hit the wire in virtual unison, and the photo showed that Delco Papa Bear, the second choice, and driver Anthony Napolitano had rallied from the pocket to just catch frontstepping favorite Aston Hill Dave, driven by Anthony's brother George, by a nose on the end of the 1:52.3 mile. The Dali gelding Delco Papa Bear had gained into 55.4 - 27.4 back fractions to just get the job done over his tough foe for trainer Carmine Fusco and J M F Racing LLC while evening their recent rivalry at two triumphs apiece. The weather turned ugly just after the first race, but the show had to go on. Fortunately, the wet weather came to the area a day after Sunday's $1.5M top-notch card had spotlighted Homicide Hunter setting a world record for a 1¼ mile trot, 2:22.2 (mile rate 1:53.4), and top three-year-olds Dorsoduro Hanover and Crystal Fashion take dramatic photo victories in their respective Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Both of the $21,500 features at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night required the use of the photo finish camera, with the mare Satin Dancer holding off Crazshana by a nose on the trot and Juslikeaqueen rallying furiously from sixth at the 3/4 to get a neck decison in the distaff pace. Satin Dancer, a double winner in Open company at Hoosier before coming east, was sent right to the top in a 27.1 quarter over off going by driver Matt Kakaley in the trotting headliner, then got a breather to the half in 57. The winning daughter of Big Stick accelerated the tempo to the ¾, reaching that pole in 1:25.1, then had to go faster and dig deep as Crazshana narrowed in from the pocket, retaining the smallest possible advantage on the money while equaling her mark of 1:53. Travis Alexander conditions the winner, one of the big factors at two and three in Indiana as her $637,160 earnings would attest, for Summit Pacing Acres LLC (a "Pacing Acres" owning a fast trotter - they really have the winning touch!). Obvious Blue Chip tried to live up to 1-5 backing in the female pacing feature, moving to the front near the 27.4 quarter and then posting middle fractions of 57 and 1:24.4. But first-over Princess Fabulosa grinded at the leader, passed her in the stretch, then herself was caught by the flying-from-third-over Juslikeaqueen, from whom Anthony Napolitano summoned a huge last quarter while wide to take a 1:53.1 decision. Antonia Storer owns and trains the Palone Ranger mare, who now has a lifetime bankroll of $175,710. And just in case you thought that all those good Jimmy Takter trotters easily roll out of the barn all ready to go stakes-caliber miles, consider Fleet Admiral, who had a 1:56.3 win and a break in two qualifiers as a freshman, then put in two stretch breaks as a sophomore before qualifying at Pocono in 1:54.4. He made a break in his first purse start, was 16½ lengths out at the quarter, and rallied to be second, so when he broke at the start of his second race Sunday but was only 9¼ down at the quarter, he was "obviously" still in the hunt, and he again showed a giant recovery kick for driver Josert Fonseca, coming his last ¾ in 1:27.1 to win in 1:57.3 on a sloppy track. Oh, did we mention that he's a full brother to Ariana G? Hurricane Beach :51.3 to the half is fastest ever According to a detailed check of available records, the Somebeachsomewhere – Blazing Yankee four-year-old gelding Hurricane Beach cut the fastest half-mile ever in a Standardbred race mile on a 5/8-mile track, 51.3, in winning the last race on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The final time for the mile was 1:49.4, over a sloppy track, in the $17,000 conditioned pace. Hurricane Beach blasted away from post eight for driver Simon Allard, hitting the quarter in 25.2 with the field well-strung-out behind, and Allard had the horse under a hold passing the stands for the first time. The half-mile station was reached as noted in 51.3, and the ¾ was reached in 1:19.3. Hurricane Beach officially had a 10-length lead at the stretch call, and won by 7¼ lengths. A detailed list of miles which have reached the 3/4s in 1:20, while not official, has been kept, and the 51.3 clocking eradicated the former mark for 5/8-mile tracks of 52.1 set by Split The House in the 2016 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft, won by All Bets Off. The record in such a race on an “f” track for the quarter is 25.1, notched by five horses (only one of which went on to win); Always B Miki went 1:19 to the 3/4s in winning the Ewart Pace at Scioto, also in 2016. The overall harness record for reaching the half in a mile race, according to this list, is 51.2, set by Devonshire Hanover at The Meadowlands in 2006. Those with long memories about unusual records probably had a bell ring as soon as they saw a horse named “Hurricane” involved in fast fractions. And yes, Hurricane Beach is a half-brother, out of Blazing Yankee, to the Cam’s Card Shark pacer Hurrikane Kingcole, who holds the overall record for the fastest-ever clocking to the ¾ in a mile race, 1:18.2, in the 2012 SBOANJ Classic at The Meadowlands, which was won by Panther Hanover. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - LK's Nancy Lee, second to Unbeamlieveable the last two weeks in the high-level distaff claiming handicap pacing ranks at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, got to the lead despite the outside post nine and turned the tables on her tormentor, defeating Unbeamlieveable by a neck in the $14,000 Monday feature at The Downs. LK's Nancy Lee, making her debut for trainer Hunter Oakes and the Northfork Racing Stable after a $24,000 claim last week, immediately started producing returns by going to the top for driver Anthony Napolitano after a 26.3 opening quarter, getting moderate middle splits, then holding gamely against the late charge of Unbeamlieveable in 1:53.3. The daughter of Yankee Skyscraper ran her career earnings to $198,826. The first pari-mutuel race for two-year-olds at Pocono this year was held for filly trotters, and Scirocco Downahill went wire-to-wire despite the outside post eight for driver Corey Callahan and trainer John Butenschoen in 2:00.4, last quarter 29.2. A former season's leader (that seems an odd thing to write about a freshman on June 25), the daughter of Muscle Hill and UF Tadys Donato, a half-sister to the $1 million winner Hez Striking, shows much promise for owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. Pocono had two $50+ "bombers" strike last night, and there was another big upset on the Monday card, as "The Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, rallied Aquilio from second-over to a nose victory at $77.20 for trainer Bill Popfinger. FINISHING LINES - The outstanding card for this Saturday's $2,120,000 Sun Stakes Saturday Championship Night was drawn today; a release with the morning line and any driver changes will be distributed tomorrow afternoon. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) is back in action at the two eastern Pennsylvania tracks this weekend, with an open pacing event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night and an open trot at Harrah's Philadelphia the next afternoon. Saturday's open pace at Pocono brings together four of the top five horses in the GNOS divisional standings, with the only double winner in the series to date, Rodeo Romeo, drawing the rail and being accorded 2-1 favoritism for driver Eric Carlson and trainer Chris Ryder. In his last start, Rodeo Romeo was third in the Commodore Barry Pace at Philly, behind top 4YO Filibuster Hanover and the talented Australian import Heaven Rocks A. Second in the GNOS standings, and parading second, will be Rockeyed Optimist, who has come to good recent form for trainer Jake Leamon, with Anthony Napolitano in the sulky behind the horse who has a first and a second in the competition. The other two Top Five horses, Bettor's Edge (#4) and Mach It So (#5), didn't fare nearly as well at the post draw, getting the outside post seven and post six, respectively. On Sunday afternoon at Philly, the open trot has drawn a full field of nine. Accorded early favoritism from the rail is Such An Angel (driver George Napolitano Jr.), who comes off a lifetime best victory of 1:52.2. This will be the toughest field Such An Angel has ever faced, including millionaireness Broadway Donna, a two-time divisional champion, and four other horses who have bankrolled over $400,000 in their careers. With pointsleader Agent Q and eight of the top dozen in the standings behind her, totaling six of the seven GNOS division winners so far, in Toronto this weekend in eliminations for next Saturday's $365,000 Roses Are Red Pace, the mare pacing event did not fill. From the PHHA/Harrarh's & Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The ABC Garland mare I M Fishin won her third straight harness racing preliminary in the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting mares Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking the fastest of the three $15,000 divisions of the fourth and final prelim in a lifetime best 1:56.1. Anthony Napolitano, the meet's leading driver, moved I M Fishin out of third early to gain command in front of the stands, then powered home with the mare in 57.3 - 28.1 to win by a neck. Via Lattea IT, the white mare, had to settle again for a second - her third in three Weiss starts - while Corrupt was third behind the winner, trained by Jody Riedel for Super Mile LLC. The other two Tuesday Weiss winners both stopped the timer in 1:56.4 to record new marks. The Chapter Seven mare Myrna Myrna also moved to command in the homestretch the first time and went on to a 2¼ length victory for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Scott Betts, and owner Timothy Betts, while the Muscle Massive filly One Fine Lady lowered her lifetime tab over three seconds in overcoming a first-over journey for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Aaron Lambert, the latter co-owner with Kenneth Tucci and Kenneth Schwartz. In unofficial standings (please check with the Pocono Race Office for the official list) calculated immediately after the races, the top ten pointwinners in the preliminaries, in order, are: I M Fishin, Myrna Myrna, Ms American Muscle, Corrupt, Baby Wants, Miss Ruby, One Fine Lady, Puma Blue Chip, Dewitonemoretime, and Via Lattea IT. The top horses declaring in will race for $30,000 in their Weiss Championship during the evening portion of the doubleheader of racing on Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 4; if enough horses declare in, there will be a $15,000 consolation event held during the afternoon racing that day. Narcian Jewel rallied all the way up the deep Pocono Pike from last at headstretch to take a $14,000 co-feature for pacing distaffs in a lifetime best 1:51.4. The Shadow Play mare laid off a contentious pace, then had the most blast in the last sixteenth to tally for driver Pat Berry, trainer Frank Petrelli, and Wish Me Luck Stables LLC. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Red-hot driver Anthony Napolitano swept the $15,000 tri-features, one on the trot and two on the pace, in Tuesday harness racing action over a "good" track later downgraded to "sloppy" at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Napolitano triumphed in both halves of the Early Double, first guiding the Yankee Glide gelding Danish Design to a head victory over Boinganator in 1:57.3 in the trot headliner. Danish Design had won his first four starts of the year at Northfield before being photoed in his last start there, and he made a swift adjustment to the Pocono scene for trainer Kris Rickert, co-owner with Benjamin Gordon and Dante Scattolini. The Articulator gelding Lucbobski showed his appreciation for the switch from tough company in the Sagamore Hills Pacing Series at Yonkers by winning at first asking over the mountain oval, making the lead after the quarter and going on to a 1:53.4 triumph in the off going. Lucbobski got into the "nw 4 races" class on an earnings AE, but he "won himself out" by triumphing here for trainer Tom Shay and owners Howard Taylor, Abraham Basen, Thomas Finelli and Tom Lazzaro. "ANap" completed his sweep of the Pocono features with the American Ideal gelding A Farmboys Success, who after posting a pair of seconds in his first starts for trainer Ron Burke took a new mark here of 1:53.1 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Not only did the win give Burke a feature race victory at both Pennsylvania tracks (Camera Lady at The Meadows), it bought him to nine wins at the young meet to lead the conditioners - and eight of those wins have come through the sulkysitting of Anthony Nap, who himself had a total 17 victories through the Tuesday features. No equine winner in any race before the 10th race final feature was even born when John Wagner last guided a horse home first at Pocono. But the veteran pilot of over 5200 wins revisited Pocono's Victory Lane for the first time since July 15, 2011 after piloting the Arlene Cameron-trained Speed It to a 1:56.1 engine triumph. The winner, who raised his bankroll to $291,807, is owned by Richard Hans of Googoo Gaagaa fame, and a Hans animal usually means exotic breeding - Speed It is by Googoo Gaagaa's sire, the pacing-bred Cam's Rocket, and in his maternal family can be found international stake winner Promising Catch and several other $100,000 earners on the trot. PHHA / Pocono

Hightstown, NJ --- After sitting out last winter to recuperate from the lingering effects of a racing accident, Anthony Napolitano is happy with his results so far this winter. Napolitano is the leading harness racing driver at the Meadowlands in 2018, with 26 wins, and hoping for continued success throughout the year. Napolitano, who notched 175 of his 200 wins in 2017 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, plans to continue racing at the Meadowlands on Fridays even after Pocono opens March 17. He also plans to race once a week at Yonkers, where he has picked up 15 wins this season. This Friday, Napolitano has 10 drives on the Meadowlands’ 13-race card. “Meadowlands Harness Live” airs from 9-10 p.m. on SNY (SportsNet New York) and features races seven through nine. “I feel good,” Napolitano said. “I feel like I’m just getting started. Things are looking good for the future; hopefully we can keep it going.” Napolitano was injured in an accident May 31, 2016 at Pocono. He was sidelined for nearly two months, returning to action at the end of July, but decided in November to take additional time away from the track. In March 2017, Napolitano returned to the sulky and recorded 200 wins and $2.64 million in purses the rest of the way. “I rushed it back,” Napolitano said. “It was a struggle for me. I had to make a decision, whether to shut down shop and regroup, or continue the way I was going. It wasn’t good for me. I wasn’t comfortable in the bike and I couldn’t get horses up on the bit. I wanted to be a hundred percent. “Last year I took off to rest my back. I was happy I was able to take off the winter and heal the right way because if I had kept pushing myself the injury could have lingered throughout the rest of my career. It definitely worked.” The 36-year-old Napolitano, the younger brother of perennial Pocono driving champ George Napolitano Jr., has won 2,491 races in his career and earned at least $2 million in purses the past three years. Until recently, Napolitano spent the winters driving at Florida’s Pompano Park. He started driving at the Meadowlands during the winters in 2015. In his first winter, November 2015-March 2016, he won 48 races -- second best among all drivers during that time frame -- and produced a positive 20-percent return on investment (ROI) for his backers. Overall at the Meadowlands since November 2015, Napolitano has won 15-percent of his races, 94 of 625, and produced a positive 23-percent ROI. His ROI is the best among all drivers during that time span. “I’m just happy to be in the mix of things,” Napolitano said. “I’m going to try to stay at Yonkers on Thursday and Meadowlands on Friday throughout the year instead of quitting them completely. I’m going to try to keep my foot in the door this year and see how it goes. I’m just thankful I can go to these tracks and people are willing to use me.” He also is thankful to feel completely healthy. “It makes you appreciate what you’ve got,” he said. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Anthony Napolitano and Eric Carlson had the hot hands Friday night at the Meadowlands, as each harness racing driver found their way to the winner's circle three times. After winning five times last Friday, "ANap" kept the winners coming by scoring with Flamingo Pete ($12.60 to win, 1:58.1 for the mile) in the second race conditioned trot, Northern Assassin A ($7.00 as the favorite, 1:53.3) in the ninth race conditioned pace and Star Studded Cast ($6.60 as the favorite, 1:58) in the 12th race conditioned trot. Carlson's winners came with Joyful Game ($15.80, 1:54.2) in the third race fillies and mares conditioned pace, Rossini ($5.20 as the favorite, 1:57.3) in the eighth race conditioned trot and It Really Matters ($29.80, 1:57.1) in the 10th race conditioned trot. A LITTLE MORE: One lucky player hit big in the Pick-5 (Races 3 through 7), as the one ticket that had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7 was worth $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. ... The Pick-4 remained popular as many winners shared in the total pool of $70,580, with each cashing in for $560.85 for a 50-cent wager, despite two favorites and one 5-2 shot winning during the sequence. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five once again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, swelling the carryover to $108,155. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,601,550. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. One lucky player crushed the Pick-5 at the Meadowlands Friday night. After a total of $47,663 was poured into the pool for the wager that spans races 3 through 7, when the dust cleared, one ticket had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7, good for a payoff of $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Driver Anthony Napolitano has been doing good things at the Meadowlands for the last three winters, and Friday night at the Big M, he was without question the big man on campus, winning five times on the 13-race harness racing card. Napolitano had help. With Yannick Gingras absent, 'ANap' drove trainer Ron Burke's stock, and the duo teamed up to win four times on the card. Their winners were Noble Prize ($5.20 to win as the favorite, 1:56.3 for the mile) in the fourth race conditioned trot, Jaded Dream ($7.20, 1:53) in the fifth race conditioned pace for fillies and mares, Stormont Wizard ($5.40 as the public choice, 1:53.4) in the ninth race conditioned trot and Misslarose ($3.60 as the chalk, 1:55) in the 12th race conditioned trot. Napolitano capped his big night in style, scoring in the 13th race fillies and mares conditioned pace with 12-1 chance Heavenly Bet ($26.80, 1:53) for trainer Brianne Good, who recorded a training double on the card. A LITTLE MORE: Marcus Miller also had a big night, guiding three winners on the card. ... The Pick 4 was popular as usual, as the second biggest pool of the year, $88,456, was wagered. The return for a 50-cent bet was $209.15 with favorites winning the last three legs. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,524,710. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five once again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, and as a result, the carryover crept ever closer to the $100,000 mark, just a little over $3,000 short at $96,484. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 6:35 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Lis Mara gelding Ontario Success had quite the adventuresome trip going from last at the quarter to first at the finish in the $20,000 pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, but he got the job done nicely for harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano in 1:51.2 with the temperature in the cool mid-50s. Ontario Success did not leave, but the two primary quick starters, Milliondollarwave and Maxdaddy Blue Chip, hooked wheels coming out of the first turn, with several of the horses directly in behind them having their chances severely compromised in the ensuing melee. Napolitano had to go wide in front of the stands to avoid major trouble, but indeed would suffer relatively minor difficulty and went up to third going to the second turn. Off that bend Ontario Success started a first-over journey, wore down El Bloombito, who had emerged with the lead after the early trouble, then held off the second-over Bruce's Magic by a length. Ron Burke trains the winner of $425,430 for his family's Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Pocono will race as usual Sunday night at 7:30, and then on Monday it switches over to that day's post time at the mountain oval for the rest of the year, 4:30 p.m. The Labor Day Monday card is a great one - the $1.2M+ Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for two-year-olds, featuring the undefeated trotting filly Manchego and other stars of the future. PHHA / Pocono

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