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WILKES-BARRE, PA - On Monday morning, horsemen at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be checking with the Downs' Racing Office to confirm that their horses - most of them new barn members after Saturday's third and final preliminary round of the Game Of Claims Pacing Series - had enough points to make their rich harness racing finals on Saturday, March 6, and they likely will also be checking the availability of driver Anthony Napolitano, who had six wins Saturday, five in claiming preliminaries. The horses entered in the section of the Series for $25,000-base price horses saw Melanie's Tedy become the prelim point leader by virtue of a 1:54.3 triumph over sloppy going, joining Glengarry Knight N and Horsing Around as two-time winners in this class. Glengarry Knight N was second-leading point earner - and Horsing Around, despite his double victories, did not even rank in the top nine horses in the totals, as he skipped the first week, and now has to hope for defections to get in the $50,000 Championship.   The possibility of defections is why everyone will focus on the draw for this Championship so much, in two ways: the series' rules say no owner or trainer can have more than two horses in any single Game Of Claims Championship, and seven out of the top point earners were claimed on Saturday! The unofficial early listing of the top nine is Melanie's Tedy, Glengarry Knight N, Iammrbrightside N, Captain Nash, Apex Seelster, Union Station and American Rebel (tie), and A Real Miracle and Mississippi Rabbit (tie); Tullow N and Horsing Around are "on the bubble." (Check with the Pocono Race Office for the official final totals.) Only three of Saturday's seven winners are preliminarily on the Championship list; trainer Darren Taneyhill sent out three winners (all guided by ANap), but only Union Station has a decent chance to return. The "landing strip" for the $30,000 Championship for $15,000-base price horses is a little bit less congested, as on Saturday Sunset Braydon and Royal Heart (the 2020 series winner for this price) posted their second victories in this class, joining Fernado as two-time winners, and that trio ranking 1-2-3 in points from first-named to last. Royal Heart will get to stay with trainer Travis Alexander for another week after being haltered out of the first two legs, but he is one of only two out of the top nine pointwinners in this class who was not claimed on Saturday. The unofficial early ranking for this group is Sunset Braydon, Royal Heart, Fernado, Busboy Hanover and Thisjetsabookin (tie), Cash Is King, Just Plain Loco, and Polak A and Shoreview (tie); Best Trick Ever and White Hair Rocks are the AEs. Obviously the claiming box was rocking and rolling again on Saturday, with 20 horses taken for $537,500 in advance of these finals, bringing the season totals to 117 claims for $2,220,375. And that's after just five cards of the 2021 season. Those figures should be added to on Sunday, when the final preliminary for $10,000- and $7500-base price horses will be conducted during a 5 p.m. card, with program pages available at For full results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing reinsman George Napolitano Jr. drove three of the four winners in $10,000 second preliminary round action of the Game Of Claims Pacing Series for $10,000-base price horses on the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. However, he's not assured of a drive next week behind any of them - because all three of them were claimed here, as they were last week. The base claiming price went up to $12,500 for this prelim of the progressively-priced pace, but slips were in for the two repeaters. The faster of the two double winners was the Always A Virgin gelding Sweet Talkin Satin, home strongly in 1:53 with the temperature below freezing for one-week trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen.   That last-named duo also lost another new charge of a week, the Bettor's Delight gelding Love The Action, who followed up a second last time with a victory in this week's fastest time among all the Sunday claimers, 1:52.1 - a new lifetime mark by almost four seconds. The other repeat winner at this level, also changing barns after a seven- day stay, was the American Ideal gelding Myidealson N, who toured the Pocono oval in 1:54 for "George Nap," trainer Brianne Good, also co-owner with Phillip Fluet Stable LLC. In five $7500 divisions of Game Of Claims action for $7500-base horses (tagged for $9000 this week with the progression), the Well Said gelding Rojan's Way was the only repeat winner, overcoming the brutal first-over journey to win in 1:54.3 for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Marta Piotrow, and owner Melvin Fink. But although his connections got two Series prelim wins from him, Rojan's Way won't give them a third prelim success, as he too was taken back to a new home after a claim. Despite the increase in purchase price for the weekend's second series prelim, 37 more horses changed homes via the claiming box, for an outlay of $681,375. In the four Game Of Claims cards (last Saturday-Sunday and this), there were a total of 97 claims, ringing up $1,682,875. George Napolitano Jr. had four wins on the night to head the sulky colony. FINISHING LINES - Pocono will be staging its first Monday card of the year at 12:30. Monday racing will continue at that time through the end of the meet, which comes on October 30. For full results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Pompano Beach, FL — George Napolitano Sr., 96, passed peacefully at his home on Saturday (Nov. 7) after enjoying a life with horses for three-quarters of a century. At the age of 12 and 13, he, along with his father, Joseph, broke mustangs as wagon pulling horses used for the delivery of fruits and vegetables. Married at the age of 17, George soon thereafter served his country in World War II and, upon returning from active duty, resumed his love affair with the horse community, becoming a Standardbred trainer in the mid-1950s at Roosevelt Raceway. The patriarch of one the most successful racing families in Florida became interested in owning racehorses in the late 1950s when he and wife, Carmela, bought Flying Scotchman at a Yonkers sale. He was a member of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and the United States Trotting Association. He was inducted into the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2012. George is preceded in death by his loving wife of 76 years, Carmela; and his only son, Joseph. He is survived by his four daughters, 15 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Services will be at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church, 1400 S. State Road 7, North Lauderdale, FL 33068 at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday (Nov. 12). From the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing drivers Simon Allard and Anthony Napolitano had the hot hands at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon, with Simon bringing in five winners and Anthony just behind him with four. Surprisingly, the crowd did not catch on to the successful drivers, as each only numbered one favorite among their victories. Simon Allard finished just ahead of Anthony Napolitano three times and his brother George once, with Anthony was first in races where George was second three times and another where Simon was second. George did get a winner in the last race on the card and as usual has far and away the highest seasonal total at The Downs. The $17,200 featured trot was won by the Muscle Hill gelding Muscle M Up, driven by Anthony - and in this race the Napolitano "family theme" was continued, as the winner is trained by Ãke Svanstedt, for whom George drove two stakes winners at Philly Friday. Muscle M Up went first-over and still won by two lengths over Scirocco Rob (Allard) in 1:52.2 for Knutsson Trotting Inc.   There was a pair of $14,000 co-features, with Simon Allard guiding the American Ideal Casual Cool gelding to victory in 1:50.1 despite also having to take the grinding uncovered route. Joesstar Of Mia A (A Nap) was a half-length behind the Daniel Renaud trainee, who raised his earnings to $330,009 for the Dune Road Stables LLC. In the trotting co-headliner, area newcomer Justin Huckabone continued to impress with the Winning Mister gelding Winning Legends, who ran his eastern Pennsylvania record for his trainer/driver and owner Jonathan Applebaum to 6-3-2-0 since coming to the area two months ago. Winning Legends won by a neck in a career best 1:53.2 over Broadway Athena (ANap), who charged home from last to come up just shy. Finally, Larry Stalbaum celebrated his first return to Pocono since July 19 and only his second card here since March 9 with a pair of sulky successes. The double included the fastest mile of the day, with Stalbaum and the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Closing Statement blasting down the road under duress in :25.4, :53.4 and 1:20.4, yet still making a decisive closing statement in winning by 6¼ lengths in a lifetime best 1:49.3 for trainer Randy Bendis, co-owner with Pollack Racing LLC. From the PHHA / The Downs

PACER OF THE WEEK: SHES SPORTY A In the case of harness racing claiming handicaps, the best horses often have to deal with the toughest posts. Case in point: This six-year-old mare from the barn of trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, who came into Sunday night's $10,000 to $12,500 claiming handicap pace with two straight wins, including one at The Downs. In that victory at Pocono, Shes Sporty A had to overcome a #9 post position. She was back in that spot trying to do it again on Sunday night, going off as the even-money favorite. Driver Anthony Napolitano was able to find her a nice spot in the pocket behind pacesetter Always Be Lucy. In the stretch, Shes Sporty A rolled past, once again handling the tough post and posting he victory in 1:52:3. Honorable Mention Rock The Town (Anthony Napolitano, Darren Taneyhill), who followed up a victory at Harrah's with a condition victory at Pocono on Saturday in 1:50:3. Joesstar Of Mia A (Anthony Napolitano, Steven Brabrook), who captured Saturday afternoon's $14,000 featured condition pace in 1:50:3. Billy Lincoln N (Marcus Miller, Tahnee Camilleri), who won Sunday night's featured condition pace in 1:52:2, beating previously unbeaten Scootnroll in the process. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: EV'S GIRL Trained by Brianne Good, this four-year-old mare surprised a $12,500 claiming trot group on September 28 at Pocono as a 24-1 winner. In that race, Ev's Girl came from well off the pace to get the victory in 1:56:4. On Sunday night, she was suddenly the belle of the bettors at Pocono, going off as a 7-5 betting favorite. Leaving from a #6 post in a field of eight, Ev's Girl decided to change her strategy from her previous win. Well, at least driver Anthony Napolitano did, sending the mare to the front end and dictating the pace. The bottom line was her second straight victory, as this time she came home in a new career-best time of 1:56. Honorable Mention Explosive Breakaway (Tom Jackson, Fred Grant), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a victory at Pocono on Saturday in a $14,000 condition trot in 1:54:2. Broadway Athena (Anthony Napolitano, Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who came off a victory at Harrah's to score a condition win on Saturday at Pocono in 1:53:2, the fastest trotting time of the week. Pilgrims Tide (Simon Allard, Shane Tritton), who dominated in the claiming handicap featured trot on Tuesday with a win in a career-best 1:54:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ROCK THREE TIMES This veteran pacer driven by Anthony Napolitano in the bike came from well off the pace in a condition race on Tuesday for the win at 22-1, paying off $46.20 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO It was all A-Nap this past weekend at Pocono, as he tore it up to the tune of five driving wins apiece on Saturday and Sunday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DARREN TANEYHILL Taneyhill enjoyed the best single-day performance of any trainer in 2020 at Pocono on Saturday when his trainees came up with four victories. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs            

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Normally the spotlight for this harness racing card Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono would fall on trainer Darren Taneyhill, who posted four victories during the matinee performance to move into third place in the conditioners standings, but George Napolitano Jr. and his brother Anthony, 1-2 atop the Pocono standings, were at it again Saturday. Nine-time winners between them this past Monday, they bettered themselves here with ten victories, including the first three and then seven of the last eight. Each reported home first five times on the day, including twice each with Taneyhill trainees. Anthony Nap now has ten winners over the last three cards at Pocono; George has 22 victories during the last five performances at the mountain oval, and 34 wins in eastern Pennsylvania from last Saturday onward, including his Harrah's Philly wins. The ten-year-old gelding Lachie Maguire N turned a fast profit for owner Robert Weinstein, who claimed him for $30,000 out of the top claiming handicap pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono last Saturday. This week the veteran came on to win the $16,000 claiming feature in 1:51, and was taken for a $32,000 price - a $10,000 profit ($8000 purse + $2000 hike in price) minus expenses for a week of ownership. Lachie Maguire N "paced back to his breeding" - his sire is Bettor's Delight, and he was the crowd favorite, and his dam's sire is In The Pocket, which is where he raced as Daamericansky cut out fractions of :26.3, :55.2, and 1:23.1. Driver Jim Marohn Jr., handling the horse for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, sent the winner of $471,637 up the Pocono Pike and got him past Daamericansky, who had to settle for second for the third straight week, by three-quarters of a length.   There were a pair of $14,000 co-features for the fast-class set, one on each gait. The trotters were up first, and they were led home by the Explosive Matter gelding Explosivebreakaway in a 1:54.2 mile. The even-money favorite despite 30 days away from the races, Explosivebreakway had to come first-up against pacesetting My Lindy Winner, who got fairly soft fractions. Nonetheless, in a 27.4 last quarter it was the first-over who emerged with a 1¼ length victory over late-charging Goes Down Smooth, with My Lindy Winner holding on for third. Tom Jackson drove the winner for trainer Fred Grant, who is also co-owner with Janice Rubin, Steve Katz, and Murray Brown. Joesstar Of Mia A also found being first-over not an insurmountable obstacle, getting home first in 1:50.3 in the pacing co-feature. Rock The Devil moved to the lead in front of the stands and set the pace, opening a large advantage that he carried to midstretch, but Joesstar Of Mia A never said never and caught the tiring leader by a neck. Anthony Napolitano rallied the Roll With Joe gelding for trainer Steven Brabrook and owners Jonathan Lapp Jr. and Wish Me Luck Stables LLC. From the PHHA / The Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Break The Bank K gelding Magic Vacation, who had not gotten home first since July 2018 before winning a week ago, posted a repeat victory in taking the $12,800 claiming trot feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday afternoon. Anthony Napolitano (an 11-time winner during this week's four cards here) again sent Magic Vacation frontward early despite a jump in class, and the pair were parked well past a :27.1 opener getting by favored Crossfit to the lead. The half-mile pole was reached in :55.4, and the pacesetter got no respite as Pilgrims Tide came up uncovered going to the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Crossfit swung wide out of the pocket to loom boldly as these three, the only real contenders, turned for home. Crossfit disappointed his backers by going offstride in early stretch and Pilgrims Tide actually gained a short advantage, but Magic Vacation dug in and defeated his rival by the smallest possible margin in 1:54. Especially for a horse who went 778 days between visits to the winners circle before last week, Magic Vacation looks to be in prime form now for trainer Steven Brabrook and owner Jaypaul Hoover.   A couple of winners in the "nw 2 races" trotting class earn a note. Gotta Believe, a freshman daughter of Donato Hanover out of Mets Life (a half-sister to $1.3M-winning Met's Hall), showed only a 2:04 time in a qualifier before making her debut here, but she came from last in the 8-horse field to break her maiden in 1:57.1 and pay $80.40. Andy Miller drove the undefeated filly for Andy Miller Stable Inc., Thomson Sisters Racing Stable, and Let It Ride Stables Inc.; for trainer Julie Miller, this second $50+ winner at the meet tied her on top of the Pocono standings in that category. The Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Zapaca improved his lifetime record to 5-for-6 - all without leaving the "nw2" category! - with a 1:55.1 win for driver Tyler Buter (who had five victories Tuesday), trainer Dale Gilmour, and UptownpetsCom Stable Inc. The last four wins have come at Pocono, which also has a "nw $20,000 lifetime" section in its eligibility for this level, and now Zapaca, having exceeded that total, will be facing tougher opposition, which he may well be able to handle. FINISHING LINES - Pocono will now be dark this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; the next card of racing at the mountain oval will be Tuesday, September 15, with a Rainbow Pick 5 carryover of $195,039. That card will be drawn for on Wednesday, September 9. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Skyway Quinton, circling four-wide on the far turn around horses who had been used hard early, stayed strong to the wire to take the $17,200 pacing feature in 1:50.2 on Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Anthony Napolitano kept the victorious son of Real Desire near the back of the pack as favored Alluneedisfaith N yielded to Rollwithpapajoe near the quarter, after which that one put up splits of :26.1, :55.2, and 1:22.1. A first-over bid from Western Fame and a three-wide sweep from Luciano N did not gain on the frontenders, but Skyway Quinton did, pulling away to win by 1½ lengths over two Pocono Pike users who dead-heated for second - chalk Alluneedisfaith N and Prairie Panther, the longest shot on the board.   Skyway Quinton, sent off at 8-1, scored his 20th career victory and raised his earnings to $199,477 for trainer Travis Alexander and owner Sarah Nichole Conrad. The $14,000 fast-class co-feature fell to the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Rock The Devil in 1:50.2. The first-over winner rocked his own third quarter in 26.1 to go to the lead nearing the three-quarters and went on to win comfortably for driver Jim Marohn Jr., trainer Nifty Norman, and the Scarlett Stables LLC. 11-year-old Atta Boy Dan, Pocono's Pacer of the Year in 2019, is doing pretty well in 2020 as well, recording his third straight win and sixth of the season in 1:51.1. Parked past a stinging :25.4 opening quarter, the Western Terror gelding stayed game and strong to the wire for driver George Napolitano Jr. while recording his 77th career win while boosting his earnings to $1,008,564. Peter Pellegrino trains the evergreen pacer for owner Stephen Larkin. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - "Youthful veteran" harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano recorded the 3000th victory of his driving career Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with a hard-earned victory behind the Artspeak sophomore pacing miss Winning Words. The favored filly had to go the difficult first-over route, yet held off a host of distaffs coming from every direction to take a new mark of 1:53.4. The 38-year-old Napolitano, brother of local top reinsman George Napolitano Jr., is currently in the 20th year of his sulky career. His horses have won over $1 million for twelve consecutive years, including the last five years with their earnings each being over $2 million. His best money year came in 2018, when he handled the winners of $3.5 million. Anthony has also won over 200 races in each of the last four seasons, with his yearly high in 2009 at 295. Anthony currently ranks fifth in victories and third in money earned among the talented Pocono driving community. The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Rockapelo, who a month ago was racing against Meadowlands Preferred company, got a far easier field to face in the finale and responded with an all-by-himself victory in 1:49.1, fastest mile so far in 2020 at Pocono. Matt Kakaley sent the winner of $354,662 right down the road and increased his lead throughout the last half in winning for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC along with Phil Collura. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano, who won one of the two divisions of the first prelim of the Game Of Claim Series for pacing mares on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, went himself one better by sweeping the two $15,000 divisions of the first prelim of the Game Of Claims Series for $15,000-base trotters Monday. Tactically "Anthony Nap" was well-diversified. In the first division, he sent Manwithamission, a gelded son of Manofmanymissions (a 2010 Breeders Crown winner here) to control the pace with two moves, then stepped home in 1:56.3 for trainer Steve Salerno and owner Jack Piatt III - who promptly lost the horse to a claim in the chess game that is the Game Of Claims prelims. For Manwithamission, it was his fifth winning effort in seven 2020 starts. Steve Salerno had even better luck in the second Game Of Claims divisions - the Uncle Peter gelding ELO Hanover, whom he co-owns with trainer Emily Bost, not only won in 1:57.2, but they did not lose him to a claim. Napolitano brought this one from far back off of cover, tipping wide and getting by a contentious bunch late. The most impressive winner on the Pocono card was a maiden pacer making his second career start 236 days after making his first. But the Somebeachsomewhere - Allamerican Memoir sophomore colt Remember The Beach (a full brother to $900G+-winning world champion Beach Memories) certainly had the pedigree to improve from freshman to sophomore status, as indeed he did, winning in 1:52.4 for driver Josert Fonseca, trainer Nancy Takter, and owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. Fonseca put rivals in behind in a hot :26 opener, yielded to favored Devil Or Angel and sat on his back through middle splits of :54.4 and 1:23.2, then came out nearing headstretch and took right over, suggesting more success may be in his immediate future. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The male harness racing pacers had their Game Of Claims Series opportunities early in the meet at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono; starting this week, pacing mares and trotters will start their series, with the sidewheeling distaffs kicking off on Sunday. The Napolitano brothers drove the winners of the two $10,000 divisions of the first prelim, for $10,000 base-price horses, with Anthony guiding the Hypnotic Blue Chip mare Melanie's Filly right to the top en route to a 1:54 victory. But if trainer Daniel Maier and owner Antonia Storer want to see this mare racing for them in the $20,000 Championship event in three weeks, they'll have to pony up some money - as the winner was haltered for the $12,000 price, mares getting their standard 20% price allowance. (And the base price goes up a bit each week in the Game Of Claims prelims.) Brother George's 1:54.3 winner in the other first round prelim, the Rockin Image mare Summer Rock, also will not be returning to the connections of trainer Robert Lounsbury and owner Robert Main - such is the competitive nature of Pocono horsemen, especially with the prospect of a shot at big money just down the line. In all, four of the mares in the series were claimed, with six claims total on the night, for $70,500. High-level trotters rounded out the Sunday Pocono action in a $17,500 contest, with a four-across-the-wire finish going to Presidente Zette, a son of Muscle Hill, who was just up in 1:54.3 for driver Jim Marohn Jr. and trainer/owner Cozette McAvoy. Presidente Zette won by a head, while a long photo separated the closely-placed noses of Two AM, Volare, and Broadway Mojo in that order. A pair of victorious mares worth noting are the McArdle veteran Lispatty, who won her 2020 debut in 1:52.4 to boost her lifetime bankroll to $918,485, and the Kikikolt distaff Blackwell Ruby IR, who started her career on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean but has kept her winning ways, as she is now 5-for-6 this year and 11-for-15 lifetime after also winning in 1:52.4. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The harness racing driving brothers Anthony and George Napolitano Jr. certainly held the hot hands during Wednesday morning's qualifying session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and each teamed well with a specific trainer - Anthony guided four Jose Godinez trainees to victory, with four horses conditioned by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera brought home first by George. Two of the "ANap"-Godinez horses took the primary spotlight, as they defeated free-for-all horses Western Fame and Springsteen, both members of Team Allard. Western Fame, the 2019 Levy Final winner and a winner in morning action here last week, had to settle for second, 3¾ lengths behind the two-moving Havefaithinme N, who tripped the timer in a solid 1:52, last half :55, for the ownership of Blindswitch Racing Stable, Gary Axelrod, Good Friends Racing Stable, and Santo Farina. And if the nine-year-old Havefaithinme N's name rings a certain bell, that's because it should - the altered son of Bettor's Delight is a career winner of $1.3 million, and in 2016 he paced what was at the time the fastest mile in Australasian harness history, 1:47 5/10, in winning the Miracle Mile over the Menangle Park 7/8-mile oval. Springsteen, now five and the winner of the 2018 Hempt Memorial right here at Pocono, closed determinedly from far back, but his :55.1-:27.1 bid home came up a head shy of the American Ideal mare Sally Fletcher A, who also made two moves controlling the tempo in a 1:54.4, with Blindswitch Racing Stable doubling up in the Wednesday morning "features." The most impressive of the George Nap - Garcia-Herrera horses was the $900,000+-winning Lispatty, who stepped home in :55.2 - :27.2 as the McArdle mare toured the Pocono oval in 1:53 for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen. FINISHING LINES - After Saturday's card at 5 p.m., Pocono switches post times in March to its standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 4 p.m. on most other racing days, primarily Monday and Tuesday. There will be racing Sunday, March 1 at 7 p.m., and then the first Monday card of the year on the 2nd at 4 p.m., with three cards a week in vogue throughout the end of March. Racing is going into the second month of the 2020 season at the Down at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and horsemen racing at the track in Northeast PA should be aware of opening times for the Paddock and stable gate area.  Going forward, the stable gate will open one and a half hours prior to first Lasix, and the Paddock one hour prior to first Lasix.  Post Times for March are 7:00PM on Saturday and Sunday, and 4:00PM on Monday, with the addition of Tuesday at 4:00PM in April. Also, the Ship-in barn will open Monday, March 2, and training for the rest of the season will take place out of the ship-in barn. Any questions, please contact Paddock Judge Luann Sensenbach at 570.831.2125. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Explosive Matter gelding Scirocco Rob notched his third win in his last four starts on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, coming home 2¼ lengths to the good of The Lionking AS in the $17,500 featured trot at the mountain oval. The Lionking AS sped away from the rail to take the early lead in a :27.2 opener; Scirocco Rob was soon on the move to the lead, and he got a big breather in the second split, reaching the half in :57.2. From there the sprint home was on, and nobody had more sprint than Scirocco Rob, who trotted home in :56.1 - :28 to win easily for trainer Mark Silva and owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. Scirocco Rob was driven by George Napolitano Jr., who had won eight races on Saturday, including each of the last five races, which make up the track's Rainbow Pick 5 bet. Sunday George combined with his brother Anthony for another "Napolitano Rainbow Pick 5 sweep," as he took the first two races in the sequence, while Anthony won the last three. All of Anthony's Rainbow winners were with non-favorites, after the chalk had won the first ten races on the 13-race card. Anthony and George wound up with four driving successes each on Sunday. Between Saturday night, Sunday afternoon at Philly, and Sunday back at Pocono, George had fifteen wins, which included the Pocono features on both Saturday and Sunday and also two stakes wins in the Simpson Series at Philly. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Armbro Operative mare Don't Think Twice A became the first favorite to win during the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, using the Pocono Pike to take both the tenth race $21,500 featured pace for mares and a new mark of 1:51.1. Despite an absence from the races of 18 days, the winner started well and got the pocket spot behind pacesetting Baron Remy as that one cut fractions of :27.1, :55.4, and 1:23.4, with Dont Think Twice A getting the perfect trip in the two-hole. Driver Anthony Napolitano didn't have to think twice about pulling on his mare's left line when the inside lane came clear, and the winner outfooted Baron Remy by a half-length for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Michael Goldberg Racing LLC and A Harris Racing LLC. Pilgrims Lass enjoyed the drop from stakes company and showed that appreciation by recording her first win of the season in a $15,000 co-featured trot. The Muscle Mass filly, trained by Scott Andrews for owner Edward Andrews, made the early lead for Matt Kakaley, yielded at the quarter to sit the pocket behind Bag O Chips, then came out in the stretch to catch that one by ¾ of a length while reducing her lifetime best to 1:55.3. From the  PHHA / Pocono Downs

There is no denying that we are coming into the home stretch at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the 2019 harness racing season. Soon we'll be taking a look at the horses and humans that are deserving of year-end honors. In the meantime, we still have a full schedule of overnight racing taking place each week, providing plenty of candidates for the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: FEELING CAM LUCKY His name may signify good fortune, but for most of 2019, this seven-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera hasn't exactly enjoyed much of it. Coming into an $11,000 condition pace on September 14, Feeling Cam Lucky had raced 25 times this year and had hit the board in 15 of those starts. But despite being in contention so often, he was winless coming into that start, this despite racking up 11 wins in 2018. Feeling Cam Lucky finally rectified that with a rallying win that night in 1:50:4. Given that shot of confidence, the gelding stepped up in class to meet a $12,000 condition pacing group on Saturday night. Leaving from post position #4 in a field of seven at middling odds of 7-2, he flashed excellent early speed to grab the lead. The pace was slowed down for the second panel, but then Feeling Cam Lucky, with George Napolitano Jr. urging him on, provided a burst on the back stretch, ticking off the third quarter in 27 seconds even. That strategy shook everybody in the field except 21-1 shot Electric Western, who stayed close in the pocket. For a moment as Electric Western surged, it looked like Feeling Cam Lucky might be in line for another hard-luck loss. But the taste of winning he picked up in his previous start seemed to help, as he fought off Electric Western for the victory in 1:50:2 by 1 ¼ lengths. He has a way to go to catch up with his numbers from last year, but Feeling Cam Lucky might be ready for a winning streak now that fortune has started to turn his way. Other top pacers this week include: Sweet Rock (Eric Carlson, Wayne Givens), who rallied for a victory in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50:1; Rockin In the Hills (Anthony Napolitano, Jose Godinez), who scored a win in a condition on Saturday night in 1:49:4, a new career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; and Don't Think Twice A (Anthony Napolitano, Andrew Harris), who captured Tuesday night's featured condition pace for mares in a career-best 1:51:1. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SCIROCCO ROB Scirocco Rob has been alternating between sizzling miles and breaks of stride of late at Pocono. He came into the $17,500 condition trot on Sunday night with breaks in two of his previous races. Also included in that stretch for the four-year-old gelding was a hard-luck second at the $17,500 level and a victory at the $14,000 level in 1:54:1. Considering the win was in his previous start in Sunday night, it was understandable if some of those bettors who made him an even-money favorite bit their nails while they watched the race. After all, if Scirocco Rob had followed his recent pattern, he would have gone off-stride. Instead, he started fast, then allowed Whats The Word to speed on by and take the early lead. Throughout the mile, Whats The Word stayed aggressive on the lead, putting up fractions that made it difficult for the rest of the field to stay close without exerting a lot of energy. But Scirocco Rob hung around in his pocket seat, waiting for his moment to move on the leader. That moment came in the stretch, when driver George Napolitano Jr. tipped him to the outside to go after Whats The Word. The pacesetter was game, but Scirocco Rob, who is trained by Mark Silva, powered past to win it by a half-length in a speedy time of 1:52:1, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Now that he has won two in a row, those worries of inconsistency seem to be in the rear-view for now for this talented gelding. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Lindy's Big Bang (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who picked up his second straight condition win on Saturday night, scoring in 1:53:1; Inner Peace (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), who earned his second straight condition victory on Sunday night with a win in 1:55; and Zooming (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), the 11-year-old veteran who rallied for a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:54:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: BURGUNDY B This three-year-old filly driven by Eric Carslon snuck up from the pocket to win a condition trot on Monday afternoon at 35-1, paying off $73.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The meet's leading driver seems to be getting stronger as the year progresses, as he rolled to at least four driving wins on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ROBERT CLEARY The Cleary barn produced the fastest winning time on Sunday night (with Rebel Rouser) and the featured condition pace winner on Monday night (with Vodka On The Beach.) That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

WILKES-BARRE PA, - The Well Said mare Lady Dela Renta A, now 2-for-3 in the United States, paced an impressive 1:49.2 mile in taking the $17,500 distaff feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Anthony Napolitano got away fourth with the recent import as Bettorhaveanother took the field to the quarter in :26.2, then began a grinding move as early mover Lyons River Pride took the field to the half in :55. Lady Dela Renta A gained into a 1:21.4 three-quarter clocking, then showed no ill effects from the rough two-move trip, stretching out for more ground to the wire in defeating Lyons River Pride by a length. Lady Dela Renta A, a five-year-old mare, had put together 14 wins in 41 Down Under starts and $155,814 on her card when she was purchased by Blindswitch Racing Stable and Dolne Farm Services LLC and turned over to trainer Jose Godinez, and her connections looked to have made an astute purchase who may be capable of even better feats. Turville Hanover followed the cover of Bag O Chips around the far turn, then kicked on to beat out that rival by a neck in a $15,000 co-featured trot while taking a new mark of 1:54.4. Trainer Jeff Gregory guided the sophomore Cantab Hall gelding, who was unraced at two but now has posted five wins in 13 starts for Jeff Gregory Inc., Stuart Morgan, and Steven Finkelstein. FINISHING LINES - The draw is Wednesday morning for one of the biggest cards of the season at The Downs, next Monday's twilight program which features the three $100,000 Championships of the Great Northeast Open Series at 1¼ miles as well as all eight of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships during an action-packed lineup of races. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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