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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 jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. 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

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Roll With Joe gelding Benji's Best, who snapped Atta Boy Dan's five-race winning streak in the top claiming handicap pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono last Saturday, handled the jump to the $21,500 conditioned company this Saturday, winning despite a first-over trip in 1:50.4. Anthony Napolitano, who had four wins on the night as did his brother George, was fifth as Another Daily Copy took the field to the quarter in :27, then yielded to Soho Wallstreet A, who fronted the group to the half in :54.4. Benji's Best moved first-over and gained steadily to a 1:23.3 three-quarters, then continued his relentless grind, made the lead in the stretch, then held off the Pocono Pike charge of Another Daily Copy by a head, with Soho Wallstreet A staying on for third. It was the fourth straight victory for Benji's Best, who was claimed for $25,000 on July 27 by the partnership of Ameer Najor and trainer Dan Maier, was passed up when offered for $30,000 last week, and now has earned $20,750 in his two starts for Team Najor-Maier and $150,769 lifetime. Atta Boy Dan bounced right back from having his winning streak snapped, winning in the $20,000 claiming handicap pacing event in 1:49.4. Despite being outside past the 3/8 in making the lead from the outside post six for Anthony Napolitano, Atta Boy Dan had enough left late to withstand inside-shooting longshot Lucbobski, with Pembroke Wildcat third behind the ten-year-old Western Terror gelding. Atta Boy Dan now has 12 victories in 23 seasonal starts, with earnings of $132,815 in 2019; his lifetime stats show 64 career triumphs and a bankroll of $876,417. He won on Saturday for owner/trainer Antonia Storer, but he was claimed from his ninth straight start (three of them for Storer), for the tenth time this meet for the local record $40,000, and for the twelfth time since he came in from The Meadows in May. His next start will be for Clifford Grundy, his third stint for that ownership. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Favorites Spectre and Mass Fortune K both parlayed front-end trips into a victory in a $15,000 featured trot during the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Holiday Road gelding Spectre went to the lead before the :27.3 quarter for driver Anthony Napolitano, could back off the half to :57, picked up the pace to the 1:25.2 three-quarters, then held off a threat from pocketsitting P L Ketchup to take a two length victory. Rob Harmon trains the late-developing five-year-old for Adv Racing Stable LLC. After facing the likes of Greenshoe and Green Manalishi S in his last few starts, the Muscle Massive colt Mass Fortune K responded well to the change in company, taking a new lifetime mark of 1:55 for driver Pat Berry after making two early moves and putting up fractions of :28.2, :57.2, and 1:25.4. Mass Fortune K won by 8½ lengths in posting his first seasonal score after a six-figure campaign at two for trainer Charlie Norris and owner Robert Key. In a $14,000 distaff pace, Vorst was also a favored frontstepping winner, but her path to the winners circle was much harder. The Four Starzzz Shark mare, owned and trained by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, was parked past a :26.3 opener and went on to a :55.2 half, only to have second choice Attention Hanover come up to challenge and require a 1:22.2 three-quarters clocking. Vorst received constant last quarter urging from driver George Napolitano Jr., who had four wins on the card, and the mare responded even after being passed by pocketsitting Summer Charm in midstretch, surging back to take a half-length victory over Attention Hanover, who photoed out Summer Charm for second. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

As we head into the month of August, the realization that the 2019 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun has reached the back stretch might have dawned on you. Not that there has been any letdown in terms of the racing action, of course. But it is interesting how time flies when you're watching top-notch competition week in and week out. This week was more of the same, as you'll be able to tell from this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: BENJI'S BEST It seems like each and every week at Pocono we see a different claimer burst onto the scene with a huge mile. Last week it was Benji's Best, a five-year-old gelding who came into a $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap pace on July 20 without a win and left it with a 15 ½ length victory in a career-best 1:50. He had shown signs leading into that race with back-to-back second-place finishes. But winning by the biggest margin of any horse all meet was something nobody saw coming, especially because he wasn't even favored in that race. Needless to say, he was favored when he returned to action to face that same class on Saturday night. Even with the dreaded #9 post, Benji's Best was made the 8-5 betting choice. Whereas he had won for the Rene Allard barn in his previous start, following the claim he was representing trainer Jennifer Bongiorno on Saturday. With Hunter Oakes doing the driving, Benji's Best surged to the lead with a swooping move past Paprike Blue Chip on the paddock turn. On the back stretch, the favorite had to deal with first-over pressure from Rockin Rio. But it didn't seem to bother him when they turned for home, as he kicked away from the pursuit. Benji's Best came home a winner in 1:50:2, another quick time. His margin was a more modest but still impressive 3 ½ lengths over second-place Paprike Blue Chip. After going so long winless this year, this gelding seems to have decided he likes the feel of winning, so much so that it's easy to see him doing it again real soon. Other top pacers this week include: Jereme's General (George Napolitano Jr., Daniel Maier), who captured his second straight claiming handicap on Saturday night in 1:51:1; Atta Boy Dan (George Napolitano Jr., Brittany Robertson), who continued his dominance in the highest claiming group at Pocono with a fifth consecutive victory on Saturday night, this one in 1:49:3; and Ideal Rocky (Anthony Napolitano, Joe Pavia Jr.), who moved up in class on Monday to win his second straight condition pace, this one in 1:52. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SAY YOU DO The Todd Buter barn has been producing some outstanding trotters for several years now, and 2019 has been a banner year by any standard for his trainees. Earlier this year, we saw Rich And Miserable put together a long winning streak on the Pocono grounds. Lately the one getting the attention has been Say You Do, a four-year-old gelding on an impressive streak of his own. He came into the featured $21,500 condition trot on Sunday night with five straight victories. Included in that stretch were three straight wins at The Meadowlands, an Open Handicap score at Tioga, and a victory at Pocono against the same group on July 21. Up against a short field of five on Sunday night, Say You Do went off as a 3-5 favorite from post position #2. Although his win the previous week at Pocono had come with a late rally, driver Tyler Buter decided he wanted the favorite to dictate matters and this one, and Say You Do took over the lead on the first turn. The fractions were rated well on a sloppy track, with Say You Do keeping under control even as Fashion Creditor pulled up alongside him at the three-quarter pole with a first-over move. At the top of the stretch, Tyler Buter just had to ask Say You Do for a little more and he responded, giving a quick burst of speed to secure his lead and coming home in front by 1 ½ in 1:54:3 on the sloppy grounds. That makes six in a row for Say You Do, a stellar run of wins even for a barn that is getting used to such stretches. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Lindy's Big Bang (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who won his second straight condition race on Sunday night, getting it done in 1:54:1; Silvermass Volo (Eric Carlson, Michael Holcman), who moved up in class to pick up his second straight condition win on Sunday night, scoring in the slop in 1:56:1; and Flippen Creek (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), who followed up his maiden victory last week at Pocono with another condition win on Monday, this one coming in a new career-best time of 1:57:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MIDWAY ISLAND In Saturday night's featured condition pace, this gelding with Kevin Wallis in the bike pulled off a stunner at 40-1, paying off $82.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO A-Nap continues to enjoy what has probably been his finest meet ever at Pocono, and he kept it rolling by churning out five wins on the Saturday night program. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BRETT PELLING Pelling picked up pacing wins on back-to-back nights at Pocono this week, scoring with Yeahnah on Sunday and then with two-year-old filly and first-time starter Alexis's Beach on Monday. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

With the Kentucky Derby taking place this past Saturday and our traditional double-header of racing on that day, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted five cards of live harness racing instead of the usual four for the week. As if choosing for the Weekly Awards wasn't difficult enough, there are many more possibilities this time around because of the extra races. Let's take a look at who garners the honors for this busy week of harness racing action. PACER OF THE WEEK: HIGHALATOR On Saturday night, Pocono hosted its first big stakes race of the season with the Van Rose Invitational Pace for a purse of $50,000. It was also the first race at Pocono in the Great Northeast Open series, which inaugurated last year to much acclaim and will culminate with big-money finals at the end of the summer. Saturday night's race looked on paper like it would belong to Western Fame, who was coming off a convincing victory in the $500,000 final of the Levy series at Yonkers. But the field was full of top aged pacers, including Highalator, a standout five-year-old stallion from the Jenny Bier barn who always seems to rise to the occasion when he appears at Pocono. He left from the #2 post in a field of nine as the 2-1 second choice, while Western Fame left from the #7 spot at 3-5. Western Fame grabbed the engine while Highalator, with Richard Still in the bike, found the pocket seat early. The key to the race may have been how Western Fame was hounded by long shot The Wall and his first-over bid. In the stretch, the favorite couldn't summon enough to hold off the pursuit. Highalator, on the other hand, began to erupt as soon as the passing lane opened up. He flew home just a neck in front of Bettor Memories, who came out three-wide at the end of the mile with a lot of pace. Highalator paced the mile in 1:49:4 for yet another signature win on the Pocono oval. Other top pacers for the week included: Always At My Place (Anthony Napolitano, Ron Burke), who scored a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:49:1, which is the fastest pacing time of the year to date at Pocono; Dancin Hill (Tyler Buter, Gareth Dowse), who won his third straight race, the last two at Pocono, when he beat a claiming handicap group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:4; and Nine Ways (George Napolitano Jr., Antonia Storer), who moved up the condition ladder for his second straight victory on Saturday night, getting it done in a career-best 1:50:1.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TWO AM With the exception of a break of stride on April 14, this five-year-old gelding from the Todd Buter barn has been a consistent threat at Pocono in the 2019 meet. He has hit the board in three of four races here, peaking with a condition victory in a $21,500 featured condition trot on April 21 in 1:53:2. He returned to action in the $17,500 condition feature on Sunday night following a 6th place finish at the Meadowlands in his previous start. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight, Two AM, who went off as the 1-2 favorite, sat back and let others battle for the early lead on the sloppy track. After some jockeying for position, Truemass Volo grabbed the engine, while Two AM idled in fifth in the early portion of the race. But driver Tyler Buter didn't allow him to sit there for very long, sending him in motion first-over as the field headed into the clubhouse turn. Buter didn't wait around for cover, urging Two AM to engage Truemass Volo with his first-over move. He corralled the leader around the final turn and then left him, and the rest of the field, behind in the stretch. Despite being parked around two turns, the gelding still was out-trotting everybody in the lane, coming to the line a 3 ¼-length winner over Truemass Volo in 1:54:3, a time which was especially impressive considering the sloppy conditions. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tiger's Too Good (Anthony Napolitano, Pete Pellegrino), whose condition victory on Sunday night in the slop in 1:57 gave him two consecutive victories; Rich And Miserable (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who followed up a win at Yonkers with a condition win at Pocono on Sunday night in the slop in 1:56:2; and Karets (George Napolitano Jr., James Cosenza), who powered to a condition win on Monday in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time posted this week at Pocono.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHADY CITY A flying rally in the passing lane gave this condition pacer driven by Larry Stalbaum a victory on Saturday night at 24-1, good for a $51.40 payout on a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO A-Nap certainly enjoyed the double-header schedule on Saturday, as he picked up four driving victories in both the afternoon and evening cards.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TODD BUTER The Buter barn seems to have an endless supply of excellent trotters of all ages, as evidenced by Todd's wins with Two AM and Rich And Miserable on Sunday night. 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

We enjoyed quite the busy week of harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. High winds and slanting rains, Bobby Weiss Series action heating up, the fastest pacing time of the young season, and a 70-1 shot winning: All of it was part of the rich tapestry. Let's take a look back at all the wildness by handing out some Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: TURBO HILL In the three-and-four-year-old male pacers division of the Bobby Weiss series, it's hard to argue against this one as the class of the group. Yet he faced a situation on Saturday night where he wasn't favored in one of the races in the series. Hard to believe, considering that he came into the race on a five-race winning streak, two of which came at Pocono, and with a career record of seven wins in eight races for trainer and driver Hunter Oakes. Granted, Turbo Hill was a pretty prohibitive second choice at 4-5. Yet Sports Legend, who had won of three of four coming in, including a division of the Weiss in the first leg of the series, went off as the 3-5 choice. Leaving from post position #3 in a field of seven, it was Turbo Hill who got the jump, taking the lead over Sports Legend on the front stretch. And, with no pressure on the outside, Oakes was able to rate the pace in his horse's favor. At the top of the stretch, the race was pretty much a two-horse dance between the top two choices. Even though Sports Legend was attached to Turbo Hill at the top of the stretch, he couldn't gain through the lane. Instead, Turbo Hill, a four-year-old stallion, solidified his lead and came home a winner in a swift 1:51:2, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Sports Legend. These two might meet again in the final a few weeks hence, but, for now, Turbo Hill owns bragging rights. Other top pacers this week include: Hitman Hill (Hunter Oakes, Chris Oakes), who tore it up for a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:50:1, the fastest pacing time of the season to date at Pocono; Soho Wallstreet A (Pat Berry, Scott DiDomenico), who handled a top field in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50:3; and Major Bucks (Anthony Napolitano, William Adamczyk), who rose up the condition ladder to score his second straight win on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:3.   TROTTEER OF THE WEEK: HANKS TANK Sunday night brought our first off-track of the season. Heavy winds battered the horses and slanting rain poured over the track, making it a night that wasn't for the faint of heart. It also benefitted those who were able to get to the early lead, as horses coming from off the pace struggled to make up ground all night long. Hanks Tank, therefore, didn't seem to mind the conditions at all, as they very much suited his racing style. A six-year-old gelding trained by Rob Harmon, Hanks Tank was coming off a win in his previous start on April 7 in 1:55:3. He won that race on the front end, and, with Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, attempted the same kind of trip on Sunday night as he moved up in class to face the $11,000 condition group. The gelding went off as the 9-2 second choice, but he was the one sitting on the engine after winning an early speed duel with Very Very Fast. Hanks Tank then opened up a sizable advantage on the back stretch, as the rest of the field labored to get close to him. When the stretch arrived, Morrill no longer had to ask anything of his horse, and Hanks Tank was able to coast home a comfortable two-length victor. His second straight win came in a time of 1:56, which wasn't bad at all considering the sloppy track. Hanks Tank seems built for the weather, whatever it might be, when his form is as fine as it is right now. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Fire'N Woodshed (Eric Carlson, Kerry Welty), who moved to two-for-two in his career by winning a second straight condition win at Pocono on Monday, matching his debut's winning time of 1:56:3 in the process; Tyson (Andrew McCarthy, Edwin Gannon Jr.), who picked up his first win of the year in Sunday night's featured condition trot, posting a 1:55:1 mile in the slop; and Thisguyisonfire (Andrew McCarthy, Christopher Lakata), who followed up a win at Chester by scoring a condition victory on Sunday night in 1:54:3 in the slop.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LEAN ON YOU This condition pacer avoided trouble caused by a breaking horse in front of him on Saturday night and, with Jim Taggart Jr. in the bike, won at 70-1, paying off $143.40 for a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD Simon is once again perched high in the drivers' standings at Pocono, and this week was a big one for him, with multiple wins on each card and a four-bagger on Monday.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOSE GODINEZ Godinez wasted no time getting in the groove on Monday afternoon, sweeping the early Daily Double with pacers Don'tcallmefrancis and Hot Seat. 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

WILKES-BARRE PA - The American Ideal harness racing mare Sally Fletcher A, who had had several close finishes without victory over half-mile tracks recently, refound her winning ways upon coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning the $14,000 distaff pacing feature in 1:53 on the Tuesday twilight card. Driver Anthony Napolitano opted on finding late luck with the even-money favorite as he kept her third along the inside most of the way. Opportunity came knocking when the second-over horse gapped on the turn, with Sally Fletcher A answering the summons by swinging out and then wider turning for home. Despite bearing out even further in the lane, the Down Under mare had sufficient rally to catch the potential Pocono Pike pocket rocket Bye Bye Michelle by a length while raising her bankroll to $340,247 for trainer Jose Godinez and the Blindswitch Racing Stable. Among the many horses on the Tuesday card prepping for the upcoming Weiss Series, the Sportswriter sophomore miss Girl's Got Rhythm was perhaps the most impressive, setting a North American season's record of 1:53 in her career debut. Hot-driving Tyler Buter settled the John Cummins-owned filly in the two hole behind a strong pacesetter (and fellow Weiss eligible) As Time Goes By, then came on in the lane to wear down the pacesetter by ¾ of a length on the money, reflecting some of her pedigree - her third dam was the dam of the fabled Jenna's Beach Boy. Trixar certainly also had breeding in his corner - an altered sophomore son of Trixton out of the $400G+-winning Spice Queen - but it took him until his 14th career start to put it all together, proving most photogenic in a bang-bang-bang finish over fellow Weiss eligibles Oceanato Hanover and Massive Vodka in 2:00, despite being out every step of the trotting mile. The betting public had lost hope on the fashionably-bred three-year-old, co-owned by trainer/driver Bill "Moon" Mullin along with Howard Taylor, as he lit up the tote board with a $166.80 win payoff.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Under patient handling from Anthony Napolitano, the Bettor's Delight mare Betabcool N rallied off of a fast pace to win in 1:52.3 while taking the $14,000 featured harness racing pace for mares at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the mountain track starting its 2019 scheduling of 4 p.m. post time on Mondays and Tuesdays. Betabcool N was pinned in behind an early-moving flow as fractions of 27, 55.3, and 1:22.4 were posted, mostly by pacesetting Vorst. She retained the lead into the lane, but Always A Z Tam swung wide off cover midturn, with "ANap" and Betabcool N following that one wide. In deep stretch the New Zealand import proved to have the most late kick, winning by a neck over Always A Z Tam, who nosed out Vorst for second. Jose Godinez, who teamed with Anthony Nap for another come-from-behind victory with the trotter Crazycat earlier in the card, conditions the winner of $460,062 for the Blindswitch Racing Stable. Some younger horses looking to make their mark in the upcoming Weiss Series at Pocono showed themselves ready with Tuesday victories. The most impressive of the trotters was the Explosive Matter sophomore filly Spring In Paris, whose final time of 1:56.4 was not only a lifetime mark but a North American season's record. Spring In Paris brushed from first-over to take the lead on the far turn, then drew clear by four lengths for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Steve LeBlanc, and the ownership of Leblanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson The Muscle Massive gelding Teardown This Wall (named after what President Reagan advised Gorbachev to do about the Berlin Wall) posted his maiden victory and improved his Weiss outlook, rallying from the pocket for a half-length tally in 1:59 over pacesetting favorite Dawn Of Glory. Tyler Buter handled the Muscle Massive gelding out of the $540G+ stakes-winning mare Vernon Blue Chip for trainer Rob Harmon and the Harmon Stable Racing Stable. (Harmon also sent out the upward-bound trotter My Lindy Winner, who took a new mark of 1:55.1 to remain undefeated in two seasonal starts.) On the pace Turbo Hill, a four-year-old son of American Ideal, ran his lifetime record to 5-for-6 with a blistering front-end tally in 1:51.1 for trainer/driver Hunter Oakes and owner Tom Hill, certainly stamping himself as a big consideration in his Weiss division. A Weiss filly counterpart, the four-year-old Sportswriter mare Lady Ella, came into her Tuesday race not having won since her career debut, 636 days ago, but she looked strong in a 1:54 triumph for trainer Andrew Harris, giving driver George Napolitano Jr. his sixth sulky success on the twilight card.   PHHA / Pocono

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.

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