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Stirling Debutant, 1-for-25 in two seasons of harness racing entering the 2016 campaign, completed a clean sweep of the Bobby Weiss Trotting Series for distaffs at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking all four preliminary legs and then romping to a 1:57.3 victory over sloppy going in the $30,000 series Championship on Tuesday night to keep her seasonal record unblemished after those five starts.   Stirling Debutant tucked third late on the first turn, then was moved uncovered by red-hot driver Anthony Napolitano before the half to gain on runaway leader Coherent, a maiden who had had gaiting problems but showed no misbehavior and much speed while posting an astounding 27.1 opening quarter over the offtrack, carrying on to the half in 56.4. But reality in the form of the 1-9 favorite set in late on the backstretch as Stirling Debutant cleared to the lead well before the 1:26.2 3/4s, coasting home to win by 12½ lengths over Squeals Of Delight, with Amorous Flirt, Coherent, and Baba Daba Do picking up the other checks in that order.   The chalkplayers, who had wagered $5165 of a $6708 win pool and $6139 of a $6861 show pool on the favorite, had a few anxious moments after the race, as driver Marcus Miller made an objection against Anthony Napolitano and Stirling Debutant, claiming that they had caused his charge Grandma Jan's Gems, who finished sixth, to go offstride around turn one. If the objection had been allowed, the maintenance department may not have had enough light bulbs for the increased demand from the tote board (Squeals Of Delight 39-1, Amorous Flirt 41-1, Coherent 40-1, Baba Daba Do 60-1), but after reviewing replays the judges let the finish under the wire stand as official.   A four-year-old daughter of Credit Winner, Stirling Debutant had been trained by Christie Collins for owners J M F Racing LLC in the four prelims, but in the week before the final she was purchased by the combine of Randy Bendis, Thomas Pollack, Jack Piatt II, and R. Lewis Hauber, and transferred to the barn of former Downs training leader Steve Salerno. And whatever technique the old team found to turn around Stirling Debutant, it continued in the Weiss Final for her new connections.   Finishing seventh and last in the Weiss Final was 7-1 second choice Ready Any Time, who made a break before the first turn. Her driver was David Miller, and the incident was about the only false step put in by a Miller-driven horse on Tuesday. David entered the night with $199,964,811 in career driving earnings, and was looking to join his fellow Hall of Famers John Campbell ($295.9M) and Ron Pierce ($215.3M) as the only members of the $200 Million Drivers Club.   In his pre-Weiss drives, Miller posted a 7-3-3-1 tally, good for $29,320, putting him at $199,994,131, and if his filly could have lived up to the morning line (and the tote board) and finish second in the $30,000 Weiss Championship, the $7500 check would have put Miller over his goal. Instead, the break took out his best chance at reaching the magic $200M number this night, and despite a second ($2125) and a third ($1020) in post-Weiss drives, he came up just shy, with Miller's nightly earnings $32,465 (10-3-4-2) and his career tally oh-so-close to getting him the keys to the club at $199,997,276 (in hand-kept records to be verified by the USTA). The native Buckeye will be taking his familiar purple and white colors (garnished with a reddish-brown on this card while racing over the sloppy oval) to Harrah's Philadelphia tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, where the morning line projects him to earn over $8,000 and thus reaching the exclusive $200 Million Club and joining Campbell and Pierce.   **********   Pocono's next racing action will take place on Saturday; while the Thoroughbred world conducts its famous Kentucky Derby, Pocono will feature its only doubleheader program of the year. The first card of ten races is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.; the highlight of the sunshine racing will be three $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars race for state-sired three-year-old trotting colts, headed by last year's two-year-old Sire Stakes champion, Lagerfeld, making his seasonal debut.   After the completion of the early card, the focus will go over to the runners until the Derby is conducted, and then a 14-race evening program will begin soon after the Derby is official, with an anticipated start of 7 p.m. Highlighting the nighttime action will be the inaugural edition of two races for the best Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old pacers, the $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic for males and the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania for females.   The fields for these two races were decided by elimination races held last Saturday, with an open post draw for the finals. Driver Yannick Gingras handled both Classic elim winners for trainer Ron Burke, and he chose to go with the faster elimination winner, Check Six (1:50.4, post four, 5-2), with David Miller picked to guide JK Will Power (1:51.1, post three, 3-1).   Also a highlight of the evening card is the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, named after the late local harness writer, which brings together some of harness's best free-for-all pacers.   With final drivers and morning line odds announced today, here are the fields for the three Saturday night feature races (post - horse (driver) - morning line odds):   Race 6 -- $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace   1 - Take It Back Terry (Matt Kakaley) - 4-1 2 - P H Supercam (David Miller) - 6-1 3 - Hall Bro (Brett Miller) - 20-1 4 - Luck Be Withyou (George Napolitano Jr.) - 10-1 5 - JK Endofanera (Yannick Gingras) - 5-1 6 - Rockeyed Optimist (Tim Tetrick) - 3-1 7 - Cooperstown (Anthony Napolitano) - 12-1 8 - Bushwacker (Jim Morrill Jr.) - 15-1 9 - Bit Of A Legend N (Andrew McCarthy) - 5-2   Race 11 -- $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania Pace Final   1 - Ivy League (Yannick Gingras) - 6-1 2 - Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick) - 5-1 3 - Sail To The Beach (George Napolitano Jr.) - 12-1 4 - Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) - 5-2 5 - Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) - 4-1 6 - Pure Country (Brett Miller) - 3-1 7 - I Said Please (Anthony Napolitano) - 15-1 8 - Save The Treasure (Jim Morrill Jr.) - 20-1 9 - I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley) - 10-1   Race 12 -- $561,5000 Pennsylvania Classic Pace Final   1 - Big Top Hanover (Matt Kakaley) - 4-1 2 - The Catamount Kid (Jody Jamieson) - 6-1 3 - JK Will Power (David Miller) - 3-1 4 - Check Six (Yannick Gingras) - 5-2 5 - Lyons Snyder (Scott Zeron) - 5-1 6 - Western Dynasty (Tim Tetrick) - 15-1 7 - JJ Flynn (Brett Miller) - 12-1 8 - Duke Of Delray (Andrew McCarthy) - 20-1 9 - Manhattan Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) - 10-1   PHHA / Pocono

Normally in this space we hand out the Weekly Awards to the top harness racing performers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. But occasionally something extraordinary occurs which warrants some extra attention. And attention certainly must be paid to the fraternal feast of winning enjoyed by brothers George Napolitano Jr. and Anthony Napolitano on Saturday night. If you're even a little bit familiar with Pocono harness racing, you probably know that George Napolitano Jr. has been the dominant force in the driving colony since the turn of the millennium. What the faithful know is that his younger brother Anthony Napolitano has been steadily improving over the past few years to become one of the elite Pocono pilots as well. So the possibility of a night like Saturday night had been building for a while, but the near-total domination exerted by the Nap's was still somewhat stunning. It started off innocently enough, as Anthony took 9-1 shot Lean On You to a victory in the opening race condition pace in 1:51. The following race, a condition trot, demonstrated the effect that George can have on betting. Even though Zooming is a more accomplished trotter, Oho Diamond was the one heavily bet at 3-5, and you have to believe that was based on the fact that George had chosen to drive that mare over Zooming in the race. Sure enough, Oho Diamond sustained a first-over move to come up a winner in 1:53:1. But Anthony's reputation isn't quite so imposing to bettors, at least not yet, which is why he can still drive a horse that goes off at 33-1, like Due West Hanover did in Race 3. When he guided that one home to a victory with a flying finish, it was the first inkling perhaps that the Pocono patrons and all those watching around the country at simulcast parlors were about to see a Napolitano night for the ages. George won Race 4 handily with Ideal Matters, before Anthony came right back with winners in Race 5 with Jins Dragon, who now has five consecutive victories, and in Race 6 with Quality Closer, who took advantage when the favorite P L Idaho, driven by George, went off-stride. But George Nap quickly answered the bell by ripping off three straight wins, with Whoyoucallingafool, Eighteen, and McCedes, to take a 5-4 lead in the Napolitano Derby. Anthony followed by taking the top purse of the night in the $25,000 featured condition pace. He sent 4-year-old stallion Cooperstown to the front end early on in the mile, expertly rated the speed, and then held off the charge by brother George aboard favorite Scott Rocks to pick up the victory at 1:51:2. That left the brothers all even at 5-5 in wins, while the rest of the driving colony was still empty-handed at that point. It took Mike Simons to break the Napolitano stronghold. In Race 11 he drove Rock Absorber aggressively to the front end, eventually holding off Lyons Meandragon to win a claiming pace in 1:52:4. The horses driven by Anthony and George finished fourth and sixth, respectively, so the streak ended without much suspense. By no means were the brothers done though. In the 12th, George came back to win with 4-1 third choice My Love Bi in a condition trot. A race later, it was Anthony evening the score once again, as he led Simple Business, a 5-1 third choice, to his third consecutive victory in a condition pace in 1:52:2. Entering the 14th race, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that it would come down to the two brothers in some sort of stretch showdown. So it was maybe a bit of a surprise that Anthony glided to such a convincing victory aboard A Real Miracle, whose mile of 1:50:3 was the fastest all night. That left the final tally at Anthnoy Napolitano with seven wins, George Napolitano Jr. with six, and the field with one. There were some other amazing numbers to consider on the night. The win aboard A Real Miracle, an 8-5 shot, was the only one of Anthony's winners who was favored, while George's winners were all favorites but one. And in five of those thirteen races where a Napolitano winner, the other brother finished second. One night of domination by the brothers Nap, who now sit one-two in the driving standings in 2016 with George leading the way, does not mean that the rest of the drivers can go home. The following night at Pocono some semblance of normalcy returned, with six different drivers winning the first six races on Sunday and George and Anthony combining for just three wins on the night. But for that one amazing evening, the immensely talented and ultra-competitive Napolitano brothers turned Pocono into their childhood backyard writ large. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at Jim Beviglia

On Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Stirling Debutant, a winner only once in 25 starts at two and three, stamped herself as the firm favorite for next Tuesday's $30,000 Championship of the Bobby Weiss Series for harness racing trotting females by taking a new mark of 1:55.1 in her fourth and final preliminary leg to post a quartet of victories in the prelims.   The Credit Winner mare, piloted by Anthony Napolitano for trainer Christie Collins and owner J M F Racing LLC, sat second while the speedy but still green Selfie Hanover cut hot fractions of 28 and 56.1 before going offstride coming off the second turn. Stirling Debutant, inheriting the lead, maintained control easily from there, winning by 3¼ lengths over Hot Curry, who came first-over to grab second away from South Side Hanover, who inherited the pocket after the break but who could not muster the needed speed and thus saw her own Weiss unbeaten streak stop at three.   Though South Side Hanover tasted defeat tonight, trainer/driver Todd Schadel did get to the Weiss winners circle, with the SJ's Caviar filly Real Caviar rallying as the pocket rocket to post her second Weiss victory, here in 1:59.4. Squeals Of Delight, last week a $107 winner in defeating Real Caviar and heading a $919 exacta, set the pace this week but finished ¾ of a length behind Real Caviar (the pair both went off at 9-5 this week). Schadel shares ownership in the winner with Dr. John Egloff.   In the other Weiss cut, Abbie's Celticlass, second in his first Weiss start last week while adding trotting hopples, seems to developing quickly now, with the Explosive Matter filly breaking her maiden with a 5¼-length victory in 1:57.2 for driver David Miller, trainer Ken Hess Jr., and owners Stop The Jade Farm LLC and Troyce Craig Thomas.   The trotters qualifying for next Tuesday's Weiss Championship in this division are Stirling Debutant, South Side Hanover, Real Caviar, Squeals Of Delight, Abbie's Celticlass, Ready Any Time, Keystone Taylor, Grandma Jan's Gems, and Casino Cutie It.   Pocono next races on Saturday, with eliminations for May 7's $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic for the best PA-sired three-year-old pacing colts and geldings and $313,500 Miss Pennsylvania for pacing fillies. The elims will feature last year's respective Sire Stakes champions, Ideal Jimmy and Pure Country.   Sunday will see the first two $30,000 Championships in the Weiss Series action, with both pacing finals going that night. Among the males, no one was able to post three victories in the four preliminaries, but six horses won twice, and that event figures to be a slam-bang competitive affair from gate to wire. The complexion of the Weiss distaff event changed dramatically when Candy Corn Hanover and Some Fancy Filly, the only multiple prelim winners, opted to bypass the Weiss Final and take a shot at the big money in the Miss Pennsylvania eliminations, leaving Southwind Tango the likely Weiss choice.   ALERT:   David Miller going into Tuesday's racing: lifetime earnings $199,841,086 Thus $158,914 short of following John Campbell and Ron Pierce into the $200 Million Club In Miss Pennsylvania elims this Sat: Darlinonthebeach 5-2, Some Fancy Filly 5-2, Ivy League 7-2 Miss Pennsylvania Final May 7 -- $313,800 **half of which is $156,900   PHHA / Pocono  

Napoleon tried to rule the world, but failed; The Napolitanos came closer. The non-Napolitano to win was harness racing driver Mike Simons, who took the 11th with Rock Absorber.   Imagine having a .564 UDR for a night's driving (14-6-3-1), and having your kid brother BEAT you by 111 POINTS (13-7-2-2-.675)! Yes, George - oh, brother.   The last winner Anthony drove was a favorite; the first six winners he drove were NON-favorites. One of them was Due West Hanover, who was last at the half but rallied to beat out Forego The Cigar (and George) to pay $69.80 - Anthony's second Pocono "bomber" in six nights, as last Monday he guided Majo Just Do It to the Downs' winners circle at a seasonal-high mutuel of $197.00.   In contrast, the last winner George drove was a non-favorite; the first five winners he drove were ALL favorites.   In fact, George drove the favorite in EACH of the first TEN races, and thus doing better than the norm with five wins (50%). The only other possible time when a driver drove ten straight favorites is believed to be September 10, 1978, at Hinsdale Raceway in New Hampshire, where Herve Filion made a guest appearance. The Hinsdale Race Office told trainers to put down Herve if they wanted him to drive their horse, and legend has it that out of 168 entrants for that card, Herve was named on 123 of them - and the race office put him on what they believed to be the best horse he was named on in each race. Filion had two seconds - and eight wins, the first time a driver had eight victories on one pari-mutuel card. (The second, by the way, was Pat Crowe of Cam Fella fame.)   The brothers were 1-2 in five of the races Saturday, with Anthony holding a 3-2 edge in that category.   The 13 winners between two brothers on one card is believed to break the previous record of 11 set June 10, 2011 right at Pocono - by brothers George (11 wins) and Anthony (0 wins, but he raced on the card) Napolitano. In fact, that night Anthony was second behind longshots who extended George driving the winning favorite twice, with one race having George's even-money shot beating his 10-1 horse by a half-length, and then George winning by a neck at 7-5* against Anthony's 8-1 shot.   An historical note: those 11 wins on one raceway card in June 2011 ties George Napolitano Jr. with Dave Palone (4-21-08, Meadows) as the standard in that category. One of "GNap"'s wins that night was in a dead-heat for first. Pocono had 16 races on George's record night, and George drove in all 16 - in the ones he didn't win, he was eighth, eighth, eighth, fifth - and (most people don't remember this) FIRST PLACED SECOND (yes, he crossed the wire first TWELVE times hat night) with a pacer named Lavern's Art, placed down for interference; placed up was driver ... Mike Simons (who started this whole discussion, above).   PHHA / Pocono

If you were a harness racing driver at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night and you didn't have the last name of Napolitano, it was an uphill battle to say the least. Brothers George Napolitano Jr. and Anthony Napolitano dominated the action to such an extent that it took until the 11th race of the night until another driver was able to pick up a win. Up to that point, the Naps had won five each. Anthony won races 1, 3, 5, 6, and 10, while George did the honors in races 2, 4, 7, 8, and 9. Among Anthony's highlight winners: Lean On You, who scored a condition pacing victory at 9-1 in the opening race in 1:51, which shared honors for fastest pace of the night; Due West Hanover, who surprised a claiming handicap field at 33-1 with a flying late move in 1:53:4; and Cooperstown, who went gate to wire to win the featured $25,000 condition pace in 1:51:2. Meanwhile George's winners included Oho Diamond, a mare who captured the night's top trotting purse of $15,500 with a win in 1:53:1; Eighteen, who shared fastest pacer honors for the evening with his condition victory in 1:51; and McCedes, the $1.2 million-earner who ripped off his second straight claiming win in 1:52. Among trainers, Christie Collins hooked with A-Nap for two victories, while Daniel Renaud scored a win with each of the brothers. The run finally ended in Race 11, when Pocono's longest-tenured regular driver Mike Simons guided Rock Absorber to a win in a $10,000 claimer in 1:52:4. The Napolitanos' horses finished fourth and sixth in that race, so the streak ended quietly. But George Nap went right back at it in Race 12, winning aboard trotting mare My Love Bi, proving that you couldn't keep the brothers down for long on this night. Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA - South Side Hanover and Stirling Debutante both took their third victories in as many preliminaries of the Bobby Weiss Series by winning $15,000 divisions of the trotting females competition Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while in the third cut two "logical" horses came home 1-2 - and combined for a $919 Exacta.   South Side Hanover has had the rail in all three of her Weiss starts - the outer one the first week, the inner one the last two - but the result has always been the same, a visit to Victory Lane. Tuesday, the Cantab Hall filly went wire-to-wire in 1:58, with back fractions of 58.2 - 28.3 for trainer/driver Todd Schadel and Schadel's co-owner Roger Hammer, a/k/a "Team Vivid Photo."   Even though she equaled her lifetime mark of 1:55.4 in another Weiss division, the Credit Winner mare Stirling Debutante did not have it easy, pressed hard by first-over Abbie's Celticlass, but she nonetheless held her lead over that rival to the wire by a half-length, with Anthony Napolitano again in the sulky for trainer Christie Collins and owners J M F Racing LLC.   And as for that "logical" $919 exacta? Well, the winner, Squeals Of Delight, had seconds in both her two previous starts in the Weiss, and second-place horse Real Caviar had won a Weiss division in week one, so you think those two would get some respect here, right?   Well, $107.00 winner Squeals Of Delight held off 23-1 place horse Real Credit (another Schadelite) to her left by a length in 1:57.4, lowering the winning Donato Hanover mare's mark by six seconds - but admittedly they did have some assistance from the remainder of the seven-horse field, who all went offstride, including 1-5 favorite Selfie Hanover while on the lead on the far turn. Larry Stalbaum had Squeals Of Delight in the pocket at that point and took over the lead, during the moans of agony of the chalkplayers, and captured the victory for trainer Robert Bath, co-owner with Eldo Leonelli.   Squeals Of Delight was the second $100+ winner at Pocono in three nights, after $197.00 Majo Just Do It won on Sunday, and the timing couldn't have been more curious - because The Downs had just come off a week where the combined win prices of every winner, each night for four straight nights, never topped $100 TOTAL for a single card!   From the PHHA

WILKES-BARRE PA - Both South Side Hanover and Stirling Debutant are now two-time winners in as many preliminary legs of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting females after Tuesday action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but Stirling Debutant was more impressive to the eye as she easily trotted over her field after a fast pace to win in a lifetime best of 1:55.4.   Anthony Napolitano placed the Credit Winner mare third behind a streaking Real Caviar, also a winner last week, as the latter posted scalding fractions of 27.2, 56.4, and 1:25.4. Napolitano was able to back out behind the cover over first-over Hot Curry on the far turn, then tipped wide and easily trotted to the fore, winning by a length and a quarter. After going 1 for 25 at ages two and three, Stirling Debutant is now 2-for-2 in 2016 for trainer Christie Collins and owners J M F Racing LLC.   Although trainer/driver Todd Schadel's Real Caviar tired after that hot pacesetting, his other winner from the first Weiss leg, South Side Hanover, did make a return trip to Victory Lane, tonight winning in 1:57.1. Schadel sent the Cantab Hall filly uncovered at the half, and she trotted a 27.4 third panel to clear to the lead en route posting a length victory. Schadel also co-owns South Side Hanover, unbeaten in three seasonal outings, with Roger Hammer, the pairing behind 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo.   In the third $15,000 division of Tuesday's second round action, the Kadabra filly Ready Any Time was ready this evening, also using first-over tactics en route to a 1:59.4 triumph by 1½ lengths. Matt Kakaley was in the filly's sulky for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, David Mc Duffee, and Little E LLC.   Rene Allard is still four winners away from becoming the first trainer to achieve 3000 conditioning victories before the age of 30, dividing six starts between The Downs and Yonkers on Tuesday, and doing very well with three seconds and two thirds, but no winners circle appearances. Allard, 29, sends out one horse tomorrow at Harrah's, and then his magic moment seems likely to arrive over the weekend: he has seven in at Yonkers Thursday and nine Friday, and then has entrants in every one of the 14 races at Pocono on Saturday in addition to four at Yonkers; if those horses don't get him to 3000, he'll have eight more chances at Pocono on Sunday.    

After Scott Zeron's grand slam on Friday, harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano one-upped his youthful rival on Saturday (March 5) evening at The Meadowlands, winning five of the 13 races. After a pillar-to-post win in the opener with Sweet Justice ($10.80, 1:55.2), the 34-year-old Napolitano prevailed with odds-on favorite Honey I'm Home ($3.40, 1:52) in the third before back-to-back minor upsets in the seventh and eighth with K Slater ($19.80, 1:52.2) and K-Lees Shakenbake ($15.80, 1:50.1) respectively. Napolitano closed the night on a winning note, teaming up with Alex Bullville ($5.20, 1:53.4) in the finale. In the featured $25,000 Open Handicap Pace, Rockeyed Optimist ($3.00) lived up to odds-on billing, holding off a ferocious late rally from Dovuto Hanover for a 1:50.2 triumph. The 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding floated into midfield from his outside post in the sextet, settling four lengths behind early pacesetter Real Nice (Anthony Napolitano) through a :27 first quarter before Andy McCarthy brushed Rockeyed Optimist to the fore up the backstretch. Rockeyed Optimist's lead was never in jeopardy until the final sixteenth, as 3-1 second choice Dovuto Hanover (Scott Zeron) surged off the cover of Take It Back Terry (Joe Bongiorno) to give chase. Rockeyed Optimist had enough left to hold sway, prevailing by a diminishing half length. Take It Back Terry, who flattened off the far turn, found more in the stretch, saving third. Steve Elliott trains 17-time winner Rockeyed Optimist for Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, the A and B Stable, and Joseph Battaglia. For Rockeyed Optimist, it was his second win in three starts this season. Rockeyed Optimist Total handle for the 13-race card was $3,015,013, marking an increase of $41,167 over the corresponding Saturday in 2015 and the tenth program in the last 11 at The Meadowlands with over $3 million in betting turnover. Racing continues to be competitive in northern New Jersey, with 17 of 26 favorites defeated in the first weekend of March. Heading to next Friday's (March 11) program, over $124,500 will carry over into the final-race 20¢ Jackpot High 5. Punters and horsemen alike are reminded that post time at The Meadowlands shifts to 7:15 p.m. Eastern effective next week. by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

Harness racing trainer Jody Riedel's life has been sweet with "Candy." Candy is Riedel's nickname for her 7-year-old male trotter Can Do. And she says the horse can do. Riedel claimed the gelding for $30,000 last September and she has watched Can Do go from winning in the claiming ranks at Yonkers Raceway to twice winning the Open Handicap at the Meadowlands Racetrack. "He's been a Cinderella story," Riedel said, adding with a laugh, "and I got to be Cinderella." Can Do has raced 19 times for Riedel, who owns and trains the trotter, and posted five wins and a total of 10 on-the-board finishes on his way to $97,500 in purses. He is back in the Open Handicap at the Meadowlands on Friday, starting from post seven in an eight-horse field, with Anthony Napolitano driving. He is 9-2 on the morning line. A son of Cantab Hall-Meadowbranch Queen, Can Do has won 31 of 121 lifetime races and earned $368,446. Can Do was a newcomer to Yonkers when Riedel claimed the horse in his first start at The Hilltop. Can Do raced previously in Delaware, where he was trained and driven by Victor Kirby. "I was worried that I was giving 30 (thousand dollars) for a 20 (thousand-dollar horse), because he had shown a bunch of 20-claimers prior, but he was a new horse at Yonkers and I took a shot," Riedel said. "I watched replays of him. Even though he was always a little bumpy on the half(-mile track), he still went forward. He showed that he had so much heart. I can't say enough good things; I've just been lucky to have him. He's gotten better and better every week." When Riedel got Can Do, she also was just beginning to work with older male trotter Bourbon Bay for driver/lessee John Cummings Jr. In his third start with Riedel, Bourbon Bay trotted a track- and world-record 1:53 at Saratoga. He made two more starts for Riedel before being sold and moved to another trainer. "I was heartbroken when the owners sold him because I thought I'd never have another horse like him," said Riedel, who trains an eight-horse stable in upstate New York and has won 254 races in her career. "It was understandable because they got good money, but I thought he was the horse of a lifetime. "It was funny because (Bourbon Bay) and Can Do were in stalls right next to each other. And from there on, it seems like Can Do took his place. He was like, don't worry about losing him, you have me. And now they're racing against each other. It's funny how things work out. He's been a blessing." Prior to racing this year at the Meadowlands, Can Do had made only three starts on a mile-sized oval in his career. He made three starts at Indiana Downs as a 3-year-old in 2012. "I think he's a lot better gaited on the big track," Riedel said. "Even though they go faster miles, I think not having to struggle around the turns on the half has definitely helped him. He has good gate speed for wherever he is, a big track or a small track, and that's what has really helped him on a half because he can leave pretty good and sit in a good spot." Can Do had six different drivers at Yonkers last season, but has been driven this year only by Napolitano. "Anthony does a great job with him," Riedel said. "He understands him. They go together like mashed potatoes and gravy." Riedel says Can Do has the personality of "a clown," but on the track he always wants to pass horses. Even if he is out only for a morning jog. "A horse could be 20 lengths ahead of him and you could be the only two horses on the track, but Can Do's head will come up and he's got to go by him," Riedel said. "Then he'll relax again. He just has such desire. "He's got such personality. He loves you paying attention to him, he loves playing in his water, he's always looking for cookies and carrots. He's got such a good temperament. In the barn, a kid could take care of him. He's just kind and loving." Riedel has no plans for Can Do other than trying to stay sharp and competing in the Opens. The two have already enjoyed special moments and made memories. "When he won the Open at the Meadowlands for the first time, I got in the van to go to the winner's circle and I looked out the window and I saw Anthony turning the horse next to us to go back," Riedel said. "I started to cry. I couldn't believe I won the Open at the Meadowlands. That in itself was a dream come true. "I guess I'm just counting my lucky stars for what I have right now. I don't have anything in the making, except for what is going to happen next week. We'll just try to keep him as good as we can for every week. He's been the thrill of a lifetime." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

East Rutherford, NJ --- On a night where 10 of 14 favorites were handed defeat, punters combined to wager $3,035,296 on Friday (January 29) evening's harness racing program at The Meadowlands, with a near steady stream of minor upsets yielding generous dividends throughout. The first such minor upset came in the evening's second event--the featured $25,000 Open Handicap Trot, as Can Do ($14.20) sprinted to the fore and never looked back.  Anthony Napolitano sent the 7-year-old Cantab Hall gelding right to the front, establishing a clear lead on the first turn while 6-5 favorite Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) was hard used to secure the pocket from his outside post assignment.  Can Do rated a moderate :56.2 initial half before facing stern first-over pressure from Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick) on the far turn.  The two dueled through a :28.2 third split, but Can Do maintained the upper hand, edging clear off the corner and eluding pocket rival Opulent Yankee by three lengths for a 1:53.2 victory, his second in three starts.  Uva Hanover flattened to finish third, while Detroit Rapper (Jim Marohn, Jr.) made a mild bid off cover to save fourth. Jody Riedel owns and trains Can Do, now a 31-time winner. Can Do The sub-featured fourth race, a $15,000 trotting event for horses which have not won six races or $100,000, saw Ron Burke trainee Its Huw You Know ($11.20) score in pillar-to-post fashion as well, rating sensible fractions before drawing off to a four-length win in 1:56.1.  Yannick Gingras drove the 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding for the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver, and Mike Bruscemi. Its Huw You Know While four of the first five races were won by horses on the lead or drafting in the pocket, the streaking Magenta Man ($9.20) bucked that trend--and altered his own tactics--in the $10,200 sixth race, capturing his third straight win in second-over fashion after prior pacesetting and pressing triumphs, just nosing out longtime leader T Js Mr Lavec in 1:54.3.  Andy Miller once again drove the 4-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding for trainer Julie Miller and the partnership of Little E, LLC and RBH Ventures, Inc. Magenta Man Both .20 Jackpot High 5 wagers will carry over to Saturday (January 30) evening's card, as neither was captured by a single player.  Saturday's seventh race High 5 will offer $13,418 in added money should a single winner emerge, while the finale will boast a carryover of $69,103.  First post for Saturday's 14-race card is 6:35 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations 

After taking last winter off, harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano decided to spend this winter racing at Yonkers and the Meadowlands. He is more than happy with the decision, and hopes it leads to more opportunities. Napolitano is the leading driver at the Meadowlands so far this year, with 11 wins in 64 starts. He also has raced three Thursdays at Yonkers, where he has picked up three victories in 12 starts. His combined winning percentage at the two ovals is a solid 18.4 percent. "Last winter I took off and it was so boring," Napolitano said. "I thought I would really like it, but after a couple months having off you can't wait to get back to work. I appreciate it a lot more. Everything seems to be working out." In previous years, the 34-year-old Napolitano spent winters competing at Pompano Park in Florida. Napolitano now lives in northeast Pennsylvania and drives regularly at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, which is closed for live racing until March 19. Shuttering his farm and heading to Florida for the winter was no longer a practical option. "Yonkers and the Meadowlands are close enough to me for me to race over the winter instead of going back to Florida," Napolitano said. "I like to go to visit family (in Florida) but for work it's tough because you have to move everything down there. I knew after buying my farm that over the years I would look to the Meadowlands and Yonkers in the winter. I'm not a fan of the cold, but I knew I had to make something happen." Last year Napolitano ranked third in wins at Pocono, behind older brother George Napolitano Jr. and Simon Allard. For the season, Anthony Napolitano won a total of 188 races and $2.44 million in purses, his best totals since 2009 when he won 295 times (with more than half the victories coming at Pompano Park) and $2.52 million. "I had a good year at Pocono and guys were asking me if I was going (to the Meadowlands)," Napolitano said. "I decided to go opening night and I ended up doing OK. I'm just going to enjoy it now." Napolitano followed his father and brother into harness racing, although he also has a passion for racing cars and still can be sometimes found at a dragstrip located near his farm. Napolitano's brother, George, won a track-record 407 races at Pocono in 2015 and captured his ninth title for wins at the oval. George has won 7,506 races in his career and was the national leader in victories in 2010. He finished second to Aaron Merriman last year, with 832, but established a personal best with $8.56 million in purses. "We're very close off the track, but very competitive on the track," Anthony Napolitano said of his relationship with George. "He's really competitive. Sometimes we hurt each other's feelings on the track, but off the track it's like nothing ever happened. We keep it a business. We respect each other. We're blood brothers for life so you've got to leave it on the track. "That goes for any of the drivers. We try to do as good as we can. Things happen out there and you can't take it personally." Anthony Napolitano has won 2,021 races in his career, notching triumph No. 2,000 on Dec. 12 at the Meadowlands. "It's not great in a lot of people's eyes --- a lot of drivers have a lot of career wins --- but I started at Pompano and it was very tough there because there were two or three guys that won all the races so I had to dig deep. At the tracks I've been at, I've had very tough (driver) colonies to deal with. I'm happy to have 2,000 wins and I'm looking for many more. I feel that I'm getting better with age and I learn something new every night." Napolitano's maturation as a driver includes being more patient on the racetrack. "Experience really shows," Napolitano said. "I had lots of times where I thought I should pull first over and it was no good. I've been in those situations so many times over the years that now instead of taking that chance and over-driving, I'm more patient and I sit in. Most times it is the best move, especially on a big track like the Meadowlands. Sometimes I've gotten myself beaten by over-driving because that stretch is very long. I've had luck with not being too aggressive and slipping through late. "It's very hard out there; people don't understand. One split second a guy is on top of you making a move and you've missed your chance. There's a lot going on in each and every race. I know you're only as good as your last drive, but I've learned to keep my composure and keep grinding away. I know every night isn't going to be a good night. I used to take it home with me, but now I leave it on the track and keep my focus; just take a step back and regroup." Napolitano hopes a strong winter will help him gain the faith of more trainers and owners in the future. "I just want to show people that if I have a little power I can compete too," Napolitano said. "I'm just happy that people are seeing that I'm a late-bloomer and I am getting better at what I do as I mature. Hopefully people will see I can drive a young horse and I'll get lucky and get a decent horse to drive in some of the stakes races. "But I just feel blessed to have a career like this. I'm very thankful. I couldn't be happier." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday kicks off another weekend of exciting harness racing at The Meadowlands with fourteen races beginning at 6:35 p.m.   With trotters dominating the Friday offering (nine trots to five pacing races) there are several interesting fields for those so inclined to reflect, dissect and project the possibilities in the pursuit of pari-mutuel rewards.   The featured $25,000 Open Handicap trot fields nine (seven pari-mutuel interests) including last week's upset winner Can Do.   The seven year old gelded son of Cantab Hall is bred in the purple and had modest success in some minor mid-west stakes as youngster, but really blossomed at age four in Delaware overnight competition. Can Do joined the Jody Reidel stable last September when the noted horsewoman plucked him from a $30,000 claimer at Yonkers. Jody reaped immediate rewards when Can Do paid for himself in a month on the strength of three wins against the forty claimers.   When Jody brought him across the river during the Christmas break at Yonkers Can Do clicked with the mile track racing at The Meadowlands and when paired with driver Anthony Napolitano proved competitive against the best trotters on the grounds. Last week Napolitano used Can Do's gate speed to secure early position then fanned out and went by the early leaders in the stretch to post the upset in a career best 1:53.1.   Can Do starts from post position eight this week and is listed at 4-1 on the morning line.   The standard guarantees are in place for Friday's horizontal wagers, $30,000 in the Pick 5 beginning in race three, $25,000 in the Early Pick 4 (races 5-8) and $50,000 in the Late Pick 4 (races 9-12). The Hi-5 Jackpot is set for races 7 and 14 with that last race Jackpot now up to $62,725.   James Witherite is now providing insightful Race Reviews to complement your handicapping arsenal each racing night.   Promotion-wise the first handicapping contest of the new year is on Saturday night, January 23. It's a $100 World Harness Handicapping Contest qualifier and you can find the details here.   You may enjoy these epicurean delights while watching and wagering on Meadowlands racing in the tiered trackside dining room known as Pink.   Again, the first race goes at 6:35 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ --- After stinging Opulent Yankee and Uva Hanover through a :26.4 initial quarter, Can Do ($31.20) emerged from traffic in the final eighth of Friday (Jan. 15) night's $25,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot at Meadowlands Racetrack, vaulting around a weakening pace for a 14-1 upset on an evening where harness racing favorites tasted defeat in the first nine events. Anthony Napolitano wasted no time with the 7-year-old Cantab Hall gelding, gunning him to the fore in company with Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) and 3-5 favorite Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick). After ceding the lead to Opulent Yankee at the end of a :26.4 first quarter, Can Do was relegated to third as Uva Hanover pushed clear with five-eighths of the mile remaining. Uva Hanover maintained a fast tempo through a :54.4 half, but struggled to sustain after facing first-over pressure from Cash Me Out (Brett Miller) through the far turn. As the outer flow developed, Can Do was shuffled to fifth, but able to angle off the pegs just at the eighth pole as Uva Hanover was finally engulfed. Napolitano angled Can Do to the four-path, and the pair surged to the winning post, prevailing by a half-length over Cash Me Out in 1:53.1. Opulent Yankee saved third from his pocket trip, staying on once wedging between foes in deep stretch. Uva Hanover ultimately faded to fifth after facing a barrage of pressure throughout. Owner Jody Riedel trains Can Do, now a 30-time winner. Can Do In the sub-featured $20,000 Open 2 Trot, Detroit Rapper ($7.40) loosely chased live cover on approach to the far turn, catching up to the first-over B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) a quarter-mile from home before kicking cover in mid-stretch for a narrow 1:54.1 triumph over pocket rival Allerage Star (Andy Miller). The 5-year-old Jailhouse Jesse gelding also had the benefit of a pressured pace in front of him, as B Yoyo provided stern pressure to 2-1 favored pacesetter Hyway Marcus through a quickening :28.1 third sectional before the two were ultimately engulfed. Jim Marohn Jr. drove Detroit Rapper to his 20th career win for the Harmon Racing Stable, LLC and trainer Patti Harmon. Detroit Rapper Heading to Saturday (Jan. 16) evening's 14-race card, the seventh race Jackpot High 5 will have a carryover of $4,720, while $60,069 will carry over into the closing-race variety of the 20-cent wager. Total handle for the evening was $3,053,776, an increase of $474,166 over the corresponding Friday night in 2015. The trio of guaranteed-pool horizontal wagers attracted a combined $161,353, well surpassing the guaranteed numbers. Saturday's first race is due off at 6:35 p.m. (EST). For more information on racing, dining, and entertainment at The Meadowlands, visit by James Witherite, Meadowlands media relations

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Following wins in mid-level and upper-level company, Kingofthejungle took the crown in Saturday (December 19) night's featured $25,000 Open Pace at The Meadowlands, reeling off his third consecutive harness racing win. Andy Miller settled the 4-year-old Well Said gelding into the mid-division early on, rated off a contested :27.1 first quarter. Upon yielding briefly on the first turn, 2-1 favourite Ashley's Husband (Joe Bongiorno) brushed to secure the top spot, maintaining a torrid pace through a :54.2 half while Sunfire Blue Chip (Brett Miller) would head outer flow from midfield, slipstreamed by Kingofthejungle. With three-eighths to go, UF Rockin Dragon (Corey Callahan) pulled the pocket to avoid traffic, pushing past a tiring Ashley's Husband through a :27.4 third quarter. Meanwhile, Kingofthejungle still enjoyed the aid of live cover, towed a bit closer before vaulting off his third-over trip just outside the eighth pole and accelerating to the fore in final 50 yards to just prevail in 1:50. Ontario Success (Yannick Gingras) rallied from farther off cover to just nab Sunfire Blue Chip for second. Mark Capone trains Kingofthejungle for Fox Racing, Inc. and Darius Oshidar. Earlier in the program, upper-level conditioned pacers contested a pair of $16,500 sub-featured events. In the evening's sixth race, 2-1 joint favourite Sweet Beach alternated on the lead early with Halton Hurricane, yielding and reclaiming the lead through a :55.3 initial half before edging clear of a first-over charge from fellow joint favourite Jeneral Patton (Brett Miller). After a :27.4 third quarter, Anthony Napolitano let out a notch with Sweet Beach, and the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding accelerated to a 3-1/4 length victory while in hand for a 1:50.3 triumph. Jeneral Patton checked in a clear second, while That'll Be the Rei (Jim Marohn, Jr.) took full advantage of live cover to finish third. Tom Cancelliere trains Sweet Beach, now a 7-time winner, for owner John Cancelliere. The second sub-feature, carded as the ninth event, saw David Miller send 6-5 public choice Shooter's Dream out from fourth to take charge at the completion of a :54.1 half mile before he was subsequently engaged by 17-1 outsider Mr Franklin N (Callahan). The two dueled through the entirety of the far turn, and in fact Shooter's Dream was headed briefly by Mr Franklin N in upper stretch. The 5-year-old Sand Shooter gelding would not be denied though, battling back at the pegs to reach the winning post a half-length in front, matching Sweet Beach's 1:50.3 mile from earlier. Mr Franklin narrowly held second from Duel In the Sun (Napolitano), who kicked cover to rally strongly. David M. Smith trains 15-time winner Shooter's Dream for owners Randy Bendis and Tom Pollack. Total handle for the 14-race program was $2,936,828, a gain of $107,452 over the 13-race program from the comparable Saturday card in 2014. Both Jackpot Super High 5 carryovers grew tonight, as neither pool was captured by a single 20-cent winning ticket. On the Boxing Day program, the fifth race High 5 will boast a $10,225.51 carryover, while the finale will have $40,952.10 added to the pool. Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Saturday, December 26. The Boxing Day card will kick off at 6:35 p.m. EST. For further details, visit by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

WILKES-BARRE PA -- McKenry, coming back to his home base of The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono after an unsuccessful stint "in the big city" at Yonkers, was a pocket rocket in taking the harness racing $30,000 Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old pacing feature Saturday.   Driver Anthony Napolitano had the 8-1 shot on top early, but then yielded to brother George and favored UF Larry Alltheway to sit behind them the pocket. McKenry came on to challenge the leader in the lane and went by by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:51.1, taking a new lifetime mark despite the 50-degree temperature. UF Larry Alltheway lasted for a dead-heat for second with another late charger, Tomy Terror.   McKenry, an altered son of McArdle, took his fifth win of the campaign and boosted his seasonal earnings to $61,900 for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and the Wheelhouse Racing Stable.   ABC Muscles Boy made it three straight at The Downs for Team Allard as he took the $24,000 feature trot, moving to the lead after the quarter and winning by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:52.3, equaling his lifetime mark taken just last week. Purchased by Allard Racing Inc. before this month's racing, ABC Muscles Boy was not successful from post eight at Yonkers in his Lasix debut, but since then it's been nothing but visits to Victory Lane for the "Muscles Boy," driver Simon Allard and brother/trainer Rene.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA -- Fancy Desire ($12.80), the 2014 Lynch Memorial winner at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono but winless in 23 starts until coming home first last week, made it two straight in Friday night's $24,000 harness racing mares pacing feature here, storming home in 55.1 - 27.2 to complete the sloppy track mile in 1:52.2.   After winning off the pace last week, Fancy Desire was sent frontwards early by driver Anthony Napolitano, making the lead in 27.3, then resting to the half in 57.1, before engaging in the sprinting tactics that enabled the daughter of Real Desire to win by a length over pocketsitting Handsoffmycupcake. Gallie Bythe Beach rallied from second-over to be third, another length back and a neck ahead of the field's lone sophomore, Stacia Hanover, who was 2-5* despite having raced only once in 48 days and who found first-over into such quick back numbers a bit too hard to handle here.   The Daniel Renaud-trained winner sent her bankroll to $108,568 for the season and $461,310 lifetime for owner Robert Di Nozzi.   This was the last Friday night card of 2015 at Pocono; the track will now operate on a Tuesday-Wednesday-Saturday basis until the curtain rings down on November 21. Tomorrow night's feature is a $26,000 pace, in which Bushwacker, second behind a big win by Mach It So in last week's feature, figures to be winging early as he starts from the rail in the eight-horse field.   PHHA / Pocono  

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