Escape The News took advantage of a sizzling three-quarters and pounced late to score in 1:49.1, matching the harness racing track record, in Saturday’s $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Unlocked was on a mission on the lead, clicking off three-quarters in 1:21.1 and frustrating most would-be challengers. Not Escape The News, who moved first over from third for Aaron Merriman and nailed Unlocked by a nose. Hall Bro was third. The time equaled Atta Boy Dan’s track record for older geldings. Brewer Adams trains the 7-year-old son of Artiscape-Ideal News, who now boasts $711,976 in career earnings, for Kevin Sywyk. Saturday’s card also featured two second-leg divisions of the Walter Russell Memorial Pace for 3- and 4-year-old colts, horses and geldings, with Connecting Flight and Dr Drake Ramoray each taking a $12,000 split. It was the second straight series win for Connecting Flight, and if anything, it was easier than his opening-leg romp. The 4-year-old Panspacificflight-Shares Rebound gelding zipped to the front for Dave Palone and steadily widened, scoring in a career-best 1:51.1. Stone Fire Hanover rallied for second, 6-3/4 lengths back, while Keystone Dylan held show. Kevin Johnson conditions Connecting Flight for Erv Miller. Merriman piloted four winners on the 15-race program while Tony Hall and Palone each fashioned a triple. Evan Pattak
Racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has geared down somewhat in terms of quantity, as the schedule now features three live nights per week. But the quality hasn't let down a bit, as evidenced by a Saturday night card that included no pacing miles slower than 1:50:2 and no trotting miles slower than 1:54. We even had a world-record performance, which, of course, stands out among this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: BIGTOWN HERO This 6-year-old gelding was struggling with the upper reaches of the pacing ranks when he was last here in June, but he's been performing well since then at other tracks, winning three of his last five races. The last four of those races came after he switched barns to be trained by Rene Allard, Pocono's leading trainer, including a come-from-behind win in an Open Handicap in his last race at Yonkers as a 7-1 shot. His confidence sufficiently boosted, he returned to Pocono to compete on Saturday night in a Preferred Handicap pace for a purse of $25,000. It was a stacked field, including star veteran Golden Receiver and Dancin Yankee, who had owned the oval at Pocono in his previous appearances in 2014. But driver Ron Pierce drove Bigtown Hero as if there were no other horses on the track, sending him to the front for a huge lead as each fraction ticked off proved more impressive than the one before. In the stretch, Bigtown Hero began to slow ever so slightly. It was a good thing the lead he built up was so substantial, because Dancin Yankee and Aslan came closing at him fast. Pierce urged him home for a half-length victory in a stunning time of 1:47:3. That broke the world record for aged gelding pacers on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set last June at Pocono by Foiled Again and then matched by Abelard Hanover. Other top pacers this week include: Ring Warrior (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), a colt who followed up four consecutive wins at Ocean Downs with a victory at Pocono in a condition pace on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54; Cherokee Hunter (Simon Allard, Rene Allard) whose condition win on Tuesday night was his second straight and came in a career-best time of 1:52:1; and Wake Up Peter (Tyler Buter, Larry Remmen), who scorched a condition pacing group on Saturday night in 1:49:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SEVRUGA Not all slumps are created equal. To wit, consider the struggles Sevruga had been having in the summer months. Last year he earned nearly $500,000 facing the best trotters around, and the highlight of his season was a world-record performance at Pocono with a win in 1:50:3. But he had come up empty for three months straight in terms of wins heading into Saturday night's $25,000 Preferred trot. In his last three races at Pocono, all against the most rugged trotters on the grounds, Sevruga, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Kevin Carr, had hit the board every time and had lost by just a neck in the last two. On Saturday night, he enjoyed his first quality post position in more than a month and took advantage of it, breezing to the front early with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike. Things were by no means easy from that point, as Wind Of The North put up a sustained first-over challenge to the lead. But Sevruga had been rated well enough early in the race that he was able to dig deep in the final strides and win by a nose in a rapid 1:52:1. Maybe it wasn't fair to say that Sevruga was in a slump considering the quality of his competition and the multiple near-misses, but it is fair to say that his losing streak is history and a lengthy winning streak might just be in the offing. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tui (Anthony Napolitan, Don Wiest), a Pocono fan-favorite mare who scored her first win of the season on Saturday night in a tough condition group in 1:53:1; A Cool Million (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who moved up her claiming price and won her second straight race on Tuesday night, doing so in a career-best 1:54; and Fortunista (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who beat the boys in a tough condition group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:53:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TRANSCENDING An outside post and long odds didn't bother this veteran pacer as he came from out of the clouds late to shock a condition field on Saturday night at 49-1, paying off an even $100 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Ron Pierce Pierce had it grooving on Saturday night, winning four consecutive races on the card, all in gate-to-wire fashion, a streak that culminated with the world-record win by Bigtown Hero. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Joe Pavia Jr. Joe still does such a great job as a catch driver that his training abilities can sometimes be taken for granted, but a training double on Wednesday night put them front and center. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs
Six Divisions of the Stallion Series for 2-year-old filly pacers, going for a purse of $20,000 each, and a Winner's Over $25,000 Lifetime trot headlined the Wednesday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia. Division one went to Icapella Hanover, who closed fast off of cover to spring a 34-1 upset. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by Held, Barbera, Pavia, and the AGC Stables, trained by Joe Pavia Jr, and was driven by Ron Pierce. Another long shot Shark Mate closed for second, while Miss Katie Q, who had the lead in mid-stretch, weakened to third. Division two was dominated by the speed of the Ross Croghan trainee Filly Buster. The daughter of Well Said was never threatened the entire mile, going on to pace in 1:56.3. She is owned by Let it Ride Stables, RBH Ventures, and Howard Taylor, and was driven by Corey Callahan. Mcplay Girl was second, while Vivid Shine rallied well for third. Division three was never in question, as Try N Keep Up took the lead and never looked back. The daughter of Western Terror set pedestrian fractions, and closed home in an effortless 27.3 final quarter. She is owned by Give it a Shot Stables and VIP Internet Stables, trained by John Butenshoen, and was driven by Marcus Miller. TSM Daisy Mae was second, while Dobre Povedane finished third. Division four ended in another major upset, as Hashtag Quick took advantage of breaking horses to wire the field. The daughter of Quik Pulse Mindale was well-rated by driver Brett Miller, and completed the mile in 1:56.3. She is owned by Adams Racing, and is trained by Brewer Adams. My Girl Friend was second, while Scornful Hanover finished third. Division five was won in dominating fashion by Henderson Farm's Fine China. The daughter of Dragon Again sped to the top and made every call a winning one, stopping the clock in 1:55.1, which was a series' fastest for the day. She is trained by Chris Ryder, and was driven by David Miller. Winbak Wiggle fought back for second, while Medoland Jewel finished third. The sixth and final division was taken in gate-to-wire fashion by Official Belle. The daughter of Art Official was well-rated throughout the mile, and had plenty left in the end, stopping the clock in 1:58.2. She is owned by Anatolia Racing, trained by Roland Mallar, and was driven by Brett Miller. The quickly closing She Said was second, while Docudrama Hanover finished third. Also on tap was a Winner's Over $25,000 Lifetime Trot, featuring the heavily favorite Sevruga. Off the gate however, it was Ron Burke trainee Money On My Mind who sped to the opening quarter on top. Sevruga quickly surged pass just after the quarter. After fighting off mild pressure from Opening Night at three quarters, Sevruga ran out of gas. It was the fast closing My Love Bi picking up the pieces in the late stages to score the upset win. Money On My Mind rallied off the pocket trip for second, while Opening Night finished third. My Love Bi is owned by trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, and was driven by George Napolitano Jr. She completed the mile in 1:52.1. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia
WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 24, 2014 -- An upstart in the field of elite distaff pacers, Real Amor hardly was intimidated as she moved first over to victory -- her Third Straight -- in Monday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap at The Meadows. After trainer Brewer Adams claimed Real Amor for Adams Racing LLC for $10,000 on Jan. 22, she won her first start for her new connections in a conditioned event. Against tougher on Monday, she rolled from fourth for Mike Wilder and scored in 1:54.1, 4 lengths better than Shine N Shimmer. Blissful Romance rallied from last for show. Real Amor, a 6-year-old daughter of Real Artist-Sweet Amor, extended her career bankroll to $215,215. Dave Palone drove six winners -- three for trainer Ron Burke -- on the 15-race card while Wilder carved out a four-bagger. By Evan Pattak
WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 21, 2014 -- Automatic Slims, who last week pulled the pocket early en route to victory, used the same move with the same result Friday as he captured his fourth straight in the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Automatic Slims was sitting comfortably behind Visible Gold when Brett Miller sent him after the lead before the three-quarters. The 8-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Natchitoches made short work of Visible Gold and held off Eddie Sweat to defeat him by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:56 on a "good" surface. I'm Banksy rallied for show. Brewer Adams trains Automatic Slims, a $20,000 claimer when he arrived at The Meadows, for Laurie Patistas. Aaron Merriman and Dave Palone each drove four winners on the 15-race card. Evan Pattak
WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 14, 2014 -- Automatic Slims stormed from the pocket at the three-quarters, blew by the odds-on favorite, Visible Gold, and rolled to victory -- his Third Straight and fifth in the last six -- in Friday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Although he was getting the trip, Brett Miller sensed that, with challengers starting to gain outside, the time was right to move Automatic Slims. That judgment was vindicated when the 8-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Natchitoches drew off to score in 1:53.3 on a sloppy surface, 1-1/4 lengths better than the rallying Ballistic Tip. Visible Gold, who saw his own three-race winning streak snapped, saved show. Brewer Adams trains Automatic Slims, a career winner of $234,974, for Laurie Patistas. Dave Palone and Miller each drove three winners on the 11-race card. An unexpected thaw that produced unsafe track conditions forced the cancellation of the final four races on the program. The Meadows is dark Monday, resuming live racing Tuesday at 12:55 PM. By Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
With the Breeders Crown in our rear view and November now upon us, it means that we have officially hit the home stretch of the 2013 season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Before we can wrap things up, we still have a few more weeks of exciting racing action to finish. This past week there were some excellent performances even with the temperatures dropping. Here are the best of those in the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: HERE WE GO AGAIN An outstanding field of nine headed to the gate in Saturday night’s featured $25,000 Preferred pace, including several horses who have been on torrid hot steaks. Here We Go Again was one of those horses. He came in off five straight in the money. The 6-year-old gelding from the barn of PJ Fraley had been particularly tough at Pocono, winning back-to-back condition paces in his previous two circuits of the track. Saturday night was his first try in the Preferred class though, which meant he would be facing the very best pacers on the grounds. Driver Eric Ledford raced him aggressively, setting nasty fractions in the chilly temperatures that seemed destined to catch up with him in the race. Come the stretch, however, he was still winging it. Things got real tight in the final strides when pocket horse Townslight Hanover, who had been tracking with an excellent trip, came firing. The two pacesetters hit the line together, but it was Here We Go Again who took the photo by a nose. He paced the mile in 1:50, giving him four wins in his last six races and an improving reputation as some of the finest pacers in the East. Other top pacers include: Easton Bound (Matt Kakaley, Chris Oakes), a fast-improving 3-year-old, who won his second straight condition pace on Friday and third in his last four overall, this one coming in a time of 1:54:1; Keystone Neptune (George Napolitano Jr., Rene Allard), who won his second straight $20,000 claimer, this one in 1:52, giving him five wins in his last eight; and A Sweet Ride (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who chalked up a condition win on Saturday night in 1:49:4, the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PAULA’S BRADY This 7-year-old gelding has been one of the most consistent lower-priced trotters at Pocono for much of the meet, and he’s been coming into his best stride of late. He scored back-to-back $10,000 claiming victories in come-from-behind fashion to start off the month of October. In his last race, he started a bit slow, finishing third as an even-money favorite. He was back at it again on Tuesday night in the same class trying to avenge his loss, this time with Anthony Napolitano in the bike for trainer Scott Osterhout. Paula’s Brady nearly got boxed in on the inside behind the leaders, but Napolitano found him some room behind cover on the outside before the gap closed. He followed that cover until the stretch. It was an exciting three-way battle for the win in the closing moments. At times Paula’s Brady seemed like he was going to come up just a bit short. But Napolitano coaxed just enough out of him as the line approached for a razor-thin victory in 1:56. That gives him three wins in his last four races, quite the hot stretch for this veteran trotter as the season winds down. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Affirmed Action (Mike Simons, John Grasso), whose condition victory on Friday night came in the week’s fastest trotting time of 1:53:4; Schalom G (George Napolitano Jr., Neal Ehrhart), who captured a tough condition trot on Saturday night in 1:55; and Southwind Warsaw (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), who scored a victory in Tuesday night’s featured claiming handicap trot in a career-best 1:54:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TAYLOR C Despite going off at 31-1, this claiming pacer with Anthony Napolitano in the bike made a couple of speed moves on Friday night and came up a winner for a $65.20 win payout. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC LEDFORD Ledford doesn’t stop in at Pocono very often, but he might want to be a more frequent visitor after picking up three victories for trainer PJ Fraley on Saturday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PAUL HOLZMAN Another solid performer from the deep Pocono training community, Holzman had a good week with single wins on Friday and Tuesday. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. by Jim Bevigila for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Bee A Magician, Captaintreacherous and I Luv The Nitelife, who have combined to win 35 of 37 races and $3.67 million this year, lead the list of 156 horses entered Tuesday for the 12 Breeders Crown events at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Eliminations are unnecessary for the 3-year-old filly pacers and Open Trot, which both received nine entries. Eliminations for 2-year-old male and female trotters plus 2-year-old female pacers are Friday at Pocono Downs, with the remaining elims Saturday. Post time is 6:30 p.m. both nights. All 12 finals - with purses totaling $5.6 million - will be Saturday, Oct. 19, at Pocono Downs. Post time is 5 p.m. for the first race. Bee A Magician, a 3-year-old filly trotter, is 13-for-13 this year for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. She enters the Breeders Crown off a win in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship Sept. 28 at Mohawk, which pushed her seasonal earnings to $1.09 million. Other victories this season include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $356,981 Elegantimage Stakes. A daughter of the stallion Kadabra out of the mare Beehive, Bee A Magician is the fastest 3-year-old trotter this season, with a clocking of 1:51 that came in winning the $265,500 Delvin Miller Memorial on July 13 at the Meadowlands. The time is the fastest ever for a 3-year-old filly trotter. Bee A Magician has won 23 of 26 lifetime starts and earned $1.86 million - the most ever for a filly trotter at ages 2 and 3 combined. She finished third in last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, which was won by To Dream On. Bee A Magician is the second of two eliminations for the 3-year-old filly trotters, starting from post three. To Dream On, who on Sunday won the $205,100 Kentucky Filly Futurity final, is in the second of the two eliminations. To Dream On is one of 12 previous Breeders Crown champions entered in this year's event. Three-year-old colt pacer Captaintreacherous is a nose from perfect this year, with 10 wins in 11 starts and $1.61 million. He is trained by Tony Alagna for the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group. He heads to the Breeders Crown following his victory Saturday in a $215,500 division of the Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile. Other wins this year for the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Worldly Treasure include the $980,000 North America Cup, the $635,750 Meadowlands Pace, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial and the $360,211 Cane Pace. His only loss came by a nose to Sunshine Beach in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine in a world-record 1:47.4 mile. Captaintreacherous has won 18 of 21 career races and earned $2.53 million. He finished third in last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers. He is in the second of two eliminations for the 3-year-old male pacers and will leave from post four. I Luv The Nitelife, a 3-year-old filly pacer, has won 12 of 13 races this year and earned $968,337 for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune, she most recently won the $154,650 Jugette final at the Delaware County Fair on Sept. 18 for her 11th consecutive victory. Other triumphs include the $384,044 Fan Hanover Stakes, the $350,000 Valley Forge and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial. For her career, she has won 16 of 23 starts and $1.65 million. She finished second in last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly pacers, which was won by Somwherovrarainbow. Eliminations are unnecessary for the 3-year-old filly pacers, so the final was drawn Tuesday. I Luv The Nitelife will start from post seven; Somwherovrarainbow leaves from post eight. Shebestingin, who on Sunday paced the fastest mile in history by a female pacer when she won a division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial in 1:47, drew post five. The Open Trot, Mare Trot and Mare Pace each have three past Breeders Crown winners. Arch Madness, who makes his record-tying sixth Breeders Crown appearance, Intimidate and Uncle Peter all are previous trophy winners competing in this year's Open Trot. Arch Madness became the ninth trotter in history to surpass $4 million in career earnings when he won the Allerage Farms Open Trot on Sunday at The Red Mile. In the Mare Trot, Cedar Dove, Check Me Out and Maven have won titles, as have Mare Pace contenders Anndrovette, Economy Terror and Monkey On My Wheel. Anndrovette is seeking her third consecutive Breeders Crown, a feat never accomplished in any of the open divisions. Sweet Lou, in the Open Pace, completes the list of previous Breeders Crown champions. The Open Pace also includes Foiled Again, who is the richest pacer in harness racing history, with $5.38 million. Following are the fields with listed drivers and trainers. Elimination purses are $25,000. FRIDAY ELIMINATIONS 2-year-old filly trotters (top four in each elim and fifth place with highest seasonal earnings advance) Division One: 1. Struck By Lindy, David Miller, Nifty Norman; 2. Goddess, John Campbell, Paul Kelley; 3. Designed To Be, Andy Miller, Julie Miller; 4. Shake It Cerry, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter; 5. Lifetime Pursuit, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 6. Cantabs Fortune, Rick Zeron, Rick Zeron; 7. Market Rally, John Cummings Jr., Megan Wilson. Division Two: 1. Cooler Schooner, John Campbell, Jim Campbell; 2. Scream And Shout, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 3. Harley Momma, Howard Parker, Jim Raymer; 4. Vanity Matters, Yannick Gingras, Jonas Czernyson; 5. Noon Tea Party, Brian Sears, Paul Fusco; 6. Demanding Sam, Paul Macdonell, Scott McEneny; 7. Ruby, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller. 2-year-old filly pacers (top four in each elim and fifth place with highest seasonal earnings advance) Division One: She's Da Bomb, Jody Jamieson, Tony O'Sullivan; 2. Rain Cloud Hanover, Brian Sears, David Taff; 3. Put On A Display, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder; 4. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell; 5. Bettor Business, Tim Tetrick, Scott DiDomenico; 6. Southwind Silence, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 7. Ali Blue, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8. Beach Body, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes. Division Two: 1. Precocious Beauty, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair; 2. JK Molly, Tim Tetrick, Ron Burke; 3. Act Now, Ron Pierce, Nikolas Drennan; 4. Quick Thrill, Jim Morrill Jr., Brewer Adams; 5. Allstar Rating, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Rockingcam Park, Brian Sears, Ron Coyne Jr.; 7. Scandalicious, Andy Miller, Scott DiDomenico; 8. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter; 9. Delightful Dragon, Mike Lachance, Noel Daley. 2-year-old male trotters (top seven advance) 1. Southwind Spirit, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 2. Expressive Action, Brian Sears, John Grasso; 3. Exodus Hanover, Andy Miller, Steve Elliott; 4. Another Transcript, Corey Callahan, Jerry Silverman; 5. Odds On Amethyst, Tim Tetrick, Robin Schadt; 6. Auspicious Hanover, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris; 7. Muscle Network, Jody Jamieson, Tony O'Sullivan; 8. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jim Oscarsson; 9. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter. Byes: Credit Fashion, Don Dorado. SATURDAY ELIMINATIONS 2-year-old male pacers (top three finishers from each elimination advance) Division One: 1. Workandplayhard, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen; 2. Journeyman, Mike Lachance, Tony Alagna; 3. Let's Drink On It, Ron Pierce, Joe Seekman; 4. So Surreal, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 5. Idealbeach Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Mark Ford; 6. Somestarsomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 7. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell. Division Two: 1. Beat The Drum, TBA, Staffan Lind; 2. Doo Wop Hanover, Ron Pierce, Steve Elliott; 3. Bakersfield, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 4. Melmerby Beach, Paul Macdonell, Brent MacGrath; 5. Crafty Master, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair; 6. Carracci Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 7. Western Vintage, Yannick Gingras, Nancy Johansson; 8. Some Major Beach, Brian Sears, Tony Alagna. Division Three: 1. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Smack Talk, Ron Pierce, John Williamson; 3. Three Of Clubs, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair; 4. Fort Knox, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna; 5. Pierce, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 6. Ari Allstar, Brian Sears, Mark Ford; 7. Stevensville, Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker; 8. Arthur Blue Chip, Randy Waples, Ian Moore. 3-year-old filly trotters (top four in each elim and fifth place with highest seasonal earnings advance) Division One: 1. Royal Assets, Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker; 2. Bouncing Bax, Howard Parker, Jim Raymer; 3. Coffeecake Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 4. Thistle Dhu, Brett Miller, Del S. Miller; 5. To Dream On, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 6. Frau Blucher, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes. Division Two: 1. Southwind Cocoa, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano; 2. Shared Past, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman; 4. Ma Chere Hall, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson; 5. Time To Kill, John Campbell, Ross Croghan; 6. Handover Belle, Mike Lachance, Tony Alagna. Mare trotters (top four in each elim and fifth place with highest seasonal earnings advance) Division One: 1. Bax Of Life, John Campbell, Jerry Duford; 2. Unefoisdansmavie, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 3. Mystical Starlight, Brett Miller, Ross Croghan; 4. D'Orsay, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson; 5. Cowgirl Hall, Brian Sears, Deborah Brunet; 6. Cedar Dove, Ron Pierce, Noel Daley; 7. China Pearls, Paul Macdonell, David Drew. Division Two: 1. Real Babe, David Miller, Mark Harder; 2. Maven, Yannick Gingras, Jonas Czernyson; 3. Check Me Out, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 4. Intense America, Mike Lachance, Susanne Kerwood; 5. Win Missy B, TBA, Rich Gillock; 6. Beatgoeson Hanover, David Miller, Nifty Norman. 3-year-old male pacers (top four in each elim and fifth place with highest seasonal earnings advance) Division One: 1. Lucan Hanover, David Miller, Casie Coleman; 2. Sunshine Beach, John Campbell, Mark Steacy; 3. Wake Up Peter, Rick Zeron, Tony Alagna; 4. Fool Me Once, Brian Sears, Mark Austin; 5. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace; 6. Captive Audience, Randy Waples, Colin Johnson. Division Two: 1. Vegas Vacation, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman; 2. Urbanite Hanover, Yannick Gingras, John Williamson; 3. Emeritus Maximus, TBA, Tony Alagna; 4. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 5. Sunfire Blue Chip, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 6. Beach Memories, David Miller, Brian Brown. 3-year-old male trotters (top four in each elim and fifth place with highest seasonal earnings advance) Division One: 1. Bluto, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 2. Dewycolorintheline, Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker; 3. Fico, Corey Callahan, Staffan Lind; 4. Deadliest Catch, Ron Pierce, John Duer; 5. Smilin Eli, Tim Tetrick, David Smith; 6. All Laid Out, David Miller, Noel Daley; 7. Possessed Fashion, John Campbell, Tom Fanning. Division Two: 1. Caveat Emptor, Ray Schnittker, Ray Schnittker; 2. Royalty For Life, Brian Sears, George Ducharme; 3. Hamdalla, Jody Jamieson, Riina Rekila; 4. E L Rocket, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5. Spider Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Chuck Sylvester; 6. Aperfectyankee, Jim Oscarsson, Jim Oscarsson; 7. Creatine, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart. Open Pace (top seven advance) 1. Warrawee Needy, Jody Jamieson, Mark Ford; 2. A Rocknroll Dance, Tim Tetrick, Jim Mulinix; 3. Bettor's Edge, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano; 4. Modern Legend, John Campbell, David Drew; 5. Sweet Lou, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 6. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 7. Golden Receiver, Corey Callahan, Mark Harder; 8. Michael's Power, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman; 9. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Pete Foley. Byes: Clear Vision, Pet Rock. Mare Pace (top seven advance) 1. Economy Terror, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Rocklamation, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3. Swinging Beauty, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 4. Ooh Bad Shark, Howard Parker, William Wiggins; 5. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, P.J. Fraley; 6. Monkey On My Wheel, Brian Sears, Casie Coleman; 7. Krispy Apple, Tim Tetrick, P.J. Fraley; 8. Camille, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 9. Shelliscape, David Miller, P.J. Fraley. Byes: Drop The Ball, Feeling You. FINALS, ON OCT. 19 (no eliminations necessary) $500,000 3-year-old filly pace: 1. Parlee Beach, 2. Mattie Terror Girl, 3. Carols Desire, 4. Authorize, 5. Shebestingin, 6. Aunt Caroline, 7. I Luv The Nitelife, 8. Somwherovrarainbow, 9. Love Canal. $600,000 Open Trot: 1. Market Share, 2. Wishing Stone, 3. My MVP, 4. Guccio, 5. Intimidate, 6. Mister Herbie, 7. Arch Madness, 8. Uncle Peter, 9. Sevruga. by Ken Weingartner for HRC
The kids are going back to school, real football is about to be played, and my tan, what there was of it, has long since faded. That can only mean that the summer months are winding down and, as Bob Seger once sang, autumn's closin' in. Still, there is no let-up whatsoever in the racing action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as was evident in the racing week just gone past. So let's celebrate the finest performers of the last four racing nights by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: BLISSFULL DREAMER It's difficult to sustain a long winning streak in the sport of harness racing, even for a horse who stays in the same class. That's because staying in the same class doesn't necessarily mean facing the same field week after week, as hot horses could be moving up from lower classes while horses used to facing tougher competition might be dropping down. Add to that the vagaries of post position week to week, racing luck, and the simple possibility of an off week, and you can see why a four-race winning streak like the one Blissfull Dreamer was riding heading into her race on Friday night is such an achievement. Blissfull Dreamer has been sharp all year long as a 4-year-old mare, coming into her battle with the $12,500 distaff claimers on Friday with victories in 11 of 24 races on the season. She has shown the ability to come from off the pace in past races, but, with an inside post on Friday, she was sent to the lead early on by driver Ron Pierce to control the pace. Her fifth straight victory wasn't destined to be an easy win, however, as long shot Fire In The Night made a strong move in the stretch. Blissfull Dreamer, trained by Rene Allard, had the ultimate answer though, digging in late to win by a neck in 1:53:1. That makes it five in a row, the longest winning streak at Pocono this season, one that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Other top pacers this week: Ultimate Beachboy (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won a showdown with fellow Super Stakes Saturday winner Jonny Rock by a nose in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50; Rick's Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), whose victory over a field of $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:51:3 was his Third Straight at Pocono and fourth in a row overall; and Power Pach Hanover (Andy Miller, John Cancelliere), a 3-year-old filly who now has three wins in a row at Pocono after her condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:50:4. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FLASHBACKS This 4-year-old stallion from the Wendy Chellis barn fell into a bit of a rut when he arrived from Tioga in June, struggling to make much of a mark against the tougher condition trotters on the grounds. The light switched on when he dropped down into a condition for non-winners of $11,000 in the last five races on August 9. As a 9-1 shot he made a strong first over move and scored an upset win in a career-best 1:53:1. Flashbacks was back at it again on Friday night in the same class, yet he was still given a tepid chance from the fans as a 7-2 third choice. This time around driver Drew Chellis decided to send his trotter to the front early, reaching the quarter in a rapid time which seemed to augur trouble for Flashbacks if he couldn't pace himself a little better. But Drew Chellis rated the horse masterfully through the middle portion of the race, conserving energy for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Flashbacks was still itching to go, and he powered home for a second consecutive win, this one in 1:54:3. With two straight impressive wins, this trotter with a name that suggests a dive back into the past is definitely looking ahead to a bright future. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: From Above (Andrew McCarthy, Mark Silva), who won the week's featured condition trot on Saturday night in 1:54; Ballet Slippers (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), a filly who now has three straight wins, the last two coming at Pocono, after a condition victory on Friday night in 1:57:1; and Bloomfieldcantifly (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), a mare who ripped off her second straight claiming handicap win on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FLIGHT EXEC Despite back-to-back wins coming into the race, Flight Exec, with Kevin Wallis driving, was a 23-1 shot when he upended a field of $25,000 claimers on Saturday nightand paid out $48.20 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Anthony Napolitano Anthony has been a steady presence in the drivers' standings all year long, but he's really been picking up the pace of late, as evidenced by a driving triple on Tuesday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Tony Alagna Alagna sent a pair of 2-year-olds to the gate on Tuesday night, and both Status Quo and Some Playa, came away with convincing victories. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. by Jim Beviglia
Next week in this column, we'll be highlighting all the action on Super Stakes Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a stunning program of harness racing in which just about all of the sport's top superstars will compete. That should be a special evening, but, in the meantime, we were witness to another excellent week of racing at Pocono, and it's time to celebrate the best of that action by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: STONEHOUSE ADAM This six-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn is having the best year of his career in 2013. His earnings of over six figures this season have practically doubled his lifetime bank account. On Saturday night, he stepped up in class to the toughest condition group on the grounds for a purse of $21,000. Two weeks previous to that, Stonehouse Adam had come up just short in that class with a hard-luck second-place finish. Yet he bounced back last week with a confidence-building win in lesser company in a career-best 1:50 flat. Building off that, driver Matt Kakaley sent the gelding to the front end early in Saturday night, a move that was made easier by an inside post position. Kakaley rated the speed brilliantly for the first half-mile, and his horse needed every bit of his energy through the second half of the mile as competitors came at him from all sides. Stonehouse Adam dug in for the stretch drive and persevered for the victory in 1:50:2. With two straight gutsy wins, this veteran pacer seems to be hitting not only the best stride of his season, but also of his entire career. Other top pacers this week include: Blissfull Dreamer (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), a mare who rolled to victory over a field of $12,500 claimers on Friday night in 1:53, giving her wins in her last four starts; Rick's Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), who moved up in class on Friday night for a $7,500 claiming victory in 1:51:3, making it two wins in a row at Pocono and three in a row overall; and Atochia (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), the acclaimed veteran whose win in a condition pace on Saturday night in 1:49 matched a career-best and was the fastest of the week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HYANNIS HANOVER It's unusual for us to name a 2-year-old as one of the Weekly Award winners. It's even more unusual for it to be a 2-year-old with only two races under his belt. Yet Hyannis Hanover is the choice this week, not only for the fact that he won the first two races of his career, but also for the circumstances surrounding those wins. In his debut on August 7 against other two-year-olds, the gelding sired by Cantab Hall went off at towering odds of 90-1 in his debut. Yet there he was at the end, rallying from way back in the pack to upset the field in 2:01:1. The modest winning time and the fact that several horses in the race broke stride made the race look like a bit of a fluke, which was probably why Hyannis Hanover was let go at 9-1 as he moved up into a Stallion Series race on Tuesday night. This time around it was no fluke. Driver Bret Brittingham maneuvered Hyannis Hanover from the outside post into a pocket seat behind even-money favorite Broadway Charm, then pounced when the leader faltered. In trotting away to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:58:3, Hyannis Hanover, trained by Don Brittingham, looked more like 1-9 than 9-1. The lesson: Underestimate this freshman trotter at your own peril. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Flashbacks (Drew Chellis, Wendy Chellis), who surprised a condition group at 9-1 on Friday night and did so in 1:53:1, the fastest trotting time at Pocono this week; Zumba Mouse (Anthony Napolitano, Randy Bendis), a mare who scored her second straight upset win against claiming handicap competition on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:54:3; and Lexis Amigo (Andy Miller, Jeffrey Smith), who picked up a win in rugged condition company on Friday night in 1:53:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FAUST That name might implay a deal with the devil, but Faust simply out-trotted his foes in Stallion Series action Tuesday night with Howard Parker driving at 17-1 for a $37.20 win payout. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Mike Simons One of Pocono's favorite drivers came up with a milestone win on Wednesday night aboard Mac's Bad Boy, as Mike picked up his 3,000th career victory. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Jim Campbell Campbell always has a strong contingent of younger horses, and he showed it off Tuesday night by training two winners of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. That will do if for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. Jim Beviglia
A pair of Valley Victor trotters owned by Fabulous Farms, trained by Richard Johnson and driven by Corey Callahan swept both top trots, the $22,000 Winners-Over and $18,000 conditioned, on a day of duplications at Dover Downs on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Driver Ross Wolfenden and owner-trainer Brewer Adams recorded triples.
Scarborough Downs and the Western Maine Harness Horsemen's Association of Oxford, present The Professional Harness Drivers' Challenge on Sunday, September 7th, an event which will bring North America's top harness racing drivers to Maine to compete on one track, on one spectacular day. Festivities get underway, rain or shine, at 12:30 pm; Sunday live racing post time is 1:30 pm.
Leading driver and trainer Brewer Adams was right at home in the Rockingham Park winner's circle on Saturday (8-9), capturing five of the 10 races on the afternoon card.