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WILKES-BARRE PA - Dreams Beachboy uncorked a strong third-quarter move in the harness racing feature race Saturday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, cleared to the lead and then opened up a huge margin around the final turn, crossing the wire a safe 2¼ lengths clear in 1:50.2.   After a strength-sapping 25.4 duel among foes in opening quarter and nearing the 55 half, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent the victorious altered son of Somebeachsomewhere streaking down the backside, pacing his own third quarter in 27, gaining the lead before the 1:22.4 3/4s and winning over the two horses who followed but couldn't quite keep up with his backside brush - second-over Mister Bling A photoed out third-over Clear Vision for second money.   Crawford Farms Racing owns Dreams Beachboy, who was sent off by Pocono punters as the 7 to 5 favorite and rewarded their confidence with his seventh win in 19 starts this season (37%) and his 11th career visit to Victory Lane in 37 starts (30%).   The victory was the third on the card for "George Nap," and his second successful collaboration with trainer Chris Oakes. Those two horsemen are on top of the local standings - Napolitano's win total of 272 is more than double that of his nearest rival, his brother Anthony (for whom it must be mentioned in fairness that he missed almost two months of racing after a May 31 racing mishap at The Downs), while Oakes has harnessed 76 winners at the current meet to have a slight advantage over Ron Burke (72) and Rene Allard (71) in what should be a three-way battle going all the way to the end of the Pocono meet on November 26.   PHHA/Pocono  

Batavia, NY---In the featured $10,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24), the only race was for second as the heavily favored invader, Scott Rocks led at all stations en route to registering the fastest pacing mile of the year at the Genesee County harness racing oval. John Cummings Jr. left with Scott Rocks and after easing him through a brutally sunlit first turn, got his horse in gear on the back straight and took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. As soon as he crossed over to the pylons, Cummings popped the plugs and took a reclined posture in the bike as he became a passenger for the rest of his ride. Scott Rocks was up by one and one-half lengths at the half in :56.2 and by two at three-quarters in 1:23.4. With the rest of the field scrambling to keep up at that point, the leader opened up three lengths under mild urging from Cummings and won wrapped-up in 1:52. China Dream (Shawn Gray) closed strong to catch second and Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings), who followed the winner the entire mile, hung on for third. It was the ninth win of the year, including three straight most recently for Scott Rocks ($2.50) and the purse increased his 2016 bank to $133,374 for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. The 6-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Chris Oakes. John Cummings Jr. had a driving grand slam on Saturday winning with Scott Rocks ($2.50, 1:52), Keystone Dalton ($3.10, 1:55), Foreign Officer ($4.30, 1:54.1) and Untouchable One ($3.40, 1:56). Drew Monti had a driving triple while Ray Fisher Jr. doubled up. Trainer JD Perrin conditioned three winning horses on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) with the first post at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Delaware, OH --- Don Dream was a nightmare for his rivals, winning Thursday’s (Sept. 22) second $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old male trotters in a world record 1:55 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Moonshiner Hanover, who followed Don Dream throughout the mile, finished second by 1-3/4 lengths and Andy M was third. Don Dream’s time is the fastest in history for a 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile track. The previous mark of 1:55.2 was held by filly Wild Honey. The best prior clocking for a male trotter was 1:55.3 held by Dontyouforgetit. A son of Donato Hanover out of the mare Gabbys Dream, Don Dream was making his first start for new owners Michelle and Albert Crawford and Susan Oakes, who purchased the colt last week. The horse is trained by Chris Oakes. "David (Miller, his driver) really likes him and said he went around the track well in hand," said Chris Oakes. "He broke the track record in his last start at Harrah's (1:55.2) and I did speak with David about him before I bought him to discuss his opinion of him. The Crawfords were kind enough to agree with us and hopefully with their continued backing can purchase more nice horses just like him. "I wasn't surprised really that he set the world record. I flew in on Monday and trained him on the track earlier this week and he got over it extremely well. David said much the same thing about how he handled it today. "He goes on to Lexington next." Don Dream, the 2-5 favorite, and Miller went to the lead at the start and never looked back. Don Dream set fractions of :28.1, :57.3, and 1:26.4 on his way to his fourth win in eight races. He has earned $79,240. He’s On A Mission and driver Tim Tetrick won Thursday’s first $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters, capitalizing when Lars Perry went off stride in the stretch as he attempted to lead the race from start to finish. He’s On A Mission stopped the timer in 1:58.3, with Lars Perry second but placed third because of the break. Brand New Key was third-placed-second. Lars Perry and Brand New Key battled on the first turn for the early advantage, with Lars Perry eventually forcing Brand New Key to back off and settle into second. Lars Perry set fractions of :27.4, :58.2, and 1:28.1 before pulling away from the field heading into the stretch. He’s On A Mission, who was third for most of the mile, was on the move in the stretch and took advantage of Lars Perry’s missteps. A gelded son of Groton Hall out of the mare Lisas Mission, He’s On A Mission is owned by trainer Stacey Ruddick along with Denise Dennis. He has won three of six races and earned $75,375. He was the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship runner-up in August. "Unfortunately he was not himself the night of the KYSS final," said Ruddick. "He had a bad week, was really nervous and right up on the bit which is not like him. I was a little concerned he would get wound up here with everything that was going on or that he would have to leave from the eight-hole in a big field. But we got here on Tuesday and he has been nice and relaxed and just taking everything in. "As far as how he drew, it could not have worked out any better. Also we have a small track back at the farm that we train on so I knew the turns would be no problem for him. Then Timmy (Tetrick) drove him perfectly. I've known Timmy for years when he used to drive for me when I raced at the Illinois fairs. He learned from his dad how to bring the babies along slowly. "I bought this horse as a weanling and it's an interesting story. I was looking at Kentucky babies because I knew there were not many mares bred there. I had a list printed out actually and Walnut Hall sold a bunch of mares in foal that year at the Delaware sale. His dam was a little older and I was looking more towards a younger mare. This Amish guy was looking at her and so I asked him if he was interested in the mare only because I was interested in the baby. He told me the mare only, so I told him I would not bid against him if I could have first shot at the baby. He agreed and when this horse was a baby we went to look at him, decided we wanted him and traded a stallion share, then I brought some other horses to that farm and we got him. "He is eligible next for some late closers at Lexington and he is a very nice colt. I think he's a nicer colt than he may receive credit for." by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications -- Kim French also contributed to this report

Columbus, OH --- Although the surface was less than spectacular due to inclement weather, Homicide Hunter, who established a new world record three weeks ago at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, garnered another harness racing accolade for his already sterling resume with a 1:52.1 triumph in the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial at Eldorado Scioto Downs on Saturday (Sept. 10). The final clocking is a new track record for 4-year-old trotting geldings. The altered son of  Mr Cantab and Evening Prayer was placed on the lead by his pilot, Eric Goodell, shortly after the field of seven was rounding the first turn at the Columbus oval. Once the Indiana champion placed race leader Muscle Up The Goal (Aaron Merriman) in his rearview mirror, the 4-5 favorite effortlessly clicked off fractions of :27.1, 55.3, 1:23.2 and hit the wire 4-1/4 lengths to the good of Muscle Up The Goal and third place finisher Wind Of The North (Chris Page), who closed very well in the stretch to finish behind the top two. Conditioned by Chris Oakes and owned by Crawford Farms, Homicide Hunter glided over a track that had been soaked by powerful early precipitation which had begun to taper off prior to the horses placing their noses on the gate. Goodell steered the horse with the greatest of confidence, and Homicide Hunter responded in kind. He never appeared under any serious pressure or any urging to produce his second record-breaking victory from his last three trips to the post. With his latest triumph, Homicide Hunter is now 41-23-4-6 lifetime and boosted his bank account to $715,263. Prior to his being sold privately last winter, Homicide Hunter resided in the barn of Curt Grummel, who had his doubts the gelding would ever develop into a high quality racehorse when he was a youngster because he had a tendency to not finish strongly to the wire. Homicide Hunter received top billing at Hoosier Park with hometown hero Freaky Feet Pete in Anderson, as he captured 16 consecutive races in 2015 before finishing second to Crazy Wow in the $270,000 Carl Erskine Memorial. Since joining Oakes’ barn, the gelding has compiled a record of 13-4-1-2, but appears to be rounding into prime form as summer transitions into fall. For those that supported him at the windows, Homicide Hunter paid $3.60, with Muscle Up The Goal offering $6.00 to place and Wind Of The North providing $5.20 to his backers. The exacta was $13.60 and the trifecta was $68.80. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

The Mr Cantab gelding Homicide Hunter smashed the world record for harness racing four-year-old trotting geldings with a 1:50.1 victory in the $50,000 Sebastian K Invitational Trot at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In fact, the only divisional world standard for 5/8-mile track that’s faster is the 1:49 all-time record, set in the older stallion division – by Sebastian K.   The most potent teaming at Pocono – driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes – were the sponsorship behind Homicide Hunter, who spotted third as Wings Of Royalty took the field to the lead in 26.3, then brushed to the top and reached the half after a slight breather in 55.3. After that, it was the rest of the field that was left gasping, as Homicide Hunter went to the ¾ in 1:22.4 and stayed strong to the finish, winning by four lengths while lowering the former divisional standard, co-held by 2015 divisional champ JL Cruze and Wind Of The North, both here at Pocono. Il Sogno Dream rallied for second up the inside to hit the wire a neck ahead of strong-closing Rose Run Parker behind Homicide Hunter, who also posted the fastest trotting mile of 2016 on all sizes of tracks, 1/5 faster than Resolve posted in a Meadowlands victory.   Homicide Hunter, who dominated the Indiana landscape in 2015 while winning 16 of 18 races and over $475,000, was purchased on July 1 by Crawford Farms Racing, and that purchase looks very astute right now, as Homicide Hunter boosted his bankroll to $655,999, with the prospects of more to come. (Hmmmm … Indiana … Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki, Freaky Feet Pete … Homicide Hunter?)   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA -- George Napolitano Jr. recorded his sixth victory of Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and harness racing trainer Chris Oakes his fourth, when they teamed with the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks to take the $18,000 tenth race pacing feature in sloppy going.   Napolitano and Scott Rocks passed every pole on the lead, coming home in 54.2 - 27 despite the muck to prove 2¾ lengths better than Phil Your Boots (Anthony Napolitano, the fourth time in the first ten events he had finished second behind his brother), with Bushwacker another 1¼ lengths back in third. Scott Rocks now has earnings of $100,104 for 2016, and $437,209 lifetime; Susan Oakes shares ownership of the 30% lifetime winner (27 for 90) with Chuck Pompey.   With the effect the weather had on the track surface still unknown, the $15,500 first race co-feature quickly gave a hint: after Achilles Blue Chip finally cleared Hall Bro after a 25.1 quarter, the brothers Napolitano were both quarter-moving, with Anthony first guiding Casimir Jitterbug to command and then brother George storming by with Dancin Yankee as they entered turn two before the 52.4 half (shades of the Adios, held 2 1/2 hours earlier 294 miles southwest of Pocono at the Meadows). Dancin Yankee (11-10*) rolled right on to a 1:20.3 3/4s before staying clear to the wire in 1:49.1 over the 6-5 "Jitterbug." Dancin Yankee, a career winner of $1,438,436 and the 2014 Pennsylvania Overnight Harness Horse of the Year after dominating the Invitational scene, still has plenty of life in his eight-year-old legs for trainer Josh Green and the partnership of Richard Lombardo and L&J Racing LLC.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Homicide Hunter went to the lead past the quarter, then trotted successive 27.3 panels home to hold off first-over Crazshana by a half-length in the $25,000 winners-over handicap trot Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the final clocking of 1:51.1 missing the divisional world record for harness racing four-year-old trotting geldings by a single tick.   And with Pocono being Pocono in the five-eighth mile track category, especially on the trot, Homicide Hunter didn't even get a track record out of the brave effort. The 1:51 standard was achieved by Wind Of The North here in 2014, and then JL Cruze in a mountain stop last season. The altered son of Mr Cantab, owned by Crawford Farms Racing, did lower his mark from the 1:51.4 he posted in winning the Meadows Maturity on June 18, and raised his bankroll to $622,013.   The teaming of driver Eric Goodell and trainer Chris Oakes was a very fruitful one for both parties this weekend, as Homicide Hunter's win at Pocono added to the three times the two paired successfully on Wiggle It Jiggleit's Gerrity night at Saratoga 24 hours earlier. Even more remarkably, Goodell had a horse he was driving fall down while in contention at The Meadows on Monday, didn't get back into the sulky until Friday - and after this race had posted a 14-6-2-0-.508 tally since coming back!   An altered son of Crazed also accounted for the $18,000 sub-featured trot, as Crazy About Pat led at every pole under the guidance of Andrew McCarthy in recording a new mark of 1:53.1. Paul Kelley conditions the six-year-old earner of $663,899 lifetime for the Patricia Stable.   PHHA / Pocono  

As of 11:00 pm tonight, all of the horses entered in the Meadowlands Pace, the Hambletonian Maturity Trot and a select group of other horses, will be in settled in for the night at the Meadowlands Racetrack in pre-race stakes barn isolation. It is the norm that for many major stakes events, horses are subject to a pre-race stakes barn or a detention area where only caretakers and veterinarians under observation are allowed to be with the horses. After midnight, no one will be able to enter the pre-race stakes barn unless a situation arises and they are called in by security. Otherwise no one enters the barn until 5:00 am the next morning. “We have ideal stable conditions for these horses,” said Brice Cote, who is in charge of the Meadowlands pre-race stakes barn. “There is plenty of fans to keep the horses cool and they will all be fine throughout the night.” The pre-race stakes barn or detention area is done to keep any possible improprieties from possibly happening by not allowing anyone with access to the horses unless properly supervised. This is done in the best interest of fellow horsemen and to insure to racing fans wagering on the races that nothing out of the ordinary has been given to or done to the horses. What is unique about this situation is that a number of prominent trainers who have horses in other stakes races, not the Haughton or Maturity, also must have their horses subject to the detention barn. For this Saturday’s program, those trainers are Ron Adams, Jeff Bamond, Jr., and Chris Oakes. Four of the five horses are all in the Golden Girls final for a purse of $229,900. Last week the same was done for trainers Joanne Looney-King and Jeff Bamond, Jr.   Most of these trainers are not allowed to race their horses in regular overnight events at the Meadowlands and must submit to pre-stakes race barn detention. Ron Adams is the lone exception. Adams, 28, from Lasalle, Ontario, was named an O’Brien Future Star Award winner in 2015 in Canada and has never raced at a horse at the Meadowlands before. He did train the horse in question, Lady Shadow in the Golden Girls Final, for a brief time last season that included one sixth place finish at Vernon Downs, which is also owned by Jeff Gural of the Meadowlands. When asked why Adams was also made to bring his horse to the pre-race stakes barn, Cote said he could not comment on that situation. Questions have been raised in the fairness of not having all horses in the same race required to be in the pre-race stakes barn and just singling out a select few, especially for mares when the heat index is near 90 day and night and mares are much more prone to “tying up” in extreme heat and in many cases are turned outside at night, which cannot be done at the Meadowlands facility. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

WASHINGTON, PA, June 4, 2016 -- Adrian Hanover thwarted the determined challenge of Big Top Hanover and went on to score in a career-best 1:49.4 in Saturday's $162,110 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at The Meadows. The time matched the fastest this year by a 3-year-old gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. Another Daily Copy pulled off a 20-1 upset in the other division of the stake known as the Bye Bye Byrd. Adrian Hanover quarter-poled to the lead for Dave Palone -- just where Chris Oakes, who trains Adrian Hanover for John Craig, didn't want him. "I talked to Chris five minutes before the race," Palone indicated, "and Chris said, 'I wouldn't put him on the lead.' But I ended up getting away third, and I thought my best shot was to control it." When the well meant Big Top Hanover and Yannick Gingras came after him, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Artaffection turned him back and defeated him by 3-1/2 lengths, with Manhattan Beach third. "He really didn't mind the pressure," Palone said. "He's lazy, and as soon as Yannick came to him, it helped my cause. He got back up in the bit and paced home real strong." Another Daily Copy, who had been racing almost exclusively on the front end of late, found the pocket trip Tony Hall gave him to his liking. He zipped by the leader, 4-5 favorite Check Six, in the stretch and downed him by a neck in 1:50, a lifetime mark. JK Will Power earned show. With the win, Another Daily Copy soared over $100,000 in career earnings. "He had a little breather today," said Nicholas DeVita, who conditions the homebred son of Somebeachsomewhere-Court Stenographer for owner/breeder Carl Sackheim. "Plus he had a nice horse doing all the hard work for him. At 2 he had allergies and tying-up problems, but he got better as he matured. He's staked to everything, so we'll play it by ear." $100,000 PA Sires Stake, 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers In Saturday's co-feature, Power Of A Cruiser equaled the stake record of 1:50.3 with a front-end triumph from post 8. Also taking $20,000 splits were Fashion Bythebeach, Good Living, Don McWhite and Rip This Joint. Tim Tetrick (Power Of A Cruiser, Fashion Bythebeach, Good Living) and Hall (Don McWhite, Rip This Joint) swept the five divisions. Despite the unfavorable post, Power Of A Cruiser, a Yankee Cruiser-Power Of Thunder gelding, opened a commanding lead for Tetrick, trainer Les Givens and owner/breeder Michael Horsey, defeating the first-over Duke Of Delray by 4-1/2 lengths. McDave was third. "He's been showing speed," Tetrick said. "When I got to cut it, he raced a really good mile." Fashion Bythebeach also scored on the front end, holding off JJ Flynn by a neck in 1:52. Hollyrock Heyden completed the ticket. "He has extreme speed, but his head's not where it should be," said Vince Copeland, who trains the Somebeachsomewhere-Don'tknocktherock gelding, a $27,000 yearling acquisition, for David D. Miller. "He has a bit of an attitude. He wanted to kick Tim out of the bike during the post parade -- he hadn't tried that with me. If I can put a flip-up bridle where he can see horses coming at him, I think he'll be a lot better." The Cancelliere brothers, John and Tom, have made big noise at many yearling auctions, but only once have they signed the ticket for a weanling, a Western Ideal-Artomatic brother to their millionaire performer Western Shore. "We gave $14,500 for him," Tom Cancelliere said. "We threw him out in the field for a year and started breaking him with the other ones last year. He's very green. On the front end today, he was on and off the gas, on and off the gas. He doesn't realize that he just has to go. He'll go to the sires stakes next." That youngster, named Good Living, justified the brothers' patience Saturday when he scored on the lead in a career-fastest 1:51.1. Yankee Artillery was second, 2 lengths in arrears, with Blake North third. Change of Plans for Foiled Again Elsewhere on the program, the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace marked a homecoming for Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time richest pacer with more than $7.3 on his card. The gallant 12-year-old gelding hadn't raced at The Meadows, the home track of his connections, in about three years. But his rivals spoiled the party, parking him for nearly three-eighths before he reached the front. Unlocked nosed out Dapper Dude for the win in 1:51.1, with Foiled Again a neck back in third. Now winless in nine outings this year, Foiled Again had been targeting the Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs, but Saturday's race caused trainer Ron Burke to modify those plans. "I thought he was all right," Burke said. "We may have to change his whole racing style. He might have to become a closer because he doesn't have quite the quick speed he used to have, and he gets himself in bad spots . . . He'll continue to race. I talked with my partners, and we're leaning to keeping him here (The Meadows) and race him here another start or two until I see if I can get him to pick it up a little bit." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Luck Be Withyou, a five-year-old son of Western Ideal who LOVES The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, came out of the pocket behind a blistering pace set by JK Endofanera to win the harness racing $50,000 Rose invitational by a neck. "Luck" left strongly to get the garden spot behind JK Endofanera, who whistled to the quarter in 25.4, rated the half against the wind to a fairly-moderate 54.3, then tacked on a 26.2 third quarter (52.3 in the odd-numbered quarters) to open a clear lead at and past the 1:21 ¾.   But George Napolitano Jr., the Downs' all-time leading driver, got "Luck" narrowing the gap into the stretch, with P H Supercam, the only other horse connected to the front, swinging three-wide as the winner vacated the pocket. Luck Be Withyou drove down the center of the track and picked up JK Endofanera late to win by a neck, with P H Supercam just another neck back in third. Rockeyed Optimist, the favorite from post six, was away sixth and had nonflowing cover, and only able to rally for fourth; Levy hero Bit Of A Legend N, stuck with the outside post nine, was also thwarted by the speedburners inside him, took back, raced fourth-over, and could do no better than sixth.   "The two of us get together on this track pretty well," understated Napolitano, who also noted, "And this was only second start after a long layoff" (before his 2016 debut last week, he had last raced at Balmoral on November 7). Chris Oakes is the horse's regular conditioner when he is racing in the area, and John Craig saw his veteran raise his lifetime bankroll to $1,138,781 with the fastest mile of the year at Pocono, taken with the mercury in the low 50's and with a decent stretch headwind. Pocono resume of Luck Be Withyou: 2013 - Breeders Crown winner at two at the mountain oval. 2014 - Took his lifetime mark of 1:48 here. 2015 - Franklin Final winner despite post nine and Pocono Pacer of the Year. 2016 - Van Rose Invitational winner in 1:48.4 in only his second start of the year.   ***********   Three $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for state-bred three-year-old trotting colts and geldings were featured on the afternoon portion of the Pocono doubleheader, with some sophomores who had been flying "just under the radar" at two taking advantages of breaks by the divisional favorites and getting their 2016 stakes seasons off to a fast start.   In the opening cut, Tyson picked a good time to break his maiden, in control of the situation for the last half in a 1:55.4 mile, last quarter 28.3 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Trond Smedshammer, and the ownership combine of the Purple Haze Stables LLC, American Viking Racing Stable, Anderson Farms, and Marc Goldberg. The altered son of Donato Hanover stayed steady throughout the mile while his main rivals kept knocking themselves out of competition - first 2-5 chalk Love Matters, then quick-leaving Pilgrims Tide (6-1), and finally pocketsitting Hollywood Highway (7-1), who had yielded command to 9-2 second choice Tyson and his move in front of the stands the first time. Tyson went on to an easy 2¼ length win over Edinburgh, with Will Self rallying for a distant third.   Mikkeli Hanover, named after the Finnish countryside oval where Varenne once set the world standard for 5/8-mile tracks, might have a little ways to go to come close to the talent level of that one, but according to driver Yannick Gingras, he's still a little green, and yet he was able to lower his mark three seconds by winning his division by a length in 1:56.3. The Andover Hall colt, the 7-1 third choice, made a second move to go to the lead past the 5/8, then benefited when favorite Massive Clout, who had followed him down the back and had retucked in the pocket behind him, made a break on the far turn, leaving Mikkeli with a 4 to 5 length lead late on the turn. Second choice Granite State and Marion Gondolier came on with late bids, but they had to settle for minor honors behind Mikkeli Hanover, who is trained by Ron Burke for his Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms LLC, and Panhellenic Stable Corporation.   The third division was also the fastest, and it produced a second All-Stars winner for driver "Captain" Corey Callahan in 14-1 shot Hititoutofthepark, who worked to the lead at the ¼, shook off the first-over challenge of favored Make Or Miss (that colt eventually broke), and then staved off potential rocket rocket Lagerfeld by a head in 1:55, lowering his lifetime best by a tick, with Cloud Nine Hanover third. The Yankee Glide ridgling, a five-time winner at two, is conditioned by John Butenschoen for owners Give It A Shot Stable, Kurt Welling, and VIP Internet Stable LLC.   PHHA / POCONO    

Celebrity Bugatti put himself into the driver's seat of Bobby Weiss Series action for harness racing trotting males Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, running his record to 3-for-3 in the series while posting the fastest clocking among the $15,000 third leg prelims, 1:54.3.   Driver George Napolitano Jr. had the Muscle Massive stallion in front at every call and felt no pressure at all, with a 27.3 opener and a 57.4 back half that left him 3¼ lengths clear at the finish. Chris Oakes has taken over local care of the speedy trotter for owners Herman Hagerman, Johnny Yoder, and Dan Rawlings.   Two other horses besides Celebrity Bugatti had won in each of the first two legs, but Steed did not enter the third leg, and Dominus Hanover, 1-10* in the betting, finished worse than second for the first time in 11 seasonal starts when he came up third in Taxed To The Max's 1:56.2 victory. Dominus had a soft 59.1 lead to the half, but he didn't have the necessary 57.1 sprint home, as the Yankee Glide four-year-old gelding Taxed To The Max slid up the Pocono Pike from the pocket, grabbed command, then held off Explosive Leggs late for trainer Neal Ehrhart and owners Keystone Trotters LLC while lowering his mark by 2 2/5 seconds.   "Max"'s driver was Anthony Napolitano, who fashioned seven winners (to brother George's six) on Saturday here, yet still often gets away at high prices - despite a Weiss second last week, "Max" paid $18.20 to win, joining other recent "A Nap" winners who paid $20.80 in another race tonight, $26.20 and $20.80 in his two wins last night, and $69.80 among his seven Saturday winners, only one of which was favored! (Not to mention his $197.00 tally a week ago Sunday!)   The other Weiss winner Monday, the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Elysium Lindy, lowered his speed badge by an even greater margin - 4 1/5 seconds - as he parlayed a pocket trip to a neck victory over Apostles Creed in 1:55.2. Driver Jim Marshall III, trainer Donna Marshall, and owner George Beck saw their developing three-year-old put himself in a good position to make May 9's Weiss Championship for this group, as he now has two seconds and a win in series competition.   Something will have to give in the fifth race division of the fourth and final preliminary leg of Weiss action for female trotters Tuesday night. South Side Hanover (post one, trainer/driver Todd Schadel) and Stirling Debutant (Anthony Napolitano driving for trainer Christie Collins from post six) are both 3-for-3 so far in the series, and whoever takes the Tuesday contest will stamp herself as the one to beat in the $30,000 Championship a week from Tuesday. Races 3 and 4 Tuesday are also part of the distaff Weiss action.   PHHA / Pocono  

Velocity Vespa and harness racing driver George Napolitano Jr. teamed up to score a track record 1:49 victory in the $75,000 Final of the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park Late Closing Series on Saturday night (March 5).   Though that was a highlight on the "Super Saturday" program, the pair had to share with spotlight as the stars--both in the sky and on the track--were plentiful and shined brightly the entire night.   Here is a recap of the festivities:   $75,000 Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park Late Closing Final   The aforementioned Velocity Vespa appeared to push the Hummer Starting Gate out of the way at the start and blasted her way through fractions of :26.1, :54 and 1:21 before sprinting home in :28 to score a victory measuring just short of a length in 1:49, the fastest of any distaffer in the 52 year history of the track.   The six year-old daughter of I Scoot Hanover, trained by Chris Oakes for owner Susan Oakes, off as the 3 to 5 public choice, pinned the defeat on Show Runner, driven by Tim Tetrick, with Pertty Music, handled by Kevin Wallis, third, almost seven lengths away. LUcy's Pearl finished fourth while Godiva Seelster, hampered by the outside nine post, rallied from last half way through the mile to finish fifth and extend her streak of races earning purse checks to 77 covering her seasons as a three, four, five and, now, six year-old seasons.   This was a classic "Nap" drive as he had Velocity Vespa ripe to roll and she did just that, thwarting any threats that may have developed during the mile.   In a post race interview, driver George Napolitano, Jr. said, "You know, last week I was a little lazy leaving with her and she was hung out there the whole way. Chris (trainer Oakes) even yelled at me a bit after that and I told him that would not happen again. He reminded me that she came out of last week excellent and that she'd be ready for this tonight. Boy, was she ever ready."   Velocity Vespa is now 6 for 8 this semester with earnings of $69,125, more than all of last season in 32 starts.   Lifetime, Velocity Vespa, coming in to the action with lifetime bounty just a tad under $200,000, vaulted over that with the win--her career earnings now at $237,362.   She paid $3.20 to her many faithful.   $30,000 INVITATIONAL HANDICAP TROT TO WIND OF THE NORTH   Wind Of The North, catch-driven by David Miller, slipped through along the pylons in deep stretch to score a sharp 1:53.3 win in his 2016 seasonal debut.   The six year-old altered son of Cantab Hall, trained by Jenny Bier, who co-owns with Jonann Dombeck, scored by 3/4s of a length over Oho Diamond , driven by Wally Hennessey. Crazy About Pat and Tim Tetrick teamed up to be third while Natural Herbie finished fourth. Winding Hill made a miscue at the beginning and finished fifth in the quintet.   It was the track record holding mare Oho Diamond away alertly with Wind Of The North also showing gate speed from the coveted five post and Crazy About Pat next and finding a cozy seat in third.   At the :27.2 opener, Oho Diamond was leading the way with Wind Of The North cozily next through a half in :56.3. On the backside, Crazy About Pat left the pocket and charged up to challenge with Wind Of The North still sitting chilly third and patiently for any seam to open along the shortest route.   In the lane, that seam developed and Miller took advantage and shot Wind Of The North on through to score the win.   In the winner's circle, driver David Miller said, "this being his first start, I really didn't want to push him too hard too early but he seemed anxious so I let him do what he wanted and found a nice spot early. I think he raced really big, especially off of a qualifier. He beat a very good field tonight, too. It was an honor to drive him."   In garnering his 19th lifetime win in 73 starts, Wind Of The North now has amassed $485,848 in career bounty to go along with his 1:51 mark.   $20,000 OPEN HANDICAP PACE - SCOTT ROCKS "ROCKS" IN 1:49   Scott Rocks, handled by George Napolitano, jr., turned the tables on arch-rival Panocchio and roared on by in the lane to score a handy three length win in 1:49.   Panocchio, slicing through panels of :26.1; :54.1 and 1:21.3 finished second for Wally Hennessey while Johnny Grippa, sitting chilly the entire way from the rail, finished third with Kevin Wallis in the bike. Dedi's Dragon made a bold first up backside bid and eventually finished fourth while Bluehourpower picked up the nickel.   Said winning driver George Napolitano, Jr., after the event, "You know, this is a very underrated horse. He has a very quick and sharp burst--I mean, really lightning like. And, of course (tongue-in-cheek), a lot had to do with the drive. Last week, they got the trip. This week, we got the trip. No doubt, he was very sharp, very quick tonight."   Trained by Chris Oakes for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey, Scott Rocks, a six year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover, now sports a 2-1-0 scorecard in three starts and now has lifetime earnings of $358,775.   AS the 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Scott Rocks rewarded his $2.00 investors with a dividend of $3.20.   TEAM TETRICK WINS F.A.D.C. PRO-AM COMPETITION   The Florida Amateur Driving Club, significantly added to their already generous contributions total approaching $160,000 in the first annual Pro-Am event, with Tim Tetrick and David Miller captaining their respective teams.   The two race event was won by Team Tetrick with the final "point total being 82 to 40.   The opening event went to Team Tetrick's Mitchell Sky" Walker, who got his own Global Power up in the very last stride to score in 1:59.2 over another Tetrick roster member, Dennis Whittemore, handling Starbux Eden. Tetrick, himself, was third with Rel Cash Clown while Team Miller earned their initial points with David, himself, in the bike back of Sorrento Hall. Laurie Poulin, the only "filly" on the Team Miller roster, was next with What About Brian.   'Sky" Walker's Global Power paid $10.80 to win.   After that first round, the score was 39-22.   Team Tetrick sealed the deal in the finale by guiding the favorite PC's Wildcard to a handy win in 1:57, easily a lifetime mark.   Hannah Miller, guiding M C Felix for Team Tetrick, finished second while yet another Team Tetrick driver, Jamie Marra, "officially" finished third with Engagedatlexington.   Miller, himself, was originally third in the event with Witty's Winner, but was set back a notch to fourth for a pylon violation. Tommy Santeramo, on Tetrick's roster, finished fifth.   When all was tallied, Team Tetrick had the upper-hand by a score of 82 to 40, significant since the Florida Amateur Driving Club donated $3,000 to Tetrick's charity, New Vocations while $2,000 was given upon Miller's favorite charity--Make-A-Wish.   Both New Vocations and Make-A-Wish had representatives at the ceremony with Patty Escobar from Make-A-Wish saying, "I never realized that a sport like harness racing can have such a positive impact on any charity, including ours. This ia a dream night for Make-A-Wish and yet another dream will come true for a child. This is such a blessing!"   Between races, Tim Tetrick presented Dein Spriggs with his "world" colors and the Isle International Series gets underway in one week at Pompano Park.   The two day extravaganza will feature drivers from nine European countries and "down under."   Spriggs will represent the U.S.A. in the series.   Racing continues on Sunday night at Pompano Park with a scheduled post time of 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park            

There was a "little" something for everyone on Tuesday night at Pompano Park-fast miles, favorites and longshots-and there will be some "big" somethings when the South Florida oval hosts its Wednesday night harness racing program. First, Royal Max scored a "three-peat" victory in Pompano Park's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot and tacked on a new lifetime mark, as well-1:53.2. The five year-old son of RC Royalty, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike this night, was used hard gaining the top spot through an opener of :26.4 before yielding to the track recording holding mare Oho Diamond, handled by Wally Hennessey, who guided his charge halfway through the mile in :55.4. On the backside, Pavia was on the move again with Royal Max and he took command and opened some daylight heading into the far turn and by the third station in 1:23.3 In the lane, Oho Diamond cut into the margin but really never threatened the winner, finishing a length away. She's All In (Rick Plano) finished third while Sailer Eddie and Uriel completed a "barber pole" 5-4-3-2-1 finish. Trained by Chris Oakes for owner Albert Crawford, the lightly raced gelding won for the third time in four starts this year, sending his seasonal bankroll to $26,250. He's now 11 for 30 lifetime, good for $168,200. In a post-race interview, driver Joe Pavia, Jr. said, "This is the first time I drove this horse, so I didn't really know what to expect other than Chris (trainer Oakes) saying he was real good right now. "Boy, was he ever! I thought that opener might take some sting out of him but, when we straightened out on the backside, it seemed like he was 'begging' to go. Chris said that I'd like him. "That was an understatement. I LOVE him!" Off at 1 to 5 on the tote-board, Royal Max paid $2.60 to his multitude of backers. The Tuesday night program also featured yet another race for the "senior citizens" in the trotting ranks with the "Over The Hill Gang" event for nine year-olds and up and, once again, the "two" senior citizens in the group-one of the equine kind and the other of the human kind-captured the event. Celtic Merchant, the amazing 13 year-old gelded son of Angus Hall, with 64 year-old Rick Plano in the bike, scored his second straight win and fourth in his past five starts with a handy score in 1:56.3. I'll Tell You What, handled by Dave Ingraham, closed with ferocity to finish second while the pacesetting Smokin Dabra, with John MacDonald driving, picked up show honors after slicing off panels of :27.3; :58 and 1:27.1. Thekeptman was fourth and Gimme The Loot picked up the nickel in the field of nine. In this very deep field with the nine starters accounting for close to 300 wins and almost $3 million in earnings, Celtic Merchant won for the fourth time this semester in seven starts and 46th time career-wise with this victory sending his lifetime earnings to $357,856. As the 5 to 2 second choice, Celtic Merchant paid $7.80 to win. It was, as track announcer Gabe Prewitt said, "bombs away" in the pentafecta fourth race as Certain Potential, driven by Sergio Corona, closed fastest of all to score a photo finish win in 1:56.1 This six year-old gelded son of Jailhouse Jesse, off at 118 to 1, scored his first win of the year in five starts-13th score lifetime-and paid $238.00 to win, keying a $638 exacta with the even money favorite second, and a $4,762.60 trifecta. The victory left the pentafecta unscathed with a $4,466 carry-over spawning a $15,000 guarantee for Wednesday night's fourth race pentafecta pool. The "bombs away" payoff also left no live tickets going into the final leg of the Pick-5 and that carry-over is $7,749 going into the mid-week program. Wednesday's Pick-5 pool at Pompano is guaranteed at $30,000. Post time is set for 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

Scott Rocks, handled by George Napolitano, Jr., made his 2016 harness racing debut a winning one in Pompano Park's $16,500 Open Handicap Pace on Sunday night (February 21). The six year-old altered son of Rocknroll Hanover used a backside blitz from third to take command turning for home and then pushed on to a victory measuring 1¾ lengths over the favorite, Panocchio, in 1:51.1. Heart Felt, longest proposition in the field of seven at better than 50 to 1, rallied for third, two lengths away. Four Socks finished fourth while Bluehourpower earned the nickel in the field scratched down to seven. It was Panocchio away alertly with Bluehourpower on the attack early and these two were a lip apart past an opening panel in :26.4. Once on top, Bluehourpower and Ricky Macomber, Jr. clocked fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.2 with Scott Rocks on his mission to engage the leader turning for home with a :27.3 finale more than enough to score the win. In a post-race interview, driver George Napolitano, Jr. said, "Chris (trainer Oakes) told me he qualified very well and that he thought he'd be competitive. We got away in very good order tonight and, on the backside, I thought that I'd give his a chance and see what he's got. He was very strong on the backside and seemed to take the turn very well. Turning for home, I thought to myself, 'we got something here.' "I was pleasantly surprised by his performance!" Trained by Chris Oakes for Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey, Scott Rocks now sports a 22-15-13 scorecard in 73 lifetime starts, good for $345,025 to go along with his 1:48.4 mark. As second choice at 9 to 5, Scott Rocks paid $5.80 to win. Pompano Park also had three co-features on the card with Southwind Amazon, Johnny Grippa and Fall Toy reporting home victorious. Southwind Amazon, a six year-old gelded son of Camluck, used a furious late surge in the final stages of his mile to hit the line a 1:50.4 winner for Ricky Macomber, Jr. in the $12,100 condition event for pacers-his winning margin a neck over Lyons Johnny, handled by Mike Micallef. Cadillac Phil finished third for George Napolitano, Jr. while Winyard Hanover and Raji's Blue Line picked up the minors in the field of 10. It was Teranadawn streaking to the lead early from the outside nine post with Cadillac Phil on the attack after a very hot :25.4 opener with Winyard Hanover, beginning from the second tier, away in good order third followed by Lyons Johnny and Southwind Amazon. Cadillac Phil posted subsequent fractions of :53.2 and 1:21.1 and had a length lead turning for home with a host of others swarming in. First, Winyard Hanover began closing in with Lyons Johnny outside of him and Southwind Amazon widest of all with a photo finish determining the winner. Trained by Paul Holzman for owner Ameer Najor, Southwind Amazon won for the second time this semester-first win at Pompano Park in two starts-and now has 19 career wins in 72 lifetime starts with bounty of $227,002. As third choice on the board, Southwind Amazon paid $8.20 to win. The $11,000 event featuring $30,000 claiming pacers went to Johnny Grippa, this eight year-old son of Cam's Card Shark, making an early move to the front under the direction of Dan Clements and carding fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:23.1 in route to a 1:51.3 victory measuring a half length over Thebestofjoel (George Napolitano, Jr.) with Danishdujour (Mike Micallef) third. Energy Shakes and King Royalty earned the fourth and fifth awards, respectively, in the field of eight. In earning his third win of the year, Johnny Grippa was unthreatened once on top to score his 46th lifetime victory to send his career bounty to $227,690. Trained by Jacques Dupont for Mc Trade Enterprises, Johnny Grippa rewarded his many faithful with a $3.40 mutuel. The $10,000 pace for $20,000 claimers went to Fall Toy, driven by George Napolitano, Jr. in 1:51.4. This nine year-old gelded son of Powerful Toy, trained by Paul Holzman for owner Melvin Fink, pinned 1¼ length defeat on the late charging Grande Seelster (Aaron Byron) with Officernagentleman (Matt Romano) third in the octet. Buddha Blue Chip finished fourth after taking the field through panels of :55 and 1:22.4 while Long Term finished fifth. Fall Toy was away fifth as Buddha Blue Chip and Mr. Massimo played "musical chairs early with Officernagentleman joining the fray mid-mile. On the backside, Fall Toy was on the move wending his way forward, following the live cover of Long Term. Turning for home, Nap had Fall Toy rolling and he easily held off the late charging Grande Seelster to score his fourth win of the year in six starts. He's banked $22,500 already this season and now sports a career bankroll of $315,468. Fall Toy was fourth choice in the betting and paid $13.60 to win. Racing continues on Monday night with post time set at 7:30. by John Berry for Pompano Park

The $150,000 Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park Late Closing Series continued at the South Florida oval with Velocity Vespa and Just A Bee earning the top award in their respective divisions in the second leg of the harness racing series.   Velocity Vespa, handled with perfection by George Napolitano, Jr., led every stride of her mile while recording fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1;22.3 in route to a lifetime best performance of 1:50.2. The six year-old daughter of I Scoot Hanover pinned the 2¼ length defeat on Show Runner, handled by Tim Maier with Pertty Music and Ed Hensley teaming up for show honors. Lucy's Pearl finished fourth with the favorite, Totally Rusty, fifth in the septet. Positions were relatively stagnant once the dust settled, sans a mild backside move by Lucy's Pearl to wend her way into third--briefly--with the winner never relenting any ground at any stage of the mile. In a post-race interview, driver Napolitano related, "last week I tried to rate her a little more but, the more I think about it, sometimes these mares just don't want to be rated and this one just kind of spoke to me tonight and 'said' let me go and I'll handle the rest. "It was a great effort on her part tonight." Trained by Chris Oakes for owner Susan Oakes, Velocity Vespa won for the fifth time in six seasonal starts to send her 2016 earnings to $31,625. The victory--her 27th lifetime in 102 starts--sent her earnings to the cusp of $200,000--$199,862 to be precise. As the 2 to1 second choice on the tote-board, Velocity Vespa paid $6.80 to win. Just A Bee, deftly handled by Mike Micallef, used different tactics this night as this eight year-old daughter of Mr Feelgood sat in the garden spot all the way before tilting from the pocket turning for home and using a :27.3 finale to track down the pacesetting Godiva Seelster, with Wally Hennessey handling her lines, to win by a length in 1:51.3. Mach It A Par finished third for Dan Clements while Limelight rallied to finish fourth. Wild Wanda picked up the nickel in the sextet. Indeed, it was Godiva Seelster leaving alertly and taking the lead from the get-go as Just A Bee elected to take the pocket seat with Mach It A Par next. Right at the :27.1 opener, Micallef looked as though he might make a quarter move but ducked back in as Godiva Seelster racked up subsequent number of :55.2 and 1:23.4. Turning for home, Just A Bee left the coziness of the pocket and, as Micallef said, "that was that." Of the journey, Micallef said, in a post-race interview, "I had a notion to come out and make that quarter move but Wally's mare (Godiva Seelster) looked like she was on her game, so I decided against that move and stayed in the pocket hoping for some sharp fractions. "When I saw 1:23.4, I wasn't sure if we were going to get by because the other mare is very sharp, you know! "It worked out well." Also trained by Micallef for owners John Mc Goff, Greg Heath and Anita Micallef, Just A Bee won for the second time this season and 42nd time career-wise. Her lifetime bounty now stands $293,481. As third choice on the board at 3 to 1, Just A Bee paid $8.20. Godiva Seelster, by the way, with the second place finish, extended her streak of not missing a purse check to 75 races encompassing her entire seasons as a three, four, five and, currently, six year-old. Also on the Saturday program, the Florida Amateur Driving Club welcomed the visiting Norwegian driver Svein Wassberg and he promptly made his U.S. debut a winning one as he drove Vacation Day to victory in the first of two F.A.D.C. events. This 10 year-old gelded son of Dream Vacation was in mid-pack most of the journey before making a three-wide jaunt around the final turn to win by three lengths in 1:59.4. After the event, an elated Wassberg said, "I really didn't expect to win but when I pulled him out, he grabbed the bit and that was it! What a great feeling to win my first race here. My heart is beating a mile a minute!" Off as the 6 to 1 as the fourth choice in the betting, Vacation Day paid $14.00 to his faithful. Racing continues on Sunday night as a full field of 10 hook up in Pompano Park's $16,500 Open Handicap Pace. Panocchio has been tabbed as the 5 to 2 morning line favorite and begins from the coveted post 5 with Dan Clements scheduled to drive. Last week's winner, Bluehourpower, has been assigned post nine and will have the driving services of Ricky Macomber, Jr. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park    

Royal Max, once again handled by George Napolitano, Jr., scored a repeat harness racing win in Pompano Park's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot on Wednesday night (February 17). The lightly raced five year-old gelded son of RC Royalty, trained by Chris Oakes for owner Albert Crawford, toured the South Florida five-eighths mile oval in 1:54.1-the same time as last week's win. The margin of victory this time around was 1¾ lengths-wrapped up-with She's All In and Rick Plano teaming up for second with Diamond Dagger third for Mark O'Mara. Lucid Thoughts, who took an early lead before yielding to the winner around the first turn, was fourth while My Revenuer, last much of the mile, picked up the nickel in the classy sextet. Assigned the outside post in the field, Royal Max was on the engine when the wings opened and carved panels of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.1 while opening up a long lead-five lengths-turning for home. From there, it was a "cakewalk" as Royal Max was untouched to the wire. In a post-race interview, driver George Napolitano, Jr. succinctly said, "whatever you wrote last week, you can write the same thing this week. "He was very sharp again, in fact, maybe even a little sharper than last week as this final quarter was, I think, a bit faster than last week. "Gotta give credit where credit is due and that is to Chris (trainer Oakes) who got him back to where he is an Open trotter after nursing him back to health after an injury." Royal Max, in only his eighth start over the past two seasons, now sports a 2-1-0 scorecard in his three starts this year and, with 10 wins in 29 lifetime starts, has career bounty of $160,700. Off at 1 to 5 on the tote-board, Royal Max paid $2.40 to his many faithful. Racing continues on Saturday night with two divisions of the continuing Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park Late Closing Series for mares. That lucrative series features a $75,000 final on March 5. Last week's first leg winner, Totally Rusty and Show Runner are paired together in the first division along with Velocity Vespa and four others while, in the second division, Just A Bee, Godiva Seelster and Mach It A Par will vie for favoritism. Post time is set for 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

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