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WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing drivers George Napolitano Jr., solidifying his leader atop the drivers standings at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, took both $25,000 features this Saturday night, with pacer Bandolito and trotter Frau Blucher justifying their odds-on status by scoring over a track rerated to "sloppy" after midcard rains.   Bandolito was moved to the front by "George Nap" after the 26.4 opener in his contest, put up a midway split of 54.1, and saw first-over Scott Rocks coming to him towards the 1:21.1 3/4s. In the stretch Scott Rocks was gaining throughout, but Bandolito, a son of Ponder, was kept alive to win by a head in 1:49.2 in the off going. Trainer/owner Daryl Bier will be happy to receive the news as he probably did not watch the race live, since post time was at 3:20 a.m. in Sweden, where Bier is preparing Wind Of The North for Sunday's Elitloppet.   Napolitano completed the chalk feature double by guiding the world champion Broadway Hall mare Frau Blucher to a 1:55 win in the off going. Frau Blucher let the field settle, was moved by Napolitano to the lead after the first turn, "stole" a 58 first half, and then powered home in 57 to tally easily for trainer Chris Oakes and the ownership combine of Susan Oakes and Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises LLC.   Any potential the features had to produce a really fast mile was washed out by the midevening rain, but to show the speed potential the track had at card's start: three of the first six races featured an opening quarter of less than 26 seconds, and one of 26 flat.   PHHA / Pocono Downs

The kids are getting out of school, the pools are opening up, and the weather is getting steamy which means we are entering the thick of the summer season, the point at which the harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono reaches dizzying heights. Rest assured that the month of May went out with a bang at Pocono, with a bevy of excellent performers of both the equine and human variety vying for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: FIFTYSHADESDARKER This 5-year-old gelding with a name that references a certain steamy book-turned-movie spent much of the spring at Northfield raceway in Ohio, reaching as high as Open II company in his stint there. He arrived at Harrah's at Philadelphia on May 7 and, after flashing early speed, faded to fifth in a $15,000 claiming event. Fiftyshadesdarker was claimed out of that race and joined the barn of trainer Chris Oakes. The gelding's fortunes began to change when he came to Pocono to face the non-winners of $7,000 condition group on May 19 in his first start for the Oakes barn. Driver George Napolitano Jr. found a nice cozy spot for him in the pocket, and Fiftyshadesdarker rallied late for the win in 1:52:4. On Saturday night he faced down the same condition group, this time from the #5 post and with the added pressure of being made the 3-2 betting favorite. But once again Napolitano was able to secure a pocket trip that allowed Fiftyshadesdarker to save both ground and energy. Come the home stretch, he had plenty left in the tank to blow by the pacesetter and he ended up pacing away to win by two lengths in 1:52:1. With two consecutive wins, Fiftyshadesdarker is probably moving up in class, but if he can keep finding that pocket, he might just be able to move up in style. Other top pacers this week include: Jebswesternshake (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Lare), whose condition victory in 1:50 on Saturday night was the fastest time of the week at Pocono; Ideal Candidate (George Napolitano Jr., Dean Eckley), who followed up two straight wins at Harrah's with a claiming handicap victory at Pocono on Saturday night in 1:51:2, a new career mark; and Gordys Filly Yenta (Simon Allard and Jason Bartlett, Conor Flynn), a mare who won twice this week, a condition on Sunday and a claimer on Wednesday, each in a time of 1:52:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PERFECT RENDITION In a $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap on Wednesday night, two extremely hot horses, Easter Leggs and P L Eureka, lined up alongside each other. Easter Leggs had won two of her last three races, while P L Eureka had won four of five, with his only loss in the stretch coming at the hands of Easter Leggs. Meanwhile Perfect Rendition had a pretty good record of his own to stand on, but since much of his success had come at Monticello, including a win in his last start, and since he was stuck with the #9 post, he was overlooked in favor of the others, going off at 14-1 on the tote board. Trained by Kimberly Asher, Perfect Rendition was fourth early on as favored Easter Leggs set the pace. Driver Larry Stalbaum stayed patient with Perfect Rendition, a nine-year-old gelding, moving up to third-in on the back stretch when another horse headed to the outside. Still, as the top of the stretch approached, Easter Leggs still had the lead and Perfect Rendition appeared to have precious little racing room. Yet Stalbaum was able to squeeze his horse through a tight window at the pylons. Easter Leggs began to falter and Perfect Rendition, full of energy, charged through this tiny aperture and blew by. He still had to sweat out a strong closing move by Trading Places, but he held up to win by a head in 1:55. It just adds to the wonderful year this veteran is having, with ten in-the-money finishes in eleven starts and six wins. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Cadillac Cruiser (Simon Allard, Pierre Paradis), who rolled to a claiming handicap victory on Wednesday night in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; She Wore Red (Anthony Napolitano, Nancy Johansson), a filly who rallied for her second consecutive condition win on Tuesday night, setting a new career-best of 1:55:1 in the process; and Born To Fight (Anthony Napolitano, Mark Ford), who overcame a tough outside post to score his second straight condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: GORDYS FILLY YENTA This pacing mare sent the crowd home stunned on Sunday night by winning a condition in the last race of the night at 16-1, paying off $35.60 on a $2 wager.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: LARRY STALBAUM Stalbaum had his best night of the meet at Pocono on Saturday night when the competition was at its toughest, as he picked up three driving victories.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: AKE SVANSTEDT Following up on his big year at Pocono in 2014, Svanstedt has continued to roll this season, and he added to his total this week with three more training wins including a double on Sunday.   That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Napolitano brothers accounted for the sulky success in the $22,000 twin harness racing features Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Anthony taking the trot with Swishnflick in 1:54 and then George winning the pace with Scott Rocks in 1:50.1.   The Kadabra mare Swishnflick was sent right to the top in the trotting headliner, putting down fractions of 28.1, 57.4, and 1:26 for "Ant'ny Nap." There turned out to be only one stretch challenger for Swishnflick - the pocketsitter My Love Bi, driven by brother George - and the latter pair were closing outside the leader with every stride, but Swishnflick held together gamely to the wire to get the nose nod for win for trainer Gus Scarpias and owner Kenneth Westerside.   "Pocket rocket" tactics proved more profitable for "George Nap" and Scott Rocks in the pacing feature. The pair quarter-moved after a 26.4 opener; as soon as they made the top, Great Artist completed a huge move (26.1 individual second quarter) to go by before the half in 54, and keeping the lead through a 1:22.3 three quarters clocking. The right-hand linetug at headstretch worked better for "GNap" in this event, as he rallied Scott Rocks, an altered son of Rocknroll Hanover, to catch Great Artist by a neck for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - For a track with a 47.8% winning favorites rate heading into Sunday's harness racing program, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono offered some tasty win mutuels on well-pedigreed horses in the first three of the four $20,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts.   The chalkplayers finally had their moment in the spotlight in the fourth and final division, and even in that event favored Parklane Eagle had a couple of anxious moments before winning in a personal best 1:51 for driver David Miller and trainer Peter Foley. The son of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Shirley Le Vin, had controlled the early pace with fractions of 26.4 and 55.1, but 47-1 shot Kwik Mac gave the frontstepper something to think about as he got to within a neck at the 1:23.1 3/4s. Parklane Eagle shrugged off that challenge though, and by the wire he had that rival 3¾ lengths in arrears of him.   Hall of Fame driver Miller also brought the “best bet for the odds” winner of four, a horse with impeccable connections making his first start of the year for trainer Jim Campbell. Gallic Beach is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Western Gallie, whose dam Galleria (herself a champion racemare) has also produced the unlucky Gallie Bythe Sea, a Breeders Crown elimination winner at two and three who through misfortune got to start in neither final. And Gallic Beach was ready right out of the box, setting the pace and blazing home in 54.3 to earn a new speed badge of 1:51.4 for owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC - and returning a generous $15.40.   Sire Somebeachsomwhere had a third Stallion Series winner in Guantanamo Bay, who overcame the first-over route to hang a head loss on Jo Pa's Well Said, flying late after coming from sixth at the half, to take a new mark of 1:52 for driver Mike Simons, at 11-1 odds, highest return on the four winners. Trainer Fred Grant, a native of Nova Scotia, conditions the winner for owners from his native province, James Bagnell and Ann Smith.   It's rare to get 5-1 at Pocono on the track's eight-time driving champion George Napolitano Jr., and even rarer if "GNap" is teaming with top trainer Chris Oakes. But the backers of the McArdle gelding Mckenry got just such a windfall in his division, as the pacesetting winner got a nontaxing half in 57, then flew home in 55 for "GNap" to hold off "ANap" (his brother Anthony) and hard-charging Angelo J Fra by a half-length, with the 1:52 final package giving each series winner a rewritten speed mark. Mckenry won for Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, and the Wheelhouse Racing Stable.   The Stallion Series' four winners reflect the purpose of Pennsylvania's "little brother" to the Sire Stakes - it gives a chance for horses not quite yet at the top a chance to race competitively for good money. Parkland Eagle had three lifetime wins coming into his race - which was the exact total of the other three winners combined. But after four miles in 1:52 or better, one of more of the visitors to Victory Lane Sunday at The Downs could be stepping up to battle the "big boys" as they develop.   PHHA / Pocono  

LEBANON, OH. - Grand Circuit harness racing action produced two new track records on closing day of the 2015 meet at Miami Valley Raceway Reigning Aged Mare Trotter of the Year Classic Martine powered to the fastest trotting mile in the two-year history of Miami Valley, lowering the previous 1:53.3 record established by Maven in the same race-The Miami Valley Distaff--exactly a year ago to 1:52.2, a full second faster. Despite drawing the outside number nine post position in the $86,500 race, driver Tim Tetrick sent Classic Martine directly on her way immediately reaching the quarter station on top in :27. At that point Tetrick let favored Shake It Cerry (Yannick Gingras) take the lead going to the :56 halfway station. Daylong Miracle (Aaron Merriman) launched a first-over attack just past the half with Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson) in tow. Daylon Miracle had a neck advantage by the three-quarters with Shake It Cerry second, Charmed Life third and Classic Martine fourth. At the top of the stretch the field fanned out with six mares still within three lengths. Classic Martine had the most trot down the lane, holding off Charmed Life, who was making a strong bid along the pylons on the inside. Daylon Miracle hung on for third. Off at 15-1 odds, the winner paid a healthy $32.20 and keyed an $81.80 exacta. Chris Oakes trains Classic Martine, who became the sport's newest million dollar earner with the victory. Yagonnakissmeornot established a new Miami Valley standard for pacing mares with her 1:50.3 triumph in the second annual $75,000 Chip Noble Memorial. Driver Daniel Dube took full advantage of drawing the innermost post position, going gate to wire to top Table Talk (Jody Jamieson) by a neck with Waasmula (James MacDonald) also lapped on at the finish. Rene Allard trains Yagonnakissmeornot, who is now just $45,000 of becoming a millionaires. Off as a lukewarm favorite, the winning six-year-old daughter of The Panderosa returned $5.80 and headed a $72.80 exacta. Handle on the 89-night Miami Valley meet was up an average of 28% nightly over 2014 figures. Gregg Keidel  

Pompano Beach, FL...March 8, 2015... Remissionofsins, knocking at the door with second place finishes in his last three starts, finally got through to the pearly gates of the Pompano Park  winner's circle on Sunday night, scoring a handy harness racing victory for George Napolitano, Jr. in a lifetime best performance. The seven year-old altered son of Final Cheers stopped the clock in 1:50.4 in the $10,000 pace for $20,000-$25,000 claimers, one tick faster than his former mark set two seasons back. Though starting from the outside post eight in his classy octet, Remission was sent winging as the gate opened, assuming the lead from Premier (Rick Plano) just a step or two prior to the blazing opener of :26.2 and went on to post subsequent panels of :55 and 1:23.1 before setting sail on a :27.3 journey home to hit the wire 2 1/2 lengths to the good of Premier with Fearless Chip (Aaron Byron) third. Zavan and Dont Tell Rusty were next. In a post race interview, driver George Napolitano, Jr. lamented, "This is a hard hitting racehorse with great gate speed. He showed that from the nine post a couple of starts back and, since this was his first start off of a fresh claim last week, I thought I'd send him, too, since he seems to like to get into the action early. I certainly couldn't afford to spot these good horses eight lengths at the start. I thought the opening quarter might take some sting out of him but he proved he was worth the claim...that's for sure!" In, this, his first start for new owner Susan Oakes and trainer Chris Oakes, Remissionofsins won for the initial time this season with this share of the purse sending his 2015 earnings to $21,660 on the strength of a 1-5-2 scorecard in 10 starts. He's banked $128,796 lifetime. As second choice on the tote-board, Remissionofsins paid $6.20 to win. The co-featured $8,500 pace for $15,000 claimers went to Red Hot Yankee, justifying his re-claim one week ago by former owners Melvin Fink and Cliff Grundy. Trained by Paul Holzman and driven this night by George Napolitano, Jr., Red Hot Yankee annihilated his competition with a seasonal best time of 1:51.1, scoring by eight lengths over Electric Albert (Aaron Byron) with Hurricane Howard (Tom Sells) third. Major Stone, off the gate at the start, rallied for fourth while Fly'n With Royalty finished fifth in the sextet after making an attempt for the top during the second quarter that proved fatal for his chance to win. Red Hot Yankee, an 11 year-old son of Artsplace, won for the third time in nine starts this semester, pushing his 2015 earnings to $24,756. He's banked $259,014 lifetime. As the 1 to 2 favorite, Red Hot Yankee paid $3.00 to his many faithful. The featured trot on Sunday night--the $7,700 Pop-Up conditioned event--went to C&F Associates Dream Lake, superbly handled by Matt Romano. The seven year-old gelded son of Dream Vacation was given picture perfect rating through fractions of :28.2, :58 and 1:28 before holding his foes at bay with a :28.4 finale to score by 1 1/2 lengths over the pocket sitting Speed Hanover (Ed Hensley) in 1:56.4. Bsmaximummoondream (Dave Ingraham) was third while Rose Run Nolan finished fourth. Famous Legs picked up the nickel in the bulky field of 10. Dream Lake won for the third time in nine starts--15th win lifetime--to send his seasonal bounty to $14,200. He's banked $161,371 lifetime. Second choice at 8 to 5 in the win betting, Dream Lake paid $5.40 to win. Pompano Park's popular Pick-5 wager, conducted on races two through six, went unscathed on Sunday night and a $12,500 guarantee has been put in effect for Monday night's Pick-5 pool. In Pompano Park's finale on Sunday night, four of the leading drivers in all of harness racing--Bruce Ranger, Wally Hennessey, Kevin Wallis and George Napolitano, Jr., coming into the action with a combined lifetime win total of 34,031--finished 1-2-3-4 in the track's Super Hi-5...and nobody could even get past the top three with the 5-7-2-ALL-ALL combo paying over $1,400 for a 20 cent ticket. The Super Hi-5 event now has been left untouched for several programs and that carryover has vaulted to over $24,000 going into Monday night's card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park

Turkeys wearing camouflage. Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel 24 hours a day. My light cool sweatpants replaced by my warm heavy sweatpants. All these signs, including the bitingly cold weather, make it clear the winter is just about upon us. And that means that another racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is just about to wrap up. Luckily for all those who follow Pocono racing, it has been a marvelous season, one that witnessed is share of superstar performances, incredible finishes, and shocking long shots. About the only constants from night to night were the uniformly competitive and exciting races. In 2014, we were graced, as usual, by the presence of some of the finest drivers and trainers in the country. Some familiar faces to Pocono fans took home the highest honors for the season. On the training side, Rene Allard and Chris Oakes repeated as the leaders in training wins and training percentage, respectively. And George Napolitano Jr. continued his incredible run atop the leaderboard among the drivers, sweeping the titles for driving wins and percentage with plenty of room to spare in both categories. Yet those three men were really only just a part of the story in terms of the driving and training community. Four other drivers (Simon Allard, Matt Kakaley, Andrew McCarthy, and Anthony Napolitano) besides George Nap managed 100 wins in the Pocono meet, while a dozen picked up at least fifty. On the training side, five men (Allard, Oakes, Ron Burke, Lou Pena, Gilberto Garcia-Herrera) churned out at least 50 victories. Balance was the name of the game with the trainers and drivers, as more and more of the top horsemen in North America made Pocono a regular part of their racing schedule. Of course, what really makes Pocono racing such a special entity is the quality of the horses who come to race. Last week in this space we honored our horses of the year, but there were so many wonderful equine performers who made their way to MSPD that it was impossible to honor them all, even with over thirty sets of Weekly Award and honorable mentions given out by yours truly in 2014. One easy way to check the impact of a particular season is to look at the track records page in the beginning of the program. You'll notice that a big portion of the dates on that page indicate that those records were set here this year. In all, there were twelve records either set or matched at Pocono this season, with the vast majority of those going for world records on a 5/8-mile oval. And who can forget that in 2014, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hosted the fastest pace ever on a 5/8-mile oval (a scorching 1:47 by Sweet Lou) and the fastest trot at any track size anywhere (an incredible 1:49 by Sebastian K.) As I said above, there are really too many memorable moments to squeeze into this humble little retrospective. One of the neat things about harness racing is that every single night, it seems like something happens that you've never seen before. And you never know when that unpredictable bolt out of the blue will happen. It might happen in the feature race with the finest horses on the grounds, but it can also happen with maiden trotters. As the caliber of racing has continued its steady uphill climb at Pocono, these special moments seem to take place more and more often. We've spent this time looking back, but before we call it a season, we should think about what's to come in 2015. It will be an extremely special campaign at Pocono, as it marks the 50th season of racing at the track. In addition to the usual schedule of thrilling stakes races and competitive overnight races, 2015 is going to feel like one big celebration. For the fans who have been with us for many of those 50 years, next season will probably feel pretty special, a milestone at the track. As someone who has worked at Pocono for 17 years, I feel really honored to be playing a small part of it. Even as we put another incredible season to bed, it's hard to feel anything but anticipation for what's to come. As always, I'd like to thank everyone who checked out my articles this past year or tuned in to my race calls, and thanks to all of my wonderful co-workers in the racing department who do such amazing work night in and night out. I hope everyone has a wonderful winter and Happy Holidays. We'll see you at the track in 2015. If you have any questions or concerns over the break, feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs          

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 3, 2014 -- Visible Gold pulled the pocket around the final turn and brushed through the stretch to capture Friday's $20,000 Winners Over $10.000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Visible Gold stalked the leader, Shock It To 'Em, for most of the mile before Dave Palone asked him for pace in the lane. The 6-year-old Bettor's Delight-Gabrielle gelding responded by opening up and prevailing in 1:51.4 over a sloppy surface. The first-over Bigrisk was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Camcruiser Hanover rallied for show. Ron Burke trains Visible Gold, who has won 23 races over the past two seasons and $333,444 in his career, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables. On the 15-race card, Palone drove six winners, each for a different trainer: Burke, Roy Mac Davis, Chris Oakes, Mike Palone, Jimmie Ritter, Jr., Kent Sherman. Live racing continues Saturday when The Meadows offers a special card featuring eight Pennsylvania Fairs championships, each with a purse of $25,000. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Both of our major award winners for this week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs come from the claiming ranks. In the past, claimers were often thought were often thought of as being a notch or two below their counterparts in condition races. That has changed at MSPD, where the claiming races often feature winning times comparable or even better than condition races with similar purses. The exploits of our two horses of the week will demonstrate the rise of the claimers as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: MILLIONDOLLARTOUCH Up until a few weeks ago, this eight-year-gelding seemed to have just one big effort in him for the entire year. He picked up just one win in his first 22 races of the year, but it was a monster mile of 1:50:2 on July 26 that seemed to herald bigger things to come. Those bigger things didn't arrive until Milliondollartouch pounded a field of $12,500 claimers on September 17 by 7 ¾ lengths.   Puffed up by the big win, Milliondollartouch, trained by Mark Kesmodel, stepped up his asking price in a $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap on Saturday night. Andrew McCarthy took him to the front at about the 3/8-mile marker of the race and kept the pedal down, leading to intense fractions that seemed likely to sap the gelding's energy as the mile wore on. McCarthy must have had a pretty good inkling of how much his horse had in the tank though, because Milliondollartouch kept digging hard on the front end. Final Curtain tried to chase him down in the stretch, but the gelding held him off for a win by a half-length in 1:50:4. The fact that Milliondollartouch was able to follow up one standout performance with another suggests that the final months of his season might just be filled with consistent excellence instead of sporadic brilliance. Other top pacers this week include: Aslan (Andrew McCarthy, Tony O'Sullivan), who rolled to an easy win in the week's featured Preferred pace on Saturday night in 1:50:1; Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), whose winning time of 1:49:4 in a condition pace on Saturday night was the fastest at MSPD this week; and Keystone Real Deal (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Carr), who earned his second straight claiming win on Wednesday night and did so in 1:51, matching a career-best time. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: A COOL MILLION Is it a coincidence that both of our big award winners have some variation of the word "million" in their name? Maybe, but what can be said for certain is that both of them certainly looked like they worth every bit their lucrative monikers. A Cool Million started to find her best stride once she arrived at Pocono on August 29 following a claim at Harrah's at Philadelphia for $10,000 that put her in the Gilberto Garcia-Herrera barn. The 6-year-old mare immediately paid dividends with a win in the $10,000 claimers in her first start at Pocono and then followed it up with a win in a $12,500 to $15,000 claiming handicap trot. In both of those races she set new career marks. On Tuesday night she stepped up into a $20,000 claiming group, her connections likely hoping that recent momentum would outweigh the jump in class in terms of her prospects for the race. It turns out they were right. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, A Cool Million was just too tough to catch. She spread out her lead to a no-sweat margin at the line for her third consecutive victory, and once again she did it in a career-best time, which on this night was 1:53:1. She was claimed following the race, so her new barn is going to be getting a mare at the absolute pinnacle of her powers. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: King's Cavalier (Anthony Napolitano, Joe Geiser), who moved up in class to capture his second straight condition trot on Saturday night, this one coming in a career-best time of 1:54:1; DW's NY Yank (George Napolitano Jr., Rob Burke), whose condition win on Saturday night came in 1:52:1, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Wind Of The North (Simon Allard, Clifton Green), who rallied to win the $25,000 Fred Yaggi Memorial Trot on Saturday night in 1:52:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CANADIAN OVERALL Even though he had raced just three days previously at Harrington, this trotter with Mike Simons in the bike stunned a condition group on Saturday night at 18-1 for a $38 payout on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER Buter enjoyed an impressive hot streak on Saturday night, ripping off three straight wins on the ultra-competitive card when only one of those winners was favored. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JAMES EATON The Eaton barn was feeling it this past week, ripping off a pair of training wins on Saturday night and then following it up with a training triple on Tuesday. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs    

Classic Martine and driver Tim Tetrick faced four other world champions and went right to the lead and never looked back en route to a 1:54.1 triumph in the $121,000 final of the Ms Versatility for older trotting mares. Tetrick made the best use of the rail starting point on a half mile track and shot out to the early lead with Maven (Yannick Gingras) getting the two-hole trip to the opening quarter mile in :27.3. Then to the half mile marker in an easy :57 saw Classic Martine face her first challenge as Ma Chere Hall (David Miller) started up first-over and Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) was able to grab the second-over live cover. They raced down the backstretch and after the three-quarters in 1:25.1, Sears sent Bee A Magician three-wide and make it a three horse fight to the finish down the stretch. Classic Martine would have no part of that as she dug in and held on to win by a half length in 1:54.1. A late closing Charmed Life (Brett Miller) was second with Maven third. It was the ninth win this year for Classic Martine. The four-year-old mare by Classic Photo is trained by Chris Oakes and is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, C. Zurich and Edwin Gold. She paid $5.60 to win. “She raced really well,” said trainer Chris Oaks, “She is a very good mare and has a great season. Last week at Chester she had the 8-hole blues, but she bounced back quick. Everyone know my mare can leave like a runner. She real good on her feet and that it would take someone special to beat her out of the gate.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Four world champions meet in Thursday's $121,500 Miss Versatility Series championship for older female trotters at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. The group is led by Bee A Magician, who was the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, and Classic Martine, who has won this year's Armbro Flight Stakes and two preliminary divisions of the Miss Versatility Series. The two horses share the world record of 1:51.1 for the fastest winning time by a 4-year-old trotting mare on a mile racetrack. Classic Martine also shares the world record of 1:51.2 for the fastest victory by a female trotter of any age on a five-eighths-mile racetrack. She shares the mark with her stablemate, and Miss Versatility contender, Frau Blucher. And then there is Maven. Last year, she won the Miss Versatility Series championship with a 1:51.4 triumph at Delaware. The time established the world record for fastest race mile ever by any trotter, male or female, on a half-mile oval. Only Cash Hall's time-trial 1:51.1 time, recorded at Delaware in 2006, is faster than Maven's race time. A day before Maven made history, Frau Blucher set the world record of 1:53.1 for the fastest win by any 3-year-old trotter on a half-mile track at Delaware. "It's a very deep group, for sure," said Chris Oakes, who trains Classic Martine and Frau Blucher. "I think we've got a very good chance. Both horses are doing well right now and drew well, which is important there. (But) I think probably the horse to beat is Bee A Magician." Classic Martine drew post No. 1 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with driver Tim Tetrick. She has won eight of 12 races and $246,732 this year. Last season, she shared the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters with Frau Blucher - finishing in a dead heat for win with her stablemate in the final - and was second to Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Oaks. The mare is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Ed Gold. "She had time off and she matured good and has come back a better horse than last year," Oakes said. "She's a little bigger, a little stronger, and the mental toughness is definitely there this year." Frau Blucher, who finished second to Bee A Magician in last year's Breeders Crown, will start from post four with driver Ron Pierce and is 10-1. She has won one of seven races this year, but is approaching $1 million in lifetime earnings for owners Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes and Matt Tudisco. Bee A Magician, trained by Nifty Norman, was unbeaten in 17 races last season and has won three of 10 starts this year. She finished second to male rivals in the Hambletonian Maturity and fourth against the sport's top open trotters in the Crawford Farms Trot. In fact, her most recent three starts were against the boys, with her winning an open at Yonkers and a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia. She won a division of the Miss Versatility by a neck over Charmed Life in her world-record 1:51.1 performance. Three weeks later, she lost by a neck to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula final in the same time. Bee A Magician is owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. She has won 30 of 40 career races and $2.52 million. She starts the Miss Versatility from post six with driver Brian Sears and is 5-2. Maven, who received the 2013 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, has won two of eight races this year. She opened her campaign with a win in the Miami Valley Distaff and then went to Sweden for the Elitlopp Invitational, where she finished third in her elimination and sixth in the final. On Aug. 23, she beat male foes in the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and in her most recent start she finished fifth in the final preliminary round of the Miss Versatility at Tioga Downs. The race was won by Charmed Life in 1:52.2 - the fastest mile ever trotted at the track. "It's really a deep, deep division," said Yannick Gingras, who drives Maven. "In the past, there's always been a standout in that division, but there isn't one right now. Imagine if Maven was to just step up a little and be the horse that she was last year, it would be some scary good trotting mares going at each other every week. It's great for the sport." Maven, trained by Jonas Czernyson, who has three horses in Thursday's Miss Versatility, has won 27 of 48 career races and $1.48 million for owner Bill Donovan. Last year, she finished fifth in her start prior to the Miss Versatility championship at Delaware. Gingras is hoping history can repeat itself with a bounce-back winning performance again this season. "Jonas told me that she's had an unbelievable two weeks since that start at Tioga and he really believes he's got her in peak form right now," Gingras said. "I'm going to go behind the gate with the mindset that she's one of the horses to beat and I'm going to race her that way. Hopefully Jonas is right." Following is the Miss Versatility field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 2-1; 2. D'Orsay, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 3. Ma Chere Hall, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson, 12-1; 4. Frau Blucher, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 5. Maven, Yannick Gingras, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1; 6. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 5-2; 7. Charmed Life, Brett Miller, Dave Menary, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications    

A field of 22 filly pacers will compete for the $298,100 Jugette on Wednesday, September 17 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. In the first elimination Lady Shadow (Doug McNair) has been named the 5-2 morning line favorite. The Shadow Play lass has won two straight races in Ontario Sire Stakes action and has bankrolled $236,861 this season for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI.  Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick) was tapped the top choice in the $39,746 second elimination. The Somebeachsomewhere filly owns a 1:49.3 mark at Mohawk Raceway and has limetime earnings of 358,096. Beach Gal is trained by David Menary for Kenneth Ewen, Hewvilla Farms, Denis Breton and Larry Menary all of Ontario. The final elimination is shaping up to be a battle between Gettingreadytoroll (Yannick Gingras) and Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller)  Gettingreadytoroll is coming into the Jugette off a 1:49.4 victory in the $191,074 Simcoe Stakes. Gettingreadytoroll is campaigned by John and Jim Fielding and the 2014 Lady Pace Honoree, Christina Takter. Jimmy Takter trains the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. Sandbetweenurtoes has won eight of nine seasonal starts and has won nearly $250,000 this year. Larry Remmen trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere for Bradley Grant of Milton, Ontario.  44th Jugette -- Three-Year-Old Filly Pace PP Horse (Driver/Trainer) Odds 1st Elimination $39,746    1. Shell Bell (Kurt Sugg/Kurt Sugg)    12-1    2. Lady Shadow (Doug McNair/Gregg McNair)    5-2    3. Color’s A Virgin (Trace Tetrick/Brian Brown)    4-1    4. Southwind Silence (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke)      6-1    5. Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter)   5-1    6. Beach Body (Ron Pierce/Chris Oakes) 10-1    7. Also Encouraging (David Miller/Casie Coleman)   7-2 2nd Elimination $39,746    1. Uffizi Hanover (David Miller/Jimmy Takter)      4-1    2. Allstar Rating (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)      7-2    3. Somethinincredible (John Campbell/Robert McIntosh) 8-1    4. Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick/David Menary)      5-2    5. Fits Well (Scott Zeron/Brian Brown) 12-1    6. Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell/Jim Campbell) 10-1    7. A La Notte Hanover (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)  8-1    8. Sectionline Aqua (TBA/Steve Bauder) 5-1 3rd Elimination $39,746    1. Cut A Deal (Brett Miller/Nick Surick)     12-1    2. Gettingreadytoroll (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 5-2    3. Beautiful Lady (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)      5-1    4. Someislandsomwhere (Brett Miller/Casie Coleman) 6-1    5. Candy’s A Virgin (Trace Tetrick/Brian Brown)    4-1    6. Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller/Larry Remmen)   7-2    7. Beach Story (Yannick Gingras/Kelvin Harrison)   8-1 Top three finishers in each elimination will return for the $178,862 final. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 8, 2014 -- Day Lily generously rewarded her backers Monday at The Meadows, capturing the $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series championship for 2-year-old filly trotters at a lusty 32-1. The Meadows also hosted the three other PA Stallion Series $40,000 championships for freshmen, which were taken by UF Larry Alltheway (colt and gelding pacers), KY Lucky (colt and gelding trotters) and Half Past Seven (filly trotters). A quartet of $40,000 PA Stallion Series finals for 3-year-olds highlights Tuesday's program at The Meadows. Day Lily finished off the board in her final two stallion series preliminary legs, when she left for early position but lacked a finishing kick, and it appeared she would follow the same script in the championship. But when Mike Wilder squeezed her off the cones at the top of the stretch, she responded with fire and scored in a career-best 1:57.2, 1-1/4 lengths better than the favorite, Fly Angel Fly. Alpha Alpha rallied for show. "I didn't get shuffled too bad, but I got kind of stopped," Wilder said. "I really got lucky to squeeze out, but when I did, she was full of trot. She was sick her last two starts, but her trainer said she was over that and just put her in position. When I got out, she fired." Chris Oakes trains the daughter of Andover Hall-Filly At Bigs for Hauser Brothers Racing and Conrad Zurich. In the other finals: $40,000 Championship, Colt & Gelding Pacers UF Larry Alltheway won his Third Straight race by quarter-poling to the front for Dave Palone and prevailing in a swift 1:51.4. Hall Of Terror was second, 3-3/4 lengths back, while My Hero Ron earned show. The Dragon Again-Varbo gelding, a $50,000 yearling acquisition, continues to be a pleasant surprise for trainer Kelly O'Donnell and owner Up Front Racing, as he showed little early promise. "Training him down, he was probably the worst one I had all winter," O'Donnell said. "He'd pull up, wouldn't want to go. Once we got him behind the gate a couple times and baby-raced him, he's been a totally different colt He throws last quarters in 27 like nothing. You wouldn't have expected it training him down." He said UF Larry Alltheway will be pointed to the Standardbred at Delaware and the Keystone Classic at The Meadows. $40,000 Championship, Colt & Gelding Trotters When the leader, Longcat Hanover, broke stride in the stretch, KY Lucky took advantage of the opportunity, driving through the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:59, 1/2 length ahead of Wimborne Hanover, with Explosiveday third. "I was pretty impressed because we got slowed almost to a stop before we got to the Lightning Lane," said winning driver Marcus Miller. "He actually came back and trotted home pretty good. I thought we were second, but we got a little lucky." Tim Twaddle trains KY Lucky, a Malabar Millennium-Rosalita gelding who has finished in the money in all six career starts, for Craig Grummel, Curt Grummel and Chili Day Stables. $40,000 Championship, Filly Pacers Half Past Seven moved first over, gobbled up the leader, Angel Or Terror, and rolled to a comfortable victory in 1:54.1 for Tony Hall, trainer Mike Palone and owner Lone Wolf Stable. Icapella Hanover finished second, 2-1/2 lengths in arrears, while Angel Or Terror completed the ticket. "She's really had to race pretty aggressive," Hall said of the daughter of Western Terror-She's Eligible. "With a trip, she'll definitely get better and go some big miles here next year. The stallion series is a good fit for her." Elsewhere on Monday's card, Continual Velocity matched the track record of 1:50.2 for older mares when she cruised on the front end in the $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Pace. Novascotia Hanover was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, with Scandalous Hanover third. Dave Palone piloted the 6-year-old daughter of Real Artist-Extreme Velocity, who now boasts $497,025 in career earnings, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Palone drove five winners and Dan Rawlings three on the 16-race card. Tuesday’s (Sept. 9) card at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will feature two guaranteed pools: a $7,500-guaranteed pool for the Pick 5 and a $5,000-guaranteed pool for the Pick 4. Both are part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While the Pick 4 guarantee is a regular feature of Monday and Tuesday programs, the track added the “instant” Pick 5 guarantee when no one correctly picked Monday’s Pick 5, resulting in a carryover of $1,830.96. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) and Pick 5 (Races 12-16) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. Tuesday’s card also features a quartet of $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series championships for 3-year-olds. First post Tuesday is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

With this being a holiday weekend and with such top notch racing we are doing a second edition of Who Will Win It for this Sunday and Monday. Sunday is headlined by the $175,000 Championship Finals of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for trotters and pacers at the Red Mile plus two divisions of the NYSS at Batavia. Then on Labor Day Monday it’s the first jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, the Cane Pace, plus the filly counterpart, the Shady Daisy plus the top older trotting mare battle in the Miss Versatility, all at Tioga Downs. Good Luck! $175,000 Trot Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Colt Final Red Mile 7th race SUNDAY – Even having drawn post nine, Tinder is still the horse to beat in here. He has won both his preliminary rounds including a 1:55.4 mark and has four wins and four seconds in his eight lifetime starts. Use Scacco Matto and Samburu in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Filly Final Red Mile 12th race SUNDAY – Just having six starters in this final won’t make a real difference with Cielle in the field. This filly is nearly unstoppable with six wins and two seconds in eight career starts. She breezed by more than seven lengths last week in a lifetime best 1:57.2 and has beaten everyone else in this field the last few weeks. Use Makeba Hall and Third Sue in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 2yo Colt Final Red Mile 13th race SUNDAY – Despite being a late starter this season, On Golden Ponder is making up for lost time for Robert McIntosh Stable. He’s undefeated in both his KYSS preliminary legs including a 1:54.4 romp by four lengths last week. Draws the rail and can win from on or off the pace in here. Use Last Best Chance and Proceed To Party in exotic plays. $175,000 Pace Kentucky Sire Stakes 3yo Filly Final Red Mile 14th race SUNDAY – Having finished either first or second in her last five starts makes Rollin Deep the one to beat. And she has Hall of Famer Michel Lachance driving to boot! Tough filly can win from on or off the pace as she has in her last two starts. Use Somethinincredible and All Charged Up in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 4th race SUNDAY – Well matched field in here and I am going with Jaded Dream. She won last out at Yonkers in 1:54.4 so she can handle a half mile track and should be able to come from off the pace for Matt Kakley in here. Use Just Add Vodka and Carlota Blue Chip in exotic plays. $39,900 Pace New York Sire Stakes 3yo Fillies Batavia Downs 8th race SUNDAY – With seven wins this year and five wins in her last six starts it’s tough to pick anyone else in here but Major Dancer. Class of the field should prevail once again. Use Sweetnsinful and A La Notte Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Mares Open Tioga Downs 3rd race MONDAY – When an entry comes in like world champion Classic Martine and Frau Blucher for the Chris Oakes Stable, you almost can’t pick against them. Yet another entry in the field from Jonas Czernyson includes world champions Maven, D’Orsay and Ma Chere Hall. Now who to pick? I am going with the entry of Classic Martine and Frau Blucher as both are coming off superb victories and may just tag team to win in here. Use D’Orsay/Maven/Ma Chere Hall entry and Charmed Life in exotic plays. $124,325 Pace Shady Daisy 3yo Fillies Tioga Downs 7th race MONDAY – Many will like Fancy Desire in here as she was super game earlier this season but I am going with Katie Said. She has the rail, has been great coming from off the pace in recent weeks with three straight wins and a record mile against top fillies in 1:49.4. Use Fancy Desire and Tyra in exotic plays. $437,325 The Cane Pace 3yo Colts Tioga Downs 9th race MONDAY - All eyes will be on He’s Watching and rightfully so as he is the leading three-year-old in the nation and his connections have set up the Triple Crown as their goal this year. He has been super sharp winning his last four starts impressively. He will be tested again in here but should be up to the task. Use JK Endofanera and Luck Be With You in exotic plays.

Freehold, NJ --- The Pacing Triple Crown begins Monday (Sept. 1) at Tioga Downs in upstate New York, where eight 3-year-old pacers meet in the $437,325 Cane Pace. He’s Watching brings a four-race win streak into the Cane Pace and is undefeated in three lifetime starts at Tioga Downs. Last season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes in 1:50, which established the track record for a 2-year-old. And in his most recent race, a 1:49.1 triumph in the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs on Aug. 10, he missed the track standard for 3-year-olds by two-fifths of a second. or the year, He’s Watching has won five of eight races, including the Meadowlands Pace in a world-record-equaling 1:46.4, and earned $692,247. He’s Watching was not eligible to the Cane Pace, but his connections paid $35,000 to supplement to the race. “He likes Tioga,” said Ontario-based trainer Dave Menary, who owns He’s Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. “Hopefully we’ll keep our Tioga streak alive. “I’m really happy with him. This is the third time he’s had three weeks off between starts and he’s liked it so far. He raced well last time and seems to be in top shape right now. I had him to Mohawk (Racetrack) on Monday and went a good mile with him. “We’ve just kind of followed the same routine every time he’s had three weeks off and it’s working so far. I think we’re ready for Monday.” First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Monday, with the Cane Pace slated for approximately 3:46 p.m. The card also includes the fourth leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters, featuring world champions Classic Martine, Maven, and Frau Blucher. No horse has won the Pacing Triple Crown since No Pan Intended in 2003. The second jewel in the Triple Crown is the Little Brown Jug, to be held Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and the third is the Messenger Stakes, slated for Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. He’s Watching, who will be driven by two-time Cane Pace winner Tim Tetrick, will start from post six. “At Tioga, the six hole is fine,” Menary said. “I was hoping not to get the very inside or the very outside. I think from the six hole, it gives Tim a lot of options. I leave (what to do) up to him.” JK Endofanera, who in June won the North America Cup, enters the Cane Pace off a win in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 17 at Tioga Downs. In his previous two starts -- his elimination for the Empire Breeders Classic and the EBC final -- he finished second to He’s Watching. For the year, JK Endofanera has won six of 10 races and earned $660,709 for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables. He starts the Cane Pace from post five with driver Brian Sears. He’s Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries to the Cane Pace, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyonssomewhere. Luck Be Withyou, who won last season’s Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers, saw a three-race win streak snapped when he finished in a dead-heat second to All Bets Off in the Carl Milstein Memorial on Aug. 15 at Northfield Park. “There are a lot of horses in there, not just JK,” Menary said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start (in the Triple Crown). I’ve been able to keep him really fresh and he’s been sharp. Hopefully I can keep him sharp. “I’m trying to take it week by week, but he’s still got a lot left on his plate. I think he’s in good form right now and hopefully he can stay that way until the end of the year.” Following is the Cane Pace field with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes; 2. Bushwacker, David Miller, Chris Ryder; 3. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott; 4. Stevensville, Mark MacDonald, Ray Schnittker; 5. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke; 6. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8. Beat The Drum, Brett Miller, Staffan Lind. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Eight top three-year-old pacers will contest the first jewel of pacing's Triple Crown, the 60th Cane Pace, and nine top drivers will contest the second half of the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship on a blockbuster Labor Day (Monday, September 1) card at Tioga Downs.   He's Watching brings a four-race win streak into the $437,325 Cane Pace, carded as Monday's ninth race. Since fading to third in the North America Cup, the son of American Ideal proved a powerful 1:46.4 winner in the Meadowlands Pace and an equally dominant 1:49.1 winner in the Empire Breeders Classic, taking the eliminations for each respective event as well. Usual driver Tim Tetrick has once again been listed by trainer David Menary. He's Watching is one of three $35,000 supplemental entries, along with Luck Be Withyou and Lyons Somewhere.   Among those looking to deny He's Watching the first jewel of pacing's Triple Crown are Milstein runner-up Luck Be Withyou and North America Cup winner JK Endofanera.   Luck Be Withyou, the Chris Oakes-trained son of Western Ideal, chased McWicked in the $400,000 Milstein at Northfield two weeks ago, finishing in a dead heat for second with McWicked, just three-quarters of a length behind eventual winner All Bets Off, who pounced up the open stretch. Ron Pierce is listed to drive the nine-time winner.   JK Endofanera, the lone millionaire in the field, rebounded well from a sixth-place finish in the Meadowlnads, taking second in the Empire Breeders Classic before scoring a 1:50.1 Geers Stake win locally. Ron Burke has listed Brian Sears to handle the driving duties.   Ten three-year-old pacing fillies entered the Shady Daisy, which will be raced as a single $124,325 dash in the afternoon's seventh race. Fancy Desire, a $7,500 supplemental entry, leads the full field, having won the $300,000 James Lynch at Pocono in 1:49.3 among seven other career wins. Mark MacDonald has been nominated by trainer Kevin Carr to drive the Real Desire filly. Geers winner Katie Said (Marcus Miller), Pennsylvania standout Tyra (Tim Tetrick nominated), and stakes-placed Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell nominated) are also among the Shady Daisy entrants.   Eight distaff trotters will vie for their share of $40,000 in a Miss Versatility preliminary event, carded as the third race. Divisional standout Maven returned to her winning ways in a Preferred event at Pocono last week, struggling in prior events since returning to the States after a sixth-place finish in the Elitloppet. The Jonas Czernyson trainee will be reunited with regular driver Yannick Gingras, and will race as part of a three-mare entry with stablemates D'Orsay (Corey Callahan) and Ma Chere Hall (David Miller). Classic Martine, who has found her way into the spotlight as of late with wins in the Armbro Flight and Ima Lula events, also draws into the star-studded event, with Tim Tetrick listed to drive the Chris Oakes-trained daughter of Classic Photo.   In addition to the high-profile stakes action, nine of the premier drivers in the sport complete the Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, with the first round taking place on Friday (August 29) at Vernon Downs. As in years past, the overall winner of the nine-race tournament takes home a $25,000 first prize--the equivalent of the commission for winning a $1,000,000 race. All nine drivers additionally will donate their commissions to charity.   Tioga Downs honors last year's Driver's Championship winner Jim Marohn, Jr. with a bobblehead giveaway. Fans can receive their bobblehead, as well as a Drivers' Championship t-shirt (while supplies last) at the promotions table on the tarmac prior to and during the races. Post time for the 11-race card is 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs

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