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CHESTER, Pa. -- Windsun Ricky ($16.20) circled four-wide off the home turn and vaulted to a 1:50.4 victory in the $14,400 top-level featured pacing event on Sunday's (Dec. 27) closing day harness racing program at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 4-year-old American Ideal gelding waited well behind a contested pace before Dexter Dunn angled him third-over into a :54.1 first half. As Peace Out Posse advanced to engage pacesetter Joesstar Of Mia A through three-quarters in 1:22.1, Dunn fanned Windsun Ricky four-wide -- and he cascaded down the grandstand side to win by a widening 1-1/4 lengths. I'm Some Graduate (Yannick Gingras) was out-kicked off cover yet held second over Major Pocket (David Miller), who rallied widest of all for third. Windsun Ricky's victory was his third in eight starts for owner Thomas Ceraso Jr. and trainer Paul Stafford, and the 10th of his career. Tim Tetrick led all drivers with four wins on the 14-race program. Windsun Ricky In the fifth race, Pyro ($2.40) led a 3-5-4-8-1 Jackpot Hi-5 combination that returned $238.30 to multiple backers on a 20-cent base wager. The closing day Hi-5 featured a $17,401.98 carryover and a mandatory payout. Racing is slated to return to Harrah's Philadelphia in April 2021. Full details regarding the 2021 season will be published on the Harrah's Philadelphia website (https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly/racing) as they are made available.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER, Pa. -- There will be a mandatory payout in the Jackpot Hi-5 at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 27), which is the final harness racing program of the 2020 season. The Hi-5, which is offered in the fifth race each day, boasts a $17,401.98 carryover. The 20-cent base wager carries a low 15% takeout, and the carryover is typically only disbursed in the event of one unique winning ticket. Due to Sunday's mandatory payout, the carryover and all "new money" wagered (less takeout) will be paid out to all players who successfully choose the first five finishers in order. Post time for the first of 14 races on the closing day program is 12:40 p.m. EST.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER PA - With the whole harness racing world watching Thursday afternoon, Harrah's Philadelphia conducted its usual "Trottin' Thursday" cad with a deluxe twist - all fourteen races were for horses on the diagonal gait. In the first of two $12,800 feature races, the Sebastian K sophomore filly Heat Wave Hanover brushed to the lead under the finish wire the first time and held the advantage to the end of the 1:56.2 mile for the driver/trainer brother/sister team of Joe and Jennifer Bongiorno. First-over Hunting As was three-quarters of a length behind the winner, who has now taken three of her last five starts for Robert Weinstein. Another three-year-old filly was victorious in the other co-feature, as the Father Patrick miss Context overcame first-over duty in winning by 1¾ lengths over closer President in 1:56.1. Yannick Gingras, a four-time winner on the afternoon, drove the Anette Lorentzon trainee, who has now won four in a row for Jorgen Jahre Jr. Gingras was also behind the Yankee Glide gelding Max, who raced on the lead most of the way en route to a 1:55.1 victory in the $11,600 top fast-class feature for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Frank Baldachino. The victory also clinched the 2020 training win title for Ron Burke, five ahead after battling defending champion Gilbert Garcia-Owen throughout the last part of the season. It was Burke's ninth local title, and also marks the first time he posted a "Pennsylvania sweep" - sending out the most successful horses at The Meadows, Pocono, and now Philly. Sunday's closing-day card of the 2020 season will feature a mandatory distribution of the Jackpot Hi-5 pool, which will carry $17,000+ in "free money" that will have to be divided among successful bettors. PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

CHESTER PA - The American Ideal mare Its Mesmerise N got a great trip in the pocket behind Bye Bye Felicia, then came outside in the lane and ran that one down by a neck in 1:52.1 while winning the $11,600 featured harness racing distaff pace at Harrah's Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon. Driver Simon Allard kept Its Mesmerise N in the golden chair behind fractions of :27.4, :57.2, and 1:24.3, and when first-over favorite New Year could make no headway, the race came down to the front two. The New Zealand import had :54.3 back-half speed while recording her eleventh victory of the year and to go over $100,000 in career earnings for trainer Chris Ryder and Windemere Stables LLC. In one of two $10,000 co-features, both for female pacers, the Rock N Roll Heaven mare Oceania made a sweeping move on the far turn, then continued it to the wire - a rare tactic at Philly - to post a $41.20 upset in 1:53.1 while bettering fellow closer Rockin The Boys A by 1¼ lengths. Corey Callahan guided the winner of $275,423 for trainer Robert Cleary and Deo Volente Farms LLC. In the other sub-feature, the Changeover mare Darkrshadeofpale N followed favored Rose Run Victoria down the backstretch, tucked in the pocket as that one went to the lead at the three-quarters, then came up the inside to prove the conquistador by a half-length in 1:53. Anthony Napolitano, top pilot on the card with four wins, had the drive for trainer Noel Daley, with Windemere Stable LLC taking two of the afternoon's three features. Its Mesmerise N Oceania   Darkrshadeofpale N Anthony Napolitano was back in the winners circle, along with Harrah's Director of Racing Joe Auger, in a ceremony honoring his brother George, who took the driving dash and UDR titles in 2020 and whose last day at the track this meet was Wednesday. George Napolitano Jr. put up a local seasonal scorecard of 1040-244-173-133-.370 in taking his eighth local win title (more than any other driver) and his fourth UDR crown. Carryovers, free PPs Thursday at Harrah's Philadelphia  A pair of carryovers are sure to make a special Christmas Eve (Thursday, Dec. 24) program of harness racing at Harrah's Philadelphia all the more attractive to players across North America. In conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program, Harrah's Philadelphia will offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-4, which begins in race seven. The guarantee was prompted by a carryover of $1,736.87 after favorites were shut out in Wednesday's (Dec. 23) sequence. The Pick-4 is a 50-cent base wager with a 15% takeout. Two races earlier, the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 will afford bettors a $15,746.52 carryover in the fifth race. If not claimed by one unique winner on the Christmas Eve card, it will roll over into a mandatory payout on Sunday's (Dec. 27) season finale. As the only harness racing venue in North America operating on Christmas Eve, Harrah's Philadelphia broadcasters Mike Bozich and James Witherite will offer expanded handicapping commentary throughout the course of the program. Witherite's full-card selections and analysis of select races is available via The Players' Guide. Additionally, free TrackMaster past performances are available for the card, courtesy the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association. Post time for the 14-race card is 12 noon.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, Pa. — Western Joe ($16.40) made every call a winning one in Sunday's (Dec. 20) $14,400 top-level pacing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding used a :26.1 first quarter to gain uncontested control of the terms from post six and, after harness racing driver Simon Allard rated a :29 second sectional, parried a stern first-over try from Bettor Memories (Yannick Gingras) to win in 1:50.3. Mac's Jackpot rode the pocket to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths behind, but was demoted to sixth after bearing out in the homestretch and causing interference to multiple horses.   Vettel N (Joe Bongiorno) was elevated to second after emerging out of traffic, and Rock The Town (Tim Tetrick) circled down the grandstand side to be elevated to third.   Even-money favorite Ana Afreet N was parked throughout from post eight and failed to fire off a second-over trip. Chris Choate trains 29-time winner for breeder Anthony Ruggeri, who shares ownership with Richard Tosies. Trainer Ron Burke recorded a hat trick on the 14-race card, teaming up with driver Yannick Gingras to win with Rockapelo ($4.80, 1:50.3), Dojea Gizmo ($3.00, 1:51.2) and Pyro ($2.20, 1:51.4). Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Dec.  23), with a $14,111.42 carryover in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5. Post time is 12:25 p.m. EST.     by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER, Pa. -- A carryover of $1,813.51 has prompted a $10,000 guaranteed pool in Sunday's (Dec. 20) harness racing Pick-4 at Harrah's Philadelphia. The $10,000 guaranteed pool is offered in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick-4, which offers a 50-cent base wager and carries a 15% takeout, begins in race seven. Past performance pages for the Pick-4 sequence, courtesy TrackMaster, will be available through the USTA website (handicapping.ustrotting.com). First post for Sunday's program at Harrah's Philadelphia is 12:40 p.m. EST.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER, Pa. -- Management at Harrah's Philadelphia has announced that the program of racing scheduled for Thursday afternoon (Dec. 17) has been canceled as a result of continued inclement winter weather in the Philadelphia region. Live racing is scheduled to return to Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday (Dec. 18), with a carryover of $11,291.69 in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5. First post is 12:25 p.m. EST.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER, Pa. -- Due to the winter storm forecast for the Philadelphia region, Wednesday's (Dec. 16) races at Harrah's Philadelphia have been canceled. Live harness racing is scheduled to return to Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (Dec. 17); post time is 12:25 p.m. EST.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media    

CHESTER, Pa. — Mark Jakubik's Rock The Town ($3.40) lived up to odds-on billing in Sunday's (Dec. 13) $11,600 upper-level conditioned pacing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia, coasting to a 1:51 harness racing score with plenty in reserve at the end of the one-mile race. Andy McCarthy worked the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding clear of Statement Made A (Dexter Dunn) shortly after a :27.1 first quarter, and the pair were uncontested for the remainder of the journey. Rock The Town edged clear from an all-out Statement Made A off the home turn, and won by a measured 1-3/4 lengths. J M Mandamin (George Napolitano Jr.) rallied up the open stretch to nab second over Statement Made A. The featured win with 20-time winner Rock The Town was one of two on the card for trainer Darren Taneyhill. Steve Brabrook also fashioned a training double. Tim Tetrick and Dexter Dunn shared top honors among drivers with three wins apiece. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Dec. 16), with an $11,291.69 carryover in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5. First post is 12:25 p.m. EST.     by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER, Pa. -- Horsemen and horseplayers are advised that the 2020 harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia will now conclude on Dec. 27. As a result of additional restrictions imposed in Pennsylvania effective Saturday (Dec. 12) causing the casino operations at Harrah's Philadelphia to be temporarily suspended, racing will continue as scheduled through Dec. 27 with only essential personnel present and without spectators in attendance. The card previously scheduled for the evening of Dec. 31 has been canceled. by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER PA - A quartet of $11,200 featured events for younger horses, two on the pace and two on the trot, topped the Friday afternoon action at Harrah's Philadelphia, with harness racing trainer Rob Harmon sweeping the trotting top classes. In the first of the trotting headliners, Itsonlymoneyhoney overcame some recent bad luck and held off the late charge of favored Protostar by a length to reduce his mark to 1:56.4. A victim of a break and then an equipment break in his first two starts for Harmon, Itsonlymoneyhoney was all systems "go" for driver Marcus Miller and the combine of Harmon Racing Stable LLC, Lawrence Kittenplan, and Winners Circle Racing LLC. The Banker Volo three-year-old gelding notched his eleventh lifetime triumph, most of those in the Midwest. The other Harmon winner was the Trixton sophomore filly Alyvia Deo, who brushed from fifth to first during the second quarter and went on nicely to win in 1:57 for driver Tim Tetrick. The quick miss put it all together today for Synerco Ventures Inc. In the first pacing contest, the sophomore Well Said gelding Meet The Creeper rallied nicely off a contested front end, pacing his own back half in :55.4 to lower his mark to 1:53 while returning $39.60 to win for trainer/driver Stacy Chiodo and her Chiodo Racing LLC. Pacesetter Tail Hook held for second, three-quarters of a length back. The other pacing division saw the Sweet Lou three-year-old gelding Lou's Sweetrevenge press on to early command, then sprint home in :56.1-:28 under Yannick Gingras's urging to win in 1:53.3 and capture his second straight for the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Phil Collura, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The victory was the third of the afternoon for Yannick Gingras (Marcus Miller also had three driving wins), and it was an important third win on the program for trainer Ron Burke. He and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen went into the card tied at 82 atop the trainers' win standings, and then Garcia-Owen won the early double to go ahead, but Burke's later three-bagger gives his the slimmest leads at 85-84 with nine cards to go in the 2020 Philly racing season. The $10,000 fast-class pace saw the Mach Three gelding Bo Mach take his second straight victory since returning from a layoff of almost three months. The Dylan Davis trainee, owned by Howard Taylor, was taking a double stepup in class here, but driver Andrew McCarthy sent him to the lead in front of the stands and had no problem thereafter while finishing out the mile in 1:51.2, boosting his lifetime bankroll to $290,086. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER PA – Driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Anette Lorentzon, and a pair of three-year-old trotting fillies teamed up for off-the-pace harness racing victories in the twin $12,800 features at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. First up was the Conway Hall miss Sweet Heart As, who hadn’t raced in 28 days but nonetheless was ready to capitalize on a second-over trip to win in 1:56.2, three-quarters of a length ahead favored pocketsitter Reciprocal Blue Chip. ACL Stuteri AB owns the filly, who has four wins in twelve seasonal starts. (As the $10.40 third choice, Sweet Heart As was the longest-priced winner on the program.) Tetrick had to rally the Father Patrick filly Context from further back, coming three-wide from a third-over fifth, five lengths back, at the three-quarters, but she went on strongly to win in 1:56. President, a 38-1 shot, followed the favored winner but came up a length shy as Context won for the third straight time for owner Jorgen Jahre Jr. In the $11,600 top fast-class trot on the card, the veteran Credit Winner gelding Fashion Creditor handled a one-step jump in company with aplomb, setting all the fractions for George Napolitano Jr. and prevailing by 1½ lengths over Rock Of Cashel. The career winner of $722,735 is trained by Tom Fanning for owner Joseph Smith. Todd McCarthy, David Miller (celebrating his birthday), George Napolitano Jr., and Tim Tetrick each had three winners on the Thursday card. Tetrick and Napolitano have won every drivers dashwinning title at Chester/Philly since the track’s inaugural year (when Cat Manzi came out on top), and with a commanding lead going into the last days of the meet, Napolitano will win his eighth title in 2020; Tetrick has six local championships.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

CHESTER PA – The Bettor’s Delight mare She’s Nun Bettor N, ready for a top mile for trainer Kelvin “Red” Harrison despite 21 days off, worked up the inside from the pocket to catch the favored Rose Run Victoria in 1:53.2 while winning the $12,800 featured pace for fillies and mares on a chilly Wednesday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia. The Down Under import, unraced at two and starting her career in the Southern Hemisphere last season, was sent to the front by driver Dexter Dunn, only to see Rose Run Victoria, an Ontario Super Final winner, brush around her in front of the stands. But the Canadian champion couldn’t quite maintain her lead, as She’s Nun Bettor N stepped home in :55.4 to catch her rival by a neck and improve her Stateside seasonal scorecard to 9-5-3-1-$41,230 for Curtin ANZ Stables. The same “pocketsitter catches favored pacesetter” scenario also played out in the $11,200 co-featured fast-class distaff pace, with the American Ideal mare I’m Very Special closing steadily along the inside to get by favored leader Imprincessgemma A in the shadow of the wire in 1:51.2. The Peter Pellegrino trainee motored her own final half in :55.2 for the neck triumph for owner Melvyn Colby. Drivers Simon Allard, Joe Bongiorno, Andrew McCarthy, David Miller and Anthony Napolitano all had doubles on the Wednesday card, as did trainer Jennifer Bongiorno. Trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen had one winner, which put him in a tie with Ron Burke at 82 at the top of the conditioners standings. Burke is an eight-time Philly leader, while Garcia-Owen took his first local win trophy last season. Burke is also looking to complete an unusual “triple” – long the leading trainer at his base at The Meadows, he won the Pocono crown for the first time this season, and is looking for the “sweep” of harness tracks in his home state.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

CHESTER, Pa. -- Vettel N ($5.00) used a :26 third-quarter blitz to seize command en route to a decisive 1:50 score in Sunday afternoon's (Dec. 6) featured harness racing event at Harrah's Philadelphia, an $11,600 fifth-level conditioned pace. Vettel N was content to draft in third while Lyons Steel (Dexter Dunn) and Jack's Shadow N (Daniel Dube) disputed a :26.3 first quarter. After Lyons Steel pulled the half back to :56, Joe Bongiorno angled the 7-year-old American Ideal gelding off the pegs, and he surged to the fore with three-eighths to go. After opening up a three-length lead to three-quarters in 1:21.4, Vettel N repelled a late challenge from runner-up Rock The Town (Andy McCarthy) by 2-1/4 lengths. Our Max Phactor N (George Napolitano Jr.) finished third, another 1-3/4 lengths behind. Trainer Jenn Bongiorno and driver Joe Bongiorno share ownership of 25-time winner Vettel N with Brent Hershberger and Robert Devine. Since arriving in the United States to race under Jenn Bongiorno's care, he has won eight of 20 races and has amassed $61,556 in purses. Marc Mosher shone on the undercard with a training hat trick, winning with Cole On The Beach ($5.40, Yannick Gingras, 1:52.4), Enough Sun ($2.40, David Miller, 1:52.1) and Razor's Edge ($3.80, Gingras, 1:53.1). Mosher conditioned all three for new Standardbred owner Joseph Riad, who purchased his first horse in September. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia with a 14-race program on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 9) and a $6,896.90 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5, which is offered in the fifth race daily. First post time is 12:25 p.m. EST.     by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER PA - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras was the star of a cool and dank day at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday, piloting six winners, including a "grand slam" of a sweep of the four $11,200 feature races, two on each gait. In the first of the trots, Gingras positioned the Kadabra sophomore filly Kombucha right behind pacesetter Alyvia Deo, then moved out to challenge on the turn and got by for a length victory in 1:58.2 over the sloppy track. After several near-misses in the shadow of New York City, Kombucha found the Philly winners circle in her first start here for trainer Scott Di Domenico and the ownership of Bottom Line Racing LLC and Triple D Stables Inc. The other trot feature winner was the Cantab Hall three-year-old gelding Hall It Off, who won in this class last week and repeated here in 1:58 with an easy four length score for Gingras. Trainer Bill Mullin, also co-owner with Carver Racing LLC, may have found the key to this trotter's occasional fractiousness. After Kombucha proved a pocket rocket, Hall It Off won on the engine; Gingras' pacing headline victories also saw one win from the front and one from the two-hole. The Bettor's Delight three-year-old gelding Aces Rock was the only non-favorite in the Gingras feature quartet - he was 1.90-1 vs. Rockin Medicine's 1.80-1 - and he held off that pocketsitter by two lengths in a nice 1:53 mile under messy conditions. Trainer Trish Adams brought the winner down from The Meadowlands, and he was not caught for owners Ronald Perone, Thomas Maloney, and Donald Keyser. The two-hole rallier was the Sweet Lou gelding Lou's Sweetrevenge, who sat in the golden chair behind General Ward, then thundered off late to a 4½ length win in 1:53. Gingras piloted the Ron Burke trainee for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Phil Collura, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Lou's Sweetrevenge was the only Burke trainee to win on Friday; Gilbert Garcia-Owen harnessed a pair of winners, and reduced Burke's advantage in the trainer's win derby to 82-81. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER PA – The “Trottin’ Thursday” card at Harrah’s Philadelphia featured a pair of $12,800 features for younger horses working their way up the class ladder. In the first, the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Rock Party got to the lead just past the quarter for driver George Napolitano Jr., then “stole” a :30.4 second quarter breather. From there, there was no catching the frontstepping favorite, as he cruised home 3¼ lengths ahead in 1:56.2. Trainer Mark Silva took over the training of the winner in early November, and he seems to have the trotter coming around now for owners Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Charles Rowe. The second co-feature went to a three-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide, Andela, who was also parked past the quarter before assuming command, but then kept on rolling for a 2¼ length triumph in 1:57, her second win in her last three starts. Rod Allen is the trainer/driver of Andela – fitting in that her second dam is the immortal CR Kay Suzie – and the winner is Rod Allen Inc. In a $10,000 event for fast-class diamondgaiters, the veteran Credit Winner gelding Fashion Creditor was quickly in front and never looked back, winning in 1:54 with a 1¼ length advantage over pocketsitter MVP Luke at the wire. George Napolitano Jr. had the sulky duty behind the winner of $716,935 for trainer Tom Fanning and owner Joseph Smith; in all Napolitano, the track’s winningest driver, had four victories on the day.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia  

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