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CHESTER PA - Thisguyisonfire had the racing gods smiling on him today as he captured the $18,000 featured trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on "Trottin' Thursday", lowering his lifetime best by a fifth of a second to 1:54.2. First, a chief rival of Thisguyisonfire, Golden Son, was a scratch, making the possibility of a crowded front end a bit lower. Then Perseverance, who was outside battling railsitting leaver and favorite Scirocco Rob, broke stride at the 1/8, leaving Thisguyisonfire second at the :28.1 quarter, after which he was moved to the lead by driver Andrew McCarthy. Reaching the middle splits in :57.1 and 1:25.2, the victorious son of Yankee Glide was still in control, and when challenged by Rock Of Cashel in the stretch, Thisguyisonfire had enough to withstand the closer by a length. Chris Lakata trains the winner, now successful in three of his last four trips to the gate, for owner Richard Mishkin. Drivers in green and white accounted for the two $14,500 co-featured trots, with both of their charges taking lifetime records. In the faster, the Yankee Glide gelding Tight Lines, in only his second start in six months, brushed to the lead in front of the stands for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory and poured on the steam from there, drawing away from favored Filled Donut by 5¾ lengths in a 1:52.3 mile for Jeff Gregory Inc., Jesmeral Stable, and William Richardson. In the other subfeature contest, the Donato Hanover gelding Mosconi Hanover won his second consecutive outing, getting to sit just off a protracted duel between frontstepping Dream Massive and early challenger Sir John F and then catching the former by 1¾ lengths in 1:54.3 for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Bob Baggitt Jr. and owner Christine Baggitt. Tomorrow the world's fastest two-year-old, the filly Warrawee Ubeaut (1:48.3), will start in one of two divisions of the first event of the 2019 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes season, for sophomore pacing fillies; there will also be five divisions of Stallion Series action. In addition, the Jackpot Hi-5 carryover will be just over $17,000, waiting to be taken down by clever bettors. On Saturday, the start of the Great Northeast Open Series headlines a special live Derby Day card at 12:40 p.m., with Crystal Fashion, winner of over a million dollars last year, topping the Open Trot in his first start of the year, and three-year-old divisional champion Kissin In The Sand also making her seasonal bow in the Mare Open Pace.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - A pair of pacing distaffs with North America-wide reputations - the four-year-old Caviart Ally and the three-year-old Zero Tolerance - both made their 2019 harness racing debuts at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday, and both were gallant but had to settle for second behind more experienced foes. Caviart Ally was odds-on in the $25,000 mares pacing handicap, and after being looped by Bettorhaveanother early, she worked her way to the lead near the :27.1 quarter. But driver Simon Allard and the Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N, who had won with a breathtaking stretch dash from seventh last week, were soon on the move and got to the lead well before the half, reached in :55.2, and continued in front to and past the 1:23.3 three-quarters. Caviart Ally came out with an 1/8 to go and pursued hard, but Eclipse Me N still had a :27 last quarter in her and held on by ¾ of a length in 1:50.3; Bettorhaveanother was 1¾ lengths further back in third. The victory ran Eclipse Me N's seasonal record to 5-3-1-0, and the Rene Allard trainee, owned by Allard Racing Inc. Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae, ran her lifetime earnings to $235,244. Zero Tolerance, second in the Breeders Crown and Three Diamonds last year, looked like an irresistible force at 1-5 in the $17,500 distaff subfeature, but she ran into Pocono's immovable object, driver George Napolitano Jr. David Miller let Zero Tolerance patiently work outside past the :26.4 opener to the lead in front of the stands, but "George Nap" had the Palone Ranger mare Juslikeaqueen winging frontward at that point, and that pair reached the half in :55. The "Queen" and the filly maintained 1-2 position at the 1:22.4 three-quarters, and just when it looked like Zero Tolerance was ready to go by, Napolitano got more out of the 9-1 shot and brought her home a half-length to the good in a lifetime best of 1:51. The game frontstepper, owned and trained by Antonia Storer, now has career winnings of $253,205. The victory with Juslikeaqueen was the sixth of the twilight card for George Napolitano Jr.; Simon Allard had three, and George's brother Anthony added another pair, meaning that eleven of the thirteen winners on Tuesday at Pocono were driven by someone named Napolitano or Allard. Saturday is Kentucky Derby Day, and that also means the traditional doubleheader of racing at The Downs, with first post at 11:00 a.m. for the brunch session and approximately 7:30 p.m. for the post-Derby action. The nighttime racing will be highlighted by the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, in which Western Fame, the richest North American harness horse so far this year with $446,300 to his credit, looks to be the likely favorite. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - The 2019 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) gets underway with quite a bang this Saturday, May 4, at the two eastern Pennsylvania tracks, Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the three classes of Open trotters, Open pacers, and Mare Open pacers each drawing a fine field. The two harness racing events taking place on a special Saturday afternoon card at Philly, worth $30,000 each, are the Mares Open pace and the Open trot. The Open trotters are first on the card in race four, and the event will mark the 2019 debut of Crystal Fashion, a four-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall trained by Jim Campbell. Crystal Fashion won just shy of $1.1 million as a three-year-old last year, with high finishes in most of the major stakes in his division; he was also the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Starting from post two in a field of seven off a pair of easy qualifying wins in 1:57.1 and 1:57, Crystal Fashion is scheduled to have the green and yellow colors of "T. Tetrick" behind him - only Saturday his driver is scheduled to be Trace Tetrick, brother of Tim, the 2017 Rising Star Award winner and the leading driver at Hoosier Park near Indianapolis. Pappy Go Go, who has a 1:52 victory of each of the two eastern PA tracks this year to give him two of the three fastest times on the trot in North America this season, will get a real test of class here as he begins from post four for driver George Napolitano Jr and trainer Andrew Harris. Ohio champion Mission Accepted opened the season undefeated in three starts since switching to the care of Ron Burke, but he'll have to solve the difficult post seven Saturday, with Andrew McCarthy scheduled to drive. In the sixth race Mares Open pace, 2018 champion sophomore filly Kissin In The Sand will make her first start of this year, starting from post two for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Scott Zeron. The Somebeachsomewhere mare had ten wins and five seconds in fifteen seasonal outings, taking her mark of 1:47.3 at Lexington, and she was also the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Her main foe appears to be the American Ideal mare Tequila Monday, who has ripped off four straight victories against high-quality mares to open her season for trainer Hunter Oakes. Trace Tetrick has also gained the catch-drive behind Tequila Monday as she starts from post five in the seven-horse field. The GNOS action then heads 100 miles north on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Pocono, where there will be a doubleheader of racing on Saturday, and the highlight of the evening card will be the track's traditional Derby Day feature, the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace. The Rose Memorial will count in the GNOS pointstandings, and is slotted for the evening action's race ten. The race has attracted the hottest, and the richest, performer in North America so far this year in Western Fame, starting from post seven in the field of nine for trainer Rene Allard, currently in front in a bid for his sixth Pocono training title in seven years, and driver/brother Simon. All the son of Western Ideal has done recently is post four wins and a second in five preliminaries of the Levy Series, then took the $664,000 Levy final by almost five lengths in 1:50.4 at Yonkers, boosting his 2019 earnings to $446,300 with only a third of the year gone. Filibuster Hanover, winner of the 2017 Little Brown Jug and like Western Fame a racing millionaire, had the misfortune of drawing the outside post nine for his seasonal debut, with trainer Ron Burke choosing Jim Morrill Jr. for sulky duty. Sure to draw attention as well is Highalator, starting from post two for trainer Jenny Bier and driver Richard Still; Highalator, who is 10-for-17 lifetime at the mountain oval, and Still teamed to win a leg of the Golden Receiver series at The Meadowlands in his last start. The Great Northeast Open Series races are scheduled every weekend at the two tracks until September 1, with $30,000 contests (a few "special events" carry a bigger bounty) on the sheet for all of the three divisions. When Pocono has the Open pace, it goes on Saturday evening; otherwise the GNOS contests are, with a few exceptions (like this week), slotted for Sunday, at Philly in the afternoon and at Pocono at night. The top pointwinners in the competition will vie for $100,000 in each of the three GNOS divisions, with their Championships to be held over 1¼ miles on a Monday twilight card on September 9.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia / The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Simon Allard won his third of the four $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championships conducted this spring at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking Monday's rich finale for trotting males with the 1:54 winner Dover Dony. 70-1 shot Chapter And Ruth (trained by Rene Allard, who had combined with his brother Simon on their two earlier Weiss wins) shot out from PP9 right to the top for harness racing driver Tom Jackson, looping the winning son of Andover Hall, who eventually worked his way to the top before the :27.4 opener. Allard gave his charge a :57.1 breather to the half, then sent the 6-5 second choice through a :27.3 third quarter to try to put separation between himself and 3-5 favorite My Lindy Winner, who was looking for a Weiss sweep. My Lindy Winner came wide off cover late on the final turn for driver Jim Morrill Jr., and Chapter And Ruth popped out from the pocket, but Dover Dony had enough to maintain a length margin to the finish while lowering his mark 3 2/5 seconds. Chapter And Ruth, who had a Weiss prelim win (which ironically is more than the winner could say) showed determination to take second, a neck ahead of My Lindy Winner, who had been undefeated in six seasonal starts. Dover Dony had a 37-2-10-10 record before this final, but he surely picked a good time to become more photogenic for trainer Jordan Derue and owner Anthony Ciuffetelli. In the $15,000 Weiss consolation for the male trotting set, the sophomore Yankee Glide gelding Raceace set a North American season's record of 1:54.3 for his division while lowering his mark nearly three seconds. Matt Kakaley put his horse on the lead in his fourth lifetime start, and the even money favorite stepped home in :56.1 - :27.4 to keep 6-5 shot Omaha Omaha away by a head at the wire for trainer Nifty Norman and the All Laid Out Stable Inc. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be hosting a doubleheader of live harness racing this Saturday, the "brunch" card starting at 11 a.m. and the evening card, which will begin after the Kentucky Derby aftermath has settled down in the vicinity of 7:30 p.m., will be headlined by the traditional Pocono Derby Day feature, the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace. Rose, a modest fellow who was a longtime handicapper/writer focusing his efforts on The Downs, would no doubt be amazed that "a field like this is in a race named after me" - the nine pacers in the nighttime tenth race feature have an average lifetime mark of 1:49.2 and have collectively earned over $5 million, with two millionaires, Filibuster Hanover and Western Fame, in the field. In fact, Western Fame is the hottest horse in North America harness racing so far in 2019, and the richest, too, with $446,300 to his credit in the first third of the year, raising his lifetime bankroll to $1,487,320. In the recent Levy Series at Yonkers, Western Fame had four wins and a second in five preliminary legs, and then in the $664,000 Levy Final on April 20, he won over a quality field by almost five lengths. The six-year-old son of Western Ideal is owned by Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B & I Stables LLC, and Gil Short. He is trained by Rene Allard, currently ahead in his bid for a sixth Pocono training title in the last seven years, and will be driven by his brother Simon from post seven. The other millionaire in the field, Filibuster Hanover, has the misfortune of having to make his 2019 debut from the outside post nine, with Jim Morrill Jr. scheduled to drive. A Somebeachsomewhere gelding who has brought home $1,500,029 for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Joseph DiScala Jr., and J&T Silva Stables LLC, Filibuster Hanover won the 2017 Little Brown Jug, and he already has a 1:51.1 qualifying victory at The Meadowlands on his 2019 card. One cannot overlook Highalator, who is 10-for-17 lifetime over the Pocono surface, having won his Weiss Championship and a PA All-Stars stake here at three, and then a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series at four (the Van Rose will serve as the 2019 start of the Open pacing division of the Great Northeast). Richard Still will be behind the five-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, the fastest performer in the field with a mark of 1:48, as they begin from post two for trainer Jenny Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. Between the two cards will be the traditional Run for the Roses Hat Revue, a fashion display of imagination and style, and trackside concessions and a Party Tent will open; the drink of the Derby, mint juleps, will be available in souvenir glasses. The Pocono clubhouse will be open for a Champagne Brunch for the first card and a top-shelf buffet for the second session.  PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - Warrawee Ubeaut, the harness racing filly who became the fastest two-year-old of all time when she won in 1:48.3 en route to her 2018 divisional championship, makes her seasonal debut Friday at Harrah's Philadelphia in what will also be the first 2019 racing in the rich Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program. There will be two $83,240 divisions of Sire Stakes three-year-old pacing fillies, while their Stallion Series counterparts will contest $20,000 in each of five divisions. The Sweet Lou filly Warrawee Ubeaut, to start from post seven in her Sire Stakes section for driver Yannick Gingras and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Phil Collura, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, is one of six fillies trainer Ron Burke has entered in the Sire Stakes, and he'll have three going in each division. Warrawee Ubeaut, who also was the richest freshman in 2018 North American harness racing with $646,995 in earnings, won her Breeders Crown event last year, one of her seven victories on the campaign; another was the historic world record at Lexington, where she came home in :53.2. Warrawee Ubeaut has had two qualifying preps at The Meadowlands for her sophomore campaign, both times winning in 1:53.2. The champion's main rival in this event may be the Somebeachsomewhere filly Stonebridge Soul, who won her last two starts as a freshman in stakes company, then returned last week for trainer Chris Ryder and driver Dexter Dunn by winning at Philly in 1:53.1, with twin :27.3s coming home. Taking a shot at "the big girls" is another daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Trillions Hanover, the winner of her 2018 Stallion Series Championship and also victorious in her first start of the year in 1:52.3 at The Meadowlands for trainer Tom Fanning. In the second Sire Stakes division, starting from the rail will be Sylph Hanover, another Burke trainee who was a 13-1 upset winner in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship last season in 1:51.4. Matt Kakaley is the regular driver of the Somebeachsomewhere filly for Burke Racing LLC, William Switala, James Martin, and Joseph Critelli, and he was in the sulky when "Sylph" added the Matron Pace to her list of credits towards the end of her two-year-old campaign. Sylph Hanover faces no fewer than four horses coming off of a victory. Three of them are undefeated in their 2019 campaigns; the other, Pretty N Fast, added her third straight victory in a late-closing final at The Meadows last time, and she also hails from the productive Burke barn. The Sire Stakes events will go in races eight and twelve; the five Stallion Series events will face the gate in races three, seven, nine, eleven, and thirteen. Though currently in the lower division of the program, the Stallion Series fillies have already won 24 races among them this year, and some are only now finding their top form. Post time for Friday's card at Philly is 12:25. There will be live racing on both Saturday and Sunday at 12:40; the Saturday card is a special Kentucky Derby Day card that will feature opening round action of the 2019 Great Northeast Open Series.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tag Up And Go was in control throughout the $17,500 trotting feature on a less-than-optimum Sunday night (41 degrees, “sloppy +2” surface) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by himself in 1:56.4. Marcus Miller left in controlling fashion with the Angus Hall gelding, set a very moderate pace even in the bad conditions, and still had plenty late to raise his earnings to $569,216. Rob Harmon conditions the harness racing veteran for Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro. There were a pair of $17,000 contests for developing horses on both gaits. In the pace, the Rollwithjoe gelding Youcaniknow is 2-for-2 in 2019 after a hard two-move victory from post nine in 1:53.4, holding off Grantmeawish by a neck for driver Matt Kakaley, who had three winners on the night. This is a rare Åke Svanstedt-trained pacer, owned by Åke Svanstedt Inc. In the subfeature trot, the Lucky Chucky gelding Chuckabuck, who was claimed for $12,500 on April 5, handled the rise from that level quite easy on the Pocono red muck, going gate-to-wire in 1:56.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer James Guagliardo, and owner William Sartin. In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, standing in a village’s muck and mire, one peasant remarks to the other that the passing horseback rider must be the King, and is asked how he knows that. “He hasn’t got (slop) all over him,” says the first peasant. Such was the case with driver Mark MacDonald, who came to Pocono and got easy front-end victories, staying “clean,” with two sophomores making their seasonal bows for trainer/co-owner Ray Schnittker. The winning duo were Captain Malicious, a Captaintreacherous – Silky colt who won in 1:53.4 - :27.3 for Schnittker and partners Dr. John Egloff, John Frisch, and Max J. Hempt, and Hickfromfrenchlick, the So Surreal – My Girl’s A Star colt whose named was influenced by basketball star Larry Bird, who won in 1:53.3 – :27.3 for the trainer and partners Nolamaura Racing LLC and Thomas Spatorico. Both three-year-olds were stakes winners at two, and their 2019 bows point towards another good campaign ahead of them. Hickfromfrenchlick                                                       -Curtis Salonick photo                                            Finally, the “Fast Comeback of the Night” award goes to driver Eric Carlson, who was dumped to the track in a mixup in race 13, then came right back in the 14th race finale to guide Derecho to a wire-to-wire victory – and pay $46.00 to win. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - Pappy Go Go now has two of the three fastest miles in North American harness racing during 2019 after he demolished a field by 6 3/4 lengths in the $18,000 trotting feature at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. George Napolitano Jr. held early position with "Pappy" from post four as the three inside him left, then pulled his trotter out just before the :27.4 quarter. Golden Son moved from the pocket just in front of him, and Napolitano briefly had his trotter three-wide before circling to the lead entering turn two, before the :56 half. Pappy Go Go had a full head of steam down the backstretch and reached the three-quarters in 1:24, and he had no slowdown in him in the lane, equaling the time he posted at Pocono on March 30, which is just a fifth behind Insomniac's 1:51.4 at Miami Valley on April 5. Andrew Harris trains the impressive winner, who now has 28 career wins and $155,517 in earnings, for Michael Goldberg Racing. If you have missed the "backstory" on Pappy Go Go, it is an interesting one. He is bred by William Andrew, who lives in Alberta - not a noted haven for trotters. He is a five-year-old gelding by the Prince Edward Island-based stallion Tad The Stud (whose second-fastest son has a mark of 1:57.2), and "Pappy" sold for $4,000 at a Nova Scotia yearling sale. 13 of those 28 career wins came during an undefeated sophomore stakes campaign in the Maritimes, and now based on his twin 1:52s it looks like Pappy Go Go may soon be facing a very elite brand of competition. There were a pair of $14,500 subfeatures on the Philly "Trottin' Thursday" card. The first was taken by the top Maryland campaigner Hybrid Henry, who made every pole a winning one while winning in 1:54 for driver David Miller, 2¼ lengths clear of his opposition. Arlene Cameron conditions and owns the Cam's Rocket gelding, who now has lifetime earnings of $240,211. The Cantab Hall gelding Perseverance was sent away quickly from the pole by driver Corey Callahan to protect pocket position behind the speedy Zagster, then was able to move outside for the stretch drive and catch the pacesetter by 1¾ lengths in 1:55.1. The Eric Ell trainee, a winner of $198,832, recorded his second consecutive victory for owners Ken Wood, Tribbett Racing, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta. The drivers of the subfeature winners, Callahan and Miller, had the hot hands on the Thursday card, visiting Victory Lane four times each. Harrah's Philadelphia will conduct its first nighttime card of 2019 tomorrow night (Friday), with first post at 6:30 p.m. The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover heading into race 5 is $11,972.22. Harrah's Philly will also conduct Friday evening cards on May 17th, September 6th, and October 4th. Another soon-upcoming alteration to the normal Philly schedule is that there will be a special card of live racing on Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 4, with first post at 12:40. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - Sophomore pacing males with stakes ambitions were in the spotlight on Wednesday at Harrah's Philadelphia, with a pair of $16,000 "nw 5 races" events complemented by two $14,000 "nw 3 races" contests. Just Plain Loco proved strong early and strongest late, making two moves to win the first of the $16,000 splits in a personal best of 1:53.2. David Miller had sulky duty behind the Well Said gelding for harness racing trainer Tom Fanning and owners Paul Lang and Falcon Racing LLC. In the other feature cut, the Sweet Lou colt Love Me Some Lou was extended further than many 1-9 shots are, with a game Annihilation charging at him in back fractions of 55.4 - 27.2, but Love Me Some Lou won his seasonal debut in 1:52.2. David Miller had sulky duties behind the Tom Cancelliere-trained third-place finisher in the Breeders Crown; Tom's brother John is the owner. In one of the $14,000 classes, the Somebeachsomewhere colt Union Station was put on the lead by driver Corey Callahan and made every pole a winning one while lowering his mark to 1:52.3. Val D'Or Farms and Rojan Stables team up behind the winner along with a pair of July Hall of Fame inductees, co-owner Ted Gewertz and trainer Joe Holloway. In the other subfeature section, the Sweet Lou gelding Skip To My Lou had to go first-over into a 54.2 final half for driver Dexter Dunn, but he didn't seem to have any problem with the journey, winning nicely in 1:52.1 to equal his mark. The hot Robert Cleary barn guides the fortunes of the winner for Royal Wire Products Inc. Trainer Marcus Melander, the 2018 Rising Star Award winner, teamed up with a pair of former Rising Star winners to break the maiden status of two nice three-year-old trotting fillies who took new marks. Miss Trixton (Trixton - Possess The Magic) was guided by Yannick Gingras (2003 Rising Star winner) to a 1:55.1 victory for Order By Stable, and then Matter Of Fact (Explosive Matter - Chips N Caviar, from the "Winky" family) fronted her field in 1:55.2 for Tim Tetrick, who won the Rising Star in 2007, and Vicky Trotting Inc.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA – The Chris Oakes stable sent out a trio of impressive winners in qualifying harness racing action on Wednesday morning at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, headed by the world’s fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter. The seven-year-old altered son of Mr Cantab, who rewrote the standard for the gait with his 1:48.4 victory at Lexington last year and who won his 2018 Breeders Crown event at this track, showed he was coming to his sixth campaign in fine shape, rattling off splits of 29.1, 58.1, and 1:26.4 en route to a 10½-length victory in 1:55.1 under the guidance of Matt Kakaley. Oakes also sent out a pair of impressive sophomore colts by American Ideal with fine maternal connections. The faster was American Mercury, who shows horses such as American Jewel, Luck Be Withyou, and Three Diamonds not far back along his maternal line, who went wire-to-wire in 1:52.4, last quarter 27.4, with Tyler Buter at the controls. Buter, who posted his 3000th career driving win at Pocono on Sunday night, was also in charge of the Oakes trainee Shake That House, third in the Metro and a ¾ brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House. Shake That House came his own back fractions in 55.2 – 27.3 to get to the wire first in 1:53.1. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Team Allard has now taken both $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championships conducted so far at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, adding another distaff harness racing victory to pacer Cardiff's yesterday with a recent acquisition, the trotter Town Hall Justice, who lowered her mark by three seconds to 1:53.4 despite a track that was downgraded to "good" after midcard rain. The victorious Justice Hall mare forced a 27.2 quarter before yielding to Run Lindy Run, then came out soon after her opponent tripped the timer in 56.2 at the half. Simon Allard got his charge to the lead late on the backstretch, with the two favorites Fade Into You (two-time prelim winner) and Spring In Paris (three-time prelim winner) on her heels at and past the 1:24.2 3/4s. Despite the presence of the heavyweights on her tail, Town Hall Justice was more than equal to the challenge, proving a length better than Fade Into You, with Spring In Paris another 1½ lengths back. Owned by Simon's brother, trainer Rene Allard, Town Hall Justice had been 1-for-33 lifetime before going to her current home - for whom she is now 2-for-2. In this Weiss division's $15,000 consolation, the Kadabra mare Northern Dream took a new mark of 1:57.4 in an exciting finish that saw five horses within ¾ of a length at the wire. Northern Dream, trained by Michael Rashkin for owner Timothy Betts, was sent three-wide late on the backstretch by driver George Napolitano Jr., got to two-wide midturn, and just was able to nose out pacesetting favorite Critical Hanover in the last step. It's seldom at Pocono that a horse who's seventh, 3-plus lengths out, and four-wide at headstretch looks like a winner, but Eclipse Me N had the look of eagles at the 7/8 in the $21,500 fast-class mares pace, and she produced an 1/8 somewhere in the vicinity of 13 to be a going-away two length winner in 1:51. The Allard brothers again were the team behind the talented Real Desire mare, who has earnings of $224,744 for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. FINISHING LINES - The world's fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4), will be out to qualify tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at Pocono. George Napolitano Jr. is set for sulky duty for trainer Chris Oakes, just as the pair teamed to win their Breeders Crown event at the mountain oval last year. Homicide Hunter will start from post six in race six.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA – The Jim Campbell stable was certainly primed for the Tuesday morning qualifiers at Harrah’s Philadelphia, as four of its members won their a.m. events, all owned by Fashion Farms. Last year’s million-dollar winner Crystal Fashion, now four, went his own third quarter in 27.4 to sweep his field in 1:57 for driver Tim Tetrick. The Cantab Hall gelding had won a qualifier a tick slower last week. Two three-year-old trotting fillies won for Campbell. An intriguing one is Millie’s Possession, a daughter of Possess The Will out of Fashion Athena, a $300,000+ winner who won in 1:53.2 at two. Millie’s Possession did not race at two, and went in 2:03.1 in her first line last week, but today she came home in 28.3 for Dexter Dunn to win in 1:56.2. Her likely stakes compatriot is the Donato Hanover miss Jazzy Fashion, home in 1:57.1 for David Miller  Miller also handled the fourth winner for Campbell, the Chapter Seven sophomore gelding Chapter Fashion, who opened a big lead and reported home first in 1:56.1. Other qualifiers of note: --        The Heston Blue Chip filly Zero Tolerance, second in the Breeders Crown and Three Diamonds last year, who came his own last split in 27.2 to win in 1:53.1, with Miller up for trainer Joe Holloway; --       Another sophomore pacing filly, the Somebeachsomewhere distaff Trillions Hanover, who caught New York Sire Stakes champion Money Shot Hanover at the end of a 1:54.3 mile for Miller (he had four wins on the day) and trainer Tom Fanning;  --      The Muscle Hill colt Prospect Hill, at one point a winner of seven of eight in his freshman form before tailing off at the end of the year, looking good with a 1:57 wire-to-wire win for Andy and Julie Miller; ·        And the Mach Three mare Shebang N, winner of her last five starts in 2018, and today rallying from the two-hole in 1:53.4 for Dexter Dunn and trainer Nifty Norman.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA –Cardiff had to go the dreaded “tuck-then-first-over” journey in the $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for pacing fillies and mares at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday, but the Sportswriter harness racing mare showed rare pluck in grinding raw for the last 5/8 and still getting the decision in a lifetime best 1:51.1. Cardiff, who had a first and two seconds in her Weiss prelims, tucked midpack from post eight for driver Simon Allard, as a pair of horses on a three-race win streak, 2-5 favorite Ghostwriter and Girl’s Got Rhythm, argued through a smoking 26.2 quarter, with the latter claiming the top at that point. Cardiff was again on the move under the wire the first time as Girl’s Got Rhythm led the field to the half in 54.4, then cut into the pacesetter’s advantage by the 1:22.3 3/4s, with the chalk lurking in the pocket. Turning for home it looked like the trip was starting to wear on Cardiff, as Ghosttothepost went to the Pocono Pike to try to catch Girl’s Got Rhythm. But Cardiff dug deep into her talent pool and gamely paced on to be 1½ lengths ahead at the wire, with Ghosttothepost next, a neck ahead of Girl’s Got Rhythm. Simon’s brother Rene trains the courageous winner for Allard Racing Inc. and Carmen Carson. Also on the Tuesday card were three $15,000 final preliminary round divisions of the Weiss Series for trotting males, and the Credit Winner four-year-old My Lindy Winner established himself as the likely Weiss Championship favorite by sweeping his three prelims, here scoring in 1:55.3 to reman undefeated in six seasonal starts. Though the Rob Harmon trainee won his other two prelims by six and four lengths, this half length victory over pacesetter Dover Dony may have been the most impressive of the trio, as Jim Morrill Jr. sent the horse uncovered from third at the 5/8, and his trotter responded by gaining into a 28.1 last quarter and finishing a measured winner. The Conway Hall gelding Hammer Creek must like suspense, as he had two wins in the Weiss prelims, but in both victories his winning margin was only a nose, on Tuesday over the wild-charging Livinonthedash in 1:55.3. Eric Carlson came uncovered at the 3/4, went to the lead in the stretch, then withstood the flying Livinonthedash for trainer Kenneth Hess Jr. and owner Richard Ciesielski. Lightfootedlegend, like his stablemate in the Erv Miller barn Livinonthedash, made his first start in the Weiss, and the Mr Cantab gelding broke his maiden in fine style, coming out on the far turn and catching pacesetting Higgs Boson by ¾ of a length in 1:56.3. Marcus Miller guided the four-year-old for the Ervin Miller Stable Inc, Ronald Michelon, and Harvey Eisman. Despite the good performances, the two Weiss debutants for the Millers did not finish in the top nine preliminary pointwinners (although they may make a $15,000 consolation, depending on how many and who declares in). The unofficial top nine pointwinners heading for next Monday’s $30,000 Weiss Championship in this group are: 1. My Lindy Winner, 2. Hammer Creek, 3. Higgs Boson, 4. Chapter And Ruth, 5. Dover Dony, 6. Got No Money Honey, 7. Keystone Thunder, 8. Loving Life, and 9. Teardown This Wall, with Flammable tenth and the pair of Brandywine Battle and London Hanover tied for eleventh in the shaping up of the “AEs” and the consolation PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Spring In Paris, a sophomore daughter of Explosive Matter, went 3-for-3 in her Bobby Weiss Series preliminary action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking one of Tuesday's $15,000 harness racing prelim divisions in a lifetime best in 1:55.3. And she's economical in her energy dispersal: her total winning margin in her three victories was eight feet, or one length. On Tuesday, Andrew McCarthy moved her uncovered on the second turn, then picked up the cover of pocketpulling Critical Hanover, who went to the lead near the ¾, leaving Spring In Paris uncovered. The gritty three-year-old just kept her mind to business and finally wore down her rival by half a length - the largest margin in her three Weiss victories. Steve LeBlanc conditions the consistent miss, now undefeated her four seasonal starts, for LeBlanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson. The only other horse in this division to notch two Weiss prelim wins was the Cantab Hall filly Fade Into You, who moved to the lead early and went on to a handy five-length triumph in a personal best of 1:56. Fade Into You has now sandwiched wins around a break in Weiss racing, and must be respected as a Weiss Final contender for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Phil Collura. Town Hall Justice picked the occasion of her moving into the Rene Allard barn to break a 19-race losing streak and earn enough points to make the Weiss Final. Driver/brother Simon Allard made two moves with the Justice Hall mare and lowered her mark two seconds to 1:56.4 while defeating Cayenne Victory by two lengths. Rene Allard is also the owner of the victress. The Weiss Series $30,000 Championship for this division, in addition to a $15,000 consolation if it fills, will be conducted on Tuesday, April 23, and the unofficial top pointwinners in the prelims are: 1. Spring In Paris, 2. Fade Into You, 3. Lollipop Lindy, 4. Nicole Hanover, 5. Royal Esteem, 6. (tie) Moshannon Magic and Town Hall Justice, 8. Meadowbranch Vicki, 9. Run Lindy Run; Dawn Of Glory and Whip N Neigh Neigh are next in the points, in that order, and thus would be the AE1 and AE 2 "on the bubble" for the Championship, and likely among the top contenders in the consolation. Tequila Monday started her five-year-old campaign with over $740,000 in career earnings, and based on her three starts this year, all victories, she may be as good as she ever has been, which could be bad news for the best of the pacing mare set. The American Ideal quarter-moved going by a 27.1 opener in the $21,500 featured for fast-class distaffs, made the lead, then went on to fractions of 55.1 and 1:23.1, finally stopping the timer in 1:50.2, with a game Eclipse Me N following from the pocket to wind up only 1¼ lengths behind. Matt Kakaley got the sulky assignment from trainer Hunter Oakes for the Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The American Ideal mare Ghosttothepost became the only distaff to be victorious in all three of the preliminaries for the Bobby Weiss Series for harness racing pacing fillies and mares, coming home in 56.2 on a cold Monday with swirling winds at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to triumph in 1:54.3. George Napolitano Jr. got early fractions of 28.3 and 58.1 with the five-time seasonal winner, then turned on the back half jets, with a 28.2 second quarter and then a 28 last quarter into the win. Ghosttothepost, who suffered broken equipment during the contest, needed the speedy finish to keep pocketsitting Cardiff a neck away at the finish for trainer Darren Farrell and owner Peter Paul Venturini. Ashlee Sparkles came to her third Weiss prelim with a pair of series victories, but this week she couldn't catch the Sportswriter filly Girl's Got Rhythm, who clocked splits of 28.2, 57.2, and 1:25.3, then held off Ashlee Sparkles by a length in 1:54. Girl's Got Rhythm was unraced as a freshman, but she has begun her career with three straight victories, including one previous Weiss success, for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nicholas Devita and owner John Cummins. Charms Little Sis lowered her record 4 1/5 seconds when she won the other Weiss cut in 1:55.2, giving Tyler Buter victories in two of the three series divisions. Charms Lil Sis, a Mach Three mare, also used frontstepping tactics en route to the winners circle, opening a big lead down the backstretch and staying three lengths clear at the wire for trainer Scott Blackler and the Millar Farms. The $30,000 Weiss Championship for this group will be featured next Monday, April 22, with a $15,000 consolation also to be available if enough horses enter. The unofficial pointleaders after this group's preliminary round action, from highest to lowest points, are: 1. Ghosttothepost, 2. Ashlee Sparkles, 3. Cardiff, 4. Girl's Got Rhythm, 5. Final Escape, 6. Charms Lil Sis, 7. Flippin Fun, 8. Linda Lace Hanover, and 9. JK Lockherup; Take Abit Of Life and Barbs Beach would be the two AEs "on the bubble," in that order of preference, and would be the top eligibles for the consolation if it fills. FINISHING LINES - If you didn't get your licks in during races 4, 5, and 6, and your driver's name wasn't Tyler Buter, Anthony Napolitano, or Simon Allard, you did not have a pass into the Pocono winners circle on Monday night: "ANap" and Simon won four races each, Tyler three. Anthony Napolitano combined with trainer Jose Godinez to win the Early Double; Simon Allard hooked up with trainer/brother Rene to sweep the Late Double; and Buter as noted won two Weiss divisions, bringing him to 2998 career sulky successes.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Developing three- and four-year-olds of both gaits and sexes will begin contesting their $15,000 third and final preliminary legs of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono starting tonight (Monday), hoping to solidify places in the $30,000 series Championships (or perhaps a $15,000 consolation) that will begin in one week, Monday, April 22. The pacing fillies and mares will take to the track for Weiss harness racing action on Monday in three divisions. Undefeated in their first two preliminaries were Ghosttothepost, an American Ideal mare to be guided by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Darren Ferrell from post five in the fifth race division, and the Art Major filly Ashlee Sparkles, who will begin from race two in the eleventh race Weiss contest for driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Blake MacIntosh. Both are morning line favorites in their respective divisions. There were six different winners in the first two preliminaries of the distaff trotting Weiss Series, with the only repeat winner the Explosive Matter filly Spring In Paris, who was game to win by a neck in each of her Weiss starts. During Tuesday's eleventh race cut of the third Weiss preliminary, she's be starting as the morning line choice from post five for trainer Steve LeBlanc, who doesn't disrupt a winning formula and again taps Andrew McCarthy for sulky action. This coming Saturday, pacing males will be contested their final Weiss preliminary action. The horse to watch in this section is the American Ideal four-year-old Turbo Hill, who closed in 26.3 in his second Weiss prelim to post a 1:51.2 victory. Trained and driven by Hunter Oakes, Turbo Hill is riding a six-race win streak, and he has won eight times in but nine career starts. The trotting male third round preliminaries will be held on Monday, April 22, as the Downs will be dark on Easter Sunday, April 21. My Lindy Winner, a four-year-old son of Credit Winner, will be the only horse bringing two straight Weiss victories with him, both times winning impressively to remain undefeated in five 2019 starts for trainer Rob Harmon, with Jim Morrill Jr. slated for sulky duty.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

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