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CHESTER PA - This Sunday promises some spectacular racing at the two tracks served by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), with the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) staging a trio of $30,000 events, for open pacers at Harrah's Philly in the afternoon and for mare open pacers and open trotters at Mohegan Sun Pocono at night. In the open hanress racing pacing event at Philly, Rodeo Rock has been installed as a tight 7-2 favorite in a well-matched field of nine which will be the fifth race. The Robert Cleary pupil, to be driven by Andrew McCarthy, is one of only four North American horses to have earned over $200,000 already this year, the bulk of his bankroll coming when finishing second in the $664,000 Levy Final at Yonkers. Starting just to his outside will be Donttellmeagain for trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick. A state favorite since winning the PA Stallion Series Championship in 2017, Donttellmeagain holds the distinction of being the last horse to win against 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked, and he comes off a 1:49 victory at The Meadowlands. The two GNOS races at Pocono will come consecutively, in slots ten and eleven. The ladies will come first, with the 1-2 finishers from last week's first GNOS group for this group, Tequila Monday and Kissininthesand, ready to bump heads again and vie for favoritism. This will be the second start of the year for Kissininthesand (post one, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron), last year's three-year-old champion, and she might be just that much better with a race under her girth. But knocking off Tequila Monday (post six, trainer Chris Oakes, driver Tyler Buter) has never been an easy task throughout that mare's career, and might be even more hard to bring off this year, as Tequila Monday has started the year with five consecutive victories, and she has shown she can win on, off, or near the pace. The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), is entered in the open trotting event, and he returns to the races both for a new stable, the Burke Brigade, and off two fine qualifying wins, the latter a photo victory over 2018 sophomore champion Six Pack. One big obstacle facing Homicide Hunter and driver Yannick Gingras will be the outside starting spot in the field of eighth, but he is still the early favorite. Guardian Angel AS (post five, trainer Anette Lorentzon, driver Tim Tetrick) won a Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono last year, and in his seasonal debut last week at The Meadowlands he came from ninth at the three-quarter call to miss less than two lengths. Pappy Go Go, who has two of the four fastest North American trotting miles of the year, a pair of 1:52 wins both here and at Philly, has the advantages of post one and Pocono's top driver George Napolitano Jr. Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

CHESTER PA - Lazurus (the trotter, not the imported pacer) went wire-to-wire in the $12,500 trotting feature at Harrah's Philadelphia, taking advantage of misfortune suffered by favored Tony Soprano to win in 1:55.3. Tim Tetrick, second in the harness racing drivers standings both at Philly (he had five wins on Wednesday) and in North America, guided the Credit Winner gelding to the lead before the :28.2 quarter, then was able to regulate the tempo to :57.4 and 1:26.3, with horses occupying but not gaining in the two- and three-wide tiers, before sprinting clear at headstretch to stretch his lifetime bankroll to $303,656 for trainer Scott DiDomenico and the ownership of Mr. Dana Parham and the Triple D Stables Inc. Meanwhile, Tony Soprano was locked in a back room of the Bada-Bing Club, stuck third-inside behind walls of parked horses and a fading then breaking pocket horse. He finally shook clear early in the stretch and made up ground well, but came up 2¼ lengths shy of Lazurus under the wire. No single ticket solved the Jackpot Hi-5 bet today, so the carryover going into Thursday's card is $20,514.09. The PA-sired three-year-old trotting fillies are gathered at Philly Friday for the first time in 2019, with four divisions of Sire Stakes and five sections of Stallion Series action. The defending Sire Stakes champion Windy Lover and Stallion Series champion Navarone Hanover both meet in the same division, but they will have to face Magical Beliefs, a Lady Suffolk winner in her first start of the year. Other well-known names include Sonnet Grace and Fraulein Blucher, going head-to-head; Asiago, a recent Meadowlands winner in 1:53.4; and Millie's Possesion, who may not know how to spell but won her career debut in 1:56 here. On Sunday, a full field of nine has been attracted to a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series event for the open pacers - headlining will be Donttellmeagain, the last conqueror of 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked; recent 1:50.1 Philly winner Tiger Thompson N; and the evergreen Scott Rocks.   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - His full sister Phaetosive was an impressive harness racing winner in a qualifier on Saturday, and now the Explosive Matter - Phaeton gelding Explosivebreakaway has shown he may be ready for an outstanding year in 2019, winning his first trip behind the gate in 1:56.1 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Wednesday morning. The three-year-old came a pair of :28.2 quarters in the back half to close from sixth and take the triumph. Last year Explosivebreakaway posted a 5-3-2-0 record, winning his last start, a Liberty Bell stake, in 1:57.4. Trainer Erv Miller teamed with driver Atlee Bender to showcase an impressive pair of debuting three-year-olds - Code On The Beach (a Somebeachsomewhere gelding) and Cub Fan (a So Surreal gelding), both of whom crossed the wire first in 1:53.3. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Bettor's Up made her debut for Nick Surick a successful one, sweeping wide off cover and taking the $17,500 distaff pacing feature in the Tuesday harness racing twilight at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:51.4. Matt Kakaley guided the winner of $772,254, one of the best of her division in her filly stakes days, into second-over position, then tipped her three-wide approaching headstretch. Bettor's Up, now five, took it from there, pacing strongly through the stretch as the 2-1 favorite to defeat the longest shot on the board, Culinary Delight N, by 1¾ lengths. Trainer Surick got control of the winner after his Nick Surick Stable LLC acquired her after her last start. The sun shined bright on my old Wilkes-Barre home just before the $14,000 co-featured distaff pace after cloudiness and some rain, and the Sportswriter mare Write Me A Song wrote herself a new mark of 1:50.1 in going wire-to-wire. Driver Tyler Buter took control from the pole from the outset with Write Me A Song, hustling the winner of $243,777 through fractions of :26.2, :54.1, and 1:22.1 en route to a 2½ length victory for trainer Lance Hudson and owner William S. Hartt. There will be plenty of great racing the next two cards at Pocono, with the Pennsylvania All-Stars for three-year-old colt pacers going in three divisions on Saturday, and then $30,000 contests in the Great Northeast Open Series for open trotters and open mare pacers topping a fantastic Sunday night offering. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The best of the Pennsylvania-sired Standardbreds in the sport's glamour division - the three-year-old pacing colts - spend their second of four consecutive weekends within the confines of the Keystone State this Saturday, inaugurating the 2019 Pennsylvania All-Star harness racing Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with three $30,000 divisions. In the eighth race first division, the Sweet Lou colt Blood Money is held as the 5-2 favorite as he begins from the middle of the nine-horse field for driver Scott Zeron. Trained last year by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who retired in the off-season, Blood Money is now handled by his daughter, Nancy Johansson, and based on his 1:50 season debut victory at The Meadowlands on April 27, where he came from over ten lengths behind in the last half, Blood Money appears to have lost nothing in the change of conditioners. In the tenth race second division, the majority of the crowd seems likely to follow one of two horses, Lyons Night Hawk (5-2) and Branquinho (3-1). Lyons Night Hawk, another Sweet Lou colt who will start from post seven for trainer Gareth Dowse and driver Tim Tetrick, came his own last half in a blazing :53.4 while winning his 2019 debut in 1:51.3 at Philly, while the Somebeachsomewhere colt Branquinho, starting from post five for trainer Ray Schnittker and driver Tyler Buter, is two-for-two this season, and comes off a 1:50.4 victory in Stallion Series competition at The Meadows. The twelfth race third division seems the most wide-open of the three, with the Somebeachsomewhere colt Air Force Hanover accorded a slight 3-1 favoritism in the early line despite having to start from the outside post eight. Going in favor of the sophomore is a 1:51 victory last year, early speed, and driver George Napolitano Jr., the latter two of which may mesh nicely to get Air Force Hanover in good position during the contest. After having started their PA season in Sire Stakes/Stallion Series action last Saturday at The Meadows, the sophomore colts are here this Saturday and then again next Sunday in the Sire Stakes; they will then move on to Philly for Sires action during the Super Stakes Sunday on May 26 that includes three $100,000 Invitationals. The Sunday card at Pocono is a sensational gathering of talented horses, mostly on the trot. The features on the card are $30,000 divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series, one for Mares Open pacers and one for Open trotters. The Great Northeast action will be previewed in a later release, after Philly draws its Open pacers division tomorrow. But the overall quality of the Pocono Sunday card deserves an extra mention: it has 18 horses who won over $100,000 during 2018, and 17 horses who have won over $500,000 in their careers, including four millionaires. There are so many full field upper-level trots besides the Great Northeast race that afterwards it may be possible to put together a field of trotters who don't get a check Sunday, and there is a decent chance that such a field would be about as good as any trotting field to be assembled during all of 2019 at many North American ovals. ATTRIBUTION - PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - A pair of older performers who have had Breeders Crown harness racing success in the past showed they may be ready to fit in with the best of their divisions with impressive qualifying victories at Harrah's Philadelphia Tuesday morning. Shnitzledosomethin, the distinctively-named four-year-old son of Fred And Ginger, was a wire-to-wire winner for trainer Dylan Davis and driver David Miller in 1:52.4, with back fractions of :55.3 - :27.1. The winner of $597,782 first came to national prominence with a second-place finish in the Crown at two at his "home track" of Hoosier Park, and last year he won a Crown elimination and was fourth in the Crown Championship. Muscle Diamond, a seven-year-old son of Muscle Hill with a mark of 1:50.1, rebounded off a vacation of three-plus months with an engine triumph in 1:56.3, marching home in :56.4 - :28.1 for trainer Brett Bittle and driver Andrew McCarthy. Despite racing only 55 times in his first five racetrack campaigns, Muscle Diamond has amassed $785,699, a good portion of which came from Breeders Crown Championship finishes of second at two and third at three. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA – It was the Tyler Buter Show on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as the harness racing driver who recently passed the 3000 career sulky win milestone hit a “grand slam” in winning the top four races, two on both gaits. In the $17,500 featured trot, Buter got away fifth with the favored Muscle Massive gelding Two AM, but the overland journey posed little problem for the career winner of $377,210 against a front end who had been softened a bit by a contentious early duel. Two AM battled pacesetting Truemass Volo the last 5/16 of a mile, then drew away from that one to have a 3 1/4 length margin at the wire in 1:54.3, with Todd Buter the trainer for Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. In the $17,000 co-featured trot, Rich And Miserable reported home first for the third time in his last four starts, the Explosive Matter gelding winning easily in 1:56.2. Buter moved the recent winner of the $73,000 SOANY series final from seventh early to first by the 3/8, then remained in control to the wire for the same team behind Two AM: trainer Todd Buter and owners Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. The pacing headliners were a pair of $15,000 events, both going to Buter-driven sons of American Ideal, both Chris Oakes trainees with sparkling pedigrees making their 2019 debuts. In the first, American Mercury was a 1:53 winner despite an adventurous trip: briefly three-wide past the 3/8 on a determined move to the top nearing the half, American Mercury drew clear in the stretch to win by three lengths for the ownership of Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey, and Scott Bice. This one could be anything: he’s out of Tessa Hanover; the dam is a Somebeachsomewhere out of Triplet Hanover, who produced six $100,000 winners, including Trim Hanover, who was the dam of American Jewel and Luck Be Withyou … The other eyecatching Oakes-conditioned sophomore was Shake That House, a ¾-brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House, both out of the mare Shake That Junk. From the outside post eight Buter spotted him fifth, then moved him second-over. When he tipped three-wide midway on the far turn, the main question seemed to be the margin of victory, although to his credit JM’S Delight, who had been used three times in the mile, kept the margin to a length at the end of the 1:53.2 journey. Crawford Farms Racing and Northfork Racing Stable returned to partner with Alan Johnston behind this good-looking sophomore. Winning the featured quartet gave Tyler Buter nine wins on the weekend – three Saturday afternoon, two Saturday night, and four Sunday -- but even that total put him one behind Anthony Napolitano (four Saturday afternoon, four Saturday night, two Sunday) going into the last race of the weekend. Both were participants, but it was Anthony Napolitano in the winners circle with Tigers Too Good, making the final weekend score ANap 11, Tyler 9 – just at Pocono. Both made remarkable showings, and between them they won 59% of all the races contested over the Saturday-Sunday period.   PHHA / Pocono

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

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