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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

WILKES-BARRE PA - My Lindy Winner emerged as the only double winner in the first two preliminary legs of the Bobby Weiss harness racing Series for male trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning on Sunday in 1:56.4 despite a sloppy track, considerable rain, and swirling, occasionally strong, wind. My Lindy Winner was sent to the front off the first turn by driver Jim Morrill Jr., rated a moderate half, then sprinted off to an insurmountable lead that wound up being four lengths at the finish. The four-year-old Credit Winner entire is now undefeated in five 2019 starts for the Rob Harmon stable after notching only one win at two and three combined. His ownership consists of Vincent Laurenzo, Howard Taylor, and Thomas Lazzaro. Chapter And Ruth, like many other winners this evening, found the front end a good place to be, going 27.4 down the back to build up a big advantage, then withstanding Got No Money Honey by 1½ lengths while taking a new mark of 1:56.4 despite the messy track. Simon Allard handled the assignment behind the Chapter Seven four-year-old gelding for trainer/brother Rene and Allard Racing Inc. The other Weiss section saw a pair of horses undefeated in 2019, pacesetter Omaha Omaha and pocketsitter Archway, fighting it out late, and in keeping with the speedfavoring night, the Muscle Mass four-year-old gelding Omaha Omaha held off his rival by a neck in 1:57.2 to push his seasonal tally to 4-for-4. Matt Kakaley kept the winner rolling to the wire for trainer Mark Harder, and owners Glenn Goller and Abraham Basen. Tyson gained control of the racetrack just past the quarter and was never again headed in winning the $21,500 high-end conditioned trot in 1:55.1. Andrew McCarthy drove the altered son of Donato Hanover as he came home in 57 to beat Golden Son by 1 1/4 lengths for trainer Ed Gannon Jr., who is also co-owner of the winner of $248,050 with Frank Canzone. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA – With two horses sent off at odds-on, something had to give, and 4-5 Turbo Hill forced 3-5 Sports Legend in behind him early, then sprinted home to hold him safe in 1:51.2 during one of three $15,000 contests in the second preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for harness racing pacing males on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Both crowd favorites won their first Weiss series start, and both boiled away from the gate, with Turbo Hill, starting from post three for trainer/driver Hunter Oakes, insisting on early command, forcing Jim Morrill Jr. and Sports Legend, beginning from post five, to settle for the two-hole approaching the 27 first marker. Turbo Hill got a breather to the half in 56.3, was not too taxed in increasing the speed to reach the 3/4s in 1:24.4, then really turned one the afterburners with a 26.3 last quarter, leaving his archrival 1¾ lengths in his wake at the wire under highlining tactics. Turbo Hill has now won six straight and has eight victories in nine career starts for owner Tom Hill. The other two winners posted their first tallies in the Weiss Series. First up was the Sweet Lou sophomore gelding Springbridge Proud, who equaled his mark of 1:54 in his second seasonal start. Anthony Napolitano utilized the Pocono Pike with the pocketsitting winner, with the three-year-old having enough acceleration to parry the late thrust of Major Escape by a length for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership combine of Thestable Springbridge, Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Adriano Sorella. Anthony Napolitano’s brother George accounted for the other division with first-time Weiss starter American Admiral, coming in off a victory at Yonkers. The American Ideal colt burst out of third on the far turn and gained into a 27.2 last quarter to earn a new speed badge of 1:52.4, ¾ of a length ahead of Division Bell for trainer Andrew Harris and owners William, Ian, and James Fleming. The $21,500 fast-class pace saw the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Soho Wallstreet A survive hard usage both early and late to post a neck victory in 1:50.3. The winner of $281,764 was parked between horses in a 26.1 quarter to claim the lead, then just kept on rocking down the road in middle splits of 53.1 and 1:21.3. The early usage took some energy out of the winner, but he was kept together by driver Pat Berry to bravely hold off Mariner Seelster by a neck, with Captain Deo just photoed out of the deuce behind Soho Wallstreet A, who is trained by Scott Di Domenico for 4 G Racing Stable. In the opening race of the evening, Hitman Hill, who was third in both the Hempt Final and the Adios Final last year after winning a preliminary, went a huge mile in his second start as a four-year-old, stopping the clock in 1:50.1, fastest mile of the young season here. The American Ideal gelding was used early, moved back out on the far turn, and generated good late speed for driver Hunter Oakes to win by 1¼ lengths for trainer Chris Oakes and the ownership of Tom Hill and Northfork Racing Stable.13 more horses were claimed for $224,750 during the Saturday night card, raising the seasonal total after fourteen cards to 78 claims, resulting in a total cash transfer of $1,349,250.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors  

CHESTER PA - The $16,000 featured races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday were a study in contrasts: on the pace, War Crimes made it look really easy as she won her fourth straight harness race in 1:55.1, while on the trot Armageddon Seelster was extended to grind down pacesetter Lucky Shiela by a neck in 1:56. The Western Terror mare War Crimes made two moves in achieving her victory, making the top, forcing a tuck, then surrendering the lead to A Oliveinmymartini to a 27.3 quarter, only to be right out and reclaiming command, then slowing the half to 58.2. Successive 28.2 quarters coming home were enough to keep War Crimes 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Dance For Kisses at the wire for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Josh Green, and Green Racing Inc. as the four-year-old ran her record to 8-for-13 lifetime. There were no fewer than five lead changes before the second turn of the highlighted trot, with Lucky Shiela winding up in front and Armageddon Seelster on her back. In the stretch driver Pat Berry ducked the victorious Muscle Mass gelding to the inside lane and just edged out the gritty leader by a neck for trainer Ron Coyne Jr. and the partnership of Ron Coyne Stables Inc., Blair Corbeil, and Mike Mcallister. The $14,500 co-featured pace for fast-class distaff pacers had an exciting four-across-the-wire finish, with the American Ideal mare Jag Out proving most photogenic in a 1:53.4 mile. Jag Out had the tough first-up grind to surmount, but she proved best by a nose over potential pocket rocket Brazuca, who in turn was a neck ahead of the fast-closing Arts And Flowers, with pacesetting Sweet Bobbie just another neck in back of those three. The meet's leading trainer, Nick Surick, conditions the winner, who pushed her lifetime bankroll to $405,214 for the Nick Surick Stable LLC and J L Benson Stables Inc.; Tim Tetrick again had the winning sulky assignment during a card where he visited Victory Lane five times.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA – The front end continued to be THE place to be at Harrah’s Philadelphia at the start of the third week of the harness racing season, as the Elegant Man gelding Fearless Man used speedy tactics to take the $18,000 featured trot on Thursday in 1:53.3. The young meet’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., let longshot Tough Mac streak to the early lead, and then brushed to the top past a lightning 26.2 opening split. The winner of $684,304 just kept gobbling up the racetrack through middle fractions of 55.1 and 1:23.2, with favored Fraser Ridge making steady but not enough forward grinding progress. Fraser Ridge continued to gain through the lane, but Fearless Man had just built up too big an advantage, and the final margin was 1¾ lengths for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Rick Zeron Stables, Noblock Racing Stable, and Cool Cat Racing Inc. The National Basketball Association playoffs start this Saturday, and a five-time participant in the NBA postseason, Sam Bowie, owns the winner of Philly’s Thursday $14,500 co-feature, Seven Iron, who equaled his mark of 1:54.2 (the horse’s name is not as much a mixed sports metaphor as you may think – the famous Masters golf tournament is also this weekend). The victorious son of Cantab Hall, a Chris Lakata trainee who has now a bankroll of $241,170, earned his victory “the hard way,” having to go first-over on the speed-favoring oval, but driver Yannick Gingras had plenty of horse late to be 2¾ lengths clear of favored Presidente Zette on the money.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Explosive Matter filly Spring In Paris emerged as the only female with a 2-for-2 record in the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs after three $15,000 second round preliminary harness racing divisions on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Driver Andrew McCarthy had Spring In Paris in second-over position when pacesetting Fade Into You made a break early in the backstretch, with the victorious filly briefly three-wide as her cover was fading and could not cross over, allowing then-pocketsitter Town Hall Justice to scoot through to the lead. But Spring In Paris downshifted when she regained two-wide status, went on to the lead then held off the late inside bid of Royal Esteem by a neck in 1:57.4. Steve LeBlanc conditions the winner, now undefeated in three 2019 starts, for Leblanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson. That victory completed a siring double for Explosive Matter, as his daughter Nicole Hanover won the first Weiss division by a nose in 1:58.4. The mare followed behind pacesetter Meadowbranch Vicki, then used the famed Pocono Pike to nip her foe late for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Bob Rougeaux III, and the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. Sire dominance in the third Weiss cut went to Cantab Hall, as his daughters finished 1-2-3-4, topped by Lollipop Lindy, a three-year-old who reduced her mark two seconds to 1:57. George Napolitano Jr. went the uncovered route with Lollipop Lindy in the last half, and the pair rallied by hard-used pacesetter Run Lindy Run by a half-length for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and her owner, Hall of Famer Chuck Sylvester. In the top mares overnight pace for $14,000, the Stonebridge Regal mare Bye Bye Michelle was used hard early and late, yet still was able to defeat Ella Christina by a neck in 1:52.4. Andy Miller secured a pocket trip past a 26.4 opener and sat in the two-hole by the 56 half. Ella Christina made a huge uncovered backstretch move to sweep to the lead before the 1:24 3/4s - but her cover did not keep up with her, allowing Miller to move out behind the sweeper, then take off after her in the stretch. Ella Christina held well, but Bye Bye Michelle (favored by only $50 in the win pool over Ella Christina) proved the best at crunch time as she raised her career earnings to $371,225 for trainer Mike Watson and owner Clifford Grundy.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - Driver Tim Tetrick was at the top of his game on Tuesday morning at Harrah's Philadelphia, winning five times in ten qualifiers, including a sweep with four quality-proven performers. Donttellmeagain, as good as the best harness racing FFA pacers when at his best last year, won his second straight 2019 qualifier, this one in 1:51.4. The Jim King Jr. trainee, an altered son of Dragon Again, moved out of the pocket down the backstretch and covered each of the last two panels in 27.1 to be 2¾ lengths clear of Closing Statement, third as a baby in his Breeders Crown event and on the comeback trail. Caviart Ally, a consensus second-best in the 2018 aged mare ranks behind Shartin N (ironically another Tetrick/King horse), came from last to be third, with her own last quarter in 27. Three-year-old stakes fillies who had had six-figure campaigns at two put in some sharp miles in other events, all under the guidance of the green, yellow, and white. The So Surreal filly So Awesome, a nose shy in her New York Sire Stakes final last year, came home in 27.4 to win in 1:54.1 for Tetrick and trainer Scott DiDomenico, while the "hometown horse," Rockin Philly, lowered her freshman record by a tick, the A Rocknroll Dance filly reporting home first in 1:53.1 - 27.2 for the Donttellmeagain team of Tetrick and King. Tetrick's mastery also extended to the trotting fillies, as the Cantab Hall miss Magical Beliefs, a neck shy in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship, came out to win at first crack in 1:57.2 for Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Perennial local harness racing driving leader George Napolitano Jr. accounted for half of the twelve races on the Monday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including keeping of a pair of impressive pacing distaffs undefeated in Weiss Series competition after their $15,000 second round preliminaries. Ghosttothepost had a bit of an adventurous journey in her section, but the American Ideal came through with flying colors, taking a new mark of 1:53. George Napolitano chose to keep his charge in third as brother Anthony rushed up with McCoolen before the half, then was able to slip out behind that one as Cardiff, another first-round Weiss winner, posted fractions of 28, 57.1, and 1:24.4. The stretch battle boiled down to the 1-1 Cardiff and the 4-5 Ghosttothepost, with the latter swinging wide off her cover and having the most late to win by 1¾ lengths. Darren Ferrell conditions the fast mare for owner Peter Paul Venturini. 18 minutes previously, "George Nap" put the Art Major filly Ashlee Sparkles on top past a 27.4 split, posted middle numbers of 57 and 1:25.3, then withstood the heated late charge of pocketsitting Final Escape by a head in 1:53.4. The winner's only two starts of 2019 have been Weiss victories for trainer Blake MacIntosh, who is also co-owner with Hutt Racing Stable, Jacqueline Tierney, and the Mortgage Boys Stable. In the third Weiss section, the Sportswriter filly Girl's Got Rhythm ran her lifetime record to 2-for-2 as she overcame the outside post eight and a two-move journey to prevail by a half-length over 50-1 shot Flipping Fun in 1:53.1. Unraced at two, Girl's Got Rhythm had broken her maiden in her bow, then handled the shift to Weiss action with aplomb for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nicholas Devita and owner John Cummins. In addition to the six wins for Napolitano, Jim Morrill Jr. fashioned three victories on the Monday card; in fact, from races three to eleven inclusive there was no admission via sulky to the local winners circle unless your name was "GNap" or Morrill. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The male trotters got their first crack at Weiss Series harness racing action Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with three $15,000 first round preliminaries seeing the fastest winner emerge as the Conway Hall gelding Hammer Creek, who nipped the heavy favorite Dover Dony in a personal best 1:55.1. Dover Dony had quarter-moved after a 27.2 opener and went on to post nice midsplits of 56.2 and 1:25.1. Pocono's "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, bided his time with Hammer Creek, then moved out just before the ¾ and aimed right at the leader. Dover Dony had gamely and still was ahead in deep stretch, but his foe was relentless in pursuit and got the decision by the shortest possible margin. Kenneth Hess Jr. trains the winner, who dropped three seconds off his mark, for owner Richard Ciesielski. Although his time of 1:57 may not quite match up to 1:55.1, My Lindy Winner was also quite impressive in victory, remaining undefeated after four 2019 starts. Jim Morrill Jr., who teamed with trainer Rob Harmon for a pair of winners on the card, took his time with the son of Credit Winner in getting the lead, but once on top the issue seemed little in doubt, with My Lindy Winner six lengths clear after a 57.3 last half for the ownership of Vincent Laurenzo, Howard Taylor, and Thomas Lazzaro. The Explosive Matter gelding Higgs Boson doubled his lifetime win total when he won his Weiss division while taking a lifetime mark of 1:57.2. Driver Fern Paquet Jr. sent Higgs Boson on an uncovered mission nearing the 5/8, and the winner proved more than equal to the challenge for trainer Dave Wiest, co-owner with Paul Britcher Jr. Co-featured were a pair of $17,000 events for developing horses, many of whom should be a good bit higher on the class ladder in short order. First up were the pacers, and the winner was the Rock And Roll Heaven gelding Rebel Rouser, who had established a four-race win streak at Yonkers and The Meadowlands, then made it five in a row with a 1:51.3 victory. The lightly-raced but successful pacer (12 for 24 lifetime now at age five) was three-wide a good part of a 27.2 opener, made the lead just after that station , then yielded to a tough opponent in Shadow Cat, who took the field past the half in 55.4 and the 3/4s in 1:24. Driver Andrew McCarthy roused Rebel Rouser out of the two-hole past midturn, went up to the leader and then asserted himself with strong stretch steps, finishing under a hold while ¾ of a length to the good of Shadow Cat, who took second over inside-rallying Ideal Wheel. Robert Cleary is the conditioner of the promising pacer, who is owned by W. J. Donovan of New England and Florida and Donal Murphy of Baltimore - Baltimore, Ireland, that is. Andrew McCarthy also accounted for the trotting co-feature, taking advantage of a perfect pocket trip with the Kadabra gelding Mr Houdini and then holding off longshot closers by ¾ of a length while posting a clocking of 1:56.4. The combine of Ron Burke and Burke Racing Stable LLC / Weaver Bruscemi LLC added yet another victory to their unprecedented accumulation. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Three $15,000 divisions of the first preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacing males highlighted the harness racing card on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Jim Morrill Jr. guiding two of the winners to 1:52.3 victories. First on the track was the Sweet Lou sophomore gelding Division Bell, who broke his maiden for trainer Ron Burke and Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Morrill sent Division Bell to the lead in front of the stands, then kept the youngster rolling home in 56.1 to be 1¼ lengths ahead of R U Talkin at the finish while also setting a new mark. Sports Legend, an Ontario Gold finalist at two and three despite only notching one victory in his initial two campaigns, is making up for lost time in 2019, as the Sportswriter gelding ran his 2019 scorecard to 4-3-1-0 with a half-length success over hard-charging Pocono Pike utilizer Under Paid. Jennifer Bongiorno trains the winner for Gestion J Y Blais Inc. Turbo Hill, a four-year-old son of American Ideal, won his fifth straight race and is now 7-for-8 lifetime, with his 1:54.2 final clocking (after he stole a 58 half on the lead) sufficient to hold off Dakota Ole by 1¼ lengths. A winner in 1:51.1 here earlier in the meet, Turbo Hill was driven and is trained by Hunter Oakes for owner Tom Hill. Gilly's Boy ran his 2019 record to 3-for-3, and he also posted the fastest mile of the young season so far at the mountain oval, 1:50.3, while winning the $21,500 fast-class pacing feature. The Cam's Card Shark gelding, who also took a new mark, left alertly, yielded to favorite Stars Align A as that one cut fractions of 26.3, 55.1, and 1:22.1, then came out for the drive and passed the chalk by a half-length under the guidance of Anthony Napolitano, who had four visits to Victory Lane. Ron Burke conditions the career-sharp pacer for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. ... And then 38 minutes later, the Bettor's Delight gelding Havefaithinme N lowered the Pocono seasonal best another tick, moving to the lead after a 26.4 opener, posting middle splits of 54 and 1:21.4, then staying strong to the finish to give driver Jim Morrill Jr. a third win on the night (Tyler Buter also drove three winners). Trained by Jose Godinez for Blindswitch Racing Stable, Gary Axelrod, Good Friends Racing Stable and Santo Farina, Havefaithinme N was of course a star Down Under, winning the 2016 Miracle Mile in 1:47 5/10, at the time the fastest Australasian mile race ever, and recorded most of his $1,182,169 bankroll in the Southern Hemisphere. Once again the claiming box was a Saturday night beehive of activity at Pocono, as seasonal records were set in amount of horses claimed (17) and amount changing hands for horseflesh ($328,750). Ten days into the meet (with most of the claimers written on Saturdays), there have been 62 horses going back to different barns after their races, with the money tally now over seven figures for the meet at $1,094,500. FINISHING LINES - The Pocono horsemen's community was saddened to learn that Syl DeCample Jr. passed away recently at age 76. Only three horsemen (George Napolitano Jr., Bill Lambertus, and Bill Mullin) have won more horsemen's crowns locally than did the colorful DeCample, who was the best in driving victories three straight years (1977 through 1979), and then won both the UDR title and the training wins title in 1992 - with Syl's son Syl III succeeding his father in the trainers' category the next year. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

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