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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

CHESTER PA - A pair of $16,000 contests for developing younger harness racing horses, one on each gait, were the headliners at Harrah's Philadelphia on a dank Friday afternoon. In the pacing co-feature, which was for mares, War Crimes came home in 55.3, moving from third off the second turn to the lead at the 5/8 and running off to a 4 ½ length victory in 1:53.1. Josh Green conditions the winner of three straight and 7 of 12 starts lifetime for Green Racing Inc. And speaking of "running off," that's exactly what driver Tim Tetrick did after his fourth visit to Harrah's winners circle on the program, going on the dead run in an effort to meet transportation to reach his scheduled commitment in the first race at Yonkers tonight. In the trot, the developing Wishing Stone gelding You Need Stones won his second straight contest, and 11th in 36 career starts, by fronting his field and then holding off the late charge of Northern Credit by a length in 1:56. The winner, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Carr, and Phil Collura, gave the teaming of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke its second winner of the afternoon - Gingras had three sulky successes in total on the card, as did Tony Morgan. In the $14,500 top event for fast-class mare pacers, Ella Christina pulled off a rarity at the still-young Harrah's meet - she came off of cover to overhaul the favored pacesetter Slick Artist A in 1:53.3. Tim Tetrick tipped the daughter of Western Ideal three-deep late on the far turn, and she built enough of a head of steam to outclose the chalk by two lengths for Louis Willinger, William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovich, and the J L Benson Stables Inc. The win also gave Nick Surick his second training triumph of the day - he leads Burke by a 7-5 score in the early going here, not quite the 57-win lead over the #2 trainer Surick enjoys at his Freehold base.     PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke combined to take two of the four $15,000 first preliminaries in the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs during the Tuesday twilight harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Cantab Hall filly Fade Into You made her 2019 debut a successful one, moving to the lead going past the grandstand the first time and continuing on to a three length victory in 1:57.3. A Pennsylvania Sire Stake winner at two, Fade Into You is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC , Phil Collura, and J&TSilva - Purnel & Libby. A race previous, Kakaley/Burke unveiled another nice sophomore making her 2019 bow, Run Lindy Run, who prevailed by two lengths in 1:56.4, which equaled the North American season's record for the division. Another daughter of Cantab Hall, Run Lindy Run also grabbed command early and continued nicely to the wire for Burke Racing Stable LLC. That 1:56.4 season's record had been established at Pocono on March 19 by Spring In Paris, and that Explosive Matter filly ran her seasonal scoreboard to two-for-two in winning another Weiss section in 1:57.1. Spring In Paris had opened a good-sized lead around the far turn, but then was called upon to handle a late rush by Altercation, which she did by a neck for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Steve LeBlanc, and the ownership of Leblanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson. Another daughter of Explosive Matter, the four-year-old mare Moshannon Magic, shipped over from The Meadows and immediately established good local form by winning in 1:59. George Napolitano Jr. guided Moshannon Magic first-over, and she trotted her own last half in 57.2 to catch favored pacesetter Royal Esteem by ¾ of a length for trainer Ray Romanetti and owner/wife Lori. Matt Kakaley, who in all had four winners on the card, also had sulky duty behind the World On Rocknroll mare Clarebear, who took the $14,000 distaff fast-class pace in 1:51.4 by two lengths. Sheldon Powell conditions the winner of $229,788 for Rushcreek Stables.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA – Donttellmeagain, the last horse to have won a race against 2018 Harness Horse of the Year McWicked (at Dayton in late September), came out sharp in his 2019 bow at Harrah’s Philadelphia in a Tuesday morning qualifier, coming his own back half in 53.4 to trip the timer in 1:52.2. Tim Tetrick was behind the Jim King Jr. harness racing trainee, and the pair got away fifth from the outside seven post, then moved with a backstretch flow and retucked third as Sicily brushed to the lead. Donttellmeagain moved out again in the stretch, but the $500,000+-winning Sicily proved hard to overhaul, but overhauled he finally was by the five-year-old Dragon Again gelding, a neck to the good for Paton Racing Stables Inc. Among the three-year-olds who qualified impressively were: -- The McArdle filly Queen Of The Pride, who won her Ohio Sire Stakes Championship last season, coming home in 27.4 to post a 1:52.4 victory for driver David Miller and trainer Kevin Lare; -- Practical Cat, a Muscle Hill $230,000 yearling, who won handily in 1:55.2 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Per Engblom; -- And the “Philly fillies at Philly,” Pennsylvania Sire Stakes misses Philly Hanover and Rockn Philly, with the former edging the latter by a half-length in 1:56.3 for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Ron Coyne Jr.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Bobby Weiss Series, a traditional launching pad for young talent named after the man who developed the racetrack at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono into one of the most popular surfaces in the world, opened its 2019 harness racing campaign during the Monday twilight card, with all three winners of their $15,000 first preliminaries posting lifetime bests. Fastest was the Sportswriter mare Cardiff, who raced very big with the introduction of Lasix and stopped the timer in 1:53. Simon Allard got early position in the 26.3 opener, then brushed to the lead well before the 55.3 half. Cardiff kept right on rolling, passing the ¾ in 1:24.2 and then widening her lead to 3¾ lengths over Sewonandsewforth for trainer Rene Allard and the partnership of Allard Racing Inc. and Carmen Carson. The roan American Ideal mare Ghosttothepost made two speed moves, got to the half in 57.1, then sprinted home in 56.3 to be a clear 1:53.4 winner in her Weiss cut. Brian Malone conditions the striking mare for owner Peter Paul Venturini. The sole three-year-old winner in the first Weiss leg for this group was the Art Major filly Ashlee Sparkles, who made every pole a winning more in 1:54.2 under the guidance of George Napolitano Jr. Mccoolen gave valiant chase from the pocket but was 1¼ lengths in arrears of the winner, who is conditioned by Blake MacIntosh; McIntosh also shares ownership with Hutt Racing Stable, Jacqueline Tierney, and the Mortgage Boys Stable. Weiss Series Action will continue on the 4 p.m. Tuesday Pocono card, with trotting distaffs sharing the spotlight in four divisions of their first round action. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The $700,000 Bobby Weiss Series, the traditional early-season contests at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono that often bring a focus to developing harness racing stars, begins its annual competition on Monday and Tuesday with fillies and mares - pacers in three divisions on Monday, and trotters in four sections the next day. George Napolitano Jr., who has been burning up the racetrack both at Pocono and 100 miles south at the newly-opened meet at Harrah's Philly, is set to guide the morning line favorite in the first two cuts on Monday's twilight card. In race seven, he'll be handling Ashlee Sparkles for trainer Blake MacIntosh as that sophomore filly makes her seasonal bow off a very sharp 1:55.3 qualifier here. In the ninth, "GNap" has been tapped by trainer Randy Bendis to steer Sewonandsewforth, who missed by a head at 27-1 in her first contest as a three-year-old last week. In Monday's third division, the brother team of driver Simon and trainer Rene Allard will be the powers behind Lady Ella, a four-year-old mare who came to Pocono during opening week and paced off to an open-length victory in 1:54. The partnership of driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke will have two of the four morning line favorites in Tuesday's Weiss trotting action. The sophomore filly Run Lindy Run, a winner in the Kentucky stakes program last season, will have to try to surmount the outside post seven as she makes her 2019 bow in the fourth race, while in the very next race another Kakaley/Burke three-year-old, Fade Into You, a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at two, also faces the starting gate for the first time this year - but she will be facing it from the opposite end than is her stablemate, as she has drawn the rail. Spring In Paris is the North American season's leader for three-year-old fillies on a 5/8-mile track by virtue of a 1:56.4 win at Pocono in her first start of the season; she'll be looking to make it two straight for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Steve LeBlanc in the eleventh race Weiss action. In race three, trainer Rich Gillock has picked Andy Miller, a noted handler of trotters, to guide Galary Girl, who has shown great speed when she has been able to mind her manners; she is rated the early choice based on her potential. "The boys" will be beginning their Weiss action this weekend, with pacers set for Saturday and trotters on Sunday. Each of the four sections of the Weiss Series will be conducted with three preliminary rounds, with the top performers returning for $30,000 Championships near the end of the month.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The four-year-old Credit Winner gelding Winning Shadow worked out a sweet pocket trip, then rallied up the famed Pocono Pike to win in 1:55.1 in the $21,500 featured trot Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Matt Kakaley, guiding his fourth winner of the night, blasted away at the start with Winning Shadow, making the lead then letting 2-5 favorite Trolley work his way to the top past a 28 quarter. Behind Trolley was Chestnut Schofeld, who set big fractions in his PcD harness racing debut last week, and that foe went up to challenge the chalk to the 56 half. (It should be pointed out here that it was 39 degrees at first post, 30 degrees colder than it had been the previous evening, so that 56 number was a big clocking indeed, and would be a major factor in the contest.) Down the backstretch Trolley retained the lead but could shake off the persistent challenge of Chestnut Schofeld neither before the 1:25.1 3/4s not around the final turn. Meanwhile Kakaley and Winning Shadow were shadowing the pacesetter from the pocket and awaiting inside clearance, which the pair found in early stretch and utilized to finish 1¼ lengths ahead of the dead-game Chestnut Schofeld. Two AM, locked behind horses until almost midstretch, angled wide and closed well for third ahead of Trolley, who paid too high a fare for controlling the pace. Winning Shadow was making his second start of the year after posting nine wins and a mark of 1:52.3 in 2018. Ron Burke trains the speedy trotter for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby. The $17,000 co-featured trot saw the Muscle Hill gelding Muscle Fashion successfully handle a multi-level jump in company, winning in 1:56.1. Muscle Fashion returned off a two-month layoff at the start of the Pocono meet and has posted two wins and a second in quick order, here making a quick brush down the backstretch to the lead and withstanding Girl Talk, who was on his back, by 1½ lengths for owner/trainer Antonella Galie. George Napolitano Jr. "in the driving zone" recently, matched Kakaley's four wins on the Pocono card. The quartet gave him ten sulky successes on the day, following the six he posted in the afternoon at Harrah's Philly; it raised his Friday-Sunday "weekend win" total to 17; and it raised his 2019 Pocono total to 23 after only seven nights of racing. PHHA / Pocono   by Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - The most impressive winner on Friday afternoon's 2019 harness racing opener at Harrah's Philadelphia didn't come in the race with the biggest purse - but any time you can call yourself the fastest three-year-old trotter in all of North America, regardless of size of track, you deserve to be at the front of the story. Capt Chaps Hanover was sent to the lead in his maiden trotting event by driver Yannick Gingras. He got the lead in 27.4, rated the half to 58.4, then threw in successive 28.2 back quarters to complete the mile in 1:55.3 - faster than any sophomore has gone so far anywhere in the United States and Canada. The 7 ¾-length winner certainly had the pedigree to produce such a mile - an altered son of Explosive Matter whose second dam was the producer of $1M-winning Hez Striking - and he certainly had the backing - trainer Ron Burke and the ownership combine of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby, most of whom were the team behind 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover. Just a tick behind Capt Chaps Hanover was another three-year-old trotter, the Yankee Glide gelding Blue And Bold, who made every pole a winning one while reducing his mark three seconds to 1:55.4, last half 57.1. Trained by Andrew Harris for A Harris Racing LLC and April Campbell, the frontstepping winner followed the trend of most of the card's successful horses - from which it can be inferred that it was a good day for driver George Napolitano Jr., who had four winners as he opened defense of his sulkysitting crown. The biggest purse contest of the day was a $16,000 trotting event, taken in wire-to-wire fashion by the Dejarmbro gelding Icingon De Cupcake, who teamed with George Napolitano Jr. to withstand Armagedon Seelster by a nose in 1:56.2. Owned by Dynasty Racing, Icingon De Cupcake proved to be the third winner of the day for trainer Nick Surick. Racing resumes on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia, with a 12-race card set to start at 12:40 p.m. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The American Ideal harness racing mare Sally Fletcher A, who had had several close finishes without victory over half-mile tracks recently, refound her winning ways upon coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning the $14,000 distaff pacing feature in 1:53 on the Tuesday twilight card. Driver Anthony Napolitano opted on finding late luck with the even-money favorite as he kept her third along the inside most of the way. Opportunity came knocking when the second-over horse gapped on the turn, with Sally Fletcher A answering the summons by swinging out and then wider turning for home. Despite bearing out even further in the lane, the Down Under mare had sufficient rally to catch the potential Pocono Pike pocket rocket Bye Bye Michelle by a length while raising her bankroll to $340,247 for trainer Jose Godinez and the Blindswitch Racing Stable. Among the many horses on the Tuesday card prepping for the upcoming Weiss Series, the Sportswriter sophomore miss Girl's Got Rhythm was perhaps the most impressive, setting a North American season's record of 1:53 in her career debut. Hot-driving Tyler Buter settled the John Cummins-owned filly in the two hole behind a strong pacesetter (and fellow Weiss eligible) As Time Goes By, then came on in the lane to wear down the pacesetter by ¾ of a length on the money, reflecting some of her pedigree - her third dam was the dam of the fabled Jenna's Beach Boy. Trixar certainly also had breeding in his corner - an altered sophomore son of Trixton out of the $400G+-winning Spice Queen - but it took him until his 14th career start to put it all together, proving most photogenic in a bang-bang-bang finish over fellow Weiss eligibles Oceanato Hanover and Massive Vodka in 2:00, despite being out every step of the trotting mile. The betting public had lost hope on the fashionably-bred three-year-old, co-owned by trainer/driver Bill "Moon" Mullin along with Howard Taylor, as he lit up the tote board with a $166.80 win payoff.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The ten-year-old classmaster Melady's Monet raised his harness racing career bankroll to $1,419,728 when he proved most photogenic in a four-way picture to take the $21,500 handicap trot feature Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The final time of 1:53 was only a tick off the fastest trotting mile of 2019 on a 5/8-mile track in North America, posted by Jack Vernon this past Tuesday at Dover. Assigned the outside in a field of six, the victorious Revenue S gelding spotted fourth for driver Andrew McCarthy as Chestnut Schofield left no doubt as to his intentions, opening a four length lead by a 26.3 quarter and keeping the margin at the 55.1 half. Melady's Monet started uncovered early in the backstretch and steadily gained, as did pocketsitter Two AM to the 1:23.2 ¾ pole, with Dog Gone Lucky joining the top trio and swinging wide in the stretch while Two AM went to the Pocono Pike. All four horses gave their all to the line, with Two AM getting a brief advantage in deep stretch, but Melady's Monet showed his fortitude by thrusting his nose ahead on the money over his innermost foe. Chestnut Scofield held extremely gamely after the wild pace and was only a head off the win at the wire, while Dog Gone Lucky's backers cashed no show tickets even though he was beaten only a neck. Melady's Monet won for the 55th time in his career in his journey to Pocono. Owned by Melady Enterprises LLC, the spry oldster is trained by a man who has had an association with horses who show grittiness and longevity - Herman Heitmann, the first trainer of Foiled Again. Pocono next goes to post on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The following week will mark the beginning of the regular four-card-a-week schedule at the mountain oval, with Saturday and Sunday racing starting at 7 p.m., while Monday and Tuesday action starts at 4 p.m. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Monticello, NY --- Shawn Wiles, president of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), today named Communicators Hall of Famer Steven Wolf to serve on USHWA's Hall of Fame Screening Committee for a six-year term. The Screening Committee reviews all harness racing nominations for the Hall of Fame from the USHWA Chapters. It then decides which candidates are placed on the ballot for all eligible USHWA and Hall of Fame members to vote on. Nominees must receive 75% of the yes-no votes cast to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Wolf, currently President of the Florida Chapter of USHWA, owns and operates his own consulting firm, which provides public relations, marketing and social media needs to harness racing organizations world-wide. He also heads the North America and European operations for Harnesslink.com. He is the former Senior Director of Racing Operations at Pompano Park and the former Director of Marketing/PR at Freehold Raceway. He has been involved in the industry for 42 years. His career in harness racing started as a co-owner/breeder and groom with Leo Wolf & Son, Inc. (Steve's grandfather and father Manny) at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1977. He then worked the Liberty Bell Park-Brandywine Raceway circuit as a publicity assistant from 1979 to 1984. Wolf then became the marketing and publicity director of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey through 1987 before working at Freehold Raceway for 13 years. In 2000, Wolf moved to south Florida where he worked ten years at Pompano Park before opening his own firm, Steven Wolf, Consultant. Wolf was the first-ever USHWAn to be voted the organization's Member of the Year twice, in 1990 and 2000. He has received the Clyde Hirt Writing Award (2004) from Harness Horsemen International and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service to Youth Award (2006). He was inducted into the national Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame in 2017 and was voted into the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame's Communicators Corner in 2014. Wolf was elected Preisdent of USHWA at the 2014 national meetings and served the standard two-year term at the head of the organization. He has served on its Board of Directors for 15 years. Steve was a former president of the USHWA NJ Chapter and has been the president of the Florida USHWA Chapter for more than five years. He also serves on various other USHWA committees including the Integrity Committee, Dinner Committee, Location Committee and the Sponsorship Committee. Wolf will now join Tim Bojarski, Moira Fanning, Robert 'Hollywood' Heyden, Jason Settlemoir and Judy Davis Wilson on the screening committee. "I know that with his vast knowledge and superb experience in the harness racing industry, Steve Wolf will be a valuable member to the USHWA Screening Committee," Wiles said. "I also want to thank Communicators Hall of Famer Leon Zimmerman for his years of service on the committee as his six-year term has expired." From the United States Harness Writers Association Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Under patient handling from Anthony Napolitano, the Bettor's Delight mare Betabcool N rallied off of a fast pace to win in 1:52.3 while taking the $14,000 featured harness racing pace for mares at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the mountain track starting its 2019 scheduling of 4 p.m. post time on Mondays and Tuesdays. Betabcool N was pinned in behind an early-moving flow as fractions of 27, 55.3, and 1:22.4 were posted, mostly by pacesetting Vorst. She retained the lead into the lane, but Always A Z Tam swung wide off cover midturn, with "ANap" and Betabcool N following that one wide. In deep stretch the New Zealand import proved to have the most late kick, winning by a neck over Always A Z Tam, who nosed out Vorst for second. Jose Godinez, who teamed with Anthony Nap for another come-from-behind victory with the trotter Crazycat earlier in the card, conditions the winner of $460,062 for the Blindswitch Racing Stable. Some younger horses looking to make their mark in the upcoming Weiss Series at Pocono showed themselves ready with Tuesday victories. The most impressive of the trotters was the Explosive Matter sophomore filly Spring In Paris, whose final time of 1:56.4 was not only a lifetime mark but a North American season's record. Spring In Paris brushed from first-over to take the lead on the far turn, then drew clear by four lengths for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Steve LeBlanc, and the ownership of Leblanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson The Muscle Massive gelding Teardown This Wall (named after what President Reagan advised Gorbachev to do about the Berlin Wall) posted his maiden victory and improved his Weiss outlook, rallying from the pocket for a half-length tally in 1:59 over pacesetting favorite Dawn Of Glory. Tyler Buter handled the Muscle Massive gelding out of the $540G+ stakes-winning mare Vernon Blue Chip for trainer Rob Harmon and the Harmon Stable Racing Stable. (Harmon also sent out the upward-bound trotter My Lindy Winner, who took a new mark of 1:55.1 to remain undefeated in two seasonal starts.) On the pace Turbo Hill, a four-year-old son of American Ideal, ran his lifetime record to 5-for-6 with a blistering front-end tally in 1:51.1 for trainer/driver Hunter Oakes and owner Tom Hill, certainly stamping himself as a big consideration in his Weiss division. A Weiss filly counterpart, the four-year-old Sportswriter mare Lady Ella, came into her Tuesday race not having won since her career debut, 636 days ago, but she looked strong in a 1:54 triumph for trainer Andrew Harris, giving driver George Napolitano Jr. his sixth sulky success on the twilight card.   PHHA / Pocono

HARRISBURG PA - Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred racehorse of all time with $7,635,588 and now retired from the racetrack, caused a sensation at the recent Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando FL when the now 15-year-old actually showed up at the harness racing fancy dinner to "accept" the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award he was voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) for outstanding contributions to the sport. And Foiled Again is now receiving another award - the Mary Lib Miller Award, the highest honor given by the Keystone Chapter of USHWA, for his unmatched career as racehorse and ambassador. It's not like Foiled Again has never been honored before by Keystone USHWA - he was the journalists' PA-Sired Horse of the Year from 2011 to 2013, the same three years he was voted national division champion for the free-for-allers. But the group thought to mark the retirement of the evergreen pacer, whose last campaign was a barnstorming Farewell Tour which took him to 19 different racetracks, by voting him its highest award, especially an award named after the ever-present and gracious mate of "Mr. Harness Racing" himself, Hall of Famer Delvin Miller. McWicked, the 1:46.2 pacer who was 2018's Harness Horse of the Year and led all competitors with seasonal earnings of $1,575,364, got the nod for PA-Sired Horse of the Year as well - he was also voted co-PA Sire Stakes Horse of the Year by the Keystone Chapter four years ago. The breeders of McWicked, the Prushnok family of Andray Farms in western Pennsylvania, will receive the Pennsylvania Breeder of the Year award for having producing harness racing's top 2018 performer. The only two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes performers who led their division in preliminary point accumulation and then went on to win their respective finals, the three-year-old males Dorsoduro Hanover (pace) and Crystal Fashion (trot), were picked as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horses of the Year for their respective gaits. The duo were two of the top four moneywinners in the sulky sport last year; Dorsoduro Hanover also won his Breeders Crown event at Pocono en route to being named divisional champion. For Pennsylvania Harness Horse of the Year honors (50%+ of starts within Pennsylvania), the world's fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington in the fall), was the consensus champion. Homicide Hunter won his Breeders Crown at Pocono, and he also took four legs of the Great Northeast Open Series before setting a world record over 1¼ miles in the GNOS Championship. In a close race between former honorees, George Napolitano Jr. edged out Aaron Merriman for Pennsylvania Driver of the Year. Merriman was named 2018 North American Driver of the Year for being the first sulkysitter to post 1000+ victories in two years, but Aaron won "only" 262 of those races in Pennsylvania, while Napolitano won 637 times within the confines of the Keystone State, taking his fifth straight crown at Harrah's Philadelphia and his seventh consecutive title at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Schadel brothers, Todd and Tony, both earned a place in the spotlight during 2018. Todd was the leading trainer and driver at the PA fairs by a wide margin to earn election as Pennsylvania Fair Horseman of the Year; he also captured a North American title with the highest UDR in the 300-499 starts class. Tony was driver and co-owner of the two-year-old Aflame Hanover, who in winning his Fair Championship posted a clocking of 1:51.4 - the fastest time ever in a Pennsylvania Fair Championship, faster even than any three-year-old; for that milestone, Aflame Hanover was voted a Special Achievement Award. These honorees will be presented their trophies by members of Keystone USHWA during trackside ceremonies at their respective ovals, or when they come to Pennsylvania, within the next couple of months.   Keystone Chapter, U.S. Harness Writers Association

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