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After adroitly avoiding an offstride Ontario Success early in the backstretch, Sparky Mark, driven by Simon Allard, went on to his second straight victory at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking the $24,000 featured pace at the mountain oval on Saturday in 1:50.   Ontario Success had put up early numbers of 26.2 and 55.3, with Sparky Mark on his back.   Driver Anthony Napolitano kicked out the horse's earplugs coming off the second turn, but the pacer misreacted and went offstride, moving to the outside as Napolitano looked for clearance and hollered out about his problem.   Allard and Joe Pavia Jr., guiding first-over Blatantly Best, reacted well in concert with Napolitano, with Allard going inside the runner and Pavia going wide as Napolitano kept his offstride charge between the pair.   From there, Sparky Mark had it relatively easy, storming home in 54.1-27 individually to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Blatantly Best, who was able to retuck in the pocket after the trouble.   The son of Astreos, trained by Simon's brother Rene, continues to get closer and closer to a seven-figure lifetime bankroll, with his lifetime total now at $953,556.   Jerry Connors

After taking a battering on Wednesday with the resetting of the Lycoming County Fair records on both the pace (Royaltyhasarrived, 1:58.1) and trot (Aloysius, 2:01), the local harness racing record book had to absorb another alteration during Thursday's Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes action for two-year-olds, as trotting filly A Little Laid Back was nothing like her name by winning in 2:03.4. (We originally typed "trotting fully" instead of "trotting filly," but both are applicable.)   A Little Laid Back, a daughter of Great George Two - Annabelle Lane owned, trained, and driven by (the always "laid back") Roger Hammer, shaved 2/5 of a second off the former track mark for this section, set by Desired Outcome four years and two days ago - but all they had to white-out is the time, date, and the horse's name, as Hammer had sulky duty on Desired Outcome's recordsetting day as well.   Fastest baby trotting male, and the Pennsy fair season's leader for freshman diamondgaiters, is Major Matter, an altered son of Explosive Matter - Tahiti Springs, who won nicely in 2:02.1 for trainer/driver Rick Beinhauer, who shares ownership and breeding bragging rights with Regina Beinhauer.   The day's other big story were the PA fair circuit newcomers who combined for a triple: driver Brandon Givens, trainer Kevin Lare, and owner Frank Chick. (Givens had a fourth winner through a catch drive, and his total of 10 fair wins puts him fourth in the standings.) The triumvirate took down half of the four 2PC divisions, including the fastest with the Well Said - Lionness Hanover freshman Well Lets See, who took his third win in four starts with a 2:02 clocking.   The local fair circuit moves on to Bedford for racing on Monday and Tuesday.   The oval at Bedford, in its second year back after a 23-year hiatus of harness racing, was in lightning shape last year, and perhaps the weather will be cooperative in giving the young stars chances at fast clockings.     Jerry Connors

The "Bionic Man," driver Tim Tetrick, showed that his parts don't rust in the rain, capturing three of the eight divisions of the $160,000 second round of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for two-year-old trotting fillies Tuesday night at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono over "off" going (the first five sections on a track rated "sloppy," the last three on a "good" surface).   Tetrick captured the fastest division, 1:58.3, with Goodtogo Hanover, but it was anything but a laugher over pacesetting LOL Hanover, as the victorious daughter of Explosive Matter-Grammy Hall needed most of the Pocono Pike to rally from the pocket and hang a neck decision on her foe for trainer Bill Zendt, also co-owner with Gary Saul.   All three of Tetrick's victories came during the "sloppy" portion of the card; he also clicked with Casey T (Madison River-Gia) in 2:00.3 for trainer Todd Rooney, and with the Yankee Glide-Sarafina Hall miss I Luv Blackhawkred, another of the five "pocket rockets" who took Stallion Series glory in 2:00 for trainer Dirk Simpson.   Matching Tetrick in the triple category was sire Andover Hall, with the second-fastest winner, Miss Teszla (out of Filly At Bigs), rallying from the two-hole to win easily for trainer-driver Jimmy Takter in 1:58.4. "Andover"'s other two winners controlled most of the pace in their victories: Synonymous Hanover (out of Sweetr By The Bone) in 2:00.2 for trainer/driver Charlie Norris; and Gracie Hanover (out of Gone Lindy), home first in 2:00.4  for trainer/driver Ãke Svanstedt.   Also victorious on the evening were the two other winners who used the pocket as their launching pad: Twice A Night (Donato Hanover-Working Girl), who tallied in 2:00.4 (sy) for driver Jackie Ingrassia and trainer Frank Ingrassia; and the Cantab Hall-Keystone Vi Va baby Ki Ki Canolli, who stopped the timer in 2:00.1 (gd) for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Jonas Czernyson.   The Sire Stakes fillies take their turn in the spotlight Wednesday, with four divisions of their $247,844 event in raceslots 8, 10, 11, and 12.   Jerry Connors

Robert Krivelin, three-time Amateur harness racing Driver of the Year by voting of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, showed that he could "beat the pros" as well last night (Sunday) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, bringing home the trotter Blintz, the longest shot on the board, to her maiden victory and returning a tasty $118 to win.   Krivelin got away second from the rail with his homebred daughter of Credit Winner (he races as the "Hero Stables"), then moved outside to challenge pacesetting Mrvelosity Hanover nearing the ¾.   Marion My Way joined these two in the Pocono Pike for the stretch drive, but it was Krivelin and Blintz, winless in 10 previous starts, who had the most late, gaining into the 58.4 back half to win in 1:59.1 by ¾ of a length over Marion My Way, who edged Mrvelosity Hanover for the deuce.   The $118 win payoff was the third-highest of the Pocono meet, and the win for trainer/driver Krivelin made him only the third horseman to control both sides of a $50+ winner (Brandon Simpson and Charlie Norris are the other two).   Krivelin, a resident of "The Cradle of the Trotter," Goshen NY, has 175 career driving victories, and has posted four seasons where his UDR was .300 or better.   Not coincidentally, three of those four years (2001, 2012, and 2014) were the three occasions of his being named Amateur Driver of the Year by USHWA.   Jerry Connors

There were eight divisions of the $160,000 first leg Pennsylvania Stallion Series event Tuesday night at  the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and -- with one small exception -- they saved the best for last.   The Dragon Again-Guthrie Hanover baby Griffon Hanover worked hard for the early lead, saw two brush by him in the second quarter, then got a clear shot in the famed Pocono Pike and rallied for the tally in 1:54, fastest of the octet of races.   David Miller guided the speedy freshman to the win for trainer Tom Fanning and owners Robert Dathe and Donovan Spamer while completing a siring triple for Dragon Again.   The one dark spot? Griffon Hanover, much to the lament of improvers of the breed everywhere, was the only gelding among the eight winners.   David Miller bookended the Stallion Series action when he took the opening section with the Yankee Cruiser-Ma Foi colt Ginger Tree Cash in 1:55.4.   Also with a driving double was Tom Jackson, first with the Well Said-Yankee Scramble colt Yolo Hanover in 1:55.3, then, in the most exciting of the eight stretch drives, picking up the field on the far outside with another son of Dragon Again (out of Western Powerful), Art's Dragon, in 1:54.4. Dragon Again's third winner, out of I'm Sassy, was Innit Hanover, first home in 1:55 with Scott Zeron at the lines.   Also with a multiple sire credit was Somebeachsomewhere; his two winners were I'm Some Graduate (out of the $1.3M-winning mare Western Graduate), guided by John Campbell to victory in 1:56, and Beach Ogre (out of Donkeys Can Talk), whose 1:54.4 win for Ray Schnittker was the only non-lifetime best in the competition, as the youngster had previously qualified at The Downs in 1:54.1.   Rounding out the action was Star Of Terror, by Western Terror-Game Bunny, a winner in 1:55.2 for driver Tim Tetrick.   The $268,940 Sire Stakes event for the two-year-old pacing colts will be featured on Wednesday's card, with five divisions of freshmen going postward.   Jerry Connors  

Pennsylvania-sired two-year-colt pacers see the first action of their summerlong state series during the first part of the week at the harness racing meeting atThe Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with $160,000 divided among eight divisions of the first preliminary leg of the Stallion Series Tuesday, and Wednesday featuring five sections of babies racing for $268,940 in Sire Stakes action.   The Stallion Series is intended for horses who are thought to possibly be not capable of competing at the highest level, giving them racing experience for good money and allowing them to "step up" if their developing talents warrant.   There are as many "flash trainers" in the Stallion Series as there are in the Sire Stakes - Alagna, Cancelliere, Elliott, Holloway, Takter, Toscano - with Takter entering two colts who have already beaten 1:56, Settlemoir and Badstormanyport, not wanting to push the babies beyond the level they are presently at.   For the Sire Stakes action Wednesday, all six divisional winners of the recent Pennsylvania All-Stars event will be back on hand at The Downs.   The eleventh race, the final of the five divisions, may be the highlight, as it matches three of the All-Star winners: the two co-fastest at 1:53 in Bank Shot Hanover (post one, trainer Daniel Renaud, driver George Napolitano Jr.) and Allie's Cruiser (PP7, trainer Ron Burke, driver Matt Kakaley), along with 1:53.4 winner Mcdave (PP6, trainer/father Erv and driver/son Marcus Miller).   Team Miller won half the six All-Star events; their other winners coming back are He's Marvalous (race 3, PP3, 1:53.3) and Ideal Jimmy (race 4, PP3, 1:54).   Trainer Ron Burke won another All-Stars division with Genovese in 1:53.2; that one starts from post two in race 10, with Matt Kakaley listed, where he will face the highly-regarded Canadian invader The Catamount Kid, who drew just outside him for the father/son team of trainer Carl and driver Jody Jamieson.   Pocono is now operating on a five-nights-a-week schedule, with racing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, with a scheduled starting time of 6:30 p.m.   Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - Murray Janoff, 100, Communicators Hall of Fame member and the last surviving founding member of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, passed away peacefully in his sleep early Tuesday morning in Boca Raton FL.   Janoff, a native of New York City and a World War II veteran who attended a reunion of participants in the famous "Battle Of The Bulge" earlier this year, started his writing career at the Long Island Press in 1936 and worked for the paper until it closed in 1977; he then freelanced for wire services AP, UPI, and Reuters. While at the Press, he also authored a weekly column, Murray Janoff's Locker Room.   Janoff was a founding member of the U.S. Tennis Writers Association (covering the U.S. Tennis Open for 61 years) and the Professional Basketball Writers Association (covering the New York Knicks' first-ever game in 1946 in Toronto). Murray also served as president for writers' associations in four sports. His knowledge and versatility made him a valuable asset to whomever he worked for - such as his prediction of Joe Namath's New York Jets, for whom he was a beat writer, upsetting the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.   Murray was one of the dozen chroniclers of Roosevelt Raceway who met "over hamburgers and beer" after the races on the night of May 8, 1947 to form the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's leading media organization, and was a member for 68 years. (Reportedly, "although he was too modest to admit it," both USHWA and the Tennis Writers Association originated with an idea from him.)   In 2007, Janoff was inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the sport that can be bestowed on a member of the media. He was still active in the Florida Chapter of USHWA, for whom he had served a term as President, and is also a member of the Florida USHWA Hall of Fame.   Even in his last years, Janoff retained an excellent memory of many of the great moments in sports for which he had been in attendance, and was also an excellent raconteur. He also enthusiastically shared ideas and good-naturedly debated issues with anyone, virtually all of whom did not possess a fraction of his experience or expertise.   The funeral service for Murray Janoff will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1 p.m. at the Gutterman-Warheit Memorial Chapel, 7240 N Federal Highway, Boca Raton FL. Those wishing to contribute to a charity in Janoff's memory can obtain information by calling Gutterman-Warheit at 561 997 9900.   Jerry Connors    

Sire Donato Hanover was the biggest All-Star on a night when state-sired two-year-old trotting fillies raced for $210,000 in Pennsylvania All-Stars competition, as he sired five of the seven winners during the Wednesday night action at  the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   The quickest of the seven winners could have been predicted by pedigree students: it was Broadway Donna, a Donato Hanover out of Broadway Schooner, a full sister to world champion Cooler Schooner, who had the harness world buzzing when she set a 1:51.3 world standard here as a 2YO.   Broadway Donna, now undefeated in three outings and two pari-mutuel starts, quarter-moved to command and won by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:55.3 for driver David Miller, trainer Jim Campbell ("Cooler"'s conditioner), and owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC.   Of all the winning trainers and drivers in the seven All-Star events, only trainer John Butenschoen tallied twice, once with a Donato Hanover   His was Twill Be Done, who took the lead past the quarter and went on to a 1:58.4 triumph for driver Mike Simons, the local "Trot Man," who is also co-owner with Christopher Giaccio and Albert Abdala III.   Rounding out the Donato Fivesome, in order of faster clockings, were Woman's Will in 1:56.4 for driver Andy Miller, trainer Julie Miller, and owner/breeders Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz; Windowshopper, who made every pole a winning one in 1:57 for trainer-driver Ray Schnittker, also co-owner with Charles Iannazzo; and Grand Canyon, home in 1:58.1 for driver John Campbell, trainer Nancy Johansson, and owner/breeder Diamond Creek.   Butenschoen's other winner was Lookin Hanover, a daughter of Andover Hall who personally came home in 28.2 despite a first-over trip to tally in 1:58.1 for driver Corey Callahan and owners William Wiswell and M And L Of Delaware Inc.   The night's other stakes winner posted the second-fastest time among the fillies: Whitelake Hanover, a daughter of Explosive Matter who opened up an insurmountable lead down the backstretch and stopped the timer at 1:56.3 for driver Joe Pavia Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Omar Beiler, Dennis Coons, and Susan Oakes.                                                                  * * * * * * *   Late driver changes and top three morning line choices for the big four Championship races and the Sun Invitational Trot to be held on Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono, plus the first three choice in the morning line:   $75,000 SUN INVITATIONAL TROT No late driver changes Top three choices: JL Cruze, Sebastian K S, Classic Martine   $300,000 JAMES LYNCH 3PF CHAMPIONSHIP Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Momas Got A Gun; Brett Miller, originally listed, will stay with Wicked Little Minx Top three choices: Sassa Hanover, Stacia Hanover, Momas Got A Gun   $500,000 MAX C. HEMPT 3PC CHAMPIONSHIP No late driver changes Top three choices: Wiggle It Jiggleit, Wakizashi Hanover, Artspeak   $500,000 BEN FRANKLIN FFAP CHAMPIONSHIP Simon Allard will drive Domethatagain; Tim Tetrick, originally listed, will stick with Mach It So Top three choices: State Treasurer, Vegas Vacation, Luck Be Withyou   $500,000 EARL BEAL JR. 3TC CHAMPIONSHIP Brian Sears will drive Crazy Wow; Yannick Gingras, originally listed, will stick with Pinkman Top three choices: Uncle Lasse, Pinkman, Cruzado Dela Noche   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Brett Miller won with two daughters of Somebeachsomewhere, as five divisions of a $150,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for state-sired two-year-old pacing fillies were held over a sloppy track Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Brett Miller rallied Heels On The Beach out of the pocket and into a 28.2 final quarter to take the fastest division in 1:53.2 by 1½ lengths for trainer Larry Remmen and owner Bradley Grant. Brett then handled the homebred Pure Country in winning in 1:54.1, with back panels of 55.2 - 26.3 after a quarter-move making people sit up and take notice. Jimmy Takter conditions the promising miss for Diamond Creek Racing.   The clocking of 1:54.1, and the winning tactic of quarter-moving, were matched by the Well Said filly Eloquent Grace and Yannick Gingras, in triumphing for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership combine of the Burke Racing Stable, Ed Gold, Howard Taylor (who has not driven a losing horse in two days short of two years), and the J&T Silva Stables. Well Said then completed a siring double while David Miller completed a driving double behind I Said Diamonds, wire-to-wire in 1:54.2 - 56 - 27.3 for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Omar Beiler, Dennis Coons, and Susan Oakes.   David Miller's earlier success came with the only non-favored winner of the quintet, Tipton Teeez (though as the $5.40 second choice she paid less than favored Heels On The Beach's $6.00). Quarter-moving was again a winning path to Victory Lane, as the Western Terror miss stepped home in 28 to complete a 1:56.4 package for trainer Brian Brown and owner Jennifer Brown.   ******* Wednesday finds the All-Stars action continuing with seven divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies going after $210,000.   Incredibly for July 1, fully thirteen of the baby trotting misses already show marks in 2:00 or better, most of them in qualifiers, the fastest being the 1:58 of the Donato Hanover filly Womans Will (race 12, post two, driver Andy Miller). Two other horses to note are Broadway Donna (race 11, post three, driver David Miller), who won a p/m event in 1:58.2 at Philly, and who is out of a mare who is a full sister to Cooler Schooner, who set her amazing 1:51.3 world record here at Pocono; and the "hunch play," Kathy Parker (race 10, post one, driver Jimmy Takter), named after the journalist to be installed into the Communicators Hall of Fame this weekend at Goshen.   All-Stars action closes out on the first Friday card of the season at The Downs, with six divisions of freshman colt pacers racing for a bounty of $180,000.   Trainer Ron Burke has 14 entrants among the sextet of events - including, would you believe, SIX horses who show at least two winning lines and have never tasted defeat? Such a wealth of Burke talent will lure the world's winningest driver, Dave Palone, over to Pocono Friday, where he already has calls in five of the six events.   But the fastest of the 24 entered babies who have already won in 2:00 or better (four in 1:55 or better) is not a Burke member, but Brooklynite (race 3, post two, driver Corey Callahan), a son of Somebeachsomewhere from the Joe Holloway barn who took an overnight at Philly in 1:54.2, matching a mark he first reached in a Meadowlands 2YO qualifier.   Jerry Connors

HARRISBURG PA - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the world's largest organization of communicators covering the sport of harness racing, has announced that it will hold its 2016 Dan Patch Awards Banquet and annual meetings at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale FL, with the awards dinner set for the last night of the USHWA conclave March 4-6, 2016.   Within a 10-minute drive on major highways from Fort Lauderdale airport, the Hyatt Pier 66 is located directly on the Atlantic waterway, "with yacht-docking facilities" (if your trotter or pacer has a REALLY good year). On-site tennis courts and nearby golf courses are available, as are world-class dining, four-star hotel amenities including various spa treatments, and nearby shopping and nightlife availability.   The annual Dan Patch Banquet honors the sport's top stars, both human and equine, at a top-shelf dinner. The harness writers, responsible for voting for the Hall of Fame and the year-end awards, have their yearly business meetings in association with the weekend-ending gala.   USHWA President Chris Tully thanks Dinner Location Site Committee Chairman Shawn Wiles, Dinner Chairman Steve Wolf, and Barry Lefkowitz for their work in "securing us another world-class facility at which to stage our honoring of the world-class top performers in harness racing."   Details about hotel reservations, banquet tickets, advertising in the souvenir Journal, and other facets will be made available in the trade press in the months to come. USHWA's website, www.ushwa.org, will also have up-to-date information.   Jerry Connors  

Yagonnakissmeornot, benefiting from her versatility and the hot team of driver Simon Allard and trainer/brother Rene, moved off second-over cover to catch pacesetting Ooh Bad Shark and record a half-length victory in a $30,000 mares open handicap pace Wednesday at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Coming off a win in the Chip Noble Pace at Miami Valley and a second in the Blue Chip Final at Yonkers before that, Yagonnakissmeornot left from post seven in the eight-horse field and tucked fifth early as Ooh Bad Shark assumed the lead after the 26.4 quarter and posted middle splits of 55.2 and 1:23.   Simon Allard had the daughter of The Panderosa in high gear midway on the final turn, and by midstretch it was apparent that the winner would catch the frontstepper, and she did in 1:50.3, with "Kiss"'s own last half 54.2 over an oval not known to be favorable to closers.   Yagonnakissmeornot, now a career winner of $971,366, paid $4.20 in winning for Allard Racing Inc, Yves Sarrazin, and Kapildeo Singh; second choice Anndrovette, assigned the outside post eight, had traffic trouble and finished off the board.   This mares open was well-placed 11 days before the $150,000 Betsy Ross Pace on Sunday, May 24 at the other track serviced by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, Harrah's Philadelphia, and this coming Saturday's card at Pocono has a pair of $30,000 opens, for free-for-all trotters and pacers, from which may emerge contenders for the May 24 Philly card's $150,000 Maxie Lee Trot and $150,000 Jerry Taylor Pace.   Also this weekend at Pocono is Pennsylvania Sire Stakes / Stallion Series action for three-year-old pacing colts; in a reversal of the normal sequencing, the Sire Stakes horses will go on Saturday and the Stallion Series sections on Sunday.   Jerry Connors

Delaware OH resident Brian Brown is the defending harness racing training titleholder in the Jugette, having won last year with divisional champion Color's A Virgin - and he's giving every sign that he's looking to take his second straight come September 23.   In a 3PF Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows last week, Brown sent out winner Serious Filly along with second-place finishers Somewhere Sweet and Triple V Hanover.   So for Sunday's $128,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars divisional event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Brown decides to keep out Serious Filly but enter the other two - and those fillies accounted for half the four All-Stars divisions, with both handled for Brown by Hall of Famer David Miller, the all-time leading driver at Delaware.   First up was Somewhere Sweet, like her stablemate a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, whom Miller rallied from the pocket into a 55 back half to take a head decision over pacesetting Southwind Roulette, last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, in 1:52, a new mark, for Miller's Stable Inc. of Kentucky.   Then it was Triple V Hanover's turn, and that filly tucked, brushed to the lead by the 55 half, and went on to win by 1¼ lengths in 1:50.3, also a personal best and by far the fastest of the four All-Stars divisions.   King Mcnamara of FL and the Strollin Stable of OH, part of the partnership behind Brown's All-Star colt winner Rise Up Now last night, share ownership in the victorious miss with Buckeye Donald Robinson.   Doctor Terror, who made a break in the Sire Stakes last week, atoned this week from the outermost post seven in her cut, making the lead past the quarter and coming home in 55 to win by a neck over Storm Point, a Sires winner last week, while lowering her personal best to 1:52.3.   The daughter of Western Terror is owned by two Ontarians, trainer Blake Macintosh and Stuart Macintosh, and had another "Mac" in her corner --- driver Mark Macdonald.   In the other divisions Arts Jem, beaten a neck by Serious Filly last week, enjoyed the lack of Brown competition, rallying quickly deep in the Pocono Pike, two inside the pacesetter, to edge Macarena Mama, in the Pike to her right, in a mark of 1:52.1.   The Art Official miss stepped her personal back half in 54.3 to win for trainer Jim King Jr. and two Lincoln Staters, driver Tim Tetrick and the CC Racing LLC of Ray Kusinski.   Oh - and Serious Filly? She's in a tough overnight race at The Meadows on Tuesday, and has the outside post nine to boot. Good thing Brian Brown's UTR in Pennsylvania is currently .867 for the year.   Wednesday's feature at The Downs is a $30,000 Open handicap mares pace, placed conveniently 11 days before the $250,000 Betsy Ross Invitational at the PA Harness Horsemen Association's other track of representation, Harrah's Philadelphia.   Handicapped outside in the field of eight is Anndrovette, four-time defending Pacing Mare of the Year and last year's Betsy Ross winner; to her immediate inside is recent Chip Noble Pace winner Yagonnakissmeornot.     Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The favorites used different methodologies in their two $15,000 divisions of the first round of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting females Wednesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but both ended up in the desired positions - home first, and then in the harness racing winners circle.   Classic Belisima headed right to the front in her division and was never headed, winning by almost 7 lengths in a career best 1:55.2 despite the track being rated only "good." David Miller was sulkysitting behind the daughter of Crazed, who now has six wins in eight seasonal starts, for trainer John Cabot and owner William Cantrell.   In the other Weiss section, Dress For Success had to travel the difficult two-wide route without cover, but she proved to have enough late to turn back Linda Marie by a half-length in 1:57.1. Matt Kakaley, handling the daughter of Infinitif for the first time, obviously got along well with her by getting the job done for trainer Christopher Freck and owners Stacey Ruddick and Denise Dennis.   Four-time defending Downs dashwinning driver champion George Napolitano Jr. visited Victory Lane six times on Wednesday's 13-race card. "Georgie Nap" will next get a chance to add to his local totals when the Downs resumes racing on Saturday, with the first race scheduled for 6:30 p.m.   Jerry Conners  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trotting males and pacing females were featured in first leg harness racing action of their divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with two $15,000 sections for each group contested. In the first trotting cut Two Hip Dip set the pace, then blasted home in 1:55.4 - 56.2 - 27.1 for driver David Miller and trainer/owner Nick Salenetri. The son of Glidemaster was the slight favorite in a race where two horses were sent off at 4-5 - his co-"odds-on" rival Bourbon Bay was outfooted late for second by Raise The Curtain. The other diamondgaited division also went to driver David Miller, again on the engine, this time with Walk The Walk. Walk The Walk trotted the trot about five lengths better than anyone else in the field until the shadow of the wire, where he ran the run, but was not in violation of the breaking rules. The son of Muscle Hill, owned by trainer Chris Ryder in partnership with Sidney Korn, Robert Mondillo, and Max Wernick, posted a new personal speed badge of 1:55.1 despite the bobble, with back timings of 56.3 - 28. Miller and Ryder again teamed in a division of the female Weiss action, using "pocket rocket" tactics into a 28 kicker with the Rocknroll Hanover filly Crescent City to get a nose up in a new mark of 1:54 for Diamond Creek Racing. This event also featured an unusual betting pattern, with three horses at less than 2-1 - the winner was 7-5, place horse Hollyrocker was 9-5, and first-over Caviart Shelly (fourth) was 3-2. The other distaff division also saw a nose separate the top two, as a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Life Is A Beach, maintained an early brush to command to the wire over The Beach Nextdoor in a personal best 1:53.1, with twin 28.1s the last half. Matt Kakaley had sulky duty for trainer Ron Burke and the omnipresent Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi partnership. David Miller and Kakaley had three wins on the card; doubles were recorded by George Napolitano Jr. and, on his birthday, Mike Simons, with the latter win for "The Trot Man" the appropriately-gaited Magnum Kosmos. As opposed to opening night this past Saturday, where the average win mutuel was over $21, 7 of 13 chalks clicked this evening. Jerry Connors for PHHA/Pocono             Spam Not spam Forget previous vote

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the newly-announced official name of the northeast Pennsylvania oval known in the industry as Pocono Downs, kicked off its 50th anniversary year of harness racing on Saturday night, with three $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series for developing male pacers all going against the form as far as the race winners.   The biggest upset was produced in the first division, with Shadow Margeaux (Larry Stalbaum), who had three third-place finishes in this series last year, benefitting from an overcooked pace over the "good" surface to rally from last at the stretch call and tally in 1:52.4. The Shadow Play gelding, trained by many-time Downs champion Steve Salerno for himself, Bruce Potter, and Edward Bardowski, paid $77.00 to win as the longest shot on the board - with second-longest shot Kolt Power second and third-longest shot Red Pine third.   The second Weiss cut saw the second choice win, but it was a $15.60 second choice, as the Well Said gelding Mojito Hanover (Marcus Miller) was a pocket rocket in a 1:53.1 tally, with the 2-5 Burke Stable entry settling for a 3-5 finish. Jim Campbell harnesses "Mojito" for Fred and Shirley Schwartz, Onda Racing Stable LLC, and Shore Thing Stables LLC.   A two-ply Burke force got some measure of revenge in the third division, but Victory At Last (Matt Kakaley), who held off the first-over YS Lotus in 1:52.4, was in an entry that was not the favorite - he paid $4.00 to win, while YS Lotus was 3-5. Victory At Last, an altered son of Quik Pulse Mindale, is owned by the leading combine in the sport, Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   The Weiss Series will feature pacing females and trotting males in first division action on Tuesday, while trotting fillies will be in the spotlight Wednesday, as Pocono opens on a three-night-a-week schedule. The top competitors after four preliminary legs come back for a $30,000 divisional Championship.   The feature for overnight horses, a $22,000 pace, rang true to form as the Cambest gelding Blatantly Best (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.80) rallied from second-over to be clear late in 1:51.3. Larry Remmen trains the winner for owner Bradley Grant.   However, Shadow Margeaux was the first of many longshots to report home first on Saturday - races 11-13 consecutively saw One More Miracle ($41.40), Salevster Stallion ($34.40) and Feels Like Magic N ($48.40) handsomely reward their scattered backers.   George Napolitano Jr., going for his fourth straight dash driving title and record ninth local crown, guided home four winners on the opener, with Matt Kakaley, the last horseman other than "George Nap" to be on top here (2011), had three. Two-time defending North American dash champion Ron Wrenn Jr., in his first-ever night of racing at Pocono, had a respectable 10-1-3-1-.300 sulky tally, despite being named on only one horse at the time of the draw.   Jerry Connors

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is getting ready to kick off their 50th harness racing season on Saturday, March 21, and the commemorative book looking back at the past 50 years has been released. "The Golden Era of Pocono Downs" features photos, statistics, and feature articles, including the role of Pocono in Hurricane Agnes in 1972, and is available at the Pocono Programs desk for $3. Long-time harness writer Jerry Connors researched and compiled the statistics, along with several of the features within the book. Also featured is an article on the impeccable track surface written by Jay Bergman, longtime editor of harness racing's Harness Eye and columnist for DRF.com. Dale Rapson, Vice President of Racing Operations, at the track for 36 years, announced at the press conference on Wednesday that he was truly proud of how far Pocono has come in 50 years, from a track headed for bankruptcy, to the superior racing surface it is today, attracting the best drivers, trainers, and horses in the country. The book also features a four page photo collage dedicated to employees over the years. According to Mr. Rapson, his employees are one of the reasons that Pocono is so successful. "It's the way they treat the customers, that's the big thing," Rapson said. "The customers love our employees. Plus, their dependability - you can always count on them, and I think, their knowledge. I learn from them as well as they learn from me." "The Golden Era of Pocono Downs" will be on sale throughout the season. The official anniversary weekend will be August 21-22, with the $2.3 million Super Stakes Saturday set for August 22. A special early Post Time of 5:30pm is set for both nights. From this day forward, the track will be known as 'THE DOWNS AT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO'. The casino is Mohegan Sun Pocono. In any articles, captions, etc., please refer to us as 'THE DOWNS AT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO' or Pocono, as we are usually called. Jennifer Starr Racing Marketing Manager Racing Operations

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