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Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) was the 2019 Pacer of the Year at Saratoga Casino Hotel and would have likely taken home those same honors had there been awards given out last year. The now ten year old standout, who is owned, trained and driven by Larry Stalbaum, was the runner-up in his first two local Open Pace starts this season. On Tuesday afternoon, with no Open on the docket, the feature was a $8,500 pacing event in which Crockets Cullen N went off as the 3-5 betting favorite. Stalbaum moved his stable star out to the early lead and just let him roll. The veteran pacer went to the quarter in 27.2 before traveling unopposed to the half in 55.2. At that point, Crockets Cullen N shifted gears yet again and powered away from his rivals before checking in at three-quarters in 1:22.4. The favorite made good in the feature, stopping the timer in 1:52.2 for the fastest mile of the young season at the Spa. CROCKETS CULLEN N REPLAY   Sports Obsession (Jimmy Devaux) came into the race on a three-race win streak and again was terrific, finishing second to the favorite to complete a $7.10 exacta. Wyatt J (Mark Beckwith), who like Crockets Cullen N dropped out of the Open, closed to finish third and rounded out a $56 triple. The winningest horse in the Saratoga Open Pace in the past two seasons recorded his first local victory of the campaign on Tuesday which was his second win overall in 2021 as he cruised to front-running score at Yonkers in January. Live racing continues on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post set for noon. For full race results, click here. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Different horse, same result for Larry Stalbaum in the Monday Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The dominant force in the local Open in the last couple of seasons has been Crockets Cullen N. That veteran harness racing campaigner has thrived for Stalbaum and won the Open last week (Oct 26). On Monday, Stalbaum unveiled his American Zest A (American Ideal) at the Spa for the first time. The Aussie invader was winless in five starts since coming to the U.S. but came in off his strongest effort, a second-place finish at Pocono Downs. Stalbaum powered American Zest A out to the front-end on Monday and the race's 2-5 betting favorite moved quickly on a windy day in Saratoga. After a first quarter in a demanding 27.2, American Zest A got a half in 57.2 without facing a challenge. Perennial local star Artful Way (Billy Dobson) powered up first-over on the favorite and those two went toe-to-toe in the stretch before American Zest A held on to win in 1:54.2.   Artful Way was the runner-up while No Ordinary Man (Phil Fluet) earned the show spot in the $9,350 co-feature. American Zest A is owned, trained and was driven to victory by Stalbaum. The Open Trot was won by a familiar face on Monday as Kyle Spagnola's Waiting On A Woman (Mike Polansky) went coast-to-coast with Phil Fluet in the sulky. The 12 year old Waiting On A Woman returned to the Spa off a victory at Plainridge and was back into the local Open where he had a win and a second in his last two tries. Enjoying comfortable fractions on the engine, Waiting On A Woman cruised through a first half in 59.3 without facing a challenge. The backfield was in motion heading to three quarters as Stone In Love (Brian Cross) and Gruden (Billy Dobson) began making progress from the back of the pack. Waiting On A Woman held off those rivals to win in 1:59 while Gruden closed to be second. Stone In Love earned the show spot in the $9,350 Open for trotters. Waiting On A Woman, whose win was his third in a local Open in 2020, is owned by Mike Polansky of Loudonville, NY. Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with a Noon first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Saratoga Casino Hotel's defending top harness racing pacer was back in town on Monday afternoon to compete in the $9,350 Open Pace. Larry Stalbaum's Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) was named Pacer of the Year in 2019 after rattling off an incredible nine consecutive victories in the Open last season. To kick off 2020, the now nine year old picked up right where he left off. Crockets Cullen N won the first Open of the season back in February and returned post shutdown on a tear. Stalbaum owns, trains and drives the superstar who prevailed in four of the first five Open Pace tries upon the return back from the break in June. Now, after competing out of the town for the last two months, Crockets Cullen N was back at the Spa on Monday. The 1-2 betting favorite in the feature, Crockets Cullen N powered out to the early lead. Setting fast fractions throughout, nobody got close to the track's star pacer who clicked off a first lap in 56 seconds before stopping the timer in 1:52.4 over a track labeled 'sloppy.'   Betterlatethnnever (Jay Randall) came from well off the pace to be second in the feature while Gokudo Hanover (Chris Long) earned the show spot in the Open for the second consecutive week. The win for Crockets Cullen N was his eighth of the season in twenty starts and the 40th in the career of the veteran pacer. With his earnings from the victory, Crockets Cullen N moved his bankroll to over $350,000. Stalbaum also had a victory on Monday behind trotter Thanks For Leaving who prevailed in her return to the Stalbaum stable. Live racing continues on Tuesday afternoon at Saratoga with a Noon start to the program. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

It was a fantastic week at Saratoga Casino Hotel for harness racing driver Larry Stalbaum. The veteran reinsman piloted his 6,000th career winner on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, Stalbaum guided three winners including in the Open Pace with his superstar Crockets Cullen N. The wins kept coming on Wednesday for Stalbaum who had three victories with his trainees including one in the feature. Miss Irish Rose A (McArdle) went coast-to-coast in the Fillies and Mares Open on Wednesday evening scoring in 1:54.2. The eight year old mare's victory was her third in the local Open for distaffers this season. She was the public's 3-2 betting favorite as she held off late charges from pocket-sitter Thats Incredible (Billy Dobson), who was the runner-up in the Open for the third time in the last four weeks, and longshot Surreal Feeling (Jay Randall), who earned the show spot.   The exacta and triple in the paid $14.20 and $72.50, respectively. Stalbaum also guided his Jericho Diva (Rock N Roll Heaven) and Abby Rose (Heston Blue Chip) to Wednesday wins. Abby Rose, a two year old filly, is now two-for-three in her young career after following up a victory in the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series A with a decisive score in her local debut which saw her stop the timer in 1:56.3. Stalbaum drove eight winners and secured five training victories during the week's action at the Spa. Live racing takes place next week on Monday and Tuesday afternoon beginning at 12 noon and on Wednesday evening starting at 7:15pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

It's already been a big harness racing week for Larry Stalbaum at Saratoga Casino Hotel. On Monday afternoon, the veteran reinsman won a pair of races, the last of which resulted in him reaching the 6,000 win plateau for his career. The 56 year old has had a solid season racing primarily at Saratoga and on Monday made his 6,000th career trek to the winner's circle after piloting longshot Scarlett Raider to an upset for trainer Melissa Beckwith. Stalbaum opened up Tuesday's matinee by guiding the Andy Sardella-trained Stonebridge Mach to victory while dismissed at odds of 24-1. The biggest win of the day though for Stalbaum came in the Open Pace as he guided his stable star Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) to yet another victory in the local feature. A winner of ten consecutive tries in the local Open from 2019 to the start of the '20 season, Crockets Cullen N was the public's 4-5 betting favorite on Tuesday when Stalbaum unleashed his beast in the early stages of the $8,500 pacing feature. Crockets Cullen N traveled unopposed for the majority of the mile while putting up fast fractions throughout. After reaching the half in 55.3, Crockets Cullen N clicked off three quarters in 1:23.4 and had plenty left to secure the victory in 1:52.4 while winning by more than three lengths. It was the fourth Open win this season for Crockets Cullen N who is the track's defending Pacer of the Year Award winner after his incredible late stretch in the '19 campaign.   Betterlatethnnever (Jay Randall) came on to finish second to Crockets Cullen N on Tuesday while Panocchio (Gerry Mattison) earned the show spot in the five-horse feature. Stalbaum, who owns and trains Crockets Cullen N, completed a Tuesday hat trick as he piloted his trainee Jericho Willie to a first-over victory. He will look to continue his hot streak in Wednesday evening's feature as his Miss Irish Rose A will seek her second win in the last three tries in the Fillies and Mares Open. Live racing continues on Wednesday with a first post time set for 7:15pm. There is a $2,852 carryover in the Pick Five pool on Wednesday with the Pick Five beginning in the evening's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The President's Day matinee card at Saratoga Casino Hotel was highlighted by the season's first Open Pace. The $15,000 Open featured a field of five with all of its participants coming from Australia or New Zealand. A familiar face emerged victorious as Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) lengthened his unprecedented win streak in the local Open prevailing for the tenth consecutive time in the Saratoga feature. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino trainee who was named Pacer of the Year at Saratoga in 2019 after winning the Open Pace in nine consecutive starts. Assigned the outside post on Monday, Crockets Cullen N got away last but wound up dropping in second behind leader Bettors Fire N (Ron Cushing) who paced a first half in 55.3. Crockets Cullen N benefited from some confusion in the race where two rivals interfered with each other allowing the track's defending top pacer to tuck into the pocket before breezing by to win in 1:54.2. Bettors Fire N finished second while Don Domingo N (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot to compete a top trio of New Zealanders. Crockets Cullen N paid $6.90 to win as his local streak grew to ten. The exacta with Bettors Fire N second returned $16.40. Live racing takes place this week on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon beginning each day at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The harness racing trotters and pacers take to the track at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday for the earliest seasonal opening in 55 years of the harness sport in northeast Pennsylvania, with the first of thirteen races scheduled for 5 p.m. The opening set of features during February's racing at The Downs will be part of the new Game of Claims Series, grouping horses of varying values. It's appropriate that the claiming horses will provide the early season highlights at a track where 483 claims resulted in $9,465,025 turnover during 2019. Saturday's Game of Claims's first preliminary rounds will have two groups of horses with a base claiming price of $25,000 going for $25,000 a division, and three sections of $15,000 basic-level horses racing for $15,000 purses. The claiming price will go up slightly for prelims two and three, with each group's top pointearners in the preliminaries getting a chance to race for the throne as their Game Of Claims division's champion on Saturday, February 29, with a $50,000 bounty on the line for this week's $25,000 base-price horses, and $30,000 up for grabs by the leading $15,000 base-price competitors. Multi-time leading Pocono trainer Rene Allard will be sending out horses in four of the five Game Of Claims cuts, three of them new to the barn; the "holdover," Maxdaddy Blue Chip, was the 2017 Pacer of the Year at Pocono, and is still going strongly at age eight. Another "golden oldie," the 11-year-old Atta Boy Dan, returns to Pocono in a $14,000 pace after being named the 2019 Pocono Pacer of the Year. Atta Boy Dan, who will be starting from the outside in a field of seven, was the winningest harness horse in the United States last year with 19 victories, and he was the focus of the attention of many stables, being claimed no fewer than seventeen times, for a total of $670,000. FINISHING LINES -- In Tuesday morning qualifying action at The Downs, Crocketts Cullen N turned in a sharp 1:54.2 mile in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Larry Stalbaum and trainer Tracy Tarantino. The Kiwi import won fifteen times in 2019, including ten times in his last fifteen starts, all in high-class company. During the month of February, Pocono will race on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Mondays being added in March and post times shifting to the standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday cards will start at 4 p.m., and they will be joined at that start time in April with Tuesday racing as Pocono expands to its full standard schedule. An introductory press briefing will take place this Thursday to preview the highlights of the 2020 racing season at the northeast Pennsylvania track. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) put his six-race local win streak on the line as he competed in Saturday night's Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino trainee who has thrived at the Spa over the last several months. Crockets Cullen N has shown to be versatile in winning six consecutive tries in the Open Pace heading into Saturday's tilt in which he started from post seven in a star-studded group which competed for a purse of $18,000. Stalbaum powered Crockets Cullen N out in the early going but was relegated to the pocket spot behind invader Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) who was making his local debut. Rock Diamonds N flew through a first quarter in 26.3 before backing things down in the second quarter to reach the half in 57.1 Hudson Phil (Frank Coppola Jr), the winningest horse in the Open Pace this season, moved first over on Rock Diamonds N and looked to have put the leader away around the final turn. Crockets Cullen N gapped the pocket a bit as the top two battled it out but shifted gears once again turning for home. The eight year old New Zealander once again showed that knack for the wire that he has displayed in recent months and came on in the final strides to score in 1:53.3 for his seventh consecutive win in the Saturday night feature. Hudson Phil toughed it out to be second while Rock Diamonds N had to settle for the show spot in his local debut. Crockets Cullen N paid $8.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $51 and $218.50, respectively. The last time Crockets Cullen N competed at Saratoga and did not win the Open Pace came all the way back in August. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon as Stalbaum and Tarantino's Mr Cool Seaeyre N puts his two-race win streak in the Open Trot on the line in the $18,000 feature. The matinee begins at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Happy Heart (Woodstock) has been as solid as any harness racing pacing mare at Saratoga Casino Hotel in 2019 and on Thursday, the Melissa Beckwith trainee sprung the upset in the afternoon's feature. Happy Heart was dismissed at odds of 16-1 despite drawing the rail in what wound up being a five-horse Open for distaffers following a scratch. The Fillies and Mares Open featured a 1-9 betting favorite as last week's winner The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) was back in town to try to defend her title from last Thursday's eye-popping effort in the ladies Open. The Charging Moa N wound up first over this week and took over the lead past three quarters in 1:25. Happy Heart got shuffled back a bit before moving off the rail and fanning three-wide around the final turn. The six year old surged in the stretch and her closing effort was enough to track down The Charging Moa N to prevail in 1:54. Larry Stalbaum catch-drove Happy Heart on Thursday and piloted the mare to what was her third win in the local Open in 2019. Paying $35.20 in the upset, Happy Heart completed a training triple for Beckwith on the afternoon as her Best Honey Hanover and Mach Of Shame won conditional races earlier on in the matinee. The Charging Moa N came up second-best on Thursday to round out a $71.50 exacta. Happy Heart is owned by Tom McTygue and the Masie Stable, both of Saratoga Springs, NY. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. There will be a Pick Five carryover of $1,361 on Saturday with the Pick Five beginning in race one. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Mr Cool Seaeyre N (The Pres) rattled off his second consecutive harness racing win in the Open Trot on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the New Zealand-bred trotter who pulled off the upset last Sunday (November 3rd) to record his first ever score in the local Open. In that start, Mr Cool Seaeyre N parlayed a pocket trip to the upset win at odds of 8-1. On Sunday afternoon, Stalbaum again got a two-hole journey for his seven year old trotter as they sat patiently behind the favored Mister Muscle (Mark Beckwith) while comfortable fractions were being set in the $18,000 feature. Mr Cool Seaeyre N powered past the favorite in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:56.2 for his second Open win in as many weeks. Mister Muscle was the runner-up on Sunday and has now finished first or second in eight of the last nine installments of the Open Trot. Longshot Riverofroyalty (Brian Cross) earned the show spot. Mr Cool Seaeyre N, who is trained by Tracy Tarantino, paid $4.90 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $11.80 and $58, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

What a sensational run veteran pacer Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) has been on at Saratoga Casino Hotel and that run continued on Saturday night. The eight year old Tracy Tarantino trainee was assigned the outside post for his try in the $18,000 Open Pace and post eight proved to be no problem for the red-hot pacer. Crockets Cullen N extended his local win streak in the Open to six in Saturday's feature as he left for an early spot for driver Larry Stalbaum before flushing out cover approaching the half mile pole. After his cover Funknwaffles (Frank Coppola Jr) cleared heading past three quarters in 1:24.3, Crockets Cullen N surged alongside that rival before putting him away in the stretch. The win that came in 1:52.4 was the sixth consecutive in the local Open Pace for Crockets Cullen N as he has quickly made himself a Pacer of the Year and perhaps even Horse of the Year candidate over the last couple of months. In his Saturday score, he paid $10.80 to win. Funknwaffles was the runner-up while Vasari N (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot. The victory for Crockets Cullen N was the third on the card for Stalbaum and Tarantino whose Teo Enteo A and Shady City each recorded Saturday scores at the Spa. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) has endured some breaking problems of late but found just the remedy for those harness racing ills by returning to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the eight year old New Zealand invader who had to qualify following back-to-back breaks while racing at Yonkers. Crockets Cullen N returned to the Spa where he had won three consecutive starts in the local Open Pace. The morning line favorite went off at odds of 7-2 on Saturday in a five-horse feature that went for a purse of $18,000. Crockets Cullen N has done most of his damage from off the pace in his local victories but on Saturday Stalbaum wasted little time moving to the front-end as he powered Crockets Cullen N out to the lead in the early going. After cruising through a pretty comfortable first half of 56.3, Crockets Cullen N stepped on the gas heading to three quarters and never looked back before prevailing in 1:52 for his fourth straight score in the Saratoga Open Pace and his tenth win overall in 2019. Hudson Phil, an eight-time winner of the local feature this season, closed to finish second while Century Endeavor earned the show spot. Crockets Cullen N, who is trained by Tracy Tarantino, paid $9.10 to win and led an exacta that returned $29.80. Live racing continues at the Spa on Sunday with a first post time set for 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Larry Stalbaum won the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel for the fifth time in the last seven Saturday nights when his Lord Willoughby A (Mach Three) went last to first in the $18,000 harness racing feature. Lord Willoughby A was assigned post six in the six-horse Open but benefited from an early speed duel on Saturday. With a pair of rivals going toe-to-toe in a fast first half of 55.2, Lord Willoughby A got underway past the half and moved third over heading to three-quarters. He wound up four-wide around the final turn but once he straightened up in the stretch, Lord Willoughby A had enough to come on and win in 1:53.1. The Tracy Tarantino trainee paid $8.30 in what was his second consecutive victory in the Open and his fifth win in the last six local starts. The favored Vasari N (Jimmy Devaux) made his debut in the local Open and was tested from the start of the race while on the engine before digging in to finish second. Betterlatethnnever (Mitch Cushing) closed to be third in the $18,000 feature. The exacta and triple came back $27.80 and $119, respectively. Lord Willoughby A's two Open wins come just a few weeks after Stalbaum and Tarantino's Crockets Cullen N scored victories in three of four tries in the Open Pace. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a first post time set for 12 Noon.   Mike Sardella

Lord Willoughby A (Mach Three) was raging with pace in the stretch in his debut in the local Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel last week. On Saturday night, the Tracy Tarantino trainee wasn't going to risk getting caught inside again and driver Larry Stalbaum moved first-over at the half with Lord Willoughby A in the $15,000 Open. Bet down to odds of 9-5, the public's top choice in the wagering was tasked with grinding local star Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) into submission after a half mile in 55.2. Lord Willoughby A's pressure proved too much for that rival as the race's favorite took over the lead past three quarters in 1:23.1. Century Endeavor (Gerry Mattison), the runner-up in two consecutive Opens heading into Saturday night, shook loose around the final turn to serve as the stretch threat for the favorite. The chase proved to be futile as Lord Willoughby A stopped the timer in 1:52.2 to record his first win in the local Open. Century Endeavor came up second-best once again while last week's Open winner Betterlatethnnever (Mitch Cushing) earned the show spot. Lord Willoughby A paid $5.60 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $21 and $88.50, respectively. The victory was the fourth in the last six installments of the Open Pace for Stalbaum and trainer Tracy Tarantino whose Crockets Cullen N has recorded a trio of Open wins in the last two months. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon. For full results and entries, click here. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway

Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) prevailed for the second consecutive week in the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino trainee who last week took the first-over journey to the winner's circle. This week, Crockets Cullen N was dismissed at odds of 6-1 in the six-horse Open when he got second-over cover behind Century Endeavor (Gerry Mattison) approaching the half. After the first lap went in 56.1, the race's leader succumbed to the pressure of the first-over rival but it was Crockets Cullen N who tipped off that cover and motored home in the stretch to stop the timer in 1:52.3. Hudson Phil (Jay Randall), the winningest Open horse at Saratoga in 2019, came from last and followed the winner home to be the runner-up in the $15,000 feature while Century Endeavor earned the show spot. Crockets Cullen N, who won the local Open twice last season, has now scored in the Saturday feature twice in 2019. In his most recent victory, the eight year old paid $14.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $51 and $137, respectively. Crockets Cullen N was one of two winners on the night for Stalbaum and Tarantino who teamed up for a victory with Lord Willoughby A (Mach Three) in the $12,500 Winners Over on Saturday. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) took advantage of sizzling fractions in the Saturday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel to secure his first harness racing Open Pace victory of the season. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino-trained eight year old who is once again enjoying a strong season in 2019. Crockets Cullen N is no stranger to the Spa and in fact, he won the local Open on two different occasions last year. On Saturday night, regular Open winner Hudson Phil was once again the betting public's odds-on favorite but that one's early speed wound up taking its toll. An eight-time local Open winner in '19, Hudson Phil powered out to the front end in a first quarter of an eye-popping 26.1 before reaching the half in 54.1. Crockets Cullen N was the first challenger for the favored leader and had little difficultly overpowering him approaching three-quarters. Stalbaum went pedal to the metal around the final turn and though fellow closers Military Master A (Mark Beckwith) and Jersey Jim closed in a bit, it was Crockets Cullen N who reigned supreme in the $15,000 feature. The final time of 1:51.1 was just shy of the lifetime mark of 1:51 for Crockets Cullen N who gave Stalbaum one of his two winners on the night. The New Zealand invader paid $9.50 to win and led an exacta with Military Master A second that returned $119.50 while the triple, which was completed by Jersey Jim, came back $534. Stalbaum and Tarantino teamed up for three winners on the card as their Lord Willoughby A and Itsonlyrocknroll A secured front-running victories on Saturday night. Live racing resumes at Saratoga on Wednesday afternoon with a matinee beginning at Noon that features a Pick Five carryover of $4,043. The Pick Five begins in race one. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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