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CHESTER PA - Driver Tim Tetrick, who has gone to the lead in the local sulksysitting standings, posted four winners in the first five races Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia and wound up with five on the card, but in the two features he and his favored horse were caught in photo finish victories by "pocket rockets." In the $16,000 featured pace, Handsoffmychips was sent to the lead by Tetrick and went fractions of :27.3, :56, and 1:23.1, but the He's Gorgeous gelding Miss U Big Mike was lying in wait in the two-hole for driver Marcus Miller. The pair came up the inside to catch the favorite by a neck, with Miss U Big Mike lowering his mark 3 2/5 seconds with a 1:51.2 final clocking. Christie Collins conditions the winner, who has an enviable lifetime win rate of 28% (16-for-58) for owner Irwin Kaplan. In the $14,500 co-featured pace, Anthony Morgan left strongly for the lead with Machiavelli, but Tetrick moved favored Soto nearing the :27 quarter and hung up middle splits of :55.2 and 1:23.1. But again danger lurked to the chalk's left, and the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Machiavelli had enough rally to edge past Soto, also by a neck, also stopping the clock in 1:51.2. The winner of $191,260 has now taken half his last eight starts for trainer Nick Surick and Dynasty Racing. Friday's card at Harrah's Philadelphia will have a special nighttime post time of 6:30 p.m. Then on Sunday, the World's Fastest Trotter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), Homicide Hunter, moves from the far outside post to the far inside starting slot in the $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) event for open trotters. On a cool and messy last Sunday night at Pocono. in his debut both for the year and for the Burke Brigade, Homicide Hunter suffered a bad trip and finished off the board; his fortunes may improve this week, although he will be facing Melady's Monet, a GNOS winner two weeks ago here, and Muscle Diamond, who took a mark of 1:50.1 last year and makes his 2019 bow Sunday.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tag Up And Go was in control throughout the $17,500 trotting feature on a less-than-optimum Sunday night (41 degrees, “sloppy +2” surface) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by himself in 1:56.4. Marcus Miller left in controlling fashion with the Angus Hall gelding, set a very moderate pace even in the bad conditions, and still had plenty late to raise his earnings to $569,216. Rob Harmon conditions the harness racing veteran for Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro. There were a pair of $17,000 contests for developing horses on both gaits. In the pace, the Rollwithjoe gelding Youcaniknow is 2-for-2 in 2019 after a hard two-move victory from post nine in 1:53.4, holding off Grantmeawish by a neck for driver Matt Kakaley, who had three winners on the night. This is a rare Åke Svanstedt-trained pacer, owned by Åke Svanstedt Inc. In the subfeature trot, the Lucky Chucky gelding Chuckabuck, who was claimed for $12,500 on April 5, handled the rise from that level quite easy on the Pocono red muck, going gate-to-wire in 1:56.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer James Guagliardo, and owner William Sartin. In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, standing in a village’s muck and mire, one peasant remarks to the other that the passing horseback rider must be the King, and is asked how he knows that. “He hasn’t got (slop) all over him,” says the first peasant. Such was the case with driver Mark MacDonald, who came to Pocono and got easy front-end victories, staying “clean,” with two sophomores making their seasonal bows for trainer/co-owner Ray Schnittker. The winning duo were Captain Malicious, a Captaintreacherous – Silky colt who won in 1:53.4 - :27.3 for Schnittker and partners Dr. John Egloff, John Frisch, and Max J. Hempt, and Hickfromfrenchlick, the So Surreal – My Girl’s A Star colt whose named was influenced by basketball star Larry Bird, who won in 1:53.3 – :27.3 for the trainer and partners Nolamaura Racing LLC and Thomas Spatorico. Both three-year-olds were stakes winners at two, and their 2019 bows point towards another good campaign ahead of them. Hickfromfrenchlick                                                       -Curtis Salonick photo                                            Finally, the “Fast Comeback of the Night” award goes to driver Eric Carlson, who was dumped to the track in a mixup in race 13, then came right back in the 14th race finale to guide Derecho to a wire-to-wire victory – and pay $46.00 to win. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Jenny Melander knows Altercation likes to put up a fight when training. On Tuesday (April 2) she will see for the first time how her 3-year-old harness racing filly trotter battles in a real race. Altercation is one of three Melander horses that will compete in Tuesday's opening round of the Bobby Weiss Series for 3- and 4-year-old female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Altercation is in the fourth of four $15,000 divisions, at 3-1 on the morning line, and is joined by stablemates Meadowbranch Vicki (3-1 in the second division) and Cayenne Victory (7-2 in the third). First race post time is 4 p.m. (EDT). Altercation is a Diamond Creek Farm-bred daughter of Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Glide Power. She was purchased for $30,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and enters the Weiss off a second-place finish in a qualifier at Pocono, timed in 1:58.4 with driver Marcus Miller. "Last year she wasn't ready; she was getting a little sore here and there," said Melander, who owns the filly with Noonan Harness Racing, Clark Stables, and John Devito. "I'm glad my partners decided to go on with her this year. She seems like she's pretty nice. "Her biggest thing is she loves to race. In every single training mile as soon as we turn for home she just wants to go. She absolutely loves to win every time. That is by far her strongest asset. She is pretty good gaited, she's long, and she is going to give all she's got." Following the Weiss Series, Melander said Altercation is eligible to Pennsylvania-sired stakes as well as the Kentucky Sire Stakes. "When they haven't raced as a 2-year-old, it's really hard to put a lot of money into staking them, but she has plenty enough," Melander said. "That's a lot of races right there. There is plenty of reason for her to make money if she comes around and proves herself." Meadowbranch Vicki, a 3-year-old filly bred and owned by Hans Enggren, is making her seasonal debut. The daughter of Wishing Stone out of Wen-Mar's Memo won one of 12 races last year and earned $44,785. Her victory came in a conditioned race, but she was second in divisions of the Simpson and Ohio Sire Stakes. "She's like all those Wishing Stones, kind of on the small side, but she really likes her job," Melander said. "She put in quite a few good races but she also ended up with a lot of bad luck. It's a lot of half-mile races in Ohio and every time we were on a half-mile (track) she ended up drawing on the outside, she was in with the toughest horses, just not much luck. "But she's an honest little horse and she did her best to make money. We were happy with her. She does what we ask, but she's not one that shows off in any way. She is staked in Ohio and she's got another couple races here and there, but not a whole lot." Rounding out Melander's group is Cayenne Victory. The 4-year-old daughter of Cayenne Turbo out of Victory Connection is owned by Melander Racing and Noonan Harness Racing. She was purchased for $15,000 at February's Blooded Horse Winter Speed Sale, then missed several weeks because of illness. She has started twice for Melander, with a third- and fourth-place finish. For her career, Cayenne Victory has won four of 34 races and earned $32,124. "We needed something more to race during the winter, so that was the main reason we bought her," Melander said. "That didn't work out because she got sick. But she's all trot and that's kind of what I liked about her. She's very solid." Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Meadowbranch Vicki and Cayenne Victory. The Weiss Series for female trotters features three preliminary rounds followed by a $30,000 final April 23. For Tuesday's complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Even Marcus Miller must have been surprised at how easy things went for him and Trolley in the Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands. In a field where one scratch (Zlatan) left but six starters in the $25,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters, Miller urged Trolley from the start, setting sail for the top and leading at the quarter in :28.3. The 6-year-old Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride product continued his sleepwalk to the half in :56.3 as pocket-sitter Rubber Duck and Sutton - who was racing in the three hole - did not move a muscle. Trolley trotted his third fraction in :27.3 to remain clear on the engine and after coming home in :29.2, he hit the wire 2 lengths in front of a fast-closing - but non-threatening - Sutton. Rubber Duck held third. "It's nice when a plan comes to fruition," said Miller. "I never really had any doubts tonight off of those fractions. He was very, very strong." The Erv Miller-trained Trolley returned $3.80 to his backers after completing the mile in 1:53.3. He's now won five-of-six this year while facing the best stock on the grounds at the Big M. He has 16 wins from 31 career starts and earnings of $353,209 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. In the co-featured Preferred Handicap for fillies and mares on the pace, Divas Image, who looked rough-gaited at the start, settled for a fourth-over trip, tipped wide in the stretch, then exploded home in :26.3 to record a 1-length win in 1:53.2 as the 3-5 favorite for driver Andy Miller. Believe In Me was second with Newsday third. "When she was rough behind the gate, I didn't know what to expect," said winning trainer Jenn Bongiorno. "But I do know closing is definitely her best game. She absolutely loves the stretch at the Big M." Divas Image, a 6-year-old by Bettor's Delight-Rocknroll Diva, won for the second time this year in four starts (two-for-two at the Big M) and now has won 23-of-70 lifetime outings and banked just over $575,000. A VERY GOOD START: Friday marked the first-ever Can-Am Pick-4 - a wager where one must pick the winners of two races at both the Meadowlands and Woodbine Mohawk Park - and the response was vigorous. A total of $57,489 was poured in the pool and after a sequence that saw winner's odds of 5-2, 6-5, 11-1 and 7-2, the return was a handsome $596.51 for a 20-Cent bet. The Can-Am Pick-4 will be offered on Friday nights. A LITTLE MORE: One player wagering into the Oregon hub was the holder of the only ticket to last five legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $10,549.56. ... During the course of the 13-race program there were six winning favorites, but longshot players hit big in the third race when La Dolfina ($99.80) scored at 48-1. Five races later, Piercewave Hanover skimmed the cones at 60-1 and returned $128.20. ... All-source handle totaled $2,634,286. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Trolley continued his dominance of the top class at the Meadowlands - the $21,000 Preferred Handicap - winning the Big M's weekly trotting feature for a fourth straight start Friday night. The Erv Miller student faced a tough task. The Ron Burke-trained In Secret was seeking his fourth straight win, and after Trolley sped away from the gate to grab the lead around the first turn, Yannick Gingras then moved In Secret to the top. The half-mile marker was hit in :55.4 with In Secret (the 2-1 third choice) on the point, Trolley in the pocket and 9-5 second choice Sutton - who was making his seasonal debut - sitting third. On the far turn, rather than wait for the stretch drive, Marcus Miller popped Trolley out of the pocket just before the three-quarter-mile marker and went after the leader, securing the top with a quick move with three-sixteenths of a mile to go. Through the lane, Trolley showed his foes why he's the "King of the Meadowlands", easily going on to a 1-length win in 1:52.4. Rail-sitters Sutton and Two AM rallied to get second and third, respectively, as In Secret weakened to fourth. After winning his previous start as the 2-5 choice, Trolley's followers were rewarded Friday with a $4.40 win payout for the 6-5 favorite. The 6-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride, who has now won six of his last seven outings, won for the 15thtime in 29 career starts (52 per cent), good for earnings of $334,459 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. A LITTLE MORE: Four drivers recorded driving doubles on the card: Dexter Dunn, Gingras, Pat Berry and Anthony Napolitano. ... Wagering in the 50-Cent Pick-4 came close to the $100,000 mark, as a total of $98,085 in action was taken. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,690,822. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

After a relatively slow start to his career, and a few 'hard luck' stretches, 5-year-old pacer Geez Joe is starting to find his stride.    He has established himself as a major force in the Preferred ranks at The Meadowlands, and is looking for even bigger things in 2019.   "He's taking a short break right now," said regular driver Marcus Miller. "We're hoping he can take a swing at some of the open stakes this year." His last race was a grinding first over win at The Meadowlands on January 19th.   The gelded son of Roll with Joe - Beach Bretta made his career debut on July 8th, 2016 in a New York Excelsior Event at Saratoga, finishing a disappointing 8th vs. a then budding John Butenschoen superstar Funknwaffles, who went on to win as the heavy favorite. He ended his freshman campaign on a better note, hitting the board in two of his last three.   Armed with a new trainer and a bit more maturity, Geez Joe broke his maiden in his very first start as a sophomore, winning an overnight event at Harrah's Philly in 1:55. After a few more confidence building wins against overnight company, Geez Joe enjoyed his first stakes win of his career - a New York Excelsior triumph on June 18th at Vernon in 1:51.2.   He went on to win the Excelsior Final on October 18th at Vernon - overcoming a troubled start and post position eight to take down the lion's share of the $45,000 purse.   He followed that with a grinding third place finish against top sophomore pacer Filibuster Hanover in the Pegasus at Hoosier Park. He completed his 3-year-old season proving he belonged with the top pacers in his age group, with a third in the Hap Hanson Progress Pace elimination, and a fifth in the final against Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon.   After it was all said and done, Geez Joe completed the seasonal campaign with eight wins out of twenty-three starts, and earnings just under $145,000.   His 4-year-old campaign saw him notch another speed mark (1:48.1), as well as duplicate his eight win season from the year prior.   Driver Marcus Miller describes Geez Joe as big and strong. "He's funny. When you first step on the track, you'd think he's going to be grabby but he's really laid back," Miller said.   Miller feels we have yet to see the best Geez Joe has to offer. "He gave us hints all along," Miller explained. "Some big miles at age three - At four, a couple of wins from impossible spots at Batavia and Pocono. Then obviously, he caught everyone's eye in December at The Meadowlands."   Geez Joe was bred by Winbak Farms in Chesapeake City, MD. Winbak is currently second this season in the standings in both winners (117) and earnings ($1,506,227).   by Mike Bozich, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Trolley continued his reign as the harness racing trotting "King of the Meadowlands" by winning a third straight Preferred Handicap at the Meadowlands Racetrack Friday night. The red-hot 6-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride, who benefited from great driver Marcus Miller handling, won his fourth feature in his last five tries and sixth race in his last seven overall. Sent off as the 2-5 public choice, Miller had Trolley on the go from the start but was pushed wide into the first turn. Miller opted to settle his horse into the five-hole instead of going on with it, and that may have made the difference. Misslarose, up in the Preferred ranks off consecutive wins with high-class conditioned foes, moved past early leader Derf Hanover after the quarter and hit the half in :57. Cash Me Out was racing first over at the half, providing a perfect second-over trip for Trolley, who stayed with that cover into the stretch before tipping with a little more than an eighth of a mile to go. The Erv Miller trainee needed every inch of the stretch to get past a stubborn Misslarose, but he collared the leader nearing the wire, before going on to a half-length win in 1:55.1 on an extremely windy East Rutherford night. Cash Me Out finished third. Trolley returned $2.80 to his backers while staying perfect in three starts this year. Overall, he's won half of his 28 lifetime outings and earned $323,951 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. GINGRAS STAYS HOT: Driver Yannick Gingras continued his winning ways, scoring five times on the program. After 13 winner's circle visits last weekend (Feb. 1-2), 'The Green Hornet' has now won 18 of his last 38 Meadowlands' drives. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering stayed strong at the industry's handle leader as all-source action totaled $2,927,806 on the 13-race card. The last four Big M cards have seen the top four handles this year, topped by last Saturday's $3.1 million. ... One shrewd simulcast player wagering into the Fairmount hub used 35-1 shot Buckeye In Charge on top in the 13th race, and in the process, raked the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five pot to the tune of $23,467.26. The winning combination was 7-4-3-2-8. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The harness racing father-son, trainer-driver team of Erv and Marcus Miller won both featured events - the Preferred Handicaps for trotters and pacers - and horsemen and track regulars otherwise made it through a rough Saturday night of inclement weather unscathed over the course of an eventful two days (Jan. 18-19) last weekend at the Meadowlands. Trolley defeated arch-rival Muscle Diamond in 1:53.1 in the featured trot on Friday, winning the event for a third time in four tries before the Millers completed their "Weekend Double" Saturday with Geez Joe, who held off nemesis K Ryan Bluechip by a nose in 1:50.2 in the marquee pacing event. Saturday's weather forecasts saw tracks opt to cancel their live action, but Meadowlands management - armed with a more favorable forecast that morning - hosted their 14-race card. There were 21 scratches on the program, but wagering remained strong at over $2.3 million, and the Big M saw over $5 million pushed through the windows over the course of the two-card race week. "We are extremely appreciative of what our horsemen, staff and fans had to do to make Saturday night's card a success," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir, "and we were so pleased that the weather did not turn out to be as bad as what was forecast earlier in the week." This weekend, there will be a typical January chill in the air, but weather figures to be no problem for the Friday and Saturday (Jan. 25-26) programs. Post time is 7:15 p.m. The Big M's signature wager - the 50-Cent Pick 4 - figures to take plenty of action both nights. The wager has a low 15 percent takeout and sports a guaranteed $50,000 pool. Free program pages are available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com. Fans of the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five will have a $29,081 carryover to shoot for in Friday's fifth race. TACO TUESDAY? NO. TACO FRIDAY? YES! On Friday (Jan. 25), the Big M's Pink restaurant will host a fiesta in the form of a buffet that will include all Mexican favorites. The cost is $29.95. To make reservations, call 201-THE-BIGM. CALLING ALL CHILI COOKS: The Meadowlands' fourth-annual home-style chili and salsa cookoff takes places this Saturday (Jan. 26). Contestants will be shooting for a first prize of $1,000 and a spot in the International Chili Society's World Championship in Reno, Nevada. There is a $500 prize for the second-place finisher and $250 for third. For those who would like to participate, go to http://chilicookoff.com/register. There is also a separate side contest for homemade salsa that carries a $500 first prize. For complete details, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=13416. SUPER SIMULCAST: A pair of huge events from Gulfstream Park will headline the Big M's Saturday (Jan. 26) simulcast menu. The $7,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Turf is race 11 and has a post time of 4:51 p.m. The Bill-Mott trained Yoshida is the 5-2 morning-line favorite with jockey Jose Ortiz. The Pegasus World Cup sports a $9,000,000 purse and will go as race 12 at 5:36 p.m. Breeders' Cup Classic winner Accelerate will start at 9-5 for trainer John Stadler and jockey Joel Rosario. RAMS-PATRIOTS COUNTDOWN: Football's biggest game, which will pit the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, takes place on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m. Get your action not only on the point spread and under/over, but also try your luck on a wall full of prop bets at the Big M's FanDuel Sports Book, where you can watch the game live. Meadowlands Media Relations    

CHESTER, PA - Tymal Reign set most of the pace in the $14,500 trotting feature at Harrah's Philadelphia, but the pocketsitting Ameliosi had inside room and from mid stretch ... inched ... up ... with ... every ... stride ... and ... finally ... nipped the winner in the final few feet, stopping the timer in 1:55.3. Ameliosi, a daughter of Explosive Matter trained by Jenny Melander for owner John Devito, took command on the first turn, hung favored Tymal Reign past the 27.3 quarter and was thereafter content to sit behind that one through the middle splits of 56.1 and 1:25.2. The winner kept on grinding just inside the pacesetter, and just did get by by the shortest of margins under the urging of Marcus Miller, on a day when quick last quarters were not to be found. There were a pair of $14,000 co-features, one on each gait. On the trot, the finish may have been even closer than in the feature, as the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding American Steele set the pace, holding off closing favorite Dunsinane Hall by no more than a couple of inches. A win is a win, and this win in 1:57.2 was a lifetime mark for American Steele, who was kept rolling to the wire by the track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., for trainer Rob Harmon and the partnership of Harmon Racing Stable LLC and Harvey Eisman. The pace was taken by Western Showgirl, who posted only her second career win, yet broke $50,000 in lifetime earnings, shedding her previous 29-1-14-7 "bridesmaid" pattern by winning in 1:57.1. Owner/trainer Ray Barnes sent her on a first-over mission, opened a good-sized lead when the pacesetter gave way midturn, then maintained a safe 1½-length margin to the wire with the Western Ideal mare. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Erv Miller thinks Artie's Ideal has his best harness racing days ahead of him. Miller hopes that includes Thursday when the colt visits Dover Downs for the $213,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Artie's Ideal was a two-time winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and finished third in the series championship before trying the Grand Circuit for the first time at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt was second to Workin Ona Mystery in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, pacing a :26.1 final quarter-mile, before a seventh-place finish in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. After a three-week respite, Artie's Ideal qualified in 1:54.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on Oct. 30 to prep for the Matron. He won the qualifier by 10-1/2 lengths. "He was a real green colt getting started and he's just been getting better all the way through," said Miller, who trains Artie's Ideal for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. "He had a little setback the second week at Lexington, his blood was a little messed up, but as far as getting more mature he's gotten better every time we went to the gate. "He qualified really well at (Philly) and I look for him to put in a good effort." Artie's Ideal and driver Marcus Miller, Erv's son, will start the Matron from post four. He is 10-1 on the morning line. Metro Pace runner-up Semi Tough, with Matt Kakaley driving for trainer Ron Burke, is the 5-2 favorite. "He got the four hole, that's a good spot, and if things work out for him he should be right there," Miller said. Dover Downs host the four Matrons for 2-year-old trotters and pacers Thursday. Racing begins at 4:15 p.m. (EST) with a non-betting race, the Matron for colt and gelding trotters, followed by the regular card at 4:30 p.m. Breeders Crown runner-up When Dovescry is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $177,800 filly trot and Breeders Crown finalist Queen Of The Pride is 5-2 in the $179,100 filly pace. Artie's Ideal is a son of American Ideal out of Midnight Art. The colt has earned $114,508 in nine starts and is Midnight Art's third six-figure-earner. The family also includes Grand Circuit winners Good News Lady and Ideal News. Miller said the colt was immature physically to begin the season, but has developed nicely. "I think he's going to be a nice colt," Miller said. "He's easy to drive, an easy trainer. He handles well. You can tell he's got a great attitude. He's so handy and he's a smart little horse. I really look forward to next year with him." Artie's Ideal is eligible to the Governor's Cup later this month at the Meadowlands, but the Matron could be his final start of the year. "We'll go off how he races," Miller said. For Thursday's complete pari-mutuel entries at Dover Downs, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

WILKES-BARRE, PA - There were four divisions of the "non-winners 4 races lifetime" condition going for $15,000 each as the top purse events on the Tuesday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Two of them were on the pace, with a favorite and a second choice taking the big end of the purse, and two were on the trot, where form took a bit of a holiday. The pacers hit the track first, and in the initial event for that gait Captain Deo, a sophomore son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the $1.9M-winning mare Worldly Beauty, justified his favoritism with a dominating 2¾ length tally for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Tony Alagna, and the ownership of Alagna Racing LLC, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners, and Captain Deo Partners. Captain Deo won on the engine in 1:51.1, which included a 30 second quarter in the second split - meaning in the other 3/4s Captain Deo flashed 1:21.1 speed. In the other pacing section, a distaff event, Saratoga invader Northern Swift equaled her lifetime mark of 1:53.3, overcoming a first-over journey for driver Matt Kakaley (who led the drivers' colony on Tuesday with four wins), trainer Jean Drolet, and the ownership of Funky Munky Stable LLC and Marthe Drolet. The victorious daughter of Mach Three won by 1¾ lengths over pocketsitting Don't Mach Mia, who photoed out favored Covfefe, who had set most of the pace, for second. On the trot, perhaps it was appropriate on Election Day that one of the winners would be QB Kemp, a Triumphant Caviar sophomore gelding named after the former pro football player turned politician. QB Kemp hung in there like a beleaguered quarterback or determined officeseeker, setting the pace while keeping favored Northern Major on the rim, yet still winning by two lengths while lowering his mark by two seconds to 1:56.1 as a 9-1 shot for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Rob Harmon, and Harmon Racing Stable LLC. A $21.00 win price, however, pales next to the $72.40 for $2 generated by the winner of the other featured trot, Nice Stuff. The Yankee Glide four-year-old mare, who started from the rail, got a literal break when a foe went offstride past the half, advanced to the pocket under the guidance of driver Tom Jackson, then rallied in the lane for a length win in 1:56.2. Acquired by trainer Bucky Angle and the ownership of Howard and Joshua Kaufman at the end of the summer, Nice Stuff now has won two of her last three starts after going 3-for-62 before her acquisition, and her surprise triumph here generated a $1295.00 1-4 exacta with 20-1 Campbellini, a single 50-cent 1-4-9 winning Trifecta ticket worth over $2900 with 21-1 Broadway Bruiser third, and a single 10-cent Superfecta ticket on a "1-4-9-all" payout also in the $2900 neighborhood. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

Batavia, NY --- The $320,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) consolation races were contested in eight divisions at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 21) with Jason Bartlett and Marcus Miller getting the lion's share of the eight harness racing contests. Bartlett won three and finished third two more times while Miller won two and finished second four times. Despite a heavy downpour early in the card, the track set up quickly and two lifetime and two seasonal marks were set during the evening in the NYSS races. Here is a race by race recap of the consolation events. 2-year-old filly pace Winner-Topville Angelina (American Ideal-A Fiesty Affair) 1:57.2 Owners-Erv Miller Stable, Michael Anderson and George Golemes Trainer-Erv Miller Breeder-Robert Hamather (non-betting) Topville Angelina (Marcus Miller) travelled second the entire mile behind Sun Viser (Billy Davis Jr.) through even fractions until the top of the stretch when Miller tipped her and she quickly paced by the leader down the lane to win by three lengths in 1:57.2. 2-year-old filly trot Winner-Sweet Chapter (Chapter Seven-Mom's A Sweetie Pie) 2:01.2 Owners-Hutt Racing Stable, Blake MacIntosh, Glenn Bechtel and the Mortgage Boys Stable Trainer-Blake MacIntosh Breeder-Winbak Farm Mutuel-$3.20 Sweet Chapter (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front and dictated the entire race. Contending with a heavy downpour during the mile, Sweet Chapter trotted to the three-quarters in 1:30.1 without a challenge before Hot Chapter (Marcus Miller) started an attack on the outside. Hot Chapter trotted hard down the lane in the middle of the track but Sweet Chapter had enough left to hang on and win in 2:01.2. 2-year-old colt and gelding pace Winner-KJ Leo (Art Major-Winsmith Jess) 1:54.4 Owners-Brenda Messenger, Philip Shapiro and Scott Woogen Trainer-Gary Messenger Breeders-Brenda Messenger, Philip Shapiro and Scott Woogen Mutuel-$24.40 Cub Fan (Marcus Miller) was a strong leaver and set the pace once he settled ahead of KJ Leo (Billy Davis Jr.) who would get the perfect trip. After getting to the half in :57.1, Jet Rock (Kevin Cummings) pulled first up and pushed the issue with Cub Fan all the way to the top of the stretch. At that point he faded and KJ Leo popped the pocket and paced down the lane stride for stride with Cub Fan. When they hit the wire they were a neck apart with KJ Leo getting the better of the photo in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark. 2-year-old colt and gelding trot Winner-JNR Express (Coway Hall-Yankee T L C) 1:59.3 Owners-James De Armond and Russell Young Trainer-Jessica Okusko Breeder-Donald La Page Mutuel-$9.00 JNR Express (Kevin Cummings) took no prisoners as he left and led at every station. After trotting well in hand through a 1:29.2 three quarters, JNR Express took a two-length lead into a stretch and held off a late surge by Brady Bunch (Marcus Miller) and Whimzical Chapter (Dan Daley) to win in 1:59.3, which was a new lifetime mark. 3-year-old filly pace Winner-Solitary (American Ideal-Lonesome Day) 1:54.4 Owners-William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovic and the J L Benson Stable Trainer-Nick Surick Breeder-Docs Farm Mutuel-$3.30 Pelican Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) grabbed the lead by the quarter and took the race to the half in :57. An outer flow began to advance and by the three quarters horses were three deep heading into the turn with Solitary (Jason Bartlett) locked in fifth with no racing room. Believe In Me (Drew Monti) who was second on the outside bore out and gave Solitary and opening to get out and get out she did. Bartlett gave the filly her head and she shifted gears and paced away from the field to win by three lengths in 1:54.4, which was a new seasonal mark. "The race didn't unfold as I expected and I had to make my way out of traffic in the last turn. But When I got her free it was over," said Bartlett after the race. 3-year-old colt and gelding trot Winner-I'm The Muscle (Muscle Mass-Lady Bling) 1:57.4 Owner-Rheau Viau Trainer-Rene Allard Breeder-Blair and Erna Corbell Mutuel-$2.30 In a race shortened by two scratches, I'm The Muscle (Jason Bartlett) wanted nothing but the front and didn't waste any time getting there. He trotted unchallenged on top by two open lengths in :29.3, :59.3 and 1:29.1 before rounding the last turn and flying home in a quick :28.3 to win in 1:57.4. "He has been getting better and better each week and last week he was closing on Six Pack Late. He's a real nice horse," said Bartlett in the winner's circle. 3-year-old filly trot Winner-Supergirl RIley (Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel) 1:57 Owners-Paymaq Racing, George Golemes and Harvey Eisman Trainer-Erv Miller Breeder-Brittany Farms Mutuel-$2.10 Marcus Miller took advantage of the continuing front end bias and put the 1-9 favorite Supergirl RIley right on the point as the field followed in single file. With the rest of the group gapping behind, the pocket-sitting Golden Muscle (Drew Monti) pulled at three-quarters to take her shot. But halfway through the turn, Golden Muscle broke and Supergirl RIley found herself all alone trotting down the stretch a wrapped-up winner by three in 1:57. "She's just an unbelievable horse. She does everything right and she won easy tonight," said driver Marcus Miller after the race. 3-year-old colt and gelding pace Winner-Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) 1:52.4 Owner-Rick Berks Trainer-Mike Deters Breeder-Winbak Farm Mutuel-$3.10 Ideal Feeling (Jason Bartlett) seated third off the gate but then came quick past the eighth pole to grab the lead. Rolling handily past the half and to three-quarters in 1:24.1 without any opposition, Ideal Feeling watched as Lyons Steel (Kevin Cummings) left his cover and made his bid for the win. As the race moved down the lane, Lyons Steel continued to gain ground but Bartlett kept Ideal Feeling to task and he won by a half length in 1:52.4 to take his third consecutive win. Before the races began, Batavia Downs held a press conference with regional media outlets to formally announce the track being awarded the 2019 NYSS Night of Champions. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund awarded the $1.8 million finals to Batavia Downs because of its excellent facilities and their ability to promote the race and offer an exciting fan experience. Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel expressed his excitement looking forward to next year. "We are very excited for Batavia Downs Gaming to host the $1.8 million finals if the New York SIre Stakes with the long history this facility has with harness racing. We have made so many improvements to the track and can't wait to host everyone that weekend and showcase our new hotel and beautiful clubhouse." Kelly Young, Executive Director of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund said "2019 will be the 30th edition of the Night of Champions and we look forward to bringing it to western New York and Batavia Downs. We're really excited to watch this race track do what it does best; that is promoting harness racing and bringing fans in to watch the best horses the state has to offer." The date of the finals will be announced once the actual racing schedule is finalized. By TIm Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

We are now just about a month away from the 2018 Breeders Crown, to be hosted by none other than The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Excitement is definitely building for that monumental event. But that doesn't mean everything else stops. Overnight racing at Pocono continues to hurtle forward, with each new week bringing us a fresh batch of excellent performances. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the finest efforts from the past week of racing as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: MAROMA BEACH Stepping up in class is never easy to do, but that's especially true when you have reached the upper rungs on the condition ladder. At that point, taking a jump into a higher condition means you will be going up against the toughest horses on the grounds. That was the predicament that faced Maroma Beach, a four-year-old gelding trained by Ron Burke. He was coming off a victory gate to wire in his previous start on September 1 in a career-best 1:50. That was the good news. The bad news was that the earlier victory came against a $12,500 condition pacing group, and on Saturday night, the opposition would come in the form of a $17,500 class. That meant Maroma Beach skipped a class to make the move up and face that field, and that was reflected in the odds, as he went off at 13-1. Still, driver Pat Berry was aggressive, sending the gelding to the lead from an outside post and setting swift fractions. Throughout the race, Maroma Beach kept a solid advantage, preventing anyone from putting too much pressure on him. In the lane, he was able to dig in and come home strong, finishing a half-length in front of fellow long shot Seel The Deal N in 1:50.4. Maybe Maroma Beach will move up again following that second straight victory. One thing is for sure: He'll have less people doubting his ability to do it next time around. Other top pacers this week include: Persistent Threat A (George Napolitano Jr, Gilbert Garcia-Owen), who rolled to a win in a condition pace in 1:49.3, a new career-best and the fastest pacing time this week at Pocono; Bettor N Blue (Eric Carlson, Gilbert Garcia-Owen), whose victory on Saturday night in 1:51.4 was his second straight claiming handicap win at Pocono and his third straight overall; and Eclipse Me N (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who captured Tuesday night's featured condition pace for mares in 1:51. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MUSCLE DIAMOND In the $21,500 featured condition trot on Sunday night, the field was stacked. Among the entries: Fraser Ridge, winner of four consecutive races; What's The Word, a three-year-old who had barely missed behind the superstar Crystal Fashion in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships; and Dayson, who was coming off his first victory of the year and was the 8-5 betting favorite. Muscle Diamond's record was propped up by two wins at The Meadowlands, with both of his victories coming in faster times than anybody else in the field could manage. Muscle Diamond, a six-year-old stallion trained by Brett Bittle, left from post position #4 in a field of seven. He sat back in the pack early and then appeared to be content to follow cover for a while on the back stretch. But driver Tyler Buter coaxed him into action, and with a sudden burst of speed, he went three-wide around Fraser Ridge and kept right on rolling past the pacesetter Dayson. By the time the field reached the three-quarter pole, he had opened up a sizable lead. Considering the powerful late kick of Muscle Diamond, you knew that lead was going to be tough to overcome. He kept the field at bay all the way around the final turn and through the stretch, winning by three comfortable lengths over Dayson. The win proved that he could handle the 5/8-mile oval at Pocono as well as he could the one-mile jaunt at The Meadowlands. And his winning time of 1:52.2 was the fastest trotting mark of the week at Pocono. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Ostrich Blue Chip, a mare who picked up a condition win on Saturday night in a new career-best mark of 1:52.3; Sciroccco Imsosmart (Tyler Buter, John Butenschoen), who handled a tough condition group on Sunday night in 1:55.2; and Boxing Gloves (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), who stepped up in class to win his second straight condition trot on Tuesday night in 1:55.4, a new career mark. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CAJOLE HANOVER With trainer Joe Poliseno in the bike, this condition trotter opened up Sunday night's racing with a surprise at 22-1, paying off $46.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARCUS MILLER Known for coaxing home long shots at Pocono, Miller was at it again on Tuesday night, scoring with 19-1 shot Boxing Gloves among his three victories on the evening. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: GILBERT GARCIA-OWEN Garcia-Owen immediately made an impact this past week after switching to a training role, picking up three victories on the Saturday night program. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Tioga Downs played host to a leg of the Kindergarten Classic for both 2-year-old pacers and trotters on Friday (September 14). All classes raced for a purse of $10,000. Cloud Nine Fashion remains unbeaten with Kindergarten Classic win in the second division for trotting fillies. Amanda Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) led the field to a first quarter in :28.3. Jezzys Legacy (Ray Schnittker) took her turn taking the lead with a lap to go. She led them to the half in 58.4 and three-quarters in 1:26.4. Cloud Nine Fashion ($3.30) went first-over just before the three-quarter mark. Owned by Fashion Farms LLC. and trained by Jim Campbell, she took over in the stretched and won easily in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Jezzys Legacy held on for second. Amanda Blue Chip was third best. Cloud Nine Fashion is a filly by Muscle Hill-I'm On Cloud Nine. She is now a perfect five for five in her career. Starita (Tim Tetrick) wins first division of the Kindergarten Classic for trotting fillies. Princess Deo (Troy Beyer) led to a first quarter of :28.2 Starita ($3.00) took over with five-eighths of a mile left. Trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz, she controlled all the rest of the fractions (:57.4, 1:26.1 1:56.0). Second place finisher Big Weezy (David Miller) and Princess Deo (third) both came at her in the stretch but Starita was too tough. Starita is a filly by Trixton-Morningstar. She captured her third career victory in eight lifetime starts. Cub Fan (Tyler Buter) fires late to win Kindergarten Classic for pacing colts and geldings. Sweet Troy (Atlee Bender) went to the front and led to a first quarter in :28.2. Mountain High (David Miller) took control and led to a half of :58.0 and three-quarters in 1:25.4. Cub Fan ($4.40) was fourth at the top of the stretch. Owned by Michael Anderson and trained by Erv Miller, he came charging down the stretch to win in 1:54.0. Southwind Ozzi (Mike Simons) came up late to finish second. Escapetothebeach (Tim Tetrick) took third money. Cub Fan is a gelding by So Surreal-Pardon. It was his second win in five career starts. Cantab Fashion (Mike Simons) easily wins the Kindergarten Classic for trotting colts and geldings. Sheena's Boy (Ake Svanstedt) took the group to a first quarter in :28.3. Cantab Fashion ($5.80) took over and never looked back putting up all the rest of the fractions (:58.1, 1:26.0, 1:54.2). Battenberg (David Miller) finished second with entry mate Caesars Crazy (Tyler Buter) getting third. Cantab Fashion is a colt by Cantab Hall-Defiant Donato. He now has three wins in four career starts. Trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms LLC. teamed up for their second win of the night. Michelon's Filly (Marcus Miller) wins non-betting Kindergarten Classic for pacing fillies. Alkippe (Tim Tetrick) controlled all the early fractions (:27.2, :56.0 1:24.2). Michelon's Filly followed in the pocket all the way until she got to the stretch. Trained by Erv Miller for owners Ronald Michelon and Michael Anderson, she flew by in late stretch to win in a lifetime best of 1:53.0. Alkippie settled for second. Under The Hood (Tyler Buter) was third best. Michelon's Filly is a filly by Captaintreacherous-New Album. It was her third win in seven lifetime starts. Leading driver Mike Merton won four on the night to give him 65 wins on the season. He now leads by eight races with three more cards to go. Tioga Downs returns to live racing with a 13 race card on Saturday (September 15) at 6:15. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Summertime fled The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a hurry - it was 59 degrees when the races started on Saturday evening -- but the change in temperature made no difference to the American Ideal gelding Ideal Kiss, who won for the fifth time in his last six starts when he won the $20,000 claiming handicap pacing feature in 1:50.4 over "good" going. Ideal Kiss made the lead before the first turn for driver George Napolitano Jr. despite beginning from the outside post seven, "and he improved his position from there," responding to mild stretch rocking to keep pocketsitting Big N Bad at bay by 1¼ lengths at the finish. The win was the third of the night for "George Nap," giving him 16 over the last five Pocono cards, and his second of the evening teaming with trainer Hunter Oakes. Northfork Racing Stable the owner of the winner of $170,630, with almost half of that, $80,930, won in just over eight months this year. Music Is Art and JJ Flynn accounted for the $17,500 co-featured conditioned paces, though their styles of racing - and margins of victory - couldn't have been more different. First up was Music Is Art, a son of Art Major who swept four-wide on the far turn from third-over, then - aided by some tight quarters in traffic inside of him spinning for home - drew away by seven lengths in 1:52.1. The winning race favorite, who raised his earnings to $162,240, was guided by Anthony Napolitano as he won for trainer Mike Deters and owner Rick Berks. In the other division, driver Marcus Miller had the Western Ideal gelding JJ Flynn in high gear from the start, cutting all the pace then holding off pocketsitter Feeling Cam Lucky by a neck in 1:51.2. Now with a career bankroll of $326,608, JJ Flynn is trained by Josh Green, who is a co-owner of the winner with Richard Lombardo and Charles Cochran III. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, July 5, 2018 -- First-time starter Michelon's Filly stalked the leader from the pocket, then poured through the Lightning Lane to score in 1:54.4, fastest win in Thursday's $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman filly pacers was contested over three divisions, with Margret Hill and Another Beach Day taking the other splits to give Dave Palone a stake double among his four victories on the 13-race card. Mami Hanover led her field into the final turn, but when the walls started to close in, Michelon's Filly had the shortest route to the finish line, edging Typhoon by a neck. Ponder Time earned show. "She had a lot of go today, and she's pretty handy," said winning driver Marcus Miller. "I think that's her greatest strength. She's very versatile. That will help as we go through the season and the races go a little faster." Erv Miller trains the daughter of Captain Treacherous-New Album for Ronald Michelon and Michael Anderson. Margret Hill wasn't the stake's swiftest winner, but she was the most visually compelling. She spotted the 1-2 favorite, More More More, 6 lengths before overtaking her with a quick and determined uncovered move and downing her by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:56.3. Journey Of Love completed the ticket. "She was green," Palone said of the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Sarandon Blue Chip. "She had a good turn of foot, and I like the way she passed the favorite. She'll learn." Brian Brown conditions Margret Hill for owner/breeder Tom Hill. Another Beach Day wasn't on the lead at any point in her two qualifiers, but Palone put her there in her career debut. She held off the rallying Alii Nui by a head in 1:55, with Sure R Lookin Good third. "She came advertised as a good filly, but she was completely lost on the lead," Palone said. "Every time I got her attention, she swelled up for me. I think she'll be better than a stallion series filly." Mike Hall trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Another Delight and owns with David Hamm, CTC Stable and Howard Taylor. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the program features the Sand Tart, a $182,962 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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