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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Vorst was best in the $14,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the Sunday twilight harness racing card, springing a 16-1 upset while equaling her lifetime mark of 1:51.3. Its Mesmerise N made two moves to control the pace while posting early fractions of :26.4 and :56, with favored Eclipse Me N going up first-over with Vorst behind her. There was a :27 major-league duel in the third quarter, with Vorst gapping her cover a bit, but she rallied steadily while wide in the stretch and caught Eclipse Me N by a head, with six of the seven entrants within a length at the wire and the other beaten only two lengths. Marcus Miller, a three-time winner on the card, drove Vorst for owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera.   Among the four $12,000 co-features, there was a notable stretch duel between Nicholas Beach and Tito Rocks, where Nicholas Beach set the pace and then held off the charging pocketsitter by a nose in 1:50.1. The four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, who won one of two starts at two then missed all of his three-year-old season, is undefeated in six seasonal outings, with co-owner Brian Sears coming to Pocono to guide the talented pacer for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno. Also impressive in the quad-sub-features was the Kadabra sophomore filly P L Notsonice, who tucked early from her outside post, then came first-over and powered home in :55.2 to easily put away favored pacesetter Solar in 1:54. An Ontario Gold Sire Stakes winner at Rideau Carleton in 1:52.4 earlier this year, P L Notsonice is a tough customer when minding her manners for trainer Joe Skowyra and owner/driver Renaldo Morales III. Joining Marcus Miller as a three-time winner on the Sunday program was George Napolitano Jr., who arrived midcard after driving at Philly for most of the afternoon (Miller also participated early in the Philly card). Napolitano's three-bagger gives him nine at Pocono this weekend after his six Saturday afternoon, and twelve overall for Saturday-Sunday (he added a win at The Meadowlands on Saturday and two at Philly on Sunday). When racing resumes at Pocono tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., there will be a $227,633.67 carryover for the Rainbow Pick 5 bet, which requires a unique ticket containing the winner of the last five races for the big payoff. From the PHHA / The Downs

WILKES-BARRE  PA - Though there were only five starters in the $11,200 claiming handicap distaff harness racing pacing feature on Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there was plenty of speed and contentiousness before the Jereme's Jet mare Rose Run Toni claimed victory late in a lifetime best of 1:52.4. Driver Marcus Miller pointed Rose Run Toni frontward at the start, but was forced to accept the early pocket as Dancing Lisa put her in behind before a :26.2 opener. Favored Ambro Courage N was on the move as the field went by the stands, getting the lead and passing the half in a quick :54.2 before Rose Run Toni mounted a second move down the backstretch, going head-to-head with the pacesetter to a 1:23 three-quarters.   These two continued their battle through the stretch, with Dancing Lisa joining them from the inside. Despite the rough journey Rose Run Toni was able to keep going strongly for a 1½ length victory over Ambro Courage N, who photoed out Dancing Lisa for second. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera trains the 31% career winner (29 for 90) for owner/son Gilbert Garcia-Owen. The Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George Jr., accounted for half of Monday's fourteen races, with Anthony in front four times and George in three. George and Anthony are 1-2 in the current drivers dashwinning standings at The Downs. Racing at Pocono resumes Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., with a $213,734.08 carryover for the Rainbow Pick 5 bet (have a unique ticket with the winners of the last five races). From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Hightstown, NJ — Fast horses have put Marcus Melander’s career on a fast track. In late December, one year after being named the Rising Star Award winner by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, Melander was recognized as the sport’s Trainer of the Year by the same organization. The 27-year-old native of Sweden is the youngest person to ever receive the honor. The previous youngest was Mark Ford, who at the age of 30 in 2000 shared Trainer of the Year with Jimmy Takter. Marcus Melander’s stable posted 86 victories and $5.36 million in purses in 2019. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Melander’s first full season as a trainer was in 2015. He has seen his stable’s wins and purses increase every season since, reaching 86 victories and $5.36 million in 2019. His earnings last year ranked fourth among all trainers in North America despite having fewer starts (332) than any trainer in the top 17. “I’m very humbled,” Melander said. “It’s very exciting and a very big honor. It’s not that many years I’ve been a trainer, so it’s all been very fast. I have a lot of people to thank for that; the people that work for me, family, owners. “We were lucky; we had no sick horses or anything like that. We had a good year all along. We won big races, both 2- and 3-year-olds. The horses raced well all the time. They all performed.” Marcus Melander’s top horse in 2019 was Greenshoe, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Melander’s top horse in 2019 was Greenshoe, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. Greenshoe won 10 of 13 races, finished second in all three of his losses, and earned $1.27 million to top all trotters in North America. Gimpanzee finished second to Greenshoe in the Dan Patch voting. He won eight of 14 starts and $1.12 million. Melander became only the second trainer ever to have two million-dollar-earning trotters in the same division in the same season, joining Takter, who accomplished the feat in 2014 with Father Patrick and Nuncio. In addition, 3-year-old male trotter Green Manalishi S won six of 13 races and $646,838. That trio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity and Zweig Memorial (Greenshoe), Breeders Crown and Yonkers Trot (Gimpanzee) and Canadian Trotting Classic (Green Manalishi S). Greenshoe was retired to stallion duty at the end of his season. Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S will return in 2020, with Green Manalishi S expected to race in Europe after spending the winter in training with Melander. Marcus Melander with Gimpanzee, who was the Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, and has won 17 of 23 career races and $1.72 million. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Gimpanzee, who was the Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, has won 17 of 23 career races and $1.72 million. He finished last year with a fourth-place finish against older horses in the TVG Series championship at The Meadowlands. He was within 1-1/2 lengths of the top three: Six Pack, Manchego, and Guardian Angel AS. “I’m very excited he’s coming back,” Melander said. “We didn’t over-race him and I think he will be a very good older horse. In my opinion, he raced great in the TVG. With another year, he will be good. He has everything that a horse needs to be a good older horse. He’s always sound, he’s always happy, he always does his job. He never really had a bad race for us.” Among last season’s 2-year-old trotters, Hypnotic AM won the James Doherty Memorial while Capricornus, Back Of The Neck, Rome Pays Off, Hell Patrol, Expectations, Hellbent For AM S, and Hall of AM S all were Grand Circuit or state-restricted stakes winners. Hypnotic AM was her division’s New York Sire Stakes champion while Rome Pays Off was second in the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial and Capricornus was runner-up in the Wellwood Memorial. Cruzado Dela Noche, a 7-year-old stallion trotter in 2019, won the Cutler Memorial for older trotters. He will perform stallion duty in Sweden, Melander said. Anders Ström’s Courant Inc. owned or co-owned a number of the top horses in Melander’s barn, including Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, Green Manalishi S, and Hypnotic AM. Courant Inc. was named the sport’s Owner of the Year by USHWA. “We have a really good relationship,” Melander said. “I train a lot of horses for him and I’m very happy for him as well.” Melander now must put 2019 in the rear view mirror and focus on the road ahead. His stable has 43 2-year-olds and a total of 66 horses for 2020. “I’m excited to start the new season,” Melander said. “Hopefully we can match those numbers from last year, but it’s going to be tough. But we have a good staff, good owners; we’re just going to keep what we’re doing. It will be an exciting year.” by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Geez Joe was in tough in his last two races and did not fare well, but the veteran returned to his winning ways Saturday night at one of his favorite harness racing tracks, taking the $30,000 Preferred for pacers at the Meadowlands. The 5-year-old gelded son of Roll With Joe-Beach Bretta finished eighth in the Nov. 23 TVG Open Pace (won by Always A Prince) and 10th in the Oct. 26 Breeders Crown (American History), but he got back to the winner's circle Saturday by wiring a short - but talented - field of six in 1:50. Geez Joe was the 8-5 post-time favorite and driver Marcus Miller sent him to the top in :27.2. There wasn't much movement in the six-horse field and Miller was able to rate the second fraction to :28.1. The flow began to form after the half with Bettor Memories leading the train at the five-eighths, but none of the horses racing on the rim would go on to hit the board. Wheels On Fire sat the pocket throughout with Windsong Leo in the three-hole, and in deep stretch, Wheels On Fire was moving to the eventual winner along the inside while Windsong Leo rallied between rivals. At the wire, it was Geez Joe by a hard-fought neck over Wheels On Fire with Windsong Leo third. "He was super game," said Miller. Geez Joe, whose last win came at the Meadowlands on Oct. 12, returned $5.40 to his backers. The Erv Miller trainee now has 21 wins from 65 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $281,520 for owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Three of his five wins in 2019 have come at the Big M. A LITTLE MORE: The driver colony had a pair of stars: Tim Tetrick, who won four races, and Dave Miller, who recorded a natural hat trick after taking the ninth, 10th and 11th races ... A pair of winning tickets were sold in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10, with each being worth $4,678 for lasting six legs. Of those six, four were the post-time favorite. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,180,523. ... Racing resumes Thursday at 7:15 p.m. "Borrowing Ken's Binoculars" and calling the races that night will be the always entertaining Larry Lederman. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

Erv Miller liked the direction Geez Joe was heading last winter, registering four wins in a seven-race span that saw him miss the board only once, but the 5-year-old harness racing Standardbred pacer required throat surgery in January and was sidelined for more than seven months. He returned in September and looks to be rounding back into form as he heads to Saturday's $186,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at Lexington's Red Mile. Geez Joe has won two of four races since returning to action. He enters the Allerage off a 1:47.4 win in the open handicap at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Sept. 27. In his prior start, the gelding was eighth in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby but closed with the race's second-fastest final quarter-mile, :25.4, to make up six lengths and finish 3-1/2 behind winner This Is The Plan. "He's come back really good so far," said Miller, who trains Geez Joe for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. "He was in Indiana against these horses, but he really wasn't ready and he drew outside some (post seven). This will be his bigger test. Hopefully he's more ready for them this time." Geez Joe, by Roll With Joe out of Beach Bretta, has won 19 of 59 career races and earned $242,978. "We always liked him," Miller said. "He's just a really big horse and had to catch up to himself. He's starting to show that. He's always showed good speed, he just had some aches and pains from being a big guy there early on. He's starting to put it together as an older horse. It just took him a while to get there." Geez Joe will start the Allerage from post six with driver Marcus Miller and is 12-1 on the morning line. "He's pretty versatile," Miller said. "You can leave and put him in a race, or he can come from out of it. That's what I like most about him. "If he races well this week, we'll probably keep on going," the trainer added about a possible trip to the Breeders Crown later this month. McWicked is the 5-2 favorite in the Allerage pace. He won the Ewart Memorial on Sept. 7 at Scioto Downs and heads to Saturday's start off a second-place finish behind Jimmy Freight in the Dayton Pacing Derby. He was sixth in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Saturday's card at Red Mile also includes the $145,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot, $216,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers, and four divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Lindy The Great, fresh off his victory in the Caesars Trotting Classic, which is part of a five-race win streak, is the 2-1 favorite in the Allerage trot. He will start from post two with Louis Roy driving for trainer Domenico Cecere. Warrawee Ubeaut, making her first start since winning the Jugette on Sept. 18, is the 7-5 favorite in the Glen Garnsey. She will start from post three with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA      

CHESTER, PA - A pair of $16,000 trotting features at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday afternoon saw the harness racing winners use front-end tactics to produce successful efforts. In the first, driver Marcus Miller got the Muscle Hill ridgling Boxing Gloves to the lead in :28.4, then got little resistance to his authority, resting to the :59 half and still only having to go to the three-quarters in 1:28 as the first-over favorite Miss You Kelly could make little impression. Boxing Gloves was thus left to sprint home in :28.2 to complete a 1:56.2 package, 1¼ lengths ahead of pocketsitting Choco Charlie for trainer Erv Miller and owner Silver Linden Farms. While Smooth Acceleration's victory also came from a pacesetting strategy, the course of the race was very different. Tony Morgan moved from third with the favored Swan For All sophomore gelding passing the :28.1 quarter, and as soon as he reached the top he came under pressure from Trixar, who had followed his move outside. Middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.3 resulted, but Smooth Acceleration stood tall when put to the test, finishing 4¼ lengths ahead of Trixar while taking a lifetime best of 1:54.2 for trainer Jenny Melander and the ownership of Melander Racing Inc. and Clark Stables LLC. Fast-class pacing mares went postward in a $12,500 contest, where second choice Believe In Me rallied up the inside to just catch the chalk pacesetter Zoe Ellasen in 1:51.2, equaling the mark she had earned at Philly both last year and this. Pat Berry was in the sulky for driver Brett Pelling and owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Vernon Downs played host to three harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Friday (August 30). Hidden Cove (Marcus Miller) wins the $34,866 first division of the NYSS. Cash Roll (Jim Morrill Jr.) went to the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :27.2. Hidden Cove ($9.20) took over the lead as they went around the first turn. She led to the half in :57.3. As they headed for the final turn JK Finendandy came first-over and battled Hidden Cove all around the turn. Hidden Cove led to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Hidden Cove, who is owned by trainer Erv Miller, George Golemes, D R Van Witzenburg, and Louis WIllinger, led as they made the turn for home. Second place finisher JK Finendandy gave one last run at Hidden Cove but Hidden Cove dug in and won in a lifetime best of 1:52.4. Fashion Hill (Tyler Buter) came charging late to finish third. Hidden cove is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Sun N Sand. It was her second win in eight career starts. Coconut Beach (Markus Miller) is upset winner in the $34,866 second division. Hen Party (Matt Kakaley) went striaght to the lead hitting the first quarter in :27.1. She hit the half first in :56.4. Tipperary Hill (John MacDonald) pressured her around the last turn. Hen Party still led to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Coconut Beach ($45.80), who is owned by Happy Hour Racing and trained by Erv Miller, sat patiently in the pocket. She pulled out of the pocket in mid-stretch and blew right by to win her first career race in 1:54.0. Roll With Angel (Scott Zeron) came up to finish second. Han Party held on to finish third. Coconut Beach is a 2-year-old filly by Art Major-Gold Beach. Trainer Erv Miller and driver Marcus Miller combined to win two of the three division of the NYSS. Merga Hanover (Matt Kakaley) captures the $35,566 third division. The Fun Marshall (Scott Zeron) took them to a first quarter of :27.1. Merga Hanover ($2.90) used a brush to go from fourth to first. She led to the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Merga Hanover, who is trianed by Ron Burke for owners Joe Sbrocco, W J Donovan, Thomas and Scott Dillon, led as they made the turn for home. The Fun Marshall went all out in the stretch but Merga Hanover was too strong as she won in a career best of 1:53.1. The Fun Marshall had to settle for second money with Bolt Of Beauty (Marcus Milller) finishing third. Merga Hanover is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Magic Starlight. It was her sixth win in seven career starts. Matt Kakaley drove four winners on the night. His other wins came with Cloud Nine Fashion ($3.20), Lookatmyart ($3.80), and Dee Dee Kay ($4.10). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 31) with an 11 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs  

New York Sire Stakes were featured on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as three year old colt and gelding trotters took center stage. There were two harness racing divisions for sophomore trotters that each went for a purse of $90,050. Drawing the outside post is usually a big time hazard but on Saturday night, both Sire Stakes winners drew post eight for their tries going for the big bucks. Erv Miller's Livinonthedash (Muscle Mass-Sunshine Glide-Master Glide) had one rival scratched so he ultimately started from post seven. The talented trotter came from well off the pace to win his previous start at Yonkers and got away last in his Saratoga debut on Saturday. Patient Marcus Miller piloting paid off and the super-sophomore came charging hard in the stretch to complete his last-to-first move, stopping the timer in 1:55.4 to be the fastest of the stakes winners on the card. Livinonthedash's victory was his eighth in thirteen starts in 2019 and boosted his seasonal earnings to over the $170,000 mark. Winnerup (Trond Smedshammer) was a strong second to Livinonthedash while longshot Travel Winner (Jay Randall) earned the show spot. Livinonthedash paid $6.80 to win as he overcame his outside post to prevail for the third time in his last four NYSS starts. The other division saw Lucky Weekend (Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation-Conway Hall) draw post eight. Unlike Livinonthedash, Lucky Weekend did not have the benefit of a scratch in his race but did utilize his early speed to surge out to the lead with reinsman Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. The Christopher Lakata trainee had hit the board in his three previous starts in the NYSS but had yet to win a stakes race heading into Saturday's try from post eight. After setting a sensible pace on the engine, Lucky Weekend was confronted by rival Powerscourt (Mickey McGivern) who headed the leader around the final turn and battled him every step of the way in the stretch. Lucky Weekend proved too tough and dug in to win in 1:57.2. Powerscourt was a strong second while Captain Krupnik (Jay Randall) finished third. Lucky Weekend paid $13.80 to win in the mild upset. Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. The evening will have a $998 carryover to the Pick Five pool with that wager beginning in the first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Royal Millennium gelding Prairie Panther worked out a second-over trip from second-last, then pounced on the leaders through the lane to record a 1:50 victory in a $30,000 event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for fast-class pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Marcus Miller followed the cover of Proper One with the winner as favored Western Fame, who had taken the lead after a :26 opener, posted middle splits of :54.4 and 1:22. When the first-over faltered on the turn, Miller swung Prairie Panther wide, and he finished in overdrive to defeat Scott Rocks, who had utilized the Pocono Pike, by a half-length, with Western Fame third and series pointleader Tiger Thompson N fourth. Michael Deters, co-owner with Laurie Lee Poulin, trains the winner of more than half (31 for 61) of his lifetime starts. This was the first seasonal GNOS outing for Prairie Panther, but the points he won tonight, combined with a couple more high finishes before the GNOS prelims end the weekend of September 1, could get him a ranking high enough to qualify for the $100,000 GNOS divisional Championship at 1¼ miles here on Monday, September 9. Benji's Best ran his winning streak to three, and stopped Atta Boy Dan's at five, in grinding past the pacesetting favorite while equaling his lifetime mark of 1:50 in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace. The Roll With Joe gelding stepped up to the top local claiming level here and was a 1¼ length winner for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Daniel Maier, the latter co-owner with Ameer Najor. After being claimed three straight races, Benji's Best will remain with Team Maier/Najor another week. Though defeated on Saturday, Atta Boy Dan retained his popularity at the claiming box, being taken for $40,000 for his eighth straight start, for a track record $40,000 the ninth time during the meet, and bought for a tag in eleven of his twelve starts since coming in from The Meadows. He now goes to the barn of trainer Antonia Storer for the third time this meet. Rock The Town, who finished third in the co-feature and who had been claimed for $40,000 in his last six races, gets to stay with trainer Pierre Paradis and owner Karen Taylor another week. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Harness racing driver Marcus Miller was on fire at the Meadowlands on June 29, driving five winners on the 14-race card. Miller began his big night in the second race by guiding 4-5 favorite All It Takes to a 1:52 score in a non-winners of $3,500 for pacers. He then reeled off three straight wins, beginning in race seven. First was Rocks Noble Artist as the 5-2 second choice in 1:52.1 in a TrackMaster rating Dash for the “G” Notes Final pace, followed by 7-2 third choice Sams A Champ A in a non-winners of $6,000 pace in 1:50, and then 6-5 favorite Music Is Art in a non-winners of $9,000 on the pace, also in 1:50. Miller capped his big night in race 13 by scoring with Daylyn Horizon as the 5-2 second choice in a $7,500 up to $10,000 claiming handicap for pacers in 1:52.3. The 30-year-old pilot came close to having a half-dozen winners, but lost race 10 by the smallest of margins, missing by a nose with the classy Sweet Rock in a non-winners of $17,500 pace to Ideal Feeling, who just held on in 1:49. Miller now has 36 winners at the meeting, good for sixth in the Meadowlands’ driver standings. On June 28 Caviart Ally, Always A Prince and The Downtown Bus all established lifetime bests while Always A Prince went one step further, going a Meadowlands’ season’s-fastest 1:47.3 at the Big M. Caviart Ally equaled her lifetime-best of 1:48.3 in the final leg of the Rainbow Blue Series for mare pacers and was even faster a week later, stopping the clock in 1:48 in the series' final. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Allamerican Cool stayed perfect in four Meadowlands starts this year by clearing to the lead before the half, hitting three-quarters in 1:22.2, then exploding home in :25.3 to seal the deal for driver Andy McCarthy. Apple Bottom Jeans completed the $4.20 Exacta, finishing 2 lengths behind the winner. Bettor’s Up was third. The Brett Pelling-trained Caviart Ally returned $2.40 to win, and now has 20 victories in 61 starts, good for earnings of just a hair under $1.3 million. “She was great tonight,” said McCarthy. “I think Brett has got her spot-on at the moment. She was very straight and focused on her job. I’m extremely happy and excited going forward.” In the first of two divisions of the fourth and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-olds on the pace, Always A Prince went first-over for most of the final half-mile, grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch and held off the late-rallying 4-5 favorite Jimmy Freight — who was raging along the inside — by a head. American History, who was towed into contention by the eventual winner, settled for third. Always A Prince, who returned $9.40 as the second choice in the wagering, is a son of Always A Virgin-Glorious Princess who was driven by Dave Miller. The Tyler George trainee now has 21 wins from just 29 lifetime starts and has banked almost $550,000. “Not at all,” said Miller if he was surprised at how good his horse was. “I knew what he was capable of. He raced great and went a big mile.” The Downtown Bus sat a three-hole trip to score in the other Graduate division in 1:48. Shadow Cat cut out sizzling fractions of :25.4, :54.1 and 1:21.3 but stopped in the stretch, allowing the pocket-sitting 4-5 favorite Courtly Choice the opportunity to go on to what appeared to be an easy win, but Tim Tetrick put The Downtown Bus right behind Courtly Choice as that one vacated the pocket on the far turn, then ducked to the inside with an eighth of a mile to go before using some explosive pace on the way to an easy 2½-length score. Rock Lights was third. A son of Mach Three-Slimsplace, The Downtown Bus is trained by Jeffrey Gillis and paid $8.00 as the second choice in the betting. He now has 15 lifetime wins from 46 starts and earnings of $414,505. “On the middle of the last turn my horse felt great,” said Tetrick. “’The Bus’ is just a cool little horse.” After The Downtown Bus hit the wire, the Meadowlands became the first track in the sport this year to have three miles of 1:48 or faster on a single race card. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono: Hannelore Hanover Wins 44th WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year, got career victory No. 44 on June 29 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when she powered to a 1:52.2 win over a track labeled “good” in a $75,000 leg of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters. Rich And Miserable was second and Tight Lines was third. Rich And Miserable, who entered the contest with a six-race win streak, took the lead on the first turn but driver Yannick Gingras pointed Hannelore Hanover to the front after the field reached the opening quarter in :27.2. Hannelore Hanover was on top at the half and unthreatened the rest of the way, besting Rich And Miserable by 1-3/4 lengths at the wire. A 7-year-old mare, Hannelore Hanover has won two of four races this season and 44 of 75 in her career. The Ron Burke-trained daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety has earned $2.89 million lifetime. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. Hannelore Hanover, the 2-5 favorite, paid $2.80 to win. Stephen ‘You’re Never Too’ Oldford Wins Meadows Billings Leg WASHINGTON, Pa. — Trailing by 4-1/2 lengths and wide at the half, Stephen “You’re Never Too” Oldford and Utopia tracked down the leader in the shadow of the wire and captured Friday’s $10,000 leg of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Trot at The Meadows. Alesha “The Hoosier Hotshot” Binkley and Hititoutofthepark vaulted to the front from post 5 and, despite constant pressure, opened a daylight lead turning for home. But Oldford and Utopia gobbled up ground in the lane and downed Binkley by a head in 1:57. Tom “Mayhem” Svrcek (Ubanji) and Michelle “The Belle” Ruvola (Jackie Goldstein) rounded out the superfecta. Terry Deters trains Utopia, an 8-year-old Mutineer-Brontease gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $238,495, for Oldford Racing LLC. By TAPINTO HORSES STAFF Reprinted with permission of Tapinto

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing driver Marcus Miller was on fire at the Meadowlands Saturday night, driving five winners on the 14-race card. Miller began his big night in the second race by guiding 4-5 favorite All It Takes to a 1:52 score in a non-winners of $3,500 for pacers. He then reeled off three straight wins, beginning in race seven. First was Rocks Noble Artist as the 5-2 second choice in 1:52.1 in a TrackMaster rating Dash for the "G" Notes Final pace, followed by 7-2 third choice Sams A Champ A in a non-winners of $6,000 pace in 1:50, and then 6-5 favorite Music Is Art in a non-winners of $9,000 on the pace, also in 1:50. Miller capped his big night in race 13 by scoring with Daylyn Horizon as the 5-2 second choice in a $7,500 up to $10,000 claiming handicap for pacers in 1:52.3. The 30-year-old pilot came close to having a half-dozen winners, but lost race 10 by the smallest of margins, missing by a nose with the classy Sweet Rock in a non-winners of $17,500 pace to Ideal Feeling, who just held on in 1:49. Miller now has 36 winners at the meeting, good for sixth in the Meadowlands' driver standings. A LITTLE MORE: Greg Merton had a driving double on the card while trainer Edgar Clarke also won twice. ... Despite a sequence that saw one odds-on favorite and no horse longer than 5-1, the 50-Cent Pick-5 returned $650.00. ... The fifth race 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $118,780. ... All-source handle totaled $2,599,180. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. ... Next Saturday (July 6), post time will be 6:35 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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  

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