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WILKES-BARRE PA - Limelight Beach, the 2014 Little Brown Jug winner, held off a determined railshooting Katies Rocker to take the $20,000 featured harness racing conditioned pace Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:51.1. Matt Kakaley left strongly with the gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere but still had to race two-wide to get around Dreams Beachboy at the 26.2 quarter. Limelight Beach posted middle fractions of 55 and 1:22.4, had put away a strong first-over bid by Major Uptrend, and was able to get some separation from Dreams Beachboy, but in midstretch Katies Rocker, who had raced third-inside, shot to the deep Pocono Pike and gained rapidly, with Kakaley urging his charge on and withstanding that one by a half-length, with Theartofconfusion A coming from far back to edge Dreams Beachboy for third. The victory was the third in the last four starts for the lifetime winner of $1,175,699 - he had taken his previous start at Batavia on the Kane Pace undercard, with the feature taken by his Ron Burke stablemate Foiled Again. Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable LLC, and the Wingfield Brothers LLC are the "Superfecta LLC" owners. Rockin Rambaran won his fourth straight race when he took the $18,000 high-end claiming pace by two lengths in 1:51.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Richard Banca, and the P T Stable. But "P T," who had claimed the pacer for $25,000 out of his last start, will (at least for now) have to settle for a "$9000 minus a week's training fees" profit from the horse, as he was taken Saturday right back by the Chris Oakes stable. PHHA / Pocono  

CHESTER PA - Before Sunday's $100,000 "Summer Sizzle Drivers Challenge" Championship at Harrah's Philadelphia, there were two simulations run of the eight-race harness racing contest, conducted among the eight busiest drivers during the summer at the two tracks of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association and with the top driver receiving a bounty of $40,000. Both projections had 28-year-old Matt Kakaley ahead after the third race, and indeed with two wins and a second in the opening trio of races, Kakaley was on top.   Where Kakaley might have problems, the projections said, would likely come after the third race, where Matt was scheduled to drive horses 20-1, 20-1, 8-1, 20-1, and 7-1 on the morning line, with none of this quintet rated to get a check by the early odds. And it was in these latter five contests that Kakaley really won the Challenge, as he finished third twice, fourth twice, and once fifth - remember, in races where he was not projected to get a check - adding valuable points to his commanding early lead and coming home a relatively easy winner.   Within a 35-25-15-10-8-5-4-2 (7 for scratch) pointsystem, Kakaley finished with 153 points, well clear of the only other driver to win twice in the contest, George Napolitano Jr., at 129. (Matt and GNap had one other thing in common: in each race, one driver was able to pick the horse he wanted to drive, with the first pick going to highest summerlong pointearner Napolitano and then down the line, and he and Kakaley, who had sixth selection, were the only drivers to win with the horse they picked, although in fairness we mention Andrew McCarthy's pick was scratched.)   The other drivers in final order were Tony Morgan (112 points and the only other "lap leader" besides winner Kakaley, as he won the initial race of the contest), Marcus Miller (104), Simon Allard (97), Corey Callahan (92), Pat Berry (91), and Andrew McCarthy (58). The tone of the contest was consistent - all-out - from the first ten seconds of the first race, where four drivers were rocking and urging their horses leaving (watch the replay), to the very end, where there was a photo needed to decide both second and fourth.   Besides the drivers, other horsemen was also rewarded for their efforts in staging the contest - all eight races used carried purses 20% higher than normal, and the horses who finished sixth through last brought home a $300 check. And all at the track were thrilled with the generally go-go-go, no-quarter-given racing - and watching Matt Kakaley earn his Drivers Challenge Championship with intelligent handling of his latter-race longshots, taking advantage of every opportunity (Kakaley noticed early on that horses wide at the ¾ and through the far turn were not faring well with a strong stretch headwind, so he raced "tucked in" much of the day then came along the inside) with his longshot legion to protect his early cushion and earn the "bragging rights' of the Championship.   Also raced Sunday at Harrah's were three divisions of three-year-old pacing colts going for $35,000 in the Liberty Bell stakes series, a PA-sired set of eight races, one per stakes division, to be held over the next two weeks, akin to Pocono's PA All-Stars and The Meadows' Keystone Classics. Home first in those contests were Another Daily Copy, a Somebeachsomewhere colt guided by Tony Hall to victory in 1:52.3 for trainer Nicholas Devita and owner Carl Sackheim; the McArdle colt Sam McSmith, who lowered his mark to 1:52.2 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Tony Alagna, and the partnership of Andray Farm and David J. Miller; and the Western Ideal gelding Ideal Jimmy, last year's 2YO PA Sire Stakes champion, who finally got his first win of 2016 by scoring in 1:53 for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Erv Miller, and owner D. R. Van Witzenburg.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - The old adage has it that "I'd rather be lucky than smart," but it's better still when you're lucky AND smart - as was harness racing driver Matt Kakaley, who guided the American Ideal mare Scandalicious to a 1:51.3 in the $14,000 high-level conditioned pace for mares Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Kakaley and Scandalicious, leaving from post two, were third-inside during contentious early fractions of 26.1 and 55, and things did not look good when Twin B Elite roared up three-wide down the backstretch to take on the softened front end, crossing down to two-wide and keeping Scandilicious pinned in before the parked horse had backed off. But the horse following Twin B Elite's cover could not keep up late on the backstretch, so Kakaley deftly moved Scandalicious to the outside at the ¾, and the career winner of $336,813 took it from there, drawing off to a 2¼ length victory for trainer Scott Di Domenico and owners JFE Enterprises LLC.   In the card's opener, the Western Terror sophomore filly Lindy's Nightmare ran her career record to 5 wins in 6 starts with a 1:52.4 victory in a $16,000 "nw 5 races" pace. But the victory for the 1-10* filly, who broke in her debut and since has been perfect, including winning the Town Pro Series Final at Mohawk, was very far from as easy as her backing might suggest - Brett Miller had to circle cover and come from fifth at the stretch call, and third 50 feet from the wire, to earn the neck decision for trainer Frank Antonacci and owner/breeder Lindy Farms of Connecticut.   Lindy's Nightmare had over $6600 of a $9500 win pool on her nose; in contrast, second race winner Keystone Tempo had only slightly more than $100 bet on her to win when she took an upset victory in the second half of the Early Double. Pocono's "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, came first-over in the latter stages with his Cantab Hall mare to win in 1:56.1 and pay $77.20 for a $2 win wager. Double players fancied Keystone Tempo more than win wagerers did - the Early Double with Lindy's Nightmare on top returned $68.40.   PHHA / Pocono  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 23, 2016 -- Racing Hill, the 1-5 favorite, overpowered the field as he captured his elimination in the 50th edition of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:49.1, while Manhattan Beach found late racing room to take Saturday's other $25,000 harness racing elimination at The Meadows. Those two will be joined in next Saturday afternoon's $400,000 Adios final by Check Six, Lyons Snyder, More Dragon, Fernando Hanover, Another Daily Copy, American Passport and Big Top Hanover. Big Top Hanover earned his berth in the field of nine as the fifth place finisher with higher career earnings. Five of the six entrants trained by Ron Burke made it through to the final. The draw for Adios post positions is set for Tuesday at 12:30 PM and can be seen on Meadows Live! The connections of Racing Hill and Manhattan Beach will choose their post positions, with the others drawn randomly. Racing Hill boasted the strongest credentials in the field, having won the final of the $500,000 Hempt Memorial and finishing second in the Meadowlands Pace and the final of the North America Cup--each of those a $1 million event. If that grueling schedule of five tough races in little more than six weeks took anything out of him, it wasn't evident in his Adios elimination. The son of Roll With Joe-Chasing Ideals made the front with an extended quarter pole move for Brett Miller and thwarted the first-over challenge of Pick Six to down him by 3/4 lengths. Early leader Lyons Snyder finished third. "He's just ultra-sharp," said Tony Alagna, who trains Racing Hill for owner/breeder Tom Hill. "He felt so good coming out of the Meadowlands Pace--he was so fresh and jogged great--that I felt good about bringing him here. "If the final had been an open draw, I probably would have preferred that he sit in so we could make the final. But with the new format this year, it's important that you get to pick your post--especially with a bunch of Burke horses making the final. You don't want to draw the 9 hole against a big entry." The victory pushed Racing Hill's lifetime bankroll over $770,000. Manhattan Beach saved ground for most of the mile before Matt Kakaley sent him through a seam in mid-stretch. He held off the Lightning Lane charge of his stablemate, Fernando Hanover, to defeat him by a neck in 1:50.2, a career best. Another Daily Copy, who fronted the mile, saved show. Kakaley said he wasn't worried about being pinned late. "If I'd had to wait for the passing lane, he'd have got through," he said. "There was no worry there. He raced really good in the Meadowlands Pace, and he raced good today. He was sneaky good a few starts before the North America Cup. Hopefully he brings his 'A' game next week." Burke conditions Manhattan Beach, a Somebeachsomewhere-Benear gelding who soared over $200,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Geoffrey Lyons Mound and Wingfield Brothers. As thoughts turned to Tuesday's draw for post positions, both camps seemed to be heading in the same direction. "The inside here is tough to get off," Miller said. "I got away fourth today from the rail, and I was leaving just about as hard as I could. I could live with post 3, but I think I'd rather have post 4, right around there." Kakaley's reasoning was similar. "I don't want the 1 or 2 hole ," he said. "Probably 3 or 4." Evan Pattak

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Buffalo Raceway kicks off its final week of the 2016 harness racing season on Wednesday night (July 20) with the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers ready to clash in three $36,566 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes.   Trainer Ron Burke is bringing in four promising youngsters and they all have been tabbed the morning line favorite in their respective divisions. He's bringing in Rock It Scott, Major Key, Miso Fast and Offdahook Bluechip to the Hamburg half-mile oval for the event.   With 10 track records either tied or broken this season at Buffalo Raceway, the standard for the 2-year-old colt and geldings is on the line. He's Watching holds the colt mark of 1:55.4 established in 2013 while Roadside Delight has the gelding mark of 1:56.3 set in 2010.   In the first division, Burke has an entry of Rock It Scott (Roll With Joe-Vanite Semalu) and Major Key (Art Major-Capri Hanover).They are the 2-1 top choice.   Matt Kakaley gets the call aboard Rock It Scott who easily wired the field at Saratoga on July 8 in the Sire Stakes. Starting from the rail, Rock It Scott won by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54.3. They'll get the inside post once again in hopes of an instant replay.   Kevin Cummings will be behind Major Key who was seventh in his only start of his career after drawing the seven post. Major Key will get a better starting position this week as he got the four slot.   The main competition could come from Windsong Napoleon (Art Major-Bunny Dearest) with Jody Jamieson in the bike. Windsong Napoleon lost by a neck in 1:53.1 on July 11 at Mohawk Raceway. The Carl Jamieson-trained colt will start from the five post.   In the second leg, Miso Fast (Roll With Joe-Sakura Hanover) headlines the field after burying the field on July 8 in the Sire Stakes at Saratoga Raceway. He posted an impressive 3-1/2 length decision in 1:54.3. Kakaley will steer Miso Fast, the 8-5 morning line choice, from the six spot.   Leading driver at Buffalo Raceway Jim Morrill Jr. will try and contend with Outkast Blue Chip (Rock N Roll Hanover-Armbro Savannah). In his career debut, Outkast Blue Chip started from the seven position and managed to work out a fourth place finish. They'll try their luck from the three hole this time around.   The final division finds Offdahook Bluechip the 5-2 choice after a fast closing second place finish to Music In Art on July 8 at Saratoga. Starting from the three post with Kakaley in the sulky on Wednesday, Offdahook Hanover (American Ideal-Stefani Blue Chip) should be loving the long stretch at Buffalo Raceway.   Zampara put in a stellar performance in a $15,000 Excelsior A Series event at Saratoga on July 8 with a wire-to-wire victory in 1:54.3. Pat Lachance will guide Zampara (American Ideal-Valobesta) from the inside post and could be tough from the pylons.   Outrajus Blue Chip had tough luck in his career debut. He was interfered with at the start and lost all hope but finished sixth after trailing by more than 14 lengths. Morrill Jr. will drive Outrajus Blue for trainer Aaron Lambert.   There will also be three $15,000 Excelsior A Series races and two $6,500 contests in the Excelsior B Series on the card.   The Claiming Championship finals will also be contested. The first bracket is for filly and mare pacers ($8,000-$12,500 claiming price) who will tangle for the $14,800 purse while the other final features the filly and mare pacers ($4,000-$7,000 claiming price) who will go for $10,000.   The 12-race program gets underway at 5 p.m.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The fastest mile for 2 year old trotting fillies at Monticello Raceway on Tuesday afternoon belonged to Mamora Bay, it was also Matt Kakaleys second win on the afternoon card. The betting favorite Mamora Bay (PP2) sat 3rd for most of the mile as she followed Hotel Royale and Shes Smoke, the filly was gaining maturity and momentum with every step, nearing the 5/8 mile marker she was out and it was a 2 horse race between Mamora Bay and Hotel Royale as the 2 opened up on the rest and trotted in tandem down the lane, Mamora Bay scored in 2:00.1, the fastest mile of the day for 2 year old filly trotters In the winners circle, Matt Kakaley told trainer Sam Schillaci "I really like her, she can move!" Schillaci responded with "I liked the filly all winter" She trotted her last quarter in 29.1 The Chapter Seven filly is owned by Peter Barbato of Demarest NJ., and earned her first Sire Stake Blanket of her juvenile career. In race 2, first heat of the $21,800 Sire Stakes, Sunshine Delight and John Campbell cut the entire mile, at the 5/8 marker Matt Kakaley was sitting 3rd tipped his mount Heels on Wheels to the outside, the filly was in cruise control and she eventually wore down Sunshine Delight to prevail in a neck victory. The Conway Hall - Go Go Dancer filly stopped the timer in 2:01, for trainer Ron Burke. She is now 2 for 2 in NYSS Company, the betting public favorite returned $3.20 Monticello Raceways leading driver Bruce Aldrich teamed up with Mighty Surf from the rail in the 4th, as the gate left Dazzlash took the lead and remained on the front for the first ¾, Mighty Surf was tracking in the 2 hole, Aldrich tipped his filly to the outside and she had the lead and 6 lengths in the blink of an eye. The Prayer I Am filly tripped the teletimer in 2:01, she is owned by Roy Dobbins and is trained by Dennis Larterza. In race 5 Dan Daley and Cherry Royal Ruby left hardest from the gate followed by Maewgonow, Cherry Royal Ruby took them past the ¼ in 29.3, as soon as they hit that marker Maewgonow and Marcus Miller took the lead, they passed the half in 1:01.1. Past the half Scarey Karie (Conway Hall - Alabama Hotel) was flushed out without cover and was forced to take the overland route down the backstretch, still first over at the ¾ she trotted in tandem with Maewegonow down the stretch to prevail in a gritty m win in 2:01 for Trainer Driver Phil Fluet and owner Michael Woodward of Oakfield NY. The last Sire Stake event came in the afternoons last race, by the time the 7 horse field came out of the first turn, all made breaks except Flyhawk Charm, and the daughter of Deweucheatumnhowe used this to her advantage and kept as much distance between her and the rest of the bunch to win in 2:03. Chris Lems drove the filly for owner - trainer Joseph Flynn In one of the Excelsior A division's Teasin N Pleasin and Larry "The Bomber" Stalbaum almost blew up the tote board, the longest shot in the field returned $79.00 to her backers. Former 1970's leading Monticello driver Thomas Corelli trains the daughter of CR Excalibur. In other Excelsior action, the winners were Eternal Flame AS (Archangel) 2:05 - $18.40, Mighty Surf (Prayer I Am) 2:01 - $5.80, Sevally (Conway Hall) 2:03.4 - $14.40 and Seven Diamonds (Chapter Seven) 2:05.1 - $9.50 by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Matt Kakaley knows there are harness racing fans that respect and appreciate All Bets Off and what the pacer has accomplished in his career. Still, he would like to see that group grow in numbers. He hopes to create some new followers on Sunday when he drives All Bets Off in the $179,000 Roll With Joe Stakes at Tioga Downs. All Bets Off, a multiple-stakes-winner of $1.86 million in lifetime purses, will start the Roll With Joe from post No. 1 as part of a four-horse entry from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. "I love that horse," Kakaley said. "You hear about all the big horses that they talk about in the older division this year, and how great it's going to be, and his name never gets brought up. I don't think that's fair to the horse because he deserves it. He's raced good every start this year. I think everyone kind of figures he's a little track horse, but I think he deserves a mention with those top free-for-allers. "There are some people that give him some recognition, but I think he'll win a couple big ones this year and set the record straight." Kakaley has driven All Bets Off for the majority of his career and won a number of top stakes with the now 5-year-old stallion. All Bets Off's list of victories include the 2013 Matron, 2014 Messenger, Milstein Memorial, and Art Rooney, and the 2015 Confederation Cup and Prix d'Ete. This year, All Bets Off has won three of 11 races and hit the board a total of nine times. He finished second from post eight in the Battle of Lake Erie, losing to 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, and second in the Levy Series championship to New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Bit Of A Legend are the two top-ranked horses in the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. In addition, All Bets Off was a troubled-trip fourth in the Molson Pace, where he was beaten by 1-1/2 lengths despite a :26.3 last quarter-mile. "He's been big for me," Kakaley said. "I've won a lot of big races with him and he's put me in the national spotlight. He's given me some thrills, that's for sure. He's special to me." One of All Bets Off's best efforts this season came over a sloppy track in an upper-level conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. All Bets Off was last at the halfway point before launching a three-wide move on the final turn and getting to the front by mid-stretch. He won by 2-1/4 lengths over Bigtown Hero in 1:50.2 on May 14. "Just the way he did it and the way he felt that night, I knew he was getting sharp," Kakaley said. "You don't win from fourth over at Pocono, three wide on the last turn, against those horses. It just doesn't happen. "I think he's in career form right now and that start kind of proved it to me, how good he is. He was ready to get going and take on the big dogs, I think. He's just a handy little horse and I can do anything I want with him." All Bets Off and entry mates Take It Back Terry, Limelight Beach, and Always At My Place are 8-5 on the morning line for the Roll With Joe. The field also includes Rockeyed Optimist, State Treasurer, and McWicked. A son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope, All Bets Off is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and The Panhellenic Stable Corp. "He's been super," Kakaley said about All Bets Off. "I'm looking forward to him being good again Sunday." by Ken Weingartner

WILKES-BARRE PA - Only one Harness Racing trainer at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has sent out more than one winner paying $50 or more this season. Can you guess who it is? Here's a hint: The $57 winner he conditioned to victory in Saturday night's $25,000 featured pace at The Downs was his 5951st successful trainee this decade.   For the third time this year trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley posted a big upset at the mountain oval, the one Saturday coming with Allbeef N Nobull in 1:49.2, a lifetime best for the McArdle gelding who started his career at the Martinsville IL Fair and over the last two years has built his bankroll to $247,382.   Odds-on favorite Luck Be Withyou hustled away to the lead, with McArdles Lightning keeping the hole closed behind him, forcing Mach It So to be parked at the 25.4 quarter and almost to the 3/8 for command, whereupon Luck Be Withyou retook the top by the 54 half. McArdle's Lightning then entered the fray and went head-to-head with the leader down the backstretch, the two virtually inseparable at the 1:20.4 3/4s.   Kakaley and Allbeef N Nobull were perfectly positioned in fourth behind the breakneck pace, and they tipped outside midway on the far turn and three-wide headstretch. The withering numbers took their toll on the frontrunners, and Allbeef N No Bull was able to pace by late and win by ¾ of a length. Mach It So came back on in the Pocono Pike for second, with Luck Be Withyou just a neck behind him in third.   The winner has now won four of his last six starts for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Donald Emond, Howard Taylor, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. As for driver Kakaley, his third bomber ties him with Anthony Napolitano atop the Downs' stat sheet in that category.   PHHA / Pocono      

2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach gained from the pocket into a 27 last quarter to outblast pacesetting Cooperstown home by a head in taking the $20,000 featured pace Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:49.4. (Which after its tenth race slotting was only the co-fourth-fastest mile of the night at The Downs, but more on that in a minute.)   Matt Kakaley settled the Somebeachsomewhere gelding in the pocket early as Cooperstown insured the early leader with a 26.1 first quarter; then, after favored Bigtown Hero made an uncharacteristic break in front of the stands, Cooperstown was rated by Anthony Napolitano to a "walking-horse" half of 55.3.   The tempo increased down the backstretch to 1:22.4 to the 3/4s, with Limelight Beach "helmetbumping" Napolitano, as Anthony and Cooperstown used the first-over Romeo Rodeo as a "blocker," the scene looking like old-time pre-passing lane half-mile track racing as Cooperstown was under a stranglehold around the turn, keeping the raging Limelight Beach locked in as long as he could. "ANap" turned Cooperstown loose at the head of the stretch, hoping he had gotten enough of a jump on his rival, but Limelight Beach had a final 1/8 of not much more than 13 in him and caught the pacesetter by a head.   It was the first victory of the year for Limelight Beach, but the year had not been unproductive for the five-year-old before this race, as he had eight board finishes to his credit. Ron Burke trains the Alberta-bred winner of $1,113,766 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable LLC, and Wingfield Brothers LLC. A final note to the race is that Limelight Beach paid $6.80 to win and was the third choice - Bigtown Hero was 1.60-1 and Cooperstown 2.20-1.   As mentioned earlier, 1:50 was being beaten with regularity during the warm night at The Downs, including the posting of (at press time) the fastest clocking in North American harness racing so far in 2016, a 1:48 wire-to-wire victory by the veteran Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks in an $18,000 supporting event. George Napolitano had the pedal to the metal with the winner of $397,425, posting splits of 26, 53.4, and 1:20.3 en route to the season's record mile for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey.   Not that any sub-1:50 mile on a 5/8-mile track isn't worth a paragraph, but the 1:48.2 victory of Keystone Velocity, a son of Western Hanover piloted by Simon Allard for owner Lauretta Galm, in the night's first race has three compelling angles to it: 1) this was only the eight-year-old horse's third start since July of 2014, as the star-crossed participant in such races as The Adios and the Confederation Cup (where he won an elim; he was third in a Metro elim at two) has always had a ton of speed; 2) this was the first training victory for trainer Austin Brubacker, a 25-year-old who had sent his first horse to the track only two weeks ago; and 3) Keystone Velocity got to the ¾ pole in 1:20 flat - the first sighting of that rarity we know of in 2016, and only the 47th such clocking in the history of harness racing according to our unofficial records that were verified with the USTA last year (any updates would be appreciated).   --There were 6 miles in 1:50 or less in the 16-race card, plus three more in 1:50.1. The 1:48 victory of Scott Rocks was as of 11:15pm Sat still the fastest North American mile of 2016 posted to the USTA computer.   --The Napolitano brothers took half of the evening's races, divided equally between the two. George now has 20 wins at PcD during the five-day period starting last Saturday.   PHHA / Pocono  

The Raceway in London has announced that four more starters have been confirmed for this year's harness racing Molson Pace which is now just over a week and a half away on Friday, May 27. Among them will be a pair of millionaire performers in All Bets Off and Sunfire Blue Chip. The former was an ultra impressive winner this past weekend at Pocono where he rallied from last to first to score in 1:50.2 over a sloppy track. The five-year-old son of Bettor's Delight, who was runner-up in last year's Molson, was never better according to pilot Matt Kakaley and will come into this year's event with just shy of $2 million in career earnings to his credit. Like All Bets Off, Sunfire Blue Chip has proven himself a premier half-mile performer over the course of his career for conditioner Jimmy Takter. The smooth-gaited pacer, who won the 2014 Prix D'Ete at Trois Rivieres in 1:50.3, boasts 21 career victories including a sparkling 1:51.4 tally two back at Yonkers Raceway. Bettor Rock On N will also make the trek north of the border for his trainer - Ontario native Andrew Harris. The son of Bettor's Delight raced very well in the recently-concluded Levy Series at Yonkers where he had a pair of runner-up finishes. He has won three of 10 races overall this season including a 1:52.1 victory on May 7 at Yonkers against Preferred company. The mystery horse in this year's event is Machtu N, fresh off a scintillating 1:50.4 score versus Preferred rivals this past Saturday night at Yonkers. The Nick Surick-trained son of Mach Three has had just three starts in North America so far and has shown extreme talent with final quarters in :27.2 or faster in all three outings over the New York half-miler. The impressive quartet will join three-time defending champion State Treasurer along with Evenin Of Pleasure and P H Super Cam in this year's $150,000 Molson. One more spot remains available and the race office will finalize that this week. Stay up to date by visiting The Raceway wishes to remind customers that with the return to an 11-race format this week there will be a change to the wagering menu. The early Pick-4 will now starts in race 4 while the early Super Hi-5 will now be offered in race 7. The Late Pick-4 starts in race 8 with the Late Super Hi-5 now offered in race 11. Live racing resumes tonight at The Raceway with first post at 6:15 p.m. Greg Blanchard

If there is a "formula" for harness racing success at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, it does NOT read: "Be last at the quarter, last at the half, and last at the three-quarters."   But nobody showed this "non-formula" to All Bets Off.   The son of Bettor's Delight, starting from the outside post eight in the $25,000 featured pace Saturday night at The Downs, got away last and was fourth-over in sloppy going, then circled a top-caliber field within 3/16 of a mile, going three-wide through the turn to the lead midstretch and pacing off by 2¼ lengths, with Matt Kakaley sitting calmly in the bike. Bigtown Hero, who last week won here in 1:48.1 for the fastest mile of the year in North America, raced well again, battling uncovered outside his 5-2 co-choice McArdle's Lightning and still going on for second, a length ahead of Melmerby Beach.   All Bets Off was 3-1 despite post eight and a three-week layoff since the Levy Final, having shown an affinity for the local surface by taking his mark of 1:48.3 here at three. He is trained by Ron Burke and is co-owned by Burke Racing Stable along with Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and the Panhellenic Stable Corporation, who saw their talented pacer raise his lifetime bankroll to $1,806,334.   For Kakaley, the featured victory was his third of the night, two of which he guided for Burke; perennial Downs leader George Napolitano Jr. had even a hotter hand, with six trips to Victory Lane.   Pennsylvania All-Stars action for three-year-old state-sired horses will be featured at The Downs for the next three days, with three $30,000 divisions each night. Pacing colts have the spotlight Sunday, with pacing fillies following on Monday and trotting fillies highlighted on Tuesday.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Iwillmakeyousaywow parlayed a pocket trip into a new lifetime mark of 1:51 in the fastest of three $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series for male pacers Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while in the distaff section, also with three cuts, Candy Corn Hanover proved most photogenic - barely -- to take her division and keep her Weiss and career records unblemished after three starts.   Last week Iwillmakeyousaywow, a first week Weiss winner, drew post eight against Midnight Lightning and saw that foe rush by late for a 1:51 decision and two straight Weiss wins. This week the Manhardt gelding Iwillmakeyousaywow, who had the 4-5* mutuel confidence of the wagerers, parlayed a draw inside of "Lightning" into a pocket trip behind that one, snapped out nearing headstretch, and gained into 55.1 - 27.2 back numbers to won by a half-length over a late-closing Maxdaddy Blue Chip, with Midnight Lightning holding for third.   Iwillmakeyousaywow, a four-year-old Todd Buter trainee, now has four wins in 2016 and 15 in a career which saw him the Michigan program's champion at two and three. Tyler Buter handled sulky duties behind the talented pacer, whom he co-owns with Gene Oldford Farms LLC, Lynette Buter, and James Marion.   The other two divisions carried the common themes of driver Scott Zeron, sire Bettor's Delight, and the winners rallying from the pocket as the second choice to take a new lifetime mark. First to fit that script was the four-year-old gelding Perfect Bet, who just caught pacesetting favored Sentencing Memo by the shortest possible margin in 1:51.2. Perfect Bet made his first Weiss start a winning one for trainer Jeffrey Smith and owner Aimee Scheid.   In the other cut, Options Are Adream entered the race perfect in eight career starts, the last two in Weiss competition, but the "Dream" was shattered early when the horse made a break before the start and was five lengths off the last horse at the word "go."   Zeron had sent the sophomore gelding Bettor Memories, a first leg Weiss winner, to the early lead, then let Options Are Adream complete a daring last-to-first second quarter move to sit the pocket behind a horse who had used a tremendous amount of energy. When tipped out of the two-hole nearing headstretch, Bettor Memories was full of pace and lowered his mark a tick to 1:51.4 for trainer Nifty Norman and owner Gus Dovi. Options Are Adream tired to fourth.   On the distaff side, Candy Corn Hanover made it 3-for-3, in both Weiss Series action and in her career, but the pocket rocket almost got defused by Southwind Tango, who set the pace and just missed beating the victorious Dragon Again filly by a nose in 1:53.4. Anthony Napolitano guided the 1-5 favorite "Candy Corn" to victory for trainer Travis Alexander and the Fiddler's Creek Stables. (For the other side of the Anthony Napolitano mutuel coin, read on.)   American Image had been third, then second in her first two Weiss starts, and carried the logical progession through to a new lifetime mark of 1:52.3 in taking her division, though not all of the bettors noticed the "logical progession" as she was dismissed at 14-1 odds. Sitting third on the rail most of the way, the Rockin Image filly got room in the famed Pocono Pike to register a neck tally for the father/son team of driver Marcus and trainer Erv Miller, and her owners: Paymaq Racing, George Golemes, Red Barn Stable, and Louis Willinger.   "Miller" and "longshot" were also the watchwords in the third female Weiss action; this time it was driver Brett Miller and 9-1 shot She Can Cruise circling from second-over to just catch pacesetting favorite Black Widow Baby in the shadow of the wire to take a maiden mark of 1:54.2. Chris Ryder conditions the Yankee Cruiser filly for owners Philip and Dana Steinberg.   In sum, the Weiss Series was quite a spectacle Sunday at Pocono - the winning margins in the six races were nose / nose / neck / 1¼ lengths / ½ length / head.   Majo Just Do It came from sixth at the stretch call in the second race this evening and just did it to the wire and the winners circle, taking a neck decision while paying the longest dividend for a $2 win bet here this year, $197.00. It's not often you get 97-1 odds on the second-leading driver at your track, but The Downs' scattered faithful received that return for backing Anthony Napolitano, second behind his brother George here and also second in wins at The Meadowlands.   Monday's action, starting at 6:30 p.m., will be highlighted by the second round preliminary of the Weiss Series for trotting males, with four $15,000 divisions set to go.   From the PHHA

This past racing week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was the first in which we raced our normal schedule of four nights per week so far this season. And despite some iffy weather, the action seemed to intensify during the four consecutive evenings of live racing, producing plenty of candidates for the Weekly Awards. So instead of blabbing on and on about them, why don't we hand them out? PACER OF THE WEEK: JINS DRAGON What a start to the 2016 Pocono meet it's been for this six-year-old gelding from the Michael Rashkin barn. Considering that Jins Dragon hadn't done much early in the year at the Meadows, hitting the board just once in seven races without a win, there wasn't much to suggest that he'd do anything special at MSPD. Yet he quickly ripped off a pair of condition wins when he arrived, the latter coming in a new career mark of 1:50:3. On Saturday night, Jins Dragon moved into the claiming ranks, where he faced Pocono's highest-priced claiming handicap grouping. Since Larry Stalbaum, who had driven the gelding to the previous two wins, had another driving commitment in the race, the reins were handed to George Napolitano Jr., the meet's top pilot so far. And George Nap put Jins Dragon on the lead with a quick swooping maneuver on the first turn. On the back stretch, the gelding, who went off as an even-money favorite, opened up a comfortable margin on the rest of the six-horse field. That allowed Napolitano to gear him down on the stretch, as Jins Dragon still came home a solid two lengths in front in 1:53 on an off-track listed in good condition. He was unsurprisingly claimed from the race, so we'll see if he can keep up his winning ways going forward for the new barn. Other top pacers this week include: Camcruiser Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr., Dale Loney), who romped over a $15,000 claiming class on Saturday night, his second straight win at that price, in 1:54:1; Glammit (Jim Morrill Jr., Daniel Maier), who moved up in class and captured his second straight condition win on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:52:4; and Sweet Talkin Satin (Simon Allard, Josh Green), whose condition win on Tuesday night in 1:50:4 was the fastest pacing mile of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ABC MUSCLES BOY Moving up in class is never an easy task. But sometimes there are circumstances surrounding a horse which make a step or two up the ladder less daunting than it would otherwise be. Take, for example, the case of ABC Muscles Boy. On Saturday night he moved up from an $11,000 condition class to one with a $14,000 purse. Normally that would be a recipe for an up-the-track finish. But ABC Muscles Boy, a 5-year-old gelding from the Rene Allard barn, had a few things going for him. For one, he had won his previous start from the #9 post, proving his ability to overcome tough odds. For another, his 2015 season, which included over six figures in earnings and a career-best 1:52:3 mile at Pocono, demonstrated that he had the class to capably handle this group if he was on top of his game. On Saturday night, ABC Muscles Boy quickly stepped to the front on the first turn. As the 2-1 second choice on the board, he held the lead from that point. Its Payday Friday, the 3-2 race favorite, went off-stride trying to catch him, and ABC Muscles Boy, under urging from Simon Allard, held off the rest to win in 1:55:3. Moving up in class was no sweat for this gelding; as a matter of fact, don't be surprised if he successfully does it again in the very near future. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Noble Lover (Larry Stalbaum, Kimberly Asher), a mare who moved up in class to win a claiming handicap trot on Sunday night, which was her second straight victory and came in a new career mark of 1:55:3; Stormont Lancelot (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who stepped up in the claiming ranks on Monday night to pick up his second straight victory, this one coming in 1:56:1; and JJ Alex (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who moved up in class and picked up his second straight condition win on Tuesday night, this one in 1:56. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: NOBODY That's not the name of a horse; that's just recognition of the fact that it was a good week for chalk and that no horses at 10-1 or over came up with a win in four nights of racing. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley ripped off three straight driving triples from Sunday through Tuesday night, and four of those victories came aboard horses in the Bobby Weiss series. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RICHARD JOHNSON Johnson looks set in the Weiss series for three and four-year-old trotting colts, stallions, and geldings after winning two of the four divisions Monday night with Sweet Royalty and Steed. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Second round action for pacers of both sexes in the Bobby Weiss Series of contests at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono brought some fast times and spirited racing to the Sunday night card. The first division for males had end-to-end action, with Settlemoir leaving to the top and Iwillmakeyousaywow, the fastest winner at 1:51.4 last week, having to go three-wide well past the 1/8 and two-wide past the scorching 26 opener to take command, keeping the lead through middle splits of 54.1 and 1:22.2. But underway from midpack was the Camluck gelding Midnight Lightning, who had been reserved off that swift pace, and the battle between two of the first-round winners became joined as Midnight struck on the far turn and into the stretch, finally wearing down the game Iwillmakeyousaywow, gallant in defeat, by a head in 1:51, with Settlemoir, who had swung wide in the stretch, missing taking the whole shebang by a half-length while moving fastest of all at the wire. Matt Kakaley guided the four-year-old Midnight Lightning to a new mark by a full second in the hard-fought triumph for trainer Shaun Vallee, co-owner with D P V Racing Stable. Driver Corey Callahan took the other two Weiss divisions for "the boys," using fast last quarters to guide sophomore geldings back to Victory Lane. In the first, Options Are Adream kept his record unblemished in eight career starts, going to the lead off the first turn and then coming home in 27 flat to turn back early leader Rollaroundtheworld in 1:52. The son of If I Can Dream joined Midnight Lightning as a two-time winner in the Weiss for trainer Dick Lewis and owners David Banks and Layfield Horses LLC. Callahan and Sentencing Memo came home even faster in the other Weiss male division, sprinting home in 55.1 - 26.4 to defeat first leg winner Maxdaddy Blue Chip while equaling his career best of 1:52. The son of Western Terror used a more favorable draw this week to turn the tables on his conqueror of seven days previous for trainer Eric Foster and owner Arty Foster. In the four divisions of the female sector, the only division that matched two first-round Weiss winner saw Candy Corn Hanover remained undefeated in her two-start career, sitting second-over while first-up Southwind Tango, the other winner last week, battled pacesetter Nip's Beach Girl through a 27.4 third quarter, then rolled by them both late in 1:52.3, reducing her mark by 4/5 of a second. The Dragon Again filly was again handled by Anthony Napolitano for trainer Travis Alexander and the Fiddler's Creek Stables LLC. Candy Corn Hanover paid $32.80 in her debut victory, but the fans caught on quickly and she paid only $4.80 tonight. Similarly, Some Fancy Filly went from a $50 win mutuel last week to a $3.20 for $2 proposition in her Weiss cut, and she too made it two straight in the series while lowering her mark 2/5 of a second to 1:53. David Miller, who added two winners at The Downs to the five he brought home at Harrah's Philadelphia in the afternoon, was sulkysitting behind the Somebeachsomewhere-Fancy Filly filly for trainer Nancy Johansson of JK She'salady fame and owners Courant A B. Mystery Writer, who had to settle for second last week behind Some Fancy Filly, bounced back to record her sixth win of the year in another division for the females, going out in 26.4 then coming home in 56.3 - 28 and needing every bit of her 1:54.2 clocking to withstand American Image by the shortest of margins. Jim Morrill Jr. drove the Sportswriter mare for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick. The final Weiss cuts for the ladies saw the Somebeachsomewhere filly Albany Girl parlay a pocket trip to a career-best win in 1:55 while winning an exciting three-way stretch duel with Winners Over and Q T Pie Hanover. Brett Miller got the sulky call from trainer Jimmy Takter as Albany Girl won for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, and Joe Sbrocco. Tomorrow night Monday racing returns to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with a post time of 6:30 p.m., completing the basic four-day-a-week Saturday-through-Tuesday schedule that The Downs will be using for the greater part of the year. Highlighted on the Monday card will be the first round of the Bobby Weiss Series for developing male trotters - the platform which helped spring JL Cruze to North American divisional honors last year and a 1:49.4 record. From the PHHA  

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, April 6, 2016- For those who have yet to do so, it's about time to impress the judges. This weekend, Yonkers Raceway hosts the fourth of five preliminary rounds in both the Blue Chip Matchmaker sand George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Since it's women and children first, three, $40,000 Matchmaker divisions (races 5,6 and 7) are set for Friday evening. Al Raza N (Dave Miller, post 7), the only perfect (3-for-3) participant thus far, gets both a rotten draw and a new date. The 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect-subject of a fine USTA story earlier in the week-drew outside of her rivals in the final event, with Miller enlisted by owner (as Durazzano Stable) to take some of the embarrassment of riches away from Jordan Stratton. The latter had driven Al Raza N throughout the series, but opted to chauffeur For the Ladies N (post 6) here for trainer Peter Tritton. For the Ladies N closed to upset at 19-1 a week ago, while Stratton and Tritton also combine with Sell a Bit N (post 4) in the second grouping. The 6-year-old Julius Caesar ma'am has won her last two series tries and is Stratton's surmised choice for the Apr. 23 series finale. Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett, post 5), defending series champ, landed in the opening event as she looks for her first Matchmaker win. Saturday night, it's four Levy divisions (races 6 through 9) at the usual $50,000 per. Series co-leaders Take it Back Terry and Bit of a Legend N-each 3-for-3-once again have managed to avoid one another. "Terry" drew post position No. 3 in the opening group, with George Brennan again doing the honors. Among his foes is Sana Fe Beachboy (Bartlett, post 6), who threw down the season's fast local mile (1:50.2) in winning his series event last weekend. Bit of a Legend N, who won from an impossible locale a week ago (enter the dance team of Stratton and Tritton for an encore), landed post No. 6 in the third division. With the subject of the season being exit polls, reigning Harness Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) exits from the pole in the stacked second division. WIJI paced a vicious back half in his local/series debut in Round 3, winding up second to a down-the-road All Bets Off. Those two are next-door neighbors here, with All Bets Off and Matt Kakaley starting from post No. 2 in a gathering which also includes P H Supercam (Bartlett, post 4) and Lucan Hanover (Brett Miller, post 5). Domethatagain (Dan Dube, post 3), the '15 Levy winner, figures a contender in Saturday night's final division. Notably absent for this go-round is one Foiled Again, who has finished fourth twice (one in a dead-heat) and second in his three series starts. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

All Bets Off and harness racing driver Matt Kakaley avoided some early happenstance and held sway Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Pace. Remanded outside his seven rivals, All Bets Off floated from the gate early, then saw 3-2 favorite Fan of Terror (Brian Sears) made a bad break out of the first turn. That allowed All Bets Off to take a seat fourth as pole-assigned Dream Out Loud N (Georg Brennan) led through a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. All Bets Off wanted no part of mid-pack, cruising to the lead right past a 57-second intermission. Down the backside, Rock Icon (Tyler Buter)-who was bothered when Fan of Terror jumped it off-tried his luck moving from fifth. However, a :27.4 third quarter (1:24.4) kept him at bay as All Bets Off owned a length-and-a-half lead in the lane. Dream Out Loud N took his shot from the pocket, but missed a neck in 1:52.2. Season-debuting Texican N (Eric Carlson) was third, with Duel in the Sun (Mark MacDonald) and a '16-bowing P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) rounding out the payees. For second choice All Bets Off, a 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29.20, with the triple returning $216. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), with the opening round of the Petticoat Pacing Series (3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares). Frank Drucker

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