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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Simon Allard, Matt Kakaley, and George Napolitano Jr. each had a harness racing driving triple on the Tuesday afternoon card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and among them they swept the Rainbow Pick 5 bet's races, the last five on the card. Since the biggest win price in the sequence was $14.60 and three were under $6.00, the carryover pool for Rainbow Pick 5, which requires a bettor to have a unique ticket with all five winners to take down the big jackpot, grew to $239,477.19 for Saturday afternoon's card as there were multiple consolation winners. Tuesday's driving triple brought Napolitano's tally for the week at Pocono to seventeen in four cards. "George Nap" has driven exactly 250 winners in the period since July 1 (for comparison, North American leader Aaron Merriman has had 208 in the last three months through the Tuesday afternoon card at The Meadows), and George will be in action on the last day of September tomorrow at Harrah's Philadelphia. With the coming of October, Pocono reduces its basic schedule to three cards a week during the month, with racing starting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Tuesdays and 5 p.m. on Sundays. From the PHHA / The Downs

YONKERS, N.Y. - “He gives me a sense of something special.” That’s how Matt Kakaley describes American Courage, a 2-year-old colt who’s undefeated in six starts, all with Kakaley in the sulky, including the elimination and final of the MGM Springfield Stakes at Yonkers Raceway and three legs of the New York Sire Stakes. The pair will put their win streak on the line again Tuesday night (Aug. 18) at Yonkers in the fourth leg of the NYSS for freshman pacers. Kakaley first heard about American Courage from trainer Travis Alexander while the colt was still training in Florida, with the conditioner indicating, ‘he thought he had a pretty nice colt.’ Kakaley, who is based in Pennsylvania, intended to travel to the Sunshine State to train American Courage, but never got the chance once the coronavirus pandemic effectively halted travel throughout the United States in mid-March.  Once American Courage shipped north for the racing season, Kakaley trained American Courage twice, once at the farm and again at Pocono Downs. “He was nice, but I don’t try to get too high on them when they’re training down because they’ll prove us wrong more times than not,” Kakaley said. “He was smart on the track. The one time I trained him at the farm, he could just sprint out of a hole real quick, no problem. Good gait. Everything was good about him, there wasn’t really any knocks about him. He was a professional to sit behind, he was good like that right from the beginning.” American Courage qualified June 24 at Pocono Downs. The colt raced in third throughout before charging home with a :29 final quarter to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:57.2. “The qualifier, he was good, he wasn’t great,” Kakaley said. “He had an ear hood on and he was really quiet. He was good, not great, but I was very happy with him, it was a perfect first qualifier for him.” Alexander entered American Courage in a $10,400 overnight at Pocono June 30 and the race proved eventful. Starting from post six, American Courage kept about a half-length off the starting gate and took back into fifth early as rivals Big Luciano and Sir Lovealot BC battled through a :27.1 quarter.  American Courage angled first over at the half, but was soon forced three-wide as 50-1 Spellbinding pulled in front of him nearing the backstretch. Kakaley took back, then sent American Courage three-wide again up the backstretch. American Courage put a head in front of Big Luciano by the three-quarter pole and kicked away in the stretch under Kakaley pistol grips to win by 6 lengths in 1:54.1.  “I just wanted to get away in mid-pack, make one run with him, and try to give him a good learning experience and teach him a little bit,” Kakaley said. “It was kind of a messed-up race and for him to handle the whole thing the way he did, I came off the track and I told Travis, ‘he’s better than I thought he was.’ Travis never really gave me a notion that he was really high on him because I don’t think he wanted to get let down if something happened with him. “I got shoved three-wide at the half, someone came out underneath me. I backed up, waited a little bit and then swung him three-wide around the three-eighths pole and he cleared in three steps,” Kakaley continued. “He just did it really good and professional. The way he handled a horse coming out underneath him, me grabbing him up, and then starting him back up, I was very impressed that day.” American Courage aired by 7 1/4 lengths in his elimination of the MGM Springfield Stakes in his next start July 6 and returned for the $104,250 final a week later. After settling in fourth around the first turn, Kakaley gunned 2-5 favorite American Courage to the front up the backstretch, pocketing 5-1 shot Town Gossip and driver Joe Bongiorno. The backfield failed to make an impression and American Courage rounded the final turn with Town Gossip breathing down his neck. “The only time anyone has really gotten close was the final of the Springfield,” Kakaley said. “That was the only time I popped the ear plugs. Joey was right on my back on the last turn, I pulled the plugs out at the top of the stretch and I thought it was going to be a really tight finish, but he just hit another gear halfway down the stretch.” While Town Gossip was all-out down the lane, Kakaley gave American Courage a few whip-taps at the top of the stretch and again halfway to the wire. Although Town Gossip got within a half-length, he never went by. The pair were 6 3/4-lenghts in front of the third-place finisher Crystal Beach in a 1:53.3 mile. “After the wire, he wasn’t even done then. He was just going around there and when I asked him for some pace, he gave it to me and I was never worried. He was super,” Kakaley said. Since the MGM Springfield Final, American Courage rattled off three more wins in NYSS; he won at Saratoga in 1:54.3 by 6 3/4 lengths, paced 1:51.3 at Tioga while winning by 4 1/4, and most recently posted a 1:54.2 win by 10 1/2 lengths at Batavia Downs Aug. 9. American Courage has amassed $145,108 for owner and breeder Fiddler’s Creek Stable.  American Courage is a son of American Ideal out of the Feel Like A Fool mare Nota Fool Bluechip, a full sister to millionaires Feel Like A Fool and Fool Me Once. Fiddler’s Creek Stable and Travis Alexander bought Nota Fool Bluechip at the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $60,000. Although she only went 1-for-14 in her racing career, American Courage is her first foal to race.  “It’s a special horse to be a part of. I thank Travis and I thank Fiddler’s Creek. It’s a great operation they have and they’ve spent a lot of time and put a lot of money breeding these horses,” Kakaley said. “He would go to the sales and keep the mares and breed them. I’m really happy for him because he deserves a horse like this for all the time and money he’s put into the business. He deserves to get rewarded with a horse like this. “Travis and Alaina (Alexander) do a great job with him, they take great care of him,” Kakaley continued. “I think Alaina goes back and gives him a walk every night after dinner time just to spoil him a little bit. He’s a very cool horse, too. He’s very calm in the paddock, relaxed. He doesn’t get riled up or rattled by much and on the track, he’s all business. He’s what you want, for sure.” American Courage is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the penultimate NYSS leg for 2-year-old colts and geldings Tuesday night. He will start from post four in a six-horse field that includes I’ll Drink To That, a $75,000 buy at the 2019 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for Craig Henderson and co-owners Lawrence Minowitz, Robert Mondillo, and Oompas Farm who enters off a 1:53.3 win in NYSS at Tioga Aug. 1. Dexter Dunn will drive I’ll Drink To That for trainer Chris Ryder. Bottle Rocket, Major Makeover, Sexy Blue Chip, and King James Express complete the lineup. “I’ll just play it how it is,” Kakaley said. “If anybody is getting real crazy, I don’t need to be in any speed battle or anything like that. He’s a really good horse and he’ll let me do whatever I need to do. However it looks is what I’ll do. We’ll have him on the gate and figure it out from there. Just float him around and when it’s time to go, we’ll just hit the gas pedal. Yonkers Raceway’s revised schedule features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, Friday nights through Sept. 12. First post time is 7:12 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With open road late in the stretch, Filibuster Hanover fired past harness racing horses to land a head in front at the finish of the $61,540 Sam McKee Memorial Consolation on Saturday (Aug. 8) at The Meadowlands.   Our Majordan A, the 6-5 favorite, launched to the lead from post six while Jesse Duke N pushed from the pylons to race in the pocket. Filibuster Hanover sat fourth to a :25.4 first quarter and stayed put at the pylons as Our Majordan A posted middle fractions of :54 and 1:22.2.   Rounding the final turn, Donttellmeagain advanced first over to apply mild late pressure with Trump Nation and Geez Joe in tow -- second- and third-over, respectively. Into the stretch, Our Majordan A maintained a narrow lead as Jesse Duke N squeezed through a slim opening at the pylons, edging by the tiring pacesetter to take a short mid-stretch lead before Filibuster Hanover -- angling to the center of the track off a covered trip at the pylons -- gathered momentum and charged past to win in the final strides of a 1:49.1 mile. Our Majordan A settled for third.   Returning $58.40 to win, Filibuster Hanover won his first race from five starts this season and his 14th from 75 overall and has earned $1,758,544. Ron Burke trains the 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding for owners Burke Racing Stable, Joseph DiScala Jr., J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. Matt Kakaley drove the winner.   by Ray Cotolo, for the Hambletonian Society    

Hightstown, NJ - Harness racing driver Matt Kakaley was 16 when Rickards Ed arrived in the stable run by his parents, Linda and John, at Pompano Park. Matt was just starting to work in the barn more frequently and quickly formed a bond with the then 7-year-old pacer. Looking back, it was a time and relationship that helped propel Matt into his career in harness racing. In fact, such was his connection with Rickards Ed that four years later he and his mom bought the horse and still own the 22-year-old gelding in his retirement. "That horse was special to me," Matt said. "He came in the barn and he was the best horse my parents had. He was an open pacer at the time. I started working with him all the time and that was the turning point for me. He was just a great horse around the barn, great to work with. He was fun. "When I was a kid, that horse helped me make the decision, I'd say. That's when I felt like this is what I wanted to do." Rickards Ed won 14 races at Pompano Park that season, all with John in the sulky. The following year, Matt drove the horse to two of his seven victories. "He was just a really tough, tough horse on the racetrack," Matt said. "He was a Camluck (sired horse) and he had that toughness to him." A third-generation horseman, Matt follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Joe, who owned horses and spurred the family's interest in harness racing, and his parents. He lived in Michigan until he was 12 and spent his teen years around Pompano Park. Matt has won 4,743 races in his career and was the youngest driver, at the time, to reach the 1,000 and 2,000-victory levels. But early on, Matt wasn't focused on becoming a driver. In fact, he only got his qualifying license because a friend was doing it. "It was weird, it wasn't something I was really pushing to do, to be a driver," Matt said. "Not at that age, anyway. But once I started qualifying horses, it was something I wanted to do." Matt mostly worked with his parents, but remembers getting to do interval training for Tom Audley, who was stabled next to his family's barn. "When I was a kid, Tom would have me go in the bike and I would be out there for a half hour or 40 minutes just going trips," Matt said. "I thought that was the greatest thing ever, to go speed in the race bike with those horses. And he paid me for it, so it was a win-win. "When I did get my qualifying license, there were a lot of people down there that helped me out and gave me chances in the qualifiers. Whatever anybody wanted me to do, I would do." Working with the horses gave Matt his greatest joy. "I just really loved being around the horses and taking care of them," Matt said. "The horses my parents had were older horses that had their issues. I would work on them. I would soak their feet, I would rub their legs, work hard on them. I just took pride in it. I took pride when they would race good. "Just working with them every day was a lot of learning. I really cared. I think I got that from my mom. She puts her heart and soul into her horses too." When he was 19, Matt accepted an offer from trainer Mickey Burke to move to Ohio and work for the Burke Stable. Soon, he was driving regularly at Northfield Park, although it did not begin smoothly. Enter another pivotal horse in teenage Matt's life, this one also with the name Matt - Matt Hershey. "Going to Northfield, I didn't know anybody; it was tough," Matt said. "I never raced on a half-mile track before and the first month or two was a little rough. I did win a few races, but there were a lot of bad mistakes and a lot of nights when I was thinking maybe it wasn't going to work out. I'm sure Ronnie (Burke) felt the same thing. He stuck with me and I stuck it out. I kept working hard and it got better. "A couple horses raced big for me. Matt Hershey, he was an open horse at Northfield, went on a really good run (with six wins and two seconds in a nine-race span) and I started picking up some live drives for other people. It just kind of turned the corner. He got good and then I started driving more and I started doing really good. It snowballed." In 2010, Matt received the Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Last summer, while in the car on his way to Buffalo Raceway for New York Sire Stakes action, Matt's thoughts returned to his early days as a driver when in a week he would travel back and forth between Northfield and Buffalo (roughly seven hours round trip) while also hitting Tioga Downs on Sundays. "When I think back, I don't know how I did that," Matt said with a laugh. "Just young, I guess. I was just excited to drive anything, anywhere, so I did it." And whenever he thinks back to Rickards Ed, he can thank him for driving him in that direction. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Even as a certain well-regarded harness racing mare qualified at Dover in what was likely preparation for early season work, two horses who were very prominent in last year's Levy Series action turned in top qualifiers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Wednesday morning. Western Fame, the 2019 Levy Series winner who would go on to take a Franklin elim and finish third in the Franklin Championship here at Pocono, went straight to the lead for driver Simon Allard and trainer/brother Rene Allard, winning in 1:57.1. A last quarter of :28.4 made the winner of $1,745,185 clear at the wire for Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B & I Stables LLC, and Gilbert Short. Later, former Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Champion Ideal Jimmy, a three-time Levy prelim winner last year, put in a sharp 1:53.4 mile on the engine, with a :27.3 last quarter leaving him 8¼ lengths in front of his field for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Erv Miller, and the Van Witzenburg stable. Also deserving mention are the team of driver Eric Carlson and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who combined on the first three qualifiying winners. Garcia-Herrera sent out a total of eleven horses in the prep races, a few times with two in the same race, and in addition to the three wins he had four second-place finishers and two third-place finishers. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Nov. 14th) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Matt Kakaley, Gary Seibel, Jason Turner, and Norton Shoemaker. Driver Matt Kakaley will talk to Mike and Mike about his drives in the Matron Stakes coming up Thursday night at Dover Downs in Delaware. Cal Expo Announcer and Hall of Famer Gary Seibel will discuss the fall/winter meet at the Sacramento oval, which just got underway. The Digital Brand Strategist for the USTA Jason Turner will join the duo to talk about the Youth Delegate Summit that took place this past weekend. Harrah's Philadelphia Starter Norton Shoemaker will give us an inside look at what goes into starting the races on a daily basis. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. From Post Time WIth Mike And Mike  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Keystone Endeavor gelding Endeavors Pride, under constant reminders from driver Matt Kakaley to keep to business during the mile, showed gameness in taking the featured $16,000 claiming handicap harness racing pace Saturday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Endeavors Pride was looped early, and was outside well past the :26.4 opening quarter. The winner did gain command before the :55.4 half, but he soon came under attack from first-over Rockin Rio. Endeavors Pride turned that one back on the far turn, then had enough to withstand a huge closing burst by Outkast Blue Chip, closer to the outside fence than the pylons turning for home, by 1¾ lengths in 1:52.3, with the mercury at 30 degrees. The eight-time seasonal winner is trained by Katie Remmerswaal for Doug and Leslie Berkeley. A "heat wave" came to the track midcard, with the temperature up to a balmy 32 degrees for the two $14,500 co-featured paces. The first of the co-features went to the Pocono Pacer of the Year, Atta Boy Dan, who won for the 15th time at Pocono during the meet, for the 18th time during 2019, and for the 70th time during his $937,942-winning career. What was unusual about this victory is that Atta Boy Dan came from dead last in the six-horse field, moving three-wide in the lane and showing his big heart to overhaul 60-1 shot A Real Miracle by ¾ of a length in 1:52.2. Simon Allard, who tied with Kakaley for night's honors with four victories, drove the ten-year-old Western Terror gelding for trainer Pete Pellegrino and owner Stephen Larkin. Perhaps the most impressive winner of the night was In Secret, who captured the second co-feature in 1:50.4, matching the lifetime best he established two weeks ago. The Bettor's Delight gelding had a horrible trip early - looped leaving, three-wide around a breaker, finally getting to tuck out of the first turn, then uncovered again into the next bend - but In Spades brushed right around the leader before the 5/8 and had a safe lead the rest of the way, winning under a hold. George Napolitano Jr. guided the sharp winner for owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. 21-year-old trainer Hunter Oakes was honored as the track's leading conditioner in the UTR system in trackside ceremonies. The son of well-known trainer Chris Oakes, Hunter saw his horses post excellent numbers of 162-51-27-23-.455 going into the night's card, putting him ahead of all trainers who average a start per two cards. Speaking of two cards - that's all that is left on the 2019 Pocono calendar. The trotters and pacers will go at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and then next Saturday (7 p.m.), the final card of the local year will be highlighted by a Fan Appreciation Night that features a hooded sweatshirt giveaway while quantities (and size availability) lasts. The leading Driver awards will be given on the closing card, and the Trotter of the Year will be honored. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The veteran Conway Hall gelding Dayson was able to overcome a first-over journey, defeating Joey Bats by a half length in 1:54.3 to take the $17,500 featured harness racing trot Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Matt Kakaley kept the career winner of $1,118,127 midpack as first Sylvesteramerica IT and then Hill Of A Horse took command from the breaking leader The Lionking As near the quarter, then midrace moved Dayson to the outside to begin his grind forward. The nine-time seasonal winner never faltered, going to the lead in the stretch and then withstanding second-over Joey Bats for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr (the last-named had the pacer named for him win in 1:50.1 over sloppy going at Philly earlier in the day). A trio of $17,000 events for developing younger horses served as subfeatures. In the one trotting division, the Chapter Seven sophomore colt Refi also found the first-out route the path to glory, catching pacesetter Always A Dream by half a length in 1:55. Tom Jackson drove the recent addition to the Ray Schnittker barn for the partnership of Greenhorse and Robert Rudolph. The two pacing co-features were split by sex. The event for fillies and mares saw the Bettor's Delight mare Persistent Bettor save ground most of the way for driver Anthony Napolitano, then slide wide at headstretch and rally to outfinish favored Demi Hill by ¾ of a length in 1:52. Trainer John Hallett, who has done very nicely on the local scene since coming over from Tioga Downs, conditions the winner for Geoffrey and Rick Howles. In the co-feature section for pacing males, the American Ideal gelding JK Musicman looked like his closing kick might come too late to catch Rebel Rouser, who had used the Pocono Pike to grab a midstretch advantage, but driver Eric Carlson hustled the Musicman home to a 1:50.4 victory by ¾ of a length. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera trains the winner of $111,266 for his son Gilbert Garcia-Owen. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing's top trainer/owner combination, trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, teamed with driver Matt Kakaley to sweep the featured races at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during a Tuesday twilight card. Kakaley used "pocket rocket" tactics to take both headliners, including with the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Fanatic in a $15,000 trot. Fanatic sat behind favored Stonebridge Symba as that one set the tempo of :28.1, :58.1, and 1:26.4, with the leader getting second-half pressure from Winning America before that foe lost gait midway on the far turn. After the breaker Fanatic soon went to the outside and easily passed the pacesetter in the lane to win in 1:55.3, with Voodoo Man, who had a third-in trip, getting up for second, 1¼ lengths behind the winner. One day after Pocono hosted the 2019 Great Northeast Open Series Championships at 1¼ miles, the winner of the 2018 GNOS Mare Pace Championship, Bettorhaveanother, set a new lifetime best of 1:50.1 at the conventional mile distance, winning a $14,000 distaff pace. The victorious Bettor's Delight mare paced past Monica Gallagher midway on the first turn, then after the :26.4 quarter she relinquished the lead to Sidewalk Dancer, who took the field past the midpoles in :55.3 and 1:23. Bettorhaveanother, now a winner of $578,992, had plenty of pace after the two-hole journey, and she gained into a 27.1 final quarter to win by 1½ lengths over Sidewalk Dancer, who in turn photoed out Monica Gallagher for second. George Napolitano Jr. guided the last three winners on the card to tie his brother Anthony for the card's sulky honors with a trio of victories apiece. George and Anthony are 1-2 in the seasonlong Pocono driving win standings. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

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  

Tioga Downs played host to five W.N. Reynolds Memorial races on Sunday (August 25). Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) captures the $38,650 first division of "The Solicitor" for 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Groovy Joe ($2.80) went right to the front and led to the first quarter in :27.1. He used a :30.4 second quarter to lead to the half in :58.0. Columbo (David Miller) went first-over and put some heat on the leader as they traveled down the back stretch. Groovy Joe put Columbo away as he hit the three-quarter mark in 1:25.2. Groovy Joe, who is owned by trainer Blake Macintosh and Hutt Racing Stable, led turning for home. Western Vacation (Andy Miller) popped out of the pocket and came flying in the stretch. Groovy Joe dug down deep and hung on to win in a career best of 1:52.4. Western Vacation had to settle for second money. Columbo finished third. Groovy Joe is a 2-year-old colt by Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk. It is his sixth win in eight career starts. Freedom Warrior (David Miller) wins the $38,650 second division of "The Solicitor". Level Up (Jim Morrill Jr.) was first to the quarter in :27.4. Bombshell Hanover (Andy Miller) took over with one lap to go. He led to the half in :56.2 and to three-quarters in 1:24.2. Level Up came out of the pocket and battled Bombshell Hanover all around the final turn. Freedom Warrior ($3.10), who is owned by Forrest Bartlett and trained by Kevin Lare, went second over after three-quarters. He then went three-wide in the stretch and blew right by to win in 1:52.4. Bombshell Hanover finished second with Level Up getting third place. Freedom Warrior is a 2-year-old colt by American Ideal-Chief Karen. He is three for seven in his career by winning his last three races. Back Of The Neck (Mattias Melander) goes gate-to-wire in "The Judge Moore" featuring freshmen trotting colts and geldings for a purse of $62,400. Back Of The Neck ($3.70) trotted first to the first quarter in :27.2. He slowed down the pace of the race with a second quarter of :31.3 by hitting the half in :59.0. He flew down the back stretch and hit three-quarters in 1:26.4. As they made the turn for home Moon Bridge (Jim Morrill Jr) was the only one with a chance. Back Of The Neck ($3.70), who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, and Judith Taylor, still led as they made the turn for home. Second place finisher Moon Bridge made a late charge but Back Of The Neck was too strong and won in a lifetime best of 1:56.0. Coventry Hall (Tyler Buter) finished third. Back Of The Neck is a 2-year-old colt by Ready Cash-Big Barb. It was his second win in four career starts. Common Sense S (Jim Morrill Jr.) wins the "The Meda" for 2-year-old trotting fillies for a purse of $56,800. Common Sense S led to the first quarter in :28.0. Her lead was short lived as Heart N Soul Deo (David Miller) took control as they headed for the stands for the first time. Heart N Soul Deo was first to the half in :56.3 and first. to three-quarters in 1:25.3. Common Sense S, who is owned by trainer Ake Svanstedt and S R F Stable, popped out of the pocket as they reached the stretch and she won easily in a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Thankful For You (Tyler Buter) came up to finished second. Heart N Soul Deo held on for third. Common Sense S is a 2-year-old filly by Trixton-Opportunity. She won for the third straight time. She is three for six in her career. Ideal Dancer (Matt Kakaley) wins the non-betting "The Lorraine" featuring 2-year-old pacing fillies for a purse of $49,600. AP Emily's Dance (Andy Miller) controlled all the early fractions (:27.1, :58.1. 1:27.1). Ideal Dancer, who is trained by Scott DiDomenico for owners Triple D Stables, JFE Enterprise, D Robinson, and RBH Ventures, popped out of the pocket and flew on by to win in 1:57.1. AP Emily's Dance finished second with Bolt Of Speed (David Miller) getting third money. Ideal Dancer is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Shawnee Dancer. It was her first career win in eight lifetime starts. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 30) with a nine race card starting at 6:15 p.m. No racing on Saturday (August 31) because of the Smash Mouth concert. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Hickfromfrenchlick came to play on Sunday (Aug. 4) in his $58,700 division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs and he went gate to wire in impressive fashion and equaled the track record time. Leaving from post one driver Matt Kakaley was rolling immediately with Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star) and had prohibitive post time favorite Shake That House (Tyler Buter) alongside, also trying to make the front. These two tangled to the quarter in :26.2 when Buter relented and ducked into the pocket heading into the second turn. With no pressure moving to the half Kakaley backed it down to :28.3, but as soon as the second circuit ensued, Shake That House pulled and came right back at the leader one more time. Hickfromfrenchlick and Shake That House squared off and were pacing in tandem from the five-eighths to the three-quarters and got there in a lightning 1:22.4. Around the final bend Hickfromfrenchlick got a 1/2 length advantage that he took into the stretch. Kakaley was throwing lines and his horse was responded with more. Hickfromfrenchlick put away Shake That House and held of a quick closing Buddy Hill (Marcus Miller) to win by a neck in 1:51.2. The winning time of 1:51.2 was a new lifetime mark for Hickfromfrenchlick and also tied the Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old pacing colts set by All Bets Off back in 2014. Oddly enough Kakaley also drove All Bets Off in that record performance. "Well we had the rail and he's good on the front so that's where I wanted him, especially with no passing lane here. We controlled the pace and he responded well to the challenge," said Kakaley. "He was getting a little tired in the lane but he saw the one (Buddy Hill) coming at him and had enough left to hold him off at the wire." When told he tied the track record of All Bets Off Kakaley said "As I recall we were on the front that day too and he had quite a bit left at the wire." All Bets Off ran away with that race by eight lengths. Hickfromfrenchlick ($6.50) scored his fourth win in seven starts this year and now has $114,925 on the card in 2019. Ray Schnittker trains and co-owns Hickfromfrenchlick with Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. Steve Jones was the breeder of Hickfromfrenchlick. In the second $58,700 division American Mercury was peerless in victory after controlling all fractions from the start. Tyler Buter floated American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover) off the gate after Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) bolted to the front. He then rolled up the outside and took over the lead in a comfortable :28.1. The field stayed in single-file and American Mercury hit the half in only :57 and things were looking very much in his favor at that point. Magic Joe Lindy (Drew Monti) pulled first up at the five-eighths and advanced towards the leader. He got to within one length of American Mercury at the three-quarters and stayed there around the last turn. When they hit the stretch Buter was line driving American Mercury and he was pacing strongly all the way to the wire to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.2. It was the third straight win for American Mercury ($2.10) and sixth of the season. The gelding has now earned $211,843 this year for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice. Steve Stewart, Julie Nash and Charles Nash bred American Mercury. There were also $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior "A" series that were won by: Rickybobbyandthehaus (American Ideal-Molly Can Do It) Driver - Tyler Buter Owner - Crawford Farms, Northfork Racing Stable, Billy Timmins and Anthony Timmins Trainer - Chris Oakes   Breeder - Blue Chip Bloodstock Time - 1:53.4  Mutuel - $4.40 Chatelroll (Roll With Joe-Chatelaine) Driver - Jason Bartlett  Owner - Purple Haze Stable Trainer - George Ducharme  Breeder - Twinbrook Limited Time - 1:53.2  Mutuel - $3.00 Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Aug. 5) with post time at 5 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Reclamation was a 1:51.2 winner in the $17,500 distaff featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Tuesday night, raising her harness racing scorecard to six wins in a row and 13-for-21 lifetime. The four-year-old daughter of A Rocknroll Dance, driven by Matt Kakaley (who had four successes on the card) for trainer Ron Burke, was on top at every call for the first time during her winning streak, clearing to the lead before the first quarter in :27. Once in command, Reclamation got to the half in :55.4, sped up to ward off first-over challenger Monica Gallagher to the 1:23.2 three-quarters, then in the stretch withstood the two mares directly behind her - Clear Idea gained from the pocket but missed by half a length, while third-in Sidewalk Dancer fanned wide and was ¾ of a length behind Clear Idea. This was Reclamation's third win in as many Pocono starts this year, but she'll have a new challenge in her next start for owners W J Donovan and Donal Murphy, as she has earned her way out of this classification. The Somebeachsomewhere mare Attention Hanover had to come uncovered into a :55.1 last half, but showed courage to post her first victory of the year in 1:53 in the $14,000 co-featured pace for females. Attention Hanover and driver Simon Allard got by pacesetting Intoview by three quarters of a length for trainer Steve Salerno, who also shares ownership in the mare with Dean Casaday. Two more claims on Tuesday, for a total of $39,000, ran the four-card weekly total over the half-million-dollar mark for the first time in the meet, with $544,500 paid out for sharp horses from Saturday to Tuesday, raising the meet total well over $4.1 million.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The A Rocknroll Dance four-year-old mare Reclamation, who started her harness racing career in Great Britain and broke her maiden in a race for a purse of U.S. $706, posted her fifth straight victory in the $17,500 distaff pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on the Tuesday twilight card, showing large reserves of fortitude to down an ultra-game Juslikeaqueen by a nose in a career best of 1:50. Culinary Delight N forced Keystone Riptide in behind her going to the :26.2 quarter; Juslikeaqueen attempted a quarter move from third, but the pacesetter gave her the cold shoulder through hot middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:21.3. Reclamation had tucked fourth and then followed Juslikeaqueen outside, so she was getting a good cover trip. Around the far turn, Juslikeaqueen not only didn't back up, she actually forged to the lead, with Reclamation swinging wide to go after her. It literally took driver Matt Kakaley the length of the stretch to get Reclamation past Juslikeaqueen, but the young mare did so, notching her fifth win in six seasonal starts and her twelfth triumph in twenty lifetime races. Ron Burke handles the training of the winner for W J Donovan and Baltimore, Ireland's Donal Murphy. A final word about Juslikeaqueen - she went that gigantic mile having raced only once in the past 28 days. She'll certainly be tight for her next start - which will come this Sunday, when she will line up between Applebottom Jeans and Tequila Monday in a Great Northeast Open Series contest. Driver Matt Kakaley also accounted for the $14,000 co-featured distaff pace among his four wins on the night. In this subfeature Matt had to go first-over to wear down favored Brazuca with the Always A Virgin mare Neverforgetwhour, then hold off potential pocket rocket Intoview by ¾ of a length in 1:52.3. Team Lorentzon is in charge of the winner of $208,900, with Anette Lorentzon also the owner. Two claims for a total of $42,000 on the Tuesday card boosted the total number of relocations for the racing week to a 2019 record of 22; the $458,375 changing hands posted another seasonal high. For the year, there have been 197 claims at Pocono, producing a money turnover of $3,622,125. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The A Rocknroll Dance mare Reclamation - foaled in Pennsylvania out of a Swedish-owned mare, sold at Lexington, then starting her career in Ireland and Wales before racing at Harrah's Philly and The Meadowlands - added another location to her already-stuffed harness racing itinerary, coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the Tuesday twilight card and promptly winning the $17,500 distaff pacing feature in 1:50.4. Despite 25 days between races, driver Matt Kakaley had no problem moving Reclamation frontward after a :26.4 opener, reaching the half in :54 and the three-quarters in 1:22.3, then finishing strongly to remain 1¼ lengths clear of another well-traveled mare, the New Zealand import American Express N. Reclamation has a 5-4-1-0 record this year and an enviable 19-11-6-1 lifetime tab, with her earnings of $72,405 sure to be rising nicely in short order for trainer Ron Burke and owners W J Donovan of Delray Beach FL and Donal Murphy of Baltimore ... Ireland. In a $15,000 trot, the Explosive Matter gelding Explosivebreakaway showed some of the talent of his full sister Phaetosive while easily winning in a lifetime best 1:54.2. Driver Tom Jackson moved the winner uncovered off the second turn and utilized the backstretch to go up to the leader and then go by, drawing off with a :28.2 last quarter to be seven lengths clear on the money. Fred Grant conditions the impressive sophomore, who has four wins and three seconds in seven lifetime starts, and he also co-owns him with Janice Rubin, Steve Katz, and Murray Brown. The Credit Winner gelding Such An Angel, who doesn't always put it all together but when he does can be quite devastating, came within a fifth of a second of the fastest local trotting mile of the year with a 1:52.1 victory, 8½ lengths to the good. That time also was within a fifth of the lifetime best of Such An Angel, who's now taken two of his last three and has earned $295,308 for trainer Hunter Oakes and owner Sam Caruso Jr. The only starter to be entered for an optional claiming price in the last race on the last day of the Pocono racing week, Rosy Outlook was haltered for $18,000, bringing the four-day raceweek's total of claiming investment to $419,250, a record for a week here this season; the total of 20 claims tied the weekly mark, now set in each of the last three weeks. For the year, 175 claims have resulted in $3,153,750 changing hands in the pursuit of winning racing stock.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Rodeo Rock posted the fastest clocking of the year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1:49, in winning a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series for open harness racing pacers on Saturday night. The altered son of Rock N Roll Heaven got away midpack in a field of seven as Tiger Thompson N, winning of the GNOS divisional leg at Philly last week, took the early lead via a :26.2 opener. With the leader applying the brakes, Rodeo Rock and driver Eric Goodell (a three-time winner on the evening) made a quick move at the 3/8 to pass the three horses in front of him, reaching the half in a "leisurely" :55.4. The price of pacing went up dramatically down the back, as suddenly-uncovered favorite Dealt A Winner tried to challenge the leader down the back, but couldn't really menace as Rodeo Rock went his third panel in :26.1 for a 1:22 tripping of the three-quarters timer, then added a :27 kicker to be an easy 1 ¾ length winner at the end while also establishing a new lifetime mark. Tiger Thompson N held on well for second, with 2019's fastest pacer, Sweet Rock (1:48.1), another half length back while bagging the show dough. Rodeo Rock is the third-leading moneywinning horse in North American this year with $264,400, the majority of which was banked in finishing second in the Levy Final on April 20. Trainer Robert Cleary, sending them out at nearly a 40% victory clip, conditions the career winner of $623,055 for Royal Wire Products Inc. In the $21,500 co-featured pace, Soho Wallstreet A and Ballerat Boomerang could not be separated by the photo finish camera at the end of a 1:51.3 mile. The If I Can Dream gelding Ballerat Boomerang put everybody in behind him early, then yielded in front of the stands to the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Soho Wallstreet A. Ballerat Boomerang and driver Matt Kakaley went to the Pocono Pike and appeared to get a nose advantage midstretch, but the favored Soho Wallstreet A and driver Pat Berry refused to give way and battled back for the tie. Soho Wallstreet A is trained by Scott Di Domenico for owner J G Racing Stable; Ballerat Boomerang is conditioned by Nick Surick for the Engel Stable of IL LLC and the J L Benson Stables Inc. Pocono established a new seasonal record for dollars spent in claiming activity, as $347,750 was laid out for 15 horses who will find new homes, including a Pocono record of $40,000 being paid for Raksmach N for the second straight week. For the meet, $3,082,250 has changes hands as 170 horses have gone home to a different barn or trailer from which they came to the paddock. Perennial Pocono driving leader George Napolitano Jr. brought home four winners on the Saturday night card.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

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