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WILKES-BARRE PA – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono opens its 2021 harness racing season this Saturday afternoon. Post time for the 55th year of competition at the northeast Pennsylvania oval is 12:30. The headliner on the inaugural card is a $14,000 fast-class pace slotted for race ten on the 14-race card. The 5-2 morning line favorite is the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Redbank Blaze A, who has been closing very strongly while competing at Yonkers for trainer Jose Godinez and the Godinez Racing Stable LLC. The Down Under import, who starts from post one, will have the sulky services of George Napolitano Jr., who will be bidding for his tenth consecutive victory crown among Pocono drivers, and who is listed for action in 12 of 14 races. The winningest trainer at Pocono last year, Ron Burke, sends out the 3-1 second choice in the feature, the Bettor’s Delight gelding Bettor Memories, who will have to overcome the outside post eight for driver Matt Kakaley, but who has being showing good early speed for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phil Collura. Burke, longtime leading trainer at The Meadows, Harrah’s Philadelphia, and all of North America, completed his first “Pennsylvania training sweep” last year by winning the Pocono title, and he’ll look to start building an early lead with four Saturday entrants. One of them is Sailboat Hanover, a son of Captaintreacherous who is the early chalk in the $12,000 pacing co-feature, starting from the middle of a field of nine, with Kakaley listed to drive. The other co-feature is for trotters, with much of the attention likely to focus on Get Legs, a son of Muscle Hill who will begin from post eight for the husband/wife team of trainer Julie and driver Andy Miller. Get Legs, now four, did not get to the races until November of his sophomore year, then promptly won his first five starts before finishing third against tough opposition at The Meadowlands last time out. FINISHING LINES – Seventeen entrants on the Saturday card already show 2021 victories, with Talk Show, Little Admiral, and Blacklight already having visited the winners circle twice this year. … The Downs will be dark for Super Bowl Sunday, but then the regular February schedule of Saturday at 12:30 and Sunday at 5:00 will kick in, with the racing on those two days focused on first-round action in the $495,000 Game Of Claims series’ four classifications.   PHHA / Pocono

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono 2021 Season Preview The 2021 harness racing season has arrived at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. It's an earlier start than we've had in the past, which in turn gives our fans an earlier chance than usual to dig into all the action. It all gets underway on Saturday, February 6, the first of 137 racing days on the new season's schedule. Let's start off by taking a look at that schedule, so you'll know when the live racing takes place. After Opening Day, Pocono returns a week later (no racing on Super Bowl Sunday) for a February racing schedule of Saturdays at 12:30 PM ET and Sundays at 5 PM ET. That's the way it stays until March, when we add a third day: Mondays at 12:30 PM ET. In April, Pocono gets up to full gear by adding Tuesdays at 12:30PM ET, and that's the way we stay throughout the rest of the spring and summer months. In October, the final month of the season, Pocono reverts to Saturday, Sunday and Monday racing until Closing Day, scheduled for Saturday, October 30. Over the years, Pocono has built a reputation as having some of the most competitive overnight racing action (non-stakes races) in North America. In February and March, the track will pay tribute to the claiming division with the Game of Claims, a series which inaugurated last year and features combined purses of $145,000 for the four series finals. The next series to come down the block will be the Bobby Weiss Series, named after Pocono's longtime track superintendent. In the Weiss series, three-year olds take center stage. This series culminates from April 24 to 27 with a quartet of $40,000 finals. It's at that point that the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, Pennsylvania All-Stars, and Pennsylvania Stallion Series all kick into gear. Featuring two and three-year-old horses from the Keystone State, these races draw in some of the best racing talent, lured as they are by the massive purses. In addition, those horses in the Sire Stakes and Stallion Series know they have to perform well if they want to get to the finals, which push the purses even further skyward (more on that in a bit.) On Saturday, August 21, it's the return of Sun Stakes Saturday, the biggest racing day of the season at Pocono, one which puts the track at the epicenter of the harness racing universe. For many years now, the track has hosted the $300,000 Max Hempt Memorial (for three-year-old pacers, the $250,000 James Lynch Memorial (for three-year-old filly pacers) and the $300,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial (for three-year-old trotters,) and will do so again in 2021. The new addition this year is the Delmonica Hanover stakes. This is a race named after a legendary trotter who won her division four times in the 1970s. In her honor, the top three-year-old trotting fillies will be going at it for $250,000. When you combine the stakes and consolation races on tap that day, a total of $2.1 million will be on the line in a single racing card. As we mentioned earlier, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes bring together the very best horses in the state throughout the summer. And, on Saturday, September 4, Pocono will host the three-year-old PA Sire Stakes championships, which will crown the overall winners and award over $1 million dollars in purses in the finals alone. In other words, there will be a lot on the line at Pocono in 2021. That goes also for the heavy competition in the paddock area among the drivers and trainers. Pocono boasts one of the most talented communities of horsemen and horsewomen anywhere, and that will surely be on full display again this season. Anticipation is high among all of us who work at Pocono. This will be my fourteenth season calling the races at the track, and I still get the same level of excitement as I ever have for a new season. It's a season that feels extra-special, one where the gratitude we all have for having such an enjoyable place to come to work each day might be at higher level than ever. We just can't wait to get started. In that spirit, we hope to see you all on Opening Day and throughout the 2021 campaign at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. That will do it for now, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegasunpocono.com.   Jim Beviglia

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 29, 2021 — Jeffery P overwhelmed a distinguished harness racing field Friday at The Meadows, cruising to a career-best 1:52.1 victory in the $16,200 Open Handicap Trot. Jeffery P quarter-poled to the top for Dave Palone and began drawing off past the half.  From there, the only question was how much his winning margin would be. The answer — 5-1/4 lengths ahead of early leader Icanflylikeanangel, with Lady’s Dude third. Ron Burke trains Jeffery P, a 6-year-old Full Count-Betty Jean gelding who vaulted over $200,000 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Tony Hall collected three wins on the 13-race card — including a pair for trainer Scott Betts — raising his total to nine for the three-day race week. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday, first post 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 28, 2021 — The Wall shot the Lightning Lane and had just enough to capture Thursday’s $16,200 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Customarily a closer, the Wall flashed early speed for Jim Pantaleano, enabling him to work out a pocket trip behind the hard-used leader, Wild Wild Western. The 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-New Album harness racing gelding surged late to hold off the wide rally of Macadoodledoo by a head in 1:51, with Rock Candy third. Neil Balcerak trains The Wall, who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $551,641, and owns with Matthew Morrison. Tony Hall, Aaron Merriman and Dave Palone each collected three wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Friday when the 13-race program features a pair of carryovers: $1,570.38 in the Pick 5 (race 8), $1,331.72 in the final-race Super Hi-5. The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association is offering free past performances for Friday’s card; they’re available at pennhorseracing.com. First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 27, 2021 -- All Day Sunshine zipped to the lead from post 5 and had little trouble controlling the mile, rolling to her fourth straight harness racing victory in Wednesday's feature at The Meadows, a $9,400 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. The 4-year-old daughter of Sunshine Beach-Mustang Kensley was so strong on top that no rival could mount even a mild challenge. She and Aaron Merriman scored in 1:52.3, three-quarter lengths better than Amelia's Courage A, with Hereslookinatyou N third. Paul Corey trains All Day Sunshine, who pushed her lifetime bankroll to $169,463, for Kenneth Ashba. Tony Hall piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Thursday, first post 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA – The activity at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is growing every day in anticipation of the track’s 56th year of harness racing, a season which begins on Saturday, February 6. Horses are already training over the track during set hours every day. Pocono would like horsemen to know that because of the winter weather peaking right around the corner, there will be NO training over the Pocono surface on Tuesday, January 26. The first qualifiers for the 2021 season at the mountain oval will be held on Monday, February 1 and Tuesday, February 2, with both sessions starting at 10 a.m. Horsemen should declare entries for the Monday qualifiers by Saturday at 11 a.m., and for the Tuesday qualifiers by Monday at 11 a.m. The draw for the opening night’s card of racing on February 6 will be held on Monday, February 1, with the box closing at its normal time of 9 a.m. There will be no racing on the Sunday (February 7) after the first card because of the Super Bowl. The next weekend, February 13-14, the track will start its regular February schedule of Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. Mondays will be added to the schedule starting March 1, and Tuesdays in April, with the racing on both those days carrying a post time of 12:30. Horsemen who would like to race in the Game Of Claims Series for pacers are reminded that nominations must be postmarked by Saturday, January 30. Conditions and entry forms for the Game Of Claims Series are available on the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association website (www.phha.org). The various series will have their first legs on the weekend of February 13-14. Pocono Director of Racing Rick Kane will be available at 570 831 2128 during the mornings before the meet should any questions arise.   PHHA / Pocono

ASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 21, 2021 — Maewegonow, the only mare in the field, opened a daylight lead at the three-quarters and romped off to an easy victory in Thursday’s harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,000 Conditioned Trot. The 1-5 favorite gave her backers some anxious early moments as she was looped from the gate and needed the entire opening quarter to cross over. But the 7-year-old daughter of Deweycheatmnhowe-Maurismo still was much the best for Dan Rawlings, scoring in 1:55.2. Mystical Peter found late room to be second, 5 lengths back, with Oh So Pine third. Richard Perfido trains Maewegonow, who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $416,509, for Win Rhythm Stables. Aaron Merriman collected four wins and Rawlings three — including a pair for Perfido and Win Rhythm — on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Friday when the 13-race program features a $1,143.20 carryover in the Pick 5 (race 8). First post is 12:45 PM. "Horsemen Helping Horsemen"   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 20, 2021 — Carolina Beach worked out a cozy pocket trip behind the strong leader, Wild Wild Western, then blew by him in the lane to capture Wednesday’s $16,200 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Wild Wild Western threw down a 1:22.4 three quarters, putting away the outside harness racing challengers. That left the stretch wide open for Carolina Beach, who moved outside for Aaron Merriman and downed Wild Wild Western by 1-3/4 lengths in a sharp 1:51.1. The Wall rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Carolina Beach, a 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Laughandbehappy gelding who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $421,298, for Renee Bercury. Trainer Rom Burke fashioned a four-bagger on the 13-race card while Tony Hall and Dave Palone each piloted three winners. Live racing at The Meadows continues Thursday when the 13-race program features a $9,893.72 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 15, 2021 — Showing no ill effects from a layoff of nearly nine weeks. Rainbowinthewest powered to the lead from the rail and won as she pleased in Friday’s harness racing co-feature at The Meadows, a $9,400 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Although Rainbowinthewest could have released a pair of early challengers, trainer/driver Brian Zendt would have none of it. He kept the pedal to the metal and the 6-year-old daughter of Andover Hall-Miss Milwaukee responded, scoring in a sharp 1:54.3. Matterlei finished second, 2-1/2 lengths back, with Impulse Buy third. Brocious Racing  Stable and Lone Wolf Stable campaign the winner, who boosted her career bankroll to $168,120. In Friday’s other co-feature, a $9,400 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace, Dark Force encountered a surface downgraded to sloppy. But the 6-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Skinny Dip quarter-poled confidently to the lead and held on late to prevail in 1:53.4 for Tony Hall and trainer Randy Bendis, who co-owns with Pollack Racng LLC. Dave Palone collected four wins and Hall three on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday when the program features an $8,068.54 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 13, 2020 — Swinging wide off excessive cover through the final turn, Jeffery P roared through the lane and captured Wednesday’s $16,200 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Jeffery P raced third over down the backside, cover that he probably didn’t need because it forced him well wide in the stretch. But he had a ton of trot for Dave Palone and sailed past th pack to triumph in 1:54.4, 3/4 lengths better than his rallying stablemate, Lady’s Dude. Jessiejesorjessica completed the ticket. Ron Burke trains Jeffery P, a 6-year-old Full Count-Betty Jean gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $195,523, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Palone collected three wins on the 13-race card, including a pair for Burke. Live harness racing at The Meadows continues Thursday when the 13-race program features a $4,679.25 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER, Pa. — Western Joe ($16.40) made every call a winning one in Sunday's (Dec. 20) $14,400 top-level pacing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding used a :26.1 first quarter to gain uncontested control of the terms from post six and, after harness racing driver Simon Allard rated a :29 second sectional, parried a stern first-over try from Bettor Memories (Yannick Gingras) to win in 1:50.3. Mac's Jackpot rode the pocket to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths behind, but was demoted to sixth after bearing out in the homestretch and causing interference to multiple horses.   Vettel N (Joe Bongiorno) was elevated to second after emerging out of traffic, and Rock The Town (Tim Tetrick) circled down the grandstand side to be elevated to third.   Even-money favorite Ana Afreet N was parked throughout from post eight and failed to fire off a second-over trip. Chris Choate trains 29-time winner for breeder Anthony Ruggeri, who shares ownership with Richard Tosies. Trainer Ron Burke recorded a hat trick on the 14-race card, teaming up with driver Yannick Gingras to win with Rockapelo ($4.80, 1:50.3), Dojea Gizmo ($3.00, 1:51.2) and Pyro ($2.20, 1:51.4). Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Dec.  23), with a $14,111.42 carryover in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5. Post time is 12:25 p.m. EST.     by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER, Pa. -- Management at Harrah's Philadelphia has announced that the program of racing scheduled for Thursday afternoon (Dec. 17) has been canceled as a result of continued inclement winter weather in the Philadelphia region. Live racing is scheduled to return to Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday (Dec. 18), with a carryover of $11,291.69 in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5. First post is 12:25 p.m. EST.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 14, 2020 — Jessiejesorjessica charged through the sloppy Lightning Lane to grab her 15th win this year in Monday’s harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Conditioned Trot. Big Pete’s Style is the season’s leader in wins with 17. Jessiejesorjessica zipped to the front from post 5 for Dave Palone but yielded to the pocket when Full Surge challenged at the quarter. The 4-year-old daughter of Justice Hall-Ziggy Wiggy found the Lightning Lane just in time and downed the rallying Petey Sarah by a neck. The first-over White Tiger was third. Shawn Johnston trains the winner, who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $116,238, for Gina Young. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the 13-race program features a $14,339.52 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER, Pa. — Mark Jakubik's Rock The Town ($3.40) lived up to odds-on billing in Sunday's (Dec. 13) $11,600 upper-level conditioned pacing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia, coasting to a 1:51 harness racing score with plenty in reserve at the end of the one-mile race. Andy McCarthy worked the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding clear of Statement Made A (Dexter Dunn) shortly after a :27.1 first quarter, and the pair were uncontested for the remainder of the journey. Rock The Town edged clear from an all-out Statement Made A off the home turn, and won by a measured 1-3/4 lengths. J M Mandamin (George Napolitano Jr.) rallied up the open stretch to nab second over Statement Made A. The featured win with 20-time winner Rock The Town was one of two on the card for trainer Darren Taneyhill. Steve Brabrook also fashioned a training double. Tim Tetrick and Dexter Dunn shared top honors among drivers with three wins apiece. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Dec. 16), with an $11,291.69 carryover in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5. First post is 12:25 p.m. EST.     by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER PA – Driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Anette Lorentzon, and a pair of three-year-old trotting fillies teamed up for off-the-pace harness racing victories in the twin $12,800 features at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. First up was the Conway Hall miss Sweet Heart As, who hadn’t raced in 28 days but nonetheless was ready to capitalize on a second-over trip to win in 1:56.2, three-quarters of a length ahead favored pocketsitter Reciprocal Blue Chip. ACL Stuteri AB owns the filly, who has four wins in twelve seasonal starts. (As the $10.40 third choice, Sweet Heart As was the longest-priced winner on the program.) Tetrick had to rally the Father Patrick filly Context from further back, coming three-wide from a third-over fifth, five lengths back, at the three-quarters, but she went on strongly to win in 1:56. President, a 38-1 shot, followed the favored winner but came up a length shy as Context won for the third straight time for owner Jorgen Jahre Jr. In the $11,600 top fast-class trot on the card, the veteran Credit Winner gelding Fashion Creditor handled a one-step jump in company with aplomb, setting all the fractions for George Napolitano Jr. and prevailing by 1½ lengths over Rock Of Cashel. The career winner of $722,735 is trained by Tom Fanning for owner Joseph Smith. Todd McCarthy, David Miller (celebrating his birthday), George Napolitano Jr., and Tim Tetrick each had three winners on the Thursday card. Tetrick and Napolitano have won every drivers dashwinning title at Chester/Philly since the track’s inaugural year (when Cat Manzi came out on top), and with a commanding lead going into the last days of the meet, Napolitano will win his eighth title in 2020; Tetrick has six local championships.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 9, 2020 — Pace Baby Pace launched a lengthy uncovered bid that carried her to harness racing victory — her second straight — in Wednesday’s $16,200 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Pace Baby Pace was fifth down the backside when Dave Palone sent her after the leader, Summer Charm. The 4-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou-Breakheart Pass persevered through the lane and scored in 1:51.3, a head better than the pocket-sitting Blue Ivy in the Lightning Lane. Summer Charm was a close-up third. Ron Burke trains Pace Baby Pace, who pushed her lifetime bankroll to $194,793, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Palone collected four wins on the 13-race card, giving him nine over the past two days.   Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the 13-race program features a $10,126.20 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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