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WILKES-BARRE PA - Star Studded Cast trotted to his third straight harness racing victory in the $14,000 claiming handicap trotting feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, overcoming the outside post eight for a 1:55.1 victory. Trainer/driver Hunter Oakes, who acquired the winner when he was claimed by Northfork Racing Stable out of his last start, sent the Current Cast eight-year-old gelding straight to the top from the outside, hitting the quarter in :27.1. Noble Prize proceeded up to the lead passing the stands, but as soon as he yielded the top Star Studded Cast was back to reclaim the front by the :56 half. Despite these fast early fractions, the winner stayed strong on the front end, passing the three-quarters in 1:25.3 and then finishing two lengths ahead of Shivered, who had come three-wide from near the back on the backstretch and made up a lot of ground. Star Studded Cast, second in his Maine Sire Stakes final at both two and three, posted his sixth win of the campaign and 32nd in his career. He now has amassed earnings of $279,850. The track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., had three winners on the Monday card. The trio gives "GNap" ten victories at Pocono for the first three cards of the racing week, and he has 14 triumphs since Saturday if counting the four he notched at Philly on Sunday.   PHHA / Pocono

Lou Tomczak’s Proper One was given a hall-of-fame steer by Dave Miller to take the harness racing featured event on Sunday afternoon (June 16) at Harrah’s Philadelphia, a Great Northeast Series event for older pacers.  The favorite, Tiger Thompson N (Dexter Dunn) was used hard to get the lead, tripping the quarter beem in :25.1. He then faced pressure from million dollar earner Rockin Ron, who took him on in a :53.1 half mile. Tiger Thompson was still on top at the three quarter pole (1:20.4) but failed to create separation on the final turn. Proper One swung off of tiring cover at the 1/8th pole, and won the sprint home by three-quarters of a length in 1:49. Scott Rocks (Tim Tetrick) closed fast inside for second, while Shnitzledosomethin rallied well to be third.  Proper One picked up his 21st career win out of 87 starts, and his fourth of the season. He’s a 5-year-old gelding by Proper Respect - JK Glory Days (Bettor’s Delight). The Carlo Poliseno trainee returned $40 to his pari-mutuel backers.  Live racing returns to Harrah’s Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 19th at 12:25 Eastern. The jackpot hi-5 carryover now stands at $8,544.73, and is held in race 5 every live race day. There is also a pick 4 carryover of $3,282.99. The pick 4 begins on race number 7. Both wagers have 15% takeouts.  Michael Bozich

WILKES-BARRE PA – Owner/trainer Antonia Storer swept the twin $17,500 features on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono – one at each gait, and one with each Napolitano brother, the 1-2 drivers at the track. On the trot, Anthony Napolitano was driving the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding Optimist Blue Chip, who moved to the lead after a :27.1 quarter and was in charge from there, posting clockings of :56, 1:24.1, and 1:53.1, with the final time a lifetime best. Optimist Blue Chip crossed the wire first by 2¾ lengths over Rock Of Cashel, with the favorite raising his career earnings to $213,928. On the pace, George Napolitano Jr. steered the Delmarvalous gelding Nine Ways to command before a :26.4 quarter, and then the second choice yielded to favored Always At My Place, who posted midrace fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.1. “George Nap” steered Nine Ways to the Pocono Pike and was already past the leader when that one broke midstretch, with the winner going on to a length victory over a determined Santiago Style. The 1:50.1 final time was just a tick off his own best, set here May 11, and swelled his bankroll to $213,406. The four-year-old Credit Winner gelding Lindsey’s Pride, making his first start in over eight months, benefited from a canny drive by Marcus Miller to take the $17,000 trotting co-feature. Buried fourth-in nearing the ¾, Miller moved the winner of almost $130,000 as a sophomore to the outside and advanced in a blindswitch on the far turn, then ducked all the way in to the deep Pocono Pike and came flying to catch favorite Don by ¾ of a length in 1:54.3, a lifetime mark. Trainer Erv Miller and his Ervin Miller Stable Inc. shares ownership of the sharp returnee with Harvey Eisman. Fastest winner of the night was the Mach Three gelding Rebellious, whose 1:49.2 clocking was not only a lifetime best, but only 2/5 of a second off the 2019 local standard. The Mach Three gelding, guided by Tyler Buter, stormed home in :54 in winning by eight lengths for trainer Mike Deters, co-owner of the $197,541 winner with Joel Warner. Five drivers accounted for the night’s thirteen races – George Napolitano Jr. won four times, Marcus Miller three, and Tyler Buter, Eric Carlson, and Anthony Napolitano two each.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, June 15, 2019 -- Stranded in mid-move when his cover ducked back to the cones, Nitro Seelster did the heavy lifting himself and pulled off a 13-1 harness racing upset in Saturday's $20,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Nitro Seelster was following the first-over cover of Real Peace when that rival dived back to the rail to exploit an opening. But Nitro Seelster and Tony Hall persevered, overtaking 4-5 favorite Windsong Leo in the shadow of the wire and downing him by a neck in 1:50. Real Peace earned show. Sarah Andrews trains Nitro Seelster, a 9-year-old Camluck-Strikes Again gelding who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $324,763, for Sandbur Farms and Valarie Sutton. Aaron Merriman, Mike Wilder and Hall each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, first post 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 15, 2019 -- Alesha "The Hoosier Hotshot" Binkley pulled the pocket with Body Of Work midway down the backside and rolled to a 10-1/2-length harness racing rout in Saturday's $10,000 leg of the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Trot at The Meadows. Binkley was stalking Michelle "The Belle" Ruvola (Jackie Goldstein) when a pair of circumstances convinced her it was time to move. "The horse behind me was running me over a little bit," Binkley said. "The horse on the lead was slowing down. So I figured I'd rather go to the front and control the race. I didn't pop the earplugs, and he was a lot better." The rest of the field took chase, but the "Hotshot'" was not to be caught, scoring in 1:56.3. "Tiny Tim" Miller (Song In My Heart) rallied for second, while "Fast Greggy" Keidel (Stirling Boudica) and Ruvola completed the superfecta. Trent Stohler trains Body Of Work, a 6-year-old ABC Garland-Battle Axe gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $156,467, for Trent Stohler Stable.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 12, 2019 -- Bellamente seized the lead from post 7 and overpowered the field from there in capturing Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,800 Conditioned Trot. Once Bellamente reached the point for Brian Zendt, the 4-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide-Bellissimo had little trouble thwarting the first-over bid of Soldier Hanover and scoring in a career-best 1:56.1. INXS was second, 3-3/4 lengths back, with Buba Can Dance third. Lisa Dunn trains and owns Bellamente. In The Meadows' first race of the season for 2-year-olds, Better Song rallied three-wide through the final turn and triumphed in 2:01, fastest this year by a freshman filly trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Rick Beinhauer trains and drives the daughter of Better Caviar-Jessie's Song and owns with Regina Beinhauer. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the day's activities include five "Hot Dog Pig Races," believed to be a first for the track. The action kicks off at 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER PA - Younger horses working their way up the condition ladder were gathered for three $14,000 harness racing divisions of feature race action at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, with all three winners achieving a lifetime best speed mark. In the first event, the A Rocknroll Dance sophomore gelding Dont Judge A Book got early position, then sat just off an argued pace, rallying up the inside in the stretch to cover the mile in 1:52. The winner of four out of seven starts this year held off the late charge of Costello by 1½ lengths for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Tom Cancelliere, and owner John Cancelliere. The second contest saw Chaser Hanover go to the lead and get a relatively soft :57 half, but in the :54.3 - :27 dash home the Bettor's Delight gelding Stand By Me N gamely wore down the pacesetter from the pocket to post a neck triumph for driver Andrew McCarthy in 1:51.3. Stand By Me N has now won three of five starts Stateside for trainer Joshua Parker and J G Racing Stable. In the third division, 1-9 favorite Brassy Hanover made a break on the far turn when challenged by the Well Said gelding Live Like A Boss, with that sophomore charging right by to triumph in 1:52.3 for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer/owner Chris Ryder. Over $6400 of a $7300 show pool was lost on the breaking favorite, with the $24.60 winner paying $22.80 to show, and longshot Union Station returning $65.40 in the show slot after holding third. David Miller had four wins on the day to lead the driving colony. Pennsylvania-sired three-year-old trotters are in the Friday spotlight at Harrah's Philadelphia, with $169,904 in purse money divided among three Sire Stakes divisions, and four $20,000 Stallion Series contests also carded. There were no repeat winners in the first two Sire Stakes preliminaries, and the eleventh race division brings together four horses who have one prelim win - Marseille, Explosivebreakaway, and White Tiger (all from the second prelim), plus Osterc, the 2018 Sire Stakes champion. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The three-year-old trotting colt Greenshoe continued his awesome 2019 harness racing performances during a Wednesday morning qualifying session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning in a spectacular 1:52. Brian Sears came to Pocono to guide the son of Father Patrick, and the pair hung up fractions of :28, :55.4, and 1:24.1, with the sophomore fifteen lengths ahead by the half and having a margin of 28 lengths at the wire. The Marcus Melander-conditioned trotter, owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli, had not raced since winning the New Jersey Sire Stakes final at The Meadowlands on May 31, and the sharp victory sets him up perfectly for the eliminations of the Earl Beal Trot at Pocono on Saturday, June 22, with the $500,000 Beal Championship a week later. Southwind Ozzi, the fastest three-year-old in a race this year at 1:48.4, was scheduled to qualify but was scratched. There were seventeen baby qualifiying races as the busy morning stretched into early afternoon at Pocono, with four races for each gait and sex except the colt trotters, who went in five sections. Among the pacing fillies, the Sunshine Beach-Oceans Motion miss Robmotion Bluechip won her second straight start, setting the pace and being extended by the pocketsitting A Rocknroll Dance miss Dances With, but able to hold on by a nose in 1:56, a North American season's record by a full second and the fastest mile by a freshman pacing filly anywhere. Tyler Buter drove the talented filly for trainer Chuck Connor Jr. and the ownership of Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Robert Lovell, and Janice Connor. In the pacing colt ranks, Ray Schnittker sent out three winners, the fastest being the first-time starter Captain Groovy, who moved to the lead past the quarter and won in 1:56.3, back fractions :56.3 - :28. The son of Captaintreacherous is the first foal out of Lets Groove Tonite, who is a ¾ sister to the $1.2M+-winning world champion Dynamic Youth. Schnittker also drove this colt, and he co-owns him with Ted Gewertz, Howard Taylor, and Mary Kinsey Arnold. Schnittker also drove the American Ideal colt Teton Sunset to his second straight win, in 1:58, coming from fourth with a back half of :56.4. The third Schnittker stablemate from this section to win was the Well Said colt Lake Charles, who debuted in 1:57, his own last half :57.1, with Mark MacDonald in the sulky. The son/father team of driver Scott and trainer Rick Zeron unveiled two winning filly trotters, including Illdoitmyself, a daughter of Chapter Seven out of Dornello. This filly proved "misnamed" in her race, as the Kadabra - Win Missy B miss She Must Be Magic posted huge fractions of :28, :58.1, and 1:27.3, opening up a 15 length lead at the last-named call, but Illdoitmyself came a last quarter of :28.1 to catch the leader by ¾ of a length in 1:58.4, a season's record by over two seconds. Illdoitmyself is owned by Rick Zeron Stables, James Walker, and Van Camp Trotting Corp. The Zerons also won with Fortune Telln Lady, a daughter of Trixton who won in 2:01 on the lead, back fractions :58.2 - :28.4. Trainers Gareth Dowse and Erv Miller each had two victories in the freshman trotting colt action, all with first-time starters. The fastest win in this group was posted by Play Trix On Me, a Trixton - Lima Playmate colt who quarter-moved for trainer/driver Dowse and stopped the clock in 2:00, :58.2 / :29 coming home, for owner-breeder Steve Jones. Dowse also piloted the Andover Hall colt Paulie Walnuts to a 2:00.4 win, coming out of the pocket with a :28.4 burst home. Both of Erv Miller's trainees are by first-year sire Whom Shall I Fear, the full brother to Father Patrick and Pastor Stephen. Scott Zeron rallied the colt Meadowbrook Chip out of the two-hole for a 2:00.3 success, with back numbers of :58.3 - :29.1, while the gelding Fear The Tiger, who overcame a hard first-over trip in his 2:02.2 victory, was driven by - Erv Miller! This was Erv's first success in the sulky since July 23, 2016, but many forget he was a two-time UDR champion in 1998-99. Ray Schnittker, Scott Zeron, and Gareth Dowse each drove three freshman winners, while Dowse as trainer also had three triumphs to lead the conditioners' grouping in the baby races. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Alvisi Hanover battled with Magic MVP the length of the stretch before posting a neck victory in a harness racing career best 1:54.1 while taking the $15,000 trotting feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. George Napolitano Jr. had the altered son of Muscle Massive away from the gate well to sit a pocket trip behind Magic MVP, with the initial splits flashing :27.1 and :56.2. Magic MVP had opened a clear lead to the 1:24.3 three-quarters, but Alvisi Hanover had regained a tight spot behind the leader entering the stretch, and in a long duel outfooted the leader to win the photo decision; O Jonnie stayed to the inside and gained to be third, another half length back. Mark Ford is the owner and trainer of Muscle Massive, who paid $26.00 to win - a bigger price than one usually gets on Pocono's leading driver Napolitano. George won five races on the card, while his brother Anthony came home first in three. In the $14,000 co-featured pace for mares, the Roll With Joe mare Obvious Blue Chip, the odds-on choice, left her field in the red dust through the final quarter, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 under Matt Kakaley's guidance. The winner of $490,154, who earlier had raced in the Blue Chip Series at Yonkers, obviously responded well to the drop in company for trainer Gareth Dowse and the ownership of NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

Once again it was a bit of mixed bag weather-wise for the past harness racing week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun. But the good news is that, for the first time all season, we were able to enjoy some big-purse races in something less than a total downpour. Those races included another stellar performance from Highalator in the Great Northeast Open pacing series on Saturday and four divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for three-year-old trotting fillies on Sunday. Let’s take a look at who earned top honors in our Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: SHADOW CAT As a three-year-old in 2018, Shadow Cat battled his way to just over $100,000 in earnings. His four-year-old campaign has been more of the same, especially when he’s been at Pocono. The four-year-old gelding, trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, won here back on April 21. After four unsuccessful starts at Harrah’s and The Meadowlands, Shadow Cat returned on June 2 and put together an impressive victory in a condition pace for winners of four but no more than seven lifetime races, winning in a career-best 1:50:3 in the slop. On Sunday night he faced that same field again in an effort to capture the winner’s share of the $17,000 purse. Only this time around, he had to deal with a much tougher post position, leaving from the #8 spot in a field of nine. But the game plan didn’t change for driver George Napolitano Jr. He made sure that Shadow Cat rumbled towards the front of the pack early. The gelding made the lead as they straightened out on the front stretch for the first time. Shadow Cat received a breather in the second quarter, which readied him for the second half of the mile, where he was an absolute powerhouse. He paced the final two quarters in 54 seconds even, keeping an excellent group of pursuers at bay. The gelding paced home two lengths in front of second-place Youcaniknow, resetting his career-best with a mile of 1:50 and picking up his second straight win overall, his third straight in front of the Pocono faithful. Other top pacers this week include: Sweet Lucy Lou (Andrew McCarthy, Robert Cleary), a three-year-old filly who followed up her maiden win with a condition victory on Monday afternoon in the slop, setting a new career-best of 1:53:4 in the process; Alex Tye (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), a three-year-old gelding who moved up the condition ladder to win his second straight at Pocono on Sunday night, posting a new career mark of 1:51:4; and Cashendash Hanover (Marcus Miller, Bruce Clarke), who switched barns but still racked up his second straight claiming handicap win on Sunday night, getting it done in 1:52:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MILLIES POSSESSION At this point of the season, most of the three-year-old horses doing the damage in stakes competition are those who have established themselves as two-year-olds as well. That kind of experience usually comes in handy when you’re facing top-flight competition, such as those three-year-old fillies battling it out in Pennsylvania All-Stars action on Sunday night. Yet Millies Possession, unraced as a two-year-old, went off as a 2-5 favorite in her $30,000 All-Stars division on Sunday night. Why was that the case? Well the filly, trained by Jim Campbell, won the first four starts of her career. The last three of those, including a victory at Pocono in her previous start on May 26, came against Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition. That’s a pretty good record no matter when you start racing. On Sunday night, leaving from post position #2 in a field of seven, Millies Possession started a bit slow, but brushed to the lead by the half-mile marker. It was by no means an easy lead, as she faced outside pressure for most of the second half of the mile. But Millies Possession, with help from driver Dexter Dunn, never seemed to be pressing. She stayed out in front all the way to the line, eventually winning by 1 ½ lengths over Jezzys Legacy in an effortless 1:54:1. Now with five wins in five races, four of them for stakes and the last two at Pocono, Millies Possession is clearly making up for lost time. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Asiago (Yannick Gingras, Per Engblom), a filly whose All-Stars win at Pocono on Sunday night in 1:55:3 was her second straight stakes win at the track; Star Studded Cast (Anthony Napolitano, Carmine Fusco), who defeated a claiming handicap group on Monday in the slop in 1:57 for his second straight victory at Pocono; and Lord Cromwell (Marcus Miller, Edward Hart), who moved up in class on Saturday night and managed his second straight  victory, scoring in 1:53:4. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MARCO BEACH With John Kakaley in the bike, this three-year-old gelding overcame a tough outside post to win a condition pace on Monday in the slop at 30-1, paying off $63.60 on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: YANNICK GINGRAS Big races seem to suit Gingras, as he proved on Sunday night when he captured two of the four of divisions of Pennsylvania All-Stars, winning with The Ice Dutchess and Asiago. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CARMINE FUSCO The Fusco barn has really been heating up in recent weeks, and this past week it produced winners in three of the four racing nights. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.   Jim Beviglia

WASHINGTON, PA, June 11, 2019 -- Touchamatic, who saw her six-race winning streak snapped last week, took the first step to stringing together a new one when she exploded from the pocket lane to capture Tuesday's $18,000 harness racing Filly & Mare Open Pace at The Meadows. Touchamatic was content to stalk from the pocket for Aaron Merriman and let the front-ending Medusa do the heavy lifting. As they straightened out of the final turn, however, Merriman cut Touchamatic loose, and the 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Perfect Touch was by far the fresher mare. She scored in 1:51, 2 lengths better than Medusa, while Keystone Riptide rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Touchamatic, who lifted her career bankroll to $296,662, for Renee Bercury. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. and Merriman each piloted three winners on the 13-race program. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday, first post 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - Star Studded Cast recorded his second straight harness racing victory in taking the $14,000 featured claiming handicap trot on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono over a "sloppy" track. The altered son of Current Cast parlayed a pocket trip to paydirt last time out; coming back on six days rest here, he made every pole a winning one for driver Anthony Napolitano in 1:57. A winner of $272,850 and 31 races, Star Studded Cast posted this victory for trainer Carmine Fusco and Verrazano Stables LLC - but if he is to extend his winning streak to three, he'll do it for new connections, as the winner was claimed out of the race. Travis Alexander became the first trainer at Pocono in 2019 to send out two winners who paid over $50 to win, as Marco Beach came out of the pocket to post a $63.60 upset. The key to finding Alexander longshots is to make sure they are driven by a Kakaley - son Matt drove A Bettor Beach to an $86.80 victory in his career debut, and father John guided Marco Beach to this longshot triumph in "nw2" company.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Millies Possesion remained undefeated in five career starts, while The Ice Dutchess set a North American season's record as the two most impressive harness racing winners in four $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old trotting fillies Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Possess The Will - Fashion Athena filly Millies Possesion led the field settle past the :28.1 quarter, then moved to the lead for driver Dexter Dunn moving towards the :57.2 half. Nearing the 1:26.1 three-quarters, Millies Possesion let out a notch, and the issue looked never in doubt during the :28 last quarter, as at the end of the 1:54.1 mile she was 1½ lengths ahead of Jezzys Legacy, with Navarone Hanover another length back while winning a photo for third from Beautiful Sin, the $480,000 yearling who had to go uncovered from beyond midpack. Jim Campbell is the trainer of the developing filly, a three-time Sire Stakes winner this year for owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC. Earlier, the Muscle Hill - The Ice Queen filly The Ice Dutchess, a $320,000 yearling and a full sister to Ice Attraction, raised her 2019 scorecard to two wins in three starts, overcoming the outside post eight with a 1:53.2 win for the divisional season's mark. Yannick Gingras moved up steadily with the winner of $454,910 past a :28.2 quarter to gain the lead before the :57 half-mile marker, then guided her home in successive :28.1 panels to be a runaway 6¾ length winner over Swizzle Sticks. Trainer Nancy Johansson's filly, one of the best in 2018, showed she's ready for 2019's best as well for owners Coyote Wynd Farms. The season's record broken by The Ice Dutchess had been set 36 minutes earlier when Personal Paradise lowered her mark over five seconds with a victory in 1:53.3. The Muscle Hill - Armbro Déjà Vu filly, a half-sister to Dejarmbro and a $265,000 yearling purchase, was sent as far as she could as fast as she could by trainer/driver Ãke Svanstedt, putting up scorching numbers of :27.1, :55, and 1:23.1, with her official lead eight lengths at the stretch call. That lead, though, quickly shrank as Magical Beliefs led the late charge, but Personal Paradise kept trying after the exhausting tempo, retaining a half-length advantage over Magical Beliefs at the wire for the ownership of Melby Gard Inc. Yannick Gingras picked up a second stakes sulky success behind the Muscle Hill - Platinum T filly Asiago in 1:55.3. Gingras waited outside early with the double Sire Stakes winner, pressed on past the :28.2 to the lead and got a breather to a :58.3 midpoint. From there quarters of :28.3 and :28.2 were well within the capability of the $200,000 yearling, as Keystone Abbey tried to run her win streak to five but came up 2 1/2 lengths short of the in-hand winner, who is trained by Per Engblom for Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld, and Black Horse Racing. The big claimers were all shifted to the Sunday card, and 18 horses changed hands for $366,500, bringing the local seasonal total over $4.5 million. PHHA / Pocono

Chester, PA — Fresh off back-to-back harness racing wins, Decoy ($4.20) proved much the best in Sunday afternoon's (June 9) $18,000 featured top-level pace at Harrah's Philadelphia, sprinting off late in a dominant pillar-to-post 1:49.4 win. Daniel Dubé put the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere entire in play from the outset, and the pair seated Machiavelli (George Napolitano Jr.) in the pocket through a :26.4 first quarter before enjoying a :28.1 second-quarter breather. Up the backstretch, Decoy began to leave his seven rivals in his wake, extending his lead gradually to 2-1/2 lengths through three-quarters in 1:22 while facing nary a challenger. Decoy continued to draw away in the homestretch, posting a six-length win while hand-driven to the line. Machiavelli was a no-match second, and the stalking Sweet Beach (Pat Berry) narrowly took third over Billy Badger N (Corey Callahan), whose mild first-over bid into third ended at the top of the stretch. Gary Candell trains 10-time winner Decoy for Brixton Medical Inc., R A W Equine Inc., and Joe Sbrocco. George Napolitano Jr. led all drivers with five wins on the 14-race program, among them a 1:49.4 mile with stakes winner Lyons Johnnyjnr ($7.40) in a $14,000 conditioned pace. Gareth Dowse trains the 3-year-old Well Said colt for Geoffrey Lyons Mound. Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (June 12), with a 14-race card slated to begin at 12:25 p.m. Eastern. The fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5 boasts a carryover of $3,724.29. by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has released its twelfth annual ‘Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report,’ taking an in depth look at what impact the state’s casinos have on the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry. Currently encapsulating ten stand-alone and racetrack casinos as well as two smaller resort casinos and two race and sportsbooks, approximately 17,000 are employed at the facilities with in the region of $1.4bn per annum generated in tax revenue, ten per cent of which was earmarked for the horseracing industry in 2018. Amongst the findings of the report is that $242m in slot machine tax revenue was generated, representing a 1.3 per cent increase from the previous year’s $238.5m. This is for the benefit of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Trust Fund, earmarked for enhancements of race purses and assisting breeding operations located in the Keystone State, providing health and pension benefits for horsemen and supporting agricultural initiatives. Stating in the report that “the racing industry in Pennsylvania is significant in size and continues to be supported by the success of legalised gaming,” 2018 “proved to be a challenging year” for the horse racing industry following 2017’s positives. The total wagered for the year fell five per cent to $669m, with a taxable handle also declining three per cent, as the PGCB stressed environmental impacts negatively affecting performance, notably stating “Pennsylvania received record rainfall in 2018”. The report also lauded a continued investment in backstretch improvement by casinos, which has spent £73m spent since 2006 to build or renovate buildings and structures. Attendance figures also continued to decline, this time by 15 per cent as numbers reached 582,161 for the period, however the regulator sees cause for optimism: “Increasing attendance can be a challenge for the industry due to alternative forms of entertainment that are available to the general public. “Additionally, the only option for patrons to place a wager in the past was if they physically made a visit to the racetracks. This evolved with the opening of off-track wagering facilities and then the subsequent improvement in technology allowing patrons to wager from their personal computer or mobile device. “These new services available to place a wager made it easier and more convenient for patrons to enjoy horse and harness racing, without attending the races at the tracks.” The horse racing tracks operating in conjunction with casinos in Pennsylvania are: Thoroughbred Parx Casino in Bucks County. Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie County. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County. Harness The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County. The Meadows Casino and Racetrack in Washington County. Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack in Delaware County. Reprinted with permission of Casinobeats.com

WILKES-BARRE PA - First-class harness racing will again be featured this weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono: a $30,000 leg of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for top pacers will highlight Saturday's card, which will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. after the Belmont festivities are over, while Sunday's 7 p.m. card will feature four $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old trotting fillies. The early favorite in the Great Northeast Open pace is Highalator, a son of Somebeachsomewhere starting from post six for trainer Jenny Bier, who is co-owner with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. A winner of five of six starts since teaming with driver Rick Still, Highalator was victorious here in the first leg of the GNOS on Kentucky Derby Day, raising his lifetime record at the mountain oval to 11 for 18. In the fifth race first division of All-Stars competition on Sunday, early favoritism was assigned to Cloud Nine Fashion, starting from post one for red-hot trainer Jim Campbell and driver Tim Tetrick. Third in her Breeders Crown race last year, Cloud Nine Fashion broke in her only purse start so far in 2019, but she'll attract attention off a 1:56.1 qualifier at The Meadowlands, during which she flew home in a pulverizing :26.1. The seventh race second cut of the All-Stars finds The Ice Dutchess as the opening choice despite drawing the outside post seven. The Nancy Johansson trainee won her first start at The Meadowlands in 1:52, then finished third, beaten two lengths in a PA Sire Stakes event here - she was moving very strongly at the end of that mile, and she may again have to be a big closer to win from this spot. The tenth race third division of the trotting filly event will feature the only three-time Pennsylvania Sire Stakes preliminary winner, Millies Possesion, who begins from post two for trainer Jim Campbell and driver Dexter Dunn. Unraced at two, "Millie" has yet to taste defeat in four career outings, but she may get stiff opposition here from Beautiful Sin (post five, trainer Per Engblom, driver Tim Tetrick), a $480,000 yearling who finished only 1¼ lengths behind Millies Possesion in her only start of the season. Driver Yannick Gingras has another All Stars favorite in the twelfth race fourth division, Asiago, who like The Ice Dutchess will have to negotiate the outermost post seven. Asiago has two Sire Stakes victories for trainer Per Engblom, and overall is three-for-five in the young season, with her two defeats coming by a combined ¾ of a length.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

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