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WILKES-BARRE PA - Tyler Buter guided five winners during the Wednesday morning harness racing qualifying session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while Mark MacDonald, just a week into his comeback since his injuries last summer, showed he is back in form with three victories. MacDonald handled the fastest winner of the session, the Mach Three gelding Highrthananeagle A. The six-year-old had not raced since November and was making his U.S. debut, but the Rob Harmon trainee made two moves, including going first-over, to win in 1:55.1 for the ownership of Harmon Racing Stable LLC, Lightning 5 Racing Stable, and Joel Kahan. The Cantab Hall gelding Macmorris Hanover, an earner of $120,000 at three last year in his first season at the races, showed he may be a trotter to reckon with in the higher classes as Buter put him on the lead and won by over five lengths in 1:56.1 in his 2020 bow. Bob Baggitt Jr. conditions the promising horse for the ownership of Ben Mudry, Douglas Millard, Timothy Murray, and Howard Taylor.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 24, 2020 -- Icanflylikeanangel outdueled Perlucky for the early lead, then blunted his harness racing rival's late charge to capture Monday's $20,000 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows. The pocket-sitting Perlucky moved wide for the stretch drive and appeared well positioned to brush past Icanflylikeanangel. But the 6-year-old Archangel-Fox Valley London gelding would have none of it, digging deep to hold off Perlucky by 3/4 lengths in 1:54.3 for Mike Wilder. Final Breath earned show. Randy Bendis trains Icanflylikeanangel, who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $337,736, and owns with Pollack Racing LLC. Tony Hall piloted four winners on the 13-race card while Dave Palone and Wilder each fashioned a triple. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $7,797.41 carryover in the final-race Super Hi 5; a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Pick 4 (races 3-6); a $953.03 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA – The Game Of Claims Series for pacers base-tagged at $10,000 and $7500 conducted their third and final preliminaries during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, giving indications of form ahead of their $20,000 and $15,000 Championships in seven days’ time. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding Charger Blue Chip established himself as most likely to sit on the Championship throne with a 1:54.4 victory in Sunday’s single $10,000 division for the higher-priced series horses. Eric Goodell quarter-moved with the Marc Mosher trainee, who notched his second GOC victory for owners Edward and James Hall Jr. "Charger" held off the late kick of favored Grandpa Don, the second prelim winner who was reclaimed by the Marshall barn ahead of the Championship event. The unofficial top nine pointwinners going to this $20,000 Championship are Charger Blue Chip, Grandpa Don, (tie) Midnight Dylan N and Sharknado, (tie) Carmens Best and Corner Con Artist, Achilles Blue Chip, Master The View, and Mr Carrotts. There were two $7500 divisions for the other Game Of Claims group battling for Championship spots, both producing mild upsets. The Art Major gelding Autotune Hanover punched his ticket to the finale with a 1:55 triumph for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Robert Lounsbury, and owner Rick Howles, while in the second cut the Bettor’s Delight gelding Mystery Island won in identical time for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Darren Taneyhill, and owner Chelsey Wibert. Always B Magic and Speedling, both double winners before not competing in the last prelim, tied as the unofficial points leaders for this group, with the next seven lined up behind them in the pursuit of the throne in the $15,000 final are Mystery Island, Some Gold, (tie) Dafinity and Naked City, Smart Talker, Autotune Hanover, and Tough Mudder. Claiming activity, largely generated by the series: Sunday, six for $77,250; for the week, fifteen for $287,250; and for the six-day meet, sixty-two for $1,100,150. Jim Morrill Jr. had four wins Sunday to lead the drivers colony for the night.   PHHA / Pocono

This is an open letter to all of our incumbent legislators on both sides of the aisle, including independents. I read an article this morning that indicated that our governor’s new budget might divert monies from the harness racing “industry” to our schools. This money comes from revenues from the slot machines in our casinos. Since 2004 (when this legislation was enacted), we have been hearing from our campaigning legislators that the initial law was to provide money to eliminate the school taxes. Hear this legislators, I still pay school taxes and they continue to go up not down. In fact, some school districts new budgets will be exceeding the state mandated percentage increases. To summarize: let’s give it to the horses and the hell with the schools. Second, our previous governor, Tom Corbett enacted a 29-cent increase in gasoline tax that would be spread over four years. This money would be earmarked for road and bridge repairs throughout Pennsylvania. However, a number of our communities decided that they would do away with their police force and utilize the State Police. To cover this additional cost for patrols, the money was found in the gasoline tax to pay for this State Police coverage. So now we have a growing number of communities on the state dole. As this continues our highways and bridges remain some of the worst in the nation. I must give credit where credit is due. Our legislators had great teachers – the federal legislators. They diverted so much money from the Social Security fund that they now claim its going broke. In both of the items cited above, we, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, have been lied to continuously. Don’t believe me; just wait until the political campaigns (lies) start this primary season. I have but one question. Are these two scenarios grounds for removal from office? By Emory Guffrovich Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

PLAINS TWP. – While Gov. Tom Wolf was in Taylor on Thursday pitching his 2020 budget and the $204 million Nellie Bly Scholarship Program it would create, Pete Peterson stood in Pacers Clubhouse at Mohegan Sun Pocono and questioned the wisdom of how Wolf would fund the scholarship. Wolf’s plan would divert money from the Race Horse Development Trust Fund, which receives funding from Pennsylvania slots revenue, to pay for the scholarship program. Peterson said diverting those funds would be fatal for the horse and harness racing industry. “It would effectively end the harness racing industry as we know it,” said Peterson, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition — an organization representing the six Thoroughbred and Standard-bred horsemen and breeder associations in the state. “It basically takes away all the money that exists for purses and for breeders incentives,” he said. “That’s the lifeblood of the industry.” Mohegan Sun Pocono, which has featured live harness racing for 55 years, will host 133 nights of live racing this year. Wolf, though, believes the money could be better spent. “Let’s bet on our kids instead of bankrolling race horse owners and ensure the viability of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education,” Wolf told those gathered at Riverside High School on Thursday. However, Peterson cautioned that it is more than just the harness and horse racing industry that would be affected. “The industry as a whole has a much broader impact than most people realize,” Peterson said. “They take a look at a track, and they say that’s who the industry employs. “Well, there are thousands of breeders and the people that work for them. And then you have on top of that a range of people from trainers to jockeys to drivers …” Others professions that benefit from the horse racing industry, according to Peterson include, blacksmiths, veterinarians, exercise riders, grooms, equine dentists, equine therapists, jockey agents, hot walkers, nutritionists, bloodstock agents and more. Peterson said that harness and horse racing contribute about 20,000 jobs to the state and has an overall economic impact of $1.6 billion. In addition, Peterson fears the impact taking the funds away from racing will have on the state’s farmers. “It’s going to have a much broader impact on the agriculture economy in the state than I think most people realize,” he said. Noting that the racing industry is typically the top-level buyer for hay, Peterson said the governor’s diverting of funds comes at a bad time for farmers. “Last year, Pennsylvania saw a 20 percent increase in farm bankruptcies,” he said. “And a lot of them are struggling financially, and then to take away their largest customer. “It’s going to really hurt them.” By Joe Soprano jsoprano@timesleader.com Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 1, 2019 -- The Super Hi-5 jackpot at The Meadows continues to climb. After yet another carryover, Monday's jackpot stands at $62,961.50. The Meadows offers the Super Hi-5 on the final race of each live program. First post for Monday's 13-race card is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 26, 2019 -- Amelias Courage A stalked the leader from the pocket, then blew by in the Lightning Lane to capture Tuesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Harness Racing Pace at The Meadows. Amelia's Courage A was making her fifth domestic start since owner Thomas Mattingly and trainer Richard Perfido imported her from Australia, and she showed just how well she's adjusted. When Dan Rawlings pointed her inside, the 5-year-old daughter of Courage Under Fire-American Dreamer shot past Touchamatic and scored in a career-best 1:51.3. Dark Force rallied for second, beaten a neck, while McDazzle finished third. With the win, Amelia's Courage A boasts a lifetime bankroll of $122,540. Mike Wilder collected four victories on the 13-race card -- including a pair for trainer Jason Robinson -- giving him eight over the past two programs. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the card features a $55,771.46 carryover in the final-race Super Hi 5. First post for the 13-race program is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak,  for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 6, 2019 -- Casey T pulled off a 7-1 upset when she used the Lightning Lane to outkick Kenziesky Hanover and capture Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Casey T and Dan Rawlings grabbed the early lead but released Kenziesky Hanover to take advantage of the pocket trip. Casey T was strongest in the lane, downing the rallying Rose Run Reanna by 1/2 length in a career-best 1:55.4. Kenziesky Hanover saved show. Tyler Stillings trains Casey T, a 6-year-old daughter of Madison River-Gia who boosted her career bankroll to $157,629, for Rags To Riches Of PA. Stillings and Rags To Riches teamed for three victories on the 13-race card while Stillings added to his big day with a driving win. In Wednesday's subfeature, an $11,200 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace, Blue Ivy turned in a sparkling performance for owner Renee Bercury and trainer Bill Bercury, winning in a swift 1:51.3. Blue Ivy was hammered down to 1-9 in the wagering and responded with a 7-1/4-length victory. Aaron Merriman piloted the 3-year-old filly, who now boasts $172,335 in lifetime earnings. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features a $24,811.20 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER PA - The betting favorites did not let the crowd down during the two $16,000 harness racing features on the Wednesday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia. First up was the contest for pacing males, and the crowd naturally went to the American Ideal sophomore colt Artie's Ideal, who had finished third, beaten only a neck, in his Little Brown Jug elimination, and was second in the New York Sire Stakes final to Hickfromfrenchlick. And Artie's Ideal did not disappoint from the pole, going coast-to-coast in 1:52.2 with a 1¾ length margin over Smackitwithahammer at the wire. The father/son team of driver Marcus and trainer Erv Miller saw the three-year-old boost his bankroll to $345,078 lifetime for Bay Pond Racing Stable. In the trotting section, the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Yankees Beast was sent off at the public's choice off of several good races at this level, although the occasional break made their support a bit lighter. But Yankees Beast was not a beast but a gentleman on this day, coming a long way uncovered and still grinding down the game pacesetting Trixar, who himself had been hung almost 3/8 to make the top, by a length in 1:56.2. Tim Tetrick drove the winner for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owner Anna Kristina Lorentzon. Drivers Tetrick and Dexter Dunn were joined by trainer Mark Harder in having thee visits to Victory Lane on the Wednesday card.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - George Napolitano Jr., not long removed from achieving his 10,000th career driving victory, posted another milestone at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on the Monday twilight harness racing card, guiding Follow Your Heart to a 1:53.3 initial pari-mutuel victory to notch his 5000th lifetime driving success over the red 5/8-mile oval in northeast Pennsylvania. Just as he did with Motown N 16 days ago to get his overall win #10,000, Napolitano moved early for the lead with the favored Follow Your Heart, and the Rock N Roll Heaven freshman gelding kept control from there, coming home in :55.3 while lowering his mark over 4 seconds. The freshman is trained by Aaron Lambert, who is also co-owner with Ron Coyne Stables Inc., Blair Corbeil, and David Linker. Follow Your Heart trained by Aaron Lambert (in photo) Napolitano is well on his way to his 13th championship in the driving win category at the Pocono oval. In North American terms, Napolitano became the 18th driver to reach five figures in sulky wins, and he ranks 11th among active drivers. George also is sitting in third place among all North American drivers in 2019.     PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 28, 2019 -- When You Dance moved relentlessly first over, wore down the leader late and captured Monday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,500 Conditioned Pace. When You Dance was third down the backside when Jim Pantaleano sent him after Go West Go Fast, who was racing off a layoff but dueled evenly with the challenger until-mid stretch. When You Dance edged away and held off the Lightning Lane charge of Enoch by 1/2 length in 1:51.3. Go West Go Fast saved show. Christen Pantaleano owns and trains When You Dance, a 4-year-old Mach Three-Armbro Dancer gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $163,047. Jim Pantaleano collected four wins on the 12-race card while Dave Palone and trainer Ron Burke each enjoyed a triple. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features an $11,525.29 carryover in the final-race Super-Hi 5. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - Tight Lines blew away a talented harness racing field in the $21,500 featured trot Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, recording a 1:54.1 victory with a :56.3 back half despite 50o temperatures and a sloppy surface. Trainer/driver Jeff Gregory was behind the innermost of the leavers and put foes in behind him to a :27.3 quarter, then got a :30 breather in the second stanza. From there the sprint was on, and the altered son of Yankee Glide was in complete control in the latter stages, winning by 4½ lengths over pocketsitter Joey Bats. Tight Lines has now won a third of his eighteen seasonal starts and has amassed $522,076 lifetime for Jeff Gregory Inc., Jesmeral Stable, and William Richardson. There was a trio of $17,000 co-features for younger horses trying to earn their way up the condition ladder. In the single trotting event, the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Nextroundsonme got to the half in slow time even over the off going while on the lead, then stepped home in :57.1 to complete a 1:57.4 victory, defeating pocketsitting Conman Crown by 1½ lengths. George Napolitano Jr. drove the victorious three-year-old for trainer Jenny Melander and Belmar Racing And Breeding LLC. The first of the pacing co-features was for females, and Blue Ivy proved worthy of heavy mutuel backing with an easy 2½ length victory over two-holer Coral Bella in 1:53.1, coming her last half in :56.1 and her last quarter in :28 after moving to the lead past the quarter. The winner is a three-year-old Captaintreacherous miss who was driven by Tyler Buter for trainer Chris Oakes and the partnership of Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, and Chuck Pompey. In the division for male pacers, the sophomore Somebeachsomewhere gelding Quatrain Blue Chip moved to the lead in front of the stands, opened up a big lead with a :27.3 third quarter in the muck, and came home comfortably for a 1:53 triumph, 2¼ lengths to the good of JK Musicman. Trainer Chris Oakes completed a sweep of the pacing co-features with the three-year-old, who won a division of the Simpson Stakes at Philly three starts back, for owners Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay; the victory completed a driving triple for George Napolitano Jr., top among the sulkysitters on the night.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Muscle Mass mare Supergirl Riley made an early move to the lead and trotted on strongly to take the $17,500 trotting harness racing feature Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning in 1:52.3. Fresh off a 1:51.3 lifetime best at Lexington, Supergirl Riley was kept midpack early by driver Simon Allard, then moved at the quarter and grabbed the lead as the field neared the wire the first time. A final quarter of :28.1 was sufficient to keep the nearest challenger, the first-over Hill Of A Horse, 2¼ lengths at bay; the latter photoed out pocketsitter The Lionking As for place. Pocono's leading trainer, Rene Allard, trains the winner of three of her last four, who boosted her lifetime earnings to $457,713 for Allard Racing Inc., John Lengacher, and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. There were three $17,000 co-features for horses looking to climb the class ladder. Two of the races were for pacers; in the contest for males, the Captaintreacherous sophomore gelding Seafarer was the last choice in the field of five and last at headstretch, but he closed solidly to nose out JK Musicman while taking a new mark of 1:50.4. Driver Marcus Miller got the timing just right with the winner of three of his last five for trainer/father Erv Miller and the ownership of Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Tanah Merah Farms LLC. Marcus and Erv Miller came right back in the next race, the co-feature for pacing females, with another Captaintreacherous sophomore, Alli Nui, who also set a lifetime best with a 1:50.3 mile. Alli Nui sat behind pacesetting favorite Bestseller Hanover, moved out in the stretch to get the lead, then withstood the late kick of Blue Ivy by 1½ lengths for Ervin Miller Stable Inc., Hannah Miller, Nick Surick Stable LLC, and Louis Willinger. In the trotting contest, Macmorris Hanover was outside early and not able to clear to the lead until almost the second turn, yet he still had enough to hold off favored Fade Into You by 1½ lengths in 1:55.2 for driver Pat Lachance. The Cantab Hall sophomore gelding has now been victorious in two of his last three starts for trainer Bob Baggitt Jr. and owners Ben Mudry, Douglas Millard, Timothy Murray, and Howard Taylor.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - George Napolitano Jr. became the 18th North American driver to tally 10,000 driving victories on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when he guided Motown N to a hard-earned harness racing victory in the evening's ninth race. Motown N tucked third early, then used one of Napolitano's signature moves, a brush off the first turn, to make his way to the lead, but not until being parked the entire second quarter. Once on top, Motown N and Napolitano were in control, with "George Nap" rocking the horse home to a two length victory over Redbank Blaze A - driven by George's brother Anthony. Motown N did not recognize the milestone achieved by his driver, as he was under full steam right back to the paddock after the mile. But George was brought to the winners circle after "dropping off" the horse to join family, friends, and Pocono management to celebrate the major achievement. George Napolitano Jr. currently ranks 11th among active North American drivers in victories, and he is well on his way to taking his 13th seasonal crown at The Downs, and his eighth straight. George also has ten UDR titles at Pocono, and he was the winningest trainer here in five seasons. The win behind Motown N was his 4,982nd victory at Pocono since his first victory success in 2000. George won the North American dashwinning title in 2010, and this year he currently sits third in the standings. George's brother Anthony guided Luis Alberto N to a 1:50.1 victory in the $17,500 featured pace on the card. Anythingforlove A had laid down very hot fractions of :25.4, :53.2, and 1:21 and still held well in the stretch, but despite a speed-favoring track those giant fractions did take a toll, and Luis Alberto N came on steadily the last 3/8 to post a 1¼ lengths over the game pacesetter while posting a North American mile mark. Jose Godinez trains the Kiwi import for the ownership of Blindswitch Racing Stable and Dolne Farm Services LLC.   PHHA / Pocono

CHESTER PA - "Hometown" filly Philly Hanover made a strong move for harness racing driver Dexter Dunn down the backstretch of the $17,000 pacing features for fillies and mares on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, then paced off by herself to a 7½ length victory in 1:51.2. Sweet Cherry took over the early lead from Ilana Z Tam, and then in turn past the :27.2 quarter was passed by Anytime N, looking for her fourth straight win. Anytime N took the field past a :55.2 half, when Dunn moved Philly Hanover to the outside and paced right past the leader to the 1:23.3 three-quarters. The outer tiers became all clogged out up on the far turn, so the battle for place came down to a battle between early forward factors Ilana Z Tam and Sweet Cherry, with the former claiming second by a neck. It was the sixth victory of the year for Philly Hanover, who now has a seasonal bankroll of $170,814 and lifetime earnings of $282,229. Ron Coyne Jr. trains the sophomore for Ron Coyne Stables Inc. and Blair Corbeil. There were two $16,000 co-features, one for pacing distaffs and one for trotters. On the pace, another daughter of Captaintreacherous, the sophomore miss Catch A Secret, may not quite be on a level with her stablemates, two-year-old Lyons Sentinel and free-for-aller Shartin N, but the Jim King Jr. trainee is developing into a nice horse of her own, winning for the third time in her last four starts, here in a lifetime best 1:54. Tim Tetrick was in the sulky for owners Ben Mudry, Brad Maxwell, Dr. Fred Kruselnicki, and Kenneth Freidel. On the trot, the Cantab Hall sophomore colt Consus Victory is now three-for-three since being teamed with driver Vinnie Ginsburg, on Friday making the lead at the quarter and controlling the field from there in hanging up a 1:55.4 clocking. Jonas Czernyson trains the improving sophomore for the Consus Racing Stable Inc.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA -- Favorites tasted defeat in all four harness racing divisions of the John Simpson Memorial for 2-year-old colts and geldings on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 6) at Harrah's Philadelphia, and all four winners took new lifetime marks. Blank Stare ($19.00) took top honors among 14 freshman male pacers, dueling down prohibitive favorite Lake Charles for a 1:52.4 victory in the first of two $49,700 divisions of the Bret Hanover. Corey Callahan angled the gelded son of Bolt The Duer and Hypnotize first-over from fourth as Pennsylvania Stallion Series standout Lake Charles (Jason Bartlett) rated a comfortable :57.2 half mile. Up the backstretch, Blank Stare accelerated to force a quickening pace, sticking a nose in front past three-quarters in 1:24.4 before dueling for the entirety of the far turn. Off the home corner, Blank Stare asserted and pushed clear of Lake Charles by 1-1/2 lengths, while Diamond Head (Austin Siegelman) finished third. John Butenschoen trains three-time winner Blank Stare for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, James Crawford IV and the In Over My Head Stable. The second Bret Hanover division saw Save Me A Dance ($31.20) and George Napolitano Jr. employ similar first-over tactics to grind down odds-on favorite Cigars And Port (Bartlett) on approach to the final turn. The Heston Blue Chip-Dance Hall Girl colt then outlasted a late rally from the second-over JK Lucky Charms (Eric Goodell) by a half length to win in 1:54.2. Alota Chips (Marcus Miller) lifted from third-over to narrowly miss the runner-up spot. Save Me A Dance gave Napolitano one of two stakes wins on the card, and was the second half of a stakes double for owner Robert Key and trainer Andrew Harris. Key and Harris also prevailed in the first $60,000 division of the Super Bowl for juvenile male trotters, when Sky Castles ($6.60, Bartlett) dug in through the far turn to parry a first-over challenge from 6-5 choice Loyal Fox Hanover (Victor Kirby) before sprinting away to win by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:56.2. Hopeusteponalego (Marcus Schoen) finished a farther 3-3/4 lengths behind in third. It was the second career win for the son of Conway Hall and Sand Piper. Sky Castles was a dominant winner                  --Lauren Tucker/World Wide Racing Photos Napolitano completed his stakes double in the second Super Bowl split with Hell Patrol ($10.40). The Yankee Glide-Day At The Spa gelding followed live second-over cover up the backstretch and vaulted three-wide to the lead just after pacesetter Barley (Kirby) broke stride nearing the top of the stretch. Hell Patrol lifted late to reel in 1-2 favorite Saxon (Bartlett) -- who inherited the lead from the pocket -- by a half length in 1:57.1. Kyrie Deo rallied from third-over to take third. Marcus Melander trains two-time winner Hell Patrol for Courant Inc. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Oct. 9), with a 12-race card due to begin at 12:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

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