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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

CHESTER PA - The fall stakes season at Harrah's Philadelphia began on Sunday with four $30,000 divisions of the John Simpson Memorial Stake for three-year-old harness racing colts on both gaits. Longtime Yonkers stalwart Jason Bartlett came to Philly on Sunday and won four races, three of them in stakes company. Two of the stakes triumphs came on the trot, including the fastest winner of the quartet, the Trixton colt Alternative Fact, who lowered his mark to 1:53.3 while notching his fourth straight win. Alternative Fact parked favored Explosivebreakaway a long way before yielding the lead, then rallied from the pocket to record a 1¼ length win over the pacesetter for trainer Ray Schnittker, who is also co-owner with Steven Arnold and Joe Sbrocco. In this race Steuben Hanover was interfered with just before the start and had all money wagered on him refunded. Bartlett also won with the Muscle Hill colt Summit In Sight in 1:54.3, going a long uncovered route and still having enough to defeat Nextroundsonme, who had vacated the pocket to follow him into the stretch, by a length. Julie Miller is the conditioner of Summit In Sight, who topped six figures in lifetime earnings with the win for Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc. The other two trotting stakes were taken by George Brennan, who has combined with "fellow shipper" Bartlett to win 635 races at Yonkers this year as the 1-2 drivers at the Hilltop. The faster of Brennan's winners was the Muscle Mass gelding Cavill Hanover, who rallied past favored pacesetter Hatikvah by 1¼ lengths while taking a lifetime best of 1:54.4. Ake Svanstedt trains the winner of $190,815 for the ownership of Little E LLC, Wolfgang A Stable Inc., and Börje Näsström. Muscle Massive, Muscle Mass's full brother, sired the other of Brennan's victors, the colt Mass Fortune K, who brushed to the lead in front of the stands then withstood pocketsitter Captain Krupnik by 1½ lengths while equaling his lifetime mark of 1:54.1. Norm Parker trains the winner, who went over $200,000 in lifetime earnings, for owner Robert Key. The fastest of the four Simpson Stakes pacing winners was the Roll With Joe gelding Rollwithpapajoe, who also exceeded $200,000 in his career bankroll with a 1:50 engine score that featured back fractions of :54.1 - :26.3. The time was a lifetime best for the Joe Bongiorno-driven sophomore, trained by his sister Jennifer for Barbara Bongiorno Stable LLC, Bill Lambos and Dionisios Liberatos. Second in the fast mile was Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show, who was 3½ lengths behind the winner and a neck ahead of Aflame Hanover, whose Pennsylvania Sire Stakes consolation victory was faster than the time of Championship winner Southwind Ozzi. Another horse with national credentials, New York Sire Stakes final winner Hickfromfrenchlink, was the second successful trainer/driver teaming of Jason Bartlett and Ray Schnittker during the stakes-laden card, as the So Surreal colt notched his sixth straight win in a 1:50.3 - 54.2 mile that saw second-place Respect Our Flag 3¼ lengths in arrears at the wire. Hickfromfrenchlick, named for basketball star Larry Bird, bumped his earnings to $541,927 in a career that has seen him take 13 of 19 starts. The other two pacing colt stakes section were taken by driver George Napolitano Jr. "George Nap" started the card by teaming with trainer Tom Cancelliere, owner/brother John, and the Sweet Lou colt Love Me Some Lou, who despite having only one race in 37 days and having to go raw, withstood Seafarer by a neck to push his winnings to $231,452. Napolitano also drove the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Quatrain Blue Chip, who came clear up the inside from the pocket and fended off the late charge of Lyons Night Hawk by 1¼ lengths in 1:52. Chris Oakes conditions the winner for Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay. Exactly one week ago, George Napolitano Jr. was dumped to the Harrah's oval when a horse of his made a break and hooked wheels. As Napolitano pointed his vehicle towards Pocono for nighttime action after notching three successes on the Sunday afternoon card at Philly, he had won 26 races in the interim, 13 at each track.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER PA - The Somebeachsomewhere gelding The Wall gave a solid harness racing performance in the $14,500 featured pace at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, stopping the timer in 1:51.1. Each of the four panels on the timer reflected :27.4 quarters, but The Wall did not pace each of his own four splits in that figure. He was fourth, four lengths off, approaching the end of the first turn when Tony Morgan sent him on a quarter move, and the pair had cleared near the second turn. But The Wall did pace identical :27.4s coming home, holding off a late charge from Annihilation in going under the wire lengths in charge. Nick Surick trains the winner of $449,486 for J L Benson Stables Inc. Twin B Jays went right to the lead and was never usurped from that position in taking a $14,000 co-featured pace in 1:53.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Andrew Harris, and the ownership of Princeton Farms Inc. and Madalyn Henry. The sophomore Betterthancheddar gelding has a 6-2-3-1 record since coming south of the border to Pennsylvania and has already rung up $25,170 stateside. Father Nuno, the two-year-old full brother to Captaintreacherous, held off a son of Captaintreacherous, All Hands On Deck, to record his second career victory in 1:53.4; he previously won a PA Sire Stakes at The Meadows in 1:52.4. David Miller drove the son of Somebeachsomewhere - Worldly Treasure to the triumph for the Cancelliere brothers, trainer Tom and owner John; Miller topped the local colony on the day with four winning drives.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA -- Class relief enabled Yonkers invader Ballerat Boomerang ($10.80) to sustain a first-over bid en route to a 1:50.3 victory in the Sunday afternoon (Sept. 15) harness racing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia, an $18,000 top-level conditioned pace.   On the undercard, George Napolitano Jr. led all drivers with five wins, capped by a 1:49.2 mile from Dealt A Winner ($3.20) in the sub-feature. The 6-year-old If I Can Dream gelding was unhurried early by Pat Berry, settling in midfield while K Ryan Bluechip (Tony Morgan) and Daamericansky (Austin Siegelman) disputed a :26.3 first quarter. With nine-sixteenths to go, Berry angled Ballerat Boomerang first-over, and he advanced steadily into a :55.2 half mile before pushing clear of K Ryan Bluechip up the backstretch. Ballerat Boomerang tried to accelerate away up the far side by way of a :27 third sectional, but K Ryan Bluechip maintained a close pocket through the final turn before angling out in upper stretch. Ballerat Boomerang held his ground to the winning post, notching the 44th win of his career by three-quarters of a length over K Ryan Bluechip. Mike's Z Tam (Pat Lachance) circled around a stalled Little Ben (Daniel Dube) off the far turn to claim third. Nick Surick trains Ballerat Boomerang for the Engel Stable of Illinois and the J L Benson Stables. In the sub-featured $14,500 conditioned pace, Dealt A Winner overcame the back row by way of an early and lively flow to post a dominant 7-1/2 length victory over Alotbettor N. Napolitano drove the Mark Silva trainee to the 19th win of his career. Dealt A Winner's win keyed a 9-4-5-2-6 combination in the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5, which returned $257.82 to multiple bettors. The carryover for Wednesday's (Sept. 18) fifth race has grown to $24,142.29. First post for Wednesday's 13-race card is 12:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 5, 2019 -- French Moni earned the lion's share of the francs with a front-end victory in Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,500 Conditioned Trot. French Moni grabbed the lead for Jim Pantaleano in a contested 27.2 opening panel and had to repel the first-over challenge of Try Try Again, the 1-2 favorite. The 5-year-old son of Love You-Touch Of Money slowed appreciably in the lane, getting the last quarter in 31. But that was good enough to down My Indiana by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:55.3, with Joey third. Scott Betts trains French Moni, who extended his career bankroll to $111,019, for Timothy Betts and Stephen Moss. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday when the card features four Pennsylvania Sires Stake championships -- each worth $253,000 -- for 3-year-olds. First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER PA - The Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Nextroundsonme was well-prepared off a 33-day layoff by harness racing trainer Jenny Melander, moving well through the last quarter to take a 1:56.1 victory in the $16,000 trotting feature on a special Labor Day Monday afternoon of racing at Harrah's Philadelphia. George Napolitano Jr. reserved the five-time winner in third as Our White Knight put up fractions of :28, :58, and 1:26.2. When Nextroundsonme came out on the far turn and trotted up to the front end, neither the pacesetter nor pocketsitting favorite Vic's Winner could offer much resistance, and Nextroundsonme proved a two-length winner over an oncoming Rock My Muscles for Belmar Racing & Breeding LLC. There were also a pair of $15,000 handicap paces for the top-priced claimers on the ground. In the first, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Ideal Rocky came grinding uncovered from sixth not much past the quarter, but eventually wore down pacesetting Rockin Rio by a half-length in 1:53.2 for driver Vinnie Ginsburg and trainer Matias Ruiz, the latter also co-owner with J. Louis Mascola and J. J. Macola. The other fell to the Western Paradise gelding Abner The Great, unbeaten in two recent local outings after fronting his field and leaving closest rival Fernado 3¾ lengths behind in 1:51.3 for driver Joe Nongiorno, trainer/sister Jennifer Bongiorno, and owner Patrick O'Brien. FINISHING LINES - The veteran Wiggle It Jiggleit goes behind the qualifying gate for the third time in his comeback on Tuesday morning. On Sunday, the age focus shifts to the babies, as Harrah's Philadelphia will proudly host the Championships and consolations of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-olds.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

Chester, PA -- Driver Art Stafford Jr. notched the 2,000th win of his harness racing career when he piloted Happy That ($7.20) to a 1:56.3 victory in Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 18) ninth race at Harrah's Philadelphia. Happy That, a 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill trained by Martin Davis for owner Jeffrey Startt, made a first-over push from third up the backstretch to reel in and overpower early pacesetter Sleek N Majestic on the far turn. Happy That won the $14,000 conditioned trotting event by 1-1/2 lengths over the late-rallying E Ell Cruze. Stafford, who began driving in 1984 and competes primarily on the Delaware circuit, is in the midst of his fourth consecutive season in which he has surpassed $1 million in purse earnings. He drove a career-high 232 winners and amassed over $2.4 million in purses in 2017. In the $18,000 pacing feature, Alluneedisfaith N ($3.60) converted at odds-on, brushing out of midfield at the half-mile pole to claim the pocket from a gapping Blake North before grinding down pacesetter Lets Roll by 2-1/4 lengths in a lifetime best 1:49.4. Corey Callahan drove the 5-year-old Art Major gelding for trainer Ross Croghan and the Robert Cooper Stables. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia with a 14-race card on Wednesday (Aug. 21), featuring four Pennsylvania Stallion Series events for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Post time is 12:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER PA - The richest purse on "Trottin' Thursday" at Harrah's Philadelphia was the $18,000 harness racing contest for high-earning conditioned horses, but three other trots went faster than it did - including the most-anticipated matchup of the day, a $14.500 trot which saw red-hot Eurobond defeat The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter, in 1:52. Eurobond, a four-year-old son of Love You who had won three straight before missing less than two lengths in the Cashman in his last start, blasted away from the rail for driver Andy Miller, who with wife/trainer Julie had four wins on the day. Homicide Hunter, from post four, had to be hustled early by David Miller to get around quick-starting lefthand foes, but made the pocket and sat behind Eurobond through fractions of :27.1, :56, and 1:24.2. Homicide Hunter came outside on the far turn, but while racing well he didn't pose a serious threat to Eurobond, who finished out in :27.3 to be 1½ lengths ahead on the money for Lindy Farms Of Connecticut and Robert Rudolph. Eurobond was in this class because of its "n/w 7 races" also-eligible condition. The betting fans couldn't decide between the two, and the end result was a split decision - Eurobond was the even-money second choice who paid $4.00 to win, but the Exacta with 1-4 with Homicide Hunter returned $3.60. The $18,000 contest was taken by Faithfulandtrue, who produced a 15-1 upset for trainer Joseph Columbo and the ownership of George & Tina Dennis Racing. Driver Michael Cole moved the Donato Hanover altered three-year-old sharply uncovered to the lead in the middle of the backstretch and was in control from there, taking a new mark of 1:54.4 in withstanding Boy Meets Girl K by 1¼ lengths. Team Orange Crush accounted for the other $14,500 co-feature with Top Flight Angel, who enjoyed a reduction in company and won in 1:53.2 for the Legendary Standardbred Farm while raising his earnings to $865,340. The other fast trot came in a $12,500 contest, which was won by the Holiday Road gelding Henderson Seelster in 1:53.3 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Paul Stafford, and owner Thomas Ceraso Jr.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, July 24, 2019 — Dismissed at 10-1, EZ Passer used the Lightning Lane to perfection to pull off the upset in Wednesday’s harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Northern Lightning led the field through a 1:25.1 three-quarters, But Chris Shaw and EZ Passer lurked in the pocket, waiting to flash some lightning off their own. The 5-year-old daughter of Crazed-Musclegrad easily overtook Northern Lightning and scored in 1:54.4, a length better than Joplin. Golden Muscle completed the ticket. Bill Zendt trains EZ Passer, who won her second straight and lifted her lifetime bankroll to $228,772, for Shanamphilankilou, Inc. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday with a special Adios Week program that features a pair of $30,000 Grand Circuit stakes for freshman trotters as well as a $5,370.08 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 5:30 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER PA - The American Ideal gelding Bakersfield went right to the top, then held off a sustained bud from favored JJ Flynn to win the $14,500 featured harness racing pace in 1:51 on Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. George Napolitano Jr., one of the premier front-end drivers today, got Bakersfield quickly to the top from post four, while JJ Flynn could only tuck fourth early from post six as horses with inside positions defended spots behind the pacesetter. JJ Flynn came out at the half and grinded up to the leader the rest of the way, but Bakersfield proved to have too much in reserve and won by a half length for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen and owner Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. The winner of two of his last three now has lifetime earnings of $398,916. The feature race was also the Jackpot Hi-5 race, with a carryover of almost $49,000. Even though the second choice beat the heavy favorite and the three horses behind them were 35-1, 30-1, and 20-1, there still was no correct unique ticket in the Pick 5 pool, so there will be a carryover of $51,848.96 going into Thursday's card. In a $14,000 co-featured pace, Captain Mulzac, a sophomore son of Captaintreacherous, scored his second straight victory, winning by four lengths in a lifetime best 1:51. Captain Mulzac, trained by Tony Alagna for owner 3 Fools LLC, Francis Azur, Jim Winske, and Stephen Michaels, was unraced at two, but is six-for-eight as a sophomore, and his star is rising quickly. Driving Captain Mulzac was Tim Tetrick, who posted sixteen wins during the four cards of racing here last week, and today added five more victories to his meet-leading tally.     PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - A pair of Cantab Hall geldings handled by George Napolitano Jr., the leading harness racing driver at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, took lifetime marks in winning the $15,000 featured trots during the Tuesday twilight card. The faster of the two was the sophomore Nextroundsonme, who won in 1:54.3 for Napolitano, trainer Jenny Melander, and Belmar Racing & Breeding LLC. "George Nap" and Nextroundsonme made the lead early then yielded to sit in the pocket behind Bag O Chips, then went to the Pocono Pike and gained in a :28.3 last quarter to win by a neck over the closing P L Ketchup, with pacesetting Bag O Chips a head behind the place horse and favored Smokee Mirrors squeezing between horses late to miss the victory by only a half a length though fourth. As tight as that finish was, Final Dream's 1:55 victory in the other division was just as decisive, as she made the top, got a second quarter breather, then outmuscled the competition in winning by 3¼ lengths. After being on the board in over half his seasonal starts, Final Dream finally broke into the 2019 victory column for trainer Carmine Fusco and owner Howard Jacobs. George Napolitano Jr. completed a sweep of the featured races when he directed the A Rocknroll Dance mare Sidewalk Dancer to a 1:51 victory in a $14,000 conditioned pace for distaffs. The winner was on the move off the first turn to grab the top before the next bend, kept up a fast pace, then kept pocket rocket hopeful Keystone Riptide at bay by a neck. Chris Oakes conditions the winner of $245,109 for Northfork Racing Stable, Omar Beiler, and Dennis Coons.   PHHA / Pocono

It was a week of extremes in terms of the weather for harness racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. On Saturday night, action was delayed due to the intense heat. On Monday, torrential rains caused a delay. But all 56 races scheduled for the four racing cards were eventually run, and, despite the somewhat erratic conditions, the action was excellent throughout. The outstanding efforts put forward by the winners of our Weekly Awards is proof of that. PACER OF THE WEEK: DIXIE STAR N This mare didn't begin her racing career till this year at age four, starting with a couple races overseas in her native New Zealand at the tail end of winter. When Dixie Star N arrived in the United States for trainer Peter Tritton, she was a beaten favorite in her first start at Yonkers. But coming to Pocono seems to have unlocked her potential. She carved out a win and two places in three starts with the non-winners of four fillies and mares in the months of June and July. On Sunday night, she was back at it against that same class, only this time she would have to deal with a #9 post. She also had to deal with Tequila Party, who was coming off an impressive victory in Canada in her last race and was made the 3-5 favorite. Dixie Star N went off at 18-1, but driver Jim Marohn Jr. made sure she was in the mix by sending her to the early lead. Tequila Party then swooped by to take over around the first turn, leaving Dixie Star N in the pocket. Tequila Party wasn't granted an easy lead, as Carousel pestered her first-over for much of the back stretch. The only question was whether or not Dixie Star N would have a second move in her after exerting effort early in the mile. She answered that question with a resounding yes, thundering past the tiring Tequila Party to pick up the win by a half-length in 1:53. Not only was it impressive because of the difficult post and the long odds, but the win also stands out for this rising mare as a new career-best time. Other top pacers this week include: Western Joe (Pat Berry, Christopher Choate), who captured the featured condition pace on Saturday night in 1:49:2; Hitman Hill (Hunter Oakes, Chris Oakes), who went down the road for a condition win on Saturday night in 1:49, the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; and Sidewalk Dancer (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who delivered a win in Tuesday night's featured condition pace for mares in 1:51.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ARCH CREDIT The old "fool me once, fool me twice" credo can be applied to this five-year-old gelding trained by Robin DiBenedetto. On July 15, he rallied with Kyle DiBenedetto in the bike to beat an $11,000 condition trotting field at monster odds of 46-1. He was back at it again just five nights later on Saturday, trying to pick up his second victory in the span of a week. Arch Credit left from the #1 post in a field of seven seeking another conquest of the $11,000 condition trotters. And, once again, he was overlooked at the betting window, although this time he was a more modest long shot at 11-1. The favorite in this race was P L Icabod, who went off at 6-5. Meanwhile, second choice Dirty Secret found the pocket seat. Arch Credit, meanwhile, sat third-in. As anyone who has ever watched harness racing on a 5/8-mile oval knows, that trip can either be very, very good or very, very bad, depending on how the outer flow develops and how the inside horses in front hang together. In this case, it couldn't have worked out any better for Arch Credit. He managed to squeeze through a small window on the inside passing lane and rallied under DiBenedetto's urging. As the line approached, he was just able to nose out P L Icabod for the victory in 1:55. After two straight wins at double-digit odds, it's doubtful that Arch Credit will get to fool the bettors a third time. But if he does, you know, based on these past two victories, he'll relish the opportunity. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Say You Do (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who came into Pocono on a four-race winning streak and added to it by winning the Sunday night featured condition trot in 1:52:2; Max (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who churned out his second straight condition victory on Sunday night in 1:54; and Alpha D'urzy (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved to two-for-two since arriving from Saratoga with a condition win on Sunday night in a career-best 1:54:3.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: GRAPPLE HANOVER This gelding driven by Wayne Long overcame a #9 post and a sloppy track to beat a condition trotting field on Monday afternoon at 28-1, paying off $59.20 on a $2-win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN WALLIS The veteran driver has been picking up the pace in recent weeks at Pocono, and he starred on Monday with a driving double in the sloppy conditions.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ERV MILLER Miller was able to train back-to-back winners on the Monday card, with both of the trotters involved, Flippen Creek and Grandma Heidi, getting their maiden victories.   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

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