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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Hall of Fame driver David Miller won five of the six divisions of the fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for two-year-old trotting colts Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Miller was victorious in the first five Stallion Series contests, opening the stakes competition with the Muscle Hill - Brooklyn colt Kings County, who stepped his last half in a very impressive 56.2 to take a race mark of 1:56.4 by 11¼ lengths. A winner in his only other Stallion Series start, Kings County is trained by Domenico Cecere for Lindy Farms Of Connecticut. Next up was the Cantab Hall - Defiant Donato colt Cantab Fashion, who went his last half in 57.3 to take a maiden mark of 1:57 while 10¼ lengths of his field for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC. Cantab Fashion had made a break in his only other purse start, also in the Stallion Series. Miller, Cecere, and Lindy Farms united again in the winners circle in the next cut with the Cantab Hall - Southwind Catlin colt Union Forces, who won by "only seven" lengths. A winner in the Stallion Series in his only other purse start, Union Forces is co-owned by Lindy with Robert Rudolph, David Anderson, and John Fielding. Aldebaranwalkbout, who had made a break in a Sire Stakes in his only start for a purse, enjoyed the drop to the Stallion Series level, showing his heels to the field by 13¾ lengths in the fastest time of the six stakes races, 1:55.2. Jonas Czernyson conditions the promising son of Muscle Hill - Aldebaran Turnpike for Aldebaran Park Inc. In his fifth win, Miller's horse, the Cantab Hall - We've Got it All gelding Loving Life, did not even cross the wire first, as although rallying he didn't appear to have enough to catch the frontstepping Final Claim. But in deep stretch Final Claim lost his gait, and with Loving Life only a neck back of the galloping winner at the wire, he was elevated upward in the 1:57.2 mile. Nifty Norman trains Loving Life, second and fourth in his other two Stallion Series starts but a maiden no longer, for the Pinske Stables and the Enzed Racing Stable Inc. The purple-and-white colors of Miller could be found on the lead in the last division with Zandover for almost ¾ of the mile, but then Kate's Massive swept by the tired pacesetter, ending any dreams of a 6-for-6 stakes night. Kate's Massive, a Muscle Massive - Sister Kate colt driven by Charlie Norris for trainer Ray Paver and owners Harry and Iris Horowitz, held off Explosivebreakway, a full brother to Phaetosive, by a half-length at the end of the 1:57 mile, with the 4-for-6 pacer who has won three in a row taking a new mark. The Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is the official keeper of PA-sired competition points, but an unofficial tally of the standings after the races yielded these horses as the leading pointwinners: 1. Faithfulandtrue; 2. Crossfit; 3. Forecast; 4. Cantab Ed; 5. Kate's Massive over 6. Ntl Guard Hanover, both with the same points but Kate's Massive getting the edge on the tiebreaker of money. Similarly, next there is a five-way "tie" in points among Dudelookslikealindy, Final Claim, Kings County, Living Life, and Union Forces, but Kings County and Union Forces get the 8-9 placing because their two wins earned them the most series money, and they will either get in if somebody defects or will "shake" for the final Championship spot on the 8-wide Philly track. From the PAHH/Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2018 -- Dorsoduro Hanover and Done Well each locked up a berth in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers by winning a split in Monday's final preliminary leg, a $162,012 event known as the Tarport Effrat, at The Meadows. The $252,000 final is set for Sept. 2 at Pocono. The winner of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows, Dorsoduro Hanover entered the Tarport Effrat in second place in PASS standings and so wasn't under pressure to win. Nevertheless, he unveiled a new wrinkle. After a series of tough trips vying for the early lead, he ducked for Matt Kakaley, getting away last in the six-horse field. "They were stepping out of there pretty hard, and my horse races good no matter where he's at," Kakaley said. "I wasn't worried about sitting last when they were going 26 to the quarter. If they had gone slow early, I would have stepped him out of there." The Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding followed the live cover of Wes Delight, then peeled wide and downed him by 3/4 lengths in 1:50.2, with Macadoodledoo third. Ron Burke trains Dorsoduro Hanover, who lifted his career bankroll to $560,862, for Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnel&Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Five. In contrast, Done Well was on the PASS bubble, having competed in only one leg before Monday. While he won that, he needed points, big time, to nail down a spot in the final Tim Tetrick and the son of Well Said-Dagnabit Hanover took matters into their own hands, vaulting to the point and holding off the late challenge of Shadow Cat to defeat him by a neck in 1:51.1. A rallying Larry Karr completed the ticket. "I think he had some health issues," Tetrick said. "He raced good in his Adios elimination, and then in the final he was atrocious. The last two races, he's come back. He toughed it out today. I always thought he was better chasing, but in that spot, I have to do what I have to do." Done Well now has banked $371,762 for trainer Brian Brown and owners James Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers, Milt Leeman and Alan Keith. $60,000 PA Stallion Series Stake -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers While the stallion series event was Monday's subfeature, it provided much of the excitement, including: a Brett Miller sweep (two for trainer Chris Oakes), all in the Lightning Lane; a stake record-matching victory in 1:50.3 by Terror Atthe Beach, an improbable 55-1 upset by PC's Expresso, who spotted the field perhaps 15 lengths after breaking at the gate. Terror Atthe Beach equaled the record of Spider Man Hanover by stalking Winston and blowing by in the stretch to score for Oakes and owners Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold. Aleppo Hanover closed well for second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Winston saved show. "Chris told me the horse has speed but is not a 1:49 pacer, so if you land on the front, try to give him a breather," Miller said. "I don't know the horse, but he sure felt like he likes the two hole." PC's Expresso had been competing primarily in overnights, but when he improved with the recent addition of Lasix, trainer Paul Kennedy and owners Paint Creek Farms and Robyn Kennedy decided to roll the dice on the stake. "The stake was there, and there was no overnight for him, so I just put him in. I've wasted $200 on plenty of other things," Kennedy said. "I figured our only chance of getting a check was to stay flat, but he raced good." The son of Western Ideal-Palazzo Princess caught the field following the miscue, saved ground along the inside and made up 4 lengths in the stretch to score in 1:53.2, a neck better than Daddyofemall. No Easy Day earned show. A Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Oakes for Tom Hill, Bobby K Hill captured the other split with a Lightning Lane charge that carried him 1-1/4 lengths past heavy favorite Go West Go Fast in 1:51.3, with Yupper third. "Chris told me this one would be better if I could give him a trip," Miller said. "In the last turn, I didn't think I would have enough time to catch the leader. But when he saw daylight, he was gone." Dave Palone and Mike Wilder each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Stake racing continues Tuesday at The Meadows when the program features a pair of events for sophomore filly trotters: a $165,139 PASS known as the Meadow Bright and a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake. First post is 1:05 PM. Phaetosive Headlines PASS Tuesday  Her win in a Delvin Miller Memorial division and second-place finish in the Hambletonian Oaks vaulted Phaetosive to the very elite of the 3-year-old filly trotter division. For all that, she’ll need a big performance in Tuesday’s $165,038 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows to guarantee a berth in the PASS championship. Phaetosive leaves from post 4 in race 9 with trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer aboard. Tuesday’s card also includes a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for sophomore filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. Phaetosive won her Oaks elimination and was sent off the favorite in the final but fell by a length to superstar Manchego. “I kind of knew what had to happen to beat Manchego, and none of that happened,” Smedshammer says. “I thought Manchego might have to work a little bit more to get to the front, and I wanted to come first over and be head to head at the top of the stretch. We came home in 26.2 and couldn’t make up the ground.” It was a gallant performance nonetheless for the daughter of Explosive Matter-Phaeton, and it lifted her career bankroll to $489,858 for owner Purple Haze Stables. But in the PASS, medical issues have limited her to one leg, which she won. “She was in to go at Pocono (in the PA All-Stars) when I had to scratch her because of breathing problems,” Smedshammer says. “Her epiglottis was entrapped, and they were able to free it manually, without surgery. I’m very grateful they tried the conservative route first — it worked. If she’d needed surgery, she would have missed the Oaks and everything.” With eight qualifying for the $252,000 PASS championship Sept. 1 at The Meadows, Phaetosive is tied for ninth with 35 points. Moreover, five fillies ranked ahead of or tied with her also are in Tuesday’s stake, known as the Meadows Bright. Phaetosive doesn’t necessarily have to win to make the final, but she needs a large infusion of points. “She had a couple days off after the Oaks, but she’s been following a normal schedule since then. The Oaks didn’t take any more out of her than any other race.” Phaetosive is eligible for the Elegant Image, several at the Red Mile and the Breeders Crown. No matter the outcome in the PASS and her late-season stakes, Smedshammer intends to bring her back next year. “I think she’ll be great to race at 4,” he says. “She’s a big, strong filly who hasn’t been raced hard at 2 or 3. She should have a great future as an older mare.” by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 15, 2018 -- Rock N McRoll zipped to the front, held off the late challenge of Trillions Hanover and scored in 1:53.2, fastest in Wednesday's $80,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman filly pacers was contested over four divisions, with Skater Chick, Unspoken Promise and May Bride Hanover also taking splits. Tony Hall fashioned a stake double behind Skater Chick and May Bride Hanover. It was just the second career start for Rock N McRoll; she didn't she the lead at all in her career debut. But she responded well when Dave Palone asked her for early speed, and she dug in late to hold off Trillions Hanover by a neck. Pretty N Fast completed the ticket. "I think she'll find her way into the sires stakes program," Palone said. "She just was a little behind. I love the way some of the trainers set them up with a start or two until they get feeling good about themselves before they throw them to the wolves. This filly is not short on ability or attitude." Linda Toscano trains the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance-McGibson for Cherry Creek Stables, Camelot Stable, Little E and Enviro Stables. It was one of four wins for Palone on the 13-race card. Hammered down to 1-9, Skater Chick extended her winning streak to three by moving three wide down the backside and prevailing under wraps in 1:53.3, matching her career best. Able Hanover was second, 2-1/2 lengths back, with Typhoon third. "She has a lot of ability, but she's still a little green," Hall said of the daughter of Sweet Lou-Ram Rocker. "She was kind of in and out, so I figured it would be better just to get out rather than fight with going between horses. She was good." Mark Harder conditions Skater Chick for Donald Lindsey, Paul Kleinpaste and Garth Bechtel. Unspoken Promise wasn't quite sure what she was being asked to do, but ultimately, she straightened out and dashed through the Lightning Lane to overtake the pace-setter, Sweet Cherry, by a neck in 1:54.4. Dark Rhapsody earned show. Jim Pantaleano piloted the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Pucker Up for trainer Tom Fanning and owners Howard Taylor and Fanning Racing LLC. "She was a little snaky going down in through there," Pantaleano said. "She's had a little issue running in and getting on the right line; that's why I took her inside. She needs a little more practice. She has some go. She has some skills for sure." Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the program features The Meadow Cheer, a $180,862 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Southwind Storm thundered through her Pennsylvania Stallion Series' four preliminary legs undefeated, as the Muscle Hill - Say What filly completed the quarter by winning one of the seven two-year-old trotting filly divisions over "sloppy" going Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Pat Berry hustled the Ron Burke trainee to an open length margin during a 27.2 opening quarter and set sail on the lead, and the winner maintained her advantage all the way to the wire, although Southwind Percy charged at her during the last quarter and fell short by only a nose at the end of the 1:58.4 mile. Southwind Storm is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Lawrence Karr, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Two fillies became two-time StS prelim winners while triumphing. First in that twosome was the Possess The Will - Raising Rachel miss Fashion Rachel, who built up a huge lead then coasted home to be 2½ lengths clear at the wire in 1:58 to equal her mark and post the fastest divisional clocking. Her connections - driver Mike Simons, trainer Jim Campbell, and the Fashion Farms LLC of newly-installed Hall of Famer Jules Siegel -- had a double on the night, as the Muscle Hill - I'm On Cloud Nine filly Cloud Nine Fashion remained undefeated in three purse starts by making her first Stallion Series effort a winning one in 1:58.4, making a giant recovery from an early miscue to catch When Dovescry by a nose. The other series doubler also topped a two-win night for the Team Orange Crush of trainer/wife Julie and driver/husband Andy Miller: Cardinale, who lowered her mark to 1:58.4. The Cantab Hall - Mississippi Beauty filly gained command before the quarter and went on to defeat Navarone Hanover, the only other miss with two StS prelim triumphs in to go Tuesday (Fast Reaction sat out the final prelim), by 1¼ lengths for the Andy Miller Stable Inc., Willow Oak Ranch, and Odonnell Equine LLC. By the way, Cardinale was the second choice and the only non-chalk to win in the seven races - those who say "two-year-old trotting fillies" with a sneer can stand in the corner, reading the program from this night. The Millers' other winner was PA stakes debutante American Kronos, a Donato Hanover - Glide About filly who brushed to the lead by going her own third quarter in 28.2, finishing out in 1:58.3 to tie her race mark and remained undefeated in two purse contests for Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and D. David Goodrow. The other two stakes siring credits went to Cantab Hall, giving him three on the night. One was Fraulein Blucher, whose dam was Frau Blucher, one of only two horses to win $500,000 strictly in PA Sire Stakes competition (the other was Wild Honey). Fraulein Bucker scored her first purse triumph in 1:59.1, a half-length ahead of Paint The Corners for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Nancy Johansson, and the ownership of Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises LLC and the Rojan Stables. Biggest margin of victory was the 3¼ lengths Mimi'spearloflindy had on her competition at the end of her maiden victory in 1:59.1. Brian Sears was in the sulky behind the Cantab Hall - Lindy's Showgirl distaff for trainer Marcus Melander and Holly Lane Stud East LLC. The Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is the official keeper of PA-sired competition points, but an unofficial tally of the standings after the races yielded these ten as the leading pointwinners: 1. Southwind Storm, 2. Navarone Hanover, 3. Fast Reaction, 4. Paint The Corners, 5. (tie) Chanel De Vie and Southwind Percy, 7. Wildfire Seeslter, 8. (tie) Cardinale and Fashion Rachel, 10. (tie) I'mallthatmatters and Lollipop Lindy. There is of course the possibility that one or more of the top horses may not declare in for the Championship, and the horses "on the bubble" do have the prospect of a consolation race at Harrah's Philadelphia on Labor Day if enough fillies declare in. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 13, 2018 -- Latissimus Hanover extended his domination of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series, rolling to his fourth straight series win and completing his sweep of the preliminary legs Monday at The Meadows. The $80,000 stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers was contested over four divisions, with Walleywalleyinfree, Costello and Do Ya Think taking the other splits. The $40,000 series final is set for Sept. 3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. With his 9-length laugher Monday, Latissimus Hanover now has a combined victory margin of 23-1/4 lengths in the series. Ray Schnittker, who trains the son of Captaintreacherous-Ladyking and owns with Mary Kinsey Arnold and Ted Gewertz, indicated he has no regrets about campaigning him in the stallion series rather than the more lucrative -- but more competitive -- sires stakes. "I just hope we can dominate the final," Schnittker joked. "His first start wasn't all that great; he was sitting last after a half that went in 59, and he didn't have much pop. So I thought we'd race him in the stallions. He's staked to everything, so later in the year, he'll have his hands full." Hammered down to 1-9. Latissimus Hanover made the front with a quarter-pole move for Tim Tetrick and jogged home in a career-best 1:52.1. Bring The Thunder and Captain Fabulous completed the ticket. Making his pari-mutuel debut, Walleywalleyinfree appeared to have trouble getting off the cones past the half. Once he picked up cover, he straightened out and drove through the stretch to score in 1:54.1 for Tony Hall, trainer Chris Ryder and owner Bella Racing. Loutenant finished second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Lyons Night Hawk, who provided the winner's much-appreciated cover, earned show. "They told me he could get really hot, and they want to teach him to race from behind, so we were set to trip him out and race him like that," Hall said. "Past the half, he was kind of running in a little bit, and I was hoping to get through the turn before I had to move him. But it was getting tight, and I tried to ease him out. He wasn't ready to come yet." Costello spotted the leader, Lyons Johnnyjnr, x lengths at the three-quarters but powered through the lane to nail him by a neck in 1:54.2. Saronno finished third. "It looked like the leader was putting up some good fractions," said winning driver Matt Kakaley. "I was first up with him last week, so I was hoping to give him a little better trip today. He's all right, that little guy." The win likely earned the son of Sweet Lou-Laughandbehappy a berth in the championship. Ron Burke conditions Costello for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Stake racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday with the Tyler B, a $188,111 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Real Fine and Zuluwarriorhanover took their second wins in Pennsylvania Stallion Series competition for three-year-old pacing fillies during their third preliminary at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday, but it was the other divisional winner - first-time StS starter Attention Hanover - who dew most of the attention. The daughte of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Steve Salerno and co-owned by Salerno in partnership with Dean Casaday, had been entered in the first StS prelim but was scratched sick, and since then had stuck to working her way up the conditioned ranks, taking four of her previous five starts. She then showed she was ready for the Stallion Series group, being backed out of the pocket by driver Eric Carlson to follow Sandy's Beach as that one cleared at the ¾, then outpaced her home by 1½ lengths. The victory helped Attention Hanover's chances towards making her Stallion Series Championship, but it in no way assured it, as Attention Hanover is tied for 13th according to unofficial standings compiled at the end of the stakes racing (the Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is the official keeper of PA-sired competition points). Real Fine and Zuluwarriorhanover now each have two wins and a second in three Stallion Series starts and all but cannot be dislodged from a spot in the Championship. First of the pair to win Sunday was the Bettor's Delight filly Real Fine, who set the pace, got a very stiff challenge from Dark Force on the turn, but regathered in the stretch to post a half-length triumph in 1:53.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC, Knox Services Inc, Slaughter Racing Stable LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Zuluwarriorhanover, another Somebeachsomewhere filly, allowed early traffic to settle then was brushed to the lead by driver Tim Tetrick coming off the first turn and stayed in control from there. At the wire pocketsitter Danikova was 1½ lengths behind the 1:53.2 winner, who is trained by Tom Fanning for owner David Van Wert. A pair of $21,500 events matched fast trotters in the first conducted and classy pacing mares in the second. On the trot, Boffin was forwardly-paced throughout by driver Tim Tetrick after an attempt off the pace snapped a three-race winning streak last time, moved to leading favorite Moonshiner Hanover in the stretch, and proved the better by 1½ lengths while crossing the wire first in 1:53.1. The altered son of Donato Hanover, now a winner of $517,487, is trained by Anette Lorentzon, who is also c-owner with ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. Second-over Agent Q had the fractions in her favor (54.2 first half vs. 57.2 back half) in the mares pace, and her sweeping move on the far turn carried her to a stretch lead she would not surrender in the 1:51.4 mile, with Skippin By doing very well late but coming up a half-length shy. The Western Terror mare Agent Q, now an earner of $1,208,870, came out of the box smokin' in 2018, fell off-form and was given a brief respite, and now has come back to win two of her last three for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Crawford Farms LLC, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara. FINISHING LINES - The largest extant carryover pool in North America horse racing was taken down Saturday night at The Downs, as the Rainbow Pick 5 rewarded the one successful bettor with $321,175.78. The imaginative player had in his ticket two horses paying over $100, Riproy ($117.00) and P L Hercules ($102.00), along with a $35.00 horse in the last race of the bet driven by the six-time defending driving champion at the mountain oval, George Napolitano Jr. With two scratches attached to the winning favorite in the first leg, the official ticket read (1,6,8)/5/2/9/7. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old trotting fillies come to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the track's final two cards of the week, with Sire Stakes horses on Monday and Stallion Series contests on Tuesday. These races are the fourth and final preliminary legs for the babies, their last chance to earn points to work into their respective Championship races. No Sire Stakes filly was able to win all three of her prelim races to date, although Sonnet Grace and Magical Beliefs came close with two wins and a second. Both won in the first leg; Sonnet Grace beat Magical Beliefs in the second prelim; then in the third prelim, Magical Beliefs returned to winning ways while Sonnet Grace finished a head behind Antonia, her second Sires win after skipping the first leg. All three will race in the three Sires divisions at Pocono on Monday: Sonnet Grace in the eighth, Magical Beliefs and Antonia in the eleventh. They will be joined by a powerful pair of "new shooters" in the Sire Stakes competition: The Ice Dutchess and Beautiful Sin, who were a neck apart as the 1-2 finishers in the Doherty Memorial on Hambletonian Day. These two are unlikely to make the finals even if they win, but they could earn themselves a spot in their Consolation race. Sonnet Grace is favored in her eighth race division, and The Ice Dutchess in the tenth. The most contentious division, the eleventh, will find Beautiful Sin opening as the choices against the two double winners in her section. In Tuesday's Stallion Series racing, there are seven divisions of action, which means the Championship picture is very far from solidified, although among the definite starters if she enters is Southwind Storm. The filly has "stormed" to three straight wins in her StS preliminary action, and would appear to have a good chance to go into her Championship race undefeated. She goes in the eighth race division. Navarone Hanover, a two-time winner in her only two Stallion Series starts, faces the gate a race earlier. The only other double prelim winner, Fast Reaction is not entered, but no fewer than eight single prelim winners are scattered throughout the card, looking to do well and make their Championship contest. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

CHESTER, PA -  In an $18,000 harness racing pace for fillies and mares at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday, the Bettor's Delight mare Caviart Ally, 2017 Jugette and PA Sire Stakes champion, stormed to a wire-to-wire 1:49 victory which lowered the track mark for four-year-old pacing mares from the 1:49.2 that Makerbark had posted almost nine years ago. Andrew McCarthy sent the Noel Daley-trained mare right down the road with fractions of 26.4, 54.4, and 1:22.1, and them the mare stormed through the stretch under her own power to set the local mark and raise her lifetime bankroll to $863,881 for Caviart Farms. Harrah's hosted the third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts on Friday afternoon, and instead of clearing up the picture within the section, any vision into the division's depth grew murkier, as none of the five winners previous StS wins entered here could win again. The fastest time was turned in by the Western Ideal colt Go West Go Fast, who stopped the timer in 1:50.4 to take a personal best. Pat Berry raced the Ron Burke trainee in the pocket, pulled behind first-over Daddyofemall as that one worked to the lead nearing headstretch, then beat him out by a half length for Burke Racing Stable LLC; Frank Baldachino; Silva, Purnel & Libby; and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding JK Wildfire pulled uncovered late in the backstretch of his division, went right to the lead, and finished out his own back half in 54.2 to stop the timer in 1:51, a personal best. Andrew McCarthy, who steered four winners home first on the card, handled sulky duties for trainer Brett Pelling and the 3 Brothers Stables. George Napolitano Jr., who also had four victories at Philly Friday, saw his main rival Wheels On Fire all but ruin his chances with a poor start, and proceeded to make every pole a winning one with Terror At the Beach, also a Somebeachsomewhere gelding, in 1:51.4. The winner of two straight is trained by Chris Oakes for the ownership of Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor, and Ed Gold. Winston, who was second to JK Wildfire, leads this group after three legs with a win and two seconds, worth 85 points, and he has ensured himself a spot in the Stallion Series Championship (according to a rough unofficial tally done after the races; the Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission are the official statisticians), to be held at Philly on Labor Day Monday. After that, though, it appears nobody else is a lock for the final, and there are eight horses in a group that are separated by 15 points (the value of a third) in the struggle for the final Championship berth. The final prelim, on August 20 at The Meadows, should be very contentious, and of interest to a wide variety of horsemen. The sophomore colt pacers will be at Philly on Sunday as well, in three divisions of their third prelim Sire Stakes event, with Grand Teton, Done Well, and Hayden Hanover as the early choices. There will also be a $30,000 Great Northeast Series event for open pacers. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 8, 2018 -- Parked every step, Final Answer still found more in the stretch and collected a maiden-breaking victory in Wednesday's $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman colt and gelding trotters was contested over five divisions, with Kate's Massive, Forecast, Natl Guard Hanover and Cantab Ed also taking splits. Mike Wilder enjoyed a stake double behind Forecast and Natl Guard Hanover. Final Answer launched his career in the tougher PA Sires Stakes but couldn't maintain his gait. Thus, on Wednesday, Anthony MacDonald was content to float on the outside and let the youngster cut his own mile. "He has a lot of talent, but he's very green and still makes mistakes," McDonald said. "I just wanted to keep him out of harm's way, and I thought he was as good or better than the others. So the trip was more or less by design." The Yankee Glide-Armbro Talk gelding surged late and defeated Winning Legends, a 23-1 bomber, by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:59.1, with Big Bad Caviar third. Andrew Harris trains Final Answer for Thestable Finalanswer Group. Kate's Massive had won both career starts in which he'd stayed flat, so the job of trainer/driver Ray Paver on Wednesday was to keep him focused. "He needs to pay attention, and I need to pay attention -- a little of both," Paver said. "His mind wanders a lot. If we make the final, he'll have the Keystone Classic here next. That'll be it for the year." Kate's Massive minded his manners and made short work of the field, triumphing on the front end in 1:59.1. Star Caviar was a ground-saving second, 4-1/2 lengths back, while Capt Chaps Hanover completed the ticket. A homebred son of Muscle Massive-Sister Kate, Kate's Massive campaigns for Harry Horowitz and Iris Horowitz. Forecast left alertly but was shuffled and appeared hopelessly locked in entering the final turn. When Casanova's Jewel jumped it off to his outside, however, Wilder was able to angle the son of Cantab Hall-Downpour off the cones. Once he saw racetrack, Forecast accelerated and downed the previously undefeated Faithfulandtrue by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:59.3. Angus Hanover earned show. "I probably should have pulled him first up," Wilder said. "The reason I didn't was, when I cleared in the first turn, he kind of got lost on me and was a little off the bit. I was afraid that I might clear too early. I gambled and stayed in. When I did get him out, he had a lot of steam." John Butenschoen trains Forecast for William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Eugene Schick. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features the Florida Pro, a $181,388 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Six divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies went to the post in the second leg of their Pennsylvania Stallion Series competition Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with some of the winners showing talent that may stand them in good stead should they choose to upgrade to the Sire Stakes level. David Miller guided the last three winners in the Stallion Series competition, including the only winner in the first two legs and the fastest winner of the night. The leader of this grouping right now, at least on Championship points, is the Somebeachsomewhere - Sarandon Blue Chip filly Margret Hill, who took a new mark of 1:53.3. Despite a 26-day layoff, Miller brushed his pacer to the lead past the 3/8, and she then showed her gameness in the back fractions of 56.3 - 28, holding off Rock N Mcroll to her right by a half-length, with Unspoken Promise to her left another neck back in third. Brian Brown conditions the 3-for-3 filly for owner Tom Hill, and that braintrust have an interesting position to mull over - stay in the Stallion Series, do well, and be one of the favorites for the Championship, or make a late start to the Sire stakes and try to get enough points to make that much-more-lucrative Championship, with the possible peril of losing the Stallion Series place. Fastest of the StS winners was the Captaintreacherous - Musicale Hanover baby May Bride Hanover, who froze the timer in 1:52.3 while taking her first win. May Bride Hanover had shown fast last quarters from far-back positioning in all her lines before this event, but she was much more involved in the forward proceedings here, making the lead, yielding, coming out at the 5/8 and dashing right on by to the ¾, and enjoying a 4¼ length gap over her nearest opposition at the finish. The Nifty Norman-trained freshman filly is owned by the Pinske Stables and David Hoese. The other winner for David Miller was the Sweet Lou - Ram Rocker distaff Skater Chick, who overcame the tough tuck-then-first-over trip, grinding down favored Sweet Cherry in back fractions of 56.2 - 28 to be 1¼ lengths separated from that foe at the end of the mile in 1:53.3, a new mark. Mark Harder trains the winner of two straight for Donald Lindsey, Paul Kleinpaste, and Garth Bechtel. If you looked up quickly at the wire of the first two StS races, you might think the same driver won both, but it was the drivers with the similar colors, Corey Callahan and Tim Tetrick, visiting Victory Lane. Callahan was first with the Somebeachsomewhere - Limestone Cowgirl miss A Beach Cowgirl, who went right out to the lead and came home in 28.1 to win by 1¾ lengths while taking a maiden mark of 1:54.3. Trainer Brett Bittle is the co-owner of the winner with E. Dan Bittle and the Charles Kellers III and IV. Another daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, out of the mare Tulu Hanover, the Tetrick-guided Trillions Hanover, yielded to sit a pocket trip to the 10-cent favorite Darn Tootn Hanover, then outrushed that rival home into a 27.3 last quarter to post a 1¼ length upset in a new best of 1:54.1. A 1:55 winner against elder stock at Philly, Trillions Hanover is trained by Tom Fanning for Fanning Racing LLC, VIP Internet Stable LLC, and J L Benson Stables Inc. Simon Allard has shown a flair for the dramatic when guiding stakes fillies - he was behind Highland Dynamite when that sophomore trotter paid $250.80, top price at Pocono this year, in an All-Stars event in June - and here he lit up the board with 16-1 shot Sweet Sissy Lou, a Sweet Lou - Hard To Desire filly, with whom he sat in the pocket then brushed late to post a 2¾ length victory for her first win in 1:55.3. Trainer Steve Salerno is co-owner of the winner with Bruce Potter, Nicholas Tallarico, and Tom Vassiliou. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2018 -- Southwind Storm captured her third straight Pennsylvania Stallion Series split Monday at The Meadows, a facile victory in which she never was cut loose. The $100,000 stake for freshman filly trotters was contested over five divisions, with Navarone Hanover, Sand Lauren Blu, Lollypop Lindy and Cardinale taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double -- among his three wins on the 13-race card -- behind Southwind Storm and Navarone Hanover. Hammered down to 1-5, Southwind Storm zipped to the lead from post 2 and was under restraint for much of the opening half. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Say What won comfortably in a career-best 1:58.2, 2-3/4 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Paint The Corners. Explosive Paige completed the ticket. "She's a perfect filly -- smart," Palone said. "She was well within herself, shut down. I spoke to her off the turn and just wrapped her back up again at the wire." Ron Burke trains Southwind Storm for Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Although she entered the stake with two victories under her belt, Navarone Hanover had never been first at any call except the final one. She changed all that Monday when the daughter of Explosive Matter-Nan's Conway grabbed the point and held off the prolonged challenge of Girl With A Past by a head in a stake-fastest 1:57.2, with Something Spicy third. "She can do most anything -- that's the whole key," said Robert Baggitt, Jr., who trains the $29,000 yearling acquisition for Christine Baggitt. "You have to be on the front end when you're the best. Dave thought she was the best, and she turned out to be the best. She's a better horse following, but we thought today was the day to go down the road." Sand Lauren Blu is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Sand Violent Blu, one of the sport's top fillies at 2 who banked $212,552 that year but was so feisty and competitive that trainer Tye Loy took to cushioning her stall to prevent her from injuring herself. Loy, who also conditions Sand Lauren Blu, said those precautions won't be necessary with her. "She has enough speed, but she doesn't have the killer attitude her mother did," Loy said. "I put her front shoes backwards today like she had them all last winter. She was hitting on her shins pretty good the last couple starts." Dismissed at 31-1, she showed a spark Monday when she surged late for Jim Pantaleano to edge Chanel De Vie by a head and break her maiden in 1:59.4. Early leader Fast Reaction earned show. Bill Sanders bred and owns Sand Lauren Blu. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features the Delmonica Hanover, a $185,836 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

CHESTER, PA - Two-year-old pacing colts and geldings took to the track in seven divisions of their third preliminary in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Friday afternoon over a Harrah's Philadelphia oval that was listed "sloppy" for the first five divisions, upgraded to "good" after some dry weather for the sixth, and then taken back to "sloppy" after a sudden downpour (races listed in order of their happening). The Sweet Lou - Blood Diamond colt Blood Money won a PA All-Stars contest in his purse debut then was third, beaten a length as the favorite, in a Sire Stakes race last time. Team Takter dropped him in this Stallion Series leg and the colt did not disappoint, although he had to be tough going uncovered into a 55.1 back half to defeat pacesetter One Corona To Go by ¾ of a length in 1:53.3. Yannick Gingras handled the well-bred youngster, who took a new mark, for Diamond Creek Racing. Next to Victory Lane was the Captaintreacherous - Capri Hanover colt Waterway - with a name like that, you'd think he could like a sloppy track, and he never looked back while taking a maiden mark of 1:52.4. Brett Miller guided the Tony Alagna trainee for the Alagna And Begley Stable, David Silverman, and Santo and Joseph Barbera. Latissimus Hanover was the only Stallion Series horse in his group to win in the first two prelims, and now he is three-for-three in the competition after winning handily in 1:52.3, fastest of the day's stakes and just a tick off his lifetime mark. The Captaintreacherous - Ladyking baby has taken his StS races in successive starts for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ray Schnittker, the latter also co-owner with Mary Kinsey Arnold and Hall of Fame ballot nominee Ted Gewertz. The Western Ideal - My Little Artist colt Mangogh went wire-to-wire in his section, taking a maiden mark of 1:54 while posting back numbers of 57- 28.2 for driver Andrew McCarthy while withstanding first-over favorite Lyons Johnnyjnr by ¾ of a length. Bruce Saunders conditions the winner for M & L Of Delaware LLC and M & M Harness Racing LLC (with those owners' names, it's appropriate that this was his initial win). Springbridge Proud is now 3-for-5 in purse starts after a fifth-to-first move during quarter two led to a 1¾ length victory. The Sweet Lou - Stonebridge Proud colt went in 1:54.1, a tick off his lifetime best, while posting 56.3 - 28 closing fractions for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke (hard to believe the Adios was just six days ago), and the ownership of Thestable Springbridge, Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Adriano Sorella. The sun had come out and the track had been upgraded to "good" before Captain Panko posted his second Stallion Series victory while lowering his mark to 1:53. 20-1 when he won an StS race on July 3 at Pocono, the Captaintreacherous - P Note Blue Chip colt here was sent off today as the chalk, and he proved worth of the backing, going first-up into a 55.3 back half and still going by pacesetting Acton Hanover by a half-length for driver Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen, and the partnership of Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc. and William Wiswell. The victory also Captaintreacherous siring honors on the day with three winning credits. After the downpour the surface was back to "sloppy," and the last division recalled the first division of the day in so many ways: a royally-bred colt, a horse dropping from the Sire Stakes to the Stallion Series after 20 days off and taking a new mark, driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Jimmy Takter, owner Diamond Creek Racing - it was deja vu all over again when Blacklight won in 1:52.4. The son of Somebeachsomewhere - I Luv The Nitelife went to the lead off the first turn and remained in command from there for his first purse victory. Sunday's Philly card features four sections of Sire Stakes action for the baby pacing colts, with the Burke Brigade represented by the co-fastest freshman of the year at this writing, Semi Tough (1:51.1f), and the undefeated/untested De Los Cielos Deo in separate cuts. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old pacing fillies take over the spotlight at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday and Monday, with three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action the first day and six sections of the PA Stallion Series the second. The Keystone-sired fillies will be contesting their second round action. The shadow of trainer Ron Burke would loom large over anything, since he's 6'5", but it looms even larger over the Sire Stakes competition, as he has two entries in each division, including two fillies who won in the first PaSS leg. The faster was Warrawee Ubeaut, a daughter of Sweet Lou - Great Memories who won a Sire Stakes event in 1:52.4, last quarter 26.4 at The Meadows, then came here for Pennsylvania All-Stars competition and established the national season's record at press time, 1:52.1. She's drawn the rail, and is scheduled to again have Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Her main opposition in the race ten contest will likely come from another PaSS winner, the Somebeachsomewhere - Bittorsweet Terror miss Bestseller Hanover, who will start from post four for Ontario-based trainer Eric Adams. Bestseller Hanover sandwiched her Sire Stakes win between two overnight victories at Mohawk, so she'll be looking to run her record to 4-for-4. The other Burke PaSS winner, She's Allright, will look to push her lifetime record to unbeaten status in four starts as she tops the fifth race division from post four, with Gingras also slated for sulky duty. She's Allright was given a bit of a scare in her last start at The Meadows, where Darn Tootn Hanover got to within a head at the finish, but the Sweet Lou - Atsallright Hanover filly had enough in the 55.4 last half to save her undefeated status. The fourth race division feature several horses who have already recorded success in stakes company, including Sylph Hanover, another Burke pupil who will start from post six for driver Matt Kakaley. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere - She's A Fan comes off a win in an Arden Downs stakes on Adios Day at The Meadows, and she was second behind Warrawee Ubeaut in her initial Sire Stakes start. In the Stallion Series action on Monday, all three first leg winners will be in to go - two of them, Margret Hill and Another Beach Day, face off in race ten, while Michelon's Filly will face the starter in race four. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

CHESTER, PA - A big harness racing week for Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old colts at Harrah's Philadelphia started on Wednesday afternoon with six divisions of the second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for trotters. Trainer Domenico Cecere, head trainer for the powerful Lindy Farms and profiled in the just-delivered edition of Hof Beats magazine, conditioned the first two winners. The first was an impressive Muscle Hill - Brooklyn colt named Kings County, who was the fastest of all entrants in the six divisions going into the contest by virtue of a 1:56 morning Meadowlands outing. Here he followed the cover of Holiday Hangover, went on when that one cleared before the ¾, and outdueled him by a neck while trotted his own back half in 56.2, much of it raw, in completing a 1:57.1 package. David Miller handled the driving duties for the maiden win of Kings Court for the Lindy Farms of Connecticut. Cecere then sent out the Cantab Hall - Southwind Catlin colt Union Forces for his purse debut, and the youngster, a winner in all three of his morning races, fastest in 1:57.3, needed only 2:00.1 to take his initial pari-mutuel contest. Scott Zeron just let the colt grind away first-over, and the pair finished in 29 to be three lengths clear at the finish for Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Robert Rudolph, David Anderson, and John Fielding. The Donato Hanover - Seducer Hall gelding Faithfulandtrue remained undefeated after three starts, including two in the Stallion Series, after coming home in 57.4 on the engine while taking a new mark of 1:58. Mike Cole sat in the sulky behind the streaking freshman for trainer Joe Columbo and George& Tina Dennis Racing. Donato Hanover then added a second baby with a 2-for-2 Stallion Series record to his credit when the colt Crossfit, out of the mare Muscle Test, rallied from second-over to take a new mark of 2:00.2 in a finish that saw five competitors within a length at the finish. George Napolitano Jr. guided the Chris Beaver pupil for owner Joe Sbrocco, with the two Stallion Series wins constituting Crossfit's lifetime purse record. As soon as you see the phrase "Muscle Hill freshman gelding," you know you have a ton of potential mixed in with likely behavorial problems. The Muscle Hill - Proclaiming April gelding Final Claim had been certainly all of both prior to his Stallion Series event today, but this was the day he put it all together, setting the pace and stepping home in 57.3 to leave his field 8¼ lengths behind while winning in the stakes action's fastest time of 1:56.4, only a tick off the North American season's record. Matt Kakaley and Ron Burke, certainly on a roll in the past week (hello, Dorsoduro), teamed behind the fast winner for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phil Collura, J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby, and Michelle Yanek. In the final Stallion Series event, a circle was completed as trainer Domenico Cecere of Lindy Farms, who had won the first two divisions, also took the last, as the Cantab Hall - Lindys Gone Crazy colt Lindy's Crazy Hall made his purse debut a winning one in 1:57.4. David Miller had the colt on an open lead the last half and still had three lengths in early stretch, but here came first-round StS winner Forecast - only as Forecast narrowed in he also bore wide, and that may have contributed to Lindy's Crazy Hall keeping a ½-length advantage to the finish. Lindy Farms of Connecticut is the owner of the developing youngster. Tomorrow three divisions of this section's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes group goes postward, with a pair of Muscle Hill colts, Prospect Hill and Demon On The Hill, hoping to take their PaSS records to 2-for-2.  From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, July 21, 2018 -- Saturday's Adios eliminations card at The Meadows also featured 66 freshman colt and gelding pacers vying for total purses of $312,112 -- and to demonstrate they have what it takes to be champions. Indeed, several of them showed just that. Here are the highlights of the two stakes for 2-year-olds: $190,112 Pennsylvania Sires Stake (The Albatross) De Los Cielos Deo extended his career unbeaten streak to three -- all stake victories --while Semi Tough earned Albatross honors by scoring in 1:51.1, fastest this year by a freshman on a five-eighths-mile track. Yannick Gingras drove both promising youngsters for trainer Ron Burke. Other Albatross splits went to Sugar Factory and Ehrmantraut. A son of Captain Treacherous-Lisjune, De Los Cielos Deo quarter-poled to the front and never allowed the pocket-sitting Love Me Some Lou to get close, downing him by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:51.3. Captain Victorious finished third. "From the first time I drove him in Florida, he was my favorite," said Gingras of the winner, who is campaigned by Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva-Purnell&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. "He's never disappointed. He's been there from the start, and he's showing it now. What we like best about him is that he's so smart. You want to pull, he goes. You want to go back in the hole, he goes back in the hole. He's like a 6-year-old who knows what to do." At times in the past, owner John Cancelliere and trainer Tom Cancelliere have launched the careers of their brightest 2-year-olds in relatively soft spots, allowing them to gain their sea legs and develop confidence before facing the pressures of bigger stakes. That approach paid off for Sugar Factory, who debuted with a stallion series win and had little trouble stepping up to the Albatross for a facile victory in 1:52.1, 2-3/4 lengths better than Cruise Captain, with No Mas Amor third. "We'll see how far up he can go without torturing him," Tom Cancelliere said of his $65,000 yearling acquisition. "His upside? We don't know yet. He hasn't faltered yet. He hasn't told us, that's enough. I want to race him only 10 or 12 times this year." Ehrmantraut allowed 4-5 favorite Bring The Thunder to do the heavy lifting, then blew by him in the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:52.2 for Dave Palone, trainer Lou Pena and owners Lawrence Keethe and John Darrah. Branquinho was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Bring The Thunder saved show. "There are three or four colts today, you'd lick your chops to have one," Palone said. "I think he's in that group. I don't know what more you could ask from him." $120,000 PA Stallion Series Latissimus Hanover made it two straight in the stallion series in a stake-fastest 1:52.4. Prince Of Tides, Highlandbeachlover, Do Ya Think, Just Plain Loco and Captain Hill captured the other divisions. Palone fashioned a stake double behind Highlandbeachlover and Do Ya Think. Latissimus Hanover, a son of Captaaintreacherous-Ladyking, quarter-poled to the top for Tim Tetrick and made short work of the field, defeating Roar Of Approval by 2-1/2 lengths. Early leader Yacht Week completed the ticket. "We'll keep him right in the stallion series and, hopefully, keep making the money," said Ray Schnittker, who trains the $75,000 yearling purchase and owns with Mary Arnold and Ted Gewertz. "We have him staked pretty good for the end of the year, so hopefully he can get through this gauntlet and get the job done." Prince Of Tides was caught outside for most of the opening panel, but he was still tons the best, scoring for Corey Callahan in 1:54.1. Doc's Hooligan was second, beaten 6-1/4 lengths, while Cool Your Heels earned show. "The field didn't really look that tough time-wise, and he had been in a lot more than the other colts," Callahan said. "I figured I'd give him a chance to strut his stuff and take matters into our own hands. He's a little bit immature and a little better following, but I kept him to task, and he was good." Ross Croghan conditions the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Tug River Princess for Let It Ride Stables, Dana Parham and Howard Taylor. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 20, 2018 -- Eliminations for the $450,000 (est) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids highlight Saturday's card at The Meadows, but fans of 2-year-old racing will enjoy an additional treat: 66 freshman colt and gelding pacers will compete in a pair of stakes spread over 10 divisions worth a total of $312,112. The stakes include the Albatross, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake, and a PA Stallion Series event. While most of the youngsters appear promising, two boast pedigrees that fairly jump off the page. Branquinho, a Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show full brother to 2016 Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville, leaves from post 4 in race 11 with Tim Tetrick driving. Proof, an undefeated son of A Rocknroll Dance-Ginger And Fred -- who banked more than $1.9 million on the track -- goes from post 4 in race 14 for David Miller. The $50,000 Adios eliminations are set for races 12 and 13. The first four finishers in each elimination, plus the fifth-place finisher with higher career earnings, return for the July 28 final. The eliminations card also includes a number of "big score" wagering opportunities: a $7,500-guaranteed Pick 4 (races 4-7), a $5,000-guaranteed Pick 5 (races 11-15) and a $2,748.90 jackpot in the Super High 5 (race 15). First post is 1:05 PM. Huntsville, whose 1:50 mile remains the fastest ever by a freshman at The Meadows, was the top 2-year-old in the sport and earned over $1.7 million before retiring to stud. Ray Schnittker, who trained, co-bred and co-owned Huntsville, also trains, owns and co-bred Branquinho. In his first two starts, Branquinho finished third and fourth in a PA All-Stars split and a PASS leg, results Schnittker predicts will improve. "Both those starts were okay," Schnittker says. "He's been a little bit slow coming; he hasn't been focused. But he's figured it out over the last couple weeks. He has a way to go, but I like him a lot. He's getting more aggressive now, starting to pick up the bit, although I don't think he'll ever reach the stage where he's as aggressive as Huntsville." Schnittker named his colt for Luke Branquinho, a five-time world champion on the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association circuit. The human Branquinho boasts more than $2.4 million in tour earnings, a total that Schnittker probably would consider just dandy for the equine Branquinho. Proof is the second offspring of Ginger And Fred, who now is part of the Diamond Creek Farm broodmare band -- and in foal to Always B Miki. Diamond Creek retained Proof rather than consign him, a decision that already is paying off. Trained by Brian Brown, Proof won his PA All-Stars and PASS splits, the latter in 1:52.2, and Brown thinks he may improve Saturday. "He had a pretty good test last week because he wound up first over," Brown says. "There was never any doubt that he would win, but I thought he should have won it easier. When we scoped him, he was full of mucous. He should be better when we get him cleaned up." Brown has two others in the Albatross: Jessica's Beach Boy (race 9, post 1) and Air Force Hanover (race 10, post 5), both with Miller aboard. He's especially high on Air Force Hanover, a Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Cognac colt -- campaigned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and William Donovan -- who captured a PASS division off a pocket trip. "He was a June foal," Brown says, "but if you watch him now, you'd say he looks like a 'Somebeach.' He's getting a little more grabby, a little racier each time. He also scoped horrible. I hope I have them both healthy." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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