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CHESTER, PA - A twelve-race card has been drawn for Friday's opening program of the 2021 harness racing season at Harrah's Philadelphia, which will begin at 12:25 p.m. The richest purse race on the day will be the last event on the program, a $12,800 pace for up-and-coming male horses. Father Nuno, fastest winner during the inaugural qualifying session here last Friday at 1:53.3, will be looking to make up for lost time as he starts from post four for driver George Napolitano Jr. and the brother team of trainer Tom and owner John Cancelliere: he has not raced in 497 days, since he was second to Papi Rob Hanover in the 2019 Governor's Cup final. Father Nuno is a full brother to world champion Captaintreacherous. The $11,600 fast-class co-featured pace, slotted for race six, will see Rock The Town (post one) and Joesstar Of Mia A (post four), who were 1-2 in the fastest mile of last week at Pocono, 1:50.3, taking on High Impression (post two), second to the blooming star Nicholas Beach last time out. Harrah's Philly will race on a four-day-a-week schedule of Wednesday-Thursday-Friday at 12:25 and Sunday at 12:40; the one exception in the month of April will come immediately after this inaugural card, as Philly will not host live racing this Sunday, Easter Sunday. A revamped, aggressive wagering schedule, aiming to give patrons the opportunity for more big-money payouts, has been put in place. There will be two Pick-4s, both with 15% takeout and a 50-cent base, on Sunday comprising the first four and last four races; and a Pick-5 (18% takeout, 50-cent base) will be offered on races five through nine. The Super Hi-5 wager, also with 15% takeout and a 50-cent base, will replace the Jackpot Hi-5s and be offered on the third, ninth, and last races. The new Super Hi-5 will pay out if a winning combination has been sold, but there will be a carryover if there are no winning tickets, as will be the cases with Superfectas (which along with Trifectas will carry a lower takeout this season) and all Pick-3/4/5s. The Harrah's Philadelphia driving colony, which can go with any group in North America, is scheduled to include on Opening Day George Napolitano Jr., the defending dash champion; last year's UDR king Tim Tetrick; Yannick Gingras, the only other driver besides Napolitano and Tetrick to win a Philly driving championship after the track's first year; and two-time North American/USHWA Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn. On the training side, 2020 champion and perennial North American powerhouse Ron Burke will send out Sailboat Hanover and High Impression in the featured events. Program pages for Harrah's Philadelphia racing will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Captaintreacherous gelding Rogerthat Bluechip made an early move to control the pace, rested to the half, then sped home in :55.2 to win the $12,000 pacing feature for males in a lifetime best 1:52.3 during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Jason Bartlett drove the winner, who has now taken two straight since coming to Pocono for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Martin Budkey and Michael Goldberg Racingllc, and may be headed for better things. ROGERTHAT BLUECHIP REPLAY   In the co-feature for distaffs, the Quality Western mare Peggy J spent a long time in the two-wide path to get to the lead in front of the stands, but once there she could not be dislodged and won in 1:54.3. Simon Allard handled the sulky duties for trainer Jeff Sorenson and owner Paula Sarcone. PEGGY J REPLAY   Fastest mile on the card was the 1:51.1 turned in in the nightcap by the So Surreal mare Surreal Feeling, lowering her mark by 2/5 of a second after setting virtually all of the pace and finishing in :27.2. Trainer Dale Lawton co-owns the impressive mare with Chris Lawton, and Jason Bartlett guided her to the quick clocking. In all, eight horses set new lifetime marks during the program, with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. SURREAL FEELING REPLAY   Matt Kakaley led all drivers with three sulky successes Sunday, including the night's fastest trotter, Great Unknown, who reduced his mark to 1:54.2. The Monday afternoon card at Pocono will feature the third and final preliminary of the Game Of Claims Trotting Series action for $15,000 base-price horses, three $15,000 divisions which will decide who will qualify for the $30,000 Championship on March 29 - and out of whose barn the finalists will be racing, what with 24 claims in the first two prelims. Monday's first post is 12:30 p.m. EST; program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono

Harrisburg, PA — The United States Trotting Association has reported that the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, as it did last year, has unanimously adopted a resolution opposing a plan by Gov. Tom Wolf to shift $199 million from the Race Horse Development Fund Trust and use the funds for a higher-education scholarship program. The PHRC took the action at its Feb. 23 meeting. The resolution will be printed and sent to the governor’s office. Budget hearings for fiscal 2021-22 are underway in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Senate Appropriations Committee on April 8 is scheduled to hold the budget hearing for the state Department of Agriculture, which oversees horse racing and breeding in the state. The motion on the resolution was made by PHRC member Tom Ellis, who said the governor’s proposal would have a “negative and disastrous impact” on the horse racing industry, agriculture and economic development. He said he understands the need to address student debt but “robbing Peter to pay Paul” isn’t the answer. Fellow commissioner Sal DeBunda agreed and said the PHRC has an obligation to promote and regulate the industry. The resolution was supported during the “industry reports” part of the meeting by Sam Beegle, president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association; Kim Hankins, executive director of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association; and Mike Simpson, an executive at Hanover Shoe Farms and treasurer of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania. The PHHA, MSOA, and SBA of PA are members of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition along with Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. The groups market racing and breeding and also lobby to protect the industry’s interests. In other news at the meeting, it was announced that over the first four days of the “Game of Claims” series at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there were 97 claims valued at roughly $1.6 million in total. by Tom LaMarra, for the USTA

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Pacing Series barreled right along at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon, with the second preliminary round for $25,000- and $15,000-base-priced horses yielding only two repeat winners, one at each level, but seeing 24 more harness racing horses change hands to the tune of $538,875. The repeat winner at the higher level, which here went for a $27,500 base tag in the progressively-priced prelims, was the Changeover gelding Glengarry Knight N, who took one of the seven $25,000 cuts for his group in 1:54.2 for driver Simon Allard. Trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Toby Rekoon, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta had retained their pacer after the first prelim, but they lost him to a claim here after the front-end triumph.   Trainer Ell also sent out the fastest winner of the day, with the Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo fronting an $8800 conditioned field in 1:53 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and owner Bill Emmons. Before leaving the $25,000 base-priced brigade, mention should be made of the Mach Three gelding Tullow N, who paid $69.80 in closing from fifth at headstretch to win in 1:54.1 when the surface was still good for trainer David Russo and owner Marissa Russo. Driving Tullow N was Eric Goodell, who had taken a hiatus from the sport from last March until last Saturday's opening day here, and soon found himself back in Victory Lane. Among the $15,000-base prices, going here for a $17,500 tag before allowances in five $15,000 divisions, the horse making it two straight was the Delmarvalous gelding Fernado, used hard early by driver Matt Kakaley yet holding firmly late to stop the timer in 1:54.2 for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owner Evan Katz, However, they, like the connections of fellow repeater Glengarry Knight N, had retained the pacer last week but now saw their horse depart to a different barn after a claim. In all, eight of the twelve winners in the Game Of Claims races Saturday changed hands despite the uptick in price - and now comes the drama of whether to put them back in next Saturday in the third prelim, or hope their accumulated pointtotals have already earned them a spot in their respective $50,000 and $30,000 finals on March 6. The driving Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George Jr., and trainer Dan Maier each had three winners on the Saturday card. Racing resumes Sunday at 5 p.m., with Game Of Claims action for $10,000 and $7500 horses; free past performances for the card can be found at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. A makeup card has also been added for Monday at 12:30 p.m. For full results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Pacing Series will again be featured this racing week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun, with 58 of the amazing 60 horses claimed during opening weekend (for $1,001,500) returning for second preliminary round action for their new connections. There is a slight "bump-up" in claiming price each prelim week of the Game Of Claims, so this Saturday afternoon seven $25,000 divisions will feature horses with a baseline tag of $27,500. Only the thirteenth race, the last prelim at this level, features a matchup of two winners from opening week - one who was not claimed, I Get That, who paid $83.20 in winning for trainer Mark Akins and draws post four here; and one who was taken, American Ideal, who will begin from post six for trainer Daniel Renaud. Saturday's card, which begins at 12:30, also brings together five $15,000 sections of pacers who will go for a base tag of $17,500. Again, it is their last prelim of the day, race twelve, which finds winners squaring off, and again there is one who was claimed last week (Sunset Braydon, post six, trainer Kelly Hastings) and one who was not (Fernado, post four, trainer Jennifer Bongiorno). Sunday's twilight card at 5 p.m. has four $10,000 divisions for horses with a $12,500 price before any allowances, and all four of this level's winners in round one have drawn into separate divisions this time. Such is not the case in the five $7500 divisions for $9000 base-tag performers that evening; the eighth race section, for example, will match three first leg winners who did not have to adjust to new surroundings, but here will have to adjust to starting on the right-hand side of the gate: Dontcallmefrancis (post six, trainer David Russo), Onlythetuffsurvive (post seven, trainer Marc Mosher), and Pop Icon (post nine, trainer Dennis A. Laterza). Since Pocono lost its scheduled opening card on February 6, a special card has been added for this Monday, February 22, with a 12:30 post time, with overnight horses featured during the program. FINISHING LINES - Horsemen are reminded that nominations for the Game Of Claims Series for trotters starting with a base price of $15,000 are due by this Saturday, February 20. ... Veteran John Kakaley drove three winners during the Wednesday morning qualifiers at Pocono. John is the father of Matt Kakaley, who won seven races here on opening weekend; Matt also grabbed himself a qualifying victory. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The set of qualifying races at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono that was drawn today (Tuesday the 9th) and was supposed to be raced on Wednesday the 10th has now been moved to Thursday the 11th. Post time for the first qualifier remains at 10 a.m. The training availability that was scheduled for Wednesday has also been moved to Thursday. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The brutal early-week snowstorm that attacked much of the country hit very hard in the Pocono Mountains / Wilkes Barre-Scranton area, dumping two feet of snow or more in some areas, and forcing The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to cancel its first planned harness racing card of 2021, which was to go on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.. The racetrack and its environs could not be sufficiently cleared, and the track reworked, to ensure the safety of the horses and people involved, forcing the cancellation. The two cards of racing scheduled for next weekend, Saturday the 13th at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday the 14th at 5:00 p.m., will be held. Horsemen should declare their entrants by 9:00 a.m. Monday for the Saturday card and Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. for the Sunday program. The weekend will feature the opening preliminaries of the $495,000 Game Of Claims Pacing Series. Condition sheets are available at https://newsroom.mohegansunpocono.com/racing-docs-files/condition-sheet/2021%202-13%202-14.pdf. There will be qualifying races at The Downs on Monday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. Entries for the Monday qualifiers must be made by SATURDAY THE 6TH, and for Wednesday's Q by this coming Tuesday; the box for qualifiers for both days closes at 11 a.m. Training over the renowned Pocono 5/8-mile oval will be available on Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs    

CHESTER, PA - With Harrah's Philadelphia not presenting a live program on Thanksgiving Thursday afternoon, the trotters and the pacing mares both got turns in the racing spotlight, with each group having a $12,800 feature and an $11,600 co-feature. In the $12,800 events for "non-winners of 5 races," the trotters were led by the Explosive Matter sophomore gelding Arclight Hanover, who rewarded the bettors who made him the favorite by sweeping wide on the far turn and going off to a 1¾ length victory over Andela in 1:56.3 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Mark Harder, the latter co-owner with Deena Frost and Emma Petterson.   The Bettor's Delight mare Iron Mistress proved most photogenic in a three-way photo to take the top pacing purse and also a new mark of 1:52.3 for owner/trainer/driver Ray Baynes. Pacesetting Somebeachsomefra was engaged by first pocketpulling favorite Wayside and then by the winner up the inside; the right-hand foe she handled, but her left-handed opponent she could not withstand. In the pacing $11,600 fast-class contest, My Kiwi Lady N, a frequent winner at the Running Aces meet but off the board twice since coming east, stormed down the center of the track in posting a career best 1:51.3 for trainer/driver Chris Scicluna, a length to the good of Crazy Cute. Vinny Ginsburg, the driver of the $94.00 upsetter, is now tied with Simon Allard and David Miller in having guided three such "bombers" during the 2020 Philly action. Driver Yannick Gingras returned to Victory Lane after the trotting co-feature with the Yankee Glide gelding Max, who was solid in a 1:54 wire-to-wire victory to make him a winner of $227,156. Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC share ownership in the winner with Frank Baldachino; for trainer Ron Burke, the win was his 78th of the season at Philly. That total currently gives Burke a two-win cushion over Gilbert Garcia-Owen as he attempts to complete his first "Pennsylvania triple": Ron won the training title at Pocono for the first time this year, and he has a giant lead at The Meadows. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA -- A trio of $11,200 harness racing events for up-and-coming younger horses, two on the trot and one on the pace, served as the headliners at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon. On the pace, General Ward tucked third early and stayed inside, then found room midturn and overhauled the favored pacesetter Rockin The Blaze by three-quarters of a length. The Somebeachsomewhere sophomore came home in :55.2 to post a lifetime mark of 1:52.2. A recent addition to the barn of trainer Scott Di Domenico, the gelding has now won two straight, with Tim Tetrick driving for Triple D Stables Inc. Michael Farro, and M G Stable Inc.   In the initial trotting headliner, the Explosive Matter sophomore gelding Bang Bang Boinga tucked early, started uncovered at the half, and came her back fractions in :57 flat, just wearing down pacesetting Gerard by the slimmest of margins while taking a new mark of 1:56. Tim Tetrick also drove this winner, another of the five successes he had on the day, for trainer Joe Poliseno and owner Mary Ellen Sarama. In the other trotting feature, driver/co-owner Jackie Ingrassia rolled with the Andover Hall three-year-old filly Baby Donut, having an open-length lead from the middle of the first turn to the middle of the stretch, then held off first-over Doodle Hanover to her right and groundsaving Boom City to her left while taking a new speed badge of 1:57.3. Frank Ingrassia is the trainer of the filly, and Jackie's partners on her are Donna Francetti and Thomas Doran. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Coming off a second, beaten a half length by Caviart Ally, on Friday night, the Mach Three mare Machnhope was right back in Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, winning the $14,400 featured distaff handicap pace in 1:51.2 - but not before giving the bettors who had punched her down to 1-10 a brief scare late. Machnhope was sent right to the lead by driver Andrew McCarthy, put up fractions of :27.1, :55, and 1:23, and seemed unfazed as she opened up a clear lead around the far turn. But in midstretch Machnhope took a couple of fumbly steps; McCarthy was able to get his charge back on course quickly, and she kept on going to defeat pocketsitter Apple Bottom Jeans by a length, with closer Eclipse Me N another neck back in third.   Machnhope survived an inquiry into her stretch adventures, and now she is a winner of $317,029 lifetime, while Noel Daley conditioning her for himself and his partners Deo Volente Farms LLC, Thomas Pontone, and L A Express Stable LLC. In the $12,800 co-featured pace for the ladies, the three-year-old Sweet Lou filly Shouldbeenatd sat the pocket behind second choice She's Nun Bettor N, was moved outside on the far turn by driver Yannick Gingras to engage her, and encountered upper stretch resistance before finally making the lead in a 1:54.2 victory, with the final margin 1½ lengths. The sophomore has now amassed $217,917 for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Andrew McCarthy and David Miller had driving triples on the first card of the Philly racing week. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Developing younger horses were featured in a trio of $11,200 harness racing features at Harrah's Philadelphia during an afternoon where the track went from "good" to "fast" as the moisture in the surface was worked away. The fact that the track was still rated "good" for his race didn't bother the Western Ideal sophomore gelding Full Send at all, as he powered out of the pocket for driver Montrell Teague to easily catch pacesetting favorite Rockin The Blaze in 1:50.2 in the single pacing feature. One of the star performers in a tough three-year-old pacing colt division along the Pennsylvania Fair circuit this past year, Full Send set a new mark while taking his eighth win of the year for trainer Eli Scott Jr. and Chesapeake Equine Clinic Inc.   In the first of the two trotting headliners, held when the track was still "good", the Muscle Hill sophomore filly Zoe F raced off to a big lead down the backstretch and had open distance on her opponents to the wire while equaling her lifetime mark of 1:56.2 (taken over an "off" track at Pocono). Andrew McCarthy was in the sulky for trainer Francisco Del Cid, who is also the co-owner with Whiskey Trail Stables Inc. The track rating had been upgraded to "fast" by the time the other trotting headliner went to the gate. That race was taken by Andela, who made the lead, let the favored Bang Bang Boinga go to the lead before the half to trail behind her, then came out in the stretch to catch the pacesetter in 1:55.2, lowering her fastest clocking ever. The three-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide, whose second dam is the champion CR Kay Suzie, was driven and is trained by Rod Allen, and owned by Rod Allen Inc. For the third straight day (all of which involved some moisture), the track was not kind to pacesetters. Tim Tetrick was the winningest driver of the day with four tallies, and none of his winners were closer than fourth or within three lengths of the lead at the three-quarters, usually the road to nowhere at Philly but lately a preferred route to the winners circle. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER, PA - The Indiana invader Swan Legacy made an impressive local debut in the faster of the $12,800 featured trots on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, using the cover of favored Rosalie Swan as a springboard to a 1:55.4 victory over a good track. Tim Tetrick got the Swan For All sophomore gelding out behind Rosalie Swan as that one went uncovered down the backstretch to get the lead, then continued with his momentum and was the easiest of winners for trainer Scott Di Domenico and owners Triple D Stables Inc., Michael Ferriero, and M G Stable Inc. The lightly-raced Baldaquin, making his first start in 40 days and only his ninth lifetime in the November of his four-year-old year, photoed out Rosalie Swan for second.   In the other division, the Muscle Hill three-year-old filly Contepartiro Deo kept her record perfect for trainer Noel Daley in her second start. She persevered to the wire after not being able to clear the pacesetter on the turn to notch a 1:57.3 tally for Todd McCarthy, a half length to the good of longshot President. Owners Deo Volente Farms LLC, who bred the winner, bought out their partners two starts back and obviously have done well with her since. The $11,600 fast-class trot saw two horses parade back to the winners circle, as the camera could not separate the My MVP gelding Magic MVP and Rock Of Cashel, a son of Majestic Son, at the end of a 1:55 mile. Rock Of Cashel first made the top, then yielded to his rival as he dealt with favored first-over danger Lion Safari AS, finding more along the inside late to tie the pacesetter. Todd McCarthy drove Magic MVP for trainer Tracy Berry and the ownership of J Craparotta & P Berry Racing LLC (that's their legal name), while Rock Of Cashel was driven by Vinny Ginsburg for trainer Mark Harder and the partnership of Joseph Jannuzzelli and Jeffrey Ruch. Todd McCarthy, in the top dozen for the season at Philly despite coming to America after the Hambo and getting a very late start, led all drivers today with four victories. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A hot battle on the front end tired out the favorites and set the $16,000 claiming handicap pacing feature up for a closer, with the Mach Three gelding Burning Midnight filling that role nicely as he won the Saturday afternoon feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:51.1. Mark With a K, the second choice, was insistent on controlling the pace from the pole, putting up a searing :25.3 opening quarter to force tucks, then got a breather to a :55 half. Favored Razor's Edge then charged up first-over on him, with those two engaging in a 1:22.2 battle to the three-quarters. Burning Midnight then made the winning move for Anthony Napolitano, moving three-wide from third-over at the three-quarters and circling to contention, then having the most late. The 2-3-4 horses, Bellows Binge, Butter Bay Hanover, and Just N Ace, were all closer to the grandstand side than the tiring horses occupying the inside, but they couldn't catch Burning Midnight, who is trained by Darren Taneyhill for owner Robert Main - and who returned 10-1 despite just missing in photos in two of three starts at this level.   The recent Down Under import Deltasun A had first-over Max breathing down his neck through the stretch of the $14,000 trotting feature, with pocketsitter Fashion Creditor gaining up the Pocono Pike, but the Tenotrump gelding showed true grit to eke out a decision in 1:53, a Stateside mark. Deltasun A, now 2-for-3 in North America after showing winning tendencies in the Southern Hemisphere (19-for-53), was driven by George Napolitano Jr., trainer Andrew Harris, and owners OB Stables, A Harris Racing LLC, and Michael Goldberg Racingllc. The Roll With Joe sophomore pacing gelding Scootnroll ran his career record to 10-to-12 in a $12,000 conditioned pace, brushing to the lead early and then holding off Billy Lincoln N, one of his two conquerors, by a neck in 1:51.1. Unraced at two, Scootnroll came to Pocono after having won his first six starts in New York state, and locally he is 6-4-2-0, with the losses by a neck and a half-length (those small margins costing him $6000 in purses, or $1000 a foot). Tyler Buter drove the talented three-year-old, who now has $47,850 on his card, for trainer Todd Buter and owners Rick and Geoffrey Howles. Anthony and George Napolitano Jr. each had three victories to lead the driving colony. There are only two cards left in the 2020 Pocono season, both next week at 12:30 p.m. - on Tuesday the 10th, and then Saturday the 15th. On closing day, there will be a mandatory distribution in the Rainbow Pick 5 bet in the final five races, with $239,477.19 being carried over into the very last races of the season. From the PHHA / The Downs

CHESTER, PA - A trio of $11,200 events for developing younger horses, two on the trot and one on the pace, topped the harness racing action on Friday at Harrah's Philadelphia. In the faster of the two sections of the featured trot, the newcomer Stravinsky made short work of his opposition, flying home in :56.2 - :28 for an easy 1:55.2 victory, 1¼ lengths ahead of favored Romanee Blue Chip. Andrew McCarthy, top driver of the afternoon with four victories, handled the impressive sophomore Sebastian K S gelding for trainer Andrew Harris and owners Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin.   The Italian/Swedish-bred Fly Eagle Fly showed the endurance of a Continental horse, parked outside the entire mile, in taking the other trotting sector in 1:57.1. The sophomore son of Bold Eagle was denied both the lead and the pocket in the second quarter, continued pressing the rest of the way, and got up by a neck over pacesetting Khedive, who had insisted on setting the pace. Corey Callahan kept the three-year-old going to record his lifetime best clocking for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Richard Gutnick. On the pace, the Sweet Lou sophomore ridgling Rockin The Blaze enjoyed a lowering from a basic diet of stakes competition, working his way to the lead in front of the grandstand and looking in charge thereafter while taking a new mark of 1:52. Full Send, from the pocket, got to within three-quarters of a length behind the winner, who was driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Eddie Dennis and owner Eric Good. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Harness racing driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen captured both of the pacing features on "Distaff Day" Wednesday at Harrah's Philadelphia as part of a giant day for both horsemen. Despite having to go first-over against pacesetting favorite Machnhope in the $14,400 top-line event, the veteran McArdle mare Lispatty was able to get to the line first, and the seven-year-old did it in 1:49.4 to take a new lifetime mark. After a classic "ding-dong" stretch battle, Lispatty proved a half-length better to earn her 40th career victory and raise her bankroll to $986,726. Garcia-Owen is also the owner of the classy pacer.   In the $11,600 co-feature pace for distaffs, the Art Major mare Crazy Cute vacated the three-hole late on the backstretch, went up after pacesetting stakes filly Dance Club, ground her into submission, then held off second-over Scandalicious by 1½ lengths. The mile went in 1:51.1, a time which matched the winner's mark. Garcia-Owen's father Gilbert Garcia-Herrera shares ownership of the winner with Barbara and Donald Anstine. For the day, Napolitano visited Victory Lane seven times, solidifying his spot atop the local drivers colony, while Garcia-Owen harnessed five winners to close the gap behind leading trainer Ron Burke (who fought back with a late-card winner), their numbers being 72-63 with about seven weeks remaining in the season. Driver Mike Simons "blew up the tote board" for the second straight day at a different eastern Pennsylvania track. Yesterday, he guided Tricky Dick to an $86.00 upset at Pocono; on this card, he drove How Are Yee John, who was photoed out by Bell I No, but the judges found that Bell I No had drifted out and interfered with the chances of How Are Yee John, reversing how the horses crossed the line for the official order of finish. How Are Yee John paid a healthy $66.20 to his scattered backers among the Philly faithful. Post time at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday will be at 2:05 p.m., so people who are in the mood on wagering on horses and are "double-gaited" might also find some action on the first day of the Breeders Cup at Keeneland. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Surfer Beach may be starting to pace into his considerable harness racing pedigree, as he won a $10,400 pace on Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. An altered son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the $2.3M+-winning Southwind Tempo, two-time divisional champion, Surfer Beach did not race at two, and he won only one of his first thirteen races at three. But he has now won two of his last four, including this 1:52.3 triumph, where he went to the front for the track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., and proved much the best, winning by 5 1/2 lengths for trainer Brian Malone and owner Peter Paul Venturini.   The Napolitano brothers completed a sweep of the pacing divisions for this class when Anthony drove the Bettor's Delight mare Mossdale Lottee N to her first U.S. score. The Kiwi import came from eleven lengths back at the quarter to win the female section of the condition by 3¾ lengths in 1:53.2. The winner is trained by Jose Godinez for Godinez Racing Stable LLC. In the division of this class for trotters, the two-year-old Tricky Dick also came from well off the pace (10½ lengths behind at the half) to win by a nose over Gerard while taking a mark of 1:57.1. And whoever bet on the altered son of Winning Mister - Pictures Of Millie got a $78 return on a $2 win ticket as Tricky Dick took the Election Day victory for driver Mike Simons, the "Pocono Trot Man," and owner/trainer/voice of the PA county fairs Jim McGettigan. Anthony Napolitano bookended the card with winners and also scored with Mossdale Lottee N to emerge as the day's leading driver with three victories. There are only three more cards left in the 2020 season at Pocono, all starting at 12:30: this coming Saturday and Tuesday, and then closing night, November 15, where there will be a mandatory distribution in the Rainbow High 5 pool, which will bring a carryover of over $239,000 into play. From the PHHA / The Downs    

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