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CHESTER, PA - The Liberty Bell stakes series commenced its annual fall run at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, with over $160,000 in purses offered to two-year-old fillies on both gaits. There were three divisions for pacers, and the chalk won all three - though the heaviest favorite of all gave the crowd some tension before they could get their nickel profit for every win dollar bet. Grace Hill, second in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship behind Blue Diamond Eyes (who won the Kentucky program's final this past Sunday) looked to be sailing along for driver Todd McCarthy after setting fractions of :28.2, :56.1, and 1:24.2. However, pocketsitter Natchez Belle kept chopping into the margin - four lengths at the half, two at the three-quarters, 1¼ lengths at the stretch call and narrowing with every step towards the wire. But Grace Hill, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the $1.6M+-winning Western Silk, dug down and won by a head in 1:53.1, running her scorecard to 6-4-2-0-$202,772 for trainer Nifty Norman and owner Tom Hill.   Another filly with a distinguished pedigree as a half-sister to Huntsville, the Betting Line - Wild West Show miss Let 'Er Buck, made two moves to control the throttle through splits of :28, :57.3, and 1:25.3, then turned back first-over Southwind Mina by 1¾ lengths in 1:53.4, a career best, for driver Mark MacDonald and owner/trainer Ray Schnittker. The fastest winner was the Captaintreacherous - Miss Kitty Hanover filly Mackie Hanover, who sped right to the top from the outside post six and hung up numbers of :28, :57.1, and 1:24.3 en route to a three length triumph in a lifetime best 1:52.4. George Brennan, a four-time winner during the card, was in the sulky for trainer Tom Fanning and owners Howard Taylor and Falcon Racing LLC. On the trotting side, it was finally the day for "the world's richest maiden," the Donato Hanover - Dream Child filly You Ato Dream, who had been second in all four of her PA Sire Stakes preliminaries and the Championship while earning $157,556. Here You Ato Dream worked her way to the lead for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory near the :28 quarter, put up midsplits of :57 and 1:25, then was kept to business to withstand potential pocket rocket May Karp in 1:54.2, a maiden mark. Jeff Gregory Inc. owns the talented miss with William Richardson, George Romanoff, and Martin Garey. Donato Hanover earned a siring double when Wixx Hanover (dam: Whispering Wind) reduced her mark to 1:55.3 in the other section. With a filly who had shown both speed and shaky manners, driver George Brennan was in no hurry to rush the baby, letting her follow the early cover of favored Myreanna, who claimed the lead midway between the :28.1 quarter and the :57.2 half, and then claimed the top going to the midrace mark. From there Wixx Hanover had total command, reaching the three-quarters in 1:26 and going off to a three length victory over the chalk for trainer Roland Mallar, co-owner with Patrick Leavitt and William Hartt. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

BLOOMSBURG, PA -- Harness racing will take place at the Bloomsburg (PA) Fairgrounds this Friday and Saturday, with a post time both days of 1 p.m. Two-year-olds will be racing Friday, and three-year-olds Saturday, in Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes competition.   An earlier schedule had listed a different post time for Saturday, but the 1 p.m. start for both cards is the official and final word.   From the PHHA, PA Fair Association, and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association partnership    

CHESTER, PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Delishka N made a pace-controlling move in front of the stands the first time, then held off a wall of harness racing challengers the second time around to win the $14,400 featured distaff pace at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon in 1:51. Dexter Dunn sent Delishka N out to early command, yielded to Bettor Joy N, then went onward again when favorite Machnhope made a move just past the :26.1 quarter. Delishka N went back to the lead around Bettor Joy N, with Machnhope, seeing a likely battle for pace control developing, got in a vacant three-hole before the :54.3 half. The winner did not receive a strong challenge past the 1:22.2 three-quarters, but as they neared headstretch, there seemed to be "live" horses everywhere. Delishka N was most "live" of all, holding off inside rallier Machnhope by a half-length, with first-over Shezallapples A showing good determination late to gain third, a photo away from second. Bettors Joy N was beaten less than two lengths and still did not get a check from finishing sixth.   Richard Johnson trains the winner of $387,864 for D'Elegance Stable IX. Still among the older females, the Well Said mare Caviart Cherie made it 3-for-3 since teaming with trainer Darren Taneyhill and the Wildcard Stables Inc., during that time going from the second-lowest condition at Pocono to the second-highest for mares here today, a $11,200 contest in which she posted a 13-1 upset in a new mark of 1:50.4. Joe Bongiorno rallied the winner of $399,947 from the pocket to overhaul pacesetting favorite Anytime N by a length. The $12,800 co-featured fillies and mares pace for the classclimbing crowd saw New Year, who was 7-5 in a Pennsylvania Sire Stake against JK First Lady at Philly recently, enjoy the drop in company here en route to a 1:51.4 triumph as a heavy favorite. George Napolitano Jr. drove the sophomore Somebeachsomewhere filly, who has now amassed $197,415, for trainer Chris Ryder and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC. Tim Tetrick won four races on the day, including with Iaquinta, who broke a 51-race losing streak dating back to June 29, 2018. She came from an unusual spot for winners at Philly, too - fourth-over, with Tetrick keeping her off an overheated pace and then rallying her for the 12-1 victory.  From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

GRATZ PA – The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Fair Circuit checked in for the first of two weeks of racing over the fast half-mile oval in the eastcentral Pennsylvania town. This “2-day Sire Stakes meet” featured freshmen on Saturday and sophomores on Sunday, the same routine that will be used during the “fair meet” this coming Saturday and Sunday. The Betting Line – Lazan Hanover two-year-old pacing filly Lazy Day Hanover, who had won her first eleven starts at the fairs before tasting defeat last week, rebounded to winning form with a 2:02 mile, with her 12th victory of the year putting her again in a tie for most wins in 2020 by a North American harness horse of any age or either sex and gait. Four others have twelve wins, but nobody else in this quintet is a two-year-old, and Lazy Day Hanover has the fewest starts in the group at fifteen. Her barnmate in the Team Dave Brickell (driver) / Mitchell York (trainer) partnership, the A Rocknroll Dance – Tiamo miss Tiamogonedancen, also regained her winning form and raised her record in her first campaign at the fairs to 8 for 9 with a 2:00.1 triumph. (The third top-notch pacing filly for York/Brickell, the 2019 Fair Sire Stakes Champion Dream Dancing, also came back to a winning mile on Sunday in 1:59.4, the 11th win of the year for the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance and her 9th in ten fair starts.) Somehow Brickell and York also found time to post the fastest two-year-old mile of the meet with the Artspeak – Subtle Charm gelding Seth Hanover, winning by open lengths in 1:57.4. Honors for baby trotters went to the Sebastian K S – Ruffleshaveridges filly R Speed Of Light, who hung up a 2:01.2 fair season’s record for trainer/driver Todd Schadel, co-owner with his wife Christine and with Rick and Regina Beinhauer. Sunday’s card was led off by the fastest mile of the two-day stand, a 1:55.4 victory by the Artspeak gelding Bipbopnallie over stubborn challenger Nome Hanover for trainer/driver Roger Hammer and owners Leblanc Racing Inc., Count De Money Stable, and William Lutz Jr. Bipbopnallie also raised his 2020 victory total to eleven, just one from the North America top (as is Dream Dancing). Among the conquered was Full Send, the fastest horse at the PA fairs with a 1:55.3 mile, who finally did not get the first check in his sixth circuit appearance. Full Send and Bipbopnallie now both have four 2:00 victories on the circuit. Tying them at four magic miles is the Sweet Lou filly Ginger Tree Carey, who won in 1:59.1 and who has posted her fast clockings in her last four starts. Sam Beegle is the trainer and driver of the swift miss, whom he co-owns with Ginger Tree Ventures, Henlopen Stable, and Neil Chesen. (Dream Dancing, as noted above, won the other division of this “A” event.) Among sophomore trotters, the Muscle Massive gelding Focus Pocus earned the fastest clocking with a 2:00.3 victory for his co-owners, driver Tony and trainer Linda Schadel. The meet’s winningest driver was Dave Brickell with five successes; his partner Mitchell York matched Todd Schadel’s four training triumphs as they tied for that Gratz prize.   Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen Association, Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association partnership

HARRISBURG, PA -- Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the two eastern Pennsylvania harness racing tracks whose backstretches are represented by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, both presented live cards on Labor Day Monday afternoon At Philly, the winner of the first race, the Real Desire gelding Quick Fun N, set the tone for the day in a $12,000 claiming handicap pace, as he let neither being the longest shot on the board nor being last at the half deter him from a big rally that put him home first in 1:53.3 while paying $28.60. Corey Callahan drove the winner of $202,161 to victory in only his second start of 2020 for owner/trainer Pete Vumbaca.   At midcard there were more horses greater than 8-1 visiting Victory Lane than horses less than 8-1, headed by Pepper Guy, who shot the far inside to win while paying $51.80 for driver Victor Kirby. The prices stabilized a bit in the second half of the day, but the card's average winner still totaled out to $18.37. Leading drivers at Philly for the day were three-time winners Simon Allard, George Brennan, and Daniel Dube. At Pocono the chalk was a much more visible presence, with eight of the card's fourteen races won by the favorites. The major exception to the rule was Show Me The Magic, who has now won three of his last seven starts for trainer Jim Ray, while paying $52.40, $159.00, and here $24.00, with Kevin Wallis guiding him home in his last two victories. Anthony Napolitano drove four winners at Pocono for the second straight card; Tyler Buter also checked home first four times on Monday. Perhaps the most impressive winner on the Pocono card was the Muscle Massive sophomore gelding Focus Pocus, who trotted his own third quarter in :27.3 to get to the lead, then held off a late bid by Celebrity Rolex by 1¼ lengths while breaking his maiden in 1:55.2. Focus Pocus, who had been getting some good checks against quality horses at the "A" level of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, is co-owned by driver Tony and trainer/wife Linda Schadel.   Pocono will be back in action Tuesday afternoon, with a $188,882.98 carryover for its Rainbow Pick 5 - have a unique ticket with five winners and you take the big prize. Harrah's Philadelphia resumes its normal schedule on Wednesday afternoon From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association

DAYTON PA - You usually don't see the phrases "partial rainout" and "the next day saw an all-age track record" in the same sentence, but both activities happened at the Dayton Fair during its Sunday-Monday harness racing meet, as a washout of all two-year-old "A" paces and all "B" action in the Sire Stakes on Sunday were followed by something very special. Nome Hanover, a Well Said sophomore gelding trained and driven by Todd Schadel, stunned the horsemen's community by going out Monday and bettering the all-time pacing standard at the west-central Pennsylvania twice-around with a 1:57.2 mile, knocking 2/5 of a second off of JT Arturo's 18-year-old mark. The fractions in the historic mile were :29.1, :58.4, and 1:27.2 as Nome Hanover won for the third time on the 2020 fair circuit for the ownership of Todd Schadel, Timothy Hayes, and Dr. Megan Moschgat. Roger Hammer, who had driven JT Arturo in his record mile, won the other "A" pace with the streaking Artspeak gelding Bipbopnallie in 2:03.3, with Hammer trainer/driver for the winner of six straight since coming to the fairs for LeBlanc Racing Inc., Count De Money Stable, and William Lutz Jr. Schadel had opened the day with the fastest trotting mile of the stand, a 2:03.1 win with the Andover Hall gelding Manhattan No Ice, whom he owns, trains, and drove. Dream Dancing, a defending champion in the pacing fillies section, also fashioned a 2:00 mile Monday, the daughter of A Rock N Roll Dance scoring in 1:59.4 for the owning partnership of driver Dave Brickell and trainer Mitchell York. Driver Shawn Johnston and trainer/part-owner Rick Beinhauer swept the sophomore trotting filly "A" events, with the Yankee Glide filly Caramel Macchiato in 2:04.2 (Beinhauer co-owns this one with Regina Beinhauer), and then coming back with the Muscle Massive filly Furious fast, now a five-time fair winner for Rick Beinhauer and co-owner Ronnie Stamm. Beinhauer and Johnston had also taken two of the freshman trotting filly sections before bad weather washed out much of the Sunday card. The winning babies, both daughters of Explosive Matter owned by Rick and Regina Beinhauer, were Explosive Flower (dam Seeuinthespring) and From Now On (dam Focus On Me). The pair now have nine fair wins between them, and helped propel their driver and trainer to the top of the categories at Dayton, with Shawn guiding six winners and Beinhauer harnessing four. Fastest of the baby male trotters was the Creatine - The Yankee Wins colt Swing Better Swing, home in 2:05 for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer while establishing a PA fairs' season's record. The Pennsylvania fair circuit, now doing double-time after being backed up by the virus, will be racing at York this Thursday and Friday at 1 p.m.   Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen Association, Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association partnership

HARRISBURG, PA -- Horsemen are reminded that the entry box for the Thursday and Friday PA Fair Sire Stakes races at the Somerset County Fair closes at 10 a.m. Tuesday (tomorrow). Entries can be called in to 610 513 7957; or made online -- note that the harness racing track abbreviation for entering is "MEYER," as in Meyersdale PA, the location city.   GPS machines can set an address of 7842 Mount Davis Road, Meyersdale PA 15552.   Two-year-olds will go to post at 2 p.m. on Thursday, and three-year-olds at noon on Friday. This is the first time harness racing has been held at the Somerset County Fair in over 50 years.   From the PHHA    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Bell I No was an unchallenged winner in the $16,000 top claiming handicap pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon, his fourth straight victory - for four different trainers - and he was claimed for the fourth straight time from this class for the $30,000 tag. George Napolitano Jr., the meet's top driver and a five-time winner on the card, moved Bell I No to the lead in front of the stands and just had too much pace for his rivals, stopping the clock in 1:52. The winner of $348,391 was trained by Matias Ruiz and co-owned by him and James Mascola - and they made a nice profit on their seven-day "visitor," $8000 for the winning purse minus "George Nap"'s commission and the week's training fees.   There were a pair of $14,000 events for fast-class performers, one on each gait. On the trot, the Credit Winner gelding Vic's Winner continued to get no mutuel respect - after dispatching lesser foes in a career-best 1:52.4 last week at 23-1, the bettors allowed him to get away at 30-1 this week, and he took advantage of a pocket trip from driver John Kakaley to take the late lead without problem and return $62.40. Chris Lakata trains the newest member of the Six-Figure Earnings Club for Joie De Vie LLC. On the pace, the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Semi Tough took the lead, seemed to be under siege for much of the mile, yet still withstood the stretch-seam-splitting Branquinho by a head in 1:50.3. Semi Tough had won his previous two starts, including a $60,000 series final at Yonkers in 1:50, but had missed 26 days since his last race. Yet no rust showed on him as he raised his earnings to $550,557 for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer Ron Burke (the meet leader), and Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. There will be a Rainbow Pick 5 carryover of $124,269.89 on the line for the last five races of Sunday's 5 p.m. twilight card at Pocono, as well as three divisions of the third preliminary leg of the $215,461 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts, in which Lou's Pearlman will be bidding for his third straight PaSS win. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

HARRISBURG PA - Two-year-olds went behind the gate for the first time in 2020 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while 100 miles south trotters and pacers saw their first harness racing action of the year at Harrah's Philadelphia, both in morning qualifying sessions. During the Pocono babies action, the hot barn was that of Todd Schadel, co-owner of Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo, as Schadel guided all three winners on the trotting gait. The faster of two victorious rides behind colts for Todd was Top Me Off, by first-year sire Bar Hopping out of Chiptomylou, who went wire-to-wire in 2:00.2, last half 58.1, for the ownership of Todd and his wife Christine in partnership with Rick and Regina Beinhauer. In the lone diamondgaited filly sector, the Cantab Hall - Chez Lucie miss Cheesy Hanover made two moves and stepped home in 29 to complete a 2:02 victory. Trainer / driver Schadel also co-owns Cheesy Hanover, along with Hall of Famer Jim Simpson. On the pace, Schadel set the pace with Shakealeg Hanover in the fastest freshman race, but the pair were run down late by Dillinger in 1:59.4, the faster mile in the colt division. Dillinger is by Always B Miki, the Horse of the Year who has his first crop at the races this year, out of Bodacious Hanover, whose mother is Bunny Lake and whose half-brother is the promising two-year-old of 2019, Lake Charles. Mark MacDonald guided Dillinger for trainer Ray Schnittker, who is co-owner in partnership with Hall of Famer Ted Gewertz, Max J. Hempt, and Steven Arnold. The Rock N Roll Heaven - Toy Delight pacing filly Jubilee Queen made two moves to control the pace for driver Matt Kakaley, going on nice to win in 2:00 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Kevin Lare, and owners Frank Chick and David Hamm in the faster of two sections for the baby fillies. In the inaugural morning session of the year at Philly, the fastest heats were saved for last. Quickest mile of the day, 1:52.4, was turned in by the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Shadow Cat, who sat behind pacesetting Mindtrip, then despite being unraced since last July 27 gained into a 27.4 last quarter to win for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Josh Green, and new owners Howard Taylor and the David Rovine Stable LLC. The quickest Philly trotter, the Kadabra gelding Tony Soprano, had missed even more time - 370 days since his last race -- and also made his bow for new connections, provisional driver / trainer David Hoover and owner Jaypaul Hoover, and he was likewise victorious, triumphing on the engine in 1:57.2. Philly begins its 2020 pari-mutuel meet on Sunday at 12:40, however, the Wednesday thru Friday cards will be going at the regular 12:25 post time. Pocono, after a 102-day break due to the COVID shutdown, starts its purse program back up a day earlier, with Pocono featuring racing on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday at 12:30 and Sunday at 7:00.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association

WASHINGTON, PA, May 15, 2020 -- After 11 days of silence, PA Gov. Tom Wolf responded to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) on when it could resume harness racing in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for horsemen, his response was not what we wanted to hear: "As part of this reopening effort, we foresee horse racing reopening when counties enter the green phase, like other entertainment (casinos, theaters, etc). I commend the Commission's efforts to implement mitigation efforts for those who are continuing to care for the horses at this time, and forethought in planning for how to address public health and safety as it relates to each phase of reopening." To read Gov. Wolf's full letter to the PHRC, visit www.themsoa.com The Meadows Stadardbred Owners Association (MSOA) has responded to Gov. Wolf with the open letter below: Dear Gov. Wolf: In your letter to PHRC, you lump racing with other large venues, such as casinos and theaters. The reality is that horse racing occurs outdoors and can easily follow CDC guidelines; because our trainer/drivers and caretakers must exercise, feed and care for their horses every day, we're already on the backside, and we're already following CDC safety guidelines. And those guidelines are working. We've had no COVID-19 positives -- not a single one -- in our paddock and backside areas. Moreover, unlike other sports, horse racing can be conducted without spectators. Fans can watch the races and wager from a variety of platforms, including phone and computer. Since racing at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino was shut down on March 16, horsemen and horsewomen have been without income. Yet because horses continue to need food, bedding, exercise and veterinary care, expenses have continued. While other small businesses can cut costs and furlough staff, racing stables cannot do the same. Costs for upkeep of a single Standardbred can reach $2,500 per month -- and there has been no income to offset this. Many of us have applied for unemployment compensation and government loans; some have yet to hear back or receive any funding to help us through this unprecedented time. Consider the plight of D&G Stables, operated by Dean and Glenda Collins at the Meadows. Of the nine horses in its stable, D&G owns seven outright, meaning there are no outside owners to help them meet their significant monthly bills. Right now, this situation is altogether typical. Norm Parker, who trains 30 horses at the Meadows, puts it this way: "If we have a reopening date we could shoot for. our horses will be ready to race and start making money again. We are hoping to reach the 'green' phase and start earning a living again. We'll be able to pay our vendors. pay for hay and feed, and it will make everyone feel a little bit better." Currently, 90 percent of the people needed to resume live racing at The Meadows are already reporting to the backside and working every day. Trainer/drivers are here. Caretakers are here. Track and facilities maintanence staff are here. Security personnel are here. Resumption of racing would require about 20 additional people -- and these would be at scattered sites. State veterinarians and other PHRC personnel would be on the backside, but state judges would be at their office in the main casino building. The TV production crew would be in that bulding or outdoors while pari-mutuel clerks -- to handle phone wagers -- would work in a completely separate facility. Thus, the population on the backside, where stringent CDC measures already are in place, would be increased by only a few people. In light of all this, the MSOA respectfully requests that you reconsider your timeline and authorize immediate resumption of live racing, without spectators, at The Meadows. Indeed, our neighboring state of Ohio has done just that, announcing that live racing in Ohio can resume on May 22. Similarly, Indiana and Ontario have announced that live racing at their tracks will resume in June. If you authorize the reopening of racing at The Meadows now, you will immeasurably aid our horsemen and horsewomen, provide a much-needed form of entertainment for Pennsylvanians and, since the Commonwealth receives a commission on every wager, restore a key revenue stream to the state. And you'll accomplish this without adversely affecting public health and safety. Respectfully, Richard G. Gillock, President Meadows Standardbred Owners Association The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is a nonproft oganization that represents the interests of approximately 700 Standardbred trainers, drivers, caretakers and owners at The Meadows. In addition to providing horses to race at The Meadows, MSOA administers such member-centric services as health insurance and retirement programs for horsemen and horsewomen. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The horse racing community is urging Governor Tom Wolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Many horse trainers and owners said they are struggling to afford care as the shutdown of racing stretches into week eight. “Right now, I would be very busy probably racing four to five days a week,” said Neal Ehrhart, of Lititz, Lancaster County. Ehrhart has been a horse trainer for 45 years. He and his wife Ginny own 12 Standardbred horses that they train for harness racing. Though the industry shutdown has halted their revenue, the couple still has to care for and feed their athletic animals. Rachel Yonkunas   ✔@RachelYonkunas     As the shutdown of harness racing stretches into week 8, horse trainers and owners are urging @GovernorTomWolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Despite having no income, the Ehrharts still have 12 massive athletes to care for and feed. TONIGHT at 10:00 on @fox43   “We earn nearly 100% of our income from racing. We depend upon the purses that we win when we race,” explained Ehrhart. “That’s how we make our livelihood. That’s how we feed our family.” Ehrhart said caring for a dozen Standardbreds costs nearly $30,000 a month. They have not received any financial help, including unemployment. This mom-and-pop stable feels left in the dust. “We’ve applied for just about everything that’s out there, both federally and statewide, and have gotten zip, nothing, nada,” stated Ehrhart. Some states, like Florida and California, have allowed tracks to continue holding horse races, but without spectators present. The State Horse Racing Commission is urging Governor Wolf to follow suit. Governor Wolf has previously said he would consider the option, but the Governor’s Office did not provide details to FOX43. “That’s what’s scary,” Ehrhart added. “I don’t know what [date] we could go to because we can’t just say ‘well we’re going to show up at the track and go race.’ We have to have the OK from the governor to do that.” Until then, the work never stops. The Ehrharts continue to train their massive athletes that are champing at the bit to get back in the race. “It’s not like you can turn it off. You have to take care of these horses daily,” said Ehrhart. “When the floodgates open, you have to be ready to go and race.” The Wolf Administration has created a list of general guidance for all industries in each phase of reopening. You can find that information here.   by Rachel Yonkunas   Reprinted with permission FOX43

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

BEDFORD, PA - Following the afternoon annual meeting of District 7 (Pennsylvania), the Bedford Springs Omni Resort in this southwestern Pennsylvania city hosted the annual Pennsylvania Fair Banquet, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, the U.S. Trotting Association, and the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horseman's Association. New to the Fair Banquet this year was a 24-page souvenir program, put together by the Keystone Chapter of the U. S. Harness Writers Association as both a fundraiser for their own activities and a keepsake for all the people associated with the horses who were the stars of the 2019 Pennsylvania fair circuit. Harrah's Philadelphia announcer Mike Bozich served as master of ceremonies for the evening. The first group to be in the spotlight were the connections of the top pointwinners along the Pennsylvania fair circuit, who received a blanket in their stable colors: 2YO TROTTING MALE - PENANCE (g, Father Patrick - Yankee Etta), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. (winningest horse at the fairs with nine triumphs.) 2YO TROTTING FEMALE - LINDY PRETTY LADY (Explosive Matter - Dreamgirl Lindy), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. (#1 pointwinner among all fair contestants.) 2YO PACING MALE - LIFE'S MARVALOUS (g, Delmarvalous - Life'sarealbeach), trained and owned by Roger Hammer (#1 pointwinner among all males.) 2YO PACING FEMALE - RT DON'T SPEAK (Artspeak - Carousel Frame), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. 3YO TROTTING MALE - ANDOVERS ASSET (g, Andover Hall - Lively), trained by Linda Schadel and owned by Linda and Tony Schadel. 3YO TROTTING FEMALE - RT GLORIA DE DIOS (Muscle Massive - RT Sun Poco), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. 3YO PACING MALE - STRANGER THINGS (g, Western Terror - Southwind Prairie), trained by Steve Schoeffel for owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel and James Reuther. 3YO PACING FEMALE - CREW SOCK HANOVER (Well Said - Chantal Hanover), trained by David Brickell and owned by David Brickell and Mitchell York (#1 pointwinner among all three-year-olds in 2019). Then the team behind the winner of their Fair Sire Stakes Championships at The Meadows in October each received a warm jacket courtesy of MH Eby Inc.: 2YO TROTTING MALE - STICKLER HANOVER (c, Explosive Matter - Secret Credit), trained by Steve Schoeffel for owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel, Daniel Goethe, and Michael Munn. 2YO TROTTING FEMALE - BETTER SONG (Better Caviar - Jessie's Song), trained and co-owned by Rick Beinhauer with Regina Beinhauer (set stake record of 1:57.2). 2YO PACING MALE - CHAMP CHARBEL (c, Ponder - Odds On Affair), trained and owned by Joseph Karrat. 2YO PACING FEMALE - DEAD HEAT (1st DEAD HEAT TO WIN IN A PA FAIR CHAMPIONSHIP): --DREAM DANCING (A Rocknroll Dance - Clearly Foxy), trained and co-owned by David Brickell with Mitchell York; and --SILLY BUT SERIOUS (Captaintreacherous - I Need Hotstuff), trained and co-owned by Gary Johnston with Joyce Benkart. 3YO TROTTING MALE - ANDOVERS ASSET (g, Andover Hall - Lively), trained and co-owned by Linda Schadel with Tony Schadel (tied all-time Fair Championship trot record and stake record of 1:56; only pointleader to win Championship). 3YO TROTTING FEMALE - MISTY LANE (Muscle Massive - Dundee Lane), trained and co-owned by David Brickell with Mitchell York. 3YO PACING MALE - UNDER PAID (c, A Rocknroll Dance - Upfront Cruisin), trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Karr, and Phillip Collura (set stake record of 1:52, fastest Fair Championship ever by 3YO). 3YO PACING FEMALE - APRIL AVA (Delmarvalous - Jeneva), trained by Scott Betts for Nicholas Catalano and Timothy Betts. Mitchell York, a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who began his sulky career in June and within two weeks of his first drive set the all-time track standard at Butler (Crew Sock Hanover, 2:00.1), was honored as "Rookie of the Year" after finishing in the Top Ten in the fair dash standings with 15 triumphs. The drawings for equipment and other prizes generously donated by a host of PA fair supporters again allowed the average $40 dinner ticketbuyer to emerge with a profit on the evening, such were the value of the drawing prizes. The grand prize winner, a Spyder race bike, was Tom Loughryof the Bob Rougeaux stable. by Jerry Connors, Jr., for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes quFair Circuit

BLOOMSBURG, PA - The 2019 Pennsylvania fair harness racing season ended this Friday and Saturday in this northeastern Pennsylvania town with two days of Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes racing, with the male trotters taking the spotlight. The two-year-old raced on Friday, and the Father Patrick - Yankee Etta gelding Penance posted a 20¼ length victory (after being behind at the three-quarters) for driver Kyle Bolon in 2:00.3 - just a tick behind the all-time state record at the fairs for the division, posted by Vulcan Hanover in an earlier stop at Bloomsburg this year. Penance also earned the honor of having the most wins in the "A" class of Sire Stakes, posting a remarkable record of 12-9-3-0 for trainer Bob Rougeaux III and the ownership of the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. On Saturday, the Andover Hall sophomore gelding Andovers Asset capped a fine season at the fairs with his eighth win over the twicearounds, in 2:00.2 - tying Vulcan Hanover for honors as being the fastest trotter on the local fair circuit this year. Linda Schadel, who trains one of the fairs' top stables which is usually driven by husband Tony, took a turn in the sulky here and doubled her lifetime total of wins, having won the other time in a race for women at Pocono in 2007 (she has driven fewer than five times in every year since 2006). Tony and Linda own the consistent three-year-old. There were two other eight-time winners in the "A" Sire Stakes in 2019 - one who did not race this weekend, defending champion trotting filly RT Gloria De Dios, and one who did, the A Rocknroll Dance - Clearly Foxy baby pacing filly Dream Dancing, who became the only circuit freshman to post two 2:00 miles this year when she won on Friday in 2:00 flat. Trainer Dave Brickell, co-owner with Mitchell York, was in the sulky behind the steady filly. The leading 2:00 mile producer at the fairs with four was Find One More, even though he was edged by ¾ of a length in Saturday's final fair divisional outing by his stablemate in the Todd Schadel barn, the Well Said gelding Motive Hanover, who himself turned in three "magic mile" clockings during the summer. Aaron Johnson handled the driving in this event behind the 2:00 winner for owners Todd and Cody Schadel. Crew Sock Hanover, the sophomore pacing filly who had two 2:00 miles, the only all-age track record of the year (2:00.1 at Butler), and the fastest mile of the year's twicearound traveling show (1:56.1 at Gratz last week), set the pace in her event on Saturday, but was caught out of the pocket by a head by the Somebeachsomewhere miss Queen Bee Hanover in 1:59, fastest mile of the two-day stand. Todd Schadel trains and drove the winner for owners George and Rose Bonomo. The other magic miler of the session was the Ponder - Odds On Affair freshman colt Champ Charbel, who recorded his fifth fair win with a 1:59.4 victory over chief nemesis Life's Marvalous for driver Shawn Johnston and owner/trainer Joseph Karrat. Todd Schadel and Aaron Johnston tied for the top in Bloomsburg Fair driving victories with four, while Todd sent out five winning charges to be #1 among trainers. For the season, Todd Schadel led both categories with 55 driving wins and 62 training triumphs. The Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission will total up the final points accumulations for the fair year early this coming week, determining the ranking of eligibility for each division's $25,000 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadows on Saturday, October 5. From the PHHA, MSOA, and the Pennsylvania Fair Harness Horsemen Association partnership

STONEBORO, PA -- Horsemen are reminded that the draw for the Thursday and Friday races at the Stoneboro (PA) Fair will be held on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., and that entries should be made prior to that time.   Phone numbers are 610 874 5200 and 610 513 7957.   Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes will be featured for two-year-olds on Thursday and for three-year-olds on Friday.   From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association      

CHESTER, PA - There were six $20,000 divisions of the second preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for two-year-old trotting colts at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday, and in defiance of the usual concept of "avoid first-over," five of the winners went the uncovered route en route to victory. Red-hot driver Tim Tetrick won three of the six Stallion Series divisions en route to racking up seven total victories on the day, and he guided the fastest winner, the Explosive Matter - Afterimage colt Overserved, who lowered his mark to 1:57.1 though first-up. The George Ducharme trainee nevertheless powered off by 2¾ lengths over Swipe Right for owners W J Donovan, Stephen Michaels, Joe Sbrocco, and Jim Winske. Tetrick was also in charge of the next two fastest winners, both of whom were breaking their maidens and both of whom are trained by Jim Campbell. Going 1:57.3 was the Father Patrick - Muscle Amour gelding Saxon, the only non-first-over StS winner as he went on the engine and posted the biggest end margin of the sextet, 4¼ lengths over pocketsitter Kyrie Deo, for the Runthetable Stables; just a tick behind Saxon's time was the Muscle Hill - Oyster Kronos colt Beyond Kronos, coming home 2½ lengths ahead of Don Grigio for his first purse win for owners Jeffrey and Michael Snyder . Hall Of Fame driver David Miller, who would have stolen the show most other days with four sulky successes of his own, was behind the Cantab Hall - Scream And Shout gelding Rock Party, who also broke his maiden in a 1:58.3 triumph, 1¼ lengths ahead of Hopeusteponalego, for trainer John Butenschoen and owners Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Charles Rowe. Another Hall Of Famer, trainer/co-owner Chuck Sylvester, sent out the Andover Hall - Lady Luck Hanover gelding Loyal Fox Hanover, who lowered his mark to 1:58.3 in winning by two lengths over Matter Of Focus under the guidance of Victor Kirby; Sylvester's partners on the baby are Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey Arnold, and Paul Bordogna. The other StS winner was the longest-priced one at $17.60, the Sebastian K S - Mauresmo gelding Roger Rabbit, who made the stretch lead then held off closer Daytona Dreamin by 1½ lengths while taking a 1:59 maiden mark for trainer Trish Adams and owner John Barnard. The Stallion Series races were a microcosm of the unusual positioning bias at Philly all day Thursday - four winners raced on the engine, and the other ten all came first-over! From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

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