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WILKES-BARRE PA - Six $30,000 divisions of Pennsylvania All-Stars stakes harness racing action for two-year-old trotting males were featured Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with enough pedigree and precociousness showing that fans of the mountain oval may have seen a starter or two in the 2020 Hambletonian, a race 13 months to the day in the future. Two of the winners set season's records in 1:55.2; the one with the more adventurous journey was the gelding Real Cool Sam, whose sire Muscle Hill had four stallion credits in the six All-Stars races and whose mother Cooler Schooner set a 1:51.3 world record here as a freshman. David Miller settled the winner, who won his purse bow in 1:56 at Philly, in fourth early as double purse winner and favored (both were 4-5 on the board) Paulie Walnuts went down the road in :28.1, :57.4, and 1:26.2, with the winner moving right to him approaching the three-quarters. Real Cool Sam was working by Paulie Walnuts late on the turn when he suddenly bore out three-wide nearing headstretch, where the Pocono paddock is located, and Paulie Walnuts found himself back on a clear lead. But Miller soon straightened out the Jim Campbell-trained freshman, and despite the detour "Sam" won in 1:55.2, within 2/5 of a second of the world record for the division (Correctamundo, Mississippi Storm, White Tiger) - on July 9 -- and a season's record for baby geldings on any size of track. Paulie Walnuts could not respond to Real Cool Sam's resurgence and made a late break, finishing second, 5¾ lengths behind the budding star, for Fashion Farms LLC. The other 1:55.2 mile fell to Big Oil, a son of Pocono freshman track recordholder Father Patrick out of the half-million-dollar-winning Cee Bee Yes. Big Oil also took the tuck-then-first-route for driver Andy Miller, but he was the recipient of good fortune when Legion Of Honor, who moved to the lead after a :27.4 opener and set middle fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.2, made a break nearing headstretch fighting against the winner. Big Oil took a 2¼ length margin over favored Expectations under the wire in his purse bow for trainer Julie Miller and owners Joseph, Douglas and Ronald Allen while also rewriting the North American season's standard for colts. Big Oil                                 ---Curtis Salonick photo Trainer Marcus Melander, who has been dominating the three-year-old colt stakes, won the first two divisions of this freshman action with Muscle Hill colts making their purse bows. One was with Rome Pays Off, who is out of the mare Order By Wish - which makes him a full brother to Marseille, who ironically defeated Melander's big gun Greenshoe here in the recent Beal Championship. Mattias Melander raced Rome Pays Off in the pocket behind pacesetter Vinny De Vie, then went to the Pocono Pike and overhauled that rival by ¾ of a length in 1:58.1, closing into a :58.2 back half for the S R F Stable. Marcus Melander then teamed with driver Brian Sears (the Greenshoe combo) to win with Hellbent For AM S, out of the mare Nalda Nof, who came first-over, made the lead in the lane, then held off the horse on his back, Patriarch Hanover, by a neck in 1:56.1 for Courant Inc. The time was a season's record for 18 minutes until Big Oil came along, and a tick shy of the time he recorded in a dead-heat qualifying win. The Explosive Matter colt Can't Say No, a $78.60 shocker winning his purse debut here, saw the crowd back him Monday to favoritism, and he and trainer/driver Ray Schnittker responded with a wire-to-wire win in 1:55.4, a new mark. Steel Schooner was good in the pocket but at the finish could get no closer than 1¼ lengths behind Can't Say No, who is co-owned by Schnittker in partnership with Steven Arnold, Arden Homestead Stable, and Fred Hertrich III. The other of Muscle Hill's winning sons was Mister Walker, the first foal out of world champion mare D'Orsay, who was successful in his first start for a purse in 1:57.1. Corey Callahan got the youngster going quickly raw out of fifth down the back and Mister Walker gobbled up the ground (his own last half in 57.3) to reach pacesetter Dublin, then overhauled that rival by ¾ of a length for trainer Jonas Czernyson and Consus Racing Stable Inc. FINISHING LINES - The Early Double produced what might be a once-in-a-lifetime sight: George Napolitano Jr. and Tim Tetrick combining on a 3-6 ticket worth $5934.00, with George winning with Noble Prize ($42.40) and then Tim bringing home Logan Hanover ($38.20). ... Napolitano wound up with four wins on the twilight card, giving him eleven in the first three days at Pocono this racing week, and sixteen if including Friday and Sunday action at Philly.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, July 8, 2019 -- Millionaire Dayson pulled the pocket into the final turn, outkicked Classicality in the lane and captured Monday's $20,000 Open 1 harness racing trot at The Meadows. Dayson and Dave Palone were content to release Classicality and Brian Zendt before the quarter, but they were the stronger pair late, clicking off a 27.3 final panel en route to a 2-1/4-length victory over Classicality in 1:52.1. Glidinthruparadise completed the ticket. Ron Burke trains Dayson, a 6-year-old Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus gelding who now has banked $1,077,712, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and J&T Silva-Purnell&Libby. Palone collected five wins on the 13-race card, including three for Burke. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features a $1,520.20 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Muscle Mass gelding Im The Muscle is in the process of regaining his top form, winning his second straight race on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and posting a mark of 1:53.4 in taking the $17,500 harness racing trotting feature. Driver Simon Allard hustled the winner, trained by his brother Rene, to the lead before the :27.3 quarter, then yielded to early brusher Optimist Blue Chip, who set middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.1. Allard waited patiently for the Pocono Pike, then quickly got his trotter in gear, with the pair going by Optimist Blue Chip by ¾ of a length for owner Rheau Vieu. In a $17,000 co-featured trot, the Explosive Matter mare Pat Matters is now perfect in two starts under the care of trainer "Nifty" Norman after a 1:53.4 triumph. Driver Marcus Miller directed the mare to the front by the :27.2 quarter, got a breather through a :57.1 half, geared up to battle the bid of first-over Max to a 1:25.4 three-quarters, then stepped home in :28 to keep off the resilient Max by a neck. The Patricia Stable owns the winner. Driver Jim Marohn Jr. was unseated by his horse Draft Year during the post parade for race 3, and was taken to the hospital. He was treated and released, and he is recuperating at home. The loose horse was caught by outrider Tia Shafer and returned to the paddock, and then scratched from the race. Pocono had its second $100+-paying winner in two nights, and third in six cards after not having had one since one since April 13, as Tom Jackson rallied P L Lester off a hot pace to win the night's first event at a $137.00 mutuel for trainer Scott Di Domenico. After the first race toteboard fireworks, eleven favorites were victorious in the remaining thirteen races on the card. Tyler Buter and George Napolitano Jr. each won four races on Sunday at Pocono. PHHA / Pocono

Chester, PA -- Shartin N ($2.20) continued her dominance among distaff pacers on Sunday afternoon (July 7) at Harrah's Philadelphia, winning the $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series harnes racing feature in an under-wraps 1:49. After nearly a month on the sidelines following her win in the Roses Are Red at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the 6-year-old daughter of Tintin In America left mildly from the pole to land in third behind Reclamation (Yannick Gingras) and Bettor's Up (Pat Berry) before Tim Tetrick angled her off the pegs to brush into a :27.3 first quarter. Shartin N cleared with just over a circuit to go and coasted through middle splits of :55.1 and 1:22.3 with nary a challenger in sight, as the first-over Write Me A Song (Corey Callahan) was only able to work into a joint second before fading on the final turn. The fading Write Me A Song paved the way for Reclamation to take her shot at Shartin N with an eighth of a mile to go, but the champion mare accelerated immediately upon cornering for home. She earned the 35th win of her career while three-quarters of a length better than Reclamation and with plenty in reserve. Bettor's Up was another 4-3/4 lengths back in third, while Write Me A Song faded to fourth. "That's kind of her MO," trainer Jim King Jr. said about Shartin N's immediate response at the top of the stretch. "Timmy [Tetrick] always says, 'I should just sit still and let her do the work.' She likes it, that's for sure." Shartin N has now won nine of her 10 starts this season for owners Richard Poillucci, JoAnn Looney-King and Tim Tetrick LLC. "I felt we would be better off having a place to go instead of having four weeks between races," King continued. "This was the only choice we were left with rather than go to New York, and I would rather not be handicapped with the eight-hole on a half-mile track. It was our choice to come here, and fortunately they had a spot for her." Shartin N will next race in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands on Saturday (July 13). In the sub-featured $18,000 top-level conditioned pace, Lyons Steel ($11.00) stalked Tiger Thompson N through splits of :27, :55.2 and 1:23 before pulling the pocket at the eighth pole and dueling down the pacesetter to prevail by a neck in a lifetime-best 1:49.4. George Napolitano Jr. drove the 4-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding for trainer Dennis Watson and owner Bryan Dzugan. Jackpot Hi-5 carryover exceeds $34k The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover continues to grow, after a 4-8-1-3-2 combination keyed by Lyons Steel resulted in a $463.34 dividend payable to multiple players. Wednesday's (July 10) fifth race will now have a $34,828.36 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5, a 20-cent wager that requires players to select the first five finishers in order. The carryover is payable in the event of one unique winning ticket. Post time on Wednesday is 12:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

CHESTER PA - The Western Terror mare Backseat Terror paced to her sixth consecutive harness racing victory in winning the $17,000 distaff pacing feature on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:51.3. Lyons Hedgeabet had the top at the :27.1 quarter; Hurrikane Shorty then moved to control the racetrack before the :55.2 half, with Backseat Terror moving uncovered at that point. Down the backstretch the winenr used strong strides to reach the three-quarters in 1:23, open up six lengths by the stretch call, and then prevail by 2¾ lengths over Lyons Hedgeabet, who recovered from a shuffle. Corey Callahan was in his usual sulky spot behind the streaking mare for trainer Katricia Adams and owner John Barnard. There were a pair of $16,000 contests for the "nw 5 races" class. One was for female pacers on the "Filly And Mare Friday" card at Philly, and it was won by the Real Artist sophomore filly Abigail Dawn in 1:52. Alli Nui was determined to set the pace, getting parked past a :26.1 before getting the top, with Abigail Dawn having reached her to challenge just before the :55 half.The battle raged on past the 1:23.2 three-quarters and deep into the stretch, where Abigail Dawn could finally gain the advantage, winning by a half length. In the trot, driver Jeremy Morrison doubled his lifetime win total as he patiently guided the Chapter Seven sophomore gelding Chapter Fashion up the inside to victory in 1:56.1. Chapter Seven has now not lost a race this year in six starts in which he stayed flat, and Morrison grabbed early position, waited for the stretch, and closed to defeat pacesetter Hammer Creek by a half-length for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC. The Somebeachsomewhere mare Lyons River Pride caught the eye as she sped to a 1:50.1 lifetime mark while cracking the $300,000 lifetime earnings barrier in a $14,500 distaff pacing contest. George Napolitano Jr. made two moves to take charge of the throttle, hanging up fractions of :26.3, :55.2, and 1:22.2 en route to a 3¾ lengths victory over favorite Believe In Me for trainer Gareth Dowse and owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHNGTON, PA, July 5, 2019 -- When Ron Burke, harness racing's perennial leading trainer, says he's sending his best 2-year-olds after you, watch out! Yet that's exactly how Burke regards his contingent of eight youngsters in Saturday's $183,242 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman colt and gelding pacers, known as the Albatross, will be contested over three divisions -- races 7, 9 and 11. First post is 1:05 PM. Burke conditions about 80 freshmen and so has youngsters eligible in most jurisdictions. Yet he regards his Pennsylvania-bred pacers as the most promising. "The whole group is real nice," he says. "They're big, strong, don't wear boots, steer well. They'll all find their speed and be good horses. These are my best pacing colts." He's particularly high on Cattlewash, a Somebeachsomewhere colt, and the Captaintreacherous freshman The Greek Freak. First-time starters, they've both drawn into race 9, with Matt Kakaley guiding Cattlewash from post 4 and Yannick Gingras piloting The Greek Freak from post 6. Cattlewash          USTA/Ken Weingartner photo. Burke's contingent is even deeper than that. Check out the dazzling dam-side accomplishments of this duo: -- Mac's Big Boy (race 11, post 7, Kakaley), a Somebeachsomewhere colt, which makes him dangerous enough. But consider the exploits of his maternal family. His dam, Michelle's Jackpot, earned $695,439 and is a half to four performers -- Michael's Power, Michelle's Power, Michael's Marvel, Alexa's Jackpot -- who collectively banked more than $4.5 million. Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Five campaign Mac's Big Boy. "He's been a little bit steppy here and there," Burke says, "but he learns and has speed. He'll be a good colt down the road." Mac’s Big Boy      USTA/Ken Weingartner photo --Caliber (race 11, post 6, Gingras), Diamond Creek Racing's homebred son of Sweet Lou. His dam, Allstar Rating, at 3 won in 1:49 for Gingras at The Meadows, still the track's fastest mile ever by a filly or mare. Says Burke: "He looks like a million dollars but didn't train down like a very good horse. In the first qualifier, he was way better than we thought. In the second qualifier, he was just vicious. I think the ability's there; it's just getting him to try." The Albatross kicks off Round 2 of the battle for stallion supremacy in the Keystone State among the late Somebeachsomewhere and second-crop sires Sweet Lou and Captain Treacherous. Of the 27 freshmen in the stake, only five are by stallions other than the Big 3. Saturday's card also features a pair of carryovers -- $1,793.10 in the Pick 5 (races 2-6), $853.24 in the final-race Super Hi-5. In addition, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association will offer a number of fan activities, including paddock tours, starting car rides and "Spin to Win."   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - On Monday and Tuesday The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be hosting $330,000 worth of Pennsylvania All-Stars stakes action for two-year-old trotters, with many well-pedigreed babies already showing racing ability taking another early step towards the top of their harness racing classes. Monday will find six divisions of competition for males, while on Tuesday five sections of females will go behind the gate. The Marcus Melander stable, which has dominated the three-year-old trotting colt division so far with their "Triple G" attack of Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, and Green Manalishi S, will be sending an entrant out in each of the six Monday All-Stars divisions. Five of the Melander sextet show wins in freshman qualifying races - the fastest winner is the Muscle Hill - Nalda Nof colt Hellbent For Am S, who dead-heated for win in 1:56 at The Meadowlands, while another is Rome Pays Off, the Muscle Hill - Order By Wish full brother to Marseille, who just won the Beal Championship here at the expense of Greenshoe and Green Manalishi S. Also among the entrants are the well-bred North American season's recordholders for freshman males on 5/8-mile tracks: the Andover Hall - D Liteful Hanover colt Paulie Walnuts, a double pari-mutuel winner already with a 1:56.2 mark, and the Muscle Hill - Cooler Schooner gelding Real Cool Sam, who won his purse bow in 1:56. The two-year-old trotting fillies have already had a leg of their pari-mutuel Pennsylvania Sire Stakes / Stallion Series competition already, with two of the divisional Sire Stakes winners coming to race at Pocono on Tuesday. The fastest cut of the PaSS action conducted this past Tuesday at The Meadows was won by the Father Patrick - Behindclosedoors miss Sister Sledge, who won three straight qualifiers at Gaitway for the Ron Burke stable, the fastest in 1:55.2, then won her purse bow at her "home track" in 1:56.2. Three other stakes winners racing Tuesday, representing all the levels of Pennsylvania-sired competition, are Aldabra Hanover, the Muscle Hill - Anonyme Hanover baby who also won a Sire Stakes at The Meadows; the Donato Hanover - Headintheclouds filly Path Of Totality, victorious in a Stallion Series division; and Berry Kay, a daughter of Sebastian K S - Spiceberry Hanover who struck the stakes scoreboard on the Pennsylvania fair circuit with a Sire Stakes win at Butler.   PHHA / Pocono

CHESTER PA - "Trottin' Thursday" at Harrah's Philadelphia was highlighted by a pair of $18,000 harness racing events for faster-class horses, with the four-year-old trotting gelding Scirocco Rob setting a 1:52 divisional track record in taking the faster section. Favored Pappy Go Go was parked to a :27.1 quarter for command, went on to a :55.3 half, and continued in gear as Cash For Gold, second in his last two starts in this class, came up first-over towards the 1:23.4 three-quarters. Second choice Scirocco Rob was in second-over position, but Hall of Famer David Miller, judging his cover was not going to go on, ducked his horse to the rail going into the far turn, passed the first-over on the inside, came wide again in the lane and caught Pappy Go Go late by a half length. The former divisional standard of 1:52.1 was held by Sevruga (2012), Fearless Man and Modest Prince (both 2014); the new horse in the record books, a winner of $333,173, is trained by Mark Silva for owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. In the first feature division, Whether Or Not FI left no doubt in anybody's mind, forcing early tucks and rebuffing any further challengers as he went wire-to-wire for driver Yannick Gingras in a lifetime best 1:53.3 after fractions of :27.4, :56.3, and 1:25.1. Imported from Finland (the "FI" in his name) at the start of the year, the altered son of Cantab Hall roared out of the box like a Finnish lion, winning six of his first seven starts, and Thursday he added his ninth victory of the campaign, boosting his 2019 earnings to $105,310, for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Kenneth Jacobs. The two-year-old pacing filly Speak To Siri stormed home (:55.4 - :27.4) in 1:53.4 to set a North American season's record breaking her maiden. The daughter of Artspeak - Siri Hanover was reserved well off a fast pace by driver Tim Tetrick, tipped four-wide off cover in the stretch, and closed furiously to catch Sweet Sue by ¾ of a length for trainer Jim King Jr. and owner Jo Ann Looney-King.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER PA - Two-year-old pacers were in the harness racing spotlight as the racing week opened at Harrah's Philadelphia, with four $13,000 events highlighting the sidewheeling freshmen, three for fillies and one for colts and geldings. Trainer Chris Ryder, who won the $300,000 Lynch Championship for sophomore fillies with Stonebridge Soul this past Saturday at Pocono, may have a follow-up good one in the Artspeak - Conquer The Beach freshman miss Winning Words, who took her pari-mutuel debut in 1:54.3 Driver Dexter Dunn sent the filly to the lead, set fractions of :28, :58, and 1:26.2, and withstood the stretch bid of favored first-over Wingding Hanover by a neck for Kenneth Solomon and RBH Ventures Inc. Driver Yannick Gingras accounted for the other two divisions of the three sections for baby fillies; his faster winner was Firefly, who scored in 1:55.1 for a new mark. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere - Music City pressed on to the lead in :28.4, got a breather to the :58.3 half, then went to the three-quarters in 1:26.4 and kept a 2½ length margin over pocketsitting Lola's Gold for trainer Bruce Saunders and owners Charles and Julie Nash. In the other section, favored Sporty Juliana paced past second choice Soixante Hanover past the :29.1 quarter, put up midfractions of :58 and 1:27.1, and was still going along well when she made a break nearing headstretch. Soixante Hanover avoided the breaker, who went to the infield, inherited the lead, and kept it to the wire, taking a 1:57 mark in her purse bow, 1½ lengths ahead of Granny's Girl. Gingras drove the Somebeachsomewhere - Social Scene filly to the win for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing LLC, William Switala, James Martin, and Joseph Critelli. The division for males saw the North American seasonal race record for all sizes of tracks fall to the debuting gelding Western Vacation in 1:54.1. Marcus Miller raced the son of Western Ideal out of the $498G+-winning Robin Cruiser in the pocket as Sunuma Beach set fractions of :27.4, :57.4, and 1:26.1, then moved him out headstretch and saw him pace by the leader for a half length victory for trainer Julie Miller and the Pinske Stables. The meet's winningest driver, Tim Tetrick, added four more victories to his total on Wednesday. Shartin N, the #1-ranked harness horse in North America, returns to the races on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series event for pacing mares, and she drew the rail to boot in the field of eight. The iron-tough mare has won seven races in a row - as has a competitor of hers, Reclamation, who broke her maiden in Ireland last year racing for a purse of $708, was sent across the Atlantic, and has rolled a perfect seven since April 12, taking a mark of 1:50. The Irish miss, though, will find the Kiwi mare and the other entrants the sternest test of her career.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Majestic Son gelding High Blue took a new mark of 1:54.2 at age nine as he was a winner in the $14,000 claiming handicap trotting feature on the Monday twilight harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Simon Allard, driving for trainer/brother Rene and owners Allard Racing Inc., was away swiftly with High Blue, putting fellow leavers in behind him before a :27.1 quarter. After a :56.2 half, Djokovic N came first-over and battled with the leader to and past the 1:24.3 three-quarters. High Blue proved game in the lane, holding off both Djokovic N and pocketsitting Chuckabuck, with the biggest late threat coming from the fast-closing Keystone Charger, but that one came up 3/4 of a length shy of the winner of $264,209, who now has 35 career wins. In a $13,000 contest for two-year-old pacing fillies, two misses put on a titanic struggle the last 3/8 of a mile, as the American Ideal - Good Stuff filly American Dreamgirl nosed out the Captaintreacherous - Tutu Hanover miss Lyons Sentinel in 1:54.4, lowering her mark by 3 3/5 seconds. Gareth Dowse sent Lyons Sentinel around favored American Dreamgirl and Simon Allard early, hitting the quarter in :27.4, then slowing the half to :59. American Dreamgirl came out of the pocket at the 5/8, and the pair fought tooth-and-nail the rest of the way. American Dreamgirl got a brief lead past the 1:26.4 three-quarters; Lyons Sentinel reclaimed command at headstretch, only to have American Dreamgirl stay on and stick her nose ahead right on the money. The winner, also successful in an Excelsior A race at Monticello seven days previously, is trained by Kevin Lare for owner Frank Chick.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, July 1, 2019 -- Unperturbed when her cover broke stride down the backside, first-time starter Caviart Guilia calmly continued her pursuit and captured a harness racing division of Monday's $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series at The Meadows. The event for freshman filly trotters was contested over three divisions, with Path Of Totality and Friday Night Storm taking the other splits.. Caviart Guilia was following the favorite, Rebecca Clark, when that one made an unforced error. The disruption gave winning driver Tony Hall a moment's concern. "I was looking forward to the cover," Hall said, "and when it didn't work out, I was worried about the way she would react. But she's very professional. She took it well. For a green filly, I thought she was great." The daughter of Explosive Matter-Gossip Hanover reacted like a veteran, wearing down the leader, Alittlebitofsugar, and downing her by a head in 1:58.3, with Jean Jeanie third. Brian Brown trains Caviart Guilia for Caviart Farms. Path Of Totality, another first-time starter, also endured a challenging trip, as she was parked out most of the backside before finding the cones for a breather. She rallied again for Anthony MacDonald and scored in 1:58.3, a head better than the fast-closing Saratoga Gia. Moondust earned show. "She's a hard worker," MacDonald said of the $10,000 yearling acquisition. "I was tempted to put her in the sires stake, but mentally, she's not quite there yet. Today was leaps and bounds her best performance." Tim Twaddle conditioned the daughter of Donato Hanover-Headintheclouds for Thestable Pathof Totality. Friday Night Storm trotted patiently in the pocket, then roared through the Lightning Lane to triumph in 2:00.3 for Dan Rawlings, trainer Ray Romanetti and owners Lori Romanetti and Bernadette Luketich-Sikaras. Reining Flowers was second, beaten a neck, while Ms Mischief Maker completed the ticket. "She seems to do all her work and wants to do it," Rawlings said. "That's the biggest thing. You can train all you want, but you can't make heart. That's what she's got. She's a little, tiny thing, but she wants to do her job." In the $18,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot, Barn Girl thwarted the first-over bid of 4-5 favorite Classicality and prevailed in 1:53.2. Aaron Merriman piloted the 7-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie, who won for the 59th time in her career and pushed her lifetime bankroll to $782,568, for trainer Bill Bercury and owner Renee Bercury. Dave Palone and Mike Wilder each collected three victories on the 13-race program. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the card features a $190,900 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Expectations are a funny thing. They can put you in a mindset where you can only see a few possible outcomes for some upcoming event, when, in actuality, life has a funny way of showing us that anything can happen at any time. That is certainly true in the world of high-stakes harness racing, where unpredictability is built into the sport because of the dependence on animals to repeat performances week after week against other top-notch competitors all trying to do the same thing. After watching the eliminations for the 2019 edition of Sun Stakes Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, I thought I had a pretty good feel for what would transpire. But I can't say that any of the four Finals this past Saturday worked out anything like what I would have expected, other than the fact that they were all as exciting as could be predicted. I clearly wasn't alone in my confusion, as none of the four races was won by a favorite, and the odds for the winners got progressively longer as the night went on. Let's take a look back at what transpired and try to pick apart how the unexpected became commonplace on this star-studded night of racing. THE JAMES M. LYNCH MEMORIAL PACE FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES: What We Expected To Happen: A showdown between Treacherous Reign and Warrawee Ubeaut, two fillies who have been going back and forth at each other in a battle for divisional supremacy. What Actually Happened: Well, in this case, we weren't all that far off, because there was indeed a showdown between Warrawee Ubeaut and Treacherous Reign, the top two choices in the race. But that showdown occurred too early and for too long a chunk of the mile, leaving both a bit weary in the lane. That left the 3-1 third choice Stonebridge Soul in perfect position in the pocket. Driver Tim Tetrick guided the Chris Ryder trainee up the passing lane for the victory by three-quarters of a length in 1:49:3, providing the first indication that the pocket was going to be the place to be on this night. THE MAX C. HEMPT MEMORIAL PACE FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD PACERS What We Expected To Happen: Proof, with a much better post position than the other two elimination winners, would build on his outstanding career-best mile in the eliminations and dominate. What Actually Happened: Proof did indeed go off with 1-5 expectations, but wasn't on his game after starting slow, eventually finishing sixth. Meanwhile, Captain Victorious tried to double on his elim win with another gutsy front-pacing effort. But he couldn't shake Shake That House, trained by Chris Oakes, who has a shelf full of huge stakes victories at Pocono. From the pocket, Shake That House, with Brian Sears in the bike, erupted late for a two-length win in a career-best 1:49:2, paying off handsomely for his backers with 8-1 odds. THE BEN FRANKLIN PACE FOR FREE-FOR-ALL PACERS What We Expected To Happen: A three-way donnybrook between Western Fame, McWicked, and Lather Up that would produce a definitive aged pacing group standout. What Actually Happened: Lather Up continued to be haunted by clunkers during the biggest nights at Pocono, starting slowly and eventually breaking stride. McWicked battled first over but could never get even with the leader. Western Fame, who went off as the favorite, set that pace, but was pressured enough by McWicked that he labored in the lane. Which left This Is The Plan, winless in 2019 coming into the race, ready for his closeup. The Ron Burke trainee came flying from the pocket with Yannick Gingras driving to win at 12-1 in 1:48:2. THE EARL BEAL JR. MEMORIAL TROT What We Expected To Happen: A coronation for Greenshoe, the colt who many thought could only lose if he broke stride (and even then, many wondered if it would matter.) What Actually Happened: Trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt didn't get the memo apparently, because he fired out from an outside post with 55-1 shot Marseille as if the outcome was still up in the air. Greenshoe, meanwhile, got away a bit lethargically, in much the same manner as he did in the elimination. The difference on this night was that he was beaten to the punch in the outer flow, meaning that he couldn't glide up to his liking. Once he finally did shake free, it was too late to catch the well-rated Marseille, the stunning winner in 1:52:3. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at   Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Muscle Massive gelding Two AM won his fourth straight trip over the red oval at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, showing a powerful last sixteenth to catch pacesetting The Veteran by a neck in 1:53.1 in Sunday night's $21,500 harness racing feature. Driver Tyler Buter pushed the favored The Veteran with his second choice to a :27.2 quarter; the chalk got moderate middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:25.1 with no outside pressure. Outside pressure for the leader, in fact, did not come until early stretch when Buter moved Two AM to the outside, and despite trotting a :28 last quarter The Veteran could not withstand the winner of $401,135 lifetime in a hard-knocking stretch battle. While not particularly successful away from the local scene, Two AM has not lost at Pocono since April 21, all at high levels, for trainer Todd Buter and the ownership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. The Big Stick Lindy mare Satin Dancer, shipping in from Indiana for trainer Travis Alexander and the ownership of Summit Pacing Acres LLC, rallied from the pocket to come within a fifth of her lifetime record of 1:53, taken here last year, in the $17,500 co-feature. Satin Dancer, favored slightly over fellow 8 to 5 proposition Blenheim, had a tough task in front of her as Blenheim drew off to a clear lead nearing the ¾ and into the turn, but the Matt Kakaley-driven winner, now with earnings of $701,940, gradually ate into the leader's margin and wound up 1½ lengths ahead of Karets, who outclosed Blenheim by ¾ of a length for second. The promising trotter Explosive Breakaway, an altered sophomore son of Explosive Matter - Phaeton and thus a full brother to top mare Phaetosive, went wire-to-wire in a $17,000 trot, stepping home in :56.3 to defeat pocketsitter The Lionking AS by ¾ of a length in 1:55.1; favored Max made an early break but then recovered nicely to be third. Tom Jackson drove the winner, who has won three of five starts at both two and three including a PA Sire Stake here on June 2, is co-owned by trainer Fred Grant along with Janice Rubin, Steve Katz, and Murray Brown. Trainers Mike Watson and Travis Alexander both had winners in consecutive races - Watson used the catch-driving brothers of Anthony and George Napolitano, while Alexander used the father-son combination of John and Matt Kakaley.   PHHA / Pocono

Chester, PA -- Eighth on approach to the final turn, Keep On Rocking A ($19.40) passed every harness racing horse but one to narrowly reach the winning post first in Sunday afternoon's (June 30) Great Northeast Open Series pacing event at Harrah's Philadelphia. Pat Berry was patient early with the 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding, and the pair sat well off early fractions of :26.2 and :54.2 controlled first by speedster Tiger Thompson N (Dexter Dunn) and then by Rodeo Rock (Andy McCarthy), who brushed from third with a lap to go. Up the backstretch, Keep On Rocking A angled fourth-over into a live outer flow headed by Our Max Phactor N (Yannick Gingras), who forced a :27.3 third quarter. As Our Max Phactor N worked onto level pegging with Rodeo Rock, Keep On Rocking A circled four-wide off the home turn, and was urged to sustain his rally through the stretch. Our Max Phactor N worked to a mid-stretch lead, but was nabbed on the line by Keep On Rocking A, whose 1:50.2 score gave him his fifth win of the season. Scott Rocks (Tim Tetrick), eclipsed off cover, just held third over Tiger Thompson N, who emerged up the open stretch as Rodeo Rock faded. Chris Scicluna owns and trains 21-time winner Keep On Rocking A, whose 8-1 upset keyed a 4-3-9-5-6 combination in the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 that returned $717.44 to multiple players. As such, the carryover to Wednesday's (July 3) program has ballooned to $29,289.52. In the $18,000 top-level conditioned pace, which served as the top supporting event on the 14-race program, Shnitzledosomethin ($5.40) overcame post 8 and cruised to a five-length win in 1:50.3. Corey Callahan drove the 4-year-old Fred And Ginger entire for trainer Dylan Davis and the BFJ Stable, Tom Lazzaro, Ed Gold and Abraham Basen. The sub-featured $17,000 upper-winners pace saw Love Me Some Lou ($3.40) return to the win column off a brief spell, as he used a first-over push out of midfield to grind down My Delight in 1:51.4. David Miller drove the 3-year-old Sweet Lou colt for owner John Cancelliere and trainer Tom Cancelliere. Live racing returns on Wednesday afternoon (July 3), with a special 2:05 p.m. first post in place for the 14-race card. by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

WASHINGTON, PA, June 28, 2019 -- Last week, Carolina Beach poured through the harness racing Lightning Lane to defeat the front-ending Windsong Leo. On Friday at The Meadows, it was deja vu all over again, as Carolina Beach used the same scenario to down Windsong Leo in the $18,000 Open Handicap Pace. Windsong Leo clicked off three-quarters in 1:22.3 and was unchallenged until Carolina Beach knifed inside from the pocket for Dan Rawlings. The 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Laughandbehappy gelding scored in 1:49.3 -- his second consecutive sub-2:00 mile -- and downed Windsong Leo by 1/2 length. Statham N finished third. Bill Bercury trains Carolina Beach, who now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $228,593, for Renee Bercury. Tony Hall collected five wins, including a pair for trainer Cory Kreiser, while Dave Palone fashioned a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, first post 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER PA – Backseat Terror was a front-end winner for her fifth consecutive harness racing victory in the $17,000 featured pace for distaffs on Friday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but she was all-out to hold off Rob Them Blind by a head in 1:51.4. Hurrikane Shorty took the field to the first station in :26.4, with driver Corey Callahan on the move with Backseat Terror, the daughter of Western Terror establishing command long before the :55.4 half. Favored (by $11 over the winner) Newsday applied strong pressure on the winner to the 1:23.1 three-quarters, with more horses joining the battle in the stretch. Rob Them Blind had gapped slightly in second-over but now found her best strides and made the leader do her best work, and Backseat Terror did hold off that rival to the wire. Hurrikane Shorty was third, Cardiff fourth up the inside, and even Newsday was beaten only a length in fifth. Backseat Terror, winless at two and three, now has seven victories and $76,386 amassed already this year for trainer Katricia Adams and owner John Bernard. Friday co-features were a pair of $16,000 trots. In the first, the Trixton sophomore filly Starita, third in her New Jersey Sire Stake final,  followed the cover of Navarone Hanover late on the backstretch, then trotted up to that one in the stretch and despite 29 days off was able to pass her by a half length. The time of 1:53.4 was a new mark for the Joe Holloway trainee, driven by David Miller for owners Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz. Miller will be joined by Holloway and Gewertz in the sport’s Hall of Fame a week from Sunday. In the other subfeature section, the Muscle Massive gelding Massive Opulence, on his best behavior today, came first-over, trotted past favored pacesetter Boxing Gloves and drew clear of that rival by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:55.2. Steve Smith was in the sulky for trainer Bill Mac Kenzie and owners Scott Woogen and Brenda Messenger.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia

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