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A strong field of eight winner's over $25,000 lifetime trotters lined up for action at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (August 28). The wagering public put their support into millionaire trotter Uncle Peter, despite post eight. At the start, it was the outside horses, NF Happenstance (Andrew McCarthy) and Uncle Peter (David Miller) leaving the gate well, with Uncle Peter clearing the lead just after the quarter in 27.2. The leader was able to rate the second quarter in :29, before facing a challenge from the first-over Opening Night (Tim Tetrick). These two battled to the head of the lane, and that's when the closers started to take aim. They lined up five across the track in an exciting stretch drive. In the end, it was the Randy Bendis trainee Crosbys Clam Bake (Ron Pierce) closing fastest of all, stopping the clock in 1:54.3, for his third straight win. Wind of the North closed up the inside for second, while NF Happenstance finished third. Crosbys Clam Bake is owned by Jack Piatt II, Tom Pollack, and trainer Randy Bendis. He rewarded his backers with a handsome $40.60 mutuel, which produced a $516.80 exacta. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Indianapolis, IN --- Harfo Hanover brushed to the lead at the three-quarter pole and was never caught on his way to a 1:54.3 score in the $55,462 Fox Stake for harness racing 2-year-old open pacers on Wednesday (Aug. 13) at the Indiana State Fair. The Always A Virgin-Harlow Hall colt is owned by Randy Bendis, William Varney and Reed Broadway. Jeff Cullipher is the trainer and Tyler Smith was in the sulky. Harfo Hanover sat third for the opening half-mile of the race while Allstar Energy was in front at the :30.2 opening quarter and This Baby Rocks took over the lead at the :59.3 half-mile marker. But Smith pulled Harfo Hanover out to take over the lead by the 1:27.1 three-quarter pole and he paced a final panel in :27.2 in drawing off to a 3-1/4 length margin over This Baby Rocks. Cantescapemydesire rallied to be third. The win was the third in seven season's starts for Harfo Hanover, who has now banked $93,981 in his freshman campaign. Also on the all-stakes card was the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong Memorial Trot for freshman open trotters. In that event, William De Long and William Patrick De Long's Stickem Buck came first over at the three-quarter pole, grabbed the lead by the head of the stretch and went on to a 1:59.1 victory for driver Ed Hensley and trainer Roger Welch. The Big Stick Lindy-Aunt Lane gelding won for the third time in five lifetime starts, improving his 2014 bankroll to $70,540. Mance Hanover was second, 3-1/2 lengths behind the winner, while Cool Judgement finished third. Also on the card were eight divisions of the Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and four divisions of the Horseman Stake for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Complete charts for all these races can be found at this link. USTA Communications Department Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 2, 2014 -- Trailing by 5 lengths at the half, Southern Allie followed cover and charged through the lane to capture his second straight victory in Friday's $15,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life Pace at The Meadows. When Odin Blue Chip moved first over after the leader, Pop Cop, Southern Allie followed and was stronger in the stretch, downing his game rival by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51. Brooklyn Flight finished third. Eric Ledford piloted Southern Allie, a 7-year-old Allie's Western-Pershing Angela gelding, for trainer Randy Bendis. Tom Pollack, Jack Piatt II and R. Lewis Hauber campaign Southern Allie, who extended his career bankroll to $723,154. Dave Palone drove three winners on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, July 22, 2014 -- Certified Ideal changed tactics but got the same results as she captured her Third Straight victory in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. While her last win was on the front end, Certified Ideal took back to fifth early before moving second over for Tony Hall. She gobbled up the leader, Do Me Honor, and scored in 1:52, 1/2 length better than Rescue Team. Do Me Honor saved show. Randy Bendis trains the 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last, who extended her career bankroll to $250,042, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Wilbur Yoder and Brian Zendt each drove three winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 7, 2014 -- Royaltyhasarrived converted a relentless uncovered move to victory in 1:55.4, fastest split of Monday's $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallions Series stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers at The Meadows. The event was contested over five divisions, with Sammy Said, Hall Of Terror, Smiling Terror and Cartel taking the other splits. Dave Palone, who piloted six winners on the 16-race card, enjoyed a stake double behind Sammy Said and Cartel. Royaltyhasarrived was coming off a trip both disastrous and promising in the PA All Stars; he was parked every step but was making up ground late while individually timed in 1:54.4. Winning driver Dan Rawlings, who was aboard that day as well, figured that made his horse the best -- particularly with Monday's addition of earplugs. "Last week I couldn't get him in a hole, I couldn't hold him," Rawlings said. "It was kind of embarrassing; it took a little pride out of me. But he definitely was fast enough. Being honest, I didn't think I would lose this race today. If he learns a little more to go with his natural ability, he might be able to go with the sires stakes horses later on." The Western Terror-Her Mattjesty gelding defeated Hillbillyrootdiggr by 4-1/2 lengths, with Caserati Hanover third. Steve Schoeffel trains Royaltyhasarrived for Virginia Schoeffel, Kathy Schoeffel, Jerry Dedoszak and Michael Munn. Sammy Said vaulted to the early lead for trainer Mark Harder and owner Fox Hollow Farm, the held off B Well by a head to triumph in a maiden-breaking 1: 56.2. UF Larry Alltheway earned show. After Sammy Said trailed throughout in his PA All Stars split, Harder was looking to shake up the youngster. "Mark said to put him in the hunt," Palone said. "He thought the horse was a little better than he showed the first start. We didn't plan on getting stuck on the lead. I was impressed with the little guy. He gives you a good try." Smiling Terror began his career with two front-end victories in qualifiers, but in Monday's stake, he angled off the cones from fourth for Mike Wilder and scored at first asking in 1:56.3. Given Up Terror raced well uncovered for second, 2-1/2 lengths in arrears, with Battle Cruiser third. "He got to move a little bit in both qualifiers, so we knew he was capable of making moves," said Steve Owens, who conditions the Western Terror-ASAP Or Sooner gelding for Last Laugh LLC. "He had to back out around them in the last turn; that's a hard move for young horses. Elsewhere on the program, Nice Party won her seventh consecutive race in a conditioned Fillies & Mares event -- a remarkable turnaround from her sophomore campaign in 2013, when she lost all five outings. Tony Hall drove the daughter of Party At Artsplace-Nice'n Big for trainer Randy Bendis, who owns with Tom Pollack. Tuesday's program at The Meadows features the Albatross, a $236.060 PA Sites Stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. By Evan Pattak

WASHINGTON, PA, June 2, 2014 -- Used twice in the mile, Certified Ideal nevertheless had the most pop when it counted as she captured Monday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Certified Ideal seized the point in a demanding 26.4 before being shuffled to third, then came first over for Tony Hall after the leader, Foxy Lady. But the 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last remained strong late, clicking off the last quarter in 28.3 and scoring in 1:51.4. Foxy Lady saved place, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Do Me Honor third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who soared over $200,000 in career earnings, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Dave Palone drove four winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows      

WASHINGTON, PA, May 12, 2014 -- Certified Ideal extended her winning streak to three in Monday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows, but she needed an alert sidestep to avoid the breaking leader to keep her in the race. Hammered down to 2-5, Certified Ideal was stalking Foxy Lady from the pocket when Foxy Lady broke stride at the top of the lane. Tony Hall neatly guided Certified Ideal inside, where she brushed home in 28.2 and scored in 1:52.3. Do Me Honor rallied from last for second, a neck back, while Shucked, a 55-1 bomb, finished third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, a 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last who now boasts career earnings of $196,392, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. It was one of three wins for Hall on the 14-race card. Elsewhere on the program, Il Sogno Dream, who banked $112,899 last year at 2, got his sophomore campaign off to a solid start with a front-end victory in a conditioned trot. The son of Cantab Hall-Le Reve rolled home in 1:55.1, a career best, for Aaron Merriman. Chris Beaver trains Il Sogno Dream for Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows    

WASHINGTON, PA, May 5, 2014 -- Certified Ideal overpowered a distinguished field for the second straight week, capturing Monday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at the Meadows in front-end fashion. Certified Ideal comfortably controlled the fractions for Tony Hall, and when she clicked off the final quarter in 27.4, she assured the only battle would be for minor spoils. The 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last scored in 1:51.1, 1-1/2 lengths better than the rallying Phone Terror. Tremor Hanover finished third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who extended her career bankroll to $187,392, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Hall drove five winners on the 15-race card while Dave Palone fashioned a three-bagger. by Evan Pattack, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, June 30, 2014 -- Used twice in the race, Certified Ideal still was much the best in capturing Monday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Certified Ideal was looped from the gate by the 9-5 favorite, Foxy Lady, but found a seat fifth. When Tony Hall moved her first over, the 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last put Foxy Lady away in the final turn and scored in 1:52.2, 2 lengths better than Ladystar. Phone Terror was third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who now boasts $231,042 in career earnings, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Dave Palone and Hall each drove three winners on the 15-race card. A series of longshot winners confounded bettors Monday at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, but that means those playing the Tuesday, July 1 card will enjoy an unusual opportunity to pursue three lucrative pools. The Meadows’ “Jackpot Tuesday” program features: A $15,000 guarantee for the Pick 4, Races 4-7. While the track regularly offers a $5,000 guarantee for its Monday and Tuesday Pick 4, a two-day carryover of $4,351.92 prompted The Meadows to sweeten the pot. A $7,500 guarantee for the Pick 5, races 11-15, an “instant” guarantee inspired by a two-day carryover of $2,195.17. A $6,740.30 carryover to the Superfecta pool in Race 2, created when the last Superfecta on Monday’s card was uncovered. Both the Pick 4 and Pick 5 guarantees are offered as part of the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 and Pick 5 is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. Minimum wager for Superfecta boxes and wheels is 50 cents, provided the $2 minimum is achieved. For straight Superfecta plays, the minimum wager is $2. First post Tuesday is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows                                                            

WASHINGTON, PA, April 28, 2014 -- Certified Ideal pulled the pocket at the half and rolled to a convincing victory in Monday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Nosed out last week by Do Me Honor, Certified Ideal found herself behind Do Me Honor after the two dueled for the early lead. When Tony Hall moved Certified Ideal, the 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last blew by Do Me Honor, widened her lead and scored in 1:52.4 on a "good" surface. Do Me Honor was a game second, 2-1/2 lengths back, with Phone Terror third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who extended her career bankroll to $178,392, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Dave Palone drove six winners on the 14-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows                        

WASHINGTON, PA, April 4, 2014 -- Last at the half and facing a tough journey in the slop, Southern Allie unleashed a relentless first-over move to capture his second straight victory -- and fourth in his last five races -- in Friday's $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Southern Allie trailed by 7-1/2 lengths when Eric Ledford sent him after the leader, Dedi's Dragon, who was making his first start of 2013. He needed every bit of stretch to do it, but Southern Allie nailed Dedi's Dragon by a nose in 1:54, with early leader Brooklyn Flight a close-up third. Randy Bendis trains Southern Allie, a 7-year-old Allie's Western-Pershing Angela gelding who now boasts $688,019 in career earnings, and owns with Tom Pollack, Jack Piatt II and R. Lewis Hauber. Dave Palone drove four winners and Aaron Merriman three on the 14-race card while Tyler Stillings collected training and driving doubles. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows                                        

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 10, 2014 — Out at the three-eighths, Certified Ideal wore down the leader and drew off to a comfortable victory in Monday’s $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace. Although she was uncovered, Certified Ideal relentlessly pursued Blissfull Romance, putting her away before the three-quarters. The 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba’s Last easily held off the late bid of Phone Terror to defeat her by 2 lengths in 1:53.4 for Tony Hall. Mystic Karissa was third. Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who extended her career bankroll to $143,142, and owns with Mike Novosel, Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. Brett Miller drove four winners and Dave Palone three on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 21, 2014 -- The track was listed "frozen," but 13-1 Montenegro was sizzling, blowing by the leader on the backside and holding on late to capture Tuesday's $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Away fifth, Montenegro moved first over for Tony Hall and brushed to the front. But she was all out to hold off the Lightning Lane charge of Shine N Shimmer, who missed by a nose, with Western Drag third. The winning time was 1:56.3. Randy Bendis trains Montenegro, a 6-year-old daughter of Camluck-Cyber Wave who vaulted over $400,000 in career earnings, and owns with Tom Pollack. Hall drove four winners and Dave Palone three on the 16-race card while Tyler Stillings enjoyed a training triple and a winning drive. by Evan Pattak for The Meadows  

WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 2, 2014 -- True Day Dream moved powerfully first over for Tony Hall to capture Thursday's opening-day feature -- a $15,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Trot -- at The Meadows. The first program of the year brought a mix of wintry elements, including icy winds, plunging temperatures and snow that left the track in "good" condition. True Day Dream shrugged off the nasty weather, gobbling up the leader, Kandian Klub, near the three-quarters and rolling to victory in 1:55. Sam's Princess rallied for second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Definitely Mamie was third. Randy Bendis trains True Day Dream, a 4-year-old daughter of Infinitif-Tenacious Victory who extended her career bankroll to $234,442, for Tom Pollack, James Walton, Reed Broadway and Mike Novosel, Jr. Dave Palone drove three winners on the 16-race card. by Evan Pattack for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 20, 2013 -- Montenegro tucked in behind the favorite, Darena Hanover, then blew by her in the lane to pull off an 11-1 upset victory in Friday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Montenegro was caught wide the first quarter, but when Tony Hall steered her to the pocket, the 5-year-old daughter of Camluck-Cyber Wave got welcome cover and scored in 1:54 on a "good" track. Darena Hanover was second, 2-3/4 lengths back, while Isabella's Magic rallied for show. Randy Bendis trains Montenegro, who extended her career bankroll to $388,214, and owns with Tom Pollack. It was one of four wins on the 16-race card for Hall. Evan Pattak

Next week in this column, we'll be highlighting all the action on Super Stakes Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a stunning program of harness racing in which just about all of the sport's top superstars will compete. That should be a special evening, but, in the meantime, we were witness to another excellent week of racing at Pocono, and it's time to celebrate the best of that action by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: STONEHOUSE ADAM This six-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn is having the best year of his career in 2013. His earnings of over six figures this season have practically doubled his lifetime bank account. On Saturday night, he stepped up in class to the toughest condition group on the grounds for a purse of $21,000. Two weeks previous to that, Stonehouse Adam had come up just short in that class with a hard-luck second-place finish. Yet he bounced back last week with a confidence-building win in lesser company in a career-best 1:50 flat. Building off that, driver Matt Kakaley sent the gelding to the front end early in Saturday night, a move that was made easier by an inside post position. Kakaley rated the speed brilliantly for the first half-mile, and his horse needed every bit of his energy through the second half of the mile as competitors came at him from all sides. Stonehouse Adam dug in for the stretch drive and persevered for the victory in 1:50:2. With two straight gutsy wins, this veteran pacer seems to be hitting not only the best stride of his season, but also of his entire career. Other top pacers this week include: Blissfull Dreamer (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), a mare who rolled to victory over a field of $12,500 claimers on Friday night in 1:53, giving her wins in her last four starts; Rick's Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), who moved up in class on Friday night for a $7,500 claiming victory in 1:51:3, making it two wins in a row at Pocono and three in a row overall; and Atochia (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), the acclaimed veteran whose win in a condition pace on Saturday night in 1:49 matched a career-best and was the fastest of the week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HYANNIS HANOVER It's unusual for us to name a 2-year-old as one of the Weekly Award winners. It's even more unusual for it to be a 2-year-old with only two races under his belt. Yet Hyannis Hanover is the choice this week, not only for the fact that he won the first two races of his career, but also for the circumstances surrounding those wins. In his debut on August 7 against other two-year-olds, the gelding sired by Cantab Hall went off at towering odds of 90-1 in his debut. Yet there he was at the end, rallying from way back in the pack to upset the field in 2:01:1. The modest winning time and the fact that several horses in the race broke stride made the race look like a bit of a fluke, which was probably why Hyannis Hanover was let go at 9-1 as he moved up into a Stallion Series race on Tuesday night. This time around it was no fluke. Driver Bret Brittingham maneuvered Hyannis Hanover from the outside post into a pocket seat behind even-money favorite Broadway Charm, then pounced when the leader faltered. In trotting away to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:58:3, Hyannis Hanover, trained by Don Brittingham, looked more like 1-9 than 9-1. The lesson: Underestimate this freshman trotter at your own peril. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Flashbacks (Drew Chellis, Wendy Chellis), who surprised a condition group at 9-1 on Friday night and did so in 1:53:1, the fastest trotting time at Pocono this week; Zumba Mouse (Anthony Napolitano, Randy Bendis), a mare who scored her second straight upset win against claiming handicap competition on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:54:3; and Lexis Amigo (Andy Miller, Jeffrey Smith), who picked up a win in rugged condition company on Friday night in 1:53:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FAUST That name might implay a deal with the devil, but Faust simply out-trotted his foes in Stallion Series action Tuesday night with Howard Parker driving at 17-1 for a $37.20 win payout. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Mike Simons One of Pocono's favorite drivers came up with a milestone win on Wednesday night aboard Mac's Bad Boy, as Mike picked up his 3,000th career victory. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Jim Campbell Campbell always has a strong contingent of younger horses, and he showed it off Tuesday night by training two winners of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. That will do if for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia

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