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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Springsteen had his third straight "#1" at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night, grinding his way past Western Joe to take the $21,500 featured pace in 1:49 and add to a great evening for the brothers Allard. Springsteen, a four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, was away fourth as Rebellious cut a :27 quarter and the favored (even money vs. Springsteen's 6-5) Western Joe brushed past him to hit the half in :54.3. Springsteen came first-up at the 5/8 and gained on Western Joe to and past the 1:21.4 three-quarters, and he finally pressured his main foe into submission in deep stretch. Western Joe held on well to miss only a half length, winning a photo from the inside-shooting Rebellious for second. After missing a neck to Lather Up in a Franklin elimination in his first start of the year and then finishing within three lengths in the Franklin Championship, Springsteen has put together his current win streak for owners Allard Racing Inc., Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Kapildeo Singh while boosting his earnings to $594,512. Springsteen was one of six winning drives on the night for Simon Allard, four of them for his brother Rene, the meet's leading trainer, including this one with Springsteen. In the $20,000 claiming handicap pace, the main question wasn't whether Atta Boy Dan would win - he did again, on the front end for driver George Napolitano Jr. in 1:50.1, his third straight and eighth of his last nine - but where he would wind up after the race. It turns out it won't be with trainer Vinnie Fusco Jr. and the P T Stable, for whom he won Saturday, but back with owner Clifford Grundy, who has now claimed him for $40,000 four times in his 11-race streak of being haltered for that top Pocono price. Atta Boy Dan is 15-11-2-1-$123,450 since coming to Pocono on May 11, 14-for-25 in 2019 (tied for second in wins among North American pacers), and a 66-time winner in a career that has seen the 10-year-old accumulate $896,417. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Roll With Joe mare Obvious Blue Chip, a winner despite being parked the mile at Saratoga on Friday, came right back to triumph in the $14,000 distaff pacing feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Simon Allard got away third with the career winner of $511,324, then quarter-moved to command and did not get too taxing a middle half. This moderation left Obvious Blue Chip with plenty in the tank for the last quarter, which she stepped in :26.2 while taking a new mark of 1:50 flat, 1¼ lengths ahead of a game pocketsitting Shes Pukka N. Simon's brother Rene, the leading trainer at The Downs, conditions the winner for NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski. Simon Allard and George Napolitano Jr. each drove four winners on the Tuesday Pocono card. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs   Pocono Downs Week In Review This past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was filled with stakes action once again. We featured both Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings (Sunday) and two-year-old trotting fillies (Monday.) In addition, we enjoyed another round of the Great Northeast Open series on Saturday night, this time with the Open pacers taking a center stage. A busy week to be sure, and one that provides us with many candidates for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: AFLAME HANOVER This three-year-old colt from the barn of Linda Schadel has been tearing it up of late in condition paces. And that’s understandable, considering the kind of competition he faced earlier in the year. Facing extremely long odds in both the North America Cup in Canada and the Max Hempt Memorial Pace at Pocono, Aflame Hanover snuck in for fourth-place finishes in both, managing to get his handlers pretty substantial payback in the process. When he returned to overnight racing, he was ready to flex his muscle. First up was a victory at Pocono on July 29 over non-winners of two. Then he headed over to Harrah’s at Philadelphia for a victory over non-winners of three. His quest for three in a row brought him back to Pocono on Sunday night, where he went off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of eight non-winners of four for a purse of $15,000. Leaving from post position #2, Aflame Hanover swooped Rickybobbyinthehaus to take the lead on the first turn. From there, there were really no anxious moments. Driver Andrew McCarthy rated the pace at a solid level, so that Aflame Hanover didn’t overexert himself but also so that nobody could put a real challenge to him with a first-over move. In the home stretch, the colt solidified his lead, holding off the closing A Bettor Beach to pick up the win by 2 ¼ lengths. The winning time of 1:51:2 on a track listed in good condition was a new career-mark for Aflame Hanover, who just keeps getting stronger each time out. Other top pacers this week include: T’s Electric (Tyler Buter, Emily Bost) who picked up his third straight claiming handicap win on Sunday night, getting it done in the slop in 1:53:4; Backstreet Shadow (Pat Berry, Ron Burke), who followed up three wins in a row elsewhere by shipping in and capturing Saturday night’s division of the Great Northeast Open Series pace in 1:49:2 in the slop; and Derecho (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who moved up in class to win his second straight condition pace on Saturday night, this one in 1:52:4 in the sloppy conditions. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: VERY VERY FAST Whoever named this trotter must have had a very good premonition of what was to come in his racing career. Now aged 10, Very Very Fast has shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, back on July 14 at Pocono, the gelding set a career-best with at Pocono with a win in 1:52:2. A few weeks later, he stepped up into the $21,500 condition trotting group and managed another victory, this one in 1:53:2. Last week he very nearly missed capturing an Open Handicap trot at Tioga, finishing second from an outside post. He returned to Pocono on Sunday night to once again face off with the $21,500 condition trotters. And it was a stout field he faced. In fact, despite all his recent success at Pocono, Very Very Fast went off as a 7-2 third choice. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight, he was sent immediately to the front end by driver Tim Tetrick in the sloppy conditions. Even though he was rated well, however, the 6-5 favorite Scirocco Rob seemed to be a major threat as he lurked in the pocket for much of the mile. In the stretch, Tetrick asked Very Very Fast for more juice and the veteran provided it. When Scirocco Rob tried to respond, he went off-stride. There was still the matter of Pappy Go Go, who was closing very well out three-wide in the lane. But Very Very Fast held him off to win it by a half-length, posting a mile of 1:54 in the off-going. That gives him three top-flight condition wins at Pocono in a little more than a month’s time, once again living up to that speedy name of his. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Bill’s Man (Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen), who followed up a win at Tioga with a condition victory on Sunday night in 1:54:1; Zlatan (Tim Tetrick, Vincent Fusco Jr.) who shipped in to pick up a tough condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:4; and Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), the budding superstar two-year-old filly who stayed unbeaten in her career after five races with a Sire Stakes win on Monday in 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHARP ACTION MONEY There were a lot of live long-shot winners this week, but this pacer driven by Tom Jackson topped them all, winning a condition on Saturday night at 44-1 for a $91.80 payout on a $2 wager. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley loved the stakes action on Sunday night with two wins apiece in the Sire Stakes and Stallion Series, with one of the Sire Stakes victories coming aboard 44-1 long shot Tell Them Lou. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PER ENGBLOM During Monday’s stakes action for two-year-old trotting fillies, Engblom managed a Stallion series victory with Rebecca Clark and a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win with Queen Of The Hill. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me atjbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

This week's harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was highlighted by stakes action on Sunday night. There were three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and four splits of Stallion Series, all for three-year-old filly pacers. It was fun to watch the best in class for that group go at it and there were some sizzling performances, with the Sire Stakes winning effort of Treacherous Reign in 1:49:3 being the fastest of the lot. On top of that, the overnight racing at Pocono was stellar as usual, as you'll be able to tell from this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: SPRINGSTEEN We have a lot of fun with this horse because of his rocking namesake, but the talent is pretty impressive as well. The highlight of his three-year-old season in 2018 was an upset win in the Max Hempt Memorial Pace at Pocono. Springsteen has been lightly raced this year by his trainer Rene Allard since facing the toughest aged pacers in the Ben Franklin Pace in June. But he came back off a month layoff with a condition victory in the slop on July 28 in 1:51:2. That victory came against horses roughly his same age. But on Saturday night, the four-year-old stallion had to go up against a $17,500 condition group with several horses that had a few years more of racing experience. Such a race can often trip up younger horses, but Springsteen still was made the even-money favorite leaving from post position in a field of six. He stayed away from an early speed duel, eventually following the cover of Ideal Feeling. He didn't stay behind the cover long, as driver Simon Alllard sent him for a quick three-wide move at about the 5/8-mile marker. Springsteen grabbed the advantage and opened up an insurmountable lead. Without any urging in the lane, he coasted home a winner by 2 ¼ lengths over Black Chevron. The winning time was 1:49, the fastest of the week at Pocono. You can have fun with Springsteen's name, but there is no denying that he brings the game to match it. Other top pacers this week include: Beach Memories (Anthony Napolitano, Daniel Maier), who won his second straight claiming handicap pace on Saturday night, getting it done in 1:50:1; Tom's Arockin (George Napolitano Jr., Antonia Storer), who handled a claiming handicap group on Saturday night in 1:50:2 for his second straight victory; and Artful Bliss (Anthony Napolitano, Marta Piotrow), who continued to dominate the $7,500 claiming group with his third straight victory on Monday in 1:54:3. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: THE LAST CHAPTER This week's top trotting purse of $17,500 was on the line in a condition on Sunday night. It attracted some excellent competitors, including million-dollar earner Zooming, Tag Up And Go, who was fresh off an Open win at Tioga, and the talented mare Satin Dancer. But it was Chapter Seven, a five-year-old gelding trained by Eddie Hart, who went off as the 3-2 favorite in the field of nine. The gelding came into the race with a break of his stride in his previous start at the Meadowlands, which was a bit of a cause for concern. Prior to that break, however, he was hitting the board with consistency, and he hoped to regain that form on Sunday night. Leaving from post position #3, Chapter Seven left nothing to chance. Driver David Miller had him leaving alertly and he assumed the lead before the field made the first turn. Miller then did a nice job rating the pace, which was no easy task considering that Annapolis Hall came at the leader aggressively with a first-over move on the back stretch. Chapter Seven was able to repel that challenge and still led at the top of the lane. But his work was far from done, as Zooming lurked in the pocket ready to pounce. The energy that the leader saved early in the mile came in handy down the stretch. The gelding trotted home powerfully without ever giving Zooming a real chance to get past. Chapter Seven came home a winner by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:53:3, which was the fastest trotting time turned in at Pocono this week. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Yuge (George Napolitano Jr., Ed Lohmeyer), who handled a rugged condition field on Sunday night in 1:54:3; Grandma Heidi (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), a three-year-old filly who picked up her second win in her last three on Monday with a condition victory in a career-best 1:57:4; and Divine Spirit (Eric Carlson, Brett Pelling), who rallied for a condition win on Tuesday in a career-best 1:54. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ROLLIN ABOUT Overlooked in a claiming pace from a #9 post position, this gelding defied odds of 65-1 on Saturday night to pick up a victory that paid off $140.20 on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The meet's leading driver became the first driver to pick up 200 wins in the 2019 Pocono campaign with the last of his four victories on Saturday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DANIEL MAIER The Maier barn has been one of the most productive on the grounds at Pocono in recent weeks, and the hits kept coming on Saturday night with a training double. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

East Rutherford, NJ -- Kapildeo Singh came to the Meadowlands as a kid, never imagining he might someday win one of the sport's top events. But he got to experience that feeling Saturday (Aug. 3) as When Dovescry, co-owned by Singh, captured the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters at the Big M.   When Dovescry, driven by Simon Allard, won the Hambletonian Oaks by two lengths over previously unbeaten Millies Possesion in 1:50.2. Asiago finished third.   "To be here as one of the owners, it's just amazing," said Singh, a 48-year-old Yorktown Heights, N.Y., resident who owns When Dovescry with the Bruce Soulsby-led Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin and Lawrence Dumain. "It's just awesome. I came here as a kid, 10 years old as a fan. We were reading the program and I learned about the breeding of horses. It's a great game. I love it. This is the icing on the cake. To win the Hambo Oaks, it's the best feeling."   When Dovescry got away second behind 55-1 shot Southwind Casha, who went to the front in a :26.4 opening quarter mile. Allard guided When Dovescry to the front on the backstretch, hitting the half in :54.4, and then faced a first-over challenge from Millies Possesion as they reached three-quarters in 1:23.   Millies Possesion was unable to get to When Dovescry as Allard, clutching the last whip ever used by his late idol Herve Filion, crossed the finish line in front.   "It still had power for one more race," Allard said about the whip, which he was given for the one-time use by Filion's son Brandon. "When I stepped on the gas coming out of the last turn, I said, 'I've still got something.' That's really good."   Allard, who drove When Dovescry for his brother, trainer Rene Allard, said the Oaks triumph meant "everything."   "This is the best place for big races, with a big crowd, and that's what harness racing is supposed to be," Allard said. "It's just such a great feeling. Sometimes you win big races at other tracks where the crowd is not so big but here it is packed today. It's the best drivers and the best horses in the country, it's just everything.   "It makes me think when we started with a $500 horse. (When Dovescry) was a $200,000 yearling, that's the most expensive yearling we ever bought. We got lucky, she made it, and she is what she was supposed to be.   "It's very emotional today."   When Dovescry, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cedar Dove, has won seven of 13 career races and earned $576,250. Her Oaks victory was her second in five races this season and followed a 1:51.3 score in her elimination last week.   "We babied her all year, ran her in some condition races, avoided some competition," Singh said. "We just let her out last week and Rene said she was awesome this week, had the best week of training. We knew we had the best horse this week. I just thank God for this day."   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

For the second consecutive Saturday night, Beach Boogie (Somebeachsomewhere) won the Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee was assigned the outside post in the $15,000 five-horse feature and leading driver Billy Dobson sat behind the race's 1-5 favorite. Beach Boogie came from off the pace to win last weekend's Open in 1:51.3 but on this beautiful Saturday night in Saratoga Springs, the five year old cruised out to an easy lead. After carving out first half fractions of 27.3 and 56.1, Beach Boogie didn't face a challenge until pocket-sitter Century Endeavor (Gerry Mattison) charged up the passing lane in the stretch. The chase proved futile though and Beach Boogie stopped the timer in 1:51.3, once again, to record his second straight Saturday score at the Spa and the sixth consecutive Open win at Saratoga for the Allard stable. Century Endeavor came up second-best in his debut in the Open on Saturday while invader Summer Side (Phil Fluet) earned the show spot. Beach Boogie has now won five times in eleven starts in 2019. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The Open wins just keep coming for trainer Rene Allard and driver Billy Dobson at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The red-hot tandem has now teamed up for five consecutive Open victories at the Spa. Following two Open wins on Gerrity night in July, Allard and Dobson won features last Friday and Saturday night, securing victories in the Fillies and Mares Open and the Open Pace. Eclipse Me N (Real Desire), who paced 1:51.4 on Gerrity night to become the fastest mare of the season at the Spa, cruised to a coast-to-coast victory in Friday night's $15,000 Open for distaffers as she made good at odds of 1-2 to move the Open streak to five. Dobson marched Eclipse Me N out to the early lead and they never looked back, cruising home to win in 1:52.2. Longshots Bye Bye Felicia (Bruce Aldrich Jr) and Spreester (Jimmy Devaux) finished second and third, respectively, in Friday's feature. Eclipse Me N's win was her seventh in fifteen starts in 2019. Dobson piloted another Allard trainee to victory on Friday as well as young pacer Robyn Camden (Art Professor) cruised to a career-best score in 1:53.2 at odds of 1-9 in a $7,500 conditional race for fillies and mares. Allard's Beach Boogie will likely be the favorite in Saturday night's Open Pace as the Allard-Dobson combo will look to extend the streak to six for consecutive victories in local Opens. Beach Boogie has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's try in the Open. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. There is a Pick Five carryover of $1,303 in Saturday's Pick Five, a wager that starts in the evening's first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Western Fame, based at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and still the only free-for-all pacer with over $500,000 in earnings this season, has been made the 5-2 favorite for a $30,000 division of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for fast-class pacers at the mountain track Saturday night. The son of Western Ideal, trained by Pocono's leading conditioner Rene Allard for the partnership of Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B & I Stables LLC, and Gil Short, earned the bulk of his 2019 bankroll during the Levy Series at Yonkers, taking the $664,000 Levy Final on April 20. The biggest earner among three career millionaires in the field with a lifetime total of $1,580,320, Western Fame will start from post three for driver Simon Allard, Rene's brother - and the horse needs a big finish if he is to have a good chance of qualifying for his $100,000 GNOS Championship, to be held at 1¼ miles on Monday, September 9 at The Downs. Second choice at 3-1 is the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks, who will begin from post four for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Hunter Oakes. Scott Rocks is a veteran "Pocono lover," having won in 1:50 or less here in each of the last six years, and a win here would give his $965,274 lifetime winnings a further boost towards imminent millionaire status. Drawing the rail for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Joshua Parker is the Big Jim gelding Tiger Thompson N, the leading pointwinner to date in the preliminary rounds. The Kiwi import comes off a 1:49.4 victory at Harrah's Philadelphia in his last start, and he has the speed to be forwardly-placed in the action throughout. Completing the field in morning line order is Prairie Panther (post six, driver Marcus Miller, 9-2), Always At My Place (post seven, driver Eric Carlson, 6-1), Proper One (post five, driver Joe Poliseno, 8-1), and Havefaithinme N (post two, driver Anthony Napolitano, 12-1). The GNOS event is the tenth among Pocono's fourteen races on Saturday, with first post set for 7 p.m. From the PHHA, in conjunction with Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

Harness racing trainer Rene Allard won a pair of Opens last Saturday night (July 20) at Saratoga Casino Hotel and scored with Lyons River Pride (Somebeachsomewhere) in Friday night's Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa. On Saturday, Allard sent his Beach Boogie (Somebeachsomewhere) to town to compete in the $15,000 Open Pace. The five year old came in as a winner of three of his last four but had a daunting task ahead of him in the local feature. He was tasked with besting 2019 Open star and the race's big favorite Hudson Phil (Jay Randall). Hudson Phil's win streak in the local Open came to an end last week but he was the 4-5 public choice on Saturday nonetheless as he looked to start a new streak. The Jackie Greene trainee powered out to the early lead and set fast fractions of 26.3 and 55.2 in the first half. All the while, Beach Boogie was sitting last in the six-horse feature. Leading driver Billy Dobson got Beach Boogie underway and after Hudson Phil clicked off three quarters in 1:23, the favorite had company. Beach Boogie tipped off the cover of fellow out-of-towner Lockton Luck A (Mark Beckwith) and stormed home to score in the Open in 1:51.2. Paying $9.30 to win in the mild upset, Beach Boogie gave Allard his fourth Open win at Saratoga in the last eight days. Hudson Phil was the runner-up in an $18.20 exacta while Lockton Luck A rounded out the $119 triple. Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with NY Sire Stakes action featured with three year old filly pacers taking center stage. First post time is set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella   TONY “SHIFTY” CIUFFETELLI WINS BILLINGS TROT AT SARATOGA With the proliferation of amateur driving events during mid-summer the Billings Series Trot at Saratoga Harness on the evening of July 27th only attracted five entries and when they were set to go to post only four horses heeded the buglers' call. The short field didn't deter Tony “Shifty” Ciuffetelli when he sent Someway Same Hall to the lead from the three- hole despite being parked by the first stanza in :28.4 by Royalpine Princess and driver, “Daring Dean” Collett. However, once in command Someway Same Hall led his competitors by some three lengths when he passed the halfway point in :57.4. But those three lengths were soon opened to six as the altered son of Cash Hall trotted by the third quarter in 1:27.1. At that point “Mighty Matt” Zuccarello had Broadway Bruiser in high gear and moved into second and with Brett “the Kid” Beckwith alongside with Elegant Son. But there was no catching the leader as Sameway Same Hall cruised to an easy 3-1/2 length victory in 1:57.4. Broadway Bruiser was second with Elegant Son , a neck farther back, in third place. by John Manzi for the Billings Series   

WILKES-BARRE PA - A pair of pacing distaffs with North America-wide reputations - the four-year-old Caviart Ally and the three-year-old Zero Tolerance - both made their 2019 harness racing debuts at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday, and both were gallant but had to settle for second behind more experienced foes. Caviart Ally was odds-on in the $25,000 mares pacing handicap, and after being looped by Bettorhaveanother early, she worked her way to the lead near the :27.1 quarter. But driver Simon Allard and the Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N, who had won with a breathtaking stretch dash from seventh last week, were soon on the move and got to the lead well before the half, reached in :55.2, and continued in front to and past the 1:23.3 three-quarters. Caviart Ally came out with an 1/8 to go and pursued hard, but Eclipse Me N still had a :27 last quarter in her and held on by ¾ of a length in 1:50.3; Bettorhaveanother was 1¾ lengths further back in third. The victory ran Eclipse Me N's seasonal record to 5-3-1-0, and the Rene Allard trainee, owned by Allard Racing Inc. Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae, ran her lifetime earnings to $235,244. Zero Tolerance, second in the Breeders Crown and Three Diamonds last year, looked like an irresistible force at 1-5 in the $17,500 distaff subfeature, but she ran into Pocono's immovable object, driver George Napolitano Jr. David Miller let Zero Tolerance patiently work outside past the :26.4 opener to the lead in front of the stands, but "George Nap" had the Palone Ranger mare Juslikeaqueen winging frontward at that point, and that pair reached the half in :55. The "Queen" and the filly maintained 1-2 position at the 1:22.4 three-quarters, and just when it looked like Zero Tolerance was ready to go by, Napolitano got more out of the 9-1 shot and brought her home a half-length to the good in a lifetime best of 1:51. The game frontstepper, owned and trained by Antonia Storer, now has career winnings of $253,205. The victory with Juslikeaqueen was the sixth of the twilight card for George Napolitano Jr.; Simon Allard had three, and George's brother Anthony added another pair, meaning that eleven of the thirteen winners on Tuesday at Pocono were driven by someone named Napolitano or Allard. Saturday is Kentucky Derby Day, and that also means the traditional doubleheader of racing at The Downs, with first post at 11:00 a.m. for the brunch session and approximately 7:30 p.m. for the post-Derby action. The nighttime racing will be highlighted by the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, in which Western Fame, the richest North American harness horse so far this year with $446,300 to his credit, looks to be the likely favorite. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

April 27-May 3, 2019 We are really starting to enter the heart of the harness racing stakes season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In the past week, the last two finals of the Bobby Weiss series took place, and those two winners highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards. Not only will Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action be heating up in the next few weeks, but the Van Rose Memorial Pace on Saturday night will kick off the Great Northeast Open series. So much going on, but first let's take a look back at those Weiss finals. PACER OF THE WEEK: TURBO HILL The past few weeks of the Bobby Weiss series in the three and four-year-old colts, stallions and geldings pacing division set up an interesting rivalry between Turbo Hill and Sports Legend. Turbo Hill won a showdown between the two on April 13, and looked like the class of the division at that point. But then Sports Legend came back the following week and not only beat Turbo Hill, but did so handily by 7 ½ lengths. While there were others in the field with excellent credentials, Saturday night's final figured to come down to the two rivals. Turbo Hill, a four-year-old stallion, left from post position #5 in the nine-horse field as the 3-5 favorite, while Sports Legend was right next to him in post #6 as an 8-5 second choice. In the previous meetings, the horse who grabbed the lead was the one who came out on top, so it boded well for Turbo Hill that he jumped out to the engine in this one. It also boded well when George Napolitano Jr., taking over as driver of Turbo Hill from trainer Hunter Oakes, was able to get away with a soft second panel of :29:1. While Sports Legend stayed close in the pocket, he wasn't able to get past in the all-out duel in the stretch. The well-rated Turbo Hill was able to finish strong for the victory in a career-best 1:51, holding off Sports Legend by three parts of a length to avenge what was only the second loss of his career. Other top pacers this week include: Hitman Hill (Hunter Oakes, Chris Oakes), who scored a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:50:1, matching the mark that he set a few weeks back as the fastest pacing time posted so far this meet at Pocono; Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), who scored his second straight condition victory by moving up in class on Saturday night to win in 1:50:4; and Eclipse Me N (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who won the Mares feature on Tuesday for the second straight week, this time getting it done in 1:50:3.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DOVER DONY The finals of a racing series can often take on a different aspect than all the preliminary legs. In the Weiss series for three and four-year-old colts, stallions and geldings trotters, most of the preliminary legs contained short fields. In that atmosphere, My Lindy Winner seemed unbeatable, winning three straight, mostly with authority. Only in the final leg was he pushed to the hilt by Dover Dony, who nearly went gate-to-wire, only to lose to My Lindy Winner by a half-length. On Monday night in the final, there was a full field of nine. My Lindy Winner left from post position #7 in a field of nine. As a horse without great speed in the opening quarter, he laid back and settled fifth early on. But Dover Dony, a four-year-old stallion trained by Jordan Derue, came out flying from post #6 and grabbed the lead from Chapter And Ruth at the eighth-mile marker. Driver Simon Allard than rated the pace well and allowed Dover Dony to rest in the front stretch before kicking it up several notches on the back stretch and opening up the lead. My Lindy Winner, having to make up more ground than usual, was still well behind on the back stretch, finally kicking into gear with a three-wide move on the final turn. But by that time the margin was too wide and Dover Dony was too game. He powered home a length in front of Chapter And Ruth, with My Lindy Winner another quarter-length back in the third. Dover Dony blazed to a career-best mile of 1:54 as a 6-5 second choice, while Allard completed an amazing run as driver of there of this year's four Weiss series champions. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tag Up And Go (Marcus Miller, Rob Harmon), who followed up a win at Chester with a victory in Sunday night's featured condition trot in 1:56:4 in the slop; Very Very Fast (Simon Allard, Bob Bresnahan Jr.), who stepped up in condition to score his second straight win on Sunday night, getting it done in the slop in 1:58:2; and Such An Angel (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes, who powered to a condition victory on Tuesday in 1:53:0, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: NEW IDENTITY   After spending the entirety of 2018 without a victory, this condition trotter won his first start this year with Anthony Napolitano in the bike at 27-1, paying off $56.40 on a $2-win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY   Whenever he makes an appearance at Pocono, you can expect Kakaley to do some damage, as he proved with a combined seven wins on Sunday and Monday night.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RAY SCHNITTKER   Schnittker sent out a trip of three-year-old pacing colts on Sunday and Monday night, all of them making their first start of the year, and every one of the three came back a winner.   That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.     by Jim Beviglia

CHESTER PA - The 2019 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) gets underway with quite a bang this Saturday, May 4, at the two eastern Pennsylvania tracks, Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the three classes of Open trotters, Open pacers, and Mare Open pacers each drawing a fine field. The two harness racing events taking place on a special Saturday afternoon card at Philly, worth $30,000 each, are the Mares Open pace and the Open trot. The Open trotters are first on the card in race four, and the event will mark the 2019 debut of Crystal Fashion, a four-year-old altered son of Cantab Hall trained by Jim Campbell. Crystal Fashion won just shy of $1.1 million as a three-year-old last year, with high finishes in most of the major stakes in his division; he was also the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Starting from post two in a field of seven off a pair of easy qualifying wins in 1:57.1 and 1:57, Crystal Fashion is scheduled to have the green and yellow colors of "T. Tetrick" behind him - only Saturday his driver is scheduled to be Trace Tetrick, brother of Tim, the 2017 Rising Star Award winner and the leading driver at Hoosier Park near Indianapolis. Pappy Go Go, who has a 1:52 victory of each of the two eastern PA tracks this year to give him two of the three fastest times on the trot in North America this season, will get a real test of class here as he begins from post four for driver George Napolitano Jr and trainer Andrew Harris. Ohio champion Mission Accepted opened the season undefeated in three starts since switching to the care of Ron Burke, but he'll have to solve the difficult post seven Saturday, with Andrew McCarthy scheduled to drive. In the sixth race Mares Open pace, 2018 champion sophomore filly Kissin In The Sand will make her first start of this year, starting from post two for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Scott Zeron. The Somebeachsomewhere mare had ten wins and five seconds in fifteen seasonal outings, taking her mark of 1:47.3 at Lexington, and she was also the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. Her main foe appears to be the American Ideal mare Tequila Monday, who has ripped off four straight victories against high-quality mares to open her season for trainer Hunter Oakes. Trace Tetrick has also gained the catch-drive behind Tequila Monday as she starts from post five in the seven-horse field. The GNOS action then heads 100 miles north on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Pocono, where there will be a doubleheader of racing on Saturday, and the highlight of the evening card will be the track's traditional Derby Day feature, the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace. The Rose Memorial will count in the GNOS pointstandings, and is slotted for the evening action's race ten. The race has attracted the hottest, and the richest, performer in North America so far this year in Western Fame, starting from post seven in the field of nine for trainer Rene Allard, currently in front in a bid for his sixth Pocono training title in seven years, and driver/brother Simon. All the son of Western Ideal has done recently is post four wins and a second in five preliminaries of the Levy Series, then took the $664,000 Levy final by almost five lengths in 1:50.4 at Yonkers, boosting his 2019 earnings to $446,300 with only a third of the year gone. Filibuster Hanover, winner of the 2017 Little Brown Jug and like Western Fame a racing millionaire, had the misfortune of drawing the outside post nine for his seasonal debut, with trainer Ron Burke choosing Jim Morrill Jr. for sulky duty. Sure to draw attention as well is Highalator, starting from post two for trainer Jenny Bier and driver Richard Still; Highalator, who is 10-for-17 lifetime at the mountain oval, and Still teamed to win a leg of the Golden Receiver series at The Meadowlands in his last start. The Great Northeast Open Series races are scheduled every weekend at the two tracks until September 1, with $30,000 contests (a few "special events" carry a bigger bounty) on the sheet for all of the three divisions. When Pocono has the Open pace, it goes on Saturday evening; otherwise the GNOS contests are, with a few exceptions (like this week), slotted for Sunday, at Philly in the afternoon and at Pocono at night. The top pointwinners in the competition will vie for $100,000 in each of the three GNOS divisions, with their Championships to be held over 1¼ miles on a Monday twilight card on September 9.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia / The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Simon Allard won his third of the four $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championships conducted this spring at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking Monday's rich finale for trotting males with the 1:54 winner Dover Dony. 70-1 shot Chapter And Ruth (trained by Rene Allard, who had combined with his brother Simon on their two earlier Weiss wins) shot out from PP9 right to the top for harness racing driver Tom Jackson, looping the winning son of Andover Hall, who eventually worked his way to the top before the :27.4 opener. Allard gave his charge a :57.1 breather to the half, then sent the 6-5 second choice through a :27.3 third quarter to try to put separation between himself and 3-5 favorite My Lindy Winner, who was looking for a Weiss sweep. My Lindy Winner came wide off cover late on the final turn for driver Jim Morrill Jr., and Chapter And Ruth popped out from the pocket, but Dover Dony had enough to maintain a length margin to the finish while lowering his mark 3 2/5 seconds. Chapter And Ruth, who had a Weiss prelim win (which ironically is more than the winner could say) showed determination to take second, a neck ahead of My Lindy Winner, who had been undefeated in six seasonal starts. Dover Dony had a 37-2-10-10 record before this final, but he surely picked a good time to become more photogenic for trainer Jordan Derue and owner Anthony Ciuffetelli. In the $15,000 Weiss consolation for the male trotting set, the sophomore Yankee Glide gelding Raceace set a North American season's record of 1:54.3 for his division while lowering his mark nearly three seconds. Matt Kakaley put his horse on the lead in his fourth lifetime start, and the even money favorite stepped home in :56.1 - :27.4 to keep 6-5 shot Omaha Omaha away by a head at the wire for trainer Nifty Norman and the All Laid Out Stable Inc. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing trainer Rene Allard knows how it feels to win the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series Final. The trainer captured Yonkers Raceway’s richest pacing event in each of the last two years with Keystone Velocity and took the 2015 edition with Domethatagain. Allard will take aim at his third straight Levy victory and fourth overall when he sends out Western Fame in Saturday night’s $662,800 series final. The lead up to this year’s final has a distinct feel for Allard, however. His past winners were outsiders, or even longshots. Despite drawing post one, Domethatagain was 6-1 in the final after winning one preliminary leg and finishing second in another. Keystone Velocity pulled off an 11-1 surprise in winning his first Levy title and was a tepid 5-2 favorite last year after scoring just one victory in the preliminaries. Western Fame however, is expected to be a heavy favorite Saturday night. “I think it’s a lot of pressure, more pressure than usual because we’re going to have the favorite,” Allard said. “Having the favorite is always a little extra pressure, but I would rather be the favorite than the longest shot on the board. That means we have a good shot.” A fixture in the barn of Jimmy Takter since the beginning of his career, Western Fame won a division of the Bluegrass and eliminations of the Little Brown Jug and Breeders’ Crown and finished second in the Jug Final, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final, Tattersalls Pace, and Matron Stakes at 3. At 4, Western Fame captured the Prix d’Été and Confederation Cup and was third in the Graduate Final. After racing at the FFA level throughout 2018, Allard eyed the Western Ideal son for his stable. “I was looking, trying to find a horse to replace Keystone Velocity. He was going to stud to breed and retire and I was looking for one in that age group,” Allard explained. “I obviously didn’t think McWicked and a couple of those other ones would be for sale, but I thought this one might come up for sale because I knew Jimmy was retiring. I contacted them and said, ‘if this horse ever comes up for sale, let me know.’ ” About a month later, Allard’s phone rang. Western Fame was for sale. Allard agreed on a price, and the deal was complete. “Everything happened pretty fast,” Allard added. Western Fame made a favorable impression from the moment he arrived in the barn. His intelligence and professionalism impressed his new trainer, who owns the stallion in partnership with Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B And I Stable, and Gilbert Short. “Classy horses like him are definitely pleasant to be around. He’s a good horse to be around, very smart horse, obviously Takter did a great job with him throughout his career,” Allard said. “Everything he does, he does it right. Working around fast horses, those are the ones I like to work around the best. I don’t mind if they have issues, but if they have speed, that’s half the battle.” Western Fame made his first start for Allard December 2, 2018 when he captured the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. After a winter break, Western Fame qualified back at Yonkers February 2 before making his seasonal debut March 9 in the Open Handicap at Saratoga. Although he finished third in that start, he was rough around the final turn as he made a bid to circle the field. “The first start this year, he was struggling a little bit in the turns,” Allard said. “We changed his shoeing and did a couple adjustments to his equipment and he’s been super ever since. We changed his shoes, we have spreaders on him, and he’s been really good since.” Western Fame put his Levy rivals on notice with a first-leg blowout win March 17. He scored in wire-to-wire fashion by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:51.1, pacing a final quarter in :27. After a runner-up finish in week two, Western Fame returned to his dominant ways, taking legs three, four, and five by 2, 5 ½, and 1 ¾ lengths, respectively. Western Fame kicked home in :27 in his last two starts and his fourth-leg victory came in 1:50.4, equaling the season’s mark at Yonkers. “We knew he was a good horse. He’s won a lot of races at the highest level, so we thought he’d be a nice horse to have for the aged pacing stakes, but he’s really gone beyond our expectations. He’s been really good,” Allard said. Western Fame drew post position five in the rich Levy Series Final and is expected to be a heavy favorite off his dominance in the preliminaries. However, fellow leavers The Downtown Bus, JJ Flynn, and Anythingforlove all drew inside the series leader. Allard will leave the race tactics to regular driver Dan Dube, who piloted both Keystone Velocity and Domethatagain to their Levy wins. “I think the horse can be driven any way. Throughout his career, he’s done it from every spot, so I don’t think he’s only one way,” Allard said. “But I believe Dube is probably going to be pretty aggressive being the favorite in there. “Western Fame has been super since we purchased him. He’s ultra-consistent and I expect him to be right there on Saturday again,” Allard continued. “He looks good, feels good. Any time you go for that kind of money on a half-mile track, it’s never easy. It’s not going to be easy, so hopefully everything goes well, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.” For Allard, winning the Levy carries meaning beyond the purse money. He considers Yonkers his home track; he was leading trainer in 2015, 2016, and 2018 and currently tops the trainer standings. Last year, Allard made nearly half of his 1,717 starts at the Hilltop. “Yonkers is the racetrack that I race at the most and this is the biggest race of the year for us there. I haven’t had a chance to have a trotter in the International yet, maybe one day, but the Levy is a race that anyone who races at Yonkers wants to win,” Allard said. “It makes it extra special; that’s our track that we race at, we’re there every night. It means a lot to win that race, it would mean a lot to get it done. “Last time we won, I think I had Dube on top of my shoulders,” Allard continued. “Every time we win, the party gets a little crazier and crazier. We celebrate; that’s one thing that we do with Team Allard is we try to have fun. You live only once, so we try to live right.” The field for the Levy Series Final is listed below: Post Position   Horse   Driver  Trainer  1       Anythingforlove A         Joe Bongiorno             Jenn Bongiorno 2       More The Better N       Scott Zeron                  Ross Croghan 3       JJ Flynn                       Tim Tetrick*                  Josh Green 4       The Downtown Bus     Tim Tetrick*                 Jeff Gillis 5       Western Fame             Dan Dube                    Rene Allard 6       Rodeo Rock                 Andrew McCarthy       Robert Cleary 7       The Wall                       Andy Miller                  Nick Surick 8       Ideal Jimmy                  Brent Holland               Erv Miller Driver choice to be announced. Saturday night’s card also features the $401,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final, the $100,000 Levy Series Consolation, the $75,000 Matchmaker Series Consolation, and a $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Eclipse Me N (Real Desire) prevailed in her 2019 harness racing debut while competing in the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Thursday afternoon. The Rene Allard trainee enjoyed a $100,000+ campaign last season and debuted in the local feature off a pair of qualifiers that took place at Pocono Downs. With leading driver Billy Dobson in the bike, Eclipse Me N got a second-over trip in the five-horse field, following the cover of the race's favorite. Betabcool N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) enjoyed a hassle-free first lap on the lead before being met with the challenge of the favorite approaching three quarters. Eclipse Me N fanned off her cover around the final turn and came on in the final strides to best Betabcool N and secure the victory in the $15,000 feature. Betabcool N was the runner-up while Miss Irish Rose A earned the show spot. Eclipse Me N, who stopped the timer in 1:54.4, paid $7.70 to win and led an exacta that returned $30.00.   There is a Pick Five carryover of $3,061 on Saturday's card at Saratoga with the Pick Five beginning in race one. First post time is set for 6:45pm.   Mike Sardella

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Bobby Weiss Series, a traditional launching pad for young talent named after the man who developed the racetrack at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono into one of the most popular surfaces in the world, opened its 2019 harness racing campaign during the Monday twilight card, with all three winners of their $15,000 first preliminaries posting lifetime bests. Fastest was the Sportswriter mare Cardiff, who raced very big with the introduction of Lasix and stopped the timer in 1:53. Simon Allard got early position in the 26.3 opener, then brushed to the lead well before the 55.3 half. Cardiff kept right on rolling, passing the ¾ in 1:24.2 and then widening her lead to 3¾ lengths over Sewonandsewforth for trainer Rene Allard and the partnership of Allard Racing Inc. and Carmen Carson. The roan American Ideal mare Ghosttothepost made two speed moves, got to the half in 57.1, then sprinted home in 56.3 to be a clear 1:53.4 winner in her Weiss cut. Brian Malone conditions the striking mare for owner Peter Paul Venturini. The sole three-year-old winner in the first Weiss leg for this group was the Art Major filly Ashlee Sparkles, who made every pole a winning more in 1:54.2 under the guidance of George Napolitano Jr. Mccoolen gave valiant chase from the pocket but was 1¼ lengths in arrears of the winner, who is conditioned by Blake MacIntosh; McIntosh also shares ownership with Hutt Racing Stable, Jacqueline Tierney, and the Mortgage Boys Stable. Weiss Series Action will continue on the 4 p.m. Tuesday Pocono card, with trotting distaffs sharing the spotlight in four divisions of their first round action. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Stars Align A (Art Major) recorded his first local Open Pace harness racing victory on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rene Allard trainee got a tough trip a few weeks back in his debut in the local feature but on Saturday night, a first over journey worked out very well for the Yonkers invader. Steve Genois got the driving assignment behind Stars Align N who overpowered one of the race’s co-favorites when first-over en route to the 1:52.3 score. Stars Align N’s win wasn’t just his first Open win but gave Genois his first Open victory since coming to Saratoga to drive last year. Crockets Cullen N (Larry Stalbaum) shook loose late and charged hard in the stretch before finishing second while last week’s Open winner JK Panache (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot. Stars Align N paid $13.80 to win the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $104 and $731, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time of 12:00pm. Mike Sardella

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