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Frank J. Bellino, 85, owner of hundreds of harness racing during his life including 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven, passed away Tuesday morning (March 17) of a heart attack. Bellino, who founded a successful construction firm and also owned commercial real estate throughout the United States, started in the harness racing industry in 1982 and has owned a number of top pacers and trotters by himself and in partnership with his sons Joe and George. In addition to Rock N Roll Heaven, a 2017 Harness Racing Hall of Fame inductee who earned $2,748,818 during his career and went on to stallion duty, Bellino owned Pet Rock ($1,780,454), another stallion who stands at Midland Acres. While the resident of Bronxville, New York may be best remembered for some high-priced yearling purchases along with the above stallions, his eye for upper-level conditioned horses was second-to-none. The list includes several horses that earned hundreds of thousands as part of Bellino's stable. Classic Rock NRoll earned $814,556 during his career, nearly three-quarters of that for Bellino. Casimir Jitterbug spent six years on the track for Bellino and brought in approximately $800K while American Rage and Polak A also earned well north of $300K each for the stable. "He loved harness racing more than any business he was ever involved with," said Joe Bellino, who added that his father's favorite race was when Rock N Roll Heaven won the Little Brown Jug in 2010. Bellino is survived by his son Joe and many grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were not available at this time.

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Some high-powered free-for-all and invitational harness racing pacers were very impressive winning Wednesday morning qualifiers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Fastest of all was the veteran Riverboat King gelding Theartofconfusion A, who paced a 1:49.3 all-age track record mile at Yonkers last year. On Wednesday Theartofconfusion A motored home in :56 flat despite being first-up to complete a 1:55.1 victory for driver Eric Carlson and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, auguring well as he sets out to post a third consecutive $200G+-winning season for co-owners Garcia-Herrera and Barbara and Donald Arnstine. The Real Desire eight-year-old mare Eclipse Me N, who set a 1:48.2 divisional world record at The Downs last year, flew home in :55.2 to stop the timer in 1:55.4 in her event. Simon Allard was in the sulky for trainer/brother Rene and the ownership of Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. Trainer Rene Allard has been le Boss of the local conditioners with six titles in the last seven years, and his 2018 Hempt Championship winner Springsteen sounded a strong winning note with a 1:56.1 victory, his own last half :56.1 with Simon Allard sulkysitting. Allard Racing Inc. co-owns the son of Rock N Roll Heaven with Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Kapildeo Singh. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, N.Y. – Of the 19 entrants to the M Life Rewards Ladies Series first leg at Yonkers Raceway Monday (March 2), Lovin Cocoa is the least experienced with just nine pari-mutuel starts under her belt. However, harness racing trainer Travis Alexander hopes she will make up for it on speed and talent. She is also one of four starters in the series for Alexander. The 4-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare enters the M Life Rewards Ladies off an 8-length victory in a local $14,000 overnight Feb. 11, an effort that caught even her trainer by surprise. Lovin Cocoa had bar shoes on in that start, a move Alexander was sure was a mistake after she warmed up that night. “To be honest, before the race I was absolutely petrified because I had put bar shoes on her and she was absolutely terrible warming up, to the point where we almost scratched her,” Alexander said. “I told Matt (Kakaley) just to be careful, that it was my fault, not hers, she doesn’t like these bars, she doesn’t like the frog pressure. She’s not lame, she just doesn’t like the shoes.” Lovin Cocoa raced in fifth early 9 1/2 lengths off the pace. She moved to the outside straightening away the first time and advanced without cover. Reaching the backstretch, rival Thaneeya pulled the pocket, forcing Lovin Cocoa three-wide approaching the three-quarters. Passing the 6-furlong marker, she glided past the leaders effortlessly and opened up a pair of lengths. Lovin Cocoa kicked clear in the stretch under Kakaley pistol grips to post the dominating score at 1-9. Although Lovin Cocoa enters the M Life Rewards Ladies as a first-leg morning line favorite, last summer, she was a longshot to race at all. A homebred for Mark and Leslie Wasserman’s Fiddler’s Creek Stable, Lovin Cocoa is out of Scrapping Beauty, the first horse the Wassermans and Alexander had together in 2008. Lovin Cocoa and DD Delicious, Alexander’s other M Life Rewards Ladies entrant, grew up together in the same field. Prone to making breaks at 2, Lovin Cocoa was unraced as a freshman. Last year at 3, Lovin Cocoa had one qualifier June 5 before starting in the New York Excelsior B Series over a sloppy track at Tioga Downs June 10. She finished sixth beaten 6 3/4 lengths and came out of the race with an injury, forcing her to the sidelines. “She bowed both front tendons in the mud at Tioga. She hurt both tendons that night,” Alexander said. “It’s a kick in the butt because that day, DD Delicious won the sire stakes and then two races later, that happens. Highs and lows. It wasn’t terrible, but it was enough to where we had to shut her down. We just did the right thing and Lovin Cocoa is one of Mrs. Wasserman’s favorite horses. That’s been her filly since she was born and so we did what we had to do to go forward. “We healed her tendons and lo and behold, here we are. Honestly, she shouldn’t be racing. Her legs were bad. We didn’t give up, we gave her time, healed her up. Her caretaker (Armando Barragan) does an amazing job, he works hard on her legs. She wants to race, she’s fast enough, it’s just a matter of keeping her sound and happy.” Lovin Cocoa qualified back at Yonkers Nov. 15. She paced her mile in 1:55.4 with a :28.2 final panel. The effort took Alexander and Kakaley by surprise. “Once we had the legs set up and the ultrasounds were good, I knew we were looking good. I didn’t know if she’d get around the half and I didn’t know how much speed she truly had and how much she would have lost due to injury,” Alexander said.  “I qualified her the first time at Yonkers and she paced 55. To be honest, I was mind-blown. Matt and myself were like, ‘where did this come from? What in the world?’ ” Despite the encouraging result, Lovin Cocoa made breaks in her next three starts, all at the Hilltop. Alexander regrouped, sending the filly to the Meadowlands. With Alexander in Florida training babies, Roy Marohn drove Lovin Cocoa to a qualifying win at the Swamp in 1:55.3 Dec. 21. Six days later, she finished third in a $15,000 overnight, pacing the mile in 1:52.4 with :27.2 on the end. “She has a temper. That’s why she was making those breaks early. I had too big of a head pole and I was trying to make her do it our way instead of letting her do it her way,” Alexander said. “I took her to the Meadowlands to get her mind right and I took everything off. Roy Marohn did an amazing job getting her qualified and going. “After that 52 mile at the Meadowlands, I knew,” Alexander continued. “She’s always had speed, her whole family has had speed. The colts of that family have the same temper, but they’re a lot tougher to deal with. I knew she’d be more than competitive in this series. Once we got her racing good, we set her up for that.” Lovin Cocoa enters the M Life Rewards Ladies first leg off nearly three weeks rest. Alexander was forced to make adjustments after her outing with bar shoes and then prepped her for this start. “I had to take the shoes off because the day after, she was sore, so we had to adjust again,” Alexander said. “Young horses or lightly raced horses are a learning curve. You have to find what they will tolerate, you have to find a balance. We went back to the drawing board and I’m very happy with what we came up with. “She’s missed two weeks on purpose just to get her right,” the trainer continued. “She’s trained up very well. I expect a big effort on Monday and going forward. Four weeks in the series, I didn’t want to race her, so we’re managing her and we have high hopes for her.” Lovin Cocoa will start from post four with Matt Kakaley in Monday’s fourth race, the third division of the M Life Rewards Ladies Series. The Series kicks off in race two, where Alexander will send out DD Delicious. DD Delicious started her career last year with two straight overnight wins before jumping into New York Sire Stakes competition. She won one leg at Tioga June 10 and placed in five others to earn a berth in the $225,000 NYSS Final at Batavia Sept. 14. After drawing post eight, she earned a check finishing fifth, boosting her earnings to $140,470 for Fiddler’s Creek Stable, and was pointed to the M Life Rewards Series. “She’s special. She’s a very nice mare. We had some issues last year with some sickness, unfortunately a couple bad posts in the wrong stakes races,” Alexander said. “It worked out because now she fits this series. As soon as she didn’t win the sire stakes final, I shut her down and aimed her just for this series because it’s a good starting point for her 4-year-old year.” DD Delicious spent a couple months turned out in Ohio before shipping to Alexander’s Florida stable to train back. She qualified a winner in 1:56 at Pocono Downs Feb. 12 and prepped for the M Life Rewards Ladies with one start at Yonkers Feb. 18, finishing second in a $16,000 overnight from post eight with Kakaley in the bike. “We sent her down to Florida and she prepped as well as any horse could. Her first start, that was beautiful,” Alexander said. “He sat as long as he could, she sprinted home, had pace on the end of it. She trained very, very well (Friday), couldn’t be happier.” Unraced at 2, DD Delicious had 14 starts at 3. Now entering her 4-year-old season, Alexander feels DD Delicious is coming into her prime. “She’s much stronger, she grew, she put on a lot of muscle. I could tell all winter in Florida and when we qualified her at Pocono, that was the first time (Matt) drove her and he even said he could feel she’s just stronger than last year,” Alexander said. “They race the first year at 3, not having those starts at 2 does hinder them a little bit as far as strength goes.” DD Delicious is the 5-2 morning line second choice behind Tom Milici’s North Star Ideal, who enters off three straight wins. Alexander will also send out two starters in the M Life Rewards Gents Series first leg Tuesday (March 3). Marco Beach will start from post four with Joe Bongiorno and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first division. Despite his 6-for-19 record and $51,400 in earnings, Alexander doesn’t feel Marco Beach has lived up to his potential yet. “He’s probably one of the smartest horses I’ve ever had, but he’s the hardest horse I’ve ever broke,” Alexander said. “He’s been a challenge to get to this point. “He would notice any change. If a tractor moved, he would stop and try to figure out what was different. If somebody’s truck was parked on the side of the hill and then the next lap was gone, he would sit there for 20 minutes and try to figure out what was different, and you couldn’t make him move. He would sit there and just stare,” Alexander explained. “Last year, there was a race where he was crossing over to the front and he saw the starting gate and went to the outside of the track to go behind the starting gate again,” Alexander continued. “It was bad. That’s why John Kakaley drove him a lot last year because I needed someone that I could get every start that would educate him. He’s so fast, I haven’t even scratched the surface. I can’t train him by himself, his mind wanders. Mentally, he’s a tough horse.” Alexander has seen improvement in Marco Beach from 3 to 4. He qualified in 1:56.4 at Pocono Downs Feb. 12 and won his seasonal debut at the Wilkes-Barre five-eighths-mile track by a neck in 1:53.4 with a :27.3 final quarter Feb. 23. The M Life Rewards Gents first leg will be Marco Beach’s first start on a half-mile track. “I don’t know how he’ll get around the half because he’s never seen a half. Not that he’s bad-gaited, he’s very good-gaited, but you just never know. He is a big horse. That’s the only thing that concerns me is him not being on Yonkers before the series started,” Alexander said. “The reasoning was just more the way things fell in place as far as timing,” Alexander explained. “I shipped him north and qualified him at Pocono and I didn’t want to short rest him and race him at Yonkers with the series coming up. It was better to race on Sunday at Pocono. It was scheduling.” Alexander’s final series entrant is Tellitsabb, a 4-year-old Tellitlikeitis gelding who recently came to Alexander’s stable for owner Brian Carsey. After going 3-for-13 last year in Ohio with Ernie Gaskin, Tellitsabb is 3-for-3 with $24,000 earned already this season. “He’s a fantastic horse. The Gaskins did a great job with him. When they sent him out, he was ready to go. I liked him, so Brian Carsey bought him because I liked him so much,” Alexander said. Tellitsabb’s victories have each come by at least 2 lengths and he’s paced his miles in 1:53.1, 1:53.4, and 1:54.0 with Matt Kakaley and Joe Bongiorno alternating drives to this point. Despite the impressive results, Alexander sees room for improvement. “He’s a horse that wants to lean in on the turns. The last two starts, I’ve tried to help with that and it’s made him worse, so I have to take everything off and go back to how it was the first start,” Alexander said. “I don’t know how fast he is. Joe and Matt are both very high on him. It’s just how he is on the turns and the more you rig him, the more he tries to fight you,” Alexander continued. “I’ll have to leave it to the drivers, let them earn their money a little bit. Speed wise, he’s extremely fast.” Tellitsabb is a 5-1 morning line with Matt Kakaley set to drive. He drew post eight, but with valuable points at stake, Alexander expects the gelding to leave. “We’ve got to go forward. I don’t know how forward we’re going to go, but we can’t just duck and sit and wait,” he said. “We’ve got to race, so we’ll see. I’ll leave that to Matt though.” Alexander hopes to build on early-season success in the M Life Rewards Series. His stable is 11-for-44 at Yonkers this year with an additional 14 seconds and thirds. He credits his wife, Alaina, and caretakers Wilder Allverz (Marco Beach), Lucia Sanchez (Tellitsabb), and Barragan (DD Delicious and Lovin Cocoa). “We’ve had a very good start to the year. We’ve had a lot of horses fit the right spots, that always helps. Nice diversity from non-winners of two up to non-winners of $30,000 trot. It’s been a very good winter and hopefully it keeps going,” Alexander said. “My crew has done a tremendous job. I have to thank them. I’ve been going back and forth between here and Florida. My wife Alaina, she’s amazing. She runs the northern barn. I have no worries when she’s up north. She treats these horses like they’re her kids and it shows. She’s the reason they’re all racing the way they are. She does an amazing job.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The M Life Rewards Ladies Series begins Monday night, March 2 while the M Life Rewards Gents Series kicks off Tuesday, March 3. The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will return Friday, March 13 and the Borgata Pacing Series starts Saturday, March 14. First post time is 7:05 p.m. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Saturday evening's harness racing card at Saratoga Casino Hotel consisted of three divisions of the second leg of the Holiday Pacing Series. Participants had their final chance to accrue points towards next Saturday's (December 14) Series Final. Bob Uhl's Babinga Wood (Dragon Again) became the only repeat winner in the two legs of the series as the 2-5 betting favorite in his division of the Holiday Pace came from last before circling the field to win a photo in 1:56.3. Mitch Cushing piloted the Uhl trainee and now has three wins and a second place finish while sitting behind the track's Claiming Pacer of the Year from 2017. Babinga Wood will likely head into next Saturday's Final as the one to beat. Blueberry Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven) went coast-to-coast in his $7,500 division of the series on Saturday as leading driver Billy Dobson piloted the Gary Levine-trained pacer to victory in 1:56.4. Levine claimed Blueberry Heaven last month and finished third with him in the series' first leg before stamping his ticket to next week's Final behind his leg two score. The final division of the night went to Santanna One (Santanna Blue Chip) who lasted on the lead for trainer Jessica Derue and reinsman Chris Long. Santanna One, a fourth-place finisher in leg one, posted the fastest time of the series thus far with his 1:55.1 score which came as his race's 1-2 betting favorite. The $20,000 Final of the fourth annual Holiday Pacing Series is set for next Saturday night. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee set to kick off at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. – “He’s back.” That’s the first thing that went through harness racing trainer Nick DeVita’s mind after watching Heaven’s Gait score a comeback win in the $14,000 winners over at Saratoga Nov. 9. Although the race setup for a closer as a pair of leaders hooked up in a speed duel through panels of :26.3 and 54.2, Heaven’s Gait proved impressive. The 5-year-old wheeled first-over from a 6-length deficit in sixth passing the half, went three-wide around the leaders on the third turn under Jay Randall pistol grips, and opened a 4-length advantage through three-quarters in 1:22.4. With Randall still statuesque in the bike, Heaven’s Gait reported home a 5 1/2-length winner in 1:52.2. “That was a big relief to see him win the way he did at Saratoga. That’s the horse we knew we had,” DeVita said. “There was no doubt anymore that he was going to come back as good as he was. “Obviously, we have bigger plans for him next year with the Levy and everything,” DeVita continued. “We are just trying to get his feet back under him and trying not to push him too hard. He’s come back pretty good and we’re real happy with him so far and just trying to race him back into shape now.” The Saratoga victory was Heaven’s Gait’s first victory and only his second pari-mutuel start since winning the Empire Breeders Classic Final at Tioga Downs Aug. 20, 2017. Heaven’s Gait emerged from his 1:49.2 victory in the $263,000 stakes with an injury that send him to the sidelines. “He didn’t come out of that race too great,” DeVita said. “He was a little sore for a few days and we took a few X-rays and saw that he broke his P1 (first Phalanx). We just stopped with him, obviously and gave him the rest of the year off to heal.” By Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Somebeachsomewhere mare Booya Beach, Heaven’s Gait is a homebred for John Cummins. The horse stood out to DeVita from day one. “When he first came into the farm, he just looked like a big ball of muscle. He looked like he was going to be a nice athlete,” DeVita said. “He did everything right from the start and as we started going faster miles, he just did it so easily and seemed to enjoy it so much. He never gave us any problems and he just had a special look about him, the way he carries himself. He’s a very intelligent horse.” Heaven’s Gait made just five starts at 2, winning a pair of overnights at Pocono Downs. At 3, he won two legs of the New York Sire Stakes and the $75,000 Hempt Consolation. He crossed the wire first in the last five starts of his sophomore campaign, culminating with the Empire Breeders Classic. “He was a homebred for us, so we really worked with him from the ground up,” DeVita said. “To win a big race like that, it was quite a thrill and such an honor. I was just proud to be part of the team and John has been so hands-on with him. John loves his horses, so it was really special to win that race. It was very rewarding, the road to get there.” DeVita took Heaven’s Gait’s injury in stride and the support of Cummins, a veterinarian based in Lexington, proved invaluable. “It’s part of the game, so you can only play the card you’re dealt. Dr. Cummins is a very knowledgeable veterinarian and he told us what we needed to do. He was onboard in helping us any way he could,” DeVita said. “We followed his advice and he said, ‘if you do the right thing, he should come back no problem,’ and he did. “We’re very careful with him. John doesn’t put a lot of pressure on us; he wants the right thing done by his horse and we respect that,” DeVita continued. “That makes it so much easier when the owner wants the best thing done with their horse and you don’t have the pressure to bring them back too early or do something that you don’t feel comfortable doing. We just took our time with him and he let us know when he was ready to come back.” Heaven’s Gait qualified five times between Aug. 22, 2018 and Dec. 1, 2018, but never started in a pari-mutuel race. He trialed again Oct. 9 at Pocono Downs in 1:55 before posting a final qualifier one week later in 1:54.2. Heaven’s Gait finished second in his return to the races at Saratoga Nov. 2. After his comeback win, he started from post eight in Saratoga’s Open Handicap, but found himself at a 12 1/2-length disadvantage through a :57.1 half. In his last start at Yonkers Nov. 23, Heaven’s Gait finished sixth in the $35,000 Preferred Handicap. “His last start at Saratoga, they nearly went a second quarter in 31 seconds and he was sitting last. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re that far out of it, especially at a track like Saratoga, you’re hoping to finish fifth at that point,” DeVita said. “We had the rail last week and just our first start at Yonkers, tried to get around there safely. He did and he finished strong. Hopefully we get away a little closer this week.” Heaven’s Gait will continue his comeback in the $42,000 Open Handicap Pace Saturday night (Dec. 7). George Brennan, who leads Jason Bartlett in the driver standings 411 to 407, will drive the stallion from post one. The pair are 6-1 on the morning line. Last week’s Open Handicap winner Mac’s Jackpot will start from post six as he seeks four straight wins. Jack’s Legend was assigned post eight off a pair of impressive victories in the Open Handicap and Preferred Handicap in his last two starts Nov. 16 and 23, respectively. The Real One and Saying Grace, who finished second and third to Mac’s Jackpot last week, drew posts seven and two, respectively. The Wall, who was handicapped by post seven last week, drew post five Saturday night. Raukapuka Ruler and Sunfire Blue Chip complete the lineup and enter off wins for $27,000 Nov. 23. “He’s in against tough horses, but we plan to race him against the best horses,” DeVita said. “I think he can go with them no problem. He was one of the best 3-year-olds in 2017 in New York and he raced against good horses then and I’m sure he’ll be able to compete with them. “He’s shown that he can win on the lead, he can win from off the pace, he can fly home. He’s great off a helmet. I really have no concern there,” DeVita continued. “Yonkers is a good track to race off the pace and there’s really no pressure on George to put him on the lead by no means. He is in against those tough horses and hopefully he can work out a trip and hopefully it works out for us.” Regardless of the outcome Saturday night, DeVita still sees the same spark in Heaven’s Gait that made him stand out as a yearling. “He loves to work, very classy horse, professional. He never gave us a problem. He’s still a stallion and he’s a perfect gentleman. You can walk a mare right past him. He’s a pleasure to work with. You know a special horse when you’re around them. They act different, they carry themselves differently, they know they’re special.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through December 17. First post time is 6:50 p.m.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

Chester, PA -- Following two consecutive Preferred wins at Freehold, Lyons Steel ($4.40) extended his streak to three with a 1:52.3 harness racing victory in the $18,000 pacing feature on Sunday (Nov. 24) at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 4-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding and driver David Miller worked clear of Nine Ways (Tony Morgan) after a :27.1 first quarter, and then parried two separate challenges en route to the 15th win of his career. After rating a :55.4 half mile, Lyons Steel staved off a first-over push from JK Musicman (George Napolitano Jr.) through three-quarters in 1:23.4, and then dug in to defeat the late-rallying Billy Badger N (Dexter Dunn) by three-quarters of a length. JK Musicman narrowly held third over Mako Banner N (Corey Callahan). Dennis Watson trains Lyons Steel for BD Racing LLC. Tim Tetrick notched a grand slam on the 14-race card, winning with King Harvest ($5.80), Song Cycle Senese ($1.20), Sadiq Hanover ($13.40) and In Rock We Trust ($10.40). Due to an insuficent amount of entries, qualifiers at Harrah's are cancelled on Tuesday. Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 27), with a 14-race card due to commence at 2:05 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia 

CHESTER, PA - Harness racing drivers Dexter Dunn and George Napolitano Jr. won the feature races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon - and red-hot Tim Tetrick won about everything else. Dunn guided the Captaintreacherous sophomore filly Philly Hanover to her second straight victory while winning the $18,000 top-billed distaff pace in 1:51.4. The "hometown horse" had to go the first-over route, but the uncovered journey did not faze the heaviest of favorites at all as she won by 2¾ lengths over Modesta, who tailed her cover, for trainer Ron Coyne Jr. and the partnership of Ron Coyne Stables Inc. and Blair Corbeil. Napolitano was the driver behind the Rock N Roll Heaven mare Jive Dancing A, who has now won four of her last five starts after tallying in 1:52.2 in the $17,000 co-feature. The Mike Hall trainee set the pace with two moves and had second-place Privacy Hanover three lengths in arrears of her as she ran her win record to 12 for 21 this season, to the pleasure of owners Blindswitch Racing Stable. Tetrick came out of the box smoking on Friday, winning five of the first six races (and missing a head in the other), and added a sixth victory later in the program to give him "boxcars" - a pair of sixes on the Wednesday and Friday cards (he drove at Dover on Thursday with the Matron sophomore stakes). During the month of November Tetrick has a 65-23-16-4-.511 log just at Philly, and he has won 41 races overall in the month's first 15 days, despite not competing on three of the days. He is second in North America in victories, first in money, and was tenth in UDR as the day started; at Philly, Tim is tops in all three categories. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Jive Dancing A won her third straight race and her second straight in the $17,000 fillies and mares high-level harness racing pace on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, lowering her lifetime mile mark to 1:51.4 despite temperatures in the lower 50s. The victorious daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven was the innermost of three competitors for the early lead, yielding the top to favored Sweet Lucy Lou near the :27.4 quarter; that one, who had been two-wide in the first turn, then gave way to Odds On St Lucie, who was limbed three-deep most of the quarter then two-wide further before getting the top. Odds On St Lucie was off to the races, hitting the half in :55.2 and leaving the chalk gapping in the two-hole, while Jive Dancing A started a first-over move. Jive Dancing A was gaining on Odds On St Lucie by the 1:22.3 three-quarters and went to the front shortly after turning for home; by that point Sweet Lucy Lou had found her best strides, but her inside bid came up a head shy. George Napolitano Jr., who added five wins Friday to the four he had here Thursday, handled the winner, who lost her first 16 starts Down Under but is now 16-for-31 in her last two campaigns, for trainer Michael Hall and Blindswitch Racing Stable. Also extending a win streak was the Somebeachsomewhere sophomore filly Abuelita Hanover, who won her second straight impressively on the engine, here in 1:52.4, in a $16,000 co-feature for distaff pacers. Pat Berry never looked back once making the lead at the quarter, winning by 5¼ lengths over 60-1 shot Don't Forget for trainer Nick Surick and the partnership of Tonianne Fuoco, Michael Casalino Jr., J L Benson Stables Inc., and J Craparotta and P Berry Racing LLC. The $16,000 trotting section of the co-feature went to the Muscle Hill sophomore gelding Muscle Star, who didn't have the easiest of trips - an early tuck followed by a first-over grind forward - but once on top Muscle Star left the field well behind him, winning in 1:57.1. Tony Morgan drove the improving three-year-old for trainer Lucas Wallin and Mazza Racing Stables LLC. The Captaintreacherous sophomore miss Philly Hanover, fresh from an appearance in the Breeders Crown final, defeated older stock in the $14,500 fast-class distaff pace, moving to the top in front of the stands and winning by herself in 1:50.3. Dexter Dunn sat in the sulky behind the winner of $297,979 for trainer Ron Coyne and the ownership of Blair Corbeil and Ron Coyne Stables Inc. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A rare Ãke Svanstedt-trained pacer, the Rock N Roll Heaven mare Kimberlee, sat off of very hot fractions, then swept to victory late in the $17,500 distaff featured harness racing pace during the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Shes Pukka N used the rail to gain the early advantage, keeping the favorite Eclipse Me N parked well past the :26 quarter to almost the 3/8; at that point Medusa, who had also left and was parked with cover, went on and gained command before the hot :54.1 half. Tell Me A Joke came up first-over, with the 12-1 Kimberlee towed up second-over, with the former challenging Medusa for the lead through and past a 1:22 three-quarters. All of the horses who had been involved with the quick pace understandably tired a bit, leaving Kimberlee ($26.60) with a clear path to pace to a 1:50.3 victory, a neck ahead of Tell Me A Joke. Marcus Miller, whose four driving wins were the most on the card, was in the sulky behind the 10-time winner for Knutsson Trotting Inc. Though she came up shy in this, her first start in 26 days, Eclipse Me N earned a place in the winners circle after Kimberlee, as the Real Desire mare was honored as Pocono's Mare of the Year. Eclipse Me N performed quite honorably against national-class mares in the Great Northeast Open Series, missing only a half-length in the Championship, and in top-level overnight events she was a high-percentage winner, including an equaling of the 1:48.2 world record for older mares on a 5/8-mile track and an upset win over Breeders Crown champion Caviart Ally. The Allard brothers, driver Simon and trainer Rene, were among others on hand to accept the award for the connections of the winner of $314,269, who is owned by Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald MacRae. Only five cards remain in the 2019 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as with the change to November the track will race only on Saturday and Tuesday until closing night of Saturday, November 16. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Bro (Rock N Roll Heaven) endured some difficult trips in the two legs of the Gary Kamal Memorial Pacing Series at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Homer Hochstetler-trained pacer drew the rail in Saturday's $35,200 Series Final and the three year old's journey wound up being a bit smoother. Driver Jay Randall powered Bro out to the early lead in the Final, getting the sophomore to the top in a 28.1 first quarter. After pacing the half in 57 seconds, Bro was confronted by the race's favorite and series star Mister Miami (Claude Huckabone III) who had the daunting task of trying to reel-in his major danger via the first-over journey. The trip proved too difficult for the odds-on favorite Mister Miami as Bro dispatched him around the final turn. Pocket sitter SB Angelindisguise (Mark Beckwith) took his shot in the passing lane as two-leg winner Sweet Deisel (Dan Daley) shook loose in the stretch. Sweet Deisel came on to be second while SB Angelindisguise had to settle for third. For Bro, it was the second victory in a $35,000+ race in the last six weeks as the three year old scored in the New York Sire Stakes Consolation Final contested at Vernon Downs last month. Bro, who paid $6.00 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $31 and $123, respectively, is owned by Jay Hochstetler and the Finkelburg Racing Stable. Randall's win behind Bro was one of three on the night for the veteran reinsman. Bro adds his name to the list of previous winners of the Kamal Pace which consists of Twin B Spy, Bell I No, Stirling Electra, Carolina Beach and Kiwi Tintin N. The $17,500 Consolation of the Kamal Memorial Pace contested on Saturday went to The Great Buzz N (Auckland Reactor) as the Paul Zabielski trainee went coast-to-coast in 1:54.4. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee starting at 12 Noon. There is a $1,134 carryover in the Pick Five pool with the Pick Five beginning in race one. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Chester, PA -- After being hindered by severe road trouble in last week's Open at Yonkers, Rodeo Rock ($5.40) found clear sailing and bounced back decisively in Sunday afternoon's (Oct. 20) featured top-level conditioned harness racing pace at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding floated into fourth on the first turn and patiently stalked a :27.1 first quarter set by Mike's Z Tam (Pat Lachance). Only after American Boy N (Andy McCarthy) cleared from the outer tier with a circuit to go did Eric Goodell give Rodeo Rock his cue, angling him first-over just before a :55 half. Rodeo Rock responded at Goodell's first asking, powering away from American Boy N up the far side and sprinting off at will to win in 1:50.3 over sloppy going. Mike's Z Tam emerged from traffic to save second, 2-1/4 lengths back, while 4-5 favorite Dealt A Winner (George Napolitano Jr.) sustained gradual progress after losing cover to take third. Robert Cleary trains 28-time winner Rodeo Rock for Royal Wire Products Inc. Rodeo Rock keyed a 6-1-4-5-8 combination in the afternoon's 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5, and multiple players connected for a $72.84 dividend. The carryover for Wednesday's (Oct. 23) fifth race mounts to $10,718.92. Post time for the first of 13 races on Wednesday's card is 12:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER, PA - Jive Dancing A showed herself to be the real thing as she shipped into Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, winning the $17,000 featured pace for distaffs in 1:52.1, her fastest clocking in a harness racing win on North American shores. George Napolitano Jr., whose four wins on the day topped the driving colony, scooted right to the lead with the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, then yielded after the :27 quarter to the brush of favored Odds On St. Lucie, who led the field through middle fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.1. But the chalk did not have much left for the stretch, and Jive Dancing A proved strong as a pocket rocket, winning by two lengths over St Somewhere, who followed the winner throughout, including the inside path in the stretch. Jive Dancing A has now won two straight races since coming under the care of trainer Michael Hall. She is owned by Blindswitch Racing Stable. There were a pair of $16,000 events, one for pacing distaffs and one for trotters. In the trot, the Swan For All gelding Always A Dream rallied three-wide on the final turn, not always the best avenue to victory at Philly, and rolled on strongly to a two length victory over Bella Ava in 1:57.2. Pat Berry drove the winner, in his first campaign at the races at age four, for trainer Scott Di Domenico and the partnership of Foulk Stables Inc. and Triple D Stables Inc. In the contest for female pacers, the Captaintreacherous sophomore Catch A Secret emulated the good form of her distaff stablemates in the Jim King Jr. stable, freshman Lyons Sentinel and older sensation Shartin N, with a victory in a lifetime best of 1:53.3. Victor Kirby reserved her in midpack until the backstretch, and then she made one big move to go right by entering the far turn, winning by 4 1/4 lengths for her fourth win in her last five starts for the ownership of Ben Mudry, Brad Maxwell, Dr. Fred Kruszelnicki, and Kenneth Frieder. A $14,500 pace for fast-class mares went to the Art Major mare Tell Me A Joke, who sent her earnings to $150,601 with a five length victory in 1:52.3. Tony Morgan brushed with the winner of three straight off the first turn and was never in doubt once in front for trainer Chris Temming and T R Stables. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A pair of win streaks will collide as the top harness racing pacers in Eastern Canada meet Saturday evening at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 12-dash program gets underway at 6 P.M. at the Capital oval with the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association Invitational lining up in race 12 for a $4,000 purse. Gold Cup and Saucer finalist Lisburn has rail control in the field of seven as he sits on two straight wins in preferred action for trainer-driver Kenny Arsenault and owner Kevin Harvey of Hammonds Plains, N.S. The four-year-old son of Rocknroll Heaven has yet to miss the board in Atlantic Canada this season including an open length win in 1:53.3 his last time out. Euchred scorched the Truro Raceway in identical time last week in the Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational but will have to overcome post 7 this week to find the winner's circle and extend his win streak to four straight. Trainer Walter Walker of Inverness, N.S., will entrust the driving duties to Mike McGuigan on Saturday evening. Woodmere Ideal Art was a runner-up to Euchred last week and has post 5 in Saturday's class with David Dowling in the race bike for Sifroi Melanson of Greater Lakeburn, N.B. Top Island pacer Rose Run Quest is also in the field for trainer-driver Marc Campbell as the son of If I Can Dream boasts four straight top-three finishes. Race analyst Les MacIsaac sees rail control as sealing the deal for Lisburn to find the winner's circle. "Lisburn dominated his last two races from start to finish and with him landing on the pylons tonight we'll likely be looking at the same scenario," MacIsaac said. "Other than the short price there's not much to dislike." Also in the field is Burn Out Hanover (Driven by Corey MacPherson), Bugsy Maguire (Jason Hughes) and Nogreatmischief (Walter Cheverie). Sodwana Bay will look continue her Fillies and Mares Open pace domination in race 9 of the program for a $2,750 purse. Dale Spence picks up the catch driving assignment from trainer Gilles Barrieau, who is competing in stakes action in Nova Scotia. With four straight wins on her card, Sodwana Bay's six rivals will have their hands full Saturday evening. Some top entries in that class include Jordies Hope (Arsenault) and Traces Of Purple (Campbell). For race programs, promotional information and more go to www.Redshores.ca. JJ Powerball Takes On Sunday's Best SUMMERSIDE, PE - A field of hard hitting pacers will convene Sunday afternoon and a horse fresh out of Invitational action is pegged as the one to beat Sunday afternoon at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. The 12-dash Sunday afternoon presentation kicks off at 1 P.M. with the $2,600 top class assembling in the finale. JJ Powerball last competed in the Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational at Truro Raceway in Bible Hill, N.S., finishing fourth while pacing in 1:54.3 for trainer Wade Sorrie. That mile puts the target squarely on his back as the top pick but he has his work cut out for him from post 7. Dale Spence will do the driving on Sunday as the son of Image Of Dawn looks for his 12th lifetime win for owners Austin Sorrie of Ontario and Tammy Collings of Hazel Brook. Mando Fun has rail control in the top event with Gilles Barrieau in the bike for co-owner and trainer Paul Biggar of Tyne Valley and co-owner Donald Callbeck of Kensington. Best To Hurst has post 2 with Walter Cheverie driving for trainer Earl Watts while former top class winner Phil Dorleans (Jason Hughes) leaves from post 3. Dangle Ona Dime (Corey MacPherson) has post 4 with Soccer Hanover (John Davidson) lining up from post 5. Heartland Eclipse cut out all the action last week and had to settle for a minor share. He gets leading driver David Dowling in the bike on Sunday from post 6. The far outside post 8 belongs to Red Magician with Adam Merner in the bike for trainer Melissa Rennie. The afternoon back-up pace hits the track in race 9 with Ramset the top pick in the $2,300 class for combination of driver Dowling and Red Shores Summerside leading trainer Elton Millar. The Rambaran pacer was a second place finisher his last time out for owners Ryan and Everett MacLeod of Souris. Other top entries include Heart And Soul (Cheverie) and Mantario (Norris Rogers). For live video and more check out www.Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Anythingforlove A, in his second start back since competing in the Levy Final, had anything but an easy trip, but still posted a 1:50.2 victory at 11-1 in the $17,500 pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Pat Berry got the winner of $327,308 away well and right to the lead, but after the :27 quarter he was passed in turn by second choice Sweet Rock and the 2-5 favorite, Funknwaffles, who guided the field past middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.1. Past the latter split Anythingforlove A vacated the third spot to begin his late challenge, and his determination carried him to a neck victory over Pocono Pike rallier Sweet Rock, with the favored Funknwaffles fading to fifth and losing a three-race winning streak. Anythingforlove A is trained by Jennifer Bongiorno for the Wish Me Luck Stables LLC. In a $16,000 claiming handicap pace, the Roll With Joe gelding Benji's Best enjoyed both a drop in company and a hotly-contested pace, as he was the eighth and final leader in a race which went in 1:50.2. Anthony Napolitano rolled the winner of $168,569 three-wide from third-over before the three-quarter pole, and the pair scooted past those horses who had been used in the early duel, winning by 2¾ lengths over Toddler Tantrum for trainer Dan Maier and owner Antonia Storer. The meet's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., scored four wins on the Saturday card, with Pat Berry and Eric Carlson each coming home first three times. Among the trio, they won the last ten races on the twelve-race card. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs  

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

YONKERS, N.Y. – Rodeo Rock will make his first start since June 30 when he races in the $46,000 Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night. The 6-year-old was in the midst of his best season to date for trainer Robert Cleary before suffering from minor setbacks in the beginning of the summer. Rodeo Rock’s big 2019 season began at the end of his 2018 campaign. Although the Rock N Roll Heaven son had six wins on the season by last November, his victories had come in mid-level conditions and he didn’t make an impression with two fourth-place finishes in legs of the Levy Series last spring.  Rodeo Rock’s breakthrough came in a $29,000 overnight at Yonkers November 17. Rodeo Rock utilized a :27.2 final quarter to come from off the pace and score by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:53. Two weeks later, he returned to claim his first victory in the $44,000 Open Handicap Pace by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4. “He was super sharp,” Cleary recalled. “He won a non-winners of 30 event at Yonkers last November. Brian Sears drove him, and he was actually fifth at the top of the stretch and he won going away and Brian never touched him with the whip. You don’t normally do that in non-winners of 30 at Yonkers. In his next start, he won the Open at Yonkers. It wasn’t just the start of this year, he finished off the end of last year very sharp.” After some time off over the winter, Cleary brought Rodeo Rock back in a Meadowlands qualifier this February, which he won in 1:53.1. The gelding proved he was still sharp in winning his first pari-mutuel start of the year March 2. “He got a break at Christmas and came back and qualified late February,” Cleary said. “He was super sharp, the sharpest he’d ever been. He won his first start at the Meadowlands, took a life mark of 49-and-4, swooped the field from last to first.” Rodeo Rock then came to the Levy Series at Yonkers. He captured divisions of the first two legs of the series March 16 and 23 before finishing third and second in subsequent legs March 30 and April 13, respectively.  Rodeo Rock drew post six in the $664,000 Levy Final April 20 and despite racing seventh 10 lengths off the pace at the quarter with Andrew McCarthy in the sulky, rallied to finish second 4 3/4 lengths behind Western Fame. Rodeo Rock earned $166,000 for his runner up placing, more than the $136,350 he banked in 28 starts last year. “It was a great feeling. I thought the horse deserved to be second because I thought he was the second-best horse in the series,” Cleary said. “No doubt about it, Western Fame was the best horse in the series. I would have loved to have sat on Western Fame’s back in the final and seen if we could’ve had a shot at him from the two hole instead of sitting seventh at the half.  “My horse was racing good and he deserved to be second there,” Cleary continued. “It was very exciting. It was great to race for that kind of money and it was great to pick up a purse like we did. It’s a great series when you have a sharp horse.” Cleary has trained Rodeo Rock since 2017 when the pacer still fit the non-winners of six condition at Yonkers. He praised driver Eric Goodell for helping develop Rodeo Rock.  “I have to give a lot of credit to Eric Goodell,” Cleary said. “He drove him a lot at 4, he raced him in the 4-year-old Open at Yonkers. He did a good job with him. He raced him the way he was supposed to race him. When he was in the right spot, he got him on the front or first-up. And when he was meant to ride the fence, he rode the fence. I think he did a good job in bringing the horse along. “He was an immature big horse that had some soundness issues at 2 and 3,” Cleary continued. “When he developed into a 4-year-old, he just became a bigger, sounder, stronger horse.” After the Levy Series, Rodeo Rock went to Pennsylvania to compete in the Great Northeast Open Pacing Series. He won a leg at in a lifetime best 1:49.0 at Pocono May 18 and followed it with a second in the Commodore Barry Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia May 26. However, when Cleary shipped Rodeo Rock to Northfield Park for the Battle of Lake Erie June 8, the horse finished up the track beaten 29 lengths. “He’s actually a really calm, relaxed horse, but he just can’t handle shipping,” Cleary said. “He shipped out there, I thought he was OK. He made no noise in the trailer, drank a little bit on the way out. But when he came off the trailer out there, he was very, very uncomfortable. We did what we could to make him as comfortable as possible. The way he warmed up, I actually thought he was going to be OK, but in the stretch of the race, he didn’t want any part of it. I had a veterinarian check him out after the race and he actually had a touch of a gas colic.” Cleary gave Rodeo Rock a few weeks off to recover, but after a fifth and seventh in his next two starts at the end of June, Cleary stopped again. “He raced OK one start at Pocono after the break. I raced him once more at Chester and he was horrible. He wasn’t acting good, he wasn’t feeling good, so I sent him to the clinic,” Cleary said. “They scoped his stomach and he had ulcers. I gave him two weeks in the field and I treated him heavily for his stomach. He’s acting much better. “You just have to go back to the basics, let them be a horse, let them get back out into the field,” Cleary said. “They’ll rectify a lot of those problems themselves when they get out in the field.” Rodeo Rock returned in a qualifier over a sloppy track at Harrah’s Philadelphia August 6. He came from 8 1/2 lengths behind in fourth at the half to win by 2 1/4 in 1:55.2 with Goodell back in the bike. Despite the slow time, which Cleary attributed to the adverse conditions, the trainer was encouraged. “The biggest goal going into the qualifier was to braven him up and let him run down horses because that’s what he loves to do,” Cleary said. “It’s a little bit hard to get a reading on it because the weather was so bad. It was an absolute downpour, so I think it was hard for every horse to get around the track. Eric knows him pretty well and was happy with him. He said he was very strong, he was very pleased with him, so I’ll take his word on that.” Rodeo Rock drew post six for his return Saturday night and will be paired with Goodell again. Dr J Hanover is the 3-1 morning line favorite from post four off a nose loss on the front end in this class two weeks ago. Control Tower, who beat Dr J Hanover in that start, was sixth last week from post six, but drew post two this week and is 10-1 for Austin Siegelman and Nick Surick. Perfectly Close has been claimed three times in his last six starts and now trainer Michael Temming is bumping him up into the Open ranks. He will benefit from an assigned post one. The Real One was third in the Open last week and won it July 27; he will start from post five. Shneonucrzydiamnd, I’m Some Graduate, and Imarocnrollegend complete the lineup. “I know the horses that are in there and I want him driven the right way,” Cleary said of Rodeo Rock, who he plans to campaign at Yonkers and in Pennsylvania for the remainder of the year. “We can’t overdrive him when he’s been off for two months since his last start. I’ll be more than happy to let him race like he did in the Levy Final. Let him race from off the pace and pace home hard, hopefully he’s got some pace on the end of it. “It’s not even about a check, it’s about the horse racing good and finishing up strong.” Saturday’s card also features the $46,000 Open Trot and $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.  Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

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