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CHESTER, PA - Three-year-old fillies were spotlighted in $150,000 worth of Liberty Bell stakes series action during the Friday afternoon harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia, with two divisions for pacers and three for trotters. The first pace saw the ultraconsistent Rocknificent, competitive not only within the state but with the North American elite, handle a late pocket charge from Drama Act to win in 1:51.3. Scott Zeron sent the daughter of Captaintreacherous out of the $2M+-winning Rocklamation, who was second choice at 3-2 to Drama Act's 1-2, to the lead from post six, with Drama Act from the rail maintaining the pocket through pedestrian fractions of :27.1, :56.4, and 1:24.3.   When both the fillies' pedals were pushed to the metal, however, they dueled home in :27, with Rocknificent holding off her rival by a neck to run her seasonal record to 10-5-2-3-$242,530 and her lifetime tally to 23-10-4-7-$524,036 for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of Enviro Stables LTD, South Mountain Stables, and Little E LLC. The second pacing section also saw the second choice win, though the positional tables were turned, as the A Rocknroll Dance miss Dance Club made Going Gone Hanover, favored at 4-5 to Dance Club's 7-5, work through early numbers of :26.4 and :54.4, and then sat watching the 1:22.4 battle to the three-quarters between the favorite and first-over Wayside. George Brennan then steered the Ron Burke trainee up the inside, and Dance Club, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc. and David Wills, went past by a length and a half , with Going Gone Hanover beating Wayside by a half length for second. Turning to the trotters: Next Level Stuff raised her lifetime win record to 10 triumphs in 19 starts by posting a 1:55 victory in her division. With main foe Fifty Cent Piece eliminating herself early, the daughter of Sebastian K S quarter-moved after a :27.3 opener, got a breather to the half in :58.1, then tripped the three-quarters in 1:26.4 and held safe Electrapedia by 1¾ lengths. Todd McCarthy, quickly adapting to top-level North American competition, drove the winner of $328,816 for trainer Jim Campbell and Runthetable Stables. A similar scenario developed in another Liberty Bell trot, as Dune Hill made an early misstep, leaving the path clear for the Muscle Massive miss Miss McKee to head down the road for driver George Napolitano Jr., with fractions of :28.1, :58.1, and 1:26 leading to an open length triumph in 1:54.2. The Jack Baggitt Jr.-trained filly now has seven wins in twelve seasonal starts and over $110,000 on her card this year for J L Sadowsky LLC. The Hall of Fame is not likely to be calling for a copy of the third division. After the Andover Hall filly SVF Blushingbride made the lead in :27.4 and got to the half in :58.1 ahead of her five opponents, the following happened in this order: 1) first-over Impressive Fashion made a break just past the midway point, leaving Cover Girl uncovered; 2) pocketsitter Aldebaran Revani made a miscue off turn two, causing 3) I'm Winin Hanover right behind her to suffer an "ix," which let Cover Girl take the pocket and left favored Molto Bene uncovered; 4) the "first-up" horse broke at the 1:26.3 three-quarters, leaving a two-horse breakaway until 5) Cover Girl misbehaved past midturn. That left driver Simon Allard and the Lou Pena-trained filly all alone to trot out in 1:57, with SVF Blushingbride's margin over the recovering Cover Girl 9 1/2 lengths. The subsequent inquiries into the breaks caused the red lighting on the tote board to use more electricity than a Christmas display, but only Aldebaran Revani, for causing interference, was placed lower. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Here are the horses and drivers/trainer of week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. PACER OF THE WEEK: BELL I NO The $30,000 to $40,000 claiming handicap harness racing pacers represent the best of the best in the claiming ranks at Pocono. And Bell I No has been hard to beat in that class of late. The eight-year-old gelding came into a start in that class on Saturday having picked up back-to-back victories in that group, with winning times of 1:51:3 and 1:50:2. Bell I No was the pacesetter in those previous two wins, but, on Saturday, driver George Napolitano Jr. was forced to come first-over with him to challenge Lachie MaGuire N. In this first start for new trainer Chuck Crissman Jr., Bell I No took the lead in the stretch and held off closing Rangers Sureshot to win by 1 ¼ lengths. His third straight win came as the 7-5 second betting choice and in a time of 1:50:4. Honorable Mention Pyro (Simon Allard, Ron Burke), who followed up two straight wins at the Meadows with a condition victory at Pocono on Saturday in 1:49, a new career-best. Ruthless Hanover (George Napoliotano Jr., Thomas Cancelliere), who scored his third consecutive win at Pocono with a victory in Stallion Series action for three-year-old male pacers on Tuesday with a career-best mile of 1:51. Doubleoffthewall (Matt Kakaley, Tom Fanning), who followed up her maiden victory at Pocono with a Stallion Series win on Monday against other 2-year-old fillies in a career-best 1:54. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MISSISSIPPI STORM Trained by Tom Fanning, this 5-year-old gelding was impressive in a victory in a $14,000 condition trot on July 18 at Pocono, as a 7-5 second choice, in 1:53:1. He struggled to a 7th place finish in tough company at the Meadowlands in his next start. On Saturday, Mississippi Storm returned to Pocono to face the $14,000 conditioners once again, leaving from the inside post in a field of nine as a 2-1 second choice. Driver Anthony Napolitano stayed patient with Mississippi Storm in a third-in position, even on the back stretch when it looked like he might be boxed in. But the inside opened up nicely around the final term. Full of trot at that point, Mississippi Storm powered through the passing lane past the leaders for the win in 1:52, a new career mark and the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Honorable Mention Kinetic King (Tyler Buter, Rob Harmon), who came off two straight victories at Tioga to capture a claiming trot at Pocono on Monday in 1:56:1 Theresademoninme (Tyler Buter, Dylan Davis), who handled a tough group of condition trotters on Saturday in 1:54:2. Alexandria Hanover (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who moved up in class to pick up her second consecutive condition won on Tuesday, doing so in a career mark of 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SUMMER ROCK More like Long Shot of the Year, as this pacing mare driven by Mark MacDonald rallied for a win on Monday in a claiming handicap at 170 to 1, paying off $342.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON Zeron was all over the stakes action this week, going to town on Sunday and Monday with three Stallion Series and two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes victories. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LINDA TOSCANO The Toscano barn is full of talented pacing fillies, as evidenced by three stakes wins at Pocono on Monday and Tuesday, including a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes victory with two-year-old Marsala Hanover. 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 The Downs                

Ake Svanstedt believes Back Of The Neck has got it all, which is everything a harness racing horse needs in the Hambletonian. Back Of The Neck is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of Saturday's two $50,000 Hambletonian Stakes eliminations at The Meadowlands. The colt is a nose from being unbeaten in three races this season and will start from post one with Scott Zeron in the sulky for trainer Svanstedt. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million Hambletonian final Aug. 8 at the Big M. Elim winners draw for post one through five for the final. The Hambletonian is racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. Svanstedt will send out a total of four horses in the eliminations, with Third Shift joining Back Of The Neck in the first, followed by Jula Trix Treasure and Moon Bridge in the second. First post is at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) and the Hambletonian eliminations are races six and eight on the 13-race card. Back Of The Neck, trained by Marcus Melander in 2019, won three of nine races last year, including a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial and an elimination of the Willliam Wellwood Memorial. He finished third in the Wellwood final. This year, the colt was second in a 3-year-old open before winning divisions of the Reynolds and Stanley Dancer Memorial, both in 1:52. All three starts were at The Meadowlands. "He has won with power left every time," Svanstedt said. "He feels good and he trains good. I think he's in good condition. "He is a strong horse. He has a big engine and is good gaited. I think he has a good head also. I think he has everything. But for a horse to have a chance to win the Hambletonian, they must have everything. They must have the power, they must have the speed, and they must have the heart. They must want to win." Back Of The Neck raced on the lead in his first start in 2020, but from off the pace in his most recent outings, winning with strong stretch drives. "Scott said he was grabby the first time, but the last two races he hasn't been grabby," Svanstedt said. "It was no problem to back off. He is very nice to drive and he can come home very fast." Zeron is already a two-time winner of the Hambletonian at the age of 31. He won in 2018 with Atlanta and in 2016 with Marion Marauder, who went on to sweep the Trotting Triple Crown (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity). Back Of The Neck is owned by Howard Taylor, Judy Taylor, and breeder Order By Stable. The colt is a son of French star Ready Cash out of Big Barb. Ready Cash also sired the favorite in the second Hambletonian elimination, Ready For Moni. Third Shift heads to his Hambletonian elim off a second-place finish behind Back Of The Neck in the Dancer. In his other two starts this season, he won a division of the New York Sire Stakes and a division of the Empire Breeders Classic. Last year, the son of Chapter Seven-Overnight Command won three of eight races, including the New York Sire Stakes championship. He will start from post two in his Hambletonian elim, with Svanstedt driving. "I think Back Of The Neck is a better horse, but Third Shift is not so bad," said Svanstedt, who owns Third Shift with Mellby Gard Inc. "I raced him (on the lead) last time, drove him tough, because I wanted to stretch him out before the Hambo. I think he can do better." Svanstedt also will drive Jula Trix Treasure in the second Hambletonian elimination. Jula Trix Treasure, by 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Victory Treasure, won a division of the Reynolds on July 11 in 1:51.2, which is tied for the second-fastest victory time by any of the 17 horses entered in the Hambletonian. For his career, he has won four of 10 races for owner Jula Racing. He enters his Hambletonian elim off a fifth-place finish in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes last week. He will start from post three and is 6-1 on the morning line. "The last race he wasn't a hundred percent gaited and lost ground in the last turn," Svanstedt said. "We're going to do some small changes to try to make his gait better. He's always been strong and comes home good. He's a fighter." Moon Bridge, who will have Andy Miller in the sulky, has a win and a second in three starts this year. His triumph came in his most recent race, July 17, by 12-1/4 lengths in 1:52.2. The Hambletonian elim will be his first Grand Circuit race of the season. Last year, he won two of eight races, including the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. Moon Bridge, a son of E L Titan-Classic Belle, will start Saturday from post nine and is 20-1. He is owned by Esa Lahtinen, Janne Korpi, and Jussi Hietalahti. "He's good gaited and he always does the job," said Svanstedt, who won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit as the result of What The Hill's disqualification for interference. "I think he's as good as he can be. We'll see how far he can go." Eliminations for the Aug. 8 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters were unnecessary, but eight Oaks finalists will be in action in an open for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also in action will be Meadowlands Pace champ Tall Dark Stranger in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers. For complete entries, click here.  Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Chrome was sent on a mission by his driver Scott Zeron in the Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands. And he completed it in spectacular fashion. The 5-year-old son of Chapter Seven-Counter Pointe won a second straight start in the Preferred for trotters, as the razor-sharp Jeff Cullipher trainee scored in 1:50.4 after going a less-than-ideal trip. There were horses leaving the gate from the outside, so Zeron had a decision to make early on from post eight. "I think given the circumstances, it worked out the way it had to," said Zeron. "There were not a lot of leavers mid-pack, so it was either sneak into the four-hole or go to the front. Midway around the first turn, I decided to go to the lead. He was so good tonight. I figured I'd make the front and then rate from there." But it would not be easy. JL Cruze, the 5-2 favorite, grabbed the lead at the quarter in a wicked :26.3 as Southwind Chrome continued his march to the top while uncovered. He did not clear until the three-eighths. The half was reached in :55 and Southwind Chrome was moving well on the point, then Zeron asked for more in an effort to seal the victory on the far turn. "I figured if I put space between Dex [Dunn, driving JL Cruze] and I at the five-eighths, I would be able to cruise down the lane." He did just that. Southwind Chrome opened up a 1¾-length edge at three-quarters after rating the third fraction in :28 and upped his lead to 2½ at the head of the stretch. Southwind Chrome's advantage diminished in deep stretch as JL Cruze was closing in, but still held on by a safe neck. Kenziesky Hanover was third. "When you have a good horse, you just want to know the other horses' form," said Zeron. "I knew my horse was at the top of his game." Southwind Chrome, who is heading for next week's $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Big M, paid $9.20 to win as the second choice in the betting and now has 13 wins from 36 career starts and earnings of $230,210 for owners Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher. NJSS WRAP UP The second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds saw four divisions on the Friday card, and filly pacer Odds On Sarasota (Rock N Roll Heaven-Odds On Charmaine) stayed perfect in two sire stakes starts this year by finding room late along the pylons to win in 1:55 as the 4-5 favorite for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Ross Croghan. Odds On Sarasota Rockin The Aces (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mattaroni) came from way back at odds of 17-1 to gun down 1-9 public choice Rock Me Hard in deep stretch in the colts and geldings pace in a lifetime-best 1:51.2 for Brian Sears and Robert Cleary. Ab'sattitudexpress was sent to the top by Yannick Gingras and blew away the field at odds of 7-1 for Lucas Wallin in the filly trot. The daughter of Trixton-Abbie'sgotattidtude stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:52.4. Abbie'sgotattidtude After racing wide around the first turn, 2-5 favorite Play Trix On Me was a dominant winner in the colts and geldings trot. The son of Trixton-Lima Playmate equaled his lifetime best of 1:53.2 for Zeron and Linda Toscano, the Hall of Famer who was celebrating a birthday. A LITTLE MORE Former Meadowlands leading drivers Sears and George Brennan, who were winless in 39 and 22 starts, respectively, both won for the first time at the meet. ... The Big M's "Big 4" multi-leg wagers were popular, as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($74,907), 20-cent Pick-6 ($32,872 with some help from a $8,948 carryover), Early 50-cent Pick-4 ($78,906) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($78,087) all took big play. Wagering for the 13-race card totaled $2,837,178, upping the Big M's streak of at least $2.5 million in handle to 14. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Lake Worth, FL - Harness racing driver Scott Zeron stole the show at the qualifying races Wednesday morning at Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center. Zeron won all four of the qualifying races on the five-eighths mile oval. The first race trot saw Zeron wire the field with Celebrity Liberty, winning by one length over Tribeca Blue (Dan Daley) in 2:02.3 with Celebrity Titan (Sam Stathis) third. Then in the second race trot, Zeron once again cut all the fractions with Celebrity Serena, :29, :58 and 1:27.4 to the three-quarters, then pulled away from Celebrity Bianca (Sam Stathis) to win by four and one-half lengths in 1:57.3. That was the fastest mile of the four races. The third race trot was a classic matchup between Celebrity Farms two top horses, Celebrity Miracle (Scott Zeron) and his sire (father) Celebrity Maserati. Both horses were on three-race winning streaks. Celebrity Maserati and Stathis were first on the lead to the opening quarter mile in :30.2, but by the half mile marker in 1:02, Zeron had Celebrity Miracle on the move and they blew by Celebrity Maserati, opened up at the three-quarters in 1:30.3, coming home a five-length winner in 1:59.2. Celebrity Maserati was second with Baby Maker Hanover (Ken Holliday) an early breaker at the start. All of the Celebrity horses are bred and owned by Sam Stathis's Celebrity Farms. The fourth race on the program was a pace and Zeron made it a driving quadruple, wiring the field with Roll With Angel, kicking in a :28.1 last quarter mile to beat Doyoukissfirstday (Dan Daley) by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:58.1. It was the fastest mile ever for Roll With Angel, a three-year-old filly by Roll With Joe, trained by John Mungillo, who won $43,730 last year on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. She is co-owned by Finish Line Investors and Thatsideofthefence Stables with J. Papiemik and L. Wiler. "The track was in great shape," Scott Zeron said. "and I was able to sit behind some nice horses. For me it's nice to qualify and get back in form. It gets me excited for competitive racing when we all start back up. Celebrity Serena was pretty impressive today. 1:57:3 is a quick mile on that track. With that said hopefully sooner than later we can all get back to racing." Qualifiers, two-year-old's behind the gate and 2:25 mile races for two-year-olds will continue at Olympia of Palm Beach next Wednesday, April 22 at 11:00 am. Horse people interested in entering the qualifiers, please contact Kathy Breedlove at 954-654-0129 by 1:00 pm on Tuesday, April 21. There will be only three horses per race and, if possible, horses will be split into divisions by gait. Anyone planning on shipping in with their horse(s) for the qualifiers must call Ann-Mari Daley at 315-225-4992 as special arrangements have been made for ship-ins. By Steve Wolf, for Olympia of Palm Beach  

Lake Worth, FL - It was an exciting morning at Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center (formerly the South Florida Trotting Center) as five qualifying races were held with two race finishes decided by a head and a neck. The first race trot saw driver Fern Paquet, Jr. cut slow fraction as the pocket-sitting Celebrity Titan (Sam Stathis) went off-stride at the half mile. Paquet then just needed to keep Hall OF Faith on-stride and they won by 20 lengths in 2:10.1. It was only the second qualifying race for Hall Of Faith. The three-year-old filly by Conway Hall is trained by Jennifer Sansone for owner Reuben Graber of Sugarcreek, Ohio. Paquet was greeted in the winner's circle with some rolls of toilet paper. Each winning driver will receive a 12-pack of the hard-to-get item. Paquet, whose daughter Meghan was the outrider for the qualifying races, made a return trip to the winner's circle in the second race trot. It was Sam Stathis going right to the lead with Celebrity Bianca with Paquet was content to sitting the two-hole trip with Celebrity Miracle, who had just won on March 16 at Pompano Park in a lifetime best clocking of 1:54.3. Stathis widened his lead with Celebrity Bianca trying to bottom out Celebrity Miracle and Paquet, going to the first quarter in :29.2, then past the half mile in :59.3. Paquet began to gain ground with Celebrity Miracle, closing to within two lengths of Celebrity Bianca at the three-quarters in 1:30.1. Racing neck and neck around the final turn, Paquet put a nose up over Celebrity Bianca and the pulled away in the stretch to win by two lengths in 2:01. A four-year-old gelded son of Celebrity Maserati, Celebrity Miracle is trained by Sam Stathis and is owned by his Celebrity Farms of New York, NY. It would turn out that Celebrity Miracle's mile was the fastest of the day. The third race all belonged to Sam Sathis and his stallion, Celebrity Maserati, but it was a tough mile at the finish wire. Stathis started off the show going right to the lead with Celebrity Maserati. Also, in the race was Celebrity Serena (Fern Paquet, Jr.), who is sired by Celebrity Maserati, so the race was father against daughter. Celebrity Serena (who is named after the tennis star) was content with the pocket trip as Celebrity Maserati cut all the fractions. Starting around the final turn, Paquet pulled the pocket and started to come after her sire, Celebrity Maserati. Those two horses dueled neck and neck down the stretch with Celebrity Maserati winning by a head in 2:05. A $198,000 career stakes winner at age two and three, Celebrity Maserati is a ten-year-old stallion by Andover Hall. Due to injuries he was unable to race for years, but still was able to service numerous mares for Celebrity Farms and will return to the races once the tracks are able to reopen. Celebrity Maserati is trained by Stathis and owned by his Celebrity Farms. The fourth race was for pacers with trainer/driver Dan Daley sitting a pocket trip with Sweet Deisel while Jimi Wind Ricks and driver Scott Zeron cut the mile. Through fractions of :31.3, 1:02.2 and 1:32, Jimi Wind Ricks was strong on the lead, but Dan Daley kept Sweet Deisel right in the pocket until the final turn and then came after Jimi Wind Ricks. It looked as if Jimi Wind Rocks and Zeron would be able to hold on, but Sweet Deisel kicked in a :28.4 last quarter mile and nipped Jimi Wind Ricks by a neck in 2:01.1. It was the second fasted mile for the day. Daley, an inductee to the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame, trains Sweet Deisel, a four-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou who is co-owned by his wife, Ann-Mari Daley and Crawford Farms. Sweet Deisel last year scored seven wins and won $43,000. Due to scratches, the fifth race pace featured just one starter, Roll With Angel and driver Scott Zeron. They cut fractions of :32, 1:02.1, 1:32 and won the race in 2:01.4. Trained by John Mungillo, Roll With Angel is a three-year-old filly by Roll With Joe and is co-owned by Finish Line Investors, Thatsideofthefence, J. Papernik and L Wiler. She started 12 times last year at age 2, earned over $43,000 in the New York Sire Stake and had never won a race until Wednesday's qualifier. "This was just a super day," Said Sam Stathis, who owns Olympia of Palm Beach Training Center. "We tried to make this event something special for people to watch. We had some Facebook Live and the video and droning of the races will be on our Olympiapalmbeach.com website later today. I want to thank everyone that came out today and made things happen and kept proper social distances. "We hope to do more events like this in the future," Stathis added. "I know this virus is a terrible thing, but we will beat it and come back and be strong again. Video of each of the five races and the droning that took place will be available to view at www.olympiapalmbeach.com. By Steve Wolf, for Olympia of Palm Beach  

In a classic stretch battle, Senorita Rita and driver Scott Zeron nosed out pacesetter Sister Sledge at the wire to win the $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old harness racing trotting fillies Saturday at the Meadowlands. The time of the race was a lifetime mark of 1:53 for the daughter of Chapter Seven despite rains that started at the track. Senorita Rita posted her fourth straight victory for trainer Linda Toscano and owner Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY. She paid $4.20 to win. Finishing third was Hall Of AM S. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

After a four-week respite, Captain Crunch is ready to get back to work. The award-winning harness racing pacing colt's layoff followed a seven-start first half of his campaign, which saw the Nancy Johansson trainee post five wins including the North America Cup and Cane Pace. Captain Crunch's most recent race was the Cane, which he won by a neck over Bettor's Wish in 1:48 on Aug. 3, Hambletonian Day, at The Meadowlands. With many of August's remaining top events for 3-year-old pacers on half-mile ovals, such as the Milstein Memorial and Messenger Stakes, the colt's connections opted for the opportunity to refresh for the second half of the season. This weekend, Captain Crunch returns to action when he meets six rivals in Saturday's C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A trip to The Meadows on Sept. 7 for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship is expected to follow. "We didn't have many options after the Cane," said Alan Katz of the 3 Brothers Stables, which shares ownership of Captain Crunch with Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "We knew the situation. We didn't want to race him in the Messenger or the Milstein on a half, so we decided to race him in the Simcoe. "That was basically the game plan right from the get-go. A little break in the schedule can only help him." Captain Crunch, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, has won 11 of 17 career races and earned $1.26 million. His top victories last season came in the Breeders Crown and year-ending Governor's Cup. This year, he opened with back-to-back wins in divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes before going off stride in his elimination for the North America Cup. The colt jumped a shadow in the first turn but rallied to finish fifth and advance to the $750,000 final, which he won as the fourth choice at odds of 4-1 in 1:47.2. The time is the fastest in history by a 3-year-old pacer on Canadian soil. "The fans got off him pretty quickly when he made that break," Katz said. "You're not going to get $10 (for a win payout) on him anymore this year, that's for sure. That $10 was a gift for people who bet him. "That to me was his best start. He came back to show you what kind of horse he is." Captain Crunch followed with a win in his Meadowlands Pace elimination and then finished fourth in the final, beaten three-quarters of a length, after setting fractions that culminated in reaching three-quarters of a mile in 1:19.3. Three weeks later, he rebounded with his triumph in the Cane Pace. "He's a dream come true," Katz said. "He's just one great horse. He always shows up, gives it all he's got. He's so game. "We couldn't ask for anything better than this. He's lived up to all our expectations, and more. He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse. It's hard to get horses like him. We've been in this business a long time, since 1975, and to get a horse who's going to be a stallion like him, it hasn't occurred for us before. Not this type of quality. He's been great." In the Simcoe, Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron will start from post two. Meadowlands Pace winner Best In Show leaves from post one while Century Farroh, the winner of nine of 11 races this season, begins from post three. The remainder of the field is Better Up, Stag Party, Tyga Hanover, and Bronx Seelster. "Scott loved (Captain Crunch) from day one and has done a tremendous job driving the horse," Katz said. "Nancy and Marcus (Johansson) have done a fantastic job with him. A lot of horses don't come back at 3 as good as they were at 2. He came back even better. Nancy has done a great job managing him. "To have a horse like him is just a pleasure. And the partners, we all get along great. What more can you ask? I wish we had more like him. You can only hope." Racing begins at 7:10 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In addition to the Simcoe (race nine on the card), the track hosts the C$600,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters (race five) and C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

East Rutherford, NJ -- Captain Crunch tracked down pacesetting Bettor's Wish in the final strides to win Saturday's (Aug. 3) $285,362 Cane Pace for 3-year-old harness racing pacers by a neck in 1:48 at the Meadowlands. Semi Tough finished third.   Captain Crunch, the slight 9-5 favorite over Bettor's Wish, was second throughout the mile as Bettor's Wish led the way through fractions of :26.2, :54.4 and 1:22. The two dueled down the lane with Captain Crunch sticking his neck in front at the wire.   "He's a good colt," winning trainer Nancy Johansson said about the Scott Zeron-driven Captain Crunch. "He gives 110 percent effort every time he races. He lays it out on the track for us every time.   The Cane Pace is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, followed by the Messenger Stakes on Aug. 31 at Yonkers Raceway, and the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio on Sept. 19.   Captain Crunch is not eligible to the Messenger but is eligible to the Jug.   "I think we're going to have to have a little bit of a discussion where we are going to go from here," Johansson said about Captain Crunch's future. "He has a few options and we have to pick the best one for him."   Captain Crunch, who captured the North America Cup in June, has won five of seven races this year and 11 of 17 lifetime. The son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika has earned $1.26 million in his career for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Gimapazee (Brian Sears) wins the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) final ($215,200) for sophomore trotting colts and geldings at Vernon Downs on a special Memorial Day matinee (May 27). He won his 3-year-old harness racing debut and is a perfect 10 for 10 in his career. Mr Vicktor (Tyler Buter) went to the front and was followed in second by Cavill Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) with Gimpanzee ($2.10) in third. Mr Vicktor put up all the early numbers (:28.0, :57.3, 1:25.1). Gimapanzee, who is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant inc. and S R F Stable, went first over from third just before the final turn. He would be second after three-quarters and battle Mr Vicktor for the lead. He would take over in the stretch but Mr Vicktor would battle back gamely. Gimpanzee found another gear and put him away to win easily in a lifetime best of 1:54.0. Mr Vicktor would settle for second as Travel Winner (Trevor Henry) came up to finish third. Gimpanzee is a 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven. Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) captures EBC final ($209,500) for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) led the way to a first quarter of :27.3. Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer) took over just after the first quarter. She would lead to the half in :56.3 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Quincy Blue Chip ($3.40), who is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and trained by Gareth Dowse, went second over as they went around the final turn. She went three-wide at the top of the stretch and flew home to a win in 1:55.0. Sensibility (Scott Zeron) charged late to finish second. Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) was third. Quincy Blue Chip                                         --Fotowon photo Quincy Blue Chip is a 3-year-old filly by Chapter Seven. She picked up her third win of the season. She now owns seven career victories. St Somewhere (Matt Kakaley) and Zero Tolerance (David Miller) each won legs of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Both divisions raced for a purse of $58.700. In the first division St Somewhere ($10.00) came charging late to nip the late rush of second place finisher, Meghan Lynn (Joe Bongiorno) to win in 1:52.1. JK American Beauty (Scott Zeron) was third best. St Somewhere is a 3-year-old filly by American Ideal. Trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing, P Collura, J&T Silva-Purnell&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. It was win number two of 2019. She now owns seven career victories. In the second division Zero Tolerance ($2.10) went flying in the stretch to overtake second place finisher DD Delicious (Matt Kakaley) to win in 1:51.3. So Awesome (Brian Sears) picked up third money. Zero Tolerance is a 3-year-old filly by Heston Blue Chip. She is trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D'Or Farms and Theodore Gewertz. It was her second win this season and career win number nine. Zero Tolerance                                  -Fotowon photo David Miller won three more on the card. He got his other wins with Sports Column ($2.70), Gussy's Realdeal ($22.60), and Fool Me Again ($5.80). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 31) with 13 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Vernon Downs

CHESTER PA - All three defending champions will be on hand Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, as the southeast Pennsylvania track hosts its Super Stakes Sunday of $100,000 Invitationals - the Betsy Ross Pace for mares, the Maxie Lee Trot, and the Commodore Barry Pace, going as races ten through twelve respectively on the 12:40 card. Each of these races will also count towards the pointstandings for the summerlong Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS), in which many of these harness racing stars have been competing. The giant card also has three divisions of the third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts. Here is a look at all four groups: $100,000 BETSY ROSS MARES PACE (12th edition; stakes record 1:48.3, Southwind Tempo, 2009.) Combined earnings of field: $7,202,760. Average lifetime mark: 1:49.3 (five in 1:50 or less). The defending champion in the Betsy Ross is the great New Zealand import Shartin N, last year's North American mares divisionwinner who is carrying on in final style so far in 2019 - five wins in six starts, including the Blue Chip Final, and earnings of $319,500, second only to Levy Final winner Western Fame. And it's hard to imagine Shartin N having more solid connections, especially in this race - trainer Jim King Jr. trained Shartin N to victory last year, and in 2017 wife Jo Ann Looney-King conditioned the victorious Nike Franco N. And their driver (and Shartin N's co-owner) Tim Tetrick has won the Betsy Ross six times: more than all others drivers combined. He also guided Southwind Tempo to the stakes record. Two potential liabilities for Shartin N: drawing post seven in the eight horse field, and not having raced for 22 days, and only twice in 53 days. The mare has seemed to thrive on an intermittent schedule in the past, however. Starting just inside Shartin N will be Tequila Monday, who is merely six-for-six this year and the only double winner in the Great Northeast Open Series so far, with Brian Sears driving for trainer Hunter Oakes, whose father Chris conditioned 2013 Ross winner Economy Terror. Add in the likes of hard-hitting veteran Caviart Ally, last year's top three-year-old filly, Youaremycandygirl, and other fast distaffs, and the Betsy Ross figures to be an interesting chess match. $100,000 MAXIE LEE TROT (12th edition; stakes record 1:50.2, Market Share, 2014.) Combined earnings of field: $9,424,706. Average lifetime mark: 1:51.1 (three sub-1:51, one sub-1:49). The defending champion of the Maxie Lee, a race honoring the superb area trainer for many years, is Will Take Charge, who will be guided from post five by Scott Zeron for trainer Jeff Gillis. Will Take Charge looks to be coming up to peak form right now, fresh off a win at Yonkers, but it is likely others will draw more mutuel attention than he will. Take, for instance, The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), who this season is guided by the Burke Brigade (who has won this race four times: once by patriarch Mickey, and the last three by the recordsetting Ron). Homicide Hunter just won his second start of the year, at Pocono, last week, taking a GNOS contest in 1:52.3, and the early sheet says he will be getting a driver change to George Napolitano Jr., with whom Homicide Hunter won the 2018 Breeders Crown (Yannick Gingras will be in Sweden this week, competing in the World Driving Championship). Guardian Angel AS, starting from post two, has also been a GNOS winner this year, and his chances will be helped by the sulky presence of Tim Tetrick, who has won the Maxie Lee five times, including with stakes recordholder Market Share. $100,000 COMMODORE BARRY PACE (5th edition; stakes record 1:47.3, Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2016.) Combined earnings of field: $5,318,913. Average lifetime mark: 1:49.1 (3 sub-1:48). Filibuster Hanover, the highest moneywinner in the Commodore Barry with just north of $1.5 million in career earnings, is the defending champion in this event, and if victorious would make trainer Ron Burke the first horseman to have two Barry titles - no driver or trainer has won twice in the race's four-year history. In his last start Filibuster Hanover set the pace in a GNOS event here, but was caught up the inside by the upstart Kiwi Tiger Thompson N; this week the "Tiger" has post six and "Filibuster" post seven, difficult assignments in a talented field. Rodeo Rock won last week's GNOS race at Pocono, defeating Tiger Thompson N and posting the fastest clocking of the year at Pocono, 1:49. Last year's highly-regarded sophomore Courtly Choice is in the Barry, and on this Harrah's day you can't ignore a Tim Tetrick-driven horse (though he has yet to win this race); Tetrick will drive the hardhitting Donttellmeagain. PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES 3YO PACING COLTS ($57,218 each in races three, seven, and thirteen). The defending champion in this group is also competing at Philly in Sunday: Proof, a winner of $450,000 and never worse than fourth in thirteen career starts, with six wins and four seconds. But Proof is unlikely to be the favorite in his thirteenth race cut - that honor will go to Captain Crunch, who was the 2018 freshman colt pace champion, and who made his 2019 debut last Sunday at Pocono, winning over a sloppy surface in 1:49.1, fastest mile of the year by a three-year-old regardless of size of track, and with a stinging last quarter of 26, with driver Scott Zeron mostly an interested passenger late. The third race division is topped by Southwind Ozzi, who won a Sire Stake two starts back and then was second behind Captain Crunch last week, only 1¾ lengths back, and Wild Wild Western, a PaSS winner last week. In the seventh race division, you can make a good case for most of the entrants to record their first 2019 Sire Stakes win. With 27 horses who have won in 1:50 or less on the card, plus 30 winners of over $500,000 lifetime, including eight millionaires, the entire Sunday card at Harrah's Philadelphia is an outstanding one.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Captain Crunch, last year's two-year-old champion, had people asking "What's he going to do when he gets tighter?" after taking his 2019 debut by an effortless 1¾ lengths in a harness racing division of the second preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts Sunday at Mohegan Sun Pocono, negotiating a sloppy track in an amazing 1:49.1, last quarter :26. 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Proof left hard from an outer post to clear to the lead just after the :27 quarter, with Scott Zeron already having given the word to Captain Crunch and the Captaintreacherous colt powering right to the lead before reaching the half in :55.2. Southwind Ozzi, a first-round PaSS winner, made a bold move from fifth to challenge the leader towards the 1:23.1 three-quarters, but then, without a race in 145 days, over off going, Captain Crunch charged home with the powerhouse :26 blitz, with Zeron mostly an interested passenger. Southwind Ozzi, the second choice, held extremely well in second, a length in front of third choice Proof, who also stayed on nicely after the early usage. Though some people have been known to complain about soggy cereal, Captain Crunch has no apparent aversion to moisture, having won the Breeders Crown (here) and the Governor's Cup on sloppy ovals, and now posting this off-track victory, which equaled his lifetime mark and is the fastest mile of the young season by a three-year-old on any size of oval. Nancy Johansson trains the divisional favorite and winner of $645,322 for 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. The major challenger to Captain Crunch may emerge to be Workin Ona Mystery, another Captaintreacherous colt who won his first five starts at two, then ended his season after having a horrible trip in his Breeders Crown elimination and not advancing. A 1:50.1 PaSS winner in his 2019 bow, Workin Ona Mystery traveled the sloppy Pocono oval in 1:49.3 to match his lifetime best. Tim Tetrick reserved his colt in fourth as Love Me Some Lou needed most of the :26.4 quarter to make the top. Workin Ona Mystery quickly moved and worked his way to command, but then got a very hard challenge from 40-1 Volley Ball Beach, who recovered from an early miscue to race as a team with the winner to a :54.2 half and got a short backstretch lead before his bid ended just past the 1:21.4 three-quarters. Despite the hard middle half, nobody could get near Workin Ona Mystery late, with Love Me Some Lou 4 3/4 lengths back at the wire. The Brian Brown trainee seems to have recovered well from his one hiccup for owners Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith, and Wingfield Brothers LLC. The third division of Sire Stakes produced the only non-favorite in the Sires and Stallion Series events, as 6-5 "longshot" Wild Wild Western, a Western Ideal colt who was unraced at two but now has posted a 10-6-4-0 scorecard at three after equaling his mark of 1:52. Driver Mike Wilder used the popular frontstretch brush tactic with the Norm Parker trainee after the :26.3 opener, put up middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:24, then had to hold off two late threats to his left, 26-1 Caviart Stetson in second and Semi Tough in third, both a neck back; even money favorite Major Deception was another half-length behind the top trio. Wild Wild Western is owned by Jacobs Creek Racing LLC, Andrew Altobelli, and John Deters. Fastest of the four Stallion Series winners was the Sweet Lou gelding Warrawee Unique, who got the evening off to a fast start by posting a lifetime best of 1:50.2 while doubling his lifetime win total and equaling his division's North American season's record. Warrawee Unique made two moves to control the pace for driver Yannick Gingras, then used identical :27.2 back quarters to win by 2¾ lengths for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The Captaintreacherous colt Odds On Boca Raton had the biggest win margin in the Stallion Series competition, coming home first by four lengths in 1:51.1 for driver Andrew McCarthy while like the first winner lowering his mark and doubling his career win total. The Tony Alagna trainee looks to be seriously on the improve for Odds On Racing. The only one of the seven stakes winners who did not beat or lower his mark was U S Captain, but since the Captaintreacherous colt won his first start of the year in 1:50.4 and was racing in sloppy going here, the 1:51.1 final clocking, including :55 - :27.2 back fractions, was quite acceptable. Andrew McCarthy and Tony Alagna combined again with a developing colt, as U S Captain was winless last year but here showed his mettle by withstanding a tough Stienams Beach by ¾ of a length for Brittany Farms LLC, Brad Grant, Joseph Barbera, and U S Captain Racing. The first three Stallion Series winners were all six-figure yearlings with glittering maternal sides; the final StS winner, the Sweet Lou gelding Skip To My Lou, is the only one of the four to have two Stallion Series victories to his 2019 credit. Like every other stakes winner tonight, Skip To My Lou moved to the lead in quarter two, and driver Eric Goodell had things under control through the stretch, with Rockme Rollme good late but not really threatening the half-length winner, who reduced his mark as second to 1:51. Robert Cleary, he of the 40% victory rate, trains the sophomore who has four wins in his last six starts for Royal Wire Products Inc. ATTRIBUTION - PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

East Rutherford, NJ - It was a perfect Saturday morning for qualifiers at The Meadowlands with sunny skies, a slight cross breeze and temperatures in the 70's. The track was rated as fast when the races began at 10am. Hannelore Hanover is back! The 2017 Dan Patch Horse of the Year and career winner of $2.8 million made her 2019 harness racing debut an impressive winning one over current "Road to the Hambletonian" list topper Gimpanzee (Sears). Settled in fifth through the early poles, Hannelore had advanced to third via a few breakers by the 1:25.4 third panel, fanned wide and engaged the leading Gimpanzee then prevailed on the wire in 1:53 flat with a sub 27 final quarter under her own power. Super Schissel (Scott Zeron) was right in between the top pair in third. Ron Burke trains Hannelore Hanover for his interests as Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva and Joe Bongiorno picked up the drive this morning. Beautiful Sin was ultra-impressive this morning, not only beating a field of quality male rivals but doing so authoritatively. Driver Tim Tetrick moved the Muscle Hill lass first over from fourth as they passed the 59.2 half and brushed past the leader Gerry (Marcus Melander) through the 29.1 third panel, leaving the boys behind with a 27 flat close to the 1:55.3 mile. Gerry stayed on for second while White Tiger (Sears) was a rated third. Lennart Agren's S R F Stable owns Beautiful Sin who at $480,000 was the highest priced yearling of 2017 and Per Engbloom trains. Trainer Domenico Cecere brought a string of Lindy Farms 3-year-old trotting colts in for their first foray of the new season and drove the Chapter Seven colt Refi to a front stepping 1:56.2 / 28.2 win under wraps over stable mate Signor Cardin (Brian Sears). Wing Suit (Zeron) was comfortably third. Refi is owned by Lindy Farms and Bob Rudolph. Sophomore pacing colts came around next and a pair of trainer Tony Alagna's Captaintreacherous colts finished 1-2 with Captain McKee (Tetrick) prevailing from the pocket in 1:52.3 / 27.1 over mile cutter Captain Cash (Andy McCarthy) with Magic Joe Lindy (Zeron) third. Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant and Captain Trevor Racing own the winner. Another round of Captains swept the first three spots in the next race with Latissimus Hanover (Tetrick) leading throughout under restraint and holding Captain Ahab (McCarthy) and Shipshape (Matt Krueger) at bay in 1:51.1 / 28.1. Trainer Ray Schnittker owns the speedy colt with Mary Kinsey Arnold and Ted Gewertz. Tall Drink Hanover (McCarthy) completed the "Captain sweep" for the sophomore pacers, winning handily in 1:51.4 / 27.1 under complete wraps. Key West (Tetrick) was a good second. Alagna trains both and owns the winner as Alagna Racing along with Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing (Stephanie & Myron Bell). Western Joe was pacing out of his skin through a 26.1 end to a 1:50.1 mile this morning, looking like he's ready to roll after this, his third qualifier. He tracked Shnitzledosomethin (Tetrick) throughout and roared past that rival under some Zeron rousing in the stretch. Chris Choate trains the 2018 Sam McKee Memorial winner for Anthony Ruggeri and Joe Tosies. It's a huge night at The Meadowlands with Graduate Series trotters on the track and BeerFest in the Back Yard. Live racing gets started at 7:15pm.   Nick Salvi

WILKES-BARRE PA - 2018 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year Captain Crunch makes his 2019 harness racing debut in the middle of three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes second preliminary for the glamour division, to be held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night in races nine through eleven - and he couldn't have found a more challenging spot in which to open his season. Captain Crunch, a Captaintreacherous colt trained by Nancy Johansson for the 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, the Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms, won six of ten starts, including the Breeders Crown here at Pocono and the Governor's Cup, en route to divisional honors while winning the most money among baby colts, $616,113, and coming within a fifth of his division's world record by winning in 1:49.1 at Lexington. Prepping for 2019, Captain Crunch has qualifying wins in 1:50.1 and 1:51.2 (the latter on a "good +1" track). The draw was kind to Captain Crunch in one respect, as Scott Zeron will be guiding him from post three in the field of nine (all three divisions have nine starters). But the draw also gave Captain Crunch a real challenge, in that many of the section's top colts, at both two and three, will be lining up against him Sunday. One example would be Proof (post eight, trainer Brian Brown, driver David Miller), second behind Captain Crunch in last year's Breeders Crown, the 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, and a good second at The Meadows in the Sire Stakes' opening leg in his first start of the year; also in this cut is the horse who conquered Proof in that event in 1:50.4, Southwind Ozzi (post one, trainer Bill MacKenzie, one of four "calls" for driver Tim Tetrick). There's Lyons Night Hawk (post five, trainer Gareth Dowse, Tetrick also listed), who was just edged in 1:50.1 in a PA All-Stars event in his seasonal bow, and Prince Of Tides (post two, trainer Ross Croghan, driver Eric Carlson), 1:49.4 winner of the Wiggle It Jiggleit final at The Meadowlands. But not all of the good horses will be facing Captain Crunch. In the eleventh race third division, two Sire Stakes winners at The Meadows will attract a good deal of attention: Workin On A Mystery (post two, trainer Brian Brown, driver Tim Tetrick), who won the fastest Sires section in 1:50.1, and Love Me Some Lou, undefeated in two starts this year and a 1:50.4 Sires winner, who will have to negotiate the difficult post eight for trainer Tom Cancelliere and driver David Miller. While the ninth race first division may not have horses who have some of the paper credentials of the other two divisions, it has some nice developing horses of its own, including Major Deception (post one, trainer Tony Alagna, driver Tim Tetrick), the easiest kind of winner at Philly over sloppy going in his 2019 return; Wild Wild Western (post two, trainer Norm Parker, driver Mike Wilder), who was second to Workin On A Mystery in the fastest PaSS division at The Meadows; and 2018 PA Fairs champion Aflame Hanover (post eight, trainer Linda Schadel, driver Tony Schadel), who has shown that he can be competitive with the most select of the state's three-year-olds. There will also be four Pennsylvania Stallion Series divisions at Pocono Sunday, including first round StS winners Captain Koine, Skip To My Lou, and Under Paid, plus Captain Panko, the 2018 Stallion Series champion who will be making his 2019 debut. First post for Sunday's 14 race card is set for 7 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Pennsylvania All-Stars harness racing series began its annual run at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night, with three $30,000 divisions of sophomore pacing males in the spotlight. The first All-Stars division was taken by the heralded and well-bred Sweet Lou colt Blood Money, but only by a nose in 1:50. It was an interesting strategic "chess match" between Scott Zeron, guiding Blood Money, and George Napolitano Jr. behind Escapetothebeach: Zeron gradually guided Blood Money to the lead past a :26.4 opener, only for Napolitano to brush in front of the stands with his first-time 2019 starter to have the lead before the :55 half. Zeron didn't want to be caught in with his 1-5 shot, so he regained command before the 1:22.3 three-quarters, only to have Escapetothebeach hang right behind him, take the Pocono Pike, and only get beaten by the slightest of margins. Brassy Hanover, ducking inside fading cover on the far turn, rallied up the far inside and missed by only ¾ of a length in third. Blood Money had won his seasonal debut at The Meadowlands in 1:50; this mile was the fastest of the year by a sophomore on a 5/8-mile track, and tied Blood Money with himself as the fastest "glamour division" colt on any size track. Nancy Johansson trains the winner of $372,244 for Diamond Creek Racing. Branquinho, winless at two but a full brother to Huntsville, looks like he may flourish in his sophomore campaign - he's now undefeated in three 2019 starts, following up on a Stallion Series win last week with an All-Stars victory in 1:50.1, his fastest ever. The Somebeachsomewhere colt bypassed an enormous hole mid-first turn and went on to the lead near the :27.2 quarter; favored Lyons Night Hawk also chose to press forward and grabbed the top halfway to the next station, which was reached in :54.4. The chalk had repelled outside competition by the 1:22.4 three-quarters; Branquinho (the 9-5 second choice) would be his major challenger in the lane, and the winner responded sharply when tipped out from the two-hole by Tyler Buter, winning by ¾ of a length for owner/trainer Ray Schnittker (note: Buter and Schnittker share brown-and-gold colors). Somebeachsomewhere picked up a second sire credit when Air Force Hanover, parked a good way for the lead and not getting a breather up front, was still able to draw clear in the lane to take a new mark of 1:50.1. Air Force Hanover and George Napolitano Jr. (who drove five horses to Victory Lane on the card) were still outside past the :26.3 quarter, then ranged up to the lead in the frontstretch towards the :55.2 midway clocking. Aflame Hanover, the 2018 PA Fair champion, forced the winner to go an all-out :26.3 third quarter to keep the lead, and after the challenger started to fade past the 1:22 three-quarters, "George Nap" kept the winner's mind to business as he posted a 2¾ length victory over fast-closing Highlandbeachlover, who was hampered by a nonflowing outer tier. Brian Brown is the conditioner of the four-time career winner for Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and W. J. Donovan. Pocono's love affair with the claiming box produced a "new track record" on Saturday, as the Mach Three seven-year-old gelding Raksmach N was claimed for $40,000, a record for the mountain oval. A winner of three straight before a very hard-fought third from the outside post eight on Saturday, he leaves owner Mark Akins with a $2400 purse check and a $5000 profit on his haltering of the horse for $35,000 last week, minus the week's training fee; the horse now goes to the Oakes barn and the Northfolk Racing Stable. In all for the night, 12 claims totaled up to $304,500, running the seasonal totals to 147 claims, with $2,642,500 changing hands. Tomorrow night marks the 2019 debut of The World's Fastest Trotter, the locally-based Homicide Hunter, in a $30,000 open trot event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS); Tequila Monday and Kissininthesand seem likely to renew their first-round GNOS rivalry in the $30,000 mares open pace.   ATTRIBUTION - PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, May 9, 2019-It was Scott Zeron Night at the Races Thursday (May 9th), as the lad won 60 percent of Yonkers Raceway's 10 harness racing events. Zeron swept the $8.40 early daily double with imported favorites Zach Maguire N ($4) in the $10,000 pacing opener (1:54.4) and Whether or Not Fi ($3.80) in the $20,000, second-race trot (life-best 1:56). The consecutive Zeron three-peat was finished when people's preference Rock Icon ($4.40) won the $10,000, third-race pace (1:54.2). His fourth winner came behind a sharp Vegas Rocks ($6.70) in the $17,500, sixth-race pace (1:52.3), while No. 5 was a just-up Don'tforgetmaster ($3.60) in the $16,000, seventh-race trot (1:58.1). Zeron's happy half-dozen concluded in the $17,500 pacing finale, with an odds-on Zoe Ellasen ($3.50) holding sway (1:53.2). Special Thursday props to the venerable veteran Great Vintage (Austin Siegelman, $4.40), who scorched the $17,500, eighth-race pace in a season's-best 1:51. The 11-year-old son of American Ideal widened to 5¾ lengths for a 49th career victory.   BY FRANK DRUCKER Publicity Director Yonkers Raceway

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