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WILKES-BARRE PA –Cardiff had to go the dreaded “tuck-then-first-over” journey in the $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for pacing fillies and mares at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday, but the Sportswriter harness racing mare showed rare pluck in grinding raw for the last 5/8 and still getting the decision in a lifetime best 1:51.1. Cardiff, who had a first and two seconds in her Weiss prelims, tucked midpack from post eight for driver Simon Allard, as a pair of horses on a three-race win streak, 2-5 favorite Ghostwriter and Girl’s Got Rhythm, argued through a smoking 26.2 quarter, with the latter claiming the top at that point. Cardiff was again on the move under the wire the first time as Girl’s Got Rhythm led the field to the half in 54.4, then cut into the pacesetter’s advantage by the 1:22.3 3/4s, with the chalk lurking in the pocket. Turning for home it looked like the trip was starting to wear on Cardiff, as Ghosttothepost went to the Pocono Pike to try to catch Girl’s Got Rhythm. But Cardiff dug deep into her talent pool and gamely paced on to be 1½ lengths ahead at the wire, with Ghosttothepost next, a neck ahead of Girl’s Got Rhythm. Simon’s brother Rene trains the courageous winner for Allard Racing Inc. and Carmen Carson. Also on the Tuesday card were three $15,000 final preliminary round divisions of the Weiss Series for trotting males, and the Credit Winner four-year-old My Lindy Winner established himself as the likely Weiss Championship favorite by sweeping his three prelims, here scoring in 1:55.3 to reman undefeated in six seasonal starts. Though the Rob Harmon trainee won his other two prelims by six and four lengths, this half length victory over pacesetter Dover Dony may have been the most impressive of the trio, as Jim Morrill Jr. sent the horse uncovered from third at the 5/8, and his trotter responded by gaining into a 28.1 last quarter and finishing a measured winner. The Conway Hall gelding Hammer Creek must like suspense, as he had two wins in the Weiss prelims, but in both victories his winning margin was only a nose, on Tuesday over the wild-charging Livinonthedash in 1:55.3. Eric Carlson came uncovered at the 3/4, went to the lead in the stretch, then withstood the flying Livinonthedash for trainer Kenneth Hess Jr. and owner Richard Ciesielski. Lightfootedlegend, like his stablemate in the Erv Miller barn Livinonthedash, made his first start in the Weiss, and the Mr Cantab gelding broke his maiden in fine style, coming out on the far turn and catching pacesetting Higgs Boson by ¾ of a length in 1:56.3. Marcus Miller guided the four-year-old for the Ervin Miller Stable Inc, Ronald Michelon, and Harvey Eisman. Despite the good performances, the two Weiss debutants for the Millers did not finish in the top nine preliminary pointwinners (although they may make a $15,000 consolation, depending on how many and who declares in). The unofficial top nine pointwinners heading for next Monday’s $30,000 Weiss Championship in this group are: 1. My Lindy Winner, 2. Hammer Creek, 3. Higgs Boson, 4. Chapter And Ruth, 5. Dover Dony, 6. Got No Money Honey, 7. Keystone Thunder, 8. Loving Life, and 9. Teardown This Wall, with Flammable tenth and the pair of Brandywine Battle and London Hanover tied for eleventh in the shaping up of the “AEs” and the consolation PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Charmed Life boosted her lifetime earnings to $1,445,137 in winning the $17,500 featured harness racing trot at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:53.2 on Sunday night, and she did it in an unusual fashion for the mountain oval - she picked up the entire field from last. Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for brother/Pocono top trainer Rene, had drawn the outside post seven after a scratch, and was in no hurry with the veteran daughter of Majestic Son until down the backstretch, when he made a power three-wide move around stalled cover. Charmed Life had drawn within a length of the battling front duo, leader Crosbys Clam Bake and uncovered Silvermass Volo, by the top of the stretch, and she have enough kick in reserve to drew clear by 1¾ lengths over Crosbys Clam Bake, with Silvermass Volo another length back in third behind the winner, who is owned by Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. There was a trio of $17,000 co-features on the Sunday card, and Pocono's top driver George Napolitano Jr. won both of the paces among the six victorious horses he guided on the evening. Mink Pink, sitting third on the rail entering the final turn, found a hole and Napolitano swung her wide in the distaff pace, with the American Ideal filly charging home swiftly to win by ¾ of a length in 1:52.1 for trainer Chris Oakes and Crawford Farms Racing. Napolitano, who has a frontracing style that usually works effectively at Pocono, also took the division for males from off the pace, and about as far off the pace as you can - last at the half after starting from the rail. But the Bettor's Delight gelding Bellows Binge had the necessary late step to catch 25-1 pacesetter Uffizi by a neck while stopping the timer in 1:52.3 for trainer Dirk Simpson and the ownership of Peter Karras and the Dirk Simpson Stable Inc. Lest anybody thinks that the Pocono oval had been totally converted from the speedfavoring track it had been on the Saturdays of Breeders Crown competition, a frontrunner did win the co-featured trot, which also fell to trainer Chris Oakes, but a different driving Napolitano - Anthony, who put a new mark of 1:53.1 on the Chapter Seven filly Eunice. "ANap" and Eunice controlled the pace and the sophomore won by almost seven lengths, her third straight triumph for Crawford Farms Racing (another feature doubler), Northfork Racing Stable, and the T L P Stable. And if anybody is trying to read the political tea leaves before the next Pocono card on Election Day Tuesday evening (the track is dark on Monday in November), we note the victory of Make America Great, a son of So Surreal, who took a maiden event. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

George Napolitano Jr. has won more races than any driver in the history of The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but it was a second-place finish at his home oval that proved to be a winner in terms of punching Napolitano's ticket to his first Breeders Crown final. Napolitano guided Stella Jane to a runner-up finish behind undefeated Woodside Charm in their Breeders Crown elimination last week to advance to Saturday's $600,000 championship for 2-year-old filly trotters at Pocono. Napolitano, who has won 11 driving titles at Pocono, drove Stella Jane for owner Crawford Farms Racing and trainer John Butenschoen. Crawford Farms also bred the filly, a daughter of Crazed out of Naughty Nana. The 52-year-old Napolitano, a New York native who splits his time between Pennsylvania and Florida, has won 9,360 races in his career, ranking 21st in North American harness racing history, and was the North American dash champion in 2010 when he won 748 times. All 12 Breeders Crown championships, with $6.4 million in total purses, will be raced Saturday at Pocono. Post time is 5:30 p.m. (EDT) for the first race. "It's going to be exciting," Napolitano said. "I thought (Stella Jane's elimination) was amazing. I was totally satisfied. She's an awesome little horse to drive and she's got a great trainer and great owners." Stella Jane has won two of 11 races and hit the board in eight of her most recent nine starts. Napolitano has driven the filly twice, winning a division of the Simpson Stakes on Sept. 27 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "The Crawfords have had luck with the horses that they own with George," Butenschoen said. "He won with Stella Jane at (Philly) so I said let's put him up. It's his home track and maybe we can get some karma going. I guess it worked." Napolitano has won more than 500 races in nine consecutive years, including this year. He is on his way to another driving title at Pocono, which would be his seventh in a row, and is battling with Tim Tetrick for his fifth consecutive title at Harrah's Philadelphia. "I kind of stayed local," Napolitano said. "I made an agreement with myself years ago and I'm happy with doing it this way, with this place, (Philly) and Pompano. That's good enough for me. "I think it's a pretty big accomplishment doing the two tracks, here and (Philly). It's a tough grind, but we're getting it done. It's a matter of having great people around you. Trainers that it would take forever to mention keep on consistently putting me back on horses. That is the difference right there. I have a lot of great owners that love me and I love them. It's an awesome journey." So will Napolitano have a home-track advantage in the Breeders Crown? "I think you've got to have a good horse," he said with a smile. "That's the biggest advantage." * * * * * Napolitano won't be the only Breeders Crown newcomer driving in the 2-year-old filly trot. Bob McClure, Verlin Yoder, and Simon Allard also will be appearing on championship night for the first time. All three drove elimination winners. McClure, a 28-year-old Canadian, piloted Champagne Jane to victory in her elimination. Champaign Jane is owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable and trained by Luc Blais. McClure is third in wins and purses in Canada this year. He led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016 and was third in 2015. "For the last four or five years I just drove the small tracks in Ontario," McClure said. "I moved to Woodbine Entertainment Group last December and it snowballed from there. A lot of good stables have picked me up. That makes all the difference in the world." Champagne Jane, by Holiday Road out of Dicent No, broke her maiden with her elimination win. She has hit the board a total of seven times and entered the Breeders Crown off a second-place finish in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old filly trotters. "She's been getting better every week," McClure said. "She's been battling some health issues, so the colder weather helps and Luc's got her healthy. She's always showed ability, she just lacked that last step. She seems to have found it at the right time." McClure, who has 2,207 career wins, also won a Breeders Crown elimination with Paula Wellwood-trained 2-year-old male trotter Smart As Hill. "It's been a lot of fun," McClure said. "Hopefully it stays fun." Yoder is the owner-trainer-driver of Woodside Charm, who is a perfect 6-for-6 heading into the Breeders Crown final and won her elimination by 12-1/2 lengths over Stella Jane. "We did what we had to do," Yoder said. "She's an absolute professional. We don't know how or why, but we're enjoying the moment. "It's pretty cool," he added about appearing in the final. "It probably won't sink in until we get there. It's going to be a pretty neat experience." Allard drove When Dovescry, by Muscle Hill out of Cedar Dove, to a win in her elimination. She has won four of six races and never been worse than third. She is owned by Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh, and Lawrence Dumain. Rene Allard is the trainer. She won her elimination in gate-to-wire fashion after coming from off the pace in all but one other race. "We were very patient with her, trying to teach her the right things, to come from the back," Simon Allard said. "We didn't really want to teach her to leave because we knew that she would have done that very easily. "We were very confident she had explosive speed and knew all along she was a great filly." Following is the draw for the $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old filly trotters. Elimination winners drew for post one through five in an order determined by lot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-When Dovescry-Simon Allard-Rene Allard 2-Woodside Charm-Verlin Yoder-Verlin Yoder 3-Champagne Jane-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 4-Cloud Nine Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell 5-Special Honor-Andy Miller-Julie Miller 6-Whispering Oaks-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter 7-Miss You Kelly-Tim Tetrick-Bruce Lauer 8-The Ice Dutchess-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter 9-Stella Jane-George Napolitano Jr.-John Butenschoen by Ken Weingartner, for the Breeders Crown

CHESTER, PA - The Somebeachsomewhere mare Dr J's Kiss, sixth at the ¾ pole, swung four-wide at the head of the stretch and went right on by in taking the $17,000 featured distaff pace on Wednesday at Harrah's Philadelphia in 1:52.4. Driver Simon Allard, guiding the Joe Pavia Jr. trainee for the first time, followed third-over in a 27.1 backstretch flow that took its toll on both pacesetting favorite Jewels Forreal and first-over Dolphin Island, then swung three-wide behind second-over Rob Them Blind in the middle of the far turn and wider yet off the final curve. Rob Them Blind made the lead in the stretch but couldn't withstand the late rush of Dr J's Kiss, as she won by a length while breaking the six-figure barrier in lifetime earnings for co-owners Pavia, Steven Held, and Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky. The Muscle Mass sophomore gelding Yuge, three-wide most of the first bend and not on top until coming off that bend, maintained control through the rest of the mile to win the day's $16,000 top trot in 1:55.3. Yuge raised his lifetime bankroll to $127,969 for trainer Ed Lohmeyer, co-owner with Ed Lohmeyer Jr. and Dr. Patty Hogan, completing a win for veterinarians in both the Wednesday Philly features. As for driver George Napolitano Jr., the win was one of three on the day for him, including the card's only two favorites - in the first race and the last race. Racing resumes tomorrow at 12:25 p.m., but Philly's Friday card will begin at 6:30 p.m. After the usual Sunday action beginning at 2:05 p.m., there will be a special live card on Columbus Day, Monday, October 8 at 12:25 p.m., with over $200,000 in stakes action in the John Simpson Sr. series, with three-year-old colts of both gaits each contesting three divisions. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N continued to show that she has the winning knack as she was victorious in the $17,500 mares pacing harness racing feature on Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother Rene, worked out a fine second-over trip with Eclipse Me N, coming her own last half in 54.4 to be a length clear of pocketsitter Monica Gallagher at the end of the 1:51 journey. A winner of four of her last seven starts and an eight-time winner in 2018 for owners Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae, Eclipse Me N now has earnings of $84,460 for the season and $167,619 lifetime. George Napolitano Jr. guided home six winners on the Tuesday card at Pocono, giving him 18 for the four-day racing week here (4 1/2 a night average). Combining his Pocono wins with a five-bagger at Philly Friday and a triple there Sunday, Napolitano had 26 victories over a five-day period, which now puts him ahead of Dan Noble for third place in North America behind Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr. His sixth winner on Tuesday, Critical Mass in the last race, was a pari-mutuel shocker, returning $50.00 for a $2 ticket; earlier George had guided Colorful Jamie to a $25.80 tally. If a fan had bet $2 to win on each  of "George Nap"'s fourteen Tuesday drives, the fan would have received a $90.00 return -- a profit of 221%. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Stars Align A was able to steal off to a big lead by going in 26.4 down the backstretch in the $21,500 pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then held together to fend off the late-charging Music Is Art to win by ¾ of a length in a personal best 1:50.4 The victorious son of Art Major took advantage of post two in the field of seven and went to the front, where he was joined by his fellow 8-5 shot Bettor's Edge nearing the 26.3 quarter. Bettor's Edge went on to work up to command in front of the stands, but he took the second turn badly and slowed drastically, forcing the entire field around him just past the 55.4 half. Driver Simon Allard got Stars Align A in high gear quickly past the trouble and to the lead, then tried to put as much distance as possible between his horse and the field, and had an advantage of four lengths at the 1:22.3 3/4s. That lead shrunk on the far turn and through the stretch, with Music Is Art leading the charge, but Stars Align A had enough left to raise his U.S. win percentage to 50% after a pair of starts after going 15-for-29 (52%) before his recent importation. Simon's brother Rene conditions the winner of $152,313 for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, Bruce Soulsby, and Alan Weisenberg. Rene Allard is Pocono's leading trainer; his driving counterpart, George Napolitano Jr., continued his incredible form on Saturday nights with eight victories on the card, including one with the American Ideal gelding Ideal Kiss in 1:50 to take the $20,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature. "George Nap" pointed Ideal Kiss towards the top, as he has in all of his four starts for trainer Hunter Oakes and the Northfork Racing Stable, and the pacer again showed "1"s all the way across his charted line, winning by 2¾ lengths. Since being claimed by Oakes/Northfolk on August 11, Ideal Kiss has earned $40,000 by winning the high-level Pocono claim four starts in a row. He now has overall yearly earnings of $90,930, garnered mostly in his nine seasonal victories, and a $175,630 career bankroll. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Rene Allard admits Springsteen can be a complicated horse to deal with and the challenge is reflected in the colt’s results. His sophomore season has been a mix of impressive miles and dull efforts. He won the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial and two divisions of New York Sire Stakes, but came up flat in the Carl Milstein, Adios, and Art Rooney Pace.  Allard looks to make amends for the Rooney loss when he sends Springsteen out in the $500,000 Messenger Stakes Saturday night (Sept. 1), slated as race seven on a stakes-laden card. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven drew the inside while rival Jimmy Freight landed post eight. “We’re happy with the season. Obviously, he threw a couple clinkers, there’s a couple races I wish he would have shown up better,” Allard said. “The final of the Art Rooney, he tied up that start and then the start at Northfield. Other than that, he’s a nice horse, he’s got high speed. We’re happy with him.” Springsteen suffers from tying up when he trains too hard and deals with trying conditions, like long trips to the races and drastic changes in the weather. He can also be a difficult horse to drive. All these factors converged two starts back in the Milstein. After shipping all the way to Ohio, Springsteen choked in the race when Lather Up broke to his outside on the second turn. “He had some tying up issues and he choked. (Lather Up) made a break and he shut his air off. He’s a real tricky horse,” Allard said. “When he sees the gate, he gets a little grabby and sometimes he shuts his air off. When he shuts his air off, that’s it, the race is over. That’s why the drivers have to be a little careful with him.  “If he doesn’t tie up and doesn’t shut his air off, he’s probably as good as any 3-year-old colt out there,” Allard continued. “So, we just kind of keep our fingers crossed that everything goes good and have the equipment on him to control him and so far, 90 percent of the time it’s been working out.” Everything worked out in the Hempt Final at Pocono Downs June 30. Springsteen followed the cover of Hitman Hill and Lather Up as Dorsoduro Hanover paced through a :53.1 opening half-mile. Simon Allard tugged on the right line before the three-quarters and Springsteen charged three-wide. He circled Lather Up past a 1:20.2 panel, the 1-9 favorite off his North America Cup and Hempt elimination wins offering no resistance.  Allard drove Springsteen confidently into the stretch, the colt drifting wide and the driver still holding the whip over his shoulder as he leaned flat in the bike. Allard finally went to the whip in the final sixteen as Nutcracker Sweet shot through up the passing lane and put a head in front. Allard sat up in the bike and gave Springsteen a pair of right-handers and the colt extended, edging his nose in front just as the glow of the finish line lights appeared. He registered a head win in 1:48.3. “He’s definitely got high speed and he’s a nice horse and it’s been a very fun ride, for sure,” Allard said. Allard bought Springsteen with Bruce Soulsby midway through his 2-year-old season. After watching Springsteen use a :26.1 final quarter to finish second in a Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk last September for Chris Ryder, Allard and Soulsby finally came to an agreement to purchase the horse during the Grand Circuit meet at the Red Mile, adding partners Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh.  Springsteen finished seventh in the International Stallion Stakes in Lexington Oct. 7, but the June 2 foal kept on improving. He registered his first win in a $12,000 maiden at Pocono Oct. 22 and won the Matron at Dover in his next start. Springsteen capped his freshman year with a win in the Governor’s Cup elimination and a seventh in the final after being parked the mile. “We watched him finish second in the Metro Pace elimination and he came a huge last quarter. That’s when he caught my eye and I was talking to Bruce Soulsby about it and we ended up making a deal in Lexington. Chris Ryder did a tremendous job training him down and getting him ready,” Allard said. “I don’t see why he wouldn’t keep on going and keep on improving. Last year, toward the end of the year he just kept getting better and better.” Springsteen finished a distant second to Jimmy Freight in his Messenger elimination last week, pacing a 1:51.2 mile and finishing 3 ¾ lengths behind the latter’s track-record effort. Off a 14-day break since his Milstein effort, Allard was happy with the trial. “He was first-over to a horse that was just unbelievable. That was a huge mile, off 14 days and we don’t do a lot with him between races,” Allard said. “He’s one of those that you can’t train real hard between races, so I expect him to be a little better this week. I think he should be tighter. We just kind of keep him on his routine, light work every day. We don’t work him real hard, just kind of steady all week. No hard, fast miles, a lot of slow miles.” Springsteen already won the Messenger post position draw. Although Springsteen typically doesn’t show early speed, Allard loves the prospect of starting along the pylons while Jimmy Freight will start from the far outside. Last week’s other elimination winner, Babes Dig Me, drew post five while the other runner-up, JK Wildfire, drew post four. Stay Hungry will try to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive from post six. Winston, Topville Olympian, and Nutcracker Sweet complete the lineup. “Everything kind of has to go his way, but he has high speed and I think he’s in a good spot there. He’s got the rail, the best horse has the eight hole. I think the draw could not work any better,” Allard said. “Brian (Sears) is going to have to work his magic. Of all the drivers at Yonkers, Brian is one of if not the best ones and I have a lot of confidence in him, so I’m going to let him do his thing.” Saturday’s card also features the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-olds in race six where Six Pack is favored over Helpisontheway. Lindsey`s Pride, Lindy`s Big Bang, Maxus, Mississippi Storm, Tito, and The Veteran will try to upend the favorites. The filly companions to the Messenger and Yonkers Trot, the $129,014 Hudson Trot and $122,904 Lady Maud Pace go as races four and five, respectively. The night’s $44,000 Open Handicap Pace goes to post in race eight and features Bit Of A Legend and Evenin Of Pleasure. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N, coming off a 1:51.4 mile from post nine - two days ago - returned to the red clay oval at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono just over 48 hours later, and far from looking any the worse for wear, she parlayed a class drop and an improved post into a 1:51.2 victory. Driver Simon Allard had the winner of $164,619 outside and second-over behind the lively cover of Princess Fabulosa, then got a 27 last quarter out of his charge to have him 1½ lengths clear of her opposition at the end of the $17,500 mares conditioned pacing feature. A seven-time winner this year,  Eclipse Me N is trained by Simon's brother Rene, the meet's leading conditioner, for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. George Napolitano Jr. had four more winners on the Tuesday card, giving him 17 over the for-day Pocono week and, with two cards at Philly since last Friday, 25 wins in a 5-day period. The draw for Sunday's $1.5M spectacular card of racing, featuring four $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds and three $100,000 Championships for the Great Northeast Open Series, contained about everything anybody could realistically want, and then some. True fans of the sport will not want to miss the excellent racing this Sunday at The Downs, with first post set for 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Tataria was given a rough reception upon shipping from Yonkers to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for Monday night's $14,000 mares claiming handicap pacing feature, but the Four Starzzz Shark mare withstood three different solid challenges to win in 1:52.1. Tataria was sent to the lead early by driver Simon Allard and hit the quarter in 27.1; she soon faced an early move from Chitty Bang Bang, who had advanced to second by the 56 half. That one's moment in the spotlight was short-lived, but favored Ella Rose took up the Tataria-harassing baton, sweeping wide down the back to be at the leader by the 1:23.3 3/4s. Ella Rose could not sustain in the lane, but Unbeamlieveable, who had sat in the pocket behind these various battles, got in high gear in the stretch, only to come up a neck shy to the game winner. Tataria was haltered for $15,000 at Yonkers on July 3 by trainer/owner Gilbert Garcia-Herrera; in five starts since then, all against better opposition than she faced Monday, she had two seconds and a third and got a check in every start, but the combination of the slight class dip and the move to the mountain oval proved to be the proper victory tonic for the winner of $210,631. George Napolitano Jr. rang up four more winners at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Monday night, giving him 21 victories between The Downs and Harrah's Philadelphia since Friday -- 4 at Philly Friday afternoon, 7 at Pocono Saturday night, 4 at Philly Sunday afternoon, 2 at Pocono Sunday night, and the quartet on Monday. His record over the four days is 59-21-7-6-.456.   The hot streak has boosted George to fourth in the North American standings, trailing Dan Noble in third by 11 victories -- Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr. are 1-2. All four drivers have topped the year-end win standings during their careers. Draw for $1.5 million All-Star Sunday is Wednesday The draw conducted by the racing office tomorrow morning will be watched with great interest by many different horsemen and fans, as the fields for $1.5M worth of racing on this Sunday, September 2 will be put together tomorrow. The all-star Sunday card will feature the $252,000 Championship races for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes three-year-olds, plus $50,000 consolation races if they fill; also at Pocono on Sunday are the three $100,000 Championships for the Great Northeast Open Series classes of open pacers, open trotters, and mare pacers, to be conducted at 1¼ miles. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - In the $17,500 distaff harness racing pacing feature Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N looked to be in trouble while still midpack as pacesetter Betabcool N got a Sta-Puf soft half of 58, but her strong late rally got her to the wire first by a neck in 1:53. Betabcool N put Keystone Riptide in behind her earlier, and the easy 28.2 quarter surprised some - then the timer flashed 58 to the half, about the Pocono norm for "nw 3" trotters. Simon Allard had moved Eclipse Me N into second-up position behind favored Princess Fabulosa and gained to the 1:25.1 3/4, then swung wide late on the turn and continued to gain, just edging the pacesetter on the money, with Princess Fabulosa holding for third. Simon's brother Rene trains the winner of $149,369, who came her personal last half in a crackling 54.1, for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald MacRae. His namesake in the squared circle usually struck with lightning efficiency before getting the decision, but the equine Goldberg proved to be more a power grinder as the freshman took his purse debut in 1:54.3. The son of Mr Wiggles - Chausettes Blanche (who unfortunately died while carrying a full brother to Goldberg) was put in second-over position by owner/driver Montrell Teague before the walking 59.2 half, waited until midturn to tip off his fast-moving cover, then finished out his own last half in 54.4 to win by 1¾ lengths without urging. Brenda Teague trains the promising youngster, and she and her brother George certainly remember another two-year-old from the stable who broke his maiden at Pocono - a horse you may have heard of named Wiggle It Jiggleit. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

Chester, PA --- Perched third-over up the far side, Independent One ($4.60) circled four-wide en route to a 1:51.4 win in Sunday afternoon's (July 29) $17,000 featured pace at Harrah's Philadelphia.   After racing second from last in the early stages while Xpert Bayama (Corey Callahan) and Commentariat (Andy McCarthy) disputed the lead through fractions of :26.4 and :54.4.   Simon Allard then angled the 4-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding third-over up the far side into a late-developing outer flow. As Rough Odds (George Napolitano Jr.) advanced to press Xpert Bayama on the far turn after a :28.2 third sectional, Independent One stayed right on the helmet of Drinkin Again (Eric Carlson), who swung three-wide to the lead an eighth from home. Independent One vaulted clear as the pace collapsed and beat Drinkin Again by 1-1/4 lengths, while Sossy's King Kong (Brett Miller) rallied from astern to take third.   Independent One captured his sixth career win for trainer Vincent Fusco Jr. In addition to handling the driving duties, Allard shares ownership of Independent One with Bruce Soulsby, Allen Weisenberg and Niss Allen Inc.   Trainer Lou Peña recorded his 3,000th career win in one of two $14,500 sub-featured events, teaming up with Eric Carlson for a 1:52.1 victory with Skyful Of Lighters ($29.40).   The 7-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding was left uncovered with a circuit to go, sustained progress up the backstretch, and wore down pacesetter Cyamach N (Pat Berry) to win by half a length. José Cervantes owns the 20-time winner.   The other sub-featured pace saw Rock The Nite ($6.80, Napolitano) dig deep to parry a stern first-over threat from Grand Teton (Andy McCarthy) to earn his 18th career win in 1:50. Andrew Harris trains the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding for Robert Key.   Multiple players hit the afternoon's 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 in race five, resulting in a carryover of $1,072.27 to Wednesday afternoon's (Aug. 1) card. First post is scheduled for 12:25 p.m.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Springsteen rocked to a 15-1 upset in Saturday's (June 30) $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where favorite Lather Up went off stride and suffered his first loss in eight starts this year. Springsteen and driver Simon Allard used a three-wide move at three-quarters and overcame Nutcracker Sweet by a head to win in 1:48.3. Hitman Hill finished third. Stay Hungry led the field to the first quarter in :26 before giving the top spot to Dorsoduro Hanover by the half-mile point, which was reached in :53.1. Lather Up, the North America Cup champion, made a first-over move on the backstretch but was unable to get to the front, leaving Springsteen to make a three-wide move as the group hit three-quarters in 1:20.2. In the stretch, Nutcracker Sweet moved to the inside and got the lead, but was unable to hold off Springsteen. Lather Up, who got roughly gaited going around the first turn, went off stride as he came off the final turn and was seventh-placed-eighth in the field of nine. "All I worry about is my horse being nice and relaxed," Allard said. "He's always so angry and wants to go fast. The fact they were going real fast to the half, I never had to grab into him and he was nice and relaxed. Whenever we can tip him whenever he wants to go, that's the thing to do. "We didn't know how good of a 3-year-old he was going to be. We went through a little bit of a problem with him tying up but right now everything is back good. He's ready for a good summer I guess." Springsteen is a son of Rock N Roll Heaven out of American Charm. He has won two of five races this year and five of 19 in his career, good for earnings of $479,423. The colt is owned by Allard Racing, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Kapildeo Singh. Springsteen paid $32.60 to win. Max C. Hempt was a renowned Pennsylvania-based breeder, whose horses were known for the prefix "Keystone," as well as a longtime director of the U.S. Trotting Association and Hambletonian Society. He served as the Hambletonian Society president from 1966-1984 and the creation of the Breeders Crown series evolved under his leadership. Hempt, who passed away in 1999, was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1980. The Art Major colt Courtly Choice set the speedy tone for the evening by winning the $75,000 Hempt Pace Consolation in 1:48.4, equaling his mark and setting a national season's record. David Miller spotted fourth with Courtly Choice while I'm A Big Deal and Done Well battled well past a wicked :25.3 opening quarter, with Done Well claiming the top at the three-eighths and rolling on to the :53.2 half. Miller and Courtly Choice, who was the choice of the bettors, quickly got in gear down the backstretch, went by Done Well with no difficulty before the 1:21.1 three-quarter pole, and then finished out on his own, 12-1/2 lengths ahead of his rivals. Courtly Choice, now a winner of $148,596 for trainer Blake MacIntosh and the ownership of Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe, and Touch Stone Farms, evidently has the speed to give with the division's best -- what he still needs to master is how to draw a good post. He had post eight of nine in the North America Cup eliminations, was a troubled fifth, won the Cup Consolation, then drew post nine of nine in the Hempt elimination against Lather Up and had too far to come on the speed-favoring Pocono oval. by Ken Weingartner & PHHA/Pocono Downs    

WILKES-BARRE PA - The eight-year-old Mach Three mare Regil Elektra showed the qualities that have enabled her to become a racetrack millionaire, overcoming a 25-day layoff and a first-over trip to take the $14,000 featured pace for mares Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Simon Allard reserved Regil Elektra in third as former Iowa star Juxta Cowgirl put up fractions of 26, 55.3, and 1:23.1, with the winner getting going in high gear past that last station. In the lane Regil Elektra showed her gameness to wear down Juxta Cowgirl in 1:51.2, finishing a length to the good. Trained by Keith Armer, the winner pushed her lifetime tally to 46 wins and $1,033,503 in earnings, and is owned by the Fred Monteleone Stable LLC. During the card, 2016 Rising Star of the Year Marcus Miller was honored by The Downs for having recently achieved his 3000th lifetime victory in his still-young career. The 29-year-old is currently fifth in the driver win standings at Pocono. Perhaps Marcus's uncle Andy, like his nephew a former Chicagoland driving champion, was taking some notes during the winners circle presentation -- Andy himself is only a dozen wins away from 9000 career triumphs. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The 2017 Pacer of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Maxdaddy Blue Chip, visited the Downs winners circle for the first time in 2018, unleashing his patented late charge to capture the $21,500 feature on Saturday night. The 4-5 favored Sportswriter gelding was well-positioned second-over by driver Simon Allard, then started his surge three-wide midturn and carried it to the wire, which he reached ¾ of a length ahead of Waikiki Beach A. Maxdaddy Blue Chip is trained by Simon's brother and the meet's leading conditioner, Rene Allard, for Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, How's That Stables Inc., and VIP Internet Stables LLC. The track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., was honored in the Pocono winners circle early in the evening for earning career driving victory #9000 on Monday night, making him only the 21st North American member of that exclusive club. Then "George Nap" went out and showed he was in a hurry to get to 10,000, scoring eight times on the card, including in the $18,000 claiming handicap pacing feature with the red-hot Major Trick, a gelded son of Art Major who made two speed moves in searing early fractions of 26.2 and 53.4, opened a big lead to the 1:21.4 ¾ pole, then stayed clear by 1¾ lengths to the wire in 1:50.1. The winner of $339,088, a five-time winner in his last six starts, is trained by Hunter Oakes for owner Omar Beiler. Napolitano also won the fastest mile of the night, a 1:48.4 triumph with the world champion (OPG-hmt) Scott Rocks. Finally, Walks Of Life, who was a gallant second while trying to increase his North American-leading 2018 win total to 14, will be doing something that he hasn't done since March 24 - returning to the same barn from which he started the night, in this case that of Team Allard. The tough claimer had been taken from his 12 previous starts, but attracted no claims tonight, and thus that streak is halted one shy of what is believed to be the longest series of a horse being claimed, the 13 purchases transacted for R Gauwitz Hanover in 2015. (But thirteen other horses were claimed on the Saturday card, with $223,750 changing hands.) From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - LMC Mass Gem overcame a double jump in class, post eight, a sloppy track, and being parked 3/8 of a mile before getting the top, surmounting the adversity to post a 1¼-length 1:56.3 triumph in the $17,500 featured trot over a sloppy track Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Muscle Mass gelding is certainly in the winning grove right now, having taken two straight, three of his last four, and seven of fifteen 2018 starts. Here he defeated Crosbys Clam Bake, who also brushed off covering extra real estate to photo out favored sophomore Whats The Word, facing elders after two straight in the Sire Stakes. Simon Allard, a five-time winner on the night, guided the winner of $215,805 for trainer/brother Rene, the meet leader who added three to his total Sunday, and the partnership of Bruce Soulsby, VIP Internet Stable LLC, Kapildeo Singh, and Earl Hill Jr. Three $17,000 co-features sported two fields of trotters and one of pacers. The first trot was taken by the Glidemaster gelding Joey Pro, who had an explosive last 1/8 to see him come from fifth to take a 2 1/2 length victory in 1:57.1 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer John Hallett, and owner Mark Wamp. In the other, the brothers Allard combined with another son of sire Muscle Mass, the gelding Zagster, who raced to command at the ¾, then held off a late charge by Critical Mass to take a photo victory, also in 1:57.1. Zagster has now won $165,489 for Allard Racing Inc. and Kapildeo Singh. In the pacing contest, Xpert Bayama grabbed the lead quickly for driver Matt Kakaley, then scooted home in 56 to complete a 1:54.2 victory while 2¼ lengths to the good. The victorious altered son of Up The Credit has won three of his last five for trainer Ron Burke and the omnipresent duo of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - After the heaviest kind of favorite - the $2.10 to win variety - took each of the first two $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old pacing fillies at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on a chalk-laden Monday night, the third winner, racing in the tenth, paid more to win ($48.60) than the previous nine visitors to Victory Lane had returned combined. The upset was posted by the Somebeachsomewhere filly Destiny Hanover, who took a new mark in 1:52.2 in a race during which she had some help, but showed she knew what to do with good fortune. Simon Allard had her sitting third-inside as favored Serene Stride ranged up along pacesetting Pass Line Bluechip early on the far turn, then sent her scurrying up the pegs as the leader broke and went to the infield, allowing pocketsitting Aldine Hanover to dash through and grab the lead, with the winner on her bumper. In the stretch Allard took his charge to the Pocono Pike and got a nose advantage over Aldine Hanover late in tallying for trainer Jake Leamon and the ownership of David Van Dusen, Michael Cimaglio, and Stephen Demeter. The first of the heavy stakes chalk to make the Pocono winners enclosure was the A Rocknroll Dancer filly Sidewalk Dancer, who won her second straight race with a 1:51.3 clocking. Brett Miller had the winner on the lead before the quarter despite the outermost starting slot six, and she paced home in 55.2 to be 1½ lengths clear on the money for trainer Chris Oakes and the partnership of Northfork Racing Stable, Omar Beiler, and Dennis Coons. Alexa's Power, the Lismore Final winner, had a bit of a harder time from her outside starting assignment, but she defeated her six rivals in 1:53. Driver Tim Tetrick was content to tuck the Somebeachsomewhere miss in fifth early, then went second-over and three-wide nearing headstretch, with a determined charge into a 55.3 last half getting her a half-length decision over Aims Whisper for trainer Jim Campbell and owners Jeffrey and Michael Snyder.  

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