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WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Sombeachsomewhere mare Lyons River Pride held off foes to both sides during a :27 last quarter to lower her mark to 1:50 while winning the $17,500 feature for harness racing distaff pacers during the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Simon Allard hustled the winner of $331,271 to the lead mid-first turn, with Medusa defending the pocket and forcing favorite Divas Image into the 3-hole. Lyons River Pride took the field through fractions of :26.2, :55, and 1:23, with Divas Image pulling to the outside nearing the last-named marker and Medusa joining that pair in the Pocono Pike through the lane. Any of the three battlers seemed to have a chance, but Lyons River Pride proved the best by a neck over Divas Image, with Medusa just another neck back in third. Simon's brother Rene, the meet's leading trainer, conditions the winner for Geoffrey Lyons Mound. Simon had four winners on the card, three of them his brother's trainees. A $14,000 co-feature for distaff pacers saw the recent Australian import Imprincessgemma A run her U.S. record to 2-for-3 with an authoritative score in 1:51.3, her North American best. George Napolitano Jr. sent the daughter of Village Jolt to the lead after the quarter, then brought her home in :55.2 - :27.1 for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and the ownership of Joseph Bongiorno, Jennifer Bongiorno Stable, Steve Manzi, and Wish Me Luck Stables. In a $15,000 trot, the Muscle Mass gelding Conman Crown overcame the outermost starting spot to record his second straight victory, here in 1:56.1. Eric Carlson guided the winner as he trotted past pacesetting favorite Trix Are For Kids late to win by a length for trainer Rob Harmon and Pine Hill Stables. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

CHESTER, PA - The Explosive Matter mare Pat Matters ran her harness racing record to 4-for-5 since joining the Nifty Norman barn in winning the $17,500 featured trot in 1:52.2 on Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. George Napolitano Jr. was on the move after a :26.4 opening quarter with the four-year-old to gain the top, and she rolled on to midrace fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.1. In her last start at Philadelphia, a 1:52.2 clocking enabled her to draw away from her competition; here Scioto shipper What's The Word made her stay to task to record a 1¼ length victory, with Henderson Seelster, who made a break early, came from far out of it to be only another neck back at the finish. The 1:52.2 clocking equaled the lifetime mark that Pat Matters had established in her previous start. Since teaming with Norman for the Patricia Stable, the mare has lost only in a Miss Versatility leg against the likes of Hannelore Hanover. In the trotting division of $17,000 co-features, Explosivebreakaway, a sophomore altered son of Explosive Matter and a full brother to Phaetosive, regained his winning ways with a good two-move victory from the outside post eight in a lifetime mark 1:54.1. Tom Jackson rallied the three-year-old wide off the final turn and went on to a length victory over Captain Morgan for trainer Fred Grant, also co-owner with Janice Rubin, Steve Katz, and Murray Brown, as Explosivematter won for the seventh time in fourteen career starts. In the pacing section, the American Ideal gelding JK Musicman was involved in tough early fractions, but he had enough capacity to maintain his advantage and lower his mark to 1:51.2, staying 1½ lengths ahead of rallying favorite Trump That. Eric Carlson drove the Gilbert Garcia-Herrera trainee for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing's top trainer/owner combination, trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, teamed with driver Matt Kakaley to sweep the featured races at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during a Tuesday twilight card. Kakaley used "pocket rocket" tactics to take both headliners, including with the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Fanatic in a $15,000 trot. Fanatic sat behind favored Stonebridge Symba as that one set the tempo of :28.1, :58.1, and 1:26.4, with the leader getting second-half pressure from Winning America before that foe lost gait midway on the far turn. After the breaker Fanatic soon went to the outside and easily passed the pacesetter in the lane to win in 1:55.3, with Voodoo Man, who had a third-in trip, getting up for second, 1¼ lengths behind the winner. One day after Pocono hosted the 2019 Great Northeast Open Series Championships at 1¼ miles, the winner of the 2018 GNOS Mare Pace Championship, Bettorhaveanother, set a new lifetime best of 1:50.1 at the conventional mile distance, winning a $14,000 distaff pace. The victorious Bettor's Delight mare paced past Monica Gallagher midway on the first turn, then after the :26.4 quarter she relinquished the lead to Sidewalk Dancer, who took the field past the midpoles in :55.3 and 1:23. Bettorhaveanother, now a winner of $578,992, had plenty of pace after the two-hole journey, and she gained into a 27.1 final quarter to win by 1½ lengths over Sidewalk Dancer, who in turn photoed out Monica Gallagher for second. George Napolitano Jr. guided the last three winners on the card to tie his brother Anthony for the card's sulky honors with a trio of victories apiece. George and Anthony are 1-2 in the seasonlong Pocono driving win standings. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Normally we would devote this space to the Weekly Awards. But we're going to take a break this week to detail all of the action from an afternoon an early evening of stakes competition at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Not only were the $40,000 finals of the PA Stallion Series held for both two and three-year-old horses, but the $100,000 finals of the Great Northeast Open Series took place. All totaled, there were 11 stakes races on the 14-race program. Here are the results: STALLION SERIES 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT When the 4-5 favorite Next Level Stuff made a break on the first turn, somebody had to step up in this class. Miss Wilia, a 9-1 shot leaving from post #8 in the nine-horse field, did just that. She led gate-to-wire, holding off late charges from Caviart Guilia and Madame Sherry to win it by a head in 1:55:2. Scott Zeron did the driving for trainer Rick Zeron. STALLION SERIES 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE 38-1 long shot Keystone Eureka was game with a first-over charge. But the 6-5 favorite The Party's Rockin was tough as nails on the front end. When challenged, the filly trained by Mark Harder and driven by Tyler Buter responded, holding tight to her lead to get it done by a length in 1:52:4 for her third straight victory. STALLION SERIES 2-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS TROT The 6-5 favorite Town Victor came in with wins in five of his seven races. He sat the pocket trip in the final behind Loyal Fox Hanover, who set imposing fractions but couldn't shake the favorite. In the lane, Matt Kakaley guided Town Victor, trained by Rich Gillock, right past the pacesetter to go away for a two-length win in 1:54:4, a new Stallion Series final mark for male freshman trotters. STALLION SERIES 2-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS PACE Lake Charles, driven by David Miller and trained by Ray Schnittker, was made the 2-1 second choice and set the early pace. The even-money favorite Captain Groovy sat the pocket and pulled to the outside on the last turn hoping to take over. But Lake Charles was having none of it, pulling away for a convincing 3 ½-length victory in 1:51:3, the fastest pace ever in a 2-year-old Stallion Series final. STALLION SERIES 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT Despite leaving from a tough #8 post position, Jezzy's Legacy, the 8-5 betting favorite, was able to hustle to the front at the quarter. After Tyler Buter rated her well, the filly had to stand tall late as Southwind Storm made a three-wide charge at her late. But Jezzy's Legacy, trained by Ray Schnittker, held up for a victory in 1:54:1, matching the fastest ever time by a three-year-old trotting filly in a Stallion Series final. STALLION SERIES 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE Front-end speed had been the order of the day to that point, but Annie Hill, the 6-5 favorite in this final, chose a different tactic. Tyler Buter guided the filly to a second-over journey before a three-wide move in the lane. The Chris Oakes' trainee powered on home past pacesetter Sweet Cherry to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:50:4, matching the fastest ever Stallion Series final for the group. STALLION SERIES 3-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS TROT Driver Yannick Gingras had to work Lindy's Crazy Hall early to get the lead from the #8 post. But he then rated the 3-1 second betting choice very well, especially through a relaxed second panel. That paid off late, as Lindy's Crazy Hall fought off the late challenge of betting favorite Kate's Massive to deliver the win by a head in 1:54:3. GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN SERIES MARES PACE The heavy favorite Caviart Ally set the pace in the 1 ¼-mile rest, but five out of the six horses stayed relatively close to her for the entirety of the race. She tried to finish strong, by Bettor's Up, a 14-1 long shot trained by Nick Surick, came on strong at the end of the elongated race as if she was just getting warmed up. Tim Tetrick rallied Bettor's Up to the win in 2:21. GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN SERIES TROT The decorated mare Hannelore Hanover was the heavy favorite and she led most of the way in this final. But Rich And Miserable, who has burst upon the scene for trainer Todd Buter in 2019, stayed attached in the pocket. It came down to a thrilling stretch duel, a duel that was won by Rich And Miserable in the passing lane with Tyler Buter in the bike in 2:24:3. GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN SERIES PACE In the previous two Great Northeast Open finals, the leader had coughed the lead up late. And, with 1-2 favorite Backstreet Shadow lurking behind pacesetter None Bettor A, it looked like the same thing might happen again. But driver George Napolitano Jr. coaxed more out of 5-2 second choice None Bettor A, and the Andrew Harris' trainee held on by in 2:20:1. STALLION SERIES 3-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS PACE Waterway, trained by Tony Alagna and driven by Dexter Dunn, ended the Monday stakes action in thrilling fashion. With a pocket trip behind long shot Seafarer, the 6-1 shot scooted up the passing lane late and was just able to nip Seafarer by a nose. Waterway, who had spent most of the last few months at Yonkers, paced the mile in 1:51. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs              

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Monday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was jam-packed with quality racing throughout, with three $100,000 Championships of the Great Northeast Open Series for older fast-class harness racing  performers, all at 1¼ miles over the 5/8-mile Pocono oval, along with eight $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships for Keystone-sired two- and three-year-olds who rank just below the national-caliber state Sire Stakes ranks. $100,000 GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS OPEN PACE Perhaps None Bettor A had a bit of an experience edge by racing over distances longer than a mile Down Under, but he showed rare courage in holding the late charge of favored pocketsitter Backstreet Shadow in 2:20.1, a stakes record, with the last three-quarters of 1:22.3 extraordinary in an extended-distance contest. None Bettor A darted to the top for George Napolitano Jr. entering the backstretch the first time, and no one had the word "record" in mind when the first two poles were passed in :28 and :57.3. However, the second lap of the red Pocono oval was a flat-out sprint, with None Bettor A hanging up the next two fractions of 1:25.3 and 1:52.3, then staying game with Backstreet Shadow coming right at him in the lane to take a half-length decision with a :27.3 last quarter.   None Bettor A now has 11 victories in 15 seasonal races, with a lifetime bankroll of $385,945. Andrew Harris is handling the conditioning of the Bettor's Delight gelding for Joe P Racing LLC and Oldford Racing LLC.   OPEN TROT The Explosive Matter four-year-old gelding Rich And Miserable, who developed into a national-caliber horse through the late spring and summer, confirmed his elevation to the very top level when he caught 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in winning the GNOS Open Trot Championship in 2:24.3 - a more relevant number being the back half of :56.3 over the extended distance. Tyler Buter, who emerged as the star of the day with four stakes wins, sent Rich And Miserable right to the lead , then extended favored Hannelore Hanover well past a :29.2 opener, yielding the lead and content to sit in the pocket while Hannelore dawdled through fractions of :58.3 and 1:28.2.   The pace picked up when Tight Lines ranged up first-over, with the mile mark hit in 1:56.4. As they turned into the lane Rich And Miserable ducked to the famed Pocono Pike and went right up to her, then edged the mare by a head in the 27.4 last quarter. It was the tenth win in fifteen seasonal starts for Rich And Miserable, who is trained by Todd Buter and is owned by Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. MARE PACE Patience proved quite a virtue for driver Tim Tetrick and the Bettor's Delight mare Bettor's Up, as the winner of $892,374 proved to be the fresh horse late to take the GNOS Mare Pace Championship in 2:21 for the 1¼ miles after her four main opponents had all made moves in the twicearound contest. Apple Bottom Jeans showed customary speed at the start; Eclipse Me N moved early and had the lead before the :27.3 first marker. Heavy favorite Caviart Ally then moved and took command at the :56 half, going to the three-quarters in 1:25 and the mile in 1:53, with Write Me A Song giving chase in the backstretch the second time.   Tetrick rode the first-over's cover, tipped his mare wide in the lane, and made up a lot of ground to post a head victory over Caviart Ally, with Apple Bottom Jeans only a neck further back. The final clocking set a GNOS divisional stakes record and matched a time posted by the mare Marnie Hall at Dover in 2006 in the old Classic Series Final. The 14-1 winner is trained by Nick Surick and is owned by his Nick Surick Stable LLC. $40,000 PENNSYLVANIA STALLION SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS TWO-YEAR-OLDS TROT The Winning Mister - P Town Girl gelding Town Victor charged home out of the pocket to take his StS group in 1:54.4 - a time which set an individual and stakes record and a Pocono track record, and until yesterday would have equaled the world record (Real Cool Sam won his Sire Stakes Championship at Philly in 1:53.4f). The winner of six of eight, including three Stallion prelims which made him the leading prelim pointwinner, was driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Rich Gillock, co-owner with Barbara Richardson. Town Victor won by two lengths over pacesetter Loyal Fox Hanover. The Andover Hall - Miss Athena filly Miss Wilia streaked right to the lead from post eight for driver Scott Zeron and set the pace, then held off the closers to win in a lifetime best and Stallion Series Championship record 1:55.2. Caviart Giulia came up the inside but was a head shy of the winner of three straight, who is trained by Rick Zeron and owners Charles Resecki and Thomas Brice.   PACE The Well Said - Bodacious Hanover colt Lake Charles was sent off at 2-1, behind his Ray Schnittker stablemate Captain Groovy at even money, but once circling that horse after a hard first 3/8, Lake Charles was the strong horse to the wire, winning his fourth straight race (three prelims and now his finale) while rewriting his individual and the stakes record to 1:51.3. Patriot Nation finished 3½ lengths behind the streaking winner, who was driven by David Miller for owners Schnittker, Max J. Hempt, Dr. John Egloff, and Steven Arnold. The Captaintreacherous - Rocknroll Cameo miss The Party's Rockin posted the fastest clocking of her group's StS prelims, 1:52.4, two starts back, then made a break on the lead as the heavy favorite last time. On Monday, the winner of half her six lifetime starts made atonement for that miscue, leading at every pole which matching her 1:52.4 mark. The Party's Rockin held off game longshot Keystone Eureka by a length for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Mark Harder, and owner Matthew Dugan. THREE-YEAR-OLDS TROT Lindy's Crazy Hall prepped for the Stallion Series Championship with a qualifying win featuring a smart :27.2 last panel, and that effort seemed to be just the tonic for the son of Cantab Hall as he equaled his life mark of 1:54.3 in victory for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Domenico Cecere, and the Greathorse ownership. Lindy's Crazy Hall was under pressure for much of the last half from favored Kate's Massive, who was looking to become only the third Stallion Series horse to be a champion at two and three, but the pacesetter prevailed by a head. After working hard to get the lead nearing the quarter, the Donato Hanover miss Jezzys Legacy was in control of her Championship, withstanding late-charging longshot Southwind Storm by 1¼ lengths for driver Tyler Buter while equaling the stakes record of 1:54.2. Trainer Ray Schnittker is also co-owner of the classy filly with Little E LLC, Ted Gewertz, and Mary Kinsey Arnold. PACE The Captaintreacherous colt Waterway parked Seafarer to the quarter, sat behind that rival, then came up the Pocono Pike to catch the pacesetter and take his StS Championship in 1:51. Waterway had a big late surge to edge Seafarer by a nose for driver Dexter Dunn, hot trainer Tony Alagna, and the ownership of Alagna And Begley Stable, Santo and Joseph Barbera, and David Silverman. Driver Tyler Buter continued his winning ways in the Stallion Series Championships by guiding the Captaintreacherous filly Annie Hill, the prelim pointleader, home in 1:50.4, equaling the stakes record. Buter gave the distaff, coming off a sick scratch, a second-over trip, and she finished strongly to defeat pocketsitting Michelon's Filly by 1¼ lengths for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Tom Hill.   From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - On the C.K.G. Billings circuit Bob Hechkoff may be known as "The Headhunter," but at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night he was known as the longshot player's best friend after guiding the Andover Hall gelding Five Towns to a $63.20 shocking victory in the $15,000 Billings #2 Eastern Sector Final. "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo was certainly smokin' out of the gate with Tough Get Going, leaving from the rail in :27.4 to put the field in behind, then backing off the half to 1:00.1. The price of trotting went up down the backstretch as Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford moved up with favored Starsaboveallerage behind Super Manning and "Joltin'" Joe Pennacchio's uncovered bid to the 1:29.3 three-quarters. Tough Get Going and Faraldo shook off the first-over, but Hechkoff, who had guided Five Towns into the two-hole early, rallied his veteran winner of $425,264 to go by Tough Get Going and Faraldo by ¾ of a length, with Oldford and Starsaboveallerage third, and the entire field of eight competitively and commendably separated by less than five lengths at the wire. With the victory, Hechkoff assured himself of a spot in the Eastern Region Gold Cup Final - the prime prize for the area's amateur horsemen. His equine partner Five Towns is trained by Kyle Spagnola is owned by Hechkoff's R.B.H. Ventures Inc. and Spagnola Racing LLC. In a $17,500 conditioned trot, Muscle M Up parlayed a second-over trip into a half-length victory over Prairie Fortune, who quarter-moved and set most of a fast pace, in a swift 1:53. Matt Kakaley handled the driving duty for trainer Ã…ke Svanstedt and Knutsson Trotting Inc.  

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- The redoubtable ten-year-old Atta Boy Dan won for the fifth straight time, and tenth in his last eleven starts, leading at every pole to take the harness racing featured $20,000 claiming handicap pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night. He was also claimed for the 13th straight start for $40,000, tying a local standard first set by R Gauwitz Hanover in 2015. George Napolitano Jr. got the winning Western Terror gelding to the front late on the first turn and posted fractions of :26.1, :54.2, and 1:22, crossing the wire in 1:50.1, 1¼ lengths ahead of pocketsitting Rock The Town, for his connections for this start, trainer Brandon Presto and the ownership of Spring Valley Ranch and Michelle Linnert. Nobody has lost money having Atta Boy Dan in the barn since he came to Pocono on May 11 - his record over the local oval is 17-13-2-1-$143,400, and he has 16 wins on the year and 68 in his career while amassing $916,417. And now Atta Boy Dan goes to a new barn after his 13th straight race - and it will be a "new" barn, as his new connections have not previously had the horse during his "streak." In the $17,500 top conditioned pace, Rebellious was limbed past a 26.3 quarter, but he had sway the rest of the way to win in 1:50, his second straight victory. After making the lead around Turbo Hill, driver Anthony Napolitano gave his horse a breather to a :55.4, and he was ready when brother George and favored Dealt A Winner came up head-to-head with him during a :26.3 backside, keeping the chalk out past the 1:22.2 three-quarters and into the lane. When that rival backed off, Turbo Hill loomed inside from the pocket, but Rebellious kept a ¾ of a length advantage over him at the wire in winning for trainer Michael Deters, co-owner with Joel Warner. George Napolitano Jr., the track's leading driver, had five victories on the Saturday card. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The top pointearners in the eight divisions of Pennsylvania Stallion Series, a class just below the Sire Stakes program, will be meeting during a Monday twilight harness racing card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to contest $40,000 Championship races. Perhaps the most interesting entrant in the Stallion Series Championships is the three-year-old Muscle Massive colt Kate's Massive, who will attempt to become only the third Stallion Series Championship winner at two to repeat at three, behind trotting filly Migisi (2010-11) and pacing colt Nimble And Quick (2015-16). Kate's Massive made a break in his first StS start of 2018, then won two prelims before taking the final; this year he won all three of the prelims he entered and should be favored from post seven in race nine. In the companion filly event, race seven, Spring In Paris recorded three wins and a second in the prelims and figures the horse to beat from post four. Among the sophomore pacers, race thirteen's colt event had only two two-time StS prelim winners, Under Paid and Skip To My Lou, and figures to be a wide-open contest. In contrast, the pacing fillies, gathered in race eight, had five distaffs who posted two Stallion Series winners, including JK Mardi Says, who was victorious the only two times she entered the prelims. Turning to the two-year-olds: the one hope that a Stallion Series horse would win in all four preliminaries, the pacing colt Captain Groovy, had that dream brought to a halt last time when he was beaten by a half-length. The Captain still figures as one of the sixth race favorites, along with the streaking Lake Charles, three-for-three in the prelims. Among that gait's distaffs, in race four, the two standouts are Aplomp Hanover and Arden Hanover, both of whom won three preliminaries - and was beaten by the other in the fourth. In the baby trotting races, Town Victor has three Stallion Series victories and 5-of-7 so far in his young career; he is likely to be favored over good youngsters Saxon and Stickler Hanover. The StS Championship for baby trotting fillies is race three, where five misses notched two preliminary wins, including three who won in both their prelim appearances: Heart N Soul Deo, Next Level Stuff, and Caviart Guilia. The eight Stallion Series Championships will share the Monday spotlight at Pocono with the three $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Championships for mare pacers, open trotters, and open pacers, in that order, all to be conducted at 1¼ miles. Horsemen with GNOS Championship entrants are reminded that there is a six-hour detention situation from scheduled post time, with post time for the first event, the mare pace, listed at 6:42 p.m. Contact the racing office for further information. -30-    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A world record for 1¼ miles on a 5/8-mile track was broken in last year's inaugural edition of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) Championships, and this coming Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the world record at both gaits for the elongated distance, twice around the Pocono 5/8-mile oval, may be in jeopardy in this season's three $100,000 Championships. It was Homicide Hunter who lowered the record on the trot to 2:22.2 in winning his GNOS Championship, and the World's Fastest Trotter returns to Pocono Monday for trainer Ron Burke and Crawford Farms Racing. The gelded son of Mr Cantab starts from post six in a field of seven in the eleventh race, with David Miller driving. 2019 has not been as kind to the Homicide Hunter as last year, when he went 1:48.4 at Lexington to become the fastest-ever at his gait, but the veteran does have a GNOS victory and looked good against lesser foes last time out, so he may be on a bounceback. The horse to beat in the GNOS starts just outside of him, and is a stablemate - 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables, and to be driven by Yannick Gingras. The daughter of Swan For All has won half of her eight seasonal starts, has beaten 1:51 twice, and was undefeated in two GNOS starts, including setting a Philly track record of 1:52 in winning the final prelim. The pacing record for 1¼ miles is 2:19.4 (it is not kept separate by sex), and it appears to be under greater threat from the open pacers division, race twelve. The field is replete with high-percentage winners, one being Highalator (post seven, trainer Jenny Bier, driver Richard Still), 11-for-23 in 2019, who won three GNOS prelims, including last week's, and is the year's co-fastest horse on a 5/8-mile track over the mile in 1:48. A fellow three-time GNOS winner is None Bettor A (post eight, trainer Andrew Harris, driver George Napolitano Jr. listed), who is 10-for-14 this season, won nine in a row earlier in the year, and controlled a good Open field at Yonkers last time out. Add in Backstreet Hanover, who lost a five-race winning streak last time out, and Prairie Panther, each of them a winner in half of their twenty seasonal starts, and you have many fast horses who know the way to get to the winners circle - it should be fascinating to see which one in the full field of nine will be able to work out the winning trip. The #1-ranked harness horse, pacing mare Shartin N, is sticking to her intermittent racing pattern, so she is not in the mare pacing Championship (a race where she had a rough trip and faded last year). One distaff who will not regret her absence is the Bettor's Delight mare Caviart Ally, who is having an excellent season in the shadow of the superstar - in fact, Caviart Ally has not lost a race that Shartin N did not win since "Ally"'s seasonal debut on April 30. She has given Shartin N some notable battles, and she may be in controlling position from post two in the tenth race field of seven for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Brett Pelling, and Caviart Farms. Eclipse Me N, the horse who beat Caviart Ally in her 2019 bow, is still going strong over four months later, and she'll have the "home field advantage" Monday in that she is trained by Rene Allard, leading trainer at Pocono; Rene's brother Simon will be driving from post three. In addition to these three outstanding races for the more seasoned performers, the Monday card will also feature eight $40,000 Championship events for Pennsylvania Stallion Series high preliminary pointwinners. Those races will be featured in a separate release. Post time for the first of fourteen races at Pocono on Monday is 4 p.m. From the PHHA, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

WILKES-BARRE PA, - The Well Said mare Lady Dela Renta A, now 2-for-3 in the United States, paced an impressive 1:49.2 mile in taking the $17,500 distaff feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Anthony Napolitano got away fourth with the recent import as Bettorhaveanother took the field to the quarter in :26.2, then began a grinding move as early mover Lyons River Pride took the field to the half in :55. Lady Dela Renta A gained into a 1:21.4 three-quarter clocking, then showed no ill effects from the rough two-move trip, stretching out for more ground to the wire in defeating Lyons River Pride by a length. Lady Dela Renta A, a five-year-old mare, had put together 14 wins in 41 Down Under starts and $155,814 on her card when she was purchased by Blindswitch Racing Stable and Dolne Farm Services LLC and turned over to trainer Jose Godinez, and her connections looked to have made an astute purchase who may be capable of even better feats. Turville Hanover followed the cover of Bag O Chips around the far turn, then kicked on to beat out that rival by a neck in a $15,000 co-featured trot while taking a new mark of 1:54.4. Trainer Jeff Gregory guided the sophomore Cantab Hall gelding, who was unraced at two but now has posted five wins in 13 starts for Jeff Gregory Inc., Stuart Morgan, and Steven Finkelstein. FINISHING LINES - The draw is Wednesday morning for one of the biggest cards of the season at The Downs, next Monday's twilight program which features the three $100,000 Championships of the Great Northeast Open Series at 1¼ miles as well as all eight of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships during an action-packed lineup of races. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

The past week's racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was highlighted by a mandatory Rainbow Pick 5 payout, which awarded winning tickets at over $1,200 a pop Sunday night. It will be fun to see how high the Rainbow rises as it starts up again and rolls through the rest of the season at Pocono. As usual, we saw some outstanding performances over the past four racing programs, and we highlight the best of those now by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: TEXICAN N This 11-year-old gelding has been a stalwart performer throughout his career. In fact, he's not that far off from having a million dollars in purse money. Where once he was a top Open and condition performer, these days he plies his trade in the claiming ranks and recently has found the old fastball for trainer Brittany Robertson. After a few near-misses, Texican N scored a win in a $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap on August 17, utilizing a pocket trip for the 1:51:2 score. On Saturday night, Texican N was back at it against the same claiming class, this time leaving from post position #3 and doing so as the 2-1 favorite. Texican N left early for the lead, but then watched as Beach Memories moved past him on the first turn. In the previous start, the gelding sat in the pocket behind Beach Memories and prevailed late. But this time around, driver Matt Kakaley urged the veteran on for a quick retake of the lead on the front stretch. The move seemed to take the stuffing out of Beach Memories, who wasn't a threat from there. Texican N had to deal with other horses in the field making a late play, but he was up to the challenge. He ended up coming home a winner by 1 ¾ lengths over King Harvest in a sharp winning time of 1:50:4. And, with the win on Saturday night, he proved that he could still dominate the proceedings rather than just relying on a trip to win. Other top pacers this week include: Torrid Bromac N (Pat Berry, Traci Berry), who won his second straight $15,000 claimer on Saturday night and fourth out of five overall in 1:51; Daamericansky (Marcus Miller, Mark Silva), who rolled to his second condition win in his last three races on Sunday and did so in a new career-best time of 1:49:3; and Lady Dela Renta A (Anthony Napolitano, Jose Godinez), who moved up in class for her second straight win at Pocono on Tuesday night, this time capturing the night's featured condition pace for mares in a new career-best time of 1:49:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SATIN DANCER Winning a Sunday night featured trot at Pocono these days is quite an accomplishment. It doesn't seem to matter the condition or the purse; the field always seemed to be stacked from inside to outside with top competitors, making it like a gauntlet for anyone brave enough to tackle it. This past Sunday night's edition, a condition with a purse of $17,500, was no different. Moving up in class to face a group like that is a tough task, but that's just what Satin Dancer was undertaking. The five-year-old mare trained by Travis Alexander was coming off a victory in her previous start at Pocono at the $14,000 level in 1:54:3. In the Sunday night tilt she was the 4-1 fourth choice on the board, leaving from post position #4 in a field of eight. And, as in her previous start, she left in a hurry, grabbing the lead after a brief speed duel with 2-1 favorite Two AM. From there, driver Dexter Dunn was able to rate the pace favorably because no first-over challenger came along to speed his horse up. As they hit the top of the stretch, only Two AM was still hanging around with a chance to derail the mare. But she closed out the mile as powerfully as she began it, keeping Two AM at bay to win it by a length as the only distaff horse in the entire field. Not only did Satin Dancer conquer the feature with her second straight win, but she also did it in 1:53, which matched her career-best mile in the process. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Lionbacker Kidd (Marcus Miller, Bucky Angle Jr.), who picked up his second straight condition win on Sunday night, scoring in 1:55:3; Broadway Mojo (George Napolitano Jr., Brandon Presto), who followed up a win at the Meadows with a claiming handicap victory at Pocono on Sunday night in 1:55:1; and Amador (Marcus Miller, Joseph King), whose upset win at Pocono in a condition trot on Sunday night in 1:54:2 gave him two straight victories, with the previous one coming at Harrah's at Philadelphia. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MACH WEST Despite a romping win at Tioga in his previous start, this pacer driven by Anthony Napolitano got away at 33-1 in a condition on Sunday night and won it to pay off $68.80 on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDY MILLER Miller had a blast on the Labor Day card, coming up with winners in four of the day's dozen races, cashing in with a favorite every time. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JULIE MILLER You might have guessed from above that Monday was also a big day for Julie, as she went a perfect four-for-four on the day with her trainees. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

WILKES-BARRE, PA - There was one sure way - and it was the only way - to cash a ticket on a favorite during the Labor Day Monday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. You bet on a Julie Miller-trained harness racing horse. Julie combined with driver/husband Andy to send out four horses on the twelve-race Pocono card. All were favorites; all won and took lifetime marks; and none of the other eight favorites could get home first. Two of Team Orange Crush's winning quartet were two-year-olds: the Father Patrick - Bell Power trotting filly Becky Kronos, who broke her maiden in 1:57.4 for Bruni Racing Team AB; and the Sombeachsomewhere - Pleasure Beach pacing filly The Bethinator, an import from Hawthorne who ran her lifetime mark to 4-for-5 with a 1:53.4 victory for the Megan Rogers Racing Stable. The sophomore Donato Hanover filly American Kronos, last seen in an Hambletonian Oaks elimination, found Tuesday's easier company to her liking as she tallied in 1:53.3 for Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Dr. David Goodrow. And then there was the Muscle Hill four-year-old American Moni, the last foal out of the champion mare Moni Maker. He hadn't won at two and three in limited attempts; in 2019 before Tuesday's race he had a first and two seconds before eliminating himself with a break over sloppy going. Here American Moni put it all together as the Pocono players' heavy chalk, stepping to a 1:53.3 best clocking for the Moni Maker Stable. The two younger performers won by 1¾ lengths and ¾ of a length, respectively; the latter two won by 8½ and 7¾ lengths, respectively. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Satin Dancer took her field coast-to-coast in winning the $17,500 featured trot Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, equaling her lifetime harness racing mark of 1:53 under the guidance of Dexter Dunn. The Big Stick Lindy five-year-old mare had favored Two AM stalking her through fractions of :27.2, :56.2, and 1:24.3, but Satin Dancer sailed on smoothly on the front end, withstanding Two AM by a length for trainer Travis Alexander. A champion in Indiana at two and three, earning just over $600,000 in his first two years of racing, Satin Dancer now has a lifetime bankroll of $727,040. A large carryover was brought into a mandatory distribution of the Rainbow Pick 5 pool (pick winners in the last five races), with the resultant jackpot up for grabs a staggering $320,237.30. Satin Dancer paid $10.60 as the fourth choice in the Rainbow Pick 5 opener, bringing the record of favorites to 0-for-10 for the night, but things stabilized somewhat thereafter with two favorites, a second choice, and a third choice winning the other Rainbow races, so that a successful 20-cent ticket on the winning 5-4-6-1-9 combination brought $1,280.94 to its backers. The big jackpot helped bring about a total handle for the Pocono card of $621,081 from its followers far and wide. There were a trio of $17,000 co-features, one for each sex of pacers and one on the trot. The American Ideal gelding Daamericansky lowered his mark to 1:49.3 in one of the paces, making the early lead in :26.3 for driver Marcus Miller, yielding to favored Quatrain Blue Chip and sitting behind the sophomore through middle splits of :55.3 and 1:22.3, and then gaining into a :27 last panel to post a length victory. Mark Silva conditions the winner of two of his last three for owner Jean Claude Dessureault. In the mares pace co-feature, the Art Professor mare Robyn Camden lowered her mark over three seconds, making two speed moves to control the pace through :26.2, :55.2, and 1:23 for driver George Napolitano Jr., then burning home in :27.1 to complete a 1:50.1 package for trainer Rene Allard. The mare is owned by Jason Osullivan of Ireland, was bred in Great Britain, and has now won 19 times in 31 Transatlantic starts. The trotting co-feature saw three-year-olds finish 1-2 ahead of their elders, as the Yankee Glide gelding Amador held off late-closing Explosivebreakway by a nose in 1:54.2 for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Joseph King. For Amador, it was his second straight win and fourth in his last seven. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Highalator showed sharp early speed to earn a fine pocket trip behind favored Backstreet Shadow, then caught that rival by ¾ of a length to win the $30,000 final preliminary in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for top-level harness racing pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:48.2. Driver Richard Still fully exploited his post two draw to the maximum against Backstreet Shadow, looking for his sixth straight win but starting from the outside post nine, and sped away from the gate, putting Scott Rocks in behind him and releasing Backstreet Shadow only after a 26.1 first quarter. Backstreet Shadow rolled on to the half in :54, and then made the three-quarters in 1:21.1 to keep the first-over bid of Prairie Panther at a safe distance. In early stretch Still pulled Highalator to the outside and wore down the gallant Backstretch Shadow before deep stretch. Scott Rocks, third-in, came up the Pocono Pike to get third, ahead of Prairie Panther. Highalator now has earnings of $537,099 for trainer Jenny Bier, who is co-owner of the son of Somebeachsomewhere with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. The pacer certainly has winning ways: he's taken 11 of 23 starts in 2019, 32 of 69 lifetime outings, and 14 of his 23 career starts at Pocono. The Racing Office at Pocono is the official arbiter of the Great Northeast Open Series, but a quick, unofficial calculation performed after this last GNOS race divisional prelim revealed the following nine horses with the most points: 1. Tiger Thompson N; 2. Scott Rocks; 3. None Bettor A; 4. Highalator; 5. Our Max Phactor N; 6. Rodeo Rock; 7. Backstreet Shadow; 8. Havefaithinme N; 9. Prairie Panther. The GNOS will have its three $100,000 Championships during a twilight card on Monday, September 9, a card which will also include all eight Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships. Atta Boy Dan just keeps rolling along - the ten-year-old altered son of Western Terror Atta Boy Dan won his fourth straight, and ninth of his last ten, in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace. Atta Boy Dan was forced to work very hard for this victory, put into the pocket in a :25.4 opener, moving to the lead but not without a fight to a :53.3 half, and then going to the three-quarters in 1:21.2. In the stretch Rock The Town, who had pressured the winner so much earlier, came in the Pocono Pike but was a half-length shy in the 1:49.3 mile, with first-up Benji's Best another neck back and deep Pikeshooter Pembroke Wildcat just another neck behind. George Napolitano Jr. held the dead-game veteran together for trainer Mike Watson and owner Cliff Grundy, enabling him to top $900,000 in career earnings with his 67th lifetime winners circle picture and his 15th victory of the year, tied for second for North American honors. A new dimension to the Atta Boy Dan story came after the race, where it was announced that he had been claimed for $40,000. That in itself is nothing new - this was the twelfth straight race out of which Atta Boy Dan had been taken for $40,000 (his fourth leaving of Grundy / Watson) - but the people who claimed the horse are Meadows-based, and their trainer has started his last 40 horses at the western PA track; the last one he started at Pocono was claimed away. It will be interesting to see if "Dan" gets a chance to match the 13straight races of changing hands that R Gauwitz Hanover established as the unofficial local record in 2015. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) hosts its final 2019 preliminaries this weekend, with $30,000 events at both Pocono (Saturday evening, open pacers) and Philly (Sunday afternoon, open trotters and mare pacers). This will be the final chance for horses to earn points so that they might be eligible for their $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Championships, all held at 1¼ miles. These Championships will be held on Monday, September 9, at Pocono on a twilight card that also will feature all eight Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships. One of the hottest horses in all of harness racing, Backstreet Shadow, looks to extend his winning string since being acquired by the Burke Brigade to six in Saturday's open pace at Pocono, but he'll have to do it starting from the outside post nine. A winner in GNOS races in his last two starts, Backstreet Shadow currently sits ninth in the standings, and he will need a high finish and little impression by "bubble" horses just beneath him in the point total to make the Championship. He'll be driven by Matt Kakaley this Saturday. Sitting third and sixth in the standings, and with very solid chances of making the Championship, are respectively Scott Rocks (post five, driver George Napolitano Jr.) and Highalator (post two, driver Richard Still). Both horses have shown a long-term affinity for the Pocono oval, and their connections of course hope from sharp performances from them approaching their GNOS Championships. Horses such as The Wall, Prairie Panther, and Donttellmeagain are on the points "bubble" going into their contests and could earn their way into their Championships. The GNOS action then shifts 100 miles southward to Philly on Sunday afternoon, where the first of the two events to take to the track will be the open trot. The Burke Brigade holds a solid position heading into this final prelim: Homicide Hunter, the World's Fastest Trotter at 1:48.4, is #1 in the pointstandings as well as the event's defending champion. He bypassed the GNOS race for a 1:53.2 victory against good conditioned foes at Philly on Thursday. But a nice "backup" GNOS position for the Brigade is the 2017 Horse of the Year, the mare Hannelore Hanover. She succeeded in her only GNOS start this year, and the winner of $2.9M in her career will be starting from post three for driver Yannick Gingras, with a high finish all but assuring her enough points for the Championship. Hannelore's main competition may come from Rich And Miserable (post two, driver Tyler Buter), who has won 9 of 13 races this season. He's fifth in the standings, including a GNOS victory, and he can get himself a spot in the chase for $100,000 at his home track of Pocono with a good race here. In the GNOS mares pace, the #1-ranked horse in the current Top Ten polls, Shartin N, is perfect in two GNOS starts this year, high-up in the standings, and to boot she has drawn the rail in a field of seven for trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick as she goes for her 14th win of the campaign in her 15th start. She will likely be a heavy favorite off of her near-invincible form. Two of her main rivals, Caviart Ally (driver Andrew McCarthy) and Apple Bottom Jeans (driver Corey Callahan), in contrast have drawn the outside posts six and seven, respectively, but both (especially the latter) have shown world-class speed and are very likely to be forward factors. If the more-established females mix it up a bit too much, Write Me A Song, another Burke horse to be driven by Yannick Gingras from post two, comes in after two straight victories at Yonkers, and figures to be placed right behind the frontsteppers. The GNOS events are slotted for race ten at Pocono Saturday, with Sunday's action at Philly in race seven (trot) and eleven (mares pace). From the PHHA, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

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