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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 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 - 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

Chester, PA -- Not only did Shartin N ($2.10) and Hannelore Hanover ($3.00) emerge as the final preliminary winners in their respective $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series events on Sunday (Sept. 1) at Harrah's Philadelphia, but they erased a pair of decade-long harness racing track records in the process. Shartin N erased Southwind Tempo's 1:48.3 record for older pacing mares with a 1:48 performance in the Great Northeast mares pace (race 11), and driver Tim Tetrick indicated the 40-time winner had plenty in reserve. "I just kept the bit in her mouth and let her pace to the wire," Tetrick said. "It's cool what she did, and everyone who watched knew she could have gone a lot more. I could have gone 1:47.2 with no problem." The 6-year-old daughter of Tintin In America was unhurried at the outset, stalking in fourth from the pegs while Write Me A Song (Yannick Gingras) drilled a :25.4 first quarter. With nine-sixteenths to go and Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy) now in control of the terms, Tetrick and Shartin N angled first-over and accelerated steadily to take charge through a :53.3 half before clearing upon reaching the backstretch. From there, Shartin N was under a stout rein to the winning post, sprinting powerfully through a pair of :27.1 splits to cap her 1:48 mile, beating Caviart Ally by 1-1/2 lengths. Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan) was third. Shartin N took three-fifths of a second off Southwind Tempo's previous track record for older pacing mares and establishing herself on level pegging with Somwherovrarainbow as the fastest female pacer ever on a five-eighths-mile track. Jim King Jr. trains Shartin N for Richard Poillucci, JoAnn Looney-King and Tim Tetrick LLC. After faltering in her Maple Leaf Trot elimination last week, Hannelore Hanover bounced back with a 1:52 mile in the Great Northeast trot (race seven), shaving two-fifths of a second off Buck I St Pat's previous course record for older trotting mares, established in 2008. The 7-year-old Swan For All mare worked to an easy lead from post three and controlled splits of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:24.3 in line to Yannick Gingras. Nearing the top of the stretch, Hannelore Hanover faced a brief challenge from Muscle M Up (McCarthy), and appeared to have him measured. Off the corner, Muscle M Up broke stride and Hannelore Hanover coasted to a 3-1/4 length win over Rich And Miserable (Tyler Buter), who inherited second. Pappy Go Go (George Napolitano Jr.) finished third. Ron Burke trains 46-time winner Hannelore Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and the J&T Silva Stables. The sub-featured $18,000 top-level conditioned pace saw Rodeo Rock ($4.20, Eric Goodell) brush aggressively from fourth en route to a 1:49.1 win over Trump Nation. Robert Cleary trains the 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding for Royal Wire Products Inc. Rodeo Rock keyed a 5-3-1-6-4 combination in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5, which multiple players cashed in on for $107.86. As a result, a carryover of $12,257.89 will head to Monday afternoon's (Sept. 2) fifth race. Post time for the 13-race Labor Day card at Harrah's Philadelphia is 12:40 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, doe Harrah's Philadelphia  

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

Chester, PA -- Since arriving in the Ron Burke stable in early July, Backstreet Shadow has been on an absolute tear.   The 4-year-old Shadow Play gelding ran his winning streak to five with a measured 1:49.1 harness racing victory in Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 25) $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series pacing event at Harrah's Philadelphia, which was also his first appearance at the riverside track. Tim Tetrick was back in the bike behind Backstreet Shadow ($2.20) after they teamed up for a resounding 1:47.3 victory at The Meadowlands on the Hambletonian Day undercard. Picking right up where they left off, the pair yielded early control to Imarocnrollegend N (Joe Bongiorno) before brushing just beyond a :27 first quarter.   Once clearing, Backstreet Shadow maintained complete command through middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:22.1, turning aside a first-over push from Our Max Phactor N (George Napolitano Jr.) up the backstretch in the act. Off the home turn, Backstreet Shadow faced one final challenge from Imarocnrolllegend N, who closed to within a half length at the finish. However, Backstreet Shadow was under wraps for the entirety of the stretch en route to his 17th career win. Scott Rocks (George Brennan) finished third, another 4-1/2 lengths back. The Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby have banked $90,000 in five starts with Backstreet Shadow. Backstreet Shadow's win keyed a 2-6-1-4-7 combination in the day's Jackpot Hi-5, which returned $140.82 to multiple backers and prompted a $7,162.37 carryover to Wednesday's (Aug. 28) card. In the afternoon's sub-featured event, an $18,000 conditioned pace, JK Wildfire ($17.00) sustained a long first-over ascent to overpower pacesetter Alotbettor N and draw clear by three lengths in 1:50.3. Corey Callahan drove the Wayne Givens trainee for Legacy Racing of Delaware and Reginald Hazzard II. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday, with the first of 13 races scheduled for 12:25 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia 

HARRISBURG, PA - Horsemen with fast-class older horses are reminded that the final $30,000 preliminary rounds for the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will be taking place this coming weekend. The GNOS has divisions for open pacers, open trotters, and mare pacers, and this will be the last chance for a horse to earn points towards qualifying for the $100,000 Championships at 1¼ miles at Pocono on Monday, September 9. The open pacers event is scheduled for Pocono on Saturday, with the draw to be conducted on Monday. The open trotters and mare pacers contests are scheduled for Philly on Sunday, with the draw to be conducted on Tuesday, not Wednesday because of the extra Labor Day Monday card. Further information can be obtained by contacting the race offices at both Philly and Pocono, which will be open on Sunday during their respective afternoon and evening cards. From the PHHA, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia racetracks

CHESTER, PA - Backstreet Shadow, undefeated in four starts since joining the powerful Burke Brigade, is the 2-1 favorite from post two for driver Tim Tetrick in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) harness racing event for fast-class pacers Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Shadow Play gelding posted a 1:47.3 victory on Hambletonian Day, and last Saturday he won his GNOS debut at Pocono, making two moves and winning a photo in 1:49.2 on a sloppy track. Backstreet Shadow would need victory here and in next week's final GNOS preliminary contest for his division at Pocono to give himself a chance at qualifying for his division's $100,000 GNOS Championship at 1¼ miles during the Monday, September 9 card at the mountain oval - only four horses would have a bigger pointtotal after this week's racing than he would if he won both times. Two of that quartet are the next two choices in the morning line after favorable draws. Our Max Phactor N (post one, trainer Andrew Harris, driver George Napolitano Jr., 7-2) has a win and two seconds in GNOS events, while the steady Scott Rocks (post four, trainer Hunter Oakes, driver George Brennan, 9-2) has two seconds, a third, and other good finishes in GNOS racing. Others in Sunday's nine-horse field for the fifth race GNOS contest are (from the remaining posts, inside-out) I'm A Big Deal, Sweet Rock, Imarocnrollegend N, Shineonucrzydiamnd A, Prairie Panther (a GNOS winner earlier this month at Pocono), and Lyons Steel from the trailing post nine. The 1¼-mile $100,000 GNOS Championships, for open pacers, open trotters, and distaff pacers, as noted will be raced on the September 9 twilight card at Pocono, along with the eight $40,000 Championships of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. From  the PHHA, in conjunction with Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono racetracks

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Overcoming a sloppy track, a first-over move, and very tough opposition, the Shadow Play four-year-old gelding Backstreet Shadow showed speed and gameness in taking a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) event for fast-class pacing horses in 1:49.2. On paper, three horses seemed to have the best credentials - None Bettor A was sent off as the 8-5 favorite, with Backstreet Shadow 9-5 and Highalator 2-1 - and they were the three major players in the race. None Bettor A made the early lead, yielded to Highalator before the :26.4 quarter, then retook in front of the stands and got a bit of a rest to a :55.3 half. Backstreet Shadow, who had tucked fourth from the outside post seven early, launched his first-over bid off the second turn for driver Pat Berry, and the sharp pacer went his own third quarter raw in 26 flat to get within a length of None Bettor A by the 1:22.1 three-quarters. Around the turn and through the stretch those two continued to fight, joined in the lane by a resurgent Highalator in the Pocono Pike. Backstreet Shadow showed his grittiness by defeating None Bettor A (absent for four weeks) by a head, with Highalator just another neck back in third. Backstreet Shadow has now won four races in a row and ten on the year, boosting his seasonal earnings to $200,700 and lifetime bankroll to $369,646. Ron Burke trains the talented sidewheeler for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The rest of the races in the report were conducted over a "fast" track, before a midcard hard rain and a slight weather delay. Atta Boy Dan got revenge on the horse who snapped his recent five-race winning streak, Benji's Best, ending that one's own four-race victory skein with a 1:49.3 engine victory in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace for driver George Napolitano Jr. (a five-time winner on the night), trainer Mike Watson, and owner Clifford Grundy. The victorious Western Terror ten-year-old gelding, now with 65 career wins and $886,417 in winnings, bested his rival by 1¼ lengths - and then both were promptly claimed for the highest-level price of $40,000. This is the tenth straight race (three of them for Grundy/Watson, all wins) out of which Atta Boy Dan has been claimed, approaching the local record of thirteen straight claims set by R Gauwitz Hanover in 2015. It's easy to understand the appeal of the game veteran - his record since coming to Pocono on May 11 is 14-10-2-1-$113,460 -- and he has been claimed 13 times, 11 for the $40,000 maximum. 19-year-old provisional driver Jack Killeen, an Irishman who came to America on a five-year visa to pursue his dream of being a full-time horseman, made his Pocono debut a smashing one, guiding Duc De Guise F to a $65.20 victory after coming from last down the backstretch to be just up in 1:55.4. The French-bred trotter, whom Killeen co-owns and had driven in his native land last year before crossing the Atlantic, showed no rust from nearly a year away from the races, putting in a big late kick deep in the Pocono Pike to pass everybody for trainer Michael Seddon (whose only other career training winner paid $230.40) and the partnership of Killeen and Sinners Racing. In the very next race, another horse making his Stateside debut was victorious - after coming about three times as far to get to Pocono as Duc De Guise F did. He is the Somebeachsomewhere gelding San Domino A, and with his second move he closed with solid strides to take a 1:49.1 mark in his first U.S. race. George Napolitano Jr. drove the Aussie-bred pacer, who looks headed for bigger things, for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Joe P Racing LLC and Oldford Racing LLC. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The field of seven assembled for Saturday's $30,000 fast-class pacing event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the "winningest" collections of seasoned veterans, with a 43% success rate this year and 38% lifetime, and three of the most frequent visitors to Victory Lane are the favorites. Tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite from post four is None Bettor A (9 wins in 12 starts this year, 25-for-70 lifetime), with new trainer Andrew Harris selecting the track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., to handle the Bettor's Delight gelding. None Bettor A had won nine straight races, including a GNOS event, before finishing third behind last season's Horse of the Year McWicked in the Gerrity Pace at Saratoga in his last start; he draws inside his two main rivals here, but he also has not raced since that July 20 mile at Saratoga. Starting just to his right is Highalator (10-for-21 this year, 31-for-67 lifetime), with Jenny Bier using regular driver Richard Still behind the son of Somebeachsomewhere. Winner of the Franklin Consolation, the Van Rose Pace, and a leg of the GNOS at The Downs already this year, Highalator is a known lover of the brick-red Pocono surface, as his 13-for-21 lifetime record here attests to; he's rated at 3-1 in the morning line. Drawing the outside post seven is the Shadow Play gelding Backstreet Shadow (8-for-17 this year, 15-for-34 lifetime) for trainer Ron Burke and driver Pat Berry, and his 7-2 early evaluation likely would have been better with a better post position draw. Backstreet Shadow has won his last three races in impressive fashion, staring with a 1:47.4 victory at The Meadowlands, then a 1:48.4 win on Adios Day at The Meadows, and then back to the Jersey miler where on Hambletonian Day he lowered his mark to 1:47.3, with a last quarter of :25.4. Another longtime Pocono favorite, Scott Rocks (post two, trainer Hunter Oakes, driver Fern Paquet Jr.), would break the $1,000,000 lifetime earnings mark with a first or a second here - appropriate for a horse who has paced in 1:50 or faster at Pocono for six straight years. Slick Tony, Havefaithinme N, and Beach Boogie are the early mutuel outsiders, but all have shown they can be very competitive with some racing fortune. The top pointearners in GNOS preliminaries earn their way into Monday, September 9's $100,000 GNOS divisional Championships at Pocono, to be held at the distance of 1¼ miles. This Great Northeast Series event starts a big racing week at Pocono, with Pennsylvania-sired two-year-olds in stakes action the following two cards: the pacing colts on Sunday and the trotting fillies on Sunday. From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

Chester, PA -- Our Max Phactor N ($6.40) and George Napolitano Jr. sustained a first-over push into stout fractions on his way to victory in Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 11) $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series pacing event at Harrah's Philadelphia, while Tim Tetrick picked up five driving wins on the 14-race card. Our Max Phactor N was unhurried from post two in the early stages, content to let Mach N Cheese (Simon Allard) and Tiger Thompson N (Andy McCarthy) duel through a :26 first quarter before commencing his first-over ascent into a :54 half. Up the backstretch, the 7-year-old Art Major gelding made his strongest advances, pushing a head past Mach N Cheese nearing three-quarters in 1:20.4 and putting away that rival on the far turn. Off the home corner, Our Max Phactor N was driven out to evade a late rally from Slick Tony (Tony Morgan) -- who swung off third-over cover -- by a diminishing neck in 1:49.4. Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) improved belatedly to finish third. Trainer Andrew Harris's A Harris Racing LLC co-owns Our Max Phactor N with Michael Goldberg Racing LLC, Bruce Areman and the Prem Dan Stable. Tetrick once again had the hot hand on Sunday afternoon, teaming up with Paprike Blue Chip ($4.60, 1:52.2), Mister Ohanzee A ($5.60, 1:51), Blake North ($6.80, 1:49.4), Sky Is Mine ($9.40, 1:56.3) and Maroma Beach ($3.40, 1:51.4). Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 14), with a 14-race card slated for a 12:25 p.m. start. by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Prairie Panther, who made his 2019 debut in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) a successful one last week at Pocono, has been installed a 7-2 morning line favorite in a very competitive field of eight in a $30,000 GNOS event for fast-class pacers on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia. A ten-time winner already this year, the Royal Millennium gelding Prairie Panther shows recent victories at Tioga, The Meadowlands, and Pocono, last week coming from far back to win in 1:50. Tyler Buter, with whom he took his 1:48.2 mark two starts ago, is listed to drive from post one for trainer Mike Deters, co-owner-breeder with Laurie Poulin. The Big Jim gelding Tiger Thompson N, the leader in this GNOS division's pointstandings and only 1½ length behind Prairie Panther last week at Pocono, returns to the track where he won in GNOS competition on May 12. Andrew McCarthy will be a fresh pair of hands behind Tiger Thompson N, beginning from post six for trainer Joshua Parker. Donttellmeagain, late-season conqueror of McWicked during that one's Horse of the Year campaign last fall, finished third behind Tiger Thompson N when that horse won in the GNOS here, and like that day he is burdened with the outside post eight on Sunday. The red-hot team of driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr. are the braintrust behind Donttellmeagain, a Dragon Again gelding who will be making his first start in 2½ months. Others in the field, listed from innermost post position excluding the above three, are Our Max Phactor N (driver George Napolitano Jr.), Slick Tony (Anthony Morgan), Sicily (Victor Kirby), Mach N Cheese (Simon Allard), and Lyons Steel (George Brennan). The horses earn points according to their order of finish, with the top pointwinners in the weekly-scheduled spring/summer competition eligible for their $100,000 GNOS Championship at 1¼ miles at Pocono on Monday, September 9. Sunday's GNOS pace is race seven on Philly's 14-race card, with first post set for 12:40 p.m. From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono racetracks

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Royal Millennium gelding Prairie Panther worked out a second-over trip from second-last, then pounced on the leaders through the lane to record a 1:50 victory in a $30,000 event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for fast-class pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Marcus Miller followed the cover of Proper One with the winner as favored Western Fame, who had taken the lead after a :26 opener, posted middle splits of :54.4 and 1:22. When the first-over faltered on the turn, Miller swung Prairie Panther wide, and he finished in overdrive to defeat Scott Rocks, who had utilized the Pocono Pike, by a half-length, with Western Fame third and series pointleader Tiger Thompson N fourth. Michael Deters, co-owner with Laurie Lee Poulin, trains the winner of more than half (31 for 61) of his lifetime starts. This was the first seasonal GNOS outing for Prairie Panther, but the points he won tonight, combined with a couple more high finishes before the GNOS prelims end the weekend of September 1, could get him a ranking high enough to qualify for the $100,000 GNOS divisional Championship at 1¼ miles here on Monday, September 9. Benji's Best ran his winning streak to three, and stopped Atta Boy Dan's at five, in grinding past the pacesetting favorite while equaling his lifetime mark of 1:50 in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace. The Roll With Joe gelding stepped up to the top local claiming level here and was a 1¼ length winner for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Daniel Maier, the latter co-owner with Ameer Najor. After being claimed three straight races, Benji's Best will remain with Team Maier/Najor another week. Though defeated on Saturday, Atta Boy Dan retained his popularity at the claiming box, being taken for $40,000 for his eighth straight start, for a track record $40,000 the ninth time during the meet, and bought for a tag in eleven of his twelve starts since coming in from The Meadows. He now goes to the barn of trainer Antonia Storer for the third time this meet. Rock The Town, who finished third in the co-feature and who had been claimed for $40,000 in his last six races, gets to stay with trainer Pierre Paradis and owner Karen Taylor another week. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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

CHESTER PA - The sensational Australian import None Bettor A goes for his ninth consecutive harness racing victory on Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia as the 9-5 morning line favorite in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) contest for fast-class open pacers. None Bettor A, an altered son of Bettor's Delight trained by Jennifer Bongiorno for owners Joe P Racing LLC and Oldford Racing LLC, opened his U.S. account with a pair of good thirds, then has been untouchable since his win streak started on April 27. During that time, he has won his only two starts in the GNOS, and he equaled the all-time track record at Cleveland's Northfield Park with a 1:49 victory over the half-mile oval. Jen Bongiorno's brother Joe is to drive None Bettor A as the pair begins from post two in Sunday's seven-horse field. The last time the GNOS open pacers were at Philly, Keep On Rocking A and Our Max Phactor N were a nose apart at the wire, and they again figure to be in the thick of the action this Sunday. Keep On Rocking A, who closed from eighth at the stretch call to win that race, his second after a brief layoff, will begin from post four for trainer Chris Scicluna and driver Pat Berry, while Our Max Phactor N, who had to go first-over in that contest and almost hung on, will begin from post five for "Team Andrew" - trainer Andrew Harris and driver Andrew McCarthy. Also in the field are The Wall (PP1, trainer Nick Surick, driver George Napolitano Jr.), I'm A Big Deal (PP3, trainer Chris Ryder, driver Dexter Dunn), Decoy (PP6, trainer Gary Candell, driver Jimmy Takter), and Mister Ohanzee A (PP7, trainer Jim King Jr., driver Tim Tetrick). The GNOS contest is slated for the seventh race on Sunday's fourteen-race Philly card, which is scheduled to begin at 12:40 p.m.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono racetracks

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