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HAMBURG, N.Y. --- American Mercury ($6.50) overcame the outside post to start the race then overwhelmed Major March in the stretch to collect the harness racing victory in the $118,800 New York Sire Stakes event for the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (June 5).   Covering the mile in 1:52.4, in was the second straight NYSS victory for American Mercury.   "It's a steep hill to climb from the eight post here at Buffalo," Buter said after the race. "I left hard with him but when things straightened up, I let the leaders soften each other up."   Starting from the outside, American Mercury was able to use some early speed and drop into fourth heading up the backstretch the first time. Major March, Melodies Major and Price Hanover showed no mercy toward each other as they battled for early control.   With a smoking opening panel of :26.4 put up by Major March (Jason Bartlett), American Mercury went first over and was able to come to even terms with the pace-setter at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the meantime, the remaining six entrants found those splits too hot and started to retreat.   It boiled down to a match race in the stretch as American Mercury was just too strong for Major March and never looked back in scoring the 1-3/4-length win. Reigning Deo (Jim Morrill Jr), the 2-year-old NYSS champion, was third 10-1/4 lengths behind.   Trained by Chris Oakes and co-owned by Crawford Farms, Northfork Racing Stable, C. Pompey and S. Bice, it was the third win in fourth tries this season for American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover). The gelding has now earned $105,050 this season and $142,670 lifetime.   There were two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series. Buter drove Quake Blue Chip ($3.00) to the opening bracket triumph with a neck score over Murrow Boy (Bartlett) in 1:55.3. Buter made it a sweep at this level with a half-length win aboard Rickybobbynthehaus ($4.10). They beat the front-stepping Rollonhighway (Morrill Jr.) in 1:56.3.   The $6,600 Excelsior B Series race saw McNulty Z Tam (Pat Lachance) register a head victory over Dancing To Heaven (Shawn McDonough) in 1:57.3 and return $2.50 to his backers.   Buter and Billy Davis Jr. completed the evening with triples while Oakes had three training victories and Sabrina Clevenger two.   Racing will resume on Friday evening at 5 p.m. with a 12-race card slated.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek for Buffalo Raceway

Rebellious (Tyler Buter) captures the featured harness racing Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 2). Rebellious ($4.90) took the lead before hitting the first quarter in :26.3.  He continued to control the pace hitting the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:23.3. Rebellious, who is owned by Joel Warner and trainer Mike Deters, was joined in the stretch by Ideal Feeling (Wally Hennessey).  The two would battle all the way down the stretch.  Ideal Feeling came hard but Rebellious dug in and held on to win in 1:52.1.  Ideal Feeling had to settle for second.  Rockntouch (Mike Simons) finished third. Rebellious is a 5-year-old gelding by Mach Three.  It was his fourth win of 2019.  He now has 23 career victories. Tyler Buter drove three winners on the day.  He teamed up again with trainer Mike Deters getting a win with Hulking ($18.60).  His other win came with Tangled Mind ($28.60). There is no racing at Tioga Downs on Friday (June 7) because of the Chubby Checker concert.  Live racing returns on Saturday (June 8) starting at 6:15 p.m.  There will be afternoon racing on both Sunday (June 9) and Monday (June 10) with a post time of 1 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com.   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

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

WILKES-BARRE PA - In wet weather and over a worsening harness racing surface Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Millies Possesion remained undefeated in her career and after three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes preliminaries for three-year-old trotting fillies, triumphing in one of three $55,168 PaSS divisions, while the four $20,000 Stallion Series sections were divided equally between drivers George Napolitano Jr. (who also won a Sire Stakes) and Tyler Buter. Millies Possesion showed a great deal of fortitude in her 1:56.3 tally. She tucked fourth before the :29 quarter, then looked to make a quarter move for driver Dexter Dunn but was beaten to the punch by Firedbylindie, who moved from third to take the field to the half in :59.2. Dunn had the winning daughter of Possess The Will going again uncovered by the 5/8 and up to challenge by the 1:28.2 three-quarters, with $480,000 yearling, seasonal debutante, and race favorite Beautiful Sin on her back. Through the stretch Millies Possesion showed her talent, closing into a :28.1 last quarter in the muck to win by 1¼ lengths over Beautiful Sin, who was moving very well late; she in turn was a length ahead of Firedbylindie. Now perfect after four career starts, all this year, Millies Possesion is trained by Jim Campbell and pushed her bankroll to $76,184 for Fashion Farms LLC. Napolitano's Sire Stakes win was in signature front-end fashion with the Muscle Hill filly Asiago, who now has two wins and a close fourth in the PaSS after this 1:55.2 triumph. Fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:27 were posted by Asiago, with pocketsitting Fade Into You trying to rally but falling short by 1¼ lengths, with The Ice Dutchess, $320,000 yearling, seasonal debutante, tough customer in 2018, and race favorite, coming third-over from last and moving strongly late to be another ¾ of a length back. Per Engblom conditions Asiago, a winner of $163,626 for Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld, and Black Horse Racing. A sweep of second choices in the Sire Stakes was completed by the Explosive Matter miss Nomo Volo, who notched her first seasonal tally in 1:56. Trainer/driver Jeff Gregory had Nomo Volo in front at every pole, with fractions of :27.4, :58.3, and 1:27.1 preceding the neck victory over Navarone Hanover, last year's Stallion Series champion; favorite Swizzle Sticks had to make two moves and wound up fifth. Nomo Volo now has lifetime earnings of $129,937 for Jesmeral Stable. Morning line favorite Sonnet Grace was scratched sick. In Stallion Series competition, Napolitano was behind the Cantab Hall filly Keystone Abbey, who became the only three-time PaStS winner after leading at every call in 1:57.1 for trainer Chris Beaver, who is also co=owner with Donald Robinson, Martin Yoder, and R.B.H. Ventures Inc. George's other stakes win came with the Explosive Matter miss Matterlei, who went to the lead in front of the grandstand and went on to a new mark of 1:57.4 for trainer Trond Smedshammer and Purple Haze Stable LLC. Tyler Buter's first visit to the Stallion Series winners circle was with the Donato Hanover filly Jezzys Legacy, who sported a second in the Sire Stakes but was lowered a notch by trainer Ray Schnittker and got a popular victory in 1:57.2 for co-owners Schnittker, Little E LLC, Ted Gewertz, and Mary Kinsey Arnold. Buter came back with another daughter of Donato Hanover, Hanovers Best, playing "pocket rocket" to perfection and then holding off Spring In Paris, who had won her first two Stallion Series starts, in 1:57.1 for trainer Rob Harmon and the partnership of Lester Gelardi Jr., Anthony Passafaro, Seafood Delight Stable, and Harmon Racing Stable Inc.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Sunday marked the kickoff to the New York Sire Stakes season at Saratoga Casino Hotel as three year old colt and gelding pacers took center stage on a beautiful afternoon in the Spa City. There were three harness racing divisions of $58,000+ stakes competition and trainer Chris Oakes and driver Tyler Buter stole the show. Buter won four consecutive races at one point on the card including three for Oakes. Two of their victories came in the “big time” Sire Stake races as Shake That House (American Ideal-Shake That Junk-Camluck) and American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover-Somebeachsomewhere) scored impressive wins on the matinee card. Shake That House was making his first NYSS start of the year and wound up as the afternoon’s fastest winner, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 while going coast-to-coast to earn the winner’s share of the $58,100 purse. The victory was the third in three starts in 2019 for the superstar pacer and the sixth in eleven career tries. American Mercury had a rematch with rival Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) on Sunday as those two squared off for the second consecutive time in stakes competition. Two weeks ago at Monticello, Hickfromfrenchlick held off the late bid from American Mercury to secure the Sire Stakes score. The two saw their roles reversed on Sunday though as Oakes’ American Mercury got up in the final stride in the $59,200 stakes try to best Hickfromfrenchlick in a mile paced in 1:52. Buter piloted four winners including a pair in Excelsior A competition as he drove Oakes’ Rickybobbynthehaus (American Ideal) to victory and guided Notwithoutafight (Art Major) to a wire-to-wire score for trainer Erv Miller. On a day in which Oakes and Buter scored two victories among the day’s three big Sire Stakes races, the other winner in a $58,100 event was Fromthestartagain (So Surreal-From The Start-Western Terror) who recorded his first Sire Stakes victory, setting a lifetime mark of 1:53 with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer John Grasso.  The next installment of the NYSS at Saratoga will take place in two weeks when three year old trotting fillies are featured on Sunday June 9th. Live racing resumes at the Spa on Wednesday afternoon with a first post time set for 12:00 Noon.     Mike Sardella

WILKES-BARRE PA - Rockstar Angel A, coming off a wire-to-wire win at Yonkers this past Friday, came right back to win again on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, moving to the lead in front of the stands and going on to a 1:54 triumph over a "sloppy" surface. Driver George Napolitano Jr. watched as Keystone Riptide put Betterb Chevron N behind her to the:27 quarter, then was on the move with the "Angel" to get the lead well before the :55.4 half. The winning daughter of Bettor's Delight, who kept her place in the race because of the "eligible at time of entry" rule, got a bit of a breather though going against the wind to the 1:25.1 three-quarters, then sprinted home over the off going in :28.4 (co-fastest last quarter of the night) to have a length advantage at the wire over a closing Bettor's Up, with early combatants Keystone Riptide and Betterb Chevron N another length back in third in a dead-heat. (This was the third consecutive race where there was a dead heat, the previous ones coming for second and fourth.) Rockstar Angel A notched her third victory in her last five starts after triumphing eleven times in 2018, and now has earnings of $345,122. Hunter Oakes conditions the oft-winning mare for Northfork Racing Stable. The Sportswriter mare Write Me A Song was a dominant winner for the second straight time at Pocono, taking the $17,500 co-featured distaff pace in 1:54.2 in the start following her posting the fastest clocking of the year here for mares, 1:50.1. Tyler Buter, a four-time winner on the night, employed similar strategy here as did "George Nap" in winning the feature with Rockstar Angel A: let the other duelers settle, brush to the lead in front of the grandstand, and then maintain control to the wire. Write Me A Song won by 3¼ lengths while running her career record to 13 victories in only 28 starts and $252,527; Lance Hudson conditions the sharp mare for owner William Hartt. The next card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be on Saturday night, with the 2019 debut of Captain Crunch, last year's divisional champion, in one of three divisions of a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts. First race on Saturday at Pocono will be at approximately 7:30 p.m., as soon as the festivities are finished at The Preakness.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tequila Monday was an in-charge repeat winner in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for mare pacers Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, home in 1:52.1 over a “sloppy +1” track with the mercury hovering around 40. In the companion GNOS contest for open trotters, also worth $30,000, Guardian Angel AS was sharp in his second harness racing outing of the year, winning easily in 1:53.1, with Homicide Hunter never a major factor in his debut for both the year and for the Burke Brigade. Kissininthesand, second after going first-over against Tequila Monday in the GNOS opener last Saturday, was scratched sick here, taking a little of the drama out of the race, but the great 2018 filly champion, even with expected improvement in her second seasonal start, would have had it tough against the razor-sharp winning daughter of American Ideal. The rest of her opposition sure did. Apple Bottom Jeans got her customary flying start even from the outside post seven, with Tequila Monday and Bettor Joy N looped and pressing onward on the first turn. Tequila Monday made the lead nearing the :27 quarter; Bettor Joy N, enjoying her cover until then, went on to get the lead at the three-eighths, backing off the half to :56.1 and the three-quarters in 1:25. However, Bettor Joy N hadn’t raced since the Blue Chip Final on April 20 after her Ohio difficulty, and in the :27.1 sprint home Tequila Monday roared up the famed Pocono Pike, going by easily for a 1¼ lengthvictory. Bettor Joy N held admirably for second, with Apple Bottom Jeans clearing late and coming on for third. Tequila Monday has now won all six of her seasonal races, with earnings of $91,750 this year and $833,462 lifetime, during which she has won 23 of 50 starts. Tyler Buter, who is winning quite more than his share of feature races at Pocono in recent days, had the sulky assignment for trainer Hunter Oakes and the ownership of Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. In the GNOS trotting event, Guardian Angel AS, fourth from the trailing post eleven in his seasonal bow at The Meadowlands after coming from ninth at the ¾, obviously benefited from the outing (the bettors made him the favorite). He let JL Cruze speed away to take the early lead then moved outside to the :27.3 quarter and took command, hanging up middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.1, with La Grange A gaining first-over. Guardian Angel AS                                    --Curtis Salonick photo The victorious son of Archangel, though, had plenty left in the tank, sprinting home in :28 to be 3¾ lengths clear for driver Tim Tetrick, with La Grange A and Weslynn Dancer next in line. Homicide Hunter, unraced since winning the Breeders Crown here last October 27, had a wave of trotters leave inside of him from the outside post eight, settled in fourth, and then stayed in rather than go out for a second move after the long layoff. He was shuffled behind a tired horse in the last quarter, finishing sixth. Guardian Angel AS, meanwhile raised his lifetime bankroll to $544,780 with his 17th win in 42 lifetime trips to the gate. A winner in a Breeders Crown elim here last year (he was fourth in the final), the winner is trained by Anette Lorentzon for ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. Buter and Tetrick, GNOS winners, were the overall leading drivers of the night: Buter with four wins, Tetrick with three complementing his quartet at Philly earlier in the day, while Buter also grabbed three wins at Tioga Downs. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Prairie Panther (Tyler Buter) wins the featured harness racing Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 12). Sir Pugsley (Drew Monti) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.3. Prairie Panther ($4.00)then took control as they went by the stands for the first time. He led the group to a half of :55.0 and three-quarters in 1:22.4. Owned by Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters, he found another gear in the stretch to win by four lengths in 1:52.1. Americanprimetime (Greg Merton) came on late to finish second. Bettor's Edge (Howard Parker) was third best. Prairie Panther is a 5-year-old gelding by Royal Millennium. It was his fifth win in eight starts this season. He now has 26 career victories. Tyler Buter won three on the day. His other wins came with New World Order A ($6.30) and A Bettor Hat ($2.90). Drew Monti teamed up with trainer Joe Skowyra to win a pair on the day. They got their wins with Weekend Atnannies ($5.50) and The Spy ($10.40) Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 17) at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Bettor's Up made her debut for Nick Surick a successful one, sweeping wide off cover and taking the $17,500 distaff pacing feature in the Tuesday harness racing twilight at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:51.4. Matt Kakaley guided the winner of $772,254, one of the best of her division in her filly stakes days, into second-over position, then tipped her three-wide approaching headstretch. Bettor's Up, now five, took it from there, pacing strongly through the stretch as the 2-1 favorite to defeat the longest shot on the board, Culinary Delight N, by 1¾ lengths. Trainer Surick got control of the winner after his Nick Surick Stable LLC acquired her after her last start. The sun shined bright on my old Wilkes-Barre home just before the $14,000 co-featured distaff pace after cloudiness and some rain, and the Sportswriter mare Write Me A Song wrote herself a new mark of 1:50.1 in going wire-to-wire. Driver Tyler Buter took control from the pole from the outset with Write Me A Song, hustling the winner of $243,777 through fractions of :26.2, :54.1, and 1:22.1 en route to a 2½ length victory for trainer Lance Hudson and owner William S. Hartt. There will be plenty of great racing the next two cards at Pocono, with the Pennsylvania All-Stars for three-year-old colt pacers going in three divisions on Saturday, and then $30,000 contests in the Great Northeast Open Series for open trotters and open mare pacers topping a fantastic Sunday night offering. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

With the Kentucky Derby taking place this past Saturday and our traditional double-header of racing on that day, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted five cards of live harness racing instead of the usual four for the week. As if choosing for the Weekly Awards wasn't difficult enough, there are many more possibilities this time around because of the extra races. Let's take a look at who garners the honors for this busy week of harness racing action. PACER OF THE WEEK: HIGHALATOR On Saturday night, Pocono hosted its first big stakes race of the season with the Van Rose Invitational Pace for a purse of $50,000. It was also the first race at Pocono in the Great Northeast Open series, which inaugurated last year to much acclaim and will culminate with big-money finals at the end of the summer. Saturday night's race looked on paper like it would belong to Western Fame, who was coming off a convincing victory in the $500,000 final of the Levy series at Yonkers. But the field was full of top aged pacers, including Highalator, a standout five-year-old stallion from the Jenny Bier barn who always seems to rise to the occasion when he appears at Pocono. He left from the #2 post in a field of nine as the 2-1 second choice, while Western Fame left from the #7 spot at 3-5. Western Fame grabbed the engine while Highalator, with Richard Still in the bike, found the pocket seat early. The key to the race may have been how Western Fame was hounded by long shot The Wall and his first-over bid. In the stretch, the favorite couldn't summon enough to hold off the pursuit. Highalator, on the other hand, began to erupt as soon as the passing lane opened up. He flew home just a neck in front of Bettor Memories, who came out three-wide at the end of the mile with a lot of pace. Highalator paced the mile in 1:49:4 for yet another signature win on the Pocono oval. Other top pacers for the week included: Always At My Place (Anthony Napolitano, Ron Burke), who scored a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:49:1, which is the fastest pacing time of the year to date at Pocono; Dancin Hill (Tyler Buter, Gareth Dowse), who won his third straight race, the last two at Pocono, when he beat a claiming handicap group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:4; and Nine Ways (George Napolitano Jr., Antonia Storer), who moved up the condition ladder for his second straight victory on Saturday night, getting it done in a career-best 1:50:1.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TWO AM With the exception of a break of stride on April 14, this five-year-old gelding from the Todd Buter barn has been a consistent threat at Pocono in the 2019 meet. He has hit the board in three of four races here, peaking with a condition victory in a $21,500 featured condition trot on April 21 in 1:53:2. He returned to action in the $17,500 condition feature on Sunday night following a 6th place finish at the Meadowlands in his previous start. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight, Two AM, who went off as the 1-2 favorite, sat back and let others battle for the early lead on the sloppy track. After some jockeying for position, Truemass Volo grabbed the engine, while Two AM idled in fifth in the early portion of the race. But driver Tyler Buter didn't allow him to sit there for very long, sending him in motion first-over as the field headed into the clubhouse turn. Buter didn't wait around for cover, urging Two AM to engage Truemass Volo with his first-over move. He corralled the leader around the final turn and then left him, and the rest of the field, behind in the stretch. Despite being parked around two turns, the gelding still was out-trotting everybody in the lane, coming to the line a 3 ¼-length winner over Truemass Volo in 1:54:3, a time which was especially impressive considering the sloppy conditions. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tiger's Too Good (Anthony Napolitano, Pete Pellegrino), whose condition victory on Sunday night in the slop in 1:57 gave him two consecutive victories; Rich And Miserable (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who followed up a win at Yonkers with a condition win at Pocono on Sunday night in the slop in 1:56:2; and Karets (George Napolitano Jr., James Cosenza), who powered to a condition win on Monday in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time posted this week at Pocono.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHADY CITY A flying rally in the passing lane gave this condition pacer driven by Larry Stalbaum a victory on Saturday night at 24-1, good for a $51.40 payout on a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO A-Nap certainly enjoyed the double-header schedule on Saturday, as he picked up four driving victories in both the afternoon and evening cards.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TODD BUTER The Buter barn seems to have an endless supply of excellent trotters of all ages, as evidenced by Todd's wins with Two AM and Rich And Miserable on Sunday night. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.    Jim Beviglia

Prairie Panther (Tyler Buter) takes the featured Open Handicap Pace ($12,000) at Tioga Downs harness racing on Sunday (May 5). Americanprimetime (Greg Merton) went to the lead from his outside post and put up all the early fractions (:27.1, :56.3, 1:24.0). Prairie Panther ($5.70), who is owned bu Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters) road in the pocket seat the whole way.  He went first-over at the top of the stretch and wore down second place finisher Americanprimetime to win in 1:51.1. Finishing third was Owosso Flash (Fern Paquet Jr.) Priarie Panther is a 5-year-old gelding by Royal Millennium.  He is now four for seven in 2019.  It was career victory number 25. Buter had a driving triple on the day.  His other wins came with Seel The Deal N ($8.40) and Race Me Villa ($5.80). Father and son, Mike Simons and Shawn Simons each had a win on the card.  Mike took All About Rusty ($13.40) to the winner's circle.  Shawn got his win with Wildcat Hilton ($3.40). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (May 11) with a post time at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

WILKES-BARRE PA – It was the Tyler Buter Show on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as the harness racing driver who recently passed the 3000 career sulky win milestone hit a “grand slam” in winning the top four races, two on both gaits. In the $17,500 featured trot, Buter got away fifth with the favored Muscle Massive gelding Two AM, but the overland journey posed little problem for the career winner of $377,210 against a front end who had been softened a bit by a contentious early duel. Two AM battled pacesetting Truemass Volo the last 5/16 of a mile, then drew away from that one to have a 3 1/4 length margin at the wire in 1:54.3, with Todd Buter the trainer for Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. In the $17,000 co-featured trot, Rich And Miserable reported home first for the third time in his last four starts, the Explosive Matter gelding winning easily in 1:56.2. Buter moved the recent winner of the $73,000 SOANY series final from seventh early to first by the 3/8, then remained in control to the wire for the same team behind Two AM: trainer Todd Buter and owners Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. The pacing headliners were a pair of $15,000 events, both going to Buter-driven sons of American Ideal, both Chris Oakes trainees with sparkling pedigrees making their 2019 debuts. In the first, American Mercury was a 1:53 winner despite an adventurous trip: briefly three-wide past the 3/8 on a determined move to the top nearing the half, American Mercury drew clear in the stretch to win by three lengths for the ownership of Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey, and Scott Bice. This one could be anything: he’s out of Tessa Hanover; the dam is a Somebeachsomewhere out of Triplet Hanover, who produced six $100,000 winners, including Trim Hanover, who was the dam of American Jewel and Luck Be Withyou … The other eyecatching Oakes-conditioned sophomore was Shake That House, a ¾-brother to Breeders Crown winner Split The House, both out of the mare Shake That Junk. From the outside post eight Buter spotted him fifth, then moved him second-over. When he tipped three-wide midway on the far turn, the main question seemed to be the margin of victory, although to his credit JM’S Delight, who had been used three times in the mile, kept the margin to a length at the end of the 1:53.2 journey. Crawford Farms Racing and Northfork Racing Stable returned to partner with Alan Johnston behind this good-looking sophomore. Winning the featured quartet gave Tyler Buter nine wins on the weekend – three Saturday afternoon, two Saturday night, and four Sunday -- but even that total put him one behind Anthony Napolitano (four Saturday afternoon, four Saturday night, two Sunday) going into the last race of the weekend. Both were participants, but it was Anthony Napolitano in the winners circle with Tigers Too Good, making the final weekend score ANap 11, Tyler 9 – just at Pocono. Both made remarkable showings, and between them they won 59% of all the races contested over the Saturday-Sunday period.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Tyler Buter recorded the 3000th driving victory of his career during a special Easter Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Buter rallied Daddy Let Me Drive into a 28.1 last quarter, closing furiously in the last 1/16 to be up right on the money. The 33-year-old Buter, from a famous racing family, showed early talent in the sulky when he recorded his first win with I Luv My Pasture at the Gladwin (MI) fair before his 17th birthday. Along the way to his 3000 wins and almost $35 million in sulky earnings, Buter had his best money year in 2015, when his mounts brought home over $5 million; his best year for visiting the winners circle was 2007, when he won 444 times - while driving at 30 different tracks, more than half fairs in his native Michigan. Tyler Buter was also able to rouse a huge last 1/16 out of Two AM to overhaul favored Fearless Man late and take the $21,500 featured trot in 1:53.2. The Muscle Massive gelding made atonement for an uncharacteristic break last time, tucking in early, then coming on uncovered, and still able to roll home a length to the good over the chalk while raising his earnings to $368,460 for trainer Todd Buter and the ownership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. Two AM The Chapter Seven miss Quincy Blue Chip trotted the fastest mile by a three-year-old filly anywhere in North America so far this year, and trotted faster than any three-year-old on a 5/8-mile track in 2019, when she took her seasonal debut in a lifetime best of 1:53.4 in one of two $17,000 cofeatures. Jim Morrill Jr. had the swift miss behind fast fractions of 27.2 and 55.3, moved out to challenge the pacesetter before the 1:24.2 3/4s, then drew away from her field for trainer Gareth Dowse and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Shadow Cat had an adventurous journey in taking the $17,000 cofeature on the pace in 1:53. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding was looped out of the gate by JK Musicman and remained outside to continue on frontward, only to have to briefly dodge "JK" as that rival went on a break, then went to the infield. Shadow Cat hit the quarter in 26.1 while forcing main rival Tivo Hanover, who was carried wide early, then went to the half in 57 and looked comfortable nearing the 1:25.3 ¾. But Shadow Cat suddenly took a bad step, with Tivo Hanover easing outside from the two-hole. However, the winner of $165,660 righted himself immediately, then dug back in to hold off the surge of Tivo Hanover by a neck in a 27.2 last quarter for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Jennifer Bongirono, and owners Howard Taylor, David Rovine Stable LLC, and Tom Lazarro. The first of the 2019 $30,000 Weiss Series Championships takes place on Monday's twilight card at The Downs, with Ghosttothepost trying to complete a Weiss sweep after taking all three of her preliminaries. She'll be handled by George Napolitano Jr. as she begins from post five in the nine-horse field of pacing distaffs. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - The American Ideal mare Ghosttothepost became the only distaff to be victorious in all three of the preliminaries for the Bobby Weiss Series for harness racing pacing fillies and mares, coming home in 56.2 on a cold Monday with swirling winds at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to triumph in 1:54.3. George Napolitano Jr. got early fractions of 28.3 and 58.1 with the five-time seasonal winner, then turned on the back half jets, with a 28.2 second quarter and then a 28 last quarter into the win. Ghosttothepost, who suffered broken equipment during the contest, needed the speedy finish to keep pocketsitting Cardiff a neck away at the finish for trainer Darren Farrell and owner Peter Paul Venturini. Ashlee Sparkles came to her third Weiss prelim with a pair of series victories, but this week she couldn't catch the Sportswriter filly Girl's Got Rhythm, who clocked splits of 28.2, 57.2, and 1:25.3, then held off Ashlee Sparkles by a length in 1:54. Girl's Got Rhythm was unraced as a freshman, but she has begun her career with three straight victories, including one previous Weiss success, for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nicholas Devita and owner John Cummins. Charms Little Sis lowered her record 4 1/5 seconds when she won the other Weiss cut in 1:55.2, giving Tyler Buter victories in two of the three series divisions. Charms Lil Sis, a Mach Three mare, also used frontstepping tactics en route to the winners circle, opening a big lead down the backstretch and staying three lengths clear at the wire for trainer Scott Blackler and the Millar Farms. The $30,000 Weiss Championship for this group will be featured next Monday, April 22, with a $15,000 consolation also to be available if enough horses enter. The unofficial pointleaders after this group's preliminary round action, from highest to lowest points, are: 1. Ghosttothepost, 2. Ashlee Sparkles, 3. Cardiff, 4. Girl's Got Rhythm, 5. Final Escape, 6. Charms Lil Sis, 7. Flippin Fun, 8. Linda Lace Hanover, and 9. JK Lockherup; Take Abit Of Life and Barbs Beach would be the two AEs "on the bubble," in that order of preference, and would be the top eligibles for the consolation if it fills. FINISHING LINES - If you didn't get your licks in during races 4, 5, and 6, and your driver's name wasn't Tyler Buter, Anthony Napolitano, or Simon Allard, you did not have a pass into the Pocono winners circle on Monday night: "ANap" and Simon won four races each, Tyler three. Anthony Napolitano combined with trainer Jose Godinez to win the Early Double; Simon Allard hooked up with trainer/brother Rene to sweep the Late Double; and Buter as noted won two Weiss divisions, bringing him to 2998 career sulky successes.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

YONKERS, N.Y. – When driver Tyler Buter guides Parkin In Heaven onto the racetrack for the $58,000 final of the Petticoat Series Monday night (March 25), he will doubtlessly be thinking of Gene Oldford. A longtime friend and client of Buter and his father, Todd, Oldford owned the 4-year-old pacer before his passing February 25, 2019 and the filly continues to race in his name. “I’ve trained for him my whole life and dad actually met him on the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association Board,” Buter said. “That was how dad and Gene got to be friends. Gene’s son Stephen is also really active in the business and we train some horses for him, too. That’s been a good relationship. “We’re hoping Gene is watching her on Monday and hoping he helps us out little bit,” Buter continued. “We need all the help we can get, right?” The Buters bought Parkin In Heaven for Oldford at the 2016 Harrisburg Sale for $25,000. Sired by Rock N Roll Heaven, the filly was out of Park Avenue, a mare owned by Oldford and campaigned by the Buters to earnings of $558,527. “You buy them as a yearling and you teach them everything they know. It’s definitely rewarding when you buy them as a yearling and they turn out to be a good race horse,” Buter said. “And we also raced her mom, Park Avenue, so that’s kind of cool in the sense that we raced her mom and now we have an offspring of hers that’s doing well. “Her mom was a really nice racehorse. They’re build a lot alike and they’re demeanor in the barn and on the racetrack is similar. You can definitely tell,” Buter continued. “She’s really quiet. You literally don’t even know she’s in the barn. She’s sweet, one of those quiet fillies that doesn’t fuss much.” Parkin In Heaven only made two starts as a 2-year-old, but broke her maiden early in her 3-year-old campaign. She’s 3-for-33 in her career with another 16 placings and has earned $57,690. She’s continued to improve as a 4-year-old and has adapted to racing on a half-mile track, which led to her connections taking a shot in the Petticoat Series. “As a 3-year-old, she had a decent year. She was always a little better on the bigger tracks as a 3-year-old. We raced her a lot at Pocono,” Buter said. “And then as a 4-year-old, she just seems to get better every start. She’s learned to race on a half a lot better. She gets around it a lot better than a year ago.” Despite her steady development, Parkin In Heaven’s path to the Petticoat Final wasn’t a sure thing. After a third-place finish in the series’ first leg March 4 and a runner-up effort to Ella Is Awesome the following week, Parkin In Heaven was on the bubble going into the last preliminary leg March 18. However, after drawing into a field with only five rivals, Buter was confident. “I was confident that if I had her somewhere close to the front, she was going to be top three,” he said. “That wasn’t a huge concern. She always finishes really well. As long as you have her close to the front, she’s going to finish well.” Parkin In Heaven rode the pylons in fourth 5 lengths behind Cabowabocuttie in her last outing. Buter guided her second-over behind longshot Playin The Ponies past the three-quarters and tipped three-wide around the final turn. Parkin In Heaven cruised past her cover in the lane to finish third, elevating her series earnings to $9,800. The total put her eighth in the Petticoat standings and earned her a place in the final. Parkin In Heaven drew post two in the final, slated as the eighth race Monday night, and is a 12-1 morning line chance.Odds On Ashely is 3-1 from post four after two wins and a second in the series while racing on the frond end. Catch An Ace will start from post five and is the 5-2 morning line choice off a first-leg win and two runner-up finishes. Robyn Camden and Cabowabocuttie each posted wins in legs two and three of the series, but drew posts six and seven, respectively while Ella Is Awesome, who won in the first two legs of the series, drew the inside. Bye Hanover and Ghosttothepost complete the lineup. Parkin In Heaven’s start in the Petticoat Final will be especially meaningful for Buter. Not only will it be the biggest race of her career to date, it could also be one of her last races for the Buters as Parkin In Heaven is likely to be included in an online dispersal of Oldford’s stable in the near future. “Hopefully she races good for us and everything works out. Hopefully she makes a good racehorse for someone else, too,” Buter said. “Obviously, we drew good in the final, so we’re hoping they shake it up a little bit and we’re right there at the end. “That’s a good spot. I know some of the better ones drew the outside, so it will be interesting,” Buter continued. “She has gate speed, so as a driver, you just kind of play it by ear. You have to go by what your horse is telling you behind the gate and what the other horses are doing. It all changes when they say ‘go’ that’s for sure.” Tuesday night’s card features the $60,200 Sagamore Hill finale while the Matchmaker and Levy Series continue this weekend. Live harness racing is featured at Yonkers Raceway every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A trio of $15,000 conditioned events were featured on the penultimate card of 2018 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday night. The first of two trots resulted in an easy victory for the Kadabra gelding Northern Major in 1:57.3. Matt Kakaley moved the winner to the front past a 29 quarter and put up midsplits of 59 and 1:28.1 before storming off by 5½ lengths over closing Broadway Bruiser. The race favorite, Northern Major is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In the other trotting contest, the Triumphant Caviar sophomore gelding QB Kemp rallied from the pocket to record his second straight triumph, here in 1:57.1. Favored Bautista went to the top in a quick 27.4 on a cool night, rated the middle fractions to 57.1 and 1:27.2, but still could not withstand the rush from the two-hole by QB Kemp, driven by Tyler Buter for trainer Rob Harmon and Harmon Racing Stable LLC. The pacing event was for fillies and mares, with Don't Mach Mia surrendering the early lead to Parkin In Heaven in a 28.1, brushing to the lead and posting middle fractions of 57 and 1:26, then holding off the pocketsitter to notch a neck triumph in 1:55.1. George Napolitano Jr. was sulkysitting for trainer/owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen. Earlier, pacer SB Ideal In Art, driver John Kakaley (Matt's father), and trainer Jim Ray became the first horse-driver-trainer combination to post two $50+ victories in 2018 at Pocono when they teamed up for a $148.80 shocker in race two. The trio had clicked at a $58.00 price on July 31. Tempster Hanover is the only other horse to have two $50+ wins at the meet, but he had changed hands between his May 8 and June 26 upsets. Trainer Ray tied for the top at Pocono with his second training bomber: Judy Welty, Jose Godinez, Alex Kavoleff, Jason Robinson, and Ron Burke also have two upset winners, with the last two joining Ray as both posting their double within the last month and having one of their twosome under question pay $100+. The last card of the 2018 season will take place at The Downs on Saturday night, with the yet-undistributed yearend awards to be given. The world's fastest trotter and "home track" Breeders Crown winner, Homicide Hunter, will receive local Trotter of the Year honors, with the horse's trainer, Chris Oakes, also to be on hand to see his son Hunter Oakes get the award for posting the colony's top UTR. Rene Allard will be feted upon winning his fifth training win title in the last six years, while George Napolitano Jr. will sweep the driving dash title and UDR title for the sixth straight year - "George Nap" has thirteen Pocono dash crowns and eleven UDR championships to his credit, both obviously local records. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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