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Columbus, OH --- Homicide Hunter and driver Aaron Merriman moved to the lead following the halfway point of Saturday’s (June 9) Charlie Hill Memorial and never looked back, winning the $200,000 event for older trotters by 4-1/2 lengths over In Secret in 1:50.3 on a track labeled good at Eldorado Scioto Downs. Charmed Life finished third. Defending champion Crazy Wow and two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Marion Marauder were scratched sick, reducing the field to seven horses. Race favorite Will Take Charge went off stride at the start and finished sixth.The winning time equaled the world record for an older gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and was a stakes and track record. I Know My Chip took the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter-mile before seeing Smalltownthrowdown get the top spot prior to the half-mile point. Driver Sam Widger moved I Know My Chip back to the lead at the half, reached in :54.2, but faced pressure from Homicide Hunter, who was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:22. Homicide Hunter is a 6-year-old gelding by Mr Cantab out of Evening Prayer. He is owned by Crawford Farms Racing of New York and trained by Chris Oakes. The horse was bred by Patrick Graham. For the year, Homicide Hunter has won two of three races and earned $116,500. For his career, he has won 32 of 65 starts and banked $1.22 million. The Charlie Hill Memorial honors Hall of Famer Charles Hill, who was the founder and former president and chairman of the board of Scioto Downs. Homicide Hunter went off at odds of 3-1 and paid $8.60 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 26, 2018-The polls have closed, and it's officially Trump Nation. The colt by that very same name proved quite the best Saturday night (May 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The $300,000 28th Rooney saw six 3-year-old colts and two geldings start, but seven ended up chasing in vain. From post position No. 4, Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett, $6.80) was forwardly-placed, as was Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller). The latter made the first lead, before the former played leapfrog. Trump Nation seized the day (night?) just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Trump Nation, who won the second of last week's two elimination races, then rated a 29-second next subsection (:56.3 half), which would serve him well. Along came 3-5 favorite Springsteen (Brian Sears), first-up from fifth, and the race was underway in earnest. Kwik Talkin' (George Brennan) slipped out to race second-over, but gapped badly. Meanwhile, the leader and his 'prompter' rolled through a :26.4 third quarter (1:26.2), with the people's preference packing it in readily. Trump Nation owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn. Babes Dig Me edged from the pocket, while Minnie Vinnie-the scourge of Iowa-had room after sitting third. However, the Trumpster was up to the challenge, defeating Minnie Vinnie by a length-and-three-quarters in 1:51.3...a life-best by a good number. Babes Dig Me was clearly third, with 124-1 rank outsider Major Authority (Mark MacDonald) and Decoy (Dave Miller) rounding out the payees. Kwik Talkin', Springsteen and Jimtastic (Eric Goodell) completed the order. Decoy, the other elim winner, had a no-chance trip after the open draw buried him behind the eight-ball. For second choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned (as of this past Monday) by Evan Katz & Crawford Racing and trained (as of this past Monday) by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $113.50, the triple returned $731 and the superfecta paid $6,643. "I couldn't have ask for the race to work out any better," Bartlett said. "I was able to back down the half and pick it up when Springsteen came at me. "I thought the two outside horses (Babes Dig Me and Decoy) had to leave, and when I saw Brett (Miller, Babes Dig Me), I let him go and retook "I have to say that (former trainer) Andrew (Harris) really did the right thing with him last season, wanting to race him from off the pace. He deserves a lot of credit." As does the chauffeur, who won his first Rooney Pace in his 11th try. "It took me long enough," Bartlett said. ALEXA'S POWER TAKES LISMORE FINAL YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 26, 2018—If there isn’t talk about changing the name the Lismore to the Tetrick, perhaps there ought to be. Driver Tim Tetrick has made the race his own personal playground, winning Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night (May  26th) edition with the homebred Alexa’s Power ($3.70). The $111,444 companion event to the Art Rooney Pace attracted eight 3-year-old lasses after one was given lovely parting gifts in last week’s lone elimination. As for Alexa’s Power, she—from post position No. 6—was away third, behind Pass Line Bluechip (Jason Bartlett) and Believe in Me (Brian Sears). Her position was secured after Python Blue Chip (George Brennan) and elim winner Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube) both made early breaks, the latter ending up racing inside the cones. Pass Line Bluechip found a 28-second opening quarter-mile, before Alexa’s Power moved again. It took her just about a quarter-mile to wrest the lead, eventually doing so before a :56.2 intermission. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald), as the 69-1 bombardier, went first-up from fifth, not getting close to the leader and her 1:25.2 three-quarters. Alexa’s Power held a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, then held off her two pursuers. Pass Line Bluechip took her shot from the pocket as did Believe in Me from the three-hole. The leader hung tough, however, Alexa’s Power won by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4. Pass Line Bluechip photoed Believe in Me for second, with a ground-saving Reign on Me (Brett Miller) and Solitary (Brent Holland) grabbing the minors. Python Blue Chip, Checker Past and Jewels Forreal rounded out the order.     For Alexa’s Power, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere owned by Jeff Snyder and trained by Jim Campbell, is was her third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.40, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $29.4 and the superfecta paid $231. Tetrick won this race for a fifth time, including Tyra’s stakes-record 1:52.1 four seasons ago.   For Alexa’s Power starting nose-to-gate was refreshing after second-tier getaways here in a division of the Reynolds Memorial and last week’s elimination race. “I thought I’d end up second-over,” Tetrick said. “I wound up getting away third, and from there, I wanted to put her on the lead. “Jordan (Stratton, last week’s driver) told me she was loaded then, so I had all the confidence in her. She dug in when she had to. “It takes a special sort of filly to win the Lismore,” he said. “You need one that can handle an audible if the plan changes.” It doesn’t hurt to have Tetrick calling the plays, either.   Saturday night’s $44,000 Open Handicaps were won by Theartofconfusion A (Miller, $40.80) and DW’s NY Yank (Brennan, $8.20), taking the pacing and trotting events in 1:51.1 and 1:54.3, respectively. The evening’s last race resulted in the fastest local mile of the season, a 1:51 beat down by odds-on Bettor Memories (Bartlett, $3.20) in the $27,500 pacing finale.     The Raceway now goes AWOL for live racing and evening simulcasting until Friday, June 8th. Afternoon simulcasting continues each day except Tuesday. by Frank Drucker, for Empire City @ Yonkers

ANDERSON, Ind. - Split The House made his second move worthy of winning the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Hoosier Park Saturday night in a sparkling 1:48.1. Harness racing driver Brett Miller drove the winner, who hit the finish one length in front of McWicked. Split The House (Rocknroll Hanover-Shake That Junk) left alertly but settled for second as All Bets Off soared from the outside nine post to take the early lead. The first quarter came up in a sizzling :25.4 as the shuffling began. From the second tier the first takeover came when Keystone Velocity went to the outside and brushed to the lead, putting All Bets Off in second, but not for long. Split The House retook the lead with another brush, passing those two. The battles were not over as All Bets Off returned to the outside and took on Mach It So, one of the early leaders shuffled, as the lead exchanged through a half in :53.4 and three-quarters in 1:21.1. Into the stretch, the duelers were Mach It So and All Bets Off, but neither could handle the second move by Split The House, as he passed the battling duo and took the win. McWicked took advantage of the late duel and flew by the pair to take second. Mach It So earned the show spot. Both were sent to the gate at odds of 2-1, with Mach It So the slight actual favorite. Fair Winds Farm bred Split The House, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Chris Oakes trains the 5-year-old gelding, who won his second race of the season in only his sixth start of the year. Split The House paid $18.40 to win. By Frank Cotolo, for Breeders Crown

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Jereme's Jet gelding Alta Jerome N, who won his last start at Yonkers, shipped back to the "home track" of his harness racing trainer Chris Oakes and promptly made it two in a row, taking the $20,000 featured conditioned pace Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.3. Top driver George Napolitano Jr., noted for his aggressive steering of horses, played a well-timed waiting game in the feature, sitting just behind pacesetting favorite Bushwacker, who led through early splits of 25.4 and 55.1, and Archangel Three, who popped the pocket to challenge the leader in a huge third quarter, with the third marker reached in 1:22. "George Nap" kept his pacer to the inside, ducked into the famed Pocono Pike, and went on to get a half-length decision over Bushwacker while equaling his lifetime best (North American, anyway). Alta Jerome N went over the quarter-million dollar lifetime earnings plateau for Northfork Racing Stable and Sam Dalia. On a generally-bad night for chalk at Pocono, two favored horses owned at least in part by the VIP Internet Stable LLC won the $16,500 co-featured paces, with both cuts going faster than the feature event. First out, in the very first race, was the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Allstar Partner, who never looked back for driver Anthony Napolitano while lowering his lifetime mark over two seconds to 1:49. Andrew Harris trains the winner $543,126, and VIP owns him outright. In the other feature, the Sportswriter gelding Maxdaddy Blue Chip was a pocket rocket, getting home first in 1:50 for the brother team of driver Simon Allard and trainer Rene Allard. The late-developing speedster is co-owned by VIP with Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, and How's That Stables Inc. PHHA / Pocono

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 13, 2017 - It's a Homicidal hat trick. Odds-on favorite Homicide Hunter (Brent Holland, $3.70) made it three consecutive harness racing victories Sunday afternoon (Aug. 13th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away fourth from behind the eight-ball among the dozen, Homicide Hunter saw Smalltownthrowdown (Greg Merton) and Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) takes turns fronting the field (:28.1, :57.2, 1:27.2). Homicide Hunter was then out and moving, setting his sights upon the leader. He dove into a rest stop past the 1:55.1 milepost when Smalltownthrowdown backed away. 'Hunter' then became the hunted in the final turn, finding himself with a three-length lead after Hemi Seelster made a wild break and a hard right turn, back down into the paddock before completing his appointed rounds. Homicide Hunter won it easily, defeating Dewycolorintheline (Dan Dube) by 4¼ lengths in 2:26 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Last week's upsetter, Taco Tuesday (Steve Smith), was third, with Sumatra (Eric Goodell) and Theraputic (George Brennan) picked up the remainder.. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his sixth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51, the triple returned $389.50 and the superfecta paid $2,118. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 2-Kelsocait (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 11-Awsome Valley (Yonkers' 5th race) paid $44 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,623. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (Aug. 20th) is 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 23, 2017 - Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $6.10) who missed a hard-charging head a week ago, had no such angst this time around, winning Sunday afternoon's (July 23rd), Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. The last of three early leaders, Homicide Hunter-from assigned post position No. 7 among the dozen--took over after Bueno Camino (Scott Zeron) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) each had a spin in the big chair. Homicide Hunter, as the 2-1 wagering choice, made the lead in the second turn, between a :28.3 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 half. His ascension to the throne left Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) first-up, sitting outside. Homicide Hunter (1:28.3 three-quarters, mile in 1:55.4) hade few issues thereafter, widening to 2½ lengths in the lane before 'running' away by four lengths. The mile-and-a-quarter went in a spiffy 2:24.3. Buen Camino edged Springbank Sam N for second, with Fashion Creditor (Eric Goodell) and Awsome Valley (Greg Merton) settling for the minors. Hemi Seelster, who has had success in races where he's been out every step, couldn't replicate it here, winding up last among the dozen. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $25.20, with the triple returning $94. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 5-Uncle Mojo (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 2-I C Caviar (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $10.70 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,231. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (July 30th) is 11:30 AM. (Author's aside...I C Caviar was Bartlett's 7,000th career win. Separate story/pix shortly). Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA – Harness racing driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes combined to take both $25,000 winners-over pacing features Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, scoring first with Scott Rocks and then with Split The House.   Split The House was in the tougher of the two divisions, but nonetheless was sent off at 3-5 odds and justified the confidence of his backers by posting a 4¾ length victory in 1:48.2, a personal mark, the fastest mile of the season at Pocono, and believed to be the fastest mile of the year on a 5/8-mile track, bettering by a tick the number put up by Rockeyed Optimist at Philly last Sunday.   The winning Rocknroll Hanover gelding was outleft by Ideal Cowboy early, but “George Nap” was soon doing his own Rocknroll behind the horse, kicking the plugs out before the first turn and urging the horse to go on to the top, which he made by the 26 first quarter.  Split The House made the half in 53.3, and then opened a big lead down the backstretch to and past the 1:20.3 3/4s, keeping the open margin to the wire. Barimah A, the Van Rose Pace winner here, nosed out The Real One for second behind the winner, who now sports a bankroll of $392,833 under the ownership of Crawford Racing Farms.   GNap, Oakes, and Rocknroll Hanover also combined to take the other $25,000 pace, as the gelding Scott Rocks, an even money shot, quarter-moved to command, laid down a pedestrian half, then sprinted home in 54.1 to withstand the Pocono Pike charger Betting Exchange by a neck in 1:50. Scott Rocks, who took his mark of 1:48 here last year, shows earnings of $548,079 for the partnership of Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - If you ever look up the term "horses for courses" in the dictionary, it's 1-20 odds that you find a picture of Luck Be Withyou harness racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono as the illustration.   The six-year-old son of Western Ideal was 1-20* in Saturday's $20,000 pacing feature, and he yet again justified the fans' faith by going wire-to-wire in 1:49.3, equaling his season's mark taken last week - in fact, Luck Be Withyou has recorded his seasonal best here in each of his five years of racing. He has won 15 of 22 times racing at the mountain oval, and his lifetime bankroll over the brick-red surface went over $700,000 with Saturday's victory, boosted substantially by wins in the Breeders Crown at two and the Franklin Final at four.   Luck Be Withyou was sent straight to the top as usual by George Napolitano Jr., and after making the lead before the withering 25.4 opener, "Luck" had better luck with the fractions, posting middle splits of 54.2 and 1:21.4. A last quarter in 27.4 and patented Napolitano rocking were enough to keep the winner clear of an onrushing Anwar Hanover by a length as he triumphed once more for trainer Chris Oakes and owner John Craig.   Luck Be Withyou     In an $18,000 claiming handicap pacing co-feature, the Tell All gelding Tell Us More went wire-to-wire to win in 1:50.3, equaling his lifetime best, and giving him 11 victories in the 2017 season, that total tying him at the top of all North American racehorses for the season with two others. Both of his co-leaders have a chance to reclaim some part of the lead tomorrow: Private Interview will look to extend his own winning streak to ten at Rideau Carleton, while Cousin Mary will attempt to make it nine straight, but in a very difficult circumstance - starting from post eight against Lady Shadow and the fastest females in the $150,000 Betsy Ross Pace at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Top trot on the Saturday card was a $16,500 contest taken by the four-year-old mare Celebrity Eventsy, a starter in the Breeders Crown Final against Broadway Donna last year, rallying to catch pacesetting Skates N Plates in 1:54.2. The daughter of Manofmanymissions is now 2-for-4 on the season for driver Christian Lind, trainer/father Staffan Lind, and owners Celebrity Farms.   Celebrity Eventsy     Simon Allard had three sulky wins on the Saturday card, allowing him to regain second in the local drivers derby ahead of Matt Kakaley, and moving his lifetime total to 2996 victories. Simon had a fourth driving win at Pocono Saturday, so he is now at 2997 -- three away from the milestone 3000th win.   PHHA / Pocono

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono continues their end of year Awards on closing night, Saturday, Novemer 26th, honoring the harness racing driver and trainer of the Year in special ceremonies in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle. George Napolitano Jr. will again come out on top of the driving colony, as he has been the pacesetter from practically the first "They are underway!", while trainer Chris Oakes had a terrific end to his local campaign to take home the trainers' title. George Napolitano Jr. was far clear in the drivers dashwinning derby - his total of 359 victories has been eclipsed locally in one season only by the 407 victories "George Nap" rang up last year. This was the 10th year where George led the Pocono drivers colony in sulky successes, and it was the eighth time he posted the highest UDR of the meeting, with a .383 "batting average" with three local cards in 2016 to go. "GNap" got many of his victories behind horses trained by Chris Oakes, as Oakes, winning his third Pocono trainers title, with scorching fractions late in the year, posted 34 PcD victories since October 1 (32 of them driven by Napolitano) to bust open what had been a good battle with three-time defending champion Rene Allard. Closing night will also be a special Fan Appreciation Night, giving back to the loyal fans watching and wagering on Pocono racing all season. Fans can win up to $100 in live racing vouchers and other prizes, printing right from the tote machines starting at 6:00p.m. Pacer's Clubhouse will also be open one final time for the season with dinner starting at 5:00p.m. by reservation only, 1-888-WIN-IN-PA. Pocono will also be airing their special "Farewell video", spotlighting the season's best races; horsemen; and the track team members. The video is produced by International Sound Corporation in conjunction with Pocono Marketing. Jennifer Starr  

WILKES-BARRE PA - In the last five Saturdays at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the $18,000 claiming handicap pace for harness racing horses valued at $25,000 to $30,000 has been taken by four different horses: Terror Time A, Rockin Rambaran, double winner Freeneasy Hanover, and this week Pappy's Pal. The amazing thing about this high-class array of high-tagged horses? They have all been trained by Chris Oakes and driven by George Napolitano Jr. Last week trainer Oakes and owner Hunter Oakes claimed Pappy's Pal for $25,000, probably knowing that their Freeneasy Hanover was likely to be plucked out of the same race for the same price. For this week's matchup, Pappy's Pal went from post six to post three, while Freeneasy Hanover went from post three to post seven, and this positional change, along with the hot hands of Oakes/GNapolitano, probably caused the crowd to make Pappy's Pal Saturday's favorite. Pappy's Pal, a Cam's Card Shark gelding, took advantage of his inside positioning, forcing a late first turn tuck, then stinging Freeneasy Hanover (this week guided by George's brother Anthony) past a 26 quarter, which was wind-aided, before surrendering the lead. Pappy's Pal and "GNap" sat contentedly behind the leader through middle splits of 54.4 and 1:22.3, then came out headstretch and paced through the strong wind to take the lead 100 feet out and win by a neck over "Freeneasy" in 1:52. If Oakes is to continue his streak in the top claimers during next Saturday's season ending card, it won't be with Pappy's Pal -- and it is hoped the horse did not unpack too much under the Oakes shedrow -- for he was claimed by trainer Rene Allard ... but the streak might continue powered by Freeneasy Hanover, who was re-claimed by Oakes here! The track was "fast," the temperature was 49o, and no moisture had yet fallen when Pappy's Pal won; the skies were starting to leak, but it was still 49o and "fast," when ABC Muscles Boy also used pocket rocket tactics to win the evening's featured trot, a $15,500 conditioned event, in 1:53.3. Simon Allard rallied the ABC Garland gelding to take a 1 1/4-length decision over fast-closing Fashion Creditor for trainer/brother Rene and the ownership combine of Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr.   By the time the $20,000 conditioned pacing feature rolled around, conditions had really deteriorated: 34 degrees, and a "sloppy +2" surface. But the 10-year-old Western Hanover gelding Clear Vision didn't earn $2,549,697 in his 197 career starts by insisting on perfect conditions; he just wanted a pocket trip, which seemed to be the key to winning Pocono features on Saturday. From there, Clear Vision was able to get home first ahead of Theartofconfusion A by half a length for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Ron Burke, and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, The Panhellenic Stable Corporation, and James Koran.   PHHA/Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Freeneasy Hanover again defeated Terror Time A, who had a six-race win skein snapped in his last start, taking the $18,000 claiming handicap harness racing pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.4 despite a reading of 40o at post time. Last week the Western Ideal gelding Freeneasy Hanover debuted for the barn of the meet's leading trainer, Chris Oakes, and he was sent three-wide in front of the stands by the meet's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., to take an advantage that no one could take away from him. Terror Time A, mired with post eight, was a fast-closing third after traffic trouble, and with "Terror" moving from PP8 to PP4 tonight, the crowd sent him off as the 3-10 favorite, with Freeneasy Hanover (PP4 last week, PP3 tonight) again held at 2-1 odds. And again, an early move to the lead was the route to victory for Freeneasy Hanover, who moved after the 26 opening quarter to get the lead before the 54.2 half, then posted a 1:22.2 third clocking along the way to winning by 1½ lengths. Terror Time A, not noted for his early speed, again had to come from seventh at the ¾, but this week he did get up for second, a neck ahead of Always N The Money, behind the sharp winner, who is owned by Susan Oakes. Oh - did we mention that the claiming handicap feature was the first race on Pocono's Saturday night card? Pocono fans certainly consider that worthwhile information - as "GNap" and Oakes have now won the first event on six of the last nine cards at Pocono, and on three of the last four Saturdays (on the other occasion, the duo had to "wait" until race two to click). Speaking of race two, George Napolitano Jr. came back to sweep the Double behind the Mark Ford trainee Mariner Seelster. It was George's 351st local victory of the season - and the first in which he paid more than $50+, just nudging over that line with a $50.80 win return. The GNap Double returned $107.00. At Pocono, the motto is that one longshot win deserves another quickly, and 89 minutes later Eric Carlson guided Keystone Dylan to a late rallying victory, paying $61.80 on the front end. For Carlson, it was his third $50+ winner at Pocono in the last five cards; for trainer James De La Rosa, it was perhaps an even more memorable occasion, as it was his first trip ever as a trainer to Pocono's winners circle. The two bombers also marked the 14th occasion that Pocono has had a pair of $50+ horses on one card this season--11% of the time. Carlson set the pace in the $15,500 tenth race conditioned pacing co-feature with 13-1 shot Bestjetyet, but they were caught by ¾ of a length by the favorite and "pocket rocket," Dreams Beach Boy, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and who after his 1:51.2 victory (it was 37o by then) now has a career bankroll of $152,124. The guidance behind the Sombeachsomewhere gelding Dreams Beach Boy? Driver George Napolitano Jr. (his fifth win of the night , 20th during November's six cards at Pocono, and 36th overall in the first 12 days of the month) and trainer Chris Oakes (his third tally of the evening, all with GNap). They combined to win another, so George won six and Chris four on the night.   They also combined on the fastest winner of the night, Alta Jerome N, who won his U.S. debut in 1:50.3 despite the outside post eight. Alta Jerome N, a 6YO Jereme's Jet gelding, had won 18 races and $183,882 Down Under, including his last race where he won in 1:52.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Scott Rocks, a member of an elite club of double season's leaders on the various sizes of North American harness racing tracks, opened an insurmountable lead on the far turn in Saturday's $20,000 pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then coasted home to a 2½ length victory in 1:50 - the fourth mile to go in 1:50 on, fittingly, a low-50s temperature night at The Downs. The meet's winningest driver and trainer, George Napolitano Jr. and Chris Oakes, clicked for the second time on the night with the victorious Rocknroll Hanover gelding, with the final time especially impressive when one notes that once making the lead Scott Rocks and "George Nap" were able to rate the second quarter to 29.2. There was no getting to the winner of two straight races after that as defeated the winner of last week's feature, E Street Plan, for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey, who saw the pacer elevate his bankroll to $156,174 for the year and $493,279 lifetime. Scott Rocks set the season's record for older pacing geldings for 5/8-mile tracks with a 1:48 mile at Pocono May 28 (at the time the fastest mile in North American harness racing in 2016), and he set a world record of 1:49 over the half-mile Northfield oval on September 3. Nine horses are double season's leaders - eight of them set world records in at least one of their spotlight efforts, and three (Always B Miki, Hannelore Hanover, and Huntsville) went on to become Breeders Crown champions. One winning streak had to fall (barring a dead-heat to win) in the $18,000 claiming handicap pace, as Terror Time A came into the event having won his last six starts and Rockin Rambaran had triumphed in his last five. But both streaks went by the boards as Freeneasy Hanover went three-wide under the finish line the first time, into the wind, to get the lead before the half and go on to victory in 1:50. The Western Ideal gelding was making his first start after a claim for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes, and driver George Napolitano Jr. was named on four horses in the race, including the two streakers - but those who followed him to "Freeneasy" got a $6.40 return. Terror Time A, the favorite, was trapped to headstretch and was zooming late for third, while Rockin Rambaran got unlucky and was hung without cover; indeed, he was the horse that Freeneasy Hanover circled the first time under the wire.   PHHA / Pocono      

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (October 25, 2016) - The Meadowlands Racetrack has sent a formal request to the New Jersey Racing Commission asking to have both Breeders Crown horses trained by Chris Oakes to be scratched from this weekend's harness racing Finals for failing to cooperate with an agreed-upon surveillance and out-of-competition testing program. The two Oakes horses are Luck Be Withyou, owned by John H. Craig, and Split The House, owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Both were entered in the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace. "Mr. Oakes had originally agreed to relocate his horses to White Birch Farm in New Jersey," explained Meadowlands Chairman Jeffrey Gural. "The horses did not arrive by the Sunday deadline. I then compromised and gave them until Monday and then Tuesday. I even offered to allow the horses to continue to be stabled and trained at Mr. Oakes's farm in Pennsylvania provided I could have 24-hour surveillance on the horses at my own expense. Mr. Oakes and his lawyer Howard Taylor have refused to respond to these requests." Justin Horowitz A copy of the email request sent to the New Jersey Racing Commission is below. Mr. Zanzuccki, Trainer Chris Oakes has refused to relocate his two Breeders Crown horses ("Split The House" and "Luck Be Withyou" both aged pace Breeders Crown entrants) entered at the Meadowlands to a training facility and or farm here in New Jersey. We also offered Mr. Oakes a compromise where as we would allow him to continue to train his two horses at his farm in Pennsylvania but under 24 hour surveillance paid for by us. Mr. Oakes at this time has continued to refuse as we have not heard from him and or his attorney Howard Taylor. The New Meadowlands Racetrack under the direction of our Chairman Jeffrey R. Gural is hereby requesting that both Mr. Oakes horses be scratched from the aged Breeder Crown finals this Friday, October 28th. Again, the two horses are Split the House and Luck Be Withyou.

WILKES-BARRE PA - The sizzling pacer Terror Time A won his sixth straight race Saturday night at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking the biggest purse race of the evening, the harness racing card's $18,000 opener, in 1:51.1 - but for the fourth time after his last seven races, he'll start his next day in a different barn. The $25,000 claimer, an altered son of Western Terror, didn't let a little thing like being parked out for 11/16 of a mile on a 45o night ruin his evening, as he ran away and hid from his opposition, scoring by eight lengths for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owner Hunter Oakes. But the connections of trainer Rene Allard haltered the horse for the $25G tag, although Team Oakes has certainly done well by the horse; for them in two different stints in this recent run, he's 5-4-0-1-$33,920, and they've gained $2000 in purchase price along the way. In fact, for the year Terror Time A is now 29-11-3-6-$109,005, despite never racing for a purse higher than tonight's $18,000. The "Terror Time A claiming duel" just might continue, too - at the top of the Pocono trainers' standings, it was Allard 95, Oakes 93 going into tonight's card, and a horse like this could be pivotal. As hard as it may be to believe, Terror Time A actually saw more of the inner pylons than did Oakes' winner in the night's $15,500 trotting feature, the Kadabra gelding Caulfield, who won in 1:55 for Synerco Ventures Inc. Although stuck with the outermost post eight, driver Sean Bier had this horse in play throughout despite traveling the overland route for just over ¾ of the mile, and he went on well to the wire to score by 1½ lengths over 56-1 shot Brookroad Knight. The $15,500 pacing feature saw Somewhere in L A, best remembered for his $500G+ sophomore season of 2014 where he was 2-3 in the Jug and second in the Adios Final, matched his trotting cohort Caulfield in overcoming the outside post eight and winning in 1:52.2. The Sombeachsomewhere gelding, trained by Ron Burke for Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables LLC along with Deo Volente Farms LLC and T L P Stable (you need to be an accountant/lawyer to get stable names right these days), only had to travel most of the 26.2 first quarter outside to get the lead for driver Pat Berry; they then put up middle fractions of 54.4 and 1:22.3, then fought a stiff stretch headwind and a railshooting Kid PK to prevail by a half-length to make his record 2-for-2 since invading Pocono.   PHHA / Pocono    

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 7, 2016 - Harness racing favored Devil Child (Eric Goodell, $6.30) was gifted an early pocket and then held off the cavalry Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5, she and her inside foe, Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) both had designs on the lead. The latter made it before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile as Devil Child found a wide berth in front of Rock N Roll Xample (Dan Dube). A cheapy :56.2 half should have played the leader, but why give away the ending here? Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) offered just token, first-up abuse in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with Sell a Bit N owning a length lead into the lane. However, the leading lass wasn't up to it here, tiring noticeably...but not until she carried Devil Child where she needed to go. Devil Child ducked inside and was able to get the jump on her belated foes. She whipped a flying-from-last Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.4, with Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno) a late-arriving third. Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) and Rock N Roll Xample rounded out the payees, the five cashers separated by just a length-and-three-quarters at the wire. For Devil Child, a 4-year-old statebred daughter of American Ideal co-owned by Susan Oakes & Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was her sixth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $40.40, with the triple returning $324. Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA - The spotlight was put to overtime service on a rainy Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, as star performances were turned in by feature race winner Keystone Velocity, harness racing's all-time money champ Foiled Again, driver George Napolitano Jr., and trainer Chris Oakes.   Keystone Velocity, an eight-year-old stallion who has always been one of history's footnotes as the least-expensive yearling from the last crop of great stallion Western Hanover ($3000, a year before his dam Venus Killean produced millionaire champion mare Venus Delight), again showed that he is much much more than a footnote in taking the $25,000 winners-over handicap pace in stunning fashion, equaling his lifetime mark of 1:48.2 over sloppy going in a field that included Rockin Ron (conqueror of Wiggle It Jiggleit) and Mel Mara (conqueror of Always B Miki).   Simon Allard sent the Barry Probber trainee, whose owner Lauretta Galm was his $3000 purchaser and who has made some profit on the horse (career earnings $499,221), up after the streaking gateleaver Bushwacker, who carried the winner past a searing 25.3 quarter (in off going) before yielding. Keystone Velocity got the half in 53.3, saw Mel Mara charging uncovered down the back and upped the tempo to 1:20.4 at the ¾, and then maintained a safe margin to the wire, with Bushwacker in the Pocono Pike second and Mel Mara third, ahead of Rockin Ron.   Napolitano and Oakes, the leaders in their respective categories at Pocono in 2016, combined to win half of the first eight races on Saturday. After their victory with Ideal Candidate in race 5, George Napolitano Jr. was feted by Pocono management for becoming only the 32nd driver in harness racing history to achieve 8000 driving victories, which he accomplished in the first race at Harrah's Philadelphia yesterday (then started on his way to 9000 by taking the back half of Friday's Philly Early Double, and continued on Saturday).   Napolitano added a fifth victory in a $15,500 conditioned trot with Wilberforce, making a sweeping move in the latter stages with the altered son of Caviar Crown and coming home on an uncontested lead, tallying in 1:54.2 to take his ninth victory of the season for trainer Kris Rickert, co-owner with Dale Wareham. In a companion-class $15,500 event for pacers, Theartofconfusion A handled a slight stepup in class with relative ease upon coming in from Yonkers, the Riverboat King gelding stopping the clock in 1:50.3 for driver Pat Berry, trainer Jeffrey Smith, and the Saddle Rock Stables.   And then there was the gallant Foiled Again, raising his career win percentage to exactly one-third (89 wins in 267 starts for the 12-year-old pacer) and his history-altering bankroll to $7,416,508 with a seasonal best 1:51.1 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Dave Palone, the winningest driver in harness history, whose own career tally behind Foiled Again is now 8-5-2-1-$243,750.   Foiled Again, owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and JJK Stables LLC, also has a fine history at Pocono, with six wins and 11 board finishes in 15 local starts worth $782,661 (dating back to July 3, 2007, when he was third in a 3YO Sire Stake). The bulk of the Dragon Again gelding's local haul came of course in 2013 sloppy tracks wins here in the Franklin Final and Breeders Crown Final -- he's 4-for-5 lifetime in the Pocono slop.   (A final note: Foiled Again has had 23 drivers in his pari-mutuel career - how many can you name? If you came up with Jack Baggitt Jr, George Brennan, Marc Campbell, Dan Dube, Yannick Gingras, Eric Goodell, Greg Grismore, Tony Hall, Jody Jamieson, Matt Kakaley, Mike Lachance, Eric Ledford, Jim Marshall III, Andy Miller, Brett Miller, David Miller, Jim Morrill Jr, Chris Page, Dave Palone, Ron Pierce, Jon Roberts, Steve Smith, Mike Wilder, and Scott Zeron, go to the head of the class - and join Foiled Again.)   PHHA/Pocono

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