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WILKES BARRE, PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be looking for more cooperation from the weather this weekend after losing its opening day card to the aftermath of a snowstorm last Saturday. This weekend the northeast Pennsylvania track is planning to race on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m., with 14 races on each program. The weekend features will be the opening preliminary rounds of the popular Game Of Claims Pacing Series, where four levels of competitively-priced opponents contest three prelim legs trying to earn their way into a rich Championship on the weekend of March 3-4. On the Saturday card, there will be seven $25,000 divisions of the series for $25,000 base-price claimers and four $15,000 cuts of competition for $15,000-tagged horses. Sunday will see the first prelims for $7500- and $10,000-priced horses. Among the horses carrying a $25,000 tag Saturday, most of the divisions are hard to figure out, especially the tenth race section, where American Rebel, a former stakes performer who ended his 2020 with a first- or second-place finish in his last five starts, begins from post four for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno after an easy qualifying win at The Meadowlands. Tough opposition could come from Da Magician, who has won three of his last four starts for this price at Dover, but must here solve post seven for trainer Les Givens. Royal Heart was the winner of the Game Of Claims Championship for $15,000-valued horses in 2020, and he draws the rail in the sixth race division for horses entered for that price; trainer Clay Faurot Jr.'s horse faces a tough task in that he hasn't raced in over two months. Nine Ways, no stranger to eastern Pennsylvania, may turn out to be the favorite in this contest, as he ships in off a blazing 1:52 victory against this type at Ohio's Miami Valley Raceway; he'll start from post three for trainer Dan Maier. The draw for the Sunday card will take place Tuesday, with a 9 a.m. closing of the entry box. FINISHING LINES - The Downs also held its first qualifiers of the 2021 campaign on Monday. The pacer Redbank Blaze A posted the fastest time, 1:53.4, for Pocono's perennial leading driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Jose Godinez, each had three wins during the morning session. On the trot, P L Notsonice, an Ontario Sire Stakes winner at three, showed herself ready for her four-year-old campaign by winning in 1:57.1 for trainer/driver Renaldo Morales III. ... Pocono will hold qualifying races this Wednesday; declare by Tuesday at 11 a.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, NY, Friday December 6, 2019- Harness racing favorite Dibaba N (Eric Goodell, $4.30) gave nothing else a shot Friday night (Dec. 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's brisk $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It was a two-speed, two-wagering-choices number, with Dibaba N--from assigned post position No. 5--working around pole-sitter Itty Bitty (Dan Dube) before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. There wasn't much to it from there as Dibaba N found a :57.2 intermission. Down the backside and moving toward a 1:25.3 three-quarters, Clear Idea (Joe Bongiorno) gapped out of a three-hole, while Shellie De Vie (Greg Merton) tired after a weak, first-over bid. Dibaba N and Itty Bitty had the stretch to the themselves, with the former opening a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. Dibaba N prevailed by a length-and-a-half 1:52.4 Third--beaten more than eight lengths--was Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett), with Write Me a Song (George Brennan) and Clear Idea settling for the small envelopes. For Dibaba N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Shadow Play owned by Blindswitch Racing, J&T Silva, VIP Internet & Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Jose Godinez, it was her eighth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11, the triple returned $50 and the superfecta paid $170.50. By Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Lady Dela Renta A (Well Said) brought her two-for-two local record back to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete in Thursday's Fillies and Mares Open. The Jose Godinez-trained mare had little difficulty rattling off back-to-back wins in the $18,000 Open when she came to town in October. On Thursday, Lady Dela Renta A returned to the Spa looking to stay undefeated against the track's top distaffers. The race's 3-5 betting favorite drew inside her major danger The Charging Moa N (Jay Randall) in the five-horse feature but unlike in her previous pair of local tries, Lady Dela Renta A took back in the early going and opted to come from off the pace. Leading driver Billy Dobson sat patiently with the five year old mare as the first lap went in 57 seconds. Lady Dela Renta A made her move just past the half and powered-up first over to overtake the leader past three quarters in 1:25 but in the meantime towed The Charging Moa N into contention as that one drafted behind the cover of the favorite. Those two drew off from their rivals in the stretch before Lady Dela Renta A held off the charge from The Charging Moa N and reported home in 1:54.2 to move her record at the Spa to three-for-three. The Charging Moa N was a strong second to complete a $5.20 exacta. Bye Bye Felicia (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. The victory in the feature was one of three on the card for Dobson. Lady Dela Renta A's win was her eleventh of the season and moved her '19 bankroll to over the $150,000 mark. Godinez won the previous two installments of the local Open for pacing mares with his Dibaba N who scored impressively in her pair of Saratoga starts. With Thursday's victory, Godinez now has nine wins in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa in the 2019 campaign. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Redbank Blaze A (Rocknroll Hanover) made his first start outside of Open company at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday night. The Jose Godinez trainee had three races under his belt at the Spa and all three had come in the $18,000 Open Pace. On Saturday, the six year old dropped down to the $15,000 Winners Over, a race that with no Open on the docket served as the evening's feature. Redbank Blaze A drew the rail and was subsequently the public's 3-5 betting favorite with Frank Coppola Jr. sitting behind. The favorite wasted little time moving out to the front-end after retaking the lead from In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson) approaching the quarter. Redbank Blaze A cruised unopposed for the majority of the mile and started to pad his lead past three quarters. In A Single Bound began to tire a bit in the pocket as longshot Shady City came on in the stretch in what turned out to be a battle for the place spot as Redbank Blaze A drew away to win decisively in 1:53.2. Shady City went off at odds of 41-1 and endured a difficult trip from post eight to be the runner-up in the feature while In A Single Bound held on for third. Redbank Blaze A, who is owned by Marissa Godinez of Bloomingburg, NY, led an exacta and triple that paid $100.50 and $473.50, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that kicks off at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

The Fillies and Mares Open was contested as the feature on Wednesday's program at Saratoga Casino Hotel. After a scratch, the field was reduced to five members but what a strong group of distaffers it was. Dibaba N (Shadow Play) made her local debut a winning one last Thursday (November 21) and was the public's even money favorite on Wednesday as she looked to go back-to-back in the $18,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Driver Billy Dobson flashed speed with the Jose Godinez trainee who wound up yielding to fellow invader Tequila Monday (Mark Beckwith) to get a pocket trip. Those two mares squared off just two weeks ago at Dover Downs in Delaware with Dibaba N pacing past Tequila Monday in the final strides to secure the victory. The rematch wound up as a near carbon copy of the first battle between them as Dibaba N pounced out of the pocket and rolled past Tequila Monday to secure her third win in a row. Now two-for-two at Saratoga, Dibaba N stopped the timer in 1:52.4 in what was her seventh victory of the campaign. Tequila Monday was the runner-up and completed a $9.50 exacta. Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) finished third. Dibaba N is owned by the Blindswitch, Robert Cooper, VIP Internet and J&T Silva Stables. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening and will feature a Pick Five carryover of $3,819. The Pick Five is a 50 cent minimum wager and starts in the evening's first race. First post time is set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Lady Dela Renta A (Well Said) continued her winning ways in Thursday's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jose Godinez trainee was the overwhelming top choice in the wagering as she looked to go back-to-back in the local Fillies and Mares Open. Lady Dela Renta A had little difficulty going coast-to-coast in the $18,000 feature. Driver Frank Coppola Jr. marched the five year old distaffer out to the early lead and despite clicking off a fast 26.3 in quarter one, Lady Dela Renta A faced little challenge throughout the mile before pacing away from her rivals to win in 1:53 over a track labeled 'good.' The Australian invader's victory was her tenth of the season as she bested fellow out-of-towner HP Sissy (Jimmy Devaux), who was the runner-up, and Gina Grace N (Larry Stalbaum) who earned the show spot. Lady Dela Renta A has now recorded 20 wins in her first 51 lifetime starts. In her most recent score, she paid $2.10 to win as the heaviest of favorites. The exacta with HP Sissy second came back $6.70. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Lady Dela Renta A (Well Said) made her local debut a winning one in the Thursday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Trainer Jose Godinez has often brought New Zealand and Australian invaders to town to compete in Opens over the last handful of years and his newest revelation Lady Dela Renta A impressed in Thursday's $18,000 Fillies and Mares Open. The field was reduced to five after a scratch and Lady Dela Renta A wound up as the public's 2-5 betting favorite as she marched out to the early lead in the ladies' feature. Leading driver Billy Dobson got the invader to the top in a first quarter in 27 seconds before reaching the half in 56.1. Lady Dela Renta A never suffered an anxious moment before pacing away from her rivals to stop the timer in 1:52.4 to record the win in her local debut. Longshot Hilaria (Brett Crawford) got the pocket trip behind the winner and wound up as a clear-cut second-place finisher while Bye Bye Felicia (Mark Beckwith) finished third. Lady Dela Renta A's win was her ninth on the season and fifth since coming over to the U.S. from her native Australia. Paying just $2.80 to win on Thursday, Lady Dela Renta A, who led an exacta that returned $22.40, became the fourth Godinez-trained distaffer to win the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga in 2019 but the first since May. The five year old mare is owned by the Blindswitch Racing Stable of Cortlandt Manor, NY and Dolne Farm Services of Indiana. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 4, 2019- An uncovered Lady Dela Renta A (Jim Marohn Jr., $9.60) picked off Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) at the wire Friday night (Oct. 4th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away third from post position No. 2, Lady Dela Renta A watched as 9-10 fave Feelin' Red Hot pocketed Alexa's Power (Dan Dube) through early intervals of :27.4 and :56.3. Lady Dela Renta A then moved, engaging the leader past a 1:24 three-quarters. Feelin' Red Hot owned a three-quarter-length in and out of the final turn, but the pursuer was relentless. Lady Dela Renta A stuck her tongue out late, prevailing by a neck in 1:52.1. Alexa's Power tired in the pocket but held third, with Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton) and Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) settled for the minors. It was Liberty Rose N (Eric Goodell) at the back of the half-dozen. For third choice Lady Dela Renta A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Well Said co-owned by Dolne Farm Services & Blindswitch Racing and trained by Jose Godinez, it was her eighth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33.80, the triple returned $96 and the superfecta paid $200. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening's (Oct. 5th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $5,299.21 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Saturday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. For full results and entries click here. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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

Shezallapples A (Sportswriter) extended her winning streak in Thursday’s installment of the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. It wasn’t easy for the six year old mare but Shezallapples A would not be denied in the $15,000 harness racing feature, lasting on the lead despite pacing her first quarter in 26.4 and half in 56.2. Bruce Aldrich Jr. piloted the Jose Godinez-trained mare and asked the race’s 6-5 betting favorite to again pick up the pace heading to three quarters with a first-over rival closing in. After trading strides throughout the final turn, Shezallapples found a second wind before being approached by a new pair of challengers. 2018’s defending Co-Horse of the Year Spreester (Jimmy Devaux) came up the passing lane while Coveredndiamonds (Jay Randall) came charging down the center of the track. Shezallapples A won the photo which showed the top three separated by only a head. The six participants in the Open were all within two lengths of each other at the finish. Shezallapples A win came in 1:53.4 and was the fifth in her last six starts and her second straight in the local Open. Coveredndiamonds N came up just inches shy of the win and had to settle for second-best while Spreester was third in her return to the Open. The exacta and triple returned $23.80 and $110.00, respectively. The victory was the third consecutive in the Thursday feature for trainer Jose Godinez whose Westsluckycam prevailed the week before Shezallapples A rattled off her back-to-back jacks in the $15,000 Open for distaffers. Live racing resumes on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm.     Mike Sardella

Trainer Jose Godinez has brought several different distaffers to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete in the Fillies and Mares Open over the last few years. Last week, his Westsluckycam prevailed in the $15,000 harness racing feature for the ladies as she went coast-to-coast with Bruce Aldrich Jr. in the sulky. On Thursday afternoon, Godinez unveiled his Shezallapples A (Sportswriter) for the first time in the ladies feature at the Spa. The six year old Australian invader came to town as a winner in three of her last four starts and was subsequently the Open's even money betting favorite after she drew the rail. Aldrich put Shezallapples A on the lead and after cruising unopposed in a first half clocked in 56.3 was met with the challenge of Coveredndiamonds N (Jay Randall) who rushed up first-over. Shezallapples A proved up to the task, drawing clear in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 besting Coveredndiamonds N who was the runner-up and third place finisher Queen Elsa (Steve Genois). The win was the second straight in the Fillies and Mares Open for Godinez and was his stable's third victory in the ladies' feature at the Spa in the last five installments of it. Sally Fletcher A prevailed in an April Open for distaffers for Godinez and Aldrich. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.   Mike Sardella

Havefaithinme N (Bettor's Delight) scored in the first Open Pace of the year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jose Godinez trainee brought his over $1 million in harness racing career earnings into the Monday afternoon feature which was contested for a purse of $12,000. The fractions in the race were slow over a track labeled 'good' and Havefaithinme N had his work cut out for him to come from off the pace. The millionaire eight year old toughed it out, though, and wore the leader Khun Ratha A (Larry Stalbaum) down before stopping the timer in 1:56.2 en route to his second win in as many starts in 2019. Khun Ratha A was a strong second while Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Havefaithinme N completed a Monday hat trick for driver Bruce Aldrich Jr who got his season off to a strong start behind the three-win afternoon. The race's favorite at odds of 2-1, Havefaithinme N paid $6.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $22.60 and $96, respectively. Live racing resumes on Wednesday afternoon for the first of what will be regular Wednesday matinees on the schedule this year at Saratoga. There is a Pick Five guarantee of $5,000 on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout February and March. The Pick Five now begins in race one on the card. Also, race 5 will feature a $25,000 guaranteed trifecta pool on Wednesdays and Thursdays. First post time for the matinee cards is set for 12:00pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

It had been awhile since Betabcool N (Bettor's Delight) recorded a win in the harness racing local Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Jose Godinez-trained mare won the feature three times early in the season but had gone winless in the Open since April 13th, albeit in limited tries, heading into Friday night's action. Betabcool N had a second and a third place finish in her two most recent starts in the Open and was dismissed at odds of 7-1 in a six-horse feature on Friday night. Bruce Aldrich Jr. left a bit with Betabcool N but they wound up coming away third as the top two choices in the wagering came away one-two. Betabcool N made her move as the feature field made its way towards the three-quarter pole and the eight year old New Zealand-bred mare paced right past the leader. Longshot OK Jewel (Jimmy Devaux) came from well off the pace and tried to get to Betabcool N in the stretch but it was to no avail. Betabcool N's fourth Open win of the year came in 1:54.4. OK Jewel was the runner-up while Culinary Delight N (Larry Stalbaum) earned the show spot. Betabcool N paid $16.40 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $185 and $395, respectively. Godinez has won the local Fillies and Mares Open seven times this season, three times with Sally Fletcher A and now four with Betabcool N. Godinez and Aldrich also teamed up for a victory in the $15,000 Winners Over for fillies and mares on Friday night as veteran distaffer Glenferrie Bronte N (Changeover) lived up to the hype at odds of 3-5 to give her connections a double on the night. With the earnings from her score, Glenferrie Bronte N moved her career bankroll to over the $300,000 mark. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

The Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel consisted of just five participants as the track's top distaffers slugged it out for their share of a $16,000 purse. The Fillies and Mares Open proved to be a rematch in the stretch from last week between Sally Fletcher A (American Ideal) and Happy Heart (Woodstock). Last weekend, Happy Heart got up in the final stride to prevail at odds of 26-1 while Sally Fletcher A had to settle for second. In Friday's installment of the $16,000 Open, Sally Fletcher A (Bruce Aldrich Jr) moved first-over and powered past the race's leader before again being confronted by Happy Heart (Brian Cross) in the stretch. This week, though, it was the Jose Godinez-trained Sally Fletcher A who would hit the line first, scoring in 1:53.4 for her sixth win of the season. Returning $11.60 to win, Sally Fletcher A started an exacta which was rounded out by Happy Heart that paid $62.00. YS Tallia (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. The win was the second of the season in the local Fillies and Mares Open for Sally Fletcher A and fifth for Godinez who scored three victories in the Friday feature early in the meet with distaffer Betabcool N. Live racing continues on Saturday evening at Saratoga with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Lachie Maguire N (Bettor's Delight) returned to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Saturday with two second-place finishes to his credit in his last two starts. The harness racing Jose Godinez trainee was the runner-up in his most recent try at Yonkers after finishing second in his previous start in the Saratoga Open. On Saturday, Lachie Maguire N powered out to the early lead with Bruce Aldrich Jr. in the sulky but gave way to JK Panache (Shawn Gray) approaching the opening quarter. JK Panache, who was riding a two-race win streak as he returned to the local feature on Saturday, clicked off a first half in 56.1 without facing a challenge. With the 4-5 betting favorite Lachie Maguire N riding his coattails, JK Panache checked in at three quarters in 1:23.3. Aldrich popped the pocket turning for home and Lachie Maguire N got the better of JK Panache in a mile clocked in 1:51.4. The win in the $18,000 Open was victory number six on the year for Lachie Maguire N. JK Panache was the runner-up while Deetzy came on to finish third. The exacta in the feature paid $17.60 while the triple came back $54.50. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee starting at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Sally Fletcher A (American Ideal) was offensive minded from the get-go in Friday's feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Bruce Aldrich Jr. powered the Jose Godinez-trained distaffer out to the early lead in the $14,500 Fillies and Mares Open and the speedy mare never stopped. After posting a sizzling first quarter in 26.3 over the sloppy going, Sally Fletcher A did get a second quarter breather before reaching the half in 56.3. The seven year old distaffer then went pedal to the metal in the third panel as the race's favorite came calling first-over. Sally Fletcher A posted a 27.2 third quarter before pacing off to win in 1:52.2, matching the fastest time of the year for a lady pacer at the Spa. The track's top mare in 2018 is Spreester (Frank Coppola Jr) and that Paul Zabielski trainee nearly overcame her outside post on Friday as she finished second in the feature. Longshot Stylish Beachwhere (Jordan Derue) earned the show spot. Sally Fletcher A was the second-choice in the wagering while going off at odds of 2-1. The exacta with Spreester second paid $30.60 while the triple returned $189. The win was the second in the local feature in the career of Sally Fletcher A who also scored in a December installment of the Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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