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WILKES-BARRE, PA - The temperature finally got to 50 degrees on Saturday afternoon, the first day of Spring, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - and the Mach Three gelding J M Mandamin was the first horse to post a local 1:50 mile this harness racing season in taking the $14,000 fast-class pacing feature. Driver Joe Bongiorno, teaming yet again with sister/trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, moved the razor-sharp performer from third early, went around early leader Ollie's Z Tam, and set fractions of :27.1, :55, and 1:22.1. Trente Deo came first-over just past the half, but J M Mandamin proved equal to his challenge and to that of newcomer Paternity Suit A, who came roaring from far back late to get second. The winner took a new lifetime mark with his 1:50 victory, and his immediate future appears very bright for owner Robert Weinstein. J M MANDAMIN REPLAY   In a $14,400 contest for developing younger pacers, the American Ideal gelding Levine went right to the lead, yielded to favored Ehrmantraut and stacked that rival, then made good use of the Pocono Pike to overhaul that rival and take a new mark of 1:51.1, gaining into a last half of :54.4. Megan Scran conditions the talented four-year-old for driver/owner Scott Zeron. As is usual on Saturday at Pocono, there were many claiming handicap events for the top-priced horses, with the fastest of these miles seeing Wagon Master equal his mark and Proven Desire take a new record with identical times of 1:50.4. As is also usual on Saturday at Pocono, the claiming box proved a popular place to visit, with 17 horses changing hands for $365,000. In the first fourteen cards of the year, 208 claims have resulted in $3,774,375 of transactions. Jason Bartlett was the winningest horseman on the card, with four driving triumphs. The Bongiornos, Team J&J, posted a triple for the second straight Saturday; joining them were Darren Taneyhill (with three different drivers) in the training column and George Napolitano Jr. among the sulky set. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

Leonidas A, who scored a Grand Circuit harness racing win in the Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway last year, kicked off his 2021 campaign with a 1:55.4 victory in the $30,000 Open Pace on Monday night at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Austin Siegelman, Leonidas A got away in the sixth spot and watched as Moonshine Kisses (Mark MacDonald) carved out fractions of 27.4 and 57.2 for the opening half. On the third turn, driver Joe Bongiorno tipped out first-over from fourth with Rollwithpapajoe, giving Carlisimo (Scott Zeron) a second-over journey and Leonidas A the third-over ride. Rollwithpapajoe and Moonshine Kisses were on even terms at the 1:26.4 three-quarters, and though Rollwithpapajoe got an advantage on the far turn, he was unable to clear. Meanwhile, Siegelman moved Leonidas A out four-wide on the bend, with Carlisimo ready to strike three-wide. In the lane, Carlisimo had first crack at the leaders and went by them to take a narrow advantage in upper stretch, but Leonidas A was kicking home even better on the far outside, and it would be Leonidas A prevailing by a length. Carlisimo was a solid second, and Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter), who was also making his first start of the year, advanced from seventh to third in the last quarter. Fine Diamond (Brent Holland) and Rollwithpapajoe rounded out the top five.   Sheena Mcelhiney trains Leonidas A, a 6-year-old gelding by Mach Three, for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A has now won 25 times from 51 career starts, and he pushed his earnings to $231,848. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Leonidas A paid $3.90 to win. The 6-5 exacta with Carlisimo returned $27.00, and the trifecta of 6-5-7 kicked back $277.50. Live racing resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m., and the 10-race card features three divisions of the first leg of the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series. For full results, click here.  From Yonkers Raceway

It is no surprise that trainer Tahnee Camilleri feels like a proud mom when she watches Bronskimackenzie A on the racetrack. Camilleri has been part of the female pacer's life since the morning after Bronskimackenzie A's birth and the two have together risen to success in North America. Bronskimackenzie A -- better known to her faithful followers as Daisy -- was among three horses Australia native Camilleri brought to the U.S. when she started her Stateside stable in 2018. Since arriving, Bronskimackenzie A has won 12 of 50 races and earned $128,249. She began her career here in non-winners-of-two conditioned races and worked her way up the ladder, resulting in her upcoming start Thursday in the $30,000 open handicap for fillies and mares at Yonkers Raceway. She will start from post one and is 9-2 on the morning line with George Brennan in the sulky. "If someone would have told me she would end up in a Yonkers mares open, I wouldn't have believed them," Camilleri said. "But she never ceases to surprise me. One way or another, she kept stepping up to the plate. It's very satisfying. "Win, lose, or draw, I'm so proud of her. It's a proud mother moment." The 7-year-old Bronskimackenzie A is a daughter of Mach Three out of Bronski Gorgeous. "My business partner in Australia owned her mother," Camilleri said. "I wasn't there for the birth; she was born in the back field in the middle of the night. We saw her the next day and she's been part of my life ever since. "She was a very cute foal. She had a blond tail, and her stable name became Daisy. She was called Daisy within a couple of days being born and she's had that name ever since." Personality wise, Daisy can be a little fresh. "Diplomatically speaking, she's very cranky," Camilleri said with a laugh. "I just let her think that she's the boss. She likes it that way. There is only one love in her life, and that's food. We try to keep her happy by leaving her alone." Bronskimackenzie A's fitness routine includes a regular morning swim. Part of the routine includes the mare splashing the water with her front legs before exiting the pool. "It's like her favorite thing to do," Camilleri said. "She won't come out until you've let her splash. The one time she didn't splash, she ended up being sick later that week. So, we always like to make sure she splashes. "She's a bit quirky, but I wouldn't change her." Bronskimackenzie A's 12 wins in the U.S. have come at four different tracks -- Yonkers, Freehold, The Meadowlands, and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono -- with eight different drivers. Brennan has four wins with her, including her three earliest triumphs. "George gets along with her very well," Camilleri said. "It's pretty cool to have him on her (Thursday) since he started with her in non-winners of two. She started at the bottom and she's gone all the way to the top. "She's just like fine wine, she's gotten better with age." The 34-year-old Camilleri has won 73 races and $1.71 million in purses since starting her U.S. stable. Her top horse so far has been Dancin Lou, a Breeders Crown champion in 2019 and winner of nearly $1 million. But he might not be her most popular. That honor might go to Bronskimackenzie A. "She's got a really big fan club here in the States," Camilleri said. "So many people know her as Daisy. I get more messages about her than Dancin Lou. A lot of people follow her. She's pretty special." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Pacing Series barreled right along at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon, with the second preliminary round for $25,000- and $15,000-base-priced horses yielding only two repeat winners, one at each level, but seeing 24 more harness racing horses change hands to the tune of $538,875. The repeat winner at the higher level, which here went for a $27,500 base tag in the progressively-priced prelims, was the Changeover gelding Glengarry Knight N, who took one of the seven $25,000 cuts for his group in 1:54.2 for driver Simon Allard. Trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Toby Rekoon, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta had retained their pacer after the first prelim, but they lost him to a claim here after the front-end triumph.   Trainer Ell also sent out the fastest winner of the day, with the Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo fronting an $8800 conditioned field in 1:53 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and owner Bill Emmons. Before leaving the $25,000 base-priced brigade, mention should be made of the Mach Three gelding Tullow N, who paid $69.80 in closing from fifth at headstretch to win in 1:54.1 when the surface was still good for trainer David Russo and owner Marissa Russo. Driving Tullow N was Eric Goodell, who had taken a hiatus from the sport from last March until last Saturday's opening day here, and soon found himself back in Victory Lane. Among the $15,000-base prices, going here for a $17,500 tag before allowances in five $15,000 divisions, the horse making it two straight was the Delmarvalous gelding Fernado, used hard early by driver Matt Kakaley yet holding firmly late to stop the timer in 1:54.2 for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owner Evan Katz, However, they, like the connections of fellow repeater Glengarry Knight N, had retained the pacer last week but now saw their horse depart to a different barn after a claim. In all, eight of the twelve winners in the Game Of Claims races Saturday changed hands despite the uptick in price - and now comes the drama of whether to put them back in next Saturday in the third prelim, or hope their accumulated pointtotals have already earned them a spot in their respective $50,000 and $30,000 finals on March 6. The driving Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George Jr., and trainer Dan Maier each had three winners on the Saturday card. Racing resumes Sunday at 5 p.m., with Game Of Claims action for $10,000 and $7500 horses; free past performances for the card can be found at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. A makeup card has also been added for Monday at 12:30 p.m. For full results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Pompano Beach, FL...February 16...Rebellious returned to the harness racing wars after being given a couple of weeks off to "freshen up" and proved that the vacation was well worth it by scoring a 1:49.4 win in Pompano Park's $10,500 Open I-II Handicap Pace on Monday night (February 15). Handle for the night was $1,608,440, an all-time record since the track opened in 1964 and the 14th million dollar handle night this season, far eclipsing the number of million dollar handle during the previous 56 seasons. For Rebellious, a seven year-old gelded son of Mach Three, trained by Mike Deters, who co-owns with Joel Warner, had Wally Hennessey in the sulky and took charge from his post five around the initial turn and carded fractions of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:22.1 along the way before holding off the bid of the pocket-sitting Alluneedisfaith N (Mike Simons) to score by a half-length. Ideal Feeling (Rick Plano) was third, three lengths away, while Kinnder Jackson finished fourth. Real Peace picked up the nickel after a modest bid heading into the final turn. Rebellious, who got into a :26, :53.3 and 1:21.2 war in his last start on January 25 before exhaustion set in, was smartly given time extra time off to "clear his head" and came back and rewarded his faithful with his best performance since his return to South Florida in early December.   Said trainer Mike Deters, "He had an extremely tough trip in his last start so I decided to give him an extra week and turn him out to clear his head. He always seems to race very well off of a little freshen up time and he was really exceptional tonight. It was a superior effort and the fact that he dug in when it counted was really impressive in my eyes." Driver Hennessey merely echoed Deters' comments by simply saying, "He's just a very special horse!" The win was the 43rd in 116 career starts for Rebellious and sent his lifetime bounty to $334,706. Despite the three week respite, Rebellious was the 8 to 5 choice and paid $5.20 to win. In the $11,000 Open Handicap Trot, Born To Thrive, the gutsy eight year-old altered son of Swan For All, overcame his assigned outside post and won his third straight Open Handicap Trot, stopping the timer in a lifetime best 1:52.4--his previous 1:52.4 win over the larger Hoosier Park oval three seasons back. Born To Thrive used, virtually, the same tactics as in his previous two wins--away near the back of the pack and beginning his grind forward once the opening panel was completed. The 1 to 2 favorite, In Secret (David Miller), was second, a neck back of the winner, with Muscles For Life (Wally Hennessey) just another nose back in third in the "bang-bang" finish. Sooo Handsome, a stablemate of Born To Thrive, was fourth while The Lionking AS picked up the minor award, At the outset, an early battle developed as Muscles For Life left alertly to take charge only to yield to In Secret at the opener in :27.1. The latter then took the field to a :56 half as Born To Thrive reached fourth and kept grinding away through a picked up :28.1 third quarter to reach second around the final bend. Once they straightened away, the determined Born To Thrive kept gnawing away and just did get up a stride or two from the wire. After the event, Plano lamented, "He (Born To Thrive) is really good now. As you can see, the gets very determined once they straighten away for the wire. He doesn't mind the 'open air' at all and can stay outside all day long! "You know, he almost died last summer with kidney failure and was sidelined in the hospital for three or four weeks. The prognosis wasn't good at all but he came through that is as good as ever. "He's just a wonderful horse that's great to be around and a good reason to get up in the morning and go to work!" Plano trains Born To Thrive for Maryann Plano and John Campagnuolo and won for the 43rd time during a career where he has banked $435,122. Despite his two race win streak coming in, Born To Thrive was only third choice in the wagering at 9 to 2 and paid $11.80. Racing continues on Tuesday with free programs available on the isle casino racing website and yet another guaranteed pool--$20,000 --on the nightly Pick-4. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. For full results, click here. by John Berry, for Pompano Park

CHESTER, PA - Coming off a second, beaten a half length by Caviart Ally, on Friday night, the Mach Three mare Machnhope was right back in Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, winning the $14,400 featured distaff handicap pace in 1:51.2 - but not before giving the bettors who had punched her down to 1-10 a brief scare late. Machnhope was sent right to the lead by driver Andrew McCarthy, put up fractions of :27.1, :55, and 1:23, and seemed unfazed as she opened up a clear lead around the far turn. But in midstretch Machnhope took a couple of fumbly steps; McCarthy was able to get his charge back on course quickly, and she kept on going to defeat pocketsitter Apple Bottom Jeans by a length, with closer Eclipse Me N another neck back in third.   Machnhope survived an inquiry into her stretch adventures, and now she is a winner of $317,029 lifetime, while Noel Daley conditioning her for himself and his partners Deo Volente Farms LLC, Thomas Pontone, and L A Express Stable LLC. In the $12,800 co-featured pace for the ladies, the three-year-old Sweet Lou filly Shouldbeenatd sat the pocket behind second choice She's Nun Bettor N, was moved outside on the far turn by driver Yannick Gingras to engage her, and encountered upper stretch resistance before finally making the lead in a 1:54.2 victory, with the final margin 1½ lengths. The sophomore has now amassed $217,917 for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Andrew McCarthy and David Miller had driving triples on the first card of the Philly racing week. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Pompano Beach, FL...November 14, 2020...With Tropical Storm Eta finally out of the way, Pompano Park opens its 2020-2021 season on Sunday, November 15 with a million dollar field featured in the Open Handicap Pace. The stellar field of nine features three sub-1:50 performers, including Ideal Feeling, who took his 1:48.4 mark at The Meadowlands this season, Maxdaddy Blue Chip, the author of a 1:49.1 lifetime mark and Bass Player, who owns a lifetime best mile of 1:49.3. But the morning line shows Mach West as the 2 to 1 morning line choice, as this four year-old gelded son of Mach Three comes off a sharp performance at Hoosier Park in his most recent start, finishing a fast closing second with a splendid :26.1 final panel. Trained by Mike Deters for owner Jerald Hawks, Mach West will have the driving services of Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey and will leave from post five. Ideal Feeling, a five year-old son of American Ideal, is a new arrival in the Peter Blood Stable and has a career bankroll of $256,193. He's owned by Rick Berks. Maxdaddy Blue Chip is the richest performer in the field with $343,297 going in with this rugged eight year-old gelded son of Sportswriter now trained by Jim McDonald for Twenty Four Carrot Racing. Maxdaddy Blue Chip will have the driving services of Mike Simons and will leave from post three. Bass Player, a six year-old gelded prodigy of Sportsmaster, is trained by Rob Rittof and will have Tyler Smith in his sulky on Sunday night. Kotare Yael, Mac Anover, Caviart Reagan, Bunkerhill Phil and Loud Splash complete the field. Post time for the opener is 7:20 with the popular Pick-4 (12% takeout) in play with a newly added Late Pick-3 added to the wagering menu. by John Berry, for Pompano Park

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - The closest Dave Ratchford got to the Breeders Crown Oct. 31 at Hoosier Park in Indiana was the view from a computer screen at his home in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. That's roughly 1,700 miles away. But the sight of his 4-year-old pacer Century Farroh winning the $500,000 Open didn't prevent it from being a "major highlight" for the 75-year-old Ratchford. As far as a celebration? "The race was pretty late," Ratchford said. But the next day there was a little get-together with his wife, four daughters and 12 grandchildren. For Ratchford, a celebrated horsemen and member of the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame, Century Farroh's victory and his success has been "very exciting." He hopes the excitement continues Sunday evening here in the $100,000 Potomac Pace Invitational at Rosecroft. Century Farroh is 7-2 in the morning line behind 8-5 favorite, Bettor's Wish, who finished second in the Breeders Crown. Backstreet Shadow, third in the Breeders Crown, is 6-1 while This Is The Plan, fourth in the Breeders Crown, is 8-1. Fans can watch and wager on Sunday's Potomac Pace and all 14 races from Rosecroft at https://1st.com/bet/ and https://www.xpressbet.com/. Century Farroh, a son of Mach Three, has bankrolled career earnings of $1.232 million. Not bad for a pacer that Ratchford paid $17,000 for at the 2017 London Selected Yearlings Sale in Ontario. But, then again, this isn't the only time Ratchford has seen a diamond in the rough. He purchased Ms Mac N Cheese for $10,000 as a yearling. That one went on to win $600,000 on the Ontario circuit. "We race local, a lot of young horses," said Ratchford, a third-generation horsemen who got his first horse at the age of 16. "I look at horses in the $15,000 to $30,000 [range]. I like the challenge. We liked [Century Farroh] from the get-go. I don't know if I thought he would do what he has done, he took a little time to blossom, but we thought a lot of him." Ratchford trained Century Farroh early and qualified him in Nova Scotia before turning him over to trainer Dr. Ian Moore, a friend for more than 40 years. "Ian did practice in this area for me, has been a friend and is a smart guy," Ratchford said. "I used to do vet work on his horses," Moore said of his relationship with Ratchford. "I'm very happy for him. It's been a big thrill. The win [in the Breeders Crown] wasn't totally unexpected. Knock on wood, he'd done well the entire summer, so he deserved the win." Century Farroh, driven by Hall of Famer David Miller, received the 2019 O'Brien Award for best 3-year-old male pacer and won the Dan Patch Stakes in August at Hoosier Park. Come Saturday, he will once again have to pace against a field that includes Bettor's Wish, also betting favorite in the Breeders Crown. "We're looking forward to it," said Ratchford, who will be looking on once again from his computer in Nova Scotia. $100,000 Potomac Pace Invitational Post Pacer Driver Trainer Odds 1 This Is The Plan Yannick Gingras Ron Burke 8-1 2 Backstreet Shadow Tim Tetrick Ron Burke 6-1 3 Harambe Deo Simon Allard Jeff Cullipher 10-1 4 World of Secrets Aaron Merriman Bill Rhoades 12-1 5 Century Farroh David Miller Ian Moore 7-2 6 Bettor's Wish Dexter Dunn Chris Ryder 8-5 7 Leonidas A Austin Siegelman Sheena McElhiney 15-1 8 Stars Align A Corey Callahan Christi Noble 10-1 9 Highalator Rick Still Jenny Bier 12-1 Sunday's 14-race Program Begins at 7:15 P.M. The Sunday program includes a wide-open Maryland Preferred Open Handicap with a purse of $10,000. Admiral Ballsy is the 5-2 favorite but will have to leave from Post 9. On the rail is Jack Quick, a 5 ¼ length winner here Nov. 8...Corey Callahan, a native of Easton, MD. has the drive behind Stars Align A., a 7-year-old who comes into the Potomac Pace off five consecutive victories. The son of Art Major has won 9 of 21 starts this year... by Dave Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A hot battle on the front end tired out the favorites and set the $16,000 claiming handicap pacing feature up for a closer, with the Mach Three gelding Burning Midnight filling that role nicely as he won the Saturday afternoon feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:51.1. Mark With a K, the second choice, was insistent on controlling the pace from the pole, putting up a searing :25.3 opening quarter to force tucks, then got a breather to a :55 half. Favored Razor's Edge then charged up first-over on him, with those two engaging in a 1:22.2 battle to the three-quarters. Burning Midnight then made the winning move for Anthony Napolitano, moving three-wide from third-over at the three-quarters and circling to contention, then having the most late. The 2-3-4 horses, Bellows Binge, Butter Bay Hanover, and Just N Ace, were all closer to the grandstand side than the tiring horses occupying the inside, but they couldn't catch Burning Midnight, who is trained by Darren Taneyhill for owner Robert Main - and who returned 10-1 despite just missing in photos in two of three starts at this level.   The recent Down Under import Deltasun A had first-over Max breathing down his neck through the stretch of the $14,000 trotting feature, with pocketsitter Fashion Creditor gaining up the Pocono Pike, but the Tenotrump gelding showed true grit to eke out a decision in 1:53, a Stateside mark. Deltasun A, now 2-for-3 in North America after showing winning tendencies in the Southern Hemisphere (19-for-53), was driven by George Napolitano Jr., trainer Andrew Harris, and owners OB Stables, A Harris Racing LLC, and Michael Goldberg Racingllc. The Roll With Joe sophomore pacing gelding Scootnroll ran his career record to 10-to-12 in a $12,000 conditioned pace, brushing to the lead early and then holding off Billy Lincoln N, one of his two conquerors, by a neck in 1:51.1. Unraced at two, Scootnroll came to Pocono after having won his first six starts in New York state, and locally he is 6-4-2-0, with the losses by a neck and a half-length (those small margins costing him $6000 in purses, or $1000 a foot). Tyler Buter drove the talented three-year-old, who now has $47,850 on his card, for trainer Todd Buter and owners Rick and Geoffrey Howles. Anthony and George Napolitano Jr. each had three victories to lead the driving colony. There are only two cards left in the 2020 Pocono season, both next week at 12:30 p.m. - on Tuesday the 10th, and then Saturday the 15th. On closing day, there will be a mandatory distribution in the Rainbow Pick 5 bet in the final five races, with $239,477.19 being carried over into the very last races of the season. From the PHHA / The Downs

CHESTER, PA - After getting a rude parked-the-mile reception in New York, the Mach Three mare Machnhope returned to Harrah's Philadelphia, a track where she had been doing well, and promptly won the $14,000 feature distaff handicap pace in 1:50.2. Andrew McCarthy got an early tuck with the winner of $296,301 as Caviart Cherie and Imprincessgemma A argued the :26.3 first quarter, then was underway in front of the stands, claiming the lead after some hard work to the :55 half. But Machnhope called the tune from there, passing the three-quarters in 1:22.1 and then drawing off to have a five length margin at the wire for driver Pat Berry and trainer Noel Daley, the latter co-owner with Deo Volente Farms LLC, Thomas Pontone, and L A Express Stable LLC.   In a $12,800 race for up-and-coming females, Dance Club made it two in a row at Philly, after winning her recent Liberty Bell division coming back here and fronting a field from early on to win by 2¼ lengths in 1:52.4. Ron Burke trains the winner for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc. and David Wills. The Well Said mare Apple Hanover disappointed as the favorite in the $11,600 distaff pacing class last time after a hard trip; this time she took all the variables out of play by going wire-to-wire for driver Marcus Miller in 1:51.3, finishing 1½ lengths clear. Now a winner of $226,884, Apple Hanover is trained by Katricia Adams and owner Benjamin Gordon. Andrew McCarthy and George Brennan tied for day's honors among drivers with three triumphs each. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

YONKERS, N.Y. – When Leonidas makes his Yonkers Raceway debut Friday night (Sept. 4) in the $18,000 pacing feature, it will end a long wait for owner Steve Finklestein of Jesmeral Stable and trainer Sheena McElhiney. An Australia-bred 5-year-old by Mach Three, Leonidas was purchased by Finklestein this spring as a Yonkers prospect, but owing to interruptions in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, was marooned in his home county until this summer. Leonidas moved to the David Aiken stable in Australia and continued to race Down Under. He finished first or second in nine straight races at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Shepparton, and Bendigo between March 14 and June 26. Leonidas’ streak included a 1:51.7 victory at Bendigo June 6, which established a track record for the 1,650-meter distance at the Victoria oval and two second-place finishes to Australian pacing star and three-time Group 1 winner Lochinvar Art. “With all the restrictions and the tracks being closed down, we couldn’t get him over right away,” McElhiney said. “One of (Steve’s) lifelong friends, David Aiken, took over training. He broke some track records there and we were excited to get him over here because we knew the caliber of horse he is.” Leonidas was finally exported to the United States July 6. He received some downtime after arriving in McElhiney’s stable, but acclimatized quickly and was back to work in short order. Leonidas proved himself to be a professional on the track once his training resumed. “Obviously, we couldn’t wait to get him over here. The time we had to wait for him just seemed like forever. Just watching him race over there, he’s a really good-caliber horse,” McElhiney said. “When he came here, he looked great, he was in great shape, he adjusted pretty well. He had a winter coat already when he came over. We gave him a little time and let him hang out in the paddock and just be a horse before we started really training him down again. “He had been racing pretty consistently over there,” she continued. “It wasn’t too tough to get him back into shape. He’s a nice horse to train. He went right out on the track like he’d been here forever.” Leonidas qualified Aug. 7 at Yonkers Raceway with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. Leonidas raced in third for the first 6 furlongs before moving to the lead and powering away from the final with a :27.4 final quarter to win the trial by 12 1/4 lengths in 1:55. McElhiney then entered Leonidas to race at Pocono Downs Aug. 20. “He qualified well, Jason was happy with him. The plan was to race him at Yonkers, but we could get him in (at Pocono) right away. We decided to put him in there.” Leonidas drew post seven and faced a Grand Circuit-quality field that included Filibuster Hanover, Western Joe, Dancin Lou, San Domino, and Southwind Ozzi in his first American start. Although he was dismissed at odds of 39-1 and got away seventh, Leonidas angled to the outside on the backstretch and latched onto third-over cover. Bartlett angled Leonidas four-wide into the stretch and he paced past San Domino and Dancin Lou to finish third individually clocked in 1:48.4 with a :27 final panel. “The plan was to just race him easy his first start and then bring him to Yonkers. I think he had to go a little bit more than we expected, but he definitely didn’t disappoint,” McElhiney said. “Just watching, I knew he was the horse that we thought he was. He came out of it great, no issues with that. He just did it easy. Jason said he wasn’t pushing him, he was kind of doing his thing out there. It was nice to have him go out there in the first start and be impressed with him. It makes you excited for the rest of the year, for sure.” Leonidas drew post two in the Friday pacing feature at Yonkers, for horses who are non-winners of $25,000 in their last five starts. Jason Bartlett will drive again and the pair are 2-1 on the morning line.  The field includes Hudson Phil, who won the Saratoga open pace in his last start Aug. 25, Heaven’s Gait, who won two straight at this level July 17 and 31 before finishing fifth in the local open Aug. 21, and Caviart Luca, who won the local open handicap pace two back Aug. 7. Speed Man, Rodeo Rock, Capozzo, and One Off Delight complete the lineup. “We trained (Leonidas) Tuesday and went a slow trip with him because we put the miles on him jogging,” McElhiney said. “When we train him, he’s just two fingers and really easy. He’s a little bit lazy, but you chirp to him a little bit and he’s ready to go. “Steve has some quality horses, but this one is pretty special.” Yonkers Raceway’s revised schedule features live harness racing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (Sept. 8 – 10) and New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions on Saturday, Sept. 12. First post time is 7:12 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

LEBANON, OH. - EyespywithmylileyeN (John DeLong) completed her harness racing sweep of the Herb Coven Jr. Memorial Series on Friday night (March 13) at Miami Valley Raceway by besting Pace Baby Pace (Chris Page) and Spee Dee Shark (Ricky Macomber Jr.) in 1:51.3. The winner also triumphed in divisions of both preliminary legs of the series which featured female pacers who were non-winners of four races or $40,000 when the competition commenced. Alesha Binkley trains EyespywithmylileyeN for the Trent Stohler Stable. With the 50% share of the $25,000 championship tilt the 5-year-old daughter of Mach Three now has earned $55,375 with six wins and four place finishes in her first 16 lifetime starts. All Ohio casinos and racinos were ordered to comply with Governor Mike DeWine's decree that gatherings over 100 people are banned until further notice, due to Coronavirus concerns, at the close of business on Friday, effectively shutting them down. Horsemen are advised to check regularly for updates at the website www.miamivalleygaming.com , especially if not signed up to receive race office text alerts. From Miami Valley Raceway    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Machnhope pulled off an upset in the harness racing feature on an otherwise formful evening of racing, and betting came oh-so-close to the magic $3 million mark on an eventful Friday night at the Meadowlands. The Noel Daley-trained Machnhope, a 5-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Hope For Life, scored in the $25,000 fillies and mares high-end conditioned pace after racing along the rail in the three-hole before Pat Berry swerved her to the outside at the head of the stretch. The pair then exploded home in :27.2 to record a half-length win over Odds On St Lucie in a lifetime-best 1:51.3. The race set up for a closer after early leader Lily Hammer, in search of her fifth victory in six starts, was pressed by Odds On St Lucie, who was nothing short of gigantic going parked the mile, racing without cover from start to finish. 'Lucie' nudged past the leader with a sixteenth of a mile to go and was clear nearing the finish, only to get gunned down. Write Me A Song, the 6-5 favorite who was making her 2020 debut, went second over and finished third.   Machnhope returned $29.60 to win as the fifth choice in the eight-horse field for owner Gary J. Lance and now has 20 wins from 70 lifetime starts and earnings of $243,867. BETTING BIG: All-source handle reached $2,970,735, the third best night of business in 2020 at the Big M. The only two bigger totals occurred on Jan. 3 ($3,069,967) and Feb. 1 ($3,026,740). Betting has now exceeded $2.5 million nine of the last 10 race cards. PICK-6 CARRYOVER: With three of the winners going off at odds of 25-1, 17-1 and 13-1, there were no tickets with all six winners in the 20-cent Pick-Six, creating a carryover of $11,270 heading into Saturday's card. Those with five winners cashed in for $939.30. As part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative, there will be a $40,000 guarantee on Saturday's pool. There was a Pick-6 carryover of $14,376 heading into the card of Feb. 21, which led to $76,682 in "new money" being poured into the pot for a total of $91,058. Saturday's 20-cent Pick-6 begins with the fourth race in the program. A LITTLE MORE: Yannick Gingras kept his February roll moving, driving two winners on the card, giving him 21 victories for the month. ... Berry and Andy Miller also had two winners apiece. ... Chalk players ruled again, as for a second straight program, eight winning favorites hit victory lane. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Pacing Series, which will offer rich paydays to those who can claim the harness racing throne as best in the respective price divisions, continued on Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with two sections each of first round preliminaries, offering $7,500 for $7,500 claimers and $10,000 for $10,000-tagged horses. Remarkably, six of the eleven horses in the $10,000 action will be racing for new barns next week after being claimed, including divisional winner Charger Blue Chip, who won his debut as a 10-year-old in 1:58 over a tiring track rated "good." The Rocknroll Hanover gelding rallied from the pocket to overhaul pacesetting favorite Midnight Dylan N for driver Tom Jackson and owner/trainer Emily Bost. No claim was entered on the Mach Three gelding Mr Carrotts despite his being the second choice, and trainer Dan Morrissey and owner Leona Morrissey got to "walk him home" after he one-geared up raw and held off Master The View in 1:57.4. No one was haltered out of either division of the $7500s first prelim - so the claiming count stopped at 24 horses changing hands for $410,000 during the opening weekend. Emerging first at this level were the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic, a pocket rocket in 1:56.3 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Alexa Renaud while emerging victorious for the first time in 613 days, and the Rambaran gelding Speedling, who was quarter-moved by driver Jim Morrill Jr. and held on in 1:58 for trainer Lou Pena and Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. The top purse events were a pair of $15,000 paces. The first, for females, went to perhaps the most impressive winner of the night, the Sweet Lou four-year-old mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who followed up on a 1:51.2 Meadowlands victory with a 1:54 victory here, coming her last quarter in 28.1 on a night when only one other race beat 29.2 home to be 6¾ lengths to the good for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nik Drennan, and Yankeeland Partners LLP. Darn Tootn Hanover paid $2.20 to win; in the male sector of this class, Ben Rockin, an altered son of A Rocknroll Dance, motored home from last to win in 1:55.4 for driver Eric Goodell and return $171.40 to the scattered backers of the Robert John Becker-owned horse. The key to this one may have been the history of trainer Bill "Moon" Mullin - his Trixar paid $166.80, which stood as the 2019 local high payoff, in the second week of last year, and now Ben Rockin is another early-season toteboard demolisher for Mullin! From the PHHA/Pocono Downs      

Howard Taylor's Bo Nach won last week's Open Pace at Dover Downs after getting a perfect two-hole trip. So now he moves up to tackle the best pacers at the track and what does he do, how about wiring the field with ease. Thursday's Preferred-Handicap Pace saw harness racing driver Corey Callahan breeze out to the early lead with Eddard Hanover (Tony Morgan) grabbing the two-hole spot to the opening quarter mile in :27.2. The order stayed the same as the field hit the half mile marker in :55.4. Rock The Nite and driver Dexter Dunn started up from seventh place on the outside and they were able to flush Little Ben and Victor Kirby first up. Past the three-quarters in 1:23.3, the order stayed the same as Bo Mach proved to be much the best, holding on in the stretch to win by one length in 1:51.1. Eddard Hanover was second with Little Ben third. It was the second straight win on the new year for Bo Mach. The five-year-old gelding by Mach Three is trained by Dylan Davis for owner Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. He paid $14.40 to win. Backstreet Shadow, who was making his 2020 debut off two sharp qualifying wins, was the betting favorite, but failed to be able to get into the hunt until late and finished four. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.

Standardbred Canada reports that continuing on the comeback trail came Sintra with his third-consecutive victory from a six-month layoff in the $36,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park Saturday (Jan. 18). With Bob McClure sitting in the sulky, Sintra floated into fifth while Nirvana Seelster set the pace to the quarter in :26.4. Youaremycandygirl, sitting in the pocket, then circled to the front and took the field past the half in :55. McClure moved Sintra off the pegs heading into the final turn and caught cover from East End flushing first over towards three-quarters in 1:23. Into the stretch McClure fanned wide of cover and charged Sintra past his competition to hit the finish in 1:50.4, three lengths better than Points North closing for second. East End held third. A seven-year-old gelding by Mach Three, Sintra won his 27th race from 60 starts, earning $1,162,436. Dave Menary conditions the $3.60 winner for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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