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Pompano Beach, FL...March 10, 2021...Muscles For Life and Lucky Artist A shared the spotlight as Pompano Park hosted twin Open Handicap events on Tuesday night (March 9). Muscles For Life, brilliantly handled by Wally Hennessey, was sent directly to the front from post six, opening daylight on what was seemingly his main rival, Timon AS, and went on to score a relatively comfortable win in 1:54.1. His winning margin was 1½ lengths over his half-brother, Serenity Cruise (Mike Simons) with BjLorado (Joe Chindano, Jr.), the longest proposition in the race at 59 to 1, third, three lengths away. Born To Thrive was fourth while Sooo Handsome picked up the nickel. Timon AS, leaving from the outside eight post, was never in contention while locked up the entire route. Muscles For Life, who usually likes to join the fray from the get-go, did so again this night by streaking off the wings and into the early lead, taking the field through an opener in a moderate :28.1 with the half in a well rated :57.1. From that point, the lead for Muscles For Life remained at a length-and-a-half all the way home with a final half in :57 to seal the deal.       In a post-race interview, Hennessey relayed, "He was very solid tonight. He just kept that steady grinding forward momentum all the way. I was very pleased with his performance." The victory -- lifetime win number 35 -- came in the Muscle Mass stallion's milestone 100th career start, sending his earnings to $372,415 for the Steve Oldford trainee owned by Jarold Hawks. Off at 3 to 2 when the final bell rang, Muscles For Life paid $5.00 to win as second choice with the exacta comprised of the aforementioned half-brothers--both Muscles For Life and Serentiy Cruise being out of the Kadabra mare Serenity Girl--paying $61.00. On the pacing side of the ledger, the Aussie-bred Lucky Artist A, confidently handled by Mike Simons, led at every pole in scoring a 3 1/2 length win in the $11,000 Open Handicap for Mares. The eight year-old daughter of Artistic Fella zipped off the wings and painted panels of :27.2, :55.3 and 1:24.3 before easily completing the masterpiece with a :27.4 finale. Prairie Westerngal (Wally Hennessey), in the garden spot all the way around, finished second while Crisp Mane (David Miller) rallied from dead-last turning for home to finish third. Casie's Believer was fourth while Tempus Seelster picked up the final award in the sextet.       In a post-race interview, Simons said "she's very handy and all she needs to a chirp or two to get down to business. She was as strong at the end of the mile as when she was leaving the gate." Trained by Jared Cooper for the Robert Cooper Stables, Lucky Artist A won for the third time in her last four starts with this 22nd career success vaulting her lifetime bankroll over the $150,000 plateau--$152,566 to be precise. Off at 2 to 5, Lucky Artist paid $2.80 to win. The $10,000 Open II Trot went to the 11 year-old veteran Classicality, also driven by Mike Simons. This altered son of Classic Photo charged up first over beginning in turn two and grinded forward to the front at the third station and used a :28.3 finale to score in 1:55.4. Ev's Girl (Joe Chindano, Jr.) finished second after leading until the final bend, while Gemologist (Andy Santeramo) was next. The final two awards in the octet went to Cantab Lindy and Everyone's Talkin.       Owned and trained by Lisa Dunn, Classicality now has 56 lifetime wins and $752,623 on his card. He paid $10.80 as third choice in the betting. The $10,000 Open II Pace for Mares went to Take Abit Of Life, driven by Wally Hennessey. This five year-old daughter of Western Terror was put to the test from both sides of the isle and scored by a neck in a lifetime best performance of 1:52.3 Ask Me Ifi Care (Mike Micallef) finished a fast closing second while Evas Sports Czech (Ken Holliday) was third, one length back of the winner. Image Of A Dream, closing fastest of all, finished fourth while Northern Dali picked up the minor award in the field of seven. It was a mad scramble early for superiority as Jazzy Image and Roll With Angel were in a war through an opener of:27.3 before the latter yielded. Shortly thereafter, Evas Sports Czech made a quarter bid and swept to the front at the half in :55.4, only to be joined by Take Abit Of Life with yet another battle ensuing through a :28.1 third panel with Take Abit Of Life sticking her nostril in front of Evas Sports Czech with Ask Me Ifi Care joining the fray three wide. In the lane, the battle continued right to the wire with Take Abit Of Life prevailing for her first win of the 2021 season.       Trained by Jake Huff for Rosie Huff and the Our Three Sons Stable, Take Abit Of Life bolstered her career earnings to $129,615. Off as the favorite at 7 to 5, Tale Abit Of Life rewarded her faithful with a $4.80 mutuel. Four drivers had driving doubles on Tuesday night--Simons, Wally Hennessey, David Miller, and Braxton Boyd. One of Boyd's successes came with Move Over Sis, an 11 to 1 chance trained by Dale Gilmour, who co-owns with Jamie Daley. The seven year-old daughter of Canyon Wind capped a Pick-5 paying $5,273.65, despite the fact that the other four winners in the sequence were 7 to 5, 5 to 2, 3 to 2 and 4 to 1. Racing continues of Wednesday with a $15,000 guarantee of the popular Pick-4, featuring the lowest takeout in the industry--12%--and a Super Hi-5 Jackpot which has ballooned to $43,953.30. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. EST. by John Berry for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...March 9, 2021...Prairie Panther scored a repeat victory in Pompano Park's $11,500 Open Handicap Pace on Monday night, conquering six worthy harness racing opponents and near gale-force wind gusts in the process. The versatile seven year-old gelded son of Royel Millennium changed strategy this night after a courageous win last week on the engine, coming from well off the pace to score in 1:51.2 under the direction of Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey. Seeing Eye Single (David Miller) closed fastest of all to be second, three-parts-of-a-length away, while Skip To My Lou, assigned the outside post in this field, rallied from last half-way through the mile to finish third. Southwind Amazon was fourth while Ideal Feeling picked up the nickel after looming boldly around the final turn. With very strong winds providing a tailwind from the first turn to the half mile junction, it was Southwind Amazon (Peter Wrenn) in an early war for supremacy with Alluneedisfaith N taking the field through an opening panel in a breezy :26.4 with Funknwaffles (Kevin Wallis) next. Just after that initial quarter, both Allunneedisfaith and Funknwaffles were both on the move with Alluneedisfaith N taking charge--briefly--before yielding to Funknwaffles with the strong wind setting up a half in a sizzling :53.2. On the backside, things began to boil over with Ideal Feeling going first up into the wind with Prairie Panther catching his live cover, as did Skip To My Lou, now third over. After reaching the third platform in 1:22.2 and turning for home, Ideal Feeling stuck his head in front, but they were all fanned across the racetrack with Prairie Panther surging to the lead with his :28.3 finale, getting to the winner's circle for the 43rd time during his career measuring 102 starts.       In a post race interview, Hennessey remarked, "what can I say...he shows up for work every week! It was pretty windy out there and there seemed to be some speed inside materializing, so I kept out of that hoping the fractions would be quick for us to pounce on the backside. After that half (:53.2), I was lucky enough to catch some live cover and the Panther did the rest. You have to give credit to the trainer, who keeps him razor sharp and the dedicated caretakers who put in the hours to bring out the best in him." Trainer Mike Deters added, "Panther raced great! He has a great set of lungs and, probably, his greatest attribute is he rarely gets tired. If he does have a flaw, it's that he doesn't have very good gate speed and that's why I was so surprised that he won last week that way. Hats off to Wally for putting him in a position to win!" Deters co-owns the winner with breeder Laurie Poulin, who now has banked $408,730. Though Prairie Panther was the 5 to 2 morning line favorite, he went off as the third choice at 7 to 2 and paid $9.40 to win. The $10,000 Open II Pace went to Lets Roll for driver Mike Simons. The six year-old son of Roll With Joe made a bold first up move on the backside, stuck his head in front around the final bend, and went on to score a 2 1/2 length win in 1:51.3 for his third win of the season. Mach West (Wally Hennessey) was second while Windemere Ryan (Braxton Boyd) was next. Stone Hanover and Real Peace completed the top five in this octet.       Owned by Rosie Huff along with Beauty Bridle Racing and Our Three Sons Stable, Let's Roll won for the 18th time in his career sending his lifetime bounty to $170,060. As fourth choice in the betting, Lets Roll paid $11.40 to win. Pompano Park's Pick-6 continues to pay rich dividends as the the 5-5-7-2-6-6 sequence, with the longest price being $12.60, paid $4,073.15 for the 50 cent ticket. Racing continues on Tuesday with a $20,000 guaranteed pool for the track's Pick-4, featuring the lowest takeout in the industry--12%--and a Super Hi-5 Jackpot of $38,434.75. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m EST. by John Berry, for Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL...February 24...Lucky Artist A, superbly handled by harness racing driver Mike Simons, painted her way to a repeat win in Pompano Park's $10,500 Open Pace for Mares on Tuesday night (February 23), stopping the timer in 1:51.4. The eight year-old Aussie bred daughter of Artistic Fella, took charge around the opening turn from her outside post and sawed through panels of :27.3 and :56 before a :55.4 half-mile sprint home to touch the wire 1 1/4 lengths the best over Prairie Westerngal (Wally Hennessey) with Casie's Believer (Joe Chindano, Jr.) next in a field reduced to six with a pair scratches. Image Of A Dream and Roll With Angel picked up the final two awards. As the wings folded, Prairie Westerngal used her blazing hooves off the wings to zip into an early lead with Lucky Artist A, eaving two slots further out, now on the prowl to take charge mid-way around that opening turn. From there, no threats developed as Prairie Westerngal drafted along in the garden spot. Turning for home, the anticipated war between the two never materialized as Lucky Artist A was unscathed through that :27.4 finale.   In a post-race interview, driver Mike Simons said, "last week she was so strong when I chirped to her on the backside and she had to have paced that quarter in :26 and change (:26.4). So, I had confidence with her coming in off of her best mile ever and thought, since she's so good now, to take her to the front. She sure didn't let me down. She raced awesome." Trained by Jared Cooper for the Robert Cooper Stables, Lucky Artist A earned her 21st career win in her milestone 100th start to send her lifetime bankroll to $146,186. As the 8 to 5 second choice, Lucky Artist A paid $5.40 to win. Also of note, Wally Hennessey, who had a grand slam on Monday night, bested that by one on Tuesday night as the Hall Of Famer scored with Dads Filly ($3.60), Play To The Crowd ($4.20), Jaded Dream ($5.40), Glenferrie Blade A ($2.80) and Cenaltafirecracker )$16.60)--the latter keying a Super Hi-5 payoff of $5,881.20 for the 20 cent ticket. Racing continues on Wednesday with a guaranteed pool in the popular Pick-4 covering races five through eight. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Pompano Park  

Pompano Beach, FL...February 10...Lucky Artist A, confidently handled by Mike Simons, took top honors in Pompano Park's $11,500 Open I Handicap pace for mares on Tuesday night, stopping the timer in a lifetime best 1:51.1. The eight year-old daughter of Artistic Fella made a bold, first up bid on the backside, engaged in an all-out war with the favorite Crisp Mane (David Miller) during the final quarter and prevailed by a half-length over the latter on the wire, with the late charging Tempus Seelster (Joe Chindano, Jr.) just another nose back in third. Ask Me Ifi Care was next with Prairie Westerngal Gal picking up the nickel in the classy septet. As the wings folded, Tempus Seelster left sharply from her six post into a quick early lead with Crisp Mane, leaving from post seven, on the prowl and taking command at the opening panel in :27 with Prairie Westerngal third and Lucky Artist A next. Shortly after the half in a snappy :55.2, Simons tilted Lucky Artist A to the outside and sent her on a :26.4 backside blitz to engage Crisp Man in war at the third station in 1:23.1. In the lane, it was nip and tuck with Tempus Seelster also joining the fray in deep stretch with Lucky Artist emerging on top when it counted--on the wire.   In a post-race interview, Simons related, "This was the first time I drove this mare and I knew she had talent because she's been competitive in the top class before. On the backside, I thought 'if I sit too long, I'll get shuffled' so I gave her a chance to go and she was really strong. Pretty impressive that she gained during a very quick third quarter and she didn't give an inch. Very powerful performance, I would say." Trained by Jared Cooper for the Robert Cooper Stables, Lucky Artist A, approaching a milestone 100 starts--next one will be 100--won for the 20th time in her career sending her lifetime bounty to $140,936. As third choice in the wagering, Lucky Artist A paid $9.40 to win. In the $10,000 Open II Pace for mares, Casie's Believer, driven by Joe Chindano, Jr., used a backstretch surge from fourth into the lead at the final bend and went on to a win measuring 3 3/4 lengths in a lifetime best mile of 1:51.1. Jazzy Image (David Miller) was second while Take Abit Of Life (Mike Simons) closed fastest of all to finish third. Image Of ADream and Another Beach Day were next in the field of seven. Casie's Believer, a six year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar owned and trained by Chindano, earned her 15th career win--first this year--to send her lifetime bankroll to $108,234. As the 2 to 1 chalk, Casie's Believer paid $6.20 to win. Wally Hennessey had a driving triple of the Tuesday program with Trottin For Cash ($13.20), Glenferrie Blade A ($3.80) and Wild Nite Tina ($6.60) while David Miller and Corey Braden each had driving doubles on the card--MIller with Jaded Dream ($22.00) and She's Sporty A ($11.40) and Braden with Gold Star Igotdis ($4.80) and Steal My Thunder ($9.40). In another oddity of sorts, three Australian bred horses won back-to-back-to-back events--the aforementioned Glenferrie Blade A, Shes Sporty A and Lucky Artist A. Racing continues of Wednesday night with a $15,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick-4 and a Super Hi-5 carryover of $3,803.42 Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Pompano Park      

WILKES-BARRE, PA - With a strong uncovered move down the backstretch, the Prayer I Am mare Mighty Surf went to the lead at the ¾ pole and went on to an easy 1:56.2 harness racing victory in the $11,200 claiming trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday afternoon. The favored winner came home in :28.4 over a "good" track on a day with the temperature in the mid-50s. Mighty Surf is now two for four since being claimed by trainer Jake Huff and the Beauty Bridle Racing Stable Inc.; Pocono's "Trot Man," diagonally-gaited sulky specialist Mike Simons, drove the winner.   The well-respected trainer Jenny Melander scored his first career sulky success with the Lionhunter sophomore gelding Hunting AS in a $10,400 contest, rallying from far back to nose out S Class in 1:58. Melander, who has trained the winners of over $5 million, had achieved victories in Racing Under Saddle competition, but this is her first winner to sulky in infrequent career outings. Melander Racing Inc. co-owns the winner with Robert Bernaski. The Napolitano brothers, George Jr. (the track's leading driver) and Anthony, accounted for half of the fourteen winners on the Tuesday card, with George first four times and Anthony three. The triple gave Anthony 13 winners for the second straight three-card Pocono racing week. And on a day where eight of fourteen favorites were successful, both brothers brought home two of the non-chalk, with winners for George including $7.20 and $37.60 successes, and Anthony piloting horses who paid $12.20 and $35.80. From the PHHA / The Downs  

PACER OF THE WEEK: JUXTA COWGIRL The featured condition pace for harness racing fillies and mares on Sunday night at The Downs, which held a purse of $14,000, featured some intriguing competitors. Its Mesmerise N was looking for her fourth straight win, Eclipse Me N was Mare of the Year in 2019 at Pocono, and Queen Of The Pride was a big earner as a two and three-year-old. Juxta Cowgirl, who had won her last start at Pocono and was moving up in class for trainer Mike Watson, got away at 10-1 from the #3 post in a field of six. Driver Anthony Napolitano found Juxta Cowgirl a pocket spot behind pacesetting Eclipse Me N early. From there, the six-year-old mare bided her time as Eclipse Me N dealt with a first-over challenge from Its Mesmerise N. In the stretch, Napolitano coaxed Juxta Cowgirl into the passing line, where she fired past the leaders and picked up the upset victory in 1:51:2. Honorable Mention Kerford Road A (Tyler Buter, Rob Harmon), who defeated a pair of million-dollar earners in a condition pace on Saturday in 1:50:1, a new career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. Lachie Maguire N (Jim Marohn Jr., Justin Sodano), who won Saturday's featured claiming handicap pace in 1:51, ending the five-race winning streak of Bell I No in the process. Voracity (Todd McCarthy, David Russo), who tore up for a condition victory on Tuesday afternoon in 1:50:3. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: RICH AND MISERABLE A year ago, this five-year-old gelding trained by Todd Buter was the Trotter of the Year at Pocono as part of a 12-win season. On Saturday he returned from stints in New York and New Jersey to take on an $11,200 condition trotting group. Not surprisingly, the Pocono fans remembered him, making him the 3-5 favorite as he left from post position #6 in a field of eight. Driver Tyler Buter didn't wait long to make his move, sending Rich And Miserable from fourth to first on the front stretch. From there, the gelding remained in control, eventually coming home a winner by 2 ½ lengths over Lord Cromwell. The winning time for Rich And Miserable of 1:53:2 was the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Honorable Mention Uncle Hanover (Kevin Wallis, Kimberly Burris), who shipped in from Tioga to win a condition trot on Sunday night in 1:53:4. Need Luck N (Jordan Stratton, Jason Johnson), who arrived from Harrington and picked up a condition victory on Saturday in a career-best 1:55. Sir Cromwell (Marcus Miller, Edward Hart), who handled a condition field on Tuesday in a career-best 1:57, giving him wins in each of his last two races on the Pocono oval. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: VALRHONA Driven by Mike Simons, this condition pacer surprised the faithful with a gate-to-wire victory on Tuesday at 49-1, paying $101.60 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MIKE SIMONS Simons' fans walked away much richer this week, as three of his four winning drives on Monday and Tuesday came with horses at 14-1, 20-1 and 49-1. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ROB HARMON It was an excellent weekend at Pocono for the Harmon barn, as he churned out a training double on Saturday afternoon and then added another victory on Sunday night. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs        

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) captured the $11,000 featured fillies & mares harness racing open pace at Tioga Downs on Friday (September 20). It was also another great night for driver Wally Hennessey, who led all drivers with five winners on the night. Truth And Liberty ($3.80) went to the front and led to the first quarter in :26.4. She put up a :28.4 second quarter to hit the half in :55.3. She continued to control the pace as they hit three quarters in 1:23.4. Truth And Liberty, who is owned by Fairy Horsemother and trained by Mike Simons, led by three lengths as they made the turn for home. Gigi From Figi (Wally Hennessey) tried to come late but Truth And Liberty was too strong and won in 1:52.3. Gigi From Figi had to settle for second with K J's Caroline (Jim Taggert Jr.) getting third money. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her 10th win this season. She now owns 45 career victories. Leading driver Wally Hennessey continued his dream season with five wins on the evening. He got his wins with Unimpeachable ($12.80), Cinnabar Hall ($6.40), The Big Muscle ($4.00), Rollingndiamonds ($4.10), and Here We Go Again ($4.50). Mike Simons drove three winners on the evening. He got his other victories with Meadowbranch Vicki ($2.60), and Soho Hanover ($2.70). It will be closing night at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 21) with an 11 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. Fireworks follows live racing. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) captured the $11,000 harness racing featured Filly & Mare Open Pace at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 23). Juxta Cowgirl (Aaron Byron) led to the first quarter in :26.4. Truth And Liberty ($4.10) took over as they went by the stands for the first time and led to the half in :55.4. She was the first to the three-quarter pole in 1:24.0. Gigi From Figi (Wally Hennessey) came first over as they went around the final turn. Truth And Liberty, who is trained by Simons and owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables, shook off Gig From Figi. She then held off the late charge from second place finisher K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) to win in 1:52.2. Gigi From Fiji finished third. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. She has won four straight fillies & mares open 1 at Tioga. It was her eighth win this season and her 43rd career victory. Leading driver Wally Hennessey drove four winners on the night. He combined with trainer Mike Deters for wins with Mach West ($3.30) and Prairie Midnight ($9.40). He teamed up with trainer Jim McDonald for the other two wins. They won with Odds On Cheddar ($14.40), and Tap Tap Tap ($3.30). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 24) with a 12 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) wins the $11,000 featured fillies & mares open pace at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 16). Juxta Cowgirl (Aaron Byron) went to the front and controlled the pace hitting the first quarter in :27.1. Truth And Liberty ($3.90) watched from second as Juxta Cowgirl hit the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.2. Truth And Liberty, who is owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables and trained by Simons, came out of the pocket in the stretch. She took a short lead and Juxta Cowgirl fought back. But in the end Truth And Liberty was too strong and won in a seasonal best 1:51.0. Juxta Cowgirl had to settle for second. KJ's Caroline (Jim Taggart Jr.) finished third. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her third straight win and seventh victory this season. She now has 42 career victories. Leading driver Wally Hennessey drover four winners on the card. He got his wins with Check Mach ($3.90), Glamorgal ($5.20), Persistent Bettor ($4.90), and Odds On Cheddar ($3.20). Mike Simons drove three winners on the night. His other wins came with Cayenne Victory ($2.50), and Lime Twist ($10.80). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 17) with a 12 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns .com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs          

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) wins the featured $11,000 fillies & mares open at Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 10). Truth And Liberty ($5.50) led to the first quarter in :27.3. Juxta Cowgirl (Aaron Byron) took control as they went by the stands for the first time and led to the half in :56.2. Gigi From Fiji (Wally Hennesey) went first-over and put on the pressure as Juxta Cowgirl hit three-quarters first in 1:24.0. Truth And Liberty, who is owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables and trained by Simons, squeezed through an opening on the inside as they went down the stretch. They were three across the track as Truth And Liberty got up in time to win in 1:52.4. Gigi From Fiji was second best with Juxta Cowgirl holding on for third. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her sixth win this season. She now has 41 career victories. Mike Simons and Mike Merton each drove three winners on the night. SImons got his other wins with Celebrity Lover ($14.80), and Cinnamon Stick ($3.20). Merton went to the winner's circle with Hanovers Best ($3.40), Whip N Neigh Neigh ($4.00), and Dekeyser ($8.40). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Sunday (August 11) with a 13 race card. The card features the $148,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot and the $132,000 Joie De Vie open mare trot. There will also be two eliminations for the Empire Breeders Classic featuring 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 1:00 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Tioga Downs    

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

Truth And Liberty (Mike Simons) wins the filly and mares featured harness racing pace ($12,000) on Friday (May 24). Velocity McSweets (Mike Merton) led to a first quarter of :27.1. HP Sissy (Wally Hennessey) took over as they went by the stands for the first time before hitting the half in :56.2. Truth And Liberty ($5.10), who is owned by Fairy Horsemother Stables and trained by Simons, battled HP Sissy all the way around the final turn. Truth And Liberty had a short lead as they hit three-quarters in 1:23.4. HP Sissy would battle back to re-claim the lead at the top of the stretch. Truth And Liberty finally shook loose in mid-stretch and held off a late charge by second place finisher Velocity McSweets to win in a seasonal best of 1:51.4. Northern Dali (Jim Meittinis) was third best. Truth And Liberty is a 7-year-old mare by Total Truth. It was her third win this season and her 37th career victory. Mike SImons also trained and drove Oneida Blue Chip ($5.80) to a victory on the night. Driver Jim Taggart Jr. and trainer Gary Messenger combined for two wins during the card. They got their wins with Filly Forty ($6.40) and Classic Can Dream ($8.40). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (May 25) with a 10 race card starting at 6:15 p.m. For more information go to   John Horne for Tioga Downs.

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 7, 2019-New York Sire Stakes season began Tuesday night (May 7th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $163,499 Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies. The lasses went as three harness racing divisions, two six-horse fields--purses $54,833 each-and a five-horse event at $1,000 less. The opening quintet saw Hanna Dreamgirl (Brian Sears, $13) waltz around the oval (:29.3, 1:00.1, 1:29.3, 1:59) as the only leaver. From post position No. 3, she never had any grief, disposing of first-up, 2-5 choice Stella Jane (Jason Bartlett), then hold pocket-sitting Sweet Chapter (Dave Miller) at bay. The final margin was three-quarters of a length, with Stella Jane settling for the bottom of the ticket. For third choice Hanna Dreamgirl, a daughter of Chapter Seven owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by George Ducharme, it was her seasonal debut (2-for-15, $115,204 as 2-year-old). The exacta paid $29.20, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. The first of two happy half-dozen sire stakes events was won by With Out a Doubt (Andy Miller, $10.20). Making the first lead from post No 5, she gave it up to Sensibility (Scott Zeron) That lass worked through intervals of :28.2, :58.3 and 1:27, with minimal annoyance from Thanks for Leaving (Jordan Stratton) and even less from 17-10 favorite Conway Kellyanne (Charlie Norris). Sensibility owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, but With Out a Doubt edged by with purpose. She drew out, winning by a length-and-three-quarters in a life-best far the night's fastest effort. Sensibility was a safe second, with 'Kellyanne' and Thanks for Leaving completing the gimmicks. With Out a Doubt                  -Mike Lizzi photo For fourth choice Without a Doubt, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (breeder) Ross Bonafield, Robert McCarthy & James Moran and trained by Erv Miller, it was also her '19 purse bow (1-for-9, $51,536 as 2-year-old). The exacta paid $27, the triple returned $107 and the superfecta paid $199.50. "She's quick off the car and very handy," Andy Miller said. ...and down came the rain before the final statebred event, reclassifying the track as 'sloppy'. It was done in time defending sire stakes champion Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, $4.60) to prevail-barley-snapping he nearly 39-1 rank outsider Pilgrim Lass (Mike Simons) by a head in 1:59.1. 'Pilgrim,' one of three that didn't jump it off early, led the remaining trio (:30.3, 1:01.1, 1:30.2). Winndevie, pocketed from post No. 5, took out early but found the leader quite stubborn. Winndevie did get past very late, with Amal Hall (Andy Miller) third. Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.), the 7-10 choice, did beat the other breakers. For second choice Winndevie, a Credit Winner miss trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, she began her sophomore season after going 6-for-7 ($227,878) as a frosh. The exacta paid $102, the triple returned $286 and the superfecta paid $771. New York Sire Stakes returns downstate Tuesday night (May 14th), with the Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. Total purses for the 2019 New York-bred program are estimated at $14 million. For more information, please visit   by Frank Drucker Director of Publicity 810 Yonkers Avenue Yonkers, NY 10704

WILKES-BARRE PA - The male trotters got their first crack at Weiss Series harness racing action Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with three $15,000 first round preliminaries seeing the fastest winner emerge as the Conway Hall gelding Hammer Creek, who nipped the heavy favorite Dover Dony in a personal best 1:55.1. Dover Dony had quarter-moved after a 27.2 opener and went on to post nice midsplits of 56.2 and 1:25.1. Pocono's "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, bided his time with Hammer Creek, then moved out just before the ¾ and aimed right at the leader. Dover Dony had gamely and still was ahead in deep stretch, but his foe was relentless in pursuit and got the decision by the shortest possible margin. Kenneth Hess Jr. trains the winner, who dropped three seconds off his mark, for owner Richard Ciesielski. Although his time of 1:57 may not quite match up to 1:55.1, My Lindy Winner was also quite impressive in victory, remaining undefeated after four 2019 starts. Jim Morrill Jr., who teamed with trainer Rob Harmon for a pair of winners on the card, took his time with the son of Credit Winner in getting the lead, but once on top the issue seemed little in doubt, with My Lindy Winner six lengths clear after a 57.3 last half for the ownership of Vincent Laurenzo, Howard Taylor, and Thomas Lazzaro. The Explosive Matter gelding Higgs Boson doubled his lifetime win total when he won his Weiss division while taking a lifetime mark of 1:57.2. Driver Fern Paquet Jr. sent Higgs Boson on an uncovered mission nearing the 5/8, and the winner proved more than equal to the challenge for trainer Dave Wiest, co-owner with Paul Britcher Jr. Co-featured were a pair of $17,000 events for developing horses, many of whom should be a good bit higher on the class ladder in short order. First up were the pacers, and the winner was the Rock And Roll Heaven gelding Rebel Rouser, who had established a four-race win streak at Yonkers and The Meadowlands, then made it five in a row with a 1:51.3 victory. The lightly-raced but successful pacer (12 for 24 lifetime now at age five) was three-wide a good part of a 27.2 opener, made the lead just after that station , then yielded to a tough opponent in Shadow Cat, who took the field past the half in 55.4 and the 3/4s in 1:24. Driver Andrew McCarthy roused Rebel Rouser out of the two-hole past midturn, went up to the leader and then asserted himself with strong stretch steps, finishing under a hold while ¾ of a length to the good of Shadow Cat, who took second over inside-rallying Ideal Wheel. Robert Cleary is the conditioner of the promising pacer, who is owned by W. J. Donovan of New England and Florida and Donal Murphy of Baltimore - Baltimore, Ireland, that is. Andrew McCarthy also accounted for the trotting co-feature, taking advantage of a perfect pocket trip with the Kadabra gelding Mr Houdini and then holding off longshot closers by ¾ of a length while posting a clocking of 1:56.4. The combine of Ron Burke and Burke Racing Stable LLC / Weaver Bruscemi LLC added yet another victory to their unprecedented accumulation. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Pompano Beach, FL…October 22, 2018…Pompano Park kicked off its 2018-2019 season on Sunday night with driver Mike Simons earning his 4000th career win and Lucan Hanover eking out a photo finish win in the feature. Simons earned his milestone victory with Blueberry Heaven, a four year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven in the second race, scoring with the Mickey McNichol trained gelding in 1:54.3 in a near gate-to-wire effort. Owned by Marianne Ayers along with Anne Marie Hubbard and Heddy Nelson, Blueberry Heaven posted panels of :29, :57.4 and 1:26.3, fighting off challengers with a stout :28 finale. The win was the fifth of the year for Blueberry Heaven, sending his 2018 bounty to $33,484. Said the humble Simons after the race, “It’s really no big deal. After all, I’ve been at this a long time and to see these young kids and their talent in the bike thee days, I am just fortunate to be able to compete with them.” The $10,000 feature—the $10,000 Open Pace—went to Lucan Hanover, driven by John MaccDonald,  by a whisker over track record holder Panocchio, handled by Wally Hennessey. The game eight year-old altered son of Western Ideal, stalked the pace-setting Panocchio through fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25 before engaging in a war then entire length of the lane to get up in the final stride. Speed Trap (Matt Krueger) was third while Kotare Yael and Hot Art picked up the minor awards. Trained by Jack Rice , who co-owns with Pine Hill Racing and Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Lucan Hanover pushed his 2018 scorecard to 6-2-4 in 24 tries, good for $58,575. He’s banked $1,149,971 lifetime to go along with his 1:48 mark at Pocono Downs. Remarked driver John MacDonald after the event, I really didn’t know if he got there or not but, let me tell you, these are two great, game horses—Panocchio and Lucan Hanover—and we got the better trip tonight and that was the difference. The third leg of the FSBOA sponsored Sunshine State Stakes for the two year-olds were contented as four non-wagering events and Proud Sophie, Damien Hall, Natasha and Mister Marvalous reached the winner’s circle. Proud Sophie, driven by Jay Sears, took advantage of a miscue in the lane by rival Kerry B to score her maiden win in 2:05.3. The Kim Sears trainee, a daughter of Proud Bushy, is owned by Jay along with David Fishman. Damien Hall, a son of Cash Hall trained by driver-trainer Jim Mc Donald for the Pacing Pretty Stable, pulled away in the lane to score in a lifetime best 2:05.1 for his second career win in three starts. Natasha, a sharp looking Six Of Diamonds filly, made a quarter move to the top and then used a :28.3 finale to score handily in 1:57.4 for her third straight win in Sunshine State Stakes action. Wally Hennessey was in the sulky for trainer Kim Sears and owner Jay Sears. Finally, Mister Marvalous, a record unblemished in the Sunshine State Stakes by scoring a wire-to-wire win in 1:59.3-28.2 for Wally Hennessey. Racing continues Monday night with first post set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Pompano Park

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Mike Simons stands on the doorstep of the milestone of 4000 career driving victories, as he won three races on Monday, including two at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In the 15,840 feet his horses covered in those three winning miles for Simons, the aggregate margin of victory was about 40 inches - and with each race, the margin drew tighter. Mike won in the afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia with trotter D'Dream for trainer Neal Ehrhart, going by by a neck. At Pocono Monday night, Simons bookended the card with a pair of "Tom-trained horses," taking the first with the Tom Gummerson-conditioned trotter El Pescadoro by a head, and then the last with pacer Griffon Hanover for trainer Tom Fanning by - you guessed it, a nose. (Maybe Simons will dead-heat for win for #4000.) The 57-year-old Simons, a resident of nearby Nazareth PA, has won 100 or more races every year since 2002 in a sulky career that started in the early eighties. Mike led the driver win standings at Pocono in 2002, and in fact was only the second driver to win 200 races in a single season at Pocono, behind Walter Case Jr. His best year statistically came in 2007, when he won a total of 274 races and $2.9 million. Simons is known as "The Trot Man" because he seems to have a special affinity for getting success out of horses of the gait, and sometimes at large mutuels. Unfortunately from the standpoint of Pocono, his "base track" for many years, when Simons gets win #4000, it won't be at the mountain oval, as The Downs will not be back in action until Saturday. Simons has a drive with Ask Queenie, a 9-2 proposition, in the F&M pacing feature at Monticello this afternoon, and then at Yonkers tonight he has five horses listed, the one with the best chance of winning being the trotter Eldorado Of Gold S, listed at 7-2 in the fourth race. His next slated action beyond Tuesday is Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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