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WILKES-BARRE, PA - The World Of Rocknroll mare Clarebear took another successful step up the class ladder at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning her third straight with a 1:52.1 harness racing victory in the $17,500 mares pacing feature on the Tuesday twilight card. Driver Eric Carlson was insistent on the lead going out of the gate, then after getting early pressers to take back, in a :27 opener she yielded to the brushing Baron Remy in front of the stands. Baron Remy continued on to middle fractions of :55.3 and 1:24.1, but it was Clarebear who showed the most late speed, using the Pocono Pike to overhaul the pacesetter by 1½ lengths. The winner, who is trained by David Russo for the Cavalli Veloci Stable LLC ("cavalli veloci" is Italian for "fast horses"), boosted her lifetime bankroll to $298,983. There were a pair of $15,000 trots as co-features. In the first, the Donato Hanover three-year-old gelding Crossfit advanced with cover, went on uncovered after his cover broke on the far turn, then caught pacesetter Fire'N Woodshed by a half-length while taking a new mark of 1:55.4. Matt Kakaley drove the winner for trainer Ron Burke and owner Joe Sbrocco. In the other trot, 30-1 shot Darty was four-wide early in going to the lead and maintained the advantage to the wire as the outer tiers were stagnant, with pocketsitter Voodoo Man closest at the wire, a half-length behind, at the end of the 1:56.1 mile. Marcus Miller was at the controls of the sophomore altered son of Yankee Glide as he won for trainer John Butenschoen and the partnership of Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, David Miller, In Over My Head Stable, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. In a $14,000 mares pace, The Charging Moa N ran her North American record to two-for-two while lowering her mile record to 1:51. The daughter of Changeover has lived up to her name in both starts here - last week charging up three-wide on the far turn and going on to an impressive score, this week charging three-wide in front of the stands for driver Tyler Buter to clear before the second turn and going on to a 1¾ length victory over $990,778 winner Medusa. Trainer Rob Harmon looks like he has a mare who will be climbing the class ladder for Harmon Racing Stable LLC, Winners Circle Racing LLC, Howudoin Stable, and Richard Lerner. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs    

Normally in this space we hand out the Weekly Awards for excellent performances by horses, drivers and trainers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. I would venture a guess that no one has won more of those awards than driver George Napolitano Jr. Which is why it's only fitting that we take a break from the Weekly Awards to honor George's latest milestone. This past Saturday night, George Nap picked up his 10,000th career driving victory. A lot of times, when we stop and note these milestone wins, it's just about the fact that the driver happens to have landed upon a nice round number. But 10,000 victories represent extremely rarefied air, a total that few drivers could even dream of achieving. For context, only 11 active drivers have done it, while only 18 in the history of the sport of harness racing in North America have reached that plateau. When you think about all of the drivers at all of the tracks through all of the years that the sport has been in existence, you realize that 18 represents only a tiny fraction of all of the men and women who have ever sat in the sulky. So how is it that one comes to such a number? Well, it helps to have longevity, and George has certainly managed that. But you also have to be at the absolute top of your game during the time that you're driving. Many others have raced for as long or even longer than Napolitano and have not approached 10,000 victories. To get there, you have to be winning an extremely high percentage of your races. And George has certainly done that, especially in the state of Pennsylvania. Pocono has always been his main stomping grounds, with just shy of half of those 10,000 wins coming on our oval. He's on his way to his 13th driving championship at the track, including the last eight years running. In that time, Pocono has boasted one of the strongest driving communities in the country. Coming out on top of that group year after year is truly a sign of excellence. George Nap has also done a lot of damage at Harrah's at Philadelphia across the state, winning driving titles there as well. It becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy when you have that kind of talent. He drives so successfully that the owners and trainers want him to drive their horses, meaning that he gets the choice of the best horse flesh. When you put that kind of equine talent together with George's driving skills, it's a winning combination. But that doesn't take into account all of the wins George has earned when the horse he was driving didn't have the best of racing luck. That's why his 10,000th win was so emblematic. It came aboard a horse named Motown N who was made the favorite in a condition pace despite the fact that he was moving up in class. In the race, Motown N was urged to go for the lead by Napolitano as the field came around the first turn. It's a move that George has made a million times, and it usually ends up with his horse in the lead before they hit the 3/8-mile marker of the race. But this time, the early pacesetter, Santafe's Coach, was unwilling to give up the lead. Motown N was parked al the way through the front stretch and only cleared for the lead at the half-mile marker. As someone who has seen a lot of races from up in the announcer's booth over the years, I know that such a trip usually spells trouble. A horse parked around two turns and used hard during that stretch generally struggles to sustain the lead. When Youcaniknow came charging up with a stout first-over charge, it seemed again like it would be too much for Motown N to handle. But one of the things that has characterized Napolitano throughout his amazing career has been his ability to keep horses afloat that might otherwise falter in lesser hands. And this historic race proved to be another example of that. Motown N rebuffed the charge of Youcaniknow and was still out in front at the top of the lane. It was never going to be easy, though, as Motown N still had to weather a late charge by Redbank Blaze A, driven, ironically enough, by George's brother Anthony Napolitano. But there was no denying this horse or this driver in this one. Motown N gutted it out to win by two lengths. Normally, during a stretch drive of a harness race, the television shot tries to widen out to encompass as many of the contending horses as possible. But in this case, the professionals at International Sound, who handle the Pocono TV production so adeptly, took a quick closeup of Motown N as he strived to the finish line. And that closeup showed George Napolitano Jr., all grit and determination, working just as hard as his horse, calling on every last bit of savvy and skill that he has amassed over the years to get the victory. Do that just once in your life and you've accomplished something. Do that 9,999 times more, and you can call yourself as successful as George Napolitano Jr. I think I can speak for all of us here at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono as I pass along my congratulations to George and let him know what an honor it has been to witness his excellence. Here's to many more victories to come. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs                

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Muscle Mass mare Supergirl Riley made an early move to the lead and trotted on strongly to take the $17,500 trotting harness racing feature Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning in 1:52.3. Fresh off a 1:51.3 lifetime best at Lexington, Supergirl Riley was kept midpack early by driver Simon Allard, then moved at the quarter and grabbed the lead as the field neared the wire the first time. A final quarter of :28.1 was sufficient to keep the nearest challenger, the first-over Hill Of A Horse, 2¼ lengths at bay; the latter photoed out pocketsitter The Lionking As for place. Pocono's leading trainer, Rene Allard, trains the winner of three of her last four, who boosted her lifetime earnings to $457,713 for Allard Racing Inc., John Lengacher, and Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. There were three $17,000 co-features for horses looking to climb the class ladder. Two of the races were for pacers; in the contest for males, the Captaintreacherous sophomore gelding Seafarer was the last choice in the field of five and last at headstretch, but he closed solidly to nose out JK Musicman while taking a new mark of 1:50.4. Driver Marcus Miller got the timing just right with the winner of three of his last five for trainer/father Erv Miller and the ownership of Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Tanah Merah Farms LLC. Marcus and Erv Miller came right back in the next race, the co-feature for pacing females, with another Captaintreacherous sophomore, Alli Nui, who also set a lifetime best with a 1:50.3 mile. Alli Nui sat behind pacesetting favorite Bestseller Hanover, moved out in the stretch to get the lead, then withstood the late kick of Blue Ivy by 1½ lengths for Ervin Miller Stable Inc., Hannah Miller, Nick Surick Stable LLC, and Louis Willinger. In the trotting contest, Macmorris Hanover was outside early and not able to clear to the lead until almost the second turn, yet he still had enough to hold off favored Fade Into You by 1½ lengths in 1:55.2 for driver Pat Lachance. The Cantab Hall sophomore gelding has now been victorious in two of his last three starts for trainer Bob Baggitt Jr. and owners Ben Mudry, Douglas Millard, Timothy Murray, and Howard Taylor.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - George Napolitano Jr. became the 18th North American driver to tally 10,000 driving victories on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when he guided Motown N to a hard-earned harness racing victory in the evening's ninth race. Motown N tucked third early, then used one of Napolitano's signature moves, a brush off the first turn, to make his way to the lead, but not until being parked the entire second quarter. Once on top, Motown N and Napolitano were in control, with "George Nap" rocking the horse home to a two length victory over Redbank Blaze A - driven by George's brother Anthony. Motown N did not recognize the milestone achieved by his driver, as he was under full steam right back to the paddock after the mile. But George was brought to the winners circle after "dropping off" the horse to join family, friends, and Pocono management to celebrate the major achievement. George Napolitano Jr. currently ranks 11th among active North American drivers in victories, and he is well on his way to taking his 13th seasonal crown at The Downs, and his eighth straight. George also has ten UDR titles at Pocono, and he was the winningest trainer here in five seasons. The win behind Motown N was his 4,982nd victory at Pocono since his first victory success in 2000. George won the North American dashwinning title in 2010, and this year he currently sits third in the standings. George's brother Anthony guided Luis Alberto N to a 1:50.1 victory in the $17,500 featured pace on the card. Anythingforlove A had laid down very hot fractions of :25.4, :53.2, and 1:21 and still held well in the stretch, but despite a speed-favoring track those giant fractions did take a toll, and Luis Alberto N came on steadily the last 3/8 to post a 1¼ lengths over the game pacesetter while posting a North American mile mark. Jose Godinez trains the Kiwi import for the ownership of Blindswitch Racing Stable and Dolne Farm Services LLC.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A pair of $15,000 co-featured harness racing trots on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono were won in photo finishes by the pocketsitter who used the Pocono Pike as the path to victory. The faster of the two winners was the Crazed gelding Krentler Hanover, who lowered his lifetime best to 1:55 for trainer Bruce Clarke and owner Anthony Cangialosi. Marcus Miller used the rail well to defend the pocket behind pacesetting Fire'N Woodshed, then caught that one by a head. The Sierra Kosmos mare Bag O Chips, a former stalwart of the Massachusetts program, raced in the two-hole behind Pilgrims Lass, then had enough trot late to win by a neck over tough first-over challenger Allthefixins, with Pilgrims Lass another 1¼ lengths back in third in the 1:56 mile. Eric Carlson handled driving duties behind the winner of $212,820 for trainer Bucky Angle and owners Howard and Joshua Kaufman. The World Of Rocknroll mare Clarebear was three-wide well past a fast quarter in pursuit of the lead in the $14,000 co-featured pace for mares, but once on the front she held on to her advantage to the wire for a 1:52.1 victory. Eric Carlson kept the winner of $290,208 alive to the line to post a ¾ length win over pocket rallier Truth And Liberty for trainer Michael Russo and the Cavalli Veloci ("fast horses" in Italian) Stable LLC. George Napolitano Jr. had a driving double on Tuesday night, bringing his local four-card week's tally to 17 and his career total to 9,992. George now heads down the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike for three days of competition at Harrah's Philadelphia - whether he will be still be looking for the milestone 10,000th victory when he returns to Pocono on Saturday is up in the air, as he had three winners last Sunday at Philly. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Explosive Matter gelding Scirocco Rob notched his third win in his last four starts on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, coming home 2¼ lengths to the good of The Lionking AS in the $17,500 featured trot at the mountain oval. The Lionking AS sped away from the rail to take the early lead in a :27.2 opener; Scirocco Rob was soon on the move to the lead, and he got a big breather in the second split, reaching the half in :57.2. From there the sprint home was on, and nobody had more sprint than Scirocco Rob, who trotted home in :56.1 - :28 to win easily for trainer Mark Silva and owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. Scirocco Rob was driven by George Napolitano Jr., who had won eight races on Saturday, including each of the last five races, which make up the track's Rainbow Pick 5 bet. Sunday George combined with his brother Anthony for another "Napolitano Rainbow Pick 5 sweep," as he took the first two races in the sequence, while Anthony won the last three. All of Anthony's Rainbow winners were with non-favorites, after the chalk had won the first ten races on the 13-race card. Anthony and George wound up with four driving successes each on Sunday. Between Saturday night, Sunday afternoon at Philly, and Sunday back at Pocono, George had fifteen wins, which included the Pocono features on both Saturday and Sunday and also two stakes wins in the Simpson Series at Philly. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA -George Napolitano, Jr. was at his best Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, scoring eight winners on the night, including with the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks, who rallied for his second straight victory in the $21,500 Saturday night featured harness racing pace. A winner of $1,033,974, Scott Rocks was sent to the lead before the :26.3 quarter by Napolitano, and the pair then yielded to Western Joe, the favorite off a fast win in the subfeature last week, and Western Joe led the field past a :55.1 half, a 1:23.1 three-quarters, and into the stretch. But Scott Rocks started to angle to the outside after turning into the lane, and in the final strides he was able to put a nose ahead of the pacesetter in a 1:50.2 mile with the temperatures in the mid-40s at the mountain oval. Hunter Oakes trains the winner, who now has a lifetime win percentage over one-third with 59 victories in 175 starts, for owners Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. One other note from the feature is that Atta Boy Dan, racing for a $40,000 claiming tag, will NOT be changing barns after his race, after being claimed out of fourteen straight starts at Pocono. Atta Boy Dan was all but invincible when in claiming company, but with the top selling level not filling the last couple of weeks, "Dan" has had to face a very tough collection - he held for fifth here after going the tough first-over trip -- but there were no takers for him, breaking his unofficial local record for barn changes. Dealt A Winner, who had missed a nose to Western Joe last week in the $17,500 sub-feature, celebrated that rival's absence with a 1:49.2 victory in this week's $17,500 class, making a quarter move then storming home in 54.2 for a four length victory as the 1-20 favorite. George Napolitano Jr. also handled the winning Cam's Card Shark gelding for trainer Mark Silva and owner Jeffrey Snyder, who raised his lifetime bankroll to $1,264,864 - the now seven-year-old was the fastest sophomore of a year that included Wiggle It Jiggleit, Wakizashi Hanover, Freaky Feet Pete, and Artspeak. For full results or entries, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

October is upon us, which means that we have only about a month-and-a-half left of live racing in the 2019 season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The lingering warm weather has helped to keep the action lightning-quick, however. As a matter of fact, we witnessed several sub-1:50 miles on Saturday night. It was another difficult week to narrow down the Weekly Awards candidates, but we gave it a shot anyway. PACER OF THE WEEK: WESTERN JOE Technically, the feature race each night is supposed to be the one that carries the highest purse. On Saturday night, that was the $21,500 condition pace, which was won by veteran standout Scott Rocks. But the field in the $17,500 condition pace that immediately preceded it on the card on Saturday night had a feature feel to it. Five of the nine had earned over six figures a year ago, and many in the field seem well on their way to that threshold this year as well. The even-money favorite was Dealt A Winner, with over $1.2 million in career earnings. Springsteen, winner of the 2018 Max Hempt Pace at Pocono, was the second choice. And Western Joe, a big earner for the past several years and winner of a $14,000 condition pace at Pocono in his previous race, went off as the 3-1 third choice. Dealt A Winner set a hot pace trying to shake off the field, but Western Joe stayed attached to him in the pocket. In the stretch, Dealt A Winner tried to summon up a little bit more oomph to hold on to the victory. But Western Joe, a five-year-old gelding trained by Chris Choate, was way too full of pace to be held back. With driver Pat Berry guiding him home, he powered past Dealt A Winner to pick up the victory in a scorching 1:48:2, faster than any other pacer this week at Pocono. With two straight wins, Western Joe has been a featured performer, even if he wasn't quite in the feature race. Other top pacers this week include: Torrid Bromac N (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who picked up his second straight claiming victory and sixth in his last eight races overall on Saturday night with a victory in 1:51:2; Seel The Deal N (George Napolitano Jr., Jennifer Lappe), who moved up in class on Saturday night to win his second straight condition pace, putting up a career-best time of 1:50:3 in the process; and Outlast Blue Chip (Kevin Wallis, Eddie Sager), who moved up the condition ladder for his second straight win on Saturday night, scoring in 1:51:3. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PAT MATTERS Sunday night's $21,500 featured condition trot was contested by only six horses. But it seemed like every one of them came in on an impressive streak. The field included Scirocco Rob, who took home Trotter of the Week honors at Pocono last week after winning two straight against the best trotters on the grounds. But Pat Matters, a four-year-old mare trained by Nifty Norman, came in on a pretty impressive two-race winning streak of her one. In the first of those wins, she scored at Harrah's at Philadelphia with a new career-best winning time of 1:52:2. She then matched that time with a victory over the $17,500 condition grouping at Pocono. On Sunday night, she left from post position #5 in the field of six as the 8-5 second choice. Scirocco Rob, who went off as the even-money choice, hustled to the lead early, but Pat Matters, with Eric Goodell doing the driving, found the pocket seat behind him. As they rounded the final turn, it was clear that Pat Matters was itching to be cut loose. Goodell did just that and she moved to the outside, sweeping by Scirocco Rob to take the late lead. But it wasn't easy sailing from there, as Whats The Word and Joey Bats both made strong late plays to take over. But Pat Matters had the final answer, holding off Whats The Word to win it by a half-length. Talk about consistency: Her third straight win came in 1:52:2, the exact winning time of the other two. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Joey Pro (Anthony Napolitano, John Hallett), who moved up in class to win his second straight condition trot since arriving from New York, getting it done in a career-best 1:54:4; TT Conway (Tom Jackson trainer and driver), who rolled to his second straight condition win on Sunday night, this one matching a career-best of 1:56; and Nice Stuff (Marcus Miller, Bucky Angle Jr.), whose condition win on Tuesday was her second in her last three races at Pocono and came in a career-best time of 1:54:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ALWAYS AT MY PLACE A million-dollar earner in his career, Always At My Place still was unheralded as he captured a condition pace on Saturday night at 18-1 with Jim Taggart Jr. in the bike for a $38 payout on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC CARLSON With a victory on Tuesday afternoon with pacing mare Velocity McSweets, Carlson became the sixth driver to hit the 100-win plateau for the 2019 racing meet at Pocono. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BOB BAGGITT JR. Baggitt made the most of limited opportunity, picking up a training double on Monday and then adding another win on Tuesday for victories with the only three starters he sent to the gate this past week. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@moheganpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing driver Kevin Wallis "called an audible" guiding the Donato Hanover gelding Mystical Wynn around the final turn at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the change in strategy helped provide the route to a 1:55.4 victory in the Tuesday twilight card's $15,000 trotting feature. Wallis and Mystical Wynn sat third most of the way behind favored pacesetter Bella Ava and pocketsitter Bag O Chips, who suffered broken equipment during the mile. Wallis started to tip his trotter outside midturn to mount a late charge, but when Bag O Chips went to the outside at the same time, Wallis headed back to the inside to utilize the famed Pocono Pike, and through the lane Mystical Wynn was able to edge Bag O Chips by ¾ of a length after a protracted battle. Robert Baggitt Jr., in charge of a hot stable currently, trains the five-time winner in just fourteen lifetime starts for Kelly Walker Stable LLC. The $14,000 co-feature for pacing mares boiled down to a stretch battle between favored Jewels Forreal and Modesta, both of whom had been no worse than third in their last five starts without winning. It was the So Surreal mare Jewels Forreal who was able to post the victory in this contest, winning over Modesta by a length in a lifetime best 1:50.3. Marcus Miller drove the winner of $239,188 for trainer Bob Cleary and owner W J Donovan. Anthony Napolitano took driving honors on the night with four visits to the winners circle. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Explosive Matter mare Pat Matters has now won three straight and has taken five out of six since joining the harness racing Nifty Norman stable after she won the $21,500 featured trot at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday evening. Pat Matters, owned by the Patricia Stable, was sent right to the top by driver Eric Goodell, and then the second choice yielded to favored Scirocco Rob near the :27.4 quarter. Scirocco Rob, also going for his third straight, put up middle fractions of :56.2 and 1:24.2, but Pat Matters was taken to the outside by Goodell midway on the far turn, and the mare proved full of trot, with fast-closing Whats The Word moving well late but still a neck shy of the winner on the wire. The time of the mile was 1:52.2 - the third straight race Pat Matters has been timed in that clocking, her personal best. There was a trio of $17,000 co-features. The trot went to the Yankee Glide gelding Max, cutting the pace for Eric Goodell and winning by a half-length over a narrowing-in Trixar in 1:54.3. Ron Burke conditions the late-developing four-year-old for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Frank Baldachino. The Napolitano brothers split the pacing co-features. In the event for males, Anthony Napolitano teamed with Twin B Tuffenuff to give trainer Ron Burke a double in the co-features, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven following Grantmeawish as that one brushed to the lead late on the backstretch, then going by him late for a 1¼ length victory in a lifetime mark of 1:50.2 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Anthony Napolitano had five winners on the night - including the three winners on the 14-race card that paid more than $10.00 to win. In the pacing distaff co-feature, Anthony's brother George sat third-over with the Captaintreacherous filly Demi Hill behind a contested pace, then rallied her briskly through the final quarter to prevail by 1¼ lengths over the leader Coral Bella in 1:53. Demi Hill has now won eight of seventeen seasonal starts for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Tom Hill. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The nine-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks returned to his "hometown" track of The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night and won the $21,500 featured harness racing pace in 1:49.3 - the 58th win of his career, and his 30th victory at Pocono over the years. George Napolitano Jr. left sharply with Scott Rocks, let Anythingforlove A get to the lead by the :26.3 quarter, then made a lead-reclaiming move right away. When the timer read ":55.4" to the half, the local faithful knew that the favored veteran would be tough to overhaul, and indeed Scott Rocks rolled a :27 third quarter as Our Max Phactor N moved up to challenge, then tacked on a :26.4 kicker to keep that rival safe to the line by a length. Hunter Oakes trains the iron horse for the Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. The victory marked a personal milestone in the career of Scott Rocks - the winner's share of the purse boosted his seasonal earnings to $180,675, the most he's won in one campaign en route to lifetime earnings of $1,023,224. Unraced at two, Scott Rocks has taken his seasonal mark in every one of his seven racing years at Pocono, the last six years in sub-1:50, including his 1:48 record at age six. George Napolitano Jr. was dumped to the track in last Sunday's fourth race at Harrah's Philly as his breaking horse hooked wheels; unfazed, since then "George Nap" has won 23 races, including four on this Pocono card. In a $17,500 co-feature, Western Joe, the winner of the Great Northeast Open Series Championship here last year, pushed Dealt A Winner to a :26.1 opener before yielding the lead, sat behind him through midfractions of :54, and 1:20.4, then rallied in the Pocono Pike to get by the game pacesetter by a nose in 1:48.2. The Western Ideal gelding was driven by Pat Berry for trainer Chris Choate and the ownership of Anthony Ruggeri and Richard Tosies while boosting his career bankroll to $573,233. For full results and entries click here. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Armbro Operative mare Don't Think Twice A became the first favorite to win during the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, using the Pocono Pike to take both the tenth race $21,500 featured pace for mares and a new mark of 1:51.1. Despite an absence from the races of 18 days, the winner started well and got the pocket spot behind pacesetting Baron Remy as that one cut fractions of :27.1, :55.4, and 1:23.4, with Dont Think Twice A getting the perfect trip in the two-hole. Driver Anthony Napolitano didn't have to think twice about pulling on his mare's left line when the inside lane came clear, and the winner outfooted Baron Remy by a half-length for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Michael Goldberg Racing LLC and A Harris Racing LLC. Pilgrims Lass enjoyed the drop from stakes company and showed that appreciation by recording her first win of the season in a $15,000 co-featured trot. The Muscle Mass filly, trained by Scott Andrews for owner Edward Andrews, made the early lead for Matt Kakaley, yielded at the quarter to sit the pocket behind Bag O Chips, then came out in the stretch to catch that one by ¾ of a length while reducing her lifetime best to 1:55.3. From the  PHHA / Pocono Downs

There is no denying that we are coming into the home stretch at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the 2019 harness racing season. Soon we'll be taking a look at the horses and humans that are deserving of year-end honors. In the meantime, we still have a full schedule of overnight racing taking place each week, providing plenty of candidates for the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: FEELING CAM LUCKY His name may signify good fortune, but for most of 2019, this seven-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera hasn't exactly enjoyed much of it. Coming into an $11,000 condition pace on September 14, Feeling Cam Lucky had raced 25 times this year and had hit the board in 15 of those starts. But despite being in contention so often, he was winless coming into that start, this despite racking up 11 wins in 2018. Feeling Cam Lucky finally rectified that with a rallying win that night in 1:50:4. Given that shot of confidence, the gelding stepped up in class to meet a $12,000 condition pacing group on Saturday night. Leaving from post position #4 in a field of seven at middling odds of 7-2, he flashed excellent early speed to grab the lead. The pace was slowed down for the second panel, but then Feeling Cam Lucky, with George Napolitano Jr. urging him on, provided a burst on the back stretch, ticking off the third quarter in 27 seconds even. That strategy shook everybody in the field except 21-1 shot Electric Western, who stayed close in the pocket. For a moment as Electric Western surged, it looked like Feeling Cam Lucky might be in line for another hard-luck loss. But the taste of winning he picked up in his previous start seemed to help, as he fought off Electric Western for the victory in 1:50:2 by 1 ¼ lengths. He has a way to go to catch up with his numbers from last year, but Feeling Cam Lucky might be ready for a winning streak now that fortune has started to turn his way. Other top pacers this week include: Sweet Rock (Eric Carlson, Wayne Givens), who rallied for a victory in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50:1; Rockin In the Hills (Anthony Napolitano, Jose Godinez), who scored a win in a condition on Saturday night in 1:49:4, a new career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; and Don't Think Twice A (Anthony Napolitano, Andrew Harris), who captured Tuesday night's featured condition pace for mares in a career-best 1:51:1. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SCIROCCO ROB Scirocco Rob has been alternating between sizzling miles and breaks of stride of late at Pocono. He came into the $17,500 condition trot on Sunday night with breaks in two of his previous races. Also included in that stretch for the four-year-old gelding was a hard-luck second at the $17,500 level and a victory at the $14,000 level in 1:54:1. Considering the win was in his previous start in Sunday night, it was understandable if some of those bettors who made him an even-money favorite bit their nails while they watched the race. After all, if Scirocco Rob had followed his recent pattern, he would have gone off-stride. Instead, he started fast, then allowed Whats The Word to speed on by and take the early lead. Throughout the mile, Whats The Word stayed aggressive on the lead, putting up fractions that made it difficult for the rest of the field to stay close without exerting a lot of energy. But Scirocco Rob hung around in his pocket seat, waiting for his moment to move on the leader. That moment came in the stretch, when driver George Napolitano Jr. tipped him to the outside to go after Whats The Word. The pacesetter was game, but Scirocco Rob, who is trained by Mark Silva, powered past to win it by a half-length in a speedy time of 1:52:1, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Now that he has won two in a row, those worries of inconsistency seem to be in the rear-view for now for this talented gelding. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Lindy's Big Bang (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who picked up his second straight condition win on Saturday night, scoring in 1:53:1; Inner Peace (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), who earned his second straight condition victory on Sunday night with a win in 1:55; and Zooming (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), the 11-year-old veteran who rallied for a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:54:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: BURGUNDY B This three-year-old filly driven by Eric Carslon snuck up from the pocket to win a condition trot on Monday afternoon at 35-1, paying off $73.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The meet's leading driver seems to be getting stronger as the year progresses, as he rolled to at least four driving wins on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ROBERT CLEARY The Cleary barn produced the fastest winning time on Sunday night (with Rebel Rouser) and the featured condition pace winner on Monday night (with Vodka On The Beach.) That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs        

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The leading harness racing driver at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, both at this meet and in the history of the track, George Napolitano Jr., won five races on the Monday twilight card. The quintet raises his seasonal total to 269 at the mountain oval, 98 ahead of his brother Anthony, who is second in the standings. Completing the five-bagger for "Georgie Nap" was the Delmarvalous gelding Nine Ways, who took an $11,000 pace in 1:51.2, putting up fractions of :27.2, :55.4, and 1:23.2 and then holding off a horde of closers without too much problem for owner/trainer Antonia Storer. Nine Ways had raced at Pocono earlier in the season, taking his lifetime mark of 1:50, then went to Running Aces in Minnesota and won seven straight feature races, including the track's $50,000 Dan Patch Free-For-All Pace final. He made his return start at Pocono a successful one on Monday. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Favored Scirocco Rob sat behind second choice Whats The Word for most of the $17,500 harness racing trotting feature on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then moved out in the stretch and got by that tough rival by a half-length in 1:52.1, just a tick off his lifetime mark. Whats The Word buzzed away right to the lead, while the looped Scirocco Rob made his way to the pocket before the lively :26.3 quarter. The pacesetter went on to middle fractions of :55.3 and 1:23.4, with the winning Explosive Matter gelding coming outside for the stretch drive as the top two drew away from the rest. Scirocco Rob went by his game but outtrotted foe late, with George Napolitano Jr. getting his fourth win of the night for trainer Mark Silva and owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. There were three $17,000 conditioned subfeatures, two on the trot and one on the pace. In the first trot, Daniel Dube made a cameo appearance at The Downs to drive his own Muscles Yankee sophomore gelding Brownie, and the journey was worthwhile for Dube as Brownie overcame a first-over trip and held off the horse on his back, Hill Of A Horse, by a half-length in a lifetime best of 1:54.3. The Pierre Paradis-trained youngster now has a 9-4-2-1 record since adding trotting hopples on June 20. The winner of the second trotting cofeature also reduced his lifetime best as the Lionhunter gelding The Lionking AS defeated first-over Boxing Gloves by two lengths in 1:54.2. The Lionking AS had been using his early foot to work out forwardly-placed trips, then had been close without winning, but this week owner/trainer/driver Kevin Wallis sent him right down the road, and the winner responded with a sharp last quarter of :28 en route to the victory. The pacing event likewise resulted in a lifetime effort from the winenr, the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Rebel Rouser, who stopped the timer in 1:50.2 for driver Eric Goodell, trainer Bob Cleary, and co-owners W J Donovan and Donal Murphy. Rebel Rouser went straight to the top, yielded to the pacecontrolling move of favorite Sports Legend in front of the stands, then went to the Pocono Pike and worked past the leader to win by a half-length. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Aggressive handling by driver Eric Carlson helped the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Sweet Rock to defeat 2-5 favorite Springsteen in 1:50.1 to take the $21,500 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night. Sweet Rock left hard from the rail and would not let Atta Boy Dan (more on him in a minute) go by early; once putting that rival behind Carlson started to hit the brakes, bringing Springsteen out of last in the field of four to quickly grab the lead past a :27.2 quarter. Springsteen then went his middle half in :53.4 (:54.2, 1:21.1) trying to get away from the field, and indeed he had an open length lead from shortly into the backstretch until turning for home. But Springsteen began to tire after the huge numbers, and Carlson managed to get his pacer up on the bit, shifting outside nearing midstretch and getting by the chalk by a head. The winner of $778,906 is trained by Wayne Givens and the ownership of Legacy Racing of Delaware Inc., Reggie Hazzard II, and Gary Calloway. As for Pocono's "King Of The Claimers," Atta Boy Dan - the highest level of claimer was not filling, so an optional $40,000 claiming price was added to the conditions of the feature. Atta Boy Dan had won his last five starts and ten of his last eleven races, but he had to settle for third in this higher company after a week away. However, he was claimed for $40,000 out of his 14th straight race, beating the unofficial local record of R Gauwitz Hanover set in 2015. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Somebeach Baron laid off of a hot pace, moved to contention on the far turn, then paced away from his field for a 1¼ length victory in the $17,500 co-feature, equaling his lifetime record with the 1:50.3 victory. Somebeach Baron has now taken three of his last five starts for trainer Marta Piotrow and owner Ameer Najor. Somebeach Baron was driven by Anthony Napolitano, who had four victories on the card, as did his brother George. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

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