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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Saturday afternoon's final card of 2020 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono contained the lure of a $239,000+ carryover into a mandatory distribution of the Rainbow Pick 5 pool for picking the winners of the last five races of the year. With anticipation of a nice payoff no matter whether a chalkplayer or longshot fancier, bettors poured $441,661 into the Rainbow Pick 5 pool, so that after the percentage deduction on the day's play, the pool distributed (carryover and "fresh money") reached $614,889. Only two of the nine favorites in races run before the Pick 5 events had emerged victorious, but those fortunes started to turn when favored Benson Boys N rallied strongly out of the two-hole to take a 1:50.4 lifetime mark in the $16,000 claiming handicap pacing feature. Hunter Oakes guided the winner of three straight for trainer Steve Brabrook and owner Alan Johnston, and the favorite paid $6.00 to win in the first Pick 5 contest.   Two more favorites followed in the next two Pick 5 events, with Anthony Napolitano guiding a $4.60 winner and brother George behind a $2.60 heavy chalk. 4-5 favorite Scootnroll, 10 for 12 in his career before the race, made a break at the start of the fourth event, but "form" players received some consolation from Billy Lincoln N, who won and paid $6.60 as the second choice. The second choice also came through in the finale to the tune of a $7.20 win mutuel. The winning combination of 5-(2,3)-4-3-4 (the #3 was scratched from the second leg, and the substituted favorite won) returned $143.58 per 20-cent investment in the giant pool. Doubtless some players forming large numbers of combination tickets had multiple "hits" with the races so living up to form, so many people found a good chunk of gold at the end of this Rainbow. The total handle on the Pocono closing day handle was added up to $845,976, with a bit over half of that brought in by the mandatory Rainbow Pick 5 payoff. Speaking of continued form, George Napolitano Jr. took his ninth straight sulky dashwinning championship and the fourteenth of his unparalleled career at The Downs, winning four on closing day to boost his yearly total to 212. His 14-4-4-0 scorecard after driving every race actually boosted his seasonal UDR to .380 with rounding up - in that category he now has seven crowns in a row and twelve overall. (George was also winningest trainer at Pocono five times.) Finally, with everything else that Ron Burke has won in recent years, Saturday saw him win his first training title in Pocono annals, with a winner on the closing card boosting his 2020 total to 67 during the 86-day meeting. From the PHHA / The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- On its 2020 closing card Saturday afternoon, the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono -will have a mandatory distribution of all money in its Rainbow Pick 5 pool -- which will start with a carryover of nearly $240,000 and include all money wagered that day.   Normally the Pocono Rainbow Pick 5, which covers the last five races on the card, requires a unique ticket with the five race winners to take down the big jackpot -- multiple selectors of the victorious quintet on a given day would divide a portion of that wagering as a consolation, with a percentage carried over to a growing Jackpot.   When the carryover pool went well over $200,000 earlier in the meet, it was decided to "freeze" the carryover and the bet, and devote it to a closing day highlight which will attract much attention because the entire Rainbow Pick 5 pool will be distributed equally among holders of winning tickets, no matter how many or few.   Free past performances for the entire Saturday card at Pocono are available at https://pennhorseracing.com/wpcontent/uploads/2020/11/pcd1114q.pdf.   First post for Saturday's racing is 12:30 p.m. Pocono races its cards off quickly, and it is not unheard of to have post time for race ten come not long after 3 p.m., so bettors looking to hit a rich payday are advised to get their wagers in as early as possible that day.   From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA – The two-year-old Winning Mister – Pictures Of Millie gelding Tricky Dick won his second straight race in a $10,400 harness racing feature on Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and his 1:55.4 time was only a second off the divisional track record – not bad for a horse who didn’t break his maiden until October 6. Tricky Dick nosed out Gerard last Tuesday, and these two again were the principals in their race, with Gerard rushing to the lead down the backstretch with Tricky Dick on his tail and able to get into the pocket. In the stretch Matt Kakaley tugged on Tricky Dick’s right line and the baby knew exactly what to do, going by Gerard by three lengths while stamping himself as a horse to watch for owner/trainer/Pennsylvania’s Voice of the County Fairs, Jim McGettigan.   The fastest mile of the day came in the last race, in a bottom-level conditioned pace won by the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Outkast Blue Chip in 1:49.4, a lifetime mark for the six-year-old. Outkast Blue Chip was looped out of the gate and hung well past a :25.4 opener to get the lead, but he just paced on down the road, putting up middle splits of :54.2 and 1:21.3 en route to the romping victory. Though the temperature was 74o instead of the 52o norm for November 10 in Wilkes-Barre, it still was a crackling mile Outkast Blue Chip put in for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Eddie Sager, and The Right Move Racing LLC. This Saturday’s card at The Downs is the last of the 2020 season, and in addition to top-notch racing it will carry the suspense right to the very last race of the meet. At stake will be a mandatory payout of the Rainbow Pick 5 bet, with a $239,477.19 carryover added to the day’s betting,  trying to select the winners of the last five races of the year at Pocono. The Napolitano brothers, George Jr. and Anthony, 1-2 in the drivers standings respectively, will surely miss being in action at The Downs. George won six times on Tuesday and Anthony three; combining those totals with the triples each recorded on Saturday would add up to 15 wins in the week’s 28 races at Pocono – just over half between the duo.   PHHA / Pocono

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Surfer Beach may be starting to pace into his considerable harness racing pedigree, as he won a $10,400 pace on Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. An altered son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the $2.3M+-winning Southwind Tempo, two-time divisional champion, Surfer Beach did not race at two, and he won only one of his first thirteen races at three. But he has now won two of his last four, including this 1:52.3 triumph, where he went to the front for the track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., and proved much the best, winning by 5 1/2 lengths for trainer Brian Malone and owner Peter Paul Venturini.   The Napolitano brothers completed a sweep of the pacing divisions for this class when Anthony drove the Bettor's Delight mare Mossdale Lottee N to her first U.S. score. The Kiwi import came from eleven lengths back at the quarter to win the female section of the condition by 3¾ lengths in 1:53.2. The winner is trained by Jose Godinez for Godinez Racing Stable LLC. In the division of this class for trotters, the two-year-old Tricky Dick also came from well off the pace (10½ lengths behind at the half) to win by a nose over Gerard while taking a mark of 1:57.1. And whoever bet on the altered son of Winning Mister - Pictures Of Millie got a $78 return on a $2 win ticket as Tricky Dick took the Election Day victory for driver Mike Simons, the "Pocono Trot Man," and owner/trainer/voice of the PA county fairs Jim McGettigan. Anthony Napolitano bookended the card with winners and also scored with Mossdale Lottee N to emerge as the day's leading driver with three victories. There are only three more cards left in the 2020 season at Pocono, all starting at 12:30: this coming Saturday and Tuesday, and then closing night, November 15, where there will be a mandatory distribution in the Rainbow High 5 pool, which will bring a carryover of over $239,000 into play. From the PHHA / The Downs    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Loud Splash, a son of Thinking Out Loud who was the longest shot on the board in the $16,000 claiming handicap pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon, came from way back to post a 1:51.2 victory in a race where seven of the eight entrants were within 1¼ lengths of each other at the finish. Despite showing good closing ability in his last four starts, Loud Splash was dismissed at 27-1, probably because he was going up to the track's highest price level and drew the disadvantageous post six. But driver Jim Taggart Jr. had him out in a good cover flow, tipped him four-wide from sixth at headstretch, and guided him home strongly to win by a head over Burning Midnight, whose cover he followed most of the way, with Daamericansky another head shy coming up the Pocono Pike.   But Loud Splash proved most photogenic in the contentious affair for trainer Tee Wine and owner Samuel Abdoo, and now has won three of his last four trips behind the gate. Loud Splash paid $56.40 to win. A $12,000 conditioned pace looked like a good opportunity for the sophomore Scootnroll to improve his lifetime record to 10 for 11, and indeed he got to the lead in front of the stands and was still in command as they turned for home. But the Mysticism gelding Gold Star Yoder, whom Scootnroll had supplanted on the engine, moved from the pocket to the Pocono Pike, and the 19-1 shot went past the 1-9 shot for a half length victory in 1:51.3. Anthony Napolitano drove the Eric Mollor trainee for Niss Allen Inc. George Napolitano Jr. led all drivers with four victories on the Saturday card; his brother Anthony and Simon Allard were right behind with three (all three of Allard's were for trainer Ron Burke). For "George Nap," it was quite a productive 27½ hours, as during that timeframe he won fourteen races - seven at Harrah's Philadelphia yesterday afternoon, three more at The Meadowlands last night, and then the four at the mountain oval this afternoon. Favorites won six of the first seven races, then were shut out for the balance of the card. From the PHHA / The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - They tried battling the pacesetter Crossfit at several stages of the $11,200 claiming handicap trot feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday afternoon, but the Donato Hanover four-year-old gelding is currently quite fit and turned back all challengers in a career-best-equaling 1:54.2. The victorious favorite went to the lead around Cash For Gold just past the :28 quarter, then got no respite as Pilgrims Tide moved early and pressured Crossfit, forcing midfractions of :56.2 and 1:25. When the parked horse faded, Cash For Gold came back out of the pocket, but could get no closer than 1 1/2 lengths at the wire.   Tyler Buter drove the winner, who is trained by Susan Marshall, the co-owner along with John Marshall. Crossfit has now won two straight and four of his last seven, and in three of those miles he went his lifetime best clocking of 1:54.2 - a mark which he also recorded at three last year. George Napolitano Jr. brought in six winners on the Tuesday afternoon card. With five cards left in the 2020 racing season, "George Nap" has the lead among winningest drivers, 194-144, and has all but mathematically captured his ninth straight Pocono crown, and his fourteenth overall dating back to 2003. Napolitano also figures to take home the track's UDR title, unless Dexter Dunn, David Miller, or Jim Morrill Jr. would come in and one would win about 20 races in the last five nights - the percentage title will give George seven in a row and twelve dating back to 2001. And Napolitano was also the track's winningest trainer in five of six years between 2001 and 2006. From the PHHA / The Downs

HARNESS RACING PACER OF THE WEEK: JUST N ACE Despite winning his previous two races at Pocono, this five-year-old gelding was a 9-1 at the windows for Saturday afternoon's $25,000 to $30,000 claiming handicap pace. Perhaps it was because, for one, he was moving up in class from the $20,000 claimers. And there was also the fact that Just N Ace was switching barns after a claim. Leaving from position #1 in a field of seven, Just N Ace didn't seem concerned at all about the lack of betting interest. Driver Larry Stalbaum sent him out to the front, rated him well, and let the gelding, now in the barn of trainer James Guagliardo, do the rest. Just N Ace easily dealt with a first-over challenge from Major Deception and rolled to his third consecutive win in 1:53:2 on a track listed in good condition. Honorable Mention: IYQ YQR (Anthony Napolitano, Marta Piotrow), who moved up in class on Saturday to win a $20,000 claimer in 1:52:1, giving him three victories in a row. Dafinaty (Anthony Napolitano, Tom Wine II), who rolled to his second straight claiming win on Sunday, delivering in 1:54. Talk Show Chica (Tom Jackson driver and trainer), a three-year-old filly who rolled to her second straight condition win on Sunday night, this time scoring in 1:53:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: STOP RESISTIN There are often concerns about a horse coming off a career-best mile, in that bettors worry that it won't be able to duplicate that performance. This four-year-old gelding trained by Steven Brabrook posted his career-best mile in a win in a claiming handicap trot on October 18 at Pocono in 1:54:3. On Sunday night, Stop Reistin faced the same $10,000 to $12,500 claiming handicap trotting group looking for two in a row. Leaving from post position #6 in a field of eight as a 2-1 second choice, Stop Resistin sat back off the early pace as a speed duel between Meetmeinthemiddle and EV's Girl developed. Driver Marcus Miller chose a three-wide path on the back stretch for the gelding and he zipped past the leaders. From there, Stop Resistin was clear of the field and won his second straight, managing to reset his career mark in the process with a 1:53:2. Honorable Mention Crossfit (Tyler Buter, Susan Marshall), who captured his second straight claiming handicap trot on Tuesday and matched his career-best in the process with a 1:54:2. Believer (Tom Jackson, Randy Taft), who followed up his maiden victory at Harrah's with a condition win at Pocono on Tuesday in a career-best 1:58:1. Rich And Miserable (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who came up with a victory in Saturday afternoon's featured condition trot at Pocono for a $14,000 purse in 1:53, which was the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: HATIKVAH Coming from off the pace with driver Mattias Melander, this trotter rallied for a condition win on Saturday at Pocono at 17-1, paying off $37.60 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER Buter is closing out what might be his best ever season at Pocono pretty strong, as he churned out four wins on Saturday and then added multiple victories again on Sunday and Tuesday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CLAY FAUROT JR. Faurot did well by the veterans on Sunday night, picking up three training wins, all of which came with claiming pacers at least ten years old. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs                

WILKES-BARRE, PA - There were a trio of $12,000 featured events on the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The male pacers and the trotters generated mid-range upsets in their respective cuts, while the winning female pacer came through for her chalkplaying backers. The Heston Blue Chip filly Talk Show Chica, trained and driven by Tom Jackson for Braden Racing LLC, made a regaining move to the lead in front of the stands, opened a sizable lead on the far turn, then held off a stubborn first-over Peggy J by three-quarters of a length to win in 1:53.2. Having now won two in a row and three out of her last five starts against this level of competition, Talk Show Chica will now have to step up her game, as her victories and money boost her out of this class.   In the pace for males, Gold Star Yoder rallied from the pocket and held off Notwithoutafight, but not without a fight, prevailing over the late charger by a head while lowering his lifetime mark by 4 2/5 seconds to 1:51. Anthony Napolitano drove the Mysticism gelding for trainer Eric Mollor and the ownership of Niss Allen Inc. In the trotting contest, the Donato Hanover sophomore gelding Nezblanc wound up in the pocket as a result of two early breakers, then was able to squeeze between horses late with a heady drive from trainer Aaron Johnston to take a new mark of 1:57. First-over President was closest at the wire, a half length behind, to the winner, who is owned by Richard Hess. Three-time driving winners on the card were Matt Kakaley, Marcus Miller, and Anthony Napolitano (the last-named now having succeeded 39 times over the last 11 Pocono cards). All of Kakaley's victorious trio were trained by Clay Faurot Jr. - and the ages of each of the winning threesome are in double digits (Artache Hanover, 11; Mystery Island, 13; and Regal Hope, 10). This was the last Sunday card of the 2020 season at Pocono. There are six cards remaining in the meet, with Tuesday and Saturday programs at 12:30 p.m. for the next three weeks. From the PHHA / The Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rich And Miserable, the 2019 Trotter of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, zipped to the lead at the three-quarter pole in the $14,000 harness racing trotting feature at the mountain oval on Saturday afternoon, drawing off to a 5½ length victory in 1:53. Tyler Buter was in his usual perch behind the Explosive Matter gelding, a career winner of 21 of 59 starts and $438,586 for trainer Todd Buter and the ownership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. That same grouping won two races earlier with Two AM, a Muscle Massive gelding who win in 1:55 to raise his lifetime numbers to 32 of 94 and $486,905.   In the $12,800 claiming handicap pacing headliner, the United Ace gelding Just N Ace paid immediate dividends for owner William Gordon and trainer James Guagliardo, who took the horse for $20,000 last week, stepped him up to the $25,000 level, and won his third straight in 1:53.2 when the track was rated "good" early in the card. Driver Larry Stalbaum never looked back with the streaking pacer, winning by a length despite pressure at many points in the mile. Former HHI Man of the Year and longtime USTA director Lon Frocione passed away this past Wednesday at age 88, and trainer Joe Pavia Jr. gave a proper sendoff to his longtime patron by sending out his Sweet Lou gelding Lyons Night Hawk, who rattled off fast numbers of :27.1, :54.1, and 1:22 en route to a 1:50.2 triumph, boosting his earnings to $260,158 while being driven by George Napolitano Jr. Tyler Buter and George Napolitano Jr. both paraded back to the winners circle four times during the Saturday card at Pocono, whose last Sunday night card of 2020 will begin tomorrow at 5 p.m. From the  PHHA / The Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA -Crossfit minded his manners, controlled the front end from an improved post, and easily won the $12,800 claiming handicap trotting harnes racing feature on Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Tyler Buter hustled the Donato Hanover gelding to the lead in front of the stands, rated the half, then got a 56.4 back half out of him to finish out the mile in 1:54.4, with pocketsitting Mr Houdini a non-threatening 1¾ lengths back at the wire. Crossfit can be a chancy proposition - he had run in two of his last three starts, but he won the two before that - and was on top behavior today for trainer Susan Marshall, also co-owner with John Marshall.   Trainer/driver Ãke Svanstedt made a cameo appearance at Pocono to drive the sophomore Swiss House Onfire in a $10,400 contest, and horse and driver made short work of their task by stepping home in 1:54.1, last half :56.3. The altered son of Muscle Hill - Brooklyn, a $335,000 yearling with a loaded pedigree who has limited success to date, may be finding his best form right now as he took a new mark here for S R F Stable. Another interestingly-bred horse winning impressively was the Trixton four-year-old Celebrity Rolex, unraced at two and three and now a winner of four out of six starts after a 1:56.2 - :28.1 tally. The $180,000 yearling, whose sire and dam Angelette Hanover can be traced in the near past to "super dam" Amour Angus, was driven by Fern Paquet Jr. for trainer Jennifer Sansone and Celebrity Farms, who purchased the fast trotter just prior to the start of his racing career. George Napolitano Jr., Pocono's perennial leading driver, got hot near the end of the card and ended his Tuesday at the mountain oval with five victories. FINISHING LINES - 100 miles south at Harrah's Philadelphia, Caviart Ally, getting ready for her Breeders Crown eliminations this Saturday at Hoosier, won a Tuesday morning qualifier in 1:50.4 by 25¼ lengths for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Brett Pelling. In the Crown elim, Caviart Ally drew post four, while divisional queenpins Shartin N and Kissin In The Sand drew the outside posts eight and nine, respectively. From the PHHA / The Downs

PACER OF THE WEEK: SCOOTNROLL Unraced as a two-year-old, this sophomore gelding began his harness racing career this year with six straight wins in New York. Upon joining the John Hallett barn, he scored a win at Pocono to make it seven in a row before suffering his first loss by a neck to Billy Lincoln N on October 4. But Scootnroll rebounded by beating Billy Lincoln N and the rest of a non-winners of four group at Pocono on October 11 in a career-best 1:51. On Sunday night, he faced that same class from an outside post in a field of seven as an 8-5 second choice. With Tyler Buter in the bike, the gelding hustled to the front and had to deal with a strong first-over challenge from Diamond Head and a late move from his old foe Billy Lincoln N, who had the pocket trip. Scootnroll answered them all to pace away for his second straight victory and his ninth in ten career races, resetting his career mark in 1:50:2 in the process. Honorable Mention Just N Ace (Anthony Napolitano, Antonia Storer), who picked up his second straight claiming victory on Saturday, winning in 1:52:1. IYQ YQR (Anthony Napolitano, Marta Piotrow), who rolled to his second claiming win in a row on Saturday and did so in a career-best 1:50:2. Macheasy A (Tyelr Buter, Rob Harmon), whose first ever U.S. victory in a condition pace on Saturday came in 1:50:1, the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: EXPLOSIVEBREAKAWAY This four-year-old gelding trained by Fred Grant earned over six figures in 2019 and has been excellent in recent months. Coming into the featured condition trot for $17,200 at Pocono on Saturday, Explosivebreakaway had hit the board in his previous five races. with three victories in that span. He left from post position #2 as the 2-1 third choice in a field of seven on Saturday. The gelding stayed out of the early battle for the lead as Icanflylikeanangel set the pace. Driver Tom Jackson set Explosivebreakaway in motion second-over on the back stretch with cover behind race favorite Scirocco Rob. In the stretch, Explosivebreakaway came up three-wide and scrambled past Icanflylikeanangel to win in 1:53. Honorable Mention Goes Down Smooth (Tom Jackson, Ron Burke), whose condition victory on Saturday came in 1:52:4, which was the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Crossfit (Tyler Buter, Susan Marshall), who chalked up a claiming handicap win on Tuesday in 1:54:4. Dot Dot Dot dash (Chase Vandervort, William Vandervort Jr.), who rolled to a condition win on Sunday night in a career-best 1:54:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: JAMAICAN COWBOY With McGwire Sowers in the bike, this pacer came up late for a claiming victory on Sunday night at 24-1, paying $51.20 on a $2 win bet. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TOM JACKSON In what was a relatively balanced week on the driving side at Pocono, Jackson stands out for his three wins, including a double on Saturday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RON BURKE The Burke barn has stood tall at the top of the trainers' standings all year long at Pocono, and two more victories on Saturday solidified that. 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 The Downs                

WILKES-BARRE PA – The Roll With Joe sophomore gelding Scootnroll, unraced at two, is now 9 for 10 lifetime, and for the second straight week he took his harness racing revenge over the only horse to defeat him, Billy Lincoln N, by winning a $12,000 pacing contest on the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a lifetime best 1:50.2. Scootnroll, leaving from the outside post in the field of seven, worked his way past Billy Lincoln N after a 27.1 quarter, with that foe, who was favored slightly over the winner, content to ride behind to the half in :55.2 and to the three-quarters in 1:23.1, with the leader being joined by first-over Diamond Head at the latter call. As they turned for home, driver Tyler Buter got a big burst from his promising three-year-old, and he finished out the mile in :27.1 to be 1½ lengths clear of Sweet Truth, who barreled home between horses after riding third-in; that one in turn was a neck ahead of Diamond Head and another neck to the good of Billy Lincoln N, who did not have enough sprint in the Pocono Pike on this night. But Scootnroll had the needed power, and the youngster is quickly making up for lost time for owners Rick and Geoffrey Howles and trainer John “Bo” Hallett. Anthony Napolitano continued his strong form run by driving three winners on the Sunday card, giving him 32 in his last eight programs at The Downs. Anthony is second to his brother George Jr. in the drivers win standings; Tyler Buter and Matt Kakaley, 3-4 in the standings behind the Napolitanos, each recorded a driving double – as did McGwire Sowers, a native Maritimer and a “foal” of February 2000 who had never hit the board at Pocono in limited racing here before bringing in two winners and missing a third by a nose.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Explosivebreakaway, the full brother to the stakes filly Phaetosive, got to the lead in the last 50 feet to edge Icanflylikeanangel and win the $17,200 harness racing trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:53, within a fifth of his lifetime mark despite temperatures hovering in the low to mid 50s. Tom Jackson worked out a second-over trip with the Explosive Matter gelding behind favored Scirocco Rob, who battled hard with pacesetting Icanflylikeanangel down the backstretch and through the far turn. When the uncovered horse tired, Jackson moved wide with Explosivebreakaway, and pocketsitter Warrior One took his shot up the Pocono Pike, but Explosivematter got the photo finish camera's nod by a nose, with Warrior One another neck back in third. Fred Grant trains the winner, 13 of 29 lifetime with earnings of $198,464, and he is co-owner along with Janice Rubin, Steve Katz, and Murray Brown.   In the $14,000 co-featured trot, the hard-closing mare Broadway Athena also used second-over tactics to take her third win in her last four starts, going by first-over Southwind Avenger by 1¼ lengths in a 1:53.2 mile. Anthony Napolitano drove the Broadway Hall mare for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and owner/son Gilbert Garcia-Owen. The pacing highlight was a $16,000 claiming handicap event, in which the Captaintreacherous gelding Major Deception paid immediate dividends to owner Joseph Riad and trainer Marc Mosher by winning his first start after being claimed in 1:50.4. This race also looked like it might go to the second-over horse, as Burning Midnight tipped off the cover of first-up Major Deception to provide a late challenge, but Major Deception, guided by Anthony Napolitano, showed courage to take a nose decision while joining the Six-Figure Winners Club. In all Anthony Napolitano had three winners on the day to lead all other drivers, and he continued his recent torrid streak of local sulky success - he has now had 29 victories over the last seven cards at The Downs. From the PHHA / The Downs

PACER OF THE WEEK: CLOSING STATEMENT Coming into a $10,000 condition pace on Saturday afternoon, this five-year-old harness racing gelding trained by Randy Bendis had picked up back-to-back victories, one at the Meadows and one at Pocono. Closing Statement was stepping up in class for the race on Saturday. Perhaps that's why he went off at middling odds of 6-1 with the inside post in a field of seven. In the previous two wins, Closing Statement had lived up to his name with come-from-behind efforts. But driver Larry Stalbaum had other ideas on Saturday, sending the gelding to the front and setting nasty fractions. Closing Statement never let up, rolling to a romping victory in 1:49.3, which was a new career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. Honorable Mention R Gauwitz Hanover (Kevin Wallis, Kevin Reynolds Jr.), who picked up his second straight claiming win on Sunday night in 1:53.4. Scootnroll (Tyler Buter, John Hallett), who captured Sunday night's feature condition pace in a career-best 1:51.1, giving him wins in eight of his nine career races. Full View (Tyler Buter, Scott Blackler), who scored his second straight condition win on Tuesday afternoon, getting it done in 1:52.4, which matched his career-best. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MUSCLE M UP The featured $17,200 condition trot on Saturday afternoon was stacked with top competitors. Even though Muscle M Up, a five-year-old stallion trained by Ake Svanstedt, had won a featured trot in his last start at Pocono, he went off as a 5-2 third choice. Early on he sat third while Explosivebreakaway, the 9-5 favorite, set the pace. On the back stretch, driver Anthony Napolitano sent Muscle M Up first-over after Explosivebreakaway. The two hooked up for a great duel, with Muscle M Up eventually wearing down the favorite and getting the better of it. The stallion trotted away at the end to win by two lengths in 1:52.2, which was the fastest trotting time posted at Pocono this past week. Honorable Mention Sylvesteramericait (Mike Simons, Robert Baggitt Jr.) who came in from Harrah's for a condition victory on Saturday in 1:54.1, his second win in his last three races. Winning Legends (Justin Huckabone driver and trainer), whose win at Pocono in a condition on Saturday came in a career-best 1:53.2. Mighty Surf (Mike Simons, Jake Huff), a mare who handled a $20,000 claiming trotting group on Tuesday in 1:56.2 on an off-track. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MAC ANOVER This one paid a nice price after scoring a condition pacing victory on Saturday with Simon Allard in the bike at 11-1, yielding a $24.80 payback on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD Allard rolled to five wins on Saturday at Pocono, and then arrived late Sunday night to dash off victories in the last three races on the program. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MARTA PIORTOW The Piotrow barn has been a factor all year long at Pocono, and she continues to roll as the season winds down after earning a training double on Sunday. 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 The Downs                

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  

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