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

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The two-year-old American Ideal - Shake That Junk colt Shake That House might well have earned himself a spot in his division's Breeders Crown elimination ten days hence at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, coming within 3/5 of a second of his divisional world record by winning a $15,000 pace Tuesday in 1:50.2 over the mountain oval. The winner, a ¾ brother to 2017 Breeders Crown champion Split The House, quarter-moved from third for driver George Napolitano Jr. after another well-bred horse, the sophomore Captain Deo (a Somebeachsomewhere colt out of the $1.9M-winning Worldly Beauty), smoked the opening panel in 25.3 in the "nw 4 races" event. Shake That House went on to post midsplits of 54.3 and 1:22.1, then held off the stretch charge of Captain Deo by a half-length. It was the seventh lifetime start and third win for Shake That House, who was coming off a 3-3 finish in the Metro elims and final, and who previously had won in 1:52.2 at Vernon. Chris Oakes, the trainer of not only Split The House but also the new world's fastest trotter Homicide Hunter, conditions the rapidly-developing freshman for Crawford Farms Racing, Alan Johnston, and Norfolk Racing Stables. The 1:50.2 clocking was just short of the 1:49.4 world record of Somestarsomewhere set, appropriately enough, in a 2013 Breeders Crown elimination right here at Pocono. Earlier, Napolitano did something he does not do regularly - drive a horse who paid $50.80 to win. Revelry, who had only one show finish in seven career starts despite often showing good early speed, used off-the-pace tactics on Tuesday to give "George Nap" his third $50+ horse of the meet. Trainer/driver Fern Paquet Jr. also got in on the Tuesday longshot fun by handling Embassy Seelster as she came home first to the tune of $53.60, giving Pocono its tenth card of the meet during which two winners paid $50+. Napolitano, the track's leading driver both all-time and this season, had five winners on the Tuesday Pocono card, and his brother Anthony visited Victory Lane three times. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

FREEHOLD, NJ - October 3, 2018 - On Saturday (Sept 29) Freehold Raceway held the $59,885 Renaissance final for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Nancy Johansson trainee Jk American Beauty sat in the two hole until just past the half where she brushed past the leader and never looked back to stop the clock in 1:56.1 for driver Jordan Stratton. This is the first-lifetime win for the daughter of American Ideal, and boost her earnings to $125,395 for 3 Brothers Stables. Miss Raggedy Ann finished second with Surreality coming in third. Freehold resumes live racing on Friday (Oct 5) with a post time of 12:30 pm, featuring the SBOANJ sponsored Futurity #53 for 2-year-old trotters. Then on Saturday (Oct 6), they will host the Home Grown Pace #1 for 2-year-old pacers. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ 

Youaremycandygirl, winner of fifteen of 22 career races, headlines a field of eight filly pacers in the $230,700 Jugette on Wednesday, September 19th at the Delaware County Fair. The fillies will race one heat to determine the Jugette champion. The daughter of American Ideal owns a lifetime mark of 1:48 2/5 and has earned $1,263,536. The Ron Burke trainee will leave from post #3 and will be piloted by Yannick Gingras for owner W. J. Donovan. She was the 207 Breeders Crown champion and in 2018 won the $270,425 Empire Breeders Classic and the $96,600 Shady Daisy. The main challenge to Youaremycandygirl should come from Alexa's Power from post #5. The Somebeachsomewhere lass has earned $405,195 for Jeffrey and Michael Snyder and trainer Jim Campbell. The ultra-consistent Alexa's Power has finished on the board in 11 straight races and will be piloted by Trace Tetrick. Post time for the Wednesday card at the Delaware County Fair will be 11:00 AM. The simulcast program will start at 10:30 AM. Post positions for the $230,700 Jugette PP - Horse (Driver/Trainer) 1. Strong Opinion (Chris Page/Ron Burke) 2. Sansovina Hanover (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke) 3. Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 4. E Dee's Well Said (Jim Pantaleano/Christen Pantaleano) 5. Alexa's Power (Trace Tetrick/Jim Campbell) 6. Sidewalk Dancer (Scott Zeron/Chris Oakes) 7. Solitary (Brett Miller/Nick Surick) 8. Aldine Hanover (Marcus Miller/Erv Miller) by Jau Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug    

Americanprimtime) captured the Open Pace ($13,000) at Tioga Downs on Saturday (September 15). It was one of five winners on the night for harness racing driver Mike Merton. Americanprimetime ($3.00) went straight to the front covering the first quarter in :26.3 with Dull Roar (Jim Meittinis) following in second. Owned by the Rock&Roll Stable Inc. and trained by Rick Dane, Americanprimetime led to the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.3. He found another gear in the stretch to win in 1:50.3. Gillys Boy (Mike Simons) came up to get second. Dull Roar held for third, Americanprimetime is a 6-year-old horse by American Ideal. It was his sixth win this season and career victory number 27. BJ Lorado (Aaron Byron) cruises to Open Trot ($13,000) win. BJ Lorado ($19.00) charged out of the gate and went straight to the front. After hitting the first quarter in :27.1, he used a second quarter of :29.2 to hit the half in :56.3. He got some pressure from Buff (Corey Braden) as he hit three-quarters in 1:24.3. Trained by Marc Major for owners Michael and Diane Norcross, BJ Lorado was too strong in the stretch as he won easily in 1:55.1. Buff settled for second with Fox Valley Iliad (Larry Stalbaum) getting third money. BJ Lorado is a 4-year-old gelding by Bo W. It was his eighth win this season and his 12th trip to the winner's circle in his career. Leading driver Mike Merton won five on the night giving him 70 for the year. His other four wins came with Mikado Blue Chip ($15.80), R M Blackhawk ($6.20), Jacksrluckytoo ($5.10), and Onhishonor Hanover ($13.40). Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (September 21). Closing night for 2018 is on Saturday night (September 22) with a special start time of 5:30 p.m. Fireworks follows the live racing. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com. by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Batavia, NY --- Two divisions of New York Sire Stake (NYSS) 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were in town on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to compete for $109,000 in purses at Batavia Downs and in the first $54,500 split, Melodies Major (Art Major-Hilarious) left a lasting impression on the locals by setting a new track record. Bicorne Hanover (Matt Kakaley) left from post one and opened up a quick two-length advantage while Melodies Major (Tyler Buter) dropped in second to get the perfect garden spot trip. The top two broke away from the field while setting fractions of :28.3, :58 and 1:26.3. At that last station Buter popped the plugs and pulled Melodies Major and he went right past Bicorne Hanover in the blink of an eye. At the top of the lane, Buter sat chilly while Melodies Major paced home in :27.3, well in hand at the wire in 1:54.1. The time of 1:54.1 is a new track record for 2-year-old pacing colts at Batavia Downs, replacing the 1:54.2 standard set by Doctor Butch in 2012 and matched by He's Watching in 2013. "When I pulled him he was loaded with pace," said Buter after the race. "We got a perfect trip, everything went well and I couldn't have asked for anything better." It was the sixth win in eight starts this year for Melodies Major ($5.50) who now has earned $166,433 in NYSS purses and finished as the top point-getter in his division with 325. Melodies Major is owned by Martin Scharf, is trained by Mark Ford and was bred by James Avritt Sr. In the second $54,500 division, Covered Bridge (American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses) provided a major upset in a blanket finish. The heavily favored Reining Deo (Jim Morrill Jr,) took an expected spot on the front end and with no early challengers, Morrill took advantage and backed the half off to :59.1. Having his fill of the slow fractions, Ray Schnittker pulled Hurrikane Kingklee from fourth and started moving up the outside. Morrill responded with a :28.1 third panel effectively ending the first challenge. However Covered Bridge (Kevin Cummings) who was drafting second-over, tipped three wide at the same time and was raging with pace. Covered Bridge got to within a length of Reging Deo going into the final straight and then proceeded to run him down to the wire, winning by a head in 1:55.4 at 22-1. The time was a new lifetime mark for the winner. "Off a half in :59, she went a big mile from where she was," said Cummings. "She raced huge, I like her a lot. She's a nice horse." It was the second win of the year for Covered Bridge ($46.80), both in NYSS action for owners David Smith and James Giannuzzi and trainer Jessica Okusko. Covered Bridge was bred by WInbak Farm. There were also two $15,000 Excelsior "A" races on the card. The first division was won by Shim (American Ideal-Feel Life) who got away sixth by 12 lengths, survived an interference break then rallied to win by two in 1:57.1. Shim ($5.90) was driven by Ray Fisher Jr. for owners Pat Lachance (who also trains the winner), M & M Harness Racing, Ira Rosenblum and the Royal Flush Stable. Shim was bred by White Birch Farm. The second division went to Cal (American Ideal-Hula's Z Tam) who got away third before pulling at the half to take the lead and eventually the race in 1:58.1. Cal ($10.40) was driven by Matt Kakaley for owners Crawford Farms Racing and the Northfork Racing Stable and trainer Chris Oakes. Cal was bred by Pat Lachance and the Z Tam Stable. The $320,000 NYSS consolation races will be held at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 21). The $1.8 million NYSS finals are the following night, Saturday (Sept. 22) at Yonkers Raceway. By TIm Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY --- Three divisions of 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings went postward at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept.5) to compete for the $117,600 in purses up for grabs as well as the last chance to accrue available points to make the $225,000 final for this group. In the first $39,200 division, Ghost Dance (American Ideal-Epoxy Queen) pulled the upset at 9-1 and closed hard to do it. . The heavy post time favorite Topville Olympian (Brett Miller) shot right to the front and took the field to the half in :55.3. There, Rockapelo (Jason Bartlett) pulled first up with Ghost Dance (Scott Zeron) on his back as they heaed into the turn. Rockapelo cleared quickly around the tiring Topville Olympian, whose gap then allowed Ghost Dance to drop back to the pylons behind the new leader to save ground. These two stood pat until the top of the lane where Zeron pulled Ghost Dance and paced by Rockapelo at the wire winning by a length in 1:52. "The race set up well for us and he got brave with the two-hole trip. And then he paced strong in the lane" said Zeron after the race. It was the fourth win of the year for Ghost Dance ($20.00) and it pushed his earnings to $98,002 for owner Millar Farm. Rick Zeron trains the winner. The second $39,200 split was won by Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) who made a statement move at the half and then stretched out from there. Ostro Hanover (Louis Roy) rushed to the front and set early splits of :27 and :56.3. But before they hit that second timer, Ideal Feeling (Jason Bartlett) was out and rolling and took the front by the time they hit the third turn and from there, the race was history. Ideal Feeling opened up a three length advantage as he hit the third quarter in 1:24 and then rounded the final bend and cruised home in :28 flat, winning by as many as he wanted in 1:52. "Last time he had the eight hole and had no chance, but he just felt like he was a great horse. I was hoping Mike (trainer Deters) would bring him up here because I thought he'd be good. He showed it today, he's a real nice horse. He left, he came first over and he won easy" Bartlett said after the race, Rick Berks owns Ideal Feeling ($7.90) who now has four wins this season and $62,791 in purses. The third $39,200 division looked to be a match race between Springsteen and Muscle Hill and it was for three eighths of a mile. But it was Mach N Cheese (Betterthancheddar-Mach You And Me) that pulled off the upset at 19-1 when they hit the wire, Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) was intent on cutting the race and he got his way; leading the group to the half in a slow :57.1. Not happy with the tepid pace, Springsteen (Louis Roy) came up first with Mach N Cheese (Jim Marohn Jr.) in tow. Springsteen locked up with Hitman Hill up the backside and the two tangled from there, around the last turn and down the stretch. But Mach N Cheese who had been drafting during the up-front battle, tipped three-wide in the straight and under heavy prompting from Marohn, paced by the leaders to win by a neck in 1:53.4. "It was a slow half but we picked it up pretty good up the backside and there was a really good horse on the front. But I followed the horse I needed to follow and everything just worked out for us from the top of the stretch home. He got around here very well. He's a very good half mile track horse" said Marohn in the winner's circle. Mach N Cheese ($41.00) scored his sixth win of the year for the Save The Day Stable and trainer Rob Harmon. There was one Excelsior "A" race on the card and the winner there could have competed in the top class tonight. Thor De Vie (So Surreal-Pebblebeach De Vie) was very impressive leading every step of the way and winning by four lengths in 1:52.2, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Thor De Vie ($3.30) is owned by his trainer, Jim Graham, Lee WInters, Paul Tandlmayer and Giuseppe Micchia. Batavia Downs offered a $2,000 guaranteed early Pick-5 pool on Wednesday and there were no winning tickets once again. As a result there is a $2,900 carryover for Friday (Sept. 7) and there will be another guaranteed pool of $6,000 for the early Pick-5 (which runs from race one to race five) that will be part of the USTA Strategic Wagering program. Post time for Friday evening is 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 4, 2018--New York Sire Stakes return downstate Thursday night (Sept. 6th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $168,499 Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-olds fillies. The event, remembering the publicity director at the Raceway as well as NBC Sports, goes in triplicate (races 8, 9 and 10). The ($55,833) opening division is seemingly the lightest, with Line Dancer (Jordan Stratton, post 1) retuning to statebred competition after winning an local overnight two starts ago. The daughter of Art Major, co-owned by (trainer) Ricky Bucci and Blue Meadow Farm, was a sire-stakes bridesmaid at Monti last month. Beachin' N Kissin' (Jason Bartlett, post 2), Betterthangraduate (Brett Miller, post 3) and Checkered Past (Jim Morrill Jr., post 5) all have recent overnight wins. The second ($55,833) Cohen event finds Solitary (Miller, post 2) returning off a closing second in this past Saturday night's (Sept. 1st) $112,904 Lady Maud. The American Ideal miss, though just 1-for-15 this season, has paid her win against the statebreds. Newsday (Stratton, post 5) owns a local NYSS win (and another 'heater' win at Monticello), while Mink Pink (Bartlett, post 3) was the scourge of the Excelsior ranks earlier in the season. Thursday night's final ($56,833) sire stakes grouping is the marquee matchup, featuring Lady Maud winner Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr., post 4). This daughter of American Ideal won that race (1:53.4) by (barely) extricating herself from the pocket. 'Alexis,' trained by Casie Coleman for co-owners West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinlay, is 4-for-11 this season ($226,388). Alexis Faith opposes the red-hot Wisdom Tree (Matt Kakaley, post 1), whose sire stakes resume reads five wins (including one here) and a second in six tries. The daughter of Betterthancheddar, co-owned by Tom Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart, has won nine of her dozen '18 tries overall ($246,435). She's a month out since whipping the Catskills crowd (1:52.4) and owns a 1:49.4 life-best in the $141,200 Nadia Lobell at Hoosier. There's also a coupled-entry, Ron Burke-trained two-fer in Jewels Forreal (George Brennan, post 2) and Tell Me a Joke (Miller, post 7). Post time for the dozen-race wagering card is 6:50 PM, however those early (5:30 PM) attendees can watch a good, old-fashioned walkover. Windsun Magnolia (Jim Marohn Jr.) has the oval all to herself in a $6,100 second-level Excelsior event. Can 'Magnolia,' Marohn Jr. and track announcer John Hernan handle the pressure? Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

HARRINGTON, DE. - Nanticoke Racing, Josh Parker and Barry Spedden's Kaitlyn N ($4.40, Art Stafford Jr.) captured the $16,000 Mares Open Tuesday in 1:53.3 at Harrington Raceway. Trained by Parker, it was the 8th win of the year for the 5-year-old American Ideal mare, who was an aggressive pocket sitter from post seven behind pacesetter Artrageous was who was second. Purrfect Bags was third. Kaitlyn had been racing against some of the top mares on the east coast in Pennsylvania and New York over the summer before returning to her homestate. She has won 10 of 39 career starts. Racing continues on a Monday through Wednesday schedule with a 5 p.m. post time. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway    

CHESTER, PA - Special Kay Deo is in the form of her young life, with the sophomore daughter of American Ideal taking a new mark of 1:52 while winning the $16,000 featured pace for distaffs Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. Odds-on favorite Believe In Me brushed to the lead after a 27.4 initial split, and many then thought the race was for place behind a horse who had several decent recent finishes, with Youaremycandygirl and Kissin In The Sand sprinkled in her competition lines. But Special Kay Deo started uncovered by the 56.2 half, and she was within a length of the leader by the 1:24.3 3/4s, having paced her own third panel in 27.1 to get to that point. And the winner kept right on gaining, having another 27.1 quarter in her, to wear down Believe In Me by ¾ of a length; the chalk held for second in a photo over early leader Zutopia. Corey Callahan handled the sulky assignment for trainer Chris Oakes and Northfolk Racing Stable as the developing miss took her second straight victory in similar late-charging fashion. In the $14,500 co-featured distaff pace, the Bettor's Delight mare Heavenly Bet, who as recently as 22 days ago was racing at the bottom level, had enough in the stretch to overhaul million-dollar winner and favorite Regil Elektra to lower her mark to 1:51.2 for trainer Susan Marshall, co-owner with John Marshall. Heavenly Bet's driver was George Napolitano Jr., who recorded his fifth winner of the day, including win prices of $16.80, $13.20, and $37.40 with Heavenly Bet. During the last five Philly cards in which he has driven (since a week ago Wednesday), Napolitano has visited Victory Lane 19 times; he also had 17 successful steers during the most recent four-day race week at Pocono. As of this writing Napolitano is now only nine wins behind Dan Noble, third in the North American win standings, behind 1-2 "usual suspects" Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr. Driver Eric Carlson also had a fine day at Philly, guiding home four winners. Harrah's Philadelphia will be back in action on Sunday and then follow that up with a special Labor Day Monday card, both programs starting at 12:40. Monday's racing is headlined by the $320,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships for two- and three-year-olds, colts and fillies, trotters and pacers; former Stallion Series champions include Donttellmenomore, Take It Back Terry, and Sidewalk Dancer. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Checkered Past got the jump on the harness racing field and went on to her second straight victory, winning the $17,000 featured distaff pace Wednesday at Harrah's Philadelphia in 1:52.3, equaling the lifetime best she recorded in winning seven days previously. Driver Andrew McCarthy, a three-time winner on the card, made two speed moves with the sophomore American Ideal filly and had it easy from there, with a five-length lead at headstretch and finishing three lengths ahead. The winner of $137,323 may have the current form to handle the class stepup she will now have to take for trainer Peter Foley and All Star Racing Inc. The winner of the $16,000 co-feature trot also was victorious for the second straight outing, as the Cantab Hall gelding Scirocco Imsosmart worked to the lead past the quarter and won in 1:55.4 for trainer John Butenschoen and owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr.; driver David Miller went McCarthy one better with four sulky successes. And a full brother to Ariana G who is 4-for-5 to date at three after not starting at two also rates a mention: trainer Jimmy Takter seems to have the Muscle Hill colt Fleet Admiral finally on track, with driver Jimmy Takter bringing the horse home nearly ten lengths to the good. In matching the two feature winners with two straight wins, Fleet Admiral tied his mark of 1:54.4 for owners Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and the S R F Stable. FINISHING LINES - Harrah's Philadelphia will host the $320,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships on a special Labor Day card starting at 12:40. Freshman trotting filly Southwind Storm will attempt to be only the third horse in the ten-year history of the program to sweep her four prelims and then her Championship, starting from post three in the ninth race. But a word of caution: including ties, nine horses who led their division in the pointstandings are in Monday, and they might note that last year only one divisional pointleader, 3PF Freakonomics, went on to take her Championship. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

Chester, PA --- Not only did Sunfire Blue Chip ($14.20) duel down double millionaire Mach It So, but he also parried a ferocious late rally from the white-hot Donttellmeagain in Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 26) featured $30,000 Great Northeast event for open pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia.   The 8-year-old American Ideal entire got away cleanly in third behind early pacesetter Check Six (Tony Morgan) and stalked a :26.1 first quarter before watching Mach It So (George Napolitano Jr.) brush from the pocket with a circuit to go before working to clear before reaching race's midpoint in :54.2. Driver Josert Fonseca angled Sunfire Blue Chip first-over up the far side and worked steadily toward Mach It So through a :27.3 third split.   Within half a length a quarter from home, Sunfire Blue Chip inched closer through the far turn and gained equal footing with Mach It So at head-stretch. Meanwhile, Donttellmeagain (Victor Kirby) -- a 1:49.1 winner in Great Northeast action a fortnight ago -- was building momentum around foes after kicking third-over cover.   With one challenger put away, Sunfire Blue Chip held tough to the end of a 1:50 mile, keeping Donttellmeagain a head at bay. Third-place finisher Mach It So proved valiant in defeat, only beaten by half a length.   For Jimmy Takter trainee Sunfire Blue Chip, the Great Northeast win was his 30th career tally and his fifth of the season. Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine own the millionaire pacer.   No one correctly selected the top five finishers in the afternoon's fifth race, despite 4-5 favorite Penzance Hanover ($3.60, Napolitano) winning the $17,000 conditioned event. As such, the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 carryover for Wednesday's (Aug. 29) program increased to $7,146.35. Post time for the first of 14 races on Wednesday is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The in-form duo of pacer Ideal Kiss and driver George Napolitano Jr. combined to take the $20,000 claiming handicap pacing feature on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "G Nap" sent the altered son of American Ideal to the top well before the 27 quarter, then got a big breather while reaching the half in 56.3. From there the sprint was on, and nobody had enough sprint to catch Ideal Kiss - he went the third quarter in 27.1, and then followed up with a 27.2 kicker to complete the 1:51.1 mile two lengths ahead of Skyful Of Lighters. Ideal Kiss has now won three of his last four while rising from a price tag of $15,000 to $30,000. The latter price is what trainer Hunter Oakes claimed him for out of his last start, and the career winner of $145,630 has already earned back a third of his purchase price for the Northfork Racing Stable. As for meet-leading driver George Napolitano, the victory was the sixth of the night, and he would end the evening with seven trips to Victory Lane, after winning four at Harrah's Philly yesterday afternoon. In the $17,500 co-featured pace, George's brother Anthony Napolitano was victorious with the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Rodeo Rock in 1:50.3. "A Nap" brushed with the winner of $296,720 in front of the stands and stepped to the lead, and Rodeo Rock has enough to withstand Soho Wallstreet A by a length for his second straight triumph. Robert Cleary conditions the winner for Royal Wire Products Inc. The final preliminary in the popular summerlong Great Northeast Open Series will be held at Pocono on Sunday night, with open trotters going after a $30,000 purse. The two early favorites are double world champion Homicide Hunter and Smalltownthrowdown, who posted a 1:51.1 victory the last time the two collided. Pocono will host $100,000 Championships at 1¼ miles for all the Great Northeast Open Series classes on Sunday, September 2, on a $1.5M card that will also feature the Championships of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-olds. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

YONKERS, NY, - Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Aug. 24th) hosted the $156,000 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Three divisions, worth $52,000 each, comprised the event. The opening group offered minimal suspense, as 1-5 favorite Major Blake (Jason Bartlett, $2.40) had an open lead virtually from the outset. From post position No. 3, he rolled through intervals of :28.2, :58, 1:26.2 and 1:55. Major Blake disposed of a loosely-pocketed World on Edge (Matt Kakaley) by a couple of lengths, with Chatelroll (Jordan Stratton) a wide and rallying third. Buddy Hill (Dexter Dunn) wound up a first-up fourth. For Major Blake, an Art Major colt co-owned by (trainer Sam Schillaci, Howard Berke and Matthew Bencic, it was his third win in four seasonal/NYSS starts. The exacta paid $8.60, the triple returned $27.20 and the superfecta paid $86.50. The second go-round saw Sheppard Pace winner Hickfromfrenchlick (Ray Schnittker, $5.20) stalk pole-sitting 13-10 fave Melodie's Major (Tyler Buter), then make up some distance to get him and get away (:28.2, :56.4, 1:24.2, life-best 1:53.3). From post No 2, Hickfromfrenchlick had to chase from 2¼ lengths off the final turn before winning by a half-length. Cup Fan (Marcus Miller) and Covered Bridge (Jordan Stratton) were third and fourth, respectively. For second choice Hickfromfrenchlick, a son of So Surreal co-owned by his trainer/driver, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico, he's now 3-for-4 this season. The exacta paid $9.60, the triple returned $29.60 and the superfecta paid $117.50. The third and final sire stakes get-together was won by polester Artie's Ideal (Miller, $14). After stuffing Rock America (catch-driver George Brennan) in behind early, 'Artie' rated it well (:28, :58, 1:27, 1:55.1). He put away both a first-up Bicorne Hanover (Kakaley) and a second-over, 4-5 choice Reigning Deo (Stratton). Artie's Ideal defeated Reigning Deo by a length-and-a-half, with Bicorne Hanover third and Jet Rock (Jim Marohn Jr.) recovering from an early break to finish fourth. For third choice Artie's Ideal, a son of American Ideal owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable and trained by Erv Miller, it was his second win in four '18 tries (2-for-3 in statebred ranks). The exacta paid $36, the triple returned $83.50 and the superfecta paid $211.50. Friday night's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Lispatty (Mark MacDonald, $14.80) in 1:52.2. Saturday night (Aug. 25th), the Raceway offers a pair of $40,000 elimination races for the 63rd Messenger Stakes, second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown. PICK 5 GUARANTTED AT $10,000 SATURDAY A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening's (Aug. 25th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,500.54 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Saturday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

CHESTER, PA -Checkered Past turned the tables on Dr J's Kiss in the $17,000 featured pace for distaffs Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, rallying smartly from the pocket to lower her lifetime mark to 1:52.3. Last week Checkered Past, coming off a 21-day layoff and stuck with the outside post seven, set the pace in this class, but couldn't hold off Dr J's Kiss, who rallied off cover. This week the victorious daughter of American Ideal pushed her archrival to a 27.1 quarter before yielding to sit the golden trip behind her through middle fractions of 57 and 1:24.2, then moved out nearing headstretch under Andrew McCarthy's guidance and paced past her rival, leaving her 1¾ lengths back at the finish. Peter Foley trains the winner of $128,823 for All Star Racing Inc. For driver McCarthy, again this year a serious candidate for the year-end Rising Star Award, the feature victory was one of six on the Wednesday card; in his last three appearances at Philly, he's had 14 triumphs. And he's not doing so bad "on the road" either, winning the Roll With Joe Pace at Tioga on Sunday with Western Fame, longest shot on the board, helping to run his seven-day calendar tally total to 19. If you're trainer/driver Jimmy Takter and your colt Fleet Admiral has made breaks early in all three of his starts so far, what do you do? You let him get away sixth ahead of a breaker in a field of seven, you pull on the right line late on the first turn, and you let him take it from there. And that's what the Muscle Hill - Cantab It All full brother to All The Time and Ariana G did, rambling up to the lead, and holding on well in the stretch to lower his mark to 1:54.4. The blossoming sophomore, who had posted a win and a second despite the three-time early unruliness, may be finally coming around for owner Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and the S R F Stable. The Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old pacing filly group takes over the Philly spotlight the next two days for their final preliminary rounds. The Stallion Series group goes in four divisions on Thursday, while there will be two sections of Sire Stakes action the following day. No filly was able to win in all three of the prelims to date, but each card will feature two double winners: May Bride Hanover and Skater Chick on Thursday, and Warrawee Ubeaut and Treacherous Reign on Friday. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Mister Daytona N (American Ideal) made his local debut on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as trainer-driver Mike Simons brought the six year old to town to compete in the $14,500 Open Pace. Mister Daytona N, who has been a regular at Yonkers this season, flashed some uncharacteristic early speed in his debut at the Spa as Simons marched him out to the early lead in the feature. After putting up a first quarter in 27.2, Mister Daytona N slowed things down significantly before reaching the half in 57.2. From there, the talented invader accelerated and never stopped. With veteran local star Artful Way (Frank Coppola Jr) closing in heading to three quarters, Simons stepped on the gas and Mister Daytona N responded. All the while, Deetzy (Bruce Aldrich Jr) got the pocket ride and those three pacers drew away turning for home before Mister Daytona N stopped the timer in 1:51.4 to win by a length and a half. Deetzy was the runner-up in the Open while the favored Artful Way had to settle for the show spot. Mister Daytona N, who was the public's second choice in the wagering at odds of 9-5, paced his final half in 54.2 highlighted by a 26.4 last quarter en route to what was his fourth win of the season. The exacta paid $29.80 while the triple returned $104 in the Saturday feature. Live racing resumes on Tuesday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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