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WILKES-BARRE, PA - The five-year-old Mister Big gelding Just Toyin With Ya tried new tactics in the $13,000 featured harness racing pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday night - go fast, then go even faster, then go faster yet - and they worked to perfection, as the pacer stormed to a 1:49.4 victory, lowering his mark by over two seconds. Driver Eric Carlson had the pedal to the metal early with Just Toyin With Ya and laid down winners-over-type fractions of 26.2, 54.2, and 1:21.2, opening a four length lead going around the final turn and carrying his speed to the wire for a 6 1/2 length tally over You Got Trumped, as the winner certainly lived up to his name in the estimation of those trailing him across the wire. Unraced at both two and three and with only one show in two starts at age four, Just Toyin With Ya seems ready to make up for the lost time with this breakthrough tally. Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC own the winning pacer, who likely won't be racing for an $18,000 tag next time behind the gate. From PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rodeo Romeo used his vaunted early foot and propelled his 2018 earnings over the $150,000 mark when he led at every call in winning the $21,500 pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.3. The son of Rocknroll Hanover cleared to the lead just after a 26.2 opening quarter, and then driver Eric Carlson was able to get him a rest to the 55.2 half. From there, favored Stormont Czar A came up first-over, with Rodeo Rock hot on his bumper at the 1:23 3/4s, but Rodeo Romeo was kept alive at crunch time, holding off Stormont Czar A by a nose, with Rodeo Rock just another neck back in third. The Chris Ryder trainee, owned by Oompa's Farm Inc. and Robert Mondillo, has now bankrolled $154,080 this season and $335,029 lifetime. Pembroke Wildcat won his second straight race when he was victorious in the $18,000 claiming handicap pace in 1:51.4. Driver Anthony Napolitano got the winning Western Maverick gelding away in the two hole behind Polak A, stepping up in company in search of his fourth straight win, but after fractions of 26.2, 55.3, and 1:23.2, Polak A could not sustain, and Pembroke Wildcat was able to make the lead and then resist 42-1 shot Onlythetuffsurvive, second for the fifth straight start, by a head. Brittany Robertson trains and owns the career winner of $345,227. For 46-year-old trainer Michael Seddon, making his career debut as a conditioner, certainly will have the Pocono patrons remembering his name - not too many trainers have a lifetime profit generation of 11410%. The very first horse Seddon ever sent out, Some Gold, rallied from an inside trip for trainer Vinnie Ginsburg to tally in an $11,000 pace and return $230.80 for a $2 ticket - despite winning his last start at Freehold. Of the eight horses who have paid in excess of $50 at Pocono since August 11, five of them have lit up the board for $100+, including season's leader College Hanover ($336.60) on September 9. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Twinkle, used very hard to get the early lead and under attack most of the mile, nevertheless dug down to take a 1:52.2 victory in the $17,500 distaff featured pace Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Driver Eric Carlson left the gate hard with the even-money favorite, but she had to pay a 26 price to get by JK Jazzitup, who took full advantage of track geometry from her inner starting position. Once on the lead, Twinkle had to deal with a steady grind through middle markers of 54.3 and 1:22.4 from second choice Princess Fabulosa, who never found a tuck from her outside starting berth in the field of seven and had to spend life on the rim. Twinkle finally was able to shake the Princess off, but then soon on the scene was Truth And Liberty, who had followed along second-over and then tipped wide for the drive. At the midstretch point it looked like Truth And Liberty might get by Twinkle, but the pacesetter dug down deep and produced enough to withstand the closer by a nose. Ross Croghan is the trainer of the winner of $186,629 for the Let It Ride Stable and Mr. Dana Parham. This weekend will see the final preliminary action of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and the Pennsylvania Stallion Series, along with the last prelim date of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) - Pocono will host a $30,000 fast-class GNOS trot on its Sunday card. After this weekend action, the final point status of the major contenders will be known, and on Tuesday, August 28 there will be the post draw for both the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds and the Great Northeast Open Series Championships, the latter to be conducted at the distance of 1¼ miles, with both of the Championship series highlighting an outstanding card to be raced at The Downs on Sunday, September 2. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

CHESTER, PA - The Bettor's Delight mare Delightful Dragon raised her lifetime bankroll over the $800,000 plateau with a 1:52 victory in the $14,500 distaff pacing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon. Driver Eric Carlson pulled behind cover from fourth nearing the half, then started a three-wide sweep when that cover started to falter nearing the ¾. Crossing back over to two-wide midturn, she had powered up to leader Nerida Franco N, who had set fractions of 26.1, 55.1, and 1:23.1, by headstretch, and through the lane she paced away as much the best, taking her earnings to $802,866 for trainer/owner Noel Daley. Only four drivers gained admittance to the Harrah's winners circle on the Friday card. Both Andrew McCarthy and George Napolitano Jr. brought home five winners; Eric Carlson won the feature as mentioned above and took the very next race as well; and Pat Berry bookended the card for his driving double. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Julio's Girl, reserved by driver Eric Carlson off a spirited pace, passed half her race opposition from midstretch to score in Monday's $14,000 distaff claiming handicap pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:53.1 on a sloppy track while paying $60.00 to win. Unbeamlieveable, not worse than second in this class since joining it on June 11, customarily dashed to the front, and after the 26.4 quarter she was joined by an uncovered Sea's Ideal, who pushed the leader and the fractions through middle splits of 55 and 1:23.1. Carlson had Julio's Girl in third-over position, followed second-over Rosy's Outlook three-wide on the far turn, then tipped wider in the stretch. Those four were the major players in the drive the wire, with the reserved energy of Julio's Girl unleashed late to put her a neck up on the game Unbeamlieveable at the finish, with first-over Sea's Ideal also courageous to take third and Rosy Outlook completing the Superfecta. Julio's Girl is trained by Nick Surick for owner Cliff Grundy, and that duo will have the winner for her next start, something that can't be said for three others in the race including Unbeamlieveable, with that trio combining in claiming price for a $66,000 turnover in the feature. A member of the "French Foreign Legion," a group of French trotters recently sold to a North American conglomerate of trainers and their interests, was victorious at Pocono on Monday. The Sam Bourbon seven-year-old gelding Bioness, on his lines showing being accustomed to races from 3000 meters (about 1 7/8 miles) to 3900 meters (c. 2 7/16 miles), must think the 1609 meters (1 mile) of U.S. racing is just a dash in the park, as he went to the quarter in 26.4 over the sloppy going en route to a 1:54.3 victory in his second Stateside start. Kevin Wallis, seventh among active North American drivers with 10,166 wins, handled sulky duties for trainer Chris Oakes and the Northfork Racing Stable, whose trotter boosted his life earnings to $152,510. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - All three divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) - for open pacers, open trotters, and mare pacers -- have filled this week, which means three heats of competitive action for $30,000 each at the eastern Pennsylvania tracks this weekend. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will play host to the open pacers on Saturday evening. Accorded 5-2 morning line favoritism is More The Better N, a son of Bettor's Delight who made his U.S. debut a successful one this past Sunday at Philly, rallying from far back to post a 1:49.4 tally. A winner of $445,168, More The Better N drew the challenging post seven in a field of eight for driver Vinnie Ginsburg, trainer Ross Croghan and the ownership of Robert Cooper Stables LLC and J&T Silva Stables LLC. Highalator, starting from post two for driver Eric Carlson, is no stranger to winning over the Pocono oval, and having posted a career-best 1:48 at The Meadowlands two starts ago, he is rated the early second choice at 3-1 in the GNOS contest, tenth on the mountain oval's card. The action goes south 100 miles on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike for the two races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. First up will be the sixth race open trot, with Guardian Angel AS, who set a track record of 1:52 for four-year-old trotting horses when he raced here on June 24, given the early nod at 5-2 from post five for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Anette Lorentzon, and owners Kjell Johansson and the ACL Stuteri AB of John Erik Magnusson, who passed away last week. The son of Archangel will be going for his fourth win in five seasonal starts on Sunday. Co-second choices at 3-1 are Such An Angel (post one, driver George Napolitano Jr.), who won an Open handicap at Yonkers in the time of 2:24.2 for 1¼ miles last time out, and the two-time divisional champion mare Broadway Donna (post two, driver David Miller), who won here in the GNOS on June 10. Pacing mares will take to the track in race eleven, with the 5-2 early choice Tequila Monday beginning from post six in a seven-horse grouping. The daughter of American Ideal, to be driven by Eric Goodell for trainer Chris Oakes and the partnership of Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey, won a GNOS event at Pocono on June 3, and she missed just a head to Newborn Sassy in a distaff handicap pace at Yonkers in her last race. L A Delight, who won a GNOS contest here on May 27 and has been consistently-close to the best of her group since, is held at 3-1 early as she begins from post three for driver Yannick Gingras. The Great Northeast Open Series contestants are trying to earn enough points to make their way into their division's GNOS Championship - all three of the groups will go for $100,000 over 1¼ miles at Pocono on Sunday, September 2, also the card featuring the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds. From the PHHA/Harrah's & Pocono Downs

CHESTER, PA - The final bell came just at the right moment for Tyson as he won one of two $14,500 featured trots at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, while in the other Ataboy Hanover stayed clear through the lane and won easily. Tyson was the even-money favorite in his division of the feature, and despite the difficult tuck-then-first-over journey it looked like he had thrown the knockout punch going into the far turn, clearing to the lead and opening a 3½ length lead by the stretch call. But the Donato Hanover gelding was getting weary late, and he had to dig down deep to withstand Golden Son, who had led early, was shuffled, and then had a furious late rally, by a neck in 1:53.1, a lifetime best. Tyson, now a winner of $171,345, is co-owned by trainer Ed Gannon Jr. and driver Yannick Gingras along with Frank Canzone. Many of the same components of the first division showed up in the second - a 1:53.1 new personal best, and a "tuck-then-grind" route that carried the leader to a 3 ½ length lead at headstretch. But there was nobody moving well late to threaten the winning Andover Hall gelding Ataboy Hanover, as his margin at the wire actually grew a bit, to 3¾ lengths, for driver Eric Carlson and trainer Mark Harder, the latter co-owner with Rick Phillips and Deena Rachel Frost. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Somebeachsomewhere mare Skinny Dipper, who dead-heated for the win in her last harness racing outing, again put the photo-finish camera to work at the end of the $17,500 distaff pacing feature Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - and this time the picture showed Skinny Dipper an outright winner by a neck in 1:51. Driver Eric Carlson had secured the lead with Skinny Dipper before the 27.1 quarter, then got a breather to the half in 56.1, with Juxta Cowgirl tucked in just behind the frontstepper. Positions remained unchanged at the 1:23.2 3/4s (favored OK Heavenly couldn't make enough of a dent first-over before fading), and in the stretch Carlson got his mare to finish out her last half in 54.4, holding off the charge of the potential pocket rocket "Cowgirl" in the close finish. This was the third win in the last four starts for Skinny Dipper, despite her stepping up in class with every trip to the gate. She is trained by Ross Croghan for the Let It Ride Stable Inc., and she now has earned $263,344. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Coming up in this space next week, we'll be providing all of the results and commentary on the eliminations for Sun Stakes Saturday, with the elims on the 23rd of June and the finals coming up the following Saturday. These races will feature a large majority of the sport's finest performers at this time, so there should be a lot to discuss. In the meantime, two horses who know their way around stakes-level competition are at the top of the heap for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ROCKS For the past five years or so, this gelding could be counted on to drop in at Pocono every once in a while to face off against some of the toughest pacers on the grounds, and more often than not he would come out victorious. The difference this year is that his longtime trainer Chris Oakes handed his handling over to his son Hunter. In his first try at Pocono in the 2018 meet on June 9, Scott Rocks, now age eight, came up just short in a $21,500 condition pace behind Boston Red Rocks, who had to pace the fastest mile of the season at Pocono just to beat him. On Saturday night, Scott Rocks was back at it, facing off against a group of $17,500 condition pacers for a slight drop in class. As per usual, Scott Rocks came off the gate well, but others were rushing to the lead as well in the early going and through the front stretch. At one point driver George Napolitano Jr. tipped the gelding to the outside for what would have been a second-over journey around the second turn. But then George decided against it and utilized about a split-second window to tuck Scott Rocks back in at the pylons. Scott Rocks was still sitting third-in as they rounded the final turn, and it looked like there might not be an opening for him to come on late. But the waves of horse flesh parted just in time for him to make a flying rush to the finish line, upending the game pacesetter First Class Horse by a length-and-a-half in 1:48.4, easily the fastest time of the week at Pocono. It was a memorable way to get his first win of the year, and it's a good time for Scott Rocks to be peaking as he heads into the eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace on the weekend. Other top pacers this week include Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who came up a winner in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50.1; Unbeamlievable (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who captured Monday night's featured claiming handicap pace for mares in 1:52.1, her second straight win at Pocono and third in a row overall; and No Easy Day (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition win at Pocono on Tuesday night in a new career mark of 1:50.2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HOMICIDE HUNTER Like Scott Rocks, Homicide Hunter has been a stalwart in the Chris Oakes barn for many years. Unlike Scott Rocks, however, Chris is still the man in charge of Homicide Hunter, and he has witnessed the six-year-old gelding as he has taken off on one of his characteristic hot streaks in recent weeks. It started when he picked up a win in the Great Northeast Open Series at Pocono on June 3 on a sloppy track in 1:55.3. He went much faster than that the following week at Scioto when he captured the Hill Memorial in a world-record-matching time of 1:50.3. Coming off those two victories, it might have seemed like he would be an overwhelming favorite to win another Great Northeast Open race at Pocono on Sunday night. But one of the horses he was facing, Marion Marauder, came in with a record as much if not more accomplished. Marion Marauder had been scratched sick from the Hill, denying fans an opportunity to see a clash of the titans in that race. But they battled on Saturday night, with Marion Marauder taking the early lead and Homicide Hunter getting parked around turn two before he made the front himself. Although there were seven other top-flight trotters in the field, the showdown between Homicide Hunter and Marion Marauder seemed an inevitability. Indeed, in the stretch, Marion Marauder gathered momentum from the pocket and pulled up right alongside the leader in the passing lane. But Homicide Hunter simply found one more burst of energy and hustled to the line a neck in front in a winning time of 1:52.2. His third straight win wasn't a world record, but it was impressive nonetheless for the caliber of trotter he beat in that stretch duel. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to Joey Pro (Matt Kakaley, John Hallett), who picked up his second straight condition win on Sunday night and did so in a career-best 1:55; Haveitalltogether (Eric Carlson, Andy Miller), who followed up a condition victory with a win against the Pennsylvania All Stars for three-year-old colts and geldings on Sunday night in a career-best 1:53.4; and Lindy's Big Bang (David Miller, Nifty Norman), who posted the fastest time among winners of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for sophomore male trotters on Sunday night with a career-best mile of 1:52.2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CARMENS BEST This pacer's first win of the year, with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, proved a surprise, as he beat a bunch of claimers on Saturday night at 20-1, paying off $42 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC CARLSON Carlson's picked up multiple victories three nights in a row this week, highlighted by a surprising win in the Pennsylvania All-Stars with Haveitalltogether. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NIFTY NORMAN Norman always seems to bring in a high percentage of winners, and he chalked up two more at Pocono this week, including a Pennsylvania All-Stars victory with Lindy's Big Bang on Sunday night. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Bevigila, for Pocono Downs

CHESTER PA - In an unusually-competitive race even by the high standards of Harrah's Philadelphia (how many races have you seen approaching the 3/8 when there is ONE horse one-wide and SEVEN horses two-wide?), the one working out the best trip was the Gotta Go Cullect mare Taketothesky N, who tipped wide to make the lead in midstretch and hold off Skippin By by ¾ of a length, paying $90.00 to win in the $18,000 distaff pacing feature Friday afternoon at the Philly oval. Eric Carlson had the winner of $101,548 in second-over position behind dueling favorites Jewel Lehigh A and Princess Fabulosa in the 27.1 third quarter, then launched her successful stretch charge to reduce her mark to 1:50.4. The Kiwi import is now perfect in two starts since owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera brought her to Harrah's. For fans who follow horses with platinum-quality pedigrees, E L Platinum got her breakthrough victory in her third lifetime start, tucking then going first-over, but still having enough to post a 1:57.3 tally. A sophomore daughter of Muscle Hill ('nuff said) and Courtney Hall, a full sister to $1.8M Cameron Hall, and thus a full sister to $700G+ winner EL Titan and a Yankee Glide half-sister to $600G+ winner Appomattox, E L Platinum was driven by Brett Miller for trainer Bob Stewart and Emp Invest Oy, part of the empire of breeder Erkki Laakkonen. From the PHHA/Chester Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Eric Carlson wasted no time in recording his 3000th career victory Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking the first race of the night with Call Me Richard for the milestone victory. Call Me Richard pressed forward to control the pace over Monday's sloppy racetrack at Pocono, and he opened up a large lead towards the ¾. In the stretch Holy Halibut, second choice to the winning favorite, made up some late ground, but Carlson kept after his charge and crossed the wire with a safe 1¼-length margin at the end of the 1:57.3 mile. The 42-year-old Carlson was half that age when he won his first race, an FFA pace worth $930, at the Fowlerville MI fair with Calamity Clyde. Eric grabbed industry attention in 2010, when he won 603 races, sixth-highest in North America, while dominating the Detroit circuit. He soon afterwards decided to take his driving skills eastward, with his earnings benefiting from the transplantation: his best money year was 2014, when his horses brought in $5.3 million of his career $27.3 million tally. PHHA / Pocono

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Anthony Napolitano and Eric Carlson had the hot hands Friday night at the Meadowlands, as each harness racing driver found their way to the winner's circle three times. After winning five times last Friday, "ANap" kept the winners coming by scoring with Flamingo Pete ($12.60 to win, 1:58.1 for the mile) in the second race conditioned trot, Northern Assassin A ($7.00 as the favorite, 1:53.3) in the ninth race conditioned pace and Star Studded Cast ($6.60 as the favorite, 1:58) in the 12th race conditioned trot. Carlson's winners came with Joyful Game ($15.80, 1:54.2) in the third race fillies and mares conditioned pace, Rossini ($5.20 as the favorite, 1:57.3) in the eighth race conditioned trot and It Really Matters ($29.80, 1:57.1) in the 10th race conditioned trot. A LITTLE MORE: One lucky player hit big in the Pick-5 (Races 3 through 7), as the one ticket that had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7 was worth $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. ... The Pick-4 remained popular as many winners shared in the total pool of $70,580, with each cashing in for $560.85 for a 50-cent wager, despite two favorites and one 5-2 shot winning during the sequence. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High Five once again failed to result in a single-ticket winner, swelling the carryover to $108,155. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race program totaled $2,601,550. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. One lucky player crushed the Pick-5 at the Meadowlands Friday night. After a total of $47,663 was poured into the pool for the wager that spans races 3 through 7, when the dust cleared, one ticket had the winning combination of 9-6,9-5-9-7, good for a payoff of $30,385.20 for a 50-cent bet. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Western Ideal gelding Orillia Joe paced the fastest mile of the young 2017 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1:49.4, in taking the featured $25,000 winners-over pace on Saturday.   Driver Eric Carlson gets major points for his handling of the Yonkers shipper, leaving strongly from the rail and parking Casimir Jitterbug to a quarter in 26 before letting him go to sit in the two-hole. Awesomeness, the 9-5 favorite, was right behind Casimir Jitterbug the first split and went up to challenge, but the parked challenger got the cold shoulder from the pacesetter through middle fractions of 54.1 and 1:22.   Turning for home, Carlson sent Orillia Joe to the famed Pocono Pike, and after a great trip the 20-1 "Joe" knew just what to do, pacing strongly up the inside to win by two lengths. Book Binge, dismissed at 40-1, had been third-inside most of the way, then found midstretch clearance between horses and finished second, a neck ahead of Casimir Jitterbug, with Awesomeness holding for fourth.   Orillia Joe shattered the $400,000 lifetime earnings barrier with the crisp victory, which also gave him a brand new speed mark at the age of seven. Matias Ruiz conditions the winner for Joe P Racing LLC.   Orillia Joe     Migrate Blue Chip now has six lifetime victories - and three of them have come in April 2017, just before which he was acquired by the Burke Brigade. The son of Rocknroll Hanover survived the rough "tuck-then-first-over" route in taking the $18,000 co-featured pace, finishing two lengths clear in a personal best of 1:51.3. Eric Goodell handled the sulky duties for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phil Collura.   Pocono will be dark on Sunday so that fans, workers, and horsemen might have the chance to spend the Easter holiday with their fans. The track will be in action on Monday and Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., with both nights featuring continuing preliminary round action in the $750,000 Bobby Weiss Series, with the pacers heading the Monday card and the trotters spotlighted during the Tuesday action.   PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE PA - E Street Plan, despite being away from the races for 21 days, thundered down the middle road of the stretch to be along in 1:49.1 while taking the $20,000 harness racing pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday.   E Street Plan was the first on top, but he yielded to favored Somewhere In L A before the rapid 26 quarter. It soon started to look that the gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover's fate was to be the "E Street shuffle," because as soon as Somewhere In L A cleared, Handsome Henry K made a wicked brush towards command, and the winner wound up third through Henry's wild middle numbers of 53.2 and 1:20.3.   Driver Eric Carlson got E Street Plan closer to the lead on the turn and out to the three-path in the stretch, and his pacer (who, yes, has raced at Freehold) found his best gear and strode clear late, 1½ lengths to the good at the wire. Somewhere In L A was up for second in a photo over another late charger, American Rage, with the speedy pacesetter Handsome Henry K another neck back in fourth.   Trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera had his charge sharp despite the brief respite to reduce his lifetime mark by 3/5 of a second for owner Michi Yvette Abday. He paid $26.20 to win.   Rockin Rambaran made it five wins in a row when he took the $18,000 high-level claiming handicap in 1:51.2 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owner Hunter Oakes. But the winner was claimed for the third straight week for the $25,000 tag - which is regarded as business as usual by the Oakes stable, which was one win behind the Rene Allard barn, 97-96, for the meet lead in training victories going into the card. Oakes and Allard have been going to the claiming box hammer and tongs the last couple Saturday nights - last week Allard claimed four, including three from Oakes, while losing two; this week Oakes claimed two, one from Allard, and lost one, while Allard claimed one.   Double season's leader Scott Rocks moved to the lead early and posted his 10th victory of the campaign in winning a $15,500 co-featured pace for Napolitano, Oakes, and owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. And if "double season's leader" elicited a mental shrug, here's the list of this year's other horses carrying that distinction heading into the weekend: Huntsville, Downbytheseaside, Dragnet Alert, Dayson, Hannelore Hanover, Obrigado, Betting Line, Wiggle It Jiggleit (the last-named pair season's leader on all three sizes of tracks), and Always B Miki. Of them, all but Dayson set a world record in a mile earning them inclusion - as did Scott Rocks, when he went 1:49 at Northfield for the older pacing gelding world record.   PHHA / Pocono    

WILKES-BARRE PA - Angel Plus proved to be manna from heaven for her scattered harness racing backers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday night, paying the highest win price of 2016 at the mountain oval, $204.40, in taking the sixth race. Driver Eric Carlson kept Angel Plus in the rear of the field most of the way as there were four lead changes before the half, then sent her three-wide early on the far turn. She gained rapidly on the curve, and continued gaining despite a stretch headwind to win going away by three lengths for her third win of the year (in the other two she was the race favorite, paying $5.20 and $3.40). Attracting only $37 of win support in a total pool of $4700, Angel Plus and her $204.40 mutuel surpassed the previous high of the year, the $197.00 of Majo Just Do It exactly six months and one day earlier (April 17). Carlson has now had two $100 winners at Pocono in the last month, having guided Reggiano to a $103.00 upset over the red clay on September 24. As for trainer Steve Cook, he evidently made a good move in bringing the mare 100 miles up the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Pocono from her usual base at Harrah's Philadelphia, as the mare was strong late for the Bay Pond Racing Stable. In the richest purse race of the night, a $16,000 pace for distaffs that opened the card, Encore Deo also showed a fondness for the Pocono oval in taking a new mark of 1:52.1 on the engine for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jason Melillo, and Lawrence Karr. Encore Deo was winless in 17 seasonal starts when she came to Pocono on September 27 and was victorious, and tonight she returned after having no luck at Philly last time and won by 2¾ lengths while in full control.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE PA - Wilberforce rolled to his third straight harness racing victory on Sunday night, never looking back in the $20,000 conditioned trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and crossing the wire 2¼ lengths to the good in 1:53.3.   Driver Eric Carlson wasn't fastest away with the gelded son of Caviar Crown, but he used the track geometry advantage of starting from the rail to maximum effect, never letting his outside early pursuers get around him and then forcing them to drop in behind by the 27.2 quarter under pain of being parked the duration. From there things were fairly easy for Wilberforce, as he notched middle splits of 56.2 and 1:25, then trotted home strongly for his tenth triumph of the year. Uncle Hanover came up the Pocono Pike to take away second late from pocketsitting Stonebridge Combat behind the winner, who pushed his seasonal earnings over $100,000 for trainer Kris Rickert, co-owner with Dale Wareham.   The three-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding Double L Lindy, unraced at two, has really found his trotting form in recent starts and went even faster than the feature horses, posting a 1:53 win on a 53-degree night in a $16,000 event. A winner of only one of his first 11 career starts, Double L Lindy has now won four straight, including this smashing mile which saw him 19¾ lengths to the good at the wire. Anthony Napolitano, who had posted ten victories in his last three Pocono cards at press time, handled the promising youngster for trainer Ake Svanstedt and the ownership of Lindy Farms of CT, Joe Sbrocco, Paul Van Camp, and Little E LLC.   In the $18,000 featured pace, Michael's Victory ran his current winning streak to three with a 1:51.3 victory, overcoming a first-over trip and holding off second-over Perfect Bet by a head. Simon Allard, also with les mains chaudes recently (23 victories in October), sulkysat behind the sophomore Rocknroll Hanover gelding, whose dam Michell's Victory is a ¾ sister to the $1.3M-winning Rare Jewel, for trainer Mark Silva and owner Jeffrey Snyder.   PHHA / Pocono      

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