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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 - 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

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Severus Hanover had little trouble overcoming a slow track with a three second allowance due to rain as he scored a harness racing romp in capturing the Preferred-Handicap Trot Friday at the Hippodrome 3R. Driven by Stephane Brosseau, Severus Hanover started the seventh race feature going right out to the early lead with Precieuse CC (Claude Beausoleil) grabbing the two-hole spot and forcing Bucketlist Hanover (Jocelyn Gendron) to take back to third place as they went to the opening quarter mile in :28.2. Severus Hanover led the field past the half mile marker in :59.3. That was when Bucketlist Hanover tried again and came first-over, giving Capteur De Reve (Stephane Gendron) a good second-over journey. In the backstretch, Brosseau asked Severus Hanover for a little more and the trotter started to pull away from the field at the three-quarters in 1:31. Then in the stretch Severus Hanover turned it on even more, winning by seven and one-half lengths in 2:01.3. Precieuse CC held for second place and Keepall (Pascal Berube), who made a break at the start of the race, rebounded to finish third. It was the seventh win this year for Severus Hanover. He is a nine-year-old gelding by Explosive Matter, trained and owned by Yannick Martel of L'Assumption. He paid $5.30 to win. The fastest mile of the day was in the sixth race pace where Spiderman Hanover ($5.90) and driver Stephane Gendron were able to over-come the sloppy track and wire the field in 2:00.3. It was the third straight win and sixth of the season for Spiderman Hanover, a seven-year-old Western Ideal gelding, trained and owned by Marc Lemay of Quebec City. Spiderman Hanover won by one length over Dredyl Hanover and Blackjack Soleil. Track Notes: Both Stephane Brosseau and Francis Picard had the hot hands on Friday, each scoring a driving triple. Yannick Martel led the trainers with two wins. Live racing resumes at H3R Sunday afternoon, first race post time at 1:00 pm. For a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club

CHESTER, PA - Both Hillexotic and Pat Matters were very impressive in taking the two top harness racing trots conducted on the Thursday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia. In the $12,800 feature for classclimbing youngsters, the Muscle Hill sophomore gelding Hillexotic moved raw at the half and trotted his last half in :56.2 despite 39 days away from the races to win by 4¾ lengths in 1:55. Hillexotic, unraced at two, now has four wins in his last six outings and a $161,540 bankroll for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and Purple Haze Stables LLC.   In the $11,600 contest for fast-class trotters, the Explosive Matter mare Pat Matters also roared uncovered to the backstretch lead and won by 10½ lengths, with her time of 1:52.3 only three-fifths of a second off the Philly divisional track record co-held by Hannelore Hanover and Arabella's Cadet. Dexter Dunn was in the sulky for trainer Nifty Norman as the fast distaff raised her earnings to $284,472 for the Patricia Stable.   Dexter Dunn and Tim Tetrick, 1-2 in the 2020 moneywinning drivers standings, each had a triple on the Thursday Philly card. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Severus Hanover, given a perfect drive by Stephane Brosseau, photo'd out Capteur De Reve in capturing the Preferred-Handicap Trot at the Hippodrome 3R Friday. The closely matched race feature three co-favorites, all at odds of 2-1 and Severus Hanover was one of them. The seventh race feature started out with Capteur De Reve and driver Stephane Brosseau shooting to the early lead and was challenged immediately by Keepall and driver Pascal Berube. They went the opening quarter mile in :27.1 as Keepall cleared to the lead. That lead for Keepall was short lived as Brosseau quickly came back with Capteur De Reve on top to the half mile in :58.1. Now coming first-over as they headed to the backstretch was another 2-1 co-favorite, Bucketlist Hanover and driver Jocelyn Gendron and following their outside cover was Severus Hanover. They went to the three-quarters in 1:28.2. As they turned for the stretch drive, Brosseau tipped Serevus Hanover three-wide and despite Capture De Reve having a good lead heading to the finish, Serevus Hanover kept gaining and gaining and went on to win by a neck in 1:59. Capteur De Reve held for second with Bucketlist Hanover third. Sir Chopin was the third co-favorite in the race. It was the sixth win this season for Serevus Hanover. The nine-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter is owned and trained by Yannick Martel of L'assomption. Serevus Hanover paid $6.30 to win. Three drivers each had two winners on the card. They were Stephane Brosseau, Samuel Fillion and Francis Picard. Also, scoring a training double was Francis Richard, the leading trainer at H3R this season going for his fourth straight training title. Track Notes: Live racing resumes at the H3R Sunday afternoon with first race post time at 1:00 pm. Featured is both a Preferred-Handicap Pace for the horses and the mares. The 3yo colt Mickeymaksomespeed (post 6) heads the 6th race Preferred Pace for the horses. He won his last start at H3R in 1:56. The 7th race for the mare's features return winner Y C Easy (post 8) taking on Wild River Swan (post 9) and Godiva Mackiavelyc (post 4), also a return winner. For a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

CHESTER, PA - The Explosive Matter gelding Innisfallen won for the third time in his last four starts, continuing to climb the class ladder with a 1:55 triumph in the $13,600 trotting harness racing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. Driver Vinny Ginsburg hustled the improving trotter right down the road, passing Macmorris Hanover early and stringing the field out behind splits of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:25.3. Favored Molto Bene came on late, but Innisfallen was still strong and crossed the wire a half-length to the good of the chalk for trainer Paul Fusco, who is also co-owner of the newest member of the Six-Figure Earnings Club with Brandeo Singh. The Muscle Hill sophomore filly Hannah won her second straight race in the $12,800 subfeature class, overcoming post eight here without much trouble for driver George Brennan in 1:55.4. Second in the Buckette, Hannah is trainer by Julie Miller for Andy Miller Stable Inc., Dumain Haven Farm, and Little E LLC. In an $11,600 event for fast-class trotters, the Credit Winner gelding Fashion Creditor returned to the races after a 20-day layoff in sharp form for trainer Tom Fanning, sitting the two-hole behind Rock Of Cashel and then finishing steadily under George Napolitano Jr.'s guidance to defeat that rival by two lengths in 1:53. With the win for owner Joseph Smith, Fashion Creditor joins Rock Of Cashel in the $700,000 Winners Club, as his earnings are now $700,555. Simon Allard and Marcus Miller each had driving triples on the Thursday card. Friday's Philly action will feature three $30,000 divisions of Liberty Bell stakes series action for two-year-old colts on each gait. Chase H Hanover comes to town fresh off a 1:51.1 equaling of the divisional world record for geldings at Delaware (OH); he'll have to overcome the outside draw in a field of seven at Philly. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Despite drawing the outside post in the field of eight, the Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable was able to reach the top with relative ease in the $14,400 trotting harness racing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, and he was not threatened late in a 1:53.3 mile. Driver Tyler Buter hustled the winner of $438,386 to command nearing a :28 opener, then kept him rolling through middle splits of :56.3 and 1:24.4. By the latter station Rich And Miserable was far ahead of the opposition, and he maintained an insurmountable lead to the finish. Todd Buter trains the victorious trotter for Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs.   The Muscle Hill filly Hannah grinded her way to the lead at the three-eighths, then was kept rolling in the lane by driver Tim Tetrick (four wins today) to win the $12,600 co-featured trot, turning back closer Arclight Hanover by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1. Julie Miller conditions the stakes-seasoned filly for the Andy Miller Stable Inc., Dumain Haven Farm, and Little E LLC. Deltasun A and driver Todd McCarthy, both recent transfers from Australia to the United States, teamed to make the trotter's local bow a winning one, overhauling favored pacesetter Max by a neck in 1:54 in an $11,600 event. Andrew Harris conditions the Tenotrump gelding, an earner of $189,634 and a high-ratio winner (20 for 54, 37% lifetime), for his A Harris Racing LLC, OB Standardbreds, and Michael Goldberg Racingllc. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - The Explosive Matter gelding Scirocco Rob, who last week lost to the first-over Arabella's Cadet in a track record 1:52 for trotting mares at Harrah's Philadelphia, this week became the irresistible grinding force, making two moves en route to a 1:53.1 victory in Thursday's $14,400 top-level harness racing trot on an overcast day at the riverside oval. Leaving from post six in a field of seven, Scirocco Rob tucked third early as Mississippi Storm pushed favored Southwind Avenger most of a :26.3 quarter before ceding the lead. The "Avenger" got a breather to the :56 half, but Scirocco Rob was out and rolling down the back for driver George Napolitano Jr., going right at the leader to the 1:24.2 three-quarters and beyond, making the lead at headstretch. Scirocco Rob kept to his task to the wire, winning by a half length over Mississippi Storm, who came up the passing lane, while second-over Goes Down Smooth was third ahead of a tiring Southwind Avenger. Scirocco Rob has now won three of his last four starts for trainer Mark Silva and owners Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr., with his career bankroll now at $452,753.   The Andover Hall gelding Grapple Hanover went to the lead in the $13,600 co-featured trot, yielded to favored Macmorris Hanover and then sat perfectly-placed as that one wrestled with first-over Hatikvah the last half, going up the inside to gain a final half-length margin over the game Hatikvah in 1:55.2. David Miller drove the consistent winner of $167,359 to the triumph for trainer Bucky Angle and owners Howard and Josh Kauffman. George Napolitano Jr. won four races on the card for Thursday honors; Dexter Dunn was next in line with three victories. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WATTSBURG, PA - The two-year-old harness racing fillies provided the most excitement during the two-day Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes meet at the Erie County Fair in this northwest Pennsylvania town. The babies raced on Monday; their older stablemates the next day. The Betting Line - Lazan Hanover pacer Lazy Day Hanover became the first two-year-old to post ten wins when she took a section of her "A" Fair Sire Stakes division, going in 2:08 on a day not particularly conducive to speed. The other "A" division winner, Tiamogonedancen, is undefeated on the fair circuit as well, taking her sixth straight in 2:05. The powerhouse fillies are co-owned by driver David Brickell and trainer Mitchell York - whose 2019 Fair Championship co-winner in this division, the A Rocknroll Dance filly Dream Dancing, is unbeaten in seven 2020 fair outings after a 2:02.2 win Tuesday. The trotting fillies also did nicely on Opening Day, with Shawn Johnston driving both winners. One of them, the Explosive Matter - Seeuinthespring miss Explosive Flower, came close to a line in the Wattsburg record book when she won the first race of the meet in 2:06, only a tick away from the local standard of Lovebeinglucky, who was trained by Rick Beinhauer and co-owned by him and wife Regina - and the same pair are behind Explosive Flower as well! Among the three-year-olds, it was no surprise that the Artspeak gelding Bipbopnallie posted the quickest mile of the meet, 2:02, as he is undefeated in seven races on the circuit for trainer/driver Roger Hammer and owners Leblanc Racing Inc., Count De Money Stable, and William Lutz Jr. Hammer, as owner/trainer/driver, also backed the fastest trotter of the meet, the Possess The Will gelding No Name Yankee, whose 2:04.4 time was only 4/5 of a second off the all-age Wattsburg track trotting record. Finally, mention should be made of 22-year-old trainer Harley Delcourte of Weirton WV, who began her training career on Tuesday, and promptly won with two of her three starters: Rydia Hanover and Guys In The Band, both driven by Cory Kreiser. Shawn Johnston edged Dave Brickell 7-6 to take the leading drivers title; Mitchell York and Roger Hammer both sent out four winners to tie for the trainers crown. Todd Schadel maintains the lead among fair drivers with 49 victories, but on the training side Hammer now possesses a 49-46 edge over his partner in the storied Vivid Photo. The fields are already drawn for the next stop on the PA Fair Circuit, a Thursday-Friday meet in Stoneboro PA. From the MSOA, PHHA and the PHHA Fair partnership

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since harness racing resumed in the Northeast United States in late May, Rich And Miserable has not had much luck racing at the Meadowlands. The talented trotter drew post position 10 in his first start back June 12, got stuck following a blazing 1:50.1 mile by Guardian Angel As in his second start June 20, then drew post position 10 in the Cutler Memorial last time out on Independence Day. As a result, Rich And Miserable failed to take home a check in any of those three starts.  Rich And Miserable made one bid away from the Swamp so far this season, heading to Pocono Downs June 27. He drew post two in the featured $20,000 trot and scored a 2 1/2-length win in 1:52.4. Now, Rich And Miserable looks to capitalize again in the $33,000 open handicap trot at Yonkers Raceway Friday (July 10). He is already having better luck at the Hilltop, drawing post four, but moving inside to the three after the early scratch of Photo Bomber.  “We threw him in with the big guns and we got a couple 10 post positions and that wasn’t a very good starting point. We did take him once to Pocono and he raced very well there, so now we’re going to try the half-mile track again at Yonkers,” said trainer Todd Buter. “The first start over there in the open, he had the 10-hole and just followed along,” Buter continued. “Last week in the Cutler, had the 10-hole and in with those type of horses, it’s tough from the 10, but we’re hoping to turn things around.” Besides the advantageous post position, Rich And Miserable has the resume to compete at this level. The Explosive Matter son always showed promise for Buter, but last year at 4, had a breakout season. After posting a 5 1/2-length win and earning two other placings in the preliminary legs of the SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series, Rich And Miserable won the $73,000 series final by a nose last April.  Rich And Miserable also won a leg and the final of the Mr. Muscleman Series at the Meadowlands, won the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Final at Pocono, and captured a local $42,000 open handicap trot from post position eight last fall. The $305,125 Rich And Miserable earned last year boosted his career tally to $417,922 for owners Buter Farm, Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs. “Last year was a very pleasant surprise. He showed good things as a 3-year-old and as a 4-year-old, things just kept falling in place and we got a couple nice draws in some big purse races, got good trips, and he lived up to what we were hoping for. It was a great year,” Buter said. “He was always a sound horse as a 2- and 3-year-old and it seemed like he just got bigger, stronger, matured more and could race either way; race on the front, race from the back,” Buter continued. “He just ended up being a very smart horse, very easy on himself. We’re hoping we can turn things around back at Yonkers.” Rich And Miserable raced through the end of December last year before getting some well-earned time off. He was ready to qualify by mid-March, but due to the response to the coronavirus pandemic, harness racing across North America shuttered. Like the rest of the industry, Buter was forced to wait. “We just got put on hold and it was, ‘maybe next week,’ so you’d train them light. ‘Maybe next week,’ so you’d train them a little harder. The next week just train them easy, maybe it will be next week,” Buter said. “Everybody was in the same boat, nobody knew what was going on, so we just had to sit back and wait for them to turn the lights back on and I tried to have him as good as we could.” Rich And Miserable was finally able to qualify May 30 before his bad-luck streak at the Meadowlands began. Friday night will be Rich And Miserable’s first local start since finishing 10th in the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot Oct. 12. Regular driver Tyler Buter will be in the sulky and the pair are 5-2 on the morning line. Rich And Miserable will face six rivals, including 2-1 morning line favorite Melady’s Monet, who will start from post four. The 11-year-old and earner of $1.6 million twice finished second in the local open trot and won a local preferred from post seven before the shutdown. He posted a front-stepping qualifying win in 1:58 at Magical Acres Training Center June 23 in preparation for his first start since March 7.  Swansea earned three wins in the local open before the shutdown and picked up right where he left off in his return June 25, tallying a fourth victory in six starts this season in 1:55.3 for trainer Scott DiDomenico. Swansea was assigned the outside post Friday night and is 3-1 with Austin Siegelman programmed to drive.  Paul Kelley’s 10-year-old Obrigado continues to deliver after emerging from retirement late last year. The $1.8 million-earner won an $18,750 overnight in 1:51.2 at the Meadowlands June 5 and was second to Rich And Miserable in his most recent start at Pocono June 27. Obrigado drew post six Friday night. Mostinterestingman, Elysium Lindy, and Lean Hanover complete the lineup.  “We’ll just have to see how it shakes out,” Buter said of Rich And Miserable’s chances. “He’s raced on the front at Yonkers and won and he’s raced from the back at Yonkers and won. He seems good and healthy and sound, so we’ll hope for the best.” Friday night’s eight-race card also features the $33,000 open handicap pace. The amended Yonkers Raceway calendar will see live harness racing conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights until July 17. Beginning the week of July 20, the schedule will add Saturday nights as the track returns to its normal five night per week schedule through Dec. 19. First post time is 7:05 p.m. The complete revised racing calendar is available online here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two-year-olds were in the spotlight Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with American Courage fastest in the pacing contests in 1:54.1, while trotting speed honors were shared by Bacardi and Above The Clouds at 1:58.1. Both of the trotting winners needed the photo finish camera to confirm their victories. The Southwind Frank - Strawberry Wine colt Bacardi raced in the pocket behind favored Sevenshadesofgrey, then methodically wore down the frontrunner to post a half-length victory for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Erv Miller, whose Ervin Miller Stable Inc. shares ownership of the winner with All-Wright Racing LLC, the Engel Stable of IL LLC, and the Rock And Roll Stable Inc. Three baby filly trotters were right on the wire together in a contest taken by the Explosive Matter - Miss Michelle H miss Above The Clouds, who was game to the wire despite an uncovered journey to defeat Pocono Pike rusher Fox Valley Liza and pacesetter Myreanna for driver Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen, and the Bay Pond Racing Stable. The American Ideal - Nota Fool Bluechip colt American Courage was well-placed off a backstretch duel, then swept around his field on the far turn en route to a six length victory. Matt Kakaley was in charge of the quick colt for trainer Travis Alexander and the Fiddler's Creek Stables LLC. Kakaley had the hot hands on the Tuesday card with four winners, only one of which was favored. In one race, after a foe was disqualified for going inside the pylons in the stretch, Diamondbeach and Kakaley lit up the tote board with a $54.20 win payoff, giving Matt the local lead with three $50+ "bombers" at Pocono this season. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Washington, PA, Feb. 10, 2020 -- Explosive Magic let Cherry Peep do the heavy lifting, then roared passed her in the lane to capture Monday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,500 Conditioned Trot. Cherry Peep cut three-quarters in 1:58, a moderate tempo under ordinary circumstances but one that left her vulnerable on the sloppy surface. The pocket-sitting Explosive Magic and Dave Palone took full advantage, pouncing on Cherry Peep and downing her by 1/2 length in 1:57.2. Tequila Talkin rallied for show.   Ron Burke trains Explosive Magic, a 4-year-old Explosive Matter-Magical Paige gelding who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $106,974, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Aaron Merriman and Palone each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $13,851.10 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Pick 4 (races 3-6); a $1,783.16 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

To paraphrase horse owner Mark Weaver, everything old is new again. Weaver, part of the Weaver Bruscemi partnership that owns horses with trainer Ron Burke, is resurrecting the practice of offering two horses -- at the same time -- for sale at auction. On Tuesday, 4-year-old female trotters Matterlei and Wildfire Seelster will be sold as hip numbers 120B and 120A, respectively, at the Blooded Horse Sales' Winter Speed Sale. The winning bidder will have his or her choice of one of the horses. The unselected horse will return to the Burke Brigade. Murray Brown, the former Hanover Shoe Farms public relations director and general manager/VP of the Standardbred Horse Sales Company, recently wrote about the practice in Harness Racing Update. "I've heard Murray Brown and Eric Cherry (horse owner-breeder and co-owner of online auction onGait.com) talk about it," Weaver said. "We need to get rid of horses. Particularly, with these two, they fit the same class and they've had to race against each other and that just doesn't make good business sense. They're very similar horses. "I've had a lot of feedback. People said they'll be watching to see what happens. Just to see two horses in the ring will be kind of different." Matterlei, by Explosive Matter out of Hawaiian Lei, has won five of her last seven races dating back to November. Wildfire Seelster, by Explosive Matter out of Warrawee Lassie, has won six of her last eight starts, also dating back to November. "We figure we'll sell them and let the buyer decide which one they want, and we'll keep the other one," Weaver said. "I think that gives the buyer an added level of confidence. I think the buyers will appreciate it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We're keeping the other one, so it's not like we're trying to dump anything. It'll be interesting. It's an old idea, but I think it's a new idea. It'll be cool." Weaver plans to continue the practice of offering two horses together in upcoming auctions at onGait.com. He said, though, it might not be two horses of the same type, as is the case with Tuesday's sale. For example, a 4-year-old pacing gelding might be offered with a 6-year-old trotting mare. "I really like the concept," Weaver said. "They have to be similar in value, but it really doesn't matter if they're like horses. You're still giving the buyer the option to pick. "Every year, we need to move about 30 or 40 horses to make room for others. It's a big cycle. We try to sell horses when they'll bring good money based on their current form. If we sell a bunch of horses and none of them go on, we're going to have trouble selling horses (in the future). We want them to do well. Fortunately, over the last six, eight, 10 years many of our horses have." The Blooded Horse Sales' Winter Speed Sale begins at 9:30 a.m. (EST) at Champions Center Expo in Springfield, Ohio. For more information, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

WILKES-BARRE, PA - On the closing night of the 2019 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there were many highlights, with champions both human and equine honored. George Napolitano Jr. was honored as he continued his unprecedented dominance of the driving ranks in the 54-season history of the Downs. His seasonal sulky statistics were 1437-337-205-188-.357, which earned him his eighth straight win title and 13th overall, and his sixth consecutive UDR crown and 11th overall, which George adds to the five Pocono training titles he has won. But stealing the show was 23-year-old provisional driver Sofia Zingale, who picked a dramatic circumstance in which to record her first-ever sulky victory - in the final $15,000 Billings Amateur Driving Series Eastern Championship. Zingale looked like a seasoned pro behind the veteran Muscles Yankee gelding Inukchuck Chuck, racing him second-over behind Jacks To Open after Wygant Prince went past early leader and favorite Fiji and put up fractions of :27.4 and :58 in 27-degree temperatures. The pacesetter and first-over went at it past the 1:28 three-quarters and through the turn, with Fiji waiting for the Pocono Pike. But Zingale tipped Inukchuck Chuck three-wide and got the trotter to rally strongly to win by 2¼ lengths over Fiji, sending Zingale to Victory Lane for the first time in a sulky (she has a 1-for-3 record in Racing Under Saddle events). Inukchuck Chuck is trained by Nick Surick for owner Clifford Grundy. Even veteran Billings promoter John Manzi was unsure if the "lightly-raced" Zingale had a "Billings nickname" yet. Since this victory propels her to eligibility for the $25,000 Billings Eastern Gold Cup next Saturday at Yonkers, maybe Sofia "What A Time For A First Win!" Zingale may be appropriate. Another trotter in the limelight at Pocono Saturday was the four-year-old Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable, who formed a four-race win streak here that propelled him on to being a force in the continental free-for-all trotting ranks. Named the Trotter of the Year at Pocono, Rich And Miserable posted a 6-5-1-0-$113,750 scorecard locally, highlighted by his victory over 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Championship. Rich And Miserable is owned by Buter Farms Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs, trained by Todd Buter and driven in all of his Pocono starts by Tyler Buter. The $17,500 closing night featured pace was, fittingly enough, to the Pocono Pacer of the Year and Claimer of the Year Atta Boy Dan, who overcame first-over to catch favored pacesetter American Prime Time by a neck in 1:51. Driven by Simon Allard for trainer Pete Pellegrino for owner Stephen Larkin, the ten-year-old Western Terror gelding won for the 19th time this year, one off the top figure in North America, and pushed his 2019 earnings to $203,090; the lifetime parallel numbers are 71 victories and $946,692. Four claims on closing night brought the seasonal total for the 134 cards to 483 horses changing hands, for a total value of $9,465,025. (Atta Boy Dan accounted for 17 claims and $670,000 himself.) From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

CHESTER, PA - The Explosive Matter gelding Scirocco Rob, pressed to the max around the final turn by the first-over Max, got a big break when that one went offstride nearing headstretch, and "Rob" was able to go on to a 1:54.4 harness racing victory over a "good" track in the $17,500 trotting feature at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. George Napolitano Jr., who had four driving wins on the dank day, sent the Mark Silva trainee right out to command, and when Armageddon Seelster could find no first turn hole in which to tuck, he went on past the :27.3 opener to get the lead, only to see Scirocco Rob immediately reclaim the top well before the :57.2. At that point Max started his first-over grind and was giving the winner all he could handle when he lost his gait late on the turn, allowing Scirocco Rob to stay in control and tally by 3 ½ lengths over late-closing Ooh Rah. The winner, owned by Kathleen Whitaker and Lewis Whitaker Jr., now shows career earnings of $397,723. Sumatra was handled patiently by driver David Miller through most of the $14,500 co-featured trot, then proved to have the most late in 1:55.3 victory, a neck to the good of Izoh. The Muscles Yankee gelding, trained by Tom Fanning, has amassed a lifetime bankroll of $790,172 for owner Joseph Smith. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

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

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