Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 327
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will have $30,000 events for open-caliber harness racing horses on both gaits this weekend, with the pacers going during a post-Preakness Saturday night program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the trotters getting their turn the next afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The three morning line choices in the GNOS pace will be starting in inverse order from the rail in their Pocono event. Sweet Rock (post three, driver Eric Carlson, 5-2) was second to first-leg GNOS winner Highalator in a 1:48.3 mile at The Meadowlands last week; Dealt A Winner (post two, driver George Napolitano Jr., 3-1) was a close fifth in that race as he rounds into top form; and Rodeo Rock (post one, driver Eric Goodell), gets a big improvement in post as he makes his second start since being second in the Levy Final on April 20. Not to be overlooked, but a bit of an outsider in more than one sense of the word, is the winner of last week's GNOS event at Philly, Tiger Thompson N. The import has won four of his last five races, including his last start when he rode a perfect pocket trip to victory in 1:50.3 over a sloppy track. Driver Pat Berry may need more than a bit of racing luck for his "Tiger," as they start from post six in the field of seven, with an early quotation of 9-2. On Sunday afternoon at Philly, the $1.4M winner Melady's Monet has been named the 2-1 morning line choice, beginning from the track's winningest post position, the five-hole, for driver Jordan Stratton. Melady's Monet won the first leg of the GNOS here in 1:52.4, then took last week off, but this 10-year-old has been known to hold his form for long stretches at a time. He'll need to be on his game, because the next two rated rivals are Top Flight Angel (post three, driver Marcus Miller, 5-2) and Homicide Hunter (post one, Yannick Gingras, 7-2). Top Flight Angel comes in from Yonkers and a second behind Philly divisional track record holder Will Take Charge, while Homicide Hunter, the World's Fastest Trotter by virtue of his 1:48.4 win at Lexington last year, couldn't have had worse luck in his 2019 debut last week, tucking in from post eight, then getting stuck inside and never getting into the flow of the race. An improved race is very likely to result from Homicide Hunter on Sunday afternoon. These two classes, plus the mares open pace, will all have a chance to race for GNOS points next Sunday, May 26, at Philly, as the track presents its three showcase $100,000 Invitationals: the Maxie Lee Open Trot, the Commodore Barry Open Pace, and the Betsy Ross Mares Open Pace. To make that day even more thrilling for race fans, there will be Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action for the best Pennsylvania three-year-old pacing colts mixed into the blockbuster card on the 26th.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia racetracks Jerry Connors  

Much of the racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this past week took place under less-than-ideal weather conditions, thanks to an unusually cold and rainy stretch of weather from Sunday to Tuesday. That didn't dampen enthusiasm in the least for one of the most exciting weeks of racing we've witnessed this year, as the harness racing action was spiced up with the Great Northeast Open Series and Pennsylvania All-Stars races for three-year-old colts and geldings pacers. Let's take a look at the best of the best as we check out the Weekly Awards.   PACER OF THE WEEK: TEQUILA MONDAY What a year it has been for this five-year-old mare from the Hunter Oakes barn. Tequila Monday came into the $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series race on Sunday night for pacing mares with wins in all five of her races in 2019. Included in those victories was a condition win at Pocono back on April 16. In her previous race, she captured the first leg of the GNO Series with a powerful late move from the pocket at Harrah's at Philadelphia in 1:51.   On Sunday night, she was made the 4-5 betting favorite leaving from post position #4 in a field of seven. And a powerful field it was, including Bettor Joy N, who was hungry for action after a controversial scratch in Ohio, and Percy Blue Chip, Breeders Crown champ at Pocono in 2018. Bettor Joy N hustled past Tequila Monday for the lead on the first turn, and matters looked a little concerning for Tequila Monday when Bettor Joy N was able to get away with relatively soft fractions on the front end.   In the stretch, Tequila Monday had her chance to take on the leader when the passing lane opened up. With Tyler Buter guiding her home, she absolutely exploded past Bettor Joy N, blowing by with ease to win it by 1 ¼ lengths. The winning time of 1:52:1 was impressive considering that the track was slowed by the sloppy conditions. Now 6 for 6 on the year and already having beaten many of the top competitors in her age group, Tequila Monday seems poised for a legendary season.   Other top pacers this week include: Nine Ways (George Napolitano Jr., Antonia Storer), whose third straight condition win on Saturday night came in 1:50, a new career-best and tied for fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved up in condition to win his second straight on Saturday night, getting it done in 1:50:2; and JM's Delight (Greg Merton driver and trainer), who won his second condition pace in his last three at Pocono with a victory in the slop on Sunday night in 1:54.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: GUARDIAN ANGEL AS As was the case with the mares, the field for the #30,000 Great Northeast Open Series for trotters on Sunday night was stacked. Homicide Hunter, defending Breeders Crown champ, was making his first start of the year and his debut for the Ron Burke barn. JL Cruze joined Homicide Hunter as one of two million-dollar earners in the field. La Grange A was coming off back-to-back wins at The Meadowlands, while Pappy Go Go had earlier in the season posted the fastest trotting time in the Pocono meet with a 1:52. But it was Guardian Angle AS, leaving from the #5 post in a field of eight, who was made the 3-5 betting favorite. The 5-year-old stallion was coming off a 2018 which saw him earn a robust $243,966. His first start of 2019 was only a fourth-place finish, but considering it came against brutal competition at The Meadowlands and that he had to deal with a second-tier post, it wasn't bad at all. On Sunday night, he made a quick move to the lead on the front stretch with Tim Tetrick in the bike. On the back stretch, La Grange A came flying at the leader first-over. But Guardian Angel AS, trained by Anette Lorentzon, calmly rebuffed that challenge. In the stretch, he effortlessly opened up the lead and ended up coming home a winner by 3 ¾ lengths over La Grange As, with most of the rest of the field was well back. The winner trotted the mile in 1:53:1 in the slop, making it all look ridiculously easy despite the high caliber of the field. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Mass Production (Scott Zeron, Rick Zeron), who managed to match a career-best time of 1:54:4 in a condition win on Sunday night despite the sloppy conditions; Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory driver and trainer), who followed up a condition win at Harrah's with one at Pocono on Sunday night in the slop with a time of 1:54:1; and Sylvesterameicait (Anthony Napolitano, Bob Baggitt Jr.), whose win in a condition on Monday on a sloppy track in 1:55:4 was the fastest trot of the day by almost four seconds.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RED MAPLE LANE Under the guidance of driver Matt Romano, this trotter led every step of the way in a condition on Tuesday afternoon at 31-1, paying off $64.80 on a $2 win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR George Nap just keeps plowing through the competition, extending his lead in the Pocono driving colony with another big week that was highlighted by five wins on Saturday night.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ANTONIA STORER Storer has been winning at an impressive rate with limited starters at Pocono, as evidenced by a training double on Saturday night with Nine Ways and Rock The Town.   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.   Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Pennsylvania All-Stars harness racing series began its annual run at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night, with three $30,000 divisions of sophomore pacing males in the spotlight. The first All-Stars division was taken by the heralded and well-bred Sweet Lou colt Blood Money, but only by a nose in 1:50. It was an interesting strategic "chess match" between Scott Zeron, guiding Blood Money, and George Napolitano Jr. behind Escapetothebeach: Zeron gradually guided Blood Money to the lead past a :26.4 opener, only for Napolitano to brush in front of the stands with his first-time 2019 starter to have the lead before the :55 half. Zeron didn't want to be caught in with his 1-5 shot, so he regained command before the 1:22.3 three-quarters, only to have Escapetothebeach hang right behind him, take the Pocono Pike, and only get beaten by the slightest of margins. Brassy Hanover, ducking inside fading cover on the far turn, rallied up the far inside and missed by only ¾ of a length in third. Blood Money had won his seasonal debut at The Meadowlands in 1:50; this mile was the fastest of the year by a sophomore on a 5/8-mile track, and tied Blood Money with himself as the fastest "glamour division" colt on any size track. Nancy Johansson trains the winner of $372,244 for Diamond Creek Racing. Branquinho, winless at two but a full brother to Huntsville, looks like he may flourish in his sophomore campaign - he's now undefeated in three 2019 starts, following up on a Stallion Series win last week with an All-Stars victory in 1:50.1, his fastest ever. The Somebeachsomewhere colt bypassed an enormous hole mid-first turn and went on to the lead near the :27.2 quarter; favored Lyons Night Hawk also chose to press forward and grabbed the top halfway to the next station, which was reached in :54.4. The chalk had repelled outside competition by the 1:22.4 three-quarters; Branquinho (the 9-5 second choice) would be his major challenger in the lane, and the winner responded sharply when tipped out from the two-hole by Tyler Buter, winning by ¾ of a length for owner/trainer Ray Schnittker (note: Buter and Schnittker share brown-and-gold colors). Somebeachsomewhere picked up a second sire credit when Air Force Hanover, parked a good way for the lead and not getting a breather up front, was still able to draw clear in the lane to take a new mark of 1:50.1. Air Force Hanover and George Napolitano Jr. (who drove five horses to Victory Lane on the card) were still outside past the :26.3 quarter, then ranged up to the lead in the frontstretch towards the :55.2 midway clocking. Aflame Hanover, the 2018 PA Fair champion, forced the winner to go an all-out :26.3 third quarter to keep the lead, and after the challenger started to fade past the 1:22 three-quarters, "George Nap" kept the winner's mind to business as he posted a 2¾ length victory over fast-closing Highlandbeachlover, who was hampered by a nonflowing outer tier. Brian Brown is the conditioner of the four-time career winner for Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and W. J. Donovan. Pocono's love affair with the claiming box produced a "new track record" on Saturday, as the Mach Three seven-year-old gelding Raksmach N was claimed for $40,000, a record for the mountain oval. A winner of three straight before a very hard-fought third from the outside post eight on Saturday, he leaves owner Mark Akins with a $2400 purse check and a $5000 profit on his haltering of the horse for $35,000 last week, minus the week's training fee; the horse now goes to the Oakes barn and the Northfolk Racing Stable. In all for the night, 12 claims totaled up to $304,500, running the seasonal totals to 147 claims, with $2,642,500 changing hands. Tomorrow night marks the 2019 debut of The World's Fastest Trotter, the locally-based Homicide Hunter, in a $30,000 open trot event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS); Tequila Monday and Kissininthesand seem likely to renew their first-round GNOS rivalry in the $30,000 mares open pace.   ATTRIBUTION - PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

After spending the early part of his harness racing career as a big fish in a small pond, Pappy Go Go is ready to head into open waters. Pappy Go Go, a 5-year-old gelding who dominated in the Canadian Maritimes before arriving in the U.S. in 2018, will compete in Saturday's (May 4) first round of the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Andrew Harris trainee is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the race, which also includes 2018 Canadian Trotting Classic winner Crystal Fashion (7-2) and millionaire Melady's Monet (4-1). A week ago, Pappy Go Go and driver George Napolitano Jr. won a conditioned race at Philly by 6-3/4 lengths in 1:52. The time equaled his career best, first established in a conditioned start on March 30 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and is the second fastest trotting time of the season. Now he will go for the most lucrative purse of his career - $30,000 - on Saturday. "I'm in the same boat as everybody else; I don't know if he can go with these horses or not," Harris said. "I'm anticipating the race as much as anyone. I want to see what he is, see what he's got. I'm excited to see if he can handle it." Pappy Go Go is a son of Tad The Stud out of Paging Willy. He was bred by Calgary's Bill Andrew, a recent inductee into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame whose family has long been involved in harness racing in the Maritimes. As a 3-year-old Pappy Go Go was 13-for-13 racing in the Maritimes, where he won a total of 19 of 24 starts in his career. In January 2018, he sold for $30,000 to Michael Goldberg's Chai-Five Racing and now competes for Michael Goldberg Racing LLC. Goldberg gave Harris credit for picking out the horse. "He was a proven winner," Goldberg said. "He didn't have the competition he has today, but he had beaten everything he had taken on before, and we liked the look of the horse. "We love the horse," he continued. "He behaves well, he's great to be around, and he continues to improve. This is going to be a big test for him, this is the deepest competition he's faced, but he's got two (1):52 miles this year and is sharp. We're excited about the race. We're going to see what we have the next couple weeks." Goldberg, a psychologist who splits his time between Florida and his native Massachusetts, got started in harness racing in 1992 when he bought into a $2,500 claimer at Foxboro Raceway. His father and brother also got involved in the sport and were co-owners of 2004 Cutler Memorial winner War Paint. "I took a little hiatus when I got married and had kids, but got back into it a few years ago," said Goldberg, who also has gotten involved in breeding and attaches the Boston-reference "Beantown" as a prefix to his horse's names. Pappy Go Go has won nine of 40 races for Goldberg and Harris, earning $109,273. He has hit the board in seven consecutive starts, winning two and finished second on four occasions. "He was kind of in a rough spot last year as a 4-year-old racing aged horses, and he was also racing (a different level) of horses," Harris said. "It was just kind of a maturation process for him. Now he's developed into a nice horse. He had a few little issues last year with steering and now this year, I can't even tell you why, he's steering so much better." Harris was attracted to Pappy Go Go because of his ability to win races. He hopes to see it continue. "I love a horse that loves to win," Harris said. "I don't care where you're at, when you're winning dominantly and you're the big fish in your small pond, there is always that chance to step up to the next level. He was worth the gamble just because of his winning nature." Saturday's card at Philly also includes the $30,000 first round of the Great Northeast Open Series for female pacers. Harris' Dont Think Twice A, co-owned by Goldberg, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the race, which also includes returning Dan Patch Award winner Kissin In The Sand for her debut at age 4. Racing begins at 12:40 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com      

WILKES-BARRE PA - A pair of pacing distaffs with North America-wide reputations - the four-year-old Caviart Ally and the three-year-old Zero Tolerance - both made their 2019 harness racing debuts at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday, and both were gallant but had to settle for second behind more experienced foes. Caviart Ally was odds-on in the $25,000 mares pacing handicap, and after being looped by Bettorhaveanother early, she worked her way to the lead near the :27.1 quarter. But driver Simon Allard and the Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N, who had won with a breathtaking stretch dash from seventh last week, were soon on the move and got to the lead well before the half, reached in :55.2, and continued in front to and past the 1:23.3 three-quarters. Caviart Ally came out with an 1/8 to go and pursued hard, but Eclipse Me N still had a :27 last quarter in her and held on by ¾ of a length in 1:50.3; Bettorhaveanother was 1¾ lengths further back in third. The victory ran Eclipse Me N's seasonal record to 5-3-1-0, and the Rene Allard trainee, owned by Allard Racing Inc. Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae, ran her lifetime earnings to $235,244. Zero Tolerance, second in the Breeders Crown and Three Diamonds last year, looked like an irresistible force at 1-5 in the $17,500 distaff subfeature, but she ran into Pocono's immovable object, driver George Napolitano Jr. David Miller let Zero Tolerance patiently work outside past the :26.4 opener to the lead in front of the stands, but "George Nap" had the Palone Ranger mare Juslikeaqueen winging frontward at that point, and that pair reached the half in :55. The "Queen" and the filly maintained 1-2 position at the 1:22.4 three-quarters, and just when it looked like Zero Tolerance was ready to go by, Napolitano got more out of the 9-1 shot and brought her home a half-length to the good in a lifetime best of 1:51. The game frontstepper, owned and trained by Antonia Storer, now has career winnings of $253,205. The victory with Juslikeaqueen was the sixth of the twilight card for George Napolitano Jr.; Simon Allard had three, and George's brother Anthony added another pair, meaning that eleven of the thirteen winners on Tuesday at Pocono were driven by someone named Napolitano or Allard. Saturday is Kentucky Derby Day, and that also means the traditional doubleheader of racing at The Downs, with first post at 11:00 a.m. for the brunch session and approximately 7:30 p.m. for the post-Derby action. The nighttime racing will be highlighted by the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, in which Western Fame, the richest North American harness horse so far this year with $446,300 to his credit, looks to be the likely favorite. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

April 27-May 3, 2019 We are really starting to enter the heart of the harness racing stakes season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In the past week, the last two finals of the Bobby Weiss series took place, and those two winners highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards. Not only will Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action be heating up in the next few weeks, but the Van Rose Memorial Pace on Saturday night will kick off the Great Northeast Open series. So much going on, but first let's take a look back at those Weiss finals. PACER OF THE WEEK: TURBO HILL The past few weeks of the Bobby Weiss series in the three and four-year-old colts, stallions and geldings pacing division set up an interesting rivalry between Turbo Hill and Sports Legend. Turbo Hill won a showdown between the two on April 13, and looked like the class of the division at that point. But then Sports Legend came back the following week and not only beat Turbo Hill, but did so handily by 7 ½ lengths. While there were others in the field with excellent credentials, Saturday night's final figured to come down to the two rivals. Turbo Hill, a four-year-old stallion, left from post position #5 in the nine-horse field as the 3-5 favorite, while Sports Legend was right next to him in post #6 as an 8-5 second choice. In the previous meetings, the horse who grabbed the lead was the one who came out on top, so it boded well for Turbo Hill that he jumped out to the engine in this one. It also boded well when George Napolitano Jr., taking over as driver of Turbo Hill from trainer Hunter Oakes, was able to get away with a soft second panel of :29:1. While Sports Legend stayed close in the pocket, he wasn't able to get past in the all-out duel in the stretch. The well-rated Turbo Hill was able to finish strong for the victory in a career-best 1:51, holding off Sports Legend by three parts of a length to avenge what was only the second loss of his career. Other top pacers this week include: Hitman Hill (Hunter Oakes, Chris Oakes), who scored a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:50:1, matching the mark that he set a few weeks back as the fastest pacing time posted so far this meet at Pocono; Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), who scored his second straight condition victory by moving up in class on Saturday night to win in 1:50:4; and Eclipse Me N (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who won the Mares feature on Tuesday for the second straight week, this time getting it done in 1:50:3.   TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DOVER DONY The finals of a racing series can often take on a different aspect than all the preliminary legs. In the Weiss series for three and four-year-old colts, stallions and geldings trotters, most of the preliminary legs contained short fields. In that atmosphere, My Lindy Winner seemed unbeatable, winning three straight, mostly with authority. Only in the final leg was he pushed to the hilt by Dover Dony, who nearly went gate-to-wire, only to lose to My Lindy Winner by a half-length. On Monday night in the final, there was a full field of nine. My Lindy Winner left from post position #7 in a field of nine. As a horse without great speed in the opening quarter, he laid back and settled fifth early on. But Dover Dony, a four-year-old stallion trained by Jordan Derue, came out flying from post #6 and grabbed the lead from Chapter And Ruth at the eighth-mile marker. Driver Simon Allard than rated the pace well and allowed Dover Dony to rest in the front stretch before kicking it up several notches on the back stretch and opening up the lead. My Lindy Winner, having to make up more ground than usual, was still well behind on the back stretch, finally kicking into gear with a three-wide move on the final turn. But by that time the margin was too wide and Dover Dony was too game. He powered home a length in front of Chapter And Ruth, with My Lindy Winner another quarter-length back in the third. Dover Dony blazed to a career-best mile of 1:54 as a 6-5 second choice, while Allard completed an amazing run as driver of there of this year's four Weiss series champions. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tag Up And Go (Marcus Miller, Rob Harmon), who followed up a win at Chester with a victory in Sunday night's featured condition trot in 1:56:4 in the slop; Very Very Fast (Simon Allard, Bob Bresnahan Jr.), who stepped up in condition to score his second straight win on Sunday night, getting it done in the slop in 1:58:2; and Such An Angel (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes, who powered to a condition victory on Tuesday in 1:53:0, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono.   LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: NEW IDENTITY   After spending the entirety of 2018 without a victory, this condition trotter won his first start this year with Anthony Napolitano in the bike at 27-1, paying off $56.40 on a $2-win ticket.   DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY   Whenever he makes an appearance at Pocono, you can expect Kakaley to do some damage, as he proved with a combined seven wins on Sunday and Monday night.   TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RAY SCHNITTKER   Schnittker sent out a trip of three-year-old pacing colts on Sunday and Monday night, all of them making their first start of the year, and every one of the three came back a winner.   That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.     by Jim Beviglia

CHESTER PA - Pappy Go Go now has two of the three fastest miles in North American harness racing during 2019 after he demolished a field by 6 3/4 lengths in the $18,000 trotting feature at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. George Napolitano Jr. held early position with "Pappy" from post four as the three inside him left, then pulled his trotter out just before the :27.4 quarter. Golden Son moved from the pocket just in front of him, and Napolitano briefly had his trotter three-wide before circling to the lead entering turn two, before the :56 half. Pappy Go Go had a full head of steam down the backstretch and reached the three-quarters in 1:24, and he had no slowdown in him in the lane, equaling the time he posted at Pocono on March 30, which is just a fifth behind Insomniac's 1:51.4 at Miami Valley on April 5. Andrew Harris trains the impressive winner, who now has 28 career wins and $155,517 in earnings, for Michael Goldberg Racing. If you have missed the "backstory" on Pappy Go Go, it is an interesting one. He is bred by William Andrew, who lives in Alberta - not a noted haven for trotters. He is a five-year-old gelding by the Prince Edward Island-based stallion Tad The Stud (whose second-fastest son has a mark of 1:57.2), and "Pappy" sold for $4,000 at a Nova Scotia yearling sale. 13 of those 28 career wins came during an undefeated sophomore stakes campaign in the Maritimes, and now based on his twin 1:52s it looks like Pappy Go Go may soon be facing a very elite brand of competition. There were a pair of $14,500 subfeatures on the Philly "Trottin' Thursday" card. The first was taken by the top Maryland campaigner Hybrid Henry, who made every pole a winning one while winning in 1:54 for driver David Miller, 2¼ lengths clear of his opposition. Arlene Cameron conditions and owns the Cam's Rocket gelding, who now has lifetime earnings of $240,211. The Cantab Hall gelding Perseverance was sent away quickly from the pole by driver Corey Callahan to protect pocket position behind the speedy Zagster, then was able to move outside for the stretch drive and catch the pacesetter by 1¾ lengths in 1:55.1. The Eric Ell trainee, a winner of $198,832, recorded his second consecutive victory for owners Ken Wood, Tribbett Racing, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta. The drivers of the subfeature winners, Callahan and Miller, had the hot hands on the Thursday card, visiting Victory Lane four times each. Harrah's Philadelphia will conduct its first nighttime card of 2019 tomorrow night (Friday), with first post at 6:30 p.m. The Jackpot Hi-5 carryover heading into race 5 is $11,972.22. Harrah's Philly will also conduct Friday evening cards on May 17th, September 6th, and October 4th. Another soon-upcoming alteration to the normal Philly schedule is that there will be a special card of live racing on Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 4, with first post at 12:40. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The American Ideal mare Ghosttothepost became the only distaff to be victorious in all three of the preliminaries for the Bobby Weiss Series for harness racing pacing fillies and mares, coming home in 56.2 on a cold Monday with swirling winds at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to triumph in 1:54.3. George Napolitano Jr. got early fractions of 28.3 and 58.1 with the five-time seasonal winner, then turned on the back half jets, with a 28.2 second quarter and then a 28 last quarter into the win. Ghosttothepost, who suffered broken equipment during the contest, needed the speedy finish to keep pocketsitting Cardiff a neck away at the finish for trainer Darren Farrell and owner Peter Paul Venturini. Ashlee Sparkles came to her third Weiss prelim with a pair of series victories, but this week she couldn't catch the Sportswriter filly Girl's Got Rhythm, who clocked splits of 28.2, 57.2, and 1:25.3, then held off Ashlee Sparkles by a length in 1:54. Girl's Got Rhythm was unraced as a freshman, but she has begun her career with three straight victories, including one previous Weiss success, for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nicholas Devita and owner John Cummins. Charms Little Sis lowered her record 4 1/5 seconds when she won the other Weiss cut in 1:55.2, giving Tyler Buter victories in two of the three series divisions. Charms Lil Sis, a Mach Three mare, also used frontstepping tactics en route to the winners circle, opening a big lead down the backstretch and staying three lengths clear at the wire for trainer Scott Blackler and the Millar Farms. The $30,000 Weiss Championship for this group will be featured next Monday, April 22, with a $15,000 consolation also to be available if enough horses enter. The unofficial pointleaders after this group's preliminary round action, from highest to lowest points, are: 1. Ghosttothepost, 2. Ashlee Sparkles, 3. Cardiff, 4. Girl's Got Rhythm, 5. Final Escape, 6. Charms Lil Sis, 7. Flippin Fun, 8. Linda Lace Hanover, and 9. JK Lockherup; Take Abit Of Life and Barbs Beach would be the two AEs "on the bubble," in that order of preference, and would be the top eligibles for the consolation if it fills. FINISHING LINES - If you didn't get your licks in during races 4, 5, and 6, and your driver's name wasn't Tyler Buter, Anthony Napolitano, or Simon Allard, you did not have a pass into the Pocono winners circle on Monday night: "ANap" and Simon won four races each, Tyler three. Anthony Napolitano combined with trainer Jose Godinez to win the Early Double; Simon Allard hooked up with trainer/brother Rene to sweep the Late Double; and Buter as noted won two Weiss divisions, bringing him to 2998 career sulky successes.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Developing three- and four-year-olds of both gaits and sexes will begin contesting their $15,000 third and final preliminary legs of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono starting tonight (Monday), hoping to solidify places in the $30,000 series Championships (or perhaps a $15,000 consolation) that will begin in one week, Monday, April 22. The pacing fillies and mares will take to the track for Weiss harness racing action on Monday in three divisions. Undefeated in their first two preliminaries were Ghosttothepost, an American Ideal mare to be guided by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Darren Ferrell from post five in the fifth race division, and the Art Major filly Ashlee Sparkles, who will begin from race two in the eleventh race Weiss contest for driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Blake MacIntosh. Both are morning line favorites in their respective divisions. There were six different winners in the first two preliminaries of the distaff trotting Weiss Series, with the only repeat winner the Explosive Matter filly Spring In Paris, who was game to win by a neck in each of her Weiss starts. During Tuesday's eleventh race cut of the third Weiss preliminary, she's be starting as the morning line choice from post five for trainer Steve LeBlanc, who doesn't disrupt a winning formula and again taps Andrew McCarthy for sulky action. This coming Saturday, pacing males will be contested their final Weiss preliminary action. The horse to watch in this section is the American Ideal four-year-old Turbo Hill, who closed in 26.3 in his second Weiss prelim to post a 1:51.2 victory. Trained and driven by Hunter Oakes, Turbo Hill is riding a six-race win streak, and he has won eight times in but nine career starts. The trotting male third round preliminaries will be held on Monday, April 22, as the Downs will be dark on Easter Sunday, April 21. My Lindy Winner, a four-year-old son of Credit Winner, will be the only horse bringing two straight Weiss victories with him, both times winning impressively to remain undefeated in five 2019 starts for trainer Rob Harmon, with Jim Morrill Jr. slated for sulky duty.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA – The front end continued to be THE place to be at Harrah’s Philadelphia at the start of the third week of the harness racing season, as the Elegant Man gelding Fearless Man used speedy tactics to take the $18,000 featured trot on Thursday in 1:53.3. The young meet’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., let longshot Tough Mac streak to the early lead, and then brushed to the top past a lightning 26.2 opening split. The winner of $684,304 just kept gobbling up the racetrack through middle fractions of 55.1 and 1:23.2, with favored Fraser Ridge making steady but not enough forward grinding progress. Fraser Ridge continued to gain through the lane, but Fearless Man had just built up too big an advantage, and the final margin was 1¾ lengths for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Rick Zeron Stables, Noblock Racing Stable, and Cool Cat Racing Inc. The National Basketball Association playoffs start this Saturday, and a five-time participant in the NBA postseason, Sam Bowie, owns the winner of Philly’s Thursday $14,500 co-feature, Seven Iron, who equaled his mark of 1:54.2 (the horse’s name is not as much a mixed sports metaphor as you may think – the famous Masters golf tournament is also this weekend). The victorious son of Cantab Hall, a Chris Lakata trainee who has now a bankroll of $241,170, earned his victory “the hard way,” having to go first-over on the speed-favoring oval, but driver Yannick Gingras had plenty of horse late to be 2¾ lengths clear of favored Presidente Zette on the money.   PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Explosive Matter filly Spring In Paris emerged as the only female with a 2-for-2 record in the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs after three $15,000 second round preliminary harness racing divisions on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Driver Andrew McCarthy had Spring In Paris in second-over position when pacesetting Fade Into You made a break early in the backstretch, with the victorious filly briefly three-wide as her cover was fading and could not cross over, allowing then-pocketsitter Town Hall Justice to scoot through to the lead. But Spring In Paris downshifted when she regained two-wide status, went on to the lead then held off the late inside bid of Royal Esteem by a neck in 1:57.4. Steve LeBlanc conditions the winner, now undefeated in three 2019 starts, for Leblanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson. That victory completed a siring double for Explosive Matter, as his daughter Nicole Hanover won the first Weiss division by a nose in 1:58.4. The mare followed behind pacesetter Meadowbranch Vicki, then used the famed Pocono Pike to nip her foe late for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Bob Rougeaux III, and the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. Sire dominance in the third Weiss cut went to Cantab Hall, as his daughters finished 1-2-3-4, topped by Lollipop Lindy, a three-year-old who reduced her mark two seconds to 1:57. George Napolitano Jr. went the uncovered route with Lollipop Lindy in the last half, and the pair rallied by hard-used pacesetter Run Lindy Run by a half-length for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and her owner, Hall of Famer Chuck Sylvester. In the top mares overnight pace for $14,000, the Stonebridge Regal mare Bye Bye Michelle was used hard early and late, yet still was able to defeat Ella Christina by a neck in 1:52.4. Andy Miller secured a pocket trip past a 26.4 opener and sat in the two-hole by the 56 half. Ella Christina made a huge uncovered backstretch move to sweep to the lead before the 1:24 3/4s - but her cover did not keep up with her, allowing Miller to move out behind the sweeper, then take off after her in the stretch. Ella Christina held well, but Bye Bye Michelle (favored by only $50 in the win pool over Ella Christina) proved the best at crunch time as she raised her career earnings to $371,225 for trainer Mike Watson and owner Clifford Grundy.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - Perennial local harness racing driving leader George Napolitano Jr. accounted for half of the twelve races on the Monday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including keeping of a pair of impressive pacing distaffs undefeated in Weiss Series competition after their $15,000 second round preliminaries. Ghosttothepost had a bit of an adventurous journey in her section, but the American Ideal came through with flying colors, taking a new mark of 1:53. George Napolitano chose to keep his charge in third as brother Anthony rushed up with McCoolen before the half, then was able to slip out behind that one as Cardiff, another first-round Weiss winner, posted fractions of 28, 57.1, and 1:24.4. The stretch battle boiled down to the 1-1 Cardiff and the 4-5 Ghosttothepost, with the latter swinging wide off her cover and having the most late to win by 1¾ lengths. Darren Ferrell conditions the fast mare for owner Peter Paul Venturini. 18 minutes previously, "George Nap" put the Art Major filly Ashlee Sparkles on top past a 27.4 split, posted middle numbers of 57 and 1:25.3, then withstood the heated late charge of pocketsitting Final Escape by a head in 1:53.4. The winner's only two starts of 2019 have been Weiss victories for trainer Blake MacIntosh, who is also co-owner with Hutt Racing Stable, Jacqueline Tierney, and the Mortgage Boys Stable. In the third Weiss section, the Sportswriter filly Girl's Got Rhythm ran her lifetime record to 2-for-2 as she overcame the outside post eight and a two-move journey to prevail by a half-length over 50-1 shot Flipping Fun in 1:53.1. Unraced at two, Girl's Got Rhythm had broken her maiden in her bow, then handled the shift to Weiss action with aplomb for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nicholas Devita and owner John Cummins. In addition to the six wins for Napolitano, Jim Morrill Jr. fashioned three victories on the Monday card; in fact, from races three to eleven inclusive there was no admission via sulky to the local winners circle unless your name was "GNap" or Morrill. PHHA / Pocono   Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The $700,000 Bobby Weiss Series, the traditional early-season contests at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono that often bring a focus to developing harness racing stars, begins its annual competition on Monday and Tuesday with fillies and mares - pacers in three divisions on Monday, and trotters in four sections the next day. George Napolitano Jr., who has been burning up the racetrack both at Pocono and 100 miles south at the newly-opened meet at Harrah's Philly, is set to guide the morning line favorite in the first two cuts on Monday's twilight card. In race seven, he'll be handling Ashlee Sparkles for trainer Blake MacIntosh as that sophomore filly makes her seasonal bow off a very sharp 1:55.3 qualifier here. In the ninth, "GNap" has been tapped by trainer Randy Bendis to steer Sewonandsewforth, who missed by a head at 27-1 in her first contest as a three-year-old last week. In Monday's third division, the brother team of driver Simon and trainer Rene Allard will be the powers behind Lady Ella, a four-year-old mare who came to Pocono during opening week and paced off to an open-length victory in 1:54. The partnership of driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke will have two of the four morning line favorites in Tuesday's Weiss trotting action. The sophomore filly Run Lindy Run, a winner in the Kentucky stakes program last season, will have to try to surmount the outside post seven as she makes her 2019 bow in the fourth race, while in the very next race another Kakaley/Burke three-year-old, Fade Into You, a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at two, also faces the starting gate for the first time this year - but she will be facing it from the opposite end than is her stablemate, as she has drawn the rail. Spring In Paris is the North American season's leader for three-year-old fillies on a 5/8-mile track by virtue of a 1:56.4 win at Pocono in her first start of the season; she'll be looking to make it two straight for driver Andrew McCarthy and trainer Steve LeBlanc in the eleventh race Weiss action. In race three, trainer Rich Gillock has picked Andy Miller, a noted handler of trotters, to guide Galary Girl, who has shown great speed when she has been able to mind her manners; she is rated the early choice based on her potential. "The boys" will be beginning their Weiss action this weekend, with pacers set for Saturday and trotters on Sunday. Each of the four sections of the Weiss Series will be conducted with three preliminary rounds, with the top performers returning for $30,000 Championships near the end of the month.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

Chester, PA -- Following a driving grand slam on Friday's (March 29) opening harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia, defending driving champion George Napolitano Jr. again asserted his dominance by posting six wins on Sunday afternoon's (March 31) 12-race card.   Cruise Patrol's ($3.00) 1:50.4 win in the eighth race, a $14,500 upper-level conditioned pace, was the cornerstone of Napolitano's six-bagger. The 6-year-old Bettor's Delight entire used a :26.4 first quarter to seize command from Dream Out Loud N (Dexter Dunn) before rating a :29.1 second quarter split and powering away up the far side to put three lengths of clearance on his pocket rival. Turning for home, Dream Out Loud N began to close in, but Cruise Patrol ultimately held his ground, driven out to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.4. Machiavelli (Simon Allard) held third, another 4-1/2 lengths back, after stalking the top flight throughout.   For trainer Mike Dowdall, Cruise Patrol was one of three winners on the afternoon.   Napolitano also teamed up with Dowdall trainees Mayfield Duke ($3.60, 1:53) and Track Master D ($5.00), along with Gilbert Garcia-Owen trainees CC's Desire ($2.80, 1:52.4) and Our Regal Ideal N ($6.80, 1:53), and Norm Parker pupil Unlocked ($2.60, 1:53.1).   Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia with a 12-race program on Thursday (April 4). Post time is 12:25 p.m. Eastern, and the fifth-race 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 will feature a carryover of $1,656.80.     by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

HARRISBURG PA - Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred racehorse of all time with $7,635,588 and now retired from the racetrack, caused a sensation at the recent Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando FL when the now 15-year-old actually showed up at the harness racing fancy dinner to "accept" the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award he was voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) for outstanding contributions to the sport. And Foiled Again is now receiving another award - the Mary Lib Miller Award, the highest honor given by the Keystone Chapter of USHWA, for his unmatched career as racehorse and ambassador. It's not like Foiled Again has never been honored before by Keystone USHWA - he was the journalists' PA-Sired Horse of the Year from 2011 to 2013, the same three years he was voted national division champion for the free-for-allers. But the group thought to mark the retirement of the evergreen pacer, whose last campaign was a barnstorming Farewell Tour which took him to 19 different racetracks, by voting him its highest award, especially an award named after the ever-present and gracious mate of "Mr. Harness Racing" himself, Hall of Famer Delvin Miller. McWicked, the 1:46.2 pacer who was 2018's Harness Horse of the Year and led all competitors with seasonal earnings of $1,575,364, got the nod for PA-Sired Horse of the Year as well - he was also voted co-PA Sire Stakes Horse of the Year by the Keystone Chapter four years ago. The breeders of McWicked, the Prushnok family of Andray Farms in western Pennsylvania, will receive the Pennsylvania Breeder of the Year award for having producing harness racing's top 2018 performer. The only two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes performers who led their division in preliminary point accumulation and then went on to win their respective finals, the three-year-old males Dorsoduro Hanover (pace) and Crystal Fashion (trot), were picked as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horses of the Year for their respective gaits. The duo were two of the top four moneywinners in the sulky sport last year; Dorsoduro Hanover also won his Breeders Crown event at Pocono en route to being named divisional champion. For Pennsylvania Harness Horse of the Year honors (50%+ of starts within Pennsylvania), the world's fastest trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington in the fall), was the consensus champion. Homicide Hunter won his Breeders Crown at Pocono, and he also took four legs of the Great Northeast Open Series before setting a world record over 1¼ miles in the GNOS Championship. In a close race between former honorees, George Napolitano Jr. edged out Aaron Merriman for Pennsylvania Driver of the Year. Merriman was named 2018 North American Driver of the Year for being the first sulkysitter to post 1000+ victories in two years, but Aaron won "only" 262 of those races in Pennsylvania, while Napolitano won 637 times within the confines of the Keystone State, taking his fifth straight crown at Harrah's Philadelphia and his seventh consecutive title at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Schadel brothers, Todd and Tony, both earned a place in the spotlight during 2018. Todd was the leading trainer and driver at the PA fairs by a wide margin to earn election as Pennsylvania Fair Horseman of the Year; he also captured a North American title with the highest UDR in the 300-499 starts class. Tony was driver and co-owner of the two-year-old Aflame Hanover, who in winning his Fair Championship posted a clocking of 1:51.4 - the fastest time ever in a Pennsylvania Fair Championship, faster even than any three-year-old; for that milestone, Aflame Hanover was voted a Special Achievement Award. These honorees will be presented their trophies by members of Keystone USHWA during trackside ceremonies at their respective ovals, or when they come to Pennsylvania, within the next couple of months.   Keystone Chapter, U.S. Harness Writers Association

That throne is a series of uncomfortable bucket seats along a back wall of the paddock by the first gate at the Harrah’s Philadelphia harness racing track in Chester. As reported by Philadelphia Weekly. Taking a long pull of a giant vape pen, Napolitano exhales a plume of smoke so thick his weathered face completely disappears. When it returns to focus, his head is buried in a racing program, checking once more where he’ll be placed – and on what horse – in just 18 minutes time. Unless you’re familiar with the high stakes sport of harness racing, you’d never know that sitting alone in that corner is one of the winningest drivers in the history of the sport. A world champion, who at his peak pocketed over $8 million in his first half of his career. He’s the driver other drivers emulate. He’s the name on the program that even if he’s riding a long shot, you bet on it. Not because it’ll automatically win, but because with Napolitano on that horse, you’ve got a fighting chance. Bettors know it, and other drivers especially know it. It’s one of the reasons Napolitano is respected, even if he isn’t always well liked. See, in the high prized world of harness racing, everyone is an independent contractor of sorts. In each race, a hefty 5 percent split of a five- or six-figure purse for drivers who finish 1-2-3 serves as supreme motivation. Even on this day as he waits patiently, Napolitano has a chance to clean up at Harrah’s as trainers have him on a horse in every race. “He’s the guy,” said Harrah’s racing official Joe Auger. “He’s one of the best drivers in the world and he knows how to be among the top in almost every race. That’s why his name in a [racing program] gets anyone who knows anything about harness excited. We’re lucky to have a guy like that racing here.” Tim Tetrick, left, another one of harness racing's best is one of Napolitano's fiercest rivals – and friends in the business, "He's a warrior. This guy right here keeps me on my toes." | Image: Kerith Gabriel Even now, Napolitano is atop the leaderboard among drivers at Harrah’s for most starts, wins and purses this season, chasing a 5 percent split of nearly $2.7 million at the time we met for this story. It’s a sport that has given Napolitano so much. But it’s also one that robbed him of his identity. An identity that nearly killed him. ‘God, if you’re real, I could really use you right now’ In the mid-2000s, Pompano Park and Pocono Downs were playgrounds for Napolitano. In 2006, he led all drivers at the latter with 312 wins and over $1.7 million in prize monies. In one of the best years of his life professionally, Napolitano was also racing champion at Pompano both as a trainer and driver.  It wouldn’t be a cliche to at all to call it “riding high,” because that’s what Napolitano was doing – both on and off the track. But it would catch up with him. Both he and the horses he’d train would routinely test positive for banned substances, him for illegal drugs and his horses for enhancers. Champion harness driver George Napolitano waits patiently for his first race of the day at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester. Napolitano is the top driver at Harrah’s with over $2 million in purses so far. | Image: Kerith Gabriel It all came to a head the morning of May 7, 2007.  Dale Rapson, vice president of racing operations for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, announced the driver, then known as “Georgie Nap,” was banned indefinitely from racing at Pocono on the heels of another suspension from the state racing board. A decision that ultimately blackballed him from the sport for more than a year. “I was suspended for so long, I had no choice but to turn my life around,” Napolitano recalled. “They took everything from me. I was lost man, I was absolutely lost. When they took [my license] from me, I was worthless. My wife left me and I was living in my car. I started using cocaine a lot harder, and I was on drugs that I couldn’t get off of. I was living on the streets, it was without question a really scary point in my life.” People in the sport could see Napolitano’s path was one that wasn’t going to end well. Before his redemption and ascension back into harness racing, the “old George” was admittedly, “a piece of shit.” He’d do whatever he had to do to win, and if another driver or trainer got in his way, watch out. “Oh yeah, I’ve clocked guys,” Napolitano said. “I’m probably one of the only drivers in this sport that has done suspension time for punching someone. That was the old George, and when I first started out I had this ego and a real bad temper. I was cocky, wasn’t very humble and if someone got in my way I’d crack the shit out of them.” It was his drug-induced me first, fuck you mentality that made Napolitano a pariah on many facets. It found his family distancing themselves early on despite his success, including his own kid brother, Anthony, who got into the family business of racing 15 years ago and is a top driver in his own right. Anthony will say he was always rooting for his brother to get his life together – but that it had to be from a distance. George, left, and his brother Anthony are the latest in the Napolitano family to carry on a long standing tradition of drivers and trainers in the harness racing game. | Image: Kerith Gabriel “We had to let Georgie figure his life out,” said Anthony, who explained the separation as he parked himself right next next to his brother in a bucket seat just before the third race at Harrah’s. “We are in a sport that when someone falls it’s natural to talk badly about each other, but in the end, who is the best will show up time and time again. My brother put himself through the ringer, but there was no one happier for him than me to see him get his life together and come back and be a rising star for the last 10 years at the two toughest tracks in the country. He’s fought his way back.” It was only after his wife left and on a day in which Napolitano described as a “drug-fueled rampage,” he remembered what a friend told him. “I saw a friend who had gotten out of prison; he looked at me and said, ‘dude, you gotta turn to Jesus.’ I thought he was crazy,” said Napolitano. “One day I went on a rampage with the drugs and drinking and was out of control. I remembered what he said and I got down on the ground and said, ‘God, if you’re real, I could really use you, right now.’ I mean you have to remember man, that before all of this, I was the winningest driver and a champion and all of a sudden it was just gone.” Napolitano went to rehab, but quickly left. Then he went back and stayed longer – and left. But each time, he learned something that kept him coming back. He was changing. A final stint in rehab saw the cocaine-fueled rage sessions cease. His drinking slowed. Family started coming back into the fold. His wife returned. And in that, Napolitano found a greater purpose. “I learned in that time that, like horses, life is a grind,” Napolitano said.  “If you let it get to you, if you aren’t mentally and physically sharp, it’ll eat you up and spit you right out.” ‘Everything is calculated now. Measured.’ Routine arguably has saved George Napolitano’s life. He does the same thing most days when he wakes up inside his West Chester home. He gets on his computer, checks the United States Trotting Association website to see where he’s placed or if there are any changes to his draws. Then it’s a series of calisthenics, stretches and a protein shake before he heads out the door to Harrah’s or a number of other area tracks.   George Napolitano equated the start of a harness race to being in a heavyweight boxing match. "It's like two champions getting ready to go at it. It's about as intense a feeling you'll ever get." | Image: Kerith Gabriel  Since his license has been fully restored, Napolitano has been on the circuit hard. Every day doesn’t find him at Harrah’s, as he could be at any track on any given day, even Pocono Downs, where his ban has been lifted and he’s returned as one of the top drivers. – You think George Napolitano has confidence? You bet he does...Talent isn't always enough. If you don't think you're great, you can't be great.” – Bob Pandolfo, columnist and handicapper for DRF Bets wrote in a May 2016 story on the Napolitano brothers. – However, he’ll tell you right away that with his support system minutes away, Harrah’s is home. Today, his faith and his family take precedent. He checks in with his wife, Kathy, who in spite of her decision to leave her husband at a time he arguably needed her most, Napolitano will attest that he couldn’t have gotten himself back without her tough love and support. He spends quality time with his son George, Jr. and routinely talks to his favorite trainers in the business in Gilbert Garcia and Chris Oaks. Monotony? Sure. But to stay regimented, it’s necessary. “I don’t live like that anymore and I don’t put myself in situations where I could be tempted to live like that,” said Napolitano. “I put Jesus first. I read my Bible, I look out for my family and I take things slowly. Everything is calculated now. Measured. Now it’s my faith, my family and my job. Where before, it was always my job.” The grind of horse racing and the toll it took on Napolitano’s life can be read across his face at first glance. But it’s something about the family business that keeps him coming back. Money, sure. That’s first and foremost, the Napolitano brothers aren’t hiding that. But there’s something more for George that is going to take a while for him to ever step away from. George Napolitano says his greatest high has always arrived from holding the reins of a great horse. | Image: Kerith Gabriel “The high I used to get doing drugs? I get that once the gate opens and I’m on a horse,” said Napolitano with a smile beamed across his weathered face. “Especially a great horse. When you get a good horse and you’re going down the stretch, you feel like you’re in a Ferrari, and you’re on cruise. They are beautiful animals and great horses make for great drivers. There’s a lot great drivers here that never get the opportunity to drive a great horse." And when it comes to one day calling it quits? "I’m gonna let Jesus tell me when it’s time to go," he adds. "I’m not giving it up yet. I was a true champion for a long time and I just want to feel that again. Right now, I’m enjoying life, and I know that sooner or later the torch has to be handed over, but it ain’t gonna be in the next couple of years. I’m still here to keep people on their toes.” Anthony pivots in his seat to look at his brother. “[George] can’t leave yet, he’s my motivation," Anthony said. "He’s got my back and I have his. It’s nice because we share the same qualities as far as appreciating the money that we make in this business...people call it a shadow, but I’m happy to be in that shadow. My brother fought his way back and he’s here now. I’m not No. 1, but at my track he’s my No. 1 and I’m No. 2 and I’m happy with that.” Reprinted with permission of The Philadelphia Weekly

1 to 16 of 327
1 2 3 4 5 Next »