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WILKES-BARRE, PA - It's safe to predict that Rodeo Romeo, the leading pointwinner in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) in the open pacers division, will not get as rough a trip as he did in his last start when he begins from the rail in a $30,000 GNOS divisional event Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Rodeo Romeo, who is featured in this month's edition of Hoof Beats as a horse using recently-developed technology to keep him in consistent peak form, had no chance to show that form in the Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga last time, parked three-wide past the quarter on the half-mile track and then two-wide throughout, ample excuse to tire. The Chris Ryder-trained pacer will be handled by George Napolitano Jr., who had his pick of the three morning line favorites and chose Rodeo Romeo, is quoted at 4-1, and could well be both an early and a late factor. The morning line favorite in the GNOS is Split The House, winner of the Franklin Consolation and then photoed out in his last two races, both in the Great Northeast series. Trainer Chris Oakes will have Tyler Buter, in hot driving form, handle Split The House from post three as the early 5-2 choice. The 2-3 horses in the GNOS pointstandings, had quite different results at the post draw. Bettor's Edge drew post two for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and was tabbed at 3-1; the horse just ahead of him in the current rankings, Rockeyed Optimist, drew the outside post eight and was set at 6-1, with Marcus Miller slated for sulky duty. The top pointwinners in GNOS action after the last August 25-26 prelims will be eligible to draw in for their $100,000 GNOS Championship event, to be held over 1 1/4 miles at Pocono on Sunday, September 2, the same night as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds. From the PHHA/Harrah's & Pocono

WILKES BARRE, PA -- The veteran Scott Rocks won for the 47th time in his career, with the eight-year-old raising his earnings to $738,279, in taking the $21,500 featured pace Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:49.4.   Driver George Napolitano Jr., guiding his third consecutive winner, kept Scott Rocks just off of a torrid 25.3 early duel between Maxdaddy Blue Chip and Lawrencetown Beach, then moved the Rocknroll Hanover gelding to the lead, putting up middle splits of 54.2 and 1:21.4.   Through the stretch Scott Rocks drew off from the field, with his closest rival The Real One 2 1/2 lengths behind at the finish, for trainer Hunter Oakes and the ownership of Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey.   Driver Jim Morrill Jr., visiting Victory Lane for the fourth time on the card, made a similar quarter-move with the Badlands Hanover gelding Big N Bad in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature, with Big N Bad winning almost as easily as Scott Rocks, being 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Bet The Moon at the end of the 1:51.2 mile.   The winner of $665,099 won his third straight for Gareth Dowse and owner Vincent Laurenzo, but if he is to run his win skein to four, he'll be doing it for different connections, for Big N Bad was haltered for $30,000 out of the race.   From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

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

CHESTER PA - Featured at the start of the racing week at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon were a pair of $16,000 conditioned events, one on each gait. The pacers were up first, and their race was taken by the Somebeachsomewhere sophomore colt I'm A Big Deal in 1:51.3. A Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winner in 1:50.2 on May 19, I'm A Big Deal was sent right to the front by driver George Napolitano Jr. and held sway the rest of the way, with No Easy Day making it no easy day for the winner of $119,594 in the stretch, but the "Big Deal" still had enough to tally by 1¼ lengths. Chris Ryder trains the colt, and he co-owns him with Craig Henderson and Robert Mondillo. On the trotting side, Scirocco Rob, third in the recent Beal Consolation, enjoyed the downturn in opposition, posting a new mark of 1:53 for driver Corey Callahan and trainer John Butenschoen. The altered son of Explosive Matter, coming first-over, was resisted the length of the 27.3 third quarter by pacesetting Im Your Captain, but through the last quarter the winner of $158,210 asserted his superiority, clear by 6½ lengths over Im Your Captain at the wire. Kathleen and Lewis Whitaker Jr. are the owners of the talented sophomore. Leading driver Tim Tetrick continued his recent hot form, bringing four horses home first in the Wednesday afternoon sunshine. From PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Shadow Play mare Skippin By got the quintessential George Napolitano Jr. drive, and she went on to take a lifetime mark of 1:49.4 at age seven while winning the $21,500 featured mares pace Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. When "George Nap," the track's all-time leading driver, has a horse with an inside post, especially the rail, he'll hustle her away to get prime racing position; if he gets the lead around the quarter or earlier, he'll back off the second quarter; and if he backs off the second quarter, he'll sprint with his horse down the backstretch, trying to get away from the opposition. Skippin By drew the rail, was urged away from the start by Napolitano, got everybody to tuck in behind her well before the 27 quarter, went 28.2 to the half to hit the midpole in 55.2, then sent his mare on a 26.3 sprint down the back, opening some distance by the 1:22 ¾ pole. GNap and Skippin By had enough strength to hold off the first-over bid of Vorst by 1¼ lengths, with a 27.4 last quarter to get the 1:49.4 new speed badge. Nick Surick conditions the winner of $836,534 for the Cornerstone Stock Farm. The Crazed gelding Gural Hanover inched closer to the $1 million plateau in lifetime winnings with a 1:53.2 triumph in the $17,500 featured trot on Sunday. Matt Kakaley patiently made his way to the lead in a race with fractions of 27, 56.2, and 1:24.4, then had plenty left nearing the wire to stay 1¼ lengths clear of Ostrich Blue Chip. Ron Burke (who had success with a veteran twice Gural Hanover's seven-year-old age earlier today in eastern Pennsylvania) is the trainer of the winner of $979,002 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Little E LLC and the Panhellenic Stable Corporation. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs        

WILKES-BARRE PA - The top three open pacing horses in the standings of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will be joined by the 2017 Breeders Crown divisional winner and recent Franklin Consolation winner in a matchup of seasoned harness racing battlers in a $30,000 GNOS contest this Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Established as the 5-2 morning line favorite is Split The House, who last Saturday made his second start of the year a winning one while taking the Franklin Consolation here in 1:49, faster than McWicked's 1:49.3 in taking the Franklin Championship. A conqueror of McWicked in the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park last fall, Split The House will start from post two for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes. Second choice at 3-1 is Bettor's Edge, #3 in the GNOS list and like the two above him a two-time winner in Great Northeast action. He has the fastest 2018 clocking in the field, a 1:48.2 triumph in the opening race of Sun Stakes Saturday elimination night, and he will start from post four with the guidance of trainer Jennifer Lappe - who last week at The Meadowlands got her horse to pace his last ¾ in an amazing 1:19.4 while raw to miss a nose in a 1:48 mile. The 4-1 third choice is Rodeo Romeo, who won the first two legs of the Great Northeast, then has been twice second and once third in the series, including being the place horse in the big winning mile of Bettor's Edge. Rodeo Romeo draws the rail, which can be a nice advantage for a horse with his early foot, and the #2-ranked pacer in the GNOS with be handled by Eric Carlson for trainer Ross Croghan. And, no, we haven't forgotten about the #1 pointwinner in the series, Rockeyed Optimist, who comes off a GNOS win at Harrah's last Sunday. The reason the pacer was rated no higher than the 9-2 fourth choice is that he draws outside all of his main rivals, leaving from post six for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Jake Leamon. Outrajus Blue Chip (post three, driver Tom Jackson), Nocturnal Blue Chip (post five, driver Jim Morrill Jr.), Voracity (post seven, Anthony Napolitano), and Great Vintage (post eight, driver Simon Allard) complete the talented field, to go to the gate in race ten on the Saturday Pocono card. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

CHESTER PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) continues this weekend, with open pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia in the afternoon and mare pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono at night. (For the first time in the GNOS's two-month run, the open trot did not fill.) Both races will go for the series' customary $30,000 purse. For the afternoon event in Philly, Emeritus Maximus was accorded 3-1 morning line favoritism off a giant mile at the riverside oval last Sunday, where he tucked, came again first-over, and still went on to a 1:49 victory. The career winner of $573,953 will be starting from post four in the field of seven for trainer Kyle Moore and driver Andy Miller. Rockeyed Optimist is the third-highest pointwinner in this GNOS division so far including a May 12 victory, but he'll have his work cut out for him here, starting from the outermost post for trainer Jake Leamon and driver Brett Miller. On the other side of the starting gate is Robbie Burns N, who had won his first three U.S. starts at Harrah's before finally tasting defeat at The Meadowlands, though he was timed in 1:49.3 and beaten less than three lengths; he'll look to rebound for trainer Joshua Parker and driver Corey Callahan. In the evening's mare pace at Pocono, the three entrants who have won in the series have been made the morning line choices - in inverse proportion to their post position. The 5-2 favorite is Tequila Monday, who begins on the outside of the field of eight for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Hunter Oakes. The winner of $669,888 won her only start in the GNOS here on June 3, going in 1:51 over a track rated two seconds off. L A Delight, a 1:50.3 GNOS winner at Philly on May 27, comes in off a third in the Roses Are Red Final at Mohawk; she'll begin from post six for trainer Nancy Johansson and driver Yannick Gingras. Caviart Ally, who was a $72.20 upset winner at Harrah's last week, will start from the rail for trainer Noel Daley and driver Andrew McCarthy. From the PHHA at Harrah's & Pocono Down 

NLG Racing Stable's Nocturnal Blue Chip (George Napolitano Jr) went gate-to-wire in Sunday's featured event at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday (June 17th), a pace for non-winners of $22,500 in their last 5 starts going for a purse of $18,000. Starting from post one, the 5-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight made an uncontested lead, setting fractions of :27.1, :55.3, and 1:23.1, The Gareth Dowse trainee had to withstand a first over push from Christen Me N (Tim Tetrick), but was able to turn back the challenge en-route to a one length win in a time of 1:50.4. Christen Me N was second, while Makasi (Pat Lachance) rallied for third. It was the 12th career win for Nocturnal Blue Chip, his 5th of the season. He's won 3 of his last 4. The gelding triggered a Jackpot Hi-5 payoff of $250.86, which now has a carryover of $501.75 headed into Wednesday's program. by Michael Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - The 2017 Pacer of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Maxdaddy Blue Chip, visited the Downs winners circle for the first time in 2018, unleashing his patented late charge to capture the $21,500 feature on Saturday night. The 4-5 favored Sportswriter gelding was well-positioned second-over by driver Simon Allard, then started his surge three-wide midturn and carried it to the wire, which he reached ¾ of a length ahead of Waikiki Beach A. Maxdaddy Blue Chip is trained by Simon's brother and the meet's leading conditioner, Rene Allard, for Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, How's That Stables Inc., and VIP Internet Stables LLC. The track's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., was honored in the Pocono winners circle early in the evening for earning career driving victory #9000 on Monday night, making him only the 21st North American member of that exclusive club. Then "George Nap" went out and showed he was in a hurry to get to 10,000, scoring eight times on the card, including in the $18,000 claiming handicap pacing feature with the red-hot Major Trick, a gelded son of Art Major who made two speed moves in searing early fractions of 26.2 and 53.4, opened a big lead to the 1:21.4 ¾ pole, then stayed clear by 1¾ lengths to the wire in 1:50.1. The winner of $339,088, a five-time winner in his last six starts, is trained by Hunter Oakes for owner Omar Beiler. Napolitano also won the fastest mile of the night, a 1:48.4 triumph with the world champion (OPG-hmt) Scott Rocks. Finally, Walks Of Life, who was a gallant second while trying to increase his North American-leading 2018 win total to 14, will be doing something that he hasn't done since March 24 - returning to the same barn from which he started the night, in this case that of Team Allard. The tough claimer had been taken from his 12 previous starts, but attracted no claims tonight, and thus that streak is halted one shy of what is believed to be the longest series of a horse being claimed, the 13 purchases transacted for R Gauwitz Hanover in 2015. (But thirteen other horses were claimed on the Saturday card, with $223,750 changing hands.) From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

It was a great week for all of horse racing with the stupendous Triple Crown-winning performance by Justify in The Belmont Stakes. That kind of thing reminds everyone what special athletes these horses are, and we at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono are privileged to get to see them do their thing up close and personal four nights a week. We see great performances on the regular, and the best of those from this past week get the spotlight as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: MAJOR TRICK In many cases, the horses that take home the Weekly Awards are those who are in the midst of winning streaks. Yet in the case of Major Trick, his previous race to his start on Saturday night in a $30,000 to $40,000 claiming handicap pace was a loss by a half-length in third to Eastend Eddie. That loss snapped a string of three consecutive wins for the seven-year-old gelding. Major Trick, a popular claiming commodity even at the high price, rejoined the barn of trainer Hunter Oakes in his Saturday night attempt to atone for the loss. Leaving from post position #4 in a field of nine as a 6-5 betting favorite, Major Trick sat third early in the mile. A speed duel materialized in front of him, and the fractions spiraled quickly out of control. Sensing that the leaders were tiring, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent Major Trick for a quick first-over move on the back stretch, and he was on the lead in just a matter of moments. But it also made him a target for the closers, especially considering how close he had been to the blistering pace. In the stretch, both Our Dragon King and Our Regal Ideal were closing with a head of steam. But Major Trick showed himself to be none the worse for wear, closing strong to hold of Our Dragon King by a half-length. The proof of his excellence was in the winning time of 1:49.4, which established a new career mark. Major Trick has now won four of his last five races, and it seems like another prolonged winning streak could be starting right after the one that was just broken. Other top pacers this week include: Unbeamlievable (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a victory in Monday night's featured claiming handicap for mares in 1:53.4; Boston Red Rocks (Anthony Napolitano, Jake Leamon), whose condition win on Saturday night came in 1:48.4, fastest time of the 2018 meet to date; and Mach It So (George Napolitano Jr., Jeffrey Bamond Jr.), who came up victorious in the Great Northeast Open series on Saturday night as an 11-1 shot in 1:49.3. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OSTRICH BLUE CHIP For handicapping purposes, there were a couple of red flags that might have dissuaded you from putting your money on Ostrich Blue Chip on Saturday night. On the one hand, the four-year-old mare from the Rene Allard barn was coming off a sharp win on May 28 at Pocono in 1:54.3. But the negatives for her condition trot on Saturday night included the fact that she would be leaving from the difficult #9 post and would be jumping a few rungs on the condition ladder to face the $14,000 group. But the mare was driven by Simon Allard as if she was the no-doubt favorite and not a 6-1 third choice, which was the reality of the situation. She quickly hustled to the front end from the outside post in a rapid :26.4 for the opening quarter. That made it seem like she would be vulnerable, and, indeed, the favorite TSM Photo Bugger came brushing up on the back stretch to challenge. But when he reached Ostrich Blue Chip, she accelerated again and left him hanging on the outside. From there, it was just a matter of sealing the deal, and Ostrich Blue Chip was able to do that with aplomb. She withstood yet another charge from the game TSM Photo Bugger at the end of the mile, coming home three-quarters of a length in front. The winning time of 1:53.1 was a new career-best and also the fastest trotting time posted at Pocono this week. For all of those red flags, Ostrich Blue Chip was the one who took home the green, as in the winner's share of the $14,000 purse. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: LMC Mass Gem (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved up in class to capture Sunday night's featured condition trot, winning in 1:56.3 in the slop for his second straight victory; Skates N Plates (Anthony Napolitano, Andrew Harris), who stepped up the condition ladder to pick up his second straight win on Monday night, this one coming in 1:55.4; and Manchego, the three-year-old filly superstar who stayed perfect, two for two this year and 14 for 14 lifetime, with a Pennsylvania All-Stars victory on Tuesday night in 1:52.4, matching her career mark. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: HIGHLAND DYNAMITE Dynamite, indeed: This trotting filly, with Simon Allard driving, pulled a stunner in Pennsylvania All-Stars action Tuesday night, winning at approximately 124-1 to pay off $250.80 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The milestones just keep on coming for Pocono's 10-time driving champion, as his win on Monday night with Myidealson N was the 9,000th driving victory of his illustrious career. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JENNIFER LAPPE Lappe sent out a pair of New Zealand-bred winners on Saturday night, each of whom managed a new career-best with their victory: Motown N in 1:50.1 and Seel The Deal N in 1:51.1. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Bevigilia, for Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Unbeamlieveable, the winningest two-year-old pacing filly in North America in 2015 and tying for her divisional lead in 2016, has continued her winning ways into her older form, taking Monday's $14,000 distaff pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:53.4. The track's top driver, George Napolitano Jr., quarter-moved with the daughter of Moon Beam, rated the half and controlled the pace to the wire, seeing off the stretch move of pocketsitter LK's Nancy Lee by a length. Unbeamlieveable's 39th career victory raised her lifetime earnings to $195,652, and she's now 2-for-2 since teaming with owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. FINISHING LINES - Undefeated champion filly Manchego returns to the races tomorrow (Tuesday) at Pocono in one of four $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old trotting misses, starting from post seven for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter. The All-Stars event has drawn many other nice sophomore fillies, including four other Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winners in 2018, winners in two divisions of the Currier and Ives Filly Trot, and perhaps Manchego's toughest opponent of 2017, Phaetosive, who came within ¾ of a length of her at the finish of last season's Peaceful Way Final. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - All the bettors' attention was focused on Rodeo Romeo and Rockeyed Optimist, 1-2 in the Great Northeast Open Series pacing standings and 1-2 at the post draw, but Mach It So, a winner here recently and still let go as the 11-1 third choice, set the pace and held off Rodeo Romeo by a head to win a $30,000 Great Northeast event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night. George Napolitano Jr., with five winners on the Pocono card joining the two he had at Philly this afternoon, gunned the Mach Three gelding at the start and easily beat 13 to the eighth to seat everyone behind him, with Rodeo Romeo in the pocket at the 26.1 quarter. Favored Rockeyed Optimist started uncovered nearing the 55.2 half, but Mach It So had had a nice breather in quarter two and restarted the jets, blunting the first-over's bid by reaching the  in 1:22. But Rodeo Romeo was still right there, and pulling out in the stretch he inched ever-closer to the leader. But the winner of $2,593,675 lifetime showed his heart was still in the right place at age 8, holding off the potential pocket rocket by a head for trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. and Bamond Racing LLC. The $21,500 conditioned co-feature resulted in the fastest mile of the year on a 5/8-mile track (unless it was beaten elsewhere Saturday night), as 2015 freshman champion Boston Red Rocks followed cover behind wicked fractions , then stormed home (last quarter 26.3) to stop the timer in 1:48.2 in turning back Scott Rocks by 1¼ lengths. The son of Rocknroll Hanover, now with a bankroll of $1,370,016, took a career mark with the impressive victory for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Jake Leamon, and owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. In the $20,000 claiming handicap pace, "George Nap" and trainer Hunter Oakes combined for their second joint win on the night, this with the Art Major gelding Major Trick in a career best 1:49.4. Oakes had had the horse for three straight wins, lost him via claim, took him right back, and immediately started the winner of $330,098 back on the winning track for owner Omar Beiler. This was the last claiming event of the night; in all, 14 horses changed hands via the claim box, totaling $261,750 and bringing Pocono's two-week money exchange amount to $514,250 - just on the two Saturdays. Finally, Walks Of Life remains the winningest horse in North America in 2018 with 13 visits to Victory Lane, and Saturday he was claimed for the 12th straight time, his fourth stay with Team Allard and approaching the local "record" of 13 straight claims put up by R Gauwitz Hanover in 2015. Alas, the hard campaign might be catching up to him, as he set the pace as is customary, but had nothing left in the stretch and finished out of the money - the first time he hasn't been 1-2 since March 10, and the first time he didn't hit the board in 21 starts this year. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs    

CHESTER PA - It may have been 117 days since driver George Napolitano Jr. and harness racing trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera were crowned tops in their respective categories for 2017 at Harrah's Philadelphia, but on Friday's opening card of the 2018 season, the duo showed "no signs of a layoff," combining to win the two featured races as an evening session kicked off the year at the suburban Philadelphia track. In the $18,000 featured pace for distaffs, Napolitano and Garcia-Herrera combined with the Gotta Go Cullect mare Taketothesky N as the Kiwi import took a North American mark of 1:53. "George Nap" had the mare well-placed behind live cover, then tipped her wide and came from fifth at the stretch call, despite a good-sized wind up the lane, to catch pacesetting Juxta Cowgirl for owner/trainer Garcia-Herrera. Trainer Garcia-Herrera is also the owner of the Sportswriter mare Windy Sport, whom Napolitano moved to the lead at the quarter, then urged home to withstand the late burst of Lil Miss Gorgeous in 1:52.3 to take the $16,000 co-featured pace. Both feature winners scored by a half-length. The next card at Harrah's Philadelphia comes on Sunday at 12:40, when race 9 will feature former North America Cup champion Wakizashi Hanover and the streaking Awesomeness, winner of two straight and four of his last six, trying to overcome their assigned outermost posts in a $22,500 winners-over handicap pace. Until Labor Day this year, Harrah's Philadelphia's basic schedule will be Wednesday - Thursday - Friday at 12:25 p.m., with Sunday action set for a post of 12:40 p.m. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

The curtain fell on the 150 day harness racing meet at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday, December 17, 2017. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera was the leading trainer at the meet. Herrera had 111 wins in 395 starts for a UDRS of .419, and purse earnings of $1,070,569. Ron Burke, who led the meet in purse earnings with $1,518,484, was second with 97 wins on the season. Driver George Napolitano Jr won his record 12th dashwinning title, once again winning the titles at both Harrah's Philly and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Napolitano had 316 wins of 1,376 starts for a UDRS of .367, and purse earnings of $3,243,110. Tim Tetrick, who had the most total purse earnings on the meet ($3,494,086) finished second with 274 wins. Harrah's Philadelphia would like to thank the horsemen and women for an exciting 2017, and wish everyone a happy and safe Holiday Season. Michael Bozich

Driver George Napolitano Jr had seven wins on the harness racing program on Thursday (Dec. 7) at Harrah's Philadelphia. Six of which were trained by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. Napolitano, who is on his way to another Harrah's Philadelphia driving title, has 308 wins on the meet and over $3 million in purses. Tim Tetrick, who had 7 driving wins on last Wednesday's card, is a clear second in the drivers standings with 271 wins and over $3.4 million. Trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera has 110 training wins, 19 more than Ron Burke who has 91. Garcia-Herrera has over $1 million earned in purses at the meet. Michael Bozich

WILKES-BARRE PA - Three Of Clubs, a son of Mach Three who was claimed for $30,000 at Yonkers by harness racing trainer Matias Ruiz and co-owner Daniel DeJohn on September 22, continued his incredible run of form upon coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking a new mark for driver George Napolitano Jr. of 1:50.1 in the $25,000 handicap pace. Three Of Clubs hustled right out to the lead and led at every pole, going under the wire a length clear of pocketsitter Si Semalu, with favored $1.9M-winner Bit Of A Legend having to go the rough tuck then first-over journey, reporting home third. In seven starts for Ruiz and De John, Three Of Clubs has posted a 7-4-2-1 record, good for $69,830 - a sizable and quick return on investment. Maxdaddy Blue Chip finished fourth in the feature after starting from post eight and coming from last at the ¾ pole. Maxdaddy Blue Chip was voted Pacer of the Year at Pocono, and he took a turn in the spotlight to receive that honor. Also in the final night spotlight was George Napolitano Jr., who won his record eleventh dashwinning title and sixth consecutive local crown. The leading driver at Philly and second to the long-gone Aaron Merriman in the North American standings, Napolitano wound up with 287 visits to the Hanover Shoe Farm's winners circle during 2017, including five on closing night. Simon Allard (213) held off Jim Marohn Jr. (211) after a rock-em-sock-em late-season battle to finish second, with Matt Kakaley (191) and Anthony Napolitano (174, four wins closing night) completing the drivers top five. The local UDR belt went to veteran Swedish horseman Ãke Svanstedt, who mixed stakes performers with developing overnight stock to post a .419 "batting average." Rene Allard won his fourth training victory title in the last five years at The Downs, winding up with 151 success to top Ron Burke (114, five closing night including three handled by "Anthony Nap") and Gil Garcia-Herrera (56). PHHA / Pocono

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