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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Driver Matt Kakaley won four races on the Tuesday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, including two of the three $15,000 featured events, one on the trot and two on the pace - with both pacers getting their first victories of the year. Rain came to the mountain oval late on the Tuesday card, with the track downgraded to "good" by the time Kakaley teamed with the trotting gelding Mikey Likes It to take a three-horse photo over Unforgetable and Justlikehim in 1:57, a lifetime mark. The altered son of Mutineer had been second in all three of his recent starts, all at Pocono and all at 2-1 or less, but the crowd kept faith in him by sending him off the favorite, and he kept on grinding gamely late after gaining uncovered to tally for trainer Jean Drolet and owner Nancy Deluca. You don't see many winners of $342,912 in a "nw 4 races or $40,000 lifetime class," but the Somebeachsomewhere filly Majorsspeciallady fit the bill by having previously won only two races - most of her money was earned at two, when she was second to Youaremycandygirl in the Breeders Crown and on the board in 10 of 11 starts. 2018 had been less kind to Majorsspecialaldy as she continued to battle top fillies, but the class drop here was just the tonic for her, winning for the first time in 364 days while taking a new mark of 1:52.1 before the rain came and the track was rated "fast." Kakaley and the winner got parked past the 3/8 for command in the pace for distaffs, but she still had enough to withstand That's Amazing by a head for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and J&T Silva Stables LLC. Driver Tyler Buter, recently a late-night longshot special, had three $15+ winners in the first four races on the Tuesday card, including a 1:51 victory with Highland Beach Boy in the division of the featured class for male pacers. The sophomore gelding gave sire Somebeachsomewhere a sweep of the pacing features, and he ended a 304-day winless drought by quarter-moving for Buter and holding off potential pocket rocket Spolieronthebeach by a half-length while taking a new mark for trainer Pat Lachance, co-owner with M & M Harness Racing LLC, Royal Flush Stables LLC, and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono featured the fireworks a day before the Labor Day holiday, as over $1.5M was up for grab in the Championship and consolation events of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-olds and the Great Northeast Open Series Championships, the latter conducted at 1¼ miles.   GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN SERIES CHAMPIONSHIPS ($100,000 purses; all at 1¼ miles)   OPEN TROT To see a trotter come home in 54.1 - 26.4 under any circumstances is mighty impressive; to see it come in a 1¼ mile race (on a 5/8-mile track) is overwhelming - which is just how the foes chasing Homicide Hunter home must have felt.   The distance of a race must not matter to driver George Napolitano Jr.--he likes to make a move around the quarter and control the pace, and so things proceeded here, with very pedestrian fractions of 28.4, 58, and 1:28.1. Then they reached the backstretch the second time, and "George Nap" gave the word to the Chris Oakes trainee. Homicide Hunter took it from there, coming home in supersonic time to complete the distance in a world record 2:22.2, well ahead of the 2:24.1 produced by Magician in 2001, with Tight Lines 8½ lengths back.   The Mr Cantab gelding Homicide Hunter, posting his third world record (4TG and OTG at a mile, all three on 5/8-mile tracks), has now won seven of ten seasonal starts and 37 of 72 lifetime trips to the gate, with a career bankroll of $1,355,427.  Crawford Farms Racing owns a trotter who looks like right now he can go with any trotter in North America, if not beyond. MARE PACE   The first horse to the lead in the GNOS mares pace was also the first horse under the wire, but in between there was a ton of movement before the Bettor's Delight mare Bettorhaveanother came up the far inside to catch Caviart Ally by a neck, covering the 1¼ miles in 2:21.3, just shy of the divisional world record of 2:21 set by Marnie Hall in 2006.   Bettorhaveanother was circled off the first turn by Caviart Ally, who in turn ceded the lead to Tequila Monday. That mare was under attack the last of the two circuits, from in front of the stands to almost the mile marker by L A Delight, with favored Shartin N circling up in her bid and Agent Q on her three-wide bumper.   The inside turned out to be the place to be, as Caviart Ally collared the pacesetter in midstretch, only to see Bettorhaveanother rally from the third-in position up the deep Pocono Pike for driver Matt Kakaley to get the decision; those in the two- and three-wide paths couldn't sustain their gain.    That set the stage for Bettorhaveanother, a winner of $430,977 who is trained by Ron Burke for the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   OPEN PACE Western Joe yielded to the early brushing favorite Donttellmeagain to sit the two-hole, then was sent up the famed Pocono Pike by driver Scott Zeron and caught the pacesetter by a neck in 2:20.2, just shy of the 2:19.4 set by Boulder Creek in 2006. The son of American Ideal was out around the first turn to gain command, then yielded to Donttellmeagain after the 27.4 quarter and was content behind the next two splits of 56.1 and 1:52.4. When the pace quickened to get to the mile point in 1:52.4 and the outer tiers stalled on the far turn, it looked like a stretch battle between the 1-2 finishers, and indeed Western Joe rallied to the lead in deep stretch over the game pacesetter.   Western Joe had already shown a liking for added distance by taking the McKee Memorial on Hambletonian Day, and here he again showed the endurance to get the big money for trainer Chris Choate and owners Anthony Ruggeri and Richard Tosies. An extra tip of the cap to Choate, who entered the winner of $503,551 despite being 26th in the standings - no one below #10 (ironically, Donttellmeagain) put in the box, so Western Joe drew in, and made the most of the opportunity. PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR THREE-YEAR-OLDS ($252,000 for Championships -- $50,000 for consolations [3PC consolation did not fill])   -- 25th anniversary year of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (started in 1994)   TROTTING FILLIES Consolation -- Trainer/driver Ãke Svanstedt wasted no time hustling the Cantab Hall filly S M S Princess to the lead, and that filly had a clear margin almost all the way through fractions of 27.2, 56.4, and 1:25 en route to a new mark of 1:52.3. No one could make up ground in the back numbers of 55.4 - 27.3 thrown by the $162,453 winner S M S Princess, 5½ lengths clear for owners by Ã…ke Svanstedt Inc. and Stall Musse Inc.   PACING FILLIES Consolation - The Well Said filly Strong Opinion got a big breather while setting the pace in her event, getting to the half in 57.2, then sprinted home in 55.1, and needed all of it to hold off what looked like The Charge of the Light Brigade behind her late, winning by a half- length in 1:52.3 in a race where the top five were within a length of each other under the wire. Yannick Gingras guided the victorious Ron Burke pupil, who raised her earnings to $244,448 for the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC; Jack Piatt II; Silva, Purnel & Libby; and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.   TROTTING COLTS Consolation - All three consolations wound up going in 1:52.3, two of the quick clockings by trotters, and both handled by trainer/driver Ãke Svanstedt while winging on the front end. The male was the Cantab Hall gelding Gemologist, who never looked back from the rail in posting fractions of 27, 56, and 1:24, then finishing out to take a new mark while four lengths clear at the finish. The winner is owned by the S R F Stable. (Second was the 2YO Stallion Series and Fair Sire Stakes champion Hockey Hanover; last year's Sire Stake champion Fashionwoodchopper had to settle for fourth in this consolation.)   PACING COLTS As noted earlier, a consolation event for this division did not fill.   From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono featured the fireworks a day before the Labor Day holiday, as over $1 million was up for grabs in the Championship events of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-olds. PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR THREE-YEAR-OLDS $252,000 for each Championships  -- 25th anniversary year of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (started in 1994) TROTTING FILLIES Phaetosive made her 1-20 backers wait until the stretch before beginning her high speed, but once in her favorite part of the track the daughter of Explosive Matter lived up to her sire's name, kicking home sharply for the decision in 1:52.3 - faster than the 1:52.4 previous PaSS final male standard of Father Patrick which would be tied earlier in the evening by Crystal Fashion (Check Me Out became the program's fastest-ever Championship trotting winner when she won in 1:51.3). Trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer was content to keep his filly midpack as Live Laugh Love made the top just past the 27.1 quarter, then followed Seviyorum as that one moved uncovered just past the 56.1 half. Phaetosive stayed right behind her excellent cover to the lane, swung wide, and finished strongly to hold off a late-shaking-free Courtney Hanover by a length, with Lily Stride, who rallied up the inside in the stretch and may have had a nose in front midstretch, just photoed for the deuce. The pride of the Purple Haze Stables LLC continued adding to her impressive credentials - five wins in seven starts this year, good for $397,864, and 9-for-14 lifetime, with a total accumulation of $657,717. No doubt she'll be back up against Manchego, Atlanta, Plunge Blue Chip et al. soon. PACING FILLIES Kissin In The Sand had to take less air at Pocono than she did when she won the Lynch Championship here in June - she only got parked almost to the half here, instead of being out almost the whole mile, in making the PaSS Championship lead then keeping it to the wire to win her Sires final, equaling her Lynch clocking and her mark in 1:49.3. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere saw a great many foes leaving inside her from his PP7 starting spot, having cover past the 26.1 quarter to the 3/8 then asked to go on by driver Scott Zeron to get the lead shortly before the 54.1 half. Outside challenger Sidewalk Dancer began to melt back past the 1:21.3 quarter, and in the lane it turned out to be 31-1 shot Parisian Blue Chip, who tied for ninth in the points and got in by having slightly more SS money, then was parked to the 3/8 to gain command before yielding for the pocket, who rallied inside in the stretch, extending Kissin In The Sand, who dug down deep as usual and held on by a half-length. Kissin In The Sand is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners Marvin Katz and the Hatfield Stables, who saw their prize filly improve her statistics to 7-for-10 and $570,381 this year and 14-for-24 and $801,556 lifetime. For driver Zeron, the win gave him a PaSS championship in both the 2YO and 3YO ranks, as he TROTTING COLTS In Crystal Fashion's last seven victories, six of them have been by a length or less - and none of them was this second-over then wide grind in the Championship, catching pacesetter Whats The Word by a nose in 1:52.4. Whats The Word was sent by the top by Simon Allard and laid down fractions of 27, 56.2, and 1:24.2; Crystal Fashion was able to fashion a second-over trip for driver Tim Tetrick behind stablemate Patent Leather, but still was two lengths out near headstretch. But the gutty Cantab Hall gelding doesn't know the meaning of the phrase "end of the mile," and he gained foot-by-foot to just prove more photogenic on the money. Crystal Fashion, trained by Jim Campbell for Fashion Farms LLC has eight wins and $652,182 this year, and a lifetime bankroll of $813,474. His 1:52.4 clocking equaled Father Patrick's PaSS final standard, and he became the first pointwinner to take a 3YO Championship since 2016, and the first in the 3TC ranks since Magic Tonight in 2012. PACING COLTS The favorites went 0-4 in the two-year-old ranks of the PaSS Championship the day before at The Meadows; Dorsoduro Hanover, who won his biggest race of the year, The Adios, at The Meadows, brought the chalk to 4-4 in the Pocono PaSS 3YO Championships - but it was by the barest of margins over a strong-finishing Hayden Hanover. Hayden Hanover was the first horse to get a call in the contest, but then yielded to Done Well nearing the 26.2 quarter; Done Well in turn ceded the lead to the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Dorsoduro Hanover and driver Matt Kakaley en route to the 54.2 half. This Is The Plan, a 49-1 shot, went first-over and just wouldn't go away, not by the 1:22 and not coming through the stretch. This posed traffic problems for Hayden Hanover, stuck third on the rail, but Andy Miller did a masterful job weaving first out to get clearance then just inside Dorsoduro to lower that one's margin with every late step, coming up short by a nose. Dorsoduro Hanover ran his 2018 bankroll to $687,362 with his seventh win of the year for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC; and the Winfield Five LLC. Dorsoduro joined Crystal Fashion as pointleaders who won their Championship; Matt Kakaley joined Scott Zeron as winners in the PaSS finales on both Saturday and Sunday, after taking the 2PF with Sylph Hanover (also for Burke) at The Meadows. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Next week in this space we shall be reviewing everything that went on during an outstanding program of championship races scheduled for this coming Sunday, September 2. Both the three-year-old Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships and the finals of the Great Northeastern Open Series will be taking place at Pocono on that evening. Until then, here are some Weekly Awards highlighting the best of the best from the previous four racing nights. PACER OF THE WEEK: BIG CITY BETTY Sometimes a horse can get stuck in a rut where it constantly is right in the mix but can't seem to break through with a big victory. Such was the case for this four-year-old mare trained by Steve Salerno. She started the year with in-the-money finishes in six of her first nine races. Included among those were back-to-back seconds in a pair of $17,000 condition paces for distaff horses four years and under in the month of July. It seemed as though she was stuck on second. Big City Betty then took nearly a month-and-a-half off, returning on August 17 without a qualifier to battle that $17,000 group again. Only that time out she cured her second-itis, putting together an impressive first-over brush to pick up her first victory of the year in 1:52.3. She was back at it against that grouping on Sunday night, this time going off as a 6-5 betting favorite with an inside post in a field of eight. Eric Carlson was a new set of hands for the mare, and he guided her into a comfortable spot in the pocket behind pacesetting Jewels Forreal. That's where she bided her time until the stretch, when Carlson guided her off the cover to the outside. Big City Betty had enough momentum to plow right on by for the win in 1:52.1, which set a new career mark. Now that she has a taste for winning, this mare might go on a serious roll. Other top pacers include: Rodeo Rock (Anthony Napolitano, Robert Cleary), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a victory in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50.3; Ali (Pat LaChance), who managed a third straight win at a third different track by winning a condition pace at Pocono on Sunday night in a career-best 1:50.3; and YS Lotus (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who scored a condition win on Saturday night in 1:50.1, the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OPTIMIST BLUE CHIP This four-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Carl Conte Jr. had been struggling throughout the summer facing some of the toughest condition trotters at Yonkers. Needing the confidence booster, he was slotted in the lowest condition group at Pocono on August 20. With Matt Kakaley in the bike, Optimist Blue Chip put together a confident front-trotting victory despite an outside post in 1:57.2. With that out of the way, it was time to move back up the ladder. On Monday night, the gelding faced off against an $11,000 condition group. Even with the move up in class, the bettors sensed his potential and made him the 6-5 favorite. Unlike in his previous start, however, Optimist Blue Chip started a bit slowly. Instead, Winwood Scout surged to the front, leaving the favorite to grab a spot in the outer flow and try to come from behind. He found cover behind Idle Bones N and began to get closer to the lead with a second-over journey. As Winwood Scout began to struggle, Idle Bones N moved onto the lead. But that mare was then ripe for the picking, as Kakaley spun Optimist Blue Chip off the cover and let him do his thing. The gelding powered by and managed the victory, his second consecutive. His winning time of 1:54.2 was an impressive one for the condition, which means that he might just be able to move up even more and still keep his newly-minted winning streak alive. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Jackie's Jim (Marcus Miller, Neal Ehrhart), a three-year-old gelding who moved up following his maiden win to capture a second straight condition win on Monday night in 1:56.4, a new career mark; Crazshana (George Napolitano Jr., Jeffrey Bamond Jr.), who handled a tough condition group on Saturday night and did so in a sharp 1:52.4; and Muscle Fashion (Fern Paquet Jr., Antonella Galie), who toughed out a condition win on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:55.4. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ANDOVERS ASSET This two-year-old trotter driven by Anthony Napolitano, stayed flat, worked out a trip, and rallied for a condition win on Monday night at 20-1, paying off $43.40 on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley had his A-game working in his Pocono appearances this week, as he shared driving honors on both Sunday (three wins) and Monday (four wins.) TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW HARRIS Harris made the most of his two Monday night starters, as both trotter Blue And Bold and pacer You Got Trumped came away with condition victories. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2018 -- Dorsoduro Hanover and Done Well each locked up a berth in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers by winning a split in Monday's final preliminary leg, a $162,012 event known as the Tarport Effrat, at The Meadows. The $252,000 final is set for Sept. 2 at Pocono. The winner of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows, Dorsoduro Hanover entered the Tarport Effrat in second place in PASS standings and so wasn't under pressure to win. Nevertheless, he unveiled a new wrinkle. After a series of tough trips vying for the early lead, he ducked for Matt Kakaley, getting away last in the six-horse field. "They were stepping out of there pretty hard, and my horse races good no matter where he's at," Kakaley said. "I wasn't worried about sitting last when they were going 26 to the quarter. If they had gone slow early, I would have stepped him out of there." The Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding followed the live cover of Wes Delight, then peeled wide and downed him by 3/4 lengths in 1:50.2, with Macadoodledoo third. Ron Burke trains Dorsoduro Hanover, who lifted his career bankroll to $560,862, for Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnel&Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Five. In contrast, Done Well was on the PASS bubble, having competed in only one leg before Monday. While he won that, he needed points, big time, to nail down a spot in the final Tim Tetrick and the son of Well Said-Dagnabit Hanover took matters into their own hands, vaulting to the point and holding off the late challenge of Shadow Cat to defeat him by a neck in 1:51.1. A rallying Larry Karr completed the ticket. "I think he had some health issues," Tetrick said. "He raced good in his Adios elimination, and then in the final he was atrocious. The last two races, he's come back. He toughed it out today. I always thought he was better chasing, but in that spot, I have to do what I have to do." Done Well now has banked $371,762 for trainer Brian Brown and owners James Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers, Milt Leeman and Alan Keith. $60,000 PA Stallion Series Stake -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers While the stallion series event was Monday's subfeature, it provided much of the excitement, including: a Brett Miller sweep (two for trainer Chris Oakes), all in the Lightning Lane; a stake record-matching victory in 1:50.3 by Terror Atthe Beach, an improbable 55-1 upset by PC's Expresso, who spotted the field perhaps 15 lengths after breaking at the gate. Terror Atthe Beach equaled the record of Spider Man Hanover by stalking Winston and blowing by in the stretch to score for Oakes and owners Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold. Aleppo Hanover closed well for second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Winston saved show. "Chris told me the horse has speed but is not a 1:49 pacer, so if you land on the front, try to give him a breather," Miller said. "I don't know the horse, but he sure felt like he likes the two hole." PC's Expresso had been competing primarily in overnights, but when he improved with the recent addition of Lasix, trainer Paul Kennedy and owners Paint Creek Farms and Robyn Kennedy decided to roll the dice on the stake. "The stake was there, and there was no overnight for him, so I just put him in. I've wasted $200 on plenty of other things," Kennedy said. "I figured our only chance of getting a check was to stay flat, but he raced good." The son of Western Ideal-Palazzo Princess caught the field following the miscue, saved ground along the inside and made up 4 lengths in the stretch to score in 1:53.2, a neck better than Daddyofemall. No Easy Day earned show. A Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Oakes for Tom Hill, Bobby K Hill captured the other split with a Lightning Lane charge that carried him 1-1/4 lengths past heavy favorite Go West Go Fast in 1:51.3, with Yupper third. "Chris told me this one would be better if I could give him a trip," Miller said. "In the last turn, I didn't think I would have enough time to catch the leader. But when he saw daylight, he was gone." Dave Palone and Mike Wilder each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. Stake racing continues Tuesday at The Meadows when the program features a pair of events for sophomore filly trotters: a $165,139 PASS known as the Meadow Bright and a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake. First post is 1:05 PM. Phaetosive Headlines PASS Tuesday  Her win in a Delvin Miller Memorial division and second-place finish in the Hambletonian Oaks vaulted Phaetosive to the very elite of the 3-year-old filly trotter division. For all that, she’ll need a big performance in Tuesday’s $165,038 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows to guarantee a berth in the PASS championship. Phaetosive leaves from post 4 in race 9 with trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer aboard. Tuesday’s card also includes a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for sophomore filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. Phaetosive won her Oaks elimination and was sent off the favorite in the final but fell by a length to superstar Manchego. “I kind of knew what had to happen to beat Manchego, and none of that happened,” Smedshammer says. “I thought Manchego might have to work a little bit more to get to the front, and I wanted to come first over and be head to head at the top of the stretch. We came home in 26.2 and couldn’t make up the ground.” It was a gallant performance nonetheless for the daughter of Explosive Matter-Phaeton, and it lifted her career bankroll to $489,858 for owner Purple Haze Stables. But in the PASS, medical issues have limited her to one leg, which she won. “She was in to go at Pocono (in the PA All-Stars) when I had to scratch her because of breathing problems,” Smedshammer says. “Her epiglottis was entrapped, and they were able to free it manually, without surgery. I’m very grateful they tried the conservative route first — it worked. If she’d needed surgery, she would have missed the Oaks and everything.” With eight qualifying for the $252,000 PASS championship Sept. 1 at The Meadows, Phaetosive is tied for ninth with 35 points. Moreover, five fillies ranked ahead of or tied with her also are in Tuesday’s stake, known as the Meadows Bright. Phaetosive doesn’t necessarily have to win to make the final, but she needs a large infusion of points. “She had a couple days off after the Oaks, but she’s been following a normal schedule since then. The Oaks didn’t take any more out of her than any other race.” Phaetosive is eligible for the Elegant Image, several at the Red Mile and the Breeders Crown. No matter the outcome in the PASS and her late-season stakes, Smedshammer intends to bring her back next year. “I think she’ll be great to race at 4,” he says. “She’s a big, strong filly who hasn’t been raced hard at 2 or 3. She should have a great future as an older mare.” by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 28, 2018 - Victimized by brutal trips in his last two starts, Dorsoduro Hanover finally got the journey he needed and pounced on the opportunity to win Saturday's $400,000 harness racing final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows.   American History, who won an elimination of the 52nd edition of the Adios, raced well first over to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Hitman Hill, the other elimination winner, could not improve position in the Lightning Lane and settled for show.   Dorsoduro Hanover gave The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke, perennially the sport's leading conditioner, his first blanket of Adios orchids as the head of his stable, although he was assistant for his father, Mickey, when their horse, May June Character, won the 2007 Adios.   A Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding who cost $100,000 as a yearling, Dorsoduro Hanover was roughed up from post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace final and again in is Adios elimination but still managed to finish second each time.   It seemed likely that he was only a good trip away from a signature victory . . . and Matt Kakaley provided it for him giving him a 28.3 second-panel refresher after a 26.3 opening-quarter burst to the lead.   "We got a big breather there in the second quarter," Kakaley said. "I knew he would be tough off that . . . if he didn't win with that trip, something was wrong. I'm happy for the horse. He's showing everybody that he's a top colt."   American History took up the chase before the half and pursued the winner gamely but was all out late to preserve his place finish.   "He raced phenomenal. I couldn't be more happy with how he raced," said his trainer, Tony Alagna. "We knew Matt had the fractions his way, but even around the last turn, we had a shot to win the whole thing. He hung tough to be second."   Once Dorsoduro Hanover crossed the wire, a jubilant Burke and members of his staff sprinted from the paddock to the winners' circle, eschewing the golf cart that customarily provides transport. Burke, however, indicated the wins in 2007 and 2018 were equally important to him.   "We have a big crew, and to me, that's what it's about: doing it together," Burke said. "We probably spent about $10 million chasing this, and we finally got one. It's a great feeling to enjoy it with our staff and our core group."   In that core group are the owners of Dorsoduro Hanover, who now has earned $575,803 for them: Burke Racing Stable; Silva, Purnell & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Wingfield Five.   Burke said Dorsoduro Hanover will be pointed to the Carl Milstein at Northfield.   ADIOS NOTES: Burke entered 26 horses on the 16-race Adios Day card, not a record for him but still a heckuva lot better than average. Burke ended the day with seven wins — also a heckuva lot better than average — including four by Kakaley, two by Yannick Gingras and one by Dave Palone. . . For the second straight year, James Witherite – who also works as a race analyst, race charter, copy editor and jazz organist – found time to entertain the crowd as Adios Day bugler.   by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

A stalled weather front brought us a lot of rain this past week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, leading to a bunch of sloppy tracks at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The geese loved it, as evidenced by the one who managed to actually show up in a photo finish with one of the horses on Sunday night. As for the horses, there were some strange occurrences and bizarre outcomes, showing that you never can tell in this sport. Here are the finest performances, as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: HURRICANE BEACH On Sunday night, it poured rain on and off, leading to an ever-changing track condition that eventually settled on sloppy for the end of the program. In the final race, a $17,000 condition pace for five-year-old and younger winners from three to seven races, Hurricane Beach, a new addition to the Rene Allard barn, was made the 2-1 favorite from post position #8 in a field of nine. Other than expecting it to be a competitive field with some excellent pacers, there wasn't anything in the ledger to suggest we were in line for something special. Hurricane Beach, a four-year-old gelding who came into the race with a modest record of two wins in nine races this season, had other ideas. Driver Simon Allard cut him loose, and he scorched the mud to the tune of a :25.1 opening quarter. The ridiculously fast number was eye-popping, but there are many horses that can go wild for a quarter-mile. It was the half-mile time that really left us all slack-jawed, as Hurricane Beach tripped the timer in :51.2, a new world record for the fastest ever half on a 5/8-mile oval. On a sloppy track. Hurricane Beach kept up his tear to the three-quarter pole, hitting it in 1:19.3. It was only in the stretch that he began to ease up a little, but by then he was well ahead of the rest of the stunned field. His winning time was 1:49.4, a new career-best and the fastest of the week at Pocono, and he defeated the field by 7 ¼ lengths. For those who stuck around for that closing race on that rainy night, they witnessed something special. Other top pacers include: Big N Bad (George Napolitano Jr., Gareth Dowse), who picked up his second straight claiming handicap win on Saturday night against the highest-priced claimers on the grounds, managing this victory in 1:52.3 in the slop; Attention Hanover (Simon Allard, Steve Salerno), who moved up in class on Sunday night and rallied for his third straight condition win, two of which have come at Pocono with the other at Harrah's, in 1:54 in the slop; and Rockstar Angel A (Brett Miller, Chris Oakes), an Australian invader who made a striking United States debut at Pocono on Tuesday night, winning the featured condition pace for mares in 1:52.4 in the slop. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: BOFFIN As veteran trotters go, there are few around who seem to do damage at Pocono every single year they appear quite like this warrior trained by Anette Lorentzon. Now aged eight, Boffin arrived at Pocono in June in a rare slump, having come up empty in four races in the Midwest. Coming to his old stomping grounds immediately energized him, as he handled an $11,000 condition field on June 18 at Pocono to get his first win of the season. That win must have given him a taste, because Boffin followed that up with another victory, this time over a $14,000 group in 1:52.4 on June 30. This past Sunday, he was at it again in the rainy conditions, once again moving up in class to face off with a $17,500 class. Even with the step up the ladder, the bettors were wise to the caliber of this gelding and made Boffin a 3-5 favorite leaving from post position #4 in an excellent field of nine. George Napolitano Jr., who has driven Boffin to many a victory over the years, decided to end the suspense early, as he quickly sent him to the front end. From there, the rest of the field, which was comprised of accomplished trotters, looked like amateurs in his wake. Boffin never really endured any challenge to his supremacy, and he steadily opened up the lead until he came home a 4 ¾-length winner at the end of the mile. His winning time, even in the slop, was a solid 1:54.1, giving him three straight victories. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Uknow What To Do (Anthony Morgan, Rene Allard), who moved up in class on Saturday night and scored his second straight condition win, this one in 1:56.2 in the slop; Alpha D'Urzy (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who followed up a win in his U.S. debut at Saratoga with a condition victory at Pocono on Sunday night in 1:57.4 in the off conditions; and Satin Dancer (Matt Kakaley, Travis Alexander), a mare whose win in Sunday night's featured condition trot in 1:53 matched a career-best and represented the fastest trotting mile of the week at Pocono. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CASINO DIRECTOR This pacer driven by Tyler Buter sent the folks home shocked with a condition win in the finale on Monday night at 36-1, paying off $74 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY One of the most consistent performers at Pocono on a regular basis, Kakaley did his usual damage this week, picking up six combined wins in three nights of racing. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: GARETH DOWSE There has been no hotter barn on the grounds for the past month or so, and Dowse solidified that hot streak with three more training wins this week. 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, for Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Both of the $21,500 features at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night required the use of the photo finish camera, with the mare Satin Dancer holding off Crazshana by a nose on the trot and Juslikeaqueen rallying furiously from sixth at the 3/4 to get a neck decison in the distaff pace. Satin Dancer, a double winner in Open company at Hoosier before coming east, was sent right to the top in a 27.1 quarter over off going by driver Matt Kakaley in the trotting headliner, then got a breather to the half in 57. The winning daughter of Big Stick accelerated the tempo to the ¾, reaching that pole in 1:25.1, then had to go faster and dig deep as Crazshana narrowed in from the pocket, retaining the smallest possible advantage on the money while equaling her mark of 1:53. Travis Alexander conditions the winner, one of the big factors at two and three in Indiana as her $637,160 earnings would attest, for Summit Pacing Acres LLC (a "Pacing Acres" owning a fast trotter - they really have the winning touch!). Obvious Blue Chip tried to live up to 1-5 backing in the female pacing feature, moving to the front near the 27.4 quarter and then posting middle fractions of 57 and 1:24.4. But first-over Princess Fabulosa grinded at the leader, passed her in the stretch, then herself was caught by the flying-from-third-over Juslikeaqueen, from whom Anthony Napolitano summoned a huge last quarter while wide to take a 1:53.1 decision. Antonia Storer owns and trains the Palone Ranger mare, who now has a lifetime bankroll of $175,710. And just in case you thought that all those good Jimmy Takter trotters easily roll out of the barn all ready to go stakes-caliber miles, consider Fleet Admiral, who had a 1:56.3 win and a break in two qualifiers as a freshman, then put in two stretch breaks as a sophomore before qualifying at Pocono in 1:54.4. He made a break in his first purse start, was 16½ lengths out at the quarter, and rallied to be second, so when he broke at the start of his second race Sunday but was only 9¼ down at the quarter, he was "obviously" still in the hunt, and he again showed a giant recovery kick for driver Josert Fonseca, coming his last ¾ in 1:27.1 to win in 1:57.3 on a sloppy track. Oh, did we mention that he's a full brother to Ariana G? Hurricane Beach :51.3 to the half is fastest ever According to a detailed check of available records, the Somebeachsomewhere – Blazing Yankee four-year-old gelding Hurricane Beach cut the fastest half-mile ever in a Standardbred race mile on a 5/8-mile track, 51.3, in winning the last race on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The final time for the mile was 1:49.4, over a sloppy track, in the $17,000 conditioned pace. Hurricane Beach blasted away from post eight for driver Simon Allard, hitting the quarter in 25.2 with the field well-strung-out behind, and Allard had the horse under a hold passing the stands for the first time. The half-mile station was reached as noted in 51.3, and the ¾ was reached in 1:19.3. Hurricane Beach officially had a 10-length lead at the stretch call, and won by 7¼ lengths. A detailed list of miles which have reached the 3/4s in 1:20, while not official, has been kept, and the 51.3 clocking eradicated the former mark for 5/8-mile tracks of 52.1 set by Split The House in the 2016 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft, won by All Bets Off. The record in such a race on an “f” track for the quarter is 25.1, notched by five horses (only one of which went on to win); Always B Miki went 1:19 to the 3/4s in winning the Ewart Pace at Scioto, also in 2016. The overall harness record for reaching the half in a mile race, according to this list, is 51.2, set by Devonshire Hanover at The Meadowlands in 2006. Those with long memories about unusual records probably had a bell ring as soon as they saw a horse named “Hurricane” involved in fast fractions. And yes, Hurricane Beach is a half-brother, out of Blazing Yankee, to the Cam’s Card Shark pacer Hurrikane Kingcole, who holds the overall record for the fastest-ever clocking to the ¾ in a mile race, 1:18.2, in the 2012 SBOANJ Classic at The Meadowlands, which was won by Panther Hanover. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Vernon Downs featured three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing fillies, on Thursday (July 12). All three divisions raced for a purse of $39,900 each. Ms Cheesman (John MacDonald) takes the first division. The favorite Newsday (Jim Marohn Jr.) took over the lead just before the first quarter mark. She controlled all the early fractions (:26.2, :55.0, 1:24.2). Ms Cheesman ($9.50) followed in the pocket trip for the first three-quarters of the mile. Owned by Bay Pond Racing and trained by Jessica Okusko, she would go first-over at the top of the stretch and blow right by to win in a lifetime best time of 1:52.2. Presto Blue Chip (Drew Monti) charged late to finish second. Checkered Past (Jim Morrill Jr) was third best. Ms Cheesman is a 3-year-old filly by Betterthancheddar. It was her fourth win this season and it was career victory number five. Pueblo Blue Chip (Matt Kakaley) edges Ubettergo Go (Mark MacDonald) in the second division of the NYSS. Betterthanbrie (Josert Fonseca) charged to the front and led the group to a first quarter of :28.0. Ubettergo Go went to the lead just after the quarter. She would lead them to a half of :56.4 and to three-quarters in 1:25.0. Pueblo Blue Chip ($5.20) went first over from third just before the three-quarter pole. Trained by Ron Burke for owners Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Menary Racing Inc., and Michael Guerrero, she would trade blows with Ubettergo Go all the way down the stretch. Halfway down the stretch they were joined by third place finisher Azreal As It Gets (John MacDonald). Pueblo Blue Chip used one last lunge to win in a lifetime best mark of 1:52.2. Ubettergo Go had to settle for second. Pueblo Blue Chip is a 3-year-old filly by American Ideal. It was her third win in four starts of 2018. She nailed down career victory number four. Dance Blue (Josert Fonseca) is an upset winner in the third division. Apothic (Mark MacDonald) led the group to a first quarter time of :27.0. The lead was short lived as Jewels Forreal (Matt Kakaley) took over and led to the halfway point in :55.4. Dance Blue ($17.60) took control just after the half and led them to three-quarters in 1:23.1. Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband, and Goran Anderberg, she breezed home in the stretch to win in a lifetime best of 1:51.2. Jewels Forreal was second best with Apothic finishing third. Dance Blue is a 3-year-old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven. She secured her second win of her season and her career. Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday with a 13 race card starting at 6:10. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs          

Matt Kakaley is ready to go. Sidelined since a March 13 racing accident, the 30-year-old harness racing driver will be back in action Saturday (May 12) with nine drives at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "I can't wait. I really can't wait," Kakaley said. "It's been a tough couple months, but I'm feeling good now and I'm itching to get back. Seeing my name on the entries, it was a good feeling." Kakaley was injured at Yonkers Raceway when the horse he was driving took a bad step and went down. Kakaley was thrown to the track and suffered injuries that required three surgeries, including one for a broken orbital bone and another for a fractured collarbone. He has spent the past month rehabbing and getting in shape for his return. "I put on a few pounds just sitting around," Kakaley said with a laugh. "That's the goal right now, to get those off and be fit again." Kakaley is grateful for all the well wishes he received following the accident and the support of his friends and family, including his mom Linda, longtime partner Annie Larrabee and her mom Debbie, as well as trainer Ron Burke and fellow drivers Andy McCarthy and Mark MacDonald. "It showed me how many really good friends I really do have and how special my family is," Kakaley said. "It was a tough time, but I had a good support system and people who were there for me to make it a little bit easier." Kakaley, who set a career high with $9.04 million in purses last year, has 62 wins and $1.07 million in purses this season. Last week, he trained several horses for Burke in preparation for this weekend. "I just wanted to make sure it feels good sitting behind a horse and going a mile," said Kakaley, who has 4,169 career wins. "I felt great. The shoulder wasn't bothering me at all, so I figured I was ready to go. "The last two weeks or so I've been feeling really good, but I didn't want to come back too soon. I had to wait it out. It's for the better because I don't want to reinjure it." Kakaley's drives on Saturday include Aleppo Hanover in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers and Rockin Ron and Check Six in divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series for male pacers. In addition, Kakaley is one of the drivers participating in this weekend's Trotting 4 Charity event. Trotting 4 Charity, organized by TrotCast's Ryan Macedonio, will be held May 18-20 at racetracks throughout North America. Participating drivers and trainers will wear a custom-made replica jersey of their own colors, with their selected charity logo displayed on the jersey. During the weekend, drivers will race in their jersey. After the event, auctions will be held for fans to bid on the jerseys and all proceeds from winning bids will be donated to the corresponding charities. Kakaley's charity is Marley's Mission, which is based near Pocono and provides equine-based psychotherapy free of charge to children, and their families, who have experienced trauma. "I think it's a great event and I thought Marley's Mission was a perfect fit," Kakaley said. "I wanted to do something locally and this is great exposure for them, as well as harness racing." Racing begins at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, March 15, 2018—Here’s a further update regarding harness racing driver Matt Kakaley, who was injured in an accident during Yonkers Raceway’s 10th race Tuesday night (March 13th). The update was provided by driver Mark MacDonald at the request of Kakaley’s girlfriend, Annie Larrabee. Kakaley, driving Lawgiver Hanover, and Jim Marohn Jr., driving Big Jer, were at the rear of the field moving into the third turn of the $15,000 pacing event. Lawgiver Hanover took a bad step, went down and throwing Kakaley. Big Jer, who may have briefly gone down, unseated Marohn Jr and ran off.  Kakaley, who turns 30 this coming Monday (March 19th), was originally taken to Lawrence Hospital in nearby Bronxville, NY, then subsequently moved north to Westchester Medical Center (Valhalla, NY), where facial plastic surgery was performed.    MacDonald—who visiting Kakaley this (Thursday) afternoon—said “considering what he went through, he was in very good spirits, laughing and joking.” It was MacDonald’s understanding that Kakaley is to be discharged from Westchester Medical sooner rather than later, returning sometime next week to have more work performed on his collarbone. “I don’t know if it’s the best-case scenario, but it seems to be close,” MacDonald said. “The doctors see no reason he won’t recover and get back driving, maybe within five or six weeks.” Does Kakaley had any recollection of the accident?’ “Not much,” MacDonald said.      Lawgiver Hanover was euthanized. The 9-year-old son of Art Major had won 28-of-202 career starts with earnings of $623,179. Marohn Jr. and Big Jer both escaped injury, the former taking his final two scheduled Tuesday drives and with a full complement of Yonkers’ Thursday assignments.  Further updates shall be provided as available. Kakaley has won 4,169 races and more than $61.1 million in purse in a career that began in 2006.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, February 25, 2018—All together now, ‘Taking to the off-going like a duck to water…’ Rubber Duck (catch-driver Matt Kakaley, $18.40) waddled home fastest Sunday afternoon (Feb. 25th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s sloppy $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. The field of nine (reduced by one after a nose-to-gate defection) went as first of seven ‘French’ trots, with Rubber Duck starting from an assigned 10-hole. Thus, he had no choice but to watch early as lass NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr.) offered her customary leave.   Wide early from behind the ‘seven-ball’ after that scratch, she worked around 17-10 favorite In Secret (George Brennan) after a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. It was a  :57.4 half and 1:28.2 three-quarters before Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett) made his second move. Getting away fourth, he went after NF Happenstance going toward to the 1:57.2 milepost. However, Melady’s Monet wasn’t the problem. Le Reveur N (Dan Dube) went wide, Rubber Duck even wider. NF Happenstance did owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but the hooves were getting heavy. In Secret edged out of the pocket, while Rubber Duck continued his bid. The latter went right past the former, winning by a couple of lengths while getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:27.4.  Le Reveur N, NF Happenstance and Money Maven (Jordan Stratton) settled for the remainder. Rubber Duck winning in the sloppy conditions    - Photo Chris Brokate For fifth choice Rubber Duck, a 6-year-old Muscle Mass ridgling Alberta co-owned by Blain & Erna Corbeil and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $58.50, with triple returning $375.50. Sunday’s return of the ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 1-Westerdale (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 9-Uva Hanover (Yonkers’ 5th race) paid $60.75 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,900.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 24, 2017—Favored Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton, $5.30) just lasted on the lead Saturday night (Feb. 24th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. Leaving from post position No. 5 in the gang of a half-dozen, Thisjetsabookin’ was stung by pole-assigned Quick asa Trick N (Dan Dube). The people’s preference paid a :26.3 privilege to make the lead before rating a :56.2 intermission. Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley) started the outer assemblage, moving from fourth toward a 1:24.1 three-quarters. Don’tcallmefrancis (Greg Merton) chased that one,   Thisjetsabookin’ owned a length-and-three-quarter lead entering the lane, but his pursuers remained stubborn. 1:53.1. Gokudo Hanover was resurgent, trying the leader one more time. Thisjetsabookin’ found the wet wire when he need it, a short nose to the good in a season’s-best 1:53.1. Don’tcallmefrancis was third, beaten a head, with Quick asa Trick N and Killer Martini (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors. Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) brought up the rear.     Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton,#5) just lasted on the inside    - Photo Chris Brokate For Thisjetsabookin’, 6-year-old Jereme’s Jet gelding owned by William Emmons and trained by William Adamczyk, it was his second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $18.40, with the triple returning $83.50. Sunday matinees resume tomorrow (Feb. 25rd), with first post of 12:15 PM. Frank Drucker

Yonkers, NY --- With a three-wide sweeping rush, All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) got to the finish line first by a slim margin in the harness racing $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 14) at Yonkers Raceway in 1:51.4. All Bets Are Off is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Baldachino and Pan Hellenic Stables. It was his 27th career win and pushed his lifetime earnings to $2,834,832. Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) grabbed the lead at first call, getting to the quarter in :26.4, with race favorite Sintra trailing him. By the :55.3 half, Bit Of A Legend A (Jordan Stratton) still had the lead but was soon overtaken by Somewhere In LA (Jason Bartlett) who had the lead at the 1:23.1 three-quarters. With a cavalry charge down the homestretch, Keystone Velocity (Daniel Dube) went three-wide to chase down the leaders and grab the lead at the head of the stretch. But All Bets Off was coming fastest of all and got up on the outside to just nip All Bets Off at the wire. Wining driver Matt Kakaley said he had no fear of timing the wire just right. “That was perfect, it worked out great," he said. "I think he likes it that way (accelerating late in the race), it’s worked good the last two weeks and the trip just was perfect today. I was pretty confident (he would get to the wire in time) it was working out good for him. Shannon Murphy, assistant trainer for the Burke Stable, was similarly confident. “I thought he’d get there; he likes that. If I owned him maybe it would be tough on my heart. Breeders Crown is next for him.”   by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

WILKES-BARRE PA - Sapphire Breeze came in off the stakes trail and promptly earned herself a new harness racing speed badge of 1:52.1 in taking the $16,000 distaff pacing feature Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The sophomore daughter of Well Said was given a second-over trip by driver Matt Kakaley and was still fifth at the stretch call, but she had enough rally in her to reach the wire a length ahead of two-move leader Gigi From Fiji. Ron Burke conditions Sapphire Breeze for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phillip Collura, Michelle Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In the $14,000 co-featured distaff pace, the Rock N Roll Heaven mare Rock Me Baby continued to enjoy her local campaign at The Downs, running her Pocono record to 3-2-1-0 since shipping back in with a 1:51 victory. Marcus Miller moved the sharp winner of $230,258 to the lead past the quarter, then held off the charge of Quebec champion YS Tallia by 1¼ lengths for trainer Heidi Rohr and owner Scott Dillon. Anthony Napolitano, 2017's "King Of The Longshots" at Pocono, reined in his ninth $50+ horse of the meet (no other driver has more than four) when he rallied the Majestic Son gelding Sibson to a $68.80 nose victory over odds-on favorite Flagstaff in a conditioned trot for trainer Jody Riedel and Super Mile LLC. PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 12, 2017 -- Ron Burke figured to be a force in Tuesday's $86,498 Keystone Classic at The Meadows -- he trains eight of the 17 freshman filly pacers who dropped in -- but he was even more dominant than that, teaming with harness racing Matt Kakaley to sweep the event with Double A Mint, Strong Opinion and Majorsspeciallady. Double A Mint turned in the most powerful performance, rolling to a facile 5-1/2-length victory over stablemate Danikova in 1:52.4 and lifting her bankroll to $115,499 for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Dandy Farms and Silva, Purnel & Libby. She's In For Life completed the ticket. "She gets better," Burke said of the daughter of Bettor's Delight-Double Creme, who will be pointed to stakes at Hoosier Park and the Red Mile. "She tries harder. She's a typical Bettor's Delight -- they try." Strong Opinion finished a disappointing seventh in the Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship, but Kakaley Indicated there was a good reason she couldn't get more involved. "She was third over in the last turn, not really in a terrible spot, but a horse broke in front of her and took her out of the race," he said. "I've loved her all along. She's beautiful to drive, and she goes when you ask her to go." In the Keystone Classic, the daughter of Well Said-Rough Sketch made the lead with a quarter-pole move and had little trouble holding off Sarpa Hanover by a length in 1:53.3, with Ana Hanover third. Burke Racing Stable, Jack Piatt II, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Silva, Purnel & Libby campaign Strong Opinion, a $50,000 yearling purchase. The victory by Majorsspeciallady was more tactical than flashy; when Kakaley gave her a soft opening half of 58, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-See Major waltzed home in 1:54.1, a length better than Aims Whisper. The first-over Cult Icon earned show. "She hasn't always been in the right spot, but she's the kind who definitely will get better with age," Burke said. "The thing about her is, when she's in with horses she's supposed to beat, she beats them." He indicated Majorsspeciallady, a $30,000 yearling acquisition, is headed to engagements at Hoosier Park and the Red Mile for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and J&T Silva Stables. North America's perennial leading trainer was a factor elsewhere on Tuesday's card, as his 5-year-old Shadow Play-Titania Seelster mare, Tessa Seelster, captured the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace for Dave Palone in 1:52. Shesasmokinlady was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Yankee Moonshine rallied for show. Tessa Seelster now boasts $490,913 in career earnings for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jonathan Newman. Brian Zendt collected three wins on the 14-race card. Wednesday's program at The Meadows features a $102,700 Keystone Classic for freshman filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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