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WILKES-BARRE PA - Wes Delight, who left the gate so quickly he lost his head number a couple of steps in, showed that having a few races under your girth can be an advantage even against the likes of harness racing divisional champion Lost In Time, Stay Hungry, Nutcracker Sweet, and Hayden Hanover, as those top colts making their seasonal bow could not defeat the winner of three of his four seasonal starts, with Wes Delight winning the "feature" division of the $166,015 second preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Corey Callahan had the victorious son of Bettor's Delight away with great jet, getting the lead early, then yielding to the 3-2 favorite Stay Hungry before the 26.4 quarter, with Hayden Hanover, 8-5 Lost In Time, and Nutcracker Spot filling the next three spots. As Stay Hungry got to the half in a moderate 55.4, Lost In Time came first-over, with Nutcracker Suite on his back - and the real race was on. As they passed the 1:23.2 3/4s, Lost In Time fell back a little, and Stay Hungry maintained the advantage, with Wes Delight lurking in the pocket then pulling out for the drive. Halfway through the lane Stay Hungry looked to have a good chance, but he got a bit weary late, and Wes Delight took his measure, then held off the game and resurgent Lost In Time by a nose in 1:50.4 to take a new mark. Stay Hungry was beaten only a neck, with Nutcracker Suite and Hayden Hanover getting the last two checks. This was the biggest win of the young career of Wes Delight, who lowered his mark while boosting his bankroll to $192,573. Mark Harder trains the developing sophomore, and he shares ownership with Rick Phillips and Rachel Frost. The $300,000 yearling I'm A Big Deal, by Somebeachsomewhere out of the world champion Big Mcdeal, got the evening off to a flying start in his Sires section, going to the lead, yielding briefly, then retaking while posting fractions of 26.2, 54.4, and 1:21.3. By the last-named number, he had opened up by a decisive lead, and he finished out his mile in 1:50.2, 6½ lengths ahead, to take a new mark. George Napolitano Jr. had the sulky duty for trainer Chris Ryder, who is also co-owner with Craig Henderson and Robert Mondillo, behind a colt who certainly paced back to his pedigree Saturday. In the other division, the crowd thought the Ryder barn would add a second Sires victory with This Is The Plan, a winner in the first PASS prelim, but it was the other first-round winner, Dorsoduro Hanover, who came on again in the stretch to post a neck victory in a lifetime best 1:50.1, also the fastest clocking of the three divsiions. Matt Kakaley, in his first night back in action after a mid-March racing accident, sent the Ron Burke trainee to the lead before the 27 quarter, then sat behind This Is The Plan through midfractions of 55.3 and 1:22.4. The pacesetter dug in through the lane, but the pocketsitter proved stronger in the Pocono Pike, remaining undefeated in two 2018 starts and raising his bankroll to $145,168 for Burke Racing Stable LLC; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC; and Wingfield Five LLC. There were also two $30,000 divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series for open pacers. In one, Mach It So equaled the fastest clocking on a 5/8-mile track this year (Major Uptrend at Dover and Nuclear Breeze at Miami Valley) with a 1:49 victory for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., and Bamond Racing LLC. Mach It So left side-by-side with Dr J Hanover, let that one take the top before the hot 26 quarter, then removed to the lead, hit the half in 54.1, then opened up a sizable lead with a 26.4 quarter to trip the third timer in 1:21. The Mach Three gelding still had a big lead as far as midstretch, but both his early exertions and rapid closer Bettor's Edge were catching up to him; however, you don't earn $2,578,675 in your career by succumbing easily, and Mach It So held on by a half-length. In the other Great Northeast cut, Rockin Ron became a two-time Great Northeast winner, holding off the determined Rockeyed Optimist by a nose in 1:50.2. Matt Kakaley put the Real Desire gelding on top and set fractions of 26.3, 55.1, and 1:22.4; in early stretch the pair had opened up two lengths, but Rockeyed Optimist, first-over, came back on with great gameness only to just get photoed out. Maxdaddy Blue Chip came from way out of it to miss it all by a neck behind the $1,151,107 winner, trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, RTC Stables Inc., and J&T Silva Stables LLC. Finally, Walks Of Life, the winningest horse in North America this year with 12, could not add a 13th triumph to his 2018 record, but he certainly tried very hard in the $20,000/$25,000 claiming handicap, passing the poles in 26.1, 54.2, and 1:22.2, with Legion Of Boom pressing him early and Corner Con Artist having the lead most of the backstretch first-over. Walks Of Life shook off the first-over, but could not keep pocket rocket Legion Of Boom at bay, dropping a ½ length decision to that one, driven by Anthony Napolitano for trainer Joe Pavia Jr. and the partnership of John Whitig, Michael Rich, Lawrence Chimerine, and Jeffrey Hess. One trend did continue - Walks of Life was claimed, for the ninth straight start, and Legion Of Boom will be changing barns as well. PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, May 19, 2018 -- Moosonee moved three wide into the final turn and roared through the lane to capture the fastest division in Saturday's $174,888 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters at The Meadows. The event, known as the Super Bowl, was contested over four divisions, with Captain Morgan, Whats The Word and Donatover also taking splits. None of the winners was the betting favorite, suggesting that this division will be wide open throughout the PASS season. Moosonee might more appropriately have been called "Monsoonee" for the Super Bowl after a brief, monsoon-like storm rendered the track sloppy. That didn't deter the Explosive Matter-Lady Andover gelding, who angled off the cones for Aaron Merriman and zipped home in a career-best 1:54 in his sophomore debut. Defending PA champ Fashionwoodchopper was trapped in but was able to shoot the Lightning Lane for second, 1-1/2 lengths back, with early leader Gemologist third. "I broke his maiden with him last year, and he showed some potential," Merriman said. "As you can see, he grew up a lot. The way he qualified at Northfield, I was very confident today. He won absolutely in hand." Chris Beaver trains Moosonee for Winterbeary Farm. Captain Morgan won a single race at 2, but he came back more powerful and determined, scoring handily on the front end for Christian Lind, trainer Staffan Lind and owners Lind Racing Stable, Bender Sweden Inc., Roy Holth and Kemppisuojalampistable. Evaluate was second, beaten 2-3/4 lengths, while Im Your Captain completed the ticket. "He was kind of immature last year; he made some stupid breaks," Staffan Lind said of the son of Cantab Hall-Muchness. "This year, he's a completely different horse. We even took off the hopples." Added Christian Lind: "He's always good on the front. As soon as he feels the presence of another horse, he just picks up speed and grabs the bit." Trainer Janice Connor removed the hopples from Whats The Word before his last race; the improvement showed, as he moved confidently first over for Corey Callahan and wore down Hill Street, downing him by 2 lengths in 1:54.1, a life mark. Dawson Springs earned show. "He raced with hopples last year but trained down really well without them this year," said Connor, who owns the son of Donato Hanover-Your Word Is Good with Arden Homestead Stable. "He blew up two starts ago, so we put the hopples back. We also went back to a hood with no earplugs." $80,000 PA Stallion Series Stake -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters The stallion series event, the co-feature on Saturday's Preakness Day card, might have seemed an unlikely spot for Lindy's Big Bang following his May 5 victory in the $133,800 Dexter Cup, but he overcame a tough trip to win. Also collecting victories were I Know My Rights, Joey and Rich And Miserable. Tyler Buter and his father, trainer Todd Buter, enjoyed a stake double with I Know My Rights and Rich And Miserable. Stuck with post 8, Lindy's Big Bang raced outside before getting the lead near the three-eighths. He held off the rallying Meadowbranch Ricky by a length in 1:55.4, with early leader Bautista third. "It was kind of a group decision (to race him in the stallion series)," said winning driver David Miller, who owns the Explosive Matter-Lindy Of My Dreams gelding with Melvin Hartman and David McDuffee. "I don't know if he can trot in 1:53, and the sires stakes are subject to going that fast. We'll keep him brave. Hopefully, he can keep winning. When they get to winning, sometimes it helps their attitude." Nifty Norman conditions Lindy's Big Bang, who lifted his career bankroll to $127,233. Looped from the gate, I Know My Rights powered to the point and was much the best, prevailing by 2-3/4 lengths over Konnichiwa in a career-best 1:56, with Whoucalncrazy third. Tyler Buter, Lynette Buter and Gene Oldford Farms campaign I Know My Rights, who now has banked $140,505. "He definitely wintered well," Tyler Buter said. "He was full of himself. He can be a handful sometimes, but on the track he's a gentleman. Our plan is just to take care of him, and if Dad wants to try him against the tougher ones, then we will." Joey entered the race off two straight impressive wins in overnights, but could he handle stakes company? Trainer Leslie Zendt was confident he could. "He's always shown that he's had a lot of talent," she said of the son of Yankee Glide-Jodi's Jayme she owns with Bill Zendt. "We've had a little trouble with him getting around the turns here. We always thought he'd be better on a bigger track, but you have to start somewhere." Joey moved first up for Dave Palone and triumphed in 1:55.2, 1/2 length ahead of Unforgetable, while Mississippi Storm earned show. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, May 17, 2018 -- When Fashionwoodchopper won last year's Pennsylvania championship for harness racing 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters at 38-1 -- from post 8, no less -- he surprised everyone but his trainer, Jim Campbell. "We liked him all along, but it took him a little while to get himself set," Campbell says. "I'm really happy with the way he's come back." Fashionwoodchopper leads a trio of talented Campbell-trained 3-year-olds into Saturday's $174,888 PA Sires Stakes opener, known as the Super Bowl, at The Meadows. He'll go in race 9 from post 6, with David Miller up. His stablemates, Crystal Fashion (race 10, post 8) and Patent Leather (race 8, post 1) will have the services of Tim Tetrick. Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms owns all three hopefuls. First post is 1:05 PM Fashionwoodchopper added victories in the International Stallion Series and Bluegrass to his impressive resume, earning $258,449 for the year. He opened his sophomore campaign with a strong show finish in a tough overnight at the Meadowlands, timed in 1:52.2. "He's a really nice horse to be around, a real pleasure to train," Campbell says of the son of Donato Hanover-Woodshopper. "It's early in the season, so my main concern is that he doesn't get roughed up. I want to get a good race into him without too tough a trip." Fourth in last year's PASS final, Crystal Fashion, a Cantab Hall-Window Willow gelding, banked $161,292 at 2 and launched his sophomore season with an impressive victory at Harrah's Philadelphia. "Where Fashionwoodchopper can race either way, Crystal Fashion likes to come from behind," Campbell says. "He's really good if he can sit on the outside and grind horses down. He really seems to thrive on that." Although he's the least heralded of the three, Patent Leather earned $77,992 last year while racing through injuries. "He's a real gutsy horse, "Campbell said. "He forgot all about those injuries when he raced last year. He has quick speed, and he's gritty." The son of Broadway Hall-Designable enters the Super Bowl after a win in a Harrah's Philadelphia overnight. Saturday's action-packed Preakness Day card also features an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters and a pair of rich guarantees -- $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 10-15). Fan-centered activities include: A DJ and food and beverage specials at BBQ tents on the apron; Paddock tours and jog cart and starting gate rides, courtesy the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA); "Plinko" games offering such prizes as hats and betting vouchers. To register or for more information, stop by the MSOA table in the Racebook. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WILKES-BARRE PA - Undefeated champion filly Manchego makes her 2018 seasonal debut Monday (May 21) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, racing in the $56,480 tenth race division of the second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for harness racing three-year-old trotting misses. Manchego, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic bred by Brittany Farms LLC and owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, was a winner of each of her twelve trips to the starting gate as a freshman, earning $873,948 and of course taking divisional honors. She finished her first season with a decisive victory over Phaetosive, whom many considered her closest rival, in the $600,000 Breeders Crown final at Hoosier Park, and in preparing for her return she qualified in 1:53.4, turning her last quarter 27.3. Manchego will start from post three in the eight-horse field for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter as she starts what could be a recordbreaking year in any number of ways. By luck of the draw, the two fastest winners in the first Sire Stakes leg, held at The Meadows May 12, will be racing against Manchego. What A Knockout (post two, trainer Marcus Melander, driver David Miller) was victorious in 1:54.4; Live Laugh Love (trainer Nifty Norman, David Miller also listed early) went two ticks faster in keeping her 2018 record perfect after three starts, but here she must contend with drawing post eight. The $56.480 eleventh race division contains the other Meadows Sire Stakes winner, Lily Stride (1:55.3); Tim Tetrick will again be behind the filly for trainer Mark Harder after drawing post four in an eight-horse field. The $56,080 fifth race division is likely to be headed by Nixie Volo, who made two strong moves against Live Laugh Love only to come up a head short; Corey Callahan is scheduled to be driving for trainer John Butenschoen from post five in a field of seven. PHHA / Pocono

Dan Patch Award-winner Lost In Time makes his seasonal debut Saturday (May 19) in the third of three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and there is no shortage of familiar faces joining the colt in the field. Also making their seasonal debuts in the same race are Breeders Crown champion Stay Hungry and stakes-winners Hayden Hanover, who was the fastest 2-year-old male pacer of 2017, and Nutcracker Sweet. In addition, stakes-winner Wes Delight is part of the eight-horse field. Stay Hungry, who starts from post No. 3 for driver Doug McNair and trainer Tony Alagna, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Lost In Time, who leaves from post six with Scott Zeron at the lines for Jimmy Takter, is the 3-1 second choice while Hayden Hanover is 4-1 from post one with Andy Miller driving for Julie Miller. "It's a who's who of horses; it's heavy hitters," Zeron said. "It's about as interesting as it gets. There are amazing horses in that race." Last year, Lost In Time won five of nine races including the Metro Pace, Governor's Cup, and a division of the International Stallion Stakes. He earned $608,112, which led all 2-year-old male pacers. The A Rocknroll Dance colt was trained by Jim Mulinix for most of the season before Mulinix turned the horse over to Takter for his final two races of the year. Lost In Time enters Saturday's race off two qualifiers. He finished fourth in the first, timed in 1:53.1 with a :25.4 last quarter-mile. He won the second, timed in 1:51 with a :26.3 final quarter. "Those qualifiers, to me, were exactly what I was looking for," Zeron said. "It's nice to see the way he's started this season. He's come back great. There are a lot of similarities to last year, which is what you kind of want; the same horse with a little progression. That's the way it's felt. "Mentally he's gotten a little sharper. He's always been nice to handle and he's nice on himself. It's like Jimmy has said, he's a horse that likes to win. I don't think he's flashy on a day-to-day basis, but he enjoys racing. He's easy to drive, so that makes it easy for me." Lost In Time is owned by Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva Stables, William Rufenacht, and Scott Robinson's Team S Racing Stable. At February's Dan Patch Award banquet, Robinson's guests included professional wrestling legend Ric Flair, who was celebrating his 69th birthday. While accepting Lost In Time's Dan Patch trophy, Robinson announced he was giving Flair an ownership percentage in the horse as a birthday present. "I really hope this horse can deliver and be a real champion because (Flair) was very excited about being brought in on this horse," Zeron said. "And it's exciting to know that somebody that's lived the life he's lived is excited about a horse. It's nice for everybody connected with it." In Saturday's first Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division, Takter's Grand Teton, a half-brother to three-time Dan Patch Award-winning mare Pure Country, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Kindergarten Series champion Points North is the 3-1 second choice. The second division finds Chris Ryder's stakes-winning This Is The Plan, who is 2-for-2 this year, as the 5-2 favorite followed by Dorsoduro Hanover at 3-1. The field also includes defending Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Pedro Hanover, who is 9-2 on the morning line. "Right now, everyone talks about Stay Hungry and Lost In Time, but there are other horses out there that were good last year," Zeron said. "It's the way every year starts out, you see at the beginning who comes to play. Maybe that will stamp your mark on the year. "This Pocono race might be one that puts one ahead of the others, but in my eyes it really won't. It's just a step toward the North America Cup for me." The following Pennsylvania Sire Stakes starters Saturday are eligible to the North America Cup: Captain Deo, Closing Statement, Dorsoduro Hanover, Grand Teton, Hayden Hanover, Lost In Time, Nutcracker Sweet, Pedro Hanover, Points North, Pro Beach, Sometimesawinner, Stay Hungry, Wes Delight, and Whos Better. Saturday's card at Pocono also includes two divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series for older male pacers. In the first, Rockeyed Optimist is the 5-2 morning-line favorite over 3-1 Rockin Ron. In the second, Dr J Hanover is the 5-2 choice over 3-1 Mach It So. Racing begins at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

WILKES-BARRE PA - Whether or not the Kentucky Derby winner can justify the acclaim he is receiving by also winning the Preakness, harness racing fans gathered at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday will be treated to a spectacular card of racing, featuring three divisions of the $175,000 second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and two $30,000 divisions in the Great Northeast Open Series for older pacers. The marquee matchup in the Sire Stakes will be the tenth race division, as it brings together the two horses generally acclaimed the best two-year-olds: divisional champion Lost In Time and archrival Stay Hungry. Already this year the two colts have traded victories in qualifying races, and both make their seasonal debuts here. Lost In Time is a son of A Rocknroll Dance trained by Jimmy Takter for the combine of Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva Stables Inc., William Rufenacht, and Team S Racing Stable, and he is the horse whose ownership gave a stake in to wrestling legend Ric Flair, who accompanied the group (he is a friend of one of the principals) to the Dan Patch banquet when they received their divisional award. Lost In Time won five of nine and $608,112, and likely clinched the championship with a nose win over Stay Hungry in the Governor's Cup at The Meadowlands. Scott Zeron will be behind the colt from post six for Takter, who has another horse of his, Nutcracker Sweet (a recent qualifying winner in 1:50.2), in this division, but "stuck behind the 8-ball" of PP8. Stay Hungry is a son of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Tony Alagna for the ownership of Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. Among his six wins in nine starts and $535,742 was a Breeders Crown victory, and he had a very rough trip in the Governor's Cup and battled to the bitter end. Doug McNair will guide Stay Hungry from post three Saturday. The fourth race division of the Sire Stakes features the two horses who won in the PaSS first prelim at The Meadows on May 5, This Is The Plan (post three, driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Chris Ryder) and Dorsudoro Hanover (post six, driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke). Dorsuduro had by far the faster time in his PaSS victory, his first start of the year, brushing to the lead on the far turn and going on to victory in 1:50.3. The first race Sires division (other than the Lost In Time - Stay Hungry matchup, Saturday's Pocono card is frontloaded in the hopes that galloping fans may stay around to see some quality harness horse racing early on) finds Sometimes A Winner drawing the outside post seven for driver Victor Kirby and trainer Kevin Switzer. Sometimes A Winner has been a winner in 4 of 5 starts this season, including in the final of the Sagamore Hills Series - but his only loss came when he drew the outside post at The Meadows. The Great Northeast Open Series has proven a great addition to the Pocono-Philly circuit, giving quality older horses a chance to race for $30,000 every week this summer. The older pacing ranks have drawn two divisions in each of the first three legs, and the events have been very competitive and exciting, with three of the four cuts to date producing victory margins of a head, a head, and a neck. The two-time winner Rodeo Romeo has taken the week off, but the other divisional winners match up in the third race, Rockeyed Optimist (post two, driver Brett Miller) and Rockin Ron (post seven, with Matt Kakaley returning to the sulky scene for the first time since a nasty accident on March 13 put him on the shelf). In the fifth race, the two horses second in the Pocono leg on May 5, Mach It So and Dr J Hanover, will draw their share of attention. The Pocono Saturday card also has the winningest horse in all of North America, Walks Of Life, going for his thirteenth visit to Victory Lane in the second race. With that kind of form, Walks Of Life has been popular not only with the fans, but at the claiming box - in fact, he has been claimed out of last eight races, but with a 8-6-2-0-$42,750 scorecard, you'd be popular, too. Owner Chuck Pompey and trainer Fern Paquet Jr. are using driver George Napolitano Jr. Saturday as the in-form pacer begins from post two. The card at Pocono on Saturday will start after the Preakness festivities are finished, most likely in the vicinity of 7:30 p.m. And as we hope we have shown, you'll want to see all the action from start to finish! PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, May 12, 2018 -- Parked to the three-eighths, Live Laugh Love still had enough in the tank to score in a stake-fastest 1:54.2 -- her third straight harness racing victory -- in Saturday's $168,237 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event for 3-year-old filly trotters, known as the Stenographer, was contested over three divisions, with What A Knockout and Lily Stride taking the other splits. David Miller enjoyed a stake double behind Live Laugh Love and What A Knockout. Trainer Nifty Norman took the hopples off Live Laugh Love to start her sophomore campaign, a change that triggered her current winning streak. "She had some soreness problems, and the hopples really weren't making a difference. This year, she's been in good shape so far," Miller said. "Today, they weren't going much when we were outside. I was looking for a spot to put her in a hole for a while. That's the first time I've put her on front this year, and she held up real well. The fractions weren't that strong." Live Laugh Love held off Nixie Volo by a head, with Courtney Hanover third. Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee and Diamond Creek Racing campaign the daughter of Donato Hanover-Shes Gone Again. What A Knockout prepped for her PASS opener with a 1:52.4 clocking for Miller in a Meadowlands overnight, beaten only a neck. "I was surprised she was that sharp off one qualifier," Miller said. "That was a really good mile for a filly racing her first mile. So I felt pretty confident with her today. I thought if she came back to how she raced at the Meadowlands, she would win today. She has a lot of upside. She's a big, strong horse, handles herself well and has a little speed. That's all good." In the Stenographer, the daughter of Donato Hanover-Southwind Sofia moved first over from third and looked in complete control, downing the rallying Piranha Fury by 1/2 length in a career-best 1:54.4. Kenziesky Hanover shot the Lightning Lane for show. Marcus Melander trains What A Knockout for Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stables. Lily Stride, the richest filly in the Stenographer with earnings of $260,867 entering the stake, quarter-poled to the top for Tim Tetrick, and the 1-9 favorite had no anxious moments thereafter, prevailing in 1:55.3. Megadolce used the Lightning Lane for second, 2-3/4 lengths back, while early leader Southwind Angelica completed the ticket. "She's always been one of my favorites," Tetrick said. "She's a little bit smarter this year. Right now we're just trying to get her in big-race mode, and she's doing everything right. She had a few kinks that cost her a little bit last year; we're trying to work those out. But she's got plenty of go." Mark Harder conditions Lily Stride, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Sterling Volo, for Emilio Rosati and Maria Rosati. In the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, Phoenix Warrior N made it two straight, triumphing in a sharp 1:50 -- a life mark -- for Jim Pantaleano, trainer Scott Betts and owners Timothy Betts, Nicholas Catalano and Stephen Moss. The 8-year-old Jereme's Jet-Never Walk Alone gelding lifted his lifetime bankroll to $271,413. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features an $80,000 PA Stallion Series Stake for sophomore filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

WASHINGTON, PA, May 4, 2018 -- After Pedro Hanover won last year's Pennsylvania Sires Stake championship for freshman colt and gelding pacers in early September, he figured to be a major player in harness racing's rich late-season stakes. The catch: he wasn't eligible to any of them except the Metro, where he finished third in the final. "He had zero problems, but he wasn't staked to anything else," says his trainer, Andrew Harris, "so I just had to shut him down. I brought him back a little earlier this year because he was turned out so early." More fully staked up this year, Pedro Hanover will kick off his sophomore campaign in the Bye Bye Byrd, Saturday's $169,288 PASS opener at The Meadows. The Kentucky Derby Day card also features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4, a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 5 and a variety of fan-centered events, including drink and beverage specials, live music and raffles. Special post time Saturday is 11:25 AM. Pedro Hanover, who banked $317,188 at 2, came back well from his extended off season but appeared sluggish in his first qualifier. "He didn't have the late kick he always has," Harris says. "We examined him and found he was sick without showing any signs of it, so we treated him. I was super ecstatic with his second qualifier." This year, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Paula's Best, an $80,000 yearling acquisition who races for Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, is eligible for the North America Cup, the Max Hempt and the Meadowlands Pace -- "there are still a few that we have to supplement into," Harris says. But he's not eligible for the Little Brown Jug or the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids. Nevertheless, Saturday's stakes could function as an Adios preview; of the 41 colts and geldings scheduled to race in the PASS events, 22 are Adios eligible. Pedro Hanover will go from post 7 in race 9 for Dave Palone. Harris doesn't consider the post position an issue. "With the slanted starting gate, I don't think that's much of a problem," he says. "It actually gives Dave some options on what he wants to do." Advance wagering for the Kentucky Derby -- and the entire Churchill Downs card -- begins Friday. Derby Day festivities include: Day-long food and beverage specials on the apron beginning at 11 AM as well as a buffet at the Carvery Patio; The annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest, at both the track and its Harmar facility, with cash prizes for winners. Registration begins at noon; Paddock tours and starting gate rides, courtesy the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association; A "losing ticket" raffle for restaurant and betting vouchers and the grand prize -- accommodations at the Cambria Hotel & Suites to enable the winner to enjoy The Meadows' simulcast of the Belmont, the third jewel of the Thoroughbred Triple Crown. A free concert on the apron at the conclusion of the live card. Featured band is No Bad JuJu.  THE MEADOWS DOUBLES SATURDAY PICK 4 GUARANTEE TO $15K The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has doubled — to $15,000 — the total-pool guarantee for its Saturday, May 5 Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While $7,500 Pick 4 guarantees are offered each card, The Meadows upped the ante when Wednesday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $4,997.86. In addition, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Day program features a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 5, $229,288 in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and a variety of fan-centered activities, including drink and beverage specials, live music and raffles. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 10-14) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. Special post time Saturday is 11:25 AM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship day, which this year focused on the harness racing two-year-olds, was held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this past Monday. A lot of times you'll hear people say that these freshmen horses are stars of the future. But considering these horses were racing for purses of $252,000 for each of the four finals, which culminate the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series, it's much more accurate to say that the 32 competitors in the four separate divisions were taking the track for what would likely be, for each, one of the most important races of its career. Monday's championships brought some of the finest two-year-old pacing and trotting talent in the country to Pocono in attempt to claim the title of best in the state. The races featured a little bit of everything, including dominant favorites, smart tactical driving, and a stunning long shot. Let's take a look at how the two-year-old Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships played out. TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTERS This shaped up to be the biggest mismatch of the afternoon, and that's exactly how it played. Manchego, trained by Jimmy Takter, came into Monday's final with five wins in five career races. The highlight of that stretch came in an easy win in the $330,800 Doherty at The Meadowlands. Leaving as the #1-9 favorite from the #5 hole in the field of eight in the championship, she made the lead as they rounded the first turn by clearing S M S Princess. From there she opened up an insurmountable lead with driver Yannick Gingras never having to lift a finger to ask her for more. Manchego strolled home a winner in an effortless 1:54:2, beating her closest foe Hey Blondie by 4¼ lengths and leaving no doubt about who is the class of the freshmen distaff trotters. TWO-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS PACERS Pedro Hanover went off as the even-money favorite in the final. The colt trained by Andrew Harris had won his previous two races with a late-kicking style, sitting back in the pack early only to uncork just as other horses were tiring. But the Pocono track was severely favoring horses who left early for the engine on Monday night. So driver Andrew McCarthy decided that Pedro Hanover, who left from post position #7, would follow suit. The colt took the lead away from Dorsoduro Hanover with a move around the first turn and dared everyone else to come and get him. Although the fractions seemed a little steep, Pedro Hanover looked no worse for wear in the lane, holding off fast-closing Hayden Hanover to win it by a length in 1:51, which matched his career-best time. TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACERS In their previous start, Rainbow Room had nipped Come See The Show by controlling matters on the front end. Rainbow Room enjoyed the inside post in that victory at Harrah's, but, in Monday's final, she was in the #7 post while Come See The Show was a spot to her inside. But driver David Miller didn't make any changes with Rainbow Room, sending her to the front as the 4-5 favorite. Sure enough, Come See The Show blasted at her on the back stretch, but Rainbow Room rebuffed the challenge. In the home stretch, the filly from the Joe Holloway barn held together, holding off long shot Scuola Hanover to win by a length-and-a-half in 1:52:2. That gave Rainbow Room four victories in a row and five in her six career starts to date. TWO-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS TROTTERS After three straight favorites won on the front end, it seemed like that was the order of the evening for the Pennsylvania championships. But that trend ended with a thud in the male trotting division when the 9-5 favorite Whats The Word broke stride at the start. Scirocco Rob set the pace instead, but started to wither under pressure applied by Toast Of Lindy. As Toast Of Lindy took over, Fashionwoodchopper, who had won his previous Sire Stakes race at 15-1 and went off at 38-1 on Monday from an outside post, was following stealthily behind. In the stretch, David Miller spun Fashionwoodchopper off the cover and rallied him for the victory by a length over closing Lawmaker in 1:57. The huge underdog was the second longest shot on the board. With that big upset, so ended the championships and the Sire Stakes portion of the 2017 schedule at Pocono. After that fantastic finish, we can't wait for it to get started all over again next season. 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. Jim Beviglia               As per the established contractual relationship between Downs Racing LP dba Mohegan Sun Pocono ("MSP") and any third party conducting business with MSP, the information contained in this message may be privileged, proprietary and/or confidential and protected from disclosure. Any information cannot be reproduced and/or shared with anyone outside of the intended recipient(s) without the expressed written consent by MSP. If the reader of this message and associated attachments is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copy of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer.

WILKES-BARRE PA – Three front-end harness racing favorites joined with a $78.20 closer to take the four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships on a Labor Day Monday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Here are recaps of each Championship and their divisional consolation event: 2YO PACING FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION Pacesetting Rainbow Room had archrival Come See The Show look her right in the eye nearing the ¾ pole of her $252,000 Championship, and the outside horse of the two brilliantly-bred fillies even got a short brief lead, but Rainbow Room shook off her uncovered opponent and went on to a 1½ length victory over pocketsitting Scuola Hanover, with Come See The Show falling back in the stretch. David Miller hustled the Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Blue daughter of Horses of the Year to the lead early, with Come See The Show tucking fourth. The latter filly moved uncovered past the 3/8 to challenge, and down the backstretch the, well, “Show” was on until late on the far turn, where Rainbow Room asserted herself. Asked if he thought his filly would have enough to hold off the bold challenger, Miller in response paused just a second (which you will do with a $550,000 yearling putting you under the gun), then said, “I knew I still had a lot of horse,” and he was proven correct. The winner is now five for six lifetime, including three PA Sire Stake legs and now the Championship, putting her earnings at $211,199 for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Val D’Or Farms, and Ted Gewertz. Alexa’s Power, a royally-bred daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the millionaire mare Michelle’s Power, looks like she could be a major factor in the later stakes action after lowering her mark to 1:53.4 in winning her $50,000 consolation for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Jim Campbell, and owner/breeder Jeffrey Snyder. Alexa’s Power started to bloom a bit late for the PaSS, as her two photo losses were not enough to get her into the Championship, but she now sports a lifetime record of 5-3-2-0 and gives every indication that she is coming into her prime now. 2YO TROTTING FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION “My main job was just to stay in the sulky behind her.” So (modestly) said driver Yannick Gingras after guiding the undefeated Muscle Hill-Secret Magic filly Manchego to her sixth straight victory, a win in her $252,000 Sire Stakes Championship that stopped the clock in 1:54.2, tying the stake record of Wild Honey, and lowering her own season’s record (set at Pocono) by 2/5 of a second. Gingras did not rush Manchego away, settling in third early, then moved her in front of the stands and went up to the lead easily despite some stretch headwind. The filly appeared to draw off at will the last 3/8, stepping home in 56.1 despite not having raced since her win in the Doherty Final 30 days before. Her margin at the wire was 4¼ lengths over Hey Blondie, who gapped second-over then found a higher gear late and was along by ¾ length for second over Tiffany’s Flash, first to the lead and saving ground thereafter. Manchego now has a bankroll of $335,898 after only a half-dozen starts for trainer Jimmy Takter and the ownership of Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. And that earnings pile only figures to grow larger, with the many season’s-end stakes looming just ahead. Since we gave Gingras the first word, we’ll let him have the last one – a scary ones for her competition: “She had two more gears left in her.” The Donato Hanover-Streak filly Follow Streak overcame a first-over journey to break her maiden in the $50,000 consolation, crossing the wire in 1:56.3 for driver Andy Miller, trainer Julie Miller, and the ownership of the Millers’ Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Lawrence Dumain. Four horses were involved in a duel the last half of the stretch, but Follow Streak proved most photogenic by a nose over Megadolce – who was a nose ahead of third-place favorite Bill’s Lady, who was a nose ahead of fourth-place Air Quotes Hanover. 2YO PACING COLT CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION Pedro Hanover, who had developed a reputation as a big closer in his five pari-mutuel starts, switched tactics in his $252,000 Championship, partially necessitated by his drawing post seven, grinded to the lead at the 3/8, opened up a bit on a turn, then was put under a drive to withstand a charging late group to win his final in 1:51, equaling his personal best. Driver Andrew McCarthy, who had broken his “PA Sire Stakes maiden” just the previous day with sophomore Caviart Ally, quickly graduated from “nw2” standings – but he knew he wasn’t likely to do it from his outer starting berth. “You can’t get away seventh in this field,” he said afterward. So he guided Pedro Hanover to gradually advance on the first turn, “and then, when the speed had slowed a little, I went for the top,” following that 26.2 opener with grabbing the lead 3/8 and going middle fractions of 55 and 1:22.4. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Paula’s Best opened up a bit turning into the stretch, but McCarthy kept the horse to urging, withstanding the closer Hayden Hanover by a length; Wes Hanover parlayed an inside trip to a third, just a neck behind Hayden Hanover. Andrew Harris, who has had charge of the horse for two months after he got his early lessons in Canada, is the trainer of Pedro Hanover, who now sports two PA Sire Stakes prelim wins and a Championship, a win in a division of the Nassagaweya, and earnings of $229,404 for owners Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero. In this group’s $50,000 consolation, Closing Statement made a big brush into a stretch headwind to control the pace before the half, opened a large lead down the back, and stayed clear through the lane in taking a new speed badge of 1:51.4. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Ideal Newton, a winner early in the Sires prelims but unable to follow up on that success, was victorious in this consolation for driver David Miller, trainer Joe Holloway, and the ownership of Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz. 2YO TROTTING COLT CHAMPIONSHIP & CONSOLATION This is “prime time” for Jules Siegel. The squire of Fashion Farms LLC is on the ballot for election to the Hall of Fame, with results to be announced within the month, and he is the owner of $78.20 PA Sire Stakes freshman trotting colt champion Fashionwoodchopper – and still feels the thrill of victory like a first-time owner, excited as a teenager in the winner’s circle. David Miller, driving his second PA Sire Stakes champion of the night, got away “disadvantageously” in seventh with the son of Muscle Hill-Impressive Kemp, “but it just worked out for us,” Miller said afterwards, as “we were able to go up second-over” behind Toast Of Lindy as that one speed-grinded uncovered to challenge the pacesetter Scirocco Rob, getting closer and closer from the 5/8 onwards. Fashionwoodchopper swung three-wide headstretch, but looked like he was going to lose his momentum as he lugged in a little early in the lane. But trainer Jim Campbell knew enough about his colt to equip him with a sliding gaiting pole to get him back straight, Mille used it, and after that the driver never had to lift a line as the colt won in 1:57.1 by a length over the unlucky Lawmaker, who had the lead, yielded it to Scirocco Rob, and then was shuffled some as the pacesetter tired; Lawmaker did win the photo for second over Toast Of Lindy, who put in an excellent grinding effort. Fashionwoodchopper had not raced since August 12 – but that was a Sire Stakes victory. Campbell had him ready, Miller gave him a great trip – and Siegel was the happiest man in Wilkes-Barre PA in his walk to the winners circle. Met’s Hall sat a pocket trip behind his “Orange Crush” stablemate Max’s Beast, then pulled out early stretch, went right on by, and won coasting in 1:56.1 in his $50,000 trotting colt consolation. The Cantab Hall-Met’s Inn colt is now three-for-five  careerwise, including a win in his only Sire Stakes start (he chose to take “the Haughton route,” then had a small vacation before this start), and he gave the Andy Miller Stable Inc. a consolation double, this winner in partnership with the increasingly-famous Stroy Inc. of New Jersey and Moscow. PHHA / Pocono

Some of harness racing best 3-year-old pacers and trotters on the globe competed in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Finals on Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, each going for a purse of $252,000.   In the male trotting final, John Butenschoen trainee Dover Dan (Tim Tetrick) erupted off cover in the final eighth of a mile to win under confident Tim Tetrick handling in 1:53.3. The son of Andover Hall sat patient as stable mate Giveitgasandgo (Corey Callahan) and Muscles Jared (Chris Lems) exchanged leads. Wagering favorite Sortie (Dave Miller) was put into play past the half, and pressed the leader beyond three-quarters. She broke in the stretch. After fractions of :27.2, :56, and 1:24.2, Winner Dover Dan reeled in the speed to go on to a decisive 3 length win. "I had never driven him before, but I've raced a lot against him and followed him," said Tetrick. "We got him in good position and he was rolling on the far turn - I don't think it mattered much when the last horse (Sortie, the last of three breakers which included the two favorites) broke. He was trotting good and strong, and the time (1:53.3) is a good one." "We repeated (having won the 2TC last year with Giveitgasandgo), but you can't say this wasn't the right one or that it was an upset, " Trainer John Butenschoen explained. "This colt had had a lot of bad luck, with post positions and trips and the like; it went his way today." Dover Dan is owned by Bill Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick.   Dover Dan     The female trotting division was also won by driver Tim Tetrick, this time behind Jimmy Takter trainee That's All Moni. The daughter of Cantab Hall-Mom's Millionaire worked out a perfect second-over trip behind race-favorite Fine Tuned Lady (Corey Callahan) to score in 1:53.3, just one-fifth of a second off the track record. Cool Cates finished second, while Fine Tuned Lady was third. "She was good early, then she was sick and had a subpar race", Trainer Jimmy Takter explained. "On Hambletonian Oaks elimination week, she had a temperature of 104 (she was scratched), and it took almost a week to get her back to normal. After the sickness, she needed the race last time, and today she showed that she was a good filly." That's All Moni is owned by Brittany Farms,Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld.   That's All Moni     It was upset time in the female pacing finals, as Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy) was unrelenting on the front end en-route to a 3 length victory in 1:50.2, just one-fifth of a second off of a track record. The big favorite Agent Q (Dave Miller) settled into a hole early, but came up empty as she edged to the outside with 5/8ths to go. "She's been good for the last few months now," said Driver Andy McCarthy. "She's been a little bit under the radar. But she was very strong today. It was first-time Lasix for her, as well. The challengers came, but she still stayed strong." It was McCarthy's first PASS win. Caviart Ally is by Bettor's Delight.   Caviart Ally       Another upset ensued in the male pacing finals as Boogie Shuffle (Scott Zeron) used the pocket-trip to win in a track record (3-year-old geldings) 1:48.2 performance. The time also equaled the fastest mile ever in PASS competition set by Wakizashi Hanover in 2015. The gelded son of Well Said-Ciela Hanover drafted behind the deliberate speed of Filibuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley) before taking aim at the 1/8th poll, finishing 1/2 of a length better. "He was a good 2YO, and he came back well early at three, but then he started to go bad miles - in the Hempt Final, I was getting a good trip, and then all of a sudden he was close to the judges list (for time)", explained Driver Scott Zeron. "When he had a few more races, (trainer) Mark (Harder) didn't know what to do. He got his vet to do a deep stomach scan, and they found he had deep ulcers in his stomach. Normally with ulcers a horse is sluggish and doesn't eat, but this horse was acting fine. He just didn't have any lick at the end of his miles with his problem. After they treated him, he's come back strong - and it's a good time, with the Jug coming up." Earlier in the day, probable race-favorite Fear The Dragon scratched sick, opening the door for chief rival Huntsville to take the lions share. After tucking, Huntsville attempted to grind first-over, but labored the final quarter of a mile to finish a well-beaten third. Boogie Shuffle is owned by Fox Hollow Farms.   Boogie Shuffle       There were also four consolation races, each going for a purse of $50,000. Q's Cruise was sent away from the gate strongly, reached the lead before the 26.2 opening pole, then put up middle splits of 55.4 and 1:23.2 en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Candell in 1:51 in the $50,000 PaSS consolation for three-year-old colt pacers. The Yankee Cruiser gelding was not quite ready for the big cats in the early Sires events, but a third in the last Sires prelim two weeks ago showed him to be a force to be reckoned with as he won here for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer/owner Jim King Jr. (the same driver/trainer team who had won this same division in the Stallion Series Championships yesterday at The Meadows with Donttellmeagain). Leet Hanover made a second move to command early in the backstretch in the $50,000 sophomore trotting fillies consolation in the PaSS, then held off a late cavalry charge to by a half-length in a new mark of 1:55.1. Hot Mess Hanover came from last to be second, photoing out another late charger, Crann Tara. The victorious Cantab Hall filly now has two-thirds of her lifetime victories in her last two outings for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, whose Ake Svanstedt Inc. is co-owner with Little E LLC and Mal&Janet Burroughs. The Bettor's Delight filly Bettor's Up quarter-moved from third, then sprinted home in 55 to finish off a 1:52.1 victory in the three-year-old pacing fillies PaSS competition, three lengths to the good of Way Bettor. There or thereabouts in many of the Grand Circuit stakes but winless since taking the Fan Hanover final at Mohawk in mid-June, Bettor's Up recaptured her winning ways here while raising her bankroll to $467,966 for driver Brett Miller, trainer Scott Mceneny, and owners Bradley Grant, Teresa Davidson, and Michelle Mceneny. Shake It Off Lindy yielded to favored Two AM off the first turn and enjoyed the pocket trip behind him, then moved to the inside under driver Scott Zeron's direction and ran down the leader in a 56.1 back half to win the sophomore colt trot PaSS consolation event in 1:54.1. The victorious son of Crazed took a new mark with the ¾-length victory and raised his bankroll to $151,542 for trainer Frank Antonacci and K R Breeding LLC, whose colt has now won two in a row.  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The best and brightest of the Pennsylvania-sired harness racing two-year-olds will be on full display at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this coming Monday, Labor Day, contesting their four respective $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships. (There will also be a $50,000 consolation event, for the horses whose competition pointlevels fell just outside the top bracket, in each of the four divisions on Monday, which will usher in The Downs' fall Monday post time of 4:30 p.m.) Last year the freshman Championships were held at Harrah's Philadelphia, where no favorite won, but Pocono-based trainer John Butenschoen captured both of the trotting events with horses driven for him by Corey Callahan. That pairing again figures prominently in Monday's action. Here's a short preview of each division, followed by the fields (post, horse, driver, trainer, morning line odds): $252,000 2YO TROTTING FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP (race 9; consolation in race 3), stakes record 1:54.2, Wild Honey, 2013 The leadoff Championship is the one most likely to break that "0-fer" from the chalk in 2016, as it features the Muscle Hill-Secret Magic filly Manchego as the 8-5 favorite. The Jimmy Takter-trained miss, owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, is undefeated in five purse starts, one of which was in a Sire Stakes event here on July 18, and the richest of which was the $330,800 Doherty Memorial Final on August 5 at The Meadowlands, where she took her mark of 1:52.4. Manchego, starting from post five for driver Yannick Gingras, does have one obvious obstacle - she hasn't started in 30 days, since the triumph in the Doherty Final. Seviyorum, a Donato Hanover filly, has won two of her last three starts, all in Sire Stakes company, and from post two looks to have the best chance of an upset for driver Andy Miller. PP1, S M S Princess by Cantab Hall, Ãke Svanstedt, Ãke Svanstedt, 6-1 PP2, Seviyorum by Donato Hanover, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 7-2 PP3, Hey Blondie by Cantab Hall, Andrew McCarthy, Chuck Sylvester, 12-1 PP4, Strawberry Hanover by Donato Hanover, Marcus Miller, Julie Miller, 9-2 PP5, Manchego by Muscle Hill, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-5 PP6, Live Laugh Love by Donato Hanover, David Miller, Nifty Norman, 10-1 PP7, Tiffany's Flash by Cantab Hall, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-1 PP8, Front Circle by Muscle Hill, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 15-1 $252,000 2YO PACING COLT CHAMPIONSHIP (race 10, consolation in race 2), stakes record 1:50.2, One More Laugh, 2009 Done Well, the early leader in this section with three Sires victories, has gone to the sidelines for the year, leaving a wide-open event in his wake. Very impressive as of late has been Pedro Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Paula's Best) named as the slight 3-1 favorite despite post seven for "Team Andrew" - trainer Andrew Harris and driver Andrew McCarthy. This late-closing specialist won two Sire Stakes prelims and also was victorious in a division of the Nassagaweya Stake at Mohawk in his last outing for his ownership of Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero. Other than the favorite, no entrant was triumphant in more than one Sire Stakes event. A youngster who is very familiar with winning, however, and the "underdog story" of the contest, is the Well Said gelding Venier Hanover, who has ten victories, second-most in North America for a freshman. Eight of them have come on the PA fair circuit, where he has set five track records under the guidance of Dave Brickell; he also was third in his last p/m Sires start after having the lead in the stretch. PP1, Venier Hanover by Well Said, Dave Brickell, Dave Brickell, 12-1 PP2, Hayden Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 8-1 PP3, This Is The Plan by Somebeachsomewhere, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder, 5-1 PP4, Wes Delight by Bettor's Delight, Yannick Gingras, Mark Harder, 4-1 PP5, Karpathian Kid by Somebeachsomewhere, David Miller, Erv Miller, 7-2 PP6, Dorsoduro Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-2 PP7, Pedro Hanover by Somebeachsomewhere, Andrew McCarthy, Andrew Harris, 3-1 PP8, Kwik Talkin by Well Said, Scott Zeron, Rob Harmon, 10-1 $252,000 PACING FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP (race 11, consolation in race 4), stakes record 1:51, Pure Country, 2015 This race on paper is the "highlight" of the freshman Sire Stakes Championships, pitting as it does two Somebeachsomewhere fillies out of top-of-the-line mares: Come See The Show, whose dam is champion millionaire Put On A Show, and Rainbow Room, a daughter of former Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue. These two fillies are so sharp and so well-matched now that in their last start, on August 24 at Philly, they both went off at odds-on - both were 90 cents to the dollar to win! In that event, Rainbow Room brushed around Come See The Show in the second quarter and went on to win by a neck in 1:51.2. For the Championship, Come See The Show, to be driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Joanne and Richard Young, drew post six to Rainbow Room's post seven and was made the slight 5-2 favorite; Rainbow Room was held at 3-1 for driver David Miller, trainer Joe Holloway, and Crawford Farms Racing, Val D'Or Farms, and Ted Gewertz. PP1, Cuts Like A Knife by A Rocknroll Dance, Brett Miller, Bruce Saunders, 9-2 PP2, Majorsspeciallady by Somebeachsomewhere, Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke, 12-1 PP3, Double A Mint by Bettor's Delight, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1 PP4, Strong Opinion by Well Said, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1 PP5, Scuola Hanover by A Rocknroll Dance, Andy Miller, Andrew Stafford, 10-1 PP6, Come See The Show by Somebeachsomewhere, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 5-2 PP7, Rainbow Room by Somebeachsomewhere, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 3-1 PP8, Bye Hanover by Well Said, Scott Zeron, Brian Brown, 15-1 $252,000 TROTTING COLT CHAMPIONSHIP (race 12, consolation race 3), stake record 1:54.3, Stormin Normand, 2011 Giveitgasandgo joined stablemate filly Fine Tuned Lady to give trainer John Butenschoen and driver Corey Callahan both 2016 Sires freshman crowns on the diagonal gait (and both are in their 3YO PaSS Championships on Sunday at Harrah's Philly). Butenschoen and Callahan here look to "double up" with the Explosive Matter-Fun At Parties gelding Scirocco Rob, given the morning line nod as 3-1 favorite from the rail. Owned by Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Kathleen Whitaker, Scirocco Rob took his last two starts in Sires competition, and in his last race he overcame a tough trip to be second in a Tioga stake. Three other horses besides Scirocco Rob were victorious in their Sires prelims - Crystal Fashion, Lawmaker, and Toast Of Lindy - and the morning line holds all of them in high regard. PP1, Scirocco Rob by Explosive Matter, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 3-1 PP2, Maxus by Muscle Hill, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 4-1 PP3, Toast Of Lindy by Cantab Hall, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 5-1 PP4, Final Dream by Cantab Hall, Ãke Svanstedt, Ãke Svanstedt, 12-1 PP5, Whats The Word by Donato Hanover, Brett Miller, Janice Connor, 8-1 PP6, Crystal Fashion by Cantab Hall, Tim Tetrick, Jin Campbell, 9-2 PP7, Lawmaker by Muscle Massive, Anthony MacDonald, Andrew Harris, 7-2 PP8, Fashionwoodchopper by Donato Hanover, David Miller, Jim Campbell, 12-1 PHHA / Pocono    

Brian Brown's stable is home to three of the top 10 horses in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, which is a feat the harness racing trainer never considered likely. "It's not something you ever think is going to happen, that you're going to have that many in a year," Brown said. "It's something I've never experienced, so I don't really know how to take it. But it's a good thing to have." Brown's top-rated star, No.1-ranked Fear The Dragon, headlines the lineup for Sunday's four $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships for 3-year-old pacers and trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. Fear The Dragon has won 10 of 12 races this year and earned $1.03 million. He finished second in both his losses. The colt, owned by Emerald Highlands Farm, enters the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old male pacers off a win Aug. 18 at The Meadows in the final of four preliminary rounds of the series. He competed in all four rounds, winning each of his divisions. In addition, Fear The Dragon's wins this season include the North America Cup, Hempt Memorial, and Adios. He finished second to stablemate Downbytheseaside (ranked No. 4 in the Top 10 and the 9-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Messenger Stakes at Yonkers) in the Milstein Memorial. Four of Fear The Dragon's victories have come in races with Huntsville, last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion and the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. The Ray Schnittker-trained Huntsville, who this year has won seven of 11 races and finished worse than second only once, is ranked third in the Top 10. "I'm surprised (Fear The Dragon) has beaten them as much as he has, but this horse was a nice horse last year," Brown said about his colt, who won five of 11 races last season and hit the board a total of 10 times. "He got an eye infection (in late September) and he wasn't as good down in Lexington. It was his last races, so we quit at the right time." Fear The Dragon and regular driver David Miller will start the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship from post seven in the eight-horse field. Huntsville and regular driver Tim Tetrick will leave from post six. Fear The Dragon is the 8-5 favorite on the morning line; Huntsville is 2-1. "I'd like to have had a better draw, but it is what it is," said Brown, who saw Fear The Dragon finish third in last year's championship. "We may not get a pretty good trip here; it depends on what Huntsville does. It will be David and Dragon's job to figure that out. That's worked out OK so far." Huntsville is one of the four returning champions who will be in action Sunday, along with male trotter Giveitgasandgo, female trotter Fine Tuned Lady, and female pacer Agent Q. Agent Q, trained by Aaron Lambert and driven by Miller, brings a five-race win streak to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old filly pacers. She has won seven of 10 races this year, finished worse than second only once, and is ranked No. 9 in the sport's Top 10. Her victories include the Lynch Memorial and Mistletoe Shalee and she was undefeated in three preliminary rounds of the sire stakes series. She is the 8-5 favorite in her division, with Idyllic Beach second choice at 9-5. Fine Tuned Lady and Giveitgasandgo both come from the stable of trainer John Butenschoen. Corey Callahan will drive both horses as they attempt to defend their titles. Fine Tuned Lady is the 5-2 favorite in her final while Giveitgasandgo is the 3-1 second choice behind Muscles Jared at 5-2. First race post time is 12:40 p.m., with the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships carded as races 9-12. For the Sunday's complete entries at Harrah's Philadelphia, click here. The four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships for 2-year-old pacers and trotters are Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Ken Weingartner

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 26, 2017 -- Agent Q extended her winning streak and Idyllic Beach snapped her losing streak, as two of the harness racing glamor girls in the 3-year-old filly pacers division each won a Pennsylvania Sire Stake split in Saturday's $142,404 Romola Hanover at The Meadows. Agent Q entered the Romola Hanover off four straight wins, including the Mistletoe Shalee and a sweep of her Lynch elimination and the final. Her rivals weren't beating the daughter of Western Terror-Teenage Paige, but would post 9 do her in Saturday? It turned out to be no problem as she dropped in fourth for David Miller, moved to the lead first over down the backside and held off Caviart Ally by 1/2 length in 1:51.1. Early leader Way Bettor earned show. Agent Q, who has missed the ticket only once in 20 career outings, extended her lifetime bankroll to $889,530 for Martin Scharf, Rochetti Cassar Racing and Robert Muscara. "You never like to draw 9, but we still thought we had a good shot," said winning trainer Aaron Lambert. "She's right on her game now. She's been good for a long time. Hopefully she can stay that way." Agent Q The Dan Patch Award winner at 2, Idyllic Beach hadn't been performing badly, yet she had managed to lose six straight races, albeit to top competition. Adding Lasix for the Romola Hanover, she stalked Bettor's Up from the pocket, then blew by in the lane to score by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:51.3. A pair of long shots -- Risky Romance and Terrortina -- completed the ticket. "Bleeding definitely didn't help her, although I'm not sure it was the only thing," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "It's a tough group of fillies -- that's probably part of the reason, too. She raced really good today, and hopefully she moves forward from here." Jimmy Takter conditions Idyllic Beach, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Idyllic who vaulted over $800,000 in career earnings, for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brixton Medical Inc. and Marvin Katz. Idyllic Beach The PASS championships for 3-year-olds are set for Sept. 3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. $60,000 PA Stallion Series, 3-Year-Old Filly Pacers Freakonomics starred in Saturday's co-feature when she triumphed in 1:51.1, matching Dismissal's stake record. Miss Jones and Ella Christina took the other splits, with Tim Tetrick enjoying a stake double behind Freakonomics and Ella Christina. Freakonomics dueled for the early lead in a demanding 26.4, but she drew off to down Perplexed by 4-1/2 lengths. Someomensomewhere completed the ticket. "I got an okay second-quarter breather," Tetrick said. "From there on, it was her race to win or lose, and she responded well. She locked up on a line in the Adioo Volo here; today, she was straight as a string." Ross Croghan trains the daughter of Western Terror-Mind Boggling, who pushed her career bankroll to $120,298, for Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham. Ella Christina pulled off a 56-1 shocker in the Adioo Volo, and she showed her fondness for The Meadows again when she swung wide through the stretch and prevailed in 1:53.1 for trainer Nick Surick and owners Nick Surick Stable, J.L. Benson Stables, William Daggett, Jr. and Lawrence Vukovic. Beach Club shot the Lightning Lane for second, 3/4 lengths back, with the first-up Traceuse Hanover third. "I was in a pretty good spot at the quarter, but by the five-eighths, I was in a bad spot again," Tetrick said. "I got to slide out, come around, and she got it done." Miss Jones, who was highly regarded by trainer Joe Holloway and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Val D'Or Farms and Ted Gewertz, missed nearly two months when veterinarians discovered a problem with the middle joint of her right hind hock. "We sent her to the University of Pennsylvania for a bone scan, and they picked it up," Holloway said. "She was still a little bit off today but not horribly gaited. Maybe we can salvage a little bit of the year." In her comeback race Saturday, the daughter of Bettor's Delight-Dreams Are Great edged the pocket-sitting Bridge To Tomorrow by a nose to lift her career bankroll to $110,453. Emily R Hanover was third. The Meadows will host all eight stallion series championships, each with a purse of $40,000, on Saturday, Sept. 2. Elsewhere on the card, Mr Wiggle Pants was a powerful 4-3/4-length victor in 1:50.2 for Aaron Merriman in the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace. The 4-year-old son of Mr Wiggles-Shani Pants now has earned $353,156 for trainer Scott McEneny and owner Bradley Grant. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

There were three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races for harness racing 2-year-old filly pacers contested at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon (Aug.24), each going for a purse of just over $52,000.   In the first division, it was Ron Burke trainee Double A Mint (Yannick Gingras) completing a long-uncovered grind for the win. The daughter of Bettor's Delight-Double Creme was put into play just after the half, moving up to challenge leader Scuola Hanover (Dave Miller) with 3/8ths to go. It was a thrilling finish, with Double A Mint ($6.20) getting up in time over longshot pocket-sitter Yankee Will Dance (Brett Miller), while Apple Hanover (Tim Tetrick) finished third. The final time was 1:53.2. It was her third career win in five starts. The freshman filly is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Dandy Farms, and Silva, Purnel & Libby.   In division two, trainer Ron Burke did it again with Strong Opinion (Matt Kakaley). The daughter of Well Said-Rough Sketch got to the top before yielding to eventual second place finisher Alexa's Power (Scott Zeron). After patiently drafting, Strong Opinion took aim at the leader at the 1/8th poll, winning a thrilling stretch drive in 1:53.3. Sarpa Hanover (Andy McCarthy) finished third. Strong Opinion ($3.60) is owned by Burke Racing, Jack Piatt II, Silva, Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi.   The third and final division was the fastest of the afternoon, as the highly touted Rainbow Room (Dave Miller) had to dig in late to win. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Blue brushed powerfully shy of the half, and held off 4-5 co-favorite Come See The Show (Tim Tetrick) by a nose to win in 1:51.2. Majorsspeciallady (Matt Kakaley) finished third. It was the fourth career win in five starts for the talented filly, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Val D'Or Farms, and Ted Gewertz. She is trained by Joe Holloway.   Michael Bozich  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 23, 2017 -- Two AM won for the fifth time in seven 2017 starts when he captured a division of Wednesday's $141,428 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. Shake It Off Lindy took the other split in the harness racing event for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters known as the Hickory Smoke. Two AM began the year conservatively for trainer Todd Buter and owners Lynette Buter, Gene Oldford Farms, William Fuhs and Carol Fuhs, winning a PA Stallion Series split at The Meadows. Since then, he's faced increasingly tougher competition, sprinting away from a talented field in a Townsend Ackerman division at the Meadowlands. In the Hickory Smoke, he powered to the lead past the quarter for Tyler Buter and easily held off the pocket-sitting Muscles Jared by 2 lengths in 1:53.3. Sortie recovered from an early break to earn show. "He's one of the most willing trotters I've ever driven," Tyler Buter said of Two AM, a Muscle Massive-Slightly Tipsy gelding who extended his lifetime bankroll to $155,293. "You just show him the direction, he goes. He's not staked too heavy, but I'm sure Dad (Todd Buter) will pay him in to whatever he thinks he needs to." Shake It Off Lindy hadn't won in seven tries this year, but he stubbornly insisted on the early lead for Scott Zeron before yielding to the pocket and poured through the Lightning Lane, prevailing in 1:55 to vault over $100,000 in career earnings. Andy M split horses for second, 2-1/4 lengths back, with 34-1 long shot Gustavo Fring third. " It was nice to finally get him a win today," Zeron said. "I'd never sat behind him before, but they told me he's quick off the gate. He timed into it very nicely and got out of there great. The favorite came at me, we let him go, and he took us the distance." Frank Antonacci trains Shake It Off Lindy, a son of Crazed-Nashville Lindy, for owner/breeder KR Breeding LLC. $60,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Much like Shake It Off Lindy, Wiagram Hanover was without a win in eight starts this season. But he followed cover willingly in Wednesday's co-feature and got that elusive victory -- at 15-1. Soho Hanover and Perseverance captured the other splits. Trainer/driver Mike Simons, who owns Wiagram Hanover with Christopher Giaccio and Albert Abdalla III, said he purchased the Andover Hall-Wishful Me gelding for $12,000 as a yearling, knowing his returns might be down the road. "He's had physical problems, and he's also still immature upstairs," Simons said. "When I bought him, I had long-term plans. His family gets better with age. He has a few stakes left this year, but he'll fill out and make a nice horse." Wiagram Hanover defeated Media Buzz by 3/4 lengths, with the first-over DD's Comet third. Soho Hanover, who had demonstrated an apparent preference for the front end, gave the Buters -- father and son -- a second stake victory when he brushed late to triumph in 1:57.1, 3/4 lengths better than the front-ending Lars Perry. Frankie Mullins completed the ticket. "We've had to put him on the front because he's kind of hard headed," Tyler Buter said of Jarold Hawks' Soho Hanover, a Cantab Hall-Star Hanover gelding. "I've been wanting to get him a trip, and it worked out today. He responded well to that." Soho Hanover's 2-year-old half sister, Strawberry Hanover, won a PASS split Tuesday at The Meadows. Perseverance showed that he's appropriately named as he cut the fractions and held off Monteverdi by a head in 1:55.3 for Dave Palone. Scirocco Imsosmart finished third. "He was good his last race, when he was used a couple times," Palone said. "I thought I could control the race, get my own numbers, and that's exactly what happened. It was a good mile, as windy as it is." Jenny Melander trains the Cantab Hall-Caviar Forthe Lady gelding for Noonan Harness Racing and Melander Racing Inc. Mike Wilder piloted three winners on the 14-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features a pair of stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers: a $143,414 PA Sires Stake known as the Romola Hanover and an $80,000 stallion series event. Special post time Saturday is 11:25 AM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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