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Trainer Rene Allard scored a pair of wins with the two trotters he brought to Saratoga Casino Hotel on Wednesday afternoon. Volare (Conway Hall) cruised to a wire-to-wire victory score as the fastest of the winners of three co-features for New York sired trotters on the chilly afternoon at the Spa. Allard brought Volare to town as the trotter looked to shake what had been some second and third-itis over the past couple of months. Leading driver Billy Dobson wasted little time moving the race's favorite out to the early lead and once the four year old got there, he had no trouble coasting to victory in 1:57.3. Volare's win came in one of the three $11,000 co-features and was the fastest among them on the matinee card. Allard's other victory came with Haveitalltogether (Cantab Hall) who toughed it out first over in a $9,000 event for young trotters. Volare was the by far the fastest of the three winners of the Wednesday co-features but John Stark Jr's Miss Muscle (Muscle Mass) and Notmeitsyou (Chapter Seven) also secured victories in the $11,000 trio of features on the matinee card. Miss Muscle went coast-to-coast for Stark as the three year old filly continued her solid sophomore campaign with what was her fourth victory of the '18 season. Miss Muscle stopped the timer in 2:00.1 as her race's 2-1 favorite. The third co-feature went the way of Notmeitsyou who lived up to the hype as a 1-5 betting favorite on Wednesday as the three year old drew away late to prevail in 1:58. It was the second win for Notmeitsyou in as many weeks in the $11,000 co-feature as the sophomore continues what has been a terrific run since coming to Saratoga in September for trainer-driver Phil Fluet. Live racing resumes on Friday evening with first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Saturday was closing night for the 2018 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with ceremonies honoring some of the top horses and horsemen of the meet sharing the spotlight with the C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series Eastern Regional Final #2. The Billings purse was $12,000, but you'd have thought they were going for a hundred times that as they were three-deep to a 27.4 quarter. Past that station, Winwood Scout, the favorite, kept On The Podium out in the 38-degree air, and the middle fractions of 57.2 and 1:27.2 were very demanding. With the best seat in the house behind the battle up front was driver David Offenberg and the Cantab Hall gelding Fiji, and when the outside horse melted back on the far turn, Fiji was ready to spring. Offenberg moved his horse outside at headstretch, but Winwood Scout was favored for good reason, and it took until the very last steps before "Dave The Rave" could nudge Fiji past the gallant Winwood Scout and driver Bob Davis, winning by the smallest possible margin in 1:57.1. For being named after a tropical island (which was the homeland of the famous Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka), Fiji is certainly a good cold weather performer - he also accounted for a Billings event in November of last year. The winner of $164,637 is trained by Eric Abbatiello for the Allister Stables LLC of Offenberg, and he may add to that total this year, as by virtue of winning this Billings Regional Final Championship, Offenberg has qualified for the $25,000 Billings Gold Cup at Yonkers on Sunday the 25th - and he may well take along the sharp and proven "winter warrior" Fiji. (Offenberg also looks like a "winter warrior" - he won the NAADA Final in December 2015 and the Silver Cup in November of that year, and he was second in the GSY Fall Final on Friday.) The equine honoree of the evening was Pocono Trotter of the Year Homicide Hunter, who locally won the Breeders Crown and set a world record for 1¼ miles in a year where he also became The World's Fastest Trotter with his 1:48.4 mile at Lexington. Chris Oakes, the horse's trainer and himself the winningest trainer of the year here three times, was on hand, and also took part in the ceremony honoring his 20YO son Hunter Oakes, who took the award for top UTR with a sparkling rating of .556. Rene Allard won his second straight training victory title and fifth in the last six years, finishing with 133 visits to Victory Lane, including on closing night. Allard's "handful" of training title ties him for the all-time lead at Pocono with a horseman whom some may have forgotten once had an active stable - George Napolitano Jr. (2001 and 2003-2006). "George Nap" of course also had his turn in the spotlight, winning the crowns for driving victories (366) and UDR (.374). George has now been the top driving dashwinner at Pocono twelve times, including the last seven consecutive seasons, and he won the last race of the year with Feeling Cam Lucky to finish with the second-most victories at Pocono in a year, behind only his own record of 407 in 2015. George's tenth UDR title at the mountain oval was his fifth in a row. One trophy not given was "Most Driving Wins with $50+ Longshots" - if they did, Jim Taggart Jr. solidified his hold on this honor, guiding home Roll Away Joe to a $51.20 victory for his seventh of the meet, two ahead of Tom Jackson and Anthony Napolitano. FINISHING LINES - It may have been Closing Night, but it appears that not too many stables will be shutting down for the year - there was $163,750 in claiming action on the last card of the meet, with nine horses changing hands. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Onlyest One, a Bettor's Delight gelding racing for the first time for the meet's leading trainer Rene Allard after a claim, overcame a first-over journey to post a 1:52.3 victory in the $18,000 claiming handicap harness racing pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where the mercury was one degree above freezing for the evening's headliners. Now a 13-time winner in 2018 with earnings of $101,450 this year and $347,240 lifetime, The Onlyest One withstood Roll Away Joe by a length for driver Simon Allard while making a successful debut for Allard Racing Inc. Music Is Art may not have been the straightest pacer in the stretch drive of the $17,500 co-featured pace, but he was the fastest under the guidance of Anthony Napolitano to reach the wire first in 1:51.2. The son of Art Major was positioned second-over, swung wide entering the stretch - and kept going wider the closer he got to the line, winding up about 4 ½-wide at the wire but with a half-length lead over pacesetting I'm A Big Deal, a sophomore last seen in his Breeders Crown Final here. Music Is Art, trained by Mark Ford for owner Rick Berks, pushed his earnings to $91,863 this season and $196,790 lifetime. Ford, the Allard brothers, and George Napolitano Jr. each had a triple Saturday. Two horses were honored Saturday in the Hanover Shoe Farms winners circle at Pocono for seasonal accomplishments at the mountain oval. First to be spotlighted was another success story for the brothers Allard, Mare of the Year Eclipse Me N, who won half of her twelve 2018 starts at Pocono at the highest level of the conditioned ranks, including a Tuesday, August 28 victory - right back in two days after she had competed at the top level at Pocono on Sunday. For the year overall, Eclipse Me N, who raced in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers in the winter, has nine wins and $93,210; she took her mark of 1:50.1 on May 15 at Pocono for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Don Mac Lean, who imported her from New Zealand in May 2017. While the American Ideal gelding Ideal Kiss raced honorably at Pocono from May to November, his selection as Claimer of the Year was hugely based on his stint under the tutelage of Hunter Oakes, after Northfork Racing Stable claimed him for $30,000 on August 11. For Northfork/Oakes and driver George Napolitano Jr., still guiding the horse's fortunes, Ideal Kiss paced to a scorecard of 9-5-1-1 for earnings of $59,020 and a lifetime mark of 1:49.3 earned on September 1 - take that, you who say "Just a claimer" with a sneer. Ideal Kiss has raced this year to a total of 10 wins and $118,030 in earnings; his lifetime accumulation is $202,730. Tomorrow night Pocono Pacer of the Year Dorsoduro Hanover will be feted; on 2018 closing night next Saturday, Trotter of the Year Homicide Hunter will be honored -- quite a pair closing out the season at The Downs. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Charmed Life boosted her lifetime earnings to $1,445,137 in winning the $17,500 featured harness racing trot at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:53.2 on Sunday night, and she did it in an unusual fashion for the mountain oval - she picked up the entire field from last. Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for brother/Pocono top trainer Rene, had drawn the outside post seven after a scratch, and was in no hurry with the veteran daughter of Majestic Son until down the backstretch, when he made a power three-wide move around stalled cover. Charmed Life had drawn within a length of the battling front duo, leader Crosbys Clam Bake and uncovered Silvermass Volo, by the top of the stretch, and she have enough kick in reserve to drew clear by 1¾ lengths over Crosbys Clam Bake, with Silvermass Volo another length back in third behind the winner, who is owned by Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. There was a trio of $17,000 co-features on the Sunday card, and Pocono's top driver George Napolitano Jr. won both of the paces among the six victorious horses he guided on the evening. Mink Pink, sitting third on the rail entering the final turn, found a hole and Napolitano swung her wide in the distaff pace, with the American Ideal filly charging home swiftly to win by ¾ of a length in 1:52.1 for trainer Chris Oakes and Crawford Farms Racing. Napolitano, who has a frontracing style that usually works effectively at Pocono, also took the division for males from off the pace, and about as far off the pace as you can - last at the half after starting from the rail. But the Bettor's Delight gelding Bellows Binge had the necessary late step to catch 25-1 pacesetter Uffizi by a neck while stopping the timer in 1:52.3 for trainer Dirk Simpson and the ownership of Peter Karras and the Dirk Simpson Stable Inc. Lest anybody thinks that the Pocono oval had been totally converted from the speedfavoring track it had been on the Saturdays of Breeders Crown competition, a frontrunner did win the co-featured trot, which also fell to trainer Chris Oakes, but a different driving Napolitano - Anthony, who put a new mark of 1:53.1 on the Chapter Seven filly Eunice. "ANap" and Eunice controlled the pace and the sophomore won by almost seven lengths, her third straight triumph for Crawford Farms Racing (another feature doubler), Northfork Racing Stable, and the T L P Stable. And if anybody is trying to read the political tea leaves before the next Pocono card on Election Day Tuesday evening (the track is dark on Monday in November), we note the victory of Make America Great, a son of So Surreal, who took a maiden event. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 5, 2018- A first-up Keystone Wanda (Jim Marohn Jr., $12.20) held sway Friday night (Oct. 5th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Showing no inclination to leave at all from assigned post position No. 2, Keystone Wanda in fact left a chasmic hole for Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) to plotz in front of her. They, and everyone else, saw pole-assigned, 6-5 choice Frost Damage Blues (Jordan Stratton) lead through early intervals of :27.2 and :56.2. The seemed comfy when Keystone Wanda moved from third, engaging the leader in and out of a 1:24.2 three-quarters. Despite that bring just a 28-second third substation, the leader was in trouble. It was Keystone Wanda-in her 200th career start-going by early in the lane as Agent Q (Eric Goodell) was doing her third from third-over. The former whipped the latter by a diminishing head in 1:53. Lispatty, stuck behind a stopping leader, did get third, with a second-over Magic Forces (George Brennan) and Medusa (Joe Bongiorno) settling for the minors. Frost Damage Blues backpedaled to last among the octet. For Keystone Wanda, a third-choice, 8-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere owned (and Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, it was her seventh win in 29 seasonal starts The exacta paid $37, the triple returned $309 and the superfecta paid $1,387. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N continued to show that she has the winning knack as she was victorious in the $17,500 mares pacing harness racing feature on Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother Rene, worked out a fine second-over trip with Eclipse Me N, coming her own last half in 54.4 to be a length clear of pocketsitter Monica Gallagher at the end of the 1:51 journey. A winner of four of her last seven starts and an eight-time winner in 2018 for owners Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae, Eclipse Me N now has earnings of $84,460 for the season and $167,619 lifetime. George Napolitano Jr. guided home six winners on the Tuesday card at Pocono, giving him 18 for the four-day racing week here (4 1/2 a night average). Combining his Pocono wins with a five-bagger at Philly Friday and a triple there Sunday, Napolitano had 26 victories over a five-day period, which now puts him ahead of Dan Noble for third place in North America behind Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr. His sixth winner on Tuesday, Critical Mass in the last race, was a pari-mutuel shocker, returning $50.00 for a $2 ticket; earlier George had guided Colorful Jamie to a $25.80 tally. If a fan had bet $2 to win on each  of "George Nap"'s fourteen Tuesday drives, the fan would have received a $90.00 return -- a profit of 221%. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Stars Align A was able to steal off to a big lead by going in 26.4 down the backstretch in the $21,500 pacing feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, then held together to fend off the late-charging Music Is Art to win by ¾ of a length in a personal best 1:50.4 The victorious son of Art Major took advantage of post two in the field of seven and went to the front, where he was joined by his fellow 8-5 shot Bettor's Edge nearing the 26.3 quarter. Bettor's Edge went on to work up to command in front of the stands, but he took the second turn badly and slowed drastically, forcing the entire field around him just past the 55.4 half. Driver Simon Allard got Stars Align A in high gear quickly past the trouble and to the lead, then tried to put as much distance as possible between his horse and the field, and had an advantage of four lengths at the 1:22.3 3/4s. That lead shrunk on the far turn and through the stretch, with Music Is Art leading the charge, but Stars Align A had enough left to raise his U.S. win percentage to 50% after a pair of starts after going 15-for-29 (52%) before his recent importation. Simon's brother Rene conditions the winner of $152,313 for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, Bruce Soulsby, and Alan Weisenberg. Rene Allard is Pocono's leading trainer; his driving counterpart, George Napolitano Jr., continued his incredible form on Saturday nights with eight victories on the card, including one with the American Ideal gelding Ideal Kiss in 1:50 to take the $20,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature. "George Nap" pointed Ideal Kiss towards the top, as he has in all of his four starts for trainer Hunter Oakes and the Northfork Racing Stable, and the pacer again showed "1"s all the way across his charted line, winning by 2¾ lengths. Since being claimed by Oakes/Northfolk on August 11, Ideal Kiss has earned $40,000 by winning the high-level Pocono claim four starts in a row. He now has overall yearly earnings of $90,930, garnered mostly in his nine seasonal victories, and a $175,630 career bankroll. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

Batavia, NY --- There is a lot at stake for all the entrants of the $117,600 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 5) as this is the last race for that group before the $225,000 final at Yonkers on Saturday (Sept. 22). But the one division all eyes will be on features a heavyweight match between Springsteen and Hitman Hill who both need to win for the opportunity to make that final. Currently Springsteen is 10th in points with 100 while Hitman Hill is sitting behind him in 12th with 75. The majority of the horses currently in position to make the final are also competing on Wednesday so it all depends on how well everyone does. There are three $39,200 divisions of the NYSS carded as race one, five and six. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m. Springsteen (Rock N Roll Heaven-American Charm) has had a huge year. He won the $500,000 Hempt at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a lifetime best 1:48.3 in June along with two NYSS divisions this year. But he failed to make the $400,000 Adios final and more recently finished seventh in the $400,000 Milstein. And this past Saturday (Sept, 2) he had a rough outing finishing last in the $500,000 Messenger Stake at Yonkers. He currently sits eighth in North America among all 3-year-olds for earnings with $341,175 and has the sixth fastest win time for that same group of 1:48.3 Louis Roy has been tabbed by trainer Rene Allard to drive Springsteen and they are the morning line choice at 8-5 from post three. Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) has had a full dance card this year as well and has put in stellar efforts in each one of his outings. He finished third in the Hempt (behind Springsteen), third in the Adios final and fourth in the $272,025 Empire Breeders Classic. He finished one-two in his pair of NYSS events and returns to Batavia Downs as the reigning track record holder for 2-year-old pacing geldings with a mark of 1:52.4 taken here in 2017. For the year, Hitman Hill has three wins and $200,387 in earnings with a seasonal and lifetime best mark of 1:49.3. Akron, New York native Chris Oakes trains Hitman Hill and has Brett Miller in the bike as usual. They will depart from post six listed at 5-2. The first division's early 8-5 favorite is Topville Olympian (American Ideal-Our Sophia) who just finished a close third behind Stay Hungry and Jimmy Freight in the Messenger Stake at Yonkers on Saturday. He has one NYSS win this year but has never missed the board while competing in that series. He's the top money earner in this race with $129,170 and picks up the services of Brett Miller for this outing. His main rivals appear to be Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven) who scored his best win at Tioga Downs this year in the Geers Stake going 1:50.2 and the NYSS points leader Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat) who has 180 and is 55 points ahead of his nearest rival. Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) gets the track handicapper's nod in the second division as he is listed at 2-1. After taking an early season mark of 1:51.3 at Tioga, Ideal Feeling acquitted himself well in an elimination of the Meadowlands pace in July that went in 1:49, although he missed the final. Then he finished a strong second to Courtly Choice in an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic before drawing post seven in the final, finding himself chasing a 1:48.3 mile from the back of the pack. He draws post four in a short field here and has Jason Bartlett up for the ride. Also looking to get the win are Real Surreal (So Surreal-Armbro Wallflower) who finished third in the Empire Breeders Classic, pacing in 1:50 in defeat while Ostro Hanover (Betterthancheddar-Ozmopolitan) makes his fourth start for his new trainer after winning a 1:52.4 NYSS race at Saratoga Raceway. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Rene Allard admits Springsteen can be a complicated horse to deal with and the challenge is reflected in the colt’s results. His sophomore season has been a mix of impressive miles and dull efforts. He won the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial and two divisions of New York Sire Stakes, but came up flat in the Carl Milstein, Adios, and Art Rooney Pace.  Allard looks to make amends for the Rooney loss when he sends Springsteen out in the $500,000 Messenger Stakes Saturday night (Sept. 1), slated as race seven on a stakes-laden card. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven drew the inside while rival Jimmy Freight landed post eight. “We’re happy with the season. Obviously, he threw a couple clinkers, there’s a couple races I wish he would have shown up better,” Allard said. “The final of the Art Rooney, he tied up that start and then the start at Northfield. Other than that, he’s a nice horse, he’s got high speed. We’re happy with him.” Springsteen suffers from tying up when he trains too hard and deals with trying conditions, like long trips to the races and drastic changes in the weather. He can also be a difficult horse to drive. All these factors converged two starts back in the Milstein. After shipping all the way to Ohio, Springsteen choked in the race when Lather Up broke to his outside on the second turn. “He had some tying up issues and he choked. (Lather Up) made a break and he shut his air off. He’s a real tricky horse,” Allard said. “When he sees the gate, he gets a little grabby and sometimes he shuts his air off. When he shuts his air off, that’s it, the race is over. That’s why the drivers have to be a little careful with him.  “If he doesn’t tie up and doesn’t shut his air off, he’s probably as good as any 3-year-old colt out there,” Allard continued. “So, we just kind of keep our fingers crossed that everything goes good and have the equipment on him to control him and so far, 90 percent of the time it’s been working out.” Everything worked out in the Hempt Final at Pocono Downs June 30. Springsteen followed the cover of Hitman Hill and Lather Up as Dorsoduro Hanover paced through a :53.1 opening half-mile. Simon Allard tugged on the right line before the three-quarters and Springsteen charged three-wide. He circled Lather Up past a 1:20.2 panel, the 1-9 favorite off his North America Cup and Hempt elimination wins offering no resistance.  Allard drove Springsteen confidently into the stretch, the colt drifting wide and the driver still holding the whip over his shoulder as he leaned flat in the bike. Allard finally went to the whip in the final sixteen as Nutcracker Sweet shot through up the passing lane and put a head in front. Allard sat up in the bike and gave Springsteen a pair of right-handers and the colt extended, edging his nose in front just as the glow of the finish line lights appeared. He registered a head win in 1:48.3. “He’s definitely got high speed and he’s a nice horse and it’s been a very fun ride, for sure,” Allard said. Allard bought Springsteen with Bruce Soulsby midway through his 2-year-old season. After watching Springsteen use a :26.1 final quarter to finish second in a Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk last September for Chris Ryder, Allard and Soulsby finally came to an agreement to purchase the horse during the Grand Circuit meet at the Red Mile, adding partners Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh.  Springsteen finished seventh in the International Stallion Stakes in Lexington Oct. 7, but the June 2 foal kept on improving. He registered his first win in a $12,000 maiden at Pocono Oct. 22 and won the Matron at Dover in his next start. Springsteen capped his freshman year with a win in the Governor’s Cup elimination and a seventh in the final after being parked the mile. “We watched him finish second in the Metro Pace elimination and he came a huge last quarter. That’s when he caught my eye and I was talking to Bruce Soulsby about it and we ended up making a deal in Lexington. Chris Ryder did a tremendous job training him down and getting him ready,” Allard said. “I don’t see why he wouldn’t keep on going and keep on improving. Last year, toward the end of the year he just kept getting better and better.” Springsteen finished a distant second to Jimmy Freight in his Messenger elimination last week, pacing a 1:51.2 mile and finishing 3 ¾ lengths behind the latter’s track-record effort. Off a 14-day break since his Milstein effort, Allard was happy with the trial. “He was first-over to a horse that was just unbelievable. That was a huge mile, off 14 days and we don’t do a lot with him between races,” Allard said. “He’s one of those that you can’t train real hard between races, so I expect him to be a little better this week. I think he should be tighter. We just kind of keep him on his routine, light work every day. We don’t work him real hard, just kind of steady all week. No hard, fast miles, a lot of slow miles.” Springsteen already won the Messenger post position draw. Although Springsteen typically doesn’t show early speed, Allard loves the prospect of starting along the pylons while Jimmy Freight will start from the far outside. Last week’s other elimination winner, Babes Dig Me, drew post five while the other runner-up, JK Wildfire, drew post four. Stay Hungry will try to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive from post six. Winston, Topville Olympian, and Nutcracker Sweet complete the lineup. “Everything kind of has to go his way, but he has high speed and I think he’s in a good spot there. He’s got the rail, the best horse has the eight hole. I think the draw could not work any better,” Allard said. “Brian (Sears) is going to have to work his magic. Of all the drivers at Yonkers, Brian is one of if not the best ones and I have a lot of confidence in him, so I’m going to let him do his thing.” Saturday’s card also features the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-olds in race six where Six Pack is favored over Helpisontheway. Lindsey`s Pride, Lindy`s Big Bang, Maxus, Mississippi Storm, Tito, and The Veteran will try to upend the favorites. The filly companions to the Messenger and Yonkers Trot, the $129,014 Hudson Trot and $122,904 Lady Maud Pace go as races four and five, respectively. The night’s $44,000 Open Handicap Pace goes to post in race eight and features Bit Of A Legend and Evenin Of Pleasure. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N, coming off a 1:51.4 mile from post nine - two days ago - returned to the red clay oval at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono just over 48 hours later, and far from looking any the worse for wear, she parlayed a class drop and an improved post into a 1:51.2 victory. Driver Simon Allard had the winner of $164,619 outside and second-over behind the lively cover of Princess Fabulosa, then got a 27 last quarter out of his charge to have him 1½ lengths clear of her opposition at the end of the $17,500 mares conditioned pacing feature. A seven-time winner this year,  Eclipse Me N is trained by Simon's brother Rene, the meet's leading conditioner, for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. George Napolitano Jr. had four more winners on the Tuesday card, giving him 17 over the for-day Pocono week and, with two cards at Philly since last Friday, 25 wins in a 5-day period. The draw for Sunday's $1.5M spectacular card of racing, featuring four $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds and three $100,000 Championships for the Great Northeast Open Series, contained about everything anybody could realistically want, and then some. True fans of the sport will not want to miss the excellent racing this Sunday at The Downs, with first post set for 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - In the $17,500 distaff harness racing pacing feature Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N looked to be in trouble while still midpack as pacesetter Betabcool N got a Sta-Puf soft half of 58, but her strong late rally got her to the wire first by a neck in 1:53. Betabcool N put Keystone Riptide in behind her earlier, and the easy 28.2 quarter surprised some - then the timer flashed 58 to the half, about the Pocono norm for "nw 3" trotters. Simon Allard had moved Eclipse Me N into second-up position behind favored Princess Fabulosa and gained to the 1:25.1 3/4, then swung wide late on the turn and continued to gain, just edging the pacesetter on the money, with Princess Fabulosa holding for third. Simon's brother Rene trains the winner of $149,369, who came her personal last half in a crackling 54.1, for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald MacRae. His namesake in the squared circle usually struck with lightning efficiency before getting the decision, but the equine Goldberg proved to be more a power grinder as the freshman took his purse debut in 1:54.3. The son of Mr Wiggles - Chausettes Blanche (who unfortunately died while carrying a full brother to Goldberg) was put in second-over position by owner/driver Montrell Teague before the walking 59.2 half, waited until midturn to tip off his fast-moving cover, then finished out his own last half in 54.4 to win by 1¾ lengths without urging. Brenda Teague trains the promising youngster, and she and her brother George certainly remember another two-year-old from the stable who broke his maiden at Pocono - a horse you may have heard of named Wiggle It Jiggleit. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 29, 2018--One odds-on choice sizzled and one odds-on choice fizzled Monday night (July 30th) during Yonkers Raceway's $172,000 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event once again honored the memory one of the state's true get-it-done gentlemen, whose contributions to the industry were way too numerous to mention here. The Monday sizzling was done by Springsteen (Dave Miller, $2.50), who sat a loose, second-over trip before closing ranks and powering away in the $85,250 first division. Away fourth from post position No. 2, Springsteen saw revved up polester Lyons Steel (Scott Zeron) set early fractions of :26.4 and :55.1. Topville Olympian (Brian Sears) then made his second move, prompted in and out of a 1:23.1 three quarters. Meanwhile, Springsteen was meandering behind Topville Olympian, taking his time to tag him before going wide in the final turn. He did take over, opening a length in and out of the final turn before widening to 2¾ lengths at the spiffy 1:51.1 wire. Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald) was behind the winner and chased him home, with Topville Olympian, Twin B Tuffenuff (George Brennan) and Lyons Steel coming away with the minors. For Springsteen, a Hempt-winning son of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10.20, the triple returned $19.80 and the superfecta paid $69. "He's at his best in the back end of the race," Miller said. "I really thought they'd go (fractions of) :27 and :57, so when saw the first half, I figured we were in good shape. "I'm just the passenger when he's as good as he was tonight." Monday night's second ($86,750) and final division, alas, didn't charm the chalk players. Art Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett), at 35-cent-on-the-dollar this evening, was ground into submission...as in last among the octet. Sitting third early behind My Delight (Brent Holland) and Ghost Dance (Zeron), Trump Nation moved to the lead between a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and :56.3 intermission. That didn't impress Ghost Dance, who took out of third to go after the people's preference. Pole-sitting Heavenly Sound (Jim Marohn Jr.) was able to work from second-over. Ghost Dance draw even at the 1:24.1 three-quarters, sticking his nose out entering the lane. Meanwhile, that duel just empowered Heavenly Sound ($14.80), who whipped a third-over Ostro Hanover (Miller) by a length in 1:52.4. My Delight crossed the line third, but was set down to fifth for lane interference. That lifted Stendahl Hanover (Marcus Miller) and Rockapelo (Sears) to third and fourth, respectively. For third choice Heavenly Sound, a Rock N Roll Heaven colt owned by M&M Harness Racing and trained by Bruce Saunders, it was his fifth win in 15 '18 tries. The exacta paid $92, the triple returned $970 and the superfecta paid $5,380. "He negotiated the turns better here than his last start (Saratoga)," Saunders said. "We made a few equipment changes and the trip certainly didn't hurt." Bruce Hamilton's brothers, Scott (with daughter Faith) and Keith, joined in the winner's circle presentations. New York Sire Stakes continue here Tuesday night (Aug. 7th), with the Mike Cipriani Trot (3-year-old fillies). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Chester, PA --- Perched third-over up the far side, Independent One ($4.60) circled four-wide en route to a 1:51.4 win in Sunday afternoon's (July 29) $17,000 featured pace at Harrah's Philadelphia.   After racing second from last in the early stages while Xpert Bayama (Corey Callahan) and Commentariat (Andy McCarthy) disputed the lead through fractions of :26.4 and :54.4.   Simon Allard then angled the 4-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding third-over up the far side into a late-developing outer flow. As Rough Odds (George Napolitano Jr.) advanced to press Xpert Bayama on the far turn after a :28.2 third sectional, Independent One stayed right on the helmet of Drinkin Again (Eric Carlson), who swung three-wide to the lead an eighth from home. Independent One vaulted clear as the pace collapsed and beat Drinkin Again by 1-1/4 lengths, while Sossy's King Kong (Brett Miller) rallied from astern to take third.   Independent One captured his sixth career win for trainer Vincent Fusco Jr. In addition to handling the driving duties, Allard shares ownership of Independent One with Bruce Soulsby, Allen Weisenberg and Niss Allen Inc.   Trainer Lou Peña recorded his 3,000th career win in one of two $14,500 sub-featured events, teaming up with Eric Carlson for a 1:52.1 victory with Skyful Of Lighters ($29.40).   The 7-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding was left uncovered with a circuit to go, sustained progress up the backstretch, and wore down pacesetter Cyamach N (Pat Berry) to win by half a length. José Cervantes owns the 20-time winner.   The other sub-featured pace saw Rock The Nite ($6.80, Napolitano) dig deep to parry a stern first-over threat from Grand Teton (Andy McCarthy) to earn his 18th career win in 1:50. Andrew Harris trains the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding for Robert Key.   Multiple players hit the afternoon's 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 in race five, resulting in a carryover of $1,072.27 to Wednesday afternoon's (Aug. 1) card. First post is scheduled for 12:25 p.m.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Gruden (Muscles Yankee) added trotting hopples a few weeks ago after enduring breaking trouble in previous months. The Rene Allard trainee won the qualifier at Pocono with hopples on and was dynamic at Saratoga Casino Hotel last week while winning his local debut in 1:55. Gruden moved up in company on Tuesday night as he took part in the $12,000 Winners Over. The five year old trotter who scored nine wins in seventeen tries in 2017 was bet down as the 1-9 favorite on Tuesday Leading driver Billy Dobson moved Gruden out to the early lead, paying a bit of a stiff price to get to the top. Parked at the start, Gruden crossed over to cut the mile after guiding the way through a first quarter of 27 seconds. The big favorite had little difficultly opening up a big lead but was beginning to tire as a pair of dangers, Silent Pine (Bruce Cooper) and Entranced (Dan Cappello Jr) were making steady progress towards the leader. Gruden had enough to hang on and win in 1:56 while Silent Pine came up second best. Entranced earned the show spot. Live racing continues on Wednesday evening at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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

WASHINGTON, PA, July 17, 2018 - Hempt winner Springsteen, North America Cup runner-up Done Well and Meadowlands Pace runner-up Dorsuduro Hanover lead a field of 16 into the 52nd edition of the $450,000 (est) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Eliminations are set for Saturday, July 21 first post 1:05 PM, while the final headlines a blockbuster Saturday, July 28 card that also features five other Grand Circuit stakes. The Adios Day program begins at noon. The first four finishers in each elimination, plus the fifth-place finisher with higher career earnings, return for the final. Elimination winners will choose their post positions for the final - their selection order will be determined by draw - with all other post positions determined by random draw on Tuesday, July 24. Springsteen, who hasn't had a pari-mutuel start since winning the $500,000 Hempt final on June 30, turned in a sharp July 11 qualifier, winning in 1:52 with a 26.1 final panel. Simon Allard is scheduled to drive the son of Rock N Roll Heaven-American Charm for trainer Rene Allard and owners Allard Racing Inc., Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh. He'll leave from the rail in the second elimination. Done Well followed up his sharp performance in the North America Cup with a pair of fourth-place finishes in the Hempt. Trainer Brian Brown has given the son of Well Said-Dagnabit Hanover a breather since then. James Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers LLC, Milton Leeman and Alan Keith campaign Done Well, who'll have the services of Tim Tetrick when he leaves from post 7 in the first elimination. Dorsoduro Hanover had a monstrous Meadowlands Pace final, overcoming post 10 and closing in 26.4 - despite his 57-1 odds - and was beaten only 1-1/4 lengths by Courtly Choice. The Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding has drawn post 3 in the second elimination for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Five. Matt Kakaley is listed to drive. Burke with four and Tony Alagna with three are the only trainers with multiple entrants. The eliminations will go as races 12 and 13. Here are the fields in post position order with trainers and tentative driving assignments: Elimination 1, Race 12 1. Summer Travel Andrew Harris/David Miller 2. No Easy Day Burke/Kakaley 3. American History Alagna/Yannick Gingras 4. Shadow Cat John Butenschoen/Corey Callahan 5. Bambino Joe Greg Wright, Jr./Aaron Merriman 6. GD Western Joe Burke/Gingras 7. Done Well Brown/Tetrick 8. Wes Delight Mark Harder/Callahan   Elimination 2, Race 13 1. Springsteen Allard/Allard 2. Larry Karr Burke/Gingras 3. Dorsoduro Hanover Burke/Kakaley 4. Hitman Hill Chris Oakes/Brett Miller 5. Thinkbig Dreambig Jimmy Takter/Jordan Stratton 6. Odds On Lauderdale Alagna/Scott Zeron 7. Western Beachboy Christen Pantaleano/Jim Pantaleano 8. Babes Dig Me Alagna/Brett Miller   by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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