Day At The Track
Search Results
49 to 64 of 2495

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two harness racing horses who had been in very sharp form during the preliminaries in their respective Game Of Claims series - Charger Blue Chip and Always B Magic - continued their winning ways right to the throne as the winner of their Championships, with the former taking his $20,000 event for $10,000 base-priced horses and the latter victorious for the $15,000 bounty offered for $7,500-based priced pacers at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs. Considering he had two wins and a third in his only three seasonal starts, all in the GOC Series, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Charger Blue Chip was overlooked by the bettors at 9-1, probably because of his difficult outside post nine. But driver Jim Marohn Jr. hustled the quick veteran to command, yielded but was on the retake before the second turn, and from there kept favored Grandpa Don at bay by an easy 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1. Claimed for $10,000 in the first leg of the series, Charger Blue Chip has already earned $16,200 in just three starts for trainer Marc Mosher and owners Edward and James Hall Jr. Trainer Susan and co-owner John Marshall may have been denied a Game Of Claims sweep on Sunday with Grandpa Don's second, but earlier they had kept driver Marohn from that same double victory, as their Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic was always off the pylons throughout the GOC finale, but still dug in to hold off Naked City (Marohn) by a nose in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr. The timing was good for the connections and the horse. The Marshalls claimed Always B Magic for $9000 out of the second leg, and with two wins and a finals place assured, they kept him out of the third prelim so he wouldn't get claimed - and the week off did nothing to take off his edge. As for Always B Magic, before the Game Of Claims he had amassed a 60-race losing streak, back to June 18, 2018; he then went three-for-three in the series, all the series wins for Napolitano. (Who drove him on June 18, 2018? George Nap, of course!) Driver Matt Kakaley visited Victory Lane five times on Sunday, three times with a Ron Burke trainee, including the Yankee Glide gelding Max in a $17,500 fast-class trot. Leaving from post six, Max got the entire field in behind him before the quarter, then put in twin :28.2 back splits to win handily in 1:54.3 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Frank Baldachino. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The harness racing team behind the Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo - trainer Bill Adamczyk, owner William Emmons, and driver Jim Morrill Jr. - showed just the right amount of patience with the four-year-old pacer, and they were rewarded by earning the throne after winning the $50,000 Championship of their Game Of Claims Series on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Owner Emmons saw the pacer won his first start in the series, then took him out of his second Game Of Claims start, paying $33,000 (with the 4YO allowance, the base price slightly elevated through all the GOC prelims), which he also won. Emmons and Adamczyk, knowing the horse had enough points to make the final already, kept him out of the third leg, avoiding losing him to a claim, and their foresight paid off after Morrill gave the winner a second-over trip in the final, making a strong far turn move with him that carried him to a 1:52.3 victory on a northeast Pennsylvania night where the mercury stayed in the mid- to low-20s. In the $30,000 Game Of Claims Championship for $15,000 base-price horses, Team Allard had just the right amount of skill and luck as the Royal Art gelding Royal Heart pushed his record to 2-for-2 for them with a 1:53.3 triumph. The Allard barn took the winner out of the second leg for $17,500, then raced him last week and had double fortune in that he both produced a rallying victory (ensuring his spot in the finale) and was also passed over in the claiming box. In the final, Simon Allard kept Royal Heart in the two-hole behind Horsing Around, the fastest pacer in the elims whom the Allards had lost via claim last week, then outmuscled that rival home here for brother/trainer/owner Rene Allard. Royal Heart The Allards had the best night at Pocono on Saturday, with Simon winning four races and Rene conditioning three winners. The $17,500 pace for fast-class horses saw the two horses handicapped with the outside posts, Twin B Tuffenuff and Atta Boy Dan, turn in a fierce stretch battle, with the former nosing out the latter in 1:52.3. Twin B Tuffenuff took early command, got a 29.2 breather on the cold night, then sprinted home in :56 - :27.2 to withstand the unrelenting grind of Atta Boy Dan, last year's Pocono Pacer of the Year. The victorious son of Rock N Roll Heaven was driven by Matt Kakaley for Burke Racing Stable LLC / Weaver Bruscemi LLC and trainer Ron Burke - ironically, the same owner/trainer partnership for whom "Dan" had made consecutive starts in all but one in 115 races, with 41 wins and $659,026 in earnings, from 2014 until being claimed at Pocono last May. FINISHING LINES - The Saturday/Sunday action at Pocono goes to its usual 7 p.m. post time starting tomorrow. Monday is added to the 2020 schedule this week, with first post at 4 p.m. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The harness racing driving brothers Anthony and George Napolitano Jr. certainly held the hot hands during Wednesday morning's qualifying session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and each teamed well with a specific trainer - Anthony guided four Jose Godinez trainees to victory, with four horses conditioned by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera brought home first by George. Two of the "ANap"-Godinez horses took the primary spotlight, as they defeated free-for-all horses Western Fame and Springsteen, both members of Team Allard. Western Fame, the 2019 Levy Final winner and a winner in morning action here last week, had to settle for second, 3¾ lengths behind the two-moving Havefaithinme N, who tripped the timer in a solid 1:52, last half :55, for the ownership of Blindswitch Racing Stable, Gary Axelrod, Good Friends Racing Stable, and Santo Farina. And if the nine-year-old Havefaithinme N's name rings a certain bell, that's because it should - the altered son of Bettor's Delight is a career winner of $1.3 million, and in 2016 he paced what was at the time the fastest mile in Australasian harness history, 1:47 5/10, in winning the Miracle Mile over the Menangle Park 7/8-mile oval. Springsteen, now five and the winner of the 2018 Hempt Memorial right here at Pocono, closed determinedly from far back, but his :55.1-:27.1 bid home came up a head shy of the American Ideal mare Sally Fletcher A, who also made two moves controlling the tempo in a 1:54.4, with Blindswitch Racing Stable doubling up in the Wednesday morning "features." The most impressive of the George Nap - Garcia-Herrera horses was the $900,000+-winning Lispatty, who stepped home in :55.2 - :27.2 as the McArdle mare toured the Pocono oval in 1:53 for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen. FINISHING LINES - After Saturday's card at 5 p.m., Pocono switches post times in March to its standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 4 p.m. on most other racing days, primarily Monday and Tuesday. There will be racing Sunday, March 1 at 7 p.m., and then the first Monday card of the year on the 2nd at 4 p.m., with three cards a week in vogue throughout the end of March. Racing is going into the second month of the 2020 season at the Down at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and horsemen racing at the track in Northeast PA should be aware of opening times for the Paddock and stable gate area.  Going forward, the stable gate will open one and a half hours prior to first Lasix, and the Paddock one hour prior to first Lasix.  Post Times for March are 7:00PM on Saturday and Sunday, and 4:00PM on Monday, with the addition of Tuesday at 4:00PM in April. Also, the Ship-in barn will open Monday, March 2, and training for the rest of the season will take place out of the ship-in barn. Any questions, please contact Paddock Judge Luann Sensenbach at 570.831.2125. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA – The Game Of Claims Series for pacers base-tagged at $10,000 and $7500 conducted their third and final preliminaries during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, giving indications of form ahead of their $20,000 and $15,000 Championships in seven days’ time. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding Charger Blue Chip established himself as most likely to sit on the Championship throne with a 1:54.4 victory in Sunday’s single $10,000 division for the higher-priced series horses. Eric Goodell quarter-moved with the Marc Mosher trainee, who notched his second GOC victory for owners Edward and James Hall Jr. "Charger" held off the late kick of favored Grandpa Don, the second prelim winner who was reclaimed by the Marshall barn ahead of the Championship event. The unofficial top nine pointwinners going to this $20,000 Championship are Charger Blue Chip, Grandpa Don, (tie) Midnight Dylan N and Sharknado, (tie) Carmens Best and Corner Con Artist, Achilles Blue Chip, Master The View, and Mr Carrotts. There were two $7500 divisions for the other Game Of Claims group battling for Championship spots, both producing mild upsets. The Art Major gelding Autotune Hanover punched his ticket to the finale with a 1:55 triumph for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Robert Lounsbury, and owner Rick Howles, while in the second cut the Bettor’s Delight gelding Mystery Island won in identical time for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Darren Taneyhill, and owner Chelsey Wibert. Always B Magic and Speedling, both double winners before not competing in the last prelim, tied as the unofficial points leaders for this group, with the next seven lined up behind them in the pursuit of the throne in the $15,000 final are Mystery Island, Some Gold, (tie) Dafinity and Naked City, Smart Talker, Autotune Hanover, and Tough Mudder. Claiming activity, largely generated by the series: Sunday, six for $77,250; for the week, fifteen for $287,250; and for the six-day meet, sixty-two for $1,100,150. Jim Morrill Jr. had four wins Sunday to lead the drivers colony for the night.   PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Series for the highest two levels of harness racing pacers raced their third and final preliminary round on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the top contenders for the thrones to be won in the rich Game Of Claims Championships next week were not exactly clarified by the twilight card's action. The highest-level horses, going here for a base claiming tag of $30,000 in the weekly-progressive pricing rules of the series, raced two $25,000 preliminaries, with neither winner being claimed. Those winners were Classy Hill, an Art Colony gelding who took the field coast-to-coast in 1:53 for driver George Napolitano Jr. (a five-time winner on the card) in his first start for trainer Dan Maier and owner Ameer Najor, and the longest shot on the board, the Quality Western gelding Mister Indiana, who decisioned the second-longest shot, Half A Billion, in 1:52.3, for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Michael Posner, and owner Austin Siegelman. An unofficial totaling of the points for this group yields the following as the top nine, in points order and in position for next week's $50,000 final: This Is My Song, Polak A, Trente Deo (a winner in the first two prelims who took this week off), Mister Indiana, Classy Hill, Whats Goin On, Beach Pro, Half A Billion, and Western Hill. The three $15,000 prelims for horses base-valued at $20,000 Saturday saw a division yield the fastest mile of the year at Pocono, 1:51.1, by the Shadyshark Hanover gelding Horsing Around, who won his second straight for driver Simon Allard, trainer Rene Allard, and the partnership of Allard Racing Inc. and Neal Moase. But here's the big unknown factor relating to next week - Horsing Around will be departing the Allard barn after being the only Game Of Claims winner on the night to be purchased via the box! Driver Simon Allard and trainer/owner/brother Rene do get to keep the Royal Art B gelding Royal Heart, who won at first asking for his new connections in 1:54. The third winner in this price group produced the biggest mutuel shock of the night, as Matt Kakaley put the Jereme's Jet gelding J M Jet Set on the lead and withstood the late chargers in 1:54.3 for trainer Steven Brabrook and owners Rod Lorenzo and Brian Running while paying $53.80. The listing of the unofficial top nine pointwinners heading into next Saturday's $30,000 Championship needs though a clarification. Even with losing this week's fastest winner, Team Allard still has three of the nine highest pointgetters, and series conditions allow for an owner or trainer to have only two entries in the final. So while this is the list of the top nine - Ancle and Horsing Around (tied), Royal Heart*, Cheyenne Reijane, Stirling Escort*, Machine Team, Concur, American Music, and Pop's Romeo* -- one of the three asterisked competitors, all Allard horses, will if this list is verified not be going. Thus the two tied for tenth now, Drunk On Your Love and Always A Diamond, will certainly have an interest in Monday's draw for next Saturday's card of two GOC Championships. In anticipation of those Championships, nine horses were claimed Saturday for $210,000, bringing the totals for the five-card-long meet to 52 claims aggregating $1,022,800. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Even as a certain well-regarded harness racing mare qualified at Dover in what was likely preparation for early season work, two horses who were very prominent in last year's Levy Series action turned in top qualifiers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Wednesday morning. Western Fame, the 2019 Levy Series winner who would go on to take a Franklin elim and finish third in the Franklin Championship here at Pocono, went straight to the lead for driver Simon Allard and trainer/brother Rene Allard, winning in 1:57.1. A last quarter of :28.4 made the winner of $1,745,185 clear at the wire for Go Fast Stable, Stephen Klunowski, B & I Stables LLC, and Gilbert Short. Later, former Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Champion Ideal Jimmy, a three-time Levy prelim winner last year, put in a sharp 1:53.4 mile on the engine, with a :27.3 last quarter leaving him 8¼ lengths in front of his field for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Erv Miller, and the Van Witzenburg stable. Also deserving mention are the team of driver Eric Carlson and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who combined on the first three qualifiying winners. Garcia-Herrera sent out a total of eleven horses in the prep races, a few times with two in the same race, and in addition to the three wins he had four second-place finishers and two third-place finishers. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The second preliminary rounds of two of the levels in the Game Of Claims Series took place on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and sharp horsemen looking for potential thronetakers in the Game Of Claims Championships two weeks hence claimed all three of the night's series winners. The Game Of Claims pacing horses who went for a basic price of $12,500 drew one division of ten horses (scratched down to nine), making for a rare trailing starter at Pocono. At the wire, the field was trailing the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Grandpa Don, who after being last at the half made a huge looping move on the far turn and paced past everybody in 1:56.2 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Susan Marshall, the latter co-owner with John Marshall - and was then claimed out of the race. Both horses who won last week in the Game Of Claims group that started for a basic price of $9000 on Sunday were again victorious, but as opposed to last week both horses headed to new barns after Sunday's successes. First to Victory Lane was the Rambaran gelding Speedling, now 2-for-2 in 2020 after a 1:56 win for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Lou Pena and his Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. Then it was the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic who was again to parlay a pocket journey into a victory, here in 1:55.1 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud, and owner Alexa Renaud. With two claims from each of the $9,000 fields, four $12,500 purchases from that event, and three horses haltered out of a claiming handicap trot (perhaps looking towards the trotting Game Of Claims Series in March), 11 horses went through the box for a total of $124,125, running the totals over the four days of 2020 Pocono racing to 47 claims and $812,900 - keeping horsemen and handicappers on their toes to be in the right place at the right time. One place you didn't want to be at Pocono on Sunday was on the front end, as the speed held up only once in thirteen races. The lone horse making every pole a winning one was the very impressive four-year-old Sweet Lou mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who was sent to the top in a $15,000 distaff pace by Tyler Buter in :27.3, got a rest to a :57.1 half, then motored home in :55.3-:27.2, needing all that speed to hold off the invading Tango Dancer N by a neck in 1:52.4. Darn Tootn Hanover entered the year with only one victory to show in 17 starts as a freshman and sophomore, but this year she's turned things around and is now 3-for-3 for trainer Nik Drennan and Yankeeland Partners LLP. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Series continued on Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the temperature dropping through the 20s throughout the twilight harness racing card but the contested action featuring hot contests and hot horses. Both winners were claimed out of the $25,000 second preliminary leg for horses this week valued at a base price of $27,500, as horsemen want the right horse ready to take the throne in this group's $50,000 Game of Claims Championship on Saturday the 29th. The only double winner in this Game Of Claims section is the four-year-old Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo, but if he sweeps his prelims, he'll be doing for somebody other than trainer Rene Allard and owners Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr. Trente Deo, an engine winner last week for those connections, here rallied from the pocket to post a 1:52.4 victory for driver Simon Allard. Also winning in this company, and also moving to a new stable, is the veteran Pacific Fella gelding Polak A, who came from off the pace to win in 1:52.1 while exceeding $800,000 in earnings for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Darren Taneyhill and owner Eric Prevost (these two having the horse only this one week). Polak A had a second last week and a win here, so like two-time winner Trente Deo he is likely to make their Championship and may be eyed by several stables, even though the base price of claiming for this group goes up to $30,000 in next week's last preliminary. There were three divisions of the second preliminary round for the Game Of Claims group valued at a $17,500 base price Saturday, and the rail proved the common launching pad for the three victors of the $15,000 races. Simon and Rene Allard combined to take two of the cuts: with Horsing Around, who had been claimed in the first prelim, the Shadyshark Hanover gelding winning for Allard Racing Inc and Neal Moase in 1:53.2; and with the Roll With Joe gelding Stirling Escort, picture-perfect in tallying for A-1 Racing in 1:54.3. Neither Allard winner was claimed this time, but the winner of the other cut, the Make My Day gelding Ancle, is changing hands for the second straight week after becoming the only two-time Game Of Claims winner in this price class. Jim Morrill Jr. guided Ancle to victory in 1:53.3 for trainer James Guagliardo and owner Steven Celinsky. In all, six horses were claimed for $105,000 at this level with an eye towards the group's February 29 $30,000 Championship, bringing the night's total barnchangers to a dozen, with $278,775 changing hands. In the $17,500 top conditioned pace, last year's Pocono Pacer of the Year and the winningest harness horse in the United States with nineteen, the eleven-year-old Western Terror gelding Atta Boy Dan, joined the repeat series victors as the only two-time winners at the meet with a 1:51.3 victory. Tyler Buter kept the greybeard just off a wicked :25.4 opening duel, brushed to the lead, and then the pair won as they pleased for trainer Peter Pellegrino and owner Stephen Larkin. The victory was the 74th in Atta Boy Dan's career, and he now sports a bankroll of $982,752. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. visited Victory Lane four times Saturday, giving him ten triumphs after three days in the young Pocono season. The PHHA and the Pocono community extends its sympathies to trainer Andrew Harris, to his two daughters, and to the extended family upon hearing that Andrew's wife Amanda passed away at age 34 after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Game Of Claims Pacing Series, which will offer rich paydays to those who can claim the harness racing throne as best in the respective price divisions, continued on Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with two sections each of first round preliminaries, offering $7,500 for $7,500 claimers and $10,000 for $10,000-tagged horses. Remarkably, six of the eleven horses in the $10,000 action will be racing for new barns next week after being claimed, including divisional winner Charger Blue Chip, who won his debut as a 10-year-old in 1:58 over a tiring track rated "good." The Rocknroll Hanover gelding rallied from the pocket to overhaul pacesetting favorite Midnight Dylan N for driver Tom Jackson and owner/trainer Emily Bost. No claim was entered on the Mach Three gelding Mr Carrotts despite his being the second choice, and trainer Dan Morrissey and owner Leona Morrissey got to "walk him home" after he one-geared up raw and held off Master The View in 1:57.4. No one was haltered out of either division of the $7500s first prelim - so the claiming count stopped at 24 horses changing hands for $410,000 during the opening weekend. Emerging first at this level were the Always A Virgin gelding Always B Magic, a pocket rocket in 1:56.3 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Alexa Renaud while emerging victorious for the first time in 613 days, and the Rambaran gelding Speedling, who was quarter-moved by driver Jim Morrill Jr. and held on in 1:58 for trainer Lou Pena and Lou Pena Racing Stables Inc. The top purse events were a pair of $15,000 paces. The first, for females, went to perhaps the most impressive winner of the night, the Sweet Lou four-year-old mare Darn Tootn Hanover, who followed up on a 1:51.2 Meadowlands victory with a 1:54 victory here, coming her last quarter in 28.1 on a night when only one other race beat 29.2 home to be 6¾ lengths to the good for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Nik Drennan, and Yankeeland Partners LLP. Darn Tootn Hanover paid $2.20 to win; in the male sector of this class, Ben Rockin, an altered son of A Rocknroll Dance, motored home from last to win in 1:55.4 for driver Eric Goodell and return $171.40 to the scattered backers of the Robert John Becker-owned horse. The key to this one may have been the history of trainer Bill "Moon" Mullin - his Trixar paid $166.80, which stood as the 2019 local high payoff, in the second week of last year, and now Ben Rockin is another early-season toteboard demolisher for Mullin! From the PHHA/Pocono Downs      

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono opened on Saturday night, the earliest seasonal start in the 55 years of harness racing at the track, but while the temperature hung around the freezing mark, the competition on the oval was hot, mainly in the first preliminary leg of two sections of the track's Game Of Claims Pacing Series. Action for horses entered at various claiming prices, with three preliminaries determining those who will race for the throne as their Game Of Claims divisional champion, provided two divisions of $25,000 base-price horses going for $25,000 each and three cuts of $15,000 base-price horses going for $15,000 (the base price in each grouping goes up slightly with each preliminary) opening night. With $50,000 and $30,000 Championship purses respectively, it's no surprise that a total of eighteen horses were claimed in Saturday's first round action, including four of the five divisional winners, for a total of $350,000. The only Game Of Claims winner on Saturday not changing barns will be the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding This Is My Song, who moved after a blistering half, made the lead easily to the ¾, and defeated his field of $25,000 horses handily in 1:51.2, fastest mile of the opening card for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Dan Maier, and Racing To Win Stable. The other winner at that level was the Captaintreacherous ridgling Trente Deo, who never looked back for the brother team of trainer Rene and driver Simon Allard in 1:53.4, last half :55.4, for Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr. Team Allard also won the first division for the $15,000 horses, with the Delmarvalous gelding Machine Team benefiting from a fast pace to score a closing victory in 1:55.4 for A 1 Racing as the only Game Of Claims favorite to win. The other two sectors for $15,000 horses were taken by Darren Taneyhill- trained horses coming off two-month layoffs, and they won by a combined 14¼ lengths for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and owner Eric Prevost - the Cheyenne Rei gelding Cheyenne Reijane coming out of the pocket for a 7½ length win in 1:53.3, and the Make My Day gelding Ancle on the engine to finish 6¾ lengths to the good in 1:54.1. The 11-year-old Western Terror gelding Atta Boy Dan, 2019's Pocono Pacer of the Year while posting a United States-high win total of nineteen seasonal triumphs, readjusted quickly to northeast Pennsylvania, capturing a $14,000 conditioned pace in 1:51.4 for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Peter Pellegrino, and owner Stephen Larkin. Rock Diamonds N did not want to surrender the early lead, so Buter put "Dan" in the pocket, then came again after the leader in the stretch and went by for a half-length triumph, the 73rd win of the pacer's distinguished career while moving his lifetime bankroll to $974,002. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The harness racing trotters and pacers take to the track at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday for the earliest seasonal opening in 55 years of the harness sport in northeast Pennsylvania, with the first of thirteen races scheduled for 5 p.m. The opening set of features during February's racing at The Downs will be part of the new Game of Claims Series, grouping horses of varying values. It's appropriate that the claiming horses will provide the early season highlights at a track where 483 claims resulted in $9,465,025 turnover during 2019. Saturday's Game of Claims's first preliminary rounds will have two groups of horses with a base claiming price of $25,000 going for $25,000 a division, and three sections of $15,000 basic-level horses racing for $15,000 purses. The claiming price will go up slightly for prelims two and three, with each group's top pointearners in the preliminaries getting a chance to race for the throne as their Game Of Claims division's champion on Saturday, February 29, with a $50,000 bounty on the line for this week's $25,000 base-price horses, and $30,000 up for grabs by the leading $15,000 base-price competitors. Multi-time leading Pocono trainer Rene Allard will be sending out horses in four of the five Game Of Claims cuts, three of them new to the barn; the "holdover," Maxdaddy Blue Chip, was the 2017 Pacer of the Year at Pocono, and is still going strongly at age eight. Another "golden oldie," the 11-year-old Atta Boy Dan, returns to Pocono in a $14,000 pace after being named the 2019 Pocono Pacer of the Year. Atta Boy Dan, who will be starting from the outside in a field of seven, was the winningest harness horse in the United States last year with 19 victories, and he was the focus of the attention of many stables, being claimed no fewer than seventeen times, for a total of $670,000. FINISHING LINES -- In Tuesday morning qualifying action at The Downs, Crocketts Cullen N turned in a sharp 1:54.2 mile in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Larry Stalbaum and trainer Tracy Tarantino. The Kiwi import won fifteen times in 2019, including ten times in his last fifteen starts, all in high-class company. During the month of February, Pocono will race on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Mondays being added in March and post times shifting to the standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday cards will start at 4 p.m., and they will be joined at that start time in April with Tuesday racing as Pocono expands to its full standard schedule. An introductory press briefing will take place this Thursday to preview the highlights of the 2020 racing season at the northeast Pennsylvania track. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The 2020 racing season got off to a quick start at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Monday morning, as the Big Jim harness racing pacing mare Jossie James A won the first qualifier of the season in 1:54 while making her U.S. debut. Yonkers driving leader Jason Bartlett sent the oft-winning mare away quickly from post seven and tucked third. They sat in that position as Lyons River Pride, first or second in his last four starts against good foes at Yonkers, set fractions of :27.3, :56.4, and 1:25.1, then moved out on the turn and overhauled the leader by a half-length for trainer Richard Banca and owner Barbara Boese. Rene Allard, Pocono's leading trainer last season, teamed with his brother Simon for two qualifying wins, with the fast but fractious trotter Magical Journey in 2:01 and the stakes colt Captain Malicious in 1:57.1 in his 2020 bow. They also had seconds with Lyons River Pride and with newcomer Y S Sunshine, a Quebec stakes winner at two and three. The track's leading driver last season, George Napolitano Jr., also posted a first, guiding Nine Ways, a 14-time winner last campaign, to a wire-to-wire win in 1:56.4, one of two on the day for trainer Antonia Storer. Driver Tyler Buter also had a pair of triumphs during the first session. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will offer another qualifying session along with the draw for this Saturday's Opening Night of the 139-card 2020 racing season. The inaugural card will feature two events in the highlight races of February's action, the Game Of Claims Series for various levels of pacers, with elimination rounds determining who will be in the contest to sit on the throne after taking the series' rich Championship races. In the month of February, Pocono will race on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Mondays being added in March and post times shifting to the standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday cards will start at 4 p.m., and they will be joined at that start time in April with Tuesday racing as Pocono expands to its full standard schedule. An introductory press briefing will take place this Thursday to preview the highlights of the 2020 racing season at the northeast Pennsylvania track. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is preparing for the earliest-ever opening in its 55th harness racing season, with qualifying races scheduled for Monday and Tuesday ahead of the first card of this year taking place this coming Saturday, February 8. Trainer/driver Ray Schnittker has several interesting prospects in the Monday qualifiers, which start at 10 a.m., including Wild Bill, a full brother to Huntsville who has shown periodic flashes of his brother's ability; the trotter Alternative Fact, a 1:53.3 winner as a sophomore in a Simpson Stake division at Harrah's Philly; and the well-pedigreed Nightcap, a $125,000 yearling who makes her career debut at three. Others to keep an eye on will be the million dollar-winning Zooming; the hard-hitting Nine Ways, a 14-time winner in high-class company in 2019; and a pair of Down Under invaders, Jossie James A and Raptors Flight N, who make their North American debuts for trainer Richard Banca. Pocono's all-time leading driver George Napolitano Jr. is listed in many of the qualifiers as he lays the foundation towards taking a ninth consecutive Pocono sulky win title. Napolitano, who had 6522 victories in the just-ended decade, did not start 2020 with his usual extended stay in Florida; in fact, he made a couple of rare "road trips" to Dover the last two weeks to keep himself sulky-sharp. Besides hosting more qualifiers, Tuesday will also bring the first draw of the year for the Saturday February 8 card. The opening card will feature two events in the highlight races of February's action, the Game Of Claims Series for various levels of pacers, with elimination rounds determining who will be in the contest to sit on the throne after taking the series' rich Championship races. In the month of February, Pocono will race on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., with Mondays being added in March and post times shifting to the standard 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday cards will start at 4 p.m., and they will be joined at that start time in April with Tuesday racing as Pocono expands to its full standard schedule. An introductory press briefing will take place this Thursday to preview the highlights of the 2020 racing season at the northeast Pennsylvania track. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is pleased to announce their 2020 racing season schedule.  The track in Northeast PA is looking forward to their 55th year of harness racing excellence. Opening night will be earlier for the new season, Saturday, February 8th,  and racing in February will be Saturdays and Sundays with a special winter Post Time of 5:00pm both nights.  In March, Monday at 4:00pm will be added, and the track will transition to the regular Saturday and Sunday post of 7:00pm.  Starting in April, the regular schedule of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday will be in effect.  On opening night, there will be free live racing programs for the fans at the Racing Rewards desk.  On Sunday, February 9th, as well as the next two Sundays, fans can take advantage of the popular promotion “50/50 Nights”.  The first 100 fans can purchase $50 in live racing vouchers, and it is matched for a total of $100 in vouchers, valid on the live card.  This is a wristband-only event, and they will be distributed at 3:00pm in the Clubhouse Lobby to assure the fans of the offer. Starting off the new season will be a new later closer, the Game of Claims Late Closing Series, with 6 different progressive events for varied claiming levels for  3-year-olds and older horses and gelding pacers, mare pacers, and trotters.  The Bobby Weiss Late Closer series returns in April with 4 events, exclusively for 3-year-olds.  The Pennsylvania-All-Stars, an early closer for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-olds, starts in May, with the 2-year-olds in July.  The prestigious $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday is July 4th,  featuring the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot; $500,000 Ben Franklin Free For All Pace; 500,000 Max Hempt Memorial Pace; and the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial Pace.  Eliminations will take place on Saturday, June 27th.  Monday, February 3rd and Tuesday, February 4th are the first two Qualifying days of the season, with the regular weekly Wednesday qualifying day starting February 12th. by Jennifer Starr, for Pocono Downs  

Stephen Larkin owns only one racehorse, but when the horse is Atta Boy Dan, one is not such a lonely number. In fact, the number is quite common when looking at Atta Boy Dan's past performances, as in first-place finishes. Atta Boy Dan led all harness racing horses in the U.S. in wins last year with 19. He was named both the Claimer of the Year and Pacer of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, becoming the first horse in recent memory to receive double honors in the same season. For his career, the now 11-year-old gelding, who was slowed by a coffin joint injury in 2017, has won 71 of 200 starts and is approaching $1 million in purses. "What he did last year was amazing," Larkin said. "The thing I love about him the most, he just gives his best every week. He's never had a bad week. He gets a lot of tough trips, but he's always trying down the stretch. He has great heart. He is a great horse." Larkin claimed Atta Boy Dan this past September for $40,000. It was the 14th consecutive start the horse was claimed. During that span, Atta Boy Dan won 11 times, was second twice and third once. "I've never seen a horse change barns that many times, at that age and that caliber, and win every week anyway," said Pete Pellegrino, who trains Atta Boy Dan for Larkin. "He's just an honest horse that loves to do it. He's just as tough as they come. He's an iron horse." Since acquiring Atta Boy Dan, his new connections have put him in conditioned races (some with an optional claiming tag) with the hopes of keeping him for as long as possible. He has raced 14 times for Pellegrino and Larkin, winning three times and earning a check 12 times on his way to $40,455. Atta Boy Dan, who has earned $959,452 lifetime, is entered Saturday in a conditioned race at The Meadowlands. He is 9-2 on the morning line with Corey Callahan in the sulky. "He's been hard luck the last bunch of weeks; first over, first over, first over," Pellegrino said. "Last week, he was first over at the half and they went (1):48.3 and he finished third. But he works right to the wire. You think he's done and in mid-stretch, here he comes again." Larkin, a Massachusetts resident who works as a corrections counselor for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, got his first horse in the mid-1990s. "My father owned horses a long time ago," Larkin said. "In 1995, I moved to New York (for work). I didn't know anyone, I didn't have any hobbies, and I ended up going to Monticello Raceway to pass some time. I ended up claiming some horses; that's how I met Pete." Larkin was attracted to Atta Boy Dan because of his back class. The gelding's top win came in 2015 in the Robert J. Kane Memorial at Batavia Downs and he finished second in that year's Gold Cup and Saucer on Prince Edward Island. Overall in 2015, he won 18 races and was named both the Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year at The Meadows while racing in the stable of trainer Ron Burke. "He speaks for himself," Pellegrino said. "What you see is what you get. He's just an unbelievable horse." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at The Meadowlands. For complete entries, click here.  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

WILKES-BARRE, PA - On the closing night of the 2019 harness racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there were many highlights, with champions both human and equine honored. George Napolitano Jr. was honored as he continued his unprecedented dominance of the driving ranks in the 54-season history of the Downs. His seasonal sulky statistics were 1437-337-205-188-.357, which earned him his eighth straight win title and 13th overall, and his sixth consecutive UDR crown and 11th overall, which George adds to the five Pocono training titles he has won. But stealing the show was 23-year-old provisional driver Sofia Zingale, who picked a dramatic circumstance in which to record her first-ever sulky victory - in the final $15,000 Billings Amateur Driving Series Eastern Championship. Zingale looked like a seasoned pro behind the veteran Muscles Yankee gelding Inukchuck Chuck, racing him second-over behind Jacks To Open after Wygant Prince went past early leader and favorite Fiji and put up fractions of :27.4 and :58 in 27-degree temperatures. The pacesetter and first-over went at it past the 1:28 three-quarters and through the turn, with Fiji waiting for the Pocono Pike. But Zingale tipped Inukchuck Chuck three-wide and got the trotter to rally strongly to win by 2¼ lengths over Fiji, sending Zingale to Victory Lane for the first time in a sulky (she has a 1-for-3 record in Racing Under Saddle events). Inukchuck Chuck is trained by Nick Surick for owner Clifford Grundy. Even veteran Billings promoter John Manzi was unsure if the "lightly-raced" Zingale had a "Billings nickname" yet. Since this victory propels her to eligibility for the $25,000 Billings Eastern Gold Cup next Saturday at Yonkers, maybe Sofia "What A Time For A First Win!" Zingale may be appropriate. Another trotter in the limelight at Pocono Saturday was the four-year-old Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable, who formed a four-race win streak here that propelled him on to being a force in the continental free-for-all trotting ranks. Named the Trotter of the Year at Pocono, Rich And Miserable posted a 6-5-1-0-$113,750 scorecard locally, highlighted by his victory over 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover in the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Championship. Rich And Miserable is owned by Buter Farms Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs, trained by Todd Buter and driven in all of his Pocono starts by Tyler Buter. The $17,500 closing night featured pace was, fittingly enough, to the Pocono Pacer of the Year and Claimer of the Year Atta Boy Dan, who overcame first-over to catch favored pacesetter American Prime Time by a neck in 1:51. Driven by Simon Allard for trainer Pete Pellegrino for owner Stephen Larkin, the ten-year-old Western Terror gelding won for the 19th time this year, one off the top figure in North America, and pushed his 2019 earnings to $203,090; the lifetime parallel numbers are 71 victories and $946,692. Four claims on closing night brought the seasonal total for the 134 cards to 483 horses changing hands, for a total value of $9,465,025. (Atta Boy Dan accounted for 17 claims and $670,000 himself.) From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

49 to 64 of 2495