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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Satin Dancer took her field coast-to-coast in winning the $17,500 featured trot Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, equaling her lifetime harness racing mark of 1:53 under the guidance of Dexter Dunn. The Big Stick Lindy five-year-old mare had favored Two AM stalking her through fractions of :27.2, :56.2, and 1:24.3, but Satin Dancer sailed on smoothly on the front end, withstanding Two AM by a length for trainer Travis Alexander. A champion in Indiana at two and three, earning just over $600,000 in his first two years of racing, Satin Dancer now has a lifetime bankroll of $727,040. A large carryover was brought into a mandatory distribution of the Rainbow Pick 5 pool (pick winners in the last five races), with the resultant jackpot up for grabs a staggering $320,237.30. Satin Dancer paid $10.60 as the fourth choice in the Rainbow Pick 5 opener, bringing the record of favorites to 0-for-10 for the night, but things stabilized somewhat thereafter with two favorites, a second choice, and a third choice winning the other Rainbow races, so that a successful 20-cent ticket on the winning 5-4-6-1-9 combination brought $1,280.94 to its backers. The big jackpot helped bring about a total handle for the Pocono card of $621,081 from its followers far and wide. There were a trio of $17,000 co-features, one for each sex of pacers and one on the trot. The American Ideal gelding Daamericansky lowered his mark to 1:49.3 in one of the paces, making the early lead in :26.3 for driver Marcus Miller, yielding to favored Quatrain Blue Chip and sitting behind the sophomore through middle splits of :55.3 and 1:22.3, and then gaining into a :27 last panel to post a length victory. Mark Silva conditions the winner of two of his last three for owner Jean Claude Dessureault. In the mares pace co-feature, the Art Professor mare Robyn Camden lowered her mark over three seconds, making two speed moves to control the pace through :26.2, :55.2, and 1:23 for driver George Napolitano Jr., then burning home in :27.1 to complete a 1:50.1 package for trainer Rene Allard. The mare is owned by Jason Osullivan of Ireland, was bred in Great Britain, and has now won 19 times in 31 Transatlantic starts. The trotting co-feature saw three-year-olds finish 1-2 ahead of their elders, as the Yankee Glide gelding Amador held off late-closing Explosivebreakway by a nose in 1:54.2 for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Joseph King. For Amador, it was his second straight win and fourth in his last seven. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Highalator showed sharp early speed to earn a fine pocket trip behind favored Backstreet Shadow, then caught that rival by ¾ of a length to win the $30,000 final preliminary in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for top-level harness racing pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:48.2. Driver Richard Still fully exploited his post two draw to the maximum against Backstreet Shadow, looking for his sixth straight win but starting from the outside post nine, and sped away from the gate, putting Scott Rocks in behind him and releasing Backstreet Shadow only after a 26.1 first quarter. Backstreet Shadow rolled on to the half in :54, and then made the three-quarters in 1:21.1 to keep the first-over bid of Prairie Panther at a safe distance. In early stretch Still pulled Highalator to the outside and wore down the gallant Backstretch Shadow before deep stretch. Scott Rocks, third-in, came up the Pocono Pike to get third, ahead of Prairie Panther. Highalator now has earnings of $537,099 for trainer Jenny Bier, who is co-owner of the son of Somebeachsomewhere with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc. The pacer certainly has winning ways: he's taken 11 of 23 starts in 2019, 32 of 69 lifetime outings, and 14 of his 23 career starts at Pocono. The Racing Office at Pocono is the official arbiter of the Great Northeast Open Series, but a quick, unofficial calculation performed after this last GNOS race divisional prelim revealed the following nine horses with the most points: 1. Tiger Thompson N; 2. Scott Rocks; 3. None Bettor A; 4. Highalator; 5. Our Max Phactor N; 6. Rodeo Rock; 7. Backstreet Shadow; 8. Havefaithinme N; 9. Prairie Panther. The GNOS will have its three $100,000 Championships during a twilight card on Monday, September 9, a card which will also include all eight Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships. Atta Boy Dan just keeps rolling along - the ten-year-old altered son of Western Terror Atta Boy Dan won his fourth straight, and ninth of his last ten, in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace. Atta Boy Dan was forced to work very hard for this victory, put into the pocket in a :25.4 opener, moving to the lead but not without a fight to a :53.3 half, and then going to the three-quarters in 1:21.2. In the stretch Rock The Town, who had pressured the winner so much earlier, came in the Pocono Pike but was a half-length shy in the 1:49.3 mile, with first-up Benji's Best another neck back and deep Pikeshooter Pembroke Wildcat just another neck behind. George Napolitano Jr. held the dead-game veteran together for trainer Mike Watson and owner Cliff Grundy, enabling him to top $900,000 in career earnings with his 67th lifetime winners circle picture and his 15th victory of the year, tied for second for North American honors. A new dimension to the Atta Boy Dan story came after the race, where it was announced that he had been claimed for $40,000. That in itself is nothing new - this was the twelfth straight race out of which Atta Boy Dan had been taken for $40,000 (his fourth leaving of Grundy / Watson) - but the people who claimed the horse are Meadows-based, and their trainer has started his last 40 horses at the western PA track; the last one he started at Pocono was claimed away. It will be interesting to see if "Dan" gets a chance to match the 13straight races of changing hands that R Gauwitz Hanover established as the unofficial local record in 2015. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) hosts its final 2019 preliminaries this weekend, with $30,000 events at both Pocono (Saturday evening, open pacers) and Philly (Sunday afternoon, open trotters and mare pacers). This will be the final chance for horses to earn points so that they might be eligible for their $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Championships, all held at 1¼ miles. These Championships will be held on Monday, September 9, at Pocono on a twilight card that also will feature all eight Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships. One of the hottest horses in all of harness racing, Backstreet Shadow, looks to extend his winning string since being acquired by the Burke Brigade to six in Saturday's open pace at Pocono, but he'll have to do it starting from the outside post nine. A winner in GNOS races in his last two starts, Backstreet Shadow currently sits ninth in the standings, and he will need a high finish and little impression by "bubble" horses just beneath him in the point total to make the Championship. He'll be driven by Matt Kakaley this Saturday. Sitting third and sixth in the standings, and with very solid chances of making the Championship, are respectively Scott Rocks (post five, driver George Napolitano Jr.) and Highalator (post two, driver Richard Still). Both horses have shown a long-term affinity for the Pocono oval, and their connections of course hope from sharp performances from them approaching their GNOS Championships. Horses such as The Wall, Prairie Panther, and Donttellmeagain are on the points "bubble" going into their contests and could earn their way into their Championships. The GNOS action then shifts 100 miles southward to Philly on Sunday afternoon, where the first of the two events to take to the track will be the open trot. The Burke Brigade holds a solid position heading into this final prelim: Homicide Hunter, the World's Fastest Trotter at 1:48.4, is #1 in the pointstandings as well as the event's defending champion. He bypassed the GNOS race for a 1:53.2 victory against good conditioned foes at Philly on Thursday. But a nice "backup" GNOS position for the Brigade is the 2017 Horse of the Year, the mare Hannelore Hanover. She succeeded in her only GNOS start this year, and the winner of $2.9M in her career will be starting from post three for driver Yannick Gingras, with a high finish all but assuring her enough points for the Championship. Hannelore's main competition may come from Rich And Miserable (post two, driver Tyler Buter), who has won 9 of 13 races this season. He's fifth in the standings, including a GNOS victory, and he can get himself a spot in the chase for $100,000 at his home track of Pocono with a good race here. In the GNOS mares pace, the #1-ranked horse in the current Top Ten polls, Shartin N, is perfect in two GNOS starts this year, high-up in the standings, and to boot she has drawn the rail in a field of seven for trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick as she goes for her 14th win of the campaign in her 15th start. She will likely be a heavy favorite off of her near-invincible form. Two of her main rivals, Caviart Ally (driver Andrew McCarthy) and Apple Bottom Jeans (driver Corey Callahan), in contrast have drawn the outside posts six and seven, respectively, but both (especially the latter) have shown world-class speed and are very likely to be forward factors. If the more-established females mix it up a bit too much, Write Me A Song, another Burke horse to be driven by Yannick Gingras from post two, comes in after two straight victories at Yonkers, and figures to be placed right behind the frontsteppers. The GNOS events are slotted for race ten at Pocono Saturday, with Sunday's action at Philly in race seven (trot) and eleven (mares pace). From the PHHA, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

WILKES-BARRE, PA - 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit finished third in his second harness racing qualifier after almost three years away from the races Wednesday morning at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, timed in 1:54.2 after winning his first qualifier back in 1:53.4 at Philly eight days ago. In the Philly race, Wiggle It Jiggleit rallied after sitting third-in for most of the mile. On Wednesday at Pocono, George Teague Jr., who handled "Wiggle" in a charted race for the first time since January of his three-year-old year, has Charlie Norris in the sulky, left with the seven-year-old, making the top after a :28.1 quarter, then going on to register splits of :57.3 and 1:25.2. Regular driver Montrell Teague was at Harrah's Philadelphia for the afternoon race card. Wiggle It Jiggleit was still in command at headstretch, but through the lane he was passed by Geez Joe and Stormont Czar A in a 1:53.4 mile, winding up 2½ lengths back in third. George Teague: "I feel OK about him. We'll have to do some more work with him, get some more fitness in him. It'll be at least three or four weeks before he'll be ready to compete. We plan for a couple more qualifiers for him." Before the qualifier, trainer Clyde Francis said he had been pleased by the horse's performance at Philly, and that the goal was to qualify him a couple more times after today, "to see if and where we should race him this year, and also to gauge whether we should stake him for next year." From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Real Desire mare Eclipse Me N won for the fifth time in her last eight starts on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, defeating a strong group of mares in the $21,500 distaff pacing feature in 1:50.2. After Bettorhaveanother passed the quarter in front in :27.2, Eclipse Me N and driver Simon Allard were up and clambering for command, reaching that spot and getting a relative breather to the :56 half. From there Eclipse Me N hit a much higher gear, stepping home in :54.2 to defeat first-over Diva's Image, the slight 6-5 favorite to the winner's 3-2, by two lengths. The career winner of $292,944 is trained by the meet's leading conditioner, Rene Allard, for Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, and Donald Mac Rae. P L Ketchup was able to come out on the "right" side of a photo after finishing second four straight times, three of them by a half-length or less, winning a $15,000 conditioned trot in a lifetime mark of 1:54. The Kadabra gelding used pure speed in accomplishing the task, posting supersonic fractions of :26.3, :55.2, and 1:23.3 in "bottoming" the field out, holding off his nearest challenger, the pocketsitter Trixar, by a neck. Pat Berry drove the winner for trainer Steven Brabrook and owner Jaypaul Hoover. The track's perennial leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., guided five horses past the wire first on the Tuesday card. His brother Anthony accounted for the biggest win price of the night, overcoming post nine with Betabcool N by a nose and returned $50.80 to win to his scattered backers. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

The month of August is winding down and the stakes racing continues at a hot and heavy pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. And it seems that whenever those stakes races take place, top horsemen and horsewomen also bring some of their best overnight horses to Pocono as well, spicing up those races. Let's take a look at all that transpired in the past racing week at Pocono and hand out some Weekly Awards along the way. PACER OF THE WEEK: REBEL ROUSER Early in the year, it was shaping up to be a monster season for this five-year-old gelding. Rebel Rouser came out of the gate in 2019 on top of his game with wins in seven out of ten races, all within the first four months of the year. But an injury sidelined him from April until August, stunting his formidable momentum. In his first start back at Yonkers on August 5, he went off as a heavy favorite and led until late but then broke stride, which sent him back to qualifiers. When he returned to action on August 18 at Pocono, he was met with some skepticism from the bettors, going off at 6-1 as he faced a field of winners of four to seven condition pacers. But he found his old form in a big way, going gate to wire from an outside post for a victory on a sloppy track in a career-best 1:51. The bandwagon was full when he faced the same class on Sunday night at Pocono, as Rebel Rouser went off as a 3-5 favorite with an inside post in a field of eight. Even though track conditions were ideal this time around, driver Yannick Gingras didn't have to ask the gelding for nearly as much speed in the early going as was the case the previous week. Nobody challenged Rebel Rouser as he coasted to the half in just 57 seconds. That left him with plenty in the tank late when challenged by pocket horse Daamericansky, and Rebel Rouser, trained by Bob Cleary, held him off by a neck for his second straight win at Pocono, this one coming in 1:53:1. Other top pacers this week include: Photobombr Hanover (Simon Allard, Tom Fanning), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition victory on Saturday night at Pocono in 1:51:2; Torrid Bromac (Pat Berry, Ted Sulseki), whose claiming win on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:4 gave him victories in three of his last four races; and Artful Bliss (Anthony Napolitano, Marta Piotrow), who rolled to his fourth straight $7,500 claiming victory on Monday afternoon, winning in 1:52:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: RAINBOWINTHEWEST Hailing from the barn of trainer Robert Rougeaux III, this four-year-old mare spent a lot of the season at The Meadows, and made it up as high as the Open Handicap level. Her first try at Pocono was a respectable third-place finish in a $14,000 condition trot. She dropped down a notch the following week and picked up a solid win as a heavy favorite in 1:54 at the $12,500 level, posting a career-best time in the process. Feeling confident off that win, Rainbowinthewest jumped back up in class again to the $14,000 condition trotters on Sunday night. The big difference this time around was, after having the inside #1 post in her previous two journeys at Pocono, she was saddled with the outside post in a field of eight on Sunday night. That, along with the move back up in class, was probably why she was let go at odds of 9-1, well behind the 3-5 favorite Tag Up And Go. Driver Marcus Miller, unconcerned by the odds or the post, sent Rainbowinthewest flying to the front in the early part of the mile. Tag Up And Go came at her with a strong first-over move, while Bucketlist Hanover, getting a garden trip, took aim on the inside late. But the mare had an answer for them all, gutting out the final strides to win a tight one. She managed the mile in 1:54:1 this time around, giving her two straight impressive condition victories on the Pocono oval. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Eurobond (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition victory at Pocono on Sunday night, posting the week's fastest trotting time of 1:51:3 in the process; Beyond Kronos (Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell), whose Stallion Series win over other two-year-old trotting colts and geldings was his third straight and came in the fastest stakes time (1:54:4) of the night; and High Blue (George Napolitano Jr., Joe Pavia Jr.), who rattled off his second straight claiming handicap win on Tuesday and did so in 1:54:2, matching a career-best time. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FASHION WINNER With Marcus Miller in the bike, this trotter rallied for a condition victory on the Monday afternoon program at 26-1, paying out $55.60 on a $2-win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD Simon went on a tear on Saturday, winning six out of the 14 races on the card, with only of those victories coming aboard a betting favorite. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JIM CAMPBELL Campbell's impressive contingent of two-year-old trotters include Sunday night Stallion Series winner Beyond Kronos and Sire Stakes winner Real Cool Sam, who remained unbeaten after seven races. 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@hotmail.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs      

Labor Day Weekend at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be full of harness racing excitement with a jackpot; a fun giveaway; and a baseball legend! Sunday, September 1st, the extremely popular Rainbow Pick 5 will have a mandatory $150,000 plus payout!  During the season, bettors have been “racing” to wager on the Rainbow Pick 5, with the jackpot awarded several times throughout the season.  There can only be one winner, so this is extremely difficult to hit.   Once the jackpot started again, it has been growing steadily over the last few months, and the mandatory payout night is set for September 1st and the Sunday night card. For the mandatory payout, all fans that have the winning horses for those five races will share in the jackpot.  Post Time is 7:00pm, and the wager is .20 for races 10-14 on the card. Fans can meet and have a photo taken with former Philadelphia Phillies baseball legend and member of the 1980 World Series Championship team Greg Luzinski on Sunday night as well.  Wristbands are required, and will be distributed starting at 2:00pm in a limited supply in the racing lobby.  The event will start at 5:00pm, and only authorized photos will be signed, and available, one per guest.  Labor Day Monday, fans can take advantage of the most popular promotion at the track, “50/50 Night”.  The first 100 fans purchase $50 in live racing vouchers, and it is matched for a total of $100 in vouchers.  Wristbands for this event will be available starting at 2:00pm with line-up starting at 1:00pm. Post Time is 4:00pm  Racing continues Saturday and Sunday at 7:00pm and Monday at Tuesday at 4:00pm.  There is no live racing Monday, September 16th.  by Jennifer Starr, for Pocono Downs    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Although a half length winning margin might not suggest so, the Muscle Hill - Cooler Schooner freshman trotting gelding Real Cool Sam was absolutely in control in hisharness racing division of the $184,018 final preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for his group Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Real Cool Sam and driver David Miller were looped out of the gate as Big Oil was hustled to the top, but the double world champion methodically made his way forward to the lead in :29.1, with his rivals showing respect and letting him get to the half in :59. Rome Pays Off, a winner in his only Sires start, came uncovered and gained through and past the 1:28 three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Rome Pays Off grudgingly gave ground, but Big Oil still looked fresh in the pocket and ready to mount a big Pocono Pike dash. But you don't get to be the active all-time leading moneywinning driver without a knowledge of your horse and the opposition, and Miller, knowing his charge was not to be passed, sat "Coolly," with Big Oil getting to within a half-length but not in a menacing fashion; Rome Pays Off stayed on for a good third. Real Cool Sam is undefeated in seven starts, winning three Sire Stakes, the Peter Haughton elim and final, and a PA All-Stars division. Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms LLC have seen their trotter earn $294,038 already, with many big stakes to come. The other Sires cut went to the Cantab Hall - Oh My Darlin colt Capricornus, 3-4 in the Haughton, and here a winner in his Sires bow in 1:55.2, equaling his mark. Tim Tetrick sent the winner to the top not long before the :28.2 quarter, then kept King Alphonso, who had been parked behind him early, out almost to the :57.4 half before yielding the lead and letting his rival carry the lead past the 1:26.4 three-quarters and into the stretch. Capricornus went to the Pocono Pike and was able to overhaul the tough leader, then held off EL Titan rallying to his inside by ¾ of a length, with King Alphonso third. Marcus Melander appears to have another good trotting colt in the two-time winner for the JJ Stable. The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission is the official tallier of the points earned in the Sire Stakes and the Stallion Series, but a quick, unofficial calculation performed after the last PaSS race revealed the following eight horses with the most points: 1. Real Cool Sam; 2. King Alphonso; 3. EL Ideal; 4. Gangster Hanover; 5. Amigo Volo; 6. Can't Say No; 7. Chestnut Hill; 8. Swiss House Onfire. The 2YO Sire Stakes Championships will be held at Philly (where they go eight-wide) on Sunday, September 8. On the Stallion Series side, there were four divisions, with the Muscle Hill - Oyster Kronos colt Beyond Kronos going the fastest mile of all the babies by remaining undefeated in three StS races, with his 1:54.4 time a new mark. Beyond Kronos grinded first-up and worked to defeat pacesetting Askmelater Hanover, hard-used early, by a neck for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Jim Campbell, and owners Jeffrey and Michael Snyder. Town Victor wound up as leading prelim pointwinner on the strength of three wins and a third in the StS, including his 1:55.3 win Sunday for driver Matt Kakaley, which gave him a new mark. The Winning Mister - P Town Girl gelding is already a five-time winner for trainer Rich Gillock, co-owner with Barbara Richardson. The other two Stallion Series winners broke their maidens: Maesterdaemon, an Andover Hall - Angel Pie colt who won in 1:58 for Team Melander, driver Mattias and trainer Marcus, and the S R F Stable; and Don Grigio, by Donato Hanover - Crazy Grigio, home in 1:57 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen, and Crawford Farms Racing. Again, the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission is the official tallier of the points earned in the Sire Stakes and the Stallion Series, but a quick, unofficial calculation performed after the last StS race revealed the following nine horses with the most points: 1. Town Victor; 2. Beyond Kronos; 3. Matter Of Focus; 4. (tie) Loyal Fox Hanover and Saxon; 6. Don Grigio; 7. Libero Hanover; 8. (tie) Spring Roll and Stickler Hanover. All of the Stallion Series Championships will be held here at Pocono (where we go nine-wide) on Monday, September 9. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

HARRISBURG, PA - Horsemen with fast-class older horses are reminded that the final $30,000 preliminary rounds for the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will be taking place this coming weekend. The GNOS has divisions for open pacers, open trotters, and mare pacers, and this will be the last chance for a horse to earn points towards qualifying for the $100,000 Championships at 1¼ miles at Pocono on Monday, September 9. The open pacers event is scheduled for Pocono on Saturday, with the draw to be conducted on Monday. The open trotters and mare pacers contests are scheduled for Philly on Sunday, with the draw to be conducted on Tuesday, not Wednesday because of the extra Labor Day Monday card. Further information can be obtained by contacting the race offices at both Philly and Pocono, which will be open on Sunday during their respective afternoon and evening cards. From the PHHA, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia racetracks

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Springsteen had his third straight "#1" at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night, grinding his way past Western Joe to take the $21,500 featured pace in 1:49 and add to a great evening for the brothers Allard. Springsteen, a four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, was away fourth as Rebellious cut a :27 quarter and the favored (even money vs. Springsteen's 6-5) Western Joe brushed past him to hit the half in :54.3. Springsteen came first-up at the 5/8 and gained on Western Joe to and past the 1:21.4 three-quarters, and he finally pressured his main foe into submission in deep stretch. Western Joe held on well to miss only a half length, winning a photo from the inside-shooting Rebellious for second. After missing a neck to Lather Up in a Franklin elimination in his first start of the year and then finishing within three lengths in the Franklin Championship, Springsteen has put together his current win streak for owners Allard Racing Inc., Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Kapildeo Singh while boosting his earnings to $594,512. Springsteen was one of six winning drives on the night for Simon Allard, four of them for his brother Rene, the meet's leading trainer, including this one with Springsteen. In the $20,000 claiming handicap pace, the main question wasn't whether Atta Boy Dan would win - he did again, on the front end for driver George Napolitano Jr. in 1:50.1, his third straight and eighth of his last nine - but where he would wind up after the race. It turns out it won't be with trainer Vinnie Fusco Jr. and the P T Stable, for whom he won Saturday, but back with owner Clifford Grundy, who has now claimed him for $40,000 four times in his 11-race streak of being haltered for that top Pocono price. Atta Boy Dan is 15-11-2-1-$123,450 since coming to Pocono on May 11, 14-for-25 in 2019 (tied for second in wins among North American pacers), and a 66-time winner in a career that has seen the 10-year-old accumulate $896,417. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Sunday card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will feature the fourth and final preliminary round of action for Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old harness racing trotting colts - two divisions of the $184,018 PA Sire Stakes, along with four divisions of the PA Stallion Series competition. No horse was victorious in all of the first three prelim rounds of the Sire Stakes, but the tenth race second division, which on paper figures to be a slightly-tougher cut, features a horse who was victorious in both his PaSS starts - the double world champion Real Cool Sam, who starts from post four for driver David Miller, trainer Jim Campbell, and owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC. An altered son of Muscle Hill - Cooler Schooner, Real Cool Sam set world records in his last two starts. He equaled the 1:53.1 standard for baby trotting geldings on a mile track, first set by Outburst in 2013, when he won the Haughton Memorial final (for which he skipped a Sires prelim), and then at The Meadows he equaled the divisional world record of 1:54.4 set by Amigo Volo a week earlier. Real Cool Sam is undefeated in six career starts, and has earnings of $248,134. Two other single Sires winners will go against him Sunday: Rome Pays Off (post one, trainer Marcus Melander, driver Mattias Melander), a winner at The Meadows in his last start; and Chestnut Hill (post seven, trainer Nifty Norman, driver Tim Tetrick), who won at Philly on August 9. In the other division, the Father Patrick - Margarita Momma gelding Amigo Volo, who at Philly first set the 1:54.4 divisional world record that was equaled by Real Cool Sam in that one's last start, has drawn the rail for the team of trainer Nifty Norman and driver David Miller. His only other start in the Sires was a neck defeat to Gangster Hanover, a two-time Sires winner who is sitting out this last prelim. Gangster Hanover is part of the Ã…ke Svanstedt stable, and Svanstedt has two single-time Sires winners going against Amigo Volo: Swiss House On Fire (post five, driver Yannick Gingras) and King Alphonso (post six, Svanstedt up); the latter is actually the divisional pointsleader with a win and two seconds in the competition. The battle for high finishes will determine who earns enough points to qualify for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship and consolation, to be held September 8 at Harrah's Philly. The competition should be equally fierce in the Stallion Series races, which will have their Championship here at The Downs on Monday, September 9. Three horses have two Stallion Series wins apiece so far, and the fourth race StS division matches two of them: Town Victor, the leading pointwinner in the Series so far with two firsts and a third, and Saxon, who is undefeated in his only two Stallion Series starts. The other double winner is Beyond Kosmos, also unbeaten in a pair of StS contests, who will go postward in the sixth race. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Roll With Joe mare Obvious Blue Chip, a winner despite being parked the mile at Saratoga on Friday, came right back to triumph in the $14,000 distaff pacing feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Simon Allard got away third with the career winner of $511,324, then quarter-moved to command and did not get too taxing a middle half. This moderation left Obvious Blue Chip with plenty in the tank for the last quarter, which she stepped in :26.2 while taking a new mark of 1:50 flat, 1¼ lengths ahead of a game pocketsitting Shes Pukka N. Simon's brother Rene, the leading trainer at The Downs, conditions the winner for NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski. Simon Allard and George Napolitano Jr. each drove four winners on the Tuesday Pocono card. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs   Pocono Downs Week In Review This past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was filled with stakes action once again. We featured both Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings (Sunday) and two-year-old trotting fillies (Monday.) In addition, we enjoyed another round of the Great Northeast Open series on Saturday night, this time with the Open pacers taking a center stage. A busy week to be sure, and one that provides us with many candidates for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: AFLAME HANOVER This three-year-old colt from the barn of Linda Schadel has been tearing it up of late in condition paces. And that’s understandable, considering the kind of competition he faced earlier in the year. Facing extremely long odds in both the North America Cup in Canada and the Max Hempt Memorial Pace at Pocono, Aflame Hanover snuck in for fourth-place finishes in both, managing to get his handlers pretty substantial payback in the process. When he returned to overnight racing, he was ready to flex his muscle. First up was a victory at Pocono on July 29 over non-winners of two. Then he headed over to Harrah’s at Philadelphia for a victory over non-winners of three. His quest for three in a row brought him back to Pocono on Sunday night, where he went off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of eight non-winners of four for a purse of $15,000. Leaving from post position #2, Aflame Hanover swooped Rickybobbyinthehaus to take the lead on the first turn. From there, there were really no anxious moments. Driver Andrew McCarthy rated the pace at a solid level, so that Aflame Hanover didn’t overexert himself but also so that nobody could put a real challenge to him with a first-over move. In the home stretch, the colt solidified his lead, holding off the closing A Bettor Beach to pick up the win by 2 ¼ lengths. The winning time of 1:51:2 on a track listed in good condition was a new career-mark for Aflame Hanover, who just keeps getting stronger each time out. Other top pacers this week include: T’s Electric (Tyler Buter, Emily Bost) who picked up his third straight claiming handicap win on Sunday night, getting it done in the slop in 1:53:4; Backstreet Shadow (Pat Berry, Ron Burke), who followed up three wins in a row elsewhere by shipping in and capturing Saturday night’s division of the Great Northeast Open Series pace in 1:49:2 in the slop; and Derecho (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who moved up in class to win his second straight condition pace on Saturday night, this one in 1:52:4 in the sloppy conditions. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: VERY VERY FAST Whoever named this trotter must have had a very good premonition of what was to come in his racing career. Now aged 10, Very Very Fast has shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, back on July 14 at Pocono, the gelding set a career-best with at Pocono with a win in 1:52:2. A few weeks later, he stepped up into the $21,500 condition trotting group and managed another victory, this one in 1:53:2. Last week he very nearly missed capturing an Open Handicap trot at Tioga, finishing second from an outside post. He returned to Pocono on Sunday night to once again face off with the $21,500 condition trotters. And it was a stout field he faced. In fact, despite all his recent success at Pocono, Very Very Fast went off as a 7-2 third choice. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight, he was sent immediately to the front end by driver Tim Tetrick in the sloppy conditions. Even though he was rated well, however, the 6-5 favorite Scirocco Rob seemed to be a major threat as he lurked in the pocket for much of the mile. In the stretch, Tetrick asked Very Very Fast for more juice and the veteran provided it. When Scirocco Rob tried to respond, he went off-stride. There was still the matter of Pappy Go Go, who was closing very well out three-wide in the lane. But Very Very Fast held him off to win it by a half-length, posting a mile of 1:54 in the off-going. That gives him three top-flight condition wins at Pocono in a little more than a month’s time, once again living up to that speedy name of his. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Bill’s Man (Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen), who followed up a win at Tioga with a condition victory on Sunday night in 1:54:1; Zlatan (Tim Tetrick, Vincent Fusco Jr.) who shipped in to pick up a tough condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:4; and Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), the budding superstar two-year-old filly who stayed unbeaten in her career after five races with a Sire Stakes win on Monday in 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHARP ACTION MONEY There were a lot of live long-shot winners this week, but this pacer driven by Tom Jackson topped them all, winning a condition on Saturday night at 44-1 for a $91.80 payout on a $2 wager. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley loved the stakes action on Sunday night with two wins apiece in the Sire Stakes and Stallion Series, with one of the Sire Stakes victories coming aboard 44-1 long shot Tell Them Lou. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PER ENGBLOM During Monday’s stakes action for two-year-old trotting fillies, Engblom managed a Stallion series victory with Rebecca Clark and a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win with Queen Of The Hill. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me atjbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras guided both Sister Sledge and Queen Of The Hill to their third victories in an undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes campaign on Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in the three-division $182,105 third round preliminary. Sister Sledge had been regarded as the leader of the division at this point, and even though she went in 1:56.1 to Queen Of The Hill's 1:55, she lost none of her luster. The daughter of Father Patrick - Behindclosedoors quarter-moved after a :29 opener, was allowed to get to the half in :59.3, then sprinted home in :56.3 - :27.4 in full control, with longshot Ginger Tree Bren coming on late to make the margin of victory 2½ lengths at the wire. Sister Sledge is undefeated in five career starts, with the Sire Stakes joined by an Arden Downs win and a PA All-Stars win in which she took her mark of 1:53.4. Ron Burke trained his second Sires winner of the night for Sister Sledge's ownership, Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby. Queen Of The Hill (8-5) wasn't even favored in her Sires cut, mainly because she was facing Sherry Lyns Lady (3-5), who had a previous Sires win and a 2-2 finish in the two weeks of the Doherty Stake, against the "Queen"'s 3-6. Queen Of The Hill brushed to the lead after a 28.3 quarter, and in turn she yielded to Sherry Lyns Lady at the :58 half. The field went by the three-quarters in 1:27, and in the stretch Queen Of The Hill went to the Pocono Pike to challenge the leader; Sherry Lyns Lady gave her all she wanted, but Queen Of The Hill prevailed by a head in 1:55, a new mark. Per Engblom trains the daughter of Explosive Matter - Flyer Mel for owner Al Libfeld. Queen Of The Hill These two will have to contend with Sans Defaut, who won her second straight Sire Stakes start and matched the 1:55 clocking, fastest in this PaSS group so far, of Queen Of The Hill. The other Ron Burke trainee to win in this PaSS class on the card, the daughter of Muscle Hill- Flawless Lady made a move past a :28.2 quarter for driver Matt Kakaley and put up mid-race splits of :57.4 and 1:26.1 before defeating Solsbury Hill by 2½ lengths. Also a winner in PA All-Stars competition, Sans Defaut is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms Racing, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The only two-time Stallion Stakes winner before Monday, Caviart Giulia, went to Kentucky for an engagement and finished third last night, but Heart N Soul Deo and Rebecca Clark joined her in the Two-Time StS Winner Club. The Muscle Hill - Yursa Hanover filly Heart N Soul Deo is four-for-five lifetime after a convincing 2¼ length victory in 1:55 - as fast as the fastest Sires divisions went, and lowering her mark by two seconds. Tim Tetrick handled the winner for trainer Linda Toscano and the ownership of Thomas Pontone, Richard Gutnick, and Joseph Lozito Jr. Rebecca Clark also reduced her own best time to 1:57.1, coming first-over and then holding off Eye On The Hill by a head. Two familiar names from the Sire Stakes report above - driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Per Engblom - were the braintrust behind the daughter of Muscle Hill - About To Bee for trainer Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman, and Bivans And Bruni Racing. Tim Tetrick won a second StS division here with the Sebastian K S miss Next Level Stuff, who set the pace and broke her maiden in 1:55.4 for trainer Jim Campbell - with whom Tetrick teamed to win with Milles Possesion four hours earlier crosstate at The Meadows - and Runthetable Stables. Driver Scott Zeron was sitting fourth-in with the Andover Hall - Miss Athens filly Miss Wilia at headstretch, and he had to decide which way to go. Then his decision was made for him: pacesetter Alittlebitofsugar stayed straight on the lead, Queso Fresco went to the Pocono Pike, and favored I'm Really Special moved outside - way outside while drifting. Zeron shot through the hole between horses just past midstretch, and Miss Wilia, although a maiden, knew what to do, finishing strongly for a 1:56.3 triumph for Scott's father, trainer Rick Zeron, and owners Charles Receski and Thomas Brice. The other StS section went to the Muscle Hill - Viva Las Lindy filly Hannah, who made a second move to brush to the lead down the backstretch, then stayed safe to reduce her record to 1:56.2. Team Orange Crush - trainer/wife Julie and driver/husband Andy Miller - combined for the win with Hannah for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Dumain Haven Farm. These PA-sired two-year-old trotting fillies will have their final preliminaries next week at The Meadows: Tuesday for the Stallion Series and Wednesday for the Sire Stakes. FINISHING LINES -- Eric Irving, who has driven only sporadically in recent years, recorded his first driving victory since January 24, 2009 when he won with Rhyme N Roll by a nose and returned $65.80 to win. PHHA / Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - All three divisions of the $180,855 third preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono saw their winners take lifetime bests of 1:52 over off going, with Adriano Hanover perfect after three PaSS events and driver Matt Kakaley engineering upsets in the other two divisions. The Western Ideal - A and G'sconfusion colt Adriano Hanover had little trouble in winning his division as the heavy favorite, moving after the :27.2 quarter, making the lead well before the :56 half, and then passing the three-quarters in 1:24.1 before dashing home to post a 2½ length victory over Manticore. Adriano Hanover is now undefeated in five purse starts, with an Arden Downs division added to his three Sire Stakes wins, for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr., who in the afternoon connected with #1-ranked Shartin N in a Tioga stake, and the ownership of Jo Ann-Looey King and Joseph Palermo III. Cattlewash also entered his Sires section undefeated in two divisional races, but after moving out before the :27.1 quarter to soon grab the lead and post middle splits of :56.3 and 1:24.3, he faced the Charge Of The Light Brigade coming at him in the stretch. Moving fastest of all late was the Sweet Lou - Show And Tell gelding Tell Them Lou, who had been passed by Cattlewash after making the top, then came out in the lane and posted a half-length victory while paying $90.60. Papi Rob Hanover came up the Pocono Pike for second; Seeyou At Thebeach closed for third; and Cattlewash had to settle for fourth, though beaten only 1½ lengths. Jim Campbell trains the two-time winner for the ownership of Fashion Farms LLC and Judith Peres. Tell Them Lou, with his 1:52 winning time, also earned the distinction of becoming his division's North American season's leader. Trainer Ron Burke, who also had stakes wins at Hippodrome 3R and The Red Mile on Sunday, sent out the 1-2 finishers in the other Sires division, as Mac's Big Boy defeated favored Caliber, a previous PaSS winner, by a half-length. The victorious Somebeachsomewhere - Michelle's Jackpot colt made a big backstretch move for Kalaley on leader Western Vacation after that one had cut front numbers of :26.2 and :56.4, had the lead by the 1:24 three-quarters, then withstood Caliber to the wire. The winner had previously achieved a Pennsylvania All-Stars victory at Pocono for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva - Purnel & Libby, and the Wingfield Five LLC. Matt Kakaley also won twice in divisional Stallion Series competition, both for trainer Ray Schnittker, with whom he had teamed earlier in the day to win a Tioga stake with Hickfromfrenchlick. The 1:52 win of the Captaintreacherous - Lets Groove Tonite colt Captain Groovy gave him three Stallion Series wins and equaled his mark, but it was also the hardest-fought contest. Captain Groovy sat the pocket behind Sandbetweenmytoes, then had to have a strong rally to catch the pacesetter by a head - although their closest rival was thirteen lengths in their arrears. Trainer Schnittker co-owns the undefeated colt, also a winner in the PA All-Stars, with Ted Gewertz, Howard Taylor, and Mary Kinsey Arnold. The Well Said - Bodacious Hanover colt Lake Charles took his second straight Stallion Series outing, moving to the lead early then coming home in :55.3 - :27.2 to be two lengths to the good of Dracarys Z in 1:54. Schnittker also co-owns this winner with Dr. John Egloff, Max J. Hempt, and Steven Arnold. The easiest winner in all of the night's stakes was the Captaintreacherous - Western Silk colt Cheerio Hill, 7 1/2 lengths ahead at the finish while posting a time of 1:53.2 clocking for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Chris Oakes, and the ownership of Tom Hill, Northfork Racing Stable, and Billy Joe Timmins. After losing his first three races, Cheerio Hill has now won his last three - by a combined margin of 18¼ lengths. The only non-favorite to win in the StS contests was the Somebeachsomewhere - Temptation Hanover colt Patriot Nation, who came uncovered into a :56.3 half and still overhauled Lyons Music, who had gained the stretch lead in the Pocono Pike, winning by ¾ of a length while breaking his maiden in 1:53.4. George Napolitano Jr. drove the winner for trainer Andrew Harris and owners Michael Goldberg Racing LLC and A Harris Racing LLC. These pacing colts now move on to Harrah's for their final preliminary action next week; the top horses in the Stallion Series pointstandings will race in their Championships at Pocono on Monday, September 9. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Overcoming a sloppy track, a first-over move, and very tough opposition, the Shadow Play four-year-old gelding Backstreet Shadow showed speed and gameness in taking a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) event for fast-class pacing horses in 1:49.2. On paper, three horses seemed to have the best credentials - None Bettor A was sent off as the 8-5 favorite, with Backstreet Shadow 9-5 and Highalator 2-1 - and they were the three major players in the race. None Bettor A made the early lead, yielded to Highalator before the :26.4 quarter, then retook in front of the stands and got a bit of a rest to a :55.3 half. Backstreet Shadow, who had tucked fourth from the outside post seven early, launched his first-over bid off the second turn for driver Pat Berry, and the sharp pacer went his own third quarter raw in 26 flat to get within a length of None Bettor A by the 1:22.1 three-quarters. Around the turn and through the stretch those two continued to fight, joined in the lane by a resurgent Highalator in the Pocono Pike. Backstreet Shadow showed his grittiness by defeating None Bettor A (absent for four weeks) by a head, with Highalator just another neck back in third. Backstreet Shadow has now won four races in a row and ten on the year, boosting his seasonal earnings to $200,700 and lifetime bankroll to $369,646. Ron Burke trains the talented sidewheeler for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The rest of the races in the report were conducted over a "fast" track, before a midcard hard rain and a slight weather delay. Atta Boy Dan got revenge on the horse who snapped his recent five-race winning streak, Benji's Best, ending that one's own four-race victory skein with a 1:49.3 engine victory in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace for driver George Napolitano Jr. (a five-time winner on the night), trainer Mike Watson, and owner Clifford Grundy. The victorious Western Terror ten-year-old gelding, now with 65 career wins and $886,417 in winnings, bested his rival by 1¼ lengths - and then both were promptly claimed for the highest-level price of $40,000. This is the tenth straight race (three of them for Grundy/Watson, all wins) out of which Atta Boy Dan has been claimed, approaching the local record of thirteen straight claims set by R Gauwitz Hanover in 2015. It's easy to understand the appeal of the game veteran - his record since coming to Pocono on May 11 is 14-10-2-1-$113,460 -- and he has been claimed 13 times, 11 for the $40,000 maximum. 19-year-old provisional driver Jack Killeen, an Irishman who came to America on a five-year visa to pursue his dream of being a full-time horseman, made his Pocono debut a smashing one, guiding Duc De Guise F to a $65.20 victory after coming from last down the backstretch to be just up in 1:55.4. The French-bred trotter, whom Killeen co-owns and had driven in his native land last year before crossing the Atlantic, showed no rust from nearly a year away from the races, putting in a big late kick deep in the Pocono Pike to pass everybody for trainer Michael Seddon (whose only other career training winner paid $230.40) and the partnership of Killeen and Sinners Racing. In the very next race, another horse making his Stateside debut was victorious - after coming about three times as far to get to Pocono as Duc De Guise F did. He is the Somebeachsomewhere gelding San Domino A, and with his second move he closed with solid strides to take a 1:49.1 mark in his first U.S. race. George Napolitano Jr. drove the Aussie-bred pacer, who looks headed for bigger things, for trainer Andrew Harris and the ownership of Joe P Racing LLC and Oldford Racing LLC. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Headed by the undefeated Sister Sledge, the $181,105 third preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies will be held in three divisions during the twilight card on Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. There will also be five $20,000 Stallion Series divisions throughout the card. The Father Patrick - Behindclosedoors filly Sister Sledge may be named after the musical group who had a hit with the song "We Are Family," but Sister Sledge has been distancing herself from her competition "family," winning her four races by a cumulative 13¼ lengths. A two-time Sire Stakes winner, the faster of which came in 1:55.1 for the quickest time yet posted in her PaSS division, she is also the fastest freshman trotter of either sex on a 5/8-mile track with her 1:53.4 win in a Pennsylvania All-Stars win here at Pocono. Owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, Sister Sledge will begin from post three in the tenth race second division for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Her two main competitors have drawn the two outermost posts in this field of seven: the Muscle Hill - Kadealia miss Sorella, a Sire Stakes and Arden Downs winner who starts from post six for trainer Staffan Lind and driver Tim Tetrick; and the Muscle Hill - Armbro Deja Vu filly Hello Tomorrow, coming off a 2-3 summary in the Doherty Memorial, beginning just to her right for trainer Per Engblom and driver David Miller. The eleventh race third division brings together three babies who have already won in the Sire Stakes: the Explosive Matter - Flyer Mel distaff Queen Of The Hill, a double Sires winner starting from post five for trainer Per Engblom and driver Yannick Gingras; the Father Patrick - Demoiselle Hanover filly Sherry Lyns Lady, second in the Doherty final, beginning from post three for trainer Jim Campbell and driver Tim Tetrick; and the Muscle Hill - Anonyme Hanover miss Aldabra Hanover, an 11-1 upsetter in her Sires win, who will start between these two rivals for trainer Julie Miller and driver/husband Andy. Sans Defaut is the only previous Sire Stakes winner in the third race first division, and the daughter of Muscle Hill - Flawless Lindy, also a PA All-Stars winner here, is sure to have many backers as she begins from post one for trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley. Four of the five Stallion Series divisions contains a winner from the second StS preliminary leg: Perth Angie De Vie (race 4), Burberry (race 6), Heart N Soul Deo (race 7), and Rebecca Clark (race 9). The seventh race division also contains first round StS winner Path Of Totality. The fastest of the StS winners, Dune Hill (1:56.2), is also on the Monday Pocono card - but she is upgrading to Sire Stakes competition. The Monday twilight card at Pocono is set to begin at 4 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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