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WILKES-BARRE PA - It was hoped that the fourth and final preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies, held on Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, might clear up the picture of the division's pecking order ahead of the September 1 harness racing Championship at The Meadows, but instead the overall view is now as clear as the muddy red clay over which the babies raced. In what sense? Well, the most prelims won by any filly was two. None of the winners on Monday had won before in the Sire Stakes - one had not even raced in them previously, and one had yet to stay flat in the PaSS - and none of Monday's three visitors to Victory Lane are within the top ten in the pointstandings, as a total of 13 fillies posted at least one triumph in the prelims. First to go over the sloppy course Monday was the Donato Hanover filly Jezzy's Legacy, who made her initial appearance on the tote board after a race a 1:57.3 victory. Jezzy's Legacy made the front for driver George Napolitano Jr., then yielded to second choice Hanovers Best to sit in the two-hole as that one and race favorite Sonnet Grace (one of the double winners) hooked up nearing the ¾ and through the turn. Sonnet Grace had been gaining steadily, but nearing the homestretch she suddenly bore about 3¼-wide, and she could not make up the crucial lost ground. That left the race to the pacesetter and the pocketsitter, and Jezzy's Legacy gained into the 28.1 last quarter to win by a length, with Sonnet Grace rallying to be another neck back on the money. Jezzy's Legacy is trained by Ray Schnittker, who is also co-owner with Little E LLC, Steven Arnold, and Hall of Fame ballot nominee Ted Gewertz. The second division saw The Ice Dutchess, in her initial Sire Stakes race, sent off at odds-on despite the outermost post off her win in the Doherty Final, but she made a break vying for the lead nearing the 1/8. 42-1 shot Bushy Tails emerged in front early but readily surrendered the lead to the Muscle Hill filly Swizzle Sticks, who set the pace. In the lane the pocketed longshot made a good charge at the leader, but Swizzle Sticks prevailed by a half-length while taking a maiden mark of 1:57.2. Brian Sears, handling his fourth winner of the night, had the sulky duty for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Jeffrey Snyder. There were a pair of previous PaSS winners in the third division in Magical Beliefs and Antonia, but the role of favorite went to the Muscle Hill filly Beautiful Sin, photoed out in the Doherty, but able to make her Sire Stakes bow successful in the quickest time of 1:56.3, saving the chalk's dignity somewhat in the stakes events. Magical Beliefs had moved early to command, with Beautiful Sin taking the first-over route under the guidance of Yannick Gingras, and the issue was in question until midstretch, where Beautiful Sin still had another gear left and drew away by 3¼ lengths; second choice Antonia fell victim to a break. Beautiful Sin is trained by Jimmy Takter for the S R F Stable. The Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is the official keeper of PA-sired competition points, but an unofficial tally of the standings after the races yielded these ten as the leading pointwinners: 1. Magical Beliefs, 2. Sonnet Grace, 3. Ma Was Right, 4. Personal Paradise, 5. Rush Lane, 6. (tie) Antonia, Fate Smiled, and Windy Corner, 9. (tie) Daria P and Hanovers Best. There is of course the possibility that one or more of the top horses may not declare in for the Championship, and the horses "on the bubble" do have the prospect of a consolation race at The Meadows if enough fillies declare in. On the night Brian Sears drove five winners and George Nap drove four. Tuesday at Pocono is the last Stallion Series preliminary, to be conducted over seven divisions. And you may think that this Sire Stakes division is hard to sort out ... PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Real Fine and Zuluwarriorhanover took their second wins in Pennsylvania Stallion Series competition for three-year-old pacing fillies during their third preliminary at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday, but it was the other divisional winner - first-time StS starter Attention Hanover - who dew most of the attention. The daughte of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Steve Salerno and co-owned by Salerno in partnership with Dean Casaday, had been entered in the first StS prelim but was scratched sick, and since then had stuck to working her way up the conditioned ranks, taking four of her previous five starts. She then showed she was ready for the Stallion Series group, being backed out of the pocket by driver Eric Carlson to follow Sandy's Beach as that one cleared at the ¾, then outpaced her home by 1½ lengths. The victory helped Attention Hanover's chances towards making her Stallion Series Championship, but it in no way assured it, as Attention Hanover is tied for 13th according to unofficial standings compiled at the end of the stakes racing (the Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is the official keeper of PA-sired competition points). Real Fine and Zuluwarriorhanover now each have two wins and a second in three Stallion Series starts and all but cannot be dislodged from a spot in the Championship. First of the pair to win Sunday was the Bettor's Delight filly Real Fine, who set the pace, got a very stiff challenge from Dark Force on the turn, but regathered in the stretch to post a half-length triumph in 1:53.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC, Knox Services Inc, Slaughter Racing Stable LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Zuluwarriorhanover, another Somebeachsomewhere filly, allowed early traffic to settle then was brushed to the lead by driver Tim Tetrick coming off the first turn and stayed in control from there. At the wire pocketsitter Danikova was 1½ lengths behind the 1:53.2 winner, who is trained by Tom Fanning for owner David Van Wert. A pair of $21,500 events matched fast trotters in the first conducted and classy pacing mares in the second. On the trot, Boffin was forwardly-paced throughout by driver Tim Tetrick after an attempt off the pace snapped a three-race winning streak last time, moved to leading favorite Moonshiner Hanover in the stretch, and proved the better by 1½ lengths while crossing the wire first in 1:53.1. The altered son of Donato Hanover, now a winner of $517,487, is trained by Anette Lorentzon, who is also c-owner with ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson. Second-over Agent Q had the fractions in her favor (54.2 first half vs. 57.2 back half) in the mares pace, and her sweeping move on the far turn carried her to a stretch lead she would not surrender in the 1:51.4 mile, with Skippin By doing very well late but coming up a half-length shy. The Western Terror mare Agent Q, now an earner of $1,208,870, came out of the box smokin' in 2018, fell off-form and was given a brief respite, and now has come back to win two of her last three for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Crawford Farms LLC, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara. FINISHING LINES - The largest extant carryover pool in North America horse racing was taken down Saturday night at The Downs, as the Rainbow Pick 5 rewarded the one successful bettor with $321,175.78. The imaginative player had in his ticket two horses paying over $100, Riproy ($117.00) and P L Hercules ($102.00), along with a $35.00 horse in the last race of the bet driven by the six-time defending driving champion at the mountain oval, George Napolitano Jr. With two scratches attached to the winning favorite in the first leg, the official ticket read (1,6,8)/5/2/9/7. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old trotting fillies come to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the track's final two cards of the week, with Sire Stakes horses on Monday and Stallion Series contests on Tuesday. These races are the fourth and final preliminary legs for the babies, their last chance to earn points to work into their respective Championship races. No Sire Stakes filly was able to win all three of her prelim races to date, although Sonnet Grace and Magical Beliefs came close with two wins and a second. Both won in the first leg; Sonnet Grace beat Magical Beliefs in the second prelim; then in the third prelim, Magical Beliefs returned to winning ways while Sonnet Grace finished a head behind Antonia, her second Sires win after skipping the first leg. All three will race in the three Sires divisions at Pocono on Monday: Sonnet Grace in the eighth, Magical Beliefs and Antonia in the eleventh. They will be joined by a powerful pair of "new shooters" in the Sire Stakes competition: The Ice Dutchess and Beautiful Sin, who were a neck apart as the 1-2 finishers in the Doherty Memorial on Hambletonian Day. These two are unlikely to make the finals even if they win, but they could earn themselves a spot in their Consolation race. Sonnet Grace is favored in her eighth race division, and The Ice Dutchess in the tenth. The most contentious division, the eleventh, will find Beautiful Sin opening as the choices against the two double winners in her section. In Tuesday's Stallion Series racing, there are seven divisions of action, which means the Championship picture is very far from solidified, although among the definite starters if she enters is Southwind Storm. The filly has "stormed" to three straight wins in her StS preliminary action, and would appear to have a good chance to go into her Championship race undefeated. She goes in the eighth race division. Navarone Hanover, a two-time winner in her only two Stallion Series starts, faces the gate a race earlier. The only other double prelim winner, Fast Reaction is not entered, but no fewer than eight single prelim winners are scattered throughout the card, looking to do well and make their Championship contest. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - In the three divisions of the third preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakesfor three-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winners Kissin In The Sand, Sansovina Hanover, and Alexa's Power all greatly helped their chances of reaching their divisional Championship, to take place on September 2 at Pocono. Kissin In The Sand, of course, has battled with Youaremycandygirl for divisional bragging rights for the last several weeks, and many Pocono fans thought her very hard journey on the rim in winning the Lynch Championship during Sun Stakes Saturday on June 30 to be the outstanding performance of that evening.  The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere had it much easier on Saturday, as driver Scott Zeron tucked her third early, then moved to the lead in front of the stands, with the pair pacing home in 54.4 - 27 to be three lengths clear at the end of a 1:50.3 mile. The Nancy Johansson trainee, owned by Marvin Katz and the Hatfield Stables, now has earnings of $403,822 with an 8-5-3-0 scorecard this year and a lifetime tally of 12 wins and $634,997 in winnings. When Youaremycandygirl nosed out Kissin In The Sand in the Shady Daisy at The Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day, just a neck back in third, with the same 1:48.2 clocking as the first two, was another daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Alexa's Power, so it seems appropriate that that filly could dominate her Sire Stakes field, winning in 1:50.4.  Tim Tetrick set sail with his filly early and the pair went right down the pike, blitzing to the wire in 54.3 - 27.1 to check home four lengths to the good of previous double Sire Stake winner Sidewalk Dancer. Jim Campbell trains the winner of $319,776, who took a new mark, for Jeffrey and Michael Snyder. While the other two winners had had a second in their only Sire Stakes showing prior to tonight, Sansovina Hanover raced in both prior legs and finished third. But Sansovina Hanover and driver Andrew McCarthy brought their "A" game to Pocono, going first-over against the other previous Sire Stakes two-time winner, Serene Stride, and then leaving her behind the last 1/8 to be 3¼ lengths in front at the finish. Completing a sweep for sire Somebeachsomewhere, Sansovina Hanover recorded both her first win of the year and a new personal best, raising her earnings to $175,160 for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Michelle Yanek; and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The veteran Bettor's Delight gelding Bettor's Edge raised his career earnings to $2,161,456 as he won the $21,500 top conditioned pace, holding off the stretch surge of Music Is Art by a half-length in 1:50.3. Jim Morrill Jr. guided the pacer to Victory Lane for the 43rd time as he won for trainer Jennifer Lappe, who is also co-owner with Robert Santagata. Tomorrow night at Pocono, the fillies' Stallion Series counterparts go to the gate in three divisions. In their previous two preliminaries, there have been 10 divisions and 10 different winners; eight of those winners will be in Sunday's contest, hoping to solidify themselves slots in their Championship event. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Top three-year-old pacing filly Kissin In The Sand is the early favorite in one of three divisions of the group's third preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Nancy Johansson for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables, provided one of the greatest thrills of the 2018 Pocono season when she overcame being parked virtually every step in the mile to win the $300,000 Lynch Championship here on June 30, Sun Stakes Saturday. She has also won the Mistletoe Shalee and not been worse than second in seven seasonal starts, and she will start from post six Saturday in the third race division, where her main competition figures to come from Reign On Me, among the top three in her last four against solid competition. The two horses who have won their first two preliminary Sire Stakes legs each top one of the other divisions. The race four cut has Serene Stride as the early pick as she starts from post five for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Mark Harder, and owners Emilio and Maria Rosati. The six-time seasonal winner will square off against Pearl Blue Chip, a recent 1:51 winner at Mohawk. The other double winner is Sidewalk Dancer, a daughter of A Rocknroll Dance to be guided by Brett Miller for trainer Chris Oakes and the ownership of Northfork Racing Stable, Omar Beiler and Dennis Coons. Sidewalk Dancer must try to overcome the outside post seven in the fifth race division, and in fact is the early second choice to Alexa's Power, a winner in the Lismore and Adioo Volo stakes. Three divisions of Stallion Series misses will go postward at Pocono on Sunday. There were ten divisions in the first two Stallion Series prelims, with ten different winners; eight of them will be at Pocono on Sunday, including joint-fastest StS winners Miss Hill and Zuluwarriorhanover at 1:52.2. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA (August 9, 2018) - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will offer a 15% across-the-board takeout rate on all available wagers-not only on the entire Breeders Crown Finals card, but also on two nights of elimination cards. "It's a significant benefit to offer bettors one of the absolute lowest multi-race takeout rates in all of North America," said John Campbell, president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the Breeders Crown championship series of races. "Adding this incentive to one of racing's most highly anticipated events will make it all the more exciting." The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association have also partnered with TVG to broadcast key Breeders Crown races, and with Daily Racing Form for live streaming on their website with analysis, past performance pages and commentary, giving fans access free of charge. Set for Saturday, October 27, this will be the third time The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has hosted the $6 million event, harness racing's richest and most prestigious year-end divisional series. Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-olds will be raced Friday, October 19 and three-year-old and open horses will have eliminations, if necessary, on Saturday, October 20. Tickets, dining options and hotel recommendations for the Breeders Crown at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be available shortly. Please go to Hambletonian.com or mohegansunpocono.com for more information. by Moira Fanning, for the Breeders Crown

One of the things that you'll notice when watching a lot of harness racing is how a switch in barns can really ignite a horse. Sometimes it's not anything the horse was lacking when it was racing for the previous trainer, but a new conditioner can just push the right buttons to make a big difference in performance, even from one race to the next. Each of our top horses this week recently joined a new trainer that seemed to light a spark under them. You can learn their identities by reading on for the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: IDEAL KISS Ideal Kiss has been a popular claiming commodity of late, as he came into his Saturday night start having changed barns four times in the last six races. On July 28, he worked out a good trip with Tom Jackson in the bike to score in a $15,000 claimer in 1:53. The five-year-old gelding was claimed from that race and joined the barn of trainer Rene Allard, who is one of the top trainers in the nation and sits regularly atop the perch of Pocono conditioners year in and year out. A move up in class to the $20,000 claiming level was in store for Ideal Kiss on Saturday night. The betting public saw potential in him even with the step up, making him the 9-5 favorite after he was listed at 4-1 on the morning line. Simon Allard was in the bike for his brother and decided on the path of least resistance for the gelding, sending him to the front end early and going after it with fractions that were quick at every pole. Instead of weakening due to the hot pace, Ideal Kiss seemed to get stronger as the race progressed. It was the rest of the field that struggled, losing touch with the pacesetter as the lead lengthened. In the stretch, Ideal Kiss found himself all alone, rolling home by 5 ½ lengths over his nearest foe. The proof of his effort was on the timer, as he paced the mile in 1:49.4, which was not only a career-best mark, but also the fastest time that anybody paced at Pocono all week long. Other top pacers this week include: Meetyouatmidnight (Simon Allard, Jeffrey Weiner), who moved up in class on Saturday night and captured his second straight condition pace, this one coming in a career-best 1:51; Warrawee Ubeaut (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), who moved to three for three in her career, with two of the wins coming at Pocono, after winning a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on Sunday night against other two-year-old fillies in 1:52.1; and May Bride Hanover (David Miller, Nifty Norman), who captured a Stallion Series race on Monday night for two-year-old fillies in 1:52.4; the fastest time of the six divisions held that night. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: RESITA We often think of trainer changes only in terms of claims, but there are other ways it can happen. Sometimes owners want to move their horses to other tracks and the original trainer doesn't have the capability of moving with the horse. In the case of Resita, a four-year-old gelding, he was racing in Canada for most of the year. When he arrived in the U.S. for a start at Pocono on July 24, he did so with trainer Ron Burke conditioning him for the first time. Burke's barn is as successful as it is copious, and Resita immediately took to the new surroundings and handling. After winning just once in fifteen races north of the border this year, he worked out a nice trip and beat a non-winners of four group in that first Pocono start in a career best 1:53.4. He moved up in class on Sunday night to take on the non-winners of six and also had to start from the #7 post in a field of eight after an inside post the week before. Nonetheless, he left as the 1-5 favorite. This time around, Resita didn't need any cover to get the job done. Driver Matt Kakaley uncorked him early, as Resita took over the lead at about the eighth-mile marker of the race. He built a solid advantage from that point, although things got a little dicey in the stretch when started to weary a bit. With Explosive Zette closing fast, Resita dug a little deeper and held her off by a head in 1:54.4. Now unbeaten after two races for the Burke barn, it looks like he could be headed for even more impressive heights in the weeks to come. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Lord Cromwell (Marcus Miller, Edward Hart), whose victory in a condition trot on Sunday night came in 1:53.1, a new career-best and the fastest trotting time posted this week at Pocono; Ostrich Blue Chip (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a mare who beat the boys in a condition trot on Sunday night in 1:53.2; and Away My Baby (George Napolitano Jr., Jenny Melander), who delivered a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:55.4, matching a career-best in the process. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: PITTSTOP KIP In a condition trot on Tuesday night's program, this veteran gelding with Jim Taggart Jr. rallied from way off the pace to win at 31-1, paying off $64.60 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: DAVID MILLER Miller always seems to rise to the occasion during stakes nights, as he proved on Monday night by taking three divisions of the Stallion Series as part of a four-win evening. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: STEVE SALERNO Overlook this Pocono training stalwart at your own risk, as he proved this week with two victories at nice prices: Attention Hanover on Sunday night at 8-1 and Sweet Sissy Lou on Monday night at 16-1. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A trio of $15,000 conditioned events - one for pacing fillies and mares, and two on the trot - were the headliners at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday night. In the distaff pace, Rob Them Blind, who lost a three-race win streak when fifth in a division of the Adioo Volo at The Meadows behind Youaremycandygirl, enjoyed the drop in company and was a 1:52 winner to raise her lifetime win percentage to 50% (5 out of 10). The Somebeachsomewhere filly was parked to the 3/8 to gain command for driver George Napolitano Jr., shook off pressure and then held off late charger Airborne Hanover by a half-length for trainer Tom Cancelliere and owner John Cancelliere. "GNap," again Pocono's leading driver, came right back in the first trotting headliner with the sophomore Cantab Hall filly S M S Princess, who lowered her speed tab to 1:53.3. Napolitano and his charge again made the top at the 3/8, but this was after making an early move around leaving duelers, and the winner of $133,348 extended her lead with most every step of a 56.2 last half, well clear by six lengths at the finish for trainer Ã…ke Svanstedt and the owning partnership of Ã…ke Svanstedt Inc. and Stall Musse Inc. The rush to the lead in front of the stands also proved a winning route for the Explosive Matter sophomore miss Mighty Macko in the second trot headliner as she won in 1:55.1. Eric Carlson tucked third from the outermost post nine, then made the move to the top going to the 3/8, proceeding to the wire in control for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Crawford Farms Racing and Northfolk Racing Stable. National star Kissin In The Sand heads three divisions of three-year-old pacing fillies who will be at Pocono Saturday for their third leg of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition. Also in this event are double PaSS winners Serene Stride and Sidewalk Dancer. On Sunday, three divisions of the Stallion Series for this category will top the bill of fare. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Six divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies went to the post in the second leg of their Pennsylvania Stallion Series competition Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with some of the winners showing talent that may stand them in good stead should they choose to upgrade to the Sire Stakes level. David Miller guided the last three winners in the Stallion Series competition, including the only winner in the first two legs and the fastest winner of the night. The leader of this grouping right now, at least on Championship points, is the Somebeachsomewhere - Sarandon Blue Chip filly Margret Hill, who took a new mark of 1:53.3. Despite a 26-day layoff, Miller brushed his pacer to the lead past the 3/8, and she then showed her gameness in the back fractions of 56.3 - 28, holding off Rock N Mcroll to her right by a half-length, with Unspoken Promise to her left another neck back in third. Brian Brown conditions the 3-for-3 filly for owner Tom Hill, and that braintrust have an interesting position to mull over - stay in the Stallion Series, do well, and be one of the favorites for the Championship, or make a late start to the Sire stakes and try to get enough points to make that much-more-lucrative Championship, with the possible peril of losing the Stallion Series place. Fastest of the StS winners was the Captaintreacherous - Musicale Hanover baby May Bride Hanover, who froze the timer in 1:52.3 while taking her first win. May Bride Hanover had shown fast last quarters from far-back positioning in all her lines before this event, but she was much more involved in the forward proceedings here, making the lead, yielding, coming out at the 5/8 and dashing right on by to the ¾, and enjoying a 4¼ length gap over her nearest opposition at the finish. The Nifty Norman-trained freshman filly is owned by the Pinske Stables and David Hoese. The other winner for David Miller was the Sweet Lou - Ram Rocker distaff Skater Chick, who overcame the tough tuck-then-first-over trip, grinding down favored Sweet Cherry in back fractions of 56.2 - 28 to be 1¼ lengths separated from that foe at the end of the mile in 1:53.3, a new mark. Mark Harder trains the winner of two straight for Donald Lindsey, Paul Kleinpaste, and Garth Bechtel. If you looked up quickly at the wire of the first two StS races, you might think the same driver won both, but it was the drivers with the similar colors, Corey Callahan and Tim Tetrick, visiting Victory Lane. Callahan was first with the Somebeachsomewhere - Limestone Cowgirl miss A Beach Cowgirl, who went right out to the lead and came home in 28.1 to win by 1¾ lengths while taking a maiden mark of 1:54.3. Trainer Brett Bittle is the co-owner of the winner with E. Dan Bittle and the Charles Kellers III and IV. Another daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, out of the mare Tulu Hanover, the Tetrick-guided Trillions Hanover, yielded to sit a pocket trip to the 10-cent favorite Darn Tootn Hanover, then outrushed that rival home into a 27.3 last quarter to post a 1¼ length upset in a new best of 1:54.1. A 1:55 winner against elder stock at Philly, Trillions Hanover is trained by Tom Fanning for Fanning Racing LLC, VIP Internet Stable LLC, and J L Benson Stables Inc. Simon Allard has shown a flair for the dramatic when guiding stakes fillies - he was behind Highland Dynamite when that sophomore trotter paid $250.80, top price at Pocono this year, in an All-Stars event in June - and here he lit up the board with 16-1 shot Sweet Sissy Lou, a Sweet Lou - Hard To Desire filly, with whom he sat in the pocket then brushed late to post a 2¾ length victory for her first win in 1:55.3. Trainer Steve Salerno is co-owner of the winner with Bruce Potter, Nicholas Tallarico, and Tom Vassiliou. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The cream of the State-sired two-year-old pacing crop contested three divisions of the second preliminary of their division's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In the first division Stonebridge Soul went to the top, but she was passed first by Treacherous Reign near the 27.4 quarter, then by Sylph Hannover, who went a big second quarter to grab the lead well before the 55.1 half. Sylph Hanover continued on a tear to the 1:22.3 3/4s - a 54.4 middle half, but in the stretch the Captaintreacherous-Scandalous Hanover miss Treacherous Reign was able to pass the pacesetter to stop the clock in 1:51.1, a half-length better than Sylph Hanover, with a flying Sweeter Lulu another 1¼ lengths back in third. That 1:51.1 was significant in several respects. It was a lifetime mark for the winner, now 2-for-3 in her career; it set a season's record for the division on 5/8-mile tracks; and it tied her as fastest baby filly overall with three fillies who went that fast on bigger tracks (Tellitsassymae, Key West, and Glorious Virgin). Andrew McCarthy handled the speedy miss for trainer Tony Alagna and the ownership of Alagna Racing LLC, Big Als Stable, Let It Ride Stables Inc., and Dana Parham. The second division featured She's Allright, who won a Sire Stakes at the start of her 3-for-3 beginning to her career, but her fortune did not carry on this night despite 1-5 favoritism. She's Allright moved to the lead in front of the stands after a 27.3 quarter and was able to stroll to the half in 58.1, but then she really had to turn on the jets as Blue Ivy made a big move in the 27.1 backside (1:25.2 3/4s) and into the turn, and when dueling with Blue Ivy She's Allright made a midturn break. Blue Ivy thus had a two-length lead headstretch, but the A Rocknroll Dance - Philadelphia miss Rockin Philly, who was used in tucking third early, moved outside nearing the top of the lane and had a huge late kick, winning in 1:53.2, 4¼ lengths ahead of railshooting 60-1 shot Sweet Lucy Lou, with Blue Ivy third. Driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr., who had teamed at Philly earlier in the day to take a 2PC Sire Stakes division with Crimson And Chrome, were the guiding forces behind the winner, who took a new mark for owners CC Racing LLC and Jo-Ann Looney-King. The third section was a showdown of unbeatens and previous PaSS winners, Warrawee Ubeaut (2-for-2) and Bestseller Hanover (3-for-3). Bestseller Hanover made the lead at the 3/16 en route to a 27 opener, but Warrawee Ubeaut was underway soon after that point to command just past the 3/8, getting the middle clockings in 56.2 and 1:24.3. Bestseller Hanover had stayed tight in the pocket, came out in the lane, and paced home well, but Warrawee Ubeaut had a 27.3 last quarter in her to equal her lifetime mark of 1:52.1, with Bestseller Hanover second, a length back, and Izzy Hanover another ¾ lengths back in third. Yannick Gingras and Ron Burke are the team behind Warrawee Ubeaut, and a comparison between this filly and a colt counterpart from the same two horsemen, De Los Cielos Deo (also a Philly winner in the afternoon), is apt in that both horses look like they haven't shown their best yet, that although undefeated, they haven't been fully extended. This is a thought certainly cheering to the ownership of the victorious Sweet Lou - Great Memories filly: Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phil Collura, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Six divisions of Stallion Series baby pacing fillies will be the highlight events on the Monday card at The Downs. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Highalator recorded his 20th career victory in just 42 lifetime starts as the son of Somebeachsomewhere took the $30,000 open pace division of the harness racing Great Northeast Open Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night in 1:51.1. Eric Carlson got the winner of $259,218 away quickest of all, then yielded to series pointleader Rodeo Romeo past the 26.4 quarter. Rodeo Romeo put up pedestrian (for this class) middle fractions of 55.3 and 1:23.3 and had shaken off first-over Rockeyed Optimist before headstretch. But Highalator was full of pace when Carlson tipped him outside in the lane and the horse went by for a length victory over slight favorite Bettor's Edge, who had clear sailing in the Pocono Pike when the winner moved a path right; Rodeo Romeo had to settle for third, another neck back. For Highalator trainer by Jenny Bier for herself, Joann Dombeck, and Midsize Construction Inc., the victory vaulted him to fifth in the Great Northeast point standings and greatly increased his chances of eligibility for the $100,000 Championship - the open pacers, open trotters, and mare pacers will all have a six-figure Championship event over 1¼ miles at the Downs on Sunday, September 2, the same night as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds. The Mach Three gelding The Real One is enjoying a rich patch of form, and his win in the $21,500 co-featured pace may have been the best of all those good races. Trainer/driver Pat Lachance moved The Real One uncovered at the half, and the winner of $984,453 streaked home in 53.3 to win by three easy lengths while tying his lifetime mark of 1:50. As good as this pacer is right now for owners Helene Fillion, it shouldn't be long until The Real One crosses over to seven-figure lifetime bankroll territory. Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old pacing fillies take over the focus of attention at The Downs the next two days with second round action in their respective series. Undefeated season's recordholder for 5/8 mile tracks (1:52.1) Warrawee Ubeaut tops a host of talented fillies, many of whom trained by Ron Burke, in four divisions of Sire Stakes competition on Sunday, with six Stallion Series sections spotlighted on Monday. The claiming box was certainly a popular place to stop for many Pocono horsemen tonight, and 14 horse changed hands via claim, for an aggregate of exactly $250,000. One was the only trotter on tonight's card entered for a tag -- Uknow What To Do, who was entered in a conditioned / optional claimer and haltered for $25,000. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old pacing fillies take over the spotlight at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday and Monday, with three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action the first day and six sections of the PA Stallion Series the second. The Keystone-sired fillies will be contesting their second round action. The shadow of trainer Ron Burke would loom large over anything, since he's 6'5", but it looms even larger over the Sire Stakes competition, as he has two entries in each division, including two fillies who won in the first PaSS leg. The faster was Warrawee Ubeaut, a daughter of Sweet Lou - Great Memories who won a Sire Stakes event in 1:52.4, last quarter 26.4 at The Meadows, then came here for Pennsylvania All-Stars competition and established the national season's record at press time, 1:52.1. She's drawn the rail, and is scheduled to again have Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Her main opposition in the race ten contest will likely come from another PaSS winner, the Somebeachsomewhere - Bittorsweet Terror miss Bestseller Hanover, who will start from post four for Ontario-based trainer Eric Adams. Bestseller Hanover sandwiched her Sire Stakes win between two overnight victories at Mohawk, so she'll be looking to run her record to 4-for-4. The other Burke PaSS winner, She's Allright, will look to push her lifetime record to unbeaten status in four starts as she tops the fifth race division from post four, with Gingras also slated for sulky duty. She's Allright was given a bit of a scare in her last start at The Meadows, where Darn Tootn Hanover got to within a head at the finish, but the Sweet Lou - Atsallright Hanover filly had enough in the 55.4 last half to save her undefeated status. The fourth race division feature several horses who have already recorded success in stakes company, including Sylph Hanover, another Burke pupil who will start from post six for driver Matt Kakaley. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere - She's A Fan comes off a win in an Arden Downs stakes on Adios Day at The Meadows, and she was second behind Warrawee Ubeaut in her initial Sire Stakes start. In the Stallion Series action on Monday, all three first leg winners will be in to go - two of them, Margret Hill and Another Beach Day, face off in race ten, while Michelon's Filly will face the starter in race four. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - It's safe to predict that Rodeo Romeo, the leading pointwinner in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) in the open pacers division, will not get as rough a trip as he did in his last start when he begins from the rail in a $30,000 GNOS divisional event Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Rodeo Romeo, who is featured in this month's edition of Hoof Beats as a horse using recently-developed technology to keep him in consistent peak form, had no chance to show that form in the Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga last time, parked three-wide past the quarter on the half-mile track and then two-wide throughout, ample excuse to tire. The Chris Ryder-trained pacer will be handled by George Napolitano Jr., who had his pick of the three morning line favorites and chose Rodeo Romeo, is quoted at 4-1, and could well be both an early and a late factor. The morning line favorite in the GNOS is Split The House, winner of the Franklin Consolation and then photoed out in his last two races, both in the Great Northeast series. Trainer Chris Oakes will have Tyler Buter, in hot driving form, handle Split The House from post three as the early 5-2 choice. The 2-3 horses in the GNOS pointstandings, had quite different results at the post draw. Bettor's Edge drew post two for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and was tabbed at 3-1; the horse just ahead of him in the current rankings, Rockeyed Optimist, drew the outside post eight and was set at 6-1, with Marcus Miller slated for sulky duty. The top pointwinners in GNOS action after the last August 25-26 prelims will be eligible to draw in for their $100,000 GNOS Championship event, to be held over 1 1/4 miles at Pocono on Sunday, September 2, the same night as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for three-year-olds. From the PHHA/Harrah's & Pocono

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

WILKES-BARRE PA - Pacing mares divisional leader Shartin N upped her seasonal bankroll to $590,040, most among all North American harness racing (until next Saturday, anyway) with a sensational 1:48.4 effort in taking her $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) divisional event Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while in the GNOS open trot Smalltownthrowdown went a powerful 1:51.1 mile which ending Homicide Hunter's winning streak at five. Driver Tim Tetrick reserved Shartin N off the early pace, which saw Call Me Queen Be take the lead in a 26.2 opener, then get passed in turn by Caviart Ally and then Tequila Monday before the 54 half. Shartin N began an uncovered march towards the lead on the second turn, but Tequila Monday still had the advantage on her right-hand neighbor at the 1:21.2 3/4s, and through the turn, and to halfway down the stretch ... ...but then Shartin N showed amazing grit, continuing forward in the 27.2 kicker and finally getting by the ultra-stubborn Tequila Monday by a neck, with Caviart Ally 1¼ lengths off the top pair. The victorious daughter of Tintin In America, already the top money winner of 2018, advanced to just one off the continental lead for victories with her 12th of the campaign for trainer Jim King Jr. and owners Richard Pollucci and Jo-Ann Looney King. Despite being unbeaten in two GNOS starts, Shartin N may see action in one or more of the series' last four cardings in August; currently she isn't even in the top ten in the pointstandings, which determine eligibility for each division's $100,000 GNOS Championship at 1¼ miles on September 2 at Pocono. Shartin N Smalltownthrowdown and driver Simon Allard was away second in the trotting contest, then quarter-moved to the 27.1 opening clocking, getting a breather to a half in 56.1. Homicide Hunter had spotted fourth, then moved to the outside just past this point, but his cover did not advance and he had to retreat back inside to the 1:23.4 3/4s. Smalltownthrowdown continued on strongly to the wire with no asking from Allard, stepping home in 27.2 to win by 1¾ lengths over Satin Dancer, with Homicide Hunter gaining some late after his weaving journey but having to settle for third, another length back. Smalltownthrowdown is a gelded son of Cash Hall trained by Simon's brother Rene and owned by Allard Racing Inc., Yves Sarrazin, VIP Internet Stable LLC, and Bruce Soulsby. The winner of $768,038, after three seconds in the GNOS, finally visited Victory Lane in the series and moved to second behind Homicide Hunter in the pointstandings and a chance at his $100,000 Championship. Both GNOS winners weren't far off their section's world record clockings: the older pacing mare record is 1:48.2, set by Drop The Ball at Pocono in 2013, while the older trotting gelding mark is 1:50.3, first set by Sevruga at The Downs, also in 2013, then equaled earlier this year by Will Take Charge at Philly and by Homicide Hunter at Scioto. Both GNOS winners notched personal bests with their fast journeys. A couple of two-year-olds with interesting pedigrees took their first pari-mutuel races during the undercard. One was Hurrikane Emperor, coming off a sweep of two New Jersey Sire Stakes prelims and then the final, who equaled his mark in 1:53.1 while coming his last half in 56 for driver Jim Marohn Jr., trainer John McDermott, and owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing LLC, Pegasis Investment Group, and George Vierno. Hurrikane Emperor's sire is Hurrikane Kingcole, who was in the news here last Sunday when his full brother Hurricane Beach won in a mile where he went to the half in 51.3, believed to be the fastest midpoint clocking ever on a 5/8-mile track; his dam is Hurricane Schmumma, a full sister to Adios finalist Babes Dig Me; and his third dam Babe Ruthless is also the dam of 2006 Pacer of the Year and $2 million-plus winner Total Truth. A race earlier, Explosivebreakaway, a freshman trotting gelding by Explosive Matter - Phaeton and thus a full brother to Hambo Oaks elim winner Phaetosive, won handily for driver Tom Jackson in 1:58.1. Second in his p/m debut, Explosive Breakaway moved to the lead in quarter two and scored by 2¼ lengths for trainer Fred Grant, also co-owner with Janice Rubin, Steven Katz, and Communicators Hall of Fame member Murray Brown. Driver Andrew McCarthy was honored tonight at Pocono for recently achieving his 2000th career win. On hand to celebrate were his parents John and Narelle, all the way from New South Wales, Australia, along with his wife Katrina and children Finn & Olly. PHHA / Pocono

WILKES BARRE, PA -- The veteran Scott Rocks won for the 47th time in his career, with the eight-year-old raising his earnings to $738,279, in taking the $21,500 featured pace Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:49.4.   Driver George Napolitano Jr., guiding his third consecutive winner, kept Scott Rocks just off of a torrid 25.3 early duel between Maxdaddy Blue Chip and Lawrencetown Beach, then moved the Rocknroll Hanover gelding to the lead, putting up middle splits of 54.2 and 1:21.4.   Through the stretch Scott Rocks drew off from the field, with his closest rival The Real One 2 1/2 lengths behind at the finish, for trainer Hunter Oakes and the ownership of Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey.   Driver Jim Morrill Jr., visiting Victory Lane for the fourth time on the card, made a similar quarter-move with the Badlands Hanover gelding Big N Bad in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature, with Big N Bad winning almost as easily as Scott Rocks, being 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Bet The Moon at the end of the 1:51.2 mile.   The winner of $665,099 won his third straight for Gareth Dowse and owner Vincent Laurenzo, but if he is to run his win skein to four, he'll be doing it for different connections, for Big N Bad was haltered for $30,000 out of the race.   From the PHHA/Pocono Downs  

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