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WILKES-BARRE, PA - No sophomore harness racing trotting filly came through their first two Bobby Weiss Series preliminaries with a pair of wins - Trip Sevens, the only first-round winner entered Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, looked en route to victory but made a break before midstretch, enabling the Credit Winner filly Etra De Vie to take a new mark of 1:56.4. Etra De Vie was put in the early pocket by driver Matt Kakaley behind the heavily-favored Trip Sevens, then tipped out for the stretch drive. The leader still had the better part of two lengths when she lost her composure, letting Etra De Vie get by and hold off Kayla's Playmate by a length for trainer Jenny Melander and Belmar Racing & Breeding LLC. ETRA DE VIE REPLAY   Kalaley had a second Weiss victory when the Southwind Frank miss Frankly My Dear posted her first win in 2021, an engine victory in 1:57.1. Second in the Matron and third in a Bluegrass division last year, Frankly My Dear may be peaking at a good time for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services Inc., and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. FRANKLY MY DEAR REPLAY   Fastest winner in the three $17,500 Weiss events was the Creatine filly Alpine, whose 1:55.3 triumph not only gave her a career best time but also matched Trip Sevens's first round win for fastest mile in this division of the series. Andy Miller drove the winner, second to Trip Sevens last week, for trainer/wife Julie Miller and Diamond Creek Racing. ALPINE REPLAY   A horse who figures to only improve is the Always B Miki sophomore colt Billy Clyde, who won his seasonal debut for driver Mark MacDonald in 1:53 - :27, stepping home in :54.3 to withstand a game Rest Assured by a half-length. A 1:52.2 winner in a qualifier at The Meadowlands at two, Billy Clyde held his own against some tough horses as a freshman and may make a quick stepup to higher-caliber foes at three for trainer Ray Schnittker, co-owner with Dr. John Egloff. Fastest mile on the card was turned in by the Art Major four-year-old gelding Cigar Smoking Tony, who certainly was smoking on the front end for driver Jason Bartlett, pacing home in :54.4 - :27 to lower his mark to 1:51 for trainer Jose Godinez and owners Joseph Betro, Ian Behar, and Kristie Leigh Farm Inc. Matt Kakaley and George Napolitano Jr. both had three winners on the card. One Eight Hundred, the three-year-old who caught everybody's eye when he won his seasonal debut at Pocono in 1:50.2 - still the fastest mile of the year by a sophomore - with a last quarter of :26.1, returns for a division of the third and final preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacing colts here Saturday. First post time will be at 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

HARNESS RACING PACER OF THE WEEK: BABES DIG ME This six-year-old gelding was coming off a win in a lower claiming handicap group in his last start at Pocono when he moved up on Saturday into the $30,000 to $40,000 group. He also switched barns, with Darren Taneyhill taking over as trainer. Leaving from a #2 post in a field of eight as the 4-1 second choice, Babes Dig Me sat third early in the mile. On the back stretch, driver Jim Pantaleano got him going with a first-over move. Babes Dig M easily sped by pacesetting Sunset Braydon and kept extending the lead from there. The end result was a romping win, his second straight, in 1:49:4, a new career-best for him and the fastest pacing time of the 2021 meet so far at Pocono. HONORABLE MENTION PACERS Aflame Hanover (Marcus Miller, Linda Schadel), who moved up in class for his second straight condition win on Saturday at Pocono in 1:50. So Irresistible (Scott Zeron, Bruce Saunders), whose victory in the Bobby Weiss series for three-year-old pacing fillies in Monday in 1:53 was her second straight win in the series and third straight overall. Straight Talk (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who picked up his second straight win in the Weiss series for male pacers on Saturday and did so in a career-best 1:51:4. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TOP ME OFF This three-year-old ridgling trained and driven by Todd Schadel has been one of the stars of the Bobby Weiss series through the first two legs. After tuning up with an impressive maiden win on March 22 in a sharp 1:54:2, Top Me Off conquered the first leg of the Weiss for male trotters on April 3 at Pocono in 1:54:4. He was back at it on Sunday night, leaving from post position #5 in a field of six as a 1-2 favorite. Killer Instinct, who had taken Top Me Off right to the finish in their last matchup before losing by a neck, set the pace. Schadel sat confidently behind in the pocket with the favorite and then cut him loose in the stretch. Top Me Off blew past Killer Instinct and won going away, trotting the mile in 1:57:1 on a good track for his third straight victory. HONORABLE MENTION TROTTERS Try Try Again (George Napolitano Jr., Tee Wine), who won his second consecutive claiming handicap trot on Tuesday at Pocono, getting it done in 1:56:1. Hoolie N Hector (Anthony Napolitano, Andrew Adamczyk), who won his second straight in the Weiss series for male trotters on Sunday night at Pocono, delivering in 1:57. Ching Ching Lucky (George Napolitano Jr., Norman Morford), a mare who followed up her maiden victory with another condition win at Pocono on Tuesday, trotting the mile in 1:57:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ROCKIN IN THE HILLS Driven by Anthony Napolitano, this pacer, who won at 86-1 earlier in the meet, delivered a rallying win in a claiming handicap on Saturday at 24-1, paying $51.60 on a $2 win wager. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The meet's leading driver had a typically massive week at Pocono, as George Nap was particularly effective during the weekend cards, winning a combined nine times on Saturday and Sunday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RON BURKE All there of Burke's wins at Pocono this week came in the Bobby Weiss series, including a pair of victories in the three-year-old colts and geldings pacing group on Saturday. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs                    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - A pair of Always B Miki sophomore harness racing pacing fillies, So Irresistible and Incaseyoudidntknow, came right back to run their Bobby Weiss Series records to 2-for-2 with tallies in their respective $17,500 second preliminary legs Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. So Irresistible came with an uncovered sweep on the second turn to grab command early in the backstretch, pacing out her own back half in :54.3 to stop the timer at 1:53, a length ahead of 35-1 shot Beach Crazy. Scott Zeron was again behind the Bruce Saunders trainee as she remained perfect in three seasonal starts for owners Charles and Julie Nash. SO IRRESISTIBLE REPLAY   Incaseyoudidntknow became the fifth nose winner within a span of nine races at Pocono when she outdueled 28-1 shot Carrington after that one had gotten to equal terms with her in the Pocono Pike, with another first-week winner, Milieu Hanover, settling for third in the 1:53.1 mile. Marcus Miller, a three-time winner on the day, kept the career winner of 6-of-7 starts alive late to win for trainer Les Givens and owners James Magno and Joseph Fonte. INCASEYOUDIDNTKNOW REPLAY   The Weiss subtheme of "chalk defeats longshot" also played out in the other series cut, as the Roll With Joe filly Roll On Mama made a successful debut for owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. The 8-5 chalk defeated 15-1 shot Baci Baci by 1½ lengths in taking a new mark of 1:53.1 under the guidance of George Napolitano Jr. ROLL ON MAMA REPLAY   Also deserving mention is Toronto, another Always B Miki offspring, a sophomore colt out of double champion See You At Peelers. Toronto sped his individual back half in :54.2 brushing to the lead heading to the three-quarters for driver Tyler Buter and then breaking his maiden in 1:52.2 in just his second lifetime start. Robert Cleary conditions this talented individual for Royal Wire Products Inc. Anthony Napolitano was star driver of the day with four visits to Pocono's Victory Lane. Tuesday's 12:30 card will feature the second Weiss prelim round for sophomore trotting fillies, going in three $17,500 divisions. The only one of the first week's three winners coming back on Tuesday, the Chapter Seven miss Trip Sevens, could be very tough to deny in her tenth race cut. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs    

WILKES-BARRE PA - The impressive Top Me Off is now 2-for-2 in the Bobby Weiss Trotting Series for sophomore trotting males after winning in 1:57.1 over a "good" track Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Hoolie N Hector joining him with two Weiss wins after a 1:57.4 clocking in his division, all four of which carried a purse of $17,500. The Bar Hopping ridgling Top Me Off showed his maneuverability in this week's Weiss event, for after racing in front in his previous two 2021 starts trainer/driver Todd Schadel raced him in the pocket behind his fair circuit foe of last year, Killer Instinct. Come the stretch, though, Schadel right-lined his three-year-old, and he went right on by for his ninth win in 19 lifetime starts. Todd's wife Christine owns the swift youngster along with Rick and Regina Beinhauer. TOP ME OFF REPLAY   The Muscles Yankee gelding Hoolie N Hector was let go at 19-1 when he won last week, but this time the crowd sent him off as the favorite, and the trotter rewarded their insight, sweeping wide on the final turn for Anthony Napolitano to win going away over the off going for trainer Andrew Adamczyk and owner Joseph Meaney.   HOOLIE N HECTOR REPLAY   Fastest Weiss winner on the card was the Credit Winner gelding Credit Con, and technically you could say that he too is undefeated in the series - and the season - since his 1:57 victory came in his first start in seven months minus a day. Tyler Buter coaxed enough out of the 11-1 shot to record the triumph and a new mark for trainer Todd Buter and owner Lee Sitto.   CREDIT CON REPLAY   Ceffyl Dwr got a big second quarter breather on the lead, and then scooted home in successive quarters of :29 to win his Weiss section in 1:57.1. Named after a "water horse" in Welsh folklore, Ceffyl Dwr may have had an "advantage" over the wet going as he posted a lifetime best for driver Jackie Ingrassia and trainer/husband Frank Ingrassia; Jackie also shares in the ownership of the Andover Hall colt with Donna Franchetti and Thomas Doran.   CEFFYL DWR REPLAY   George Napolitano Jr. followed up a five-bagger on the Saturday card with four more victories on Sunday. Weiss Series competition carries on during the Monday afternoon card at Pocono, with three sections carded for the second prelim for pacing fillies, and the middle contest matching first-week winners So Irresistible and Milieu Hanover is perhaps the most competitive. Post time for the Monday card at the Downs is 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Straight Talk and Mad Man Hill are now 2-for-2 in the Bobby Weiss Series for sophomore pacing males after four $17,500 second round harness racing prelims were held Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Straight Talk was one of two Sweet Lou-sired winners trained by Ron Burke to take Weiss divisions; the colt left the field behind with a :26.4 third split under the direction of Matt Kakaley en route to taking a lifetime best of 1:51.4 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala and James Martin. STRAIGHT TALK REPLAY   The other Burke Brigade member to win was the gelding Emblaze Hanover, who bounced back from a break in the first leg to also reduce his mark to 1:51.4 for driver Joe Bongiorno and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. EMBLAZE HANOVER REPLAY   The Somebeachsomewhere colt Mad Man Hill, the only Weiss chalk to get home first, is perfect after two trips behind the gate this year as he came home in :55.4 to tie his mark of 1:52.4 for driver George Napolitano Jr., who had five winners on the card, trainer Chris Ryder, and owner Tom Hill. MAD MAN HILL REPLAY   The fastest Weiss winner was the American Ideal colt Trevor's Ace, who lowered his speed badge by four seconds as he impressed in 1:51 for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Jean Drolet, and the ownership of Stephen Schneider, Bill Siegel, and Marthe Drolet. TREVOR'S ACE REPLAY   Babes Dig Me recorded the fastest mile of the season at Pocono when he posted a lifetime 1:49.4 best as he joined up with trainer Darren Taneyhill and owner Eric Provost after a claim. Jim Pantaleano sent the pacer zooming to the lead late on the backstretch around hard-used frontenders and had no problem in the latter stages. Another non-Weiss race deserves mention because it created some unusual numeric situations. Rockin Inthe Hills, who had been placed first at a $174.00 win mutuel two starts back, again didn't get much respect in his first start after a claim by trainer Dan Maier - and he came up the inside to win in 1:51.2 and return $51.80, becoming the first horse to pay $50+ twice this year. Also, the four-year-old American Rebel became the largest-priced claim in Pocono history, as owner William Emmons gave $50,000 to lead him back to the barn after the race. In all, twelve claims during the card produced $316,000 changing hands, sending the seasonal claiming total over $5 million via 275 transactions. (This was card 24.) The trotting males take over the Weiss spotlight for Sunday's twilight card, with four $17,500 divisions of their second preliminary round. Post time Sunday is 5 p.m.; program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two horses trained by Ray Schnittker and driven by Mark MacDonald turned heads during Wednesday morning qualifiers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Splash Brother (1:50.4) and Billy Flynn (1:52.4) winning by a combined 36¼ lengths. A four-year-old So Surreal gelding, Splash Brother went down the road while posting fractions of :28.2, :56.3, 1:23.3, and 1:50.4 for the partnership of Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC, Steven Arnold, and Tammy Flannery. He took a mark of 1:48.2 at The Meadowlands last year and won over $300,000, including a victory in his Empire Breeders Classic and a second in his New York Sire Stakes final. The sophomore colt Billy Clyde (Always B Miki) posted a 1:52.3 qualifying mark in limited campaigning last year, and just missed that clocking Wednesday after hanging up fractions of :29.4, :58, 1:25.2, and 1:52.4. Billy Clyde, owned by Schnittker and Dr. John Egloff, may be pointing for the first Pennsylvania Sire Stakes of the season, to be held at The Meadows on Kentucky Derby Day, May 1. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted its first Tuesday harness racing card of the year, with the spotlight on three $17,500 divisions of the first preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for three-year-old trotting fillies. And all three divisions finished the same way - with the red, black, and white colors of two-time Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn going under the wire first with the winner. Dunn combined with trainer Nifty Norman and the ownership grouping of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing in two of the successes. The first came with the Muscle Hill miss Eazy Pass, who raced second-over, then made a "nifty" move to the inside off the far turn and came up the Pocono Pike to post a maiden victory in 1:56. EAZY PASS REPLAY   The team also enjoyed success with the Cantab Hall filly Rebel Girl, who swept to the lead entering the far turn and reduced her mark to 1:56.2 in her initial outing of 2021. REBEL GIRL REPLAY   The fastest of Dunn's three Weiss successes (he had a total of four over the entire card) was behind the Chapter Seven miss Trip Sevens, who moved to the lead early and was under little duress afterwards in lowering her speed standard to 1:55.3. Trainer Blake MacIntosh co-owns the winner with Steve Heimbecker and Mortgage Boys Stable. TRIP SEVENS REPLAY   Pocono will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, featuring the second preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for sophomore pacing colts - with the entrants likely to enjoy the fact that One Eight Hundred, a devastating 1:50.2 - :26.1 winner in the first prelim, will be missing from the entrants. First post Saturday is at 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono features harness racing announcer Jim Begivlia's Week In Review column. Here is the first edition. PACER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ROCKS It's only fitting that this eleven-year-old gelding and career millionaire should win first Weekly Honors for 2021 at Pocono, as he has been the most successful horse at the track over the stretch he's been racing. This year Scott Rocks has been reborn as a claimer, starting on the lowest rungs of the ladder at the $10,000 level at Pocono on March 7. He won that race and then followed up with two more in a row as his claiming price went up each time. On Saturday, he faced off with the top claimers at Pocono, the $30,000 to $40,000 group, as a 1-5 favorite. George Napolitano Jr., who has been aboard Scott Rocks for the vast majority of his Pocono victories, guided him first-over in this one for a hard-fought victory in 1:51:3. Trained by Hunter Oakes, the gelding shows no signs of slowing down, even as he notched his 67th career win and pushed his career earnings over $1.1 million. Honorable Mention Pacers One Eight Hundred (Joseph Fonseca, Nancy Takter), who posted the fastest winning time in the Bobby Weiss series for three-year-old male pacers on Saturday in a career-best 1:50:2 despite it being his first start of the year. The Lady Sheriff (George Napolitano Jr., Darren Taneyhill), who became the first horse in the 2021 meet at Pocono to five wins when she scored her fifth victory in a row on Monday in a claiming handicap against other mares. Peggy J (Simon Allard, Jeff Sorenson), who captured her straight condition pace against mares on Tuesday at Pocono in 1:54:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: RICH AND MISERABLE This is another trotter who has a rich, so to speak, history at Pocono, once winning Trotter of the Year honors at the track. After breaking stride as a heavy favorite in his first start of the meet, Rich And Miserable, a six-year-old gelding trained by Todd Buter, bounced back strong with a win in the slop on March 28 in 1:56:3. In Sunday night's featured $11,200 trot, he was made the 1-9 favorite despite leaving from an outside post in a field of seven. By the 3/8-mile mark of the race, Rich And Miserable had taken the lead. He had to deal with a first-over effort from Blenheim on the back stretch, and then was pushed by pocket-sitting Wilberforce in the home stretch. But Rich And Miserable responded to the challenge under the guidance of driver Tyler Buter, with his second straight victory coming in a time of 1:54:2. Honorable Mention Trotters Top Me Off (Todd Schadel driver and trainer), who followed up a condition win with a victory on Saturday in the Weiss Series in 1:54:4, the fastest time of the day in the Weiss by male trotters. King Alphonso (Jim Pantaleano, Neil Balcerak), who won a condition trot at Pocono on Sunday in 1:53:2, the week's fastest trotting time. Tuis Shadow (Simon Allard, Donald Wiest), who stepped up in class on Tuesday and won his second straight condition trot at Pocono, this one in a career-best 1:55:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: HOOLIE N HECTOR This three-year-old trotter driven by Anthony Napolitano pulled off a surprise in the Bobby Weiss Series on Saturday at 19-1, paying off $41.80 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: DEXTER DUNN Dunn was the dominant force in the Bobby Weiss Series this week, especially on Tuesday when he swept all three divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LES GIVENS Givens had a day to remember on Monday, sending out three trainees at Pocono and winning with every one of them, including with Incaseyoudidntknow in the Bobby Weiss three-year-old pacing fillies' group. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs                    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing driver Marcus Miller, trainer Les Givens, and sire Always B Miki all had three winners on the Monday afternoon card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and their intersection was the sophomore pacing filly Incaseyoudidntknow, whose 1:52.4 victory was the fastest of four divisions in the first preliminary of Bobby Weiss Series action for her group. In her first start of the year, Incaseyoudidntknow went to the top, yielded, then came back raw nearing the three-quarters, going to the lead in the stretch en route to a lifetime best. Now 5-for-6 in her promising career, soon owners James Magno and Joe Fonte may accumulate enough to buy her an apostrophe. IINCASEYOUDIDNTKNOW REPLAY   The other two successful daughters of Always B Miki in the Weiss had been 1-2 in a race at The Meadowlands in their previous start. Always B Dancing, second last time, had the faster win on this day, cutting a moderate pace under the rating of Dexter Dunn and then stepping home in :27.2 to take a new speed badge of 1:53.1 for trainer Nancy Takter and the ownership of J L Benson Stables Inc., R.B.H. Ventures Inc., and Edward Lynskey. ALWAYS BE DANCING REPLAY   So Irresistible notched her second straight victory, parlaying a pocket journey for driver Scott Zeron into a 1:54 triumph. The sophomore miss is now 4-for-7 lifetime for trainer Bruce Saunders and owners Charles and Julie Nash. SO IRRESISTIBLE REPLAY   The non-Always B Miki to win was a daughter of Betting Line, Milieu Hanover, who gave Marcus Miller a second Weiss success on the day while recording a new mark of 1:53.3. The two-move winner is now perfect in two starts since moving to the care of trainer Nicholas Devita, whose Devita Racing Stable Inc. co-owns her with David Hamm and Christopher Giaccio. MILIEU HANOVER REPLAY   Anthony Napolitano also had three driving wins on the card - ironically, two of them the other two winners for Les Givens. Pocono will race its first Tuesday card of the season at 12:30 p.m., with three divisions of the first preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for three-year-old filly trotters topping the bill of fare. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Rich And Miserable, the 2019 Trotter of the Year at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, moved even closer to $500,000 in harness racing career earnings with a 1:54.2 victory in the $11,200 featured event on the Sunday twilight card. Driver Tyler Buter spotted the Explosive Matter gelding third from the outside post seven before the :28 quarter, then brushed him to command and put up middle splits of :57 and 1:26. Blenheim made a good charge in the stretch, but the :28.2 last split put up by Rich And Miserable was enough to keep him 1½ lengths ahead of that rival. The Todd Buter trainee, owned by Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, William and Carol Fuhs, boosted his career bankroll to $494,636 as he recorded his 25th win in 74 trips behind the gate. The veteran has done especially well at Pocono, as his record at the mountain oval is 11 wins in 19 starts, including his last two outings. RICH AND MISERABLE REPLAY   Aflame Hanover, relishing getting away from Borgata Series company, completed a wire-to-wire 1:51 victory with a :26.3 last quarter under no urging from driver Marcus Miller, who along with Matt Kakaley had three wins on the card. The victory was the first of the year for the altered son of Russell Hanover, who now has career earnings $379,624 for trainer Linda Schadel, co-owner with husband Tony Schadel. The fillies will see their first Bobby Weiss Series action on Monday afternoon, with four $17,500 divisions of the first preliminary leg for sophomore pacers in consecutive events, races ten through thirteen. First post on Monday afternoon is 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - One Eight Hundred, the three-year-old colt by the immortal Somebeachsomewhere out of world champion, $1.6M-winning Economy Terror, got his name because he cost $800,000 as a yearling, and Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono he looked worth every dollar of it, winning his seasonal debut in 1:50.2, with a startling last quarter of :26.1. Josert Fonseca left right out to the lead with One Eight Hundred and posted fractions of :28.2, :56.2, and 1:24.1. The sophomore then downshifted on the far turn, the stride becoming both longer and more rapid, and he buzzed the huge final quarter to make himself the fastest three-year-old in North America in 2021. Nancy Takter trains the talented youngster and co-owns him with Brixton Medical Inc. Unraced since October 3 and finishing out his mile effortlessly, One Eight Hundred is a major force for whom to watch out. ONE EIGHT HUNDRED REPLAY   The win came in one of five $17,500 first round prelims of the Bobby Weiss Series for male pacers; there is a Weiss series for both gaits and sexes of three-year-olds. Among the winners in this division Saturday were two other sons of Somebeachsomewhere who took new marks for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Chris Ryder: the gelding Coalition Hanover in 1:52.2 and the colt Mad Man Hill, breaking his maiden in his first start of the year in 1:52.4. Other Weiss winners from this set included the Betting Line gelding Tarkio, putting up a new best of 1:53.1 for driver Jason Bartlett and trainer Wayne Givens, and the Sweet Lou colt Straight Talk, who rerallied to break his maiden in 1:54.1 for driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke. The Weiss colt trotters will have their remaining two prelims and final on Sundays, but their first round was added to the Saturday racing in case some did not want to participate on Easter Sunday. In their three $17,500 events, the Bar Hopping ridgling Top Me Off, who last week equaled the fastest three-year-old trotting mile anywhere in North America with a 1:54.2 triumph, again was victorious, but needed late courage to withstand Killer Instinct - thus replicating the finish of the 2020 Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship - in 1:54.4. Trainer/driver Todd Schadel is co-owner of the fast sophomore with wife Christine and Rick and Regina Beinhauer. TOP ME OFF REPLAY   The Winning Mister gelding Tricky Dick took another of the trot divisions in 1:56 for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer/owner/"Voice of the Eastern PA County Fairs" Jim McGettigan. "Anthony Nap" also guided the only Weiss horse to pay more than 2-1 when he swept to the lead on the far turn with the Muscles Yankee gelding Hoolie N Hector and went on to take a new mark of 1:57 for trainer Andrew Adamczyk while returning a $41.80 win mutuel. Pocono will race a Weiss-less card Sunday at 5 p.m.; the Weiss fillies then take their turn in the spotlight, the pacers Monday and the trotters on the first Tuesday program of the year. Both of those cards start at 12:30 p.m. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

At this time last spring, trainer Blake MacIntosh had high hopes for then 2-year-old male pacer Perfectboy Hanover. "I thought he was probably the fastest horse I ever trained down," MacIntosh said, adding with a laugh, "He's the whole reason this year that I won't say anything about any of the 2-year-olds training down. I was so high on him last year and then so disappointed with the year we had with him." Last year, Perfectboy Hanover won one of eight starts in a season when, MacIntosh said, "nothing went right." MacIntosh, though, remains hopeful Perfectboy Hanover can fulfill the potential he saw last year. Perfectboy Hanover makes his seasonal debut in Saturday's opening round of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he faces a field of eight in the fifth of five $17,500 divisions for 3-year-old male pacers. "He's been training really good," MacIntosh said. "He'll need a start or two to get tight, but he's got a lot of talent. I've been high on that horse all the way. I've kept the stakes payments up on him because I think he's the real deal. We won't know for sure until push comes to shove, but he's got the right attitude, he's got the right gait, and hopefully everything goes right this year for him." Last year, things began to go wrong for Perfectboy Hanover when a water truck and tractor came on the track in front of him during his first visit to Woodbine Mohawk Park. "From that point on, he just lost his mind and started doing stupid things," MacIntosh said. "He was really immature. We ended up having to geld him at the end of the year just to try to get his head straight." Perfectboy Hanover's victory last year came in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. He made two Grand Circuit starts, finishing fifth in divisions of the Nassagaweya and Champlain stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He is 6-1 on the morning line in Saturday's Weiss division. "Hopefully, he'll be able to sit in on Saturday for a little bit and then pace home and show his talent," MacIntosh said. MacIntosh trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere - Perfect Cents for Fred Brayford, Mac And Heim Stables, Ridgeway Racing, and Knot Xzachallie Stable. Perfectboy Hanover is among four MacIntosh trainees in Weiss Series action Saturday. He is joined by pacers Major Makover and Victory Move plus Black Tie Bash, who is in the third of three divisions for 3-year-old male trotters. "It will be easier to tell what you have after the first couple starts," MacIntosh said. The Weiss Series is for 3-year-olds that did not win two extended pari-mutuel races or $30,000 lifetime through Feb. 1. The first round for female pacers is Monday and the first round for female trotters is Tuesday. Each series will consist of three preliminary legs followed by consolations and finals. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono announced major changes to their takeout rates, all of which are firmly in favor of the bettor. Pocono's Director of Racing & Sportsbook Operations Mike Zullinger confirmed the changes, which will go into effect on April 1. The track's next live racing card comes up on Saturday, April 3. Here are the affected wagers and the takeout reductions: Win, place and show: Down from 19% to 17% Trifecta, superfecta: Down from 30% to 26% Pick 3, Pick 4: Down from 25% to 20% Only the Rainbow Pick 5 (15% takeout) and the Exacta and Daily Double wagers (both 20% takeout) remain unaffected by the changes. The announcement comes at the same time that Pocono is moving to its four-day-a-week schedule for the first time this season. Pocono will now be racing on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, a schedule that will remain in effect until October. The changes also come right before a racing week that should be particularly exciting at the track. The Bobby Weiss series, which is run in honor of Pocono's longtime track superintendent and features an impressive group of three-year-olds classified by gender and gait, will begin on Saturday. by Jim Beviglia, for The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The perennial leading harness racing driver at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, George Napolitano Jr., won his third of the early-season Game Of Claims' five Championships, and owner William Emmons Jr. his second, when they combined behind the Explosive Matter gelding Explosive Magic for a 1:56.2 victory in Monday $30,000 Game Of Claims Trotting Series Championship for $15,000-base-price horses. Emmons and trainer Eric Ell claimed the winner of three out of his last four out of the series' second preliminary, and then had him sit out the final prelim, hoping his first and second in the initial two legs would get him into the final without risking him being claimed. The 1-2 finishes did advance him sufficiently - he was eighth in points of the top nine entrants - and Monday Explosive Magic showed no ill effects from the week off, sitting behind favored Golden Son through fractions of :27.4, :57.1, and 1:27, then charging home in the lane for a 1½ length victory over the chalk. He paid $11.80 to win. EXPLOSIVE MAGIC REPLAY   Emmons is also the owner of Glengarry Knight N, winner of his $50,000 Game Of Claims Championship, and currently third among all North American pacers in 2021 earnings. Two horses eligible to April's $700,000 Bobby Weiss Series, which features developing sophomores in four divisions divided by sex and gait, scored impressive wins on the undercard. The Always B Miki pacing colt Stellar Yankee won in his first start for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen, taking a new mark of 1:55.2 with "George Nap" driving. Stellar Yankee was entered right back to be in his group's first preliminary this Saturday; the Art Major pacing colt Major Bean, coming off a 25-day layoff while debuting for trainer Scott Di Domenico, did not enter Saturday, but his 1:54.2 win here for driver Matt Kakaley and the ownership of Triple D Stables Inc. and Richard and Farrell Carey hints he may be a factor later in the series. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett guided the two male winners of the $12,000 pacing tri-features at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the Sunday twilight card, with both Nome Hanover and Gonnahaveonemore both stopping the timer in 1:54.3 over a "sloppy" oval. Bartlett used pace-controlling moves during the second quarter in winning both races by wide margins. The Mach Three gelding Gonnahaveonemore established a new lifetime mark in winning by 6¼ lengths for owner/trainer Pasquale Picca; the Well Said gelding Nome Hanover was clear by 2½ lengths on the money for trainer Mark Ford and owners George and Rose Bonomo. NOME HANOVER REPLAY   In the distaff division, the Quality Western mare Peggy J won her second straight start, also hustling to the lead in front of the stands for driver Simon Allard and winning by 1½ lengths in 1:58 for trainer Jeff Sorenson and owner Paula Sarcone. It was a big evening for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and the partnership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs, as their veteran trotters Rich And Miserable and Two AM both won $10,000 contests and pushed the two horses' collective earnings over the $1,000,000 mark lifetime. The Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable (now with $489,036) won in 1:56.1, while Muscle Massive gelding Two AM ($518,034) was home first in 1:57. RICH AND MISERABLE REPLAY   Trotters will be in the spotlight on the Monday afternoon card at The Downs, with a very competitive group set to go behind the gate in the $30,000 Game Of Claims Trotting Series Championship. First post Monday is 12:30 p.m.; program pages are available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES BARRE PA - In a classic stretch slugfest, the Sweet Lou gelding Tito Rocks nosed out Whos Better in 1:50.4 to win the $14,000 fast-class harness racing pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon. Tito Rocks got away fourth for driver Tyler Buter, while Whos Better and George Napolitano Jr. took the early lead and set fractions of :27.1 and :55.2. Buter had Tito Rocks quickly in high gear moving raw nearing the five-eighths, with the 9-5 favorite pacing his individual third quarter in :26 to engage 2-1 pacesetter Whos Better past the three-quarters in 1:22.2. Their battle continued all the way to the wire, where Tito Rocks proved slightly more photogenic for trainer Bob Cleary and Royal Wire Products Inc.   TITO ROCKS REPLAY     Another highlight of the Saturday card was the return to the races of the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Nicholas Beach, who made short work of a group of developing pacers with a 1:51.1 tally for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, and his new connections of the Jennifer Bongiorno Stable LLC, John Lengacher, and Michael Cote Gagnon.   NICHOLAS BEACH REPLAY     Various misfortunes had limited the now-five-year-old to 13 starts in his first three years of racing, but he won 11 of them and took a mark of 1:49 at Philly last year - maybe this is the year he can deliver an extended streak, building on the large potential he has already shown. Before Nicholas Beach's win Saturday, his lifetime earnings were $70,450 - less than the $71,680 seasonal total of the Changeover gelding Glengarry Knight N, who jumped to the #2 spot in earnings among North American pacers at press time with a 1:52 win in the fastest of three divisions of the high-end claiming pacers. Now 3-for-4 since joining the William Adamczyk barn after a claim by William Emmons, Glengarry Knight N, the winner of the richest Game Of Claims Championship earlier this year, overcame the outside post nine for driver Simon Allard, who led the driving colony here Saturday with three wins.   GLENGARRY KNIGHT N REPLAY     Heading the Saturday trainers was Darren Taneyhill, who visited victory lane after three different drivers guided his horses to victory (and would have been there a fourth time if one of his horses hadn't had headstretch steering problems and was set back, with $174.00 bomber Rockin Inthe Hills the main beneficiary). Taneyhill, who is now tied with Jennifer Bongiorno for the meet lead with 12 wins, also sent out the fastest winner of the day, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Rock The Town, who toured the Pocono oval in 1:50.3 for driver Anthony Napolitano and owner Mark Jakubik. The next two cards at Pocono, Sunday at 5 p.m EDT. and Monday at 12:30 p.m., feature many three-year-olds tuning up for the $700,000 Bobby Weiss Series for up-and-coming three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; Monday's card also features the $30,000 Game Of Claims Trotting Series Championship. Program pages are available at For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Pocono  

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