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Rollwithpapajoe scored with a front-end performance in the headline $37,000 Open Handicap harness racing event at Yonkers Raceway on Apr. 26.   Joe Bongiorno took no chances and sent Rollwithpapajoe directly to the front. The five-year-old son of Roll With Joe enjoyed a pressure-free first three quarters, setting :27.2, :56.3, and 1:25.1 splits without a challenge. He carried a one-and-a-half-length lead into the turn.   Pocket-sitter Twin B Tuffenuff (George Brennan) found some late pace in the stretch, and The Real One (Pat Lachance) closed quickly, but Rollwithpapajoe was in control and got home three quarters of a length the best in 1:53.1. Twin B Tuffenuff was second, and The Real One came from fifth to snag the show spot.   ROLLWITHPAPAJOE REPLAY     Rollwithpapajoe won his 16th race on 46 starts and increased his earnings to more than $330,000. Jennifer Bongiorno trains the gelding for Barbara Bongiorno Stable LLC of Monroe, Bill Lambos of Astoria, and Dionisios Liberatos of Manhasset Hills.   The horse's win price was $3.70.   Yonkers Raceway is back in action on Apr. 27 with a nine-race card starting at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Freehold, NJ --- The stars of today and tomorrow were in action at Freehold Raceway this Friday (April 23). 3-year-old filly Hot as Hill took the Lady Suffolk prep, while 12-year-old veteran Melady's Monet won the Preferred Handicap trot.   A field of six 3-year-old fillies competed in a prep for the Lady Suffolk trot, which will be held next Saturday. Sent off as the 1/5 favorite, Hot As Hill (Muscle Hill) rated in fourth place in the early stages. As they rounded the third turn, Joe Bongiorno moved Hot as Hill first over and quickly advanced after the leaders. Pace-setting Izzy Demsky held tough, but as they entered the stretch, Hot as Hill wore her down and drew off to a two-length victory. The final time was 1:58 2/5.   Hot As Hill is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, Knox Services Inc, and J&T Silva, Purnel & Libby. Ron Burke is the winning trainer. Last year, Hot As Hill won twice in the Kindergarten series at the Meadowlands, before finishing fourth in the final. This race marked her season debut. In her career, Hot As Hill has won four times from fourteen starts, with earnings of more than $85,000.   HOT AS HILL REPLAY       Izzy Demsky, Spruce Creek, Just Joshing, Victoriana, and The Queen B completed the field.   Three races later, an accomplished field of six lined up in the Preferred Handicap trot. Obrigado, a three-time winner at Freehold this year was the 1/5 favorite, while Melady's Monet, also a three-time winner this season at the central Jersey oval, was the 4/1 second choice. Despite the public's doubts, Melady's Monet prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths.   Leaving from the outside post position, Eric Abbatiello put Melady's Monet on the lead, but Dan Dube immediately retook control with Obrigado. Abbatiello decided to sit patiently in the pocket, while Obrigado cruised on the lead.   As they entered the stretch, Abbatiello ripped Melady's Monet out of the pocket, and he surged by Obrigado and won. The final time was 1:55 3/5.   MELADY'S MONET REPLAY       Armagedon Seelster got up for second, while Obrigado held third. Warrawee Roo, Casino Cutie It, and Winneress rounded out the order of finish.   Live racing at Freehold continues on Saturday (April 24), with a giant 14-race card starting at 12:30 PM. The program includes the elimination for the Dexter Cup, scheduled as the 11th race.   For full race results, click here.   From Freehold Raceway  

Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. It was also another well-received program on the wagering front, as the handle on the ten-race card checked in at $951,089. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire half a length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. BACKSTREET SHADOW REPLAY   A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Larry Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts, and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win and was atop an $8.90 exacta and a $107.50 trifecta. In the second grouping Semi Tough (George Brennan) cut out panels of 27.3, 57, and 1:25.1, but Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), who had come first-over from fourth before the half, made steady progress on the rim into second on the far turn. In the lane Mach N Cheese forged his way by Semi Tough, then held off a three-wide bid from pocket-sitter Western Fame (Dan Dube) to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:54 flat. Semi Tough held third over Mac's Jackpot (Dunn). MACH N CHEESE REPLAY   Mach N Cheese, who picked up his first triumph in the series, is trained by Edwin Quevedo for owner Save The Day Stable. A 6-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Mach N Cheese is now a 16-time winner in his career, and he has put away $283,512. Sent off at 9-2, Mach N Cheese returned $11.20 to win and keyed a $56.50 exacta and a $138.00 trifecta. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) left from post one and lined up the field in post position order right out of the gate in the last section, then led through an easy tempo of 28.4, 57.4, and 1:25.2. Leonidas A's two main rivals in the field, Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and This Is The Plan (Gingras) were in fifth and sixth, respectively, until beginning to advance first-over and second-over in the third turn. Though they made gains after pulling, Leonidas A had the jump on them and stayed in front, prevailing by a length and a quarter in 1:53.3. This Is The Plan kicked home widest in the stretch to get up for second over Hesa Kingslayer N. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   Finishing four-for-four in the preliminary rounds of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, Leonidas A is a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A now has 29 career wins, and he has banked $311,848. He was the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win. The exacta kicked back $6.10, and the trifecta was worth $11.80. Unofficially, the eight horses that advanced to the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final were: Leonidas A (300 points), Western Joe (283), This Is The Plan (275), Hesa Kingslayer N (262), Backstreet Shadow (250), Rockapelo (230), Mach N Cheese (220), and Lyons Steel (192). Both the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final will take place next Monday (April 19), and the draws for those two races will occur on Tuesday afternoon (April 13). Stakes action continues this week at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday (April 14), as three $20,000 splits of the final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series will go behind the gate in races six, seven, and eight. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

CHESTER, PA - Yonkers harness rawcing invader Hill Of A Horse made short work of a good field in the $14,400 featured trot at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday afternoon, moving to the lead in front of the grandstand and then stepping home in :56 flat to stop the timer in 1:55.2. Reduced to a field of five with the scratch of the fast mare Refined, the headliner saw Armagedon Seelster get top early positioning from his outside starting slot (the #1 berth from which to leave at Philly), with Hill Of A Horse and driver Marcus Miller briefly settling behind that one to the :28.2 quarter, then brushing to command and stealing a soft half of :59.2. They would have needed wings to catch the 2-5 favorite from there, with the Muscle Hill gelding hitting the three-quarters in 1:27.4 and then powering home in :27.3, 4¼ lengths clear of Armagedon Seelster, who held second over Bluebird Jesse. Trained by Erv Miller for Andray Farms, Hill Of A Horse surpassed the quarter-million dollar career plateau with the triumph, his figure now $255,912. HILL OF A HORSE REPLAY   In the $12,800 co-feature for developing trotters, the photo finish camera could not separate frontstepping favorite Manatlas and gritty first-over mare Heat Wave Hanover, who tied for the 1:55 victory. Manatlas, an E L Titan gelding, had last been second to Hambletonian winner Forbidden Pleasure in the 2019 Ontario Sire Stakes Super Final before a comeback victory at Dover last week; Mark MacDonald drove him here for trainer Wayne Givens and the partnership of Legacy Racing of DE Inc., Reggie Hazzard II, and Gary Calloway. Heat Wave Hanover, a daughter of Sebastian K S, showed her determination by battling to the dead heat for the sister-brother team of trainer Jennifer and driver Joe Bongiorno and owner Robert Weinstein. DEAD HEAT FINISH REPLAY   Friday's action at Harrah's Philly starts at 12:25 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

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 https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Pocono  

Persistent heavy rain and a sloppy harness racing track couldn't stop Dragon Said from breathing fire again in the $58,400 M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series final for colts and geldings on Wednesday (March 24) night at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Joe Bongiorno, the 4-year-old Well Said gelding prevailed in a life's-best time of 1:52.3, picked up his fourth consecutive victory, and went off at a juicy 10-1 to boot. Dragon Said and Diamondbeach (Austin Siegelman) had the two outside posts in the race, but they were by far the quickest away from the gate, with Diamondbeach getting command and Dragon Said landing in the pocket in a rapid 26.3 opening quarter. Diamondbeach then put on the brakes in the second quarter, getting to the half in 55.3. Cigar Smoking Tony (Jason Bartlett) took up the chase from first-over coming to that marker, with Lou's Sweetrevenge (George Brennan) squeezing out into the second-over slot ahead of Retour Au Jeu (Jordan Stratton). Cigar Smoking Tony was able to advance up into second before the 1:23.4 three-quarters, but he began to drop back past that station, and when no one behind him in the cover flow was able to fire, that left Diamondbeach and Dragon Said in a virtual match race coming into the lane. Bongiorno already had Dragon Said off the pylons before they turned for home, and after a brief battle in the stretch, Dragon Said went by the leader. From there, Dragon Said widened his advantage, eventually hitting the wire two lengths ahead of Diamondbeach. Salt Life (Scott Zeron) saved ground on the inside and was third, Rolling With Sam (Dan Dube) finished fourth, and Scootnroll (Tyler Buter) collected fifth. DRAGON SAID REPLAY   Jenn Bongiorno trains Dragon Said for owner Robert Devine. Dragon Said now has a record of 7-7-3 from 32 lifetime starts, and he pushed his earnings to $75,432. Dragon Said returned $23.60 to win and headed a $97.00 exacta and a $644.00 trifecta. There was also an upset winner in the $25,000 M Life Rewards Pacing Series consolation as 19-1 offering Odds On Brexit (Buter) led through fractions of 28.1, 57.3, and 1:25.4 on his way to a 1:54.4 triumph. He beat 4-5 favorite My Pal Joe (Alek Chartrand) by half a length, with Panther Time (Joe Bongiorno) back in third. Odds On Brexit, a 4-year-old gelding by Rockin Image, is trained by Christopher Freck for owner Odds On Racing. Odds On Brexit picked up his fifth win in his 22nd attempt, and he has now pocketed $58,430. He paid $41.00 to win and was atop a $73.00 exacta and a $242.00 trifecta. ODDS ON BREXIT REPLAY   Stakes action resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (March 26) with a pair of $35,000 divisions of the third leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and continues on Monday night (March 29) with a trio of $40,000 splits of the third round of the MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers. Alexa Skye, Blue Ivy, and Seaswift Joy N lead the entrants in the Blue Chip Matchmaker, and Backstreet Shadow, Hesa Kingslayer N, Lyons Steel, Rockapelo, and San Domino A are among the horses scheduled to compete in the MGM Borgata. As a reminder, Monday night's card also marks the start of a 10 percent purse increase at Yonkers. Condition sheets with the updated purse amounts are available here. For full results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The temperature finally got to 50 degrees on Saturday afternoon, the first day of Spring, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono - and the Mach Three gelding J M Mandamin was the first horse to post a local 1:50 mile this harness racing season in taking the $14,000 fast-class pacing feature. Driver Joe Bongiorno, teaming yet again with sister/trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, moved the razor-sharp performer from third early, went around early leader Ollie's Z Tam, and set fractions of :27.1, :55, and 1:22.1. Trente Deo came first-over just past the half, but J M Mandamin proved equal to his challenge and to that of newcomer Paternity Suit A, who came roaring from far back late to get second. The winner took a new lifetime mark with his 1:50 victory, and his immediate future appears very bright for owner Robert Weinstein. J M MANDAMIN REPLAY   In a $14,400 contest for developing younger pacers, the American Ideal gelding Levine went right to the lead, yielded to favored Ehrmantraut and stacked that rival, then made good use of the Pocono Pike to overhaul that rival and take a new mark of 1:51.1, gaining into a last half of :54.4. Megan Scran conditions the talented four-year-old for driver/owner Scott Zeron. As is usual on Saturday at Pocono, there were many claiming handicap events for the top-priced horses, with the fastest of these miles seeing Wagon Master equal his mark and Proven Desire take a new record with identical times of 1:50.4. As is also usual on Saturday at Pocono, the claiming box proved a popular place to visit, with 17 horses changing hands for $365,000. In the first fourteen cards of the year, 208 claims have resulted in $3,774,375 of transactions. Jason Bartlett was the winningest horseman on the card, with four driving triumphs. The Bongiornos, Team J&J, posted a triple for the second straight Saturday; joining them were Darren Taneyhill (with three different drivers) in the training column and George Napolitano Jr. among the sulky set. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The sister-brother team of trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and driver Joe Bongiorno took the Saturday afternoon spotlight at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, combining for three victories, although the Downs's all-time leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., earned some glory as well with six winning drives. The Bongiornos combined with the Mach Three gelding J M Mandamin, unraced since December 26 and yet still ready in his 2021 debut to put on a powerful performance, winning in 1:50.3, the fastest mile of the year locally and just a tick off his mark taken here last season. Robert Weinstein saw his gelding bring his lifetime earnings to six figures with the triumph.       Jennifer and Joe also teamed up to take two of the three tri-featured $16,000 claiming handicap paces, with Weinstein also the owner of A Real Miracle, a son of Real Desire who like his stablemate "J M" used a big backstretch move en route to victory in 1:51.4. The Bongiornos' other winner, the American Ideal gelding American Rebel, also had the bad luck of a first-up trip, but American Rebel was strong and took a new mark of 1:52 while raising his bankroll over $200,000 for owners Evan Katz and Frank Canzone.   The other high-level claiming pace went to George Napolitano Jr., sulkysitting for trainer David Russo and owner Marissa Russo, behind the Mach Three gelding Tullow N, rallying him off cover to take a 1:53.2 decision and paying a very un-"George Nap"-like $41.60 to win - although in his other victory of the year, Tullow N paid $69.80.       Though none of the feature winners were claimed Saturday, eighteen more horses headed back to a new barn after their race, with $372,000 spent in search of sharp stock. After eleven days, Pocono has seen 171 claims amalgamating to a figure of $3,142,875. With her trio of winners Jennifer Bongiorno joined Dan Maier at the head of the local conditioners' list with eight successes. George Napolitano Jr. reclaimed his usual spot atop the Downs's driving colony, though brother Anthony is very close at 32-30. Sunday's racing card begins at 5 p.m.; Monday's 12:30 program will feature the second Game Of Claims Trotting Series prelim for $15,000 base-price horses. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here.   From PHHA/Pocono Downs  

Wednesday night's (Mar. 10) card at Yonkers Raceway featured three $15,000 divisions of the second round of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for colts and geldings. Dragon Said and Scootnroll both repeated their victories from the first leg, while Diamondbeach took the night's fastest flight. Dragon Said (Joe Bongiorno) was the 1-5 favorite in the opening group and didn't disappoint, winning in 1:54.3. Away second from post two, Bongiorno brought Dragon Said to the outside coming off the first turn, and he would go around early pace-setter Cigar Smoking Tony (Jason Bartlett) for the top spot after the 28.1 quarter. Dragon Said continued to show the way to the half in 57.4 and the three-quarters in 1:26.3, but Rolling With Sam (George Brennan) put some first-over pressure on him at that latter marker. Rolling With Sam stayed game on the rim around the last turn and continued to menace Dragon Said turning for home, but Dragon Said kicked it into another gear in the stretch and went on to win by a length and a half. Rolling With Sam held second, followed by Cigar Smoking Tony.       Trained by Jenn Bongiorno for owner Robert Devine, Dragon Said is a 4-year-old Well Said gelding. This was his sixth career win, and he has now earned $46,232. Dragon Said paid $2.60 to win and headed a $9.40 exacta and a $19.40 trifecta. The outside post was no issue for Diamondbeach (Austin Siegelman) in the second split as he went right down the road to tally in a life's-best clocking of 1:52.3. Siegelman sent Diamondbeach from the seven-hole, and he was able to get in front of Odds On Brexit (Tyler Buter) well before the 28.1 opening quarter. Diamondbeach marched on to the half in 57 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:24.3, then slammed the door with a 28 second final kicker, downing Odds On Brexit by 4 1/4 lengths. Trevor's Ace (Jordan Stratton) collected third.       Ricky Bucci owns and trains Diamondbeach, a 4-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere. Diamondbeach is now a five-time winner from 18 appearances, and he has banked $44,116. Diamondbeach, a 3-1 shot, returned $8.30 to win and topped a $49.00 exacta and a $132.00 trifecta. In the final section, Sailboat Hanover (Brennan) and Salt Life (Mark MacDonald) tussled early on, with Sailboat Hanover getting to the front in a 26.4 opening quarter. He was able to back down the pace to 56 seconds at the half, but 4-5 favorite Retour Au Jeu (Stratton) was out and on the move from fourth prior to that marker, giving Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) a second-over trip and Scootnroll (Buter) the third-over ride. Retour Au Jeu, who was a round one winner, forged his way around Sailboat Hanover just after the 1:24.2 three-quarters. Despite losing his cover, Got The Mojo continued on and battled with Retour Au Jeu on the final turn, with Scootnroll going three-wide off the bend. Retour Au Jeu dug in determinedly and managed to hold off Got The Mojo, but he couldn't do the same with Scootnroll, as he powered by late to win by a neck in 1:53.4. Retour Au Jeu had to settle for second, and Got The Mojo ended up third.       A 4-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe, Scootnroll is trained by Todd Buter for owners Rick and Geoff Howles. Scootnroll posted his 12th victory from 22 trips behind the gate, and he has pocketed $71,764. Scootnroll, sent off at 7-1, paid $16.40 to win. The exacta returned $40.00, and the trifecta was good for $282.50. The M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series has one additional preliminary round next Wednesday (March 17), and the final will go on March 24. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (March 12) when the track rolls out the red carpet for 18 pacing mares in three $35,000 divisions of the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Post time for the 10-race program is 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Dragon Said and Retour Au Jeu picked up new harness racing lifetime marks in winning their respective $15,000 splits in the first leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series on Wednesday night (March 3) at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Joe Bongiorno in the final division, Dragon Said moved out of the pocket to take the lead away from Sailboat Hanover (George Brennan) going to the 28.3 opening quarter. Dragon Said, sent off as the 8-5 second choice, continued on the engine to the half in 58 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:26.1, then drew off powerfully in the final quarter, widening to prevail by seven lengths in 1:53.1. Sailboat Hanover wound up second, and favored My Pal Joe (Alek Chartrand) had to settle for third after stalling out from first-up on the last turn.   Trained by Jenn Bongiorno for owner Robert Devine, Dragon Said is a 4-year-old Well Said gelding. This was his fifth career win, and he has now earned $38,732. Dragon Said paid $5.50 to win. The exacta was worth $20.00, and trifecta returned $28.00. Retour Au Jeu (Jordan Stratton) raced in the second section, and he watched from fourth as Odds On Brexit (Tyler Buter), Rolling With Sam (Brennan), and Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) all had a turn on the front through a snappy 27 second opening quarter. Once the dust settled, Stratton guided Retour Au Jeu to the outside, and he was able to brush to the point before the 56.1 half. Retour Au Jeu then successfully withstood a first-over try from Odds On Brexit to the 1:24.2 three-quarters before he paced away to a 2 1/2 length verdict in 1:53.4. Rolling With Sam was up for second, and Trevor's Ace (Scott Zeron) got third at 64-1. Dennis Laterza trains Retour Au Jeu, a 4-year-old He's Watching gelding, for owner Latz A Luck Stable. Retour Au Jeu now has a record of 8-5-6 from 24 lifetime starts, and he has banked $48,768. Retour Au Jeu, the 3-2 favorite, returned $5.00 to win. The exacta returned $19.80, and the trifecta kicked back $259.50. Even-money second choice Scootnroll (Buter) turned a second-over trip into a 1:56.1 triumph in the first flight. He beat Panther Time (Joe Bongiorno), who led through panels of 28.2, 58.4, and 1:27.4, by a length and a half, and Gonnahaveonemore (Brett Holland) saved third after a pocket trip. A 4-year-old gelded son of Roll With Joe, Scootnroll is trained by Todd Buter for owners Rick and Geoff Howles. Scootnroll is now an 11-time winner from 21 trips behind the gate, and he has pocketed $64,264. Scootnroll paid $4.20 to win. The exacta returned $10.60, and the trifecta was good for $18.00. Rounding out Wednesday night's winners in the M Life Gents Pacing Series was Lou's Sweetrevenge (Brennan). After racing in fourth through stations of 27.1, 56.2, and 1:24.2, Brennan had Lou's Sweetrevenge off the cones before three-quarters. Lou's Sweetrevenge gained into third on the last turn, rallied past tiring leader Cigar Smoking Tony (Jason Bartlett) in the stretch, and hit the line a length and three-quarters to the good in 1:54. Diamondbeach (Zeron) advanced from last to second in the back-half of the mile, and Cigar Smoking Tony wound up third. Lou's Sweetrevenge is a 4-year-old Sweet Lou gelding trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Phil Collura, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Lou's Sweetrevenge posted his sixth win in his 36th lifetime effort, and he now shows earnings of $98,403. Lou's Sweetrevenge, who returned $5.30 to win as the 8-5 second choice, headed a $21.80 exacta and a $51.00 trifecta. The M Life Gents Pacing Series continues with preliminary round action the next two Wednesdays (March 10 and 17), and the final is slated for March 24. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

The featured race at Freehold Raceway on Friday (February 5), an upper-level conditioned pace for fillies and mares, was a mad harness racing scramble. Amidst the chaos at the wire, Msamrcasweethart A emerged to win by 1 1/4 lengths.   A recent Australian import, Msamrcasweethart A won her stateside debut at Freehold on New Year's Day. After two unplaced tries at Yonkers Raceway, Jenn Bongiorno decided to send her charge to Freehold. She was made the 7/2 third favorite in the field of eight.   Leaving from post position three, Joe Bongiorno put her in fourth early on, then grabbed second-over cover as the field neared the half-mile point.   As they neared three-quarters, Msamercasweethart A loomed second-over, while favored Abuelita Hanover loomed to her direct outside. Sally Fletcher A, whom Msamercasweethart A was following, poked a head in front, and Msamercasweethart A continued to follow her moves.   When they entered the stretch, Abuelita Hanover began to weaken, and Bongiorno found a hole to his outside. He angled his drive to the three-path, and took his shot at the leaders. With a sixteenth to go, the top seven were covered by about three lengths, and it looked like anyone's race. With clear sailing in the last few yards, Bongiorno asked for pace with Msamercasweethart A, and she responded in kind, pulling clear late for the win. The final time over a "good" track was 1:56.1.     The winning mare is now 2-for-4 in her American career, and 8-for-20 overall, with earnings just over $35,000. Robert Weinstein is the winning owner.   Live races continues at Freehold on Saturday (February 6), with a 13-race card commencing at 12:30 PM.   From Freehold Raceway  

After a career-best 2019 that included winning his first Breeders Crown trophy, driver Joe Bongiorno hopes to add to his success in the championship event at Harrah's Hoosier Park this year. And he will have more opportunities than ever to try to accomplish that goal. The 27-year-old Bongiorno heads to this weekend's eliminations with eight drives, including with Little Brown Jug winner Captain Barbossa. Prior to this year, the most drives he ever had in a Breeders Crown was five, in his debut year in 2016 at The Meadowlands. He has driven a total of nine horses in the event, elims and finals combined. Bongiorno won his Crown last year in the Open Pace with American History, trained by Tony Alagna, at Woodbine Mohawk Park and finished his season with a career-best $5.89 million in purses. "It was unbelievable," Bongiorno said. "To win a Breeders Crown at the age of 26 is something special. It's something special at any time in your life, but to win it that early in my career, I'm just very thankful. "To have these opportunities this early in my career is not something I expected. I'm very grateful. This weekend with the Breeders Crown is a big opportunity and now I just have to try to make the most of it." Bongiorno drives in three Breeders Crown eliminations Saturday, with 3-year-old male pacers Captain Barbossa and Save Me A Dance, and 3-year-old male trotter Play Trix On Me. Captain Barbossa, who won the Little Brown Jug a month ago the day after Bongiorno's 27th birthday, is 4-1 on the morning line in his elim, which includes the sport's No. 1-ranked horse, Tall Dark Stranger, who is the 3-5 favorite. In his most recent start, Oct. 4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile, the Tony Alagna-trained Captain Barbossa finished second by a half-length to Tall Dark Stranger. He has one win in 14 races this season but has been no worse than second in his last five starts. "The horse raced unreal in the Little Brown Jug," Bongiorno said. "Then he came back in (1):48.3 at Lexington. He's definitely going to be fit. It's going to be 21 days from his last start, but Tony always has his horses ready to go. "This year being able to win the Jug for Tony, I can't thank him and his owners, his whole team, for the opportunities they've given me." Save Me A Dance, trained by Andrew Harris, is 10-1 in his elimination. It will be Bongiorno's first drive behind the colt, who spent most of the season on the New York circuit before heading to Red Mile for the recent Grand Circuit meet. He was third in a division of the Bluegrass and fourth in a division of the Tattersalls Pace. "He's been pacing hard to the wire in some big miles," Bongiorno said. "I think he's a nice colt. He just needs a little bit of luck." Play Trix On Me is 12-1 in his elimination, where he starts from post nine. Play Trix On Me, trained by Linda Toscano, is a two-time New Jersey Sire Stakes champion and finished second in the Canadian Trotting Classic in September. Bongiorno drove the colt for the first time Oct. 15 at Hoosier Park and won in 1:54.1 on a "good" track. "He was very good," Bongiorno said. "He had been off for three weeks and won as easily as a horse can do it. I look forward to racing him. The nine hole is not ideal, but it doesn't bother me. The horse has gate speed, and he can put himself in the race. I think he can go with them. If things work out, I think he has just as good a shot as anyone in that division. "He got a good run over Hoosier. Even though it's a big track, it's tighter turns than you would think, and the stretch is so long. It was good to see how he felt as far as being straight and shod properly for that track." In addition to his Breeders Crown drives Saturday, Bongiorno has five on Friday. Following are his thoughts on those eliminations. Exploit, a 2-year-old male pacer trained by Alagna, who is 12-1 in his elim. He counts the Metro Pace among three wins this year. "I've never raced him but, obviously, I've paid attention to what he's done," Bongiorno said. "He can do it either way, from up close or behind. He's got a quick turn of foot. I'm really looking forward to driving him. He's a really nice horse." Nashville Elgenna, a 2-year-old female pacer trained by Alagna and the first foal out of four-time Dan Patch Award winner Anndrovette. She is 2-for-2 this year and 9-2 in her elim. Bongiorno has driven her once. "I think that's a horse on the upswing and the sky is the limit," Bongiorno said. "She's been super impressive in her two lifetime starts and we really don't know what her bottom is. I expect her to keep getting better. She hasn't had to race against these top fillies yet, but I think she can hold her own. I was super impressed with her." Lady Lou, a 3-year-old female pacer trained by Alagna, who is 15-1 in her elim. She was second in the Fan Hanover Stakes and Shady Daisy. "I've never raced her," Bongiorno said. "There are a lot of really nice horses in that division. If she can put herself in the race, she's going to have a chance. She's been on the wire with some good horses before, so hopefully she can do it again." Hello I Love You, a 2-year-old female trotter trained by Alagna, who is 5-1 in her elim. She has two wins, including a division of the Bluegrass, and was second in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. "She is a really, really nice filly," Bongiorno said. "I've liked her since the first time I drove her; I thought she would win some big races this year. The first week of Lexington she was really good, as sharp as sharp could be. The second week, I came late first over with her. (Insta Glam) drifted out and allowed (Flawless Country) up the inside. If she doesn't get that clear run up the inside, I win the second week of Lexington with her too. "She was very impressive both weeks. I think if she's on her 'A' game both weeks, she's got as good a shot as anybody in that division." Ms Savannah Belle, a 3-year-old female trotter trained by Per Engblom, who is 9-2 in her elimination. She was a Breeders Crown elimination winner in 2019 (seventh in the final). Bongiorno drove her for the first time Oct. 11 in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, finishing fifth over a "good" Red Mile surface. "I had to go to the inside in the stretch and the track was deep there, more so than on the outside," Bongiorno said. "She raced even better than the line looks. She was very good, but I know that she's got more than that. She's handy, that's what I like about her. I think she's going to be really good." Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday and Saturday at Harrah's Hoosier Park. For Saturday's complete entries, click here. For Friday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA     

Delaware, OH — Captain Barbossa found the perfect time to visit the winner’s circle for the first time this year, capturing Thursday’s $335,400 Little Brown Jug final for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:49.1 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. Cattlewash was second and Catch The Fire finished third. The win was Captain Barbossa’s first in 13 races this season. The gelding, who finished second in his Jug elimination, was driven to victory in the final by Joe Bongiorno, who celebrated his 27th birthday Wednesday. Captain Barbossa gave Bongiorno his first Jug trophy, as well as the first for trainer Tony Alagna. He paid $15.00 to win. Captain Barbossa, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Swinging Beauty, is owned by Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson, and the partnership of Alagna, Martha Frank, John Fodera, and Steven Wienick. He was bred by Steiner Stock Farm. His winning time was one-fifth of a second off the stakes and world record for a 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile track. The margin of victory was 1-1/2 lengths.   Catch The Fire, Sandbetweenmytoes win Little Brown Jug eliminations Catch The Fire won the first $111,800 elimination of the Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers Thursday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, overtaking pacesetter Seeyou At Thebeach on the last turn on his way to a 1:49.3 triumph. Seeyou At Thebeach was second, followed by Later Dudes and Genius Man. Those four horses advanced to the $335,400 Little Brown Jug final.   Catch The Fire was the 4-5 favorite in the field of seven. He was driven by Mike Wilder for trainer John Ackley and owner CT Stables. Sandbetweenmytoes scored a 7-1 upset in the second of Thursday’s two eliminations, using a three-wide move entering the last turn to get past leader Capt Midnight on his way to a 1:49.3 victory. Captain Barbossa finished second, with Capt Midnight third and Cattlewash fourth. Those four horses also advanced to the $335,400 Little Brown Jug final.   Sandbetweenmytoes was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Freehiold, NJ --- Saturday's harness racing Preferred Handicap pace at Freehold Raceway featured a perfect clash of names. Springsteen was competing for the first time at Freehold, located in Bruce Springsteen's hometown. His fiercest competition was Imarocnrollegend, which the human Springsteen certainly is.   Fittingly, the two hit the wire together, with Imarocnrollegend winning by a head.   Leaving from post three, Joe Bongiorno put Imarocnrollegend right on the early lead, while George Brennan was forced to take back with Springsteen from post eight. Brennan didn't sit for long, however, and rushed Springsteen up from last to first going up the backstretch the first time.   Around the final turn, Springsteen maintained a clear advantage, while Bongiorno sat patiently with Imarocnrollegend in the pocket. Heading into the stretch, Springsteen began to tire,after going the third quarter in a sharp 27.3 seconds. Bongiorno's horse began to make up ground on the inside, while Brennan was all out on Springsteen. In the end, Imarocnrollegend got the nod, stopping the clock in 1:53.2.   This marks the second week that Joe and Jenn Bongiorno won the Preferred pace, having scored with Hot Deuce last week. Jenn co-owns the horse with Robert Weinstein and Blair Corbeil.   That win was one of four for Joe on the Saturday card. He won race 1 on Albert a'Scootin, for trainer John Bavosi, race 2 with Brandon Mongiello's Power Dreaming, and the 8th race on Its Just Too Much, for Allie Reynolds.   Earlier in the day, Rockin the Gates scored a 26/1 upset in the New Jersey Sire Stakes- Standardbred Development Fund Final for 3-year-old pacing colts & geldings. He sat in the pocket early off leader Rock N Teen, then stormed on in the stretch to get up by a length. He went the mile in 1:54.4, for his first win of the year. Pat Berry was in the bike, for trainer Steve LeBlanc, who co-owns with Glenn Dyke and Doug Johnson.   Live racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (September 25), starting at 12:30 PM.      

CHESTER, PA - The Deweycheatumnhowe mare Arabella's Cadet equaled the 1:52 Harrah's Philadelphia track record for older harness racing trotting mares established by Hannelore Hanover last year when she defeated the favorite Scirocco Rob in the $14,400 trotting feature on Thursday afternoon at the riverside oval. The top two finishers had shown excellent form recently; Scirocco Rob may have been installed the chalk because he had been able to control the pace in recent victories. It looked like that scenario might play out again as Scirocco Rob set the early fractions of :27 and :56, with Arabella's Cadet launching uncovered for the sixth straight time. Here driver Joe Bongiorno was able to get a giant backstretch burst (her own third split was :26.4) out of the mare that got her by the pacesetter to the 1:23.2 three-quarters, and though Scirocco Rob was rallying back inside in the lane, the "Cadet" withstood his comeback by a neck.   Arabella's Cadet, trained by Joe Bongiorno's sister Jennifer and owner by the partnership of Glenn Goller and Abraham Basen, has now won five times this year and seventeen times in fifty lifetime starts, and she now has a bankroll of $180,248 in addition to a new mark and a track record. Joe and Jennifer Bongiorno would later win with the veteran Muscle Mass gelding Rubber Duck, now with $609,074 in lifetime earnings, in an $11,600 trot. Rubber Duck went to the lead in front of the stands and, despite making his first start in six months, was able to motor home in :56 to complete a 1:53.2 tally for owners Blair and Emma Corbeil. In the $13,600 co-featured trot, Spee Club was able to control the throttle from the rail and go on to a nose victory over favored Grapple Hanover in 1:55.4, with Yankees Beast third and Lucky Mae Hanover fourth, both only a half-length behind the winner. Corey Callahan kept the son of Cantab Hall ahead in the tight fight to notch the triumph for owner/trainer Dawn Erin Neilson. The meet's leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., reported home first four times on the Thursday card. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Joe Bongiorno became one of the youngest harness racing drivers to achieve 2,000 career victories when the 26-year-old sent developing force Nicholas Beach to the lead and just kept pouring it on, winning in a lifetime best 1:49 in the $11,200 featured pace Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. Bongiorno had his first 100+ winner year in 2012 at age 18 and has not left that club since, peaking with 399 sulky triumphs in 2016. The horses he has driven have earned over $25.2 million, $5.9 million of that last season. Much of his success can be attributed to his relationship with two different trainers - perennial leader Ron Burke, and his sister Jennifer, for whom he handled Nicholas Beach. Joe Bongiorno is already a star; Nicholas Beach may not be far behind him. He had a win and a place as a two-year-old, then missed all of 2019. But he's rapidly making up for lost time, perfect in four starts this year, and in Joe's historic victory the Somebeachsomewhere gelding thundered home in :53.3.   A downpour started minutes before the $11,200 trotting feature, turning the track to "sloppy." The off conditions probably helped cause several contenders to go offstride, but Tim Tetrick dexterously steered the Explosive Matter filly Moondust through the confusion to win in a career best 1:58 and pay $70.60 to win. Marc Mosher trains the winner for owner Jaypaul Hoover. Todd McCarthy, a member of the Australian driving dynasty and already a participant in a World Driving Championship, opened his U.S. win account by guiding Soho Wallstreet A to a 1:51.2 victory for trainer Tom Shay and owner Howard Taylor. The 27-year-old son of Aussie legend John and brother of top drivers Luke (Down Under) and Andrew (North America), Todd showed both aggressiveness and patience, moving his horse to the lead early, letting the first-over horse go past down the backstretch, but keeping his equine "fellow countryman" up on the bit and able to come back for the victory. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia      

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