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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Thisisshe and Stop Resistin both scored convincing engine victories in the $12,800 co-featured harness rawcing claiming handicap trots on Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The My MVP mare Thisisshe rolled to her third consecutive triumph, with George Napolitano Jr. sending the sharp distaff to the front and holding the advantage to the wire in 1:55. For trainer Dan Maier and Racing To Win Stable, Thisisshe was a short but profitable visitor to their string - they claimed the mare last week for $26,400 including her mare allowance, and this week she was taken for a $28,800 claiming price, thus adding $2400 via price and $6400 via purse. THISISSHE REPLAY   The Muscle Massive gelding Stop Resistin had to go first-over against Thisisshe last week and held well to be second; with that rival in the feature's opposite division here, Stop Resistin was moved to the lead in front of the stands by driver Marcus Miller and drew away to a 1:54.2 win. Trainer Steven Brabrook and owner Jaypaul Hoover also get to lead their horse, now with two wins and a second in his last four starts, back to their barn after an absence of claiming action on him. STOP RESISTIN REPLAY   The racing week ends Tuesday with a card starting at 12:30 p.m., and then when the action comes back to Pocono on Saturday afternoon, it will be for the first stakes event for the top-flight state-sired younger horses at the mountain track this year, four divisions of a $120,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars contest for the sport's glamour division, the three-year-old pacing colts. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Always B Miki filly Incaseyoudidntknow became the only sophomore pacing miss to win in all three of her Bobby Weiss Series preliminary action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, overcoming the outside post six, broken equipment, and a hard uncovered journey while taking a new mark of 1:52.2. Away fourth for driver Marcus Miller in her $17,500 section, Incaseyoudidntknow started on the limb midway between the :27 quarter and the :56.3 half, and she just kept gaining to and past the 1:23.4 three-quarters. With foes coming from every direction, Incaseyoudidntknow paced resolutely to the wire for a two length victory, with her own last half in :55.2 despite her hardships, and she remains undefeated in three 2021 starts and boosted her lifetime record to 7-for-8 for trainer Les Givens and the partnership of Jim Magno and Joe Fonte. INCASEYOUDIDNTKNOW REPLAY   The So Surreal filly Carrington was third in her first prelim and second in her second, and she kept up the incremental improvement to win her Weiss section in 1:52.3, a career best clocking. Mark MacDonald left with Carrington from the rail and caused a "lineup," with the improving filly coming home in :55.1 - :27.2 to ensure her victory for trainer Ray Schnittker, co-owner with Ted Gewertz. CARRINGTON REPLAY   So Irresistible had a chance to join Incaseyoudidntknow as a Weiss prelim sweeper, but after setting the pace she was caught up the inside by 31-1 shot Shes So Sweet by a head in 1:53.2, a lifetime best. Matt Kakaley gave the daughter of Sweet Lou a perfect pocket trip and then helped her maximize her good fortune for hot trainer Eddie Dennis and owner Eric Good. SHES SO SWEET REPLAY   The point standings for eligibility for next Monday's $40,000 Weiss Series Championship: Incaseyoudidntknow; So Irresistible; Carrington and Milieu Hanover (tie); Roll On Mama; Shes So Sweet; AP Blaze Of Glory; Baci Baci; and Beach Crazy. AE1 will be Atomic Fireball, and AE2 will be Indra Hanover. In all, eleven horses posted lifetime quickest miles during Monday's fourteen races. The draw was held Monday for this Saturday's $40,000 Weiss Championship for three-year-old pacing males, and highly-regarded One Eight Hundred drew post six in the field of nine. Interestingly, the other two-time prelim winners all drew outside him: Straight Talk (7), Coalition Hanover (8), and Mad Man Hill (9). There will also be two $17,500 Weiss consolations. Tuesday's card will feature the final preliminary action in the Bobby Weiss Series for 2021, here three $17,500 divisions of the last prelim for sophomore trotting fillies. No three-year-old was able to put together victories in the group's first two prelims; four successful fillies will attempt to add a second Weiss win to their resume before their $40,000 Championship a week from Tuesday. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

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 For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

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 - The Bettor's Delight gelding Love The Action, who sat out last week's Game Of Claims Pacing Series final preliminary for $10,000-based harness racing pacers after posting a second and a first, got into the final as the last of nine qualifying horses, one point ahead of the AE1, and then he made the wait worthwhile by winning the $20,000 Series Championship in 1:53.4 on Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Claimed by trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and owner Gilbert-Garcia Owen from his series triumph, Love The Action was sent off the 6-5 favorite, and driver George Napolitano Jr. was very aggressive with him, hanging Bamski to a :26.4 opening number, then reclaiming command by the :55.4 half. Second choice Sweet Talkin Satin, the only horse at any level of the series to win all three of his prelims, came the rough first-over trip to the 1:24.1 three-quarters and pressured the leader into the stretch. Love The Action, though, would find his biggest challenge in the lane to his inside in pocketsitter Bamski, driven by George's brother Anthony - indeed, it looked like Bamski had gotten the slightest of advantages past midstretch. But the gritty winner would not be denied, fighting back to beat his left-hand rival by a neck, with Sweet Talkin Satin hanging on admirably for third.   In the $15,000 Game Of Claims Championship for $7500-tagged horses, driver Marcus Miller "broke up the Napolitanos," who had won the initial three finals, sending the Art Major gelding Stick With Cramer up the Pocono Pike to get a 1:55 triumph. Claimed after the first leg by owner/trainer Shea Lare, the winner now has turned in two wins and a second for his conditioner - whose UTR lifetime is .852, as this is the first horse the 19-year-old has trained and owned! Miller put Stick With Cramer in perfect pocket position early, as Needless To Say shot to the top and forced foes to either tuck, as did top two choices R Gauwitz Hanover (George Napolitano Jr.) and Don'tcallmefrancis (Anthony Napolitano), or be hung out, as was Onlythetuffsurvive through early fractions of :27.2 and :57. The two favorites, both double prelim winners, swept around the tiring parked horse down the back, with "Francis" first-over at the 1:26 three-quarters and "R Gawuitz" right behind him. In the stretch, R Gauwitz Hanover tipped right for a path - and Stick With Cramer tipped left, with the latter outpacing the former by a nose, with Dontcallmefrancis very good to hold on for third.   This brought to an end the Game Of Claims events for pacers - but the claiming series action is right back in gear on Monday, with four $15,000 divisions of the first preliminary for $15,000 base-priced trotters. Post time for the Monday card is 12:30 p.m.; program pages are available at For full results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

CHESTER, PA - It was "Miller time" during the John Simpson Sr. stakes action for freshman colts on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, as harness racing driver Marcus Miller had a victory in both the trotting and pacing events (in the trot for trainer/aunt Julie), while David Miller took the other trot before heading off to Breeders Crown competition at Hoosier Park. The events were the $111,600 Super Bowl, raced as noted in two divisions, and the $110,000 Bret Hanover, which went in three splits. The Millers' sweep in the Super Bowl came with odds-on favorites; the first to succeed were David and the Cantab Hall - Jolie De Vie gelding Jack Fire, making the lead off turn one and going on to victory in taking a new mark of 1:56.   The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes consolation winner defeated the Fair Sire Stakes champion Top Me Off by three-quarters of a length to make him a success in half of his ten starts and an earner of $127,359 for trainer Nifty Norman and the ownership of Pinske Stables and Curly Tall Curly Small. The second trot was an "Illinois Millers" affair, with Marcus moving Sunny Crockett to the top at about the same spot Jack Fire took command, and the pair withstanding pocketsitter Flemsteen by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.2. The Julie Miller trainee, a colt by Father Patrick - Moonlight In Miami, now has six wins in eleven trips to the gate and a bankroll of $110,229 for Willow Oak Ranch and Andy Miller Stable Inc. Marcus Miller's win on the pace was behind the fastest of the three winners, the Somebeachsomewhere - Swinging Beauty gelding Whichwaytothebeach, who got command at the quarter and stayed strong to the finish, coming his back half in :54.4 to complete a 1:51.2 package. Bettor Of The West, who made the winner work for the early lead, came back at him from the pocket but fell three-quarters of a length shy as Whichwaytothebeach, a heavy favorite, is now 4-for-8 with $117,708 in earnings for trainer Roland Mallar and owners Alan Johnston and John Craig. A second siring credit came to Somebeachsomewhere as his altered son out of History Repeats, His Beats Hanover, continued his development for trainer Tom and owner John Cancelliere by breaking his maiden in 1:53. A sharp closer in his last two races, today he raced from the pocket for George Napolitano Jr. and went by favored Cyrus Peak by a half length. The Captaintreacherous - Fancy Filly colt Captain Fancy posted his third straight victory despite having to pace his last half raw in :55, drawing off to a 2½ length victory over Mysweetboymax while earning a new speed badge of 1:52.2. Daniel Dube had the sulky duty for trainer Bill MacKenzie and owners Vincent Ali Jr., Alma Iafelice, and Ted Gewertz. Marcus Miller, Todd McCarthy, and George Napolitano Jr. all had driving triples on the Friday Philly card. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER, PA - The Father Patrick sophomore gelding Solar charged to the lead past the quarter for driver Marcus Miller, then fronted his opposition the rest of the way to take the $12,800 featured harness racing trot on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia in 1:55.4. Big Nudge, who had gone out for the early lead before turning it over to Solar, then sat pocketed behind the winner until mounting a stretch charge, but that move came up a half length short. The winner notched his fifth score of the year and pushed his seasonal bankroll over $50,000 for trainer Erv Miller, whose Ervin Miller Stable Inc. co-owns the three-year-old with Sara Miller and John Koliopoulos.   Fastest of the winners in the tri-$11,200 supporting features was the Sebastian K S three-year-old distaff Rosalie Swan, who now has won three of her last four starts after reducing her mark here to 1:54.4 despite having to go first-over. Pat Lachance trains and drives the developing filly, unraced at two, for owner Helen Duer. The fastest mile of the featured gait on "Trottin' Thursday" went to the Yankee Glide gelding Amador, who reduced his record to 1:53.4. When he won two starts back, driver Todd McCarthy rallied the horse from nine lengths behind at the three-quarters; today the pair pressed on to command in front of the stands and had more than enough to withstand Armagedon Seelster by 1½ lengths for trainer/owner Joseph King. Mention must be made of the Cantab Hall gelding Duke Of Lindy, who went into the care of Greg White for today's race and, in a maiden trot, put up astounding fractions of :28, :56, and 1:24.1, leading by as much as twelve lengths for most of the middle part of the mile. While not able to sustain that rate, Duke Of Lindy was still able to hang on under Simon Allard's urging to defeat 1-10 favorite Ethan T Hanover by a half length in 1:55.1 for owner Jaypaul Hoover.  From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

CHESTER, PA - Harness racing drivers George Napolitano Jr. and Marcus Miller dominated the Liberty Bell series stakes action on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, capturing five of the six $30,000 divisions for two-year-old colts, three on each gait. Napolitano deputized for trainer Ãke Svanstedt (who was in Lexington establishing a new world record for freshman trotters with Southwind Tyrion), guiding two of Svanstedt's babies - who had a total of six lifetime starts between them -- to victory. First up was the Southwind Frank - Culmination colt Capstone, who never let anyone get past him and broke his maiden by three lengths in 1:55.3, just three ticks shy of the track record co-held by Rome Pays Off and Captain Corey, for the ownership of Ãke Svanstedt Inc. and Stable Why Not.   Lepanto, the PA Stallion Series champion, then raised his record to four for five for today's Team Napolitano / Svanstedt, also using engine tactics, but having to work hard late to resist Pilot Hanover by a nose in 1:56.2. The Bar Hopping - Woman Of Character colt found the finish line just in time for Esa Lahtinen, Jussi Hietalahti, and Arvo Risto Ylitalo. Lepanto's only loss came to Sunny Crockett in a Stallion Series contest, and that colt by Father Patrick - Moonlight In Miami won the third Liberty Bell section for Marcus Miller in 1:56.4, with a back half of 56.4, to take his fifth win in ten starts. "Aunt" Julie Miller trains the consistent youngster for Willow Oak Ranch and Andy Miller Stable Inc. Marcus Miller can claim an even closer blood relationship with the trainer of the Liberty Bell stakes pacing winner he drove, Captain Sleaze, by A Rocknroll Dance - Da Sleazy One. The gelding finally broke through for his maiden win in 1:53.3 while denying Beach Chief by a neck. Marcus's father Erv conditions the freshman for Engel Stable Of IL LLC. Napolitano put a new mark on the pacing winner he drove, the Sweet Lou - Faster Faster colt Mysweetboymax, rallying from the pocket for a half length 1:52.1 decision over pacesetter Somewhereinverona (over whom the winner was favored by $4). Sam De Pinto's trainee recorded his third victory for owners Robert and Brandon Horowitz. The third pacing winner was driven by a horseman who had never raced at Harrah's Philadelphia, but who certainly came with a sterling reputation - two-time national driving champion Ronnie Wrenn Jr. The horse with whom he won, the Captaintreacherous - Calgary Hanover gelding Chase H Hanover, also had recently been in the spotlight with his 1:51.1 tying of his divisional world record at Delaware (OH) and earlier second to Southwind Gendry in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Wrenn and "Chase H" quickly had the top, backed the half off to :56.3, and needed every bit of energy saved to step home in successive :27.1 quarters and keep Whichwaytothebeach, the PaSS Consolation winner, at bay by a head in a lifetime best 1:51. Chase H Hanover has now bankrolled $225,797 for trainer Scott Cox, who shares ownership with Jason Ash. A final note: many races find brothers or half-sisters, or offspring of related sires, finishing 1-2, but it's an unusual race where the trainers are a son and a father who finished 1-2. Trotter Gran Paraiso, trained by David Wiest, broke his maiden in 1:58.4; finishing second was the freshman filly Divainthereddress, trainer by his father Donald - who had turned ninety years young eight days earlier, and must have been pleased that the family took the top two spots. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Vorst was best in the $14,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the Sunday twilight harness racing card, springing a 16-1 upset while equaling her lifetime mark of 1:51.3. Its Mesmerise N made two moves to control the pace while posting early fractions of :26.4 and :56, with favored Eclipse Me N going up first-over with Vorst behind her. There was a :27 major-league duel in the third quarter, with Vorst gapping her cover a bit, but she rallied steadily while wide in the stretch and caught Eclipse Me N by a head, with six of the seven entrants within a length at the wire and the other beaten only two lengths. Marcus Miller, a three-time winner on the card, drove Vorst for owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera.   Among the four $12,000 co-features, there was a notable stretch duel between Nicholas Beach and Tito Rocks, where Nicholas Beach set the pace and then held off the charging pocketsitter by a nose in 1:50.1. The four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, who won one of two starts at two then missed all of his three-year-old season, is undefeated in six seasonal outings, with co-owner Brian Sears coming to Pocono to guide the talented pacer for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno. Also impressive in the quad-sub-features was the Kadabra sophomore filly P L Notsonice, who tucked early from her outside post, then came first-over and powered home in :55.2 to easily put away favored pacesetter Solar in 1:54. An Ontario Gold Sire Stakes winner at Rideau Carleton in 1:52.4 earlier this year, P L Notsonice is a tough customer when minding her manners for trainer Joe Skowyra and owner/driver Renaldo Morales III. Joining Marcus Miller as a three-time winner on the Sunday program was George Napolitano Jr., who arrived midcard after driving at Philly for most of the afternoon (Miller also participated early in the Philly card). Napolitano's three-bagger gives him nine at Pocono this weekend after his six Saturday afternoon, and twelve overall for Saturday-Sunday (he added a win at The Meadowlands on Saturday and two at Philly on Sunday). When racing resumes at Pocono tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., there will be a $227,633.67 carryover for the Rainbow Pick 5 bet, which requires a unique ticket containing the winner of the last five races for the big payoff. From the PHHA / The Downs

WILKES-BARRE  PA - Though there were only five starters in the $11,200 claiming handicap distaff harness racing pacing feature on Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there was plenty of speed and contentiousness before the Jereme's Jet mare Rose Run Toni claimed victory late in a lifetime best of 1:52.4. Driver Marcus Miller pointed Rose Run Toni frontward at the start, but was forced to accept the early pocket as Dancing Lisa put her in behind before a :26.2 opener. Favored Ambro Courage N was on the move as the field went by the stands, getting the lead and passing the half in a quick :54.2 before Rose Run Toni mounted a second move down the backstretch, going head-to-head with the pacesetter to a 1:23 three-quarters.   These two continued their battle through the stretch, with Dancing Lisa joining them from the inside. Despite the rough journey Rose Run Toni was able to keep going strongly for a 1½ length victory over Ambro Courage N, who photoed out Dancing Lisa for second. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera trains the 31% career winner (29 for 90) for owner/son Gilbert Garcia-Owen. The Napolitano brothers, Anthony and George Jr., accounted for half of Monday's fourteen races, with Anthony in front four times and George in three. George and Anthony are 1-2 in the current drivers dashwinning standings at The Downs. Racing at Pocono resumes Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., with a $213,734.08 carryover for the Rainbow Pick 5 bet (have a unique ticket with the winners of the last five races). From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Hightstown, NJ — Fast horses have put Marcus Melander’s career on a fast track. In late December, one year after being named the Rising Star Award winner by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, Melander was recognized as the sport’s Trainer of the Year by the same organization. The 27-year-old native of Sweden is the youngest person to ever receive the honor. The previous youngest was Mark Ford, who at the age of 30 in 2000 shared Trainer of the Year with Jimmy Takter. Marcus Melander’s stable posted 86 victories and $5.36 million in purses in 2019. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Melander’s first full season as a trainer was in 2015. He has seen his stable’s wins and purses increase every season since, reaching 86 victories and $5.36 million in 2019. His earnings last year ranked fourth among all trainers in North America despite having fewer starts (332) than any trainer in the top 17. “I’m very humbled,” Melander said. “It’s very exciting and a very big honor. It’s not that many years I’ve been a trainer, so it’s all been very fast. I have a lot of people to thank for that; the people that work for me, family, owners. “We were lucky; we had no sick horses or anything like that. We had a good year all along. We won big races, both 2- and 3-year-olds. The horses raced well all the time. They all performed.” Marcus Melander’s top horse in 2019 was Greenshoe, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Melander’s top horse in 2019 was Greenshoe, who received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. Greenshoe won 10 of 13 races, finished second in all three of his losses, and earned $1.27 million to top all trotters in North America. Gimpanzee finished second to Greenshoe in the Dan Patch voting. He won eight of 14 starts and $1.12 million. Melander became only the second trainer ever to have two million-dollar-earning trotters in the same division in the same season, joining Takter, who accomplished the feat in 2014 with Father Patrick and Nuncio. In addition, 3-year-old male trotter Green Manalishi S won six of 13 races and $646,838. That trio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity and Zweig Memorial (Greenshoe), Breeders Crown and Yonkers Trot (Gimpanzee) and Canadian Trotting Classic (Green Manalishi S). Greenshoe was retired to stallion duty at the end of his season. Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S will return in 2020, with Green Manalishi S expected to race in Europe after spending the winter in training with Melander. Marcus Melander with Gimpanzee, who was the Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, and has won 17 of 23 career races and $1.72 million. USTA/Mark Hall photo. Gimpanzee, who was the Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, has won 17 of 23 career races and $1.72 million. He finished last year with a fourth-place finish against older horses in the TVG Series championship at The Meadowlands. He was within 1-1/2 lengths of the top three: Six Pack, Manchego, and Guardian Angel AS. “I’m very excited he’s coming back,” Melander said. “We didn’t over-race him and I think he will be a very good older horse. In my opinion, he raced great in the TVG. With another year, he will be good. He has everything that a horse needs to be a good older horse. He’s always sound, he’s always happy, he always does his job. He never really had a bad race for us.” Among last season’s 2-year-old trotters, Hypnotic AM won the James Doherty Memorial while Capricornus, Back Of The Neck, Rome Pays Off, Hell Patrol, Expectations, Hellbent For AM S, and Hall of AM S all were Grand Circuit or state-restricted stakes winners. Hypnotic AM was her division’s New York Sire Stakes champion while Rome Pays Off was second in the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial and Capricornus was runner-up in the Wellwood Memorial. Cruzado Dela Noche, a 7-year-old stallion trotter in 2019, won the Cutler Memorial for older trotters. He will perform stallion duty in Sweden, Melander said. Anders Ström’s Courant Inc. owned or co-owned a number of the top horses in Melander’s barn, including Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, Green Manalishi S, and Hypnotic AM. Courant Inc. was named the sport’s Owner of the Year by USHWA. “We have a really good relationship,” Melander said. “I train a lot of horses for him and I’m very happy for him as well.” Melander now must put 2019 in the rear view mirror and focus on the road ahead. His stable has 43 2-year-olds and a total of 66 horses for 2020. “I’m excited to start the new season,” Melander said. “Hopefully we can match those numbers from last year, but it’s going to be tough. But we have a good staff, good owners; we’re just going to keep what we’re doing. It will be an exciting year.” by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Geez Joe was in tough in his last two races and did not fare well, but the veteran returned to his winning ways Saturday night at one of his favorite harness racing tracks, taking the $30,000 Preferred for pacers at the Meadowlands. The 5-year-old gelded son of Roll With Joe-Beach Bretta finished eighth in the Nov. 23 TVG Open Pace (won by Always A Prince) and 10th in the Oct. 26 Breeders Crown (American History), but he got back to the winner's circle Saturday by wiring a short - but talented - field of six in 1:50. Geez Joe was the 8-5 post-time favorite and driver Marcus Miller sent him to the top in :27.2. There wasn't much movement in the six-horse field and Miller was able to rate the second fraction to :28.1. The flow began to form after the half with Bettor Memories leading the train at the five-eighths, but none of the horses racing on the rim would go on to hit the board. Wheels On Fire sat the pocket throughout with Windsong Leo in the three-hole, and in deep stretch, Wheels On Fire was moving to the eventual winner along the inside while Windsong Leo rallied between rivals. At the wire, it was Geez Joe by a hard-fought neck over Wheels On Fire with Windsong Leo third. "He was super game," said Miller. Geez Joe, whose last win came at the Meadowlands on Oct. 12, returned $5.40 to his backers. The Erv Miller trainee now has 21 wins from 65 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $281,520 for owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Three of his five wins in 2019 have come at the Big M. A LITTLE MORE: The driver colony had a pair of stars: Tim Tetrick, who won four races, and Dave Miller, who recorded a natural hat trick after taking the ninth, 10th and 11th races ... A pair of winning tickets were sold in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10, with each being worth $4,678 for lasting six legs. Of those six, four were the post-time favorite. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card totaled $2,180,523. ... Racing resumes Thursday at 7:15 p.m. "Borrowing Ken's Binoculars" and calling the races that night will be the always entertaining Larry Lederman. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

Erv Miller liked the direction Geez Joe was heading last winter, registering four wins in a seven-race span that saw him miss the board only once, but the 5-year-old harness racing Standardbred pacer required throat surgery in January and was sidelined for more than seven months. He returned in September and looks to be rounding back into form as he heads to Saturday's $186,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at Lexington's Red Mile. Geez Joe has won two of four races since returning to action. He enters the Allerage off a 1:47.4 win in the open handicap at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Sept. 27. In his prior start, the gelding was eighth in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby but closed with the race's second-fastest final quarter-mile, :25.4, to make up six lengths and finish 3-1/2 behind winner This Is The Plan. "He's come back really good so far," said Miller, who trains Geez Joe for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. "He was in Indiana against these horses, but he really wasn't ready and he drew outside some (post seven). This will be his bigger test. Hopefully he's more ready for them this time." Geez Joe, by Roll With Joe out of Beach Bretta, has won 19 of 59 career races and earned $242,978. "We always liked him," Miller said. "He's just a really big horse and had to catch up to himself. He's starting to show that. He's always showed good speed, he just had some aches and pains from being a big guy there early on. He's starting to put it together as an older horse. It just took him a while to get there." Geez Joe will start the Allerage from post six with driver Marcus Miller and is 12-1 on the morning line. "He's pretty versatile," Miller said. "You can leave and put him in a race, or he can come from out of it. That's what I like most about him. "If he races well this week, we'll probably keep on going," the trainer added about a possible trip to the Breeders Crown later this month. McWicked is the 5-2 favorite in the Allerage pace. He won the Ewart Memorial on Sept. 7 at Scioto Downs and heads to Saturday's start off a second-place finish behind Jimmy Freight in the Dayton Pacing Derby. He was sixth in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Saturday's card at Red Mile also includes the $145,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot, $216,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers, and four divisions of the International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Lindy The Great, fresh off his victory in the Caesars Trotting Classic, which is part of a five-race win streak, is the 2-1 favorite in the Allerage trot. He will start from post two with Louis Roy driving for trainer Domenico Cecere. Warrawee Ubeaut, making her first start since winning the Jugette on Sept. 18, is the 7-5 favorite in the Glen Garnsey. She will start from post three with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA      

CHESTER, PA - A pair of $16,000 trotting features at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday afternoon saw the harness racing winners use front-end tactics to produce successful efforts. In the first, driver Marcus Miller got the Muscle Hill ridgling Boxing Gloves to the lead in :28.4, then got little resistance to his authority, resting to the :59 half and still only having to go to the three-quarters in 1:28 as the first-over favorite Miss You Kelly could make little impression. Boxing Gloves was thus left to sprint home in :28.2 to complete a 1:56.2 package, 1¼ lengths ahead of pocketsitting Choco Charlie for trainer Erv Miller and owner Silver Linden Farms. While Smooth Acceleration's victory also came from a pacesetting strategy, the course of the race was very different. Tony Morgan moved from third with the favored Swan For All sophomore gelding passing the :28.1 quarter, and as soon as he reached the top he came under pressure from Trixar, who had followed his move outside. Middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.3 resulted, but Smooth Acceleration stood tall when put to the test, finishing 4¼ lengths ahead of Trixar while taking a lifetime best of 1:54.2 for trainer Jenny Melander and the ownership of Melander Racing Inc. and Clark Stables LLC. Fast-class pacing mares went postward in a $12,500 contest, where second choice Believe In Me rallied up the inside to just catch the chalk pacesetter Zoe Ellasen in 1:51.2, equaling the mark she had earned at Philly both last year and this. Pat Berry was in the sulky for driver Brett Pelling and owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

Vernon Downs played host to three harness racing divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Friday (August 30). Hidden Cove (Marcus Miller) wins the $34,866 first division of the NYSS. Cash Roll (Jim Morrill Jr.) went to the lead just before hitting the first quarter in :27.2. Hidden Cove ($9.20) took over the lead as they went around the first turn. She led to the half in :57.3. As they headed for the final turn JK Finendandy came first-over and battled Hidden Cove all around the turn. Hidden Cove led to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Hidden Cove, who is owned by trainer Erv Miller, George Golemes, D R Van Witzenburg, and Louis WIllinger, led as they made the turn for home. Second place finisher JK Finendandy gave one last run at Hidden Cove but Hidden Cove dug in and won in a lifetime best of 1:52.4. Fashion Hill (Tyler Buter) came charging late to finish third. Hidden cove is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Sun N Sand. It was her second win in eight career starts. Coconut Beach (Markus Miller) is upset winner in the $34,866 second division. Hen Party (Matt Kakaley) went striaght to the lead hitting the first quarter in :27.1. She hit the half first in :56.4. Tipperary Hill (John MacDonald) pressured her around the last turn. Hen Party still led to three-quarters in 1:25.4. Coconut Beach ($45.80), who is owned by Happy Hour Racing and trained by Erv Miller, sat patiently in the pocket. She pulled out of the pocket in mid-stretch and blew right by to win her first career race in 1:54.0. Roll With Angel (Scott Zeron) came up to finish second. Han Party held on to finish third. Coconut Beach is a 2-year-old filly by Art Major-Gold Beach. Trainer Erv Miller and driver Marcus Miller combined to win two of the three division of the NYSS. Merga Hanover (Matt Kakaley) captures the $35,566 third division. The Fun Marshall (Scott Zeron) took them to a first quarter of :27.1. Merga Hanover ($2.90) used a brush to go from fourth to first. She led to the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:25.3. Merga Hanover, who is trianed by Ron Burke for owners Joe Sbrocco, W J Donovan, Thomas and Scott Dillon, led as they made the turn for home. The Fun Marshall went all out in the stretch but Merga Hanover was too strong as she won in a career best of 1:53.1. The Fun Marshall had to settle for second money with Bolt Of Beauty (Marcus Milller) finishing third. Merga Hanover is a 2-year-old filly by American Ideal-Magic Starlight. It was her sixth win in seven career starts. Matt Kakaley drove four winners on the night. His other wins came with Cloud Nine Fashion ($3.20), Lookatmyart ($3.80), and Dee Dee Kay ($4.10). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (August 31) with an 11 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to by John Horne, for Vernon Downs  

New York Sire Stakes were featured on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as three year old colt and gelding trotters took center stage. There were two harness racing divisions for sophomore trotters that each went for a purse of $90,050. Drawing the outside post is usually a big time hazard but on Saturday night, both Sire Stakes winners drew post eight for their tries going for the big bucks. Erv Miller's Livinonthedash (Muscle Mass-Sunshine Glide-Master Glide) had one rival scratched so he ultimately started from post seven. The talented trotter came from well off the pace to win his previous start at Yonkers and got away last in his Saratoga debut on Saturday. Patient Marcus Miller piloting paid off and the super-sophomore came charging hard in the stretch to complete his last-to-first move, stopping the timer in 1:55.4 to be the fastest of the stakes winners on the card. Livinonthedash's victory was his eighth in thirteen starts in 2019 and boosted his seasonal earnings to over the $170,000 mark. Winnerup (Trond Smedshammer) was a strong second to Livinonthedash while longshot Travel Winner (Jay Randall) earned the show spot. Livinonthedash paid $6.80 to win as he overcame his outside post to prevail for the third time in his last four NYSS starts. The other division saw Lucky Weekend (Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation-Conway Hall) draw post eight. Unlike Livinonthedash, Lucky Weekend did not have the benefit of a scratch in his race but did utilize his early speed to surge out to the lead with reinsman Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. The Christopher Lakata trainee had hit the board in his three previous starts in the NYSS but had yet to win a stakes race heading into Saturday's try from post eight. After setting a sensible pace on the engine, Lucky Weekend was confronted by rival Powerscourt (Mickey McGivern) who headed the leader around the final turn and battled him every step of the way in the stretch. Lucky Weekend proved too tough and dug in to win in 1:57.2. Powerscourt was a strong second while Captain Krupnik (Jay Randall) finished third. Lucky Weekend paid $13.80 to win in the mild upset. Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. The evening will have a $998 carryover to the Pick Five pool with that wager beginning in the first race. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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