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Years ago, harness racing driver George Napolitano Jr. asked his dad, who owned a high-performance shop building race cars, why he got out of the horse business. The answer turned George’s life around. “He told me it was because he couldn’t take the drivers. He swore that if he ever got back in the business, his sons would be driving,” George remembers. His dad got a few horses, and George, in his early 30’s, got his chance. “He made me into a driver.” Revelry (George) Photo Credit: Curtis Salonick Harness racing as a career wasn’t what George thought would be in his future, even as he helped his dad with the horses when he was in his teens. “I knew how to take care of the horses, but I never thought in a million years I would do it for a career because it was just too much work,” he said. “ I grew up racing Motocross, and boxing, and being a wild kid. I always wanted to do something else. But my dad got back in the business and that was it.” Now at over 10,723 wins* in his career, George is humble about his character years back. He regrets what he calls “always being in fight mode. “I couldn’t get it through my head that you can’t fight everyone you work with,” he explained. “I went through a lot of years fighting with drivers. Now we’re all friendly and buried the hatchet, but I hope that one day they’ll forgive me. I was a really bad guy. I’m not perfect now, and I still fall really short, but Jesus holds my ear and drags me down the right path.” Leading Driver Wins/UDR 2017 At the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, he’s won the Leading Driver-Wins title 14 times, including the last 9 years in a row; at Harrah’s Philadelphia, he’s been awarded the title 8 times. His success comes from a formula he follows daily. “I just go out and race, and then turn the page real quick when it’s over, and go back into fight mode,” he describes. “Going up against top drivers like Tim Tetrick and David Miller, you’ve got to have tiger blood running through your veins to compete. There are lots of highs and lows in this game, so if you let races get to you, it will drag you down real quick, and then you can’t drive the same.” His family inspires him every day. “My wife stuck by me and has given up her life to follow mine. She put herself through school and gave up her career as an ultrasound tech. Some day, I told her I’ll do the same for her and we can move back to Florida and I’ll follow her life,” he said emotionally. His son George is now 16 and is playing basketball at his high school Unityville, and since the games were played during the winter, his father decided to stay back here with his family rather than go to Florida as they would normally do, which was a decision that placed George in the top 3 at the driver standings at the Meadowlands’ winter meet. Another Napolitano enjoying driving success from hard work and passion for the sport is his younger brother Anthony. With over 3208** lifetime wins, he’s consistently been in the top 3 in the driver standings at Pocono for several years, and second to leading driver George. Anthony took care of his dad’s horses since he was a kid, and ran the stable at Pompano after his father passed away in 2006. Like George, he wasn’t sure that harness racing was something he could do as a career. “I had other things in mind, I wanted to be a professional boxer. I just wanted to do something else. Rockin The Hills & Anthony Napolitano Photo Credit: Curtis Salonick But it just comes naturally to fall into a family business than to go on your own and have to deal with another boss,” he said. He drove in the amateurs and then soon got his full license and made the transition to driving professionally. Anthony decided to make the move from Pompano to Pennsylvania when things began to slow down at that track, and he bought a small farm twenty minutes from Pocono, where he’s based today. He and trainer Marta Piotrow have been working together for several years. Marta, who has her degree in Animal Science and her Masters degree in Equine Reproduction, was Breeding Manager for Jeff Gural’s Allerage Farms and had been dating Anthony when he was involved in a serious accident at Pocono. She relocated to his farm from New York to help him recuperate and then started to learn the training end of harness racing. “She’s doing very well,” Anthony said proudly. “She does everything! I just drive them. I step in when she needs my professional input, and she takes my suggestions and puts her own twist on it, and it seems to work.” He emphasized that it’s difficult for a small stable like theirs to survive, but they work hard and it shows in their success. In their free time, both love the thrill of riding dirt bikes. “Big brother” George has high praise for Anthony and offered his help to get him started. “I put Anthony on his first win at Pocono,” he said. “He came to visit me and I told him to bring his colors, and I had a horse that could not lose. His name was Yankee Lander. I made a driver change, right in the paddock, I said put Anthony Nap on him. I told him ‘Ant, put this thing on the gate and roll him’, and he did; he went in :51 with him! He made that horse go faster than I did! My little brother is so amazing, he’s so gifted and talented, and I’m so proud of him that he followed his big brother’s footsteps. Everything I did, he did. I boxed, he boxed. I raced Motocross, he did. I race horses, and he races horses. Everything I’ve done, he’s done, and he’s better than me!” On the track, though, they are competitive and driven to win. “Oh, we fight!” exclaimed George. “My dad always taught us, maybe not the right thing exactly, to fight for anything. Me and my brother sometimes do fight, but we love way more than we fight.” Anthony agrees. “We’ve had some pretty aggressive arguments, but it goes away over time. We’re competitive on the track, but at the end of the day, we’re still blood, and we’re still family.” George always had helped Anthony through the early part of his career to get drives, but things have turned around. “Now that I’m getting older, he’s trying to help me, putting me on his backups!” he laughed. As for the future for both brothers, George is quick to note that, at age 54, retirement is not even on his radar. “Wally Hennessy is still driving at 65. I don’t know what my number is, but I’ll just let my body and Jesus tell me. I want to go heavy for a couple more years, provide for my family, and then relax.” Anthony, 39 years old, is looking forward to continuing driving the circuit and working alongside Marta, running their stable. One word that was echoed from both Anthony and George was “thankful”. Both are thankful to be doing what they love every day; for their success, and thankful for their strong family bond. The numbers (as of press time) compiled by Jerry Connors *George Napolitano Jr. 10,723 wins $96,854,274 lifetime Record year-2015-$8.57M/834 wins Leading Driver-Wins – Pocono – 14 times Leading Driver-UDR- Pocono – 12 times Leading Driver-Wins- Harrah’s-8 times Leading Driver-UDR-Harrah’s-4 times North America Leading Driver-Wins-2010 (753 wins) **Anthony Napolitano 3208 wins $31,032,168 lifetime Record year-2009-295 wins Record year-2018-$3.46M by Jennifer Starr, for the PA Horse Racing Association

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The opening of the stakes season for national-caliber Pennsylvania-sired stakes horses at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono begins this Saturday afternoon, with four harness racing divisions of a $120,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for the sport's "glamour division," the three-year-old colt pacers. Looking to regain a bit of his early-season glamour is the Somebeachsomewhere colt One Eight Hundred, an $800,000 yearling purchase who startled fans with a 1:50.2 seasonal debut here on April 3, with a :26.4 last quarter, and then followed up with a 1:52 off-track win, making him the heavy favorite for his Weiss Series Championship. But in the Weiss final on April 24, One Eight Hundred got locked in the pocket and badly shuffled, although he recovered to be beaten only two lengths in fifth. Unraced since then, One Eight Hundred will be looking for a clear chance to exhibit his talent, starting from post seven in the field of eight for trainer Nancy Takter, who has put down Tim Tetrick for the driving assignment. The two winners in the first preliminary leg of the PA Sire Stakes last week at The Meadows, Southwind Gendry (1:49.4) and Literl Lad Hanover (1:51.1), will not be competing in the All-Stars, although they are likely to be at Pocono on Sunday the 16th for the second PaSS leg. But there are plenty of other proven three-year-olds joining One Eight Hundred Saturday - a second-place finisher and both third-place finishers in the Sire Stakes; three winners in the Stallion Series; both Weiss Consolation winners; and Always B Miki, in his seasonal debut after winning the Governor's Cup at two. These youngsters and other swift colts and geldings should ensure fast, competitive races in the All-Stars events. First post on an excellent 14-race card at Pocono on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Program pages will be available at From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA – The return of the fast-class harness racing pacer Hickfromfrenchlick, plus sharp outings from Casie Coleman Herlihy three-year-olds, were the highlights on a Wednesday morning qualifying session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono conducted over a “sloppy +1” oval. Hickfromfrenchlick, a son of So Surreal named after the NBA all-timer Larry Bird, was a good two-year-old who went on to win over half a million dollars at three, taking his mark of 1:48.4 in the Empire Breeders Classic final. He qualified three times at age four, twice at Goshen and then posting a 1:49.4 “Q” win at The Meadowlands, but he had been absent from the racetrack between that outing on June 5 of last year and today, when he went down the road in 1:51.2 for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker, also co-owner with Nolamaura Racing LLC and Thomas Spatorico. Coleman Herlihy employed Matt Kakaley to drive her successful sophomores. One was Linedrive Hanover, a Betting Line gelding who impressed last year when on July 4 he won a qualifier in 1:53.2 at Woodbine Mohawk, with back fractions of :53.4 - :26.3, but he only made one purse start, where he made a break, before being stopped with. He won Wednesday in 1:54.4, back half :55.4, for West Wins Stable, McKinlay & Fielding, J L Benson Stables Inc., and MacNichol. The trainer/driver combo also won with the Captaintreacherous gelding Captainofrocknroll, a 1:53.1 winner at two who won Wednesday in 1:55.3 - :55.4 - :27.3 for owner Robert Hamather. Coleman Herlihy also sent out with Kakaley Dean B Hanover, a Betting Line gelding who won in 1:52.1 at two, and who was beaten only 1½ lengths and thus race-timed in 1:52 behind Hickfromfrenchlick. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Magnificent Seven just got by Can't Say No to take the $15,300 featured trot on Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but the winner had to share the spotlight with driver Tyler Buter and trainer John Butenschoen, who combined for four successes with developing horses in the "nw 2 races" class on a day where each earned five overall winners. Magnificent Seven, a son of Chapter Seven trained by Ed Hart and driven by Jason Bartlett, worked out a two-hole trip behind fellow 8-5 shot Can't Say No, then caught that tough foe by a head at the end of a :56.3 back half and a 1:54.4 mile, giving him a new mark. The winner has been a model of recent consistency for the ownership of Richard Gutnick, Joseph Lozito Jr., T L P Stable, and Ted Gewertz. MAGNIFICENT SEVEN REPLAY   Butenschoen brought a couple of truckloads of sharp young horses up north from Florida, and the foursome of younger stock who won Tuesday represents the recent norm than any random success pattern, with Buter and Butenschoen finding the teaming mutually profitable. Tuesday's best example would be the Donato Hanover three-year-old filly Melania, a winner in her 2021 bow who set a pace of :28.1, :57.3, and 1:26 in her quest for two straight. When sitting right behind you is Imharta AM S, a Marcus Melander trainee who lured Brian Sears for a Pocono cameo, you could have reason to be concerned, but Melania continued on strongly for Buter to take a half-length victory and lower her mark a tick to 1:54.3 for Dr. Patty Hogan. There was also a quintet of $13,500 "nw 4 races" contests as underfeatures, the fastest on the pace being won by - naturally - a Butenschoen trainee. Gray Dragon, a gray son of Dragon Again, was powerful in his Pocono debut, with Mark MacDonald guiding him to a 1:51.2 front-end success for Emerald Highlands Farm. Quickest of the co-featured trotters was the Deweycheatumnhowe sophomore gelding Dewey Arnold, three-for-three since coming to Pocono and here winning in 1:53.2 - a season's record, and only a fifth behind the filly Bella Bellini for the title of season's fastest three-year-old on any size of track. Jason Bartlett sent the powerful diamondgaiter down the road for trainer David Dewhurst, co-owner with Philip Hale. On Saturday, the national-caliber stakes season for PA-sired horses has its 2021 local start with four divisions of a $120,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars stake for the glamour division, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Much of the attention will focus on the 12th race's One Eight Hundred, so impressive in two Weiss Series victories but then locked in and shuffled out of contention in the Weiss Final. Tim Tetrick has been tapped by trainer Nancy Takter as the pair starts from post seven in a field of eight on Saturday. Post time for Saturday's card is 12:30 p.m., with the stakes races slotted in races nine through twelve and surrounded by an outstanding undercard. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

HARNESS RACING PACER OF THE WEEK: SHOULDABEENATD In Sunday night's feature condition pace for fillies and mares winners of four but no more than seven, which carried a purse of $15,300, Shouldbeenatd was made the 2-5 betting favorite in a field of seven. That was different from her previous start at Pocono, when she went off as 12-1 long shot on April 25. On that night, the four-year-old Ron Burke trainee found the pocket early and rallied late in that one for the victory in 1:52. On Sunday night when leaving from a post position of #4 in a field of seven, Shouldabeenatd changed her tactics and went for the front end. Once she made it there, she was rated nicely by driver Matt Kakaley. The mare was too much for her foes in the lane, as Shouldabeenatd captured her second straight with ease, getting it done in 1:51:3. Honorable Mention Pacers Revelry (George Napolitano Jr., William Adamczyk), who moved up in class on Saturday for his second straight condition win at Pocono, this one coming in 1:51 Trente Deo (Jason Bartlett, Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), whose condition win on Saturday came in 1:50:2, which matched a career-best and was fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono Full Moon Beach (Tyler Buter, John Butenschoen), a three-year-old clot who followed up his maiden win with another condition victory on Tuesday in 1:53:1. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: THISISSHE This six-year old mare has been the dominant force in the claiming trotters' ranks in recent weeks at Pocono. She won back-to-back in $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap trots on April 20 and 27 for trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera. Thisisshe was claimed out of the last one and joined the barn of Daniel Maier to go against the same claiming handicap grouping on Monday afternoon. Leaving from post position #6 in afield of seven, Thisisshe was sent to the front by driver George Napolitano Jr. From there, she really had to battle with Tyson who came at her aggressively first-over. But Thisisshe dug deep and pulled away at the end by two lengths, as her third straight victory came in a time of 1:55. Honorable Mention Trotters With Out A Doubt (Anthony Napolitano, Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare whose condition victory on Saturday came in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono Melania (Tyler Buter, John Butenschoen), a three-year-old filly who won her second straight condition trot on Tuesday and did so in a career-best 1:54:3 Stop Resistin (Marcus Miller, Steven Brabrook), who picked up a win in Monday's featured claiming handicap trot in 1:54:2. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: STORM BRINGER This gelding driven by Anthony Napolitano staged a late rally from the pocket to win a condition trot on Tuesday at 20-1, paying off $43.80 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Matt churned out four wins on Sunday night at Pocono, but the big news was that the second of those wins that night, aboard Traffic Jam, was his 5,000th career driving victory. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOHN BUTENSCHOEN Butenschoen has been on fire lately at Pocono, and on Tuesday afternoon he hit his peak, sending out six starters on the day and ending up with five winners. 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 Begivlia, for The Downs                

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 - Harness racing driver Matt Kakaley, a "youthful veteran" of the sport at age 33, recorded the 5,000th victory of his still-young career when he got Traffic Jam home first in the fourth race of Sunday's twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Kakaley let the Artiscape mare work her way to the lead at the quarter, rated the pace to the half, then kept her ahead of her pursuers for her second win of the year - Matt was in the bike for her first seasonal victory as well, on March 14.   TRAFFIC JAM REPLAY   In addition to the 5000 victories, Kakaley-driven horses have won over $81 million. His best year for victories came in 2011 when he was first 441 times, including 289 of them at Pocono to be the last driver not named "George" to top The Downs in that category; Matt guided the winners of over $9 million in 2017, including Kentucky Futurity winner Snowflake Hanover and three $100,000 wins with All Bets Off. Kakaley also accounted for the $15,300 featured pace for mares, putting heavy favorite Shouldabeenatd on the lead and keeping her pace strongly, including her own last half in :54.4, to cross the wire first in 1:51.3. The daughter of Sweet Lou won her second straight for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In all, Matt had four victories on the card.   SHOULDABEENATD REPLAY   Featured on the Monday card at 12:30 is a pair of $12,800 trotting contests for the highest-priced claimers at The Downs, with several recent winners looking to extend their current form streaks. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Highalator, a son of Somebeachsomewhere who has been a frequent winner at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono whenever his schedule takes him here, bounced back from equipment failure in last week's first 2021 appearance at the mountain oval to put up a game 1:51 victory in the $15,700 fast-class feature on the Kentucky Derby Day Saturday afternoon card. Regular pilot Richard Still guided the veteran past Mykindachip to the :27.1 quarter, then got a breather to the half in :56.2. Bill Haley N made a big move at the leader down the backstretch, with Rodeo Rock in cover tow, but Highalator was able to keep the first-over at bay by the 1:23.1 three-quarters, and then withstand the oncoming Rodeo Rock by a length. HIGHLATOR REPLAY   Highlator has now won 40 times in 90 trips behind the gate, with Pocono being a large contributor to that high win ratio, as he has won 16 times in 26 career starts here. Trainer Jenny Bier co-owns the winner of $644,844 with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction. Another veteran Pocono lover, the eleven-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks, recorded career victory #69, and sixth in his last eight starts, taking a division of the high-end claiming handicap in 1:51.4 for driver George Napolitano Jr., a three-time winner on the afternoon, and trainer Hunter Oakes, the latter co-owner with Scott Bice. The other division of the top claimer went to the Mach Three gelding Tullow N, driven by Tyler Buter to a head victory over Busboy Hanover, whose cover he followed and then came on to win in 1:51.3. David Rosso trains the winner for Marissa Russo. Besides "George Nap," Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, leading trainer at the meet, recorded a triple - with three different drivers. And 2017 World Driving Champion James MacDonald, in town because of the Ontario shutdown, made an auspicious debut by guiding the Carmen Auciello-trained Nothing But Muscle to a hard-fought score. Sunday's racing at The Downs, which will begin at 5 p.m., will feature a $15,300 pace for distaffs, with the stakes winner Shouldabeenatd trying to add a second straight victory while facing very good opposition here. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Eazy Pass justified her backing as the heaviest sort of favorite by brushing to the lead nearing the three-quarters and going on to tie her mark of 1:54.3 in the $40,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for sophomore trotting fillies Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The 32-1 shot P L Olivia was hustled away and put outsiders in behind her before the :27.3 quarter, and she went on to parked second choice quarter-mover Trip Sevens, leaving that rival out in the air past the :56.4 half. Eazy Pass, whom Dexter Dunn had moved out behind Trip Sevens perhaps in anticipation of her clearing, thus had the second-over journey, but before the 1:26 third panel the victorious filly was on her way to the lead, which she maintained to the wire. Eazy Pass won by four lengths over the resilient P L Olivia, with Frankly My Dear third. EAZY PASS REPLAY   Eazy Pass, who won the first and third Weiss prelims for her group while skipping the second, now sports a 4-3-1-0 seasonal record since trainer Nifty Norman removed the trotting hopples over the winter. The daughter of Muscle Hill was successful for the partnership of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing. The partnership of trainer John Butenschoen and driver Tyler Buter clicked three times on the Tuesday card to run their Monday/Tuesday total record to 7-5-1-1 - all with three-year-olds making their first starts of the year. The Donato Hanover gelding Truffles Too and a filly by that sire, Melania, both won in 1:54.4. Fastest three-year-old trotter on the card was the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding Dewey Arnold, now winner of two straight here and home Tuesday in 1:54.1, just a tick off the fastest sophomore trotting mile anywhere this year, for driver Jason Bartlett and trainer David Dewhurst. Four April trotting miles in under 1:55f by three-year-olds is a pretty noteworthy feat. Racing resumes on Kentucky Derby Day Saturday at 12:30 p.m.; joining Pocono's temporary expatriate colony from Ontario on Saturday will be 2017 World Driving Champion James Macdonald. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

BOBBY WEISS SERIES RECAP Over the past month or so at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the three-year-olds have taken center stage in the Bobby Weiss late closer harness racing series. The series culminated this past week with finals in the four respective groups, with each of those races carrying a purse of $40,000. Let's take a look at how they all played out. PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS After handily winning both of his preliminary legs, One Eight Hundred was made the prohibitive favorite at 1-9 in Saturday's final. But racing luck got the better of him, as he ended up in a pocket spot behind a horse who couldn't sustain its pace. When Trevor's Ace took over with a first-over move on the back stretch, there was nowhere for One Eight Hundred to go. But Trevor's Ace found himself laboring in the stretch after the effort that he had expended to get to the front. It was just a matter of whether any closers would enter the picture, and, at the last moment, Kyoquot did. The 71-1 shot trained by Daniel Renaud was eighth with a quarter-mile to go, but Tyler Buter was able to find room for him late way out wide and he made up the ground to win by a nose over Trevor's Ace for a shocker in a career-best 1:52:2. TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS After winning the three preliminary legs, it looked like nothing could derail the momentum of Todd Schadel trainee Top Me Off in the Weiss. But the draw didn't make it easy on him, as he was saddled with the outside post in a field of eight in Sunday night's final. Still, he went off as the 3-2 favorite in the race and was hustled to the front end early by driver Andy Miller. Top Me Off had to deal with a back-stretch first-over charge by Pilot Hanover, but he rebuffed that challenge. After building the lead out slightly in the stretch, he held off closing Robbie Pev by a length for the victory. The win in 1:54:4 makes him a perfect five-for-five, all at Pocono, in 2021. PACING FILLIES Incaseyoudidntknow was the favorite in this group after winning all three preliminary legs. So Irresistible, trained by Bruce Saunders, also had a chance for a sweep of the preliminary legs, but she was upset in her previous races after winning three straight. In Monday's final, So Irresistible came out ready and hustled to the front end around the first turn to set the pace. In the stretch, pocket-sitting Carrington provided a threat, as did Incaseyoudidntknow, kicking into gear late on the outside. But as those two horses pulled almost even, driver Scott Zeron coaxed a little bit more out of So Irresistible. She fought hard to the line, holding off Carrrington by a head for the victory in 1:52:4. TROTTING FILLIES Eazy Pass had put up a 2-for-2 record in the Weiss series coming into the final on Tuesday afternoon and was made the betting favorite at 1-9. Leaving from post position #3 in a field of nine, the filly watched as P L Olivia set the early pace. Eazy Pass decided to follow the cover on the outside of Trip Sevens, who made an early front-stretch move to try to take the lead. Even though Trip Sevens never did get to the front, she stayed close to P L Olivia on the back stretch. That meant that Eazy Pass, with Dexter Dunn in the bike, needed only a quick three-wide burst of speed to take over the lead at around the three-quarter mile marker. From there, Eazy Pass coasted to the win by four lengths in 1:54:3, a time which matched her career-best. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at From Jim Beviglia, for The Downs                  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Always B Miki sophomore pacing filly So Irresistible, winner of her first two Bobby Weiss Series preliminary legs only to come up a nose shy in the final prelim, bounced back to winning form with a 1:52.4 triumph in the $40,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for her group Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Carrington was quickest away from the gate, with So Irresistible and driver Scott Zeron bypassing a tuck and going on to the lead in the vicinity of the :27.4 quarter. The half went in :56.4, and then came first-over Beach Crazy, with Incaseyoudidntknow, a winner of all three of her prelims and the favorite, second-over. Incaseyoudidntknow rolled three-wide not much past the 1:24.2 three-quarters and loomed as a major stretch danger, with Carrington getting a clear path in the Pocono Pike to launch her bid. But So Irresistible was irresistible in winning by a neck over Carrington, who in turn won a photo over Incaseyoudidntknow for second. SO IRRESISTIBLE REPLAY   The win was the fifth in seven 2021 outings for So Irresistible, and her seventh in ten lifetime starts. Bruce Saunders trains the talented filly for owners Charles and Julie Nash. The $17,500 Weiss Consolation for this sector went to the American Ideal miss Itzpapalotl (named after an Aztec goddess), who ruled her field while taking a mark of 1:53.4. Jason Bartlett sent the filly right to the lead, yielded for the two-hole, then used the Pocono Pike as her path to victory for trainer Anette Lorentzon and Knutsson Trotting Inc. In a $10,000 fast-class trot, Can't Say No set the pace then held off the late rush of favorite Eva Dairpet FR in a career-best 1:55 for driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker, also co-owner with Steven Arnold, Arden Homestead Stables, and Fred Hertrich III. The victorious son of Explosive Matter won three of four races at two, losing only Real Cool Sam, then missed all of last year, but he appears to reaching peak form as he has now won half his four seasonal trips behind the gate. The final $40,000 Championship in the Bobby Weiss Series will be held Thursday for trotting fillies; Eazy Pass, two-for-two in the series including a 1:54.3 victory last week, as the likely favorite as she starts from post three in the nine-horse field. Post time will be at 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Bar Hopping ridgling Top Me Off completed a "sweep" of his Bobby Weiss Trotting Series action for males, adding the $40,000 Championship on Sunday to his three earlier preliminary harness racing wins at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with a 1:54.4 triumph.   Trainer Todd Schadel had guided Top Me Off to the prelim wins, but he turned to driver Andy Miller to handle the three-year-old in the final. Their horse had drawn the outside post nine for the Championship, but even before the race they had luck, with a rival scratching and thus letting them start just a bit more inside.   Top Me Off nonetheless covered a good deal of wide ground to make the lead by the :28.2 quarter, but things were well in control after that, with middle fractions of :57.3 and 1:26 leaving the sophomore with plenty left in the tank and able to leave the opposition safely behind. Top Me Off is now undefeated in five 2021 starts, and he raised his career bankroll to $107,348 for the ownership of Todd and Chrsine Schadel and Rick and Regina Beinhauer.   TOP ME OFF REPLAY     In the $17,500 Weiss consolation for this classification, the Southwind Frank colt Tart Tongue broke his maiden in style with a 1:56.1 victory. Brian Sears sent the heavy favorite to the lead nearing the :28.4 quarter, rated the half to :59, then put in a pair of :28.3 quarters to win off by himself for trainer Marcus Melander and Stall TZ Inc.   TART TONGUE REPLAY     The $40,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championships continue Monday afternoon with the finale for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Incaseyoudidntknow was the only young distaff to go undefeated in her three preliminary contests, and she'll be the likely choice starting from post four in the tenth race feature. Post time for the Monday program is 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at   For full race results, click here.   From PHHA/Pocono  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Kyuquot, buried along the inside much of the way in the $40,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for three-year-old males Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, was angled to the far outside the first part of the stretch by driver Tyler Buter, then got up on the line for a 70-1 upset in 1:52.2, while heavy favorite One Eight Hundred was trapped behind a horse and got shuffled out of contention. One Eight Hundred was sent right to the lead and took the field to the quarter in :26.1; when parked challenger Straight Talk argued hard for the lead, One Eight Hundred elected to sit the pocket as Straight Talk went on to command and passed the half in :54.3. Trevor's Ace went first-over to press the leader and then seized the lead at the 1:23 three-quarters, with the chalk stuck behind the faltering pacesetter. In the stretch it looked like Trevor's Ace was going to take the big money, but Buter had his Sportswriter gelding in top gear the last sixteenth and posted a nose decision. One Eight Hundred finally shook loose and came up the Pocono Pike to salvage a fifth while beaten only two lengths. KYUQUOT REPLAY   Kyuquot had been fourth, second, and third in his three Weiss prelims, but he picked the right time for a big mile for trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Robert Di Nozzi. There were also two $17,500 Weiss Series Consolations for those in this section not making the final, and both went to favorites who set a lifetime mark of 1:51.3 in their victories. The Sweet Lou colt Warrawee Whynot has shown a fine turn of speed with a bit of greenness in his brief career, and both were on display as the sophomore broke his maiden, rallying from the pocket to win safely. Trainer Shane Tritton will be looking to find the key to his newly-acquired pupil, who offers promise for the ownership of Singh & Soulsby, Gil Short, and Alan Weisenberg. The other winner, the A Rocknroll Dance gelding Captain Sleaze, made every pole a winning one in a good mile for driver Marcus Miller, trainer/father Erv Miller, and the ownership of Engel Stable of IL LLC. Another heavily-backed horse took it on the chin in the $17,200 fast-class featured pace, as Pocono favorite Highalator, in his first start since January 2, broke equipment going to the quarter and was pulled up. The winner of the race was the Mach Three gelding J M Mandamin, who remained undefeated in four seasonal outings at Pocono with a two-move victory in 1:50.4 for the sister/brother team of trainer Jennifer and driver Joe Bongiorno and owner Robert Weinstein. The Pocono excitement carried all the way to the card's final race, as Bill Haley N rocked home powerfully to win in 1:49.3, fastest time of the 2021 meet. Anthony Napolitano picked up his fourth winner of the day behind the Kiwi import. The twelve-year-old Mykindachip pushed his career earnings over seven figures with a 1:51.2 victory. The 67-time winner boosted his bankroll to $1,003,822 while also under "ANap"'s guidance. Sunday's card at Pocono, which begins at 5:00 p.m., will feature the $40,000 Weiss Series Championship for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Top Me Off was the only horse in this grouping to win all three of his preliminary races, but if he is going to effect a "sweep" he'll have to do it starting from the outside number nine post for trainer/driver Todd Schadel. Program pages will be available at For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE PA - Management at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, is announcing the movement of two May Pennsylvania Sire Stakes / Stallion Series harness racing events to the following day, to relieve possible conflicts for horsemen. The second leg of the Sire Stakes / Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts, the sport's "glamour division," was originally scheduled for Pocono on Saturday, May 15; that event will now be held on Sunday, May 16. This brings clearance from The Meadows' first leg for sophomore trotting colts that day, and avoids the handlers of top horses having to hustle to The Meadowlands for the Cutler Trot and a leg of the Graduate Pace. The second leg of the PaSS/PaStS for the sophomore trotting colts was originally penciled in at Pocono for Sunday, May 30, but now they will be held one day later, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31. This change brings relief from same-day racing of the third leg of the pacing colts' PA stakes during a major card at Harrah's Philadelphia. Any questions about these changes should be directed to Pocono's Director Of Racing, Rick Kane, at 570 831 2228. From PHHA/Pocono

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Best In Show, the 2019 Meadowlands Pace winner, certainly showed he is ready to go for his five-year-old harness racing campaign, roaring to a 1:52.3 victory in a Wednesday morning qualifier at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The royally-bred Best In Show (by Bettor's Delight out of the $2.4M-winning world champion Put On A Show) was sent right to the top by driver Scott Zeron and made short work of his field, coming home in :26.3 to win by 17 lengths. Trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard and Joanne Young will undoubtedly be testing this one in against the nation-caliber fast-class pacers shortly. A pair of three-year-old pacers caught the eye during these qualifiers - with opposite techniques. The Sweet Lou gelding PD The Big Easy, the Kentucky Fairs champion at two, went away to a big lead early, then lasted in the stretch by a nose in 1:55 for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Tee Wine, and A Piece Of The Action LLC (Perry De Luna). Mullinax, the Massachusetts Sire Stakes and Excelsior A champion, buzzed home with a last quarter of :26.2, but came up just shy in the picture behind PD The Big Easy. From the PHHA/The Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The maiden Bar Hopping filly Bella Bellini, making her first start since October 10, equaled the fastest clocking by any three-year-old trotter in North America this year, 1:54, when she won her $17,500 division of the final preliminary of her Bobby Weiss Series action Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Living up to her pedigree (in addition to her sire, her dam is the $700G+ winner Bella Dolce, she a daughter of champion and producer of three $500G+ winners Pizza Dolce), Bella Bellini had the lead before the :28.3 quarter, backed the half off to :58, then sprinted to hit the three-quarters in 1:25.3 before drawing clear to win by 15¼ lengths for driver Dexter Dunn, trainer Nifty Norman, and owner David McDuffee, who has had a long involvement with this family. The 1:54 clocking equals the figure put up by the gelding Winning Ticket over the 5/8-mile Miami Valley oval, and is superior to any time posted by a sophomore filly on any size of track. BELLA BELLINI REPLAY   That previous mark for fillies of 1:54.3 had been established 32 minutes earlier at Pocono by another Dunn/Norman/McDuffee horse, the Muscle Hill filly Eazy Pass. Owned by McDuffee in partnership with Melvin Hartman and Diamond Creek Racing, Eazy Pass also proved uncatchable on the lead, and was seven lengths clear at the finish to run her Weiss record to 2-for-2. EAZY PASS REPLAY   Prospects for a sweep for Dunn/Norman and a second win for Team Eazy Pass were dashed when Rebel Girl, a winner in her only previous Weiss outing, was scratched sick. Taking advantage was another daughter of Bar Hopping, Nancy Bar, who rode in the pocket then edged favored Lexa Hanover to break her maiden in 1:58 for driver Fern Paquet Jr., trainer Rob Harmon, and owner Tom Haughton. NANCY BAR REPLAY   So Nifty Norman has three fillies undefeated in this section of the Weiss, but only the double winner Eazy Pass (the only double winner this section produced) garnered enough points to make the provisionary list of top point winners, which reads: Alpine; Etra De Vie; Eazy Pass; Nancy Bar; P L Olivia; Lexa Hanover; Frankly My Dear and Trip Sevens (tie); and Orange Zest. Two horses, Kayla's Playmate and R Speed Of Light, will decide AE1 / AE2 by luck of the draw if needed. Bella Bellini and Rebel Girl are tied for 16th. The pairing of driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker, along with driver Jason Bartlett, visited Victory Lane three times on the afternoon. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

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