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Racing Roundup: Vlos wins closing night feature at Pocono
Saturday, November 13, 2010 - from harness publicists across North America

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Saturday's (Nov. 13) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, Pompano Park, Batavia Dows and Northfield Park.

Vlos wins closing night feature at Pocono

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- It was only fitting that Vlos would win the $24,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The 12th race of the 13-race card honored Vlos after being named the track's Pacer of the Year along with Golden Receiver. Both pacers have excelled in the Open Pace throughout the season.

Vlos didn’t arrive at the Northeastern Pennsylvania racetrack until late in the meet but still managed to win six of the track’s top overnight races and finished no worse than second or third in 11 starts since August 31. One of the wins equaled the all-time track mark of 1:48.2.

In the final one here, Vlos, driven by Tom Jackson and trained by Eric Mollor, stopped the timer in 1:50.2. It was a wire-to-wire victory on the front end with the fractions reading :26.1 for the opening split, the half in :54.3 and three-quarters in 1:22. Dragon Again (George Napolitano, Jr.) finished second to Vlos while third-place went to Amillionpennies (Matt Romano).

“Vlos is the best horse I have ever trained,” said Eric Mollor in the winner’s circle following the win Saturday night. “He’s one tough horse and I’m grateful Nancy Spaziani gave me the opportunity to train him.”

Spaziani and family members were also in the winner’s circle to celebrate along with the breeder of Vlos, Michael Cavallo, and his wife.

-- John Zimich

Saratoga Gaming and Raceway
The Open Pace was a non-betting event at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway on Saturday due to a program error. It was the evening’s ninth race though and it was a good one. The $16,500 Open featured the track’s defending Pacer of the Year, Rare Jewel, who was assigned the rail and this year’s shoe-in for Pacer of the Year, Kelly’s Noah, who was assigned the outside post on Saturday. Rare Jewel (Dan Cappello, Jr.) worked hard early to secure the lead and did so behind first half fractions of :26.4 and :56.1. Kelly’s Noah (Frank Coppola, Jr.) came charging hard late in an effort to go last to first but came up just shy while coming on for second in the 1:53.4 feature. The win boosted the seasonal earnings for Rare Jewel to over the $100,000 mark once again for owner Norman Vartanian and trainer Rich Banca. The classy veteran has now made well over $1.25 million in his illustrious career. Stonebridge Wish (Jim Devaux) earned the show spot.

Pompano Park
Well traveled pacer Cracker Pullet (Mike Micallef) made his return to Florida in formidable fashion on the Saturday evening program at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. In Saturday night’s test, Cracker Pullet was up against a cast of sturdy veterans. Mai Tai Guy, a 1:51 performer last December from the Rick Schaut barn, was parked for the opening three-eighths of the mile in the winners of over $5,000 lifetime tilt. Mai Tai Guy was able to hold off the final half, first-over bid of Unknown Solider, in rein to Wally Hennessey, but finally gave way to the late onslaught of Cracker Pullet who made the most of a perfect second-over tow into striking position. The win time flashed up in 1:54 with Cracker Pullet drawing away. Phil Peavyhouse, 71, of South Lyon, Michigan, is the owner and trainer of the 3-
year-old Raging Glory-Nasty As Can Be gelding. In addition to Pompano, his pet project horse has raced this year at The Red Mile, Hazel Park, Northville Downs and from the care of Ontario’s Mark Austin in last Summer’s campaign at Mohawk, Georgian Downs and Windsor Raceway.

Batavia Downs
The dynamic duo of Ken “Doc” Holliday and Sherri Holliday had a big Saturday night when they drove and trained four winners each on the 12-race program. Masteroftheclass ($5.20) got the Holliday barn on the board when he went gate-to-wire from the pole in race two. Two races later the Hollidays struck again, this time with Prairie Meadows invader Bruener ($32.80), who scored at first asking for the Hollidays when he went from last to first to pull off the big upset. The Hollidays' other winners were Nifty Prescott ($2.60) and Sand Forever ($4.40). The classy 8-year-old Village Jove gelding Compass Connection took on all challengers and went on to a one length win in 1:55.2 to take the featured $8,800 Open Pace for reinsman Jim McNeight and trainer Bob Gruber. The win was the 40th of his career and it raised his lifetime earning to more than $425,000. He’s now owned by the contingent of Jude Jacobs, Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, James Kustra and Bob Gruber.

Northfield Park
Newcomer Near The Limit ($4.60) cruised gate-to-wire in Northfield Park's $6,000 Open Trot on Saturday, winning his eighth race of the year for owner Bert Dale Hershberger and trainer-driver John D. Wengerd. The 8-year-old son of Yankee Glide posted fractions of :28.3, :58.3, 1:28.2 and 1:58 to hold off the first-over bid of One Sharp Spur and push his career bankroll to $319,938. That Fly'n Angel overcame post eight to earn the show money. Sam Mignano's Hansum Eclipse, a 5-year-old homebred son of Cams Eclipse from Hansup Bar-b, made his Northfield Park debut a successful one, winning the $6,000 Open Handicap Pace in 1:54.3. Aaron Merriman put the winner on the lead just past the five-eighths pole and led from there, holding off the late charge of Delivered Rules, who had yielded to the winner after taking control past the quarter. Hansum Eclipse posted his tenth seasonal win, pushing his season's earnings to $51,105 and his career bankroll to just under $90,000. The win was Merriman's fourth of the night.

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