By: Jerry Connors, Jr.
CHESTER PA – Harrah’s Philadelphia featured younger horses climbing the classladder Thursday afternoon in a trio of $14,400 features for different classifications; the one common thread was driver Todd McCarthy, who won all three top races among his five winners on the day.
First up were the male pacers, with the Betting Line gelding Bet A Bundle taking a new mark of 1:50.1. Todd hustled Bet A Bundle away from post eight, yielded the lead to Stormalong to sit in the pocket, then stormed home himself to win by 1½ lengths over the chalk. Maria Reid trains the fast pacer for J M F Racing LLC and Peter Fusco Racing LLC.
The National Basketball Association has its star Jokic – the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola, two-time MVP and friend of Tim Tetrick – and harness racing may have a budding star Jokic, as the Cantab Hall sophomore trotting gelding is overcoming a slow start to his career, having won two of his last three including a 1:55.3 victory in the highlight for his gait. Todd McCarthy kept this winner third along the rail, then got him to respond quickly late to pass pacesetting favorite Portulaca by a head for trainer Mark Harder and owner Dean Lockhart.
The Sweet Lou sophomore filly Quick E is now undefeated in seven seasonal starts, with McCarthy moving her to the lead early and then just being a quiet passenger the rest of the way in the distaff pacing feature as the three-year-old lowered her mark to 1:51.1. Brett Pelling trains the sharply-improved miss (winless in two baby starts) for Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC.
$20,000 Open handicaps for the fast-class older performers will be featured at Harrah’s Philadelphia this weekend. On Friday, Ruthless Hanover, who set the all-time record for a five-eighth mile track of 1:46.3 right here at Philly, will go from the outside post six in the pacing headliner; also starting from post six will be 2022 Maxie Lee winner Lovedbythemasses, the outermost horse behind the starting gate in the top trotting class. Program pages for all races at Harrah’s Philadelphia are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.
By: Jerry Connors, Jr.
CHESTER PA – On a day that proved not very kind to betting favorites, the Walner sophomore filly Wallandar had her “A” game – including the perfect decorum she had been missing in recent outings – to take the $12,600 trotting feature at Harrah’s Philadelphia in a new mark of 1:56.3 while paying $50.40 to her scattered win backers.
Andy Miller got the $250,000 yearling, who has names such as Credit Winner and Me Maggie in her immediate parentage, away cleanly and to the top by a :28.4 quarter, then yielded to odds-on favorite Candy Bomber and sat behind the one through middle fractions of :58.2 and 1:27.3. Miller showed Wallandar racetrack nearing headstretch, and the three-year-old came home in perfect order to defeat the chalk by a half length for trainer Julie Miller and the partnership of Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Little E LLC.
The “Illinois Millers” may have won the feature, but it was the “Ohio Miller,” David Miller, who led all drivers with three winners today.
Harrah’s next goes to the gate on Thursday at 12:25, with a $3664.38 carryover in the Pick-4 wager starting in the very first race.
The cards on Friday (12:25) and Sunday (12:40) both feature sterling $20,000 Open handicap events. Ruthless Hanover, the world’s fastest Standardbred on a 5/8-mile track with a 1:46.3 victory in the Joe Auger Pace here on Super Sunday on May 28, will start from the outside in a field of six pacers Friday; on Sunday the outside post six has been assigned to the winner of the 2022 Maxie Lee Trot, Lovedbythemasses.
Program pages for all races at Harrah’s Philadelphia are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.
By: Jerry Connors, Jr.
WILKES-BARRE PA – Proud Mary came rollin’ on the river of slop in the Pocono Pike, but she was outfinished by Falana Hanover, who won the female section of the $16,000 tri-features for pacers at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania. The final clocking was 1:53.2 over a track rated “sloppy” most of the day.
Falana Hanover was set in motion uncovered by driver Tyler Buter down the backstretch, while Proud Mary and Matt Kakaley were content to follow the pacesetting favorite My Hungry Girl. In the stretch both went by the pacesetter, to each side, with Falana Hanover’s late steps giving her a nose advantage at the finish. Despite the sloppy going, the victorious sophomore daughter of Always B Miki missed her mark only by a tick for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Pinske Stables, Enzed Racing Stable, Lawrence Means and Jerry Kovach.
The smallest possible margin was also the measure of victory in one of the two features for males, as Pacino Hanover and Zeus Hanover slugged it out before the camera gave the edge to the former, an American Ideal sophomore colt, in 1:51.4, a new mark. Pacino Hanover took over from Zeus Hanover approaching the half, then withstood that foe late for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Joe Pavia Jr., and owners Jablonsky Held Stable, Joseph and Vincent Barbera, and Todd Frocione.
Trainer Joe Pavia Jr. also accounted for the other feature for males, as the Captaintreacherous three-year-old gelding Cerulean Hanover backed out behind new backstretch leader Erinwood Yves, followed that one a ways, then came on and bested him by 1½ lengths in 1:52.3. Braxten Boyd handled the 27-1 upsetter for many members of Team Pacino Hanover: Jablonsky Held Stable, Joseph and Vincent Barbera, and Joe Pavia Jr. Stable.
Boyd, who also dead-heated for a win on the day, piloted “Cerulean” to a $56.40 payoff; earlier in the day, George Napolitano Jr. drove Gumption to a $50.60 upset. “George Nap” and Åke Svanstedt each drove three success stories over the sloppy going, with all three of Åke’s coming from his own barn.
Racing resumes on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pocono, with an $18,500 fast-class pace likely to threaten 1:50 if Tuesday’s rain will stay away. There will also be a $1686.26 carryover in the Pick-4 wager that begins in the very first race. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.
By: Jerry Connors, Jr.
WILKES-BARRE PA – The Il Sogno Dream gelding Evil Guy used the uncovered route to get a neck victory in the $15,000 featured trot at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania on Monday afternoon.
Simon Allard got away third with Evil Guy as 55-1 shot P Chico, parked past the quarter for the top after avoiding an early breaker, and set fractions of :28.1, :57.4, and 1:26, with Evil Guy put in motion by Allard during the third quarter. The pacesetter and his outside challenger were the two who slugged it out in the end, with Evil Guy getting up by a neck in 1:55.2 for trainer Ron Burke and Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
In a $12,500 co-featured trot, it took the Chapter Seven gelding Seventier past a :27.2 quarter and to the three-eighths pole to make the top, but once there he continued on with splits of :56.2 and 1:25 en route to a length decision over pocketsitting Nancy Bar in 1:53.3. A winner and then a victim of broken equipment in his previous two races, Seventier regained his winning ways for trainer/driver Gareth Dowse and his Dowse Racing Inc.
George Napolitano Jr. won four times on Monday for top honors among the Pocono drivers.
The racing week concludes on Tuesday at 1 p.m., with a trio of $16,000 paces of the “nw 6 races” variety as the headliners. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.
By: Jerry Connors, Jr.
WILKES-BARRE PA – The Stay Hungry – Skinny Dip two-year-old pacing filly Lyons Legend remained undefeated after four purse starts, taking one of two $35,000 divisions of her section’s Pennsylvania All-Stars event in a lifetime best 1:51.4.
After a :27.2 battle for the lead past the quarter, driver Matt Kakaley moved Lyons Legend to the lead, put up middle fractions of :56 and 1:24.2, then finished in hand while keeping pocketsitter Asweetbeachhere 2½ lengths behind. Trained by Jim King Jr. of Shartin N fame, Lyons Legend is owned by Threelyonsracing, and with two PA Sire Stakes wins under her girth already, the budding star filly may be back at Pocono on September 2 for her $250,000 Sire Stakes Championship.
Strange Fruit made the lead before the :28.3 quarter in her All-Stars division, then yielded to favored Ginger Tree Belle and sat in the pocket while the chalk put up midsplits of :56.4 and 1:25.2. The price of pacing went up in the last quarter as these two drew away from the rest, and Strange Fruit, the close second choice, was able to rally into a :27.1 back quarter to break her maiden in 1:52.3 in her second purse start, with the official margin a neck. The daughter of Sweet Lou – Bettor And Better was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Linda Toscano and the partnership of Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Bottom Line Racing LLC.
Racing will continue at Pocono Downs with Monday and Tuesday cards beginning at 1 p.m. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.