WILKES-BARRE PA – Two-year-old pacing colts, some of whom should be heard from further as the season progresses, were featured in four $30,000 divisions of their Pennsylvania All-Stars event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono during the Sunday twilight card.
The thrills – both high and low – of racing talented but green babies were on display in the first event. Mamba went quickly to the lead; favored Ken Hanover, looped out of the gate, pressed on to command past a :27.4 quarter, while second choice Lousain Bolt, sitting third, came out of the turn a mite wide. Ken Hanover continued on to the half in :57.1 and had the lead deep down the back when the Sweet Lou – Lucy’s Pearl colt Lousain Bolt, who had been closing well recently without getting up to win, made a sudden burst to the 1:25.3 three-quarters to sweep on by not long past that call; Ken Hanover drifted into the pylons when passed, but was absolved of any foul.
With Lousain Bolt going by, Swift Operator was left raw, and Mamba backed out behind him on the turn, only to drift very wide off that bend. Lousain Bolt was on cruise control in the process of finishing in :27.1 for a maiden mark of 1:52.4 when another pacer moved up – Ken Hanover, who had been left far behind on the turn, closed in sharply late, but still came up 4¼ lengths short of the winner. Lousain Bolt, who may be as fast as his “namesake,” is backed by new Hall Of Famers Yannick Gingras and Ron Burke for the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Elizabeth Novak, and Howard Taylor.
First-time starter Bamboozler was the favorite in the next All-Stars section and set fractions of :26.4, :55.1, and 1:24 while looking good on the lead. But the Stay Hungry – All Night Long gelding Annapolis Hanover was ratcheting up his speed nearing the three-quarters to go up and challenge, and that fast freshman had the needed quickstep to gain into a :27.3 sprint home to take a neck decision in a new mark of 1:51.3 for driver David Miller. The three-time-winning baby was the second stakes winner of the day for trainer/owner Mitchell York – the other came at Stoneboro Fair, 264 miles almost due west across Pennsylvania.
More of “Those Unpredictable Babies” came in the third section, with the Captaintreacherous – Scandalous Hanover colt Ship Ship Hooray really the only one leaving with much forward foot, getting to stroll to the quarter in :29.3. Favored Girldad had had enough of that and “rushed” to the lead well before the half – in 1:00.2. Meanwhile, Nolaughingstock, very steppy away from the gate, commenced an uncovered bid, but was three-wide from before the half as the first-over.
The three-quarters came in 1:28.3, with Girldad leading and Nolaughingstock advancing on the wide side, so David Miller moved Ship Ship Hooray out between horses on the turn, and that one proved to have the most by a neck (two feet) over Nolaughingstock, who lost a dozen times that much “distance”/energy on his wide sojourn. But Ship Ship Hooray was the most photogenic in the unusual 1:56.4 mile, and is undefeated in two starts for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Ryder Henderson Mondillo, Ken Jacobs, and Barry Spak.
David Miller picked up his third All-Stars victory of the evening, and Sweet Lou got his second siring credit, when favored Bugaboo Lou (dam Perplexed) tied as fastest All-Star of the night with a 1:51.3 triumph on the engine. The next two choices, Ervin Hanover and Fulton, were undefeated before this race, but Miller sent “Bugaboo” right to the top, putting those two behind him in that order, posted early numbers of :28.2 and :57.3, then visibly asked his horse for more late on the backstretch, which resulted in a 1:25 three-quarters and then a :26.3 last panel, leaving Ervin Hanover 2¼ lengths behind and Fulton Hanover another 1 1/4 lengths back. Bugaboo Lou had lost his only purse start to Fulton, but he showed his quality in that race by coming home in :54.1- :26.4 to be second, and with the race under his girth he was set to win for trainer Brian Brown and owners Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco, AWS Stables LLC, and Acadia Farms Inc.
In all, David Miller had five successes on the Pocono card.
Another outstanding race on the big Sunday card was a $25,000 fast-class pace for mares, which went to No Win No Feed A in 1:50.4. Scott Zeron sent the odds-on favorite to early command, then yielded past the :27.1 opener to second choice Darby Hanover, who went on to post midsplits of :55.3 and 1:23.2. But as soon as Zeron showed the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance some Pocono Pike open stretch, she responded immediately for a 1¼ length victory over the pacesetter. Erv Miller trains the winner of $398,925 for owner Douglas Overhiser.
John Calabrese and Johnathan Ahle, who each won two races on Friday at Philly, won one each of the two $11,000 American Harness Drivers Club trots for amateur horsemen. Ahle’s horse rates a special mention – for he is the 15-year-old TSM Photo Bugger, who boosted his lifetime bankroll to $900,394, and while there are no records kept specifically on 15-year-old trotters, it would not be a surprise to find TSM Photo Bugger’s 1:54.3 win time ranking high, if not at the top.
Pocono will close out the week with racing at 1:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday – with many races for two-year-olds spicing up the action with the chance to see a future star. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.