WILKES-BARRE PA – In her last start, April Ava had to set wickedly fast fractions and tired a bit in the stretch; on Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, her swift foot could be put to better advantage, and she won the $19,300 featured distaff pace in 1:51.3.
April Ava was sent to the lead past the 1/8 pole by Matt Kakaley, and the daughter of Delmarvalous was able to control the throttle with reasonable fractions of :27.2, :56, and 1:24.1. Surreal Feeling was lurking in the pocket and came on quickly at the end, but Aril Ava paced out the mile in :27.2 to win by a half length. The Ron Burke trainee, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, now has career earnings of $201,152.
In the $9900 American Harness Drivers Club trot for amateurs, driver Tony Verruso added to the best year of his sulky career as he craftily guided Winneress up the inside to a 1½ length victory in 1:58.3. The Credit Winner gelding, owned by Verruso and trained by Symon Spicer, brought Tony his third AHDC victory at Pocono.
Matt Kakaley and George Napolitano Jr. tied for the twilight card’s driving honors with three victories apiece. The triple brought Napolitano’s lifetime sulky success figure to 10,998, and programmed on two morning line favorites and several other contenders, “George Nap” may find Monday the day he becomes only the 12th driver in North American harness history to reach 11,000 wins. Program pages for the 12:30 card are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.