WILKES-BARRE PA – Backstreet Shadow, enjoying the relief of escaping the bully-boy free-for-allers, came to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday afternoon and made short week of a talented field, winning the $25,000 featured fast-class pace in 1:49.1.
Simon Allard reserved the Shadow Play gelding off the early action as J M Mandamin wrested the lead from Mark Witha K after a :26.2 quarter, then sent the winner of $1,176,710 uncovered as the field approached the :55 half. Despite going first-over, Backstreet Shadow went a :26.1 personal third split to easily clear to the lead nearing the 1:21.4 three-quarters, then had the others far in his rearview mirror through the lane, with second-over Priceless Beach five lengths back in second; favored third-over Jack’s Legend N was another length behind on a day where horses far back early did not do very well.
Ron Burke, who has built a sizable lead atop the local trainers standings, conditions the fast veteran for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Karr, and J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby.
Both of the $17,500 co-featured events were won by driver Anthony Napolitano, who brought both winners from second-over, about as far as anyone could come late and be effective. On the trot Blenheim, a Yankee Glide gelding who has two victories at the meet by double-digit lengths, won by a relatively modest 1½ lengths over Rich And Miserable in 1:53.2 for trainer Lance Hudson and William Hartt, as favored Sorella, who would have reached seven figures in lifetime earnings with a victory, was involved in a fast early pace and could only last for fourth.
In the pacing co-feature Carlisimo, who was last early, benefited from following the useful cover of Dealer’s Table, and his late move just got him past the pacesetter Vettel N by a nose in 1:50.4. Robert Cleary trains the son of Shadow Play, who surpassed $300,000 in lifetime earnings with the success, for owner Eric Good.
Anthony Napolitano, fourth in the current Pocono standings, wound up with five winners on the card. There was a great deal of red and white in the Pocono winners circle on the day as Anthony’s brother George took four races and narrowed the distance between himself and top driver Matt Kakaley to 185-178.
Sunday’s 5 p.m. twilight card at Pocono has a $25,000 fast-class pace for distaffs and the summer Championship and Consolation for the American Harness Drivers Club competition for amateur horsemen. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.