WILKES-BARRE PA – Bad To the Bone N, who in his last start missed a head in the fastest mile in North American harness racing on any size oval this year (as of this writing), just behind South Beach Star’s 1:48.2 here, had an easier time on Saturday afternoon at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, winning the $18,500 pacing side of the featured events with a 1:50.3 mile.
Matt Kakaley had the Bettor’s Delight gelding on the top mid-first turn, and after the :26.4 opener he got a “loafing” middle half, putting up splits of :55.2 and 1:24. The Hunter Oakes trainee turned on the jets in the last quarter, sprinting home in :26.3 to be 1¼ lengths ahead of Odds On Osiris for Elite Harness Racing LLC, who had three winners on the card.
In the $18,500 top-class trot, the Cantab Hall four-year-old Dandy showed good early mobility to gain the pocket, then powered by in the stretch to reduce his mark to 1:52.3 while also notching the fastest trotting mile of the year on the local scene. Robbie Pev set the fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:25 but fell 2¾ lengths shy of withstanding the hard-trying diamondgaiter, who is driven by owner Jackie Ingrassia and trained by her husband Frank.
You don’t see the words “claimer” and “$100,000+ seasonal earnings by May 13” together often, but you also don’t see the words “ten straight wins” strung together either. But all those terms apply to the Art Official gelding Park Official, who ran his winning streak to double digits with a victory in the $16,500 to-level claiming handicap in 1:52.
Pocketsitting The Dark Shadow came out and on to give Art Official a battle and record his narrowest victory in the string, but the courageous winner, now tied for the most 2023 victories among United States pacers, held on for driver Anthony Napolitano by a head in 1:52.1. Owner Debbie Avery claimed the Marta Piotrow-trained gamester (who amazingly lost his first 34 career starts) for $30,000 on March 18, and since has won seven races and $69,500 with him.
There have been four sub-1:50 miles at Pocono this year, and the Luck Be Withyou gelding Luckwithbealex has three of them after taking a new mark of 1:49.1 in a $17,000 pace. Anthony Napolitano moved the vastly-improved four-year-old to the lead going by the stands and he had enough to withstand potential pocket rocket RIP Wheeler by a length for trainer Lance Hudson and owner William Hartt.
Sunday’s 6 p.m. program will find the Pennsylvania-sired “glamour division,” the three-year-old pacing colts, making the first of two consecutive Sunday appearances at the mountain oval, here in three $30,000 divisions of their Pennsylvania All-Stars contest. Ken Hanover would appear to have the best credentials among these sophomores, coming off a 1:49.4 win in a Sire Stakes at The Meadows in his last start. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.