WILKES-BARRE PA – Baptism was the fastest winner in three groups of three-year-old trotting fillies contesting $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars contest on Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
There was no doubt the daughter of Southwind Frank – Fall From Grace (she out of the dam of Archangel) was speedy – she went to the three-quarters in 1:23.4 in a Stallion Series at The Meadows in her last start. What was unsure was her stamina – in that race she came home in :32.1 to just hold on.
But Baptism put it all together on Sunday – taking the early lead, letting two horses go by in early fractions of :26.3 and :55.3, then moving uncovered midbackstretch to take the lead by the 1:24.1 three-quarters. And Baptism finished very strongly for trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt (wearing the colors of Diamond Creek Racing, co-owner with Crossover Racing), tacking on a :28.1 kicker to stop the clock in 1:52.2, a new mark by 3 3/5 seconds and just a tick off the seasonal trot standard at Pocono. Pacesetter Samosa held for second, but was 6¼ lengths behind.
Manon remained undefeated in three seasonal starts for trainer Lucas Wallin and driver Tim Tetrick, being used hard early to get the lead in her All-Stars cut, but then going on to lower her mark to 1:53. Once she had paid the :27.1 early price for command, the daughter of Bar Hopping – Are You Ready (dam of two $390G+ winners) stayed in control the rest of the way, with middle fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.1 going up before Manon came home in :27.4 to cross the wire 2½ lengths ahead of closer Eternal Lee. Manon started only once at two, but she is developing rapidly for Harbor Racing Stable LLC.
In the other cut, Mon Cheval had two Sire Stakes seconds (one to Manon) so far this year, but here she made the winning breakthrough, parlaying a pocket trip into a 2¼ length victory over pacesetter Ebbies Lady. The winning time for the daughter of champions Father Patrick and Shake It Cerry equaled the clocking of 1:54.2 she recorded in a Meadowlands qualifier at two, coming after fractions of :28.1, :57.2, and 1:26. Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Takter, coming off a monster day with two-year-olds at The Meadowlands Saturday, combined on Mon Cheval (the only favored All-Stars winner) for Solveig’s Racing Partners.
After the stakes, the main point of discussion was the pair of big longshot winners. Major Show paid $93.00, with Anthony Napolitano driving trainer Jose Godinez’s 998th career victory, and Winning Is Sweet going wire-to-wire from the rail at $53.40 for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Emily Bost.
Pocono will be racing this Monday and Tuesday afternoon, with both cards starting at 1:30 p.m. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.