WILKES-BARRE PA – Bella Bellini and Dazzling Reign, both winners at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono last Sunday but in different classes, were united this Sunday in each capturing a $37,500 division of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old trotting fillies at the northeast Pennsylvania oval.
The Bar Hopping filly Bella Bellini, successful in a PA Sire Stakes last week despite having to go uncovered, again had to overcome first-over duties, but she did so in spectacular fashion in 1:54. 2020 Breeders Crown winner Lady Chaos got command past a :27.4 quarter, and after getting a stroll to the half in :58.1, with Bella Bellini still five lengths behind, the path looked good for Lady Chaos, winner of the other PaSS cut seven days ago. But Dexter Dunn got the Nifty Norman-trained filly underway down the back, and "Bella" uncorked a sizzling own last half of :54.4 - :27 to easily sail past Lady Chaos by 2½ lengths; Anoka Hanover, well-placed on the winner’s back, ruined her chances with a break
The Father Patrick filly Dazzling Reign had posted two wins and a second in her last three starts against Stallion Series horses; here she showed he could handle tougher company, including odds-on favorite Love Muffin, while equaling her mark of 1:54.1. The chalk, winner of two straight Sire Stakes before a miscue last week, was used hard to a :26.3 quarter for the top, but she backed the midrace splits down to :56.3 and 1:25.1. Dazzling Reign kept inching up uncovered, and in the end driver Todd McCarthy was able to get her by Love Muffin by a nose for trainer Claude Huckabone III and owner James Crawford IV.
The American Harness Driver Club amateur series made a visit to Pocono Sunday, and in a race with several lead changes, the Andover Hall gelding Inaperfectworld and owner/driver Tony Ciuffetelli had the advantage at the wire, the Jordan Derue trainee holding off the oncharging Zooming and former national champion Steve Oldford by a head in 1:58.2. The 59-year-old Ciuffetelli now has 75 career driving victories, with 49 coming in the last six years.
Pocono’s Monday 12:30 p.m. card will again find the toughest claiming trotters on the grounds facing each other in a $12,800 feature. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.