WILKES-BARRE PA -- Benji's Best, next-to-last at the half, outclosed Babes Dig Me and Sugartown in a three-across-the-wire finish to take the $16.000 claiming handicap pacing feature in 1:50.3 Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono
After a contested early pace of :26.3 and :54.2. Sugartown led the advancing backstretch outer tier, with Babes Dig Me and Benji's Best in the next two positions behind him. Sugartown cleared to the lead at the 1:22.2 three-quarters, with the other two contenders positioned for a good stretch fight, and the trio battled on to the wire, with Benji's Best getting a head ahead of Babes Dig Me right on the money under Marcus Miller's urging; Sugartown was another nose back in third.
A $15,700 high-level trot was won by the Cash Hall gelding Chin Chin Hall, who went to the lead under the wire the first time then powered home in :55.4 - 27.2 to win easily in 1:52. Jason Bartlett drove the winner of $603,339 for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Oldford Racing LLC and David Mc Duffee.
The track's perennial leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., won seven races on the day, including a victory with the sharp Busboy Hanover, who posted the fastest mile of the day, 1:49.1, at the second-highest claiming level, and one with Atta Boy Dan, the 12-year-old who was the 2019 Pacer of the Year locally and Saturday recorded his 80th career triumph in 1:51.3.
Sunday's card, which begins at 5 p.m., features three $35,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars race for two-year-old pacing colts; among the entrants is Wearinmysixshooter, a son of Captaintteacherous who paced in 1:53 in his lifetime debut at The Meadows.