WILKES-BARRE PA – Bettors Donttell, a 1:47.3 winner last year, improved off a third in his 2022 debut to take the $18,000 fast-class pace in 1:52.3 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania.
On a day where only six of fourteen winners led both at the three-quarter pole and the finish, driver Simon Allard had the Bettor’s Delight gelding well-placed just on the shoulder of Phoenix Of Fluzzy, who had taken the field through fractions of :27.2, :56.2, and 1:23.3. Those two provided the majority of the stretch action, with Bettors Donttell overhauling the game pacesetter by three-quarters of a length for the sport’s leading team, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
With the mercury reaching 70 degrees on the first of April, the Walner gelding TNT Blue Chip lowered his own mark for fastest trotting mile of the year at Pocono to 1:53.2. Anthony Napolitano put up big numbers of :27, :56.3, and 1:24.2 with the winner of three straight, holding off the long uncovered bid of Chapheart by three parts of a length while lowering his mark in the $17,000 conditioned trot for trainer Bruce Clarke, co-owner with Patricia Waldeck.
There were also a pair of $17,000 events for pacers. Sport Secret, a Sportswriter gelding who was unraced at two and then won over $200,000 in Ontario at three, made his seasonal bow a victorious one, getting to the wire a neck ahead of Luckbewithalex in 1:51.2 for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Jeff Cullipher, and Pollack Racing LLC.
The other cut also resulted in a victory for Pollack Racing LLC as the Heston Blue Chip gelding Dragon City sat in the pocket behind first-over Samhara N and pacesetting C-bet Hanover before using the Pocono Pike to come through and succeed in 1:53.4. Ridge Warren drove the winner for trainer/co-owner Randy Bendis.
A pair of high-level claimers each won their fifth straight race: Busboy Hanover (who was claimed) and Park Official (who was not). Four other horses extended form streaks with their third consecutive success.
As Pocono expands its basic racing schedule to four days this week, it also switches its Sunday post time to 6 p.m. Highlighting the inaugural evening card of 2023 locally are a trio of $15,000 conditioned events: one for trotters, one for pacing males, and one for pacing mares. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.