WILKES-BARRE PA – On Monday afternoon at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, the theme of the day was “Driver Tyler Buter and Trainer John Butenschoen Click With Another Three-Year-Old Trotter,” as the trotmeisterssent out four winning diamondgaited sophomores, including both winners in the $15,000 featured races.
The faster of the featured performers was the Tactical Landing colt Purple Lord, who bounced back from a break in his seasonal debut at Philly, circling up off cover and catching pacesetting favorite Bella Macchiato by a neck in 1:54.3. Purple Lord, second to Volume Eight in the Kindergarten Final last year, is owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc., Berg Brothers Stable, and Rich Preziotti.
The Helpisontheway gelding Help Page also righted the ship after a Philly break in his 2023 bow, trotting steadily up to the lead in front of the stands and maintaining a length lead over pocketsitter Quite Fast for a 1:56.4 triumph. Harmony Oaks and Preziotti combine in the ownership of Help Page with James Crawford IV.
Buter/Butenschoen also clicked with the Crazy Wow gelding Some Kinda Crazy in 1:55.2 for Crawford, Preziotti, Andray Farms, and VIP Internet Stable LLC, while the Father Patrick filly Baby Take A Vow broke her maiden in 1:58.2 for Butenschoen, David J. Miller (an actual USTA legal entity); Heritage Standardbreds; Lawrence Means; and VIP. Buter would add a fifth sulky success with the pacer Mikiteen, breaking his maiden in 1:52.3.
$475,000 yearling Unicorn Blue Chip, a Chapter Seven filly with Mr Muscleman and Plunge Blue Chip not far back in her pedigree, won her second straight race, although they came 220 days apart – her previous race was at Lexington in October. The Lucas Wallin trainee, owned by Harbor Racing Stable LLC and Mazza Racing Stables LLC, rallied from the two-hole for the 1:57.1 victory, catching pacesetter I Cant Refuse by a neck while being handled by Pocono’s leading driver, Matt Kakaley.
Kakaley deserves an extra mention, as the 37-year-old, in finishing second with Mamba in a Pennsylvania All-Stars race here last night, eclipsed $100,000,000 in lifetime driving earnings. And yes, Matt is still only 37, with many more turns around the ovals to add to that formidable total.
The racing week at Pocono ends Tuesday at 1 p.m., with developing horses sharing the spotlight with the top claiming handicap trotters on the grounds. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.