WILKES-BARRE PA – The American Ideal gelding Casual Cool was used hard to control the pace, then was able to keep going and held off the lightning late burst of Hemsworth N to win the $19,000 pacing feature Saturday afternoon at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania.
Casual Cool was involved in a heated :26.4 battle for the lead, letting foes go only to reclaim the top before the :56.2 midpoint. He and driver Eric Goodell passed the three-quarters in 1:24.2 and looked to be in good position, but Hemsworth N, undefeated in three previous U.S. and still sixth at the three-quarters, soared four-wide in the lane and furiously chopped into the margin in the 1:52.2 mile, coming up a head shy.
Casual Cool, making his second start of the year, last won in 1:50 at Pocono on October 22; for driver Goodell, the distance between Victory Lane visits was even longer, as the winner of 5853 career races did not compete in 2022 and last tallied on September 17, 2021 at The Meadows. The pair showed themselves sharp in the feature, with the Daniel Renaud trainee, owned by Dune Road Stables LLC, boosting his lifetime bankroll to $595,070.
There were also three divisions of a $17,000 event for horses ready to step into the upper levels of class competition. In the section for trotters, Share The Wealth took a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2, clearing early pacesetter Torrone nearing the half then withstanding that rival late by 2 1/4 lengths. The son of Muscle Hill was driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Hunter Oakes and Elite Harness Racing LLC.
There were two divisions of the subfeature for pacing males. The American Ideal gelding American Classic proved himself a game winner in his cut, traveling first-over for driven Braxten Boyd, yet still persevering to be 1¼ lengths ahead of Pocono Piker Something Bettor A in 1:53.2. Mark Silva conditions the winner, who triumphed in his third seasonal start, for owners Daniel and Jean Christophe Plouffe.
In the other pace, Stonebridge Reef, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, got the lead early and loafed to the half in :58, then sprinted home in :54.4 to complete a 1:52.4 package a neck to the good of pocketsitter Phoenix Of Fluzzy. Jim Morrill Jr. drove the winner for trainer Chris Ryder, who is also co-owner along with Craig Henderson, Oompa’s Farm Inc., and Robert Mondillo.
Matt Kakaley, 2022’s winningest driver at Pocono, also has the lead this season after guiding four winners on Saturday; two of them came for trainer Travis Alexander, who’s atop the trainer standings early in the meet.
A division of Saturday’s co-featured class, also racing for $17,000 and restricted to distaffs, will be the feature of Pocono’s Sunday afternoon card, which will begin at 1 p.m. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.