WILKES-BARRE PA – The field of seven assembled for Saturday’s $30,000 fast-class pacing event in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the “winningest” collections of seasoned veterans, with a 43% success rate this year and 38% lifetime, and three of the most frequent visitors to Victory Lane are the favorites.
Tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite from post four is None Bettor A (9 wins in 12 starts this year, 25-for-70 lifetime), with new trainer Andrew Harris selecting the track’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., to handle the Bettor’s Delight gelding. None Bettor A had won nine straight races, including a GNOS event, before finishing third behind last season’s Horse of the Year McWicked in the Gerrity Pace at Saratoga in his last start; he draws inside his two main rivals here, but he also has not raced since that July 20 mile at Saratoga.
Drawing the outside post seven is the Shadow Play gelding Backstreet Shadow (8-for-17 this year, 15-for-34 lifetime) for trainer Ron Burke and driver Pat Berry, and his 7-2 early evaluation likely would have been better with a better post position draw. Backstreet Shadow has won his last three races in impressive fashion, staring with a 1:47.4 victory at The Meadowlands, then a 1:48.4 win on Adios Day at The Meadows, and then back to the Jersey miler where on Hambletonian Day he lowered his mark to 1:47.3, with a last quarter of :25.4.
Another longtime Pocono favorite, Scott Rocks (post two, trainer Hunter Oakes, driver Fern Paquet Jr.), would break the $1,000,000 lifetime earnings mark with a first or a second here – appropriate for a horse who has paced in 1:50 or faster at Pocono for six straight years. Slick Tony, Havefaithinme N, and Beach Boogie are the early mutuel outsiders, but all have shown they can be very competitive with some racing fortune.
The top pointearners in GNOS preliminaries earn their way into Monday, September 9’s $100,000 GNOS divisional Championships at Pocono, to be held at the distance of 1¼ miles.
This Great Northeast Series event starts a big racing week at Pocono, with Pennsylvania-sired two-year-olds in stakes action the following two cards: the pacing colts on Sunday and the trotting fillies on Sunday.