WILKES-BARRE PA – The veteran Cantab Hall gelding Crystal Fashion boosted his lifetime earnings to $1,737,094 with a hard-fought 1:51.4 victory in the $17,200 trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday afternoon.
Jordan Stratton moved his horse to the outside just nearing the :56.3 half, and grinded long and hard at the pacesetting Pat Matters. The battling pair went the third quarter in :27 and continued their battle into the stretch, where Crystal Fashion was finally able to establish his superiority. Pocketsitting Lord Cromwell cleared up the inside to grab second, just ¾ of a length behind, with Rich And Miserable third and Pat Matters fourth.
There were a pair of $14,000 co-features on the card, one on each gait. On the trot, Anthony Napolitano, now four wins away from 3000 career victories, sent Mississippi Storm, another Cantab Hall gelding, to the front and got a relatively moderate :57.1 half. This enabled the trotter to flash a :56 kick home to finish out a victory in 1:53.1 for trainer Tom Fanning and owner Joseph Smith.
In the pacing co-headliner, the Royal Millennium gelding Prairie Panther and driver Tyler Buter wanted the early lead, and was willing to be parked until the 3/8 pole to make the top. But from there, Prairie Panther sped home in :55 to complete a 1:51.2 triumph. A 38-time winner in 79 career starts, Prairie Panther raised his lifetime earnings over $350,000 with the win for trainer Michael Deters, also co-owner with Laurie Lee Poulin.
Driving honors on the day were not decided until the last race, as Joe Bongiorno, Tyler Buter, Jim Morrill Jr., Anthony Napolitano, George Napolitano Jr. and Jordan Stratton had notched two victories on the card until that point, and only Stratton was not in the last race. Taking the day’s title was Joe Bongiorno with a 1:51 victory behind Reflect Our Flag, whose trainer Jennifer Bongiorno matched her brother with three wins on the card.