WILKES-BARRE PA – A pair of $16,000 contests for pacers looking to climb up the rungs of the classladder were the highlights of the Tuesday Fourth Of July afternoon card at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania.
The Huntsville sophomore gelding Duval Street was impressive in his debut at the mountain oval, equaling his lifetime mark of 1:50.3 in the division for males. Meet leader Matt Kakaley, who led Tuesday’s drivers with three victories, directed the sophomore to the lead going past the stands ahead of Bay City, then holding off that rival by a length. A winner of a New York Sire Stakes last time and three of his last four, Duval Street is trained by Ed Hart for the ownership of Randy Bendis, Pollack Racing LLC, and Reed Broadway.
On the distaff side, the Six Of Diamonds mare Benicio, dismissed at 27-1, had to come on the grind from sixth in early backstretch, but she inexorably kept gaining and finally ran down pacesetter Lodestar in the shadow of the wire, prevailing by a head while lowering her lifetime best to 1:51.4. Anthony Napolitano engineered the upset with the gritty miss, who paced her own last quarter in :26.4, for trainer Jake Huff and owner Kim Chiaramonte Sears.
There were also a pair of $15,500 trots for the highest-priced claiming horses at the track. In the first, the always-exciting Nasey, fast but occasionally fractious, today minded his manners and overcame a rough journey to tie his lifetime best of 1:54. Now a seven-time winner this year, the winning Pilgrims Chuckie gelding was driven by Simon Allard for trainer/owner Mark Akins.
In the other top trot, Nicola Hanover went up to challenge the leader nearing the three-quarters, then was able to draw away from his field late while reducing his lifetime speed mark to 1:54.3. The altered son of Donato Hanover is on the improve now for driver Jim Pantaleano, trainer Christen Pantaleano, and owners J.R. and Colin Ryan.
Pocono is currently racing a four-card-a-week schedule, with 1 p.m. racing on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, and Sundays at 6 p.m. Saturday’s card will have an $1857.31 carryover into the Pick-5 in races eight through twelve; Pennsylvania All-Stars events for two-year-olds are scheduled for this coming Monday (pacing males) and Tuesday (trotting females). Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.