WILKES-BARRE PA – The owners and trainers of premium three-year-old trotters will get one final piece of information this weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono before deciding whether to commit their horses to next Saturday’s eliminations for the prestigious Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks contests.
On Saturday afternoon, Pocono will host four $30,000 divisions of this group’s Pennsylvania All-Stars event for fillies, along with a like number of All-Stars events for two-year-old pacing fillies. And on the Sunday twilight card, there will be two $95,367 divisions of the first prelim of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for these sophomore colts, along with five $20,000 Stallion Series divisions.
Also highly-regarded are a pair of fillies from the omnipresent barn of Ron Burke. Sans Default, a Muscle Hill miss starting from post four in her All-Stars cut, has been second in a Currier & Ives division and then third in her Sire Stakes action, not looking out of place against quality competition in either, and will be going for driver Joe Bongiorno Saturday. The Father Patrick filly Crucial, who will begin from the rail for driver George Brennan in another division, won her Currier & Ives race and was second behind the streaking Next Level Stuff in Sires action last time, and looks to be in prime form now.
In Saturday’s All-Stars events for the baby pacing fillies, the best showdown could come in race nine, where double Sire Stakes winner Let ‘Er Buck (Betting Line – Wild West Show) will square off against Continualou, also a winner in the Sire Stakes, and Podium Girl, a double Stallion Series winner.
The two males who will attract the most attention in Sunday’s Sire Stakes races for the sophomore trotters both won over $500,000 at two. In race nine, the Muscle Hill colt EL Ideal bankrolled $551,309, including a victory in the season-ending Valley Victory stake at The Meadowlands. This year, EL Ideal had an encouraging third in the Reynolds stake, but then disappointed in his last start a division of the Stanley Dancer at The Meadowlands, by making a break as the favorite. Trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt will be looking to get the fast colt back on course.
The Father Patrick gelding Amigo Volo, who set four world records while winning $610,546 at two, will be the other principal focus of interest on Sunday, starting from post five in race ten for driver Dexter Dunn and trainer Nifty Norman. Amigo Volo won an All-Stars race here on July 11 in 1:54, but last week he set the pace in his Dancer division, then tired to finish fourth, though beaten only three lengths.