WILKES-BARRE PA – The first clash of the Hambletonian-hopeful three-year-old trotting males took place Monday afternoon at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, with even money shots Herodotus and Once In A Lifetime earning new speed marks while winning their respective $37,500 divisions.
Herodotus, named after a Greek historian, certainly has a solid record this year, notching his third win in four 2023 starts with a 1:53 victory for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Hatfield Stables. David Miller moved Herodotus from second past a :28.1 quarter, took the lead, then surrendered it to Commander Frank, who carried the field to midsplits of :56.3 and 1:24.4, with favored (by $41) French Wine challenging first-over.
In the stretch, the battle fell to the front two inside horses, with Miller tipping Herodotus to the Pocono Pike, and although Commander Frank battled hard, the half-length win margin was not really reflective of the confidence Miller seemed to have in his Bar Hopping gelding late.
Once In A Lifetime, the 2022 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisional champ in his section, remained unbeaten in two seasonal outings for trainer Jim Campbell and Sad Frog Farms while winning in 1:53.3. Tim Tetrick made two moves to control the pace through fractions of :28, :57.2, and 1:26.1, then bid the field adieu by tacking on a :27.2 last quarter. Crantini, the second-place finish in the PaSS Championship last season, did well from the pocket after hard early usage but came up shy by 1¼ lengths to the Father Patrick colt Once In A Lifetime, who was the pari-mutuel favorite.
In a sentence one might think would originate from the southern part of the state, Tim Tetrick was the day’s leading driver with three victories. In a sentence one would seldom associate with Tetrick, he also drove the biggest-priced winner on a day kind to well-regarded horses, scoring with Silky Stride ($10.60).
The racing week concludes on Tuesday with a 1 p.m. card, featuring the top claiming trotters and several groups of developing younger horses. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.