WILKES-BARRE PA – On a Saturday afternoon that wasn’t very hospitable to front-end speed or very fast times, Hickfromfrenchlick defied both “norms” by taking the $15,700 pacing feature in 1:49.4 while ahead every step of the mile.
Driver Mark MacDonald had the son of So Surreal firing away out of the gate from the rail and caused a “lineup” in the field of five, with favored J M Mandamin right on his back through fractions of :26.4, :56, and 1:22.3. JM Mandamin dipped down to the Pocono Pike and gained some ground, but Hickfromfrenchlick dug down deep when challenged and maintained a head advantage to the wire, going his last half in :53.4.
Hickfromfrenchlick was the first horse all day who lasted to the wire after setting the pace; normal order was restored in the next race, the companion $15,700 trot, as Burn Notice backed out of the pocket as first-over After All Paul went by late on the far turn, then closed well to hand that rival a head defeat in 1:54.3. Matt Kakaley drove the Cayenne Turbo gelding to his fourth victory in his last six starts for trainer Michael Deters and WHR Trust.
George Napolitano Jr., the track’s perennial leading driver, scored four more victories on Saturday, giving him ten for the Friday-Saturday period (five at Philly plus one at Meadowlands the day before), along with a combined ten the last two Saturdays at Pocono.
Sunday’s featured race at Pocono will be a $13,000 pace for high-class distaff pacers; the American Harness Drivers Club will also be racing at the mountain oval. Program pages for Sunday’s 5:00 p.m. card are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.