WILKES-BARRE PA – The two favorites, Elver Hanover and Hickfromfrenchlick, fought for most of the stretch charge in the $19,300 featured pace Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but it was the Bettor’s Delight gelding Jack’s Legend N who swung wide off cover and beat the chalk to the line in 1:50.4.
Hickfromfrenchlink was pushed by Elver Hanover to a :26.2 first quarter to gain command, but then got to rate the half to :55.4. The leader stepped up the tempo as Highalator grinded up to challenge, with the three-quarters passed in 1:23.2. For much of the stretch it looked like the pacesetter and the pocketsitter would decide the issue, but Jack’s Legend N, relatively unused, angled to the far outside from third-over and roared home to beat out Elver Hanover, in the Pocono Pike, by a neck, with Hickfromfrenchlick just another nose back in third.
Fastest mile of the day was turned in by Curious Cortez, claimed last week by owner Melvin Fink and trainer Marta Piotrow, and paying immediate dividends while lowering his mark by 3 1/5 seconds with a 1:49.1 victory. The Big Jim gelding hung pressing foe Bell I No through burning splits of :26.1, :53.3, and 1:21.1, then finished out in :28 for driver Anthony Napolitano while looking unfazed by his strenuous early efforts.
The American Ideal sophomore colt American Courage ran his lifetime record to 9-for-10 and lowered his mark to 1:49.4 in an effortless victory under the guidance of Matt Kakaley. Fractions of :27, :55.2, and 1:22.4 preceded a :27 final quarter for the winner of $198,633, who is trained by Travis Alexander and owned by Fiddler’s Creek Stables LLC.
EL Ideal, a son of Muscle Hill who was a top stakes colt at two and three, was glad for the class relief from his recent foes in the Graduate Series and proceeded to trot the fastest mile of the local season, 1:52.1, upon coming to Pocono. George Napolitano Jr. wouldn’t let anybody getting by him from the rail, with fractions of :27.1, :55.4, and 1:23.4 rung up along the way to EL Ideal getting his first win of the year and also taking a new mark. The Åke Svanstedt trainee has career earnings of $830,857 for EMP-Invest Oy.
Three-year-old trotting fillies will be in the spotlight at Pocono for the second straight Sunday, following up their Pennsylvania Sire Stakes / Stallion Series appearance last week with two $35,000 divisions of their Pennsylvania All-Stars event. Bella Bellini and Lady Chaos, winners last week, will start side-to-side in one division; Love Muffin, who had won two prelims in the series before miscuing last time, heads the other cut. The Sunday Pocono card starts at 5 p.m.; program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.