WILKES-BARRE PA – Bell I No had won five straight races in the $16,000 top claiming handicap pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, all with George Napolitano Jr. driving (all after being claimed out of the previous race), but on Saturday the track’s leading driver selected off the streaking pacer in favor of Daamericansky, with whom he had won in 1:50.2 at Philly last time out and who was sent off as favorite.
For 5200+ feet of this week’s featured claimer, it looked like GNap and the crowd had made a winning selection as Daamericansky led from the go, but suddenly the Bettor’s Delight gelding Lachie Maguire N and driver Jim Marohn Jr. came flying late and caught the chalk in the last step in 1:51. Bell I No, who had to go first-over, settled for third here, and he will again be changing barns for the $30,000 claiming price.
A foursome of $11,200 conditioned features, two on the trot and two on the pace, served as co-featured events; drivers Tyler Buter and Jordan Stratton both captured one of each. One of the trots went to the 2019 Pocono Trotter of the Year, the Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable, who was an easy winner in 1:53.2 for Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and the partnership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs.
In the other trotting section, the Great Success gelding Need Luck N came uncovered from sixth, going his own last half in :56.4, to win in a lifetime best 1:55 for Stratton, trainer Jason Johnson, and owner David Neilson (who, interestingly, was the owner claiming Bell I No today).
In the first of the two co-headline paces, the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Kerford Road A took full advantage of the rail, not letting anyone go, including early-moving favorite Dealt A Winner. And after all that, he still had enough to withstand closing Peace Out Posse while recording a lifetime best of 1:50.1 for Tyler Buter, trainer Rob Harmon, and the ownership of Harmon Racing Stable LLC, Winners Circle Racing LLC, and John Campagnuolo.
Jordan Stratton repeated his uncovered tactics in the co-featured trot to secure the victory in the other top pace, just rallying the A Rocknroll Dance gelding Itsrocknroll A past stubborn pacesetter Lying In Cash in a 1:51.4 lifetime mile best for trainer Dylan Davis, the latter co-owner with Michael Casalino Jr.
Buter, Stratton, and Anthony Napolitano each guided three horses back past the winners circle on the Saturday afternoon program.
Racing resumes at Pocono tomorrow at 5 p.m., with a $204,904.38 carryover in the Rainbow Pick 5 pool (have a unique ticket with winners of the last five races).