WILKES-BARRE PA – Saturday afternoon’s final card of 2020 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono contained the lure of a $239,000+ carryover into a mandatory distribution of the Rainbow Pick 5 pool for picking the winners of the last five races of the year. With anticipation of a nice payoff no matter whether a chalkplayer or longshot fancier, bettors poured $441,661 into the Rainbow Pick 5 pool, so that after the percentage deduction on the day’s play, the pool distributed (carryover and “fresh money”) reached $614,889.
Only two of the nine favorites in races run before the Pick 5 events had emerged victorious, but those fortunes started to turn when favored Benson Boys N rallied strongly out of the two-hole to take a 1:50.4 lifetime mark in the $16,000 claiming handicap pacing feature. Hunter Oakes guided the winner of three straight for trainer Steve Brabrook and owner Alan Johnston, and the favorite paid $6.00 to win in the first Pick 5 contest.
The winning combination of 5-(2,3)-4-3-4 (the #3 was scratched from the second leg, and the substituted favorite won) returned $143.58 per 20-cent investment in the giant pool. Doubtless some players forming large numbers of combination tickets had multiple “hits” with the races so living up to form, so many people found a good chunk of gold at the end of this Rainbow.
The total handle on the Pocono closing day handle was added up to $845,976, with a bit over half of that brought in by the mandatory Rainbow Pick 5 payoff.
Speaking of continued form, George Napolitano Jr. took his ninth straight sulky dashwinning championship and the fourteenth of his unparalleled career at The Downs, winning four on closing day to boost his yearly total to 212. His 14-4-4-0 scorecard after driving every race actually boosted his seasonal UDR to .380 with rounding up – in that category he now has seven crowns in a row and twelve overall. (George was also winningest trainer at Pocono five times.)
Finally, with everything else that Ron Burke has won in recent years, Saturday saw him win his first training title in Pocono annals, with a winner on the closing card boosting his 2020 total to 67 during the 86-day meeting.