WILKES-BARRE PA – Miss McKee was sent straight to the lead by driver George Napolitano Jr. and never looked back in winning the $17,500 featured trot on Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Miss McKee faced an early challenge from favored Rich And Miserable, looking for his fourth straight victory, but was able to get that rival in behind her going to a :26.3 quarter. Middle fractions of :55.4, and 1:24 ensued, and at headstretch Rich And Miserable took another pass at the leader but could make up no ground, as the victorious Muscle Massive mare won in 1:53, equaling her mark, while 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Baldaquin, who closed well up the inside after a third-in trip; Rich And Miserable had to settle for third, another half length back. Miss McKee is trained by Robert Baggitt Jr. for J L Sadowsky LLC.
There were a trio of $17,000 co-features on the Saturday card at Pocono, two of them on the trot. The faster of these two winners was the three-year-old filly Luisella, as hard-trying a horse as you would like; the Bar Hopping filly lowered her mark to 1:54.2 for driver Tom Jackson, trainer Fred Grant and owner Russell Williams. In the other division, Bar Hopping completed a siring sweep of the trotting co-features, as the gelding Mister Boinga sat a pocket trip, then rallied to catch pacesetter Hall It Off by a nose in 1:54.4 for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Jill Roland, and owner Bernard O’Brien.
The pacing co-feature was the last race of the day, and it was taken by the Big Jim gelding Springbridge Duel, who in the final strides was able to parlay a second-over journey into a 1:51.2 triumph, a neck ahead of Good Deal in a race where the first six finishers were only 1 ½ lengths apart at the finish. Tyler Buter was in the sulky for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owners Glenn Goller, Abraham Basen, and Mark Harder.
Jim Pantaleano, Anthony Napolitano, and Tyler Buter won the last three races on the Saturday card; for Pantaleano it was his fourth winner of the day, while “A Nap” and Buter completed driving triples.
Sunday’s 5 p.m. racing card is dominated by Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old pacing males: there will be two divisions of Sire Stakes and five $20,000 divisions of Stallion Series action, with both events conducting their third preliminary rounds. In the $162,620 Sire Stakes the only double PaSS winner, Ervin Hanover, is among the entrants, as is the interesting Lyons Stealth, who won two Stallion Series then has since gone on to win an Arden Downs event on Adios Day and now tries the highest-level freshmen. Pocono program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.