WILKES-BARRE PA – Optrix became the first horse to pay over $50 to win twice at the 2023 meet at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania, making a strong backstretch move to the lead and going on for a new lifetime mark of 1:55.1.
Jim Pantaleano drove the sophomore Trixton gelding to the upset for trainer Tom Jackson, also co-owner with Howard Taylor and Jenna Corneilson. It was Jackson who had earlier guided Optrix to a $104.60 payoff, second-highest of the meet, and the three-year-old’s win today allowed Jackson to tie for the trainers colony lead with two such bombers to his credit.
In a $12,500 trotting co-feature for older performers, Papi Hanover used similar tactics to Optrix’s winning move, making a big brush down the backstretch to the lead and then defeating his field in 1:56.2. The Explosive Matter gelding was driven by Ridge Warren for trainer Karen Fread, also the co-owner with Randy and Michael Toth and James Mims Jr.
In the race between the two features, also a trot, 40-year-old Anibal Borjas, a native of Guatemala, gave himself a day he’ll never forget, as after 46 qualifying drives he made his pari-mutuel debut and promptly rallied out of the pocket with the Stay Hungry sophomore filly Mint Julep Hanover to put a maiden mark of 1:55.3 on her. Trainer Tony Alagna gave the opportunity to drive for Borjas, and he quickly repaid Alagna’s confidence and that of owners Brad Grant, Jablonsky Held Stable, and Alagna Racing LLC.
The racing week concludes on Tuesday at Pocono Downs, with the card starting at 1 p.m; there is a very tasty $4449.82 carryover into Tuesday’s Pick-5 wager in races eight through twelve. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.