WILKES-BARRE PA – Pappy Go Go posted the fastest trotting time anywhere in North America during 2019 when he won in 1:52 on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. And his backstory is almost as impressive as the speed he showed in his 12¾-length victory.
That backstory? Well, Pappy Go Go may be the only Alberta-bred trotter you’ll see in a long line of programs (his breeder is William Andrew). His sire is Tad The Stud, who is a son of Windsong’s Legacy, but Pappy Go Go is a Prince Edward Island-sired and –foaled gelding who brought only $4000 as a yearling in Nova Scotia; however, he then went undefeated in 13 starts at three in Atlantic Canada, almost all in stakes. Pappy Go Go is by far the fastest offspring of his sire – in fact, the second-fastest has a mark of 1:57.2.
In the top purse contest, a fast-class pace worth $21,500, Eddard Hanover was never headed, winning in 1:53.1 for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Ron Burke, and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables, and Lawrence Karr. Last week the Dragon Again gelding had to go first-over in a 54.3 middle half and faltered; this week he was able to hit the half in a soft 57.1, then put in successive 28 back quarters to withstand pocketsitting Dragonology by a half-length.
With the Great Northeast Open Series returning in just over a month, Rockeyed Optimist seems to be regaining his top form in a good timing approach to the summerlong series, where he was second-highest pointwinner last year. On Saturday Rockeyed Optimist posted his second straight victory, this one in 1:52.1 in the $17,500 pacing co-feature. Driver Mitch Cushing again moved the Rocknroll Hanover gelding to the lead early, and the winner $688,258 raced gamely to the wire, withstanding Black Chevron N by three parts of a length for trainer Jake Leamon, co-owner with Stephen Moss, Joseph Battaglia, and Virginia Berkner.
The claiming box remained a hot Pocono meeting place, as 13 more horses went back to different barns during the Saturday card, with $210,000 of horseflesh changing hands. In just six cards at Pocono in 2019, 43 horses have changed ownership through the claiming route, with $746,250 spent by owners looking for sharp horses.