WILKES-BARRE PA – After a 95-day absence due to the virus pandemic, the trotters and pacers were again in competition over the famed red 5/8-mile oval at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday, with sixteen qualifying races restarting the season.
Coming out red-hot was trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, who won with half of the ten horses he started – and also owned all of three of them and two in partnership with Michi Abday. Perennial Pocono driving champion George Napolitano Jr. guided four of the five Garcia-Herrera charges to victory – and he was second driving another Garcia-Herrera horse in the one other triumph for the sharp barn.
The most impressive winning equine of the day was one who had just been acquired by his connections seven days before. The six-year-old American Ideal gelding Uffizi, a three-quarter brother to $1.6 million-winning world champion Artspeak, came uncovered from fifth for driver Billy Carter, brushed to the lead after pacing his third quarter in 27.3, and went on to a 1:53 victory, justifying the faith in the well-bred pacer shown by trainer Neal Ehrhart and owner Jonathan Lapp Jr.
Pocono will be holding qualifiers this week at 10 a.m. on Tuesday (two-year-olds) and Wednesday (all ages of horses).
The 2020 pari-mutuel season, interrupted after twelve cards by health restrictions, will resume a week from today (June 20). Pocono will race on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. as it reopens, forming an afternoon seven-day bloc with the horsemen’s association’s “sister track,” Harrah’s Philadelphia, which will race on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday at 12:40 p.m.