WILKES-BARRE PA – Pyro, who took his lifetime mark at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, returned to one of his favorite tracks, and after paying a high price for the lead the Sweet Lou gelding just kept rolling to win Saturday afternoon’s $17,500 pacing feature in 1:51.
Going into the first turn the field resembled the famous “Land Rush for Oklahoma” picture, with seven of the eight horses either trying for the lead or taking back when they realized their prospects for command were slim. Groovy Joe got around Chatelroll just past the :26.4 quarter, then in turned yielded to Pyro, who had taken “Joe”’s cover after a wide start. Pyro was guided by George Napolitano Jr. to fractions of :54.2 and 1:22.4, turning back waves of challengers, then staying 2¾ lengths clear of fellow 8-5 shot Da Delightful, who came up the Pocono Pike in avoiding tiring parked horses. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera trains and owns the winner of $584,723.
There were three $17,000 events for developing horses – two on the trot and one on the pace. The pacing contest, restricted to male horses, went to the Rockin Image gelding The Longest Yard, a shipper from Hoosier Park for trainer Erv Miller, who won in 1:51. Erv’s son Marcus had to swing the sophomore wide to get into contention, but he stormed home in :26.4 to push his earnings to $150,645 for owners Rocco Ruffolo and Douglas Overhiser.
The faster trotting co-feature went to Tokyo Seelster, making his first start since late January, but able to capitalize on a pocket trip to catch the favored pacesetter Delgado while equaling his mark of 1:54.3. The victorious son of Kadabra, now with lifetime earnings of $236,247 and owned by Michael and Sam Sergi, was the third successful collaboration between driver Simon Allard and Ron Burke, who enhanced his lead atop the Pocono conditioners standings.
Also a co-feature trot winner was Ripple Of Hope, a Creatine gelding who was a pocket rocket to win in 1:56. Marcus Miller handled the driving of the recent invader from The Meadows for owner/trainer Lisa Dunn.
Pocono’s perennial winningest driver George Napolitano Jr. had five victories on the Saturday card, narrowing the gap between Matt Kakaley, who just returned after an injury, and himself to 175-167. Simon Allard, trainer Ron Burke, and Marcus Miller, all of whom had feature race winners, accounted for three races each.
Crantini, a winner in the first two preliminaries of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting males, will begin from the rail as he looks to post a third triumph in one of two $75,016 Sire Stakes events On Sunday’s 5 p.m. card at Pocono. There will also be four divisions of Pennsylvania Stallion Series action, which will be of special interest to Pocono punters since the mountain oval will host all eight of the Stallion Series Championship on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.
And next Saturday, August 20, Pocono will be proud to host the $2 million Sun Stakes Saturday, featuring both top three-year-olds and fast seasoned performers in a card chock full of stakes action.