WILKES-BARRE PA – The strong-closing recent Australian import Shoobee Doo A proved the best in the $19,300 featured pace on Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, running his U.S. record to 4-2-1-0 and taking a new mile mark of 1:49.2.
Jordan Stratton, driving the horse for the first time, thought about leaving with the Shoobee’s Place gelding but took back after seeing the impending battle inside – J M Mandamin leaving strongly from the rail, Highalator defending the pocket, and favored Covered Bridge proceeding frontward past the :26 first quarter and getting the lead midway to the :53.3 half. Shoobee Doo A pulled out and got cover from first-over Highalator, who put a head up on Covered Bridge in a withering 1:20.2.
The leading driver at Pocono, George Napolitano Jr., and top local trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera combined to take the $15,700 fast-class trot with the Conway Hall mare With Out A Doubt in 1:53.1. Garcia-Hererra also owns the winner of $250,185, who was a pocket rocket to pass pacesetter Miss McKee and take a lifetime mark. “George Nap” drove five winners on the day, including both of Garcia-Hererra’s winners.
Two $16,000 divisions of the track’s highest-level claiming pacers produced noteworthy miles. In the faster mile, The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Bell I No went to the front before the quarter and was strong throughout in posting a 1:49.4 victory, ending the four-race win streak of Love The Action. Jason Bartlett guided the winner of $417,749 for owner Eric Prevost and trainer Darren Taneyhill – but Bell I No will be coming out for the Hunter Oakes barn in his next start after being haltered here for $35,000.
Oakes trained the winner of the other cut of this class, the ageless Scott Rocks, who fronted his field in 1:50.4 for George Napolitano Jr., and the ownership of Oakes and Scott Bice. Now a winner of $1,144,325 lifetime, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding now has 8 wins in 16 seasonal starts and 71 career victories in 212 trips behind the gate – and he also still has a share of the world record for older pacing geldings on a half-time track, 1:49, which he set in 2016, when he was a mere “pup” of six!
Hickfromfrenchlick, named after basketball star Larry Bird and a half-million dollar winner at age three, continues to take steps forward in his comeback as he was victorious in 1:49.4 for driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker, the latter co-owner with Nolamaura Racing LLC and Thomas Spatorico. Hickfromfrenchlick did not race at all at age four, and this victory was his first since October 25, 2019, but he has 16 wins in 25 lifetime starts and earnings of $647,061, and he is looking more like his old self.
Sunday’s 5:00 p.m. card at Pocono will feature two divisions of the third preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. Anoka Hanover, who equaled the Philly track record in her seasonal bow, will look to bounce back from an indifferent mile in the slop at The Meadows, and she will be facing double PaSS winner You Ato Go. Another two-time Sire Stakes winner this year, Love Muffin will square off in the other section against such tough rivals as Donna Soprano, Flawless Country, and Lady Chaos. The program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.