WILKES-BARRE PA – Team Whelan, driver Michael and trainer Walter, were part of the early spring migration from Ontario to the mid-Atlantic when COVID shut down racing in that province. After enjoying some success here in the early season, the Whelans, like the other Canadians, went back across the border; unlike most of their countrymen, they have returned to race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono over the last few cards, and on Monday they won the $11,200 feature with Great Magic, who equaled his lifetime best of 1:54.4.
Great Magic, a son of Kadabra who is also owned by Walter, is atypical of the usual stable style, which seems to focus on come-from-behind horses. Great Magic has been showing a good deal of early zip in his recent races, and here Michael moved him to the lead in front of the stands and kept him going all the way to the wire, finishing four lengths clear of favored Bank Box Treasure.
Solid younger performers making their way up the classladder are featured on the Tuesday card, with twin $15,300 features of the “nonwinners of 8 races lifetime” group having a pacing contest in race ten and a trotting event to close out the 13-race card. Programs pages for the 12:30 Tuesday racing are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.