WILKES-BARRE PA – The leading driver at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Matt Kakaley, took advantage of all the resources at the disposal of himself and This Is The Plan in winning the Saturday $25,000 featured pace in 1:49.
The Somebeachsomewhere gelding, starting from the inside in the field of six, got away third, but Kakaley had him on the move well before the :27.1 quarter, using a stretch tailwind to go to the lead in front of the stands and reach the half in :55.2. Jack’s Legend N, off a 1:47.2 win at The Meadowlands and the even money favorite to This Is The Plan’s 6-5, started uncovered from fifth early in the backstretch, but his advancement through and past the 1:22.3 three-quarters came against the wind. This Is The Plan was a bit fresher than his main rival and rocketed home in :26.2 to win by 1¼ lengths over Jack’s Legend N, who certainly did not disgrace himself in coming his own back fractions in :52.4 - :26.2.
Newly-minted Hall Of Famer Ron Burke is the trainer of the winner of $2,671,384, and the veteran’s ownership consists of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby, and Lawrence Karr.
In the co-featured $17,500 pace, the Mach Three gelding J M Mandamin took advantage of scratching in off the “also eligible” list, dominating his field in 1:49.4. Anthony Napolitano chose the day's frequently-used engine tactics to success, making two moves through fractions of :26.2, :54.1, and 1:21.2 to defeat Mr Ds Rock, himself hard-used early before making the lead then yielding to “J M,” by 6½ lengths. Jennifer Bongiorno conditions the winner of $309,705 for owner Robert Weinstein.
Trotters had a turn in the spotlight in a $17,500 event, in which P L Notsonice, continuing to control her behavior, won her third straight race after stopping the timer in 1:53.3. The victorious daughter of Kadabra let Marion Gondolier take the field past the quarter in :27.4, then brushed to the lead and put up middle fractions of :55.4 and 1:24.3. Marion Gondolier came back out in the stretch and challenged but came up a half length behind P L Notsonice, a career winner of $260,655 who was driven by Marcus Miller for trainer Steven Brabrook and co-owners Jaypaul Hoover and Elite Harness Racing LLC.
Matt Kakaley and Anthony Napolitano led all drivers at Pocono Saturday with three winners each.
Watchers of the early development of two-year-olds should be sure to catch the Sunday 5 p.m. card at Pocono, as four $30,000 divisions of two-year-old pacing colts will gather for a Pennsylvania All-Stars contest, with some top horses likely to be building their credentials in this stakes event. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.