WILKES-BARRE PA – Trainer Greg Peck, who rose to fame as the conditioner of the champion trotter Muscle Hill, combined with “Napolitano” to win the two $15,000 featured trots at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on the final Monday afternoon card of the year, as sulkysitter George Napolitano Jr. handled A Perfect Helen as she took a new mark of 1:54.2 and brother Anthony drove fellow sophomore Highgate to success in a lifetime best 1:55.2.
A Perfect Helen, a daughter of Father Patrick, overcame the outside post eight in her wire-to-wire victory, as the closing burst of favored Jaqen H’ghar came up short by a nose for the second straight week. The winning filly has a record of 6-3-2-1 since moving into Peck’s care after a mid-September purchase by Dieu Est Amour Stable.
Highgate carries on a “family tradition” under Peck’s care as the Muscle Hill colt, whom Peck owns, came out of a forward position late in the backstretch, then pulled away for a 4¼ length triumph as the favorite upon coming in from Harrah’s Philadelphia.
There were also three $15,000 paces, with two of them for males. Latest Era took the faster cut in a lifetime best 1:53 despite 40-degree temperatures, rallying out of the pocket then withstanding Trey’s Charlie by a neck. The JK Endofanera gelding, trained and owned by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, was driven by Ridge Warren, who seemed in winning position for the majority of the card as he recorded four successes on the day.
The Always B Miki sophomore gelding Maximus Miki, who sold for $200,000 as a yearling then didn’t race until this past October 3, is making up for lost time in a hurry as he recorded his fourth straight win, here in 1:53.2. The three-year-old was hard-used during his race, but still kept it together to post a length triumph over late-clearing Bottle Rocket for driver Braxten Boyd and Team Cancelliere, trainer Tom and owner/brother John.
The sole feature class for fillies saw another heads-up drive by Ridge Warren, as Lets Ryde Girl, a sophomore daughter of Rockin Image, made every pole a winning one while stopping the timer in 1:54 while 3¼ lengths to the good. Trainer Mike Watson is now 2-for-3 with his recently-acquired pupil, who changed hands to owner Patrick Gregory at the end of September.
The Downs has two more cards left in its racing season, both starting at 1:30 – Tuesday the 15th and Saturday the 19th. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.