WILKES-BARRE PA – Given the royal battles that Downbytheseaside and Huntsville had in their racing careers, it seems appropriate they would be the sires of the first two finishers in the fastest of four $11,700 pari-mutuel debut races for two-year-olds Monday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
The Downbytheseaside – D D Delightful pacing filly Lightning Leia was sent to the lead by driver Matt Kakaley and controlled the pace, looking good until nearing the wire, when the Huntsville miss Twenty Grand founa higher gear and narrowed in. But it was Lightning Leia getting a head decision in 1:54.2 for trainer Travis Alexander and Fiddler’s Creek Stable LLC, following up on a 1:57 win in a baby qualifier in her first charted line.
Buter, Butenschoen, Crawford IV, and Crawford Farms Racing came back in the very next race, with Mortgage Boys Stable as a partner here, with the Chapter Seven – Jewels In Hock trotting filly Prasiolite, who had won a baby event in 1:59.1 and here bettered that by striding home an easy winner in 1:59. Establishing a lead at the quarter, Prasiolite got a soft half, then tacked on twin final splits of :29.1 while appearing well within herself.
The trotting males were commanded by the Credit Winner – Velvet’s Katie Bug gelding Velvet Style, along in 1:59.4 for trainer Mark Ford and owners George and Rose Bonomo. Jason Bartlett came out of third with the freshman nearing the far turn, kept him steady as he bore out a little as he gained on the far bend, then had his baby trot home strongly for the decision.
Another “first pari-mutuel victory” went to 19-year-old driver Cody Schadel, driving the Cantab Hall sophomore filly Cheesy Hanover to a wire-to-wire 1:57 victory for his father Todd, the latter co-owner with Cody’s mother Christine. Young Schadel impressed at the fairs with eight victories and a UDR in the vicinity of .400 last year, and he seems to be fitting into a family tradition which includes much success at the PA ovals and co-ownership of Hambletonian champion Vivid Photo.
Twin $15,300 features for “non-winners of 8 races” youngsters, the pace in race ten and the trot in race twelve, will top the bill of fare as Pocono closes its racing week Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.; program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.