WILKES-BARRE PA – Sophomores All Or Nothing and Lanjo Lee notched their second victories in as many preliminaries of the Bobby Weiss Series Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with $20,000 on the line in each of four sections of the second prelim for pacing males and for each of three divisions of the third and final preliminary for their trotting counterparts.
Both of these winners were beyond impressive, and you can’t really use their times as a guide to a possible/eventual head-to-head matchup. All Or Nothing won in 1:51 in 60-degree temperatures over a fast track, and while Lanjo Lee’s 1:52.4 doesn’t look as formidable, he achieved it in a rainstorm over a sloppy track, with the temperature having dropped 17 degrees in just over an hour midcard.
The So Surreal gelding Lanjo Lee has not led at the quarter while going undefeated in four 2022 races, and driver Tyler Buter still had the pacer fourth, 3¾ lengths off the lead, at a :58.1 midpoint. But Lanjo Lee paced his own third split in :26.1 to go to the top as part of his :53.4 back half in winning for trainer Jeff Sorensen and owner Gordon Lee Swift while also reducing his best winning time.
Another Weiss pacing male it would be unwise to dismiss is the Heston Blue Chip gelding Shake It, who was favored over All Or Nothing in the first prelim, only to be caught by that opponent by a half-length. Saturday he took to the track just as the rain started to pound down, yet he still came home in :56 - :27.2 to complete a 1:52.3 victory for driver Jason Bartlett, running his yearly record to four-for-five for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Let It Ride Stables, Bottom Line Racing LLC, Lawrence Rosen, and Jeffrey Bell
The only Weiss winner, trotter or pacer, to return more than $4.20 to win all day was the Roll With Joe gelding Bullville Frank, who broke his maiden by closing to win a four-way photo in 1:54.3, paying $68.80 while driven by a horseman with whom you don’t associate big Pocono payoffs – George Napolitano Jr. Trainer Steve Crevani and the family’s Crevani Farms may be seeing this one peak at an opportune time.
On the trot, there were no contestants notching their second Weiss win. The fastest clocking, recorded before the big change in weather, was 1:54.3, put up by the Bar Hopping gelding That Ole Bar Stool for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Robert W. Clark, and Clark Stables LLC and Tina Clark. Second in his only previous Weiss start to El Toro Loco, who won in the first two prelims but took this week off, That Ole Bar Stool went to the front and sped home with twin :28.2 back quarters to reduce his mark.
The Walner gelding Paymaq may have punched his ticket to next Saturday’s Weiss Championship for his group, following up on a previous second by taking a new speed badge of 1:57.1. Andy Miller took the overland route with Paymaq in winning for trainer/wife Julie Miller and owner Michael Anderson.
Ducasse, who carries the name of a famous French chef, was well-prepared for his 2022 debut, sweeping wide off the far turn and breaking his maiden in 1:56.4 just after the track was rerated “sloppy.” Josert Fonseca had the sulky duty for trainer Nancy Takter and the ownership of Brixton Medical Inc., Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, and Fair Island Farm Inc. The Father Patrick colt certainly has the pedigree, both near and far, for improvement – his dam Summer Savory (which may be how he got his name) has produced two $400,000+ winners, and his fifth dam is Kentucky Futurity winner Speed Model.
In a $25,000 fast-class pace, the American Ideal gelding Vettel N won his fourth straight, making two moves to the lead and then holding three tough opponents who made him work for the 1:51 victory over the sloppy track. Jason Bartlett drove the Jennifer Bongiorno trainee for JB Racing and Robert Devine.
The Downs, along with sister track Harrah’s Philadelphia, will both be dark Sunday in observance on Easter. Pocono’s live racing resumes at 1:30 p.m. Monday, with three-year-old fillies of both gaits contesting their third and final preliminary of Bobby Weiss Series action, looking to earn spots in their rich Championships, to be held on Monday, April 25. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.