WILKES-BARRE PA – Three $15,000 divisions of the first preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacing males highlighted the card on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Jim Morrill Jr. guiding two of the winners to 1:52.3 victories.
First on the track was the Sweet Lou sophomore gelding Division Bell, who broke his maiden for trainer Ron Burke and Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Morrill sent Division Bell to the lead in front of the stands, then kept the youngster rolling home in 56.1 to be 1¼ lengths ahead of R U Talkin at the finish while also setting a new mark.
Turbo Hill, a four-year-old son of American Ideal, won his fifth straight race and is now 7-for-8 lifetime, with his 1:54.2 final clocking (after he stole a 58 half on the lead) sufficient to hold off Dakota Ole by 1¼ lengths. A winner in 1:51.1 here earlier in the meet, Turbo Hill was driven and is trained by Hunter Oakes for owner Tom Hill.
Gilly’s Boy ran his 2019 record to 3-for-3, and he also posted the fastest mile of the young season so far at the mountain oval, 1:50.3, while winning the $21,500 fast-class pacing feature. The Cam’s Card Shark gelding, who also took a new mark, left alertly, yielded to favorite Stars Align A as that one cut fractions of 26.3, 55.1, and 1:22.1, then came out for the drive and passed the chalk by a half-length under the guidance of Anthony Napolitano, who had four visits to Victory Lane. Ron Burke conditions the career-sharp pacer for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
… And then 38 minutes later, the Bettor’s Delight gelding Havefaithinme N lowered the Pocono seasonal best another tick, moving to the lead after a 26.4 opener, posting middle splits of 54 and 1:21.4, then staying strong to the finish to give driver Jim Morrill Jr. a third win on the night (Tyler Buter also drove three winners). Trained by Jose Godinez for Blindswitch Racing Stable, Gary Axelrod, Good Friends Racing Stable and Santo Farina, Havefaithinme N was of course a star Down Under, winning the 2016 Miracle Mile in 1:47 5/10, at the time the fastest Australasian mile race ever, and recorded most of his $1,182,169 bankroll in the Southern Hemisphere.
Once again the claiming box was a Saturday night beehive of activity at Pocono, as seasonal records were set in amount of horses claimed (17) and amount changing hands for horseflesh ($328,750). Ten days into the meet (with most of the claimers written on Saturdays), there have been 62 horses going back to different barns after their races, with the money tally now over seven figures for the meet at $1,094,500.
FINISHING LINES – The Pocono horsemen’s community was saddened to learn that Syl DeCample Jr. passed away recently at age 76. Only three horsemen (George Napolitano Jr., Bill Lambertus, and Bill Mullin) have won more horsemen’s crowns locally than did the colorful DeCample, who was the best in driving victories three straight years (1977 through 1979), and then won both the UDR title and the training wins title in 1992 – with Syl’s son Syl III succeeding his father in the trainers’ category the next year.