Day At The Track

George and Anthony Napolitano continue to win

12:46 AM 23 Oct 2018 NZDT
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Harness racing
George Napolitano, Jr. (left) with brother Anthony

WILKES-BARRE, PA - George Napolitano Jr., the track's all-time leading driver who earned his first spot in a Breeders Crown championship with freshman trotting filly Stella Jane here on Friday, still knows what he's doing in the overnight races as well, winning the $18,000 claiming pace feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday with Ideal Kiss in 1:52, with the mercury only a half-dozen digits above freezing.

Napolitano made a "patented" quarter-move with the American Ideal gelding past a 26 quarter, then went on to post midsplits of 55 and 1:23 en route to a 3¾ length victory, his tenth of the year. Ideal Kiss, who is owned by Northfolk Racing Stable, now has earnings of $109,050 this year and $193,750 lifetime.

Napolitano is an "equal-opportunity driver" for the highpowered Team Oakes - he won here on Sunday with two horses that father Chris trains, and two with pupils of son Hunter, including Ideal Kiss.

A pair of $17,500 conditioned events were co-featured on Sunday. In the trot, Two AM took his third victory in his last four trips to the gate, with Tyler Buter also using quarter-moving tactics en route to a length win in 1:54.1.

Todd Buter trains the Muscle Massive gelding, the winner of his 2016 Pennsylvania Stallion Series division and $296,761 careerwise, for Gene Oldford Farms LLC, Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs.

On the pace, it was "George Nap" again reporting back to Victory Lane, this time with the rapidly-improving Somebeachsomewhere gelding Blayde Hanover in 1:51. Fractions of 27.2, 56.1, and 1:23.2 laid down from the pole were too much for his opponents to handle, with Blayde Hanover 2¾ lengths clear for trainer Brandon Todd and Belrose Standard LLC while boosting his bankroll to $159,151.

In all, Napolitano had five winners on the Pocono card, on top of the three races he took at Harrah's before heading up the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike for his Sunday Pocono duties. Brother Anthony had three winners on the local card - the Breeders Crown may have cost them a chance at the combined 31 winners total they posted in just 53 races here last week (58%), but they're both still red-hot.

FINISHING LINES - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association congratulate Pocono regular Mike Simons on notching his 4000th career win. The leading driver at Pocono in 2002, Simons, who splits his year between Pennsylvania and Pompano Park, won with his first pari-mutuel drive of the season in the Sunshine State, with the Mickey McNichol-trained Blueberry Heaven.

With the Breeders Crown eliminations in the books and ten of the twelve Championships for this Saturday's $6,000,000 Championship Night already drawn, the final two casts of characters - the Open horses of both gaits - will learn their post positional fates at a noontime press conference at The Downs on Tuesday.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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