Day At The Track

Western Joe impressive

01:59 PM 21 Jul 2019 NZST
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Western Joe, harness racing
Western Joe
Curtis Salonick Photo

WILKES-BARRE PA - Western Joe, hard-used to make the lead just before the half, showed no ill effects late, crossing the wire an easy 1:49.2 harness racing winner in the $21,500 fast-class featured pace on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

A son of Western Ideal, Western Joe got away fourth in a 26.1 contested quarter, then had to work hard to clear the early leader Major Crocker A, finally doing so for driver Pat Berry near the :54 midpoint. The three-quarters came and went in 1:21.1 without a threat to the favored leader, and Western Joe had no anxious moments through the lane, with the razor-sharp Prairie Panther able to cut the winning margin down to 1½ lengths by the finish.

The track recordholder at 1¼ miles, Western Joe is trained by Christopher Choate for owners Anthony Ruggeri and Richard Tosies. He has now bankrolled $540,031 in his career.

In the $20,000 claiming handicap pace, there was the first meeting of the in-form duo of Atta Boy Dan and Rock The Town, both of whom had been claimed for $40,000 six times since May 25. The Western Terror gelding Atta Boy Dan won the head-to-head clash by 1½ lengths in 1:50.3 on the engine over the pocketsitting Rock The Town for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Mike Watson, and owner Clifford Grundy. And yes, both horses were haltered for $40,000 for a seventh time - with Grundy/Watson getting some consolation because although they lost the winner ($78,400 in his last ten starts), they had the successful claim on Rock The Town ($66,600 in his last ten starts).

Havefaithinme N, despite being outside until the 5/8, partway with cover, before getting the lead, lowered his North American mile mark to 1:50 with a victory in a $17,500 pace for driver Anthony Napolitano, trainer Jose Godinez, and the partnership of Blindswitch Racing Stable, G Axelrod, Good Friends Racing Stable, and Santo Farina. The career winner of $1,237,369 had previously had a much faster mark for the mile- in 2016 he won the Down Under classic Miracle Mile in 1:47 5/10, at the time the fastest mile clocking ever in Australasia.

First post time was delayed for 30 minutes because of the high heat index earlier in the day.

PHHA / Pocono


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