Pocono Downs racetrack outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania lived up to its reputation as the world’s fastest five-eighths mile harness racing track as five world records were set Saturday during their $2 million Sun Stakes.
Early on the evening the trotter Sebastian K set up the string of world record performances with his all age trotting mark at a one mile distance in 1:49 and that paved the way for three more world marks to be set.
The second most impressive mile was Father Patrick in winning the $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial for three-year-old trotting colts.
Leaving from post eight, driver Yannick Gingras was parked out early on by stablemate Nuncio (John Campbell), who had beaten out Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) for control of the early lead to the opening quarter mile in a smart :27.1.
Gingras took his time and got Father Patrick to the lead before the half mile marker in :56 and then just let his trotter roll. Past the three-quarters in 1:23, Father Patrick began to open up on the field.
As they came down the stretch, Father Patrick was at ease as Gingras just line drove him home, but the teletimer said different as the one mile was clocking in an amazing 1:50.2. Nuncio was second with Datsyuk third.
His time established Father Patrick as the fastest three-year-old trotter ever on a five-eighths mile track, surpassing Googoo Gaagaa’s 1:50.4 mark in 2012, also set at Pocono Downs.
“I was very happy with both my horses,” said trainer Jimmy Takter, who also trains Nuncio. “Like I have been saying, Father Patrick is a very unique horse. We compare him with other horses and I have trained a lot of great horses but this is the best horse I have ever developed. This horse trotter here tonight in 1:50.2. I know this track is fantastic but Yannick he just sat with him and never asked him and he still had his plugs (ear) in him. He was sitting on a good second at least.”
Now undefeated in five starts this year and with 15 wins in 16 lifetime starts (his only loss came last year to Nuncio), Father Patrick is sired by Cantab Hall and is owned by the Father Patrick Syndicate of East Windsor, NJ. With his victory he has surpassed the $1 million mark in career earnings at 1,097,288.
The $500,000 final of the Max Hempt Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts saw McWicked and driver David Miller beat the world mark for his age and gait with a 1:47.3 victory.
The son of McArtle took the early lead away from At Press Time (Yannick Gingras) and never looked back, cruising to the wire in winning by two and one-quarter lengths over At Press Time and All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley), who had tried to go first-over in the race.
His time of 1:47.3 surpassed the world record on a five-eighths mile track that was set last year by Sunshine Beach at Pocono Downs in defeating two-time Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous.
“He was just awesome,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “I usually like him out of a hole but he can race on the front end. I saw Dave (Miller) tuck his whip away in the stretch so I was pretty happy.”
“You know, he felt pretty good down the backstretch and around the final turn,” David Miller said. “He is just unbelievable. I had a lot of confidence in him. I didn’t want to be the last one out of the gate and it worked out pretty well.”
Owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, NY, it was McWicked’s fourth win in seven starts this year. He paid $3.00 to win as the betting favorite.
Doo Wop Hanover and driver Corey Callahan swept three-wide in the backstretch from last place and despite being parked out three-wide the entire final turn, was able to close with a burst of speed to win the $75,000 Max Hempt Memorial Consolation Pace for three-year-olds colts.
Mattamerica (George Napolitano, Jr.) took the early lead away from Kingofthejungle (Brett Miller) and he set super-fast fractions. Some Playa (Brian Sears) had come first-over to no avail as it was Doo Wop Hanover come on to win by a half length in 1:49. Mattamerican held for second with Kingofthejungle third.
It was the third win in six starts this year for Doo Wop Hanover. The son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Steve Eliott and it was a lifetime mark for the bay colt who paid $7.00 to win. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski.
A real slugfest was expected in the $500,000 final of the Ben Franklin Free-For-All Pace for older horses and fans were treated by just that.
Sweet Lou, the Dan Patch award winning 2011 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year has not been living up to expectations until the last two months and tonight he showed he is the best in the business this year.
Driven by Ron Pierce, Sweet Lou was not only able to come on the outside and take away the lead from stablemate Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) after a :25.2 opening quarter mile, but then held him off in a dramatic stretch drive to win by a neck in 1:47, setting a world record in the process. Another stablemate from the Ron Burke Stable, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) was third. Captaintreacherous could do nothing with a third-over trip and was fifth.
His time surpassed the world mark on a five-eighths mile track that was co-held in 1:47.2 by both Pet Rock (2013) and Dancin Yankee earlier this year. It was a lifetime mark for Sweet Lou.
“I let him (Bettor’s Edge) come up to me,” said driver Ron Pierce, “and then I chased after my horse. We were never passed. He just dug in a little bit more. I felt by far he was the best horse in the race. I just had to drive him right. The only way he was going to get beat tonight is if I messed up.”
A winner in his last five starts, Sweet Lou is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by The Brurke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Peter Collura. The five-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruise paid $3.20 to win.
The only big final that did not set a world record was the $300,000 finale of the James Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies.
Repeating the same effort as last week, Fancy Desire and driver George Napolitano, Jr. were parked out to the opening quarter mile in :26.1 by Sayitall BB (Yannick Gingras) but once she got to the lead, Fancy Desire would not be passed again.
Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) was parked out from the start and started to come after Fancy Desire as they sped to the half in :55.3 and the three-quarters in 1:22.2 but she then began to fade.
Then coming down the stretch, Napolitano went to work on Fancy Desire as Sayitall BB came right after them, neck and neck to the wire but Fancy Desire held tough to the finish to win by a head in 1:49.2. Uffizi Hanover (David Miller) was third.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race,” Napolitano said. “Once I got to the front I knew Yannick was right behind me and that he had a pretty nice horse. I knew it would be a horse race to the wire. I was really confident coming into the race. She loves her work.”
Sired by Real Desire, it was the second straight win and fourth victory of the year for Fancy Desire, who is owned by Robert DiNozzi of Ossining,NY. She paid $5.20 to win.
Tyra and driver Tim Tetrick were able to make the most of a two-hole trip behind race favorite Someisleandsomwhere and then pull away in the stretch to win the $50,000 James Lynch Memorial Consolation race for three-year-old pacing fillies.
Tyra had shot out to the early lead but a quarter move by Someislesomwhere (David Miller) gave Tyra the perfect two-hole. She moved out of the pocket at the top of the stretch and blasted away from the field to win by three open lengths in a lifetime best 1:50.1. It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) was second with Someislandsomwhere third.
Trained by Jim King, Jr. Tyra is sired by McArtle and is owned by CC Racing, LLC. Of Molcena, IL. She paid $6.20 to win and it was her third win in seven starts this year.
Sun Stakes Saturday got off to an early fast start at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as 4-year-old trotting gelding Wind Of The North stormed to a 1:51 victory in the second half of the Daily Double, a $21,000 trot.
Driver David Miller, to be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame next weekend, left swiftly with the altered son of Cantab Hall to hit the quarter in 26.2, then yielded to Daylon Magician, who got the field to the half in 55.1.
Going to the ¾ Daylon Magician made a break and went to the infield, giving Wind Of The North clear sailing and inside positioning to the 1:23.1 ¾, and Wind Of The North stormed home in 27.4 to finish the record mile, which shaded the former standard of Indian Summer, set here 51 weekends ago, by a tick.
Clifton Green of Pennsylvania is the trainer/lessee of Wind Of The North, who lowered his personal best by almost three seconds, from 1:53.4.
by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com