Day At The Track

Full summary of Sun Stakes elims at Pocono

01:18 PM 24 Jun 2018 NZST
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Manchego, harness racing Lather Up, harness racing Hitman Hill, harness racing
Manchego (#5) barely holds off Crystal Fashion to win by a nose
Curtis Salonick photo
Lather Up and driver Montrell Teague score with ease
Curtis Salonick photo
Hitman Hill barely holds off Shnitzledosomethin (on the inside)
Curtis Salonick photo

WILKES-BARRE PA - A "Who's Who" of the free-for-all pacers, three-year-old trotters, and three-year-old pacers both male and female were gathered together at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, trying to perform well in elimination races and qualify for next Saturday's $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday Championships race card. The expected rain thankfully never came, but there was a frontstretch headwind.


Heaven Rocks A proved best in a cavalry charge to the wire, sweeping off cover to reduce his Stateside mark to 1:49.3 in the first of three $30,000 Franklin elims. Check Six moved to the lead after the 26.1 opener, got to the midpoint in 54.1, then was challenged by first-over Western Fame to the 1:22 ¾ pole.

Heaven Rocks A tipped three-wide midturn, was (as has been his norm) a bit hard to keep on a maximum course late on the turn, but then showed determination to withstand late-charging Donttellmeagain by a neck, with Western Fame holding stoutly for third and a Franklin final spot. Ross Croghan trains the winner of $414,145, and driver David Miller co-owns him with the Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham.

McWicked made winning look McEasy despite a first-over journey, winning handily for driver Brian Sears in 1:48.3. Mach It So set the early pace of 26 and 54.2, then had to contend with the inexorable McGrind of the winner. McWicked took the lead shortly after the 1:21.2 ¾, then finished out in 27.1, 2¾ lengths ahead of Rockin Ron, who split horses late to just get second over longshot Mac's Jackpot, who photoed Mach It So for advancement to next week's Championship.

Casie Coleman conditions the veteran son of McArdle, who now is at $2,394,362 in career earnings, for S S G Stables.

Sintra, sitting third headstretch, ducked far inside for the stretch drive and did get to the wire first in 1:48.4 in his Franklin elim, but he went inside the pylons in doing so and was placed third, elevating All Bets Off, who missed a nose after setting much of the pace (54.2, 1:21), to the big share of the purse.

Filibuster Hanover, sitting in the pocket after taking the early lead (26.1) then yielding and to All Bets Off's immediate left through the lane, was third placed second to halt his undefeated 2018 season, with Sintra's placement back to third still enough to get him through to the Championship.

All Bets Off, who sat a world record here three years ago that still stands, was another successful teaming for Team Kakaley/Burke, nudging his earnings up to $2,990,054 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and the Panhellenic Stable Corporation.

BEAL TROT (3YO Open trot)

Manchego kept her career record perfect after 15 starts, but in taking on "the boys" in her $25,000 Beal Trot elim she was extended further than she had ever been before, holding off a game Crystal Fashion by a nose while equaling her career best of 1:52.4.

Yannick Gingras kept the filly in midpack until traffic settled late on the first turn, then got her in gear before the 26.4 quarter, brushed to the lead, and got relatively soft middle fractions of 56 and 1:24.4. But through the stretch Crystal Fashion, who had ducked inside from second-over an 1/8 of a mile out, gained steadily, with Gingras chasing after the super filly late to maintain the victory and The Streak, in only her third race of the year.

Jimmy Takter trains the winning daughter of Muscle Hill, who now has earnings of $929,688 for the ownership of Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman.

Ohio champion Mission Accepted proved he was the real deal against Grand Circuit stock by taking the first of the Beal eliminations in 1:53.2.

Those who had backed the Manofmanymissions colt to 4-5 had a few anxious moments down the back as their choice significantly gapped the cover of Patent Leather, who went his third split in 26.4 to clear pacesetter Whats The Word. But driver Ryan Stahl got more out of Mission Accepted and gained on the turn, then dove down into an open Pocono Pike, trotting away late for a 1¼ length tally over Patent Leather, with Lawmaker, forwardly-placed throughout, taking third.

The winner, perfect in four starts this year and the OhSS Final victor at two, now has a bankroll of $268,300 for trainer Jeff Conger, who is also the co-owner with Knox Services Inc. and David Wills.

Six Pack started from post six in his Beal elim, then recorded all "1"s across his charted line, withstanding a late Pocono Pike rush from Evaluate by ¾ of a length to win in 1:53.3. Trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt put the New York star right on the lead, and after a 29.3 second quarter breather the son of Muscle Mass flew home in 56 - 27.4.
Evaluate (at .90 odds to Six Pack's .80*), in the pocket, raced strongly in the lane to maintain second, with Fashionwoodchopper showing grit to hold on for third and advancement after having to go first-over. Six Pack now shows earnings of $345,055 for Ã…ke Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, and Stall Kalmar FF.

HEMPT PACE (3YO c/g pace)

They saved the best for last on Sun Stakes Saturday elimination night, as the I'm Gorgeous colt Lather Up brought to mind another recent good horse (Wiggle something or other) by making the lead past the ¼, then coming home in 53.1 in hand late for driver Montrell Teague to freeze the timer in 1:49 in his $25,000 Hempt elimination.

After the 26.2 opener put down by Nutcracker Suite, Lather Up, three-wide just past the 1/8, raced up to grab command, got a huge breather with a 55.4 half, and then asserted his divisional dominance with the brilliant last half, winning by 2¼ lengths over Nutcracker Suite, with Wes Delight edging Well Done to move on to the Championship.

But someone will have to go a big mile in seven days time to defeat Lather Up, trained by Clyde Francis and moving his bankroll to $544,765 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles, who saw their pride and joy remain undefeated in seven seasonal starts and add a seasonal record to his ever-growing resume.

Dorsoduro Hanover made a swift move to the lead before the 5/8 in the first of the Hempt elims, then held on gamely over the late charge of Springsteen by a neck, with forwardly-placed This Is The Plan, looped for the lead down the back, coming back to be another neck off the 1:49.4 winner to complete the trio to advance.

The victorious Somebeachsomewhere gelding took a new lifetime mark and set a season's record (so it only lasted 55 minutes ...), running his 2018 record to 4-for-5 this season while taking his earnings to $172,668. Matt Kakaley handled sulky duties for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stables LLC; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC; and the Wingfield Five.

Hitman Hill paid a 26.2 price to get the lead before the quarter, put down 54.4 and 1:22.1 middle splits, then lasted to the wire by a head over inside charger Shnitzledosomethin in 1:49.3, a personal best and a tick better than Dorsoduro Hanover divisional season's record. Stay Hungry, who found all sorts of trouble, out to the quarter before tucking from PP8, then checking when the first-over broke before the ¾, rallied stoutly for third to advance.

Hitman Hill is a son of American Ideal who was guided by Brett Miller for trainer Chris Oakes, and the ownership of Tom Hill and Northfork Racing Stable.

LYNCH PACE (3YO filly pace)

Youaremycandygirl, looking more like her 2017 championship self, took the first $20,000 Lynch elimination on the engine in 1:51.3. Yannick Gingras was out to the 27.1 quarter to make the lead behind the daughter of American Ideal, then tripped the timer at the half in 56.2 before Alexa's Power moved up to challenge.

The 6-5 second choice pacesetter (the first non-favorite to win in the eliminations after five straight chalk) and the 1-2* first-over battled to and past the 1:23.2 3/4s, with Alexa's Power dropping in the pocket at headstretch and second-over Double A Mint coming quickly in the lane. The "Candygirl" (named after a line in a song by the "group" The Archies) held off Double A Mint by a neck, with Alexa's Power and Hypnotic Tale next in line. Ron Burke conditions the winner of $925,915, 2-for-4 this year and 11-for-15 lifetime, for owner W. J. Donovan.

Kissin In The Sand left to the early lead, let Sidewalk Dancer go by at the half, then surged in the Pocono Pike midstretch to catch that rival by a half length in 1:51.1 in the other Lynch elim. Sidewalk Dancer was out the whole way in the 26.4 quarter and almost to the half in 55 before clearing the winning favorite, went to the ¾ in 1:23.1, but succumbed to the pocket rocket late, with I'm Trigger Happy, Sansovina Hanover, and Serene Stride (the faster 5th-place finisher) going on to the Championship.

Kissin In The Sand was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Nancy Johansson, and the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere has earnings of $345,545 for owners Marvin Katz and the Hatfield Stables.


Why did he include a $30,000 race, the Great Northeast event, in this wrapup? How about because the winner, Bettor's Edge, equaled the fastest mile of the year on a 5/8-mile track in North America by winning in 1:48.2?

How about because the fractions were 25.1, 53.3, and 1:20, and the nine-year-old winner set most of the pace? Rodeo Romeo got past Bettor's Edge after the astounding quarter, but then the winner of $2,133,382 was out and retaking for Scott Zeron in front of the stands and "got a rest" to the half.

Then Highalator came first-over and got a small advantage late backstretch through the smoking 3/4s, but the winner held him off, then withstood the Pocono Pike late move of Rodeo Romeo to tally by a ½ length for trainer Jennifer Lappe, also the co-owner with Robert Santagata; Highalator was only a neck further back in third.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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