Day At The Track

Photo finish needed for co-features at Pocono

09:18 PM 23 Jul 2018 NZST
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WILKES-BARRE, PA - Both of the $21,500 features at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night required the use of the photo finish camera, with the mare Satin Dancer holding off Crazshana by a nose on the trot and Juslikeaqueen rallying furiously from sixth at the 3/4 to get a neck decison in the distaff pace.

Satin Dancer, a double winner in Open company at Hoosier before coming east, was sent right to the top in a 27.1 quarter over off going by driver Matt Kakaley in the trotting headliner, then got a breather to the half in 57.

The winning daughter of Big Stick accelerated the tempo to the ¾, reaching that pole in 1:25.1, then had to go faster and dig deep as Crazshana narrowed in from the pocket, retaining the smallest possible advantage on the money while equaling her mark of 1:53. Travis Alexander conditions the winner, one of the big factors at two and three in Indiana as her $637,160 earnings would attest, for Summit Pacing Acres LLC (a "Pacing Acres" owning a fast trotter - they really have the winning touch!).

Obvious Blue Chip tried to live up to 1-5 backing in the female pacing feature, moving to the front near the 27.4 quarter and then posting middle fractions of 57 and 1:24.4. But first-over Princess Fabulosa grinded at the leader, passed her in the stretch, then herself was caught by the flying-from-third-over Juslikeaqueen, from whom Anthony Napolitano summoned a huge last quarter while wide to take a 1:53.1 decision. Antonia Storer owns and trains the Palone Ranger mare, who now has a lifetime bankroll of $175,710.

And just in case you thought that all those good Jimmy Takter trotters easily roll out of the barn all ready to go stakes-caliber miles, consider Fleet Admiral, who had a 1:56.3 win and a break in two qualifiers as a freshman, then put in two stretch breaks as a sophomore before qualifying at Pocono in 1:54.4.

He made a break in his first purse start, was 16½ lengths out at the quarter, and rallied to be second, so when he broke at the start of his second race Sunday but was only 9¼ down at the quarter, he was "obviously" still in the hunt, and he again showed a giant recovery kick for driver Josert Fonseca, coming his last ¾ in 1:27.1 to win in 1:57.3 on a sloppy track.

Oh, did we mention that he's a full brother to Ariana G?

Hurricane Beach :51.3 to the half is fastest ever

According to a detailed check of available records, the Somebeachsomewhere – Blazing Yankee four-year-old gelding Hurricane Beach cut the fastest half-mile ever in a Standardbred race mile on a 5/8-mile track, 51.3, in winning the last race on Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The final time for the mile was 1:49.4, over a sloppy track, in the $17,000 conditioned pace.

Hurricane Beach blasted away from post eight for driver Simon Allard, hitting the quarter in 25.2 with the field well-strung-out behind, and Allard had the horse under a hold passing the stands for the first time. The half-mile station was reached as noted in 51.3, and the ¾ was reached in 1:19.3. Hurricane Beach officially had a 10-length lead at the stretch call, and won by 7¼ lengths.

A detailed list of miles which have reached the 3/4s in 1:20, while not official, has been kept, and the 51.3 clocking eradicated the former mark for 5/8-mile tracks of 52.1 set by Split The House in the 2016 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft, won by All Bets Off. The record in such a race on an “f” track for the quarter is 25.1, notched by five horses (only one of which went on to win); Always B Miki went 1:19 to the 3/4s in winning the Ewart Pace at Scioto, also in 2016.

The overall harness record for reaching the half in a mile race, according to this list, is 51.2, set by Devonshire Hanover at The Meadowlands in 2006.

Those with long memories about unusual records probably had a bell ring as soon as they saw a horse named “Hurricane” involved in fast fractions. And yes, Hurricane Beach is a half-brother, out of Blazing Yankee, to the Cam’s Card Shark pacer Hurrikane Kingcole, who holds the overall record for the fastest-ever clocking to the ¾ in a mile race, 1:18.2, in the 2012 SBOANJ Classic at The Meadowlands, which was won by Panther Hanover.

From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

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