Homeracing

Pocono Downs hosts stellar Saturday night card

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

July 1st, 2018

Saturday night most of the standardbred racing world focused its attention on the lucrative card at Pocono Downs as the five-eighths mile oval in Pennsylvania offered a quartet of finals and an equal number of consolations.

On the early portion of the card, Courtly Choice (David Miller) easily lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite in the $75,000 Max Hempt Memorial consolation for three-year-old colt pacers when he settled into fourth early, brushed to command before reaching three-quarters in 1:21.1 then romped home seven lengths clear in 1:48.4. A Maryland-bred sophomore son of Art Major trained by Blake Macintosh, Courtly Choice notched his fourth win in six seasonal outings and looms a major player if he can ever earn a spot in one of the lucrative finals.

Then two races later in the $75,000 Ben Franklin consolation for free-for-all pacers, Split The House (Brian Sears) benefited from live cover down the backside and through the far turn and rallied widest of all late to score in 1:49. A six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Chris Oakes, Split The House notched his first win in two starts this year and pushed his career earnings past $640,000 by posting a 14-1 surprise. He won last year's Breeders Crown and has arrived at Rosecroft Raceway for the first two editions of the $100,000 Potomac Pace, carving out the fractions in each before being nailed in the lane.

Then three races later in the $75,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial consolation for three-year-old colt trotters, Fiftydallarbill (Brett Miller) brushed to command past a 26.4 opener, got a modest breather to the half in 56.3, raced unpressed down the backside and through the far turn and just outlasted the inside bid of Moosonee (Tim Tetrick) to score by a head in 1:52.1. A sophomore son of Swan For All trained by William Crone, Fiftydallarbill notched his third win in five starts this year and also looks like a serious contender next time he advances to a stakes final.

Then two races later in the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial final for three-year-old filly pacers, Kissin In The Sand (Scott Zeron) overcame post nine and a brutal parked-the-mile journey and overhauled Youareycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) to score in 1:49.3. A sophomore daughter of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Nancy Johansson, Kissin In The Sand recorded her second straight victory and third win in five starts this year and now merits honors as the division leader while reigning champ Youaremycandygirl is just behind her.

One race later in the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial final for three-year-old colt pacers, Springsteen (Simon Allard) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all through the far turn and then just outlasted the late bids of Nutcracker Sweet (David Miller) and Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) to forge a 15-1 upset as Lather Up (Montrell Teague) wilted after a prolonged first over bid and broke stride in the lane. Springsteen notched his second win in five starts this year and lowered his lifetime mark by more than two seconds in the process after getting the mile in 1:48.3 in a blanket finish.

Then one race later in the $500,000 Ben Franklin final for free-for-all aged pacers, McWicked (Brian Sears) easily lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite when he benefited from a second over trip behind All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) down the backside, fanned wide for the drive and wore down Rockin Ron and Macs Jackpot to score by two lengths in 1:49.3. A seven-year-old McArdle stallion trained by Casie Coleman, McWicked notched his second straight score and now owns four wins in six starts this year with earnings of $325,000. He clearly vaulted to the head of the class among aged pacers and could be in line for pacer of the year honors later this season.

One race later in the $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial for three-year-old colt trotters - and one talented filly - Crystal Fashion (Tetrick) benefited from a pocket trip behind Six Pack (Ake Svandstedt) through honest fractions and angled out when 3-5 favorite Manchego (Gingras) broke stride and just overhauled the leader in the lane to score in 1:51.4. A sophomore son of Cantab Hall trained by Jim Campbell for owner-breeder Fashion Farms, Crystal Fashion notched his third win in five starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings past $300,000. Six Pack settled for the runner-up honors in a good effort, while Manchego failed to earn a check in her first career setback after winning her previous 15 outings.

That same evening at Northfield Park in Ohio, Marion Marauder (Jordan Stratton) overcame an extended parked out journey and eventually wore down In Secret to capture the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic by three lengths in 1:52.4. A five-year-old Muscle Hill stallion trained by Paula Wellwood, Marion Marauder recorded his third win in five starts this year and pushed his lifetime earnings past $2.7 million.
Loading...