Pocono Downs and Ocean Downs offer plenty of action on Sunday night

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Ted Black

July 3rd, 2018

Sunday evening may mark the end of the weekend for many Americans, but for standardbred fans who enjoy seeing developing two-year-olds and durable older pacers compete turned their attention to Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania and Ocean Downs in Maryland.

Taking center stage on Sunday evening at Pocono Downs were five divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for two-year-old colt & gelding pacers with many of the Pennsylvania-sired juveniles simply looking to get their careers off to a promising start before heading into Grand Circuit action.

In the opening $30,000 division, Lyons Johnnyjnr (Tim Tetrick) lived up to his billing as the 6-5 favorite when he brushed to command before the half and held safe Milano Hanover (Yannick Gingras) in the lane to score in 1:53.2 in his official career debut. A juvenile son of Well Said trained by Gareth Dowse, Lyons Johnnyjnr had won both of his qualifiers narrowly then stayed perfect in a sense by winning his initial outing on Sunday evening at Pocono.

Then one race later in the second $30,000 split, Lyons Night Hawk (Tetrick) overcame post eight to forge a mild 5-2 upset in 1:53.3. A freshman son of Sweet Lou owned and trained by Dowse, Lyons Night Hawk scored in his career debut and handed Semi Tough (Gingras) a setback in that one's anticipated debut. Semi Tough had won a pair of qualifiers at Gaitway Farm in New Jersey, the second by 12 lengths for trainer Ron Burke, and was made the 1-2 choice in this spot.

Then one race later in the third PA All-Stars split for freshman pacers, Proof (David Miller) brushed to command before a soft half, rebuffed a first over bid from Volley Ball Beach (Tony Hall) down the backside and then held safe the late bid of Captain Victorious (Andy Miller) to score by a neck in 1:53.4. A juvenile son of A Rocknroll Dance trained by Brian Brown, Proof lived up to his billing as the 4-5 choice off two sharp qualifiers to score at first asking.

Then one race later in the fourth PA All-Stars division for this group, Blood Money (Gingras) easily overcame post seven to gain command and eventually held safe Burke trainee Actor Hanover (Matt Kakaley) to score in 1:54.3 as the even-money second choice while 4-5 favorite V O Joe (Brett Miller) disappointed in his career debut. A juvenile son of Sweet Lou trained by Jimmy Takter, Blood Money benefited from two solid qualifiers at the Meadowlands to prevail in his career debut.

Then two races later in the fifth division, De Los Cielos Red (Gingras) overcame post eight and lived up to his role as the 3-5 choice in his career debut to prevail by two lengths in 1:53.2. A freshman son of Captaintreacherous trained by Burke, De Los Cielos Deo had previous scored handily in two qualifiers at Gaitway and then scored at first asking as the odds-on choice in the final PA All-Stars split on Sunday.

That same evening at Ocean Downs, the seaside oval in Maryland offered a good blend of stakes and overnight events.

In the opening race on the card, What That Is (Brian Burton) benefited from an inside draw and lived up to his role as the even-money choice to capture the second Maryland Sire Stakes prelim for three-year-old colts & geldings. A sophomore son of pacing sire, Cam's Rocket, trained by Judith Welty for owner-breeder Brian Emerson of Mr. Ham Sandwich fame, What That Is notched his second win in five starts this year and now owns eight wins in 16 career outings with earnings of roughly $82,500.

Then one race later in the second MDSS prelim for three-year-old filly pacers, HS Shauna (Art Stafford, Jr.) also benefited from an inside draw and emerged victorious in 1:55. A sophomore daughter of Up Front Charlie trained by Joseph Carroll, HS Shauna recorded her fourth win in seven starts this year and now owns 10 wins and earnings of over $75,000 from 21 career tries.

Then one race later in the first overnight race on the card, Broadies Song (Richard Still) also benefited from an inside draw and prevailed as the even-money favorite in the $3,500 Copper Class for older pacers. An 11-year-old Camluck gelding owned and trained by Brittany Bounds, Broadies Song ended a modest drought when he notched his first win in 18 starts this year by getting the mile in 1:58.

Then several races later in the $8,500 Platinum Class, Safensound Hanover (Mike Cole) easily lived up to his role as the 4-5 choice when he notched his second victory at the level by scoring in 1:55. A five-year-old Yankee Cruiser gelding trained by Joe Columbo, Safensound Hanover has won both of his starts over the seaside oval this summer and now sports six wins and $27,000 banked from 20 starts this year.

Then one race later in the $11,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, Hickory Aloha (Timmy Offutt) posted a mild 6-1 upset when he edged Rock N Roll Jet (Kim Vincent) in 1:54. A six-year-old Village Jolt gelding owned and trained by Joe Offutt, Hickory Aloha notched his second win at the level and third win at the meet thus far and the scribes choice as the 2017 Ocean Downs horse of the meet appears well poised to successfully defend his title this summer.

Then two races later in the first $7,500 Gold Class, Wisers Deluxe (Allan Davis) benefited from an inside draw and forged a mild 4-1 upset in 1:56 for owner-trainer Jay Baxter of Worton. Then one race later in the second $7,500 Gold Class, Dancing Rusty (Still) notched his second straight score and third win in five tries at the meet when he prevailed in 1:55 flat. The 10-year-old Ponder gelding is owned and trained by Basil Sapienza.