Pocono Downs results one day after elims

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Ted Black

June 25th, 2018

When the dust settled following the bevy of stakes eliminations on Saturday night at Pocono Downs, it was time to look over the charts and trip notes and attempt to get a gauge on which horses can succeed in the lucrative finals slated for this Saturday night at the Pennsylvania five-eighths mile oval.

Saturday night there were three, $35,000 Ben Franklin elims for older, free-for-all pacers and two of them proved to be far tougher than the other.

Heaven Rocks A won the opening division in 1:49.3,  but less than an hour later McWicked prevailed in 1:48.3 and two hours later Sintra scored in 1:48.4, only to be disqualified to third for going inside two pylons which promoted Ron Burke trainees All Bets Off and Filibuster Hanover to the top two spots. Another Burke trainee, Rockin Ron, qualified for the final from the second division so that barn will have three quality pacers in the final.

Upon watching the races live and the replays later and reviewing the charts, McWicked looms the solid favorite for the final. But the Burke trio will definitely prove tough, since the uncoupled entry, on paper, will look to soften up some up the other speed horses and perhaps hinder the late closing bid of McWicked. It should be a very interesting affair, with the winner likely required to break 1:48 to score.

The three, $25,000 Max Hempt Memorial elims for three-year-old colt pacers produced three sub-1:50 clockings, but it was clear which of those sophomores was best.

Lather Up, fresh off his 1:48.1 score in the Grade I, $1 million North America Cup, overtook Nutcracker Sweet to gain command early then drew clear from that one in the lane to prevail in 1:49 to remain unbeaten in seven starts this year. Dorsoduro Hanover won the opening split in 1:49.4 for Burke then Hitman Hill took the second in 1:49.3 for trainer Chris Oakes. Runner-ups Springsteen, Shnitzledosomethin and Nutcracker Sweet all raced well in defeat, but Lather Up looms the odds-on choice for the $500,000 final.

Among the three $25,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial elims for sophomore trotting colts and geldings - and one very talented filly - there was one very sharp winner and two decent ones.

In the last Beal elim, Machego overcame her male rivals to gain command past the opener in 26.4, maintained an honest tempo by the half in 56 flat and three-quarters in 1:24.4 then outlasted the late inside bid of Crystal Fashion to score by a nose in 1:52.4. The Jimmy Takter trainee has won all three of her starts this year and all 15 in her career and she looms the odds-on favorite for this Saturday's $500,000 final.

Of the other two elim winners, Mission Accepted rallied into a quick back half to score in 1:53.2, while Six Pack outlasted the late bid of Evaluate to score in 1:53.3. Six Pack has won all four of his starts this year and is among the future book favorites for the Grade I, $1 million Hambletonian, but his performance was hardly overwhelming considering the final clocking and his narrow win over Evaluate, winner of a non-winners of four class in his previous start.

Saturday's two $25,000 James Lynch Memorial elims were contested as consecutive races on the card and were somewhat easier to evaluate. Youaremycandygirl outlasted stablemate Double A Mint to score in 1:51.3 then Kissin In The Sand rallied inside late to edge Sidewalk Dancer in 1:51.1. The second split was not only faster, but Sidewalk Dancer carved out wicked fractions of 26.4, 55 and 1:23.1 before being nailed late by Kissin In The Sand. That could be the exacta in the final this weekend, although Double A Mint could split them.