Wilkes-Barre, PA — The 2018 2-year-old Pacing Colt of the Year Captain Crunch will make his 2019 debut in the middle of three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes second preliminary, to be held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night (May 19) and he couldn’t have found a more challenging spot in which to open his season.
Captain Crunch, a Captaintreacherous colt trained by Nancy Johansson for the 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms, won six of 10 starts as a 2-year-old, including the Breeders Crown at Pocono and the Governor’s Cup at The Meadowlands, en route to divisional honors while winning the most money among freshman pacing colts, $616,113. Prepping for 2019, Captain Crunch has qualifying wins in 1:50.1 and 1:51.2 (the latter on a “good” track).
The draw was kind to Captain Crunch in one respect, as Scott Zeron will be guiding him from post three in the field of nine (all three divisions have nine starters) in race 10. But the draw also gave Captain Crunch a real challenge, in that many of the section’s top colts, at both two and three, will be lining up against him Sunday.
One example would be Proof (post eight, trainer Brian Brown, driver David Miller), second behind Captain Crunch in last year’s Breeders Crown, the 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, and a good second at The Meadows in the Sire Stakes’ opening leg in his first start of the year.
Also in this cut is the horse who conquered Proof in that event in 1:50.4, Southwind Ozzi (post one, trainer Bill MacKenzie, one of four “calls” for driver Tim Tetrick). There’s Lyons Night Hawk (post five, trainer Gareth Dowse, Tetrick also listed), who was just edged in 1:50.1 in a PA All-Stars event in his seasonal bow, and Prince Of Tides (post two, trainer Ross Croghan, driver Eric Carlson), a 1:49.4 winner of the Wiggle It Jiggleit final at The Meadowlands.
But not all of the good horses will be facing Captain Crunch. In the 11th race third division, two Sire Stakes winners at The Meadows will attract a good deal of attention: Workin Ona Mystery (post two, trainer Brian Brown, driver Tim Tetrick), who won the fastest Sires section in 1:50.1, and Love Me Some Lou, undefeated in two starts this year and a 1:50.4 Sires winner, who will have to negotiate the difficult post eight for trainer Tom Cancelliere and driver David Miller.
While the ninth race first division may not have horses who have some of the paper credentials of the other two divisions, it has some nice developing horses of its own, including Major Deception (post one, trainer Tony Alagna, driver Tim Tetrick), the easiest kind of winner at Harrah’s Philadelphia over sloppy going in his 2019 return; Wild Wild Western (post two, trainer Norm Parker, driver Mike Wilder), who was second to Workin Ona Mystery in the PaSS division at The Meadows; and 2018 PA Fairs champion Aflame Hanover (post eight, trainer Linda Schadel, driver Tim Tetrick), who has shown that he can be competitive with the most select of the state’s 3-year-olds.
There will also be four Pennsylvania Stallion Series divisions at Pocono Sunday, including first round winners Captain Koine, Skip To My Lou, and Under Paid, plus Captain Panko, the 2018 Stallion Series champion who will be making his 2019 debut.
First post for Sunday’s 14-race card is set for 7 p.m.