Wilkes-Barre, PA — The Pennsylvania All-Stars series brings together this weekend two interesting groups of colts at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono — 3-year-old trotters on Saturday afternoon (July 11) and 2-year-old pacers on Sunday’s (July 12) twilight card.
A total of 17 of the 27 trotters entered in Saturday’s thee $30,000 divisions of All-Stars races are eligible to contest the sport’s greatest prize, the Hambletonian, on Saturday (Aug. 8). The owners and trainers of the Hambo eligibles will be getting a good reading on their horses’ ability exactly three weeks before the elimination races for the Hambletonian.
Amigo Volo is the richest and probably the best-known of the entrants. The altered son of Father Patrick, trained by Nifty Norman for the Pinske Stables and David J. Miller, earned $610,546 at age two and set multiple world records for his age, sex, and gait. He undoubtedly needed his seasonal debut last week after not having raced since November, and he will have the services of Pocono’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., as he seeks to further establish his Hambo credentials while starting from post two in the eighth race All-Stars section.
At Lexington last year, Big Oil dead-heated with divisional champion Real Cool Sam in 1:52.1, making him a world champion in that the tie was the fastest one ever clocked on the trot. Another son of Father Patrick, Big Oil won his 2020 debut easily in 1:55 at Philadelphia, and he will start from post five in the tenth race section, with Andrew McCarthy picked for the drive for trainer Julie Miller and owners Jason, Douglas, and Ronald Allen.
There is no outstanding favorite in the sixth race division, though the Muscle Hill colt Hillexotic, starting from post five, may draw some attention. He won a Big M qualifier in 1:54.4, making him the only horse in this division with a sub-1:55 mark at either two or three, and he closed in :26.2 for fourth in his only purse race of the year, signaling room for improvement for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and owner Purple Haze Stables.
Sunday’s All-Stars action for freshman sidewheeling colts has attracted enough interest to schedule five $30,000 divisions. Three of the entrants were winners in the first preliminary of their Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at Philadelphia: Bayfield Beach (1:52.4) and Always A Miki (1:52.2), both in the tenth race division, and race three’s Lou’s Pearlman (1:53.3).