Harrisburg, PA – Harrah’s Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the two eastern Pennsylvania tracks whose backstretches are represented by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, both presented live cards on Labor Day, Monday (Sept. 7) afternoon.
At Philly, the winner of the first race, the Real Desire gelding Quick Fun N, set the tone for the day in a $12,000 claiming handicap pace, as he let neither being the longest shot on the board nor being last at the half deter him from a big rally that put him home first in 1:53.3 while paying $28.60. Corey Callahan drove the winner of $202,161 to victory in only his second start of 2020 for owner/trainer Pete Vumbaca.
At mid-card there were more horses greater than 8-1 visiting Victory Lane than horses less than 8-1, headed by Pepper Guy, who shot the far inside to win while paying $51.80 for driver Victor Kirby. The prices stabilized a bit in the second half of the day, but the card’s average winner still totaled out to $18.37.
Leading drivers at Philly for the day were three-time winners Simon Allard, George Brennan, and Daniel Dube.
At Pocono the chalk was a much more visible presence, with eight of the card’s fourteen races won by the favorites. The major exception to the rule was Show Me The Magic, who has now won three of his last seven starts for trainer Jim Ray, while paying $52.40, $159.00, and $24.00 today, with Kevin Wallis guiding him home in his last two victories.
Anthony Napolitano drove four winners at Pocono for the second straight card; Tyler Buter also checked home first four times on Monday.
Perhaps the most impressive winner on the Pocono card was the Muscle Massive sophomore gelding Focus Pocus, who trotted his own third quarter in :27.3 to get to the lead, then held off a late bid by Celebrity Rolex by 1-1/4 lengths while breaking his maiden in 1:55.2. Focus Pocus, who had been getting some good checks against quality horses at the “A” level of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, is co-owned by driver Tony and trainer/wife Linda Schadel.
Pocono will be back in action Tuesday (Sept. 8) afternoon, with a $188,882.98 carryover for its Rainbow Pick 5 – have a unique ticket with five winners and you take the big prize. Harrah’s Philadelphia resumes its normal schedule on Wednesday (Sept. 9) afternoon.