Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono featured a quartet of $15,000 contests for up-and-coming horses on its Monday (Sept. 26) afternoon card, with a strong stretch headwind reflected in many of the races’ fractions and racing styles.
An event for male pacers saw the Sweet Lou sophomore gelding Stonebridge Karis win for the third time in his last four starts, here in 1:52.4. Driven by Jim Pantaleano, the day’s top sulkysitter with three victories, Stonebridge Karis took command in a :27.3 quarter, backed off the half to :57.4, then went the third quarter, wind-aided, in :26.4, hitting the three-quarters in 1:24.2 to hold off a spirited challenge from the outer tier, and then finishing 1-3/4 lengths clear for trainer Darren Taneyhill and owner Eric Prevost.
The other pace for males went to Lenda Hand Man, an American Ideal altered 3-year-old, who won in a new mark of 1:53.4 for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owner Robert Weinstein. George Napolitano Jr., coming off eight successes while driving at Philly the day before, secured the pocket early with Lenda Hand Man, backed him out behind State Senator as that uncovered challenger took the lead on the far turn, and then outfinished the new leader by a length.
When the female pacers had their turn in the sun, the Betting Line mare Paulas Bet Hanover, after racing most of the mile in the pocket, proved more photogenic late than pacesetter Bette Tina, who came up a neck shy in the 1:55.3 mile. Michael Whelan drove the winner of $214,214 for trainer Walter Whelan and owner Christopher Nicol.
The fourth feature was held on the trot, and it was won by the Father Patrick sophomore gelding Torrone in 1:56.2. The front-end style that had brought Napolitano Jr. six of his eight wins Sunday at Philly served him and his horse well again here, with By A Hoff Hanover rallying but still coming up short by three-quarters of a length. The long-united backing team of trainer Tom Fanning and owner Joseph Smith saw their three-year-old push his earnings to $110,822.
Pocono finishes out the week’s racing schedule on Tuesday (Sept. 27) at 1:30 p.m. Pennsylvania’s own Bret Michaels, famous musician as a single act and as the frontman for the band Poison, will appear in concert at Pocono on Friday (Oct. 1) night, and to allow for proper cleanup after the event, the card on Saturday (Oct. 2) at the mountain oval will begin at 3 p.m. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html.