by James Beviglia, for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Wilkes-Barre, PA — Grand Circuit week began on Saturday afternoon (July 7) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and, as usual, driver Dave Palone did some serious damage.
Palone, making his first appearance at Pocono this season, won three divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes. The stakes are the highlight of the weeklong Grand Circuit event. On Saturday, there were six divisions held for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot, and three more divisions for 2-year-old fillies on the pace.
Palone captured two of the trots. He led Surtees Hanover to a comeback win in the stretch in 1:59, the fastest time of the splits for the trotters. Surtees Hanover now has two stakes wins in two career tries for trainer Jonas Czernyson.
Palone also guided First Pleasurelane to his second consecutive stakes win. The colt, trained by Richard Gillock, took over the lead at the half and hung on late in 2:00.2.
In between those trotting conquests, Palone added a win with 3-year-old filly Fiery Buckeye, who paced away to an easy win in 1:53.2. It was the second straight stakes win for the filly trained by Richard Gillock.
The fastest split in the 3-year-old filly division was turned in by Artcotic, who went gate-to-wire on the lead for a win in 1:52.2. That makes eight wins in 13 career starts for the filly, who was driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer George Teague, Jr.
Yankee Lacey took the remaining division of the 3-year-old pacing fillies. Yannick Gingras did the driving, sending Yankee Lacey, trained by Jeff Stafford, to the engine early. She led all the way for the win in 1:53.
The other winners in the Reynolds on the trotting side were Lear Jetta, who dominated on the lead in 2:00.2 to stay unbeaten after two stakes races for trainer/driver Robert Myers; Dreamlandsespresso, who led every step of the way to win his debut in 2:01 with Mark Gingrich driving for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr.; One Moment Please, who benefited from a pocket seat and gunned up the passing lane late to win in 2:01.1 with Mike Simons in the bike for trainer Neal Ehrhart; and Dennis, a gelding that rallied from way back to get up in 2:00.3 for driver Greg Grismore and trainer Scott Cox.
The Grand Circuit week action continues on Monday afternoon (July 9) at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with seven W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stake divisions for 2-year-old fillies on the pace, and three more for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.