Wilkes-Barre, PA — Many owners and trainers contemplating entering their top three-year-old trotters for the sport’s greatest prize, the Hambletonian, got a good evaluation of their horse’s prowess three weeks before Hambo Elim day as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono held three $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for this division on Saturday (July 10) afternoon.
The fastest winner was the Father Patrick colt Big Oil (Andrew McCarthy), undefeated in two starts this year and the setter of a world record for a dead-heat on the trot when he tied with Real Cool Sam in 1:52.1 at Lexington last year. McCarthy, deputizing in the sulky for trainer Julie Miller and the ownership of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee and Little E LLC, showed speed with the favored colt to the first quarter in 27.2 – but then got a bit of surprise as second choice Chestnut Hill (George Napolitano Jr.) rocketed from eighth to first in the second quarter, looping a parked horse, and putting Big Oil in the pocket in middle fractions of :57.2 and 1:24.4.
Chestnut Hill got away by a couple of lengths into the stretch, but then his hard exertions started to get to him, and as Big Oil charged forward, the pacesetter lapsed from stride, with Big Oil winding up 2-1/4 lengths to the good at the end of the 1:53.2 mile. Despite the late miscue, Chestnut Hill impressed with his speed and held second after a brief inquiry found he violated no rules.
The Father Patrick gelding Amigo Volo (Napolitano Jr.), who set four world records during his freshman campaign and earned over $600,000, earned his first victory in his second 2020 start, winning another division by two lengths in 1:54. Napolitano Jr. sat back off the pace with the winner before clearing the lead at the half. He was able to keep pocket sitter Swiss House Onfire (Ake Svanstedt) at bay for trainer Nifty Norman and the ownership of Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.
The Andover Hall colt DD’s Redemption may be given a shot at the upcoming big money, as in only his fifth lifetime start he took a new mark of 1:54.4 in his All-Stars cut. Ake Svanstedt raced ”DD” in the pocket after Shinkansen (McCarthy) insisted on the lead, moved out head stretch, and then just did hold off the 55-1 Overserved (Marcus Miller), who shot up the vacated inside to miss by the slimmest of margins. Svanstedt is also the trainer of the chancy colt for Meri Equicare LLC.
George Napolitano Jr. wound up the day with six visits to the winner’s circle. The final one gave Pocono its fastest mile of the year so far as Branquinho, a son of Somebeachsomewhere who had missed only two lengths behind Workin Ona Mystery in a Graduate division at Tioga, closed off a cutthroat pace to take a new mark of 1:49.3 for owner/trainer Ray Schnittker.
During a twilight card starting 5 p.m. tomorrow, Pocono will feature five divisions of an All-Stars event for two-year-old pacing colts, which will include three winners from the first leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes: Always A Miki, Bayfield Beach, and Lou’s Pearlman.