Palone stays hot in Grand Circuit action at Pocono

by James Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Driver Dave Palone, trainer Roger Hammer, and the driver/trainer combination of Steve Smith and Karen Garland all picked up multiple W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes victories on Monday afternoon at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

The stakes are the highlights of Grand Circuit Week at Pocono. There were 7 divisions held for 2-year-old pacing fillies and 3 more divisions for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

Smith and Garland hooked up to win two of the trotting splits. Rovaniemi grinded first over to win a division in 1:58.3, and Year In Review was a front-running winner in 1:56.1, which was the fastest time of the trots.

Huckster pulled off an upset at 26-1 in the remaining trotting division, winning in 1:57. The gelding got up with a first-over grind. Mike Wilder drove for trainer Dane Snyder.

Palone followed up 3 Reynolds wins at Pocono on Saturday with 2 more on Monday. He won the day’s first two divisions for the pacing fillies aboard Chester County, the beneficiary of a pocket trip who won in 1:55.2 for trainer Tom Shay, and then aboard L Dees Diamond, who went all the way on the lead in 1:55.3 for trainer Mickey Burke.

Hammer trains Virtuous Western, a 39-1 shot who rallied from left field in the stretch to win a pacing split in 1:55.3. Ty’s Artist, also from the Hammer barn, came from behind to win her division in 1:57.1 with Todd Schadel in the bike.

The fastest pacing filly of the day was Royal Fortune, who made up an early deficit, found the pocket, and gunned home in the stretch for the upset win in 1:54.3. Tom Jackson drove Royal Fortune, a 27-1 shot, for trainer Lester Walls.

The remaining pacing divisions were won by Pasta Lavista, who won her second straight stakes race, this time in 1:55.4 with Randy Tharps driving for trainer Bruce Riegle, and Worldly Treasure, who parlayed a pocket trip to get up and win in 1:55.1. George Brennan drove for trainer Jeff Stafford.

Grand Circuit Week continues Tuesday at Pocono with 6 Reynolds Stakes divisions for 2-year-old fillies on the trot and 2 more for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the pace.

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