2018 Weiss Series gets underway at Pocono
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The Easter Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was headlined by events in the first preliminary round of the Bobby Weiss Series for developing younger horses, with three $15,000 divisions for both trotting males and pacing females.
In the trot action, all-time Pocono leading driver George Napolitano Jr. emerged victorious in the first two sections. Meadowbranch Ricky led off the card, and his 2018 campaign, by taking a 1:57.2 victory, moving to command after the quarter and going on to post a new lifetime best. The Muscle Massive sophomore colt is trained by Jenny Melander for owner Hans Enggren.
Napolitano placed the Cantab Hall gelding Chas Hanover on the back of heavily favored pacesetter Law Of Attraction in the next division, then rallied the three-year-old to post a half-length upset triumph, lowering his mark to 1:56.2.Chas Hanover is now 2-for-2 since entering the barn of trainer/owner Gilbert Garcia-Herrera.
The Muscle Hill four-year-old stallion Presidente Zette continued a recent run of fine form while taking the third cut for males in 1:57.1. Jim Pantaleano handled sulky duties behind the three-time seasonal winner for owner-trainer Cozette McAvoy, overcoming a first-over trip to post a neck decision over Stormont Manpower.
In the pacing action for distaffs, the Rock N Roll Heaven filly Kimberlee was well-driven by Jim Marohn Jr. to take the fastest cut in 1:53.3, a personal best. Marohn hustled Kimberlee, trained by Åke Svanstedt for Kuntsson Trotting Inc. and Asa Sbojerg, away swiftly to take a bit of early sting out of favored Line Dancer, then had a great view as the chalk and first-over Carly Girl had a tough second-half duel. Ducking to the Pocono Pike, Kimberlee was along in deep stretch to post a head decision, with Carly Girl missing the big money by only a neck.
Also taking a new personal speed badge in Weiss female action was the Somebeachsomewhere filly Miss Hill, who made a first start of the year a winning one in 1:54.4. Miss Hill stepped home in 56.3 under the guidance of Anthony Napolitano, the early leader in the 2018 Pocono drivers dash table, for new trainer Bruce Clarke, also co-owner with Patricia Waldeck and John Coffey.
Unnreal, a sophomore daughter of Real Artist, stamped herself as one to watch in Weiss action as she shook off the effects of a 25-day layoff and a first-over trip to hold off the horse who tailed her, Sweetest Devotion,by a neck in 1:55.1. Simon Allard guided the Pocono debutante for trainer John Wagenhoffer and Beaver Creek Farm LTD.
FINISHING LINES – The Downs had its first 2018 foray into 1:50 Territory Saturday ... however, it did not come in the featured $25,000 pace, but a race later, in a $14,000 contest. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Cowboy Terrier, out of the Dan Patch Award-winning broodmare Wild West Show and thus a full brother to Huntsville, sat just off a scorching (26, 53, 1:20.3) pace, then moved wide and drew clear in the lane, taking a lifetime mark of 1:50 at age 8 for driver Eric Carlson, trainer Ron Burke, and owner Howard Taylor.
Racing continues on Tuesday at Pocono, with first round action in the Weiss Series for the female trotting set going in three $15,000 divisions.