Freshman pacers set for weekend action at Pocono
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The 2-year-old Pennsylvania-sired pacers take over the spotlight this weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with four $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for females scheduled for Saturday and the same number of sections for males carded for Sunday.
Ron Burke, operator of the biggest stable in North American harness racing and a Pennsylvania-based horseman, has no fewer than 22 freshmen entered in the Pocono weekend stakes action–a dozen fillies on Saturday and 10 colts on Sunday. Burke will send out the favorite in one division of the fillies and two among the colts.
The baby miss who is the morning line favorite in her cut for Burke is the Sweet Lou–Breakheart Pass filly Shouldabeenatd, who won two of her three preparatory qualifiers at New Jersey’s Gaitway Farms, then was second in a Kindergarten Series leg at the Meadowlands, timed in 1:52.2. Burke also has the second choice in this 10th race contest, Sweet Ace (Sweet Lou–One Ace Too Many), who makes her first purse start on Saturday after winning two Gaitway qualifiers, the faster in 1:54.3.
The filly entrants have among them four horses who have already posted a winning clocking of 1:55 or less, plus five more who have a victory in less than 1:56. Also entered is the Somebeachsomewhere–Wild West Show filly Rodeo Beach, who last Friday won a stakes race at Goshen despite suffering mid-race interference.
On the colt and gelding side, the Burke Brigade has the top two choices in the fifth race cut, the colt Lou’s Sweetrevenge (Sweet Lou–Before The Poison) and the gelding Caliber (Sweet Lou–Allstar Rating), both of whom were third in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes racing at The Meadows last Saturday. Also in this section is the intriguing Captain Groovy (Captaintreacherous–Lets Groove Tonite), who won a Stallion Series contest at The Meadows in 1:52–faster than any of the three Sires Stakes divisions.
The fastest of those Sires Stakes winners was Cattlewash, a Somebeachsomewhere–Road Bet colt, who won his race by 5 1/4 lengths in 1:52.1 while paying a very un-Burke-like $41.60. His main rival in their ninth race division appears to be Team Best (Somebeachsomewhere–Sports Chic), who won his betting bow in 1:53.2 at Woodbine/Mohawk.
Among the four sections of colts, nine have already been under the finish line first in 1:55 or less, plus another three who show a victorious time less than 1:56. (Pocono/PHHA)