Three Of Clubs, a son of Mach Six who was claimed for $30,000 at Yonkers by trainer Matias Ruiz and co-owner Daniel DeJohn on Sept. 22, continued his incredible run of form upon coming to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking a new mark for driver George Napolitano Jr. of 1:50.1 in the $25,000 handicap pace.
Three Of Clubs hustled right out to the lead and led at every pole, going under the wire a length clear of pocketsitter Si Semalu, with favored $1.9 million-winner Bit Of A Legend having to go the rough tuck then first-over journey, reporting home third.
In seven starts for Ruiz and De John, Three Of Clubs has posted a 7-4-2-1 record, good for $69,830 – a sizable and quick return on investment.
Maxdaddy Blue Chip finished fourth in the feature after starting from post eight and coming from last at the three-quarter pole. Maxdaddy Blue Chip was voted Pacer of the Year at Pocono, and he took a turn in the spotlight to receive that honor.
Also in the final night spotlight was Napolitano Jr., who won his record eleventh dashwinning title and sixth consecutive local crown. The leading driver at Harrah's Philadelphia and second to the long-gone Aaron Merriman in the North American standings, Napolitano wound up with 287 visits to the Hanover Shoe Farm’s winners circle during 2017, including five on closing night.
Simon Allard (213) held off Jim Marohn Jr. (211) after a rock-em-sock-em late-season battle to finish second, with Matt Kakaley (191) and Anthony Napolitano (174, four wins closing night) completing the drivers top five.
The local UDRS belt went to veteran Swedish horseman Åke Svanstedt, who mixed stakes performers with developing overnight stock to post a .419 "batting average."
Rene Allard won his fourth training victory title in the last five years at The Downs, winding up with 151 successes to top Ron Burke (114, five closing night, including three handled by Anthony Napolitano) and Gil Garcia-Herrera (56). (Pocono/PHHA)