Highalator holds on in Great Northeast
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Highalator, a horse who loves to win, especially at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, was pushed to the hilt by a game Hitman Hill, but persevered to equal Rodeo Rock’s fastest mile of the local scene, 1:49, in taking a $30,000 division of the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) for fast-class pacers on Saturday night.
Rick Still had the son of Somebeachsomewhere away in good order, choosing to tuck in third when I’m A Big Deal and Sports Column chose to argue early, with the former claiming the top by the :26.1 quarter. Highalator got little rest as Hitman Hill was out and going near turn two, forcing him to undertake first-over duties before the :54.4 half. Highalator rushed in :26.3 down the back to clear to the lead by the 1:21.2 three-quarters, but Hitman Hill was advancing and threatening through much of the lane, causing Highalator to dig deep to maintain a neck margin to the wire.
Trained by Jenny Bier, co-owner of the winner of $409,028 with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc., Highalator continued to be able to grind out the victories – he’s 28 for 61 (46 percent) lifetime, and 12 for 19 (63 percent) at Pocono, two of which this year have come in the GNOS.
Twin $21,500 co-featured events were carded. In the pace, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding Scott Rocks made two moves from the outside post eight and caught Nine Ways by a head to win in 1:50 for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Hunter Oakes, and the ownership of Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. The winner of $895,674 now has a string of six straight years where he has won in 1:50 or faster over the mountain oval.
The Pocono seasonal standard for trotters was eclipsed for the second time on the night in that gait’s co-feature. The Explosive Matter gelding Rich And Miserable trotted strongly despite having to make two moves, the second raw, to stop the timer in 1:51.3, a new mark and a North American season’s record in his 4YO+ category.
Tyler Buter took both co-features among his four victories on the card with the $204,047 lifetime winner, sitting behind the :26.3 / :54.3 early argument between In Secret and Such An Angel, swooping up near the 1:22.4 three-quarters to grab the lead in early stretch, and drawing off by three lengths for trainer Todd Buter and the ownership of Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, and William and Carol Fuhs.
Earlier, the Muscle Mass gelding Mass Production continued to make remarkable strides on the comeback trail by trotting the mile in 1:51.4, eclipsing Pappy Go Go’s former 2019 best here by a fifth for driver Simon Allard. An O’Brien Award winner at age two, Mass Production was away from the track from June of 2017 to February of this year, but wins in four of his last seven starts, and this three-second lowering of his previous mark, suggests that Mass Production may have even better things in store in his near future. (Pocono/PHHA)