Whether or not the Kentucky Derby winner can justify the acclaim he is receiving by also winning the Preakness, racing fans gathered at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday will be treated to a spectacular card of racing, featuring three divisions of the $175,000 second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and two $30,000 divisions in the Great Northeast Open Series for older pacers.
The marquee matchup in the Sires Stakes will be the 10th race division, as it brings together the two horses generally acclaimed the best 2 year olds: divisional champion Lost In Time and archrival Stay Hungry. Already this year the two colts have traded victories in qualifying races, and both make their seasonal debuts here.
Lost In Time is a son of A Rocknroll Dance trained by Jimmy Takter for the combine of Diamond Creek Racing, J&T Silva Stables Inc., William Rufenacht, and Team S Racing Stable, and he is the horse whose ownership gave a stake in to wrestling legend Ric Flair, who accompanied the group (he is a friend of one of the principals) to the Dan Patch banquet when they received their divisional award. Lost In Time won five of nine and $608,112, and likely clinched the championship with a nose win over Stay Hungry in the Governor's Cup at The Meadowlands. Scott Zeron will be behind the colt from post six for Takter, who has another horse of his, Nutcracker Sweet (a recent qualifying winner in 1:50.2), in this division, but "stuck behind the 8 ball" of post position eight.
Stay Hungry is a son of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Tony Alagna for the ownership of Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman. Among his six wins in nine starts and $535,742 was a Breeders Crown victory, and he had a very rough trip in the Governor's Cup and battled to the bitter end. Doug McNair will guide Stay Hungry from post three Saturday.
The fourth race division of the Sires Stakes features the two horses who won in the PASS first prelim at The Meadows on May 5, This Is The Plan (post three, driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Chris Ryder) and Dorsudoro Hanover (post six, driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke). Dorsuduro had by far the faster time in his PASS victory, his first start of the year, brushing to the lead on the far turn and going on to victory in 1:50.3.
The first race Sires division finds Sometimes A Winner drawing the outside post seven for driver Victor Kirby and trainer Kevin Switzer. Sometimes A Winner has been a winner in four of five starts this season, including in the final of the Sagamore Hills Series – but his only loss came when he drew the outside post at The Meadows.
The Great Northeast Open Series has proven a great addition to the Pocono-Philly circuit, giving quality older horses a chance to race for $30,000 every week this summer. The older pacing ranks have drawn two divisions in each of the first three legs, and the events have been very competitive and exciting, with three of the four cuts to date producing victory margins of a head, a head, and a neck.
The two-time winner Rodeo Romeo has taken the week off, but the other divisional winners match up in the third race, Rockeyed Optimist (post two, driver Brett Miller) and Rockin Ron (post seven, with Matt Kakaley returning to the sulky scene for the first time since a nasty accident on March 13 put him on the shelf). In the fifth race, the two horses second in the Pocono leg on May 5, Mach It So and Dr J Hanover, will draw their share of attention.
The Pocono Saturday card also has the winningest horse in all of North America, Walks Of Life, going for his 13th visit to Victory Lane in the second race. With that kind of form, Walks Of Life has been popular not only with the fans, but at the claiming box – in fact, he has been claimed out of last eight races, but with a 8-6-2-0-$42,750 scorecard, you'd be popular, too. Owner Chuck Pompey and trainer Fern Paquet Jr. are using driver George Napolitano Jr. Saturday as the in-form pacer begins from post two. (Pocono/PHHA)