Napolitano, Allards dominate at Pocono
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The Allard brothers, driver Simon and trainer Rene, had the spotlight for most Monday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but then hot-driving George Napolitano Jr. won three consecutive late races to get a share of the accolades.
Trainer Rene Allard plays the claiming game and the trio of winners he conditioned, all driven by Simon, were in for a tag – Star Photo (who was claimed for $10,000), Kayla's Dream, and Yolo Hanover. Simon earned a fourth win in a catch-driving capacity for trainer Tom Wine II, defeating bottom-level conditioned pacers with B Well, posting the fastest clocking of the night at 1:52.2.
George Napolitano Jr., who has boosted himself back up to a familiar position – second to Aaron Merriman in the North American dash-winning derby, though some 125 wins behind – had been held in check during the first 11 races, but he then took the next three races with Divination (trainer Joe Pavia Jr.), Happy Andyversary (Peter Pellegrino), and Eye Ofa Tiger AS (Anette Lorentzon). The Monday triple gives "George Nap" twelve wins at The Downs on Saturday-Sunday-Monday, and 17 dating back to Friday afternoon at Harrah's, when he won his 8,000th career race (he also raced Sunday there).
Seven of those 17 Napolitano wins came for trainer Chris Oakes; they did not team for a success tonight, but Oakes did add to his outstanding recent scorecard by winning with Love That Badlands, driven by Eric Goodell. Oakes is in the Top Ten in three categories among North American trainers – wins (sixth), money (eighth), and UTR with 500+ starts (second).
Both Oakes and Napolitano lead Pocono in their respective percentage categories; Napolitano has almost double the wins of his brother Anthony, who is second in the dash chase, while Oakes's recent hot streak has given him a separation of ten winners from Rene Allard, with Ron Burke also in the thick of the hunt. (Pocono/PHHA)