PA 3CP set for All Stars action Saturday
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The best of the Pennsylvania-sired Standardbreds in the sport’s glamour division – the three-year-old pacing colts – spend their second of four consecutive weekends within the confines of the Keystone State this Saturday, inaugurating the 2019 Pennsylvania All-Star Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with three $30,000 divisions.
In the eighth race first division, the Sweet Lou colt Blood Money is held as the 5-2 favorite as he begins from the middle of the nine-horse field for driver Scott Zeron. Trained last year by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who retired in the off-season, Blood Money is now handled by his daughter, Nancy Johansson, and based on his 1:50 season debut victory at The Meadowlands on April 27, where he came from over ten lengths behind in the last half, Blood Money appears to have lost nothing in the change of conditioners.
In the tenth race second division, the majority of the crowd seems likely to follow one of two horses, Lyons Night Hawk (5-2) and Branquinho (3-1). Lyons Night Hawk, another Sweet Lou colt who will start from post seven for trainer Gareth Dowse and driver Tim Tetrick, came his own last half in a blazing :53.4 while winning his 2019 debut in 1:51.3 at Philly, while the Somebeachsomewhere colt Branquinho, starting from post five for trainer Ray Schnittker and driver Tyler Buter, is two-for-two this season, and comes off a 1:50.4 victory in Stallion Series competition at The Meadows.
The twelfth race third division seems the most wide-open of the three, with the Somebeachsomewhere colt Air Force Hanover accorded a slight 3-1 favoritism in the early line despite having to start from the outside post eight. Going in favor of the sophomore is a 1:51 victory last year, early speed, and driver George Napolitano Jr., the latter two of which may mesh nicely to get Air Force Hanover in good position during the contest.
After having started their PA season in Sire Stakes/Stallion Series action last Saturday at The Meadows, the sophomore colts are here this Saturday and then again next Sunday in the Sire Stakes; they will then move on to Philly for Sires action during the Super Stakes Sunday on May 26 that includes three $100,000 Invitationals.
The Sunday card at Pocono is a sensational gathering of talented horses, mostly on the trot. The features on the card are $30,000 divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series, one for Mares Open pacers and one for Open trotters. The Great Northeast action will be previewed in a later release, after Philly draws its Open pacers division tomorrow.
But the overall quality of the Pocono Sunday card deserves an extra mention: it has 18 horses who won over $100,000 during 2018, and 17 horses who have won over $500,000 in their careers, including four millionaires. There are so many full field upper-level trots besides the Great Northeast race that afterwards it may be possible to put together a field of trotters who don’t get a check Sunday, and there is a decent chance that such a field would be about as good as any trotting field to be assembled during all of 2019 at many North American ovals. (PHHA/Pocono)