Pocono holds first qualifiers Tuesday
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Harness racing returned to the eastern side of Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning, as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono held the first of three qualifying sessions prior to the 2019 opening night of Saturday, March 16.
With the track crew doing their usual excellent job of working with a track that had seen much snow in recent days, the surface was rated “good +2” in 19-degree temperatures.
Fastest mile of the five in the first session was posted by the Western Ideal pacing gelding Busboy Hanover, who popped outside down the backstretch, went up to challenge new leader Make It Big, then draw clear of that one in 1:56.2 for driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Bucky Angle Jr.
Bill “Moon” Mullin,” a three-time Pocono training champion, combined with driver Tyler Buter for two tallies: with the Muscles Yankee trotting mare Casino Cutie IT, wire-to-wire in 2:00, and with Paprike Blue Chip, an altered pacing son of Roll With Joe who was a pocket-rocket in 1:57.1.
Another three-time Pocono conditioners crown winner, Steve Salerno, harnessed the first winner of the day, the Somebeachsomewhere pacing mare Attention Hanover, guided by Eric Carlson to victory in 1:57.2. Todd Schadel, 2018 North American UDR champion in the 300-499 category, won the other event as a trainer, tapping Tom Jackson to handle the 11-year-old Cantab Hanover trotter Buffalino Hanover, who posted a head triumph in 2:00.1.
The draw for the 16th’s opening card will be conducted on Monday, March 11. Pocono will race on Saturday and Tuesday, March 19, its first week, add Sundays the following week, and then settle into its Saturday through Tuesday schedule the week of March 30-April 2. Post time will be 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and then 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday to take advantage of the “simulcast bridge” hours.
Qualifiers will be held at Pocono on Thursday and then on Wednesday, March 13, just before a press conference welcoming the media back to the Downs for the 2019 meeting. (PHHA/Pocono)