Rodeo Romeo became the first three-time winner in any category in the summerlong Great Northeast Open Series, taking a 1:49.4 victory in the $30,000 open pacing class Saturday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Eric Carlson left sharply from the rail with the son of Rocknroll Hanover, forcing a rare "lineup" early, then yielded for the pocket after Split The House moved to the lead just past the :26.3 opener. The latter put up middle fractions of :54.2 and 1:21.4 absent major pressure, but in the stretch Rodeo Romeo had a sharp rally in the Pocono Pike and caught Split The House by a head.
Carlson achieved his third win of the night with the lifetime earner of $304,329 for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Oompa’s Farm Inc. and Robert Mondillo. With a 6-3-2-1 slate in Great Northeast competition, Rodeo Romeo now has 362 points earned, two more than Rockeyed Optimist, who finished third, beaten only three-quarters of a length, in this contest.
The top pointwinners declaring in to the Great Northeast Championships will race over 1-1/4 miles for $100,000 on Sunday (Sept. 2) at Pocono, the night the mountain oval also hosts the four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for 3-year-olds.
Another son of Rocknroll Hanover, the gelding Rock To Glory, dismissed as the 35-1 longest shot on the board, pulled off a shocker in the $20,000 claiming handicap pace with a 1:51.2 victory. Driver Anthony Napolitano kept the winner of $829,878 closely-placed inside behind a very heated pace, then swung his pacer wide and picked up tired foes, winning by a half-length over Cabbie’s Delight for Blindswitch Racing Stable, David Sebolsky, Stanley Yoskowitz, and Santo Farina.
Driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Jose Godinez both are tied for first in their respective "longshot-producing" categories on the local scene. Napolitano tied Jim Taggart Jr. with his fourth $50+ victory on the meet, while Godinez and Judy Welty top the trainers’ ladder at two. (Pocono/PHHA)