Simons takes 2 of 3 Weiss splits at Pocono
April 04, 2018
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Driver Mike Simons, known as the "Pocono Trot Man" because of his success rate with horses of the diamond-gaited variety, guided two of the three divisional winners in the $15,000 first preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs Tuesday night over a sloppy surface at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Myrna Myrna, who had found her form at The Meadows for trainer Scott Betts as 2017 changed to 2018, made her first start in 2 1/2 months a successful one, winning her division in a career best 1:57.4 with Simons sulky sitting. Despite having to go first-over into a :57.3 back half, Myrna Myrna was able to draw away by 2 1/4 lengths over Girl Crush, who raced well in her career debut. The victorious 4-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven looms a major factor in the series for owner Timothy Betts.
"The Trot Man" also had to go the uncovered route with the Donato Hanover filly Ms American Muscle, making her 2018 bow, in the second cut, but the raw challenger was able to outmuscle pacesetting Baby Wants home by three-quarters of a length while lowering her mark 2 3/5 seconds to 1:59.2 for Simons, trainer Jenny Melander and owner John Devito.
The third section proved a tough stretch battle between a pair of 7-5 shots, pacesetting Miss Ruby and pocket-to-Pocono Pike challenger Via Lattea IT-- who not only was making her stateside debut, but also doubled trainer Åke Svanstedt's collection of white horses to two (White Bliss the other). Via Lattea IT had had five months away from the races before Tuesday's outing, and she just failed to overhaul the Cantab Hall 4-year-old mare Miss Ruby by a head at the end of a 1:59.2 mile. Simon Allard was in the sulky behind the winner for trainer Kelvin Harrison and the Spaaaartnersownership.
In the $14,000 co-feature for distaff pacers, trainer Brianne Good scored her first-ever Pocono victory, and the third of her four-month conditioning career, when driver Jim Taggart Jr. was able to rally the Well Said mare Shutthefrontdoor from last at the half to win in 1:54 and light up the toteboard at $51.80. The victorious mare, owned by Guy Beaulieu and Richard Villenueve, came her last half in just a shade over :55 and won going away by two lengths. (Pocono/PHHA)