Weiss splits continue at Pocono
April 12, 2016
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Monday racing returned to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and George Napolitano Jr., earlier in the day named the 2015 Pennsylvania Driver of the Year by the local chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, welcomed the day's return to the Downs schedule by piloting four of the evening's first five winners.
Two of the triumphs came among four $15,000 divisions of the first preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for developing male trotters, and both winners were odds-on -- but both were extended to win by a nose in 1:55.2.
First up was the Muscle Massive stallion Celebrity Bugatti, who cleared to the lead nearing the quarter after the first foe on top broke, with Explosive Leggs inheriting the pocket. These two, who were both winners during action in the recently-concluded Weaver Series at The Meadows, sat one-two the rest of the way, with "Leggs" testing his frontstepping rival in the lane, but "Bugatti" was able to hold on and take a new mark for trainer Johnny Yoder, co-owner with Herman Hagerman and Dan Rawlings.
Muscle Massive picked up a quick double siring credit as the sophomore Dominus Hanover ran his 2016 record to 9-6-3-0, but "George Nap" and his colt had to work extra-hard for the big money, as first-over True Blue Stride to his right and Pocono Pike-shooting Apostles Creed to his left tested them mightily. But in the end it was Dominus Hanover who proved most photogenic, a nose ahead of True Brue Slide and a head up on Apostles Creed while lowering his mark by almost three seconds in his first outing for his new connections, trainer Amber Buter and owner Lawrence Crawford.
A third 1:55.2 Weiss Series clocking -- although this one not a mark -- was turned in by the RC Royalty sophomore gelding Sweet Royalty, who apparently is thriving on the addition of Lasix, as he followed up on his 1:54.4 win in his Lasix bow at the Meadowlands with the easiest of victories in this race. Matt Kakaley was just a smiling passenger in the last quarter as the winner triumphed for trainer Richard Johnson and owners T L P Stable, D'Elegance Stable IX, Vito Cucci, and Carmen Iannacone.
In the very next race, the same connections -- driver Kakaley (completing a driving triple), trainer Johnson, and the four partners in ownership -- were back in the winners circle astheir Muscle Hill sophomore gelding Steed lowered his mark by almost four seconds with the fastest Weiss win of the night, 1:55. Steed, on the lead, had had a previous race this year, while Dominion Beach, who moved into the pocket at the three-quarters, had not, and that may have been the difference at the finish as Steed thwarted the pocket rocket Pocono Pike attempt of Dominion Beach in winning by a half-length. (Pocono/PHHA)