White Rolls wins Pocono's Grey Ghost Pace
October 31, 2016
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The annual Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace, consisting entirely of grey or roan horses with the exception of the famous all-white horse White Bliss, was the feature of the Monday night card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and everybody went all-out for the $10,000 event in the holiday spirit.
Pocono marketing manager Jennifer "Elvira" Starr was in charge of the festivities, which included a theme-decorated winners circle, marshal Tia Shafer appropriately costumed, the spookiest between-races music heard north of the Bloomsburg Fair, and Pace contestant JS McFlash wearing a unique equine "costume" of a white "skeleton" on his grey coat, showing his bone structure.
As for the race itself, favored White Rolls, wearing an appropriate white shadow roll extension, held off pocketsitting Gotta Love Him by a neck in 1:53.1, the gelded sophomore by Roll With Joe brought in from Rosecroft by trainer Mike Hall and carrying the lead from the 3/8 onward to tally for owner Tammy Crescenze.
Second, but no less loved after the race, was Gotta Love Him, who was competing in his fifth Pocono Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace, having won the 2013 and 2015 editions. Matt Kakaley, who drove him to those wins, worked out a good pocket trip, but just came up shy of catching the winner, with the local Weitoish family getting another good performance out of their pacer in his 187th career start.
Earlier, the pari-mutuel goblins struck in consecutive races. Pat Curtin, longtime Chicago mainstay who has come east after Hawthorne's closing last month, made his first trip to Pocono's winner circle a memorable one. He and his charge Keson Avaia rallied from last late on the backstretch by coming up a clear inner path, then pouring it on in the last sixteenth with the mare to win over Kayla's Dream by a nose and pay $111.40. Then in the very next race, Todd Schadel sent OMG Hanover to the front and never looked back, coasting home to an open length victory in 1:57.3 and returning $52.80.
The Daily Double with Keson's Avaia, by the way, paid $176.60, and there was little spooky about that – except maybe that it was the third straight Pocono card that driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes had combined to take the curtainraiser. (And tonight Pat was the Curtin-closer, Double-wise.) (PHHA/Pocono)