Zooming cruises to victory at Pocono feature
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The Classic Photo gelded trotter Zooming became the first two-time winner of the nascent 2016 meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday, making two early moves in the $15,500 trotting feature and then storming off to a 5¾-length victory in 1:53.1. George Napolitano Jr., who had six wins on the card in the first 13 races, was again in the sulky as last week's trotting feature winner repeated despite the outside post eight tonight for trainer Amber Buter and owners Steve Oldford, Gene Oldford Farms LLC, and Tyler Buter.
In the $15,500 featured pace, the well-traveled Hall Bro checked into Pocono and promptly became a pocket rocket, equaling his mark of 1:50.1 for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Brewer Adams, and owner Joseph Trice. The altered son of Blissfull Hall was a Quebec champion at two, first went in 1:50.1 at The Meadowlands at three, and traveled cross-state from The Meadows before making his 2016 mountain debut a successful one.
Eighteen turned in the first of what should be many sub-1:50 performances at Pocono in 2016 when he took a $12,500 pace in 1:49.1, leading at every call while taking a new mark at age eight. George Napolitano Jr. was in the sulky behind the winner of $740,000+ for trainer Daniel Renaud and owners JMF Racing LLC.
As noted, the track's defending driving champion George Napolitano Jr. had six victories Saturday; his brother Anthony, who is also second-leading driver at The Meadowlands, wasn't far behind him with four visits to Victory Lane -- and of course thatput the family in double digits for the evening.
This coming week Pocono expands is schedule to three days a week with the addition of Sunday racing on April 3. Sunday's new post time at Pocono this year will be 7:30 p.m. The Downs will then settle into its basic schedule for the year when Monday racing is added on April 11.
The $600,000 Bobby Weiss Series of races for developing younger horses kicks off on that Sunday, April 3 date. A 2015 Weiss Series champion was JL Cruze, who went on to be voted Older Trotting Gelding of the Year after winning 16 races and more than $600,000, and becoming one of the sport's few sub-1:50 trotters when he won in 1:49.4. (PHHA/Pocono)