from the PHHA/Pocono
Wilkes-Barre, PA — The meet’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., ended a highly successful September with six victories on the Sunday night (Sept. 30) card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Four of the wins came with horses from the Chris Oakes stable, including a 1:51.2 triumph with Rockstar Angel A in the $21,500 distaff feature pace.
The early pace in the top event was creaking, as Great Northeast Series champion Bettorhaveanother zipped away from the outside post seven, got to the lead in :28.4, and then reached the half in :57.3. The tempo picked up dramatically at that point, though, as favored Penpal, who paced her own third quarter in :26.2 while winning last week, came up with a roar uncovered and was quickly on top just past the midpoint, scorching to the three-quarters in 1:23.4 — a third split in :26.1.
Rockstar Angel A and Napolitano pulled from third on the far turn, with Don’t Think Twice A, making her U.S. debut, moving out behind her, while Bettorhaveanother went to the Pocono Pike to challenge Penpal. The mares went at each other through the stretch, with Bettorhaveanother gaining a short lead midstretch, only to see Rockstar Angel A go by with 100 feet to go, then hold off Don’t Think Twice A (who paced her own last half in :52.4) by a neck. Bettorhaveanother was third, another neck back, with Penpal fading to fourth.
Rockstar Angel A, a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover owned by the Northfolk Racing Stable, was imported from Down Under this year, and now has seven wins in her 2018 campaign, with $196,002 in career earnings.
Napolitano just missed a seventh win in the $17,500 co-feature trot, as Elysium Lindy, who was racing second behind favorite Dream Baby Dream, inherited the lead on the last bend when that one went offstride, but Tyson, following the top two horses, had enough punch in the stretch to get a head decision in 1:53.4. Eric Carlson had sulky duties behind the Donato Hanover gelding, who is trained by Ed Gannon Jr., co-owner with Frank Canzone, and Tyson raised his career share of the purse to $200,300.
George Napolitano Jr. had three wins earlier in the day at Harrah’s Philadelphia, overhauling previous meet leader Tim Tetrick in that track’s victory column, and thus combined with his six wins at Pocono had nine visits to Victory Lane on the day. He had 90 triumphs during the month of September, with two-thirds of those coming at the mountain oval and the other third at the other end of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.