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Connie Jean Shines In Weiss Action

Published: April 18, 2017 11:11 pm ET

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Developing trotters headlined the Tuesday (April 18) card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with three $15,000 preliminary round divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series for both male and female trotters.

The males started their prelims a week behind the other Weiss contestants, and thus this was only their second prelim. But all three winners from last week were able to repeat Tuesday night; all three also seem to be learning quickly right now, as each of the trio are four-year-old geldings.

Fastest was Hilarious Hero, a son of Deweycheatumnhowe, who obviously did some “growing up” between three and four. Zero-for-24 entering 2017, 'the Hero' is now undefeated in three seasonal outings, all at The Downs, with this 1:55.4 victory also a personal best. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Jenny Melander and the partnership of Melander Racing Inc. and Clark Stables LLC.

The other two divisions went in 1:56.1, with one of them a lifetime best for a victorious son of Southfork, Bend In The River, who was first at every call for driver Marcus Miller, trainer Nick Surick, and the Second Chance Stable Inc. The Credit winner gelding Ooh Rah was the only one of the sextet of Weiss trotting winners not to take a mark this evening, although he missed his time in his first Weiss win by only a tick Tuesday in scoring handily for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Kathleen La Montagne, the latter co-owner with Donald La Montagne.

On the female side of the Weiss Series trotting ledger, a daughter of Kadabra was expected to be a third-round winner, and one was – but not the one everyone thought it would be.

Sunrise Avenue was two-for-two in the Weiss to date, winning both starts by open lengths, and indeed trotted on Tuesday in 1:55, faster than she had won in either of the first two legs. But on this night, Connie Jean, a Cantab Hall mare handled by Jim Marohn Jr., made the lead early, let the brushing favourite go to sit on her back, and then caught her by a nose in an exciting stretch duel, with the Keystone Trotters LLC-owned winner taking five and three-fifth seconds off her lifetime mark (and going faster than any of the winning males).

Connie Jean is trained by Neal Ehrhart, who started seven horses in the Weiss trotting female class the first two weeks and six this week, and from the 20 he got two wins, two seconds, four thirds, 17 cheque-getters – and most remarkably for a “non-winners of two or $20,000 as of January 1” series, only one breaker!

The victorious daughter of Kadabra was Whambamthankumaam, who came on strongly in the last quarter for driver Greg Wright Jr. to win easily while lowering her mark a tick to 1:56.2. Steve Salerno is handling the local training of the mare, who usually competes out of The Meadows, for owner Thomas Mucci.

The Muscle Touch had not quite had the winning touch to date (10-2-4-4 in 2017, 39-3-17-6 lifetime), but on Tuesday she parlayed a pocket trip from pilot Jim Morrill Jr. (the only driver to double in the Weiss on Tuesday) to a trip to Victory Lane, completing the speed badge sweep for the ladies with a 1:56.3 victory. Trainer Brewer Adams has seen the daughter of Muscle Mass post a 3-1-1-1 series record for owners Louis Catana and Vincent Bradley.

(With files from PHHA/Pocono)

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