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Napolitano, Oakes Sweep Pocono Paces

Published: October 11, 2015 12:48 am ET

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Driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes combined for a sweep of the pacing features Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Scott Rocks a pocket rocket in taking the $26,000 pace in 1:50.1 and Luck Be Withyou controlling the pace to report home first in 1:49.1 in a $24,000 event.

Napolitano left hard with Scott Rocks, an altered son of Rocknroll Hanover, forcing a pocket tuck from Lonewolf Currier, then surrendering the front to the brushing Bushwacker past the :27.1 opener. Bushwacker continued on the engine with middle fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.4, and held gamely through the drive, but "George Nap" guided Scott Rocks to the famed "Pocono Pike" passing lane, and wore down the front-stepper by mid-stretch, posting a neck triumph for the ownership of Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. Major Uptrend charged hard late to be a close third.

Luck Be Withyou continued to show his affinity for the Pocono red clay surface, having won the 2013 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Pace and the 2015 Ben Franklin Final against top-level competition. The son of Western Ideal then had a dull patch of form, enabling him to drop down in class, and Saturday he took his third straight win on the comeback trail, moving to the front after Somethinginthewind blew to the quarter in :26, putting up :54.1 and 1:21.4 middle splits, and staying strong with a :27.2 last quarter, winning by two and a half lengths for owner John Craig.

In a $24,000 trot, Ray Hall, who ascended to the top levels during the Weiss Series in the spring of 2014, showed that he might prove a worthy rival to his 2015 "successor," JL Cruze, ringing up his second win in three starts since being acquired by Team Allard (driver Simon and trainer/brother Rene, also co-owner with Giselle Hebert). The Justice Hall gelding stayed off a wild early duel (:25.4, :53.4) between Somebody As and Modest Prince, moved up to a great second-over spot by the 1:23 three-quarter marker, then easily out-trotted his rivals home, tallying by one and a half lengths over deep Pikeshooter Docs Tebow in 1:52.4.

Pocono now shifts to a three-night-a-week live schedule, with the trotters and pacers under the lights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays until the meet's end on November 21.

(PHHA / Pocono)


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