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Napolitanos Steal The Show At Pocono

Published: October 2, 2017 12:17 am ET

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George Napolitano Jr., driving the favourite, went wire-to-wire in both $18,000 featured races Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in both cases holding off a late charge by a longshot driven by his brother Anthony in what would be an outstanding day for the Napolitano boys.

The Credit Winner trotting mare Earn Your Wings finally broke through with a victory after being a beaten favourite in her last three starts, going wire-to-wire in 1:55.1 for “George Nap.” 36-1 proposition Ridgeway Springs and “Anthony Nap” used the rail well to get a pocket trip behind a chalk, but their late charge came up a length shy of Earn Your Wings, who has earnings of $295,580 for trainer Anette Lorentzon and the SRF Stable.

In the companion featured pace, the Somebeachsomewhere colt Photobombr Hanover followed up on a win in the Keystone Classic in his last start by making every pole a winning one against his Sunday opposition, triumphing in 1:51.4. Photobombr Hanover and “GNap” got a :56.3 stroll to the half, then tacked on successive :27.3 quarters to defeat 20-1 Braley Hanover and “ANap” by one and a quarter lengths while running his earnings to $154,397 for trainer Tom Fanning and the ownership combine of Fanning Racing LLC (this is half of that stable), Howard Taylor (who has a few more horses than that), and Susan Kajfasz.

The two feature wins, added to another Pocono victory, blended nicely with the five wins George Napolitano Jr. had put up during the afternoon card at Harrah’s Philadelphia, and the former national dash champion is now just one win behind second-place Jason Bartlett, trailing the indefatigable 1,000-win candidate Aaron Merriman. Despite coming up shy in these marquee events, Anthony Napolitano visited Pocono’s Victory Lane six times himself on Sunday – 14 wins on the day for the brothers.

FINISHING LINES – There are no official records on this sort of occurrence, but Pocono-based trainer John Butenschoen must have set some kind of new standard this (Sunday) afternoon when he sent out three stakes winners – within 21 minutes!

The Butenschoen Trifecta started at Harrah’s Philly when Paprike Blue Chip won a division of the Simpson freshman colt pace at 3:49 p.m. Fourteen minutes (and 623 miles west-southwest) afterwards, Dover Dan beat some of the sport’s best three-year-old male trotters in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at Kentucky’s famous Red Mile. And seven minutes after that big win, freshman colt trotter Scirocco Rob took a division of his Simpson Stakes back at Harrah’s. Total haul for 21 minutes of work for Team Butenschoen -- $71,550, out of the $112,558 the stable won between stakes at the two tracks (11 starters, three wins, two seconds, a third, and 10 cheque-getters). And all three horses in this “Trifecta” had won earlier in the year at Pocono.

(With files from PHHA/Pocono)

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