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Napolitano, Oakes Domination Continues

Published: November 13, 2016 1:25 am ET

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Freeneasy Hanover again defeated Terror Time A, who had a six-race win skein snapped in his last start, taking the $18,000 claiming handicap pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:50.4.

Last week, the Western Ideal gelding Freeneasy Hanover debuted for the barn of the meet’s leading trainer, Chris Oakes, and he was sent three-wide in front of the stands by the meet’s leading driver, George Napolitano Jr., to take an advantage that no one could take away from him. Terror Time A, mired with post eight, was a fast-closing third after traffic trouble, and with “Terror” moving from post position eight to post four tonight, the crowd sent him off as the 3-10 favourite, with Freeneasy Hanover (post four last week, post three tonight) again held at 2-1 odds.

And again, an early move to the lead was the route to victory for Freeneasy Hanover, who moved after the :26 opening quarter to get the lead before the :54.2 half, then posted a 1:22.2 third clocking along the way to winning by one and a half lengths. Terror Time A, not noted for his early speed, again had to come from seventh at the three-quarters, but this week he did get up for second, a neck ahead of Always N The Money, behind the sharp winner, who is owned by Susan Oakes.

Oh – did we mention that the claiming handicap feature was the first race on Pocono’s Saturday night card? Pocono fans certainly consider that worthwhile information -- as “GNap” and Oakes have now won the first event on six of the last nine cards at Pocono, and on three of the last four Saturdays (on the other occasion, the duo had to “wait” until race two to click).

Speaking of race two, George Napolitano Jr. came back to sweep the Double behind the Mark Ford trainee, Mariner Seelster. It was Napolitano’s 351st local victory of the season -- and the first in which he paid more than $50, just nudging over that line with a $50.80 win return. The "GNap Double" returned $107.

At Pocono, the motto is that one longshot win deserves another quickly, and 89 minutes later Eric Carlson guided Keystone Dylan to a late-rallying victory, paying $61.80 on the front end. For Carlson, it was his third $50+ winner at Pocono in the last five cards; for trainer James De La Rosa, it was perhaps an even more memorable occasion, as it was his first trip ever as a trainer to the Pocono winner's circle. The two bombers also marked the 14th occasion that Pocono has had a pair of $50+ horses on one card this season -- 11 percent of the time.

Carlson set the pace in the $15,500 10th race conditioned pacing co-feature with 13-1 shot Bestjetyet, but they were caught by three-quarters of a length by the favourite and “pocket rocket,” Dreams Beach Boy, who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing and who after his 1:51.2 victory now has a career bankroll of $152,124. The guidance behind the Sombeachsomewhere gelding Dreams Beach Boy? Driver George Napolitano Jr. (his fifth win of the night, 20th during November’s six cards at Pocono, and 36th overall in the first 12 days of the month) and trainer Chris Oakes (his third tally of the evening, all with GNap). They teamed up to win one more race, bringing Napolitano's total to six on the night and Oakes's to four.

Napolitano and Oakes also combined on the fastest winner of the night, Alta Jerome N, who won his U.S. debut in 1:50.3 despite the outside post eight. Alta Jerome N, a six-year-old Jeremes Jet gelding, had won 18 races and $183,882 Down Under, including his last race where he won in 1:52.

(With files from PHHA / Pocono)

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