The sport’s “glamour division”, the three-year-old pacing colts, came to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday (May 15) for three $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event, and the most impressive – not necessarily because he had the fastest time, but the way he raced – was the Betting Line colt Night Hawk.
David Miller guided the sophomore up to the lead by a :27 quarter, and then coasted through splits of :55.4 and 1:23.4. The only foe hanging close was pocket-sitter Captain Cowboy, and when Miller gave his colt a gentle wakeup call soon into the stretch, he responded with a :26.1 blitz home to complete the 1:50 mile, not looking like he was working hard at all. Captain Cowboy, to his credit, was only a length back, but Night Hawk always looked to be in control while establishing a lifetime best.
The Brian Brown trainee won two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at two, one without Lasix then one with, before his season ended on July 17. Since returning for Acadia Farms Inc., Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners, and Leeman Lombardo Stable, he won in 1:51.2 with a :53.3 back half at Hoosier, was second from off the pace in the first Sires Stakes event at The Meadows, and now produced this powerful performance, hinting at better things to come.
The other two winners also put in high-quality miles. In one, the Sweet Lou colt Market Based rebounded from a break in his 2022 debut in a Meadows Sire cut, sitting in the pocket as PJ Lou set splits of :26.3, :55.2, and 1:23, then sprinting home in the Pocono Pike to get the decision by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.2, his fastest win. Andrew McCarthy got a sharp late response from the winner of the 2021 Matron and an All-Stars event last year as well; Nancy Takter trains the talented three-year-old for the ownership of Chuck Pompey, Edwin Gold, and H&M Taylor Stable.
Mad Max Hanover, a hard-charging second by a neck in last year’s Governor’s Cup, is now two-for-three in 2022 while taking a mark in 1:50.3 in the other All-Stars contest. Six Feet Apart took the lead from Layton Hanover past the quarter in :27.1 and set midrace numbers of :55.4 and 1:23.3, with Mad Max Hanover coming up on the grind for driver Tim Tetrick. The aforementioned put on an excellent three-way stretch battle, with Mad Max Hanover finishing a neck ahead of Six Feet Apart, who in turn was a neck ahead of Layton Hanover. The victorious gelded son of Always B Miki is trained by Jake Leamon for owner Marvin Rounick.
These Pennsylvania colts return to Pocono on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 for their second Sire Stakes rounds, and as a whole the group looks like it will put on a top show, both in Pennsylvania and perhaps further afield down the road.
Racing continues at The Downs on Monday (May 16) and Tuesday (May 17) with a first post of 1:30 p.m. (EDT). Program pages are available at the PHHA website.