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Wes Delight Steals The Show

Published: May 19, 2018 11:57 pm ET

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Wes Delight, who left the gate so quickly he lost his head number a couple of steps in, showed that having a few races under your girth can be an advantage even against the likes of Lost In Time, Stay Hungry, Nutcracker Sweet, and Hayden Hanover.

Those top colts, making their seasonal bow, could not defeat the winner of three of his four seasonal starts. Wes Delight captured the “feature” division of the $166,015 second preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Corey Callahan had the victorious son of Bettors Delight away with great jet, getting the lead early, then yielding to the 3-2 favourite Stay Hungry before the :26.4 quarter, with Hayden Hanover, 8-5 Lost In Time, and Nutcracker Sweet filling the next three spots. As Stay Hungry got to the half in a moderate :55.4, Lost In Time came first-over, with Nutcracker Sweet on his back – and the real race was on.

As they passed the three-quarter pole in 1:23.2, Lost In Time fell back a little, and Stay Hungry maintained the advantage, with Wes Delight lurking in the pocket then pulling out for the drive. Halfway through the lane Stay Hungry looked to have a good chance, but he got a bit weary late, and Wes Delight took his measure, then held off the game and resurgent Lost In Time by a nose in 1:50.4 to take a new mark. Stay Hungry was beaten only a neck, with Nutcracker Sweet and Hayden Hanover getting the last two cheques.

This was the biggest win of the young career of Wes Delight, who lowered his mark while boosting his bankroll to $192,573. Mark Harder trains the developing sophomore, and he shares ownership with Rick Phillips and Rachel Frost.

The $300,000 yearling Im A Big Deal, by Somebeachsomewhere out of the world champion Big Mcdeal, got the evening off to a flying start in his Sires section, going to the lead, yielding briefly, then retaking while posting fractions of :26.2, :54.4, and 1:21.3. By the last-named number, he had opened up by a decisive lead, and he finished out his mile in 1:50.2, more than six lengths ahead, to take a new mark. George Napolitano, Jr. had the sulky duty for trainer Chris Ryder, who is also co-owner with Craig Henderson and Robert Mondillo, behind a colt who certainly paced back to his pedigree Saturday.

In the other division, the crowd thought the Ryder barn would add a second Sires victory with This Is The Plan, a winner in the first PaSS prelim, but it was the other first-round winner, Dorsoduro Hanover, who came on again in the stretch to post a neck victory in a lifetime best 1:50.1, also the fastest clocking of the three divisions. Matt Kakaley, in his first night back in action after a mid-March racing accident, sent the Ron Burke trainee to the lead before the :27 quarter, then sat behind This Is The Plan through middle fractions of :55.3 and 1:22.4. The pacesetter dug in through the lane, but the pocket sitter proved stronger in the Pocono Pike, remaining undefeated in two 2018 starts and raising his bankroll to $145,168 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Silva, Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Five LLC.

There were also two $30,000 divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series for open pacers.

In one, Mach It So equaled the fastest clocking on a 5/8-mile track this year (Major Uptrend at Dover and Nuclear Breeze at Miami Valley) with a 1:49 victory for driver George Napolitano, Jr., trainer Jeff Bamond, Jr., and Bamond Racing LLC. Mach It So left side-by-side with Dr J Hanover, let that one take the top before the hot 26 quarter, then removed to the lead, hit the half in :54.1, then opened up a sizable lead with a :26.4 quarter to trip the third timer in 1:21. The Mach Three gelding still had a big lead as far as mid-stretch, but both his early exertions and rapid closer Bettors Edge were catching up to him; however, you don’t earn $2,578,675 in your career by succumbing easily, and Mach It So held on by a half-length.

In the other Great Northeast cut, Rockin Ron became a two-time Great Northeast winner, holding off the determined Rockeyed Optimist by a nose in 1:50.2. Matt Kakaley put the Real Desire gelding on top and set fractions of :26.3, :55.1, and 1:22.4; in early stretch the pair had opened up two lengths, but Rockeyed Optimist, first-over, came back on with great gameness only to just get photoed out. Maxdaddy Blue Chip came from way out of it to miss it all by a neck behind the $1,151,107 winner, trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, RTC Stables Inc and J&T Silva Stables LLC.

Finally, Walks Of Life, the winningest horse in North America this year with 12, could not add a 13th triumph to his 2018 record, but he certainly tried very hard in the $20,000/$25,000 claiming handicap, passing the poles in :26.1, :54.2, and 1:22.2, with Legion Of Boom pressing him early and Corner Con Artist having the lead most of the backstretch first-over. Walks Of Life shook off the first-over, but could not keep pocket rocket Legion Of Boom at bay, dropping a half-length decision to that one, driven by Anthony Napolitano for trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. and the partnership of John Whitig, Michael Rich, Lawrence Chimerine, and Jeffrey Hess. One trend did continue – Walks of Life was claimed, for the ninth straight start, and Legion Of Boom will be changing barns as well.

(PHHA/Pocono)


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