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Rockin Ron Prevails In Pocono Feature

Published: May 20, 2017 11:16 pm ET

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Rockin Ron, hung for his lungs through wildfire fractions of :25.4 and :53.1 in the Van Rose Memorial on Kentucky Derby Day at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, found a pace and a trip that was much more to his liking on Preakness Saturday, parlaying a pocket trip into a 1:50.3 victory in the $25,000 pacing feature at The Downs.

Eric Goodell, notching his third sulky success of the night and second for trainer Ron Burke, was away briskly from the rail with the winning Real Desire gelding, stretching out the hot Major Uptrend to a bit past a :27.2 quarter before yielding the front. Just after the :56.1 half, Barimah A, who won the Van Rose closing off the scalding pace, came first-over, and he and Major Uptrend fought tooth-and-nail through a :26.4 third quarter, with Rockin Ron having the best seat to watch the unfolding action.

After the field turned into the stretch, Rockin Ron, owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and RTC Stables, had the opportunity to used the famed Pocono Pike, but Major Uptrend was proving his usual game self in the lane, and Rockin Ron got the lead only deep in the stretch, winning by a neck over Major Uptrend, who now is only five feet away (two necks and a head) from having an 11-race win streak. Boston Red Rocks, the 6-5 favourite, rallied from second-over to be third, another neck back, with Barimah A holding well to finish just a half-length behind him and a length off first place overall.

In the $20,000 co-feature pace, one of the all-time great “Pocono lovers,” Luck Be Withyou, posted the fastest clocking of the season at the mountain oval, 1:49.3, going wire-to-wire for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owner John Craig. The son of Western Ideal has won 14 of 21 career starts at Pocono, including the Breeders Crown Final at age two, the Franklin Final at four, and the Van Rose and the Franklin Consolation at five, in the latter setting his lifetime mark of 1:47.3. Of his $1,329,741 (U.S.) lifetime bankroll, $690,250 of it has been earned over the famed brick-red surface.

The “Luck”-y victory was one of seven on the night for George Napolitano Jr., the track’s current and all-time leading driver. One race that wasn’t won by either George Nap or Goodell, though, was the race right after the feature, which was won by the other half of the “Detroit Erics,” Eric Carlson (who like Goodell is a former Michigan driving leader). Carlson rallied trotter Cinnabar Hall off a fast pace to win in a career-best 1:54.4, paying to his scattered backers $118.40 to win -- just behind the seasonal high of $119.20 returned by Threeupthreedown on April 2.

Sunday night at Pocono, the top-ranked colt in the sport’s “glamour division,” the three-year-old pacer Huntsville, will face a tough foe in Fear The Dragon in one of three divisions of the second leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for this division. Huntsville comes off an awesome seasonal debut, where he won by 10 lengths in 1:50.4 at The Meadows in the first Sire Stakes leg, on a 44-degree day with a “sloppy +2” track surface; Fear The Dragon, the Brian Brown stablemate of another top sophomore in Downbytheseaside, won the same day in 1:52.1.

(With files from PHHA/Pocono)

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