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Bigtown Hero Game In Pocono Feature

Published: May 22, 2016 12:01 am ET

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Bigtown Hero is the co-fastest pacer of 2016, and he proved why with a gutsy effort in the Saturday night feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Driver Simon Allard sent the veteran, who took his record of 1:47.3 at Pocono two years ago, to the lead past a :26.1 quarter cut by $1.8 million-winner Bettors Edge, and took the field through middle splits of :54.1 and 1:21.4. Bigtown Hero looked strong and driver Allard looked confident into the stretch, but Bettors Edge showed his class as he dug in late to try to rally past the favourite, with his gallant effort coming up just a bit shy. The even-money favourite, Bigtown Hero proved the bettors’ hero as he held off his inside foe to win by a head in 1:49.2.

Simon’s brother Rene, the meet’s leading driver, conditions the winner of over $445,000 for Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin. The American Ideal gelding's 1:48.1 win from earlier this year is co-fastest clocking in 2016 this season, tied by Artistic Major at Meadowlands and Shamballa at Mohawk earlier in the night.

George Napolitano Jr. wound up with five wins on the Pocono card Saturday, and thus added with his four at Harrah's Philadelphia in the afternoon, he had a nine-winner day. Napolitano's final victory, in race 13 of the 14-race Pocono card, was by a nose with the trotter Mandela Blue Chip, who earned a new mark of 1:53.4 in edging Upfront Billy -- driven by George's brother Anthony.

There were 13 claims on the Saturday card at Pocono...and the 13th one came in a conditioned race! Lucky Mass had been entered in a claimer and was subsequently scratched, and according to the rules, the trotter was thus eligible to be haltered out of tonight's race for the previous race's $12,500 tag. Owner Ken Tisa put up the cheque, and Lucky Mass will be racing out of a new barn in his next start after finishing fifth Saturday.

The Ron Burke Stable’s 1-2-3 finishes in the recent $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic Final all return to Pocono tomorrow night (Sunday) for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, and the three will all be going in separate divisions. Check Six, the 1:50.4 Classic Final winner, starts from post two in the 10th race; second-place JK Will Power has post six in the fifth race split; and third finisher Big Top Hanover drew post five for Sunday’s fourth race.

(With files from PHHA / Pocono)

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