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'Graduate' Scores In Stallion Series

Published: May 23, 2016 11:11 pm ET

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Five $20,000 divisions of the first leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were featured Monday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the fastest winner was Im Some Graduate, a royally-bred colt whom at one point last year many thought might one of Pennsylvania’s overall best, winning his seasonal debut in 1:51.4.

When you have a $4.5M world champion pedigree (Somebeachsomewhere, $3.2M/world champion out of Western Graduate, $1.3M/world champion), you start life with advantages, and Im Some Graduate showed those advantages last year: he began his career with two wins, stepped up to the Sire Stakes level and was second (the horse giving him his first loss was named Check Six – has he done anything lately?), then won a Sire Stake and the Sire Stakes Consolation, the latter with two moves in 1:50.3. He was odds-on in two Grand Circuit events at The Red Mile Grand Circuit, but caught off tracks both weeks and was off the board twice, and then he had been laid off until tonight’s (Tuesday’s) race.

Im Some Graduate, driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Thomas Cancelliere and owner John Cancelliere, came home in :27 on the engine to take his 2016 debut, but he didn’t have it easy by any means – a Dragon Again gelding, sold for $14,000 as a yearling and still eligible to “nw2,” named Doubleshottahott lived up to his moniker tonight, coming out of the pocket to extend Im Some Graduate fully to win by a head. Still, a win is a win, and a good building block to start the season for a horse who seems to have a world of potential.

Driver Andrew McCarthy captured two of the Sire Stakes divisions, and after four non-favourites started off the features (even Im Some Graduate was an 8-5 second choice), he got a chalk home in the final division in the form of Duke Of Delray, a Yankee Cruiser colt who rallied up the famed Pocono Pike to catch pacesetting Don Mcwhite by a neck in 1:53, with Chris Ryder handling the training for owner/co-breeder Shelby Novick.

McCarthy’s other Stallion Series win was a bit easier, as he put the Well Said gelding Senator Charlie on the lead in front of the stands for the first time, and the sophomore took it from there, stepping home in 1:53 – :27.3 to be 1-1/4 lengths clear of Good Living on the money for trainer Mark Harder and owner/breeder Fox Hollow Farm.

Driver Jim Morand, one of only 18 sulky sitters to have 9000 or more career victories, got his first winning drive at Pocono in over 18 years (the previous one was 6-14-97 behind the Bucky Waugh-trained filly Dragon So in a Miss Pocono elimination) when he steered the Les Givens trainee Power Of A Cruiser to a 1:53 head victory over Littleoffthetop (handled by Clyde Francis of Wiggle It Jiggleit fame). Morand’s stepfather Gerry Bookmyer would have approved of his stepson’s handling of the Yankee Cruiser gelding, as Jim waited patiently inside until he could move out behind the cover of Littleoffthetop, then ran that talented foe down in the shadow of the wire for owner/breeder Michael Horsey.

Morand hadn’t won at Pocono in over 18 years; the driver of the other Stallion Series winner hadn’t won at the mountain oval in … 54 minutes. George Napolitano Jr., the track’s all-time leading driver, won Tuesday’s curtain raiser and then came back three races later to guide Stone Fire Hanover to a new mark of 1:52.3, using the Pocono Pike to win by a half-length in a contest that saw the top six finishers bunched within a length at the finish. The Dragon Again gelding came cross state from The Meadows to win for trainer Randy Bendis, who shares ownership in the sophomore with Thomas Pollack.


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