Rip Wheeler Zips Over Pocono

Rip Wheeler
Published: June 10, 2023 06:15 pm EDT

Rip Wheeler went the fastest mile of the year at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania to take the pacing division of the $18,500 co-features Saturday (June 10), while Yanks Dugout equalled the fastest local trotting mile of the year to take the feature on that gait.

Rip Wheeler’s 1:48.1, besides reducing his own mark and lowering the 2023 local standard by a tick, also equals the third fastest mile anywhere in North American harness racing this season, on any-size track, as of press time.

The Rockin Image gelding did all the work in his blazing mile, being sent to the front by Pocono’s top driver, Matt Kakaley, and putting up splits of :26.1, :54.1 and 1:21.2. Rip Wheeler tacked on a final kicker of :26.4 to be by himself at the wire for trainer Hunter Oakes and the ownership of Thaddeus Weir, Donald MacRae and Stephen Klunowski.

The Triumphant Caviar gelding Yanks Dugout took his second win in as many weeks in the Pocono trotting feature; this week he had to equal the fastest mile on that gait this year, 1:51.2 (first set by On Higher Ground), to hold off the late charge of P L Notosnice by a neck.

Simon Allard left with the Ron Burke trainee, but other foes had the same idea: Robbie Pev needed until the :26.4 quarter to get past polesitter Miss McKee and then Yanks Dugout went up to take over before the second turn and a :54.4 half. The winner opened a bit of space by the 1:22.3 three-quarters and into the stretch, but P L Notsonice, having to travel the uncovered route, was resolute and made the winner work for the win for Ivan and John Duke Sugg.

Allard, who had six wins at Pocono seven days ago, again stamped himself “Saturday Simon” as he visited the winner's circle five times on this card.

Sunday’s 6 p.m. card at Pocono will feature two $71,274 divisions of the second preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting males, with first round winners Saint Louis, Father Stosh and Spitfire Overseas all looking to add a second victory. There will also be four $20,000 cuts of PA Stallion Series action. Program pages for all Pocono races are or will be available onthe PHHA website.

(PHHA / Pocono)   

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