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Open Winners In Pocono Spotlight

Published: June 7, 2015 12:21 am ET

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A specially-formatted 16-race card was featured on Belmont Day at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with four races held before the historic doings in Elmont, New York and then the remainder starting after the big race.

The race attracting the most attention was the 10th race (held in the evening portion), a $30,000 Open Pace, and there was “dancin’ in the moonlight” as 2014 Pennsylvania Pacer of the Year Dancin Yankee never looked back in a 1:48.3 victory, going out in :26 and coming home in :26.4 firmly in control. George Napolitano Jr., king of the local driving colony again this year, was named on four horses in the race, and he picked the right one as the son of Yankee Cruiser raised his lifetime earnings harvest over $1.2 million for trainer Josh Green and owners Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo.

In the other $30,000 Open Pace, Big Boy Dreams marked himself as a four-year-old to watch as he reduced his mark to 1:49.4. The son of If I Can Dream made the front just past the quarter for driver Simon Allard, set the pace, then rocketed home in :26.4 for his second straight victory after a third-place finish in the Confederation Cup. Trainer Rene Allard shares ownership of the winner of over half a million dollars with Robert Hamather and Mary Lou Poliseno.

The ladies were in the spotlight in the last race of the “early” card and the first race of the “later” card.

In the last race held before the Belmont, Blue Chip Matchmaker winner Venus Delight asserted a claim to be the leader of the older female division with a 1:50.2 decision in a $30,000 Mares Handicap Pace, despite not having started since her victory in the Yonkers series final on April 25. But the daughter of Bettors Delight and driver Jason Bartlett had to work hard for the top money, rallying out of the pocket to catch perhaps the most-improved horse of 2015, Ooh Bad Shark, to tally by a head after grabbing the lead with about 100 feet to go. The winner, who set a personal mark, is trained by Jeff Bamond Jr. for owners Bamond Racing LLC – who might get a fifth straight older pacing mares yearly title, with Anndrovette having won in the last four seasons.

After American Pharoah won the Belmont and the first thoroughbred Triple Crown in 37 years, the Broadway Hall mare Frau Blucher went 34 4/5 seconds faster in winning, capturing a $30,000 Open Trot while defeating six males and two females in 1:51.4, two-fifths of a second off her mark and the four-year-old trotting mares world record she set at The Downs last year. Frau Blucher, driven by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Chris Oakes, made every pole a winning one while raising her career bankroll to $976,932 for owners Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises LLC and Susan Oakes. (And she’d be over $1 million right now but for an inch, as she was dead-heated for the win by stablemate Classic Martine in the world record dead-heat Pennaylvania Sire Stakes Three-Year-Old Filly Trot Championship race in 2013.)

Pocono Finishing Lines:

-- On this 16-race card, two drivers won 10 of the races, and only five drivers in all won: George Napolitano Jr. and Simon Allard both had five victories (four of Allard's were trained by brother Rene); Jason Bartlett had three, Anthony Napolitano had two, and Marcus Miller had one.

--There were a total of seven miles in 1:50 or better on the card, topped by Dancin Yankee's 1:48.3; among the drivers, "George Nap" had three, and Allard two.

(PHHA / Pocono)

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