Many owners and trainers contemplating entering their top three-year-old trotters for the sport’s greatest prize, the Hambletonian, got a good evaluation of their horse’s prowess three weeks out from the eliminations as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono held three $30,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars event for this division on Saturday afternoon.
Fastest winner was the Father Patrick colt Big Oil, undefeated in two starts this year and the setter of a world record for a dead-heat on the trot when he tied with Real Cool Sam in 1:52.1 at Lexington last year. Andrew McCarthy, deputizing in the sulky for trainer Julie Miller and the ownership of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee and Little E LLC, sent the favoured colt to the early lead in a :27.2 opener but then got a bit of surprise as second choice Chestnut Hill rocketed from eighth to first in the second quarter, looping a parked horse, and putting Big Oil in the pocket in middle fractions of :57.2 and 1:24.4 (third split with the wind).
Chestnut Hill got away by a couple of lengths into the stretch, but then his hard exertions started to get to him. Big Oil charged up in the Pocono Pike to win by 2-1/4 lengths in a time of 1:53.2. Despite the late miscue, Chestnut Hill impressed with his speed and held second after a brief inquiry found he violated no rules.
The Father Patrick gelding Amigo Volo, who set four world records during his freshman campaign and earned more than $700,000, earned his first victory in his second 2020 start with a 1:54 score in his division. George Napolitano Jr. sent the winner to the front early and looked to be in control throughout, keeping pocket-sitter Swiss House Onfire at bay for trainer Nifty Norman and the ownership of Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.
The Andover Hall colt DDs Redemption may be given a shot at the upcoming big money, as in only his fifth lifetime start he took a new mark of 1:54.4 in his All-Stars cut. Åke Svanstedt raced DDs Redemption in the pocket after Shinkansen insisted on the lead, moved out headstretch, and then just did hold off the 55-1 Overserved, who shot up the vacated inside to miss by the slimmest of margins. Svanstedt is also the trainer of the chancy colt for Meri Equicare LLC.
George Napolitano Jr. wound up the day with six visits to the winner's circle. The final one gave Pocono its fastest mile of the year so far as Branquinho, a son of Somebeachsomewhere who had missed only two lengths behind Workin Ona Mystery in a Graduate division at Tioga, closed off a cutthroat pace to take a new mark of 1:49.3 for owner/trainer Ray Schnittker.
During a twilight card starting 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Pocono will feature five divisions of an All-Stars event for two-year-old pacing colts, which will include three winners from the first leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes: Always A Miki, Bayfield Beach, and Lous Pearlman.
(PHHA / Pocono)