The top three open pacing horses in the standings of the Great Northeast Open Series will be joined by the 2017 Breeders Crown divisional winner and recent Franklin Consolation winner in a matchup of seasoned battlers in a $30,000 contest this Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Established as the 5-2 morning line favourite is Split The House, who last Saturday made his second start of the year a winning one while taking the Franklin Consolation here in 1:49, faster than Mcwicked’s 1:49.3 in taking the Franklin Championship. A conqueror of Mcwicked in the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park last fall, Split The House will start from post two for driver George Napolitano, Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes.
Second choice at 3-1 is Bettors Edge, #3 in the series list and like the two above him a two-time winner in Great Northeast action. He has the fastest 2018 clocking in the field, a 1:48.2 triumph in the opening race of Sun Stakes Saturday elimination night, and he will start from post four with the guidance of trainer Jennifer Lappe – who last week at The Meadowlands got her horse to pace his last three-quarters in an amazing 1:19.4 while raw to miss a nose in a 1:48 mile.
The 4-1 third choice is Rodeo Romeo, who won the first two legs of the Great Northeast, then has been twice second and once third in the series, including being the place horse in the big winning mile of Bettors Edge. Rodeo Romeo draws the rail, which can be a nice advantage for a horse with his early foot, and the #2-ranked pacer in the series with be handled by Eric Carlson for trainer Ross Croghan.
And, no, we haven’t forgotten about the #1 point winner in the series, Rockeyed Optimist, who comes off a series win at Harrah’s last Sunday. The reason the pacer was rated no higher than the 9-2 fourth choice is that he draws outside all of his main rivals, leaving from post six for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Jake Leamon.
Outrajus Blue Chip (post three, driver Tom Jackson), Nocturnal Blue Chip (post five, driver Jim Morrill, Jr.), Voracity (post seven, Anthony Napolitano), and Great Vintage (post eight, driver Simon Allard) complete the talented field, to go to the gate in race ten on the Saturday Pocono card.
(PHHA / Harrah’s Philly)