Real Fine and Zuluwarriorhanover took their second wins in Pennsylvania Stallion Series competition for three-year-old pacing fillies during their third preliminary at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday (August 12), but it was the other divisional winner – first-time series starter Attention Hanover – who dew most of the attention after a 1:51.2 victory.
The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Steve Salerno and co-owned by Salerno in partnership with Dean Casaday, had been entered in the first prelim but was scratched sick, and since then had stuck to working her way up the conditioned ranks, taking four of her previous five starts. She then showed she was ready for the Stallion Series group, being backed out of the pocket by driver Eric Carlson to follow Sandys Beach as that one cleared at the three-quarters mark, then outpaced her home by one and a half lengths. The victory helped Attention Hanover’s chances towards making her Stallion Series Championship, but it in no way assured it, as Attention Hanover is tied for 13th according to unofficial standings compiled at the end of the stakes racing. (Note: the Harness Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is the official keeper of PA-sired competition points).
First of the pair to win on Sunday was the Bettors Delight filly Real Fine, who set the pace, got a very stiff challenge from Dark Force on the turn, but regathered in the stretch to post a half-length triumph in 1:53.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Ron Burke, and Burke Racing Stable LLC, Knox Services Inc., Slaughter Racing Stable LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
Zuluwarriorhanover, another Somebeachsomewhere filly, allowed early traffic to settle then was brushed to the lead by driver Tim Tetrick coming off the first turn and stayed in control from there. At the wire, pocket-sitter Danikova was one and a half lengths behind the 1:53.2 winner, who is trained by Tom Fanning for owner David Van Wert.
A pair of $21,500 events matched fast trotters in the first conducted and classy pacing mares in the second.
On the trot, Boffin was forwardly-paced throughout by driver Tim Tetrick after an attempt off the pace snapped a three-race winning streak last time, moved to leading favourite Moonshiner Hanover in the stretch, and proved the better by one and a half lengths while crossing the wire first in 1:53.1. The altered son of Donato Hanover, a winner of more than $500,000, is trained by Anette Lorentzon, who is also c-owner with ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson.
Second-over Agent Q had the fractions in her favour (:54.2 first half vs. :57.2 back half) in the mares pace, and her sweeping move on the far turn carried her to a stretch lead she would not surrender in the 1:51.4 mile, with Skippin By doing very well late but coming up a half-length shy. The Western Terror mare Agent Q, an earner of $1.2 million, came out of the box smokin’ in 2018, fell off-form and was given a brief respite, and now has come back to win two of her last three for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Crawford Farms LLC, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara.
FINISHING LINES – The largest extant carryover pool in North America horse racing was taken down Saturday night at The Downs, as the Rainbow Pick 5 rewarded the one successful bettor with $321,175.78. The imaginative player had in his ticket two horses paying over $100, Riproy ($117) and P L Hercules ($102), along with a $35 horse in the last race of the bet driven by the six-time defending driving champion at the mountain oval, George Napolitano Jr. With two scratches attached to the winning favourite in the first leg, the official ticket read (1,6,8)/5/2/9/7.
(With files from PHHA/Pocono)