Class-Dropping 'Gangster' Wins Big

Published: August 17, 2021 05:42 pm EDT

Three $15,300 races for high-level developing youngsters headed the Tuesday afternoon card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono: two on the trot and one on the pace.

A horse in a feature race can miss the board in all six seasonal starts and still go off at 1-20 – as long as he earned a cheque in each start to bankroll $66,985 and has Manchego, Beads, Ready For Moni, and Its Academic in his competition lines. Such was the case with the Father Patrick four-year-old stallion Gangster Hanover, who relished the drop in company and promptly took a new mark of 1:52.2. George Napolitano Jr. put the career winner of $321,858 on the lead after a :28 quarter, got to the half in :57.3, and then coaxed :27.2 speed from his horse in each of the last two quarters, with his margin at the wire winding up at 14-1/4 lengths. The trotter is trained by Åke Svanstedt, who co-owns him with S R F Stable and Brittany Farms.

The other division of the trotters has its own distinction, with the Muscle Hill gelding Foreverhillreign circling the field from last in earning a new speed badge of 1:55.2 for driver Tom Jackson and trainer Norman Morford. This was only the second victory of the year, and indeed 2020-21, for Foreverhillreign, but a $2 win bet on him in each of his 30 starts over two years would show a 69 per cent profit – he’s paid $50.20 and here $51.20 in the pair of triumphs.

On the pace, the Art Major gelding Belmont Major N is now three-for-five in his North American career after tying his own mark of 1:49.3 under the guidance of Matt Kakaley, who had six winners on the card. The import sat off of a hard early pace and grinded to a stretch advantage, then held safe over Tell Them Lou by three-quarters of a length. Trainer Hunter Oaks and owner Thaddeus Wier may have to enter their horse against tougher foes as with this win has won himself out of this class, but nothing suggests the Kiwi is not up to tougher assignments.

Racing at Pocono resumes on Saturday with the biggest card of the year at the mountain oval, Sun Stakes Saturday, with $2,038,000 in purses offered to premier trotters and pacers. The favourites for the six major races on the card are trotters Atlanta, Flawless Country, and Captain Corey, and the pacers Grace Hill, Perfect Sting, and Nicholas Beach, proven quality performers all. The card on Saturday begins at 12:40 p.m.