Hambletonian Oaks winner Bella Bellini, making her first start since winning that classic three starts ago, got away last against very tough opposition and made up a little ground but not enough to emerge victorious on Saturday (August 28) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Big Oil, a son of Father Patrick, sped to a 1:51.3 lifetime best in that event, a $19,300 fast-class trot. A world record holder for the fastest trot dead-heat ever when he tied with Real Cool Sam in 1:52.1 at Lexington in 2019, Big Oil beat that mark by taking control of this race from the start. He hammered out quick splits of :26.1, :55, and 1:23.1, with Bella Bellini trying to get close uncovered, but coming up short. Andy Miller kept Big Oil burning to the wire to be 1-1/2 lengths clear over the Ms Versatility mare P L Notsonice while going three-fifths of a second faster than the Oaks. Bella Bellini was timed in 1:52.3, just two-fifths behind her Oaks-winning time, off three weeks, on a five-eighths mile track, and uncovered from the outside post against veteran stock.
Team Orange Crush – driver Andy Miller and trainer/wife Julie – are the braintrust behind Big Oil, the winner of $255,081, who is owned by Jason, Douglas, and Ronald Allen.
The card also featured the last of the Pennsylvania All-Stars races for the year, with two $35,000 divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies, ahead of their $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship here next Saturday. The winners were horses who parlayed rail trips into checks in the Lynch Memorial Championship last Saturday.
The faster winner was the Sweet Lou filly Chase Lounge who led at every call, then flashed home in :27.2 to hold off pocket-sitting Milieu Hanover by a neck in a lifetime best 1:50.4. Just a half-length behind Grace Hill in a Sire Stake two starts ago, Chase Lounge was driven today by Tyler Buter, who along with Jason Bartlett had three wins on the card, for trainer Rollie Mallar and owner William Hartt.
In the other section, the Somebeachsomewhere filly Thebeachiscalling, followed early brusher Darby Hanover, went on past that one and retained control to the wire. With a :27.1 last quarter, Thebeachiscalling bested her closest rival by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51. Matt Kakaley had the driving assignment behind the winner of $283,522 for trainer Chris Ryder and Bella Racing LTD.
Top purse event on the Sunday 5:00 p.m. card is a $19,300 for top-level distaffs; also, the local summer series of the American Harness Drivers Club amateur group wraps up on Sunday, with a $15,000 Championship and a $9,900 consolation. Program pages are available at the PHHA website.
(PHHA / Pocono)