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Pocono Features To Boffin, Bushwacker

Published: September 27, 2015 2:43 am ET

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The trotter Boffin and the pacer Bushwacker won their respective $24,000 featured events Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, on a night full of interesting storylines.

Both the feature winners were “pocket rockets” en route to victory. First up was the five-year-old Donato Hanover gelding Boffin, a 7-5 second choice who parlayed a two-hole journey behind 6-5 favourite Ray Hall into a two and a quarter length victory in 1:51.1, a national season’s record, a personal best, and only three-fifths of a second off his division’s world record of 1:50.3, set by Sevruga here three years ago. Ray Hall, who in one way was the precursor of JL Cruze in that they both run roughshod in their division of Pocono’s Weiss Series the last two springs, was making his second start for Team Allard after a claim and a 1:52 victory – and he was timed even faster tonight, 1:51.3, but that wasn’t enough to hold off Boffin, driven by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Anette Lorentzon, also co-owner with ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson.

“George Nap,” who had four winners in the first nine races on the card, almost made it five and a sweep of the headliners in the 10th race top pacing event, but tactical turnabout is fair play, as his pacesetting Scott Rocks came home in :54.1 on the engine and yet was overhauled by Bushwacker and driver Andrew McCarthy by a half-length in 1:50, another second choice catching a favourite in the lane. Chris Ryder conditions the altered son of Rocknroll Hanover for Henderson Farms.

Ben Franklin winner Luck Be Withyou made it two straight since returning to Pocono with a 1:50.2 victory in a $20,000 pace. Napolitano Jr. was in the sulky of the victorious Western Ideal horse for trainer Chris Oakes and owner John Craig.

It was no surprise when “G-Nap” returned to the winner's circle after the high-price claiming handicap pace with R Gauwitz Hanover, as that veteran has won eight of his last nine starts (all the time driven by Napolitano -– that fact’s significance will emerge shortly) and is 15-for-27 for the year after a 1:50.4 score. What is amazing, though, about R Gauwitz Hanover is that on Saturday he was claimed for the 11th straight start in a string going back to July 11, when Howard Taylor haltered him from Nick Gampietro Jr. after Gampietro had him for a relative “eternity,” almost two straight months. Trainer Jennifer Sabot and the Verrazano Stables LLC benefited from the pacer’s talents this week; in his next start, he will be “completing a circle,” as the successful claimant tonight was – Nick Gampietro Jr.!

The reference to super-owner Howard Taylor above was not gratuitous, but a link to the final newsworthy item at press time –0 he is the owner of Verdad, who came from last at the three-quarters to win and pay $105.40 for driver Joe Bongiorno. Verdad’s trainer is Ron Burke -– who now, shockingly, has produced the most $50+ winners at both Pocono and Philly this year, with three boxcar winners at each eastern Pennsylvania oval! He has only one “in the west,” at his home base The Meadows, but even that one was newsworthy, because it came with $77 winner Cooperstown in the fastest elimination of The Adios Pace!

(PHHA / Pocono)

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