Pocono Downs will settle into its ‘normal’ four-day racing week starting on Saturday. Mondays will be added two days later (April 11), thus completing the four consecutive days of competition that will be the norm for the mountain track in 2016.
Saturday’s racing for the next few weeks will focus on overnight racing. The highlight races for this Saturday’s card are an $18,000 and a $16,000 handicap pace for high-level claiming horses, and a pair of $15,500 conditioned events – one on each gait.
Stakes racing will be the focus on Saturday, April 30, when eliminations for the new Pennsylvania Classic (for three-year-old PA-sired colts and geldings) and Miss Pennsylvania (for their filly counterparts) will be held, with the top males coming back for a $500,000 championship and the females a $300,000 championship one week later, on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7, when Pocono will be feature a doubleheader of racing, a set of races finished well in time before the Derby, and then another card starting right after the Derby.
In April, Sunday nights (which throughout Pocono’s season will have a special first-race post time of 7:30 p.m.; the first week of this new post time brought an increased betting total of over 60 per cent) will feature pacers competing in the Bobby Weiss Series of events for developing three and four-year-olds. This Sunday will see three divisions of colts and four divisions of fillies competing in the second round of $15,000 preliminaries, trying to earn spots in the $30,000 championships which will be held May 1.
Among the colts, much attention will be focused on Iwillmakeyousaywow, who made the public do just that as he romped to an eight and a half-length victory in his first Weiss prelim in 1:51.4, despite temperatures only a degree above freezing. His seventh race opposition will include Midnight Lightning, also a first-round winner, the well-regarded Settlemoir – and the outside Post 9. In the tenth race, Options Are Adream will go after his eighth victory of a still-undefeated career, which included a first-round Weiss prelim.
On the filly side, the sixth race will be the only one matching two first prelim winners: Southwind Tango and Candy Corn Hanover, both of whom won their 2016 debuts last week. Candy Corn Hanover was tied for fastest winner in the first round at 1:53.2 with Some Fancy Filly, who definitely will not pay $50.00 to win if she repeats in Race 4 Sunday.
The introduction of Monday this week also means that this will be the first round of Weiss action for trotting males, who will contest their $30,000 Championship on May 9. Among the more impressive horses on paper are Dominus Hanover (Race 5), who has five wins and three seconds in eight season starts, and the Race 1 duo of Explosive Leggs and Celebrity Bugatti, who have been both campaigning with success in a similar series at the Meadows.
Trainer/driver/co-owner Todd Schadel dominated the first prelim of the female trotting Weiss series, and both of his 1:56.4 winners from last week, South Side Hanover (Race 5) and Real Caviar (Race 10), return this Tuesday. Of the two, Real Caviar may have the tougher task, as she must face the third winner from last week in Stirling Debutant, who went only a fifth slower and who draws inside of her on Tuesday. This group’s $30,000 Championship will be contested on May 3.
(PHHA / Pocono)