Crafty Master, a son of Mister Big shipping to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono from Canada’s capital city track, Rideau Carleton, couldn’t have been more impressive in his “return” to the Downs, winning Saturday night’s top purse event, an $18,000 claiming handicap pace, in 1:52 to complete a consecutive triple for Team Allard, driver Simon and trainer Rene.
Overcoming post eight, Crafty Master spotted fourth early, then was rushed to the front just before the half in :55.3. From there, “Crafty” was the master of this domain, pulling away to win by two and three-quarter lengths for Allard Racing Inc., VIP Internet Stable LLC, and Lynn Denesha.
It’s a bit ironic that the six-year-old Crafty Master had had only one career Stateside purse start before this triumph, and that that race had been at Pocono – a 2013 elimination of the Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Pace, where Crafty Master, coming off a second in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, went off as the second choice, but ruined his chances with an early break. His lifetime U.S. win rate jumped to 50 per cent with Saturday’s triumph.
There was a pair of $15,500 co-featured conditioned events, with the pace going to the hot City Hall, a Metropolitan gelding who now sports a 4-3-1-0 recent record after a 1:52.1 victory. George Napolitano Jr. got the winner, who started outside all his rivals in post eight, safely around late first turn trouble by going three-wide, brushed to the top in front of the stands, then held his advantage to the finish for trainer Amber Buter and the partnership of Gene Oldford Farms LLC and Tyler Buter.
On the trotting side, the millionaire DWs NY Yank was glad to escape the likes of bearcats Meladys Monet and Opulent Yankee, winning in 1:53.3 although being yet another disadvantaged with the outermost post eight. Driver Eric Goodell made two speed moves with the Dilbert Hanover gelding, then held off pocket-sitting Skates N Plates in for his first win of the year for trainer Ron Burke and owners who turn up in more than a few programs – Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Howard Taylor.
In addition to the Allard brothers teaming for three wins, the team of driver Goodell and trainer Burke had a triple. Also with three wins was driver Napolitano Jr., for three different trainers. Anthony Napolitano drove three winners as well, two for trainer Andrew Harris.
Meladys Monet, who was mentioned above, may be the hottest trotter going right now, and he heads the Pocono Sunday night feature, a $20,000 handicap slotted for race 10. Brett Miller, currently leading driver at The Meadowlands but no stranger to area punters, will come over to drive “Monet,” undefeated in two starts this year for trainer Kevin McDermott, from post seven.
(PHHA / Pocono)