Ontario-sired Mach It So rallied from the pocket to win Saturday night’s featured $35,000 Open Handicap Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and did so in world record time.
Leaving from post position No. 4 in a field of six as a 7-1 shot, Mach It So (Mach Three-Beach Dancer), a four-year-old gelding from the PJ Fraley barn, left well for driver Andrew McCarthy and then sat the pocket as Bigtown Hero cut out blistering fractions of :25.2, :52.2, and 1:19.1. Those numbers proved unsustainable for the 4-5 favourite, and Mach It So rallied in the stretch through the inside passing lane to hold off State Treasurer by a half-length. Wake Up Peter finished third.
The winning time of 1:48 broke the world record for four-year-old pacing geldings on a five-eighth-mile oval of 1:48.1, which was set in July of 2013 at Pocono by Live On and matched later in the year at the track by Dynamic Youth.
Owned by Bamond Racing, Mach It So won for the eighth time in 21 races in 2014. It was his 18th career victory and pushed his lifetime earnings to $612,343.
Sweet Lou was honoured at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs during Saturday night’s card, a few weeks before his official retirement.
The five-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser was a fan favourite at Pocono and set a World Record on Sun Stakes Saturday in June of 1:47, the fastest time ever on a five-eighth-mile track. He won 10 of 17 starts this year, with those 10 coming consecutively, and all in sub-1:49 fashion.
Fans wearing the Sweet Lou souvenir hat, given away earlier in the evening, surrounded the winner’s circle, as he jogged the Pocono track for the last time of his illustrious career. The winner’s circle was filled with his connections, including members of the “Burke Brigade”; co-owner Phil Collura; members of Pocono management; and drivers Ron Pierce and Matt Kakaley.
A few tears were shed as Sweet Lou left the Pocono winner’s circle for the last time, and the fans broke out in applause and cheers to send him off with a chorus of “Good Luck” for his next few races and his next career.