There were three $15,000 preliminaries for trotters of both sexes in Bobby Weiss Series action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday night (April 11), and a female posted the fastest time of all – the Kadabra mare Sunrise Avenue, who knocked a second off her winning time in the first round of the Weiss by triumphing Tuesday in 1:55.4.
Sunrise Avenue used tactics similar to last week’s win, making the lead in the second quarter and keeping control, and she won by last week’s exact margin of three and a half lengths, but she stepped home in :28.1 here to mark her as a serious contender for the Weiss Championship while winning for driver Eric Carlson, trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, and J M F Racing LLC.
Talkin Tootsie stalked Connie Jean through much of their Weiss division, then out-brushed her at the end to take a new mark of 1:56.4, winning by a neck – with those two 20 lengths ahead of the rest of the field, most of whom made breaks. George Napolitano Jr. handled sulky duties behind the Cantab Hall mare for trainer Matias Ruiz and owners Martin Garey and Harvey Wieseneck.
In the third distaff Weiss, trainer Neal Ehrhart, who had started seven trot ladies in their Weiss event last week and got six cheques, raced back those same seven horses and again got six cheques – but Tuesday he got a winner as well, with the night’s only winning Weiss sophomore, Gins Tonic. The Muscle Massive filly joined her fellow winners in reducing her personal best time, reporting home in 1:56.1 to beat My Cherry Pie by a half-length for driver Marcus Miller and owner Virginia Ehrhart.
In the first round of the Weiss preliminaries for males, the Credit Winner gelding Ooh Rah left his breaking problems behind him in New York State, coming to The Downs and earning a new speed badge of 1:56. Jim Morrill Jr. worked out a second-over trip with Ooh Rah, made the stretch lead, then held off onrushing 84-1 shot Perseverance by a half-length for trainer Kathleen La Montagne, also co-owner with Donald Montagne.
The team behind barely-thwarted longshot Perseverance – driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Jenny Melander – came back later to have a wire-to-wire Weiss winner in the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding Hilarious Hero, as he also took a personal best of 1:56.3. Zero-for-24 at two and three, Hilarious Hero is now two-for-two at age four, with the crowd catching on to the point that he was “only” an 8-1 shot in winning for Melander Racing Inc. and Clark Stables LLC.
Like Ooh Rah, Bend In The River also made the ship from Yonkers to Pocono a worthwhile one in taking another Weiss cut for “the boys,” making for a sweep of lifetime records (like the ladies) and four-year-old geldings in the Weiss male cuts. The altered son of Southfork lowered his mark to 1:57.1 in going wire-to-wire and beating out the favoured Armbro Hall by a head, with Marcus Miller in the sulky (giving him a Weiss win with both sexes) for trainer Nick Surick and the Second Chance Stable Inc.
Eighteen-year-old Hunter Oakes, whose family has been known to have some success at Pocono over the years, joined a very limited harness racing club when he won with his first official starter as a trainer, taking a $15,500 conditioned pace for mares with the $430,000-plus winner Marlee B in 1:51.4. The Mach Three mare was making her first start of the season, but she had enough to be a pocket rocket in merging victorious for driver George Napolitano Jr. and Synerco Ventures Inc.
(Standardbred Canada with files from PHHA/Pocono)