George Napolitano Jr. breaks his own record


The red-hot George Napolitano Jr. broke his own record for most driving victories in one season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when he guided Monopoly Blue Chip to victory in the 13th race of the Tuesday night program, his seventh win of the night and more importantly his 348th of the racing season at The Downs, eclipsing his old standard set in 2004.
Napolitano started the night with 341 Pocono wins, and dashed home first in the fourth race, then as good as put his head down and said, “Let’s get this over with” and proceeded to win the 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th races before setting the record in race 13. And would there be a better-named horse, given his domination of the winners circle earlier, to break the record than Monopoly Blue Chip?
Napolitano will soon be able to post a “magic number” on how many wins he needs to mathematically lock up the title for the Pocono meet, which has 14 cards to go, as at press time he has a 348-210 victory edge over second-place Simon Allard (who got the winner in race 10, between GNap’s consecutive triples). The win crown will be “George Nap”‘s fourth straught at Pocono and ninth all-time, the latter number giving him the all-time outright lead in driving win titles locally, as he and Bill Lambertus both won eight dashwinning crowns prior to this season.
Having posted a possibly-unprecedented 366 wins since July 1, Napolitano has thrust himself in contention for the North American win crown, a title he took in 2010. Aaron Merriman and two-time dash defending champion Ron Wrenn Jr., both based at Northfield presently, had been running 1-2 throughout the season before George came into contention, and a check of the Northfield results for Tuesday at press time had these seasonal totals: Merriman 680, Napolitano 675, Wrenn 654.
One final note: regular Pocono announcer Jim Beviglia, who has called the vast majority of George Nap’s victories here this year, was not available on Tuesday and thus did not call the record win, but he may take some consolation from the person who did: Mike Bozich, announcer at Harrah’s Philadelphia and mikeman for the vast majority of Napolitano’s 301 wins there this season.