Connors’ Comments at POCONO DOWNS
SATURDAY EVENING, MAY 4, 2019
FIRST RACE – Delayed because of the Derby objection and disqualification … BIG GAME HUNTER took back early, sat third-in, cleared before midstretch and had a very fast last 200 feet to just be along. WAR-N-MUNN was fastest away, pushed a rival to the 3/16 then yielded for the pocket, to the Pocono Pike, appeared to get a nose up 100 feet out but was caught. FEELING CAM LUCKY was looped early, worked to the front 3/16, sprinted down the back, held well. NORTHERN VIRGIN stayed in, OK in the Pike. SOMEWHERE FANCY was second-over, three-wide past midturn when cover faltered, not bad late. SPRINTER N was in a tough spot third-over. ARCHANGEL THREE was uncovered to the second turn, got a nose ahead of the pocket horse 11/16, gradually faded in the last ¼.
SECOND RACE – FERNADO wanted to go on to the lead but took the pocket 3/16 when it was apparent the inside foe had other ideas, stayed tight, angled out early stretch and just stepped away from SONG CYCLE SENESE. The latter opened up a big hole for the winner, set the pace with outside pressure a long way, shook off that one but couldn’t handle the winner, well-clear in second. PREACHER OLLIE got a forward spot, backed out to second-over and was soon blindswitched at a distance from the top three, ducked in late turn, got the distant show. HORSING AROUND was outside midpack early, then made a big charge up reaching the leader by the second turn, continue to argue with that one, faded the last 1/8. SEEN BEFORE HEARD was outside behind a dull one, chose to go three-wide past the 5/8 and remained out wide, flattened out. ROCKIN CELEBRATION tucked fourth, then sat in and was shuffled back. PEDIGREE BLUE CHIP backed out to second-over, but came up empty 9/16 and ducked back in. WOODYINTHESHADE was never prominent. SIR BRADFORD was near the back when breaking before headstretch.
THIRD RACE — RAKSMACH N was third-in / last headstretch, but could come all the way up the Pocono Pike and passed ‘em all. WARP FACTOR THREE was parked most of the ¼ to get on top, then yielded for the pocket, vacated same 11/16 and challenged, outpaced to the far inside. GOIN DOWN ROCKIN backed off early, in, got to the pocket late backstretch, angled out early stretch but was blocked a long way, closed well once free late to tie CONCUR. The latter was uncovered off the second turn, got cover 11/16, steadily. CLASSY HILL was third-over, three-wide before headstretch, not quite enough. WAGON MASTER set a fast pace with two moves, tired in the stretch. … Four of the six here were claimed for a total of $125,000, which may be a one-race PcD record.
FOURTH RACE — ROYAL HEART tucked third, slid outside late turn and wide early stretch, with a giant last 1/16 to be along and get the first sub-1:50 mile of the season here. IDEAL WHEEL was parked 3/16 in a fast opener, went another big quarter down the back and got pressure 11/16, held with great gameness. REBELLIOUS was first-over towards turn two, speed-grinded in the fast third quarter and reached the leader 11/16, battled that one all the way home. CROCKETS CULLEN N forced the fast quarter then yielded for the pocket, step-and-a-half shy late. SWEET BEACH appeared all-out to keep up the last 3/8. WHOS BETTER gapped most of the way. SOMETIMESAWINNER was underway before the 3/8 and got cover after that point, gapped out 11/16.
FIFTH RACE – Two of the All-Time Top Ten Pocono Lovers in a classic stretch duel … ALWAYS AT MY PLACE used the rail to help defend the pocket, raced under a hold, to the Pocono Pike and came home in 53.4 – 26.2 to catch the tough SCOTT ROCKS in the fastest mile of the year here to date, 1:49.1. The latter easily made the lead, rated the half, was not challenged until the stretch, held on very well but just outsprinted. BALLERAT BOOMERANG vacated third ¾, held his ground. SPORTS COLUMN was uncovered before the 11/16 then got cover ¾, very good in the last 50 yards. OSTRO HANOVER stayed in, to the Pocono Pike, not far off third. MARINER SEELSTER sat in, not a factor here.
SIXTH RACE – BASS PLAYER defended the pocket against outside leavers, sat the golden journey, out in the stretch and went by solidly. PAPRIKE BLUE CHIP forced leathergrabbing with a 26 quarter, rated quarter two then sprinted home but still was caught, well clear of the rest. JK PRIDENJOY spotted, came uncovered 3/8 and held a place outside the leader to the ¾, when he tired, still beat the rest. SOMEBEACH BARON broke an 1/8 before the start, caught the field and managed to work to second-over, three-wide midturn, couldn’t quite capture show but made a good recovery nonetheless. GERARD N MO got jammed up behind the breaker at the half and lost contact. BETTER B ROLLING was three-wide leaving then challenged through the challenging quarter, backed off to third past that station, gapped from down the backstretch. SUDDENLY SAM was right behind the breaker at the half, was shoved very wide and lost all chance. NIGHT CLUB HANOVER was looped leaving, took back to settle in fourth, was backing out to third-over just before the half when he lost gait.
SEVENTH RACE – DANCIN HALL continued on between horses to get the lead 5/16, never let up and was far clear at the end. WESTERN DELIGHT backed out to third-over 11/16, had to go four-wide approaching headstretch, passed many horses in the lane. GALLERY OPENING was out before the half, got distant cover 5/8 then gradually got closer to cover, three-wide late turn, outkicked for second. BONFIRE BLISS got others to tuck then yielded for the pocket 5/16, struggling from before the ¾. IDEAL ROCKY and SANATTLE SLEW were never in the main hunt. OUR REGAL IDEAL N tucked fourth before the 3/16, gapped the second quarter, little in the lane. GOOD SIDE looked at leaving but took back, came out raw 5/8 but didn’t gain much before falling back.
EIGHTH RACE – Some rain falling during this race … MAXDADDY BLUE CHIP controlled the throttle from start to finish in an impressive mile. CITY HALL was away well and sat the pocket, not catching the winner but not to be caught for second. DRUNK ON YOUR LOVE sat in, didn’t have too much late but held third over a pair of closers. DON’TCALLMEFRANCIS followed cover 3/8, had to go three-wide late turn when the cover began to give way, finished steadily; THEFREEDOMFIGHTERN stayed on that one’s back throughout, swung four-wide and was doing well late. DEALMAKER never featured. MACHTU N took out behind the parked horse 3/8, gradually reached him then three-wide before the 11/16 back to two-wide after that spot, tired in the last quarter. BLOW A CLOUD N was always far back. TENACIOUS ONE A left but found no hole and was left out to dry, pressed the leader past the 5/8 and then backed off.
NINTH RACE – MIDWAY ISLAND raced into the pocket at the 1/8, stayed close, outside headstretch and raced to the lead in a good mile, ANap’s eighth win of the day. CHRISTEN ME N was three-wide to the 1/8 and shortly in front after that, sped up down the back but couldn’t blunt the pocket rocket. KHUN RATHA A gained early position, originally thought of going to the Pocono Pike but then angled wide, found his best strides past midstretch and was almost second. DAKOTA JACK stayed connected inside and wasn’t bad in the Pike. BIG N BAD was second-over at the half, three-wide midturn, not enough. WHAT’S GOIN ON came out third-over down the back but gapped cover. NIMBLE AND QUICK moved out at the half and went in 26.4 in attacking the leader, but was done on the far turn. THE OTHER TWO gapped at the back.
TENTH RACE – HIGHALATOR was kept out past the ¼ by the pole horse, yielded for the pocket, went to the Pocono Pike and kicked in midstretch to outpace BETTOR MEMORIES late. The latter sat in then moved second-over, gapped down the backstretch, got a little closer on the turn, wide stretch and finished steadily. THE WALL was first-over from seventh, streaked up down the backstretch as the longest shot on the board, headed the heavy favorite on the turn, went a terrific mile. DUPLICATED N pushed the winner to a fast quarter, yielded, stayed in, finally could angle out midstretch and finished crisply. WESTERN FAME tucked third behind the early duel, moved at the ¼ and went to the lead, just didn’t have enough tonight. FILIBUSTER HANOVER was last much of the way, wide and was moving well the last half of the stretch. SOHO WALLSTREET A was never clear with horse in the stretch. CRUISE PATROL gapped third-over. KEEP ON ROCKING A developed a problem past the half and fell far back.
ELEVENTH RACE – SHADY CITY was away third, got to the pocket as the former occupant of that spot pulled out before the ¾, to the Pocono Pike and along. WAIKIKI BEACH A went up second-over from seventh, saw cover stall before the 5/8 and went three-wide only to get new two-wide cover to the ¾, wide again in the stretch and finished steadily. BET ON BRETT set the pace, was challenged from before the ¾, not enough. THE DARK SHADOW made the pocket leaving, pulled out before the ¾, outclosed to both sides. MAJOR TRICK went evenly late after sitting in. BONDI HANOVER took back to tuck fifth 3/16, angled wide for the drive and was OK. BILBO HANOVER was uncovered 3/8 but didn’t advance the last 3/8. THE OTHER DUO did not make their presence felt.
TWELFTH RACE – NINE WAYS went out for the lead, hung a foe past a fast quarter, was rocked home as not really challenged in the lane. ROOTIN TOOTIN moved to second-over behind the parked horse past the 3/8, three-wide 5/8 to two-wide raw and one-geared it home to be a very decent second. SHOOTER’S DREAM was used to keep a hole closed on the first turn, pocket, didn’t have that much late. DRAGONOLOGY sat in, swung out on the far turn and had some finishing pace. CALIFORNIA CRUISIN was out behind moderately-advancing cover but didn’t do that much. IWILLMAKEYOUSAYWOW tucked fourth, was not again heard from. BLAYDE HANOVER and JOHNNY Q were not factors from near the back of the field. ITSONLYROCKNROLL A left but got left out in the air, fading before the 5/8.