FIRST RACE – Mid 50s throughout the day … WITH OUT A DOUBT was the only leaver and rolled on the lead, just warded off the grinder KING ALPHONSO. The latter moved raw at the 5/8, never made a big move at the leader until very late, very steadily to just miss. NEXTROUNDSONME moved out and got second-over, wide early in the stretch and had an OK finish. CONQUEST AS got the pocket by default with only the one outside leaver, clear in the Pocono Pike but didn’t gain. COOL CLIFFORD sat in, deep Pike, also not having much. THE LAST TWO never entered the main picture.
SECOND RACE – CAPTAIN NASH was under encouragement early but did not advance much tucking fourth, did advance when pulled raw at the half and reached the lead before the ¾, ran away from these. DIVISION BELL sat in and was badly shuffled, cleared deep in the Pocono Pike and just up for a distant second. CAPTAIN MCKEE, outside, couldn’t get close to the winner early backstretch, got new cover, went three-wide around it midturn, almost second. JAHAN HANOVER was first to the lead, pushed the favorite the entire frontstretch before yielding the lead, then got shuffled back, mildly in the Pike. WHEN YOU DANCE was on the move 3/16 but needed urging to get enough speed to clear to the lead nearing turn two, couldn’t keep the winner out 11/16, fell back. NOX VEGAS BLUECHIP and DA MAGICIAN didn’t do much here. DRAGON STRIKES went into the pocket at the 1/8, moved back outside past the 5/8, soon left raw and just clogged that tier.
THIRD RACE – TULLOW N worked out a good cover trip, lost cover ¾, one-geared the last ¼ and was just up for the King Of The Longshot Trainers, David Russo. BUSBOY HANOVER, rough-gaited but game, moved raw into turn two, rushed up and cleared before the ¾, held on to the lead until the shadow of the wire. GLENGARRY KNIGHT N moved out 5/8, couldn’t stay with the top two but bettered the rest. ROCKIN INTHE HILLS was four-wide to the first turn, two-wide to the pocket 3/16, wanted to move off the first turn but rethought that idea, was shuffled as the top two got away, to the Pocono Pike, evenly. IN SPADES was shuffled to last, three-wide headstretch, some pace in recovery. LOVE THE ACTION came through from the rail, forced the same horse to tuck in twice, yielded to the ¾ and tired.
FOURTH RACE – Driver James MacDonald, 2017 World Driving Champion and Mark’s brother, had a rough trip for his first Pocono win (he raced here one day in 2015): NOTHING BUT MUSCLE left, was closed out of a hole 3/16 and tucked fourth, back out on the move on the lower turn, was swept down the back and gapped cover a bit until the stretch, then again wide and found the energy to win the battle to the wire. MARION GONDOLIER got a pocket trip, to the Pocono Pike, may have had a deep stretch lead for a step or two, did well. MASSIVE OPULENCE moved out with cover on turn two, three-wide before the 5/8 to get to two-wide and challenged, had a short lead at points on the turn but couldn’t clear, did grab the lead early stretch and held it a long way. ADAGIO DE LA TOUR outstepped everybody from the far outer post, set the pace, battled hard with the first-over and held well. JACK RULES was stuck inside, angled out to the path behind the winner before midstretch and closed some. TW LAUXMONT was away last from the rail and did not emerge as a factor. LIGHTNING KIDD gapped third-over. KEYSTONE SERGEANT had traffic trouble late on the turn, ducked back inside but broke trying to gain.
FIFTH RACE – CAPTAIN HILL left, had cover to the 3/16 then went on to the lead before the 3/8, pushed a brusher to near the half then sat behind him, outside stretch and stepped right by late. BEACH FIRE K left well and was tight behind the early battle, stepped out to the 3/8 and went on to the top before the fast half, kept going quick numbers, tired but held second. LORD OF MISRULE was in a cover flow, left raw to the 11/16 and continued on steadily. RANGERS SURESHOT gapped his cover, OK late. REDHOT ROMEO went uncovered at the half, retucked third before the 11/16, faded the last quarter. AN THE THUNDEROLLS sat in, was shuffled to last and lost all chance. POLAK A left and seized command 3/16, yielded, all done 5/8.
SIXTH RACE – BLACKLIGHT left between horses and tucked third at the 1/8, moved uncovered past the 5/8, crept up a little, then did better late and went on by. SOMEBEACH BARON was three-wide to the 1/8 to the lead 3/16, set the pace as he wanted, just could not sustain the advantage to the finish. MONEYMAN HILL left well and preserved the pocket, little at crunch time. WORLD ON EDGE stayed semi-connected. THE OTHERS did not.
SEVENTH RACE – ICINGON DE CUPCAKE moved uncovered past the 5/8 and went up to challenge, in a fight through the stretch, just along. O JONNIE sat the pocket behind fast fractions, may’ve been bottomed a little chasing them, Pocono Pike, had dead aim but not enough. CRITICAL MASS stayed connected, a bit of trot as the pace decelerated. MAGIC VACATION rolled along at a quick clip without pressure until nearing the ¾, tired. MAJOR IMPACT was outside but couldn’t reach cover; WILLY MOUSE was right behind him, gapped slightly. PITTSTOP KIP never featured. SWISS PLATINUM was losing contact before the half.
EIGHTH RACE – REVELRY was urged leaving, maintained the pocket, then quarter-moved, set a quick pace under pressure from the half until nearing late on the far turn, then just drew away. AINTNOBETTER A was raw before the half and at the leader from the half to mid-far turn, tucked in the pocket to headstretch, all-out to hold second from BULLVILLE TERROR. The latter backed out to third-over, wide late turn, kept on coming. CAPTAIN CASH was away alertly for the lead, yielded for the pocket, gapped a little in the backstretch battle, gave way the last ¼. FEELING CAM LUCKY was right on his cover until the far turn, then couldn’t keep up. SCOOTNROLL and WARRAWEE UNIQUE were at the end of the field throughout.
NINTH RACE – BAMSKI left a big hole behind the pacesetter from before the 3/16 until the 5/8 then began to narrow in, out late backstretch and had a small advantage around the turn but could not clear, did not fully assert himself until late. WHITE HAIR ROCKS stayed connected to the top two, outside towards the ¾ but then inside nearing the stretch, to the Pocono Pike and second. BLOW A CLOUD N blew right out to the lead, with a large margin as noted from mid-first turn until late backstretch with giant fractions, had enough left to keep the winner a fight to midstretch, then tired some. GIVEN UP TERROR retucked around a gapper, gained inside, outside stretch and had belated pace. WINDSONG JACK went around the gapper but had little more to offer. A REAL MIRACLE and DRINKA BEER never got into the main picture. BURNING MIDNIGHT went up to tuck fourth at the 1/8, started gaining going to turn two, fell way back.
TENTH RACE – HIGHALATOR was three-wide to the 1/8 then two-wide to the front off turn one, rated the half then picked it up as a serious first-over challenge came on, shook off that one and held the rest safely in yet another game mile. RODEO ROCK came out second-over before the half, followed good cover until going three-wide headstretch, finished strongly although the winner didn’t look in danger. MYKINDACHIP used the rail to advantage to force a tuck then hang the favorite, yielded before the ¼ for the pocket, Pocono Pike, not enough pace late. AFLAME HANOVER was third-over, found his best strides a little too late. BILL HALEY N took back early, started uncovered into turn two and went his own third split in 26.2 to pressure the leader, got a little tired. AIR FORCE HANOVER didn’t enter the picture. I’M BENICIO A was between horses early, taken back to tuck but didn’t seem comfortable doing so, faded at the ¾.
ELEVENTH RACE – SCOTT ROCKS got the early two-hole then proceeded to gap for the next half-mile, in gear 5/8 and grinded to the leader, got the lead midturn but never cleared to the inside, held off the good-closing SWEET N FAST N. The latter was outside behind the winner, chose to stay behind him two-wide on the turn with room inside, finished resolutely. NATIVE’S SWEETLOU was last, had to circle three-wide past midturn, narrowed in very nicely. SUNSET BRAYDON sat in and was shuffled to last, weaved for clearance and finished well once with space midstretch. LYONS AMUSEMENTS lost cover to the 1/8 and was left on the outside challenging for the lead (in 26.4 / 54) until almost the half, kept the winner out around the turn, held well considering the amount of work he did. LEAR SEELSTER had cover, was blindswitched, ducked inside, not too much. HORSING AROUND was off on an open lead well past the ¼, pushed a foe before yielding before turn two, called it a day 5/8.
TWELFTH RACE – TRENTE DEO forced his main rival to tuck past the 1/8, rated the half, then powered home in 54.4 – 27. JOESSTAR OF MIA A had a slight advantage as the gate sped off but couldn’t clear the winner and took the pocket to the 3/16, second-best while no threat to win nor a “threat” to be caught for second. NATIONAL SPORT stayed connected third, outside midturn but quickly back in, evenly in the fast back fractions. INDICTABLE HANOVER moved behind dull cover, three-wide past the 5/8 to two-wide and getting cover, soon lost that cover on the turn, fair. BELL I NO took a spot, then was third-over, couldn’t keep up with the late backstretch sweeper. RAGS TO RICHES and BARNABAS were never in the main picture. PROVEN DESIRE moved uncovered to turn two but had very little.