FIRST RACE – Low 40s throughout the card … Stretch tailwind … After earlier rain, the track rated “good” for the first 11 races, and “fast” thereafter; the track was rated “+1” for the first four races, and “+0” thereafter … A very rough day for anybody trying to race in the two(+)-wide tier(s) during the second half: the headwind down the back often inhibited first-over moves and flow … HIS BEATS HANOVER was the one pacer on the day who won after being two-wide during the last half: he moved uncovered at the 5/8, went by midturn, and drew away. THE WALL joined the outer flow ¾ and was a distant best of the rest. TJ’S INDY PACER left to garner the pocket, shuffled some late turn then to the Pocono Pike, evenly. HEARTBEAT HILL moved behind cover, saw it get away from him when left raw on the turn, evenly. NO QUARTER dashed away from the pole and went three :27.4 quarters on the lead (reflecting the atypical wind pattern), had the winner go by on the turn and faded. YUPPER was not factor. GENERAL MONTANA N was actually the fastest off the gate but took back when he saw a bunch of others looking for early position, no factor thereafter. NORTHERN RAIN gapped at times at the back.
SECOND RACE – PERKINS tucked early then hustled to maintain the two-hole, sat behind an embattled half, outside midturn and went to the lead early stretch, held off ODDS ON DELRAY. The latter slid in fifth behind parked horses, stayed third-in until coming out behind the winner past midturn, wide in the lane and was doing well late. MODERN ROCK set the pace with parked horses hounding him most of the way, shook them off at the ¾ but then had fresh attackers coming at him, tired. DAVIDS COMING HOME gapped early, Pocono Pike, not too much to offer here. VIRGIN STORM had to swing wide around the decaying middle tiers on the turn and finished OK. CAPOZZO was four-wide before the ¾, got to three-wide on the turn while gaining, but was tiring in the stretch. SEAL O’NEILL rode behind the parked ROYHILL, tried to go three-wide around him before the 11/16 but faded alongside him; possibly the pair were in close quarters.
THIRD RACE – AMERICAN CLASSIC was in front at the 1/8, rolled under a hold, a most impressive winner in a fast time. BLUESVILLE yielded to sit a perfect two-hole, didn’t give much stretch ground. LUCKBEWITHALEX was behind a struggler, circled him and went to the Pocono Pike, very strong finish. C-BET HANOVER gapped midrace then got closer, couldn’t gain late. THE OTHER THREE were never prominent in this quick mile.
FOURTH RACE – DRAGON STRIKES avoided the “dreaded” outer tier, swung wide in the stretch and gained strongly late to catch BELLOWS BINGE. The latter moved from second 3/16 to take over 5/16, set the pace, drew clear upper stretch but couldn’t keep going to the finish. ALWAYS BETTER left well with urging, on top at the 1/8, yielded for the pocket, a bit loose ¾ into the lane, but fought on to the wire. A FEARSOME HANOVER gapped in last, then found room between horses in tight quarters and was gaining late in the stretch. PUZZLING sat in, was not prominent. SOMBODYITREASURE was second-over but like so many today was not well-served by his cover, went three-wide but didn’t have much himself. DILLINGER came uncovered at the 3/8, never headed the pocket horse before tiring. TUXEDO BAY did not make his presence felt.
FIFTH RACE – DONTPASSMEHANOVER was underway from fifth before the ¼, had cover to before the 3/8 then went on to the lead into the second turn, overpowered these in the fastest mile of the year so far at Pocono, 1:50.4. VETTEL N outleft everybody, yielded but moved again at the ¼ in front of the winner, took the top again then let it go to the winner, couldn’t keep up on the far turn, but stayed game to be best of the rest. BETTORS DONTTELL was looped early, kept going to the lead near the ¼, saw two horses go by in quarter two and stayed in third, had nowhere to go far turn, finally to the Pocono Pike, OK but couldn’t quite make second. JUSTA LITTLE BIT A stayed in, evenly late. MR DS ROCK moved raw at the half but couldn’t get close to the lead. PRINCE OF TIDES never surfaced. TUGGIN ON MY HEART was rough after the start and finally made a break, recovered, followed nonflowing cover, couldn’t recover any more ground. LISBURN checked with the early breaker, was disconnected.
SIXTH RACE – More “all inner tier” … BUSBOY HANOVER quarter-moved, didn’t have pressure, held off the late move of UNICO LEGEND N. The latter went to the point, forced a tuck before the ¼, then yielded to the winner, stayed close and moved out in the lane, may have drifted out a bit but still was doing well late. DROPTHERAKEFREDDY wanted the lead but had to take the pocket 3/16, eased out on the turn, didn’t gain but held off a bunch for third. DRAGON ROARS AGAIN was four-wide early, dropped down to tuck fourth at the 1/8, evenly in the stretch. ARTIFACT HANOVER was second-over, three-wide through the far turn, fair late on a day where outer-tier horses struggled. BAMSKI ducked inside, deep Pocono Pike, evenly. BLAKEMORE moved three-wide ¾ from last, couldn’t get in it. HASH-TAG SWAG moved raw into turn two, never reached the leader before tiring.
SEVENTH RACE – CODE CRACKER looped this group four-wide early for the lead, yielded to sit the two-hole and stayed close, to the inside in the lane and had the punch to catch IMA HAPPY FELLA GB. The latter was looped and three-wide to the 1/8, then two-wide to the ¼, set the pace, tried hard but didn’t have the late steps of the winner. SAMHARA N went three-wide at the ¾ from third-over, finished better than many today with his kind of trip. HECANDANCENCRUISE was second-over, inside past midturn, evenly. GROOVY MAN left some but took back, gapped in quarter two then was uncovered off turn two, dropped in third near the ¾, not too much left. DRAGON CITY never factored here. NOCH TEN left some, was roused at the half but faded from that point.
EIGHTH RACE – BENJI’S BEST left for command just before the 3/16, made mincemeat of these in the last panel. OUR MAJORDAN N was second-over, three-wide far turn and got to be the distant second over a tight group. HOMESTRETCH WES was trapped in when the pocket horse unplugged far turn, to the Pocono Pike and regained some ground. URBAN RENEWAL pushed early then yielded for the two-hole trip, started to go loose 11/16. THE NEXT THREE were moving OK at the wire after having to come from w-a-y out of it. ELWELL grinded into a 4-tuck at the 1/8, first-over into turn two, went 27.2 against the wind down the back making some gain, but then tired.
NINTH RACE – MISS MCKEE left some, moved 3/16 to take over 5/16, in firm control here. GRAPPLE HANOVER left well, had the early pocket then sat third, along the inside in the stretch and outclosed ROCK OF CASHEL for second. The latter raced three-high towards turn one, in front at the 1/8, yielded to the winner, came out headstretch but didn’t have all that much late; still far ahead of the rest. ARCHIBALD sat in, gapped far turn, evenly inside late. LEVITATION vacated fourth ¾, lost fourth in a picture. EXCHEQUER never was on the radar. TRICKY DICK moved out down the back but couldn’t get close. KASEVILLE was gapping before the ½.
TENTH RACE – PARK OFFICIAL left but was looped, got on top at the ¼, had a serious challenge from first-over DIVISION BELL, but after that one went offstride to headstretch had things fairly easy in the lane. FRONTIER ROLLO got early forward position, sat in, came up the inside with pace for second. PLAY THE FIELD quickly circled the field from post eight, yielded at the ¼ to the winner and sat tight, outside stretch but had no more gain. A BETTOR BEACH was far back and stuck inside on the turn, beat the outer tier horses. BRAVO TEX N sat in then backed out to second-over 5/8 but gapped, blindswitched, so-so once clear. MUDVILLE was in a dull flow, tried a three-wide maneuver 11/16 but never gained much. CAVIART VAL moved second-over but soon started to gap. DIVISION BELL started up raw into turn two, gained while going 27.1 down the back and was still in the fight for the win when making a break just before headstretch.
ELEVENTH RACE – SONNY WEAVER N, briefly four-wide early, went out to take control before the 3/16, got company past the half and fought that raw challenger off, had a pair of 27.2 back quarters in him to be a confident winner here. STOP STARING went on early to the top then yielded or the pocket, swung out for the drive, neither gained nor lost ground in the sprint home. NICHOLAS BEACH sat in third, had room up the inside, paced well but couldn’t go enough. PAT MCGARRY A looked at leaving but took back, was second-over and tightened in on cover in the fast third split, three-wide midturn, did well against the bias late. KEYSTONE STEAM gapped at the back, a little better late. SOUTHWIND PETYR couldn’t get involved from third-over. INDIGO ART charged out at the half and went 26.3 full-out down the back to put big-time pressure on the winner, but paid for his efforts in the last ¼.
TWELFTH RACE – SHORE OF HIMSELF left quickly, yielded for the pocket, came out with a rush 9/16 to get the lead 11/16 as the top two drew away, bore out in the stretch but managed to beat out WAR DAN DELIGHT N; an inquiry into whether SHORE OF HIMSELF’s drifting bothered the place horse enough for a placing revealed no cause for doing so. WAR DAN DELIGHT N left three-wide to two-wide to clear before the 3/16, did not fight too hard when the winner when past down the back but was kept alert to stay close, came out in the stretch and was wide in the lane, just missed. CAPTAIN T HANOVER was away near the rear, sat in, up the Pocono Pike for a very distant third over a bunch. SIMPLE KINDA MAN left, sat third, unplugged from the top two 5/8, so-so. JK OBJECTION tucked early, was uncovered into turn two, left behind by the top two 5/8, evenly. OH K MAN had cover which never reached the front. CENTURY FURY was not in the main picture; nor did NEWBIE enter the main picture.
THIRTEENTH RACE – CAPTAIN ROMANCE left, yielded past the 1/8 and stayed right in the action in the pocket, to the Pocono Pike and just got the measure of his opposition in a close finish. CAVEMAN A took back early, started uncovered past the 3/8 (an especially hard trip today), grinded with no surcease, unlucky to be pictured out. CRUNCH HANOVER was outside 3/8, gapped a bit second-over down the back and on the far turn, then was pacing well as the line approached. IMAGINARY LINE went to control things past the 1/8, slowed the half then had an unshakeable first-over coming at him, gave way a little late. MULLINAX sat third-in, had no clear path late. WHITECOOKIE didn’t keep with cover third-over. THE LAST TWO were the last two throughout.
FOURTEENTH RACE – TNT BLUE CHIP was four-deep early, three-wide to the 1/8, then onward to two-wide to the lead 3/8 in very fast early splits, kept up the denuding tempo and found no one who could go with him as he went the fastest trot mile of the local season, 1:54.1. BULLY BOY HILL needed much of the quarter to clear a stubborn polesitting BEER CHEESE, relinquished for the pocket, wasn’t in the class of the winner but did well to be a clear second. BEER CHEESE dashed away, then finally yielded, sat third, couldn’t stay with the pocket horse to the ¾, just maintained third late against closers. HEART MATTERS had nongaining cover, finished with trot. CHAPHEART was uncovered at the half but didn’t get untracked today. THE NEXT TWO were no factors. AP HALL OF TRIX got a 4-tuck, gapped 11/16 and broke late on the turn.