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Lather Up, Manchego shine at Pocono
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - by PHHA/Pocono

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Wilkes-Barre- PA --- On Saturday evening (June 23) eliminations were contested at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono for the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace, the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial Pace and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial Pace. Also included on the star-studded card was a leg of the Great Northeast Open Series which was captured by Bettor's Edge in a sharp 1:48.2; the swiftest North American mile this season.

A rundown of the events follows:

Ben Franklin Pace eliminations:
Heaven Rocks A proved best in a cavalry charge to the wire, sweeping off cover to reduce his stateside mark to 1:49.3 in the first $30,000 Franklin elimination. Check Six moved to the lead after the :26.1 opener, got to the midpoint in :54.1, then was challenged by first-over Western Fame to the 1:22 three-quarter pole. Heaven Rocks A tipped three-wide midturn, was a bit hard to keep on a maximum course late on the turn, but then showed determination to withstand late-charging Donttellmeagain by a neck, with Western Fame holding stoutly for third and a Franklin final spot. Ross Croghan trains the winner of $414,145 and driver David Miller co-owns him with the Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham.

McWicked soars to victory in his Ben Franklin elimination.

McWicked made winning look McEasy despite a first-over journey, winning handily for driver Brian Sears in 1:48.3. Mach It So set the early pace of :26 and :54.2, then had to contend with the inexorable McGrind of the winner. McWicked took the lead shortly after the 1:21.2 three-quarters, then finished out in 27.1, by 2-3/4 lengths ahead of Rockin Ron, who split horses late to just get second over longshot Mac’s Jackpot, who photoed Mach It So for advancement to next week’s championship. Casie Coleman conditions the veteran son of McArdle, who now is at $2,394,362 in career earnings, for S S G Stables.

Sintra, sitting third head-stretch, ducked far inside for the stretch drive and did get to the wire first in 1:48.4 in his Franklin elimination, but he went inside the pylons in doing so and was placed third, elevating All Bets Off, who missed a nose after setting much of the pace (:54.2, 1:21), to the big share of the purse. Filibuster Hanover, sitting in the pocket after taking the early lead (:26.1) then yielding and to All Bets Off’s immediate left through the lane, was third placed second to halt his undefeated 2018 season, with Sintra’s placement back to third still enough to get him through to the final. All Bets Off, who sat a world record here three years ago that still stands, was another successful teaming for Team Kakaley/Burke, nudging his earnings up to $2,990,054 for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino and the Panhellenic Stable Corporation.

Earl Beal Memorial eliminations:

Manchego kept her career record perfect after 15 starts, but in taking on “the boys” in her $25,000 Beal Trot elimination she was extended further than she had ever been before, holding off a game Crystal Fashion by a nose while equaling her career best of 1:52.4. Yannick Gingras kept the filly in mid-pack until traffic settled late on the first turn, then got her in gear before the :26.4 quarter, brushed to the lead, and got relatively soft middle fractions of :56 and 1:24.4. But through the stretch Crystal Fashion, who had ducked inside from second-over an eighth of a mile out, gained steadily, with Gingras chasing after the super filly late to maintain the victory in only her third race of the year. Jimmy Takter trains the winning daughter of Muscle Hill, who now has earnings of $929,688 for the ownership of Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman.

Ohio champion Mission Accepted proved he was the real deal against Grand Circuit stock by taking the first of the $25,000 Beal eliminations in 1:53.2. Those who had backed the Manofmanymissions colt to 4-5 had a few anxious moments down the back as their choice significantly gapped the cover of Patent Leather, who went his third split in :26.4 to clear pacesetter Whats The Word. But driver Ryan Stahl got more out of Mission Accepted and gained on the turn, then dove down into an open Pocono Pike, trotting away late for a 1-1/4 length tally over Patent Leather, with Lawmaker, forwardly-placed throughout, taking third. The winner, perfect in four starts this year and the Ohio Sire Stakes champion at two, now has a bankroll of $268,300 for trainer Jeff Conger, who is also the co-owner with Knox Services Inc. and David Wills.

Six Pack started from post six in his Beal elimination, then recorded all “1”s across his charted line, withstanding a late Pocono Pike rush from Evaluate by three-quarters of a length to win in 1:53.3. Trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt put the New York star right on the lead, and after a :29.3 second quarter breather, the son of Muscle Mass flew home. Evaluate was second.

Max C. Hempt Memorial eliminations:

Dorsoduro Hanover made a swift move to the lead before the five-eights in the first of the $25,000 Hempt eliminations, then held on gamely over the late charge of Springsteen by a neck, with forwardly-placed This Is The Plan, looped for the lead down the back. He came back to be another neck off the 1:49.4 winner to complete the trio to advance. The victorious Somebeachsomewhere gelding took a new lifetime mark and set a season’s record, running his 2018 record to 4-for-5 this season while taking his earnings to $172,668. Matt Kakaley handled sulky duties for trainer Ron Burke and the partnership of Burke Racing Stables LLC; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC and the Wingfield Five.

Hitman Hill paid a :26.2 price to get the lead before the quarter, put down :54.4 and 1:22.1 middle splits, then lasted to the wire by a head over inside charger Shnitzledosomethin in 1:49.3, a personal best and a tick better than Dorsoduro Hanover divisional season’s record. Stay Hungry, who found all sorts of trouble, out to the quarter before tucking from post position eight.Checking when the first-over broke before the three-quarters then rallied stoutly for third to advance. Hitman Hill is a son of American Ideal who was guided by Brett Miller for trainer Chris Oakes and the ownership of Tom Hill and Northfork Racing.

They saved the best for last on Sun Stakes Saturday elimination night, as the I’m Gorgeous colt Lather Up by made the lead past the quarter, then came home in :53.1 in hand late for driver Montrell Teague to freeze the timer in 1:49 in his $25,000 Hempt elimination. After the :22.2 opener put down by Nutcracker Sweet, Lather Up, three-wide just past the eighth pole, raced up to grab command, got a huge breather with a :55.4 half, and then asserted his divisional dominance with the brilliant last half, winning by 2-1/4 lengths over Nutcracker Sweet, with Wes Delight edging Well Done to move on to the final. But someone will have to go a big mile in seven days time to defeat Lather Up, trained by Clyde Francis and moving his bankroll to $544,765 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles, who saw their pride and joy remain undefeated in seven seasonal starts and add a seasonal record to his ever-growing resume.

James C. Lynch Memorial Pace eliminations:

Youaremycandygirl, looking more like her 2017 championship self, took the first $20,000 Lynch elimination on the engine in 1:51.3. Yannick Gingras was out to the :27.1 quarter to make the lead behind the daughter of American Ideal, then tripped the timer at the half in :56.2 before Alexa’s Power moved up to challenge. The 6-5 second choice pacesetter and the 1-2* first-over battled to and past the 1:23.2 3/4s, with Alexa’s Power dropping in the pocket at head-stretch and second-over Double A Mint coming quickly in the lane. Then held off Double A Mint by a neck, with Alexa’s Power and Hypnotic Tale next in line. Ron Burke conditions the winner of $925,915, 2-for-4 this year and 11-for-15 lifetime, for owner W. J. Donovan.

Curtis Salonick photo
Youaremycandygirl demonstrates her dominant form as a 3-year-old.

Kissin In The Sand left to the early lead, let Sidewalk Dancer go by at the half, then surged in the Pocono Pike mid-stretch to catch that rival in 1:51.1 in the other Lynch elimination. Sidewalk Dancer was out the whole way in the :26.4 quarter and almost to the half in :55 before clearing the winning favorite, went to the three-quarters in 1:23.1, but succumbed to the pocket rocket late, with I’m Trigger Happy, Sansovina Hanover, and Serene Stride (the faster 5th-place finisher) going on to the championship. Kissin In The Sand was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Nancy Johansson. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere has earned $345,545 for owners Marvin Katz and the Hatfield Stables.

Great Northeast Open Series:
Bettor’s Edge, equaled the fastest mile of the year in North America by winning in 1:48.2. The fractions were :25.1, :53.3, and 1:20, and the 9-year-old winner set most of the pace. Rodeo Romeo got past Bettor’s Edge after the astounding quarter, but then the winner of $2,133,382 was out and retaking for Scott Zeron in front of the stands and “got a rest” to the half. Then Highalator came first-over and got a small advantage late backstretch through the smoking three-quarters, but the winner held him off, then withstood the Pocono Pike late move of Rodeo Romeo to tally by a half-length for trainer Jennifer Lappe, also the co-owner with Robert Santagata; Highalator was only a neck further back in third.


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