The forecast calls for temps in the mid-seventies with a chance of a thunderstorm on Saturday at Pocono Downs. If the weather cooperates there may be an explosion of speed that outdoes the one that occurred there in 2012 during the elimination and final rounds of the Hempt, Lynch, Franklin and Beal stakes.
Last year the final of the $500,000 Beal was held on the same night as the elimination round for the other three; this year they are all in sync. The Beal served as Goo’s coming out party. He won his elimination by seven in a WR :51.3 and topped that in the final as he became the first trotter to break :51 on a 5/8 track. Stormin Normand was the only other starter to maintain contact with the winner and he finished a length back. Dan Patch winner Market Share skipped the Beal.There are three eight horse eliminations for the Beal on Saturday—nine of them will make next week’s final. Celebrity Maserati and Peter Haughton winner Aperfectyankee will have a rematch in the first. Jimmy Takter’s Dontyouforgetit has the rail in that split. Corky takes on Royalty For Life in the second division. The latter won a split of the ISS and finished second to Wheeling N Dealin in the BC last year. His only 2013 start was a disaster as he was five off the gate at the start and ran part of the way home. He gets Tetrick here. EBC winner Jurgen Hanover, a winner of all seven starts this year, takes on the NJSS kingpin, Smilin Eli, in the third split.
Division top gun, Wheeling N Dealin is absent from a premium sophomore tilt for the second time this month. He wasn’t staked to the Goodtimes at Mohawk either. That’s a big disappointment. The top four finishers from the Goodtimes, including winner Flanagan Memory, are all missing from the Beal.Last year’s Lynch proved to be a very exciting race as Jewel engaged the leader, Economy Terror, for the last 3/8 of a mile and finally won in a WR tying :49.2. The mark was jointly held by Peelers and Showherthemoney. Jewel was on a path to being considered an all-time great after winning the Lynch, but she subsequently lost the Shalee to Major Look, the EBC to Bettor B Lucky and the Valley Forge to stablemate, Romantic Moment. As was the case the previous year with that other New York bred, Peelers, greatness proved elusive.
Saturday’s second Lynch division is a beauty: Fan Hanover winner, I Luv The Nitelife, drew the four, with Somwherovrarainbow just outside of her. And if that isn’t enough, Adios Betty and Courageous Lady winner, Charisma Hanover, a perfect five for five for the Burke barn, starts from the outside. The first split matches Ms Caila J Fra, winner of the NJSS final over Jerseylicious and Nitelife, against the former—from the rail—and the outstanding Bettor’s Delight filly, Shebestingin, from the far outside. Jerseylicious started from the eight in last week’s Fan Hanover. Belle Boyd, Love Canal and L Dees Lioness are missing from the Lynch.A Rocknroll Dance established himself as a player in last year’s Hempt. Elimination winners, Duer and Kingcole, knocked heads for the last 5/8 of a mile only to have Gingras get up at the wire and steal it with 17/1 Dance in a :48.3 mile. He won the Pace and Battle after that but from mid-August on it was one bad post, tough mile and poor finish after another. He’s now dropped fifteen straight. Part-owner/trainer, Jim Mullinix, was presented with the 2012 Winner’s Circle Award by the Ohio chapter of the USHWA. Hello! Earth to Ohio. Talk about a horse in need of a new home.
The Captain, fresh off his Cup win, should handle the competition pretty easily in the third Hempt elimination. Casie Coleman bemoaned the bad racing luck of her Bettor’s Delight gelding, Vegas Vacation, in the Cup. This is his chance to prove her right: he drew the one for Sears in that division. The Summer Survivor Series phenom, Word Power, steps up this week. He drew the seven against Lonewolf Currier, Emeritus Maximus, Johny Rock and Source Of Pride in the first division of the Hempt. The $100,000 final of the Summer Survivor Series is the same night as the Hempt final. And Wake Up Peter is well positioned to win the second division as Bye Bye Byrd winner, Beach Memories, and Martini Hanover drew way outside of him. Fool Me Once, Sunshine Beach, Doctor Butch, Sir Carys Z Tam, Varadero Hanover and Twilight Bonfire are among the missing.Aracache had his five minutes of fame when he won an elimination for last year’s Franklin in :48.1. Cheddar overpowered the field in the other with a :48.3 mile. He came first up at the 3/8 and crushed the field in the final, too, tying the WR of :48. That win matched the stakes record held by Artistic Fella and Mr Big. Cheddar marked himself as the top dog in the division that night.
There were only two elimination divisions for the Franklin last year; there are three on Saturday. Cheddar, with two unsuccessful but promising starts in him, drew the outside in the first for his regular chauffeur, George Brennan. Golden Receiver, the last place finisher in his 2012 elimination, drew the two. Heston Blue Chip finally takes on his peers in the second, from the outside post. Sweet Lou, given a week off after a head to head battle with Cheddar in the RWJ, drew just inside of HBC. RWJ winner, Pet Rock, starts from the rail in the third. Molson winner, State Treasurer, starts just outside of him. Foiled, Kingcole and Duer are also in the field.As is often the case, elimination night for these four stakes may trump next week’s finals.