The Western Ideal gelding Orillia Joe paced the fastest mile of the young 2017 season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1:49.4, in taking the featured $25,000 winners-over pace on Saturday.
Driver Eric Carlson gets major points for his handling of the Yonkers shipper, leaving strongly from the rail and parking Casimir Jitterbug to a quarter in 26 before letting him go to sit in the two-hole.
Awesomeness, the 9-5 favourite, was right behind Casimir Jitterbug the first split and went up to challenge, but the parked challenger got the cold shoulder from the pacesetter through middle fractions of 54.1 and 1:22.
Turning for home, Carlson sent Orillia Joe to the famed Pocono Pike, and after a great trip the 20-1 “Joe” knew just what to do, pacing strongly up the inside to win by two lengths. Book Binge, dismissed at 40-1, had been third-inside most of the way, then found midstretch clearance between horses and finished second, a neck ahead of Casimir Jitterbug, with Awesomeness holding for fourth.
Orillia Joe shattered the $400,000 lifetime earnings barrier with the crisp victory, which also gave him a brand new speed mark at the age of seven. Matias Ruiz conditions the winner for Joe P Racing LLC.
Migrate Blue Chip now has six lifetime victories – and three of them have come in April 2017, just before which he was acquired by the Burke Brigade. The son of Rocknroll Hanover survived the rough “tuck-then-first-over” route in taking the $18,000 co-featured pace, finishing two lengths clear in a personal best of 1:51.3.
Eric Goodell handled the sulky duties for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phil Collura.
Pocono will be dark on Sunday so that fans, workers, and horsemen might have the chance to spend the Easter holiday with their fans. The track will be in action on Monday and Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., with both nights featuring continuing preliminary round action in the $750,000 Bobby Weiss Series, with the pacers heading the Monday card and the trotters spotlighted during the Tuesday action.