Posts Tagged ‘Sistas’

George Napolitano Jr. chalks up second month of 100 wins

Monday, August 31st, 2015

How do you follow-up on a month when you win 100 races?

Well, if you’re George Napolitano Jr., you go out the next month and win 105.

Having won 100 races in the month of July while racing exclusively at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia, the leading driver at both tracks went out and even topped his previous month by winning 105 races in August, capped by seven winners on the month’s “closing day” (both tracks are closed Monday.)

The actual “consecutive double century” milestone came at Harrah’s on Sunday afternoon when “George Nap” won the sixth race with Reggiano. Appropriately, the winner came from the barn of Gil Garcia-Herrera, Philly’s leading trainer and a regular customer for Napolitano’s services. (#99, Lispatty, also came from under Gil’s shedrow.)

The Reggiano victory was the middle of three on the afternoon for George; he then went to Pocono and added four more, including another for Garcia-Herrera. For the month, Napolitano won 50 times at Chester and 55 at Pocono.

Napolitano, 49, didn’t start driving until the relatively-advanced age of 26, but he has certainly made up for lost time, with 7167 career victories. His victory with the sophomore trotting filly Sistas, against males and older horses, on Saturday assured him of his sixth straight year with 500 or more wins, starting in 2010 when he won the North American title with 748 visits to Victory Lane.

Napolitano has a huge lead in the current Pocono stands, and should he remain atop the Pocono pack until season’s end, he will earn his ninth dashwinning title at the northeast Pennsylvania mountain oval — breaking his current share of the record of eight titles that he co-holds with Bill Lambertus.

George’s brother Anthony is the third-leading driver at Pocono, and fans frequently see a “Nap-Nap” photo finish. In fact, on Sunday evening George won the fourth race with True Hero by a nose over Anthony and Scootchie; Anthony “returned the favor” in race 10 by teaming with Magic Tricks to hang a head loss on George and the horse Vengeance.

Bigtown Hero scores Saturday night feature

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Bigtown Hero, who already has two appearances on the sport’s all-time list of “horse who have hit the 3/4s in 1:20 or better,” missed by a tick becoming the only horse ever with three such appearances, winning the $24,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, August 29th.

Bigtown Hero, an altered son of American Ideal, certainly didn’t have it easy, either — he was outside with cover until favored Bandolito cleared Bushwacker past a 26 opener, then rolled up raw to grab the top early on the second turn, en route to hitting the half in 53.1.

Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother/Pocono leader Rene, opened up lengths on Bandolito down the backstretch, with Bushwacker taking other crack outside, but both were well-behind when the timer tripped at 1:20.1 with a quarter to ago. Bandolito ate fractionally into the winner’s lead late, but was still shy of him by 3/4 of a length at the finish, with Quick Jolt coming from the clouds for third, a half length behind Bandolito and a length ahead of Bushwacker.

Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin own the speed merchant, who hit the 3/4 in 1:19.4 last September 20 here en route to taking his mark of 1:47.3, and then on November 8 posted the fastest half (52.2) and 3/4s (1:19.1) in 5/8-mile track history before tiring in a race where Mach It So beat State Treasurer in 1:48. Both of these miles were also at Pocono.

Also at Pocono Saturday were a pair of $24,000 trots. Wind Of The North, an altered son of Cantab Hall who equaled a division world record of 1:51 here last year, needed only 1:53.3 Saturday to report home first for trainer Daryl Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck; in the other division the Andover Hall filly Sistas, 3-for-3 in Stallion Series competition, handled a big class rise, a predominantly male field, and a predominantly older field in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Albert and Michelle Crawford. (Napolitano, who had 100 wins in July, won three times here Saturday to put him at 98 for August, with sessions at both Philly and Pocono tomorrow possibly letting him achieve a rare “consecutive double century” of winners; the win with Sistas was also his 500th of 2015).