Day At The Track

Alta Jerome N wins - Then goes to new barn

02:54 PM 13 May 2018 NZST
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Alta Jerome N, harness racing
Alta Jerome N
Curtis Salonick Photo

WILKES-BARRE PA - One second he looked in dire straits, the next second he was clear and on his way to a 3½-length victory - the harness racing gods of fortune smiled on Alta Jerome N during the $20,000 claiming handicap pace feature over a sloppy track Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Alta Jerome N left strongly for driver George Napolitano Jr., made the lead mid-first turn, then yielded to sit the pocket as Allstar Partner cleared to the top at the 1/4. Down the backstretch Ardie B Speed came first-up to challenge Allstar Partner and looked like he might get by the leader before the ¾, leaving Alta Jerome N ready for Shuffle City, but then Allstar Partner drifted out - and quick as a flash "George Nap" got the Jereme's Jet gelding (out of an In The Pocket mare, ironically) in gear along the inside and right to the lead, winning comfortably in 1:52.

Hunter Oakes conditioned the winner of $284,302 as he won for the first time in 2018 for Northfolk Racing Stable and Sam Dalia. But he did not go back to the Oakes shedrow after the race, as Alta Jerome N was haltered for a $38,000 claiming price.

The night's top event for conditioned pacers went for $17,500, which saw the Four Starzzz Shark gelding Soho Wallstreet A shrug off the effects of a first-over journey, sailing to the lead late on the far turn and pacing away in the lane to stop the timer in 1:50.4 in the off going. Marcus Miller guided the impressive winner of two straight for trainer Ross Croghan, with owners Let It Ride Stables Inc. and Dana Parham seeing his bankroll rise to $170,904 lifetime, with the promise of much more to come.

Walks Of Life, the winningest horse in North America in 2018 coming into the night, with his 11 victories putting him one up on four others, added victory #12 in the evening's opener. George Napolitano Jr., a four-time winner on the night, put the Western Ideal gelding on the lead early, and the pair had enough late to hold off potential pocket rocket Hugh Hefner N by a neck in 1:53.1, last half 55.4. Stop us if you heard this one before - Hunter Oakes conditioned the winner for the Northfolk Racing Stable, but like Alta Jerome N in the feature, Walks Of Life changed hands, after a $20,000 claim. It was the eighth straight race in which Walks Of Life was claimed - but an 8-6-2-0-$42,750 scorecard gives ample evidence why.

On the evening, there were eight claims in five selling events - Oakes/Northfork lost four (including three winners), but gained one; Rene Allard, the leading trainer at the meet, gained three, including Alta Jerome N, but lost one.

The meet's leading driver, Anthony Napolitano, teamed with trainer Hunter Oakes to win the last race with Major Trick, giving both four winners on the night.

An immediate success in its inaugural round last week, the Great Northeast Open Series returns to Pocono tomorrow night, with open trotters and filly & mare pacers in the spotlight. Rubber Duck, who won the first contest in his class at Philly last Saturday afternoon, will try to make it two straight over the trotters, while the female pace will mark the seasonal debut of Pure Country, who is the only distaff pacer in history to win her divisional title at 2, 3, and 4, the last-named last year.

PHHA / Pocono

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