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Pocono hosts first 2-year-old races
Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Like the sighting of the first robin in spring, the first series of 2-year-old races at a track heralds the oncoming of the prime of the season, and Wednesday (June 1) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, five sets of freshmen faced the starter under race conditions for the first time in non-purse events.
No Pennsylvanian will be surprised that the fastest of the youngsters was a pacing filly bred, owned, trained, and driven (and possibly shod and trucked) by Roger Hammer, the Delmarvalous-B T Falcon miss Marvalous B T, who moved after a :29.3 quarter to set middle fractions of :59.4 and 1:29.2 en route to a 2:00 victory. The touch of Hammer (and of his late patron and Hall of Famer Max C. Hempt) is all over the pedigree of this filly as her granddam won 20 races at three and almost $200,000 in two years at the races, then produced six $100,000 winners and two Pennsylvania fair champions, while her third dam, Keystone Romance, produced the $600,000-plus winners Keystone Luther and Keystone Arturo.
Jim McGettigan, main announcer at the Pennsylvania fairs, is in constant contact with the photo finish person for tight race results, and no doubt he took the 2:02.2 victory of the Winning Mister-Photogenic trotting gelding Mister Photogenic as a positive omen for the upcoming year. Tom Jackson rallied the winner out of the pocket to win for McGettigan, the horse’s trainer, and owner/breeder/brother Edward McGettigan Jr.
Marcus Miller brought home two 2-year-old winners, the first being the Western Terror-Cherry Tree Coco pacing colt Cerisier, who came his own back fractions in :58–:28.3 in rallying for the 2:01.2 tally for father/breeder/owner/trainer Erv Miller.
Marcus then put the Explosive Matter-Nicole trotting filly Nicole Matters on the lead, rated the half, then sprinted away in :58.3–:28.4 for a 2:04 tally. Clifton Green conditions the Lindwood Farm-bred distaff for owner Mahlon Martin, and she certainly has a pedigree allowing improvement, as dam Nicole’s half-sister was the $500,000-plus winner Kadealia.
Trainer John McDermott took an infrequent turn in the sulky and rallied the Cantab Hall-Habit Of Creature trotting colt You Cant Habit to a nose tally in 2:04 in the day’s other event. The colt's second dam, Habit, produced six $100,000 winners including the $1 million-plus Civil Action, which gives McDermott and owner/breeder Tim Klemenic something to look forward to -- and isn’t that what 2-year-old races are really all about?