06/24/2017 9:30PM

Pocono: Dealt A Winner, Keystone Velocity, Mel Mara best in Ben Franklin eliminations

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Curtis Salonick
Dealt A Winner rebounded from a poor effort in the Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational to win his Franklin elimination

Dealt A Winner and Keystone Velocity pulled upsets, while Mel Mara converted as the chalk in the trio of $35,000 Ben Franklin eliminations for open pacers on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Soto (Matt Kakaley) shot to the lead from post five in the first elimination, and he would take the group of six through opening-half fractions of 26 4/5 and 55.  Dealt A Winner (David Miller) was positioned in third at those posts, but he would make the first-over move in the backstretch, and he would wrestle the lead away from Soto just past the 1:21 3/5 three-quarters.  Dealt A Winner would pace away from that point, eventually winning by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:49 1/5.  Boston Red Rocks (Tim Tetrick) finished second, and Shamballa (Scott Zeron) rallied for third.

Dealt A Winner was coming into this race after a tenth-place finish in last Saturday's Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational, a performance that left trainer Mark Silva mystified.

"I can't explain what happened to him last week," Silva offered.  "I thought he was ready for a 48 mile. David (Miller) has driven this horse so many times and gets along with him so well. I think he's one of the best horses in this division."

The victorious 5-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding is owned by Jeff Snyder.  This was Dealt A Winner's 12th career win, and he has now banked $749,290.  Sent off as the 9-2 fourth choice, Dealt A Winner paid $11.40 to win.

Freaky Feet Pete (Trace Tetrick) was raced super-aggressively in his first start of the year, which came in the second elimination.  He was up to get the lead from Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) at the 26 4/5 opening quarter and then he kept pouring it on through middle-half stations of 54 and 1:20 3/5.  Freaky Feet Pete gave way to the first-over bid of All Bets Off (Kakaley) in the lane, but Keystone Velocity (Simon Allard), who had tracked from second-over, rallied by All Bets Off in deep stretch to prevail by a neck in 1:48 3/5.  Mach It So came through the passing lane to collect third.

My brother (trainer Rene Allard) does a good job. He was trying to get him ready for this race." said Simon Allard. "Matt gave me great cover."

Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old Western Hanover stallion, is owned by Allard Racing Inc., Kapildeo Singh, and VIP Internet Stable LLC.  This year's Levy Series champion, Keystone Velocity is now a 24-time winner in his life, and he has earned $926,471.  Keystone Velocity was the 5-1 third choice and returned $13.00 to win.

1-2 choice Mel Mara ended the run of the longshots in the final elimination.  He moved from fourth to first around Luck Be Withyou (George Napolitano Jr.) beyond the 25 3/5 opening quarter before reaching the half in 53 and the three-quarters in 1:21 2/5.  Mel Mara began to open up on the far turn, and he continued to widen the margin through the lane to score by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:48 4/5.  Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) would come in second, and Rock N' Roll World (Brian Sears) brushed from seventh to third in the final quarter.

"Very happy with him," stated Callahan.  "He was very sharp, and he finished with the plugs in. Only trouble I had was pulling him up to go into the winner's circle."

Dylan Davis trains Mel Mara, an 8-year-old Lis Mara stallion, for owners Robert Cooper Stables LLC. and J&T Silva Stables, LLC.  Mel Mara is now a 21-time winner in his racing career, and he has put away $751,464.  He paid $3.00 to win.