06/21/2014 11:10PM

Pocono: McWicked a standout in Hempt elims

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Curtis Salonick
All Bets Off was one of two Hempt Memorial elimination wins for driver Matt Kakaley.

The $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial final is certain to be a competitive event following three eliminations on Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. After a difficult trip in the $1 million North America Cup, McWicked scorched the five-eighths mile oval with a powerful 1:48 victory in the last of three $25,000 elimination races.

Parked nearly to the half in 53 1/5 by second choice Bushwacker, McWicked and driver Dave Miller kept the pace lively with three-quarters in 1:21 and home in 27 seconds.

Casie Coleman trains the son of McArdle. Bushwacker held for second with Stevensville third in the mile. The top three advance to the final.

“I was worried after that half in 53 1/5,” said Dave Miller following the race, “But he picked up the bit at the three quarters and took off on me.”

Trainer Ron Burke sewed up the other two Hempt elimination races. Favored All Bets Off won for the fifth time in six starts this year for driver Matt Kakaley in a personal best 1:48 3/5 effort defeating Cammikey and Sometimes Said.

Curtis Salonick  McWicked and driver David Miller.

“Doo Wop Hanover (the leader) was coming to a stop on the final turn and it got me jammed up and gave the other horses the edge,” said Kakaley about his pocket trip. “Once he got clear, he took off. He’s as good as any horse in this division.”

Kakaley also guided At Press Time from the pocket to pass pacesetting Limelight Beach in the first Hempt elimination. The Western Terror-sired colt managed to work into the pocket through a 25 4/5 opening quarter and then rolled past a stubborn Limelight Beach late in the 1:48 2/5 mile, a personal best. Limelight Beach held for second but third-place finisher Always B Miki was set down for a minor infraction on the final turn allowing 43-1 shot Allstar Partner a shot for the final.

James Lynch Memorial recap

The pocket was again the place to be in the first of three $20,000 eliminations for the James Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies. Weeper and driver Dave Palone sat tight behind the speedy Gallie Bythe Beach through fractions of 26 1/5, 54 and 1:21, and then rolled by late for a 1:49 victory. The daughter of Allamerican Native is trained by Kelly O’Donnell. Gallie Bythe Beach held on for second with Sayitall BB surviving a difficult uncovered trip for third and a berth in the final.

Fancy Desire went from closer to speed horse in the second Lynch elimination and blasted down the pike in 1:49 for local driver George Napolitano Jr. over longshot My Lady Day and Southwind Silence. Kevin Carr trains the daughter of Real Desire that won for the third time in eight tries as a sophomore.

Supplemental entry Cinamony (1:50 3/5) and driver Corey Callahan took advantage of a contentious early pace to roll first-over to victory in the last Lynch stanza. Supplemented to the race by trainer Alexander Rice Jr, the daughter of Art Official overtook runner-up Uffizi Hanover in the stretch with Also Encouraging completing the finalists.

All will return for the $2.1 million Sun Stakes Night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday, June 28.