07/02/2016 10:16PM

Pocono: Southwind Frank bounces back after elimination loss to score in Earl Beal Memorial

Nikki Sherman/DRF Harness
Southwind Frank closed out Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono by winning the Earl Beal Memorial

Driver Yannick Gingras captured his third straight Earl Beal Jr. Memorial on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, guiding odds-on favorite Southwind Frank to victory. The son of Muscle Hill had to deal with a lot of early activity before things calmed down, but handled himself professionally while winning for the 14th time in 16 career starts.

The $500,000 Beal saw much early action as Hollywood Highway, Trolley, and Brooklyn Hill all vied for the early lead. Eventually, after Brooklyn Hill broke and then Hollywood Highway broke, Trolley had the lead after the 27 3/5 first quarter.  Gingras then moved Southwind Frank to take control passing the stands the first time, and from that point forward, there were little left in the field to challenge.

Southwind Frank, trained by Ron Burke, saw stablemate Dayson advance without cover, but Gingras hardly had to encourage his horse through fractions of 56 2/5 and 1:24 4/5. By late on the final turn, Dayson had tired and made a break, making it a virtual one-horse race. Trolley stayed on from the pocket but had to settle for second, with Bar Hopping closing well from the back for third.

"He was a different horse tonight," said Gingras following the race. "He doesn't have the speed of Mission Brief, but he won't dictate the race to you either."

Clearly Southwind Frank, a son of Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill, will likely remain the favorite for the sport's biggest event.  Southwind Frank scored in 1:52 4/5 for the Southwind Frank Partners of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania.  Southwind Frank also became the sport's newest millionaire, with the win pushing his bankroll to $1,105,169.