How do you follow-up on a month when you win 100 races?
Well, if you’re George Napolitano Jr., you go out the next month and win 105.
Having won 100 races in the month of July while racing exclusively at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia, the leading driver at both tracks went out and even topped his previous month by winning 105 races in August, capped by seven winners on the month’s “closing day” (both tracks are closed Monday.)
The actual “consecutive double century” milestone came at Harrah’s on Sunday afternoon when “George Nap” won the sixth race with Reggiano. Appropriately, the winner came from the barn of Gil Garcia-Herrera, Philly’s leading trainer and a regular customer for Napolitano’s services. (#99, Lispatty, also came from under Gil’s shedrow.)
The Reggiano victory was the middle of three on the afternoon for George; he then went to Pocono and added four more, including another for Garcia-Herrera. For the month, Napolitano won 50 times at Chester and 55 at Pocono.
Napolitano, 49, didn’t start driving until the relatively-advanced age of 26, but he has certainly made up for lost time, with 7167 career victories. His victory with the sophomore trotting filly Sistas, against males and older horses, on Saturday assured him of his sixth straight year with 500 or more wins, starting in 2010 when he won the North American title with 748 visits to Victory Lane. He has risen to third in the 2015 North American standings behind Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr.
Napolitano has a huge lead in the current Pocono stands, and should he remain atop the Pocono pack until season’s end, he will earn his ninth dashwinning title at the northeast Pennsylvania mountain oval — breaking his current share of the record of eight titles that he co-holds with Bill Lambertus.
George’s brother Anthony is the third-leading driver at Pocono, and fans frequently see a “Nap-Nap” photo finish. In fact, on Sunday evening George won the fourth race with True Hero by a nose over Anthony and Scootchie; Anthony “returned the favor” in race 10 by teaming with Magic Tricks to hang a head loss on George and the horse Vengeance.