Racing

Weiss Late Closing Series 4th Leg this week

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

 

WILKES-BARRE PA – Fillies and mares will have the spotlight shine on them during the early-week cards at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as pacing distaffs will contest the fourth and final preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series on Tuesday, and their trotting counterparts going on Wednesday. 

The Weiss Series, honoring the recently-retired trackman who honed the Pocono 5/8-mile oval into a top surface acclaimed by one and all, holds four $15,000 preliminaries as an early-closer for developing horses; the top horses emerging from the prelims come back to contest a $30,000 Championship. 

In Tuesday’s pacing action, slotted for races 10 through 12, R Journey Together and Envious Hanover both hope to bounce back after winning their first two prelims but suffering defeat in the third leg. Envious Hanover goes in race ten from post five for the familiar Kakaley/Burke team, with her main rival looking like A And G’s Design,  who won for the first time in the Weiss last week.

 If R Journey Together hopes to regain her winning ways, she’ll have to do it from post eight in the 12th race for driver George Napolitano Jr. while facing three other fillies who have won in the Weiss. The middle division is headed by Prime Dragon (post three, driver Brett Miller), who posted the fastest clocking for this section last week while winning in 1:52.1.

 The redoubtable Perfect Alliance will look to keep her 2014 record perfect in her eighth seasonal start as she headlines the two Weiss divisions for diamondgaiters Wednesday. Starting from post one for Team Miller in race 10, Perfect Alliance posted crushing prelim victories in 1:53 and 1:54 (tilting the tote board with a huge place following) before sitting out the third prelim, but this miss, who may have names like Maven and Bee A Magician on her dance card in the future, seems tons the best of her gathering.

 In the other split, race 8, two-time series winners Take The Money (post two, also Team Miller) and Dough Dough (post five, driver Mike Simons) should attract most of the play.

 The Weiss colt pacing Championship will be held this Saturday, April 19. Pocono will be dark on Easter (April 20), so both the trotting colts and pacing fillies will contest their Championships a week from tomorrow (April 22), with Perfect Alliance “set for coronation” on Wednesday the 23rd.

Ray Hall and You Rock My World Score in Weiss at Pocono

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

April 13, 2014

Ray Hall and You Rock My World picked up victories Sunday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the Bobby Weiss late closer series. There were two divisions of the Weiss held for three and four-year-old colts, stallions, and geldings on the trot, each carrying a purse of $15,000.

Ray Hall (Justice Hall-Comebyrail), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Mark Harder, made it a perfect four-for-four in the Weiss with a win in a career-best 1:53:3. You Rock My World (Muscle Mass-Disco Inferno), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, rallied for a win in 1:55:3, a new career-mark.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

April 5-11, 2014

Although the weather wasn’t always balmy in the past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, at least it was dry on live racing nights. That led to our first week of exclusively fast tracks, and, as you might imagine, the action had a little extra spice because of it. There were a lot of thrilling races and some extraordinary performances, the best of which we’ll now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DOVUTO HANOVER

Saturday night marked the first time this season that we’ve had a Preferred race on the pacing side, and the $25,000 purse brought out an excellent field of six. Among those, Sparky Mark and Blatantly Good had already established themselves at Pocono with three condition wins between them in the meet, and, with inside posts, figured to be strong contenders. Add in Dovuto Hanover, who came in with wins in two of his last three against tough company at The Meadowlands, and it figured to be quite the battle.

It’s always nice when a race lives up to the expectations. Sparky Mark went out and set the pace, but faced a stiff first-over test from Blatantly Good on the back stretch. Dovuto Hanover, the 4-5 favorite from the Darran Cassar barn, followed the cover of Blatantly Good on the outside before kicking out three-wide on the final turn.

That meant all three horses were in prime spots at the top of the stretch, setting up a thrilling battle. For a moment, it appeared that Sparky Mark would cling to his lead all the way home, as Dovuto Hanover’s momentum seemed to be stilled. Yet driver Tyler Buter coaxed a sudden burst of energy from the favorite, and the 4-year-old gelding came up in the nick of time by a nose in 1:50:4. Great horse, great finish, and a great representation of how the Preferred pacers will compete at Pocono in the upcoming season.

Other top pacers this week include: Drive All Night (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), the veteran pacer who scored his second straight $15,000 claiming victory on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:3; Donna Party (Brett Miller-Kent Sherman), a mare who scored her third straight win in a tight claiming handicap battle on Wednesday in 1:53; and Cypress Hill Suds (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who picked up a win against the $10,000 claiming mares on Wednesday, her second straight victory, in a career-best 1:52:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FIRST AQUA

There hasn’t been a trotter on the Pocono grounds anywhere near as dominant so far in the meet as this seven-year-old gelding. Arriving from Freehold on March 25, he immediately scorched a claiming group by seven lengths in 1:53:3. He followed that up by moving up in class the following week to handle the $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap group, again by a comfortable margin, in 1:54.

By that time the secret was out, and First Aqua was claimed from that race. He went from one hot trainer (Gilberto Garcia-Herrera) to another (Rene Allard) in the exchange, but he kept George Napolitano Jr. as his driver to face off with that same top claiming group on Wednesday night as a heavy 1-5 favorite.

First Aqua made the same swooping move to take over the lead on the front stretch as he did in his previous two wins. This time out he got a decent challenge from pocket horse Maravich, but he was more than up to that challenge, holding him off to win by a length-and-a-quarter. And although the margin of victory was the smallest of his winning streak, the time of 1:53:2 set a new career mark for First Aqua. That proves he’s still getting better, which is a scary thought for his future competition to entertain.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Smokin Dabra (Brett Miller, Brewer Adams), who rolled on the front end on Tuesday night to his second straight $10,000 claiming victory, this one in 1:54:4; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who took a huge step up in class and won his second straight condition trot at Pocono and his third straight overall, posting a winning time of 1:53:1; and My Leap Of Faith (Simon Allard, Brian Seidel), who rallied late for a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:54:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LATE NIGHT JOKE

Driver Andrew McCarthy has a way with the long shots, and he showed it by rallying this claiming pacer to an improbable victory Saturday night at 35-1 for a $73.60 win payout on a $2 ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARCUS MILLER

Young drivers sometimes struggle to find a place at Pocono, but Miller showed this week that he belongs, scoring driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BREWER ADAMS

He’s been a consistent force for several seasons at Pocono, and Adams scored big this week with five training wins, including doubles on Sunday and Tuesday.

That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.

Abelard Hanover Wins Thrilling Feature at Pocono

Monday, April 14th, 2014

April 12, 2014

Abelard Hanover made a second move late to rally for a thrilling victory in Saturday night’s featured Preferred pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Leaving from post position #6 in a field of eight at 7-1, Abelard Hanover (Rocknroll Hanover-Allamerican Coed), a 6-year-old gelding trained by Donald Billings, gunned to the early lead and set a screaming pace of :25:3 to the quarter-mile marker. Eighteen then pulled the pocket to take the lead back, giving Abelard Hanover cover and a much-needed breather. That pair stayed in those positions in the stretch, when driver Jonathan Roberts coaxed another move from Abelard Hanover in the passing lane to win by a neck over Eighteen in 1:48:4, fastest time of the Pocono 2014 meet so far. Mustang Art finished third.

In other action Saturday night at Pocono, A Stitch In Time and UF Rockin Dragon each won $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss series for three and four-year-old colts, stallions, and geldings on the pace. A Stitch In Time, driven by George Napolitano Jr. and trained by Lou Pena, won his split in a career-best 1:49:4, while UF Rockin Dragon, driven by Mark MacDonald for trainer Mark Ford, picked up his win in 1:51:4.

Heavy Favorites Come Up Empty in Weiss at Pocono

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

April 8, 2014

Miller’s Bird, A And G’s Design, and Prima Dragon all knocked off heavy favorites to win divisions of the Bobby Weiss series on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were three divisions of the Weiss held for three and four-year-old fillies and mares on the pace, each carrying a purse of $15,000.

Miller’s Bird (McArdle-Bunting), with David Miller in the bike for trainer Alexander Rice Jr., pounced from the pocket to beat odds-on favorite R Journey Together in 1:55:3. A And G’s Design (Allamerican Native-Colorado Creek), driven by Simon Allard and trained by Rene Allard, also utilized a pocket trip to dump 1-5 shot Stucklikeglue in 1:54:4. In the final Weiss split, Prima Dragon (Dragon Again-Zacharysprimadonna), with Brett Miller doing the driving for trainer Mike Dowdall, grinded first-over to upend favored Envious Hanover in 1:52:1.