Racing

A Stitch In Time Brilliant in Weiss Final at Pocono

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

April 19, 2014

A Stitch In Time, unbothered by an outside post, put together a dominant performance to win the $30,000 final of the Bobby Weiss late closer series for three and four-year-old pacing colts, stallions, and geldings on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Despite drawing the outside post in a field of nine, A Stitch In Time (Kent’s On Nuke-Sheza Gimmie Girl), a four-year-old gelding trained by Lou Pena, was made the 6-5 favorite based on a 1:49:3 win in the final preliminary leg. Driver George Napolitano Jr. maneuvered him into fourth around the first turn while Getitoffyourchest set the early pace. A Stitch In Time quickly brushed to the lead on the front stretch, set a big lead with imposing fractions, and came home comfortably in front of Trys Little Prince by 1 ¾ lengths in a career-best 1:48:3. Getitoffyourchest finished third.

Owned by A Piece Of The Action LLC of Culver City, CA, A Stitch In Time won for the seventh time in eleven races this year. It was his 18th lifetime victory and pushed his career earnings to $89,549.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

April 12-18, 2014

Once again the weather was a wild ride this past week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which obviously affected the racing wars at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. A gorgeous weekend led to the fastest times of the young season, but rain, snow, and bitter cold on Tuesday brought sloppy conditions. Nonetheless, the action stayed thrilling no matter what the track conditions or winning times were. Here is a look at the week’s best performers via another edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DRIVE ALL NIGHT

It’s always fascinating to watch how excellent horses progress throughout their careers. They will often go through periods at their where they face the top classes, and then almost inevitably start to drop down in class as they age to face competition more suited to their talent level. But there are some that have a tendency to rise to the top of whatever class they inhabit.

Drive All Night certain falls into that category of horses that seem to find a groove no matter the caliber of horses they face. A few years back, he took on the pacers in the highest condition classes and even the Open pacers at Pocono, and he always acquitted himself well. These days the nine-year-old gelding is a denizen of the mid-priced claiming classes, and he has been cleaning up.

He came into Saturday night’s $20,000 claiming event with back-to-back front-pacing victories at Pocono with the $15,000 claimers. The step up in class didn’t bother him a bit, as driver Simon Allard sent the 9-year-old gelding trained by Marty Fine to the front end and guided him to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:50:4. That gave the veteran 54 lifetime wins, and he’s showing no signs of slowing back down. In fact, with performances like that, he might just be ready to step back up to the face the whippersnappers in those top classes once again.

Other top pacers this week include: Abelard Hanover (Jonathan Roberts, Donald Billings), whose victory in Saturday night’s Preferred pace came in 1:48:4, the fastest time recorded at Pocono so far this season; Its Rock N Roll (Anthony Napolitano, John Barchi), who moved up in class and switched barns Saturday night and still picked up his second straight win at Pocono and his third straight overall, this one coming in a career-best 1:51:3; and American Shuttle (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who ripped off her second straight claiming win on Sunday night since arriving from Yonkers, matching her career-best of 1:53:3 in the process.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WIND OF THE NORTH

Saturday night’s condition trot for non-winners of $23,500 in the last five starts felt like an Open considering the high caliber of the horses competing. Some of the standouts in the six-horse field included  Meadowlands shippers Banker Volo and Jurgen Hanover, Imagine Hanover, who was fresh off a late closer sweep at The Meadows, and Money On My Mind, who finished second in Preferred company in his previous start.

With that kind of competition, it’s not surprising that folks were a little skeptical of Wind Of The North, the four-year-old gelding from the Clifton Green barn who was coming off back-to-back condition wins to start his 2014 season. He was moving up in class, so that’s probably why he was let go at 6-1, but this is a trotter who proved last year as a three-year-old he could compete in the toughest classes.

He proved it again and then some on Saturday night. With Mike Simons in the bike, Wind Of The North battled both Money On My Mind and Banker Volo in the stretch before prevailing in exciting fashion. It took his best effort, a career-best 1:53:4, to come out on top, but this third straight victory should go a long way in preventing anyone from underestimating this peaking trotter again.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Definitely Mamie (George Napolitano Jr., Brewer Adams), the accomplished mare who won a tough condition battle on Wednesday night in 1:55:4; Keystone Thomas (Andrew McCarthy, Joe Pavia Jr.), who rolled on the front end to a condition win on Wednesday in 1:55; and Smokin Dabra (Ron Pierce, Marty Fine), who moved up in class in style with a claiming handicap victory on Wednesday in 1:54, his third win in a row.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WHIRL MONROE

Tuesday night’s sloppy track seemed conducive to long shots, and this condition pacer with Anthony Napolitano in the bike pulled off the night’s biggest shocker at 36-1, paying off $79.80 to win.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARK MACDONALD

MacDonald has been spending more time at Pocono than ever before, and it’s paying off big dividends, like on Saturday night when he ripped off four victories.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LOU PENA

Pena is always a major factor at Pocono, and he’s been making his presence felt again in the first few weeks of the 2014 season. On Saturday night, he scored three training wins.

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.

Miller’s Horses Continue to Dominate Weiss at Pocono

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

April 16, 2014

Even with a substitute driver, Take The Money and Perfect Alliance continued to dominate Bobby Weiss series action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with easy wins on Wednesday night. Two $15,000 divisions of the Weiss were held for three and four-year-old trotting fillies and mares.

With regular driver Andy Miller injured, trainer Julie Miller turned to Yannick Gingras to pilot the two four-year-old mares. He delivered, as Take The Money (Donato Hanover-Repititions) coasted in her split to a win in a career-best 1:55:4 and Perfect Alliance (Credit Winner-Yalta Hanover) strolled to a victory in 1:54:4. The pair are now a combined 13-for-13 in 2014 starts, including three Weiss wins apiece heading into next week’s group final.

Distaff Pacers in Weiss at Pocono

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

April 15, 2014

Three $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss series for three and four-year-old fillies and mares were held at a sloppy, snowy Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Tuesday night. The winners were: Envious Hanover, driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, in 1:56:1; Prima Dragon, driven by Brett Miller and trained by Michael Dowdall, in 1:53:4; and Sweet Charity, driven by Andrew McCarthy and trained by Aaron Lambert, in 1:55:4.

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.