Racing

Gatka Hanover Knocks Off Unbeaten Speak To Me at Pocono

Friday, August 15th, 2014

August 13, 2014

Gatka Hanover defeated previously unbeaten Speak To Me to highlight Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were four $67,347 Sire Stakes divisions held for two-year-old trotting fillies.

Speak To Me came into her division having won her first four races in convincing fashion. But on Wednesday night, it was Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough), trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, who pounced from the pocket to defeat Speak To Me by 1 ½ lengths in 1:56:1. Gatka Hanover now has four wins in six lifetime starts, including three Sire Stakes victories without a loss.

The other Sire Stakes winners on Wednesday night at Pocono: Wild Honey (Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy), driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Jimmy Takter, who won her third straight Sire Stakes race in 1:55, fastest Stakes time of the night; Jersey Strong (Muscle Massive-Vacation’s Over), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Mark Harder, whose convincing win in 1:56:2 was her third in as many tries at the Pocono oval; and Sweet Thing (Chocolatier-Berdine Hanover), driven by Charlie Norris and trained by Homer Hochstetler, who worked hard on the front end to keep off all comers for her second Sire Stakes win in 1:56.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, August 15th, 2014

August 8-14, 2014

It’s always difficult to pick the best horses in a particular week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the extreme competitiveness of the harness racing action. This week has proved more of a pickle than most because there are a lot of horses on hot streaks who deserve consideration. On Saturday night, for example, six of the thirteen winners picked up at least their second win in a row. I’m not sure if there’s a specific reason for this glut of winning streaks, but I am sure that this is a fine edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: SANDBETWEENURTOES

In Saturday night’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for three-year-old pacing fillies, all eyes were on this powerhouse from the barn of trainer Larry Remmen. It’s been an incredible sophomore season for this filly, especially considering she raced just once as a 2-year-old and finished out of the money. Instead of taking time to get her racing feet wet, she’s come out of the box with seven wins in seven races this year, including a couple Sire Stakes wins and a victory in the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands.

While the field on Saturday was solid, many were fillies who had already come up short behind Sandbetweenurtoes in races this season. Included among those was Allstar Rating, who finished behind the unbeaten filly three times this year. But in her last start, Allstar Rating dominated in the Adioo Volo at The Meadows, giving her the confidence that things might be different this time around when she faced her arch rival.

Sure enough, Allstar Rating made the lead while Sandbetweenurtoes fell much further behind the pace than is her custom. Once she started making her move for her regular driver Brett Miller though, there was no chance of stopping her. She hustled past Allstar Rating to win by a half-length in 1:50, making her eight-for-eight and also solidifying her status as the dominant force in the age group.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who continues to dominate the lower claiming ranks, winning his fourth straight on Sunday night in 1:52; Speed Again (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who burned up the track in a condition win on Saturday in 1:48:2, fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Crimson Cruiser (Jim Morrill Jr., Douglas Hamilton), who overcame an outside post on Friday night and picked up a claiming win in 1:52:1, his third victory in a row.

TROTTER AND LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WESTERN CREDIT

It’s rare that our categories overlap and one horse can claim two Weekly Awards in one shot. Yet Western Credit’s recent run has been as unlikely as it has been impressive, more than meriting the embarrassment of riches. This gelding came into his race on August 3 without a win in 21 races in 2014, yet trainer Eric Mollor, who also did the driving that night, had the six-year-old rolling late for an upset win in 1:55:4 at 14-1.

On Tuesday night, Western Credit was at it again, this time with Brett Miller in the bike and stepping up the condition ladder to face the non-winners of $10,000 in the last five races. The fans gave him even less of a chance this time around, putting him at 37-1. Miller sent him first-over early in the mile, which seemed like a tough journey for any horse, let along one with such long odds.

It turned out to be strategic brilliance on Miller’s part, since the sloppy track that night seemed to favor on trip on the outside. Western Credit did the rest, working hard to pick off everyone in front of him before holding off JC’s Jake in the lane to win it in 1:55:1. At those towering odds of 37-1, the gelding paid off $77.80 on a $2 win ticket. Suddenly, that 0-for-21 to start the year is a distant memory. Western Credit is two for his last two and ready to take on all comers.

Other top trotters this week include: Whata Donato (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare whose winning time in a condition on Tuesday night of 1:53:3 was the fastest trot of the week at Pocono despite sloppy conditions; Well Built (Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder), a 3-year-old who knocked off mostly older horses in a condition victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:1 in the slop; and Gematria (Tom Jackson, Fred Grant), who picked up her second consecutive win, this one in Stallion Series action on Wednesday night in 1:58:3.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: DAVID MILLER

Miller always steps up his game for stakes or series action and Tuesday night he was at his best, winning three times, including a pair of victories in the Stallion Series.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MARK FORD

Ford always seems to manage great efficiency with however many horses he enters at Pocono, as he showed on Friday night by picking up a pair of training victories.

Freshman Distaff Trotters in Stallion Series at Pocono

Friday, August 15th, 2014

August 12, 2014

Nine divisions of the Stallion Series featuring two-year-old trotting fillies were held on Tuesday at night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Each division carried a purse of $20,000.

The Stallion Series winners on a sloppy night at Pocono were: Seduce A Stranger (Muscle Massive-Khifra Hanover), driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Chris Beaver, in 1:59:3; Gematria (Explosive Matter-Ginevre), driven by  Tom Jackson and trained by Fred Grant, in 1:58:3; Fly Angel Fly (Cantab Hall-Dream Angel), driven and trained by Jimmy Takter, in 2:01; Kimco Hall (Andover Hall-Kimco Lady), driven by David Miller and trained by Nifty Norman, in 2:01:1; Flirting Filly (Broadway-Flirtin My Way), driven and trained by Jimmy Takter, in 1:59; Lady Clarabella (Lear Jetta-Jet By), driven by David Miller and trained by Randy Beeckman, in 1:57:3; I’m Yelling Timber (Explosive Matter-Velma K), driven by Tyler Buter and trained by Brandon Simpson, in 1:59:3; Alpha Alpha (Encore Encore-Pegasus On Ice), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Rich Gillock, in 2:00:1; and Product Placement (Andover Hall-Con Dolcezza), driven by Tom Jackson and trained by Fred Grant, in 1:58:4.

PA Sire Stakes Championship Finals set for Saturday, September 6

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is planning a momentous Sire Stakes Championship Night for Saturday, September 6th,  with over $1 million in purses, and an Open Trot and an Open Pace to sweeten the night.

The $50,000 Modern Family Open Trot will be held in honor of the late trotter, who passed away on July 20th following the Maple Leaf Trot.  Modern Family,a 5-year-old son of Cantab Hall, was trained and co-owned by Daryl Bier, in partnership with Charles Dombeck and Richard Poilucci.  A 19-time winner in 51 career starts, Modern Family had career earnings of more than $550,000.  The connections of the trotter have been invited to take part in the Winner’s Circle presentation following the race.

Also planned for the evening’s card will be a $50,000 Open for the top pacers in harness racing, and anyone interested in entering the Pace or the Trot should contact the Race Office at 570-831-2228.

PA Sire Stakes Championship Night will feature the best of the Freshmen PA bred trotting and pacing stars competing in $260,000 finals.  Consolation races will also be held.

Post Time is 6:30pm, and the day will kick off with a Signings and Sightings meet and greet with Hall of Famer and former New York Giants Linebacker Lawrence Taylor from 4:00pm to 5:30pm on the Sky Bridge, conncecting the casino and the racetrack.  Those wishing to meet the football legend should obtain a wristband to secure their spot in line, starting at 1:00pm.  Only authorized photos will be signed, and they will be issued at the signing.

Rumor Mill Pulls Off Huge Upset in Sire Stakes at Pocono

Monday, August 11th, 2014

August 6, 2014

40-1 long shot Rumor Mill pulled off a stunning upset to highlight Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were three Sire Stakes divisions held with purses ranging from $75,320 to $75,720 for 2-year-old pacing fillies.

Rumor Mill (The Panderosa-Chippie Gabby), trained by Jim King Jr., hadn’t finished higher than fourth in her previous three starts coming into Wednesday night, but Tim Tetrick guided her from last early to rally in the stretch for the win by a length in 1:53:1. Macarena Mama finished second and Safe From Terror picked up the show.

Form held in the remaining two Sire Stakes divisions, as a pair of favorites driven by Yannick Gingras delivered. Southwind Roulette (Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Rio), trained by Ron Burke, won a hard-fought split in 1:51 for her second straight Sire Stakes victory. Aria Hanover (Well Said-Allamerican Cognac), trained by Jimmy Takter, battled to her third straight Sire Stakes victory with a winning time of 1:53:3 in her division.