Donuto Hanover, John’s Polyview and Sir Richard Z Tam punch ticket to Sire Stakes Championship

Friday, August 31st, 2012

August 29, 2012

Donuto Hanover, John’s Polyview and Sir Richard Z Tam all secured themselves a spot in next Friday’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship for two-year-old pacing colts with impressive victories in Wednesday’s  $345,974 final divisional SS preliminary at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. 

Donuto Hanover, on the outside looking in for a finals spot before Wednesday, punched his Championship ticket with a 1:51.3 victory in his cut, a clocking which knocked a fifth of a second off the PcD track record for baby geldings formerly held by Arctic Warrior. Donuto, an alerted son of Dragon Again trained by Kelly O’Donnell for owner Richard Delarm, sat fifth at the quarter pole, but when David Miller gave him the word he rushed to the lead and paced his back ¾ in 1:24 flat, again showing the speed which had made him the sport’s fastest baby this year on an “f” track when he won in 1:50.4 on Super Stakes Sunday at Harrah’s Philadelphia. 

The McArdle colt Johns Polyview moved early to command for doubling driver Miller, then withstood a determined charge late from Lex Vegas to triumph in 1:52.4-55.1-27.2 in his division. The season’s leader on a 5/8 for his section by means of an earlier 1:51.1 triumph, Johns Polyview is trained by Donna Marshall for Mortburg Trust 10-27-98. 

Sir Richard Z Tam finished on even terms with Johns Polyview in the preliminary pointstandings by rallying into a 26.4 last quarter for trainer/driver Pat Lachance to catch pacesetting Good Day Mate in 1:54.2. Pat Lachance also co-owns the Somebeachsomewhere colt with M & M Harness Racing LLC and Ira Rosenblum. 

The Pocono card also includes five $20,000 divisions of the final prelim for the two-year-old trotting fillies’ Stallion Series, with the baby misses looking for spots in the September 6 final at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  Starting with the fastest winner, these diamondgaited baby fillies visited Victory Lane:

–Tonato Of Love, 1:57.3 (sire Donato Hanover, trainer Nifty Norman, driver Brian Sears, owners Deo Volente Farms LLC and T L P Stable);

–Changed It All, 1:58 (Yankee Glide, Mike Hall, a Sears driving double, Claim To Fame LLC and Janet Ho);

–Electra De Vie, 1:59.1 (Broadway Hall, and the family affair of driver Tony Schadel, trainer Linda Schadel, and owners Bruce and Tanya Schadel);

–Global Beauty, 2:00 (a Broadway Hall double, a stakes triple for driver Miller, Pete Foley, James McLaughlin and Lynne Foley; she was also the leading preliminary pointwinner);

—Homepage, 2:00.3 (Tom Ridge, Eric Carlson, Syl King Jr. as trainer and lessee).

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, August 31st, 2012

August 24-30, 2012

As the summer months come to a close, it means we’re also drawing close to the end of stakes season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. It will end with a flourish with the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships, featuring some of the best young horses around. Before that, however, some outstanding overnight races took center stage this past week, giving us a bevy of great candidates for the Weekly Awards.


It’s hard to say why fortunes change for the better for some horses at certain times in their careers. Take the interesting case of McSocks, a 4-year-old pacer who came into the season with a modest record of four wins in 30 races. His 2012 campaign was even less impressive for a while, as he entered the month of August with just one victory in 20 starts.

On August 4, he raced against the $25,000 claiming pacing 4-year-olds, a group against which he had finished 5th and 7th in his previous two races. That’s when the proverbial light came on and he went gate-to-wire for a victory in a career-best 1:51. He promptly followed that up with two more wins in front-running fashion against the very same class.

On Saturday night, he joined the Peter Pellegrino barn in his quest for four straight wins against the class. With Tyler Buter in the bike, McSocks once again gunned to the front end and dared everyone to play catch-up. As his foes neared him in the stretch, he found another gear and kicked away to win easily by 2 ¼ lengths, re-setting his career mark in the process with a mile of 1:50:2. He was claimed again, and the new owners just have to hope that the light doesn’t go off as August ends.

Other top pacers this week include: Fall Toy (Joe Pavia Jr., Paul Holzman), who moved up into a new class and joined a new barn but still scored his second straight win on Saturday by beating the $20,000 claimers in a new career-mark of 1:50:2; Rockincam (Brandon Simpson, Nifty Norman), who won the week’s featured pace on Saturday night with a late move in 1:49, the fastest pace at Pocono this week; and Mr Govianni Fra (Matt Kakaley, Ken Rucker), who took 35 races to get his first career win but now has two in a row after his victory on Sunday in 1:54:3.


One of the ways that trots differentiate from paces is that it’s much more common for female horses to compete in the same races with male horses on the trotting side. It’s not a matter of trying to beat the boys so much as it is the best opportunity for mares to make solid money once they move out of the period where they can race for big stakes.

As such, it’s not unusual to see mares like Definitely Mamie take a shot in tough condition trots like the non-winners of $13,000 in the last five grouping that she faced on Sunday night. The five-year-old mare from the Brewer Adams barn has been a very consistent trotter no matter whom she has faced over the past several seasons at Pocono, so she was up for Sunday night’s challenge even though she was considered a  relatively long shot at 9-1.

Driver Joe Pavia Jr. did a nice job of getting a pocket trip for the mare behind the pacesetter. As others faltered, Definitely Mamie revved up for the stretch drive and zipped by to win by a head in 1:53:2, a new career-best. In what has been an excellent career, the victory marked a high point for the mare. She is a force no matter what gender her opponents might be.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Imperial Count (Howard Parker, Nifty Norman), who topped the field in the week’s featured condition trot in 1:53:2, a new career mark for the 4-year-old gelding; Talladega Hanover (George Napolitano Jr., Dan Walski), who arrived from The Meadows to capture a tough condition trot on Sunday night in 1:54:1, fastest time of his career; and Ginger Tree Jimmy (George Napolitano Jr., Steve Salerno), who switched from the conditions to the claimers for a Saturday night in 1:54:1.


With Greg Merton in the bike, this gelding surprised a group of claiming pacers on Sunday night at 43-1, paying off $88.40 on a $2 win ticket.


Bartlett only makes occasional stops at Pocono, but he often makes his presence felt, as he did on Sunday night by winning the final four races on the card.


Brown had a monster night on Tuesday night in Stallion Series action, as his horses won four of the eight divisions held for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pace.

That will do it for this week, but feel free to e-mail me at

Momma’s Jolt and Mcalvin Star in Stallion Series at Pocono

Friday, August 31st, 2012

August 28, 2012

Momma’s Jolt and Mcalvin each completed sweeps of the four preliminary legs of the Stallion Series for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pace with victories on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were eight Stallion Series divisions held at Pocono on Tuesday night, each carrying a purse of $20,000.

Momma’s Jolt (Village Jolt-Prettiestgalintown), owned by Fashion Farms LLC, trained by Jim Campbell, and driven by Matt Kakaley, won his split in 1:53:3. Mcalvin (McArdle-Grand Style), owned by Julie Krenitsky, trained by Bob Krenitsky Jr., and driven by Eric Ledford, took his division in 1;54:2.

Trainer Brian Brown had a huge night, winning four of the eight Stallion Series divisions.

Other Stallion Series winners at Pocono on Tuesday night: Modern Warfare (The Panderosa-Modern Life), owned by Country Club Acres, Vaupel, Mallett, and Leeman, trained by Brian Brown, and driven by David Miller, in 1:54:1; Come And Get’em (Western Terror-Cheryl Hanover), owned by VCS Racing LLC, trained by Brian Brown, and driven by David Miller, in 1:53; Broadway Cruiser (Yankee Cruiser-Misnomer), owned by Richard Latessa, trained by John Oliverio, and driven by George Napolitano Jr., in 1:53:4; Moonliteonthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere-Sweet Paprika), owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock, Kimelman, Baird, and Demeter, trained by Eddie Hart, and driven by Joe Pavia Jr., in 1:52:4; Storm The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Maple Lady), owned by James Stambaugh, Milton Leeman, and Charles Wingfield, trained by Brian Brown, and driven by Tim Tetrick; and Normandy Invasion (Somebeachsomewhere-Under Your Spell), owned by Country Club Acres, Mike Mallett, and William Robinson, trained by Brian Brown, and driven by Tim Tetrick, in 1:52:4.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, August 24th, 2012

August 17-23, 2012

Each week I hand out the Weekly Awards for the racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and each week it gets harder and harder to narrow it down to just a few select horses and horsemen. That’s a testament to how competitive the racing has been this season. This week was typically tough to make my selections, but I gave it a shot anyway, knowing that some worthy horses, drivers, and trainers are going to be left out.


One of the most difficult feats for a horse to accomplish in the sport of harness racing is to come back strong after a peak performance. Such was the daunting task before Touch The Rock, a five-year-old gelding from the barn of James Eaton. The gelding was coming off a condition win on August 4 in 1:49:2, a sizzling time that was a new career-best.

To make things even tougher, Touch The Rock moved up into a tougher condition group on Saturday night and had to deal with the #7 post position, not exactly prime real estate. In the past, the gelding has had difficulty stringing together good races, but he was ready to turn the page this week.

Driver Tyler Buter kept him away from a sizzling early pace before setting him in motion on the outside on the back stretch. Spinning wide off cover to go four-wide in the stretch, Touch The Rock grooved right past the leaders in the lane to get the win in 1:49:4, becoming that rare horse at Pocono to win back-to-back races in sub-1:50 times.

Other top pacers this week include: Grandstand Hitter (Ron Pierce, Douglas Berkeley), who continued his amazing climb up the claiming ladder with a victory on Saturday night, his fourth straight, in 1:51:1; Townslight Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who came flying late to win Saturday night’s feature pace in 1:48:4, a new career-best, fastest time of the week, and just one-fifth of a second off a track record for 4-year-old geldings; and Mcsocks (George Napolitano Jr., Jason Robinson), who ripped off his third straight gate-to-wire win over the $25,000 claimers on Saturday night, this one in 1:51:1.


It’s always interesting to see how a horse that was decorated as an underclassman does when it moves up to face older horses exclusively. Opening Night had a marvelous 3-year-old season, earning in excess of $540,000, much of it coming in stakes competition against his own age. His 4-year-old campaign hasn’t been quite as lucrative, but he has been rounding into form of late.

The stallion showed his mettle earlier in the season with back-to-back wins at Pocono and Harrah’s, and he was trying to pick up his second straight victory at MSPD on Sunday night after a nice condition win on August 12. This time around though, Opening Night, trained by Jim Campbell, had to face off with the toughest trotters on the grounds in the week’s featured trot for $25,000.

Going for big stakes is nothing new for this trotter, so Opening Night was more than ready for this tough assignment. Benefitting from an excellent trip in the pocket, the stallion waited until driver Matt Kakaley urged him by his foes in the stretch for the victory in 1:53:3. It seems like this trotter is adjusting to life as an upperclassman quite nicely.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Emily Do (Tyler Buter, Bill MacKenzie), a mare who jumped up in class and scored her second straight claiming win on Sunday night in 1:56:1; Zooming (Jason Bartlett, Erv Miller), who dominated a condition group on Sunday night for a victory in 1:53, the fastest trotting time of the week; and Idadazzle (Joe Pavia Jr., Gareth Dowse), whose claiming victory on Tuesday night in 1:57 was his second straight and 14th win of the season.


In one of our biggest shockers this season, Tattle Tell Teen, with Howard Parker in the pike, rallied from way back for a condition pacing win on Friday night at 95-1 for a $193.20 payout on a $2 win ticket.


Carlson has really found his groove in his first season at Pocono, and he showed his comfort level by ripping off a combined seven wins on Friday and Saturday night.


Ehrhart has been a factor at Pocono for several seasons now; his training double on Friday night highlighted a week that included three wins overall.

That will do it for this week. Feel free to e-mail me at


Me And Cinderella and Smoother Ride Roll in Stallion Series at Pocono

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

August 14, 2012

Me And Cinderella and Smoother Ride each won their fourth consecutive race to highlight Stallion Series action on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were six Stallion Series divisions held for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot, each carrying a purse of $20,000.

Me And Cinderella (Cantab Hall-Missy’s Goalfire), owned by Bluestone Farms and trained by Joe Holloway, took his split with Tyler Buter in the bike in 2:00. Smoother Ride (Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover), owned by Angelo Frassetto and trainer Steve Elliott, scored with Mike LaChance driving in 1:58.

Other Stallion Series winners at Pocono on Tuesday were: Sailer Eddie (Cantab Hall-Flirtin Victory), owned by Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprise LLC and Matt Tudisco, trained by Chris Oakes, and driven by Matt Kakaley, in 1:58:1; Shockoe Hanover (Donato Hanover-Sharise Seelster), owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable, and Pete Collura, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Matt Kakaley, in 1:59:2; Spiro De Vie (SJ’s Caviar-Angelique Hanover), owned by Regina Beinhauer and trainer and driver Rick Beinhauer, in 1:58:4; and Andy Revrac (Andover Hall-Marvelous Yankee), owned by John Carver, trained by Tony Alagna, and driven by Mike LaChance, in 2:01:4.