Racing

The Grey Ghosts return to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Monday, October 28th, 2013

They thunder down the stretch, a sea of grey and white…a ghostly apparition of horses!  It’s time again for the Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs!   The renowned record-breaking track will play host to all grey** or roan horses on Wednesday, October 30th, otherwise known as “Mischief Night”. 

Entries for the race include morning line favorite Gotta Love Him, trained by Cindy Weitoish and driven by Matt Kakaley, at odds of 3-1; last year’s Grey Ghost winner Lilywhites, ready to defend her win, and driven by Mike Kimelman for trainer Sara Kimelman, at odds of 7-2 as the second favorite; Next at odds of 4-1 is the Joe Pavia Jr.-trained Express Jet, coming off a second place finish at Pocono on October 24th and driven by Ron Pierce.  Also entered are Saratoga shipper Six Gun, trained by Brad Irvine and driven by Joe Bongiorno at 9-2; the Robert Lounsbury-trained Working Stiffs at 10-1, who finished in the money in her last four starts at Monticello Raceway; Artic Byrd, shipping in from Yonkers, and trained and driven by Truman Gale, at odds of 12-1; odds of 5-1 on McThird Dimension, trained by Blake Macintosh and driven by Simon Allard; and Hillcrest Bigdaddy, driven by Aaron Byron and trained by Scott Osterhout at 8-1.  The race is the third on the card with approximate Post Time of 7:06 p.m. 

Children of Pocono horsemen will be on hand to present the winning trophy in a specially decorated Winner’s Circle.  This year, while  Outrider Terry Scott recuperates from recent injuries, his brother Gary will take his place as the Headless Horseman, leading the ghostly greys down the stretch.

 **According to the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of harness racing, less than five percent of all harness horses are grey in color.  The most famous was the former world champion trotter and Hambletonian winner, Greyhound.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

October 19-25, 2013

The 30th Breeders Crown took place on Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, and it was everything a racing fan could have possibly hoped for and more. Events as hyped as this rarely live up to their billing, but, if anything, at the end of the night it seemed like no amount of build-up could have prepared the folks who were at Pocono and the thousands all over the world who watched at simulcast sites and on television for what they saw.

Each one of the twelve races deserves an article of their own, so I’ll inevitably have to leave out some of the champions, both of the equine and human variety, that graced our stage. Since those details have been well-reported elsewhere, I thought I’d just give some of my final impressions on the finest single night of racing I’ve ever witnessed.

I had the opportunity to watch all the action from the announcer’s booth, where I called the races in tandem with my buddy Sam McKee of The Meadowlands. It was a good thing there were two of us in the booth, because I don’t think either one of us alone could have handled all that craziness. It seemed that after every race, we would stare at each other mouths agape in either shock or awe at what had just transpired on the track.

With such big money on the line, it made sense that the sport’s finest drivers were entrusted with the reins. Only five different drivers captured victories on the night: Tim Tetrick had three, David Miller, Ron Pierce, and Yannick Gingras had two each, and Brian Sears picked up one. One could say that those are the top five drivers in the sport right now and it would be hard to argue against it. Their choices were almost universally fine on Saturday night, especially Tetrick’s brilliant weaving drive aboard Market Share in the Open Trot.

For all of the brilliance that quintet of drivers displayed throughout, this night was about the horses. The night was marketed on the backs of several superstar horses. For the most part, they all came through, with the exception of  Anndrovette, whose bid for a third straight win in the Open Mares pace came up short in 3rd behind David Miller and Shelliscape.

While most of these big names delivered on their promise, what differed about them was how they accomplished this. Some were simply too good for the rest, like 2-year-old trotter Father Patrick, who dominated his group on the front end, and the sublime Bee A Magician, who stayed unbeaten after 15 starts in her 3-year-old season by beating the sophomore trotting fillies without seeming to break a sweat. I Luv The Nitelife, a 3-year-old pacing filly who lost just once this year in 14 races despite a brutally tough schedule, trailed for much of her race, only to explode in the stretch and leave everybody in the dust.

Yet maybe the two most impressive command performances on the night were two that produced unbearably narrow margins of victory. Captaintreacherous is one of the most celebrated 3-year-old pacers in the history of the sport, but he was out to avenge his only loss this season, a heartbreaking photo finish defeat to Sunshine Beach at Pocono in August. The two hooked up to battle once again in the 3-year-old Colts and Geldings Pace, and for several moments it appeared that Sunshine Beach had the favorite’s number. But what makes the Captain special, as Sam McKee pointed out on race night, is his heart, and he showed every bit of it by digging in to win by a neck.

In the final race of the night, Foiled Again presented a worthy encore to the Captain’s showstopper in the Open Pace. Considering that he’d earned more money that any pacer in North American history coming into the race, anything that the 9-year-old warrior from the Ron Burke barn could give in the final was pure gravy. But one thing that had eluded Foiled Again was the Breeders Crown, so he was all-in for this one.

Driver Yannick Gingras sent Foiled Again to the front past the half-mile marker, but the fractions seemed too steep for him to carry, especially on a sloppy track. Foiled Again gave everything he had to stay on top, only to have a rallying Pet Rock pull up alongside at the line for a photo finish. For a tantalizing minute or so the photo sign stayed up until it disappeared to reveal that Foiled Again was the winner. The normally reserved Gingras gave a euphoric fist pump as the horse returned to the winner’s circle for the perfect exclamation point to the evening.

The Breeders Crown was a simply spectacular event, one that not even the windy and rainy weather could dampen. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to call another one, but, as far as I’m concerned, I was just part of the best one ever, so it would be pretty hard to top anyway.

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.

Mike Schmidt postpones appearance; Reschedules for last day of meet while Thurman Thomas is added for Breeders Crown day signing

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Hall of Fame baseball superstar Mike Schmidt postponed his appearance on Breeders Crown day, October 19, 2013, at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, due to a personal conflict, according to his management. The star has confirmed that he would reschedule for November 23, which will be the new closing night for the 2013 harness racing meet, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Fans may line up at 2:00 p.m. on that day to secure their spot in line and obtain an authorized photo to be autographed. No outside merchandise will be signed.

Dale Rapson, Vice President of Racing Operations, has announced that the racing meet would offer two additional days of racing on Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23, with a Post Time of 6:30 p.m. both nights. Friday, November 22 has been deemed “Fan Appreciation Night”, and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., fans may show their Racing Rewards card and choose a souvenir from the 2013 meet; one per fan, while supplies last.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is also announcing that NFL Hall of Fame Running Back Thurman Thomas would be on hand Breeders Crown day, October 19th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to sign autographs and meet his fans. Line-up begins at 1:00 p.m., and fans will obtain a wristband to secure their spot in line.

Breeders Crown night will feature 12 championship races and purses over $6 million. Post Time for this historic night of racing is at 5:00 p.m.

About Mohegan Sun At Pocono Downs
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut is one of the most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and dining destinations in Pennsylvania. Situated on 400 acres in Plains, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is currently home to 82,000 square feet of gaming space including more than 82 live table games, 2,300 slot machines and electronic table games, a variety of dining and shopping options, nightlife, entertainment and live harness racing. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. More information is available by calling 1.888.win.inpa (1.888.946.4672) or visiting our website. Connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, download our app and view us on YouTube.

OWNERS REMINDED TO CONFIRM CLUBHOUSE RESERVATIONS

Monday, October 14th, 2013

 

Owners with horses entered in the Breeders Crown finals on Saturday (Oct. 19) are reminded to call the PHHA offices at 570.831.2129 to confirm their clubhouse dining arrangements.

Please do not assume that a table will be automatically reserved. One table of four may be reserved per horse entered.

For those who wish to accommodate additional guests, limited seating is still available in the horsemen’s VIP tent. Tickets are $40 per person and include buffet dinner and program.

Feeling You Wins Distaff Feature at Pocono

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

October 4, 2013

Feeling You outpaced Androvette in a showdown between two of racing’s best aged pacing mares, winning Friday night’s featured Preferred Handicap pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the process. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Leaving from post position #5 in a field of seven as the 4-5 favorite, Feeling You (Cambest-Ripreza Hanover), a 6-year-old mare who is the pride of the Amber Buter barn, grabbed the lead early for driver Tyler Buter. From the half-mile on she was challenged first-over by top division rival Anndrovette. The two mares staged a mini-preview of the Breeders Crown action coming up at Pocono in the coming weeks, dueling in the stretch with Feeling You prevailing by a head in 1:50. Fashion Mystery finished further back in 3rd.

Feeling You, owned by Stephen Oldford, Oldford Farms LLC, and Tyler Buter, won for the 10th time in 22 races this year. The victory was the 34th of her career and pushed her lifetime earnings to $954,096.