Racing

Broadway Socks Wins Fourth Consecutive in Stallion Series at Pocono

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 17, 2014

Broadway Socks won a division of the Stallion Series on Tuesday night for her fourth consecutive win overall, highlighting the action for three-year-old trotting fillies at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were six Stallion Series divisions held, each with a purse of $20,000.

Broadway Socks (Broadway Hall-I Gotta Feelin), driven by Dan Rawlings and trained by David Wade, won her split in 1:55:2 to keep her streak alive. Other Stallion Series winners on the night: Sincerely Yours S (Cantab Hall-Kemp’s Emilie), driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Jonas Czernyson, in 1:56:3; Outsourced Hanover (Donato Hanover-Oaklea Opal), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, in 1:55:4; Nitro Nittany (Explosive Matter-Miss Nittany), driven by Howard Parker and trained by Jim Raymer, in 1:54:4; Here’s Ethel (Equinox Bi-Overtookthem), driven by Brett Miller and trained by Sharlene Dufford, in 1:57:2; and Bikini So Teeny (Yankee Glide-Momsgotitgoinon), driven and trained by Charlie Norris, in 1:55.

Drop The Ball Coasts in Distaff Feature at Pocono

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 15, 2014

Drop The Ball coasted to an easy win Sunday Night in the featured Preferred Handicap pace for mares at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Leaving from post position #4 in a field of seven as the 3-5 favorite, Drop The Ball (Western Terror-Mattcheck Girl) grabbed the pocket around the first turn behind American In Paris. With one quick brush, the 6-year-old mare from the barn of Ross Croghan took the lead on the front stretch and extended it to a huge margin at the top of the stretch. Driver Simon Allard geared Drop The Ball down from there and she coasted home a two-length winner in an effortless 1:50:1. Strings finished second while Jinglejanglejingle picked up the show.

Drop The Ball won for the second time in six 2014 races. It was her 23rd career win, pushing her lifetime earnings to $1,330,616.

Nuncio and Father Patrick Win Sire Stakes at Pocono

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 14, 2014

When you’re a superstar, you can win by a small margin and still make it seem like it was effortless. So Nuncio and Father Patrick, the twin 3-year-old superstars of the Jimmy Takter barn, proved in winning $72,300 divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were three Sire Stakes divisions held on the night for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

In his division, Nuncio (Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle), two-for-two in Sire Stakes action this season coming into the night, sank to last in the seven-horse field early before beginning a long first-over journey on the front stretch. Even when pacesetter Don Dorado built a sizable lead, driver Matt Kakaley and Nuncio never panicked and eventually glided by Don Dorado in the final strides to win by a neck in 1:53:3. Outburst finished third.

Father Patrick (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream), like Nuncio, was a 1-9 favorite in his split, which was no surprise considering his career record coming in of 12 wins in 13 starts. Kakaley sent him to the front past Datsyuk, who came into the race with wins in all three of his previous career races, and led him through fractions that were less than imposing. With Datsyuk all-out in the passing lane, Kakaley gently urged Father Patrick home to beat his persistent foe by a neck in 1:53:1. Dony Andreas picked up the show.

In the night’s remaining Sire Stakes division, Madewell Hanover (Yankee Glide-Mayday Hanover) cashed in on a strong first-over move to win in a career-best 1:53:4. Owned, trained, and driven by Chris Ryder, Madewell Hanover scored as the 4-1 third choice. JJ Alex finished second while 3-5 favorite Amped Up Hanover settled for third.

In other action on Saturday night at Pocono, Bolt The Duer captured the $25,000 Preferred pace and Not Afraid did the honors in the $25,000 Preferred Trot. It was the first win of the year for Bolt The Duer, driven by Mark MacDonald and trained by Peter Foley, who paced first-over to a victory in 1:48:2. Not Afraid, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for trained Jimmy Takter, overpowered the field on the front end to a win in a career-best 1:51:4.

Father Patrick returns to Pocono

Friday, June 13th, 2014

– Father Patrick, the three-year-old trotting colt who in many people’s minds is the early favorite for 2014 Harness Horse of the Year, takes his personal Pennsylvania barnstorming tour to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday night to contest the fifth race, one of three divisions of a $216,900 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event. 

The son of Cantab Hall, owned by the Father Patrick Stable of New Jersey (and named for a local Catholic priest), won his first two starts of this campaign in Sire Stakes action at tracks near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and Saturday he will take his overpowering act to northeast Pennsylvania. A pupil of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, who calls this horse “potentially one of the greatest-ever trotters,” Father Patrick has drawn post six in the seven-horse field, and Takter has selected 28-year-old Matt Kakaley, currently battling George Napolitano Jr. for the top rung in the Pocono drivers standings, to handle Father Patrick, as regular driver Yannick Gingras will be in Toronto Saturday, with many mounts on the big North America Cup card. 

A race earlier, the Takter-Kakaley team will send out Nuncio as the favorite in a Sires division for Stall TZ Inc of Florida. Like his stablemate, Nuncio is two-for-two this year, with wins in Sire Stakes action at The Meadows and Harrah’s Philadelphia, and the son of Andover Hall will start from the middle of Saturday’s seven-horse field.  

The third race Sires opener appears to be wide-open, with Wheelsandthelegman accorded a slight edge starting from the rail for trainer Walter Carroll, driver Jim Raymer, and owner Beth Carroll. The Donato Hanover gelding, unraced at two, had won his first four career races before finishing third behind Nuncio at The Meadows.

 (No, there’s no Takter horse in the third race – but worry not for Jimmy, as he has yet another powerhouse sophomore trotting colt, Trixton, heavily favored in the $272,500 Goodtimes Trot on the big Saturday card in Toronto.)

 Also featured at Pocono Saturday are a pair of $25,000 Preferred events. The tenth race pace marks the return of Bolt The Duer (post three, driver Mark MacDonald), who equaled the then-alltime five-eighth mile track record of 1:47.4 here last year. Trotters grab the spotlight two races later, with Quick Deal, coming off a 1:51.4 tally at The Meadowlands, dealing with the outside post six for Kakaley and Pocono’s leading trainer, Ron Burke.

 FINISHING LINES – It’s likely that after this weekend Father Patrick and Nuncio will both be racing at Pocono the following two Saturdays, in the eliminations and (hopefully) final of the $500,000 Earl Beal Trot, the latter part of the $2.3 million Sun Stakes Saturday card June 28.

 

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, June 13th, 2014

June 7-13, 2014

With a day-night doubleheader on Belmont Stakes day, this past week featured five live racing cards at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Filling up those cards was no problem, as Pocono welcomed a bunch of shippers from other tracks to go up against the holdovers who have already established themselves throughout the first couple months of the meet. This made for a thrilling week of racing, the best performances of which we now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: STEELHEAD HANOVER

This 5-year-old stallion from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn came into Saturday night’s condition pace for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five starts with wins in two of the three starts he made at Pocono in 2014. In a victory on May 31, Steelhead Hanover benefitted from a comfortable trip which allowed him to stay on the inside for much of the mile before rallying late for a victory in 1:50:2.

When a horse enjoys a trip like that, it’s natural to be skeptical if it can have the same success without that kind of relaxing journey. Add that to the fact that Steelhead Hanover was moving up in class, and he seemed more likely to struggle this time around. Yet Pavia, who also did the driving, attacked early with his stallion, taking the lead and setting imposing fractions.

There was no help for Steelhead Hanover on this night, and he made it clear by his stellar performance that he didn’t need any. He didn’t let up on the front end until he crossed the finish line a length-and-a-half in front of his nearest foe in 1:48:3. That time not only now stands as the fastest of the stallion’s career, but it was faster than anybody else paced this past week at Pocono.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Meirs Hanover (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved way up the condition ladder on Saturday night with no sweat, scoring his second straight victory in 1:49:3; Ahead Ofthe Curve (George Napolitano Jr., Paul Holzman), who moved up in class and still managed his third straight claiming victory on Saturday night, beating a field of $20,000 claimers in 1:50:1; and Aracache Hanover (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won the week’s featured pace, Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred Handicap, in 1:49.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: LUV YA TYLER

It’s unusual for a horse to win as a significant long shot in consecutive weeks. One of two things usually happens: Either the horse’s performance in his first long shot win is so impressive that it gets a lot more attention at the windows the following week, or, if it is still a long shot the second time around, the law of averages catches up to it and it comes up short.

Somebody should tell that to Luv Ya Tyler, a 7-year-old gelding who had been winless in eight races this year before a claim put him in the barn of trainer Neal Ehrhart. In his first start in the new barn, the gelding went off at 20-1 against a field of $15,000 claimers but rallied for the victory in a career-best 1:54:2.

Once again on Tuesday night, he wasn’t given much of chance at the tote board when he moved up in class to face a $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap class. All the outside speed in the race eventually wore itself out, leaving room for a closer to steal the race. Luv Ya Tyler, at 19-1 this time around, sat back off the fast fractions early and, with Mike Simons in the bike, came up flying for the victory in 1:54:2, matching that career-best from a week previous. After two straight wins, the odds he’ll need to defy probably won’t be quite so long the next time around.

Other top trotters this week include: Song Of Virtue (Joe Pavia Jr., Jennifer Sabot), a mare who picked up her second straight win over the $7,500 claimers on Saturday morning and did so in a new career-best time of 1:56:2; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who burned up the track in a condition win and matched the week’s fastest trotting time on Tuesday night with a victory in 1:53:3; and Revrac Harbour (Scot Zeron, Tony Alagna), who picked up his second straight win at Pocono on Wednesday night, this coming in Stallion Series action in 1:55:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ZIP IT LOCK IT

Tyler Buter has been aboard several huge long shots this year, but none was as big a bomber as this pacing mare on Wednesday night at 75-1 for a $158 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON

This newcomer to the Pocono racing wars has been improving as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings, and five combined wins on Tuesday and Wednesday prove he’s becoming a major factor.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN CARR

With a win on Sunday and two more victories on Tuesday night, Carr made a significant jump this week in the Pocono training standings.

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