Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

April 27-May 3, 2013

We start every year at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with a fresh Track Records page at the back of the program showing off some of the finest performances ever at the track. And every year, by the end of the season, that page looks drastically different after a fresh batch of competitors hits the track and breaks or matches a bunch of those records. Our first interloper on the Track Records page for 2013 highlights this week’s edition of the Weekly Awards


This mare from the barn of Nifty Norman has had a distinguished career, earning close to $1 million in her lifetime, so she was certainly capable of a big effort. The down side was that she came into Saturday night’s condition pace for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races without a win in her first four tries this season, although that was excusable considering the tough foes she had been facing at the Meadowlands.

On Saturday night, she had Ron Pierce in the bike, and Pierce decided he would be aggressive with the mare, sending her first over on the front stretch to take the lead by the half-mile marker. The fractions Beatgoeson Hanover laid down were unforgiving, which prevented any outside pressure from getting by her.

That kind of up-front speed often leaves a horse vulnerable in the stretch, but this mare was not to be denied. Pierce urged her home 1 ¼ lengths in front of Dontgetinhisway in a stunning time of 1:52:1. That matched the track record for trotting mares aged four years old and up, a mark originally set by Brighten Up in 2010. It won’t be the first time we see a track record in jeopardy this season, but it was still a thrilling effort by this marvelous mare.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Defiant Donato (Matt Kakaley, Jim Campbell), an impressive young filly with three straight wins to start her career after a rallying victory in a condition trot on Wednesday in a career-best 1:55:1; Fool’s Revenue (Jim Morrill Jr., William Mullin), who moved up in class to beat the $12,500 claimers on Tuesday night in 1:55:3, his second straight victory; and In Your Room (Mike Simons, Gail Wrubel), a mare who stepped up in class on Tuesday night but still rolled to her second straight condition win in 1:54:2.


Trainer and driver Daryl Bier only makes cameo appearances at MSPD, and he usually only makes the trip if he has a serious contender who can do some damage on the Pocono oval. As a result, he usually has a pretty excellent percentage of winners, and St Lads Zoom has been particularly tough to stop in the early parts of the meet.

The 4-year-old gelding was saddled with tough outside post positions in his first two starts at Pocono, but he acquitted himself well with a third and a win in those races. On Saturday night, he got a much better look at it with a #3 post position in a field of eight, but he also was moving up in class into a rugged non-winners of $24,000 the last five starts condition pace.

The good post allowed Bier to get St Lads Zoom Zoom in solid position in the pocket. In the stretch, the gelding did the rest, powering home for the victory in a thrilling stretch drive over favored Meirs Hanover in 1:51:2. St Lads Zoom Zoom has now won six of his nine races this season, just another efficient and effective performer from the Bier barn.

Other top pacers this week include: Pence Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who won the season’s first Preferred pace on Saturday night with front-end speed in a career-best 1:49:4; Mr Perseverance (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who moved up his claiming price to $25,000 yet still captured his second straight victory on Saturday night, this time in a career-best 1:50:3; and Lorrie Please (Eric Carlson, Michael Hall), a mare who captured the featured distaff pace on Sunday night with a gutsy effort in the stretch in 1:50:2, a new career-best.


The #9 post position didn’t scare away this gelding driven by John Campbell in a condition pace on Saturday night, as he won at 35-1 for a win payout of $72.80.


Pierce has been making more frequent appearances at Pocono and has been lethal. Consider the monster night he had on Saturday night when he notched seven wins.


Allard has been one of the hottest trainers on the grounds early in the season, and this week was no different, as he scored three wins including a double on Saturday night.

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

Golden Receiver Wins Van Rose Memorial Pace at Pocono

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

May 4, 2013

Golden Receiver returned to his former haunts to pick up a big victory in the Van Rose Memorial Pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $50,000.

Golden Receiver (Village Jove-Royal Gold), who used to campaign at Pocono before becoming one of the nation’s preeminent pacers, left from post position #2 in a field of six as the heavy 1-5 favorite. He sat third early as Sparky Mark cut out the opening quarter, but driver George Napolitano Jr. set him in motion on the front stretch to take the lead before the clubhouse turn. From there, Golden Receiver held the rest of the field at bay, winning by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:50. Sparky Mark finished second while Fred And Ginger picked up the show.

The win gives Golden Receiver, an 8-year-old gelding owned by Nina Simmonds and Our Horse Cents Stable and trained by Mark Harder, seven victories in eight races this season, as he bounced back after a month layoff following his only loss of 2013. He now has 56 career wins and lifetime earnings of $1,763,908.

The Van Rose Memorial is held each year at Pocono in honor of Van Rose, a longtime sportswriter and friend of harness racing in Northeastern Pennsylvania who passed away in 2011.

Beatgoeson Hanover Matches Track Record in Win at Pocono

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

April 27, 2013

Beatgoeson Hanover put together a stellar effort to win a condition trot on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and matched a track record for aged trotting mares in the process. The race, a condition for non-winner of $22,500 in the last five starts, carried a purse of $21,000.

Leaving from post position #2 in a field of nine as the 2-1 second choice, Beatgoeson Hanover (Andover Hall-Beat The Wheel), a 5-year-old mare trained by Nifty Norman and owned by Neven Botica of Australia, sat fourth early as Dontgetinhisway cut out the opening quarter. Driver Ron Pierce sent the mare on a first-over journey on the Pocono front stretch and had the lead at the half. Beatgoeson Hanover did the rest from there, keeping everyone at bay and powering home for the win by 1 ¼ lengths over Dontgetinhisway. Tui picked up the show.

The winning time of 1:52:1 matched the Pocono track record for 4-year-old and over mares on the trot, which was established by Brighten Up in 2010. It was also a career mark for Beatgoeson Hanover, who won for the first time in five tries this season and for the 20th time in her career, giving her lifetime earnings of $982,500.

Saturday night was a good night for the pacers as well at Pocono, as horses took advantage of the excellent weather and fast surface to post several impressive times. Pence Hanover, with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for Aaron Lambert, won the $25,000 Preferred pace in 1:49:4, while Steelhead Hanover, trained and driven by Joe Pavia Jr., won a condition pace earlier in the night in 1:49:1.

Driver Ron Pierce had the hot hand with six wins through the first 14 races on the card.

Jerseylicious Captures Weiss Final for Distaff Pacers at Pocono

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

April 23, 2013

Jerseylicious won a showdown with Shebestingin to capture the final of the Bobby Weiss Series for 3-year-old pacing fillies on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $30,000.

Jerseylicious (Western Ideal-Jet Lag N) came into the race unbeaten in seven 2013 races, while Shebestingin had never lost in five career starts. Jerseylicious had a post position edge in the #5 hole, while Shebestingin had to work hard from the outside #9 post to make the early lead. Driver Corey Callahan let Jerseylicious relax in the pocket before sending him outside for the stretch drive and nipping a game Shebestingin by a neck in 1:50:4. O Narutac Rockette finished 3rd.

Owned by Pamela Curran and Legacy Racing of Delaware and trained by Wayne Givens, Jerseylicious now has wins in nine of 15 career starts with lifetime earnings of $248,406.

Kakaley and Burke Sweep Hudson River Series at Pocono

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

April 21, 2013

The combination of driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke hooked up to sweep both divisions of the Hudson River Pacing series for four and five-year-old pacers on Sunday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The races, which each held a purse of $18,000, were the second leg of the series which begun last week at the Meadowlands.

In the first division, Take It Back Terry (Western Terror-Second Symphony) used a pocket trip and a strong stretch drive to pick up a win in a career-best 1:50, snapping a string of three straight second-place finishes for his first victory of the season. Holdingallthecards finished second while JJ Shark picked up the show.

Kakaley and Burke were at it again in the second split as Visible Gold led at every pole for the victory in 1:50:2, giving the 5-year-old gelding wins in his last eight races, a stretch which includes the first two legs of the Hudson Series. Ideal Champ trailed him all the way around for the place while Yo Cheyenne Rocky finished third.