Racing

Guccio Matches World Record in Preferred Trot at Pocono

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

June 15, 2013

What is it about trainer Jimmy Takter and 4-year-old trotting stallions at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs?

A week ago, Uncle Peter set a new track and world record for the age group with a win in the featured trot. On Saturday night at Pocono, Takter brought in Guccio and he matched the feat with his own $25,000 Preferred trot victory in the same record time of 1:51:1.

Guccio, a 4-year-old stallion seasoned by tough trots at The Meadowlands, was made the 2-5 favorite in a field of nine. Takter, who also drove the stallion, kept him back in fifth early as lead-shuffling between Lightning Storm and Opening Night created blistering fractions. Takter got Guccio moving first over on the back stretch. At the top of the lane, he had corralled leader Opening Night and wore him down for a 1 ½ length victory in that record-setting time of 1:51:1. Opening Night finished second while Keystone Thomas picked up the show.

It was also a career mark for Guccio, who is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Goran Falk, and Brixton Medical. The win was his second of the season and 7th lifetime, while his career earnings jumped to $899,333.

In Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred pace at Pocono, Bet On The Law might have been overlooked in a field that included stakes veteran Hurrikane Kingcole, Ron Burke trainee Escape The News, and Aussie invader Erle Dale N. As a 5-1 fourth choice in a field of seven, Bet On The Law stayed back off the early pace, choosing only to move when Hurrikane Kingcole came first-over on the back stretch to give him cover. That was a change of tactics by trainer/driver Joe Pavia Jr., one that paid off when the 4-year-old gelding spun off his cover and rallied to win by a length in a career-best 1:48:4. Hurrikane Kingcole had to settle for second while Musselsfrombrussels picked up the show.

Bet On The Law, owned by Steven Held, Joe Barbera, AGC Stables, and Dijo Racing, won for the sixth time in a dozen 2013 races. It was his  11th career victory and pushed his lifetime earnings to $313,249.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

June 7-13, 2013

This is the time of year at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs when we move to a schedule of five nights per week, meaning that there are more outstanding performances to sift through when choosing the Weekly Awards. This is also the time of year when it seems like not a week goes by without some sort of assault on either a Pocono track record or even a world record. One of those special performances on Saturday night is the obvious choice to kick off our Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: UNCLE PETER

Harness racing can be a funny sport, because there are certain occasions when a horse’s record doesn’t really have much bearing on the race. Take, for example, Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred trot, where Uncle Peter came in as the favorite despite having won just once in five tries in 2013. A closer inspection of that record shows that the competition that the 4-year-old stallion from the Jimmy Takter barn had faced so far this season had been top-notch.

Uncle Peter definitely had unfinished business at Pocono, considering that he had raced in Preferred company twice in April and had come up just short. In his return on Saturday night, he decided to put any doubts the Pocono faithful might have had about his credibility to rest by going the biggest mile he could possibly manage.

With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, Uncle Peter surged to the front end on the front stretch and romped away from the excellent competition from that point to win by four lengths. The winning time of 1:51:1 was astounding, breaking not just the Pocono mark for 4-year-old stallions on the trot but also the world record for the age group. It was also the third-fastest mile ever trotted at Pocono, proving that Uncle Peter is one of the best trotters around no matter what his win-loss record says.

Other top trotters this week include: Luv Ya Tyler (George Napolitano Jr., Neal Ehrhart), who chugged through the slop on Friday night to his second straight condition victory, this one coming in 1:55:4; Quantum Cashman (Jonathan Drury, Carmen Auciello), who followed up a win in Canada with a claiming handicap victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:55:3; and Upfront Billy (George Napolitano Jr., Mark Ford) who now has two straight wins, one at the Meadowlands at one in Wednesday night’s featured condition trot at Pocono in 1:53.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BUCK STOPS HERE

Some horses get on such a hot streak that they find their way to the line even when it doesn’t seem possible. Buck Stops Here is on just such a streak. The mare has really been on that roll all year long, as she came into Wednesday night’s $15,000-$20,000 claiming handicap pace for mares having won six of her last seven races. She was four for her first five since arriving at Pocono, and her last two wins came from the outside post.

The winning streak has been even more impressive for the fact that she’s been claimed in each of her five starts since coming to Pocono. The 5-year-old mare joined the Jason Robinson barn for Wednesday night’s contest, which once again had her dealing with an outside post. George Napolitano Jr. took her to the front early, and Buck Stops Here had to set imposing fractions just to repel the pressure to her outside.

In the stretch, closers came at her on both sides, and it seemed like she was bound to succumb. But Buck Stops Here, riding that outstanding streak, found her way to the line for a win by a nose in 1:52. She was claimed again after the race, and she’ll probably be on the outside should she face the same class again next week. But the way she’s going right now, I know I wouldn’t bet against her.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Jepson Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), who rallied late to win Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred pace in a career-best 1:49:1; Erle Dale N (Andrew McCarthy, Darran Cassar), who made his second start in the U.S. a memorable one on Saturday night, winning a condition pace in a sizzling 1:49, fastest pacing time of the week at MSPD; and Queen Of Royalty (Tyler Buter, Allen Sisco), a mare who won her third straight on Wednesday night in a condition trot in 1:51:3 and moved up in class to do so.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FRISKY STRIKE

In a rugged claiming handicap trot on Saturday night, this mare came up late to upend the favorites at 37-1 with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, triggering a $76.40 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JOE PAVIA JR.

Pavia had one of his best weeks of the season to date this past week, picking up wins in four racing nights and scoring a driving triple on Sunday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JASON ROBINSON

He’s been one of our top percentage trainers at Pocono for the past few seasons, and he had an excellent week just past, scoring three training wins.

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.

Romantic Moment Wins Distaff Feature at Pocono

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

June 9, 2013

Romantic Moment picked up her first victory of 2013 in impressive fashion, hanging tough on the front end to win the featured Preferred pace for mares on Sunday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried the night’s top purse of $25,000.

Coming off a 3-year-old season in which she won 10 of 16 races, Romantic Moment (American Ideal-Time N Again) had come up winless in her first four starts of 2013 before her trip to Pocono for trainer Jimmy Takter. She was the 2-1 second betting choice in the field of eight from the #5 hole, but she proved herself the best by leading at every pole in the mile. Despite challenges from Four Starz Roe first-over on the back stretch and Rock N Soul from the pocket down the lane, Romantic Moment, with Andrew McCarthy in the bike, dug deep and nipped Rock N Soul by a neck in 1:50:2. Lorrie Please picked up the show.

With her first win of the season, Romantic Moment, owned by Brittany Farms, now has 13 career victories. Her lifetime earnings now stand at $1,026,927.

Uncle Peter Shatters World Record in Win at Pocono

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

June 8, 2013

Another Saturday night, another world comes under assault at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

This time around, it was the mark for 4-year-old trotting stallions on a 5/8-mile oval that was obliterated by star trotter Uncle Peter in the Preferred trot on Saturday night. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Uncle Peter (Cantab Hall-Victory Treasure), who was fresh off a second-place finish in the Maxie Lee at Harrah’s, was made the 3-5 favorite from the #5 post in a nine-horse field. The 4-year-old stallion from the Jimmy Takter barn got away mid-pack as the mare Tui set a scorching opening fraction of 26:3. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. set Uncle Peter in motion first-over on the front stretch and he had the lead before the clubhouse turn, hitting the half in 55:1.

On the back stretch, Uncle Peter gained separation and reached three-quarters in 1:22:4. Even with second-choice Undercover Strike sneaking up behind him into the pocket, the favorite had no trouble in the stretch, kicking away to win by four full lengths. Undercover Strike finished second while Keystone Thomas picked up the show. The winning time of 1:51:1 smashed the track record for 4-year-old stallions on the trot of 1:52, set last May by Fox Valley Iliad, and that mark was also the world record for the age group on any 5/8-mile oval.

Uncle Peter, owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, and Goran Falk, has been in the money in every one of his six starts this year with two wins. The victory was the 10th of his career and pushed his lifetime earnings to $770,154.

Camaes Fellow Matches World Record in Feature Win at Pocono

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

June 1, 2013

Camaes Fellow won a thrilling Preferred pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and matched a world record in the process. The race carried the night’s top purse of $25,000.

On a night when the warm temperatures produced sizzling times all night long, it seemed a safe bet that the featured pacers would be responsible for an especially rapid time, even with only five horses in the field. Camaes Fellow (Mach Three-Camae), a 5-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn, was made the 9-5 second choice behind 8-5 Yonkers invader Something For Doc.

But it was Diamond Stick Pin, who left from the inside post, who set the table with awe-inspiring fractions of 26 even, 53:2, and 1:20:2. That was bad news for Something For Doc, who attempted to get the lead on the front stretch but gut parked on the outside for his troubles. Camaes Fellow sat in the pocket and tracked the leader until pulling to the outside in the stretch.

Diamond Stick Pin appeared to have enough left to get home until weakening slightly in the final strides. That’s when driver Matt Kakaley urged Camaes Fellow past at the very end to win by a neck in a stunning time of 1:48:1. Jepson Hanover picked up the show.

That time of 1:48:1 set the new track record for aged geldings on the pace. The old mark of 1:48:2 was set by Pilgrims Toner in 2010 and matched by Hruby’s N Luck last June. The time also matched the world record for the age group on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set by Bettor Sweet at Tioga in 2011.

Camaes Fellow, who is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, and M1 Racing, won for the fourth time in 12 starts this season. It was his 15th career victory, pushing his lifetime earnings to $639,755.