September 5-11, 2013
There were only two nights of racing in the past week because of the Oktoberfest celebration at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Those two nights were full of great racing, however, thanks to the finals of the Stallion Series that were held on Friday and Saturday night.
These Stallion Series are a chance for some excellent two-year-old and three-year-old horses to compete for purses that they might not otherwise get the chance to earn. The races take place all summer, with the best performers earning tickets to the finals, which were each worth $40,000 each.
On Friday night, the 2-year-olds took center stage, followed by the 3-year-olds on Saturday night. Here is a look at how those finals went down.
TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS
In a thrilling race, 4-1 third choice Jack Attack, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, led much of the race, but had to deal with the 1-2 favorite So Surreal in the stretch. The two came to the line in a photo finish, and, when the dust settled, Jack Attack was the winner by a nose. Trained by PJ Fraley, the 2-year-old gelding paced the mile in 1:52:2, giving him a perfect record in Stallion Series action.
TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS
When Ron Pierce couldn’t make it to Pocono on Friday night, Tyler Buter got the catch drive aboard Who Wants Soup, who was coming off back-to-back wins in the preliminaries. Buter made the most of his chance, rallying the gelding from the barn of Jim Campbell from off the pace to take the late lead and hang on by a head over Faust for the victory in 1:56:3. It was a new career mark for Who Wants Soup.
TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES
Nitro Nittany, a filly from the Jim Raymer barn, was coming off the first loss of her career after three straight Stallion Series wins. She atoned in the best way possible. Driver Howard Parker sent Nitro Nittany behind the cover of even-money favorite Tweet Me on the outside, and she blew by in the stretch for the victory in a career-best 1:56.
TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES
Considering that she had won her previous start against tougher Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition, it was no surprise that Weeper, from the barn of Kelly O’ Donnell, was the 3-5 favorite in this group. The filly didn’t disappoint, blowing by her competition with a huge first-over brush on the back stretch and pacing away for a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51:4, giving her three straight wins.
THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES
As part of an entry that went off as a 3-5 favorite, Choose Happy, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., got off to a slow start and had to make a first-over move to reach the front of the pack. Not only did she get past the leader around the final turn, but she held back closers who had much better trips than she did, prevailing by a head with Brett Miller in the bike for a victory in 1:54:2.
THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES
Trained by Amber Buter, Antigua Hanover came into Saturday night’s final with just two wins in 16 races this season. She found her stride at the right time though, starting fast, finding the pocket, and then blowing by the favorite Mattwestern late to pace away for the victory by 2 ½ lengths. Tyler Buter did the driving for Antigua Hanover, who paced the mile in a career-best 1:50:4.
THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS
The combination of driver Howard Parker and trainer Jim Raymer, who won a Stallion Series final on Friday with Nitro Nittany, were at it again with Rossini. Despite being a 3-1 third choice, Parker sent Rossini to the front end and dared everyone to catch him. The result was an easy 3 ¼ length win in 1:53, which narrowly missed a track record for 3-year-old geldings on the trot.
THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS
The final Stallion Series race of the season was a thriller. Ultimate Beachboy was the 3-5 favorite after back-to-back wins, one of which matched a track record. But he was pressured on all sides throughout the mile in the final, until Shock It To ‘Em, trained by Chris Oakes and driven by Ron Pierce, rallied in the stretch from the pocket for a half-length win in 1:50:1.
That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.