In Focus wins Open I Handicap Trot at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA — In Focus, piloted by provisionary driver Jim Takter Jr., won the Open I Handicap Trot Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

It was young Takter’s second lifetime victory in five starts.

In Focus, the five-year-old SJ’s Photo gelding left from the one hole in the seven-horse field and sat second behind BigPepper (George Napolitano Jr.) with the opening split in 27 seconds and half in 57.

Takter tipped out and soon became the new leader down the backside with the three-quarters clicked off in 1:24.4. In Focus was a winner in 1:54.2. Second by a head was a fast closing Dennis (Andrew McCarthy) with third-place going to Grain Of Truth (Tom Jackson), only a quarter of a length back.

Farifant, piloted by McCarthy and trained by Anette Lorentzon, captured the Open II Trot with a time of 1:54.4.

This marked the third win in a row for Farifant at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Second to Farifant was Stand Guard (Napolitano Jr.), three lengths back with Badboy Paparazzi (Mike Simons) third.

There also was an Open III Trot on the 16-race card with that winner being P J Clark (Jim Morrill Jr.). P J Clark stopped the timer in 1:54 followed by Broadway Paige (Matt Kakaley) and All About Justice (Simons).

Laura Shock trains P J Clark, a winner for the sixth time in 19 starts in 2010.

Riggins sets New Track Mark at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA —Riggins, piloted by Tom Jackson and trained by Paul Reid, produced the third fastest mile in the history of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday evening in winning the $24,000 open handicap pace.

Right from the get-go, Jackson took Riggins, assigned the eight hole, right to the top and was pressured by Jeremy’s Successor (George Napolitano Jr.) with both horses getting to the quarter in a blistering 25.4.

Riggins, looking for two straight at the Northeastern Pennsylvania racetrack in open handicap company, grabbed the lead for good shortly thereafter, taking the eight-horse field to the half in 53 seconds flat and three-quarter mark in 1:20.2 before stopping the timer in 1:48.3.

The 1:48.3 is a new track mark by one full second for an aged pacing stallion and third fastest mile ever in track history.

Riggins won by one-half length over Jeremy’s Successor with third-place going to Where’s Waldo (Joe Pavia Jr.), two and one-quarter lengths back.

Previous track mark for aged pacing gelding was owned by Quality Western of 1:49.3 and established in June of 2007 with Jim Taggart Jr. in the sulky.

Only the three-year-old colt Shadow Play in August of 2008 and Pilgrims Toner, an aged pacing gelding, in May of this year, have gone faster with identical 1:48.2 times.
Shadow Play, with David Miller, won an Adios elimination race here in 2008 with construction going on at the Meadows while Brian Sears drove Pilgrims Toner in this year’s May race that produced the 1:48.2 miles.

Bulletproof Enterprises of Boca Raton, FL, own Riggins, a five-year-old Art Major stallion.

Christiana Hanover breaks Track Mark at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

WILKES-BARRE, PA —Riina Rekila and Christiana Hanover made track history Tuesday night in winning an $84,745 division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies.

Christiana Hanover established a new track mark for the sophomore fillies with the timer reading 1:53.4.

Winning horse went off 42-1 and returned $87.80, $26.00 and $9.00 across the board.

Rekila, also the trainer and making her first ever start at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, becomes the first female driver to own a track mark here.

And it certainly took a lot of racing luck for the attractive 28-year-old Finnish veterinarian now living and training horses in Canada.

Christiana Hanover was hopelessly locked in along the pylons and sitting seventh in the race when Perfect Chance (Jim Morrill Jr.) went on a break. That break gave Rekila and Christiana Hanover racing room and she came trotting up a storm down the stretch to win by a length over Action-Broadway (David Miller).

Rekila said she had made some changes to her winning trotter prior to the race and noted that she didn’t think Christiana Hanover would go that fast in the race.

She also acknowledged that the breaking horse in the race definitely aided in the win.

Secret Magic (Matt Kakaley) finished third in this division.

Opening divisional victor was Merger Blue Chip (Miller) with a time of 1:56.1. Merger Blue Chip, trained by Bjorn Noren, got a two-hole trip behind front runner Easy Dream (Jean Dubois) with times clicked off in 27.2, 57.2 and 1:.27.1.

Ally-Gal Ridge (Kakaley) finished second, a length and one-half behind with third-place going to Easy Dream.

Spicy Wings, piloted by John Campbell for trainer Jeff Webster, went wire to wire in winning the third and final division. Time of the mile was 1:54.3 and margin of victory was three and one-half lengths.

Barnham Hanover (Mike Wilder) was second with third-place going to Miss Ridge (George Napolitano Jr.)

Tuesday night’s open handicap trot victor was Grain Of Truth (Ray Schnittker) with a time of 1:54.

Springboard upset Winner in Open I Handicap Trot at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Springboard upset Winner in Open I Handicap Trot at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
WILKES-BARRE, PA — Springboard, with Jim Taggart Jr. in the sulky, made it three straight at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Tuesday night.

A 28-1 longshot, Springboard produced a life mark of 1:53.1 in winning the $24,000 Open I handicap trot.

Last week, Springboard and Taggart Jr. won the Open II trot with a life mark of 1:54.1 and also was a long shot in that race.

Trained and owned by Miles Wollam, Springboard is now two for two at the Northeastern Pennsylvania racetrack after winning in 1:55.2 at the Meadows.

Taggart Jr. was a gapped second-over behind Grain Of Truth (Ray Schnittker) going down the backside with favorite Stand Guard (George Napolitano Jr.) on the front end.

A three-wide move was then made by Taggart Jr. at the top of the lane and the winner edged Southern Rocketop (Matt Kakaley) and Grain Of Truth by three-quarters of a length.

You’re Next (Joe Pavia Jr.) took the eight-horse field to the opening panel in 27.1 while Stand Guard was the new leader at the half and three-quarters with the times being 55.4 and 1:24.1.

BigPepper, reined by Napolitano Jr., won the Open II trot with a time of 1:54.2. This six-year-old gelding was making his first appearance for new owner John J. Wach of Boonton, N.J. and trainer Wendy Chellis. Wach claimed BigPepper for $23,000 on July 3 when the trotter won in 1:55 for trainer Lou Pena.

Badboy Paparazzi A (Mike Simons) finished second in Tuesday night’s race while Lord Darby (Eric Goodell) was third.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs lowering Takeout on Superfectas and Trifectas

WILKES-BARRE, PA —Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will be lowering its takeout on Superfecta and Trifecta wagers beginning Monday, August 2, pending approval by the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission.

The promotion of lowering the takeout percentage from 35 to 25 percent on both exotic wagers will last through the end of the 2010 harness racing season.

“We’re going to experiment with the new takeout ratio,” said Dale Rapson, vice president of racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. “Our fans have been asking that we do so in order that they collect more on those winning tickets.

“It will be watched closely and we’ll take a look at our numbers following our last day of racing in November. We’re going to see what impact the takeout reduction will have on our live racing handle.

“I’m hoping that our move will be enthusiastically accepted by our fans here at the main track and at our off-track wagering sites along with all of our simulcast outlets throughout North America.”