Van Rose Memorial and Weiss Finals a Powerhouse of Stars

When The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono created the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, honoring the late local handicapper and writer, it was said that Rose’s reaction might be “They named a $50,000 race after ME?”

Well, Van, guess what – this year it’s the $100,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace that will be featured on the evening portion of a Kentucky Derby Day doubleheader this Saturday at The Downs, as 14 entrants resulted in the creation of two $50,000 divisions of the Van Rose Pace.

The credentials these horses are bringing to Pocono on Saturday are simply outstanding. Consider these collective achievements of the fourteen fast pacers:

–Combined lifetime earnings of $13,994,142, or an average of $999,581 per horse; with two $2 million+ winners (Mach It So and Christen Me N) and four additional $1 million winners (Boston Red Rocks, Wakizashi Hanover, Keystone Velocity, and Rockin Ron);

–An average speed mark of 1:48.3;

–Four of the finalists from 2018’s richest race to date, April 21’s $532,000 Levy Final at Yonkers, including the winner, Keystone Velocity, the richest horse of 2018 in North America, out of the barn of local trainer Rene Allard, a successful defender of his 2017 Levy championship, the 2017 Franklin champion at Pocono, and the Older Pacer of the Year last season;

–Four of the Levy Consolation starters, including the winner, Always At My Place, whose 1:47.2 mile here in 2015 still stands as the world record for four-year-old pacing geldings;

–Ten wins in the Levy preliminary legs from among the fields;

–The winner of the recent Whata Baron Series Final at The Meadowlands, Barimah A – who also just happens to be the defending Van Rose Memorial winner!

Here are the fields for the two Rose divisions; morning line and final drivers should be available tomorrow (Tuesday):

5th race — $50,000 Rose Pace division – 1. Boston Red Rocks; 2. Rodeo Romeo; 3. Long Live Rock; 4. Wakizashi Hanover; 5. Always At My Place; 6. Dr J Hanover; 7. Barimah A.

10th race — $50,000 Rose Pace division – 1. Keystone Velocity; 2. Rockin Ron; 3. Super Imposed N; 4. Mach It So; 5. Bettor Memories; 6. Christen Me N; 7. Rockeyed Optimist.

The Saturday evening card at Pocono will also feature the four $30,000 Championships of the Bobby Weiss Series, with the top pointwinners in the four preliminaries earning their way to their respective finals. Here’s a brief overview of those races:

6th race, trotting females: Weiss preliminaries won by entrants: 11; three-time winner and fastest winner, I M Fishin, 1:56; summary in a sentence: After a break in her first prelim, I M Fishin has rattled off three straight on the front end, and is the mare to beat.

8th race, trotting males: Weiss preliminaries, 11; three-time winner, Chas Hanover; fastest winner, Archibald, 1:55.1; summary in a sentence: Archibald has two wins and two breaks; if he can’t mind his manners, there’s a lot of talent waiting to pick up the pieces.

11th race, pacing males: Weiss preliminaries, 10; three-time winner, I Soar Him First; fastest winner, Riggle Wealth, 1:50.3; summary in a sentence: After bad luck in the first two legs, Riggle Wealth has been raced on the front end in his last two and won; may face more speedy pressure here.

12th race, pacing females: Weiss preliminaries: 9; three-time winners: Kimberlee and Sharen Hanover; fastest winner, Sharen Hanover, 1:52.2; summary in a sentence: Kimberlee skipped a week but won all of her Weiss starts; Sharen Hanover has won her last three, and in dominating fashion.

The features on the afternoon card will be $15,000 Weiss Consolations for both groups of trotters (the pacing events did not fill). These races will go as the Late Double on the 10-race card that is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.; after a break for the Derby, the nighttime equine fireworks will be beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

April 14-20, 2018

Well, the good news is we had our first really beautiful night weather-wise for harness racing on the 2018 season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs this past Saturday. The bad news is that it was followed by three more nights of winter-like conditions. Nonetheless, the stubbornly-clinging cold did not dampen the enthusiasm at the track, not when there were so many outstanding performances that we witnessed, the best of which we now honor with the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: HIGHALATOR

A year ago as a sophomore pacer, Highalator did much of the damage during an 11-win season at Pocono, including dominance of the Bobby Weiss late closer series for male pacers. His 4-year-old season began with him racing in Delaware, and he did well in his first taste of veteran competition, hitting the board in four of seven races with one victory. But his season immediately jumped a notch when he came to Pocono, as he picked up a victory in a $14,000 condition pace on April 7 in 1:51:3.

On Saturday night, the 4-year-old stallion trained by Jenny Bier decided to step up in class to face the featured $17,500 condition pacers. Leaving from position #3 in a field of eight, he was a 7-2 fourth choice, while Bettor’s Edge, earner of over $2 million in his career, went off as the 8-5 favorite in a rugged field. Highalator sat 4th early as Americanprimetime cut out the mile from an inside post. Driver Tyler Buter decided to take a first-over shot with Highalator just prior to the clubhouse turn.

Highalator immediately pulled up alongside Americanprimetime but couldn’t slip past right away. Instead the two stayed locked up around the second turn as well. But instead of fading, Highalator kept after it and eventually wheeled on by to beat the game American Primetime by a head. Not only did he set a career-best with a winning time of 1:49:4, the stallion also became the first to horse to snap the 1:50 barrier at Pocono in 2018.

Other top pacers this week include: Catherinesdiamond (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who overcame a #9 post on Saturday night to win his second straight $10,000 claimer in 1:53:3; Drinkin Again (Jim Morrill Jr, Philip Jasper), who moved up in class to win Sunday night’s featured condition pace in 1:53:2, giving him two straight victories and three in his last four; and Fox Valley Cadet (George Napolitano Jr., Rob Harmon), who picked up his second straight claiming victory on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:56:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ARCHBALD

This four-year-old gelding from the Fern Paquet Jr. barn had wins early in the year at both Saratoga and Pompano before stopping into Pocono for the Bobby Weiss late closer series for male trotters. In his first try in that group, he made a costly break of stride and finished fourth. On April 8, however, Archbald steered clear of any breaks and overpowered the field to win a spilt in 1:55:3, which was a career-best and the fastest time in that grouping of the Weiss up to that point.

Archbald was back at it on Sunday night in the third leg of the Weiss as a 7-5 favorite leaving from post position #4 in a field of seven. The field included Chas Hanover, who had won the first two legs of the Weiss, but he wasn’t a factor in the race, eventually finishing fourth. Instead the race became a duel between Law Of Attraction, who set the pace, and Archbald, who, with Paquet doing the driving as well, made a first-over move from third on the back stretch.

The two leaders were practically inseparable throughout the back stretch and the final turn. But in the final strides, Archbald finally wore down Law Of Attraction to take over late. He ended up winning by a length in 1:55:1. That winning time reset his career mark and also reset the standard for the male trotters in the Weiss. It’s looking like Archbald might just be the one to beat in that Weiss classification as we get closer to the Finals.

Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Lightningpedia (Chuck Connor Jr., Janice Connor), who won his second straight condition trot at Pocono to start his career, this one coming on Monday night in 1:59:2 in the slop; Body Slam (Anthony Napolitano, Tom Wine II), who compiled a two-race winning streak over five months at Pocono, with his maiden win last November, and then a condition win on Tuesday night in his first start of 2018 in 1:59:4; and Karets (Marcus Miller, James Cosenza), who moved up in class to capture his second straight condition victory on Tuesday night, this one in 1:56:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CITY HALL

This veteran pacer worked out a pocket trip in a condition pace on Sunday night with Andrew McCarthy in the bike and rallied for a win at 38-1, paying off $79.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC CARLSON

Carlson has been a steady performer at Pocono for several seasons now, so it was fitting that he picked up his 3,000th career victory on Monday night at the track with Call Me Richard.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOSE GODINEZ

Godinez hasn’t sent out a ton of starters at Pocono but is hitting a high average with the ones who have raced, including a training 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 jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.

Hats, Harness Racing, and Derby Horses! Kentucky Derby Day is almost here!

A double header of live harness racing; a hat revue with 5 categories including the “Triple Crown” winning hat;  and a Champagne Brunch are all part of the biggest Kentucky Derby party north of Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Doors open Saturday, May 5th at 10:00 Post for the first of the double-header of live harness racing card is 11:00a.m., and a patio bar will be open just for those early birds!  Pacer’s Clubhouse will host a Champagne Brunch like no other from 10:00am to 3:00pm featuring delectable Southern delicacies and Brunch favorites, by reservation only.  Call 1-888-WIN-IN-PA.  At 5:30pm, a top shelf all-you-can-eat dinner buffet will be featured, also by reservation only.

Ladies can proudly wear their elaborately decorated Kentucky Derby hats for the Run for the Roses Hat Revue sponsored by Spa Sapphire, located in the casino.  All hats must be registered from  3:30pm to 5:15pm in the lobby, and the Revue takes place promptly at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Winner’s Circle with cash prizes and  more!  Five categories will be judged, including “Most Colorful;  “Most Horsie”; “Most Elegant”; “Most Fascinating Fascinator”, and the overall grand prize winner, the “Triple Crown Winner”! The “Most Fashionable Couple” will also be selected.  All prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges.

A photo booth in the lobby will be open at 3:00pm to capture the best moments of the day, with a $1 minimum donation to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.  For last-minute hats, fascinators, and accessories, stop by the Sapphire Boutique located in the racing lobby, open at 1:00pm.

The Trackside Concession bars, food truck, and the Party Tent open at 3:00PM, and of course, Mint Juleps will be available all day in the official Kentucky Derby 144 souvenir glasses!

Following Kentucky Derby 144 on the jumbo screen, fans can stay and enjoy another exciting live card under the stars.  A stellar card is planned, including the finals of the Bobby Weiss Series for the 3 and 4 year-old trotters and pacers, as well as the Van Rose Memorial Pace for 4 year-olds and up.

As always, parking and admission is free at the racetrack!

The Downs will open for advance wagering on Friday, May 4th at 11:00am.

All Proceeds From Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day At Mohegan Sun Pocono Donated To The Brighter Journeys Foundation

$1,863.00 raised on Tuesday, April 10th

WILKES-BARRE, PA (April 12, 2018) – Mohegan Sun Pocono is thrilled to announce on Tuesday, April 10th, $1,863.00 was raised at Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day for the Brighter Journeys Foundation.  Free Cone Day is a world – wide Ben & Jerry’s event and at Mohegan Sun Pocono Ben & Jerry’s scooped up free ice cream in a cup or cone of guests’ choice all day long!  $1.00 minimum donations were made for the option to enjoy the free scoop of ice cream in a waffle cone.

Ice cream lovers raised $931.50, benefiting the Brighter Journeys Foundation.  “Going the extra mile for children with special needs and their families” is their mission.  “We are overjoyed by the community support in raising awareness and monetary donations for the Brighter Journeys Foundation, while enjoying a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s.  I am pleased to share that $931.50 was raised, and Mohegan Sun Pocono has matched that number, bringing the total donation to $1,863.00 benefiting Brighter Journeys!” stated Erica Tessier, Mohegan Sun Pocono’s Vice President of Marketing.

ABOUT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO

Mohegan Sun Pocono, owned by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, is one of the most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and dining destinations in Pennsylvania. Situated on 400 acres in Plains, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Pocono features a 238-room hotel with on-site spa and adjacent 20,000 square-foot Convention Center. It is currently home to 82,000 square feet of gaming space including 91 live table games, 2,300 slot machines and electronic table games, a variety of dining and shopping options, nightlife, entertainment and live harness racing. Mohegan Sun Pocono is within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. More information is available by calling 1.888.WIN.IN.PA (1.888.946.4672) or visiting our website. Connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, download our app and view us on YouTube.

Mohegan Sun Pocono and The F.M. Kirby Center Team Up

WILKES-BARRE, PA –  (April 11th, 2018) – Yesterday at a special ribbon cutting, Mohegan Sun Pocono and the F.M.Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, located at 71 Public Square in Wilkes-Barre PA, cemented a new sponsorship-based partnership. One of the highlights of the gathering, which involved Senior Leadership from both organizations, was the renaming of the lower level of the Kirby Center, which will now be titled The Mohegan Sun Pocono Parlor.

“The Kirby Center is one of the most historic theaters in our region of Pennsylvania and we’re extremely happy to be partnering with them. The deal helps promote shows and activities for guests at each property, has added benefits for loyal guests and hopefully is the start to a strong relationship to build on into the future!” – Erica Tessier, Vice President of Marketing forMohegan Sun Pocono

The new partnership allows members of Mohegan Sun Pocono’s loyalty program, Momentum as well Kirby members at the Gold Level or above, to have access to the Mohegan Sun Pocono Parlor bar area, where an exclusive drink special will be offered. The Mohegan Sun Pocono Parlor opens up this Friday, on April 13th, for the Wizard of Oz.

“This partnership is going to make a great venue even greater and will enhance the theater-going experience for the most loyal supporters of two community-minded organizations.  We are so excited and thankful for this affiliation with Mohegan Sun Pocono, and we can’t wait to officially open this space on Friday night.” – Will Beekman, Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center

For more information on The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts and its upcoming events, visit http://www.kirbycenter.org/

ABOUT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO

Mohegan Sun Pocono, owned by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, is one of the most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and dining destinations in Pennsylvania. Situated on 400 acres in Plains, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Pocono features a 238-room hotel with on-site spa and adjacent 20,000 square-foot Convention Center. It is currently home to 82,000 square feet of gaming space including 91 live table games, 2,300 slot machines and electronic table games, a variety of dining and shopping options, nightlife, entertainment and live harness racing. Mohegan Sun Pocono is within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. More information is available by calling 1.888.WIN.IN.PA (1.888.946.4672) or visiting our website. Connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram, download our app and view us on YouTube.

# # #