Posts Tagged ‘Abelard Hanover’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

September 19-25, 2014

Racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has geared down somewhat in terms of quantity, as the schedule now features three live nights per week. But the quality hasn’t let down a bit, as evidenced by a Saturday night card that included no pacing miles slower than 1:50:2 and no trotting miles slower than 1:54. We even had a world-record performance, which, of course, stands out among this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BIGTOWN HERO

This 6-year-old gelding was struggling with the upper reaches of the pacing ranks when he was last here in June, but he’s been performing well since then at other tracks, winning three of his last five races. The last four of those races came after he switched barns to be trained by Rene Allard, Pocono’s leading trainer, including a come-from-behind win in an Open Handicap in his last race at Yonkers as a 7-1 shot.

His confidence sufficiently boosted, he returned to Pocono to compete on Saturday night in a Preferred Handicap pace for a purse of $25,000. It was a stacked field, including star veteran Golden Receiver and Dancin Yankee, who had owned the oval at Pocono in his previous appearances in 2014. But driver Ron Pierce drove Bigtown Hero as if there were no other horses on the track, sending him to the front for a huge lead as each fraction ticked off proved more impressive than the one before.

In the stretch, Bigtown Hero began to slow ever so slightly. It was a good thing the lead he built up was so substantial, because Dancin Yankee and Aslan came closing at him fast. Pierce urged him home for a half-length victory in a stunning time of 1:47:3. That broke the world record for aged gelding pacers on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set last June at Pocono by Foiled Again and then matched by Abelard Hanover.

Other top pacers this week include: Ring Warrior (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), a colt who followed up four consecutive wins at Ocean Downs with a victory at Pocono in a condition pace on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54; Cherokee Hunter (Simon Allard, Rene Allard) whose condition win on Tuesday night was his second straight and came in a career-best time of 1:52:1; and Wake Up Peter (Tyler Buter, Larry Remmen), who scorched a condition pacing group on Saturday night in 1:49:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SEVRUGA

Not all slumps are created equal. To wit, consider the struggles Sevruga had been having in the summer months. Last year he earned nearly $500,000 facing the best trotters around, and the highlight of his season was a world-record performance at Pocono with a win in 1:50:3. But he had come up empty for three months straight in terms of wins heading into Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred trot.

In his last three races at Pocono, all against the most rugged trotters on the grounds, Sevruga, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Kevin Carr, had hit the board every time and had lost by just a neck in the last two. On Saturday night, he enjoyed his first quality post position in more than a month and took advantage of it, breezing to the front early with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike.

Things were by no means easy from that point, as Wind Of The North put up a sustained first-over challenge to the lead. But Sevruga had been rated well enough early in the race that he was able to dig deep in the final strides and win by a nose in a rapid 1:52:1. Maybe it wasn’t fair to say that Sevruga was in a slump considering the quality of his competition and the multiple near-misses, but it is fair to say that his losing streak is history and a lengthy winning streak might just be in the offing.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tui (Anthony Napolitan, Don Wiest), a Pocono fan-favorite mare who scored her first win of the season on Saturday night in a tough condition group in 1:53:1; A Cool Million (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who moved up her claiming price and won her second straight race on Tuesday night, doing so in a career-best 1:54; and Fortunista (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who beat the boys in a tough condition group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:53:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TRANSCENDING

An outside post and long odds didn’t bother this veteran pacer as he came from out of the clouds late to shock a condition field on Saturday night at 49-1, paying off an even $100 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: RON PIERCE

Pierce had it grooving on Saturday night, winning four consecutive races on the card, all in gate-to-wire fashion, a streak that culminated with the world-record win by Bigtown Hero.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOE PAVIA JR.

Joe still does such a great job as a catch driver that his training abilities can sometimes be taken for granted, but a training double on Wednesday night put them front and center.

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.

Bigtown Hero Wins in World-Record Fashion at Pocono

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

September 20, 2014

Bigtown Hero set a new world record for aged geldings on the pace in a Preferred Handicap victory on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Leaving from post position #4 in a field of seven as the 8-5 second choice, Bigtown Hero (American Ideal-Art Account), a 6-year-old gelding from the Rene Allard barn, burned his way to the early lead. Driver Ron Pierce decided to cut the gelding loose, creating unforgiving fractions of 26:3, 53:3, and 1:19:4 and a huge lead.

In the stretch, Bigtown Hero started to slow slightly, allowing for wild closing rallies by second-place Aslan and third-place Dancin Yankee, the 4-5 favorite, that came up a half-length short of the winner. The winning time of 1:47:3 shattered the mark of 1:48 for aged geldings on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set by Foiled Again in June of 2013 at Pocono and then matched a week later at the track by Abelard Hanover.

Bigtown Hero, owned by Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin, was fresh off an Open Handicap win at Yonkers and now has 9 wins in 27 2014 races. It was his 24th career victory, pushing his lifetime earnings to $187,823.

Earlier in the night at Pocono in a $25,000 Preferred trot, Sevruga (S J’s Caviar-Stunning Lindsey), a 6-year-old gelding from the Kevin Carr, scored his first win since the spring by flashing early speed that held up in the final strides. The 3-5 favorite in a field of six, Sevruga, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, led at every pole and dug deep late to hold off Wind Of The North by a nose in 1:52:1. Not Afraid finished third.

Dancin Yankee Dominant in Van Rose Memorial at Pocono

Friday, May 30th, 2014

May 3, 2014       

Dancin Yankee built up a huge lead and coasted home to victory in the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race is held each year in honor of Van Rose, a longtime Northeastern Pennsylvania sportswriter and chronicler of the Pocono racing wars.

Dancin Yankee (Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest), last seen finishing 5th in the Levy final at Yonkers, left from post position #2 in a field of eight as the 3-1 second choice. The 6-year-old stallion from the Josh Green barn sat 3rd early as a speed duel raged between Golden Receiver and Abelard Hanover on a track listed in good condition after on-and-off rain throughout the evening.

Driver Brett Miller sent Dancin Yankee first over into the clubhouse turn and wrested the lead away heading into the back stretch. The stallion then extended the lead to an insurmountable margin. The home stretch was a foregone conclusion, with Dancin Yankee gliding home to the win in a career-best 1:49, 3 ¼ lengths in front of Bandolito. Sweet Lou rallied for third while Dovuto Hanover, the 9-5 favorite, finished fourth.

Dancin Yankee won for the seventh time in 13 2014 starts. Owned by Baron Racing Stable and Rich Lombardo, he now has 31 lifetime wins and career earnings of $766,422.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

April 12-18, 2014

Once again the weather was a wild ride this past week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which obviously affected the racing wars at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. A gorgeous weekend led to the fastest times of the young season, but rain, snow, and bitter cold on Tuesday brought sloppy conditions. Nonetheless, the action stayed thrilling no matter what the track conditions or winning times were. Here is a look at the week’s best performers via another edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DRIVE ALL NIGHT

It’s always fascinating to watch how excellent horses progress throughout their careers. They will often go through periods at their where they face the top classes, and then almost inevitably start to drop down in class as they age to face competition more suited to their talent level. But there are some that have a tendency to rise to the top of whatever class they inhabit.

Drive All Night certain falls into that category of horses that seem to find a groove no matter the caliber of horses they face. A few years back, he took on the pacers in the highest condition classes and even the Open pacers at Pocono, and he always acquitted himself well. These days the nine-year-old gelding is a denizen of the mid-priced claiming classes, and he has been cleaning up.

He came into Saturday night’s $20,000 claiming event with back-to-back front-pacing victories at Pocono with the $15,000 claimers. The step up in class didn’t bother him a bit, as driver Simon Allard sent the 9-year-old gelding trained by Marty Fine to the front end and guided him to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:50:4. That gave the veteran 54 lifetime wins, and he’s showing no signs of slowing back down. In fact, with performances like that, he might just be ready to step back up to the face the whippersnappers in those top classes once again.

Other top pacers this week include: Abelard Hanover (Jonathan Roberts, Donald Billings), whose victory in Saturday night’s Preferred pace came in 1:48:4, the fastest time recorded at Pocono so far this season; Its Rock N Roll (Anthony Napolitano, John Barchi), who moved up in class and switched barns Saturday night and still picked up his second straight win at Pocono and his third straight overall, this one coming in a career-best 1:51:3; and American Shuttle (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who ripped off her second straight claiming win on Sunday night since arriving from Yonkers, matching her career-best of 1:53:3 in the process.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WIND OF THE NORTH

Saturday night’s condition trot for non-winners of $23,500 in the last five starts felt like an Open considering the high caliber of the horses competing. Some of the standouts in the six-horse field included  Meadowlands shippers Banker Volo and Jurgen Hanover, Imagine Hanover, who was fresh off a late closer sweep at The Meadows, and Money On My Mind, who finished second in Preferred company in his previous start.

With that kind of competition, it’s not surprising that folks were a little skeptical of Wind Of The North, the four-year-old gelding from the Clifton Green barn who was coming off back-to-back condition wins to start his 2014 season. He was moving up in class, so that’s probably why he was let go at 6-1, but this is a trotter who proved last year as a three-year-old he could compete in the toughest classes.

He proved it again and then some on Saturday night. With Mike Simons in the bike, Wind Of The North battled both Money On My Mind and Banker Volo in the stretch before prevailing in exciting fashion. It took his best effort, a career-best 1:53:4, to come out on top, but this third straight victory should go a long way in preventing anyone from underestimating this peaking trotter again.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Definitely Mamie (George Napolitano Jr., Brewer Adams), the accomplished mare who won a tough condition battle on Wednesday night in 1:55:4; Keystone Thomas (Andrew McCarthy, Joe Pavia Jr.), who rolled on the front end to a condition win on Wednesday in 1:55; and Smokin Dabra (Ron Pierce, Marty Fine), who moved up in class in style with a claiming handicap victory on Wednesday in 1:54, his third win in a row.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WHIRL MONROE

Tuesday night’s sloppy track seemed conducive to long shots, and this condition pacer with Anthony Napolitano in the bike pulled off the night’s biggest shocker at 36-1, paying off $79.80 to win.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARK MACDONALD

MacDonald has been spending more time at Pocono than ever before, and it’s paying off big dividends, like on Saturday night when he ripped off four victories.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LOU PENA

Pena is always a major factor at Pocono, and he’s been making his presence felt again in the first few weeks of the 2014 season. On Saturday night, he scored 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.

Abelard Hanover Wins Thrilling Feature at Pocono

Monday, April 14th, 2014

April 12, 2014

Abelard Hanover made a second move late to rally for a thrilling victory in Saturday night’s featured Preferred pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Leaving from post position #6 in a field of eight at 7-1, Abelard Hanover (Rocknroll Hanover-Allamerican Coed), a 6-year-old gelding trained by Donald Billings, gunned to the early lead and set a screaming pace of :25:3 to the quarter-mile marker. Eighteen then pulled the pocket to take the lead back, giving Abelard Hanover cover and a much-needed breather. That pair stayed in those positions in the stretch, when driver Jonathan Roberts coaxed another move from Abelard Hanover in the passing lane to win by a neck over Eighteen in 1:48:4, fastest time of the Pocono 2014 meet so far. Mustang Art finished third.

In other action Saturday night at Pocono, A Stitch In Time and UF Rockin Dragon each won $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss series for three and four-year-old colts, stallions, and geldings on the pace. A Stitch In Time, driven by George Napolitano Jr. and trained by Lou Pena, won his split in a career-best 1:49:4, while UF Rockin Dragon, driven by Mark MacDonald for trainer Mark Ford, picked up his win in 1:51:4.