Posts Tagged ‘Ahead Ofthe Curve’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Monday, November 10th, 2014

October 31-November 6, 2014

Well, folks, we have almost reached that point in the racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs when it’s time to sum up all that we’ve seen. Next week we’ll take a look in this space at the top horses of the year and then we’ll follow that up the week after with a wrap-up of the entire 2014 season. For now, let’s take the time to hand out our last set of Weekly Awards for this racing campaign.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MCBOOGIE

This five-year-old gelding has been on a tear lately, turning what was looking like a lost season into the best year of his career. McBoogie had just one win in eight wins when he lined up for a $10,000 claimer on September 17, but he rolled that night to a victory in 1:52:1. After a sluggish 5th-place effort in his follow-up race, he took off with wins in his next three in a row, one of which came in a career-best time of 1:50:4.

In the middle of that streak he moved up from the $10,000 claimers to the $15,000 claimers. He also switched barns, joining trainer Dean Eckley’s stable in the middle of October. On Saturday night he looked to keep his outstanding stretch of races going by taking on the $15,000 claimers as the 2-5 favorite. When he briefly lost the lead around the first turn, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent him right back to the front end with a quick brush.

From there, he held strong, although he eventually faced a stiff challenge from Woodmere Ultimate in the home stretch. McBoogie showed the fortitude that’s been a hallmark of his recent stretch of racing, digging in to hold on by a neck in 1:51:3. That makes four wins in a row and five out of six. This gelding is turning it on when most horses are shutting it down.

Other top pacers include: Ahead Ofthe Curve (Anthony Napolitano, Paul Holzman), who churned his way to his second straight claiming handicap victory, this one in 1:52, on Saturday night; Yagonnakissmeornot (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who overcame an outside post to storm her way to victory in Saturday night’s featured Open Handicap for mares in 1:50:1; and Fie Fy Fo (Anthony Napolitano, Chris Oakes), a 2-year-old filly who burned her way to her second straight condition victory on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:54:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OPENING NIGHT

There were some tough customers in Saturday night’s $35,000 Open Handicap trot. Not Afraid won in Preferred company the last time he was at Pocono, Tirade Hanover had ripped off wins in his last five races, and Backstreet Hanover won her last start against the same class at Harrah’s at Philadelphia. Opening Night, a 6-year-old stallion from the Jim Campbell barn, certainly had raced at the highest  level throughout his career, but he was working his way back into top form heading into Saturday.

Still, a win in condition company two starts previous at Harrah’s was a confidence builder, as was a second behind former Hambletonian winner Market Share in his last race. On Saturday night, he had to overcome the outside #8 post, which, coupled with the fact that he was moving back up in class, is probably why he was an 11-1 shot. Driver Ron Pierce was able to coax some early speed out of him so that he could find a pocket spot early.

In the stretch, Opening Night kicked into high gear once again to win a hard-fought battle to the line, holding off Tirade Hanover for the victory. His winning time of 1:53 was the fastest among all trotters this past week at Pocono. Against a top field and from a demanding post, this stallion showed that class and guts can overcome the toughest of obstacles.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to Upfront Billy (Tyler Buter, Mark Ford), who, with the help of a disqualification, won his second straight condition trot on Tuesday night; Four Starz Speed (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who rolled to his third straight victory and fourth in his last five with an easy claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:56; and Proud Moment (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who once again conquered Wednesday night’s featured claiming handicap trot, winning his second straight in 1:53:3.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RESCUE PLAN

This condition pacer with Tyler Buter in the bike was the longest shot on the board at 55-1 in Tuesday’s feature, but he rallied for the win and paid off $113.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: RON PIERCE

Pierce had one of his best single nights at Pocono on Saturday when he ripped off five victories, which included wins in both of the night’s $35,000 featured handicaps.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DEAN ECKLEY

In the second half of the season, Eckley, a relatively new name to the Pocono faithful, has been winning at a high rate, adding two more victories to the ledger on Saturday.

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.

 

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, June 13th, 2014

June 7-13, 2014

With a day-night doubleheader on Belmont Stakes day, this past week featured five live racing cards at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Filling up those cards was no problem, as Pocono welcomed a bunch of shippers from other tracks to go up against the holdovers who have already established themselves throughout the first couple months of the meet. This made for a thrilling week of racing, the best performances of which we now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: STEELHEAD HANOVER

This 5-year-old stallion from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn came into Saturday night’s condition pace for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five starts with wins in two of the three starts he made at Pocono in 2014. In a victory on May 31, Steelhead Hanover benefitted from a comfortable trip which allowed him to stay on the inside for much of the mile before rallying late for a victory in 1:50:2.

When a horse enjoys a trip like that, it’s natural to be skeptical if it can have the same success without that kind of relaxing journey. Add that to the fact that Steelhead Hanover was moving up in class, and he seemed more likely to struggle this time around. Yet Pavia, who also did the driving, attacked early with his stallion, taking the lead and setting imposing fractions.

There was no help for Steelhead Hanover on this night, and he made it clear by his stellar performance that he didn’t need any. He didn’t let up on the front end until he crossed the finish line a length-and-a-half in front of his nearest foe in 1:48:3. That time not only now stands as the fastest of the stallion’s career, but it was faster than anybody else paced this past week at Pocono.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Meirs Hanover (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved way up the condition ladder on Saturday night with no sweat, scoring his second straight victory in 1:49:3; Ahead Ofthe Curve (George Napolitano Jr., Paul Holzman), who moved up in class and still managed his third straight claiming victory on Saturday night, beating a field of $20,000 claimers in 1:50:1; and Aracache Hanover (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won the week’s featured pace, Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred Handicap, in 1:49.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: LUV YA TYLER

It’s unusual for a horse to win as a significant long shot in consecutive weeks. One of two things usually happens: Either the horse’s performance in his first long shot win is so impressive that it gets a lot more attention at the windows the following week, or, if it is still a long shot the second time around, the law of averages catches up to it and it comes up short.

Somebody should tell that to Luv Ya Tyler, a 7-year-old gelding who had been winless in eight races this year before a claim put him in the barn of trainer Neal Ehrhart. In his first start in the new barn, the gelding went off at 20-1 against a field of $15,000 claimers but rallied for the victory in a career-best 1:54:2.

Once again on Tuesday night, he wasn’t given much of chance at the tote board when he moved up in class to face a $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap class. All the outside speed in the race eventually wore itself out, leaving room for a closer to steal the race. Luv Ya Tyler, at 19-1 this time around, sat back off the fast fractions early and, with Mike Simons in the bike, came up flying for the victory in 1:54:2, matching that career-best from a week previous. After two straight wins, the odds he’ll need to defy probably won’t be quite so long the next time around.

Other top trotters this week include: Song Of Virtue (Joe Pavia Jr., Jennifer Sabot), a mare who picked up her second straight win over the $7,500 claimers on Saturday morning and did so in a new career-best time of 1:56:2; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who burned up the track in a condition win and matched the week’s fastest trotting time on Tuesday night with a victory in 1:53:3; and Revrac Harbour (Scot Zeron, Tony Alagna), who picked up his second straight win at Pocono on Wednesday night, this coming in Stallion Series action in 1:55:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ZIP IT LOCK IT

Tyler Buter has been aboard several huge long shots this year, but none was as big a bomber as this pacing mare on Wednesday night at 75-1 for a $158 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON

This newcomer to the Pocono racing wars has been improving as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings, and five combined wins on Tuesday and Wednesday prove he’s becoming a major factor.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN CARR

With a win on Sunday and two more victories on Tuesday night, Carr made a significant jump this week in the Pocono training standings.

That will do it for this week, but I’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.