Posts Tagged ‘Ben Franklin Pace’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

July 1-7, 2017

It’s always nice when the hype is justified. We’ve been talking about Sun Stakes Saturday for a while now, and that conversation really ramped after some fascinating eliminations. What dominated those discussions was the fact that, unlike in past years, there were no horses that simply dwarfed the fields they were scheduled to face. The four stakes races featured on Saturday figured to be extremely competitive.

And that’s just how it turned out to be. Although the track was listed in fast condition, rain earlier in the afternoon made it a somewhat heavy surface, preventing the times from being too explosive. But the finishes were, for the most part, tight and a little surprising, with only one favorite out of four winning. Let’s take a look at how the action unfolded.

JAMES M. LYNCH MEMORIAL PACE for three-year-old fillies

The betting favorite was Tequila Monday, who had the fastest elimination victory and drew an inside post. But that filly simply never factored into the action, finishing a disappointing eighth. Idyllic Beach was the surprising pace setter from an outside post, but she, and everybody else in the field, had little chance to respond once Agent Q started rolling first-over. After finishing second in a pair of big-money stakes races earlier this season, the filly trained by Aaron Lambert was not going to be denied in this one. With David Miller in the bike, she zipped by the leaders and coasted home by three lengths in front of 99-1 shot Caviart Ally, tripping the line in 1:51, easily the most convincing winner in the four big stakes races on the night.

MAX C. HEMPT MEMORIAL PACE for three-year-old pacers

The Brian Brown barn is blessed with two special three-year-olds. One of them, Downbytheseaside, was the star of the Hempt eliminations with a stupendous effort for a win. Meanwhile the other, Fear The Dragon, suffered his first loss of the season in his previous start, casting some doubts about his supremacy in the division. In the Hempt final, Downbytheseaside went after the lead from a #8 post, and the early fractions he set to get the engine were cumbersome. Fear The Dragon, on the other hand, saved ground early, found cover on the back stretch, and was in full gear out wide as the field rounded the final turn. With David Miller in the bike, Fear The Dragon took over the late lead and held off a game charge by Funknwaffles to win by three quarters of a length in 1:49:3, reasserting his dominance in the process.

BEN FRNAKLIN PACE for free-for-all pacers

This was the night’s emotional high point. Although the field was stacked with eight superb aged pacers, the two on the inside garnered the attention. Keystone Velocity, trained by Pocono’s leading trainer Rene Allard and driven by Pocono regular Simon Allard, had the inside post and watched as the 3-5 favorite Mel Mara set the pace. Although the fractions were zippy, they weren’t the kind that would cause a horse like Mel Mara to falter. But Keystone Velocity remained locked in at the pocket, eventually utilizing the passing lane in the stretch. The stretch provided a classic battle. Mel Mara wasn’t giving an inch, but Keystone Velocity was full of firepower on his inside. When the dust cleared, Keystone Velocity added to the incredible season he’s been putting together by heading out Mel Mara in 1:48:4. The emotion came from Simon Allard returning the horse to the Winner’s Circle while standing in the sulky, aping a classic moment from the career of the late, great Herve Filion.

EARL BEAL JR. MEMORIAL for three-year-old trotters

All eyes were on the Ariana G, the first filly to ever compete against the boys in the Beal. She went off as the favorite and had to deal with a tough #8 post position. Unable to make the lead early, she took on pacesetting Long Tom, who, like Ariana G, hadn’t lost in his first three starts this season, with a first-over charge. It looked for all the world like the top two choices would decide it in a stretch duel. But Devious Man had other ideas. The three-year-old colt trained by Julie Miller suffered his first loss of the season in the eliminations in upset fashion, but he wasn’t scared off by the competition in the Beal final, having won a stakes race earlier this season at Vernon that carried a $252,000 purse. Driver Andy Miller settled Devious Man in behind the speed duel between Long Tom and Ariana G. When the field reached the top of the lane, Devious Man had the passing lane all to himself, and he scooted by to beat Long Tom by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:52:4 as a 15-1 bomber.

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

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono honors the standouts of the season

Friday, November 20th, 2015

As the  50th Anniversary season for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono winds down, the track in Northeast PA is honoring the standouts of the 2015 season on Wednesday. November 18th, and closing night, Saturday, November 21st.

Wednesday night, the award for the Pacer of the Year was presented to four-year-old Luck Be Withyou.  The stallion from the Chris Oakes barn topped some of the world’s best pacers on July 4th, winning the Ben Franklin Pace in 1:49, going gate-to-wire from an outside post.  He also had a spectacular fall, returning from Canada to chalk up three straight condition wins in September and October.

Trotter of the Year honors went to Proud Moment, who is enjoying his best season ever at age nine, not typical for a trotter. But this is not just any typical trotter!  Six of the wins for the veteran warrior were at Pocono, and when he didn’t visit the Winner’s Circle, he often hit the board in impressive fashion.  He beat claimers and conditioners; did it from the outside and the inside; and won his six races for five different trainers.  The high point of his outstanding year was a three-race winning streak in July and August that included his career-best mile of 1:52.2.

The mare, Kiddie McCardle, was presented with the Mare of the Year honors on Wednesday, as well.  She has performed for several different barns at Pocono this season, picking up eight wins, including a 1:51.1 mile which set a career-mark for her at age seven. She is extremely tough, despite the fact that she’s often faced with brutal post positions in claiming handicaps; she’s been extremely competitive of late since moving over to face condition pacing mares.

The award for Leading Trainer/UTR, was bestowed upon Chris Oakes for the fourth time.  Accompanied by his family and friends, Oakes accepted his award on Wednesday night, and was in the Winner’s Circle as  Luck Be Withyou and Proud Moment were honored.

Closing night, Saturday, November 21st, the Leading Driver; Leading Trainer – Wins; Claimer of the Year; and Three-Year-Old of the Year accept their awards.  It is also a special thank you to the loyal fans with Fan Appreciation Night.  Souvenirs of the 50th Anniversary season will be given out with a coupon from the live racing program starting at 7:00pm.

Richest Standardbred Foiled Again honored with a Breyer Model; Launch party at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

He was named after a cartoon character’s catchphrase, but harness racing world champion Foiled Again has been nothing but serious when it comes to making money. The 11-year-old pacer is the richest Standardbred in history, with purse earnings of $7.01 million following his win last Friday in the Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. With the victory, Foiled Again also became the race’s first three-time champion.

And now this model of consistency on the racetrack has become a real model. Breyer has joined countless fans amazed by Foiled Again’s ability to compete successfully at the sport’s highest level year after year and is honoring the ageless wonder with a portrait model created in his likeness.

Most harness racing horses earn the bulk of their lifetime money at ages 2 and 3 – the years during which the greatest number of lucrative stakes are offered – but Foiled Again has defied convention, banking more than $5.8 million after turning age 6. In fact, his earnings during that span alone outdistance the next richest pacer in history by more than $1 million. He is the only harness racing horse to compete solely in North America and earn more than $1 million for three consecutive years, a feat he accomplished from 2011 through 2013.

In 2011, at the age of 7, Foiled Again was named the Dan Patch Award Pacer of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers’ Association. He is the only pacer older than the age of 4 ever to receive the honor. In 2013, at the age of 9, he won the Breeders Crown Pace to become the oldest Standardbred to win a Breeders Crown event. In addition to his victory in the Breeders Crown, Foiled Again during his career has won many of the sport’s top stakes for older pacers, including the Canadian Pacing Derby, Ben Franklin Pace, TVG Free For All Series Championship, George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, Bobby Quillen Memorial, and Molson Pace.

The bay gelding also holds the record for most miles in 1:55 or faster and at the age of 9 equaled the world record for the fastest mile ever by an older pacer on a five-eighths of a mile racetrack, winning in 1:48 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Born on May 8, 2004 in central New Jersey, Foiled Again is a son of stallion Dragon Again. He was named by breeder Barbara Matthews, who recalled her daughter watching Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons and hearing villain Snidely Whiplash often exclaim, “Curses, foiled again!”

Foiled Again has been driven throughout the majority of his career by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and the JJK Stables group of Joseph Koury, Joseph Koury, Jr. and Kevin Koury.

Weaver once said he hoped to someday find another horse like Foiled Again, but knows the odds are against it.  “It’s like saying you want to find the next Michael Jordan,” Weaver said. “It’s sort of unreasonable.”

Breyer’s Foiled Again Traditional model is available now from Breyer retailers everywhere.

A “launch party” for the Foiled Again Breyer Model will take place on Sat., July 4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the scene of his historic Breeders Crown triumph.  Foiled Again is scheduled to race in the Ben Franklin Free For All Pace, one of four feature races on the $2 million Sun Stakes race card.

About Breyer Animal Creations®

For horse-crazy girls, there are only two kinds of horses: real horses and Breyer model horses. The iconic Breyer brand, a division of Reeves International, was founded in 1950, and is the leader in creating the world’s most authentic and realistic model horses for play and collecting. These hand-painted, collectable model horses and animals have a worldwide following, thanks to the incredible sculptures that form the foundation of the line. Today, Breyer has expanded its play lines to include play sets, craft activities and horsey accessories for its younger fans and its collector lines to include resins, crystal and porcelain. To see the complete line of Breyer horses, and to learn more about Breyer events and the model horse hobby, visit us at BreyerHorses.com!

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Sun Stakes Saturday the fastest card ever!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The great card of racing this past Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, primarily populated by elimination races for this Saturday’s $2.2M Sun Stakes Saturday, flirted with the divisional world record table on more than one occasion without any new names being set down, but the card as a whole did produce one record – according to the USTA’s Trotting and Pacing Guide, it was the fastest card ever in harness history, with an average win time of 1:49.2 for the 16 races. 

T&P Guide history notes two occasions when a race card’s average win time was 1:49.3 – on Saturday, July 16, 2005 at The Meadowlands, a 13-race card (p. 297, 2013 T&P Guide), and 52 weeks ago to the day at the same track (Saturday, June 22, 2013), when the Sun Stakes Saturday elim card produced the same 1:49.3 average over 14 races (p. 288, 2014 T&P Guide).

 This past Saturday’s 1:49.2 average included two trotting miles – a 1:52.2 by Nuncio and a 1:52.4 by Father Patrick in the two Earl Beal Trot elims. In all, of the 16 races, 11 miles went 1:50 or better; 8 went 1:49 or better; and 3 went in 1:48 or better – and those three came consecutively: Domethatagain upsetting his Ben Franklin Pace elim in 1:48, McWicked taking the fastest of the Max C. Hempt Pace elims in the same time, and then Sweet Lou taking the other Franklin elim in 1:47.4. 

This Saturday’s Sun Stakes Saturday card will include the finals of the Franklin (FFAP), Hempt (3PC), and Beal (3TC), all worth $500,000, plus the $300,000 James Lynch Final (3PF), the $100,000 Sun Invitational trot (which, according to some reports, may actually help the 1:50 count, if you can believe that) and the $100,000 USTA Invitational pace, plus consolation races for the four major races as they fill, plus a strong undercard (this past Saturday’s non-elim races averaged 1:49.3 themselves).

Post time for Saturday’s Sun Stakes Saturday card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is set for 6:30 p.m.   If you can’t make it to the races, wager via www.ibetmohegan.com; or stop by any of the 3 OTW locations; East Stroudsburg; Lehigh Valley, or Carbondale.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 14-20, 2014

We are in the thick of the most exciting time of the season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Over the next few weekends we’ll be seeing some of the finest standardbreds in the world competing for some huge stakes. We’ve also been blessed with Sire Stakes and Stallion Series races just about every night of late. Through all of that, our overnight races continue to produce outstanding performances. It’s not easy to choose the very best out of such a wealth of talent, but that’s what we’ll try to do as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: FATEFUL CHOICE

When a horse is a part of a barn as successful as that of trainer Chris Oakes and it isn’t winning with regularity, it can almost seem like an underachiever. In the case of 4-year-old gelding Fateful Choice, it may just have been a case early this year of running up against top competition while not quite on his best game. The result was just a single win in ten races to start the 2014 season.

A drop down in class on June 3 to the non-winners of $7,000 in the last five starts did the trick though, as Fateful Choice found his confidence and his stride in a big way, blowing the field away by 4 ¼ lengths in 1:49:2, a new career-best. Bouyed by the victory, he moved up to take on a tougher group of non-winners of $12,500 in the last five starts on Saturday night.

Driver Anthony Napolitano stayed aggressive with Fateful Choice, sending him to the front end, then rated him very well to the half. At that point, the gelding was a powerhouse and scorched the dirt on his way to his second sub-1:50 victory, this one coming in 1:49:4. All of a sudden, Fateful Choice has the look of so many other of his stablemates. In other words, he looks awful tough to beat.

Other top pacers this week include: Bushwacker (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Ryder), who moved to two-for-two on the season with another impressive condition win on Sunday night, this one coming in 1:51; Colossal Cruiser (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who took a huge step up in class Saturday night to the $20,000 claimers and still picked up his second straight victory, doing so in a career-best 1:50; and Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley), who tuned up in anticipation of the Ben Franklin pace at Pocono by dominating a Preferred group on Saturday night in the week’s fastest time of 1:48:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: IL MAGO

This 5-year-old stallion from the Mark Harder barn has been exceptional since arriving at Pocono for a condition trot on June 4. That was just his second start following a layoff of two months, but there was no rust evident whatsoever as he took the lead on the front stretch and then gutted out a tough stretch drive to win by a neck in 1:53:3.

On Tuesday night, Il Mago was back at it against the non-winners of $12,500 in the last five starts once again, albeit this time in a slightly tougher post on the outer half of the field. Andrew McCarthy was still able to fire the stallion out of the gate and reach the front end before the quarter-pole. He was also able to slow the pace down with fractions almost identical to Il Mago’s previous win.

In the stretch, a couple horses drew to within striking distance, but McCarthy called on the afterburners and Il Mago responded. The result was a second straight victory with the same time of 1:53:3 from the previous week. That kind of consistent excellence is the stuff of long winning streaks, so watch out for this talented trotted in the weeks to come even if he moves up in class.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Not Afraid (Jim Morrill Jr., Jimmy Takter), who followed up a win at the Meadowlands with a Preferred win on Saturday night at Pocono in a new career mark of 1:51:4, which was also fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD; Bikini So Teeny (Charlie Norris trainer and driver, who won her second straight on Wednesday night, this one coming in Stallion Series company in a career-best 1:55; and Designed To Be (Brian Sears, Julie Miller), whose Sire Stakes win on Wednesday night matched a world record for 3-year-old trotting fillies on a 5/8-mile oval with a winning time of 1:51:3.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

Despite being laid off since a May 2nd victory in California, this mare with Andrew McCarthy in the bike rallied for a claiming pacing win on Sunday night at 23-1 for a $48.40 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHHON NAPOLITANO

A-Nap looks poised for his best season ever at Pocono, especially after a week in which he had mutilple wins in three of the four racing nights.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JULIE MILLER

Miller had a wonderful night at the Sire Stakes on Wednesday, sweeping both divisions of the 3-year-old trotting fillies with her trainees Take The Money and Designed To Be.

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.