Posts Tagged ‘Blatantly Good’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

April 5-11, 2014

Although the weather wasn’t always balmy in the past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, at least it was dry on live racing nights. That led to our first week of exclusively fast tracks, and, as you might imagine, the action had a little extra spice because of it. There were a lot of thrilling races and some extraordinary performances, the best of which we’ll now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DOVUTO HANOVER

Saturday night marked the first time this season that we’ve had a Preferred race on the pacing side, and the $25,000 purse brought out an excellent field of six. Among those, Sparky Mark and Blatantly Good had already established themselves at Pocono with three condition wins between them in the meet, and, with inside posts, figured to be strong contenders. Add in Dovuto Hanover, who came in with wins in two of his last three against tough company at The Meadowlands, and it figured to be quite the battle.

It’s always nice when a race lives up to the expectations. Sparky Mark went out and set the pace, but faced a stiff first-over test from Blatantly Good on the back stretch. Dovuto Hanover, the 4-5 favorite from the Darran Cassar barn, followed the cover of Blatantly Good on the outside before kicking out three-wide on the final turn.

That meant all three horses were in prime spots at the top of the stretch, setting up a thrilling battle. For a moment, it appeared that Sparky Mark would cling to his lead all the way home, as Dovuto Hanover’s momentum seemed to be stilled. Yet driver Tyler Buter coaxed a sudden burst of energy from the favorite, and the 4-year-old gelding came up in the nick of time by a nose in 1:50:4. Great horse, great finish, and a great representation of how the Preferred pacers will compete at Pocono in the upcoming season.

Other top pacers this week include: Drive All Night (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), the veteran pacer who scored his second straight $15,000 claiming victory on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:3; Donna Party (Brett Miller-Kent Sherman), a mare who scored her third straight win in a tight claiming handicap battle on Wednesday in 1:53; and Cypress Hill Suds (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who picked up a win against the $10,000 claiming mares on Wednesday, her second straight victory, in a career-best 1:52:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FIRST AQUA

There hasn’t been a trotter on the Pocono grounds anywhere near as dominant so far in the meet as this seven-year-old gelding. Arriving from Freehold on March 25, he immediately scorched a claiming group by seven lengths in 1:53:3. He followed that up by moving up in class the following week to handle the $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap group, again by a comfortable margin, in 1:54.

By that time the secret was out, and First Aqua was claimed from that race. He went from one hot trainer (Gilberto Garcia-Herrera) to another (Rene Allard) in the exchange, but he kept George Napolitano Jr. as his driver to face off with that same top claiming group on Wednesday night as a heavy 1-5 favorite.

First Aqua made the same swooping move to take over the lead on the front stretch as he did in his previous two wins. This time out he got a decent challenge from pocket horse Maravich, but he was more than up to that challenge, holding him off to win by a length-and-a-quarter. And although the margin of victory was the smallest of his winning streak, the time of 1:53:2 set a new career mark for First Aqua. That proves he’s still getting better, which is a scary thought for his future competition to entertain.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Smokin Dabra (Brett Miller, Brewer Adams), who rolled on the front end on Tuesday night to his second straight $10,000 claiming victory, this one in 1:54:4; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who took a huge step up in class and won his second straight condition trot at Pocono and his third straight overall, posting a winning time of 1:53:1; and My Leap Of Faith (Simon Allard, Brian Seidel), who rallied late for a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:54:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LATE NIGHT JOKE

Driver Andrew McCarthy has a way with the long shots, and he showed it by rallying this claiming pacer to an improbable victory Saturday night at 35-1 for a $73.60 win payout on a $2 ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARCUS MILLER

Young drivers sometimes struggle to find a place at Pocono, but Miller showed this week that he belongs, scoring driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BREWER ADAMS

He’s been a consistent force for several seasons at Pocono, and Adams scored big this week with five training wins, including doubles on Sunday and Tuesday.

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, April 4th, 2014

March 29-April 4, 2014  

We saw a little bit of everything this past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There was persistent rain on Saturday night, a wintry mix that made a real mess on Sunday night, and then, finally, some springlike weather on Tuesday and Wednesday. The one constant was excellent racing the entire week through, which we’re about to highlight with our Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BLATANTLY GOOD

Saturday night marked the beginning of our second week of racing, which meant that horses that won their first time out in the meet would get a chance to establish themselves as more than just one-week wonders. One of those horses was Blatantly Good, a 10-year-old stallion from the barn of trainer PJ Fraley, whose first start of the ’14 campaign at Pocono resulted in a sizzling condition victory in 1:49:4.

Coming off that, he moved up a notch in the condition wars on Saturday night to face off with a group of non-winners of $20,000 in the last five starts. As if the tough foes he was facing in the race weren’t enough of a collective obstacle, he also had to deal with seriously sloppy racing conditions that made it a tough night for favorites on the whole.

Several horses battled for the early lead, leaving Blatantly Good far back in the back. But driver Brett Miller never panicked and brought him to the outside to begin picking off horses on the back stretch. With one sweeping move around the final turn, the standout stallion blew by his competition on his way to a win going away. The winning time of 1:53:4 was obviously affected by the track condition, but it was nonetheless another impressive victory for this stellar veteran.

Other top pacers this week include: Donna Party (Brett Miller, Kent Sherman), who stepped up to a tougher group of claiming handicap mares on Wednesday night and still won her second straight, this one coming in 1:52:3; So Take That (Tyler Buter, William Adamczyk), who moved to two-for-two on the meet with a first-over grind to victory in 1:52:2 on Saturday night against our highest claiming group; and Leaveumlady (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare who won her second straight condition on Wednesday, stepping up in class for the victory in a career-best 1:51:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DAYLON MIRACLE

This 5-year-old mare from the barn of trainer William Bercury had an incredible hot streak earlier this season at The Meadows. In February and March, she rolled to four consecutive victories. Those races were all against her own gender, however, which might have led to some skepticism about her chances when she faced the toughest male trotters at Pocono.

On March 22 at MSPD, she took on Modern Family, one of the top older trotters in the country, and battled him all the way before coming up just short in 3rd. Without that star in Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred Handicap field at Pocono, the fans were on board Daylon Miracle, making her the even-money favorite. It was just a matter of going out and delivering.

It wasn’t easy, as the mare had to grind it out first-over to get by Tober, the race pacesetter. In the stretch, Coraggioso, who had been placed perfectly in the pocket, closed to try to steal the win. But Daylon Miracle answered the challenge, digging in for the victory by three-quarters of a length. The winning time of 1:56:1, skewed by the sloppy track, doesn’t reflect the outstanding effort of this distinguished distaffer.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Extracurricular (Simon Allard, Marty Fine), who delivered a thrilling condition win on Wednesday night, his second straight, and matched a career-best of 1:54:3 in the process; First Aqua (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who moved up in class to beat the top claiming handicap group on the grounds in 1:54, giving him two straight impressive wins to start the meet; and Wind Of The North (Mike Simons, Clifton Green), who moved to two-for-two on the meet with a condition in on Wednesday night in 1:54:2.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CEE PEE PANIC

In a $20,000 claimer on Saturday night, this gelding, with Tyler Buter in the bike, came swooping through the slop in the stretch for a win at 30-1, paying off $62.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: BRETT MILLER

Miller is making Pocono his permanent home so far in the meet, and it’s paying off. On Saturday night, he had his best night yet by reeling off four victories.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: WILLIAM ADAMCZYK

Adamczyk sent out just two horses on Saturday night, but they were both winners, one of whom was out long shot of the week, Cee Pee Panic.

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, March 28th, 2014

March 22-28, 2014

The 2014 season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs began under sunny skies and comfortable temperatures last Saturday night, a nice break from the bitter cold that has enveloped the area for so long. Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday got downright frigid once again, but nothing dampened the enthusiasm for the start of the campaign. As we will all season long in this space, let’s take some time to honor the best performances by horses, drivers, and trainers in the past seven days by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: EIGHTEEN

Although there weren’t any Open paces on the card this week at Pocono, there were several top-flight condition paces which produced seriously rapid times, especially on Saturday night when the weather cooperated. Still, times under 1:50 in the month of March are rare, especially for horses who go into a race at odds of 12-1.

That’s exactly what the 6-year-old stallion Eighteen was facing as he stared down a condition field of non-winners of $30,000 in the last four starts on Saturday night. Trained by Mark Ford, Eighteen had been testing himself against some of the tougher condition pacers at the half-mile oval at Yonkers prior to his arrival at Pocono. He was certainly ready to pounce from behind when the fractions got hot and heavy.

In the stretch, driver Mark MacDonald called on Eighteen for a rally, and he responded with some major late kick. When the dust cleared, the son of Cam’s Card Shark blew by all of the horses who got more attention at the windows with little problem, tripping the timer at a stunning 1:49:3. It was a new career mark for Eighteen, and an early, imposing standard for the rest of the pacers on the grounds to try and match.

Other top pacers this week include: Blatantly Good (Brett Miller, PJ Fraley), who controlled a condition field on Saturday night for a victory in 1:49:4; He’s A Beachboy (George Napolitano Jr., Gilbert Garcia-Herrera), who followed up back-to-back wins at Freehold with a win over a claiming handicap field on Saturday night in 1:52; and Shark Fantasy (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), whose win Saturday night in 1:52:3 against other three and four-year-old pacers in the Bobby Weiss series was his third straight overall.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MODERN FAMILY

While the pacing side had no invitation/open-style races on tap this week, we were fortunate enough to witness a $25,000 Preferred Handicap on the trotting side on Saturday night. As expected, it was a stellar field drawn to the big purse, led by Modern Family, the 5-year-old stallion who is the pride of the Daryl Bier barn.

Bier also drives Modern Family and has led his horse through a gauntlet early in the season, taking on the very best trotters at the Meadowlands and Dover Downs. Yet he hasn’t been the least bit intimidated; in six starts this year he had been in the money every time, including a pair of wins. With that kind of track record, it was no surprise he was made the 4-5 favorite on Saturday night in a rugged field of nine.

Bier worked out a pocket trip behind pacesetting Daylon Magician, setting it up for a stretch battle. That’s when Modern Family delivered the winning blow, wheeling on by for a one-length victory in a time of 1:52:1 that would have been worthy of praise in the middle of summer, let alone on March 22. It made for a great start to the trotting season, which, based on this early evidence, should be quite captivating in 2014.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: First Aqua (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who dominated a field of claiming handicap trotters on Tuesday night to the tune of a career-best time of 1:53:3; Ray Hall (Tim Tetrick, Mark Harder), who won Sunday night in the first leg of the Bobby Weiss series for young trotting colts, stallions, and geldings in 1:55:3, the fastest time of the three divisions held that night; and Perfect Alliance (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), a mare whose romping win in the Weiss series on Wednesday night in 1:54 was her sixth in six tries this season.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: APPLEY EVER AFTER

This pacer rallied late in Saturday night’s final race with Aaron Byron driving to send the fans home stunned, since he was a 25-1 long shot and paid off $52 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY

In an ever-growing driving community, one of our regulars stood out right off the bat. Kakaley became the first driver to chalk up a five-win night in the 2014 season, achieving the feat on Tuesday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: GILBERTO GARCIA-HERRERA

Garcia-Herrera ended last year on a tear at Pocono, and he picked it up quickly, nabbing two wins on Saturday night on his way to four for the week.

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.

Foiled Again Wins Star-Studded Open Pace at Pocono

Monday, September 10th, 2012

September 8, 2012

Foiled Again made a furious rally on the outside to nose out Bettor Sweet and win a talent-packed Open pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried the night’s top purse of $50,000.

Foiled Again (Dragon Again-In A Safe Place) left from the outside post in a field of seven which had combined lifetime earnings of approximately $12 million. Driver Matt Kakaley settled the eight-year-old gelding in fifth place early as a 2-1 second choice while 8-5 favorite We Will See took the field to the quarter in 26:4 on a sloppy track. Bettor Sweet brushed in the front stretch to take the lead and get the field to the half in a sizzling 54:2.

Kakaley set Foiled Again in motion on the back stretch and got a break when Rockincam headed out in front of him to provide cover. Bettor Sweet was still on top at three-quarters in 1:22, and driver David Miller had the gelding poised for his first win of the season in the stretch. But Foiled Again had other ideas, spinning off his cover and lunging to beat Bettor Sweet by a nose at the line in 1:49:1. Blatantly Good picked up the show.

Fresh off his win in the Canadian Derby, Foiled Again, the pride of the Ron Burke barn and owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, and JJK Stables, pushed his season earnings to $958,439 and his career earnings to $4,376,994 with the win. He now has 6 victories in 18 races this season and 64 lifetime wins.

A J Corbelli Circles Field To Win Feature at Pocono

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

June 2, 2012

AJ Corbelli came from last at the three-quarter pole to prevail in the featured pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race, which was a condition for winners of over $25,000 lifetime, carried the night’s top purse of $25,000.

Leaving from post position #6 in a field of eight at odds of 6-1, A J Corbelli, who hails from the barn of Rene Allard, was content to sit at the back of the back as crushing fractions were laid down by Schoolkids early and Blatantly Good in the middle half of the race. Driver George Napolitano Jr. set the 5-year-old gelding sired by Rocknroll Hanover in motion into the clubhouse turn, and, even though he was still last at the three-quarter pole, A J Corbelli sped by all the tiring horses out wide late to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:50. Dancin Yankee finished second and Custard The Dragon picked up the show. Won The West, closing in on $4 million in his career, paced 4th in his 2012 debut.

A J Corbelli won for fifth time in 12 2012 races. It was his 16th career victory and it pushed his lifetime earnings to $240,204.