Posts Tagged ‘Bushwacker’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

July 23-29, 2016

It was hot this week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but that’s no real news flash, because it was hot just about everywhere in the country as well. I only mention it because the heat didn’t seem to cause any lethargy in the horses competing this past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. If anything, we witnessed some of the fastest races at the track in several weeks, with horses routinely putting up career-bests and even coming within shouting distance of world records. Here are some of the best performers this week, via the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: VAGUE TRACES

You never know when you’re going to see a special performance at the track. Vague Traces gave just such a performance on Saturday night. It wasn’t entirely unexpected that this 4-year-old gelding would be good, considering that he went off as the favorite in a field of $14,000 condition pacers. But the extent to which he excelled was what left mouths agape after he cashed in on his promise and scored the victory.

Trained by Ross Croghan, Vague Traces was making his first start at Pocono in 2016. He came in with wins in just two of his 14 races on the year, but they were back-to-back wins at The Meadowlands in June. Coming off a pair of distant finishes against tough company at Yonkers, the gelding didn’t show much in the first half of his first mile at Pocono, sitting an unassuming fourth early. Then driver Andrew McCarthy sent him first-over on the outside, and everything changed.

In a flash Vague Traces blew by everyone in front of him and took the lead prior to the three-quarter pole. But he didn’t stop there, continuing an elongated speed burst that didn’t relent until he crossed the line 7 ¾ lengths ahead of the dumbfounded field. Even more impressively, he tripped the line in 1:48:1, not just a career-best but the fastest at Pocono this week and one of the fastest at the oval this season. Just like that Vague Traces made an impression on the Pocono faithful; let’s see how he handles the tougher competition that’s bound to come.

Other top pacers this week include: Bushwacker (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Ryder), who scored a victory in Saturday night’s $18,000 featured pace in 1:50; Soto (Andrew McCarthy, Eric Ell), a newcomer to the racing wars at Pocono who immediately left his mark with a condition victory on Saturday in a career-best 1:48:4; and Life Is A Beach (Anthony Napolitano, Randy Bendis), who handled Tuesday night’s featured condition pacing mares in 1:52, which matched a career best.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ARMOR HANOVER

There were several excellent candidates for this honor this week, but this seven-year-old gelding gets the call not just for his last two outstanding performances, but also for how far he’s come in that time. Trained by Douglas Berkeley, Armor Hanover hit rock bottom on July 2 when he went off-stride for a second consecutive race. That meant he’d have to qualify before he could race again. He did just that, winning a qualifier at Monticello on July 6, apparently earning some serious confidence in the process.

In his first race back on July 16, he headed out against a $14,000 condition trotting field as a 17-1 long shot. But driver Tom Jackson drove him aggressively and Armor Hanover responded, holding off Auspicious Hanover by a nose in a thrilling stretch battle to upset in 1:54:3, which was a career-best time.

On Saturday night, he faced off against a $15,500 condition grouping and this time went off at 6-1 with Anthony Napolitano in the bike. With a tremendous back-stretch brush, Armor Hanover left behind the 2-5 favorite Cufflink Hanover. The rest of the field was no match for him either, as he came home six lengths in front. His winning time of 1:52 shattered the career mark he had only just laid down. Armor Hanover has indeed come a long way in a short time, and it will be exciting to see now just where he goes from here.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tac’s Delight (Jim Marohn Jr., Rene Allard), who handled a $15,000 claiming handicap field in 1:54:1 on Sunday night for his third straight victory; Homicide Hunter (Eric Goodell, Chris Oakes), who captured Sunday night’s $25,000 featured condition pace in 1:51:1, a new career-best, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono, and only a fifth of a second short of a world record for 4-year-old trotting geldings; and Crazy About Pat (Jim Marohn Jr., Paul Kelley), who shipped in from Yonkers to pick up a condition win on Sunday night in a career-best 1:53:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LARSON HANOVER

This two-year-old trotter’s maiden win on Tuesday night was quite memorable, as he came home a winner at 75-1 to pay out $154.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO

Returning from an injury that kept him out nearly two months, Napolitano wasted no time getting in the swing of things by ripping off five wins on his first night back Saturday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JENNY MELANDER

Melander put together an interesting streak this week at Pocono, as she followed up training wins in both halves of the Late Daily Double Monday night with another victory in the opening race on 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.

The stars shine under the Sun in Sun Stakes Saturday eliminations

Monday, June 20th, 2016

What will be the greatest collection of harness racing talent assembled for one card so far in 2016 will gather at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Saturday night, June 25th, as the eliminations for the $2M+ Sun Stakes Saturday Championships will be held, seven days before the Championship events.

The Ben Franklin FFA Pace has attracted an overflow field of 22 entrants, including such superstars as Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki, Freaky Feet Pete, Rockin Ron, and $30,000 supplement Mel Mara, and will be raced in three eliminations, with the top three finishers from each elim coming back for the $500,000 Championship event.

The races for the three-year-olds – the Earl Beal 3C Trot, the Max C. Hempt 3C Pace, and the James Lynch 3F Pace, number their entrants in the teens, which means there will be two eliminations for all three sophomore events, with the top four finishers in each elim joining the faster of the fifth-placed finishers going into their rich Championships, the Beal and Hempt racing for $500,000, the Lynch for $300,000.

On an overall basis, how strong are these fields? Well, take the Franklin: it boasts the defending divisional champion in State Treasurer, PLUS it has the defending Horse of the Year and 3YO champion, Wiggle It Jiggleit, as he makes the stepup to the older ranks. Also, the only possible defending champion in the four stakes, Luck Be Withyou, is in the field.

And each of the events for three-year-olds sees its defending champion from two coming to Pocono: Southwind Frank (3TC), Boston Red Rocks (3PC), and Pure Country (3PC).

In addition: the Top Ten poll reflecting this past weekend’s results has not been completed by “post time” for this release, but six of the top ten horses from the last poll will be at Pocono: Wiggle It Jiggleit (1st), Southwind Frank (3rd), Freaky Feet Pete (4th), Rockin Ron (6th), Always B Miki (8th), and Mel Mara (10th).

Here’s a closer look at the fields for all four sets of eliminations, starting with the one that will likely draw the most attention, the Franklin FFA Pace:

BEN FRANKLIN FFAP (Championship purse $500,000; eliminations this Saturday slotted for races 10-11-12):

In addition to the accomplishments listed above, the 22 Franklin entrants have combined lifetime earnings over $20M (ten of the card’s fourteen millionaires are in the Franklin), and their average lifetime mark is 1:48.2.

The first elimination, race 10, finds returning Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, who won the Hempt and the Battle of the Brandywine at Pocono last year, drawing post six in a field of eight for driver Montrell Teague, trainer Clyde Francis, and his ownership of George Teague Jr Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership LLC. The four-year-old altered son of Mr Wiggles has won 7 of 10 races so far this year and over $400,000, and has taken his last three outings, including a 1:48.1-26.4 runaway victory in a Graduate leg at Tioga despite broken equipment; the race before that, he set the all-time track record with a 1:47.3 at Philly.

State Treasurer, the reigning Older Male Pacer of the Year, has post five in “Wiggle”’s elimination, but is winless so far in 2016, while Luck Be With You, the defending Franklin champion, is saddled with the outside post eight  – but he won his Franklin elim last year from PP8, and then won the Championship from PP9.

The second elimination features Always B Miki, who has by many been considered the purely-fastest horse of the last two years, with his speed matched only by bad racing fortune, most notably an injury at the end of his three-year-old season. But the five-year-old Always A Virgin stallion has come back in 2016 with three wins and two seconds in five starts, including setting the all-time Canadian record of 1:47.1 in Mohawk’s Gold Cup this past Saturday. David Miller is slated for sulky duty as “Miki” starts from post five for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.

Always B Miki faces several tough foes here, but none that has been more a thorn in his side recently than Mel Mara, starting from post one for driver Corey Callahan. The horse was placed in the care of trainer Dylan Davis almost two months ago, and since then Mel Mara has passed “Miki” in the stretch, only to be outfought on the end by a neck, and then, in Mel Mara’s last race, he held off Always B Miki by two lengths in 1:47, only a tick off the all-time record for speed in a race – reason enough for his connections, Robert Cooper Stables LLC and J&T Silva Stables LLC, to pony up a $30,000 supplemental entry fee to get him in the race. Mel Mara qualified this past Saturday at The Meadowlands, winning in 1:49.2, with a last quarter of 25.4 …

… a last quarter, which, unbelievably, was bettered by third elim likely choice Freaky Feet Pete, as he flew to the wire in 25.3 in a 1:51.2 Hoosier morning session. Freaky Feet Pete, a son of Rockin Image, completes the “Indiana triumvirate” of dominant free-for-allers which includes “Wiggle” and “Miki,” and he may be able to add to his already-burnished credentials as he starts from post one for driver Trace Tetrick, trainer Larry Rhineheimer, and owners Mary Jo Rhineheimer and Marty Rhineheimer.

$30,000 RACE 10 ELIMINATION (PP, horse, listed driver, trainer): 1, Dude’s The Man, Corey Callahan, Jessica Okusko; 2, Always At My Place, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3, Take It Back Terry, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 4, Ideal Cowboy, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr.; 5, State Treasurer, Tim Tetrick also listed, Dr. Ian Moore; 6, Wiggle It Jiggleit, Montrell Teague, Clyde Francis; 7, Shamballa, Scott Zeron, Rick Zeron; 8, Luck Be Withyou, George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes.

$30,000 RACE 11 ELIMINATION: 1, Mel Mara*, Corey Callahan, Dylan Davis; 2, Melmerby Beach, Marcus Miller, Ettore Annunziata; 3, Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr.; 4, Alexa’s Jackpot, George Napolitano Jr., Marty Fine; 5, Always B Miki, David Miller, Jimmy Takter; 6, All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 7, Rockin Ron, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke. (*- $30,000 supplemental nomination.)

$30,000 RACE 12 ELIMINATION: 1, Freaky Feet Pete, Trace Tetrick, Larry Rhineheimer; 2, Limelight Beach, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 3, Cooperstown, George Napolitano Jr., Daniel Renaud; 4, Rock N’ Roll World, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 5, Bushwacker, Eric Carlson, Chris Ryder; 6, Sunfire Blue Chip, Mark MacDonald, Jimmy Takter; 7, In The Arsenal, Brett Miller, Kelvin Harrison.

EARL BEAL 3CT (Championship purse $500,000, Saturday eliminations races 7 and 9):

Most of the attention for the Beal will be drawn by Southwind Frank, last year’s divisional champion and a Breeders Crown winner, and 13-for-14 in his career for trainer Ron Burke and owners Southwind Frank Partners. “Frank” will have two challenges going into Saturday’s race 9 elimination: he hasn’t started since winning the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship on June 4, and he’ll leave from post eight in the field of nine for driver Yannick Gingras (who does have an early “double call” in the race with Lagerfeld). Speaking of Lagerfeld, he and Love Matters, both two-time winners in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program this season, look to be “Frank”’s main opposition.

Decorum will be the watchword in the seventh race elim, as three of the potentially-fastest of the nine entrants come into the Beal elim off of breaks in their last star: Dayson, Milligan’s School, and Jack Vernon. All have shown the speed that puts them near the top of their class if they are errorless, and a good time to begin their improved behavior would be right here.

$25,000 7TH RACE ELIMINATION: 1, Brooklyn Hill, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson; 2, Dayson, Jim Morrill Jr., Ron Burke; 3, Milligan’s School, Andy Miller, Julie Miller; 4, Jimmy William, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter; 5, Jack Vernon, Tim Tetrick, Randy Beeckman; 6, Dupree, Åke Svanstedt, Åke Svanstedt; 7, Reigning Moni, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 8, Truemass Volo, Eric Goodell, Doug Hamilton; 9, Hollywood Highway, John Campbell, Staffan Lind.

$25,000 9TH RACE ELIMINATION: 1, Dice Man, Åke Svanstedt, Åke Svanstedt; 2, Love Matters, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter; 3, Trolley, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller; 4, Lagerfeld, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5, Iron Mine Bucky, George Dennis, Greg Haverstick; 6, Bar Hopping, Tim Tetrick, Jimmy Takter; 7, Promise Delivered, Andrew McCarthy, Staffan Lind; 8, Southwind Frank, Gingras also listed, Ron Burke; 9, Leggs Matter, David Miller, Robert W. Clark.

MAX C. HEMPT 3CP (Championship purse $500,000, Saturday eliminations races 3 and 5):

Betting Line, the winner of last Saturday’s $1M North America Cup at Mohawk, was not eligible to the Hempt, but the horse that finished 2-3 in the Cup, Racing Hill and Control The Moment, will be going at Pocono on Saturday, as will fourth-place Cup finisher Boston Red Rocks, last year’s two-year-old champion, and many of the early stars of the state’s tough Pennsylvania-sired contests. These two eliminations look to be fairly wide-open, as the sophomores try to establish early position behind leader pro tem Betting Line as they travel the path towards the Meadowlands Pace, the Battle of the Brandywine, the Little Brown Jug, and the Breeders Crown. (And remember that last year’s Hempt winner went on to have a pretty good 2015 – his name was Wiggle It Jiggleit.)

$25,000 3RD RACE ELIMINATION: 1, Boston Red Rocks, Tim Tetrick, Steve Elliott; 2, JK Will Power, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3, More Dragon, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 4, Control The Moment, Randy Waples, Brad Maxwell; 5, American Passport, Brian Sears, Tony Alagna; 6, Western Dynasty, Tim Tetrick also listed, Chris Ryder.

$25,000 5TH RACE ELIMINATION: 1, Racing Hill, Brett Miller, Tony Alagna; 2, Tailgunner Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 3, Big Top Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 4, Katie’s Rocker, David Miller, Jim Campbell; 5, Talk Show, Scott Zeron, Steve Elliott; 6, Western Fame, David Miller also listed, Jimmy Takter; 7, Another Daily Copy, Jim Morrill Jr., Nicholas DeVita.

JAMES LYNCH 3F PACE (Championship purse: $300,000, Saturday eliminations races 6 and 8):

Pure Country was pure perfection as a two-year-old, going undefeated in 10 starts and being named divisional champion. This year, like a typical country song, there have been a few “bumps in the road,” but as trainer Jimmy Takter noted last week, “She’s won the two big races for her group so far” (last Saturday’s $341,640 Fan Hanover Championship at Mohawk, and the $313,800 Miss Pennsylvania Championship here at Pocono). The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Diamond Creek Racing, is set to have Brett Miller in his accustomed perch in the sulky as the pair start from post three in the nine-horse race eight elimination, with a battle sure to come from Darlinonthebeach, the only horse ever to be favored against Pure Country (in the Miss Pennsylvania final, where she set a lightning pace then tired), and second in the Fan Hanover final.

In the sixth race elim, the Well Said filly I Said Diamonds should draw her fair share of attention from post four, with Matt Kakaley driving for trainer Matias Ruiz and Little Bapa LLC from post four. This “Diamond” was second to Pure Country in the Miss Pennsylvania Championship after winning her elimination, and she also shows 2016 stakes triumphs in the Pennsylvania All-Stars and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.

$20,000 6TH RACE ELIMINATION: 1, Shezarealdeal, John Campbell, Ross Croghan; 2, Skinny Dipper, Andrew McCarthy, Ross Croghan; 3, JK Fannie, David Miller, Nancy Johansson; 4, I Said Diamonds, Matt Kakaley, Matias Ruiz; 5, Newborn Sassy, Tim Tetrick, Jo Ann Looney-King; 6, Sail To The Beach, John Campbell also listed, Richard Bilach; 7, Princess Fabulosa, Jim Marohn Jr., Greg White; 8, Terror At Night, Brett Miller, Les Givens; 9, Lindwood Beachgirl, Yannick Gingras, Mark Steacy.

$20,000 8TH RACE ELIMINATION: 1, Kiss Me Onthebeach, John Campbell, Chris Ryder; 2, Yankee Moonshine, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3, Pure Country, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter; 4, Blue Moon Stride, Andrew McCarthy, Mark Harder; 5, Lyons River Pride, driver TBA, Bruce Goit; 6, Darlinonthebeach, David Miller, Nancy Johansson; 7. Penpal, Pat Lachance, Pat Lachance; 8. Some Fancy Filly, David Miller also listed, Nancy Johansson; 9, Call Me Queen Be, Scott Zeron, Ross Croghan.

ALSO ON THE CARD – a $25,000 winners-over pace in the four-slot, matching Rockeyed Optimist, 18-of-29 the last two years and consistently close against top free-for-allers (including showing a win over Always B Miki in that one’s 2016 bow), and Wakizashi Hanover, a million-dollar winner in his three-year-old form, who was eligible to the Franklin, but is making his 2016 seasonal debut on Saturday. “Wakizashi” adds Lasix as he enters his older form, and trainer Jo Ann Looney-King decided to go into this event rather than throw her pride and joy against the bullyboy FFAers in his bow this season; Tim Tetrick is scheduled for sulky duty behind Wakizashi Hanover from post four in a field of eight, while Rockeyed Optimist starts in post six for driver Brett Miller and trainer Steve Elliott.

First post for this Saturday extravaganza of trotting and pacing prowess is listed at 6:30 p.m.

Oakes & Napolitano team sweep Saturday features

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes combined for a sweep of the pacing features Saturday night, October 1oth,  at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Scott Rocks a pocket rocket in taking the $26,000 pace in 1:50.1 and Luck Be Withyou controlling the pace to report home first in 1:49.1 in a $24,000 event.

Napolitano left hard with Scott Rocks, an altered son of Rocknroll Hanover, forcing a pocket tuck from Lonewolf Currier, then surrendering the front to the brushing Bushwacker past the 27.1 opener. Bushwacker continued on the engine with middle fractions of 54.4 and 1:22.4, and held gamely through the drive, but “George Nap” guided Scott Rocks to the famed “Pocono Pike” passing lane, and wore down the frontstepper by midstretch, posting a neck triumph for the ownership of Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey; Major Uptrend charged hard late to be a close third.

Luck Be Withyou continued to show his affinity for the Pocono red clay surface, having won the 2013 Breeders Crown two-year-old colt pace and the 2015 Ben Franklin Final against top-level competition. The son of Western Ideal then had a dull patch of form, enabling him to drop down in class, and Saturday he took his third straight win on the comeback trail, moving to the front after Somethinginthewind blew to the quarter in 26, putting up 54.1 and 1:21.4 middle splits, and staying strong with a 27.2 last quarter, winning by 2 1/2 lengths for owner John Craig.

In a $24,000 trot, Ray Hall, who ascended to the top levels during the Weiss Series in the spring of 2014, showed that he might prove a worthy rival to his 2015 “successor,” JL Cruze, ringing up his second win in three starts since being acquired by Team Allard (driver Simon and trainer/brother Rene, also co-owner with Giselle Hebert). The Justice Hall gelding stayed off a wild early duel (25.4, 53.4) between Somebody As and Modest Prince, moved up to a great second-over spot by the 1:23 3/4 marker, then easily outtrotted his rivals home, tallying by 1 1/2 lengths over deep Pikeshooter Doc’s Tebow in 1:52.4.

Pocono now shifts to a 3-night-a-week live schedule, with the trotters and pacers under the lights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays until the meet’s end on November 21.

Bigtown Hero scores Saturday night feature

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Bigtown Hero, who already has two appearances on the sport’s all-time list of “horse who have hit the 3/4s in 1:20 or better,” missed by a tick becoming the only horse ever with three such appearances, winning the $24,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, August 29th.

Bigtown Hero, an altered son of American Ideal, certainly didn’t have it easy, either — he was outside with cover until favored Bandolito cleared Bushwacker past a 26 opener, then rolled up raw to grab the top early on the second turn, en route to hitting the half in 53.1.

Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother/Pocono leader Rene, opened up lengths on Bandolito down the backstretch, with Bushwacker taking other crack outside, but both were well-behind when the timer tripped at 1:20.1 with a quarter to ago. Bandolito ate fractionally into the winner’s lead late, but was still shy of him by 3/4 of a length at the finish, with Quick Jolt coming from the clouds for third, a half length behind Bandolito and a length ahead of Bushwacker.

Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin own the speed merchant, who hit the 3/4 in 1:19.4 last September 20 here en route to taking his mark of 1:47.3, and then on November 8 posted the fastest half (52.2) and 3/4s (1:19.1) in 5/8-mile track history before tiring in a race where Mach It So beat State Treasurer in 1:48. Both of these miles were also at Pocono.

Also at Pocono Saturday were a pair of $24,000 trots. Wind Of The North, an altered son of Cantab Hall who equaled a division world record of 1:51 here last year, needed only 1:53.3 Saturday to report home first for trainer Daryl Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck; in the other division the Andover Hall filly Sistas, 3-for-3 in Stallion Series competition, handled a big class rise, a predominantly male field, and a predominantly older field in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Albert and Michelle Crawford. (Napolitano, who had 100 wins in July, won three times here Saturday to put him at 98 for August, with sessions at both Philly and Pocono tomorrow possibly letting him achieve a rare “consecutive double century” of winners; the win with Sistas was also his 500th of 2015).

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Week in Review

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

April 11-17, 2015

Next week in this space we’ll be talking about the finals of our Bobby Weiss late closer series, races which will be taking place over the next few racing nights at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Weiss preliminary legs have featured some of the most exciting younger horses in the country, so the finals should be filled with great performances. In the meantime, we’ve got the best of this week’s overnight action on display with this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BUSHWACKER

It’s always interesting to watch four-year-old horses make the transition from facing horses their own age to competing with older foes. Those who make that transition smoothly are often the ones who end up battling it out in the upper conditions and Opens at their respective tracks. Bushwacker, a talented 4-year-old gelding, is already making that transition at Pocono even as he has only just started his 2015 campaign.

At ages two and three, Bushwacker, trained by Chris Ryder, performed very well, earning over $200,000 combined in those seasons by facing tough competition. He kicked off his 4-year-old season extremely well, winning against non-winners of five on a sloppy track at Pocono in 1:52:3 on March 31. The field he faced on Saturday night, a condition for non-winners of $15,500 in the last starts, featured only one other four-year-old; everybody else in the field was at least a year older.

Yet Bushwacker didn’t seem at all stressed out by the step up  in class. With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, he took a tough first-over path but managed to take over the lead late. From there he stayed strong, holding on to win by a length in a sharp 1:51. That makes him two-for-two in the young season and puts all of the top pacers at Pocono, even the veterans, on notice that Bushwacker is ready to roll at any level.

Other top pacers this week include: Always Wanna (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who changed barns but still rolled to his third consecutive victory over the $12,500 claimers on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:53:2; Mustang Art (Jim Morrill Jr., James McGuire), whose win in Saturday night’s featured condition pace came in 1:50, fastest time of the meet up to that point; and Major Deagan (Jim Morrill Jr., Tracy Brainard), a 17-1 shot who rallied to win a condition pace on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:50, matching the standard set by Mustang Art three nights before.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TAMASIN HALL

A five-year-old mare from the barn of Bill Mullin, Tamasin Hall has proven in the past her ability to put together a big mile on the Pocono oval. Like many trotters, she occasionally struggles with breaking stride, but when she’s flat she’s dangerous. She showed that in her first start of the 2015 meet at Pocono when she rallied to beat a condition trotting field on March 31 in 1:56:3.

Her next start, against the same class, resulted in only a fifth-place finish, but that one could be written off somewhat by the fact that she had to deal with the dreaded #9 post position. She came back to face the same group of non-winners $12,500 in the last five starts on Tuesday night, and though her #7 post position was no pleasure cruise, it gave her a better chance to flash some early speed. With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, she worked her way to the front end on the front stretch.

From there she rebuffed all those who tried to take the lead away. Morrill urged her home in the stretch to win by a length over You Rock My World in an impressive winning time in 1:53:2. That was a pretty good performance, especially considering she got away as a 6-1 shot. With two wins in three starts so far in the 2015 Pocono meet, it looks like Tamasin Hall will be a hot trotter once again this season.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Chocoholic (Andrew McCarthy, James Quinn), who matched a career-best she knocked off a rugged condition group on Tuesday in 1:55; Buffalino Hanover (Andy Miller, Todd Schadel), who toughed out a first-over move to win a condition trot on Tuesday night in 1:54:2; and GJ Photo Victory (Jim Morrill Jr., Marcus Marashian), whose claiming victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:3 was his fourth straight, the last two of which came at Pocono.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: DIVINATION

On Sunday night this mare driven by Anthony Napolitano snuck out of the pocket late to surprise a field of condition pacers at 34-1, paying off $71 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD

Simon did some serious damage on Saturday night in conjunction with his brother Rene (see below), ripping off seven driving victories, a personal best for him here at Pocono.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD

The two-time defending champion in training wins made his first big splash of 2015 on Saturday night by teaming with his brother Simon for seven wins on the 14-race program.

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.