Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Norris’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

May 6-12, 2017

It was a particularly busy week of racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Due to the doubleheader on Kentucky Derby day, we enjoyed five racing cards in a four-day stretch. That means that we have even more candidates for the Weekly Awards than usual. As it turns out, though, picking the top two horses of the week was an easy matter, as it came down to the winners of the week’s two biggest purses. Here now are the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BARIMAH A

In Saturday night’s Van Rose Memorial pace, which carried a purse of $50,000, Barimah A, a seven-year-old gelding from the Scott DiDomenico barn, went off at 14-1. This was despite the fact that he won the previous week’s featured pace at Pocono in a career-best 1:50 and despite his drawing the inside post. The betting attention, understandably, went to some of the millionaires in the field, horses like Sunfire Blue Chip, Somewhere in L A and McWicked who were coming in from the rugged early-season races at Yonkers.

The sloppy track did not dissuade the superstars in the field from going for the engine with reckless abandon. Three different horses led in the first three-eighths of a mile, and the fractions created by the speed duel were ruthless: 25:4; 53:1, and 1:20:4. At the top of the stretch Somewhere in L A was on top, Mach It So was hounding him first-over, and favorite Sunfire Blue Chip overcame some tiring cover on the back stretch to rally again in the passing lane.

All of those horses were very close to the blistering pace for much of the mile. The difference for Barimah A was that driver Pat Berry kept him back early, only asking for some kick on the back stretch. As they rounded the final turn, Barimah A was firing on all cylinders, and he eventually outpaced Sunfire Blue Chip in the final strides to get up for the victory by a head. His winning time of 1:50 matched the career-mark he set in the win the previous week, although it was even more impressive this time around because of the sloppy conditions.

Other top pacers this week include: Brickman (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who switched barns and still scored his third straight victory over $25,000 claimers on Saturday night, winning in the slop in 1:53:1; Inspiration View (Jim Marohn Jr., Ron Burke), who moved up the ladder to win a second consecutive condition race on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:52:1 in the slop; and Tempus Seelster (Jim Marohn Jr., Tony Dinges), a mare who picked up her third straight victory, two of which have come at Pocono, with a condition victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:50:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OOH RAH

On Tuesday night, the last of the Bobby Weiss late closer series finals was held. In this case, it was the three and four-year-old trotting colts, stallions and geldings going at it for the $30,000 purse. The preliminary legs had seen several horses step up with solid performances, but Ooh Rah, a four-year-old gelding trained by Kathleen La Montagne, stamped himself as the favorite by winning three of his four starts in the series.

In the final, Ooh Rah left from post position #3 in a field of nine as the 3-5 betting favorite. After sitting third early, driver George Napolitano Jr. decided he wanted to be in charge with the favorite. Ooh Rah swooped past Hilarious Hero on the front stretch to take over the lead. Although Uncle Leroy made a first-over brush, the leader never seemed to feel the pressure and was able to cut out the mile at a relatively leisurely pace.

That came into play late, when Hilarious Hero popped out of the pocket in the stretch ready for a fight. Ooh Rah had energy to spare, powering home to hold off Hilarious Hero by a length. The winning time of 1:55 was faster than any horse had been able to post in any of the previous Weiss legs in this group, and it also marked a career-best for Ooh Rah, a deserving and dominant champ of the division.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tuonoblu Rex (Andy Miller, Julie Miller) who followed up a win at The Meadowlands in his U.S. debut with an easy victory in the slop on Sunday at Pocono over a tough condition field in 1:53:1, easily the fastest trotting time of the week; Andy Ray (Marcus Miller, Jim Campbell), who rallied on Saturday night for a condition win in the slop in 1:57, giving him victories in the last three starts he’s made at Pocono; and Meme Hanover (Charlie Norris trainer and driver), a colt who followed up his maiden victory with a condition win on Monday night in 1:56:1, matching his career-best time.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: OOH DEAR SAM

With Anthony Morgan in the bike, this veteran pacer surprised a field of claimers on Saturday night to the tune of 26-1, paying out $54.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JIM MAROHN JR.

Marohn seemed to enjoy the daylight hours on Saturday, winning four out of ten races on the matinee card before returning for another victory on Saturday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TONY DINGES

The Dinges barn was all about efficiency on Tuesday night, sending out three starters and earning victories in every one of those races.

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 Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

May 14-20, 2016

It seems like we are in the middle of a stretch at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono where each week features another brand new batch of huge races. This past week we had the chance to witness the Pennsylvania All-Stars, a series for 3-year-olds from the Keystone State which brought out some of the best sophomore racing talent in the entire nation, lured as they were by the solid $30,000 purses available for each division.

We saw a different class on three consecutive nights. Here are some of the highlights of this batch of Pennsylvania All-Stars races.

SUNDAY: 3-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The three divisions held on Sunday night proved that there are many different ways to win a race. In the first split, The Catamount Kid, the even-money favorite after a solid 4th-place finish the previous week in the Pennsylvania Classic, used a pocket trip to come up a winner. Simon Allard did the driving for trainer Carl Jamieson, although it wasn’t easy for The Catamount Kid. It took a career-best mile of 1:51:2 to hold off the extremely game Bully Pulpit by a neck.

The next division provided a display of how to win from off the pace. As even-money favorite JJ Flynn started to lose grasp of his lead late, it appeared that Settlemoir, who was sitting the excellent pocket trip, had the edge to come up for the win. Yet it was Voltaire, an 11-1 shot guided by Tim Tetrick, who revved it up on the outside out of nowhere to win by a neck in a career-best 1:52:2. Trained by Brian Malone, it was Voltaire’s first win since March.

In the final split, Another Daily Copy provided a master’s class on how to control a field on the front end. The colt from the Nicholas Devita barn was aided in that effort by driver Jim Morrill Jr., who expertly rated the pace so that even 4-5 favorite Fernando Hanover couldn’t get past in the stretch. At 5-1, Another Daily Copy came home a solid winner by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:51:2, his first win of the season and a new career-best.

MONDAY: 3-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Monday night provided a chance for some of the fillies who came up short in the Miss Pennsylvania a few weeks ago to get a bit of redemption. In the first split, Darlinonthebeach, who had been favored in the Miss Pennsylvania after upsetting Pure Country in the elimination but got caught up in blistering fractions and faded to 7th in the final, nearly had bad racing luck doom her chances in the All-Stars race. She had to check while making a brush to the lead around the clubhouse turn. The Nancy Johansson trainee didn’t panic, gathering her wits about her until called on again by David Miller in the stretch. She rolled by as the 4-5 favorite to win by a neck in 1:51:3, pushing her career earnings over $247,000 in the process.

Next up was I Said Diamonds, who had battled to 2nd in the Miss Pennsylvania final despite a #9 post. She was once again on the outside in the All-Stars race, starting furthest out in the field of seven as the 1-2 favorite. By the end of the first turn she had assumed the lead. At the top of the stretch, with competitors starting to loom behind her, she kicked away from her foes with Matt Kakaley in the bike. Trained by Ron Burke, I Said Diamonds continues to impress; she’s hit the board in every one of her nine starts with five victories and earnings topping $245,000.

In the final split, Yankee Moonshine, who was a huge earner as a 2-year-old but missed the Miss Pennsylvania final after finishing fifth in her elimination race, was favored at 7-5. But she never really fired and finished fourth. Instead it was a newcomer to Pocono named Shesasmokinlady who came in from the Meadows and put together an outstanding performance. Fresh off a win in the slop, the filly trained and driven by Ray Paver worked out a pocket trip behind a sizzling pace and came on to win by a neck in the night’s fastest time of 1:50:4 as an 8-5 second choice.

TUESDAY: 3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

The action for the distaff trotters started out on Tuesday night with a split featuring a pair of horses, Pink Pistol and Ginny Weasley, coming off wins in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. Synonymous Hanover, a 5-1 shot making her first start of the season, took the lead from Ginny Weasley at the half. Pink Pistol broke stride in her first-over attempt, and Ginny Weasley couldn’t get there from the pocket. Instead Brett Miller guided Synonymous Hanover, trained by Chris Oakes, to the win by 1 ¼ lengths in a career-best 1:56.

In the second split, Lookin Sharp was coming off a 5th-place finish in her season debut and was saddled with a #9 post, so it was understandable that she went off as a 6-1 shot. But the filly from the John Butenschoen was also the big earner in the field as a 2-year-old, and she regained that fine form on this night. With David Miller in the bike, Lookin Sharp grabbed the lead an eight of a mile into the race and never looked back from there, dominating the field in 1:55:2, a new career-best time.

As it turns out, it wouldn’t be a good night for Pennsylvania All-Stars favorites. Although Abbie’s Celticlass, the 4-5 favorite in the final split, fared better than the favorites in the first two divisions, both of whom went off-stride, her first-over effort wasn’t enough to get more than the show. Meanwhile Modern Mercury, a filly trained and driven by Charlie Norris coming off a win at Harrah’s at Philadelphia, stepped into the breach and scored the victory on the front end in 1:56:1, ending an exciting week of Pennsylvania All-Stars action.

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.

Tetrick dominates Tuesday PA Stallion Series

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

The “Bionic Man,” driver Tim Tetrick, showed that his parts don’t rust in the rain,  capturing three of the eight divisions of the $160,000 second round of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for two-year-old trotting fillies Tuesday night, July 21st,  at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono over “off” going (the first five sections on a track rated “sloppy,” the last three on a “good” surface).

Tetrick captured the fastest division, 1:58.3, with Goodtogo Hanover, but it was anything but a laugher over pacesetting LOL Hanover, as the victorious daughter of Explosive Matter-Grammy Hall needed most of the Pocono Pike to rally from the pocket and hang a neck decision on her foe for trainer Bill Zendt, also co-owner with Gary Saul.

All three of Tetrick’s victories came during the “sloppy” portion of the card; he also clicked with Casey T (Madison River-Gia) in 2:00.3 for trainer Todd Rooney, and with the Yankee Glide-Sarafina Hall miss I Luv Blackhawkred, another of the five “pocket rockets” who took Stallion Series glory in 2:00 for trainer Dirk Simpson.

Matching Tetrick in the triple category was sire Andover Hall, with the second-fastest winner, Miss Teszla (out of Filly At Bigs), rallying from the two-hole to win easily for trainer-driver Jimmy Takter in 1:58.4 (gd). “Andover”’s other two winners controlled most of the pace in their victories: Synonymous Hanover (out of Sweetr By The Bone) in 2:00.2 (sy) for trainer/driver Charlie Norris; and Gracie Hanover (out of Gone Lindy), home first in 2:00.4 (gd) for trainer/driver Åke Svanstedt.

Also victorious on the evening were the two other winners who used the pocket as their launching pad: Twice A Night (Donato Hanover-Working Girl), who tallied in 2:00.4 (sy) for driver Jackie Ingrassia and trainer Frank Ingrassia; and the Cantab Hall-Keystone Vi Va baby Ki Ki Canolli, who stopped the timer in 2:00.1 (gd) for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Jonas Czernyson.

Amateur Driver of the Year brings home a longshot

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Robert Krivelin, three-time Amateur Driver of the Year by voting of the U.S. Harness Writes Association, showed that he could “beat the pros” as well, on Sunday, July 18th, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, bringing home the trotter Blintz, the longest shot on the board, to her maiden victory and returning a tasty $118 to win.

Krivelin got away second from the rail with his homebred daughter of Credit Winner (he races as the “Hero Stables”), then moved outside to challenge pacesetting Mrvelosity Hanover nearing the ¾. Marion My Way joined these two in the Pocono Pike for the stretch drive, but it was Krivelin and Blintz, winless in 10 previous starts, who had the most late, gaining into the 58.4 back half to win in 1:59.1 by ¾ of a length over Marion My Way, who edged Mrvelosity Hanover for the deuce.

The $118 win payoff was the third-highest of the Pocono meet, and the win for trainer/driver Krivelin made him only the third horseman to control both sides of a $50+ winner (Brandon Simpson and Charlie Norris are the other two).

Krivelin, a resident of “The Cradle of the Trotter,” Goshen NY, has 175 career driving victories, and has posted four seasons where his UDR was .300 or better. Not coincidentally, three of those four years (2001, 2012, and 2014) were the three occasions of his being named Amateur Driver of the Year by USHWA.

Stakes action for two-year-old PA Sired kicks off

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Stakes action for two-year-old Pennsylvania-sired horses kicked off Sunday, June 28th,  at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with six divisions of a $180,000 event for trotting colts and geldings.

The fastest winner was Trolley, who set the pace and came home in 57.2 to win by a head over pocketsitting Earn And Burn in 1:56.1. Both of the top two finishers were sons of Donato Hanover, and Trolley is out of the Duke Of York-Conch mare Lakeside Bride, so it was a royal pedigree battle to the wire (Earn And Burn is out of a full sister to millionaire Dejambro), with Trolley the winner for conductor Marcus Miller, trainer Erv Miller, and the ownership of Paymaq Racing, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis, and Louis Willinger.

Longtime prominent Pennsylvania horsemen Bob Key had a pair of homebred winners, including one who was the longest shot on the board in his race and who won under unusual circumstances. Treasure Keys K (Encore Encore) was sitting third behind pacesetting Milligan’s School and pocketsitting Truemass Volo when those two got tangled up on the final turn, inheriting the lead and going on to win for trainer/driver Charlie Norris in 1:59.2.

Key’s other winner was Boyz N Guitars, a Muscle Massive colt who came his own back half in 57.4 uncovered to catch the leader, Dominus Hanover, and tally in 1:58.3 for Hall Of Fame driver John Campbell and trainer Chuck Sylvester.

Donato Hanover had another siring credit in the All-Stars, Sliding Home, who is out of the 2010 Hambo Oaks-winning mare Bar Slide. Sliding Home quarter-moved to command and came home with twin 29.3 quarters to win easily in 2:00 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Jonas Czernyson, and the Consus Racing Stable – and be the only “chalk” to prevail in the six races.

Corey Callahan had the only driving double in the Sunday stakes, as he also went to Victory Lane with Hititoutofthepark after an eventful trip – away sixth and parked every step until the 5/8, where his 27.4 individual third split powered him off to a three length win in 1:57.3. The impressive son of Yankee Glide, a full brother to All-Stars 3YO winner and Beal finalist Boots N Chains, is trained by John Butenschoen for the Give It A Shot Stable, Kurt Welling, and the VIP Internet Stable LLC.

The other All-Stars section went to Regina and Rick Beinhauer’s homebred Major Matter, who made every pole a winning one in 1:58.3. The altered son of Explosive Matter stepped home in 58.3 with Rick Beinhauer, who also is the trainer, in the sulky.

All-Stars action for babies continues this coming week, with pacing fillies on Tuesday, trotting fillies on Wednesday, and pacing colts on the first Friday night card of the year at Pocono – the day before the $2M Sun Saturday Stakes Championships.