Posts Tagged ‘Corky’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

June 28-July 4, 2013

All of us on the racing side at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs had been looking forward all season long to Sun Stakes Saturday, an extravaganza of racing featuring four huge stakes races with combined purses of $1.8 million. When it finally arrived last weekend, it was everything we possibly could have hoped for and a ton more.

It featured some surprising results, crazy weather, and incredible, record-smashing performances by horses long before we even got to the stakes portion of the evening. Once those stakes races came around, the fans on hand and watching at home got to witness some of the sport’s finest stars showing just why they’re considered so special.

The stakes races weren’t scheduled until races 9 through 12, but the transcendent performances got underway long before that. In the very first race of the night, a $25,000 Preferred Trot, 4-year-old superstar Uncle Peter out-trotted veteran Arch Madness in a thrilling stretch battle for a win in 1:50:3, the fastest time ever trotted not only at Pocono but at any 5/8-mile oval in the world. Just a few races down the road in the consolation for the Ben Franklin pace, Bolt The Duer became the first pacer in Pocono history to break the 1:48 barrier, winning in an unreal 1:47:4.

In the Max C. Hempt elimination, Beach Memories’ winning time of 1:48:3 set a new Pocono record for 3-year-old geldings on the pace. Perhaps the wildest of the night’s races was the $25,000 Preferred pace. In the midst of the race, the threatening skies finally opened up, drenching a huge crowd watching outside on the track apron and the patio as well as the horses competing in the race. Yet, in the midst of the downpour, Abelard Hanover managed to match a world record for aged pacing geldings on a 5/8-mile oval with a victory in 1:48.

The soaking rain ensured that the track and world records were done for the evening, but, even in the slop, the stakes races proved that the best horses rise to the occasion no matter what the circumstances or obstacles. First came the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old fillies, a race which featured I Luv The Nitelife, who came in with four wins in five races on the year including a pair of six-figure stakes conquests. The #8 post didn’t scare the filly off from flashing her early speed. She managed to settle in the pocket and power home with a second move in the stretch with Tim Tetrick in the bike. The pride of the Chris Ryder barn picked up the win in 1:50.

The $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial pace is a 3-year-old Open event, which meant that it fell within the province of the sport’s preeminent superstar at this time, Captaintreacherous. The Tony Alagna-trained standout had already won 12 of 14 races in his career, including all four starts in 2013, heading into the race, yet the outside post he drew was a definite headache. Tetrick managed to find Captaintreacherous some cover on the outside though, and he survived a thrilling stretch battle with fast-closing Vegas Vacation. It was the kind of win where a horse just finds a way, like all winners do. Captaintreacherous paced the mile in 1:49:2.

Foiled Again came into the $500,000 Ben Franklin Free-For-All pace sitting at the precipice of a milestone no pacer in history had ever reached: $5 million earned in a career. The 9-year-old vet from the Rob Burke barn was coming off a record-setting win in the Franklin elimination, but his journey to the front in Saturday’s final was a tough first-over jaunt. No matter. Driver Yannick Gingras urged him home in a bang-bang finish to nose out Pet Rock in 1:49:2. Not only did it put him over that $5 million mark in style, it gave him 70 lifetime victories. And the scary thing is that he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

The way the night was going, with all of the biggest names coming up aces in the finals, it seemed like a good omen for Smiling Eli, the even-money favorite in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial trot who was unbeaten after four career races. Yet the #9 post proved a little too much for him; the effort he expended to get to the front caught up with him in the stretch. That’s when Corky, a 7-1 shot with David Miller in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter, came rolling by first-over for the win in 1:54:3. That marks three straight wins for Corky, who may be rounding into shape as the top 3-year-old trotter on the planet.

What a night it was. We’ve got much more to come at Pocono in 2013, of course. There’s another jam-packed stakes Saturday coming up in August and The Breeders Crown awaits in October. They’ll be hard-pressed to top Sun Stakes Saturday though, a day when the Pocono faithful saw a little bit of everything and a whole lot of excitement.

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.

Sun Stakes Saturday wows with record-breaking racing

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Captaintreacherous might be known as Captain Courageous after the way he won Saturday’s (June 29) $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Starting from the outermost spot on the gate, Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick were on the outside for the entire mile — three wide at points — but managed to win by a neck over Vegas Vacation in 1:49.2 over a track turned sloppy by heavy rain roughly an hour before the Hempt.

Captaintreacherous, the defending Pacer of the Year, improved to 5-for-5 this year for trainer Tony Alagna and the ownership group known as Captaintreacherous Racing. The colt has won $808,293 this season and $1.72 million in his career thanks to 13 victories in 15 lifetime starts.

“He was tremendous,” Alagna said. “To do what he did over this track the way it is after the downpour, if that’s not a mile in (1):47 then I don’t know what is on a good track. To be out as far as he was over this, it’s a monster mile.

“I had confidence. When he landed second over I knew this horse fitness wise was in great shape. I told Timmy he’s never been better tonight warming up. I told him he was going to be out the whole way, but I still think he’ll get the job done.”

Captaintreacherous’ performance was part of a $2 million card dubbed Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono Downs. Foiled Again won the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, becoming the first pacer to surpass $5 million in lifetime earnings, while Corky won the $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters and I Luv The Nitelife won the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers.

In the Hempt, Captaintreacherous raced outside behind the cover of Sunfire Blue Chip and then Word Power before battling through the stretch to pull out the win. Vegas Vacation was a fast-closing second and Sunfire Blue Chip finished third.

“I knew we’d never seen this horse’s bottom,” Alagna said. “Tonight off the last turn, here he comes again. I thought Sunfire Blue Chip had a pretty good jump on him up the backside, but this horse does not want to quit. He has the will to win. That’s what it takes.

“That’s part of being a champion. That’s part of what great horses do; they find a way to win. They win.”

I Luv The Nitelife also started from an outside post with Tetrick in the sulky in the Lynch, but was able to get favorable position behind pacesetter Shebestingin before rallying in the stretch for a 1:50 win. Shebestingin finished second and Jerseylicious was third.

“I had a feeling that one way or another she was going to get where she needed to go,” trainer Chris Ryder said. “She got the right spot and it worked out. He drove her perfect and she’s a special horse.”

I Luv The Nitelife has won five of six races this year, including the $384,044 Fan Hanover Stakes on June 15, and nine of 16 starts in her career. The Lynch victory pushed her lifetime earnings to more than $1 million for owners Richard and Joanne Young.

“I saw (Shebestingin) coming and I thought about not letting her go, but I figured she’d carry me there, and she did,” Tetrick said. “My mare exploded when she got out.”

Corky, with David Miller in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter, won the Beal by one length over Picture This in 1:54.3. Dontyouforgetit, also trained by Takter, finished third.

Smilin Eli, the favorite based on his 4-for-4 career record entering the Beal, started from post nine and was able to get the lead after the opening quarter-mile. He held the advantage until the stretch, but Corky was able to claim the top spot with a first-over effort. Smilin Eli finished fifth.

Corky has won three of seven races this year — with his wins coming consecutively since a second-place finish to Smilin Eli in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship on June 1. Corky, owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding and Jim Fielding, has won six of 14 career races and never finished worse than third while earning $575,968.

“He’s a very laid-back horse,” Takter said. “I always knew he had something deep within him; he’s been very consistent. He’s coming into himself right. He ended up with some bad luck last year. He got like a thousand warts on his hind legs — I’ve never seen anything like it — and thank you (veterinarian) Patty Hogan. She had to burn them away and it took a whole day for her to do it.

“I think we have a hell of a shot in the future with him. He’s been extremely good his last three starts.”

Miller hopes Corky is his horse for August’s Hambletonian Stakes.

“He’s getting better all the time and tonight’s another step closer to it,” Miller said. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully he can hold on another month.”

Times were fast prior to the stakes slate getting underway, with multiple world-record performances on the card. But during the middle of the eighth race, the preferred pace won by Abelard Hanover in 1:48, heavy rain arrived and soaked the track for nearly 20 minutes.

Abelard Hanover’s time equaled the fastest mile ever by a gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile track.

Bolt The Duer, driven by Mark MacDonald for trainer Peter Foley, won the $50,000 Franklin Consolation in 1:47.4, equaling the fastest mile ever paced on a five-eighths track and setting the track record for Pocono Downs.

Beach Memories, driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Brian Brown, won the $50,000 Hempt Consolation in 1:48.3, equaling the world record for 3-year-old gelding pacers on a five-eighths oval and setting the track record for 3-year-old gelding pacers at Pocono Downs.

All Laid Out, driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, won the $50,000 Beal Consolation in 1:53.1.

Earlier on the card, 4-year-old Uncle Peter, trained by Takter, won the preferred handicap trot in 1:50.3, setting the record for the quickest mile ever by a trotter on a five-eighths track. He eclipsed the mark of 1:50.4 set by Googoo Gaagaa at Pocono Downs last year.

“I’ve been high on him all his life,” Takter said. “To see him go a world record today was an unbelievable feeling.”

Ken Weingartner for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Sun Stakes Saturday Eliminations a record-breaking night!

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

On a dynamic, star-studded Saturday night of eliminations for the $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday Finals at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs a week hence, they saved the best for last. 

And the oldest. And the richest. And the one who set a world record. 

Foiled Again, the nine-year-old evergreen gelding, boosted his lifetime bankroll to $4,920,444 by winning the third of three eliminations for next week’s $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace Final in 1:48 – a world record for older pacing geldings on a 5/8s, lowering by a tick the mark first established by Bettor Sweet and then equaled three weeks ago at Pocono by Camae’s Fella.

 This was win #69 for Foiled Again – and might have been the first where he used the passing lane to post the victory. Let go at 4-1, Foiled Again let Bolt The Duer bolt off the gate to early command, then made a shake-and-bake move to take command approaching the 26.1 quarter. Favored Pet Rock was moved early and took the lead in front of the stands, with Modern Legend up uncovered at the 54.3 half.

 Down the back Pet Rock and Modern Legend dueled to a 1:21.2 ¾ time, a battle they continued around the turn and into the stretch, where surprisingly it was the favorite who gave way first (though not much). But Yannick Gingras, a four-time winner on the night, had pointed Foiled Again to the Pocono Pike passing lane, and the Pike came through (it did an astounding eight times on the 14-race card) and so did the old man, with a new mark in his 180th lifetime start and the new world standard for his division. Modern Legend and Pet Rock also advanced from this field to the Franklin Final.

 Ron Burke conditions the victorious altered son of Dragon Again for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and JJK Stables.

 One race earlier, Razzle Dazzle scored his first victory since the Levy Final in 1:49, also via the Pocono Pike. Somehow dismissed at 10-1, the Real Desire gelding and driver Brian Sears helped create their own luck early, shutting the pocket behind hardleaving Up The Credit, which left Sweet Lou no hole, after which he soon broke. After splits of 26 and 55, Fred And Ginger took the raw route to challenge by the 1:22.1 3/4s, and five of the field of six were in contention as they turned for home.

 Into the lane, it was Hoosier invader Our Lucky Chip, the longest shot on the board, who swept wide off of cover and into a brief lead—but there were literally only three places from which to win at Pocono Saturday: the pocket (nine times), the lead (four times), and first-over (once), and Razzle Dazzle built quick momentum and scooted up the inside to get the nod for trainer Mark Silva and owner Ira Kristel. Our Lucky Chip and Up The Credit also advanced to the Franklin final.

 The first Franklin elim also saw a pocket rocket the most photogenic, as the Bettor’s Delight 4YO gelding Dynamic Youth wound it up fast late to trip the timer in 1:48.3, equaling the track record for age/sex/gait under the guidance of Andrew McCarthy whiel also posting the best time of the year for his division. Dynamic Youth made Betterthancheddar pay a 25.3 price for quarter command; BTC got a breather to a 54.4 half, then dueled with raw Bettor’s Edge to a 1:21.4 ¾. Clear Vision loomed boldly off cover, but the “Youth” was the most dynamic late, with Clear Vision and “Cheddar” getting advancement to next week’s race behind the Aaron Lambert-trained winner, owned by the Silva Stables, Tucci, and C&G Racing Stable.

 To wrap up the Franklin, these facts: 1) The elim horses who did NOT qualify for the final were Rockincam, Bettor’s Edge, Sapphire City, Golden Receiver, Fred And Ginger, Heston Blue Chip, Sweet Lou, Bolt The Duer, Hurrikane Kingcole, and State Treasurer – winners of $10,000,000+, 2) all three elim winners took lifetime marks; 3) Foiled Again had the largest winning margin, a neck; the other two got the decision by a head; and 4) there are now seven horses who have paced in 1:48 or faster on a 5/8-mile track: recordholder Bolt The Duer at 1:47.4 (he was blocked in the stretch and did not make the final), and six horses at 1:48: four Franklin winners (Artistic Fella, Mister Big, We Will See, and ’12 champ Betterthancheddar, who could still defend his title); Heston Blue Chip (who also missed advancing because of stretch blockage); and now Foiled Again.

 MAX HEMPT (3PC) ELIMINATIONS

 Just when they begin to worry about The Captain, he digs in deep and achieves the victory.

 For the third straight week Captaintreacherous gave his backers some anxious moments, but his 53 back half after a leisurely 55.4 front half was enough for the 1:48.4 front-end triumph. Vegas Vacation, so highly-regarded going into the NA Cup and a little disappointing to some when finishing out of the money, showed that the hype about him was for real – he didn’t pull raw from third until the 5/8, but still he gained into the supersonic last four furlongs to the point that the Captain’s margin of victory was only a neck. Rockin Amadeus was next in line at the wire as Captaintreacherous remained unbeaten after four starts in his 2013 campaign; the Somebeachsomewhere colt is trained by Tony Alagna for Captaintreacherous Racing, and capped a sulky triple for Tim Tetrick.

 The first of the trio of Hempt eliminations saw something no one could recall – a 25.4 third quarter on the board – as Johny Rock (inside) dueled viciously with Word Power (outside) after a 55.2 half to a 1:21.1 three-quarters. Lurking in the pocket was the Rocknroll Hanover colt Emeritus Maximus, and he gave his maximus down the Pike to reduce his mark in 1:48.4 for driver Doug McNair (driving double) and owners Cheap Speed Stable, Alber, Wienick, and Fodera while preceding Captaintreacherous as a Tony Alagna-trained Hempt winner. Johny Rock had enough for second and Word Power enough for third to advance on a week; Lonewolf Currier, who would have been the popular choice if anybody was to pace a sub-26 quarter, proved empty off of cover.

 Also no factor from the “one and one” spot was Wake Up Peter – but the horse in front of him in the outside tier, and raw to boot, Sunfire Blue Chip, was giant in taking the fastest elim in 1:48.3, a ’13 No.Am. best, over Evenin Of Treasure and Martini Hanover. The only winner on the entire Pocono card who was not the pacesetter or pocket horse, the son of American Ideal is owned by Takter, Fielding/Fielding, Brixton Medical AB, and R A W Equine, and gave conditioner Jimmy Takter a pacing victory to add to his two trotting triumphs – as we shall see next.

 EARL BEAL (3TC) ELIMINATIONS

 This division – the Hambletonian division – had its clarity fuzzied instead of sharpened, as early Hambo chalk Smilin Eli won, but the small but mighty Dontyouforgetit clocked in the fastest.

 Dontyouforgetit was in the first elimination and may have had the advantage of a few degrees of warmness in temperature, but he still was impressive to gain from the (what else) pocket into a 55.3 last half to report home first in 1:52.1, a national season’s best and lowering his mark by two seconds. Possessed Fashion, who was able to delay his first-over bid until after the 5/8s, came up big for second, while pacesetter Celebrity Maserati did well in holding for third and Beal advancement. Jimmy Takter trains the son of Cantab Hall for Solveig’s Racing Partners, with Yannick Gingras sulkyside.

 Smilin Eli had to go 26.3 to obtain the early lead from the outside post eight in his elim, but he was equal to the task while remaining undefeated after four starts, halting the timer in 1:52.3. The 3-5 Muscles Yankee colt fended off railsitters Fico (75-1) and Picture This (65-1) for Tim Tetrick, trainer Deshawn Minor, and owner Nicholas Cimino. Jurgen Hanover, 7-7 in 2013 before the race, had the “undesirable” second-over trip and finished fifth, not advancing.

 Trainer Takter had another Beal elim winner in Corky, never off the board in 13 lifetime starts and never behind at any pole in a 1:52.3 victory, with David Miller in the sulky for owners Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding (owning doubles for all). Giving Muscles Yankee a double siring credit for the Beal, Corky (lowering his mark by over two seconds) defeated Royalty For Life, who made a break quarter-moving, dropped back to last, and was coming fastest of all late (into a 55.2 back half) to save a miracle second, with Crystal Phenom third.

 JAMES LYNCH (3PF) ELIMINATIONS

 I Luv The Nitelife, fresh off her Fan Hanover jiggyjog win, snapped into high gear like a veteran campaign when shown racetrack up the prized Pocono Pike to take her Lynch elimination in 1:50.1. Nikki Beach, Charisma Hanover, Somwherovrarainbow (pacesetter in only her second race in 37 days) and Mattie Terror Girl (faster fifth-place finisher) all advanced to the Lynch final behind the victorious Rocknroll Hanover filly driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Chris Ryder for Richard and Joanne Young.

 Ms Caila J Fra won the other elimination in a national season’s record 1:49.3 in the card’s curtainraiser for driver Simon Allard and trainer Steve Elliott, while also giving the recovering The Fra Stable LLC a boost in sprits. After what you have read before, it will be no surprise to learn that the winning daughter of Western Ideal parlayed a pocket trip to victory – but she was the only winning two-hole tripper to move OUTSIDE for the stretch drive, wearing down Shebestingin late, with Jerseylicious and Authorize also authorized to advance to the Lynch finale.