Posts Tagged ‘Dontyouforgetit’

PA Sire Stakes Championship Night brings out the best of the Freshman stars

Monday, September 8th, 2014

The best Pennsylvania-sired 2YOs gathered at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday night for their $1,240,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships Night. Each of the Championship events went for a $260,000 bounty; all consolations for the Sire Stakes divisions went for purses of $50,000. 

Here’s a recap of the action, division by division, along with a writeup on the two $50,000 Invitationals also scheduled on the blockbuster card. (The track was rated “fast” for the two baby trotter consolations; rain later forced the condition downward to “good.”)

 TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE 

Southwind Roulette headed a 1-2-3 sweep for trainer Ron Burke by winning her Sire Stakes Championship for two-year-old pacing filllies. She won in 1:52.3 over “good” going to become the richest pacer in one season of Sire Stakes competition, with $269,248 in her races for Keystone State-sired company.

 Southwind Roulette, described as “a very professional filly – she’ll do just what you ask her to do” by driver Yannick Gingras – tucked third early as her Burke stablemates Well Hello There and Kay’s Dragon Lady argued through the 27 quarter, then was moved to the fore past the latter well before the 56.2 half. Southwind Roulette opened up at the 1:24.3 3/4s and had a good-sized lead in the stretch, with Kay’s Dragon Lady closing well late but not really threatening, with Well Hello There salvaging the show. 

The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor, went 4-3-0-1 in her Sires prelims, the three triumphs in her last three starts, and this victory boosted her money total to the record Sire Stakes mark for pacers, ahead of the $245,615 season sophomore filly Charisma Hanover put together last year. 2TC Dontyouforgetit holds the all-time one season record in the Pennsylvania program, with $275,553 in 2012.

 2YO Filly Pace Consolation—Pacesetting Macarena Mama was determined late to hold off inside-shooting Safe From Terror to win this section’s consolation in 1:53.1, a personal best. Corey Callahan was sulkysitting behind the daughter of McArdle for trainer Blake Macintosh, who also co-owns with Susan Hall, Anne Campbell, and Stephen Waldman. 

 TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT

 A race after the 2PF Championship, driver Yannick Gingras came right back with “another professional filly, a real sweetheart,” Wild Honey, who set a stakes record of 1:54.2 despite the good going, completing a “sweep” of her division — wins in all four legs and the Championship, following in the footsteps of only Coulantine (2004) and Fashion Feline (2009).

 The daughter of Cantab Hall went straight to the front in the 28.1 opener, but in front of the stands Speak To Me made a bold brush and wrested the racetrack away from Wild Honey before the 56.4 half. Gingras seemed unperturbed though, and past the 1:25.1 3/4s he moved Wild Honey out in front of the advancing Jersey Strong and went straight to command, holding off that rival with ease to knock a tick off the stakes record shared by Sand Violent Blu (2011) and Designed To Be (2013). Like the winner a member of the Jimmy Takter barn, Smexi, finished third.

 2YO Filly Trot Consolation—If you need proof that “times have changed” in harness racing, consider this: Pius Soehnlen campaigned the iron-tough FFA trotter Dream Of Glory in the mid-70s, and that horse took a mark of 1:57.2. Tonight Soehnlen as owner won this consolation event with Matter Hatter, a daughter of Explosive Matter who also rallied from far back to tally over Bright Bay Blues for driver David Miller and trainer Jeff Cox. The lifetime for her second lifetime victory? 1:55.2 (when the track was still fast)– two seconds faster than Dream Of Glory’s lifetime mark!   

TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT

 Sire Cantab Hall completed a Championship double, and another horse joined the select club of being a Sire Stakes “sweeper,” when Billy Flynn roared off cover to win in 1:55.2 in the off going for driver Brett Miller and trainer Staffan Lind. 

Billy Flynn raced atypically off the pace tonight, with Walter White on top at the 27.3 quarter, then yielding to Hurrikane Jonny K as that one put up middle splits of 57 and 1:26.1. Piercewave Hanover provided cover from first-over, and when Billy Flynn tipped off that cover, “he was great tonight – he felt great,” noted driver Miller, the colt not showing any of his previous bearing-out tendencies. Off-the-pace tactics proved best in this event, as Honor And Serve and Ralph R closed strongly for second and third, respectively.

 Billy Flynn joins Stormin Normand (2011) as the only freshman colt trotters to notch the “4+1” Sire Stakes  season. Bender Sweden Inc own the emerging star, who is now undefeated in seven starts. 

2YO Colt Trot Consolation –Not many horses break their maiden by missing their divisional world record by 2/5 of a second, but that’s what the Broadway Hall gelding On The Sly did in winning his consolation event in 1:55.2. Hinting at promise with a second, a third, and a fourth in Sires preliminaries, On The Sly finally put it all together, swinging wide from third-over behind contested fractions and overhauling frontstepping Pierre late for driver Brett Miller, trainer Morgan McInnis, and the Revocable Trust of Barbara Boese. The 1:55.2 time over the still-”fast” track was just short of Correctamundo’s world standard, and only a tick shy of the local mark of It Really Matters. 

 TWO-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE 

Billy Flynn and Yankee Bounty are both now seven for seven in their careers, and both completed Sire Stakes “4+1” sweeps.

 That’s where the similarities end. 

Whereas Billy Flynn came off the pace to win easily, Yankee Bounty made an early move to take the lead near the 55.1 half (Dragon Eddy had insisted on the early lead in an astounding 26 before yielding), then fought off a nose-to-nose challenge from Lost For Words by and past the 1:22.2 3/4s. 

Maybe it’s good Yankee Bounty had the practice in winning a hotly-contested duel – because another determined foe soon loomed in the Pocono Pike in the form of Tomy Terror. The two geldings battled on even terms much of the stretch, with Yankee Bounty showing great heart to put his nose over first in 1:50.3 – a Pocono track record for 2PG, and just a tick behind the stakes mark of One More Laugh, whom Yankee Terror now joins in the 2PC Sire Stakes sweeping ranks. 

The victory made Yannick Gingras a three-time SS winner on the card, giving him 10 in his career and moving him to (a distant) second behind Dave Palone (34) on the career list. Two of those victories came for trainer Ron Burke, who recently engineered the new ownership combine of Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick.  

2YO Colt Pace Consolation—McCito yielded the early lead to favored Talking Points, then came back in the lane to nip that rival late and take a new mark of 1:52. The McArdle gelding, driven by Andrew McCarthy for C&G Racing Stable, comes from the red-hot barn of Aaron Lambert, who seems to be sending out nothing but winners the last couple weeks. 

 INVITATIONALS 

The FFA trot was named the “Modern Family Trot” after the late Pocono-based world-class trotter, with Pocono-based trainer Daryl Bier and the horse’s connections on hand for winners circle ceremonies. 

Modern Family, always a game horse, would have admired the stretch tenacity of his frequent foe Wishing Stone, who raced third on the rail and cleared “about three strides before the wire” according to his driver (with a combination grin/grimace) to edge out Not Afraid in 1:52.4 for Wishing Stone Syndicate. That driver, by the way, was Yannick Gingras, who along with trainer Ron Burke was in Pocono’s winners circle for the fifth time on the night. Wishing Stone also “saved” the 1-5 betting entry, as the more fancied horse, Market Share, made a break early.

 The ”Adieu to the Almost Summer” Pace saw Sunfire Blue Chip make a quarter-move, then say “adieu” to the field with a 26.4 last quarter in driving rain for a 1:49.2 win for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Jimmy Takter, and the ownership combine of Takter, Fielding, Fielding, Brixton Medical AB and R A W Equine Inc. Perhaps “adieu” was just the right name for a race taken by the son of American Ideal, as the winner of four straight, at four different tracks,  is the early favorite for the $200,000 Prix d’Ete, to be revived as a four-year-old event in two weeks at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec (Gingras’ base before coming Stateside; Takter confirmed that race was on his horse’s schedule.)

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.

 

Sophomore Trotters Star in Sire Stakes at Pocono

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

June 16, 2013

It wasn’t a good night for the favorites in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Sunday night. All three divisions, each of which carried a purse of $79,816, for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot were won by horses who weren’t the top betting choice.

In the first division, Valley Of Sin, the 4-1 second choice, made a big-3-wide move on the back stretch to get to the front and then held off favorite High Bridge in the stretch for the victory in 1:54:1. Mike Wilder was in the bike for trainer John Butenschoen. High Bridge had to settle for second while All Laid Out picked up the show. Valley Of Sin won his second straight at Pocono.

Dontyouforgetit was the 9-2 third choice in the second Sire Stakes division, but he blew by favorite Smoother Ride in the stretch after a pocket trip for the win in 1:54:1. Yannick Gingras drove for trainer Jimmy Takter. Smoother Ride was second and Spider Blue Chip third. Dontyouforgetuit now has wins in back-to-back races after a win at The Meadows in his previous start.

In the final Sire Stakes split. 9-2 shot Celebrity Maserati overcame the outside post thanks to a furious stretch rally to victory in 1:54:4. Tom Jackson was in the bike for trainer Susanne Strandqvist. Aperfectyankee finished second while Picture This got the show. Celebrity Maserati bounced back from his first loss of the season and now has won four of five in 2013.

Form held in Sunday night’s other featured race at Pocono, as 7-5 favorite Drop The Ball grinded first over and wore down Radar Contact to win by a neck in 1:50:1 in a $25,000 Preferred pace for mares. Corey Callahan did the driving for trainer Ross Croghan. Romantic Moment finished third. It was the first win of the year for Drop The Ball, who had been in three rugged stakes races in a row prior to her journey to Pocono.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, July 13th, 2012

July 6-12, 2012

One of the most fun parts of any racing season occurs when the younger horses take center stage. These stars of tomorrow are often green in terms of experience but great in terms of talent. From July 3-8, Grand Circuit Week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs featured some outstanding 2 and 3-year-old trotters and pacers in the Pennsylvania All-Stars races. Let’s take a look at each of the eight classes that were held over those five nights of racing, an exciting week that showcased potential for the future and thrilling racing in the present.

2-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS & GELDINGS

Santa Fe Beachboy kicked off Grand Circuit Week with a bang last Tuesday, winning in a blistering time of 1:52 in his first start ever, a time that would hold up as the fastest in the class. That set the tone for six $25,000 divisions of this class in which several heavy favorites dominated their splits. Trainer Ray Schnittker had two of those heavy favorites, Red Rock and Cowboy Terrier, who each won in their debut races. Both of those winners were driven by Tim Tetrick, who added a third winner in the class with Lone Wolf Currier, who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a convincing win in 1:53:1.

2-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS

As you might expect, this grouping, which held six $25,000 divisions last Tuesday, was dominated by a guy who always has a barn full of superb young trotters: Trainer Jimmy Takter. Jimmy also did the driving and picked up three victories with High Bridge, Atlas Peak, and Dontyouforgetit, all of whom won their debuts with relative ease. Takter wasn’t the only trainer with something to smile about in this class. David Wade looks like he has a star on his hands with easy winner Tigress’s Legacy, and Rich Gillock sent out Major Athens, who rolled with David Miller in the bike to the group’s fastest winning time of 1:56.

2-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Seven divisions of freshman fillies hit the track last Wednesday for their $25,000 All-Stars races. A couple of horses moved to 2-for-2 in their young careers with wins, as Somstreetsomwhere and Banner Beach Day turned the trick. It was a first-time starter who turned in the fastest time of the night, however, as Antigua Hanover, trained by Mark Harder and piloted by Jim Morrill Jr., scored in 1:53:3. Morrill also played a part in the grouping’s biggest upset, driving Binding Desire to a surprising win at odds of 11-1.

2-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

The most impressive performance in this class, which held four $35,000 divisions on Friday night, belonged to Fashion Athena. Despite it being her debut race, this filly with Andrew McCarthy driving for Jim Campbell rallied to win her split in a sizzling 1:55:1, less than a second off the track record for her age and gender. Driver Matt Kakaley had two of the other winners, scoring with Good Intentions and Frau Blucher.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

A late rain storm on Saturday night meant that two of the three $50,000 divisions of this class were held in the slop. That didn’t slow down either Star Recruit or I Like Dreamin, who each won in the off-going in identical times of 1:51:4. Mcerlean, driven my Matt Kakaley for trainer Trond Smedshammer, scored in the one split on a fast track in 1:51:1.

3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The big star in the three $50,000 divisions held Saturday night was Uncle Peter, who couldn’t get by Googoo Gaagaa in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial but atoned for it with a sizzling win in the All-Stars in 1:52:3 for Jimmy Takter. Takter also scored with Nothing But Class early in the night, a notable win because it was the colt’s maiden victory.

3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

Driver Dave Palone, making his first appearance at Pocono since breaking North America’s all-time record for driving wins, picked up victories in two of the five $32,000 divisions of this class on Sunday night, winning with Lady Andi and On The Bright Side. Tim Tetrick also scored twice in this class, once aboard Can’t Have My Moni, and once aboard Oasis Dream, a 16-1 shot whose mile of 1:54 was just one-fifth of a second off the track record for the age group.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Of the three $50,000 divisions held in this class Sunday night, Moonlit Dragon, driven by Eric Carlson and trained by Bruce Saunders, went the fastest, winning her split in a sizzling career-best time of 1:50:4. The other winners were Kiss Dont Bite, with Andy Miller in the bike for Noel Daley, and Podges Lady, who won despite a month layoff for trainer Joe Seekman and driver Eric Ledford.

All in all, it was another fantastic Grand Circuit Week at Pocono. Next week, we’ll get back to our Weekly Awards for the overnight races. Until then, we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.