Posts Tagged ‘Dorsoduro Hanover’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

May 19-22, 2018

It was one of those weeks at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono where, even though there were some outstanding overnight racing performances (we’re looking at you, Tyson and Pa’s Corn Squeezin), the stakes races took center stage. Some of the harness racing world’s biggest stars as 2-year-olds a year ago came out to play in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Competition. There were also two more thrillers held on Saturday night in the Great Northeast Open pacing series. We’ll return to the Weekly Awards next week, but, for now, let’s throw the spotlight on the stakes and series action this past week.


Three divisions of the Sire Stakes for sophomore male pacers were held on Saturday night, and, in the three races, not one favorite was able to get home a winner. In the first split, George Napolitano Jr. sent I’m A Big Deal on a mission of speed, and the rest of the field languished in the wake of the Chris Ryder trainee, who came home a winner in a career-best 1:50.2 by a stunning 6 ½ lengths. Meanwhile Dorsoduro Hanover, guided by Matt Kakaley in his first night back from injury for trainer Ron Burke, moved to two-for-two in Sire Stakes action with a pocket trip rally for a win in a career-best 1:50.2.

All eyes were on the final Sire Stakes split of the night, which featured 2017 Breeders Crown champ Stay Hungry and Lost In Time, who knocked off Stay Hungry in their final showdown of their freshmen seasons. Both were making their initial starts of the season on Saturday night. Stay Hungry set the pace and Lost In Time came bounding up late on the outside. But it was Wes Delight, who had the benefit of three starts already this year to find his form, who rallied from the pocket to win in 1:50.4. Corey Callahan did the driving for trainer Mark Harder.


In the first $30,000 split held on Saturday night, Rockeyed Optimist was made the favorite based on his win in the series at Harrah’s the previous week. That talented gelding came charging first-over at pacesetter Rockin Ron, who had made the lead for the Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke combo despite a tough outside post. Nonetheless it was Rockin Ron who withstood the pressure, holding on for the victory by a neck in 1:50.2, giving him two consecutive wins at Pocono in the Great Northeast series.

Later on that night, it was another case of George Napolitano Jr. cutting loose a horse on the front end and daring everyone else to play catch-up. In this case it was Mach It So, the eight-year-old star of the Jeffrey Bamond Jr. barn. Mach It So set blistering fractions that left the rest of the field, including 6-5 favorite Dr J Hanover a little stunned. The lead was too much for anyone to overcome, although Bettor’s Edge rallied to within a half-length in second at the line. The proof of Mach It So’s effort was in the timer, as his winning mark of 1:49 was the fastest posted in the 2018 meet to date at Pocono.


The sophomore distaff trotters took center stage on Monday night, and there were some outstanding performances by both chalk and longshots alike. In the first split, 1-5 favorite Nixie Volo didn’t have the easiest trip, getting parked around two turns of the mile. But the steady hand of driver Corey Callahan guided Nixie Volo, trained by John Butenschoen, to the win by a solid 1 ¾ lengths in 1:54.3. The upset came in the night’s final split, when a speed duel between Vivacious Allie and 3-5 favorite Lily Stride set the race up for a closer. 15-1 shot Piranha Fury, with David Miller driving for trainer Nifty Norman, filled that bill, coming out of the clouds for the win in a career-best 1:54.2.

Although those two races were exciting, it was the most textbook Sire Stakes race of the night that was actually the most noteworthy. That’s because it included Manchego, the superstar who won all twelve races as a two-year-old for the Jimmy Takter barn, capping it off with a Breeders Crown title. Returning to her Pennsylvania stomping grounds for her 2018 debut, she confidently strode to the lead on the front stretch as the 1-9 favorite. She set effortlessly quick fractions without driver Yannick Gingras having to ask for a thing and coasted to the victory without any urging by 1 ½ lengths over Live Laugh Love, who had won her first three starts of the year but didn’t threaten the heavy favorite late. Despite not having raced this year and the seemingly easy journey, Manchego was still more than a second faster than the other winners on the night. Let’s face it: Right now, everybody else in this division not named Manchego is playing for second.

That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

September 2-8, 2017

Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship day, which this year focused on the two-year-olds, was held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this past Monday. A lot of times you’ll hear people say that these freshmen horses are stars of the future. But considering these horses were racing for purses of $252,000 for each of the four finals, which culminate the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series, it’s much more accurate to say that the 32 competitors in the four separate divisions were taking the track for what would likely be, for each, one of the most important races of its career.

Monday’s championships brought some of the finest two-year-old pacing and trotting talent in the country to Pocono in attempt to claim the title of best in the state. The races featured a little bit of everything, including dominant favorites, smart tactical driving, and a stunning long shot. Let’s take a look at how the two-year-old Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships played out.


This shaped up to be the biggest mismatch of the afternoon, and that’s exactly how it played. Manchego, trained by Jimmy Takter, came into Monday’s final with five wins in five career races. The highlight of that stretch came in an easy win in the $330,800 Doherty at The Meadowlands. Leaving as the #1-9 favorite from the #5 hole in the field of eight in the championship, she made the lead as they rounded the first turn by clearing S M S Princess. From there she opened up an insurmountable lead with driver Yannick Gingras never having to lift a finger to ask her for more. Manchego strolled home a winner in an effortless 1:54:2, beating her closest foe Hey Blondie by 4 ¼ lengths and leaving no doubt about who is the class of the freshmen distaff trotters.


Pedro Hanover went off as the even-money favorite in the final. The colt trained by Andrew Harris had won his previous two races with a late-kicking style, sitting back in the pack early only to uncork just as other horses were tiring. But the Pocono track was severely favoring horses who left early for the engine on Monday night. So driver Andrew McCarthy decided that Pedro Hanover, who left from post position #7, would follow suit. The colt took the lead away from Dorsoduro Hanover with a move around the first turn and dared everyone else to come and get him. Although the fractions seemed a little steep, Pedro Hanover looked no worse for wear in the lane, holding off fast-closing Hayden Hanover to win it by a length in 1:51, which matched his career-best time.


In their previous start, Rainbow Room had nipped Come See The Show by controlling matters on the front end. Rainbow Room enjoyed the inside post in that victory at Harrah’s, but, in Monday’s final, she was in the #7 post while Come See The Show was a spot to her inside. But driver David Miller didn’t make any changes with Rainbow Room, sending her to the front as the 4-5 favorite. Sure enough, Come See The Show blasted at her on the back stretch, but Rainbow Room rebuffed the challenge. In the home stretch, the filly from the Joe Holloway barn held together, holding off long shot Scuola Hanover to win by a length-and-a-half in 1:52:2. That gave Rainbow Room four victories in a row and five in her six career starts to date.


After three straight favorites won on the front end, it seemed like that was the order of the evening for the Pennsylvania championships. But that trend ended with a thud in the male trotting division when the 9-5 favorite Whats The Word broke stride at the start. Scirocco Rob set the pace instead, but started to wither under pressure applied by Toast Of Lindy. As Toast Of Lindy took over, Fashionwoodchopper, who had won his previous Sire Stakes race at 15-1 and went off at 38-1 on Monday from an outside post, was following stealthily behind. In the stretch, David Miller spun Fashionwoodchopper off the cover and rallied him for the victory by a length over closing Lawmaker in 1:57. The huge underdog was the second longest shot on the board.

With that big upset, so ended the championships and the Sire Stakes portion of the 2017 schedule at Pocono. After that fantastic finish, we can’t wait for it to get started all over again next season.

That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at