Posts Tagged ‘Fred and Ginger’

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.


 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.


 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.


 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.


Golden Receiver Wins Van Rose Memorial Pace at Pocono

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

May 4, 2013

Golden Receiver returned to his former haunts to pick up a big victory in the Van Rose Memorial Pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $50,000.

Golden Receiver (Village Jove-Royal Gold), who used to campaign at Pocono before becoming one of the nation’s preeminent pacers, left from post position #2 in a field of six as the heavy 1-5 favorite. He sat third early as Sparky Mark cut out the opening quarter, but driver George Napolitano Jr. set him in motion on the front stretch to take the lead before the clubhouse turn. From there, Golden Receiver held the rest of the field at bay, winning by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:50. Sparky Mark finished second while Fred And Ginger picked up the show.

The win gives Golden Receiver, an 8-year-old gelding owned by Nina Simmonds and Our Horse Cents Stable and trained by Mark Harder, seven victories in eight races this season, as he bounced back after a month layoff following his only loss of 2013. He now has 56 career wins and lifetime earnings of $1,763,908.

The Van Rose Memorial is held each year at Pocono in honor of Van Rose, a longtime sportswriter and friend of harness racing in Northeastern Pennsylvania who passed away in 2011.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

May 4-10, 2012

It was a mighty busy week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. So busy, in fact, that we needed five racing cards to get it all in, as we held a racing double-header on Kentucky Derby day. This week also witnessed our first two track records of the 2012 meet. Those record-setting horses are the obvious choices to highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards.


Saturday night’s feature race was the Van Rose Memorial, a $50,000 Open event in honor of a local sportswriter whose dedication to the sport of harness racing made him a very special part of the Pocono racing scene. Van would have been extra proud to see the race held in his name, because it produced a new world record mile.

The field was packed to the gills with talent, including million-dollar earner Dial Or Nodial, top Pocono pacers Drop Red and Fred And Ginger, and a pair of dangerous shippers from Yonkers in Melvyn and Flipper J. In the end, it was Special T Rocks, who proved his mettle with back-to-back wins in his previous starts at Harrah’s at Philly, that had the answer when they came to the line.

After following cover on the outside, the gelding trained and driven by Daryl Bier went sweeping by the competition to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:48:3. That smashed the track record for 4-year-old pacing geldings, which was previously set by Tivoli Hanover in 1:49:2 all the way back in 2008. It was also a new World Record for the age group on a 5/8-mile oval.

Other top pacers this week include: Honky Tonk Woman (Andrew McCarthy, Jeffrey Webster), a mare who is now 2-for-2 on the season after zipping to a condition win on Friday in 1:52; Dynamic Youth (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who won her second consecutive distaff condition pace on Friday night, overcoming a tough post for a win in 1:52:1; and Medoland Big Cam (Pat Berry, Scott DiDomenico), who stepped up in class to beat the $25,000 claimers on Tuesday night, his second straight win, in 1:52:1.


All of us who read it in high school know that The Iliad was a tale of heroes and courageous deeds. Fox Valley Iliad lived up to his moniker on Friday night with a performance that will have the poets singing at least as long as his new track record holds up.

Fox Valley Iliad, a 4-year-old stallion from the barn of Kimberly Asher, faced off against a tough condition trotting group after just missing in the same class with a furious late move for 2nd on April 27. This time around, driver Tom Jackson sent the stallion to the front to dictate the pace, and by the stretch he had shaken just about everyone in the field.

Pocket horse Pembroke Heat Wave put up a serious challenge in the stretch, but Fox Valley Iliad responded to win by a head, stopping the timer in 1:52:3. The previous track record for 4-year-old stallions on the trot was 1:52:4 by Flex The Muscle, set in 2011. The time also matched a world record for the age and gait on a 5/8-mile oval.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Opinion Hanover (Mike Simons, Clarence Martin Jr.), winner of three consecutive condition trots after his win Wednesday night in 1:55:4; Man About Town (Howard Parker, Jim Raymer), who took a big step up the condition ladder and still handled a tough group on Friday night in 1:54:1 for his second consecutive victory; and Anders Bluestone (George Napolitano Jr., Eric Ell), who shipped in to beat the best trotters on the grounds on Saturday night in 1:53:1, giving the stallion seven wins in eleven races this year.


It didn’t take long for a Friday night wake-up call for the patrons, as driver Eric Carlson led Bond Blue Chip to a claiming pace win in the first race at 37-1, paying off $77.20 on a $2 win ticket.


Pocono’s leading driver in 2011 has been heating up once again of late. He followed up four wins on the Saturday double card with a driving double on Tuesday night.


Burke once again finds himself at the top of the Pocono trainers’ standings. This week was a typically productive one for his barn at MSPD, highlighted by back-to-back winners on Saturday night’s card.

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

History made in Van Rose Memorial Pace

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

WILKES-BARRE PA — Special T Rocks shrugged off a tough trip to win the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday night, May 5th, in the process equaling the world record of 1:48.3 for four-year-old altered pacers on a five-eighth mile track. 

The son of Rocknroll Hanover was driven gamely by his trainer Daryl Bier, also co-owner with Forest Bartlett and Joann Dombeck — yanking back into a 3-hole early, then snapping back out with cover after Dial Or Nodial, who was the force behind the opening splits of 26.3 and 53.3, wagered war with uncovered Fred And Ginder through and past the 1:21 three-quarters. Despite the hard usage, Bier still had a ton of horse, and confidently tipped his horse 3-deep late on the turn. The rocket-fast four-year-old took it from there, filling his hopples to the wire to break the Pocono division track mark (1:49.2, Tivoli Hanover, 2008) while equaling Maltese Artist’s world standard for this size of oval (Dover, 2005). The all-age mark for the 5/8s is 1:48, co-set by Artistic Fella, Mister Big, and We Will See, the last-named doing it at Pocono last year. 

Dancin Yankee, kept off the scorching pace, found room in the lane and was up for 2nd at long odds, with Dial Or Nodial, a Breeders Crown competitor last year, hanging tough for the show dough. 

Special T Rocks raised his seasonal record to an enviable 16-9-3-1, with a bankroll already this year of $182,250, and a lifetime sum of $259,964.  

The race honored Clarence Van Rose, a longtime writer for the local Times-Leader newspaper who passed away last year, with Pocono management thoughtfully staging the event for the native of Kentucky on a day a certain special horse race is held in the Bluegrass State. Van saw the Pocono tide rise and fall over the years, and he himself would probably be the first to remark that “his” mile was probably about 15 seconds faster than the average of all the races he witnessed at Pocono over the years.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

April 20-26, 2012

Last week, we highlighted the first two finals of the Bobby Weiss late closer series in this space. This week we can tell you about the last of those $30,000 finals, this time out for the 3 and 4-year-old trotters. As a matter of fact, the winner of that race was an easy choice to lead off this edition of the Weekly Awards. Let’s take a look.


One of the toughest things for a horse to accomplish in the sport of harness racing is to win when saddled with a first-over trip. What that means, for those who might not be familiar with the term, is that the horse, preferring not to get caught behind horses on the inside, moves to the outside and must provide all the momentum on its own without any cover in front to pull it along. In addition, the outside trip means the horse must travel a little extra distance around the turns.

Yet some horses thrive with such trips, and Upfrontstrikesgold seems to be one of them. A product of trainer Mark Ford’s barn, this gelding won the first two legs of the Weiss series despite having to make things happen with an outside trip. In the final, he had to do the same, beginning his first over move on the front stretch with more than half the race still in front of him.

Even with that long journey, he pulled even at the three-quarter mile marker, eventually wearing down the leader to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a new career-best time of 1:54:3. Tyler Buter did the driving for Upfrontstrikesgold, who completed the sweep and now has five wins in just seven starts in the 2012 season to date.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Lolique (Jim Morrill Jr., John Wagner), the veteran gelding who scored in the week’s featured condition trot on Saturday night in 1:54:4; Tameka Seelster (Mike Simons, Dennis Walsh), a mare who moved up in class for her second straight claiming win on Tuesday in 1:57:2; and MM’s Lucky Boy (Jim Morrill Jr., Erv Miller), who scorched the track for a condition win on Friday night in 1:53:2, the fastest trotting mile of the 2012 meet to date.


The cold and wet weather brought us our first sloppy track of the season on Saturday night, and, as is so often the case when the racing surface softens, many of the horses with early speed struggled to get home in the stretch. That didn’t seem to bode well for Foreclosure N, who was coming off a win in his 2012 debut the previous week.

This classy 4-year-old earned over $200,000 in each of his first two racing seasons, but taking on a rugged condition group from the outside post seemed like a tough task. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. didn’t seem worried though, aggressively sending his charge to the front end and daring everybody else to come and get him.

In the stretch, when closers lined up behind him, Foreclosure N found another gear and kicked away from his foes to win by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:51:2, the fastest time anyone managed on the sloppy track all night. Now 2-for-2 and having proven he can handle the top of the condition ranks, it should be fun to watch what lies ahead for this superstar from the Chris Ryder barn in weeks to come.

Other top pacers this week include: Fred And Ginger (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who pounced from the pocket to win the week’s featured winners of over $25,000 pace on Saturday night in 1:51:4; Dinneratartsplace (Tyler Buter, James Eaton), who sizzled to a condition win on Friday night in 1:50:3, the fastest time any pacer achieved all week; and Odds On Aventure (Tyler Buter, Scot DiDomenico), who stepped up again and won her fourth consecutive race on Tuesday, beating the highest condition group for mares in a career-best 1:51:1.


Making just his second career start, this young trotter, with Andrew McCarthy driving, opened some eyes in Tuesday night’s opening race with a come-from-behind win at 29-1, paying off $61.20 to win.


Buter continued the solid start to the season with a breakout week, earning multiple wins in three of the four racing nights to solidify his standing in the Top 5 of the drivers colony.


Banks, a newcomer to Pocono, scored with Donttellmewhattodo on Friday and I Scoot For Cash on Saturday, neither of whom were favored to win.

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