Posts Tagged ‘Gilberto Garcia-Herrara’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

May 27-June 2, 2017

The fact that the calendar has now crossed over into June means that we are just about a quarter of a way through the racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. It’s been a thrill-a-minute ride to this point, and we haven’t even really entered the heart of stakes season yet. This past week we saw four excellent racing cards and many horses and horsemen who could make legitimate claims on the Weekly Awards. Let’s see who takes them home.

PACER OF THE WEEK: CHEAP N EASY

This nine-year-old mare has been a hot streak of which most horses can only dream. In a stretch from March 28 to May 1, Cheap N Easy ripped off five consecutive victories, four of them right here at Pocono. But then she was laid off for the next four weeks, as she was scratched sick from her only scheduled start in that period.

Trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, Cheap N Easy returned to face a group of $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap mares on Monday night. In every one of those previous five straight wins, the mare had either led or been in the pocket at the top of the stretch. But in this one she got away third and watched as Timmylynn opened up a pretty sizable advantage. Still there was no panic from driver George Napolitano Jr., as he allowed Cheap N Easy to save ground.

In the stretch, Napolitano was able to shift Cheap N Easy out three-wide to get a clear look at the leader. Timmylynn didn’t give way easily, but Cheap N Easy was flying and made up a lot of ground in a little bit of time to win by a neck in 1:53:4. Apparently the month or so off didn’t slow her down at all, and she’ll take a six-race winning streak into her next race. Whether that’s a month from now or tomorrow, this mare is going to be tough to handle.

Other top pacers this week include: Luck Be Withyou (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who captured Saturday night’s featured condition pace in 1:49:3, giving him the fastest time of the week at Pocono and two wins in a row; Long Live Rock (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who overcame a move up the condition ladder and an outside post to capture his second straight victory on Saturday night, matching a career-best with a mile of 1:50 in the process; and Angels Rockin Pink (Marcus Miller, John Butenschoen), a mare who moved up in class to win Tuesday night’s featured distaff condition pace in 1:53 for her second straight victory.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: CELEBRITY EVENTSY

For the first two years of her racing career, this four-year-old mare from the Staffan Lind barn was a standout, earning at least $200,000 at ages two and three. There is often a period of adjustment for four-year-olds who have to face older horses for the first time after taking on their own age group almost exclusively in their first two seasons. But Celebrity Eventsy made that adjustment pretty quickly. In just her third race of the year on May 13 at Pocono, she beat a $14,000 condition field made up of mostly older horses on a sloppy track in 1:56:2

She was back at it once again on Saturday night, only this time she stepped up the ladder to face an even more rugged test in a $16,500 condition. Leaving from post position #1 in a field of nine as a 3-1 second choice, the mare sat third early on in the mile. Driver Christian Lind chose to keep her out of the outer flow on the back stretch, a risky move considering that the horse could have got blocked in late.

But Lind read the race perfectly. The outer flow mostly faded from view, allowing him the chance to tip Celebrity Eventsy out three-wide on the back stretch after saving all that ground and energy. The mare unleashed some fierce closing speed and swept by race favorite Skates N Plates in the final strides to win by a head in 1:54:2. If she keeps this up, Celebrity Eventsy is going to make her third racing year as lucrative as the first two.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: French Press (Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci), a filly who followed up her maiden win with a second straight condition win on Monday night in 1:59; The Erm (Charlie Norris driver and trainer), a filly who picked up her second consecutive condition win on Tuesday in 1:54:4, a new career mark; and Meteoric (Joe Bongiorno, Richard Johnson), a 3-year-old gelding who burned up the track for a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:52:4, a new career-best and easily the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TICA HANOVER

This filly driven by Marcus Miller worked out on inside trip in a condition pace on Monday night to score at 24-1 for a $51.60 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD

Simon had multiple victories on all four racing nights at Pocono this past week, but the highlight came on Sunday night when he picked up his 3,000th career victory aboard San Jose Hanover.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RICHARD JOHNSON

Johnson made the most of his two Pocono training wins this week, as Windsongmusclelady won Monday night’s featured claiming trot and Meteoric posted the fastest trotting time of the week.

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.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

April 5-11, 2014

Although the weather wasn’t always balmy in the past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, at least it was dry on live racing nights. That led to our first week of exclusively fast tracks, and, as you might imagine, the action had a little extra spice because of it. There were a lot of thrilling races and some extraordinary performances, the best of which we’ll now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DOVUTO HANOVER

Saturday night marked the first time this season that we’ve had a Preferred race on the pacing side, and the $25,000 purse brought out an excellent field of six. Among those, Sparky Mark and Blatantly Good had already established themselves at Pocono with three condition wins between them in the meet, and, with inside posts, figured to be strong contenders. Add in Dovuto Hanover, who came in with wins in two of his last three against tough company at The Meadowlands, and it figured to be quite the battle.

It’s always nice when a race lives up to the expectations. Sparky Mark went out and set the pace, but faced a stiff first-over test from Blatantly Good on the back stretch. Dovuto Hanover, the 4-5 favorite from the Darran Cassar barn, followed the cover of Blatantly Good on the outside before kicking out three-wide on the final turn.

That meant all three horses were in prime spots at the top of the stretch, setting up a thrilling battle. For a moment, it appeared that Sparky Mark would cling to his lead all the way home, as Dovuto Hanover’s momentum seemed to be stilled. Yet driver Tyler Buter coaxed a sudden burst of energy from the favorite, and the 4-year-old gelding came up in the nick of time by a nose in 1:50:4. Great horse, great finish, and a great representation of how the Preferred pacers will compete at Pocono in the upcoming season.

Other top pacers this week include: Drive All Night (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), the veteran pacer who scored his second straight $15,000 claiming victory on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:3; Donna Party (Brett Miller-Kent Sherman), a mare who scored her third straight win in a tight claiming handicap battle on Wednesday in 1:53; and Cypress Hill Suds (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who picked up a win against the $10,000 claiming mares on Wednesday, her second straight victory, in a career-best 1:52:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FIRST AQUA

There hasn’t been a trotter on the Pocono grounds anywhere near as dominant so far in the meet as this seven-year-old gelding. Arriving from Freehold on March 25, he immediately scorched a claiming group by seven lengths in 1:53:3. He followed that up by moving up in class the following week to handle the $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap group, again by a comfortable margin, in 1:54.

By that time the secret was out, and First Aqua was claimed from that race. He went from one hot trainer (Gilberto Garcia-Herrera) to another (Rene Allard) in the exchange, but he kept George Napolitano Jr. as his driver to face off with that same top claiming group on Wednesday night as a heavy 1-5 favorite.

First Aqua made the same swooping move to take over the lead on the front stretch as he did in his previous two wins. This time out he got a decent challenge from pocket horse Maravich, but he was more than up to that challenge, holding him off to win by a length-and-a-quarter. And although the margin of victory was the smallest of his winning streak, the time of 1:53:2 set a new career mark for First Aqua. That proves he’s still getting better, which is a scary thought for his future competition to entertain.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Smokin Dabra (Brett Miller, Brewer Adams), who rolled on the front end on Tuesday night to his second straight $10,000 claiming victory, this one in 1:54:4; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who took a huge step up in class and won his second straight condition trot at Pocono and his third straight overall, posting a winning time of 1:53:1; and My Leap Of Faith (Simon Allard, Brian Seidel), who rallied late for a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:54:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LATE NIGHT JOKE

Driver Andrew McCarthy has a way with the long shots, and he showed it by rallying this claiming pacer to an improbable victory Saturday night at 35-1 for a $73.60 win payout on a $2 ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MARCUS MILLER

Young drivers sometimes struggle to find a place at Pocono, but Miller showed this week that he belongs, scoring driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BREWER ADAMS

He’s been a consistent force for several seasons at Pocono, and Adams scored big this week with five training wins, including doubles on Sunday and Tuesday.

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.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

June 14-20, 2013

What an amazing week of racing we all just witnessed at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. In a year that will see the track host The Breeders Crown in October, we’re already getting a taste of the incendiary action to come. This past week offered Stallion Series races, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races, and a world record-matching performance. Let’s take a look at it all by passing out the Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: GUCCIO

What is it about trainer Jimmy Takter and four-year-old trotting stallions at Pocono? On June 8 in a $25,000 Preferred trot, Takter trainee Uncle Peter delivered a stunning performance in his victory, trotting the mile in 1:51:1. That not only set a track record for the age and gender grouping but it also smashed a world record for the group on a 5/8-mile oval.

Takter was at it again in Saturday night’s Preferred event, only this time he brought in another 4-year-old stallion named Guccio. Guccio had been seasoned against ruggedly tough trotters at The Meadowlands and was made the 2-5 favorite in the race. Takter also did the driving and positioned his horse perfectly behind a speed duel that created unconscious fractions in front of him.

Guccio rolled by his competition in the stretch, ending up 1 ½ lengths out in front of the rest. And what do you think his winning time was? 1:51:1, meaning that he matched the world record that his stablemate just set. I guess the next time you see a Jimmy Takter four-year-old stallion trotting into Pocono, you should watch that timer close to see if another record-breaking performance is in the offing.

Other top trotters this week include: Valley Of Sin (Mike Wilder, John Butenschoen), whose rallying win on Sunday in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colts and geldings in a career-best 1:54:1 was his second straight victory at Pocono; Quantum Cashman (Jonathan Drury, Carmen Auciello), who moved up in class to win a claiming handicap trot on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:3, his third straight overall and second in a row at Pocono; and Lady Broadway (Jim Morrill Jr., Chris Oakes), a 3-year-old filly who won her third straight, the last two of which have come at Pocono, with a victory in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition on Wednesday night in 1:55:2.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BET ON THE LAW

Sometimes it takes a change of tactics to get a horse over the hump. In the case of Bet On The Law, a standout performer for trainer/driver Joe Pavia Jr., he had tried gunning out on the lead in his previous two starts in Preferred paces at Pocono, a style that had served him well in lower classes, only to get caught from behind when facing the best pacers on the grounds.

Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred pace was loaded with big names and lots of up-front speed, so Pavia decided to try something different. He held Bet On The Law back in the field early while others battled for the lead and did all the work. He then wisely caught the cover of Hurrikane Kingcole on the back stretch to get his horse into contention with a minimum of effort.

In the stretch, while others had already used their best strides, Bet On The Law was just finding his. The 4-year-old gelding blew by his cover and everyone else to win by a length. His winning time of 1:48:4 marked a new career-best, but even more important, this talented pacer showed the versatility necessary to win no matter how a race plays out.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Best Ears (Jim Morrill Jr., Rene Allard), who followed up a condition win in his previous race with a victory over $25,000 claimers on Saturday night in a scorching career-best time of 1:49:4; Ideal Matters (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who won for the third time in his last four starts with a conquest of a condition pacing field on Saturday in 1:49:3; and Drop The Ball (Corey Callahan, Ross Croghan), who won Sunday night’s Preferred pace for mares in 1:50.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CAGE FIGHTER

With Andrew McCarthy in the bike, this claiming pacer spiced up the early Daily Double on Wednesday night with a rallying win at 44-1, paying out $91 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY

Kakaley has been on fire for much of the season, but he turned it up with double-figures in wins for the week, including a five-bagger on Tuesday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RON BURKE

Burke started the week off with three training wins on Friday night and didn’t let up from there, as he has slowly but surely ascended to the top of the Pocono training colony in victories for the meet.

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.