Posts Tagged ‘Grand Circuit’

Freshman Pacers take center stage Tuesday with PA All-Stars

Friday, June 26th, 2015

There will be a tremendous amount of great horses and great racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono between June 27th, Saturday’s,  eliminations and next Saturday’s $1.8M worth of four Championships on Sun Stakes Saturday (July 4). But the stakes spotlight will not go dark in the four cards in between at the mountain oval, as Pennsylvania All-Stars action for two-year-olds will be featured on each of the four cards in between.

The Pennsylvania All-Stars, for state-sired horses, have traditionally been gathered in a 10-day period in proximity to the Fourth of July until this year, when the crowding of the stakes schedule suggested moving the 3YO events to May, to give eligibles some stakes competition before the Grand Circuit events got in high gear. The 2YO races are staying in their usual spot, which has been the introduction of many future stars to the sport in recent years. Trotting colts are featured on Sunday, June 28; pacing fillies two days after that; trotting fillies the next day; and then the pacing colts on Friday, July 3, as Pocono expands to a five-card-a-week schedule during summer’s “prime time.”

On June 28th, the trotting colts are divided into six divisions of a $180,000 event. There are already sixteen “winners” in the races, mostly in qualifiers/non-purse baby races, although one has won a pari-mutuel race and one a Fair Sire Stakes at Bloomsburg. Of these, seven already have winning lines timed in 2:00 or faster.

Two of the youngsters, the Donato Hanover colt Mr Right and the Cantab Hall gelding Alexander Hanover, have already taken a win in 1:57.3f. Mr Right earned his record in a June 12 non-purse baby event at Pocono for trainer Leigh Raymer, and was made the 2-5 favorite in a June 21 local overnight, but his uncovered move in that event was resisted by Alexander Hanover, who went wire-to-wire for trainer Bill Popfinger.

On  June 30th, Tuesday, five divisions of freshman pacing fillies will answer the starter’s call in $150,000 worth of competition. 19 of these babies already have wins, again mostly in 2YO-restricted events, with 16 already having broken the 2:00 barrier.

The fastest of the group to date is the Somebeachsomewhere miss Pure Country, who took a Meadowlands qualifier in 1:54.4 – 26.4 for trainer Jimmy Takter, who is also rumored to be good with the occasional trotter. A daughter of Yankee Cruiser, Danika P, has won in pari-mutuel competition, a Meadows overnight in 1:55.4f for trainer Ron Burke. (Takter and Burke – together again.)

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

May 24-30, 2014

It was another extraordinary week of harness racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, one that featured a world record performance and some exciting Grand Circuit races. But the two horses that won the major honors this week are a pair of veterans who appear to be peaking at a time when most others are either winding down their careers or already retired. Let’s take a look at their exploits as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: ANDERLECHT

While it’s not unusual for a nine-year-old pacer to be winning races, most of those veterans do so in the lower claiming ranks. Since arriving from Yonkers, this stallion has taken on some top-flight condition pacers and showed them how it’s done. On May 17, he absolutely blitzed a group of non-winners of $15,000 in the last five races with a monster mile of 1:48, which would have been a track record were it not of Dancin Yankee beating him to the punch a few races earlier with a 1:47:2 mile.

After a mile like that, it was obvious that he would be the favorite facing the same condition group on Saturday night. Yet the concern for Anderlecht, trained by JD Lewis, was that the ripping time from the previous week would leave him a bit winded this time out. When Getitoffyourchest made an aggressive move past him on the back stretch, it looked like maybe those fears would be realized.

Driver Simon Allard didn’t panic though, biding his time until the stretch when he cut loose Anderlecht for another move. He rallied past Getitoffyourchest to win by a 1 ½ lengths, posting another scorching winning time of 1:49:1. Can this veteran move up in class off these two wins and beat even more accomplished pacers? Based on these performances, it seems like horses of all ages and classes should be wary.

Other top pacers this week include: Somwherovrarainbow (Tim Tetrick, Joe Holloway), whose win in a Preferred pace for mares on Sunday night came in 1:48, the fastest time ever posted by a female pacer on a 5/8-mile oval; Stanhope (Anthony Napolitano, Steve Salerno), who moved up in class to win his second straight condition pace on Sunday night, this one coming in 1:51:4; and Ella’s Twin (George Napolitano Jr., John Barchi), a mare who churned her way to her third straight claiming win on Wednesday night, this one in 1:54:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: CHERRY TREE NICOLE

For a trotter to be a consistent winner week after week, it generally has to have a decent amount of getaway speed. Being close to the early lead takes a lot of variables out of a race, so the horses that can fire out of the gate well every race usually give themselves a good chance to win. Cherry Tree Nicole has virtually no leaving speed, yet the mare has been one of the most consistent winners since arriving from California in April.

The pattern for her races has been pretty much identical. She tends to start slowly, out-pacing just a couple horses in the large field around the first turn. On the back stretch, the mare starts to make steady advancement, and, in the stretch, she blows by everyone. That strategy led her to victories in three of her first four races at Pocono. Tuesday night was a tougher test because she was moving up in class to the $10,000 claimers. Plus, she was switching barns, racing for the first time under the banner of trainer Steve Salerno.

Yet for all the changes, the results turned out to be strikingly similar. Cherry Tree Nicole, an eight-year-old mare with an impressive 65 career wins coming into the race, started in her usual lethargic way. When it counted though, driver Matt Kakaley had her in gear, and she coasted by the tiring leaders for a win in 1:57:2. Who said you can’t come from off the pace and win consistently? This gritty mare will have none of that nonsense.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Stitch In Time (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), who captured Tuesday night’s featured condition trot with a flying rally in a career-best 1:54:4; A Crown For Lindy (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who picked up his second straight claiming win on Wednesday night with a victory in 1:55; and Broadway Socks (Dan Rawlings, David Wade), who followed up a Stallion Series win at The Meadows with a victory here on Sunday night against other three-year-old fillies in the Historic Series, posting a career-best 1:55 in the process.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: PRINT IT

After winning at 22-1 on April 26, this 12-year-old pacer did it again on Saturday night with Tyler Buter in the bike, defeating a claiming group at 32-1 for a $66 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER

One of a seemingly endless cadre of excellent drivers plying their trade at Pocono, Buter was hot this week, racking up five wins including a three-bagger on Saturday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: STEVE SALERNO

Year in and year out, Salerno is a force at Pocono, and he’s been picking up steam of late, including a training double on Sunday night and three wins for 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.

Shake It Cerry Triumphant at Pocono

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

May 25, 2014

Shake It Cerry returned to the scene of her Breeders Crown win a year ago with a dominating victory in the Historic Series Coaching Club Oaks on Sunday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race, part of the Grand Circuit series, was one of two divisions held on the night for 3-year-old trotting fillies, each of which carried a purse of $33,212.

Driven by Ron Pierce for trainer Jimmy Takter, Shake It Cerry (Donato Hanover-Solveig), who won the 2-year-old distaff trotting Breeders Crown title at Pocono in October, moved to two-for-two as a 3-year-old with an unhurried victory by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:56:1. Cooler Schooner finished second in her 2014 debut while L Dees Scripture captured the show.

In the first division, Broadway Socks (Broadway Hall-I Gotta Feelin) went gate-to-wire for a three-quarter length victory in a career-best 1:55. Dan Rawlings did the driving for trainer David Wade aboard Broadway Socks, the 2-1 second choice who was coming off a Stallion Series win in her previous start. Highest Peak finished second while favored Lifetime Pursuit settled for third.

JK Endofanera and Seventh Secret Win Pocono Cup Divisions

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

May 24, 2014

JK Endofanera and Seventh Secret impressively captured divisions of the Pocono Cup in the Historic Series on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The Grand Circuit races were for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the pace.

In the $36,162 first division, JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady), moved to two-for-two on the season with a victory on the front end by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:49:4, which matched his career-best. Andrew McCarthy did the driving aboard the 1-2 favorite for trainer Ron Burke. Allstar Partner finished second while Best Said picked up the show.

In the $36,912 second division, Seventh Secret (Allamerican Native-Secret Song) staged a furious rally to come up for the win by a head in 1:50:3. Pierce finished second while Stratos Hanover came in a close third. Mike Wilder drove Seventh Secret, a 5-1 second choice, for trainer Dan Altmeyer.

Katie Said and Fancy Desire Win in Historic Series at Pocono

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

May 20, 2014

Katie Said and Fancy Desire picked up victories in divisions of the Ladyship Stakes in the Historic Series at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Tuesday night. The races for 3-year-old pacing fillies are part of the Grand Circuit and each carried a purse of $34,712.

In the first division, Katie Said (Well Said-Katie’s Lucky Lady) bounced back from breaking issues in her previous two starts to score with a first-over grind in 1:51:2. Marcus Miller was aboard for trainer Erv Miller. That Woman Hanover finished second and Table Talk was third.

In the second split, 13-1 shot Fancy Desire (Real Desire-Fancy Creek Memory) made a second move from the pocket and won in 1:49:1, fastest time in the division this year on a 5/8-mile oval by a wide margin. George Napolitano Jr. drove for trainer Kevin Carr. Weeper had her long winning streak snapped in second while  Hunger Games picked up the show.