Posts Tagged ‘Hambletonian Society’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

September 13-19, 2013

With only about a month until the Breeders Crown on Saturday, October 19 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, it’s as good a time as any to start looking ahead to how some of the top competitors shape up. Because of the increase in the number of stakes races at Pocono, many more of the North America’s best horses have already traveled over the oval this season than at the same point three years ago when the Breeders Crown was last held at MSPD.

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the Top 10 horses in the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown and see just how well they’ve done this year at Pocono. We’ll count them down in descending order, just like this really good Bob Dylan book I heard about lately.

10. SEVRUGA: This 5-year-old trotting gelding from the Julie Miller barn has won nine of 19 starts this year with earnings of close to $500,000. His first start at Pocono this season was a memorable one, as he ripped off a victory in an Invitational trot in 1:50:3, a new-world record for aged geldings on a 5/8-mile oval. He was upset, however, by Wishing Stone in his last Pocono appearance on Super Stakes Saturday.

9. MAVEN: This 4-year-old trotting gelding is one of the few in the Top 10 who has yet to make an appearance at Pocono in 2013, although fans with longer memories may remember him as a solid performer in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at the track as a two and three-year-old. Maven’s biggest success this season has been in Canada, where he in unbeaten in four races for trainer Jonas Czernyson.

8. PET ROCK: A four-year-old pacing stallion from the Virgil Morgan Jr. barn, Pet Rock has had an outstanding season once again in 2013 with earnings north of $600,000. But his story at Pocono has been one of near misses. He finished 3rd and 2nd in the Ben Franklin pace elimination and final in June, then came up just short behind A Rocknroll Dance on Super Stakes Saturday.

7. VEGAS VACATION: Most people have conceded the 3-year-old pacing division to Captaintreacherous, but this gelding trained by Casie Coleman pushed the super-horse to the limit in their last meeting on the Pocono oval, finishing just a nose behind him in the slop in the Max Hempt. He’s been building confidence since then, scoring big-money victories at Tioga and Mohawk.

6. A ROCKNROLL DANCE: Trainer Jim Mulinix hopes the old phrase “horses for courses” applies come Breeders Crown time, because the last two starts this 4-year-old pacer had at Pocono were memorable. In 2012, he turned around a floundering season with a win in the Max Hempt Memorial. His lone start here this season was a win on Super Stakes Saturday in 1:47:4, matching the fastest ever at the track.

5. ROYALTY FOR LIFE: As the Hambletonian winner as well as a victor in several other big stakes races, 2013 has been a great year for Royalty For Life, trained by George Ducharme. Except at Pocono. Back in June, the 3-year-old trotter broke stride in both the elimination and the final for the Earl Beal Jr. In August, he got caught up in a speed duel and faded to 7th as the favorite in the Colonial.

4. FATHER PATRICK: The most celebrated 2-year-old in the country, Father Patrick made his trotting debut at Pocono in July in Pennsylvania All Stars action with a seven-length victory. He returned a few weeks later for another easy score in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. With seven wins in eight races so far for trainer Jimmy Takter, you get the feeling he’ll be tough no matter what track hosts him.

3. I LUV THE NITELIFE: With just one loss in 11 races this season, the pride of the Chris Ryder barn has been without a doubt the class of the 3-year-old pacing fillies division. She has been especially fine at Pocono, winning all three of her races here this year. Included among those were big stakes wins in the James Lynch and the Valley Forge, the latter coming in a world record for her age group of 1:48:4.

2. CAPTAINTREACHEROUS: It took a world-record performance from Sunshine Beach to spoil his unbeaten season at Pocono in the Battle of the Brandywine, and even then it was only in a photo finish. Before that, the Captain overcame a treacherous trip, if you will, to win the Hempt in June. Will the 3-year-old  pacing colt from the Tony Alagna barn step up on Breeders Crown day? Time will tell.

1. BEE A MAGICIAN: The number-one horse in the poll is a relative unknown to Pocono fans, since she’s the only one on this list to have never raced at MSPD. The 3-year-old trotting filly from the Nifty Norman barn has done most of her damage in Canada, but she did stop at The Meadowlands this year to win the Hambletonian Oaks as part of her record of twelve wins in twelve races in 2013.

Those are just some of the horses to watch come October at Pocono. With all of that firepower on display, it should be an amazing night.

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 ADDS TO EXCITING 2013 SEASON

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is getting ready for what will be their biggest season ever with the addition of three big races for late summer. 

In addition to the Breeders Crown, scheduled for Saturday, October 19th; and the Ben Franklin, Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial Trot, the Max Hempt, and the James Lynch set for June; the track in Northeast PA is proud to add the prestigious Super Stakes races from Harrah’s Philadelphia to their stakes schedule. The Colonial; Battle of Brandywine; and the Valley Forge will take their spot two weeks after the Hambletonian on Saturday, August 17th.  

The decision to change the schedule, which will see these races alternate between Harrah’s Philadelphia and Pocono from year to year, was made by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, which controls the stakes schedules at both tracks. According to PHHA President Sam Beegle,  the move will make it easier to keep the purse account in check. 

 Ron Battoni, Executive Director of the PHHA, also cited the recent renovations to the racing apron to Pocono as a plus.  “They put $300,000 last year into the apron to level it.  They can put tables and tents, as well as outdoor vendors and betting windows.”  

At a press conference for the Breeders Crown last fall, Sam Beegle announced a bonus of $1 million if the same horse wins the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot; the Colonial Trot; and the Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Trot.  

Racing opens for the 48th season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday, March 23rd, and continues until November 16th.

BREEDERS CROWN 2013

Friday, January 4th, 2013

The exciting Breeders Crown series will be held once again at the record-breaking Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs 5/8 mile red oval on Saturday, October 19, 2013.  

The historic track held the series in October of 2010, and was the first track to host all 12 races, worth $6 million, in one night.  Crowds from as far away as Canada, California, and Florida lined the apron to witness history in the making and several world records. 

 

 “Due to the huge success of 2010, we are excited to host the 2013 Breeders Crown”, said Vice President of Racing Operations, Dale Rapson.  “The Hambletonian Society Board of Directors have stated that they felt that the 2010 Breeders Crown, held at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, was one of the most successful ever held.  They are as enthusiastic to come back as we are to have them.  Of course, this cannot have happened without the ongoing support, participation, and cooperation of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association.”  

 

Tom Charters, President of the Hambletonian Society, was equally enthusiastic about the partnership.  “The opportunity to return to Pocono Downs in 2013 is very exciting,”,  he said. “ Mohegan Sun and the Pennsylvania horsemen (PHHA) were terrific hosts in 2010.  Building on that memorable record-breaking night, the Hambletonian Society is looking forward to partnering with them again on what will be a spectacular event for the entire harness industry.”  

Sam Beegle, President of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, announced that the PHHA would award a $1 million bonus if the same horse wins the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial Trot, the Colonial Trot, and the Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Trot.  

The 29-year-old Breeders Crown series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors.  A Breeders Crown title has become one of the most coveted honors in harness racing.  The series has encompassed the entire North American continent and reflected the ambience and local flavor of each of the host markets.