Posts Tagged ‘In Your Room’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

June 6-12, 2015

It was bound to happen. As impressive as the times on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono’s track records page might be, each year several of those records fall by the wayside. It took nearly 2 ½ months for any horse to match or break one of those lofty standards this season, which was a bit surprising considering the caliber of horses we’ve seen so far this year. 2015’s first incursion into the records page came on Saturday night, and the horse that came up big leads us off in this edition of the Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FRAU BLUCHER

The crowd was still abuzz following the Triple Crown victory of American Pharaoh early Saturday evening when a pack of Open trotters hit the track to restart Pocono’s harness racing program, which had begun earlier in the afternoon. The 1-2 favorite was Daylon Miracle, a mare fresh off a Preferred win at the Meadows against other distaffers. Frau Blucher, the other mare in the field, got away as the 9-5 second choice, as she was stepping up in class after a condition win in the slop on May 30 in an unhurried 1:55.

Frau Blucher was a superstar as a 2 and 3-year-old for trainer Chris Oakes, earning over $900,000 in those two seasons. Her 4-year-old season included a world record for her age group when she won at Pocono in 1:51:2, but that was just one of two wins she managed all year in just nine races. Her five-year-old season included just one start prior to that May 30 win, and she went off-stride in that one.

But on Saturday night, she showed just how dangerous she could be in top form. Driver George Napolitano Jr. sent her to the front end early and didn’t have much pressure to the half-mile marker, which allowed him to rate her conservatively. Frau Blucher put on a show in the second half of the mile, keeping the pursuit at bay and eventually closing in :27:4 to win by 1 ¼ lengths over Possessed Fashion. The winning time of 1:51:4 matched the track record for aged trotting mares, which had previously been shared by Beatgoeson Hanover and In Your Room. Frau Blucher now joins male trotting superstar Father Patrick as the only horses to occupy two spots on the Pocono track record page.

Other top trotters this week include: Schalom G (George Napolitano Jr., Neal Ehrhart), who moved up in class on Tuesday night to score his second straight condition win, this one in 1:54:4; Rossini (Jason Bartlett, Jim Raymer), who powered to a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:53:1; and Raise The Curtain (Jason Bartlett, Timothy Lancaster), who rallied Wednesday night for his second straight condition win on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:54:1.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BIG BOY DREAMS

The barn of Pocono’s leading trainer Rene Allard never seems to run out of pacers able to compete at the highest levels. Already in 2015 we’ve seen Domethatagain and Sparky Mark take Pacer of the Week honors for their exploits in Open and condition paces at Pocono. Big Boy Dreams had hopes he could join them on Saturday night in a $30,000 Open pace.

This 4-year-old stallion raced once at Pocono in April, finishing a close 3rd in a condition pace. He then went to Canada for two races in the Confederation Cup, finishing 3rd in the big-money final, and followed that up with an Open Handicap victory at Yonkers. On Saturday night, Big Boy Dreams rolled to the front end with Simon Allard in the bike, and when he made it to the half in :55:3 on a night when the wind was helping horses in the front stretch, you knew he was going to be tough to catch.

Big Boy Dreams turned on the jets in the second half of the mile and stayed strong to the finish line. He ended up winning by a length in 1:49:4, a new career-best, over Texican N, giving him two consecutive wins over Open competition. He has a lot of competition in his barn for accolades, but Big Boy Dreams is racing as well as any of his stablemates right now, which is high praise indeed.

Honorable mention on the pacing side includes: McKenry (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), a 3-year-old who picked up his second straight condition victory on Tuesday night, this time in a career-best 1:51:4; Caviart Shelley (Jim Morrill Jr., Ron Burke), a mare who ripped off her fifth straight condition win on Wednesday night in a career-best time of 1:50:4; and Cloris Hanover (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who won a condition pace against other mares with ease for the second straight week, doing it in a time of 1:51.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: INTERNAL CHECK

This pacing mare, with Jim Morrill Jr. driving, rallied from way back on the outside to upend a claiming handicap field on Wednesday night at 22-1, paying off $47.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

This was a typical George Nap week, as he hit double digits in wins over the four racing nights and chalked up five victories against the elite competition on Saturday night.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN CARR

Carr’s training average at Pocono has been solid for several years running, and she showed off his wares with back-to-back winners on the card on Sunday 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 Week in Review

Monday, August 12th, 2013

August 1-7, 2013

The month of August started out without the sizzling temperatures that are the norm for this time of year in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s a good thing then that plenty of heat was generated on the track at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this past racing week. It’s gets harder and harder to narrow down the very best of the outstanding performances we see each and every night at Pocono, but that’s what we’ll try to do right now by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MATTADOR D

It’s not easy to jump even a little bit in class in the harness racing wars at Pocono and have any bit of success. To make a big jump and see immediate results is a rare accomplishment indeed because of the extremely competitiveness of the scene. Yet Mattador D took a pretty daunting leap up the claiming ladder on Saturday night and handled it impressively.

It certainly helped that the 5-year-old gelding came into the race on a hot streak. He beat a group of $10,000 claimers on July 20 in 1:52:1, then followed it up the next week with a victory over the $12,500 claimers in 1:51:4. Still, those winning times didn’t figure to hack it on Saturday night against the $20,000 claimers. In his first start for trainer Lou Pena, Mattador D would have to step his game.

The gelding answered that challenge in sterling fashion. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, he hustled to the front end early and had to face severe pressure throughout the mile. Yet he sustained and came out on top in a career-best 1:50:2. It should be fun to watch Mattador D keep climbing that ladder and see how high he can get before someone slows his rapid ascent.

Other top pacers this week include: B N Bad (George Napolitano Jr., Peter Pellegrino), who powered to a condition pacing win on Saturday night in a career-best 1:49:2, which was the fastest time posted all week long at Pocono; Allamerican Daddy (Eric Carlson, Eddie Nickle), who staged a furious rally to win his second straight $10,000 claimer on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:4; and Audreys Dream (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won Saturday night’s featured condition pace in 1:50.  

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: LIGHTNING STORM

While Mattador D provided a good example of a horse hot enough to move up in class, our Trotter of the Week this week is one who needed to drop down to find the groove. There’s no shame in such a move, since it doesn’t make any sense for an owner to keep sending a horse over and over into a class that he can’t handle. It’s better for the horse to find a group in which he can do damage.

Lightning Storm, a 4-year-old stallion from the Lou Pena barn, had success early in the meet in some rugged condition trots and then moved up into the Preferred trots in the month of June, taking on the best trotters on the grounds. He seemed overmatched with that class, finishing way up the track from the winners in three straight races.

It was only when he dropped back into the non-winners of $16,000 condition trots on July 19 that he found his stride again, winning that night in a career-best 1:53:2. On Friday night he was back at in the same class, and he once again controlled the action, winning in 1:54:3 this time around with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike. Now that he’s built up his confidence again, this might be the right time for Lightning Storm to try it again with some heavier hitters.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: CDs Eldorado (Joe Pavia Jr., Jason Robinson), whose victory over the $10,000 claimers in a career-best 1:55:2 on Tuesday night gave him wins in three straight and four of his last five; Biltmore (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), whose romping victory in a condition trot on Wednesday night in 1:55:1 was his third win in his last four races; and In Your Room (Mike Simons, Gail Wrubel), who rolled to a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:53, the fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: HYANNIS HANOVER

This 2-year-old trotter had quite the memorable debut on Wednesday night, rallying from way back for driver Bret Brittingham to score at 90-1, paying off $182.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

It took a little while, but George has ascended to his usual position atop the drivers’ standings at Pocono. He was especially lethal last weekend, picking up seven combined wins on Friday and Saturday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DOUGLAS BERKELEY

Berkeley has been a force at Pocono for the past few seasons, and he made his presence felt this week with a pair of training victories.

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, May 5th, 2013

April 27-May 3, 2013

We start every year at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs with a fresh Track Records page at the back of the program showing off some of the finest performances ever at the track. And every year, by the end of the season, that page looks drastically different after a fresh batch of competitors hits the track and breaks or matches a bunch of those records. Our first interloper on the Track Records page for 2013 highlights this week’s edition of the Weekly Awards

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: BEATGOESON HANOVER

This mare from the barn of Nifty Norman has had a distinguished career, earning close to $1 million in her lifetime, so she was certainly capable of a big effort. The down side was that she came into Saturday night’s condition pace for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races without a win in her first four tries this season, although that was excusable considering the tough foes she had been facing at the Meadowlands.

On Saturday night, she had Ron Pierce in the bike, and Pierce decided he would be aggressive with the mare, sending her first over on the front stretch to take the lead by the half-mile marker. The fractions Beatgoeson Hanover laid down were unforgiving, which prevented any outside pressure from getting by her.

That kind of up-front speed often leaves a horse vulnerable in the stretch, but this mare was not to be denied. Pierce urged her home 1 ¼ lengths in front of Dontgetinhisway in a stunning time of 1:52:1. That matched the track record for trotting mares aged four years old and up, a mark originally set by Brighten Up in 2010. It won’t be the first time we see a track record in jeopardy this season, but it was still a thrilling effort by this marvelous mare.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Defiant Donato (Matt Kakaley, Jim Campbell), an impressive young filly with three straight wins to start her career after a rallying victory in a condition trot on Wednesday in a career-best 1:55:1; Fool’s Revenue (Jim Morrill Jr., William Mullin), who moved up in class to beat the $12,500 claimers on Tuesday night in 1:55:3, his second straight victory; and In Your Room (Mike Simons, Gail Wrubel), a mare who stepped up in class on Tuesday night but still rolled to her second straight condition win in 1:54:2.

PACER OF THE WEEK: ST LADS ZOOM ZOOM

Trainer and driver Daryl Bier only makes cameo appearances at MSPD, and he usually only makes the trip if he has a serious contender who can do some damage on the Pocono oval. As a result, he usually has a pretty excellent percentage of winners, and St Lads Zoom has been particularly tough to stop in the early parts of the meet.

The 4-year-old gelding was saddled with tough outside post positions in his first two starts at Pocono, but he acquitted himself well with a third and a win in those races. On Saturday night, he got a much better look at it with a #3 post position in a field of eight, but he also was moving up in class into a rugged non-winners of $24,000 the last five starts condition pace.

The good post allowed Bier to get St Lads Zoom Zoom in solid position in the pocket. In the stretch, the gelding did the rest, powering home for the victory in a thrilling stretch drive over favored Meirs Hanover in 1:51:2. St Lads Zoom Zoom has now won six of his nine races this season, just another efficient and effective performer from the Bier barn.

Other top pacers this week include: Pence Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who won the season’s first Preferred pace on Saturday night with front-end speed in a career-best 1:49:4; Mr Perseverance (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who moved up his claiming price to $25,000 yet still captured his second straight victory on Saturday night, this time in a career-best 1:50:3; and Lorrie Please (Eric Carlson, Michael Hall), a mare who captured the featured distaff pace on Sunday night with a gutsy effort in the stretch in 1:50:2, a new career-best.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WESTERN CHURCHILL

The #9 post position didn’t scare away this gelding driven by John Campbell in a condition pace on Saturday night, as he won at 35-1 for a win payout of $72.80.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: RON PIERCE

Pierce has been making more frequent appearances at Pocono and has been lethal. Consider the monster night he had on Saturday night when he notched seven wins.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD

Allard has been one of the hottest trainers on the grounds early in the season, and this week was no different, as he scored three wins including a double on Saturday 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.