Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Sabot’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

October 28-November 3, 2017

As we closed in on the month of November, Northeastern Pennsylvania finally settled into autumn-like weather after an extended benign stretch. It presented interesting challenges to the competitors at The Downs at Mohegan Sun this past racing week, including a steady downpour throughout Sunday night and biting winds on Monday afternoon and evening. Yet even with the adverse conditions, our horses and horsemen and women shined, as evidenced by these outstanding performers who earned Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: ANDREIOS KARDIA

Saturday night’s $20,000 featured condition pace attracted a lot of excellent competitors, as that featured pace usually does. Andreios Kardia was one of the big names, a six-year-old gelding from the Tony Dinges barn who made his bones with excellent work throughout the summer with the toughest pacers at Tioga Downs. He wasted no time at Pocono, winning his first start after the ship on September 30 in 1:50:4. The gelding was sixth in his next race against a brutally rugged field on October 21.

On Saturday night he left from post position #7 in a field of eight at odds of 5-1. Andreios Kardia is not a pacer who likes to fire early, preferring instead to stay back and let others set the pace. This was a race that was made for him, as Parnu Hanover set the pace and was determined to hold it to such an extent that it creating grueling fractions. Andreois Kardia sat well off the pace, and even when he started moving third-over on the back stretch, he seemed like a non-factor, five lengths back at the three-quarter pole.

But Andreios Kardia was hitting his best stride just when everybody else was beginning to falter. Even with driver Jim Marohn Jr. forced to guide him five-wide so he could have racing room in the stretch, the gelding overpowered the pacers in front of him, finally picking off a game Parnu Hanover by a neck in 1:50:1. That makes two wins out of three against competition that would make lesser horses wilt.

Other top pacers this week include: Sneaky Girl (Matt Kakaley, Agostino Abatiello), a three-year-old filly who has now won two straight at Pocono after shipping in from the Midwest, scoring on Monday night in 1:55:4; Pramatic Life (Jim Taggart Jr., Robin DiBenedetto), who picked up his second straight claiming win on Monday with a victory in 1:54:2; and Stirling Escort (Matt Kakaley, Douglas Hamilton), who captured the annual Grey Ghost & Poltergeist Pace for Halloween on Tuesday night in 1:52:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PANANA REPUBLIC

It’s easy at times in the harness racing world to get caught up in the exploits of younger horses and overlook the performances of veterans. That could be why this six-year-old mare was let go as a 2-1 third choice on Sunday night despite coming off a standout win in 1:53:4 and having the post position edge on his top two competitors. Panana Republic, trained by Jennifer Sabot, possessed the #2 post in a non-winners of seven trot with a purse of $18,000.

Her toughest foes figured to be Evelyn, a three-year-old filly from the Ake Svanstedt barn with buckets of class and the fastest win in the field this season, and Catch A Mission, a four-year-old mare trained by Erv Miller without a loss in three tries in 2017. Those two horses were on the far outside to start and watched as Panana Republic muscled her way to the front early. When Catch A Misssion tried to get past on the second turn, Panana Republic, with Simon Allard in the bike, held her position and forced the other mare to go on a speed break.

Evelyn, on the other hand, made a furious charge at the leader late in the mile. But, again, Panana Republic was up to the challenge. She held together and held off Evelyn by a half-length, making it two in a row. Her win came in 1:55:2 in the sloppy, cold conditions that prevailed on Sunday night. This is a mare who is deserving of respect no matter the age or caliber of her foes.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Smalltownthrowdown (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved up in class and rallied for a condition victory on Saturday night, his third straight, in a career-best 1:53:4; Weslynn Dancer (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a three-year-old filly who picked up her second straight condition victory and fourth in her last five when she won on Sunday night in the slop in 1:55:2; and Crosbys Clam Bake (Pat Berry, Randy Bendis), whose condition victory on Saturday night came in 1:53:3, the week’s fastest trotting time at Pocono.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: EL PESCADORO

In the sloppy mess on Sunday night, this gelding glided between the raindrops for a condition trotting victory with Austin Siegelman in the bike at 65-1, paying off $132.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JIM MAROHN JR.

Marohn’s consistency in such a tough driving colony continues to be impressive, and he displayed it again this past week with four straight racing nights of multiple driving wins.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JENNY MELANDER

In a week with a lot of balance among the training community, Melander gets the nod for the convincing victory by her trotter Golden Son in Sunday night’s feature.

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

Friday, June 13th, 2014

June 7-13, 2014

With a day-night doubleheader on Belmont Stakes day, this past week featured five live racing cards at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Filling up those cards was no problem, as Pocono welcomed a bunch of shippers from other tracks to go up against the holdovers who have already established themselves throughout the first couple months of the meet. This made for a thrilling week of racing, the best performances of which we now honor by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: STEELHEAD HANOVER

This 5-year-old stallion from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn came into Saturday night’s condition pace for non-winners of $22,500 in the last five starts with wins in two of the three starts he made at Pocono in 2014. In a victory on May 31, Steelhead Hanover benefitted from a comfortable trip which allowed him to stay on the inside for much of the mile before rallying late for a victory in 1:50:2.

When a horse enjoys a trip like that, it’s natural to be skeptical if it can have the same success without that kind of relaxing journey. Add that to the fact that Steelhead Hanover was moving up in class, and he seemed more likely to struggle this time around. Yet Pavia, who also did the driving, attacked early with his stallion, taking the lead and setting imposing fractions.

There was no help for Steelhead Hanover on this night, and he made it clear by his stellar performance that he didn’t need any. He didn’t let up on the front end until he crossed the finish line a length-and-a-half in front of his nearest foe in 1:48:3. That time not only now stands as the fastest of the stallion’s career, but it was faster than anybody else paced this past week at Pocono.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Meirs Hanover (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who moved way up the condition ladder on Saturday night with no sweat, scoring his second straight victory in 1:49:3; Ahead Ofthe Curve (George Napolitano Jr., Paul Holzman), who moved up in class and still managed his third straight claiming victory on Saturday night, beating a field of $20,000 claimers in 1:50:1; and Aracache Hanover (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won the week’s featured pace, Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred Handicap, in 1:49.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: LUV YA TYLER

It’s unusual for a horse to win as a significant long shot in consecutive weeks. One of two things usually happens: Either the horse’s performance in his first long shot win is so impressive that it gets a lot more attention at the windows the following week, or, if it is still a long shot the second time around, the law of averages catches up to it and it comes up short.

Somebody should tell that to Luv Ya Tyler, a 7-year-old gelding who had been winless in eight races this year before a claim put him in the barn of trainer Neal Ehrhart. In his first start in the new barn, the gelding went off at 20-1 against a field of $15,000 claimers but rallied for the victory in a career-best 1:54:2.

Once again on Tuesday night, he wasn’t given much of chance at the tote board when he moved up in class to face a $20,000-$25,000 claiming handicap class. All the outside speed in the race eventually wore itself out, leaving room for a closer to steal the race. Luv Ya Tyler, at 19-1 this time around, sat back off the fast fractions early and, with Mike Simons in the bike, came up flying for the victory in 1:54:2, matching that career-best from a week previous. After two straight wins, the odds he’ll need to defy probably won’t be quite so long the next time around.

Other top trotters this week include: Song Of Virtue (Joe Pavia Jr., Jennifer Sabot), a mare who picked up her second straight win over the $7,500 claimers on Saturday morning and did so in a new career-best time of 1:56:2; P L Fantastic (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who burned up the track in a condition win and matched the week’s fastest trotting time on Tuesday night with a victory in 1:53:3; and Revrac Harbour (Scot Zeron, Tony Alagna), who picked up his second straight win at Pocono on Wednesday night, this coming in Stallion Series action in 1:55:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ZIP IT LOCK IT

Tyler Buter has been aboard several huge long shots this year, but none was as big a bomber as this pacing mare on Wednesday night at 75-1 for a $158 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON

This newcomer to the Pocono racing wars has been improving as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings, and five combined wins on Tuesday and Wednesday prove he’s becoming a major factor.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN CARR

With a win on Sunday and two more victories on Tuesday night, Carr made a significant jump this week in the Pocono training standings.

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

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

May 11-17, 2012

The action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has been great all season long, but the last few weeks have been particularly fine, highlighted by the first track records of the season. With the first Sire Stakes of the season in the offing, the racing is bound to get even hotter in the weeks to come. In the meantime, let’s dive into this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: TRANSCENDING

This 8-year-old stallion from the Ron Burke barn has been a top performer for several years. Consistency is the name of his game, as he has hit the board in more than half of his 156 career starts, most of which came against the finest pacing competition at Pocono and other Eastern tracks. His effort Saturday night, however, is one that will stand out in his illustrious career.

Facing an excellent field of condition pacers, Transcending worked out an excellent trip behind a raging speed duel between American Rage and Mickey Hanover. As the fractions got faster and faster, Matt Kakaley sat tight with the stallion, waiting for his opportunity to explode.

That opportunity came in the stretch, as he battled American Rage through the lane right to the finish line. When the dust cleared, Transcending was on top by a nose in a ridiculous time in 1:48:2. That was not only his new career-best, but it matched the Pocono track mark for aged stallions on the pace, previously set by Vlos in October of 2010.

Other top pacers this week include: Hurrikane Scotty J (Joe Pavia Jr., Chris Oakes), who stepped up in class on Saturday night to conquer the $20,000 claimers, his third straight win, in a new career-best time of 1:51:1; Fearlesss Diablo (Andrew McCarthy, Dylan Davis), who kept his winning streak alive after returning from Harrah’s with a condition victory on Saturday night, his third straight, in 1:51:3; and Billmar Scooter (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), who beat the best mares on the grounds for a second straight week on Tuesday in 1:51.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: KEYSTONE TORCH

Many times in this column, the Pacers and Trotters of the Week come from the highest ranks of the conditions and claimers. Every once in a while, a horse from some of the more modest ranks puts together a string of racing that just can’t be ignored. Such is the excellent stretch of racing that Keystone Torch has assembled the past month.

Even at age 11, this gelding has been impossible to beat in the $7,500 claimers since arriving at Pocono from Harrah’s. He reeled off three straight wins for trainer Jennifer Sabot as soon as he hit the MSPD racing surface, only to be claimed following his win on May 4. That meant that Friday night he was heading to a gate for a new trainer, Chris Oakes.

None of that mattered once the gate sped away and Keystone Torch got to the front end. Nobody could get to him and driver George Napolitano Jr., and he coasted to the victory by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:57:1. That makes 4 in a row for the veteran, the longest winning streak at Pocono so far in the 2012 meet.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Fox Valley Iliad (Tom Jackson, Kimberly Asher), who, after winning Trotter of the Week honors for setting a track record last week, went even faster in his victory in the week’s featured trot on Saturday night, setting a mark of 1:52, which is a new world record for 4-year-old stallions on the trot; Marion Miss Julie (Eric Carlson, Neal Ehrhart), who switched barns and had to deal with the far outside post but still scored his second straight claiming handicap win on Saturday night in 1:54:3; and Bayside Volo (Matt Kakaley, Chris Oakes), who once again moved up in class and switched barns but still won his third straight on Tuesday night in 1:54:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LOCO FOR COCOA

He’s got a great name, and the colt had the game to match on Tuesday night, picking up his maiden win with John Kakaley in the bike at 26-1, paying off $54.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC CARLSON

It seems like every year a new driver breaks into the Pocono driving colony and makes a splash. Carlson seems to be fitting that bill for 2012 after five driving wins last weekend.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CHRIS OAKES

Once again, Oakes is among the best trainers at Pocono. He’s been red hot early in the season, and he knocked out a training double on Saturday night on his way to a five-win 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.