Posts Tagged ‘Jim Campbell’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Opens 2015 Season

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

March 21, 2015

Sky McFly dominated on the front end to defeat a group of $25,000 claimers and kick off the 2015 racing season on Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The race, the first of the night and the meet, carried a purse of $16,000.

Driven by Matt Kakaley for the Ron Burke barn, Sky McFly (Jereme’s Jet-N’vincible) took over around the first turn and never faced a serious challenge from that point. The 6-year-old gelding, a 2-5 favorite, scored in 1:52:1 by 2 ¼ lengths over Top Gear in second and To Beach His Own in third.

2015 promises to be a special one at Pocono, as it’s the 50th racing campaign for the venerable track in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The track opened in July of 1965.

In other opening night action at Pocono, three $15,000 divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series for three and four-year-old colts and geldings on the pace were held. The winners were: Shadow Margeaux (Shadow Play-Joyeux), a 37-1 long shot driven by Larry Stalbaum and trained by Steve Salerno, in 1:52:4; Mojito Hanover (Well Said-Mary Mattgalane), driven by Marcus Miller and trained by Jim Campbell, in 1:53:1; and Victory At Last (Quik Pulse Mindale-Bidforakiss), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, in 1:52:4. And in the night’s $22,000 featured condition pace, Blatantly Best (Cambest-Garish), driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and trained by Larry Remmen, came on late to win in 1:51:3.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Monday, November 10th, 2014

October 31-November 6, 2014

Well, folks, we have almost reached that point in the racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs when it’s time to sum up all that we’ve seen. Next week we’ll take a look in this space at the top horses of the year and then we’ll follow that up the week after with a wrap-up of the entire 2014 season. For now, let’s take the time to hand out our last set of Weekly Awards for this racing campaign.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MCBOOGIE

This five-year-old gelding has been on a tear lately, turning what was looking like a lost season into the best year of his career. McBoogie had just one win in eight wins when he lined up for a $10,000 claimer on September 17, but he rolled that night to a victory in 1:52:1. After a sluggish 5th-place effort in his follow-up race, he took off with wins in his next three in a row, one of which came in a career-best time of 1:50:4.

In the middle of that streak he moved up from the $10,000 claimers to the $15,000 claimers. He also switched barns, joining trainer Dean Eckley’s stable in the middle of October. On Saturday night he looked to keep his outstanding stretch of races going by taking on the $15,000 claimers as the 2-5 favorite. When he briefly lost the lead around the first turn, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent him right back to the front end with a quick brush.

From there, he held strong, although he eventually faced a stiff challenge from Woodmere Ultimate in the home stretch. McBoogie showed the fortitude that’s been a hallmark of his recent stretch of racing, digging in to hold on by a neck in 1:51:3. That makes four wins in a row and five out of six. This gelding is turning it on when most horses are shutting it down.

Other top pacers include: Ahead Ofthe Curve (Anthony Napolitano, Paul Holzman), who churned his way to his second straight claiming handicap victory, this one in 1:52, on Saturday night; Yagonnakissmeornot (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who overcame an outside post to storm her way to victory in Saturday night’s featured Open Handicap for mares in 1:50:1; and Fie Fy Fo (Anthony Napolitano, Chris Oakes), a 2-year-old filly who burned her way to her second straight condition victory on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:54:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OPENING NIGHT

There were some tough customers in Saturday night’s $35,000 Open Handicap trot. Not Afraid won in Preferred company the last time he was at Pocono, Tirade Hanover had ripped off wins in his last five races, and Backstreet Hanover won her last start against the same class at Harrah’s at Philadelphia. Opening Night, a 6-year-old stallion from the Jim Campbell barn, certainly had raced at the highest  level throughout his career, but he was working his way back into top form heading into Saturday.

Still, a win in condition company two starts previous at Harrah’s was a confidence builder, as was a second behind former Hambletonian winner Market Share in his last race. On Saturday night, he had to overcome the outside #8 post, which, coupled with the fact that he was moving back up in class, is probably why he was an 11-1 shot. Driver Ron Pierce was able to coax some early speed out of him so that he could find a pocket spot early.

In the stretch, Opening Night kicked into high gear once again to win a hard-fought battle to the line, holding off Tirade Hanover for the victory. His winning time of 1:53 was the fastest among all trotters this past week at Pocono. Against a top field and from a demanding post, this stallion showed that class and guts can overcome the toughest of obstacles.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to Upfront Billy (Tyler Buter, Mark Ford), who, with the help of a disqualification, won his second straight condition trot on Tuesday night; Four Starz Speed (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who rolled to his third straight victory and fourth in his last five with an easy claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:56; and Proud Moment (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who once again conquered Wednesday night’s featured claiming handicap trot, winning his second straight in 1:53:3.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RESCUE PLAN

This condition pacer with Tyler Buter in the bike was the longest shot on the board at 55-1 in Tuesday’s feature, but he rallied for the win and paid off $113.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: RON PIERCE

Pierce had one of his best single nights at Pocono on Saturday when he ripped off five victories, which included wins in both of the night’s $35,000 featured handicaps.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DEAN ECKLEY

In the second half of the season, Eckley, a relatively new name to the Pocono faithful, has been winning at a high rate, adding two more victories to the ledger on Saturday.

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.

 

Opening Night and Yagonnakissmeornot Shine in Pocono Features

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

November 1, 2014

Trotter Opening Night and pacing mare Yagonnakissmeornot won the twin feature Open Handicap races on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Each of those races carried a purse of $35,000.

In the Open Handicap Trot, Opening Night (Broadway Hall-Rare Elegance), a 6-year-old stallion from the Jim Campbell barn, overcame an outside post to work out a pocket trip and win a four-way battle in the stretch by a nose. Driven by Ron Pierce, Opening Night, an 11-1 shot, held off Tirade Hanover by a nose in 1:53. Whata Donato finished third while 6-5 Not Afraid was just inches back of the winner in fourth.

Pierce also guided the winner of the Open Handicap pace for mares, as Yagonnakissmeornot (The Panderosa-Artstopper), a 5-year-old barn from the Rene Allard barn, continued her brilliant season and atoned for a clunker in her last start at Pocono by gutting out a front-end win as a 6-5 favorite. Despite imposing fractions, Yagonnakissmeornot was able to hold off the first-over charge of Rockaround Sue to win by a neck in 1:50:1, her 13th win of the season. Spirit Of Desire finished third.

McCarthy Captures Milestone Win at Pocono

Monday, July 7th, 2014

July 2, 2014

Driver Andrew McCarthy scored a victory about Iaintnomomaluke in the sixth race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Wednesday night for the 1,000th victory of his career. McCarthy, who has been a regular at Pocono for the past several years, had moved to 999 with a triple on Tuesday night before toppling the mark on Wednesday night.

In other action on Wednesday night at Pocono, there were seven $30,000 divisions of Pennsylvania All Stars races held for 2-year-old trotting fillies. The winners were: Wouldn’t Itbesweet (Cantab Hall-U S Victory), driven by Howard Parker and trained by Jim Raymer, in 1:57; Fashion Voyager (Broadway Hall-BWT Maija), driven by John Campbell and trained by Jim Campbell, in 1:57:4; Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, in 1:56; Onda Di Mare (Yankee Glide-Upfront Ob’s Janet, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Jim Campbell, in 1:56:3; Speak To Me (Muscle Massive-Ms Naughty), driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Jimmy Takter, in 1:57; Jersey Strong (Muscle Massive-Vacation’s Over), driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Mark Harder, in 1:56:4; and Matter Of Days (Explosive Matter-Drinking Days), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Todd Schadel.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Monday, September 9th, 2013

September 5-11, 2013

There were only two nights of racing in the past week because of the Oktoberfest celebration at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Those two nights were full of great racing, however, thanks to the finals of the Stallion Series that were held on Friday and Saturday night.

These Stallion Series are a chance for some excellent two-year-old and three-year-old horses to compete for purses that they might not otherwise get the chance to earn. The races take place all summer, with the best performers earning tickets to the finals, which were each worth $40,000 each.

On Friday night, the 2-year-olds took center stage, followed by the 3-year-olds on Saturday night. Here is a look at how those finals went down.

TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

In a thrilling race, 4-1 third choice Jack Attack, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, led much of the race, but had to deal with the 1-2 favorite So Surreal in the stretch. The two came to the line in a photo finish, and, when the dust settled, Jack Attack was the winner by a nose. Trained by PJ Fraley, the 2-year-old gelding paced the mile in 1:52:2, giving him a perfect record in Stallion Series action.

TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

When Ron Pierce couldn’t make it to Pocono on Friday night, Tyler Buter got the catch drive aboard Who Wants Soup, who was coming off back-to-back wins in the preliminaries. Buter made the most of his chance, rallying the gelding from the barn of Jim Campbell from off the pace to take the late lead and hang on by a head over Faust for the victory in 1:56:3. It was a new career mark for Who Wants Soup.

TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

Nitro Nittany, a filly from the Jim Raymer barn, was coming off the first loss of her career after three straight Stallion Series wins. She atoned in the best way possible. Driver Howard Parker sent Nitro Nittany behind the cover of even-money favorite Tweet Me on the outside, and she blew by in the stretch for the victory in a career-best 1:56.

TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Considering that she had won her previous start against tougher Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition, it was no surprise that Weeper, from the barn of Kelly O’ Donnell, was the 3-5 favorite in this group. The filly didn’t disappoint, blowing by her competition with a huge first-over brush on the back stretch and pacing away for a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51:4, giving her three straight wins.

THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

As part of an entry that went off as a 3-5 favorite, Choose Happy, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., got off to a slow start and had to make a first-over move to reach the front of the pack. Not only did she get past the leader around the final turn, but she held back closers who had much better trips than she did, prevailing by a head with Brett Miller in the bike for a victory in 1:54:2.

THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Trained by Amber Buter, Antigua Hanover came into Saturday night’s final with just two wins in 16 races this season. She found her stride at the right time though, starting fast, finding the pocket, and then blowing by the favorite Mattwestern late to pace away for the victory by 2 ½ lengths. Tyler Buter did the driving for Antigua Hanover, who paced the mile in a career-best 1:50:4.

THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The combination of driver Howard Parker and trainer Jim Raymer, who won a Stallion Series final on Friday with Nitro Nittany, were at it again with Rossini. Despite being a 3-1 third choice, Parker sent Rossini to the front end and dared everyone to catch him. The result was an easy 3 ¼ length win in 1:53, which narrowly missed a track record for 3-year-old geldings on the trot.

THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The final Stallion Series race of the season was a thriller. Ultimate Beachboy was the 3-5 favorite after back-to-back wins, one of which matched a track record. But he was pressured on all sides throughout the mile in the final, until Shock It To ‘Em, trained by Chris Oakes and driven by Ron Pierce, rallied in the stretch from the pocket for a half-length win in 1:50:1.

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.