Posts Tagged ‘Joe Seekman’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

May 17-23, 2014

In this space, we usually hand out the Weekly Awards. But every now and again, we deviate from our formula due to something special taking place at the track. In this case, it was Saturday night’s racing card, which featured the first appearance of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, a world-record performance, and a young driver who nearly stole the show from everybody.

Regular watchers know just how fantastic the racing is Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has become over the past few years. But nights like Saturday evening that go a little above and beyond are always special. Let’s take a look at some of the spectacular moments from the night.

If you’ve been to the track enough, you’ll hear the phrase that a horse “needs a start” from handicappers. What it means is that a horse is coming off a long layoff and isn’t expected to perform at its peak the first time back. While that might have been a good rule in the past, I find it to be less and less reliable as time passes.

For example, take Saturday night’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the pace. In the first split of the night, Tellitlikeitis, a big earner as a 2-year-old for the Jimmy Takter barn, was making his first start since September. Two outstanding qualifiers must have prepared him enough though, because driver Brett Miller positioned him in the pocket and then blew by pacesetter Limelight Beach in the stretch to score in a scorching 1:49:1, the first of many sizzling times achieved on the night.

Ironically, the horse that finished second behind Tellitlikeitis in one of those qualifiers at The Meadowlands was Somestarsomewhere, and he proved to be ready for his close-up as well. With Matt Kakaley in the bike for trainer Ron Burke, the colt, who hadn’t raced since finishing third in the Breeders Crown in October, won a thrilling stretch battle in his Sire Stakes division in 1:50:3.

The other two Sire Stakes winners had good stories as well. At Press Time, another one guided by Burke and Kakaley, bounced back from a 4th-place finish in an overnight race at Pocono in his last start to pull off a 10-1 upset in his division in 1:49:1. And the night’s most dominant performance was turned in by Let’s Drink On It, who arrived from Indiana and rolled to a convincing win in the night’s fastest Sire Stakes time of 1:49. Tyler Smith did the driving for trainer Joe Seekman.

If Smith seems like an unfamiliar name, it’s because the 21-year-old driver, who usually does his racing in Indiana, was making his first appearance at Pocono. And what a debut it was. In addition to the win aboard Let’s Drink On It, Smith also picked up wins aboard McMarvel at 21-1 and Arsenal at 11-1. He had five starts on the night and picked up three victories and a show, and if you bet the horses he drove $2 across the board all night, you would have walked away with a profit of $88.90. The bettors are probably hoping Smith comes back soon; I’m not so sure if the other drivers will be as anxious to see him again.

For all of the drama and excitement of the Sire Stakes, Dancin Yankee had something even better in store for the faithful in the $25,000 Preferred pace. Last seen winning the Van Rose Memorial at Pocono two weeks previous to Saturday night, he returned to action with a performance for the ages. He took the lead with an incredibly fast brush in the front stretch, reaching the half in 52:2 to give an indication that this race could be one for the record books.

The 6-year-old stallion from the Josh Green barn had to fight off a first-over charge from Mach It So on the back stretch, which seemed like it might leave him vulnerable to pocket horse Clear Vision coming home. But driver Brett Miller asked Dancin Yankee for a little more and he gave a lot, holding off Clear Vision by a neck in 1:47:2. Not only was that the fastest time ever posted at Pocono, it matched the speediest time ever recorded on a 5/8-mile oval.

Dancin Yankee’s performance thrilled about everyone in attendance, with the possible exception of Anderlecht. The 9-year-old stallion won the 13th race in an eye-popping 1:48. That time would have set the track record for aged stallions on the pace at the start of the night. But, alas, Dancin Yankee beat him to it with a time that was three-fifths of a second faster.

The moral of the story is that, on a night as stellar as Saturday night at Pocono, even the extraordinary can seem just OK.

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.

 

Freshman Pacers in Sire Stakes at Pocono

Friday, July 19th, 2013

July 17, 2013

Two-year-old pacing colts and geldings took center stage on Wednesday night at Pocono when they battled it out in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. There were four divisions held, with purses ranging from $68,752 to $69,153.

In the first division, McWicked (McArdle-Western Sahara) saved ground all the way then shot through an opening on the inside in the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:52. Andy Miller was in the bike for trainer Julie Miller, as McWicked, the 3-1 third choice, won for the second time in three career races. All Star Partner finished second while He’s Got It, who led much of the mile, faded to third.

Let’s Drink On It (Art Official-Letmedowneasy), the 2-5 favorite in the second split, led at every pole with Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:51:4. The colt from the Joe Seekman barn now has two wins in three lifetime starts, with both of those victories coming on the Pocono oval. Cabana Boy Hanover finished second and Seventh Secret picked up the show.

8-5 second choice Limelight Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Benear) used a pocket trip and a powerful late kick to win the third division by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:53. It was the second straight Sire Stakes win for Limelight Beach, who had David Miller in the bike for trainer Brian Brown. Sometimes Said finished second while At Press Time was third.

In the final Sire Stakes division, Bristol Bay (Somebeachsomewhere-Terri Hall), the 6-1 second choice, used the passing lane to rally for a tight victory by a neck over 1-5 favorite West Matters in 1:53. Matt Kakaley did the driving for trainer Chris Oakes, as Bristol Bay earned his maiden win in his third career start. Spinmeister was third.

Frau Blucher Stars Once Again at Pocono

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

June 30, 2013

Frau Blucher picked up her fourth victory in as many tries this year, highlighting Pennsylvania All Stars action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Sunday night. The All Stars races are part of Grand Circuit Week at Pocono.

Frau Blucher (Broadway Hall-My Angel), who had already won three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races to start her 2013 campaign, continued her dominance with a half-length win over Fashion Athena in one of three $35,000 divisions of All Stars races held for 3-year-old trotting fillies. With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike for trainer Chris Oakes, Frau Blucher won in 1:53:4.

Morrill and Oakes also hooked up for a win in another 3-year-old filly trotting division of the Pennsylvana All Stars, as Classic Martine (Classic Photo-Drinking Days) scored in 1:53:1. In the final division of that group, Promisemethis (Chip Chip Hooray-Promisemespring), driven by Dan Rawlings and trained by Rick Beinhauer, prevailed in 1:54:2.

There were also six $30,000 All Star divisions of the 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pace held at Pocono. The winners were: All Star Partner (Four Starzzz Shark-Faithful Ideal), driven by Mike Simons and trained by John Butenschoen, in 1:52:4; Jack Attack (Allamerican Native-Pocket Queens), driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Bill Mullin, in 1:53:4; At Press Time (Western Terror-So Right), driven by David Miller and trained by Sam DePinto, in 1:53:4; Stevensville (Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show), driven by Simons and trained by Ray Schnittker; Let’s Drink On It (Art Official-Letmedowneasy), driven by Pierce and trained by Joe Seekman, in 1:52; and Cabana Boy Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Current Hanover), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Oakes, in 1:52:3.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Friday, July 13th, 2012

July 6-12, 2012

One of the most fun parts of any racing season occurs when the younger horses take center stage. These stars of tomorrow are often green in terms of experience but great in terms of talent. From July 3-8, Grand Circuit Week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs featured some outstanding 2 and 3-year-old trotters and pacers in the Pennsylvania All-Stars races. Let’s take a look at each of the eight classes that were held over those five nights of racing, an exciting week that showcased potential for the future and thrilling racing in the present.

2-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS & GELDINGS

Santa Fe Beachboy kicked off Grand Circuit Week with a bang last Tuesday, winning in a blistering time of 1:52 in his first start ever, a time that would hold up as the fastest in the class. That set the tone for six $25,000 divisions of this class in which several heavy favorites dominated their splits. Trainer Ray Schnittker had two of those heavy favorites, Red Rock and Cowboy Terrier, who each won in their debut races. Both of those winners were driven by Tim Tetrick, who added a third winner in the class with Lone Wolf Currier, who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a convincing win in 1:53:1.

2-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS

As you might expect, this grouping, which held six $25,000 divisions last Tuesday, was dominated by a guy who always has a barn full of superb young trotters: Trainer Jimmy Takter. Jimmy also did the driving and picked up three victories with High Bridge, Atlas Peak, and Dontyouforgetit, all of whom won their debuts with relative ease. Takter wasn’t the only trainer with something to smile about in this class. David Wade looks like he has a star on his hands with easy winner Tigress’s Legacy, and Rich Gillock sent out Major Athens, who rolled with David Miller in the bike to the group’s fastest winning time of 1:56.

2-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Seven divisions of freshman fillies hit the track last Wednesday for their $25,000 All-Stars races. A couple of horses moved to 2-for-2 in their young careers with wins, as Somstreetsomwhere and Banner Beach Day turned the trick. It was a first-time starter who turned in the fastest time of the night, however, as Antigua Hanover, trained by Mark Harder and piloted by Jim Morrill Jr., scored in 1:53:3. Morrill also played a part in the grouping’s biggest upset, driving Binding Desire to a surprising win at odds of 11-1.

2-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

The most impressive performance in this class, which held four $35,000 divisions on Friday night, belonged to Fashion Athena. Despite it being her debut race, this filly with Andrew McCarthy driving for Jim Campbell rallied to win her split in a sizzling 1:55:1, less than a second off the track record for her age and gender. Driver Matt Kakaley had two of the other winners, scoring with Good Intentions and Frau Blucher.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

A late rain storm on Saturday night meant that two of the three $50,000 divisions of this class were held in the slop. That didn’t slow down either Star Recruit or I Like Dreamin, who each won in the off-going in identical times of 1:51:4. Mcerlean, driven my Matt Kakaley for trainer Trond Smedshammer, scored in the one split on a fast track in 1:51:1.

3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The big star in the three $50,000 divisions held Saturday night was Uncle Peter, who couldn’t get by Googoo Gaagaa in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial but atoned for it with a sizzling win in the All-Stars in 1:52:3 for Jimmy Takter. Takter also scored with Nothing But Class early in the night, a notable win because it was the colt’s maiden victory.

3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

Driver Dave Palone, making his first appearance at Pocono since breaking North America’s all-time record for driving wins, picked up victories in two of the five $32,000 divisions of this class on Sunday night, winning with Lady Andi and On The Bright Side. Tim Tetrick also scored twice in this class, once aboard Can’t Have My Moni, and once aboard Oasis Dream, a 16-1 shot whose mile of 1:54 was just one-fifth of a second off the track record for the age group.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Of the three $50,000 divisions held in this class Sunday night, Moonlit Dragon, driven by Eric Carlson and trained by Bruce Saunders, went the fastest, winning her split in a sizzling career-best time of 1:50:4. The other winners were Kiss Dont Bite, with Andy Miller in the bike for Noel Daley, and Podges Lady, who won despite a month layoff for trainer Joe Seekman and driver Eric Ledford.

All in all, it was another fantastic Grand Circuit Week at Pocono. Next week, we’ll get back to our Weekly Awards for the overnight races. Until then, we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.