Posts Tagged ‘John Kakaley’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

October 21-27, 2017

We are only about a month away from concluding the 2017 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. As a result, there will only be a few more editions of the Weekly Awards before we use the space in this column to wrap up the meet. The racing was quite spicy the past week, as the action shows no sign of letting up as we get nearer to Closing Night. Let’s see who takes the honors for the week that was at Pocono.

PACER OF THE WEEK: JJ FLYNN

Moving up the condition ladder is never an easy task. In the case of this four-year-old gelding trained by Josh Green, it seemed like it would be a monumental undertaking on Saturday night. Not only was JJ Flynn stepping up to face a $16,500 condition group after winning a notch below that in his previous race on October 14 in a career-best 1:50:1, he was also entering a field especially full of classy pacers, with Luck Be Withyou and his over $1.4 million in career earnings looming particularly large.

JJ Flynn left from post position #6 in a field of nine as the 9-2 second choice on the board. He sat mid-pack early on, while Luck Be Withyou, the 1-2 favorite, unsurprisingly set the pace. Had the favorite been able to get away with an uncontested journey, JJ Flynn might have been doomed. But a first-over challenge by Nimble And Quick kept Luck Be Withyou honest. JJ Flynn followed the cover of Nimble And Quick to get into striking position.

On the home stretch, JJ Flynn stepped wide of Nimble And Quick and zipped past him, but still had to get past Luck Be Withyou. Just a few yards before the finish line, it still seemed like the favorite would get home. But that’s when JJ Flynn, with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, surged and sped past to win it by a neck. His second straight victory was made even more memorable by the fact that he did it in 1:50, resetting his career mark.

Other top pacers this week include: Motor City Marco (John Kakaley, Travis Alexander) who once again won in the condition claiming ranks on Sunday, this time in 1:54:4 to give him four in a row; Montana Pablo A (George Napolitano Jr., Mark Kesmodel), who picked up his second straight claiming handicap win on Saturday night in 1:51:2; and Big N Bad (Jim Marohn Jr., Rob Harmon), whose victory on Monday night in a condition came in 1:49:2, the fastest time of both his career and the week at Pocono.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: CLASSICALITY

In order to beat the enemy, you have to properly identify it first. Classicality, a seven-year-old gelding trained by Lisa Dunn, has been making a lot of enemies himself lately. His last three starts: a win at The Meadows in 1:53:4 on September 7; a win at Pocono on September 24 in 1:53:2; and another win at The Meadows in 1:53:1 on October 11. And he wasn’t facing chopped liver either, going for $20,000 purses in each race, which is also the purse for which he competed on Sunday.

Classicality was the 5-2 second choice, however, as Centurion ATM, a stallion who had faced stakes competition for his past several starts, was made the favorite at even money. Centurion ATM also benefitted from a much better post position in the #3 hole, while Classicality was on the outside in the field of eight. Simeon set the pace, but Centurion ATM came stalking on the outside on the back stretch. Classicality, with Marcus Miller in the bike, knew whom he had to follow and quickly latched on to the favorite second-over.

Having identified his main enemy, Classicality was set to take him on. Centurion ATM took over the lead from Simeon, but it was short-lived. Classicality possessed more trot in the stretch and came up a winner by a neck in 1:53:2. That makes it four in a row for the gelding, which, considering the caliber of the competition he’s been facing, is quite an impressive streak.

Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Catch A Mission (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), a mare who stayed perfect on the year with her third straight win, the last two of which have come at Pocono after a condition victory on Sunday night in 1:54:4; Silvermass Volo (Simon Allard, Michael Holcman), who churned his way to his second straight condition win on Sunday night and did so in a new career-best time of 1:54; and CR Blazin Beauty (Anthony Napolitano, Al Annunziata), a filly who has followed up an extended winning streak at smaller tracks in the Midwest with back-to-back victories at Pocono, the latest coming on Monday night in a condition trot in a career-best 1:55.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WILD BILL M

In Saturday night’s final race, this condition pacer with Simon Allard in the bike overcame an outside post to pull off an upset at 60-1, paying off $131.40 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TOM JACKSON

The steady veteran driver had an effective week at Pocono, putting up a driving double on Sunday and then scoring on Monday with 55-1 shot Sinspirational.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DOUG HAMILTON

Hamilton enjoyed a race in honor of his retirement on Tuesday night, but first he made sure he put up one more win in the ledger when Pilgrims Tide scored a win on Sunday.

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.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

October 7-13, 2017

It’s pretty difficult to believe that we are in the final quarter of the racing season here at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. (The warm weather is quite deceiving, because it certainly hasn’t seemed like autumn around here.) It will be soon be time to pick out yearend honors at Pocono, but that can wait a bit. For now, let’s be content to find the finest horses of the past week as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: SI SEMALU

This seven-year-old gelding from the Bruce Clarke barn has been a solid performer for much of the season both here and at Harrah’s, but he seems to really be peaking here at the tail end of the meet. On September 30, Si Semalu dropped into a $12,500 condition pace and worked out a trip from an outside post, coming up late for a win in 1:50:1 as a 16-1 long shot. The winning time was a new career-best mark.

On Saturday night, he stepped back up into the $14,000 condition group, a class that had given him problems earlier this season. This was a pretty stacked race, with a field that included million-dollar earner Lucan Hanover as the odds-on favorite. Si Semalu got away third from the #7 post as an 8-1 shot with Jim Marohn Jr. in the bike, while Lucan Hanover called the early shots. The pace was quick and the leader was pressured throughout.

On the home stretch, Marohn had room to nudge Si Semalu to the outside. After saving so much energy to that point, he powered home past a tiring Lucan Hanover and held off closer Sports Bettor by three parts of a length. His winning time was 1:50:3, giving him two straight victories with sizzling times and a lot of confidence heading into whatever comes next.

Other top pacers this week include: Unbeamlieveable (Matt Kakaley, Vincent Fusco Jr.), a mare who overcame an outside post and a barn switch to capture her second straight claiming handicap on Monday, getting it done in a career-best 1:52; Motor City Marco (John Kakaley, Travis Alexander), a three-year-old who rolled on the front end on Sunday to his third straight condition victory, picking up the victory in a new career-best of  1:53:3; and Allstar Partner (Anthony Napolitano, Andrew Harris), whose condition victory on Saturday night in a career-best 1:49 represented the fastest pacing time of the past week at Pocono.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MONEYDONTBUYULOVE

It has been an impressive streak put together of late by this four-year-old gelding from the Rene Allard barn. He came into a condition trot on Sunday night having won his last four consecutive starts. One of those was at Pocono in a non-winners of three condition group on September  5 on a sloppy track in 1:57. There was also a victory at Saratoga and back-to-back scores at Yonkers amassed by Moneydontbuyulove during the hot stretch.

On Sunday night, Moneydontbuyulove faced his toughest test yet, going up against a noon-winners of five class for a purse of $16,000. The fact that he was stepping up didn’t scare off the bettors, who made him a 1-9 favorite in a short field of six. His toughest competition figured to be from Arch Credit, a three-year-old who was coming off a sharp qualifier and sure enough hustled to the lead.

Arch Credit attempted to set nasty enough fractions to shake the favorite, but even getting to the three-quarter mark in 1:24:4 didn’t do the trick, as Moneydontbuyulove stayed attached. In the stretch, it was essentially a two-horse race, and Moneydontbuyulove utilized the passing lane to make his play for the lead. With Simon Allard in the bike, he glided by to beat Arch Credit by 1 ¾ lengths. For the icing on the cake, his fifth straight victory came in a new career mark of 1:54:1.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Catch A Mission (Jim Marohn Jr., Erv Miller), a mare who followed up a win at Harrah’s with one at Pocono in a condition on Sunday night in 1:53:4, which was the fastest trotting time of the week; Silvermass Volo (Mike Simons, Michael Holcman), who rallied from far back for a condition win on Sunday night in 1:54:3; and Stormont Wizard (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who moved up in class to knock off a condition group on Tuesday night in 1:54, which was a new career-best time.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SIBSON

This trotter previously had issues staying on stride, but, with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, he was flat and fast in a condition win on Tuesday night at 33-1, paying $68.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JOHN KAKALEY

The veteran driver had just four drives on Sunday night but won with two of them, scoring with pacer Motor City Marco and trotter Swiss Platinum.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BRUCE CLARKE

The Clarke barn scored three wins on the week, highlighted by a training double on Sunday night and the second straight win by Si Semalu 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.

First Qualifiers of the 2016 held

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

The first Qualifiers of the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono’s 2016 season were held at the track in Northeast Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning, March 8th.  Under partly sunny skies and a temperature of nearly 60 degrees, 6 trotting and 5 pacing qualifying races were held.

The fifth qualifying race, a trot, saw the fastest time of the trotters of 1:56.4 for Chipoffthewall, a three-year-old black gelding trained by Syl King Jr. and driven this morning by one of Pocono’s leading drivers, Anthony Napolitano.

The fastest pacing time belonged to Toatsmygoats in the eighth race.  John Kakaley drove the four-year-old gelding trained by Nick Surick, who finished in 1:54.

The second Qualifying races of the season are set for Wednesday morning, March 9th, at 10:00a.m., with 11 more on tap.  Next Wednesday, March 16th, is also set aside for qualifiers, and each Wednesday after that.

The track opens for their 2016 season on Saturday, March 19th with a Post Time of 6:30p.m.  In March, racing will be held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and in April, racing moves to the regular schedule of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

October 17-23, 2014

It’s hard to believe that we are entering the final month of the 2014 racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. In just a few weeks, we’ll be handing out yearend awards and trying to sum up what has been another wonderful racing meet. But the action hasn’t abated yet, as evidenced by another thrilling week of racing. Let’s take a look at the top performances by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: TALK STRATEGY

This 4-year-old stallion had been quite a surprise in his previous two starts, winning in come-from-behind fashion at long odds both times. He scored at 9-1 two starts ago and then rallied from last to first to win last week at 11-1. Since he had been racing in a non-winners of five condition with an optional claiming price in those races, he was scooped up for the claiming price after the last start and joined the barn of Chris Oakes.

On Tuesday night, Talk Strategy lined up to attempt a third straight victory against the same class, but he was the second choice behind speedy Southwind Terror. Sure enough, Southwind Terror streaked to the front end and tried to bottom out the field by pacing unconscious fractions. Only he didn’t count on Talk Strategy staying close enough behind him to apply pressure.

As they rounded the final turn, the fractions caught up with Southwind Terror and he went off stride into the infield. Since those top two had separated from the rest, Talk Strategy, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, suddenly found himself with a huge lead. He coasted from there to the win, his third straight, with this one coming in a new career-best 1:50:2.

Other top pacers this week include: Regil Elektra (Joe Pavia Jr., Monte Gelrod), who rallied as an 18-1 long shot for a victory in Friday night’s $35,000 Open Handicap for mares, scoring in a career-best 1:50:3; Dedi’s Dragon (Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke), whose condition victory on Saturday night came in 1:49:4, a career-best and the fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Trevor Win For Us (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who romped to his second consecutive claiming handicap win on Saturday night in 1:51.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OVERANDOVERVICTORY

A five-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Douglas Hamilton, Overandovervictory has been a solid performer in the middle of the condition ranks this season at Pocono. As the campaign nears its close, he seems to just be getting warmed up. On October 11, he put together one of his finest performances of the year with a front-end win in 1:54:3.

On Saturday night, he had a few things working against him in his quest for a second consecutive victory. First, he was moving up to a higher class, the non-winners of $14,000 in the last five starts, after a few months in against a bit lower. Second, he was stuck in the brutal #9 post position, never an easy task against any foes. Hence the long odds on the gelding of 21-1.

Driver Anthony Napolitano was able to coax some early speed out of him, reaching the lead quickly and then sitting in a great spot in the pocket for much of the mile. The only question was whether or not Overandovervictory would have a second move in him. He did, powering home to hold off closing Tag Up And Go by a nose in 1:55. That makes two in a row for a trotter who likely won’t be underestimated again anytime soon.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Miss Wapwallopen (Mike Simons, Gene Daisey Jr.), a mare whose claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:56 was her second straight victory and third in her last four; Home Front (Ake Svanstedt driver and trainer), a colt who ripped off his third consecutive condition victory on Wednesday in 1:57:3; and Hezatrain (George Napolitano Jr., Allan Johnson), who rolled to a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:53:3, a career mark and the fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RAMBLINGAMBLINMAN

You would have had to be ramblin’ and gamblin’ to take a shot on this one on Wednesday night at 33-1, but John Kakaley guided him home to a condition win for a $69 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

Very few drivers in the history of Pocono have ever achieved 300 wins in a single meet, but George Nap does it year after year, reaching that magic number for 2014 on Saturday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: AKE SVANSTEDT

Svanstedt’s training percentage at Pocono has been brilliant all season long, and this week was no different as he churned out four more 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

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

October 26-November 1, 2012

There were only three nights of racing this past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to Hurricane Sandy. Even with the smaller slate of racing, there were still plenty of fine performances, including a track record. That means that we have plenty of excellent choices for this edition of the Weekly Awards, and the horse that set the track record leads it off.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BET ON THE LAW

Track records are a great achievement at any point, but the ones that are set usually come in the warmer months of summer. That’s why the effort put forth by Bet On The Law was so exceptional on Saturday night. Not only did he have to overcome some outstanding condition pacers to set his record, but he also had to overcome the chilly temperatures.

The three-year-old gelding is the pride of the Joe Pavia Jr. barn, and Joe also drives him on a regular basis. As with most track records, it required some blistering early fractions, and Bet On The Law was in a perfect position to take advantage of those fractions when the time came. In the stretch, the gelding made a second move and surged past the competition.

When he rolled to the line in front of the rest of condition pacers in the field, the timer read 1:49:1. That bested the previous Pocono mark for 3-year-old geldings on the pace of 1:49:2, which was set earlier this season by Dynamic Youth. That’s quite the achievement for a horse that is in his first year of racing, as the gelding didn’t even race as a 2-year-old. Maybe that’s why the October weather didn’t bother him a bit, because he’s just getting in his groove with a very bright future ahead.

Other top pacers this week include: Special Dark (Matt Kakaley, Kent Sherman), who continued her domination of the $5,000 claiming mares on Friday night with her third straight win, this time coming in a career-best time of 1:53; Mustang Art (Tyler Buter, James McGuire), who rallied for a win on Saturday night in a condition pace in 1:49:1, which was a career-best time and matched the fastest of the week; and Miss Behave (Jim Morrill Jr., Ted Wing), a mare who rolled to her third straight claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:54.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SEVRUGA

The winners of over $25,000 condition trotting group has been one of the most fun to watch all season long at Pocono. It seems like no horse has been able to really dominate from week to week. We’ve seen horses step up in class for big wins in this group, and we’ve also seen other horses that are dropping down from higher groupings finding a home in the class.

Sevruga fits firmly into the latter category. The 4-year-old gelding from the Julie Miller barn has had an excellent season, but it was interrupted by a two month hiatus following a 4th place finish in stakes competition at Harrah’s in August. His first start back on October 20 at Pocono ended in a third-place finish in an Open Handicap trot on October 20, finishing behind superstar trotters Anders Bluestone and Arch Madness, which is no great shame.

On Saturday night, he was ready for a peak performance. Driver Pat Berry sent him to the front end early on from an outside post, and nobody was able to even threaten him from the point. Sevruga rolled to an easy win in 1:52:2, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono, and he seems fresh enough to move back up into even higher echelons of the trotting world.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Crystal Sizzler (Andrew McCarthy, Norman Morford), who beat a field of $7,500 claimers on Friday night in 1:56:4 for his second straight win and third in his last four; Tui (Anthony Napolitano, Donald Wiest), the mare who chalked up a big condition win on Saturday night in a season that’s been full of them for her, as she scored in 1:52:4; and Bloomfieldcantifly (Jim Morrill Jr., Bill Mullin), a filly who won Wednesday night’s featured condition trot in 1:56, a new career mark.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SATIN SPIDER

Racing on Halloween, this spider spun his web with John Kakaley at 43-1 in a claiming pace, paying off $89.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW MCCARTHY

No driver has been more adept at bringing in long shots at Pocono, and McCarthy’s driving double on Friday night included a 15-1 winner in My Cinnamon Girl.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LINDA KAKALEY

There was a lot of balance in the training colony this week, with a lot of different trainers picking up single wins. That means that Linda’s 2-for-2 training double on Friday night really stands out.

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.