Posts Tagged ‘Jr.’

Morrill and Oakes Sweep Sire Stakes at Pocono

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

June 19, 2013

Jim Morrill Jr. is the leading driver at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Chris Oakes has been the best Pocono-based trainer on the national scene for about a decade now. On Wednesday night at Pocono, they turned the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes into their own personal playground.

The driver/trainer combo swept the three Sire Stakes divisions held for three-year-old trotting fillies behind standout performances from Lady Broadway, Frau Blucher, and Classic Martine. Each of the three divisions carried a purse of $77,790.

In the first split, Lady Broadway (Broadway Hall-Lady SJ) made the front end on the front stretch and survived a tight stretch scare from the fast-closing pair of True Valentine and Drink The Wine, who finished second and third respectively. The filly, owned by Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, won by a half-length in 1:55:2. She now has three straight wins including two in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition.

Frau Blucher (Broadway Hall-My Angel) put on a show in the second Sire Stakes division with a scorching winning time of 1:52:3. Morrill guided her first-over to the lead on the back stretch and she rolled from there for a 1 ¾-length win over Coffeecake Hanover, with Curtsy Hanover picking up the show. Owned by Hauser Brothers, J&T Silva Stables, and Matt Tudisco, Frau Blucher is now a perfect three-for-three in 2013, with all of the victories coming in Sire Stakes competition.

In the final split, Classic Martine (Classic Photo-Drinking Days), who was making her first start for the Oakes barn, won a thrilling stretch battle with the game Royal Assets, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:53:1. Chiptomylou finished further back in third. Owned by Hauser Brothers, Zurich, and Earl Gold, Classic Martine was making her first start at Pocono since winning the Weiss Series back in May. She now has five wins in eight races this season.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

June 14-20, 2013

What an amazing week of racing we all just witnessed at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. In a year that will see the track host The Breeders Crown in October, we’re already getting a taste of the incendiary action to come. This past week offered Stallion Series races, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races, and a world record-matching performance. Let’s take a look at it all by passing out the Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: GUCCIO

What is it about trainer Jimmy Takter and four-year-old trotting stallions at Pocono? On June 8 in a $25,000 Preferred trot, Takter trainee Uncle Peter delivered a stunning performance in his victory, trotting the mile in 1:51:1. That not only set a track record for the age and gender grouping but it also smashed a world record for the group on a 5/8-mile oval.

Takter was at it again in Saturday night’s Preferred event, only this time he brought in another 4-year-old stallion named Guccio. Guccio had been seasoned against ruggedly tough trotters at The Meadowlands and was made the 2-5 favorite in the race. Takter also did the driving and positioned his horse perfectly behind a speed duel that created unconscious fractions in front of him.

Guccio rolled by his competition in the stretch, ending up 1 ½ lengths out in front of the rest. And what do you think his winning time was? 1:51:1, meaning that he matched the world record that his stablemate just set. I guess the next time you see a Jimmy Takter four-year-old stallion trotting into Pocono, you should watch that timer close to see if another record-breaking performance is in the offing.

Other top trotters this week include: Valley Of Sin (Mike Wilder, John Butenschoen), whose rallying win on Sunday in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colts and geldings in a career-best 1:54:1 was his second straight victory at Pocono; Quantum Cashman (Jonathan Drury, Carmen Auciello), who moved up in class to win a claiming handicap trot on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:3, his third straight overall and second in a row at Pocono; and Lady Broadway (Jim Morrill Jr., Chris Oakes), a 3-year-old filly who won her third straight, the last two of which have come at Pocono, with a victory in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition on Wednesday night in 1:55:2.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BET ON THE LAW

Sometimes it takes a change of tactics to get a horse over the hump. In the case of Bet On The Law, a standout performer for trainer/driver Joe Pavia Jr., he had tried gunning out on the lead in his previous two starts in Preferred paces at Pocono, a style that had served him well in lower classes, only to get caught from behind when facing the best pacers on the grounds.

Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred pace was loaded with big names and lots of up-front speed, so Pavia decided to try something different. He held Bet On The Law back in the field early while others battled for the lead and did all the work. He then wisely caught the cover of Hurrikane Kingcole on the back stretch to get his horse into contention with a minimum of effort.

In the stretch, while others had already used their best strides, Bet On The Law was just finding his. The 4-year-old gelding blew by his cover and everyone else to win by a length. His winning time of 1:48:4 marked a new career-best, but even more important, this talented pacer showed the versatility necessary to win no matter how a race plays out.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Best Ears (Jim Morrill Jr., Rene Allard), who followed up a condition win in his previous race with a victory over $25,000 claimers on Saturday night in a scorching career-best time of 1:49:4; Ideal Matters (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who won for the third time in his last four starts with a conquest of a condition pacing field on Saturday in 1:49:3; and Drop The Ball (Corey Callahan, Ross Croghan), who won Sunday night’s Preferred pace for mares in 1:50.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CAGE FIGHTER

With Andrew McCarthy in the bike, this claiming pacer spiced up the early Daily Double on Wednesday night with a rallying win at 44-1, paying out $91 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY

Kakaley has been on fire for much of the season, but he turned it up with double-figures in wins for the week, including a five-bagger on Tuesday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RON BURKE

Burke started the week off with three training wins on Friday night and didn’t let up from there, as he has slowly but surely ascended to the top of the Pocono training colony in victories for the meet.

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 readies for Sun Stakes Saturday

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

There are 11 stakes race eliminations on the Saturday card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, with horses earning their way into competition next Saturday, Sun Stakes Saturday, that will be worth almost $2,000,000 in purses. 

15 three-year-old pacing fillies in the two eliminations for the $300,000 James Lynch Final have bankrolled a combined $3.6M in a little more than one season, and two have beaten 1:50 already this year: I Luv The Nitelife, who won the Fan Hanover Final last week, and Ms Caila J Fra, who defeated “Luv” and another top Lynch contender, Jerseylicious, in a recent NJ Sire Stakes Final. Oh, and there’s Somwherovrarainbow, who is merely defending division champ.

 24 three-year-old trotting colts, less than two months away from the Hambletonian, start their quest for the $1,000,000 PA bonus for winning the Earl Beal Trot, the Colonial, and the Breeders Crown (which will all be at Pocono) by racing three elims for next week’s $500,000 Beal Final. The “hot shooter” in this group, which has collectively earned $3.8M and has 13 entrants who have bettered 1:55 already this season, is Smilin Eli, perfect in three career races, but starting “behind the 8-ball” in his Saturday elim.

 22 of the sport’s “glamour division,” the three-year-old pacing colts, will go at it in three elims before the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial next week. And right now, in a collective group with $5.1M banked and eight under 1:50 already in 2013, the big focus will be on “The Captain,” Captaintreacherous, last season’s Pacer of the Year who kicked off his 2013 campaign right at Pocono and now returns to town off a triumph in the year’s first seven-figure race, last Saturday $1,000,000 North America Cup Final at Mohawk.

 And that’s just the three-year-olds. There are 20 older horses brought together for elims towards the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final on the Sun Saturday Stakes card, and they just may be the best overall field of horses ever assembled. Their collective accomplishments are mind-boggling:

 $23.9M in career earnings – that’s right, the AVERAGE career bankroll of this field approaches $1.2 million, headed by the sport’s richest-ever pacer, Foiled Again ($4,895,444); an AVERAGE career mark of 1:48.2, with 13 of the 20 already hanging up a sub-1:50 triumph in 2013;

 the defending Franklin champ, Betterthancheddar; the defending 3YO (Heston Blue Chip) and older (Foiled Again) champions; the horse who beat this group most recently, in the Roll With Joe at Tioga, Pet Rock; and the fastest horse ever on a 5/8-mile track, Bolt The Duer (1:47.4f). 

Wow! What a card! 

The first of Saturday’s 14 races at Pocono is set to go at 6:30 p.m. The Lynch fillies are in races 1 and 5; the Beal trotters are in races 2, 6, and 9; Hempt colts are slated for action in the 3rd, 7th, and 10th; and the free-for-all monsters will go in races 8, 11, and 12.

 You just don’t like harness racing if you’re not anxious to see this card’s action unfold, and to see who earns spots for the $2,000,000 Sun Stakes Saturday card a week later.

Gerry Connors for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

 

Stallion Series Action at Pocono for the Distaff Trotters

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

June 18, 2013

The combination of trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and driver David Miller scored a pair of wins with the two fastest times in Stallion Series action for three-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were five divisions held on the night, each with a purse of $20,000.

The Miller-Morgan combo first scored with Choose Happy (Donato Hanover-Tady Strikes Again), whose winning time of 1:54:3 was a more than a second faster than the previous quickest winning time in the Stallion Series splits. A few starts later, the duo did it again even faster with Choose Happy’s half-sister UF Tady’s Donato (Donato Hanover-Tady’s Comer), who rolled in 1:54:2.

The other fillies winning Stallion Series divisions at Pocono on Wednesday night: Changed It All (Yankee Glide-Rhine River), driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and trained by Michael Hall, in 1:56:2; Bethel Hanover (Donato Hanover-Beignet Hanover), driven by Morrill and trained by Staffan Lind, in 1:57:3; and Shouda Cuda Wuda (SJ’s Caviar-Mink Hanover), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Allan Johnson, in 1:56.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

June 7-13, 2013

This is the time of year at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs when we move to a schedule of five nights per week, meaning that there are more outstanding performances to sift through when choosing the Weekly Awards. This is also the time of year when it seems like not a week goes by without some sort of assault on either a Pocono track record or even a world record. One of those special performances on Saturday night is the obvious choice to kick off our Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: UNCLE PETER

Harness racing can be a funny sport, because there are certain occasions when a horse’s record doesn’t really have much bearing on the race. Take, for example, Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred trot, where Uncle Peter came in as the favorite despite having won just once in five tries in 2013. A closer inspection of that record shows that the competition that the 4-year-old stallion from the Jimmy Takter barn had faced so far this season had been top-notch.

Uncle Peter definitely had unfinished business at Pocono, considering that he had raced in Preferred company twice in April and had come up just short. In his return on Saturday night, he decided to put any doubts the Pocono faithful might have had about his credibility to rest by going the biggest mile he could possibly manage.

With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, Uncle Peter surged to the front end on the front stretch and romped away from the excellent competition from that point to win by four lengths. The winning time of 1:51:1 was astounding, breaking not just the Pocono mark for 4-year-old stallions on the trot but also the world record for the age group. It was also the third-fastest mile ever trotted at Pocono, proving that Uncle Peter is one of the best trotters around no matter what his win-loss record says.

Other top trotters this week include: Luv Ya Tyler (George Napolitano Jr., Neal Ehrhart), who chugged through the slop on Friday night to his second straight condition victory, this one coming in 1:55:4; Quantum Cashman (Jonathan Drury, Carmen Auciello), who followed up a win in Canada with a claiming handicap victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:55:3; and Upfront Billy (George Napolitano Jr., Mark Ford) who now has two straight wins, one at the Meadowlands at one in Wednesday night’s featured condition trot at Pocono in 1:53.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BUCK STOPS HERE

Some horses get on such a hot streak that they find their way to the line even when it doesn’t seem possible. Buck Stops Here is on just such a streak. The mare has really been on that roll all year long, as she came into Wednesday night’s $15,000-$20,000 claiming handicap pace for mares having won six of her last seven races. She was four for her first five since arriving at Pocono, and her last two wins came from the outside post.

The winning streak has been even more impressive for the fact that she’s been claimed in each of her five starts since coming to Pocono. The 5-year-old mare joined the Jason Robinson barn for Wednesday night’s contest, which once again had her dealing with an outside post. George Napolitano Jr. took her to the front early, and Buck Stops Here had to set imposing fractions just to repel the pressure to her outside.

In the stretch, closers came at her on both sides, and it seemed like she was bound to succumb. But Buck Stops Here, riding that outstanding streak, found her way to the line for a win by a nose in 1:52. She was claimed again after the race, and she’ll probably be on the outside should she face the same class again next week. But the way she’s going right now, I know I wouldn’t bet against her.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Jepson Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), who rallied late to win Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred pace in a career-best 1:49:1; Erle Dale N (Andrew McCarthy, Darran Cassar), who made his second start in the U.S. a memorable one on Saturday night, winning a condition pace in a sizzling 1:49, fastest pacing time of the week at MSPD; and Queen Of Royalty (Tyler Buter, Allen Sisco), a mare who won her third straight on Wednesday night in a condition trot in 1:51:3 and moved up in class to do so.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FRISKY STRIKE

In a rugged claiming handicap trot on Saturday night, this mare came up late to upend the favorites at 37-1 with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, triggering a $76.40 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JOE PAVIA JR.

Pavia had one of his best weeks of the season to date this past week, picking up wins in four racing nights and scoring a driving triple on Sunday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JASON ROBINSON

He’s been one of our top percentage trainers at Pocono for the past few seasons, and he had an excellent week just past, scoring three training wins.

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.