Posts Tagged ‘K Ryan Bluechip’

End of Season Awards continue at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Only one night remains in the 50th Anniversary season for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the track in Northeast PA continues their awards for the standouts of the 2015 season closing night, Saturday, November 21st. The  Leading Driver; Leading Trainer – Wins; Claimer of the Year; and Three-Year-Old of the Year will accept their awards.

The Claimer of the Year for 2015 is the inimitable R Gauwitz Hanover.  Even before he arrived at Pocono in May, he was already a big winner in 2015, racking up six wins in New York.  But it was here that the 6-year-old gelding achieved his greatest success, winning nine of his 14 races at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, all while moving up in class from the $10,000 claimers to the $25,000 claiming handicaps.  He won several races from outside posts, had victories for seven different trainers at Pocono; and notched a career-best mile of 1:49 as part of his unforgettable 2015 campaign at Pocono.  The track will honor this great gelding with his record number of claims by displaying, in the paddock, his custom-designed blanket with rainbow letters to signify all the different stables.

The 3-Year-old of the Year honor has been bestowed upon K Ryan Bluechip.  The gelding from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn finished fourth on April 8th in a maiden race at Pocono in what was his first start of the 2015 season.  After that, the only view other horses had of him at Pocono for the remainder of the season was his back end.  K Ryan Bluechip raced five more times at Pocono and won them all in impressive fashion, none slower than 1:51.1, and his career-best win of 1:50.2 came in September.

Rene Allard dominated the training wins, picking up his third straight title in that category.  Allard had nearly twice as many victories as his nearest competitor, and he has set the record for the most training wins in a season in Pocono history.

On the driving side, it was a monster season for George Napolitano Jr., who easily won both the driving wins and driving percentage titles.  George Nap broke his own single-season record for wins at Pocono, and he also notched over 400 wins this season.

Saturday is also a special thank you to the loyal fans with Fan Appreciation Night.  Souvenirs of the 50th Anniversary season will be given out to fans with a coupon from the live racing program starting at 7:00pm.

Racing returns March, 2016, and Simulcast is open year-round.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

November 7-13, 2015

As we approach the close of another racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, it’s time to look back and assess the season that was. All year long in this space we’ve been handing out awards to the top performers of each racing week. Now it’s time to crown season-long achievement by handing out awards to Pocono’s Horses of the Year.

Selecting these horses is never an easy task and it gets harder each year as the racing gets more and more competitive. I collaborated with my buddies Terri Phalen and Jennifer Starr to make the choices, and, although we probably left out horses worthy of acclaim, I think the horses we ultimately selected certainly represent well for this special 50th anniversary season.

So, without further ado, here are the 2015 Pocono Horses of the Year:


This gelding from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn finished fourth on April 8 in a maiden race at MSPD in what was his first start of the 2015 season. As it turns out, it would be the only time he’d have a view of horses crossing the finish line in front of him at Pocono all season. K Ryan Blue Chip raced five more times at Pocono this season and won them all. None of his winning times were slower than 1:51:1, topping out with a career-best 1:50:2 in a September victory.


Even before he arrived at Pocono in May, this 6-year-old gelding was already a big winner in 2015, racking up six victories in New York. But it was here that he achieved his greatest success, winning nine of his 14 races at MSPD, all while moving up in class from the $10,000 claimers to the $25,000 claiming handicaps. He won several races from outside posts, had victories for seven different trainers here, and managed a career-best mile of 1:49 as part of his unforgettable 2015 campaign at Pocono.


This mare has performed for several different barns at Pocono this season but always finds a way to be a factor. She picked up eight wins this season here, including a 1:51:1 mile which set a career-mark for her at age seven. What’s also been impressive is how, like R Gauwitz Hanover, she’s been such a tough customer despite the fact that she’s often faced with brutal post positions in claiming handicaps. And she’s been competitive of late since moving over to face condition pacing mares.


This four-year-old stallion had the win of the year at Pocono when he topped some of the world’s best pacers to win the $500,000 Ben Franklin pace on July 4 in 1:49, going gate-to-wire from an outside post to do so. But that win wasn’t a shot in the dark. He also scored in the Franklin elimination the week prior to the main event and then returned from a stint in Canada to rip off three straight condition wins for trainer Chris Oakes in September and October.


It’s not typical for a trotter to have the best year of his career at age nine, but that’s exactly what this veteran warrior did in 2015. All six of his wins came at Pocono, and when he wasn’t winning, he was often hitting the board. He beat claimers and conditioners, did it from the outside and the inside, and won his six races for five different trainers. The high point of his outstanding year was a three-race winning streak in July and August that included his career-best mile of 1:52:2.

As I said earlier, there were many horses this season deserving of consideration. It’s a testament to just how intense the racing wars at Pocono are that these selections are such a close call, and I have a feeling that the awards races will only get tighter in the years to come.

Next week in this space, we’ll wrap up the 2015 racing season. We’ll take a look at the top drivers and trainers of the year. And we’ll also take a broad look back at what’s been a special anniversary season at Pocono.

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

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

October 9-15, 2015

After the last vestiges of summer flickered across the Northeastern Pennsylvania landscape early last week, more typical autumnal weather started to move in at the end of the racing week. Regardless of the weather, cold or hot, sloppy or clear, you can always count on racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun to be of the highest caliber, and this week was no different. To prove it, let’s hand out some Weekly Awards.


It’s never too late to turn a season around, or at least salvage something positive from it. Consider the example of Fancy Desire, a 4-year-old mare from the barn of trainer Daniel Renaud. As a 3-year-old in 2014, she was outstanding, earning over $300,000. Yet her four-year-old season seemed like a lost cause by comparison; going into her start at Pocono on October 2, she had just two second-place finishes to show for her 21 races with nary a win.

That all changed that night against an excellent $24,000 distaff condition field, as she rallied late with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike to win at 8-1 in 1:52:1 in sloppy conditions. With George Nap unavailable on Friday night, Anthony Napolitano took the assignment aboard Fancy Desire against the same condition, also in the slop. And, changing strategies, A-Nap sent the mare to the front end early.

While the heavy favorite Stacia Hanover labored a bit in the wet conditions, Fancy Desire looked confident on the engine. In the stretch, only Handsoffmycupcake was a threat from the pocket, but she could only get within a length at the line. With a winning time of 1:52:2, Fancy Desire now has two straight victories after her 0-for-21 start to the season. There’s still a month or so left in the Pocono meet and a month more after that till the end of the year, so there’s no telling what kind of damage she’ll do now that she has found her stride.

Other top pacers this week include: Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who reeled off his second straight condition win, this one coming in Saturday night’s feature in 1:50:1; Modern Day Clyde (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who ripped off his third straight claiming victory on Saturday night in 1:52:2; and K Ryan Bluechip (Simon Allard, Joe Pavia Jr.), a three-year-old filly who scored her second straight condition win on Tuesday night, this one in a career-best 1:49:4, and has now won the last four times she’s raced at Pocono.


What a season it has been for this 7-year-old gelding with the mouthful of a name. Going into a $12,500 to $15,000 claiming handicap trot on Friday night, GJ Photo Victory had notched 13 victories in 31 races this year. A good chunk of those victories came right here at Pocono, and, aside from a little mid-season slump, has been a threat to win just about every time he leaves the gate regardless of the competition or the post position.

In recent weeks, GJ Photo Victory has been on fire. He came into Friday night’s race with victories in his last two starts for trainer Dean Eckley. Unlike those last two wins, however, Friday night’s contest saw him shuffled to the middle of the pack early, putting his winning streak in jeopardy. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. decided on a relatively early three-wide move to get the front.

You don’t win as many races as GJ Photo Victory has this year without proving that you can handle a little in-race adversity. As the 2-1 second choice in the race, he worked his way to the front with the wide move and held everyone else at bay from there. The winning time in the slop was 1:56. That makes 14 wins this season, three in a row, and just another example why this horse has to be kept in mind when we hand out the Pocono yearend awards in a few weeks.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Soboro Hanover (Matt Kakaley, Nifty Norman), a 3-year-old gelding who won Tuesday night’s featured condition trot in 1:54:4, giving him two straight victories; Drama Free (Simon Allard, Chris Oakes), who picked up his second straight claiming victory on Friday night, doing so in the slop in a career-best 1:55:1; and Ray Hall (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), whose condition victory on Saturday night came in the week’s fastest trotting time of 1:52:4.


His name may sound like a curse word, but folks were shouting it in celebration after this pacer with Joe Pavia Jr. driving surprised a condition field at 29-1, paying off $61.60 on a $2 win ticket.


Joe had his finest night of the season in the slop on Friday night, churning out five wins, of which only one went off as the race favorite.


Bresnahan won with the only two starters he sent out on Saturday night, a pair of New Zealand-breds who paid off at nice odds: Mr Franklin N at 10-1 and Benjamin Banneker N at 9-2.

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