Posts Tagged ‘Larry Remmen’

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

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

October 3-9, 2014

In the three nights of racing that took place at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs the past week, we witnessed some outstanding performances by experienced veterans. Yet the two victories that stood out among such a distinguished crowd were scored by a pair of three-year-old fillies. We’ll take a look at each of those precocious performers as well as the best of the rest in this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC CARPET

This filly was unraced as a 2-year-old, which meant she started her racing career this year. She began that career on some small tracks in Canada and started to really find her stride with a romping win on the 5/8-mile oval at Rideau Carlton in August. That’s when she shipped into the U.S. and joined the barn of trainer Ron Burke. She immediately paid dividends with a comfortable win at Harrah’s at Philadelphia by another big margin.

In her first appearance at Pocono on September 30, Classic Carpet faced off against a non-winners of four condition group and dominated as an odds-on favorite in 1:51, a new career-mark. With a three-race winning streak in tow, it was no surprise that she went off against that same condition group on Tuesday night as a 4-5 favorite despite being up against a solid field of young distaff pacers.

With Matt Kakaley doing the driving, Classic Carpet once again made her move to the lead on the front stretch at about the 3/8-mile marker of the race. From that point, nobody posed even a modest threat to her dominance in the race. She coasted to the line 3 ¾ lengths in front of her closest foe in a sharp 1:51:4. She may have started a bit later than most, but this filly is making up for lost time in a big way.

Other top pacers this week include: Wake Up Peter (Tyler Buter, Larry Remmen), who powered to a condition win on Saturday night in 1:50, the fastest time of the week at MSPD; Artache Hanover (Anthony Napolitano, James Eaton), who rallied from the pocket on Saturday night for his second straight condition win, this one coming in 1:52:1; and Cameron Lucky (Jim Morrill Jr., Darren Taneyhill), a mare who picked up her second straight claiming handicap win on Wednesday night, this one in 1:52:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: STRUCK BY LINDY

Unlike Classic Carpet, Struck By Lindy did race as a 2-year-old and she turned in a standout season, churning out four wins in just 12 starts and earning over $300,000 in purse. Her prospects for a great sophomore year seemed excellent, but even though she had several in-the-money finishes against good competition, she entered a condition trot on September 27 winless in eleven 2014 races.

On that night, she followed outside cover and rallied for the victory to break the losing streak in a time of 1:54:1. Last Saturday night, the filly from the Nifty Norman barn once again tackled a tough condition group of non-winners of $14,000 in the last five starts. Struck By Lindy doesn’t like to fire early, so the inside post she had might have worked against her as she was shuffled back in the pack. Driver Andrew McCarthy had no choice but to send her first-over on the back stretch to try to get the lead.

Despite having to do all the work herself, the filly still glided on by the leaders. In the stretch, Struck by Lindy powered home to hold off closing Fools Revenue by 1 ½ lengths for the victory in 1:55. That makes two straight and provides further evidence that this talented trotter is regaining the form that made her such a big winner as a 2-year-old.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Black Caviar (Simon Allard, Clifton Green), a filly who rallied for her second straight condition win on Tuesday night, this one in 1:57:1; Not Afraid (Andrew McCarthy, Jimmy Takter), who scored a win in the week’s featured Preferred trot on Saturday night in 1:52:3, easily the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Home Front (Ake Svanstedt driver and trainer), who followed up his maiden win last week with a condition victory on Wednesday night in 1:57:3.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: BLACK CAVIAR

As noted in the honorable mention above, this filly’s win with Simon Allard in the bike on Tuesday was her second straight, yet she still got away at 28-1 for a $58 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW MCCARTHY

McCarthy has been on quite a roll in the second half of the season at Pocono, with four wins on Saturday and three more on Tuesday exemplifying his hot streak.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LARRY REMMEN

Remmen had just two starters in on Saturday night but he got his money’s worth from them as Wake Up Peter and Word Power each scored impressive condition 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

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

September 19-25, 2014

Racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has geared down somewhat in terms of quantity, as the schedule now features three live nights per week. But the quality hasn’t let down a bit, as evidenced by a Saturday night card that included no pacing miles slower than 1:50:2 and no trotting miles slower than 1:54. We even had a world-record performance, which, of course, stands out among this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BIGTOWN HERO

This 6-year-old gelding was struggling with the upper reaches of the pacing ranks when he was last here in June, but he’s been performing well since then at other tracks, winning three of his last five races. The last four of those races came after he switched barns to be trained by Rene Allard, Pocono’s leading trainer, including a come-from-behind win in an Open Handicap in his last race at Yonkers as a 7-1 shot.

His confidence sufficiently boosted, he returned to Pocono to compete on Saturday night in a Preferred Handicap pace for a purse of $25,000. It was a stacked field, including star veteran Golden Receiver and Dancin Yankee, who had owned the oval at Pocono in his previous appearances in 2014. But driver Ron Pierce drove Bigtown Hero as if there were no other horses on the track, sending him to the front for a huge lead as each fraction ticked off proved more impressive than the one before.

In the stretch, Bigtown Hero began to slow ever so slightly. It was a good thing the lead he built up was so substantial, because Dancin Yankee and Aslan came closing at him fast. Pierce urged him home for a half-length victory in a stunning time of 1:47:3. That broke the world record for aged gelding pacers on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set last June at Pocono by Foiled Again and then matched by Abelard Hanover.

Other top pacers this week include: Ring Warrior (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), a colt who followed up four consecutive wins at Ocean Downs with a victory at Pocono in a condition pace on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54; Cherokee Hunter (Simon Allard, Rene Allard) whose condition win on Tuesday night was his second straight and came in a career-best time of 1:52:1; and Wake Up Peter (Tyler Buter, Larry Remmen), who scorched a condition pacing group on Saturday night in 1:49:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SEVRUGA

Not all slumps are created equal. To wit, consider the struggles Sevruga had been having in the summer months. Last year he earned nearly $500,000 facing the best trotters around, and the highlight of his season was a world-record performance at Pocono with a win in 1:50:3. But he had come up empty for three months straight in terms of wins heading into Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred trot.

In his last three races at Pocono, all against the most rugged trotters on the grounds, Sevruga, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Kevin Carr, had hit the board every time and had lost by just a neck in the last two. On Saturday night, he enjoyed his first quality post position in more than a month and took advantage of it, breezing to the front early with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike.

Things were by no means easy from that point, as Wind Of The North put up a sustained first-over challenge to the lead. But Sevruga had been rated well enough early in the race that he was able to dig deep in the final strides and win by a nose in a rapid 1:52:1. Maybe it wasn’t fair to say that Sevruga was in a slump considering the quality of his competition and the multiple near-misses, but it is fair to say that his losing streak is history and a lengthy winning streak might just be in the offing.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tui (Anthony Napolitan, Don Wiest), a Pocono fan-favorite mare who scored her first win of the season on Saturday night in a tough condition group in 1:53:1; A Cool Million (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who moved up her claiming price and won her second straight race on Tuesday night, doing so in a career-best 1:54; and Fortunista (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who beat the boys in a tough condition group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:53:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TRANSCENDING

An outside post and long odds didn’t bother this veteran pacer as he came from out of the clouds late to shock a condition field on Saturday night at 49-1, paying off an even $100 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: RON PIERCE

Pierce had it grooving on Saturday night, winning four consecutive races on the card, all in gate-to-wire fashion, a streak that culminated with the world-record win by Bigtown Hero.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOE PAVIA JR.

Joe still does such a great job as a catch driver that his training abilities can sometimes be taken for granted, but a training double on Wednesday night put them front and center.

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

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

September 12-18, 2014

Since there were only two nights of live racing in the past seven days at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the Oktoberfest festivities on the grounds, it seems like a good time to look at the broader picture of harness racing through the Pocono lens. This is the time of year when people start to talk about yearend awards and horses of the year and things like that. We’ve been graced with the presence of many of the year’s best, so let’s examine the performances of the Top 10 horses in the latest Breeders Crown/Hambletonian poll when they travelled to MSPD this year.

Four out of the top ten, #8 JK Shesalady, #7 Artspeak, #5 He’s Watching, and #4 Trixton, have not appeared at Pocono. (Trixton, this year’s Hambletonian champ, did have a winning qualifier at Pocono.) The other six have not only raced here, but they’ve all picked up at least one victory on the Pocono oval this year, often in impressive fashion.

#10 Sandbetweenurtoes, a 3-year-old pacing filly from the Larry Remmen barn, just suffered the first loss of her season with a disappointing seventh in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships at Harrah’s at Philadelphia. But her lone voyage at Pocono was successful, as she rallied from an early deficit to win a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on August 9 in 1:50.

#9 Lifetime Pursuit wasn’t quite on top of her game when she raced at Pocono earlier in the meet, going once across the board in three starts with the win coming in a Pennsylvania All Stars race in June. The 3-year-old trotting filly from the Jimmy Takter barn has been sizzling since, winning her last five races including the Hambletonian Oaks and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final in her age group.

It’s been an amazing 3-year-old season for pacing colt Mcwicked, trained by Casie Coleman. Much of that success took place at MSPD. He’s won three of four at Pocono in 2014. Although his record includes wins in the prestigious Adios and in the Pennsylvania Championships, his signature victory for the year was likely his incredible effort in winning the Max Hempt Memorial pace at Pocono in June in a world-record time of 1:47:3.

The #3 horse on the list is Father Patrick, who has made an impact everywhere he’s raced but has been absolutely spotless at Pocono. The 3-year-old trotting colt went four-for-four at Pocono as a 2-year-old, including a Breeders Crown title. He has won all four of his starts at MSPD this year as well, the highlight of those coming in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial trot in June when he won in 1:50:2, the fastest ever trotting time for a 3-year-old on a 5/8-mile oval.

On that same night in June, #2 Sweet Lou, a 5-year-old stallion from the Ron Burke barn, was solidifying his amazing return to prominence in the sport. After struggling in the early part of the season, which included a ho-hum 3rd in an Open at Pocono in May, Sweet Lou found the stride that made him such a force early in his career. In the Ben Franklin at Pocono on that fateful June night, the stallion dominated a stellar field with the fastest pacing time ever on a 5/8-mile oval of 1:47.

The #1 horse on the list has been a revelation all year long and his one start at Pocono was one for the ages. Of course, I’m talking about the sublime Sebastian K, the eight-year-old trotting stallion trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt who has won eight of his nine 2014 races, usually in record-breaking fashion, despite never have raced in the U.S. prior to this year. In his lone start at Pocono in an Open trot on that same June 28 that saw so many incendiary performances, Sebastian K stole the show with a win in 1:49, the fastest mile trotted on any track of any size in the history of the sport.

As you can tell, many of the superstars of the sport have left indelible marks on the Pocono racing wars in 2014. There is still a lot of racing to go in the season before such things as yearend awards are decided. But when those honors are chosen, it’s likely that some of the most compelling evidence for those choices will come courtesy of action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

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, August 15th, 2014

August 8-14, 2014

It’s always difficult to pick the best horses in a particular week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the extreme competitiveness of the harness racing action. This week has proved more of a pickle than most because there are a lot of horses on hot streaks who deserve consideration. On Saturday night, for example, six of the thirteen winners picked up at least their second win in a row. I’m not sure if there’s a specific reason for this glut of winning streaks, but I am sure that this is a fine edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: SANDBETWEENURTOES

In Saturday night’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for three-year-old pacing fillies, all eyes were on this powerhouse from the barn of trainer Larry Remmen. It’s been an incredible sophomore season for this filly, especially considering she raced just once as a 2-year-old and finished out of the money. Instead of taking time to get her racing feet wet, she’s come out of the box with seven wins in seven races this year, including a couple Sire Stakes wins and a victory in the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands.

While the field on Saturday was solid, many were fillies who had already come up short behind Sandbetweenurtoes in races this season. Included among those was Allstar Rating, who finished behind the unbeaten filly three times this year. But in her last start, Allstar Rating dominated in the Adioo Volo at The Meadows, giving her the confidence that things might be different this time around when she faced her arch rival.

Sure enough, Allstar Rating made the lead while Sandbetweenurtoes fell much further behind the pace than is her custom. Once she started making her move for her regular driver Brett Miller though, there was no chance of stopping her. She hustled past Allstar Rating to win by a half-length in 1:50, making her eight-for-eight and also solidifying her status as the dominant force in the age group.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who continues to dominate the lower claiming ranks, winning his fourth straight on Sunday night in 1:52; Speed Again (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who burned up the track in a condition win on Saturday in 1:48:2, fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Crimson Cruiser (Jim Morrill Jr., Douglas Hamilton), who overcame an outside post on Friday night and picked up a claiming win in 1:52:1, his third victory in a row.

TROTTER AND LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WESTERN CREDIT

It’s rare that our categories overlap and one horse can claim two Weekly Awards in one shot. Yet Western Credit’s recent run has been as unlikely as it has been impressive, more than meriting the embarrassment of riches. This gelding came into his race on August 3 without a win in 21 races in 2014, yet trainer Eric Mollor, who also did the driving that night, had the six-year-old rolling late for an upset win in 1:55:4 at 14-1.

On Tuesday night, Western Credit was at it again, this time with Brett Miller in the bike and stepping up the condition ladder to face the non-winners of $10,000 in the last five races. The fans gave him even less of a chance this time around, putting him at 37-1. Miller sent him first-over early in the mile, which seemed like a tough journey for any horse, let along one with such long odds.

It turned out to be strategic brilliance on Miller’s part, since the sloppy track that night seemed to favor on trip on the outside. Western Credit did the rest, working hard to pick off everyone in front of him before holding off JC’s Jake in the lane to win it in 1:55:1. At those towering odds of 37-1, the gelding paid off $77.80 on a $2 win ticket. Suddenly, that 0-for-21 to start the year is a distant memory. Western Credit is two for his last two and ready to take on all comers.

Other top trotters this week include: Whata Donato (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare whose winning time in a condition on Tuesday night of 1:53:3 was the fastest trot of the week at Pocono despite sloppy conditions; Well Built (Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder), a 3-year-old who knocked off mostly older horses in a condition victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:1 in the slop; and Gematria (Tom Jackson, Fred Grant), who picked up her second consecutive win, this one in Stallion Series action on Wednesday night in 1:58:3.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: DAVID MILLER

Miller always steps up his game for stakes or series action and Tuesday night he was at his best, winning three times, including a pair of victories in the Stallion Series.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MARK FORD

Ford always seems to manage great efficiency with however many horses he enters at Pocono, as he showed on Friday night by picking up a pair of training victories.