Posts Tagged ‘Life Is A Beach’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

July 23-29, 2016

It was hot this week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but that’s no real news flash, because it was hot just about everywhere in the country as well. I only mention it because the heat didn’t seem to cause any lethargy in the horses competing this past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. If anything, we witnessed some of the fastest races at the track in several weeks, with horses routinely putting up career-bests and even coming within shouting distance of world records. Here are some of the best performers this week, via the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: VAGUE TRACES

You never know when you’re going to see a special performance at the track. Vague Traces gave just such a performance on Saturday night. It wasn’t entirely unexpected that this 4-year-old gelding would be good, considering that he went off as the favorite in a field of $14,000 condition pacers. But the extent to which he excelled was what left mouths agape after he cashed in on his promise and scored the victory.

Trained by Ross Croghan, Vague Traces was making his first start at Pocono in 2016. He came in with wins in just two of his 14 races on the year, but they were back-to-back wins at The Meadowlands in June. Coming off a pair of distant finishes against tough company at Yonkers, the gelding didn’t show much in the first half of his first mile at Pocono, sitting an unassuming fourth early. Then driver Andrew McCarthy sent him first-over on the outside, and everything changed.

In a flash Vague Traces blew by everyone in front of him and took the lead prior to the three-quarter pole. But he didn’t stop there, continuing an elongated speed burst that didn’t relent until he crossed the line 7 ¾ lengths ahead of the dumbfounded field. Even more impressively, he tripped the line in 1:48:1, not just a career-best but the fastest at Pocono this week and one of the fastest at the oval this season. Just like that Vague Traces made an impression on the Pocono faithful; let’s see how he handles the tougher competition that’s bound to come.

Other top pacers this week include: Bushwacker (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Ryder), who scored a victory in Saturday night’s $18,000 featured pace in 1:50; Soto (Andrew McCarthy, Eric Ell), a newcomer to the racing wars at Pocono who immediately left his mark with a condition victory on Saturday in a career-best 1:48:4; and Life Is A Beach (Anthony Napolitano, Randy Bendis), who handled Tuesday night’s featured condition pacing mares in 1:52, which matched a career best.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ARMOR HANOVER

There were several excellent candidates for this honor this week, but this seven-year-old gelding gets the call not just for his last two outstanding performances, but also for how far he’s come in that time. Trained by Douglas Berkeley, Armor Hanover hit rock bottom on July 2 when he went off-stride for a second consecutive race. That meant he’d have to qualify before he could race again. He did just that, winning a qualifier at Monticello on July 6, apparently earning some serious confidence in the process.

In his first race back on July 16, he headed out against a $14,000 condition trotting field as a 17-1 long shot. But driver Tom Jackson drove him aggressively and Armor Hanover responded, holding off Auspicious Hanover by a nose in a thrilling stretch battle to upset in 1:54:3, which was a career-best time.

On Saturday night, he faced off against a $15,500 condition grouping and this time went off at 6-1 with Anthony Napolitano in the bike. With a tremendous back-stretch brush, Armor Hanover left behind the 2-5 favorite Cufflink Hanover. The rest of the field was no match for him either, as he came home six lengths in front. His winning time of 1:52 shattered the career mark he had only just laid down. Armor Hanover has indeed come a long way in a short time, and it will be exciting to see now just where he goes from here.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tac’s Delight (Jim Marohn Jr., Rene Allard), who handled a $15,000 claiming handicap field in 1:54:1 on Sunday night for his third straight victory; Homicide Hunter (Eric Goodell, Chris Oakes), who captured Sunday night’s $25,000 featured condition pace in 1:51:1, a new career-best, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono, and only a fifth of a second short of a world record for 4-year-old trotting geldings; and Crazy About Pat (Jim Marohn Jr., Paul Kelley), who shipped in from Yonkers to pick up a condition win on Sunday night in a career-best 1:53:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LARSON HANOVER

This two-year-old trotter’s maiden win on Tuesday night was quite memorable, as he came home a winner at 75-1 to pay out $154.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO

Returning from an injury that kept him out nearly two months, Napolitano wasted no time getting in the swing of things by ripping off five wins on his first night back Saturday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JENNY MELANDER

Melander put together an interesting streak this week at Pocono, as she followed up training wins in both halves of the Late Daily Double Monday night with another victory in the opening race on Tuesday.

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.

Walk The Walk wins second straight Weiss

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Walk The Walk, a son of former Horse of the Year Muscle Hill, emerged as the only horse competing in Bobby Weiss Series action to take a second straight win in the $15,000 Tuesday, March 31st,  preliminaries, two for trotting males and two for pacing females, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Last week’s first round trotting male winners, Walk The Walk and Two Hip Dip, were matched in one division, and Walk The Walk maintained his perfect record in the series by winning Tuesday in 1:55.2 on a cold night and a sloppy racetrack. Last week Walk The Walk was well in front when he made a break nearing the wire, so in the interim trainer Chris Ryder qualified him with trotting hopples, and this week Walk The Walk was errorless, making an early move to command and then stepping home in 57 to defeat Raise The Curtain, with Two Hip Dip, the slight second choice as last week’s winners were both sent off at 11-10, third after a first-over trip. David Miller, who drove both winners last week, stayed with Walk The Walk, and the horse repaid that confidence of Miller in tallying for the ownership of Ruder, Sidney Korn, Robert Mondillo, and Max Wernick.

Bourbon Bay, third last week in snapping a six-race win skein, bounced back to winning ways, going a tick faster than the other trotting cut in winning by open lengths. The Sand Vic gelding is trained by Megan Wilson for driver/owner John Cummings Jr.

Thebeachnextdoor put paid to the hopes of a repeat Weiss win for Life Is A Beach and Crescent City, both nose victresses last week, by taking a personal mark of 1:53.4 in one leg of the female pacing competition. Jim Morrill Jr., behind hid fourth winner of the night, guided the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, like Muscle Hill a former Horse of the Year and who was nosed out in the first round, to a wire-to-wire triumph, with last week’s winners finishing 2-3 respectively. The Brewer Adams-trained mare is owned by Adams Racing LLC and Brian Clark.

Allthatjazz De Vie couldn’t be a repeat winner because Tuesday’s other division for females was her first start of the year, but she won her Weiss debut by personally coming home in 56.3 to win in 1:54.4 over Hollyrocker (the other distaff to be nosed in the first round). Andrew McCarthy sulkysat behind the sophomore daughter of American Ideal, now 5 for 7 lifetime, for the familiar pairing of trainer Ron Burke and the ownership combine of Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.

Bobby Weiss Series action continued Tuesday

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Trotting males and pacing females were featured in first leg action of their divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with two $15,000 sections for each group contested.

In the first trotting cut Two Hip Dip set the pace, then blasted home in 1:55.4 – 56.2 – 27.1 for driver David Miller and trainer/owner Nick Salenetri. The son of Glidemaster was the slight favorite in a race where two horses were sent off at 4-5 – his co-“odds-on” rival Bourbon Bay was outfooted late for second by Raise The Curtain.

The other diamondgaited division also went to driver David Miller, again on the engine, this time with Walk The Walk. Walk The Walk trotted the trot about five lengths better than anyone else in the field until the shadow of the wire, where he ran the run, but was not in violation of the breaking rules. The son of Muscle Hill, owned by trainer Chris Ryder in partnership with Sidney Korn, Robert Mondillo, and Max Wernick, posted a new personal speed badge of 1:55.1 despite the bobble, with back timings of 56.3 – 28.

Miller and Ryder again teamed in a division of the female Weiss action, using “pocket rocket” tactics into a 28 kicker with the Rocknroll Hanover filly Crescent City to get a nose up in a new mark of 1:54 for Diamond Creek Racing. This event also featured an unusual betting pattern, with three horses at less than 2-1 – the winner was 7-5, place horse Hollyrocker was 9-5, and first-over Caviart Shelly (fourth) was 3-2.

The other distaff division also saw a nose separate the top two, as a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Life Is A Beach, maintained an early brush to command to the wire over The Beach Nextdoor in a personal best 1:53.1, with twin 28.1s the last half. Matt Kakaley had sulky duty for trainer Ron Burke and the omnipresent Burke Racing / Weaver Bruscemi partnership.

David Miller and Kakaley had three wins on the card; doubles were recorded by George Napolitano Jr. and, on his birthday, Mike Simons, with the latter win for “The Trot Man” the appropriately-gaited Magnum Kosmos. As opposed to opening night this past Saturday, where the average win mutuel was over $21, 7 of 13 chalks clicked this evening.