Posts Tagged ‘Lightning Storm’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Monday, August 12th, 2013

August 1-7, 2013

The month of August started out without the sizzling temperatures that are the norm for this time of year in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s a good thing then that plenty of heat was generated on the track at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this past racing week. It’s gets harder and harder to narrow down the very best of the outstanding performances we see each and every night at Pocono, but that’s what we’ll try to do right now by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MATTADOR D

It’s not easy to jump even a little bit in class in the harness racing wars at Pocono and have any bit of success. To make a big jump and see immediate results is a rare accomplishment indeed because of the extremely competitiveness of the scene. Yet Mattador D took a pretty daunting leap up the claiming ladder on Saturday night and handled it impressively.

It certainly helped that the 5-year-old gelding came into the race on a hot streak. He beat a group of $10,000 claimers on July 20 in 1:52:1, then followed it up the next week with a victory over the $12,500 claimers in 1:51:4. Still, those winning times didn’t figure to hack it on Saturday night against the $20,000 claimers. In his first start for trainer Lou Pena, Mattador D would have to step his game.

The gelding answered that challenge in sterling fashion. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, he hustled to the front end early and had to face severe pressure throughout the mile. Yet he sustained and came out on top in a career-best 1:50:2. It should be fun to watch Mattador D keep climbing that ladder and see how high he can get before someone slows his rapid ascent.

Other top pacers this week include: B N Bad (George Napolitano Jr., Peter Pellegrino), who powered to a condition pacing win on Saturday night in a career-best 1:49:2, which was the fastest time posted all week long at Pocono; Allamerican Daddy (Eric Carlson, Eddie Nickle), who staged a furious rally to win his second straight $10,000 claimer on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:4; and Audreys Dream (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won Saturday night’s featured condition pace in 1:50.  

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: LIGHTNING STORM

While Mattador D provided a good example of a horse hot enough to move up in class, our Trotter of the Week this week is one who needed to drop down to find the groove. There’s no shame in such a move, since it doesn’t make any sense for an owner to keep sending a horse over and over into a class that he can’t handle. It’s better for the horse to find a group in which he can do damage.

Lightning Storm, a 4-year-old stallion from the Lou Pena barn, had success early in the meet in some rugged condition trots and then moved up into the Preferred trots in the month of June, taking on the best trotters on the grounds. He seemed overmatched with that class, finishing way up the track from the winners in three straight races.

It was only when he dropped back into the non-winners of $16,000 condition trots on July 19 that he found his stride again, winning that night in a career-best 1:53:2. On Friday night he was back at in the same class, and he once again controlled the action, winning in 1:54:3 this time around with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike. Now that he’s built up his confidence again, this might be the right time for Lightning Storm to try it again with some heavier hitters.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: CDs Eldorado (Joe Pavia Jr., Jason Robinson), whose victory over the $10,000 claimers in a career-best 1:55:2 on Tuesday night gave him wins in three straight and four of his last five; Biltmore (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), whose romping victory in a condition trot on Wednesday night in 1:55:1 was his third win in his last four races; and In Your Room (Mike Simons, Gail Wrubel), who rolled to a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:53, the fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: HYANNIS HANOVER

This 2-year-old trotter had quite the memorable debut on Wednesday night, rallying from way back for driver Bret Brittingham to score at 90-1, paying off $182.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

It took a little while, but George has ascended to his usual position atop the drivers’ standings at Pocono. He was especially lethal last weekend, picking up seven combined wins on Friday and Saturday.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DOUGLAS BERKELEY

Berkeley has been a force at Pocono for the past few seasons, and he made his presence felt this week with a pair of training 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.

Guccio Matches World Record in Preferred Trot at Pocono

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

June 15, 2013

What is it about trainer Jimmy Takter and 4-year-old trotting stallions at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs?

A week ago, Uncle Peter set a new track and world record for the age group with a win in the featured trot. On Saturday night at Pocono, Takter brought in Guccio and he matched the feat with his own $25,000 Preferred trot victory in the same record time of 1:51:1.

Guccio, a 4-year-old stallion seasoned by tough trots at The Meadowlands, was made the 2-5 favorite in a field of nine. Takter, who also drove the stallion, kept him back in fifth early as lead-shuffling between Lightning Storm and Opening Night created blistering fractions. Takter got Guccio moving first over on the back stretch. At the top of the lane, he had corralled leader Opening Night and wore him down for a 1 ½ length victory in that record-setting time of 1:51:1. Opening Night finished second while Keystone Thomas picked up the show.

It was also a career mark for Guccio, who is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, Goran Falk, and Brixton Medical. The win was his second of the season and 7th lifetime, while his career earnings jumped to $899,333.

In Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred pace at Pocono, Bet On The Law might have been overlooked in a field that included stakes veteran Hurrikane Kingcole, Ron Burke trainee Escape The News, and Aussie invader Erle Dale N. As a 5-1 fourth choice in a field of seven, Bet On The Law stayed back off the early pace, choosing only to move when Hurrikane Kingcole came first-over on the back stretch to give him cover. That was a change of tactics by trainer/driver Joe Pavia Jr., one that paid off when the 4-year-old gelding spun off his cover and rallied to win by a length in a career-best 1:48:4. Hurrikane Kingcole had to settle for second while Musselsfrombrussels picked up the show.

Bet On The Law, owned by Steven Held, Joe Barbera, AGC Stables, and Dijo Racing, won for the sixth time in a dozen 2013 races. It was his  11th career victory and pushed his lifetime earnings to $313,249.

Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Action at Pocono on Saturday Night

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

July 14, 2012

Three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot took center stage on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Each of the three divisions carried a purse of $99,438.

Despite being laid off since late May, Top Billing (Andover Hall-NY Starlet) survived a long first-over journey to score as the even-money favorite in the night’s first Sire Stakes division. The 3-year-old colt driven by Tyler Buter for trainer Julie Miller just nosed out Lindys Jersey Boy in 1:53:4, with Solvato finishing third. Top Billing, owned by Jason and Douglas Allen, won for the fourth time in six 2012 races.

In the second Sire Stakes split, My MVP (Cantab Hall-Exceed Expectation), the 1-5 favorite, worked hard to keep the lead after taking over on the back stretch and won by a half-length in 1:53:4. Magic Tonight finished second and Scary Good picked up the show. Mike LaChance drove My MVP for trainer Tony Alagna and owners Brittany Farms, Modern Family Partners, and Joe Sbrocco, as the 3-year-old colt won for the third time this year and second time in Sire Stakes competition.

The final Sire Stakes of the night turned into a thrilling stretch duel between 1-9 favorite Stormin Normand and pocket horse Lightning Storm, with the favorite winning by a nose in 1:52:4. Modern Family finished 3rd. After finishing 2nd in both the Earl Beal Memorial and the Yonkers Trot, Stormin Normand (Broadway Hall-Idole Normand) came up with his eighth win in 12 lifetime starts. Matt Kakaley drove the colt to victory for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms LLC.

In other action on Saturday night, Dynamic Youth won a condition pace, and in so doing, broke a track record for three-year-old geldings on the pace. The previous Pocono record for the grouping of 1:49:4 was set by Goddess’s Justin back in 2008, but that mark went down when Dynamic Youth (Bettor’s Delight-Always True) tripped the line in 1:49:2 with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for trainer Aaron Lambert. The gelding, who hasn’t lost in three outings at Pocono this year, is owned by Ken Tucci, J&T Silva Stables, and C&G Racing Stable.

Googoo Gaagaa Sets World Record at Pocono

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

June 15, 2012

3-year-old trotting colt Googoo Gaagaa rolled to a victory in world record time in an elimination race for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot on Friday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

In the first of two eliminations, Googoo Gaagaa, who came into the start with nine wins in ten career races, made the lead with a swooping move around the first turn after leaving from post position #6 in the seven-horse field. Driver Corey Callahan never had to ask the 3-year-old son of Cam’s Rocket for anything extra because he sped away from his pursuit all on his own, winning by seven lengths. Little Brown Fox was best of the rest in second, while Frost Bites K and Magic Tonight finished third and fourth to punch their tickets to next week’s final.

The fractional times for the record-setting mile were 27 even, 56 even, and 1:23:3, and the winning time was 1:51:3, nearly a full second better than the track and world record for the age group. That mark of 1:52:2 was set by Break The Bank K in the 2010 Breeders Crown at Pocono and was matched by Dejarmbro in last year’s Beal final. Googoo Gaagaa, who was favored at 3-5, is owned and trained by Richard Hans and has now won 10 of 11 starts with lifetime earnings of 95,945 heading into next week’s final.

In the second elimination, Stormin Normand avenged a loss to Uncle Peter by holding him off late for a victory. With Dave Palone in the bike, Stormin Normand, the 2011 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Champion for the age group, moved from third to first on the front stretch and led from that point on. Uncle Peter, the Breeders Crown champion in 2011 as a 2-year-old who beat Stormin Normand in their first meeting at The Meadows on May 30, got off to a slow start and had to move four-wide on the final turn, but he was motoring at the end and finished just a half-length back for the place. Also headed to the final from this elimination are My MVP, who finished third, Lightning Storm, who finished fourth, and Nothing But Class, who finished fifth with a faster time than Solvato, the fifth-place finisher from the earlier split.

The winning time for Stormin Normand was 1:51:4, denied world-record status only by Googoo Gaagaa’s mile earlier in the night. With wins in seven of his nine lifetime starts, Stormin Normand, who is trained by Jim Campbell and was sired by Broadway Hall, now has career earnings of $305,085.

Next week’s Beal final at Pocono will carry a purse of $500,000.