Posts Tagged ‘Marcus Marashian’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Week in Review

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

April 11-17, 2015

Next week in this space we’ll be talking about the finals of our Bobby Weiss late closer series, races which will be taking place over the next few racing nights at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Weiss preliminary legs have featured some of the most exciting younger horses in the country, so the finals should be filled with great performances. In the meantime, we’ve got the best of this week’s overnight action on display with this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BUSHWACKER

It’s always interesting to watch four-year-old horses make the transition from facing horses their own age to competing with older foes. Those who make that transition smoothly are often the ones who end up battling it out in the upper conditions and Opens at their respective tracks. Bushwacker, a talented 4-year-old gelding, is already making that transition at Pocono even as he has only just started his 2015 campaign.

At ages two and three, Bushwacker, trained by Chris Ryder, performed very well, earning over $200,000 combined in those seasons by facing tough competition. He kicked off his 4-year-old season extremely well, winning against non-winners of five on a sloppy track at Pocono in 1:52:3 on March 31. The field he faced on Saturday night, a condition for non-winners of $15,500 in the last starts, featured only one other four-year-old; everybody else in the field was at least a year older.

Yet Bushwacker didn’t seem at all stressed out by the step up  in class. With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, he took a tough first-over path but managed to take over the lead late. From there he stayed strong, holding on to win by a length in a sharp 1:51. That makes him two-for-two in the young season and puts all of the top pacers at Pocono, even the veterans, on notice that Bushwacker is ready to roll at any level.

Other top pacers this week include: Always Wanna (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who changed barns but still rolled to his third consecutive victory over the $12,500 claimers on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:53:2; Mustang Art (Jim Morrill Jr., James McGuire), whose win in Saturday night’s featured condition pace came in 1:50, fastest time of the meet up to that point; and Major Deagan (Jim Morrill Jr., Tracy Brainard), a 17-1 shot who rallied to win a condition pace on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:50, matching the standard set by Mustang Art three nights before.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TAMASIN HALL

A five-year-old mare from the barn of Bill Mullin, Tamasin Hall has proven in the past her ability to put together a big mile on the Pocono oval. Like many trotters, she occasionally struggles with breaking stride, but when she’s flat she’s dangerous. She showed that in her first start of the 2015 meet at Pocono when she rallied to beat a condition trotting field on March 31 in 1:56:3.

Her next start, against the same class, resulted in only a fifth-place finish, but that one could be written off somewhat by the fact that she had to deal with the dreaded #9 post position. She came back to face the same group of non-winners $12,500 in the last five starts on Tuesday night, and though her #7 post position was no pleasure cruise, it gave her a better chance to flash some early speed. With Jim Morrill Jr. in the bike, she worked her way to the front end on the front stretch.

From there she rebuffed all those who tried to take the lead away. Morrill urged her home in the stretch to win by a length over You Rock My World in an impressive winning time in 1:53:2. That was a pretty good performance, especially considering she got away as a 6-1 shot. With two wins in three starts so far in the 2015 Pocono meet, it looks like Tamasin Hall will be a hot trotter once again this season.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Chocoholic (Andrew McCarthy, James Quinn), who matched a career-best she knocked off a rugged condition group on Tuesday in 1:55; Buffalino Hanover (Andy Miller, Todd Schadel), who toughed out a first-over move to win a condition trot on Tuesday night in 1:54:2; and GJ Photo Victory (Jim Morrill Jr., Marcus Marashian), whose claiming victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:3 was his fourth straight, the last two of which came at Pocono.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: DIVINATION

On Sunday night this mare driven by Anthony Napolitano snuck out of the pocket late to surprise a field of condition pacers at 34-1, paying off $71 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD

Simon did some serious damage on Saturday night in conjunction with his brother Rene (see below), ripping off seven driving victories, a personal best for him here at Pocono.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD

The two-time defending champion in training wins made his first big splash of 2015 on Saturday night by teaming with his brother Simon for seven wins on the 14-race program.

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.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

April 4-10, 2015

Even though we’re still in just our first month of racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the weather conditions have been far less than ideal, the season feels like it’s starting to take shape. This week’s addition of Sundays, making it a four-night racing week, should speed up that process. In the meantime, here is a look at the best horses and horsemen from the past three racing nights as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: IDEAL MATTERS

One of the characteristics of this whole season-taking-shape thing we talked out about in the intro paragraph is that certain horses begin to assert themselves as horses from whom we’ll be hearing all year long. And while it may be a bit presumptive to make a judgment based on the small sample size of a couple starts, it sure looks like Ideal Matters is in for a big 2015 at Pocono by the way he’s raced the last few weeks.

On March 21, the 8-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Gilberto Garcia-Herrera scored his first win of the meet by handling a field of condition pacers in 1:51. On Saturday night, he faced off with essentially the same condition grouping of non-winners $16,500 in the last five races for a purse of $18,000. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of nine, Ideal Matters was quickly sent to the lead by driver George Napolitano Jr., who then watched as Mustang Art hustled by to take over around the first turn.

That’s when Napolitano decided that Ideal Matters was better off leading than in the pocket. The gelding retook the lead quickly on the front stretch, and then powered his way to a big lead. Gearing down in the final strides of the mile, he coasted to a two-length win in 1:50:1, the fastest time of the young season at Pocono. Two straight wins should have Ideal Matters moving up in class, but he’s already established himself as one of the horses to watch in 2015.

Other top pacers this week include: Always Wanna (Jim Morrill Jr., Matias Ruiz), who picked up his second straight win over the $12,500 claimers on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:52:4; Victory At Last (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won his third straight Bobby Weiss series race against the three and four-year-old colts, stallions and geldings on Saturday night in a career-best 1:52:1; and Show Runner (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), a mare who now has four straight wins to start the season, the last two at Pocono, following her condition victory on Wednesday night in 1:52:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ZOOMING

We’ve talked in this column before how sometimes a horse simply needs a change of scenery to ignite a hot streak. In the case of Zooming, a talented veteran trotter, maybe it was a return to his old haunts that got him going this past week. Before coming to Pocono for Saturday night’s condition trot for non-winners of $17,500 in the last five races, the 7-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Amber Buter was coming off back-to-back races where he went off-stride.

It was an unusual stretch for a horse pushing $600,000 in career earnings. A lot of those earnings were notched on the Pocono 5/8-mile oval, which is probably why the fans made him a 6-5 favorite in the race despite the recent struggles. As it turned out, he had to earn it in this one, forced as he was to make a tough first-over journey to get to the lead.

The trip didn’t matter, however, as driver George Napolitano Jr. urged Zooming on past the tiring leaders in the home stretch. With a winning time of 1:53:4 in the chilly temperatures, the gelding proved he was back on top of his game. The Pocono surroundings might have spurred the return to form, but Zooming deserves the credit for having that great form in the first place.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: GJ Photo Victory (Jim Morrill Jr., Marcus Marashian), who followed back-to-back wins at The Meadows with a claiming win at Pocono on Wednesday in 1:57:1; JL Cruze (John Campbell, Eric Ell), a gelding with eight wins in ten races at the Meadowlands this season who came to Pocono to coast to victory in a Bobby Weiss race on Tuesday night in 1:54:1; and Dress For Success (Matt Kakaley, Christopher Freck), the mare who rolled to her third straight win in the Bobby Weiss series against the distaff trotters, matching her career-best of 1:55:1 in the process.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: INCOGNITO

Incognito made a last to first rally in Saturday night’s final race with Ronnie Wrenn Jr. in the bike to win a condition pace at 18-1., paying off $39.40 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

George Nap has already carved out space at the top of the driving standings, and he solidified that standing with a five-win night on Tuesday, the first Pocono driver to reach that plateau in 2015.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RON BURKE

The leader in training wins to this point at Pocono, Burke has been cleaning up in the Bobby Weiss series, scoring three of his four winners this week in those late closer races.

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 1st, 2014

July 18-24, 2014

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve reached the halfway point of the 2014 season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The first half seemed to speed by as fast as so many of the record-setting horses that have graced the Pocono stage so far this year. We can only hope that the second half holds that same kind of excitement. If the past week of racing is any indication, it surely will. Here are some wonderful performances worthy of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: QUINCY

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Jack Klugman played a medical examiner named Quincy who always figured out all the crimes that the cops were too dense to solve. But it’s really been no mystery how this horse of the same name has reeled off such an impressive streak of late against the toughest claimers at Pocono. Early speed gives this 4-year-old stallion a great chance to win each and every time he leaves the gate.

His recent stretch of nearly unbeatable racing began with a win over the $20,000 claimers on May 28. He moved up to the $27,500 claimers, the highest claiming price at Pocono, the next time out and won in a dead heat with Giddy UP Blackfly. After a hiccup with a third-place finish in his following start, Quincy reeled off three straight victories in that rugged claiming group, with a career-best mark in 1:49:3 on June 28 the highlight of that series of races.

On Saturday night, it was business as usual as Quincy rejoined the barn of trainer Kevin Lare and powered to the front end early in the race. Driver Anthony Napolitano rated him well, which was important late as both BJ’s Rameau and Machin Music took shots at him in the stretch. But Quincy hung tough to win by a neck in 1:50, making it four in a row and six out of seven. He’s the hottest pacer around, and that case is closed.

Other top pacers this week include: Skitsofrantic (Anthony Napolitano, John Barchi), who won his third straight start and sixth in his last seven with a conquest of the $5,000 claimers on Sunday night in a career-best 1:52; Luck Be Withyou (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), a 3-year-old whose victory against older pacers in a condition on Saturday night came in the week’s fastest time of 1:48; and Mickey Hanover (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who reeled off his third straight win and his second consecutive sub-1:50 mile thanks to a victory on Saturday night in 1:49:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SWISS LIGHTNING

This 5-year-old gelding started the year quietly, going winless in his first six races with just one finish in the money. The tide started to turn with a victory over $7,500 claimers on 1:55:2 on June 8. After breaking stride in his next start, he bounced back in his next two with back-to-back wins, the latter coming in a career-best 1:55.

Following a claim that put him in the barn of trainer Marcus Marashian, Swiss Lightning stepped up in class to face the $10,000 claimers on Wednesday night. Not only did he have a tough #7 post in the field of eight, but he had to deal with Frenchmen, a trotter who had won his last start at that claiming price handily and had the inside post.

That didn’t seem to worry driver Scott Zeron, who quickly urged Swiss Lightning to the front end to dictate the pace. Frenchmen lurked in the pocket all the way around, but when the stretch rolled around, it was Swiss Lightning who emerged as the class of the race. He kicked away from his competitors to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:54:4, which was a new career-best for the gelding. With that third straight victory, the trotter demonstrated how to move up in class in style.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Hoorayforvacation (George Napolitano Jr.-Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), whose condition victory came on Saturday night came in 1:52:1, which was not only a career-best but was also the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Highest Peak (Andrew McCarthy-Noel Daley), a filly who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a condition victory at Pocono on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54:1; and Tamasin Hall (Scott Zeron-Bill Mullin), a mare who beat the boys in Tuesday night’s featured claiming handicap, winning in a career-best 1:54.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: AFTER ALIMONY

With Simon Allard in the bike, this mare finagled a pocket spot out of an outside post and upended a field of claimers on Sunday night at 29-1, paying off $61 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

On Friday night, the meet’s leading driver decided to hog all the glory for a good portion of the night, reeling off six consecutive wins at one point in the card.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOHN BARCHI

The veteran of the Pocono racing wars is having his finest season in years, as evidenced by four wins this week that included a training double on Sunday.

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.

12 Pennsylvania All Stars Races at Pocono on Saturday Night

Monday, July 8th, 2013

July 6, 2013

Grand Circuit Week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs wrapped up with 12 Pennsylanvania All Stars races on a steamy Saturday night. The 3-year-olds took center stage, with four $30,000 divisions of colts and geldings on the pace, three $35,000 divisions of pacing fillies, and five $30,000 divisions of trotting colts and geldings.

3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

Brew Master (Glidemaster-Dance Girl Dance), the 8-5 favorite with Dave Palone in the bike for trainer Marcus Marashian, hung on to win by a neck over Maxamillus in the first division in a career-best 1:54:2. Rossini picked up the show. The gate-to-wire victory was the second straight for Brew Master, with his last coming on a sloppy track at The Meadows.

Aperfectyankee (Yankee Glide-Asixpackfromperfect) glided up first-over and won going away by three lengths in a career-best 1:53:1 in the second division. Broadway Prince finished second while pacesetter Major Athens faded to third. 8-5 favorite Tigress’s Legacy went off-stride early. Trained and driven by Jim Oscarsson, Aperfectyankee, the third choice at 7-2, bounced back from a break in his last race for his second win of the season.

A blistering early pace set it up for Bluto (Donato Hanover-Blur) to come from off the pace and rally for a tight victory by a head over 7-5 favorite Smoother Ride in a career-best 1:52:4. Jimmy Takter trains and drives Bluto, who went off as the 7-2 third choice and won for the second time this year in six tries. Classicality picked up the show.

The fourth division produced a performance that matched a Pocono track record and a world record for 3-year-old trotting geldings. It’s Complicated (SJ’s Caviar-Madame Volo), the 5-1 third choice, was a powerhouse on the front end for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Kris Hite, winning by 1 ¼ lengths over even-money favorite High Bridge. Cantab Abs was third. The winning time by It’s Complicated of 1:52:4 matches the Pocono mark and the world record on a 5/8 oval by sophomore geldings, which was set by I’m The Answer in 2011.

All Laid Out (Yankee Glide-Adelaide Hall), who was fresh off a big upset win in the Earl Beal Jr. consolation trot in his last start, followed it up with a romping win in All Stars action as the 6-5 favorite in the fifth division. With Dave Palone in the bike for trainer Noel Daley, the colt sat off a hot pace and pounced late to win going away by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:53. Sailer Eddie finished second and Boffin picked up the show.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

In the first division, Dave Palone gunned Power Pack Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Panned Out), the 5-2 second choice from the Tom Cancelliere barn, to the front end and the filly went all the way for a 2 ½-length victory in a career-best 1:50:2. Handsoffmycupcake was best of the rest in second while Offintothesunset grabbed the show. It was the first win in two tries this year for Power Pack Hanover and just her third lifetime in five career races.

A stretch duel between the top two choices was the highlight of the second split, with 9-5 second choice Icommandmyspirit (Dragon Again-Artists Flower) holiding off 7-5 favorite Carols Desire by a neck in a career-best 1:51:1. Champagne Tonight was third. Jim Morrill did the driving aboard Icommandmyspirit for trainer Ross Croghan, as the filly won for the fifth time in her last six races.

Once she took over on the front stretch, 1-9 favorite Somwherovrarainbow (Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Bloe) fought off all comers in the third division and won by 1 ½ lengths in 1:51, a new career mark. Sweet Lady Jane finished second while South Pacific grabbed third. Driven by Montrell Teague and trained by George Teague Jr., Somwherovrarainbow now has three wins this season, with the other two coming in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

In the first division of this group, 2-1 second choice Net Ten Eom (Somebeachsomewhere-Glowing Report) set bruising fractions after taking over the lead on the front stretch but held tough late to win by two lengths in 1:49:2, a new career-best. Big Time Promise came up short in second, just his second loss in nine races this season, while The Pan Poobah finished 3rd. George Napolitano Jr. drove Net Ten Eom for trainer Richard Silverman, as the colt picked up his third consecutive win, all at different tracks.

Some Kinda Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Art’s Fantasy) didn’t disappoint as the 1-5 favorite in the second division, leading much of the way and powering home the second half of the mile after a great rate job by driver Marcus Miller in the first half. The colt from the Erv Miller barn ended up winning by 1 ¼ lengths in a career-best 1:51 for his sixth win in ten races this season. Here Comes Swifty finished second while Shock It To Em picked up the show.

 Good Day Mate (Christian Cullen-Stienam’s Place) parlayed an excellent trip behind a speed duel to a late-kicking victory in the third division, as he rallied to win by a neck over 6-5 favorite Dedi’s Dragon in 1:49:3. Varadero Hanover came on for the show. Jim Morrill Jr. drove Good Day Mate for trainer Chris Oakes, as the 3-year-old colt picked up his second win of the season as the 9-5 second choice.

In the final division, Ultimate Beach Boy (Somebeachsomewhere-Ultimate Bet), the 8-5 second choice, powered home from the pocket to win by a length in 1:50:4. George Napolitano Jr. was in the bike for trainer Don Swick, as Ultimate Beach Boy won for the third time this season. John’s Polyview finished second while 4-5 favorite Fateful Choice faded late to third.