Posts Tagged ‘Maven’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

August 22-28, 2014

On Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, we were lucky enough to have two $25,000 Preferred races on the card, one each for the trotters and pacers. As if often the case, those Preferred races, gathering such brilliant talent as they tend to do, produced thrilling outcomes and our three major award-winners for the week. That’s right, I said three. Read on and see how this is possible as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACERS OF THE WEEK: MACH IT SO and GOLDEN RECEIVER

There are a lot of close finishes in harness racing, but relatively few dead heats. After all, the chances of two horses travelling the distance of a mile and arriving at the finish line at exactly the same time so that they inseparable when the finish line is viewed in a photo, is pretty rare. It’s always a kick when it happens, but, when it happens between two horses the caliber of Mach It So and Golden Receiver, it’s a special treat.

On Saturday night, those two star pacers were lined up alongside each other in the Preferred pace. Golden Receiver, a former Pacer of the Year at Pocono, came in slumping a bit, but with career earnings of over $2.1 million, he’s always a major threat. Mach It So came in at the top of his game, having won two straight, including a Preferred at Pocono on August 2.

It looked as though it would be the hot horse’s night when Mach It So, driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer PJ Fraley, took over the lead in the stretch with a huge first-over move. But Golden Receiver, with Simon Allard driving for trainer Jake Huff, suddenly surged on the inside. The two hit the line together and the photo couldn’t separate them, so they shared the victory in 1:49:4. In a bizarre twist, two other horses in the race, Word Power and Big Time Promise, finished in their own dead heat for fifth place. Wacky, wonderful stuff in the week’s featured race.

Other top pacers this week include: Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley), the standout veteran who won his second straight condition pace on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:50; Giveittoemstaight (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who rolled to her second straight condition win on Friday night and matched her career mark of 1:50:4 in the process; and Flying Cowboy (Andrew McCarthy, Matias Ruiz), whose career-best win in 1:50:4 in a claiming handicap on Wednesday night was his third consecutive victory.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MAVEN

In the trotting game, fillies of ages two and three usually get the chance to compete against each other a large majority of the time. Once they hit age four though and officially become mares, the opportunities to face their own gender exclusively start to dry out. Some stakes races still dot the schedule, but most tracks don’t offer overnight races for only distaff trotters over age four. That means they have to go up against the boys every once in a while.

For a trotter as talented as Maven, a 5-year-old mare from the Jonas Czernyson barn who has pretty much conquered all comers to this point in her career, such a prospect isn’t all that daunting. Even in a race like Saturday night’s Preferred Handicap trot, which featured some tough veteran male trotters like Not Afraid and Sevruga, the mare raced with extreme confidence.

With Mark MacDonald in the bike, Maven made a huge move on the outside late to take over the lead, holding off Waiting On A Woman by a length for the win. It was just her second victory of the year, coming in a scorching 1:52:3, but it pushed her career earnings up near $1.5 million. There’s a lot more money to be earned by this standout, probably some of it at the expense of her male counterparts.

Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Amigo Ranger (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), whose condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:52:3 was a career-best and matched the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Donatomite (Trond Smedshammer trainer and driver), who stayed unbeaten after three career starts as a 2-year-old with a Stallion Series win on Tuesday night in 1:54:4; and Billy Flynn ( Brett Miller, Staffan Lind), a two-year-old who now has six wins in six tries after a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:55:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: G NOTE

This 2-year-old filly made quite an auspicious debut with Andrew McCarthy in the bike, upsetting the field in Tuesday night’s final race at 30-1 to pay off $62.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO

With driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday highlighting another fine week at the races, A-Nap became the latest driver to earn 100 victories in the 2014 meet at Pocono.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NEAL EHRHART

Ehrhart pulled off quite the training double on Tuesday night, scoring first with 14-1 shot Guilford and then adding Fool’s Revenue later in the night at 15-1.

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.

 

Classic Martine Sets World Record at Pocono

Friday, May 30th, 2014

May 10, 2014

Classic Martine trotted faster than any distaff trotter on a 5/8-mile oval in harness racing history on Saturday night when she rolled to victory in a $25,000 Preferred trot at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Classic Martine (Classic Photo-Drinking Days), a 4-year-old mare from the Chris Oakes barn making just her second start of the season after a stellar 2013, left from post position #5 in a field of seven as the 3-5 favorite. The mare sat second early behind Fearless Man before jumping to the lead on the front stretch. She took pressure from Coraggioso first-over for most of the second half of the mile, but, with Simon Allard in the bike, held him off by three-quarters of a length for the victory. Fearless Man finished third.

The winning time of 1:51:2 not only broke the world record of 1:51:4 for her age group, which was set by Maven in a Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono in October, it also broke the all-ages distaff trotting record on a 5/8-mile oval of 1:51:3, shared my Check Me Out and Cooler Schooner.

Classic Martine, owned by Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Earl Gold, and Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, is now two-for-two in 2014. It was her 14th career win in just 29 starts, and she pushed her lifetime earnings to $566,224.

In other action on Saturday night at Pocono, Emeritus Maximus (Rocknoll Hanover-Eternity’s Delight) rallied late from far back for a victory in the $25,000 Preferred pace. Driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Tom Cancelliere, the 4-year-old gelding got away at 8-1 but corralled even-money favorite All Star Legend in the stretch to win by a neck in 1:49:3a. Eighteen finished third.

 

Weiss Late Closing Series 4th Leg this week

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

 

WILKES-BARRE PA – Fillies and mares will have the spotlight shine on them during the early-week cards at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as pacing distaffs will contest the fourth and final preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series on Tuesday, and their trotting counterparts going on Wednesday. 

The Weiss Series, honoring the recently-retired trackman who honed the Pocono 5/8-mile oval into a top surface acclaimed by one and all, holds four $15,000 preliminaries as an early-closer for developing horses; the top horses emerging from the prelims come back to contest a $30,000 Championship. 

In Tuesday’s pacing action, slotted for races 10 through 12, R Journey Together and Envious Hanover both hope to bounce back after winning their first two prelims but suffering defeat in the third leg. Envious Hanover goes in race ten from post five for the familiar Kakaley/Burke team, with her main rival looking like A And G’s Design,  who won for the first time in the Weiss last week.

 If R Journey Together hopes to regain her winning ways, she’ll have to do it from post eight in the 12th race for driver George Napolitano Jr. while facing three other fillies who have won in the Weiss. The middle division is headed by Prime Dragon (post three, driver Brett Miller), who posted the fastest clocking for this section last week while winning in 1:52.1.

 The redoubtable Perfect Alliance will look to keep her 2014 record perfect in her eighth seasonal start as she headlines the two Weiss divisions for diamondgaiters Wednesday. Starting from post one for Team Miller in race 10, Perfect Alliance posted crushing prelim victories in 1:53 and 1:54 (tilting the tote board with a huge place following) before sitting out the third prelim, but this miss, who may have names like Maven and Bee A Magician on her dance card in the future, seems tons the best of her gathering.

 In the other split, race 8, two-time series winners Take The Money (post two, also Team Miller) and Dough Dough (post five, driver Mike Simons) should attract most of the play.

 The Weiss colt pacing Championship will be held this Saturday, April 19. Pocono will be dark on Easter (April 20), so both the trotting colts and pacing fillies will contest their Championships a week from tomorrow (April 22), with Perfect Alliance “set for coronation” on Wednesday the 23rd.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

September 13-19, 2013

With only about a month until the Breeders Crown on Saturday, October 19 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, it’s as good a time as any to start looking ahead to how some of the top competitors shape up. Because of the increase in the number of stakes races at Pocono, many more of the North America’s best horses have already traveled over the oval this season than at the same point three years ago when the Breeders Crown was last held at MSPD.

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the Top 10 horses in the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown and see just how well they’ve done this year at Pocono. We’ll count them down in descending order, just like this really good Bob Dylan book I heard about lately.

10. SEVRUGA: This 5-year-old trotting gelding from the Julie Miller barn has won nine of 19 starts this year with earnings of close to $500,000. His first start at Pocono this season was a memorable one, as he ripped off a victory in an Invitational trot in 1:50:3, a new-world record for aged geldings on a 5/8-mile oval. He was upset, however, by Wishing Stone in his last Pocono appearance on Super Stakes Saturday.

9. MAVEN: This 4-year-old trotting gelding is one of the few in the Top 10 who has yet to make an appearance at Pocono in 2013, although fans with longer memories may remember him as a solid performer in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at the track as a two and three-year-old. Maven’s biggest success this season has been in Canada, where he in unbeaten in four races for trainer Jonas Czernyson.

8. PET ROCK: A four-year-old pacing stallion from the Virgil Morgan Jr. barn, Pet Rock has had an outstanding season once again in 2013 with earnings north of $600,000. But his story at Pocono has been one of near misses. He finished 3rd and 2nd in the Ben Franklin pace elimination and final in June, then came up just short behind A Rocknroll Dance on Super Stakes Saturday.

7. VEGAS VACATION: Most people have conceded the 3-year-old pacing division to Captaintreacherous, but this gelding trained by Casie Coleman pushed the super-horse to the limit in their last meeting on the Pocono oval, finishing just a nose behind him in the slop in the Max Hempt. He’s been building confidence since then, scoring big-money victories at Tioga and Mohawk.

6. A ROCKNROLL DANCE: Trainer Jim Mulinix hopes the old phrase “horses for courses” applies come Breeders Crown time, because the last two starts this 4-year-old pacer had at Pocono were memorable. In 2012, he turned around a floundering season with a win in the Max Hempt Memorial. His lone start here this season was a win on Super Stakes Saturday in 1:47:4, matching the fastest ever at the track.

5. ROYALTY FOR LIFE: As the Hambletonian winner as well as a victor in several other big stakes races, 2013 has been a great year for Royalty For Life, trained by George Ducharme. Except at Pocono. Back in June, the 3-year-old trotter broke stride in both the elimination and the final for the Earl Beal Jr. In August, he got caught up in a speed duel and faded to 7th as the favorite in the Colonial.

4. FATHER PATRICK: The most celebrated 2-year-old in the country, Father Patrick made his trotting debut at Pocono in July in Pennsylvania All Stars action with a seven-length victory. He returned a few weeks later for another easy score in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. With seven wins in eight races so far for trainer Jimmy Takter, you get the feeling he’ll be tough no matter what track hosts him.

3. I LUV THE NITELIFE: With just one loss in 11 races this season, the pride of the Chris Ryder barn has been without a doubt the class of the 3-year-old pacing fillies division. She has been especially fine at Pocono, winning all three of her races here this year. Included among those were big stakes wins in the James Lynch and the Valley Forge, the latter coming in a world record for her age group of 1:48:4.

2. CAPTAINTREACHEROUS: It took a world-record performance from Sunshine Beach to spoil his unbeaten season at Pocono in the Battle of the Brandywine, and even then it was only in a photo finish. Before that, the Captain overcame a treacherous trip, if you will, to win the Hempt in June. Will the 3-year-old  pacing colt from the Tony Alagna barn step up on Breeders Crown day? Time will tell.

1. BEE A MAGICIAN: The number-one horse in the poll is a relative unknown to Pocono fans, since she’s the only one on this list to have never raced at MSPD. The 3-year-old trotting filly from the Nifty Norman barn has done most of her damage in Canada, but she did stop at The Meadowlands this year to win the Hambletonian Oaks as part of her record of twelve wins in twelve races in 2013.

Those are just some of the horses to watch come October at Pocono. With all of that firepower on display, it should be an amazing night.

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.

 

Records Shattered on PA Sire Stakes Championship Night

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

WILKES-BARRE PA — Check Me Out obliterated the world record for 3YO trotting fillies on a 5/8-mile track when she cruised to a 1:51.3 victory in her $200,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, the highlight of Championship Night for the state-sired sophomores.

The daughter of Donato Hanover reached the lead nearing the 1/4 from post six for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker and put up splits of 27.3, 55.2, and 1:23 while looking comfortable and confident. Superstar Hanover maintained valiant contact from the pocket, and Maven started her patented grind at the 5/8, but neither could approach the winner of $2.7 million, with the final clocking breaking the world record shared by Hidden Viggorish (in a PaSS final) and Holier Than Thou (set at Pocono earlier this year) by an amazing 1 3/5 seconds. Maven was up for second late over Superstar Hanover.

“She was good at the gate, and once we made the top I was very confident,” noted Schnittker, co-owner with Charles Iannazzo, after the race. “Very strong throughout,” he continued, adding that her next start would be at Lexington.

The Western Terror filly Economy Terror set a world record in winning her pacing fillies Championship last year, held at Pocono, and the return to “home cookin’” (trainer Chris Oakes is based at the mountain track) provided “déjà vu all over again” – another world record, this time in 1:49, a tick better than place finisher’s Big McDeal’s seven-week-old mark, and the fastest PA Sire Stakes Championship ever (spoiler alert: tied by Dapper Dude two races later.)

After a contentious 25.4 opener, “Super Sire Stakes Finals driver” Dave Palone (he’s won 25 the last 10+ years; his nearest competitor has 7) guided his filly to the command position, and later spoke of the middle splits of 54 and 1:21.3 as “actually a good breather for her.” The afterburners kicked in approaching headstretch, however, as Economy Terror opened wide daylight to become only the fifth 2YO-3YO Sire Stakes “repeater” in modern times (all fillies, and all but one pacers). Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor, and Ed Gold saw their 2011 divisional champion surpass $1.2 million in earnings.

Dapper Dude, just a half-length off in the North America Cup, easily caught defending champion Sweet Lou in the stretch while taking the colt pace in 1:49 – a personal mark, and equaling the newly-minted mark of Economy Terror as the quickest in Sire Stakes Championship history.

Sweet Lou got to the half in a mild 55, but then was forced to pace a 26.1 backside to keep out first-over Easy Again – a speed which allowed driver Jim Morrill Jr. to drop the second-over “Dude” into a gaping pocket nearing the 3/4. With the breather around the turn, Dapper Dude easily picked up Sweet Lou late, with DD’s earnings now over $550,000 for trainer Bob McIntosh, co-owner with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc.

An alert drive by Eric Goodell was the key to the victory of Magic Tonight as the Andover Hall colt notched the other trotting event in 1:54, a stakes record. Goodell left for the top and yielded, then made another move when he saw favored My MVP forward-bound and yielded for the 2-hole behind the chalk. The Pocono Pike then provided the passage to victory for Magic Tonight, a tough second to Hambo winner Market Share at Vernon last week, as he pushed his earnings over $430,000 for trainer Noel Daley and owner Adam Victor & Son LLC. Magic Tonight was also the only outright preliminary pointleader to take a Championship (Economy Terror was co-leader in her section).