Posts Tagged ‘Moni Maker’

Top horses in North America battle on Super Stakes Saturday

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

The two top-rated horses in 2015 North American harness racing, the three-year-old geldings Pinkman and Wiggle It Jiggleit, will continue their battle for #1 status in the sport this Saturday night during the $2,435,000 Super Stakes Saturday card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, going in consecutive races – first Pinkman in the $500,000 Colonial Trot, and then Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine Pace.

The three three-year-old races, which include the $350,000 Valley Forge Pace for fillies, are filled according to 2015 moneywinnings –the nine having the highest seasonal bankrolls are gathered in the “main event” races, with the next nine in order in Consolation I, and the nine after that in Consolation II.

Another high-profile event Saturday is the $100,000 Sebastian K S Invitational Trot, a race which will double as a retirement ceremony for the trans-Atlantic champion who will be honored in special on-track ceremonies before he heads to stallion duties. Ironically, the likely favorite is the Sebastian K S is JL Cruze – the #3-ranked horse in North America, and the one who defeated “Sebastian” by a nose in his only 2015 outing before his retirement.

Here are profiles of the Big Three three-year-old events, followed by a look at the Sebastian K S Trot and other powerful races on the Saturday card:

COLONIAL TROT — $500,000 main event race 11; $200,000 Consolation I race 7; $100,000 Consolation II race 3. Stakes record: 1:52.1, Googoo Gaagaa.

Pinkman, fresh off his two-heat, world recordsetting victory in The Hambletonian, was aided by the draw with post two in the field of nine. Yannick Gingras is listed to drive Pinkman, a son of Explosive Matter who has eight wins and one second in nine seasonal starts, with his mark the 1:51 world record for 3TG in the second heat of the Hambletonian, and his $1,170,965 in 2015 earnings raising his career total to $1,737,625. (By the way, his chief foe in the Hambletonian, the filly Mission Brief, will be racing in Pennsylvania some 27 hours earlier, heading the $174,000 Moni Maker Trot at The Meadows Friday night.)

Pinkman will be find some familiar faces on the track beside him Saturday, as five of the nine Colonial entrants are, like he, part of the trotting superstable of Jimmy Takter. The “other” quartet – Uncle Lasse (PP3, driver David Miller), The Bank (PP6, Takter listing himself), Canepa Hanover (PP8, John Campbell back in the sulky), and French Laundry (PP9, Brett Miller) – are not just “makeweight” entrants either, with combined seasonal earnings of $900,000 among them.

Crazy Wow (PP1, trainer Ron Burke, driver Tim Tetrick) and Wicker Hanover (post five, Noel Daley, Corey Callahan) seem to have the best chance to upset the Takter applecart. Crazy Wow was third in the Beal Final here in June, behind Pinkman and Uncle Lasse, while Wicker Hanover handed Pinkman his only defeat of the year, in the Beal eliminations.

BATTLE OF THE BRANDYWINE — $500,000 main event race 12; $200,000 Consolation I race 8; $100,000 Consolation II race 4. Stakes record: 1:47.4, Sunshine Beach.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, an altered son of Mr Wiggins, has achieved slightly-higher earnings than Pinkman so far – $1,189,144, while winning 15 of 17 starts and showing speed, maneuverability, and courage. The winner of the Hempt Final here at Pocono early this season, Wiggle It Jiggleit will have driver Montrell Teague alert early, as he will be starting from the rail, and Teague’s job will be to get him to the front at some point without a terrific usage of resources, the fate which befell him in the recent Cane Pace, where he was involved in fractions of 25.4, 52,1, and 1:20.4 before tiring to fourth in the stretch.

The four horses who have finished ahead of Wiggle It Jiggleit in his lifetime (he raced only once at two, winning here) are all in the big Battle. Wazikashi Hanover (PP7, trainer Joanne Looney-King, driver Tim Tetrick, #7 in the North American polls) caught “Wiggle” in the stretch drive of the North America Cup at Mohawk, while the 1-2-3 Cane finishers are also here – in order of that race’s finish, Dealt A Winner (PP9, Mark Silva, David Miller), Artspeak (PP8, Tony Alagna, Scott Zeron), and Dude’s The Man (PP2, Jessica Okusko, Corey Callahan). The “Dude” also won the last big-money race for this division in Pennsylvania, the Adios at The Meadows on August 1.

VALLEY FORGE PACE — $350,000 main event race 10; $150,000 Consolation I race 7; $75.000

Consolation II race 3. Stakes record: 1:48.4, I Luv The Nitelife.

A division desperately looking for a leader after a series of different winners in most of this year’s major events to date may find one emerge from the Valley Forge Pace.

The biggest 2015 bankroll in the collection of nine misses belongs to Bettor Be Steppin, a daughter of Bettor’s Delight who will begin from post four for trainer Joe Holloway and driver Corey Callahan. Over half of the seasonal winnings of Bettor Be Steppin came right at Pocono, when she won a multi-horse close finish to capture the $300,000 Lynch Final, taking her mark of 1:50.4.

In finding other ways to measure this evenly-matched group, the biggest career bankroll belongs to Sassa Hanover ($634,440, PP7, trainer Ron Burke, driver Yannick Gingras), while the fastest speed mark is held by Moonlit Dance (1:49 winning the recent Mistletoe Shalee Final, PP6, trainer Tony OSullivan, driver David Miller). Both of those fillies show solid credentials in their achievements and their connections, and are likely to contribute to this fairly-wide-open affair.


The $100,000 Sebastian K S Trot (race 5) marks the return to the races after a five-week break of the Cinderella story JL Cruze, who started to build a following while winning the Weiss Series here in the spring, and has gone on to win 16 of 18 starts and over $600,000 for trainer Eric Ell, with John Campbell returning from a recent minor injury to guide “JL” from the middle of the nine-horse field. Along the way, JL Cruze has become the third-fastest trotter of all-time, behind only Sebastian K S and Enough Talk (1:49.3 at Colonial) when he won the Graduate Series Final in 1:49.4.

The card kicks off with a bang, as national stars Cinamony, Krispy Apple, Ooh Bad Shark, and Yagonnakissmeornot collide in the $50,000 Hanover Shoe Farms Pace for mares.

The $50,000 U.S. Trotting Association Pace for free-for-allers may turn out to be the national coming-out party for the unheralded Always At My Place (PP2, trainer Ron Burke, driver Matt Kalaley), who goes for his sixth win in a row after missing the world record for 4PG by a tick here last Saturday, stopping the timer in 1:48.1 while pacing his own back half uncovered in 53.1 and winning under a hold.

Post Time for this stellar card is 5:30pm.

Foiled Again passes $5 million mark

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

 Having surpassed the $5 million mark in career earnings thanks to his win in Saturday’s $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Foiled Again has only two horses ahead of him on the all-time money list: trotters Varenne and Moni Maker.

Does the 9-year-old pacer have another half-million in him to get past those two?

“I think he’s got a lot more than that in him,” driver Yannick Gingras said. “He gives me chills, I can tell you that. What a horse.”

Foiled Again, trained by co-owner Ron Burke, won the Franklin by a nose over Pet Rock in 1:49.2 over a sloppy track at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, notching career victory No. 70 in the process. This year he has won five of 12 starts, including last week’s Franklin elim in a world-record 1:48 mile.

In the Franklin final, Foiled Again raced on the outside much of the mile. He followed the cover of Razzle Dazzle onto the backstretch, but was left first over when Razzle Dazzle took the lead from early pacesetter Modern Legend. Foiled Again was third as the field headed into the stretch, but was able to chase down Razzle Dazzle and hold off Pet Rock.

Pet Rock ended up finishing second and Razzle Dazzle was third.

“I don’t mind first over,” Gingras said. “That’s his trip; he likes that actually. No offense, but Razzle Dazzle, I’ll take my shot. He’s a great horse on his own, but Foiled Again is special. They were pacing pretty good in the second turn and (Razzle Dazzle) got a little bit of a jump, but I figured I’d catch up to him.”

Foiled Again is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and JJK Stables. He has won $5.17 million in his career, making him the richest pacer in the world. Only trotters Varenne ($5.63 million) and Moni Maker ($5.58 million) earned more money. Both are retired.

Last season, Foiled Again earned $1.20 million, becoming at the age of 8 the oldest pacer to have a million-dollar year. He also was named the sport’s best older male pacer for the second consecutive year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

In 2011, at the age of 7, Foiled Again was voted Pacer of the Year. He was the first pacer older than age 4 to ever receive the honor.

For his career, Foiled Again has won 70 of 181 races and finished among the top three a total of 138 times.

“I just want him to get the recognition he deserves,” Gingras said. “A lot of people think he’s a small-track horse, or this and that, and maybe they’re right a little bit, but at the end of the day he’s not the fastest horse but he outlasts every one of them. He’s been through about three different groups of horses, guys that retired or went to stud, and he’s still around and banging and kicking (butt) against some 4-year-olds.”

Gingras has driven Foiled Again in 111 of his 135 starts since joining the stable of trainers Mickey and Ron Burke in July 2008.

“He’s just unbelievable,” Gingras said. “I think every year over the last five years at some point he’s been written off. I wrote him off myself; I picked off of him three weeks ago (to drive Sweet Lou in the Roll With Joe). He’s a very special horse.

“We climbed up at the same time. My career on the Grand Circuit got going four or five years ago, the same as his. He seems like he’s getting better with age and maybe I’m getting better with age. Maybe we’re matched good together.”

Ken Weingartner for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs