Posts Tagged ‘Muscle Massive’

Opening Night Take 2 for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The Standardbred trotters and pacers will begin their 52nd season of pari-mutuel harness racing in northeast Pennsylvania this Tuesday evening, March 21, as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will present the first of 135 cards of the sulky sport scheduled for 2017, with Tuesday’s first race marked for 6:30 p.m.

The racing was set to begin on Saturday night the 18th, but two feet of snow at the mountain oval this past Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by high winds that caused considerable drifting in places, put paid to that idea, as for the safety of the horses and horsemen it was imperative to do a thorough job of track preparation, and thus the opener was pushed back until Tuesday.

The highlight of the 2017 Pocono season will come on Saturday, July 1, with the $2 million+ Sun Stakes Saturday card, which annually draws the sport’s best horses over several of the major categories. It was recently announced that Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2015 Harness Horse of the Year at age three and the fierce seasonlong rival of 2016 Harness Horse of the Year Always B Miki, will make his debut for the year in the Franklin Pace elimination races, to be held on Saturday, June 24.

And speaking of Wiggle It Jiggleit – the very first race of the 2017 racing season at Pocono, a $14,000 pace for “non-winners of three races or $30,000 lifetime,” is likely to have as its chalk, starting from post three, a stablemate to “Wiggle,” from the Bergstein/Proximity Award-winning Team Teague of owner George, driver Montrell, and trainer Clyde Francis. This three-year-old Delmarvalous gelding – who is 3 for 4 in his brief career – is named Nine Ways (nine is of course three times three), and his fastest win is in 1:53. (That’s a lot of coincidental numerology.)

The fifth race companion “nw 3” trotting event to the opener finds the sophomore filly Gin’s Tonic drawing the rail as she makes her first start of the year for local trainer Neal Ehrhart. The daughter of Muscle Massive had only one victory at two, but she picked a fine spot to notch it – in a division of the Keystone Classic at The Meadows, where she earned a mark of 1:56.3.

Older campaigners will be spotlighted in a pair of $12,500 events. The ninth race trot finds veterans ABC Muscles Boy and My Love Bi, who both took their 2016 marks of 1:53.3 at Pocono, coming into this race off promising early-season form, while the tenth race mares pace sports no fewer than six distaffs who have won since February 1, all of them in 1:54.1 or better in all kinds of wintry conditions.

Pocono’s all-time driving champion George Napolitano Jr. will be on the scene from opening night, coming up from Florida, where he already has shown himself in “midseason form” with a 27% win rate; his brother Anthony, second in the standings last year, will also have a full driving schedule from the word “go.”

The basic racing schedule at Pocono follows a Saturday through Tuesday basis, with first post at 6:30 except on Sundays, when the action starts an hour later. After Tuesday the 21st, Pocono is scheduled to race on Saturday-Sunday-Tuesday of the “following racing week” (March 25-28), with Mondays joining the mix on April 10.

A press conference/luncheon will be held at the track at 12 noon on Monday, with Pocono officials and horsemen on hand to take part in a preview of what should be a quality season of racing at The Downs. Pocono’s person of contact for media is Jennifer Starr, 570.831.2195.

Two score twice in PA Sire Stakes action

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Truemass Volo and Love Matters both became two-time winners in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts with victories within the four divisions of the $251,780 third preliminary leg event on Wednesday night, August 26th, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

First to record the double was the Muscle Massive-Tresbien Volo colt Truemass Volo, who set the pace then held off Sliding Off to his inside and Milligan’s School to his outside in taking a new mark of 1:56.2 under the guidance of Tim Tetrick. Truemass Volo now has three consecutive wins after making breaks in his first two outings, peaking at a good time for trainer Doug Hamliton and owners John Erdner and Martin Garey.

The Explosive Matter-Lotsa Love colt Love Matters went in the race immediately after Truemass Volo’s, and he is now undefeated in five lifetime starts (and two PaSS races; he skipped a leg), here lowering his mark to 1:55.2 while triumphing for driver Marcus Miller and trainer/father Erv, whose Ervin Miller Stable Inc. is the co-owner along with Paymaq Racing and Harvey Eisman.

The two first-time PaSS winners both paid off at better than 20-1, and one of them put up the fastest clocking of all. That would be the colt Iron Mine Bucky, giving Explosive Matter a siring double (his dam is My Foolish Dream) and lowering his mark to 1:54.4. Driver George Dennis moved the winner, who has now taken half his six lifetime starts, first-over on the second turn, and “Bucky” threw a 28 uncovered third quarter to clear to the lead and win nicely for trainer Colby Hubble and Iron Mine Branch LLC.

The Cantab Hall-Likeavirgin Lindy colt Landjack Hanover did get a little help on the way to his maiden victory, and given the luck he knew what to do and tripped the timer in 1:57.1 under the guidance of Corey Callahan. Landjack Hanover was third-inside at the ¾, but first pocketsitting Alexander Hanover jumped midturn and went to the infield, and then Desert Runner, still with about a 2½-length lead in midstretch, unfortunately lived up to the second half of his name, with Landjack Hanover there to pick up the pieces for trainer John Butenschoen and owners Give It A Shot Stable, Jerry Graham, and VIP Internet Stable LLC.

Stakes action for two-year-old PA Sired kicks off

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Stakes action for two-year-old Pennsylvania-sired horses kicked off Sunday, June 28th,  at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with six divisions of a $180,000 event for trotting colts and geldings.

The fastest winner was Trolley, who set the pace and came home in 57.2 to win by a head over pocketsitting Earn And Burn in 1:56.1. Both of the top two finishers were sons of Donato Hanover, and Trolley is out of the Duke Of York-Conch mare Lakeside Bride, so it was a royal pedigree battle to the wire (Earn And Burn is out of a full sister to millionaire Dejambro), with Trolley the winner for conductor Marcus Miller, trainer Erv Miller, and the ownership of Paymaq Racing, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis, and Louis Willinger.

Longtime prominent Pennsylvania horsemen Bob Key had a pair of homebred winners, including one who was the longest shot on the board in his race and who won under unusual circumstances. Treasure Keys K (Encore Encore) was sitting third behind pacesetting Milligan’s School and pocketsitting Truemass Volo when those two got tangled up on the final turn, inheriting the lead and going on to win for trainer/driver Charlie Norris in 1:59.2.

Key’s other winner was Boyz N Guitars, a Muscle Massive colt who came his own back half in 57.4 uncovered to catch the leader, Dominus Hanover, and tally in 1:58.3 for Hall Of Fame driver John Campbell and trainer Chuck Sylvester.

Donato Hanover had another siring credit in the All-Stars, Sliding Home, who is out of the 2010 Hambo Oaks-winning mare Bar Slide. Sliding Home quarter-moved to command and came home with twin 29.3 quarters to win easily in 2:00 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Jonas Czernyson, and the Consus Racing Stable – and be the only “chalk” to prevail in the six races.

Corey Callahan had the only driving double in the Sunday stakes, as he also went to Victory Lane with Hititoutofthepark after an eventful trip – away sixth and parked every step until the 5/8, where his 27.4 individual third split powered him off to a three length win in 1:57.3. The impressive son of Yankee Glide, a full brother to All-Stars 3YO winner and Beal finalist Boots N Chains, is trained by John Butenschoen for the Give It A Shot Stable, Kurt Welling, and the VIP Internet Stable LLC.

The other All-Stars section went to Regina and Rick Beinhauer’s homebred Major Matter, who made every pole a winning one in 1:58.3. The altered son of Explosive Matter stepped home in 58.3 with Rick Beinhauer, who also is the trainer, in the sulky.

All-Stars action for babies continues this coming week, with pacing fillies on Tuesday, trotting fillies on Wednesday, and pacing colts on the first Friday night card of the year at Pocono – the day before the $2M Sun Saturday Stakes Championships.

The stars shine at Sun Stakes Saturday Eliminations

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The racing conditions were not pleasant – cool and rainy, the latter making the track “sloppy” – but the horses seeking places in four Championship races on Sun Stakes Saturday, July 4th,  overcame the challenging conditions to earn their spots for the big showdowns seven days hence at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.  The eliminations were held Saturday, June 27th.

BEN FRANKLIN ELIMINATIONS (FFAP)

Two for $30,000; top four plus fastest fifth-place horse return for $500,000 Championship

5YO+ FFA pacing division leader State Treasurer, last most of the way and coming from eighth nearing headstretch, stormed home with a wicked last 1/16 that picked up the entire field in his 1:50.3 elim. Driver David Miller sent the son of Real Desire five-wide in the lane and let his horse do the rest, getting up by a neck over a very durable Dynamic Youth, who was overland for 7 of the race’s 8 furlongs, with Clear Vision and Mach It So taking third and fourth behind the winner, trained by Dr. Ian Moore for owners Sally and Paul Macdonald.

Long-memoried fans who recalled that Luck Be With You won the 2013 2PC Breeders Crown Championship here at Pocono over a sloppy track were rewarded with 6-1 win odds Saturday, as the son of Western Ideal went coast-to-coast in 1:50. “Luck” eliminated luck by laying down fractions of 26, 53.4, and 1:22 in staying safe by 1¾ lengths over 8-5 favorite Vegas Vacation, who had to rally four-wide on the final turn. Captive Audience, last at the ¾, did a masterful bob-and-weave in the lane to be up for a DH3 with Pocono Pike-shooting Domethatagain; Foiled Again, the $7 Million Dollar Man, was fifth after having to travel the last turn three-wide, with his 1:50.2 clocking earning him the last Franklin spot. Luck Be With You’s driver and trainer, George Napolitano Jr. and Chris Oakes respectively, have combined for many an engine victory at Pocono; if they can win next week, neither they nor owner John Craig will be fussy about the path the horse travels.

Brittany Farms bred both Franklin elim winners and was a partner breeder in Artspeak, giving them a temporary tie with Hanover Shoe Farms in breeding three winners (Cruzado Dela Noche, Stacia Hanover, and Wicker Hanover), but then Hanover “reclaimed the lead” with Wakizashi Hanover in the tenth race.

EARL BEAL JR. ELIMINATIONS (3CT)

Three for $25,000; top three return for $500,000 Championship

Uncle Lasse, “not the favorite at 4-5” (how often do you see that phrase?), just caught 3-5* Crazy Wow in the shadow of the wire to take an exciting Beal elim in 1:54. The son of Donato Hanover, trained by Jimmy Takter, sat the pocket, got out behind Crazy Wow as that one raced up uncovered to go to the lead on the far turn, then inexorably gained on his game rival to be along by a head, with Shoot The Thrill another two lengths back in third. Uncle Lasse is undefeated in four seasonal starts for the interlocking owner/breeder combine of Solveig’s Racing Partners/ Solveig’s Breeders.

The Explosive Matter colt Wicker Hanover ($35.20), a double PA Sires winner but yet to prove himself at the highest level, exploded in the last 1/8 to catch 2014 champion Pinkman, heretofore undefeated this year, by a half -length in 1:54.1. Pinkman was sent to the lead early and cut a reasonable pace in the off going, but Wicker Hanover, who had to pause past midturn as his cover Donatomite was the third of the race’s three breakers, regathered and overpowered the champ late for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Noel Daley, and owner Christer Haggstrom Racing Stable Inc. Centurion ATM also qualified for the Beal Final, 1 1/2 lengths behind Pinkman and a half-length in front of Pinkman’s stablemate Whom Shall I Fear (the coupled betting entry going down at 1-9*).

A fast pace, and the early break of 2-5 favorite Habitat, helped set up the Muscle Massive colt Cruzado Dela Noche to sweep the field into the far turn and draw off to a 2¼-length victory in 1:53.3 over the two longest shots in the field, Southwind Mozart and Boots N Chains. Cruzado Dela Noche, only a half-length behind Uncle Lasse in a PA Sires event two starts back, took a new lifetime mark with the triumph for driver David Miller, trainer Nancy Johansson, and owner Courant A B as the 3-1 second choice.

MAX C. HEMPT ELIMINATIONS (3CP)

Three for $25,000; top three return for $500,000 Championship

Artspeak set an evenly-rated pace, looked to be threatened at headstretch, but responded gamely late to withstand Pocono Pike challenger In The Arsenal for a 1:50 triumph. The son of Western Ideal, 2YO champion and now 11 for 15 lifetime, made the lead just before the 27 first quarter, and got the middle splits in 55.1 and 1:22.3. But around the final turn first-over Pierce Hanover made a menacing move, and the 8-5 In The Arsenal had been literally breathing down the neck of 3-5* Artspeak’s driver Scott Zeron (winner of half of the first four elim winners). In The Arsenal took a pair of fumbly steps entering the Pike, but then found high gear, and Pierce Hanover just wouldn’t go away, but Artspeak showed his class to dig down and preserve a head margin at the wire, with ”Pierce” only another ¾ of a length behind and also advancing. Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms (also co-breeder), Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The Gym Partners.

Wiggle It Jiggleit bounced back nicely after his first career loss, making a move in front of the stands to the front nearing the 5/8 and going on to an in-hand 4 length victory for driver Montrell Teague in 1:50.1. 67-1 National Seelster had the good fortune of the 1-20*’s cover for a quarter-mile, then the bad luck to be left raw, but he fought home gamely to beat early pacesetter Betting Exchange by a neck for the place. The winning altered son of Mr Wiggles is now 12-for-13; Clyde Francis handles the training for George Teague Jr Inc.

Wakizashi Hanover completed a Hempt elim sweep for favorites, rallying in the Pocono Pike to catch Lost For Words by 1½ lengths in 1:50.4. The victorious Dragon Again gelding was three-wide much of a 26.4 opener before making the top, but Lost For Words came from seventh at the quarter with a bold move that carried him to the top past the 55.1 half. Past the 1:22.4 3/4s, the main question seemed to be if there would be a pocket rocket or a sustaining pacesetter, and “Wakizashi” answered the question with his crisp rally, while in his defense Lost For Words, well-clear of third-place A Bettor Hat, had not raced in three weeks, and figureesto be tighter next week. But this, like in the North America Cup Final, was the night for Wakizashi Hanover, who was guided by Tim Tetrick for trainer Joanne Looney-King and the Tri-County Stable (the second straight winner, after State Treasurer, with Maritime connections, and giving Hanover a fourth breeding credit.

JAMES LYNCH ELIMINATIONS (3FP)

Three for $20,000; top three return for $300,000 Championship

The middle and perhaps “featured” Lynch elim was supposed to be another matchup of 2014 Harness Horse of the Year JK She’salady and Sassa Hanover – but nobody told The Show Returns. The second-place finisher in the Fan Hanover despite PP10 at 113-1 was backed down to 9-2 locally, and she rallied for a strong two length victory in 1:51.3. The winning daughter of Rocknroll Hanover shot to the top for John Campbell, yielded to a midrace brush from slight favorite “JK” to sit the pocket, then slipped out on the far turn when Sassa Hanover challenged and went to the lead headstretch. Campbell tipped her wide and went by “Sassa” late, with Single Me third and JK She’salady fading to fifth. Chris Ryder trains the winner for Richard and Joanne Young, whose I Luv The Nitelife set the divisional world record for “f” tracks, 1:48.4, right here.

Stacia Hanover, returning to the races with Lasix after a month layoff, came back sharp for trainer Steve Elliott, making the lead past the 1/8 and going on to a 1¾-length victory for driver Scott Zeron while earning a new speed badge of 1:51.3. Bettor Be Steppin photoed out Wicked Little Minx for second, with both qualifying for the Championship along with the winner, who is owned by David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio and was the even-money chalk.

Momas Got A Gun dueled with favored Divine Caroline through the last 3/16, then went past her in deep stretch to take her elim by a half-length in a new mark of 1:51.3. The Somebeachsomewhere filly, making her second move of the race a winning one, was driven by Brett Miller for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. and owner Geoffrey Martin.  Deli Beach, over 10 lengths out at the half behind a bad gapper, rallied for third and advancement.

FINISHING LINES – Brett Miller, David Miller, and Scott Zeron all had stakes driving doubles; eleven different trainers won the eleven eliminations….As mentioned Hanover had a 4-3 breeders edge over Brittany in a great night for both, while in the siring ranks Western Ideal was the only stud with more than one winning offspring: Stacia Hanover, Artspeak, and Luck Be With You.

Double header of live racing on Derby day featured All-Stars & more

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Kentucky Derby Day meant a doubleheader of harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace on the evening card taken by the hot Domethatagain in 1:49, and Whom Shall I Fear and Cruzado Dela Noche both notching 1:55 triumphs among four division of a $128,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for sophomore trotting colts in the early card’s headliner.                                 .

Two-hole tactics took Domethatagain, a son of Bettors Delight, to victory in the richest race of the year to date, the $529,000 Levy Final at Yonkers last Saturday, and tonight Domethatagain also parlayed sitting the golden chair to victory in the Van Rose Memorial. Bandolito left strongly from the rail and Domethatagain went out quickly just to his right, discouraging outside leavers from engaging in a brutal fight, and driver Simon Allard sat right on the back of the pacesetter with the winner through splits of 26.1, 55, and 1:21.3.

Allard guided the winner into the famed Pocono Pike passing lane, quickly overtook the leader, and then held off the late bursts of two horses shipping in from Mohawk, Alexa’s Jackpot and Modern Legend, who completed the board spots. Simon and his brother, trainer Rene Allard, have been next to lethal at Pocono, especially on Saturdays, and tonight proved no exception, boosting the lifetime bankroll of Domethatagain to within hailing distance of $850,000 for Allard Racing Inc., Robert Hamather, and Bruce Soulsby.

In the afternoon quartet of trotting features:

Whom Shall I Fear, the full brother to Father Patrick and Pastor Stephen, had to work harder than his brothers usually did in their victories over the last few years, but the son of Cantab Hall kept on grinding steadily to edge pocketsitting Wicker Hanover by a neck in 1:55 to keep the 1-20 favorite’s seasonal record perfect in three seasonal starts. If you read “Pastor Stephen” and “Father Patrick,” you know trainer Jimmy Takter can’t be far behind, with Corey Callahan handling sulky duties for lessee Brixton Medical Inc.

Cruzado Dela Noche, a 1:53.4 Grand circuit winner at Lexington last year, was impressive in his seasonal debut, matching that 1:55 clocking by rallying from nine lengths back at the half to catch frontstepping favorite Suit And Tie by 1¼ lengths. Keeping it “all in the training family,” Nancy Johansson, daughter of Jimmy Takter (and trainer of JK She’salady), conditions Cruzado Dela Noche, and husband Marcus Johannson was in the sulky behind the son of Muscle Massive for Courant A B.

Another native of Sweden, Åke Svanstedt, was in Victory Lane in a third cut after the Andover Hall colt Real DJ Hanover played “pocket rocket” in overhauling pacesetter Piercewave Hanover by a head. The 1:56.2 clocking, in his 2015 debut, was a lifetime mark for the winner, who is trained and was driven by Svanstedt, also co-owner with Torbjorn Swahn.

The fourth division was won by Pocono’s “Trot Man,” diamondgaited driving specialist Mike Simons, and the Yankee Glide colt Boots N Chains, rallying from the two-hole after leaving from outside post seven to catch pacesetting Jacksons Minion by a neck in 1:55.1. Trainer John Butenschoen had his charge sharp for his first start of the campaign while winning for William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick.