Posts Tagged ‘Mustang Art’

YS Lotus brilliant in Weiss Final

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

To modify the old adage, call him whatever you want, as long as you call him to the winners circle.

YS Lotus, without a space between the first two letters of his name but whom The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono broadcaster George Anthony insists should be called as if there were a space – after all, his owner is Yves Sarrazin – was brilliant Saturday night, April 19th,  in taking the $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for male pacers at the mountain oval in 1:49.3.

The altered son of If I Can Dream had first acquired a reputation for his ironsidedness, racing six times in 18 days between the Weiss and the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers. Before last week’s final Weiss prelim he had had a full week off, and he took a new mark of 1:50.2; with another 7-day rest, he lowered that mark by 4/5 of a second Satuday.

Victory At Last and Shadow Margeaux engaged in a bitter duel for the front end in a 26 opener, with YS Lotus five lengths off them early in third, but driver Simon Allard had the winner rolling in front of the stands, hitting the half in 54. Favored Major Uptrend, impressive winner of his only two Weiss starts, came first-up down the backstretch, but “YS” and Allard kept distance between them past the 1:21.1 ¾s and all the way to the finish, winning by 2¼ lengths. Trainer Rene Allard sent out not only the winner but also Vance Bayama (driver Mike Simons), who claimed third after a troubled trip.

In the $25,000 winners-over pacing feature, Ideal Matters was a “pocket rocket,” winning by a nose in 1:50 for driver George Napolitano Jr. and owner/trainer Gil Garcia-Herrera. Favored Sparky Mark just missed with his late rally, while pacesetter Mustang Art held well for third, beaten a length, after cutting fractions of 26.3, 53.4, and 1:22.

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.

Major Uptrend registers major upset in Weiss Series

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Major Uptrend overcame post eight and snapped the streak of Victory At Last, who had won in the first three legs of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohgean Sun Pocono, by posting a 1:51.3 triumph in one of two $15,000 cuts of the fourth and final preliminary  for male pacers Saturday, April 11th.  In the other division, YS Lotus posted the fastest Weiss clocking all year, 1:50.2, to stamp himself as a major danger in next Saturday’s $30,000 Championship.

Major Uptrend went up to challenge his barnmate in the Ron Burke stable, Victory At Last, past the 27 opener, and from there the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere was in control, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 while 1¾ lengths to the good of Victory At Last, for owner Howard Taylor. It is interesting that driver Matt Kakaley, who had driven Victory At Last to his three previous Weiss wins, choose to go with Major Uptrend, whom he had also won with last week, and the decision proved to be a Weiss wise one.

YS Lotus, whose last six races had taken place in an 18-day span (competing in both Yonkers Sagamore Hill Series and the Weiss), seemed to like this week’s having seven days between starts, as he made an early move to the top and stayed in front, defeating Shadow Margeaux by ¾ of a length. The If I Can Dream gelding earned a new speed badge with the 1:50.2 clocking while winning for driver Simon Allard, trainer/brother Rene, and owner Yves Sarrazin.

In $22,000 overnight events, the Classic Photo gelding Zooming zoomed home from next-to-last at the half to handle the trotters in 1:52.4 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Amber Buter, and owners Steve Oldford, Oldford Farms LLC, and Tyler Buter. On the pacing side driver Jim Morrill Jr. rallied Mustang Art out of the pocket to hang a nose defeat on frontstepping Somethinginthewind in 1:50 (the new “even time” at Pocono?), the Artiscape gelding parading back to Victory Lane for trainer Jim McGuire and owners Max Walton and Greg Papaleo.

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

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

August 29-September 4, 2014

As we roll into the month of September and summer slowly begins to yield to fall, the action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs continues at a fever pitch. Next week in this space we’ll be discussing all the exciting action from Pennsylvania Championship Saturday on September 6. This week, as usual, we’ll celebrate the best of racing at Pocono by doling out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: I LIKE DREAMIN

He may be named after a soft-rock classic by 70’s one-hit wonder Kenny Nolan, but this 5-year-old stallion is anything but mellow on the race track. Trained by Pat LaChance, I Like Dreamin arrived from Yonkers at the start of August and started to find his stride almost immediately at Pocono, finishing second in a tough condition his second time out and then posting an impressive condition win on August 23 in a career-best 1:49:2.

On Saturday night, he stepped up in class to a condition for non-winners of $17,500 in the last five starts for a purse of $18,000. With a tough #7 post in a field of eight, it figured that I Like Dreamin might have a hard time working his way to the front end with his early speed. But driver Tom Jackson took a chance and sent him first over on the front stretch, even taking some air around the clubhouse turn before making the lead just shy of the half.

With fast fractions at every pole, it was distinctly possible that I Like Dreamin might cave. Instead he seemed to freshen up in the home stretch, pacing away from his foes to win by a comfortable 2 ½-length margin in 1:49:3, giving him back-to-back wins in under 1:50 and demonstrating how this pacer has been far more punk rock than easy listening at the track of late.

Other top pacers this week include: Anndrovette (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), the superstar veteran mare who earned her second straight Preferred Handicap win on Friday night in 1:50:3; Giddy Up Blackfly (Kevin Wallis, Matias Ruiz), who powered to a claiming win on Saturday night in 1:50:2 for his second straight victory and fourth in his last six races; and Mustang Art (Kevin Wallis, James McGuire), who scorched the track on Saturday night for his second straight condition win, this one coming in 1:49.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MISTERY WOMAN

This mare was a standout as a 3-year-old in 2013, earning nearly $300,000 in just 15 starts. Her four-year-old season started with a lot of rugged competition at the Meadowlands, which she couldn’t quite overcome, failing to hit the board in her first five races of the year. But her first start at Pocono quickly turned things around, as she took advantage of a good trip to rally for a win in a career-best 1:52.

On Saturday night, Mistery Woman, trained by Jonas Czernyson, stepped up into even stiffer competition, taking on the non-winners of $22,500 in the last five starts for a purse of $21,000. With an outside post, it seemed unlikely that the racing luck would fall her way again. Some early speed put her third on the inside early, decent position to strike as long as she didn’t get stuck inside of the outer flow of horses.

Driver Andrew McCarthy stayed patient, resisting the temptation to join the traffic on the outside of the mare. That strategy paid off in the stretch when the outside opened up for a fresh Mistery Woman. With a blinding rush, she zipped by highly regarded veteran trotters Money On My Mind and Sevruga for her second straight win, this one in 1:52:3 as an 11-1 long shot. This mare has found her form at Pocono, so all her competitors better be on top of their game.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: GOLD DEUCE

Despite an outside post in a field of nine, this claiming pacer with Joe Pavia Jr. in the bike uncorked a late move to score on Saturday night at 46-1, paying off $95.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW MCCARTHY

A four-win night on Friday started McCarthy off to a big week, culminating with a victory on Wednesday night that gave him 100 wins for the 2014 Pocono meet.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PJ FRALEY

Fraley had two starters on Friday night and made them count, as Anndrovette won the featured pace for mares and Krispy Apple won a condition in 1:48:4, fastest time of the week at Pocono.

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.