Posts Tagged ‘Norman Morford’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

April 15-21, 2017

Even with only three days of racing last week due to our taking Easter Sunday off, there was a ton of exciting action that took place at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. We saw our first sub-1:50 mile of the meet, the continuation of the Bobby Weiss late closer series, and, in general, some wild and woolly racing. Without further ado, let’s review it all by handing out our Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MIGRATE BLUE CHIP

Moving up in class is never an easy feat, but this five-year-old stallion from the Ron Burke barn was ready to do just that on Saturday night. After all, he had won back to back starts against the non-winners of five pacing conditioners in his previous two races, putting up times of 1:52:1 and 1:53 in the process. Saturday night’s test came against the non-winners of seven colts, stallions and geldings. The betting public had faith in Migrate Blue Chip though, installing him at 1-9 as the heaviest kind of favorite.

The rest of the field wasn’t about to concede the race to the heavy betting choice. In fact, pacesetting Pan Of Steel was particularly prickly. Each time Migrate Blue Chip attempted to get to the front, Pan Of Steel would dig in his heels and push him back. This left the favorite with an unenviable trip, first-over around two of the race’s three turns.

Despite losing the lead to Pan Of Steel twice, Migrate Blue Chip, under the steady guidance of driver Matt Kakaley, strove onward and finally took over the lead in the stretch. At that point, you might have expected one of the closers to pounce on the tired favorite. But the stallion was having none of it, stretching the lead to two lengths at the line and winning in 1:51:3, a new career-best time. That makes three in a row for a horse who might be ready to take on more experienced pacers on the highest rungs of the condition ladder.

Other top pacers this week include: Orillia Joe (Eric Carlson, Matias Ruiz), who captured Saturday’s $25,000 condition pace in 1:49:4, a new career-best and the fastest time of the young season at Pocono; Dash Of Danger (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who captured his third straight Bobby Weiss win and fourth in a row overall on Monday night, this one coming in a new career mark of 1:51:3; and Hypothetical (Andrew McCarthy, Ross Croghan), a three-year-old colt who picked up his second straight condition win on Tuesday night in 1:53:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DOLCE DUCCI

This 10-year-old gelding from the Norman Morford barn has a knack for rising up with a big mile when you least expect it. He scored his first victory of the season on April 10 at Pocono against the $8,500 condition trotters. Coming off that confidence-builder, he moved up to the $11,000 group on Monday night. He didn’t receive too much attention, however, going off as an 11-1 shot.

As the race progressed, Dolce Ducci seemed to be an afterthought indeed. As Tea Party Politics set the pace, he lolled about near the back of the pack. When Raven Victory took over the lead with a first-over charge on the back stretch, the gelding was sill eighth in the field of nine. He must have been lulling them into a false sense of security, because Dolce Ducci started to boogie around the last turn. At the top of the stretch, driver Tom Jackson guided him four-wide so that he had a clear look at the horses ahead of him and the finish line.

Dolce Ducci then kicked into gear, making up several lengths with a furious move. Raven Victory held on for as long as he could before he finally caved to the charge of the horse coming from behind. Dolce Ducci swept by to win by a length-and-a-half in 1:57:1. Expect another move up in class for this veteran trotter, and expect him to sneak up again if the race breaks his way.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Get To Doin It (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who scored a condition win on Saturday night in the week’s fastest trotting time at Pocono of 1:53:3, which was also a career-best; Hilarious Hero (Matt Kakaley, Jenny Melander), whose Bobby Weiss series victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:55 gave him three wins in as many starts this season; and Ooh Rah (Jim Morrill Jr., Kathleen La Montagne), who churned out his second straight Bobby Weiss series victory on Tuesday night in 1:56:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ORILLIA JOE

It’s not often that the longest shot of the week comes home in the week’s feature race, but Orillia Joe did just that on Saturday night at 20-1 for a win payout of $42.40 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC GOODELL

It’s been a nice start to the meet for Goodell, and his three victories on Saturday night provided a taste of the success he’s been able to achieve early this season.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MATIAS RUIZ

Ruiz chalked up a training double on Saturday night, with the highlight coming in Orillia Joe’s surprising victory in the featured pace.

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, November 2nd, 2012

October 26-November 1, 2012

There were only three nights of racing this past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to Hurricane Sandy. Even with the smaller slate of racing, there were still plenty of fine performances, including a track record. That means that we have plenty of excellent choices for this edition of the Weekly Awards, and the horse that set the track record leads it off.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BET ON THE LAW

Track records are a great achievement at any point, but the ones that are set usually come in the warmer months of summer. That’s why the effort put forth by Bet On The Law was so exceptional on Saturday night. Not only did he have to overcome some outstanding condition pacers to set his record, but he also had to overcome the chilly temperatures.

The three-year-old gelding is the pride of the Joe Pavia Jr. barn, and Joe also drives him on a regular basis. As with most track records, it required some blistering early fractions, and Bet On The Law was in a perfect position to take advantage of those fractions when the time came. In the stretch, the gelding made a second move and surged past the competition.

When he rolled to the line in front of the rest of condition pacers in the field, the timer read 1:49:1. That bested the previous Pocono mark for 3-year-old geldings on the pace of 1:49:2, which was set earlier this season by Dynamic Youth. That’s quite the achievement for a horse that is in his first year of racing, as the gelding didn’t even race as a 2-year-old. Maybe that’s why the October weather didn’t bother him a bit, because he’s just getting in his groove with a very bright future ahead.

Other top pacers this week include: Special Dark (Matt Kakaley, Kent Sherman), who continued her domination of the $5,000 claiming mares on Friday night with her third straight win, this time coming in a career-best time of 1:53; Mustang Art (Tyler Buter, James McGuire), who rallied for a win on Saturday night in a condition pace in 1:49:1, which was a career-best time and matched the fastest of the week; and Miss Behave (Jim Morrill Jr., Ted Wing), a mare who rolled to her third straight claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:54.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SEVRUGA

The winners of over $25,000 condition trotting group has been one of the most fun to watch all season long at Pocono. It seems like no horse has been able to really dominate from week to week. We’ve seen horses step up in class for big wins in this group, and we’ve also seen other horses that are dropping down from higher groupings finding a home in the class.

Sevruga fits firmly into the latter category. The 4-year-old gelding from the Julie Miller barn has had an excellent season, but it was interrupted by a two month hiatus following a 4th place finish in stakes competition at Harrah’s in August. His first start back on October 20 at Pocono ended in a third-place finish in an Open Handicap trot on October 20, finishing behind superstar trotters Anders Bluestone and Arch Madness, which is no great shame.

On Saturday night, he was ready for a peak performance. Driver Pat Berry sent him to the front end early on from an outside post, and nobody was able to even threaten him from the point. Sevruga rolled to an easy win in 1:52:2, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono, and he seems fresh enough to move back up into even higher echelons of the trotting world.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Crystal Sizzler (Andrew McCarthy, Norman Morford), who beat a field of $7,500 claimers on Friday night in 1:56:4 for his second straight win and third in his last four; Tui (Anthony Napolitano, Donald Wiest), the mare who chalked up a big condition win on Saturday night in a season that’s been full of them for her, as she scored in 1:52:4; and Bloomfieldcantifly (Jim Morrill Jr., Bill Mullin), a filly who won Wednesday night’s featured condition trot in 1:56, a new career mark.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SATIN SPIDER

Racing on Halloween, this spider spun his web with John Kakaley at 43-1 in a claiming pace, paying off $89.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDREW MCCARTHY

No driver has been more adept at bringing in long shots at Pocono, and McCarthy’s driving double on Friday night included a 15-1 winner in My Cinnamon Girl.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LINDA KAKALEY

There was a lot of balance in the training colony this week, with a lot of different trainers picking up single wins. That means that Linda’s 2-for-2 training double on Friday night really stands out.

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.