Posts Tagged ‘Nuncio’

Sun Stakes Saturday the fastest card ever!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The great card of racing this past Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, primarily populated by elimination races for this Saturday’s $2.2M Sun Stakes Saturday, flirted with the divisional world record table on more than one occasion without any new names being set down, but the card as a whole did produce one record – according to the USTA’s Trotting and Pacing Guide, it was the fastest card ever in harness history, with an average win time of 1:49.2 for the 16 races. 

T&P Guide history notes two occasions when a race card’s average win time was 1:49.3 – on Saturday, July 16, 2005 at The Meadowlands, a 13-race card (p. 297, 2013 T&P Guide), and 52 weeks ago to the day at the same track (Saturday, June 22, 2013), when the Sun Stakes Saturday elim card produced the same 1:49.3 average over 14 races (p. 288, 2014 T&P Guide).

 This past Saturday’s 1:49.2 average included two trotting miles – a 1:52.2 by Nuncio and a 1:52.4 by Father Patrick in the two Earl Beal Trot elims. In all, of the 16 races, 11 miles went 1:50 or better; 8 went 1:49 or better; and 3 went in 1:48 or better – and those three came consecutively: Domethatagain upsetting his Ben Franklin Pace elim in 1:48, McWicked taking the fastest of the Max C. Hempt Pace elims in the same time, and then Sweet Lou taking the other Franklin elim in 1:47.4. 

This Saturday’s Sun Stakes Saturday card will include the finals of the Franklin (FFAP), Hempt (3PC), and Beal (3TC), all worth $500,000, plus the $300,000 James Lynch Final (3PF), the $100,000 Sun Invitational trot (which, according to some reports, may actually help the 1:50 count, if you can believe that) and the $100,000 USTA Invitational pace, plus consolation races for the four major races as they fill, plus a strong undercard (this past Saturday’s non-elim races averaged 1:49.3 themselves).

Post time for Saturday’s Sun Stakes Saturday card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is set for 6:30 p.m.   If you can’t make it to the races, wager via www.ibetmohegan.com; or stop by any of the 3 OTW locations; East Stroudsburg; Lehigh Valley, or Carbondale.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 21-27, 2014

The Weekly Awards will be taking a two-week hiatus so we can focus on all the excitement of the upcoming Sun Stakes Saturday. This past Saturday Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hosted the eliminations for four huge stakes races: The James M. Lynch Memorlal (3-year-old pacing fillies), The Max C. Hempt Memorial (3-year-old open pacers), The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial (3-year-old open trotters), and The Ben Franklin (Open pacers).

While some might scoff at the results of the eliminations as being inconclusive, the fact is that it’s really impossible for horses in fields this good to take it easy and expect to make it through to the finals. And any night when a significant percentage of the world’s best horses and horsemen are in attendance deserves our full attention, even if the really huge purses won’t be up on the line until June 28.

So here’s a look at some of the important events from the eliminations:

JAMES M. LYNCH MEMORIAL

This one looks like the most wide-open of the four stakes fields, as just one (Fancy Desire) of the three favorites in the eliminations won, and one (Act Now) didn’t even make the final. Uffizi Hanover, who probably had the best reputation of any of the sophomore fillies coming into the night, started slowly but fought hard to rally for second behind Cinamony just so she could make the final.

That all could mean that Fancy Desire is the one to watch for the final. Trained by Kevin Carr, this filly loves the Pocono surface, winning her last three times at the track. She scored the most decisive elimination victory, pacing away in 1:49 with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike.

MAX C. HEMPT MEMORIAL

The Ron Burke barn will be well-represented in the Hempt final. Two of the three elimination winners came courtesy of Burke: At  Press Time, an 8-1 shot who rallied from a significant deficit in the pocket to win in 1:48:2, and All Bets Off, who avenged his only loss of the season, which came at Pocono in May, by winning his split in 1:48:3. Matt Kakaley drove both winners.

Still, it was Casie Coleman’s trainee McWicked who stamped himself as the favorite. Despite an arduous journey to the lead in his split and scorching fractions, he still managed to pace away and hide late with David Miller driving for a win in 1:48.

EARL BEAL JR. MEMORIAL

I’ve never seen a star horse who seems to expound as little effort as Father Patrick. After winning his elimination without batting an eye in 1:52:4, his record now stands at four-for-four this year with 14 wins in 15 lifetime races. And still there is the nagging feeling that we haven’t seen his best yet, which is a scary thought for the rest of the division.

Maybe the one to beat him this year will be the only one who has ever beaten him. That’s Nuncio, who now is his stablemate in the Jimmy Takter barn. Nuncio stayed perfect by winning his elimination in 1:52:2, two-fifths faster than Father Patrick.

BEN FRANKLIN FREE-FOR-ALL

When he was last at Pocono at the start of May, Sweet Lou went off at 15-1 in an Invitational pace and finished third. Since then, he’s been unbeatable, winning four straight, including a command performance in his Franklin elimination in his return to MSPD. His winning time of 1:47:4 with Ron Pierce in the bike was the fastest of the night.

The other Franklin elimination was billed as the second ever showdown between Captaintreacherous, last year’s champion of everything as a 3-year-old, and Foiled Again, the veteran superstar and earner of over $6 million in his career. Nobody told Domethatagain, driven by Simon Allard for his brother trainer Rene Allard, about the plotline though, and he upset the apple cart with a pocket trip at 29-1.

As you can tell, there are ton of intriguing storylines for the finals. They’ll settle it on the track Saturday night, and it should be something special.

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.

  

Nuncio and Father Patrick Win Sire Stakes at Pocono

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 14, 2014

When you’re a superstar, you can win by a small margin and still make it seem like it was effortless. So Nuncio and Father Patrick, the twin 3-year-old superstars of the Jimmy Takter barn, proved in winning $72,300 divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There were three Sire Stakes divisions held on the night for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings.

In his division, Nuncio (Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle), two-for-two in Sire Stakes action this season coming into the night, sank to last in the seven-horse field early before beginning a long first-over journey on the front stretch. Even when pacesetter Don Dorado built a sizable lead, driver Matt Kakaley and Nuncio never panicked and eventually glided by Don Dorado in the final strides to win by a neck in 1:53:3. Outburst finished third.

Father Patrick (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream), like Nuncio, was a 1-9 favorite in his split, which was no surprise considering his career record coming in of 12 wins in 13 starts. Kakaley sent him to the front past Datsyuk, who came into the race with wins in all three of his previous career races, and led him through fractions that were less than imposing. With Datsyuk all-out in the passing lane, Kakaley gently urged Father Patrick home to beat his persistent foe by a neck in 1:53:1. Dony Andreas picked up the show.

In the night’s remaining Sire Stakes division, Madewell Hanover (Yankee Glide-Mayday Hanover) cashed in on a strong first-over move to win in a career-best 1:53:4. Owned, trained, and driven by Chris Ryder, Madewell Hanover scored as the 4-1 third choice. JJ Alex finished second while 3-5 favorite Amped Up Hanover settled for third.

In other action on Saturday night at Pocono, Bolt The Duer captured the $25,000 Preferred pace and Not Afraid did the honors in the $25,000 Preferred Trot. It was the first win of the year for Bolt The Duer, driven by Mark MacDonald and trained by Peter Foley, who paced first-over to a victory in 1:48:2. Not Afraid, driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for trained Jimmy Takter, overpowered the field on the front end to a win in a career-best 1:51:4.

Father Patrick returns to Pocono

Friday, June 13th, 2014

– Father Patrick, the three-year-old trotting colt who in many people’s minds is the early favorite for 2014 Harness Horse of the Year, takes his personal Pennsylvania barnstorming tour to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday night to contest the fifth race, one of three divisions of a $216,900 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event. 

The son of Cantab Hall, owned by the Father Patrick Stable of New Jersey (and named for a local Catholic priest), won his first two starts of this campaign in Sire Stakes action at tracks near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and Saturday he will take his overpowering act to northeast Pennsylvania. A pupil of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, who calls this horse “potentially one of the greatest-ever trotters,” Father Patrick has drawn post six in the seven-horse field, and Takter has selected 28-year-old Matt Kakaley, currently battling George Napolitano Jr. for the top rung in the Pocono drivers standings, to handle Father Patrick, as regular driver Yannick Gingras will be in Toronto Saturday, with many mounts on the big North America Cup card. 

A race earlier, the Takter-Kakaley team will send out Nuncio as the favorite in a Sires division for Stall TZ Inc of Florida. Like his stablemate, Nuncio is two-for-two this year, with wins in Sire Stakes action at The Meadows and Harrah’s Philadelphia, and the son of Andover Hall will start from the middle of Saturday’s seven-horse field.  

The third race Sires opener appears to be wide-open, with Wheelsandthelegman accorded a slight edge starting from the rail for trainer Walter Carroll, driver Jim Raymer, and owner Beth Carroll. The Donato Hanover gelding, unraced at two, had won his first four career races before finishing third behind Nuncio at The Meadows.

 (No, there’s no Takter horse in the third race – but worry not for Jimmy, as he has yet another powerhouse sophomore trotting colt, Trixton, heavily favored in the $272,500 Goodtimes Trot on the big Saturday card in Toronto.)

 Also featured at Pocono Saturday are a pair of $25,000 Preferred events. The tenth race pace marks the return of Bolt The Duer (post three, driver Mark MacDonald), who equaled the then-alltime five-eighth mile track record of 1:47.4 here last year. Trotters grab the spotlight two races later, with Quick Deal, coming off a 1:51.4 tally at The Meadowlands, dealing with the outside post six for Kakaley and Pocono’s leading trainer, Ron Burke.

 FINISHING LINES – It’s likely that after this weekend Father Patrick and Nuncio will both be racing at Pocono the following two Saturdays, in the eliminations and (hopefully) final of the $500,000 Earl Beal Trot, the latter part of the $2.3 million Sun Stakes Saturday card June 28.