Posts Tagged ‘Peter Foley’

Stallion Series offers big return to bettors on Sunday card

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

For a track with a 47.8% winning favorites rate heading into Sunday’s program, May 17th, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono offered some tasty win mutuels on well-pedigreed horses in the first three of the four $20,000 divisions of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series for three-year-old pacing colts.

The chalkplayers finally had their moment in the spotlight in the fourth and final division, and even in that event favored Parklane Eagle had a couple of anxious moments before winning in a personal best 1:51 for driver David Miller and trainer Peter Foley. The son of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Shirley Le Vin, had controlled the early pace with fractions of 26.4 and 55.1, but 47-1 shot Kwik Mac gave the frontstepper something to think about as he got to within a neck at the 1:23.1 3/4s. Parklane Eagle shrugged off that challenge though, and by the wire he had that rival 3¾ lengths in arrears of him.

Hall of Fame driver Miller also brought in the “best bet for the odds” winner of the four, a horse with impeccable connections making his first start of the year for trainer Jim Campbell. Gallic Beach is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Western Gallie, whose dam Galleria (herself a champion racemare) has also produced the unlucky Gallie Bythe Sea, a Breeders Crown elimination winner at two and three who through misfortune got to start in neither final. And Gallic Beach was ready right out of the box, setting the pace and blazing home in 54.3 to earn a new speed badge of 1:51.4 for owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC – and returning a generous $15.40.

Sire Somebeachsomwhere had a third Stallion Series winner in Guantanamo Bay, who overcame the first-over route to hang a head loss on Jo Pa’s Well Said, flying late after coming from sixth at the half, to take a new mark of 1:52 for driver Mike Simons, at 11-1 odds, highest return on the four winners. Trainer Fred Grant, a native of Nova Scotia, conditions the winner for owners from his native province, James Bagnell and Ann Smith.

It’s rare to get 5-1 at Pocono on the track’s eight-time driving champion George Napolitano Jr., and even rarer if “GNap” is teaming with top trainer Chris Oakes. But the backers of the McArdle gelding Mckenry got just such a windfall in his division, as the pacesetting winner got a nontaxing half in 57, then flew home in 55 for “GNap” to hold off “ANap” (his brother Anthony) and hard-charging Angelo J Fra by a half-length, with the 1:52 final package giving each series winner a rewritten speed mark. Mckenry won for Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises, and the Wheelhouse Racing Stable.

The Stallion Series’ four winners reflect the purpose of Pennsylvania’s ”little brother” to the Sire Stakes – it gives a chance for horses not quite yet at the top a chance to race competitively for good money. Parkland Eagle had three lifetime wins coming into his race – which was the exact total of the other three winners combined. But after four miles in 1:52 or better, one of more of the visitors to Victory Lane Sunday at The Downs could be stepping up to battle the “big boys” as they develop.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

August 22-28, 2014

On Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, we were lucky enough to have two $25,000 Preferred races on the card, one each for the trotters and pacers. As if often the case, those Preferred races, gathering such brilliant talent as they tend to do, produced thrilling outcomes and our three major award-winners for the week. That’s right, I said three. Read on and see how this is possible as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACERS OF THE WEEK: MACH IT SO and GOLDEN RECEIVER

There are a lot of close finishes in harness racing, but relatively few dead heats. After all, the chances of two horses travelling the distance of a mile and arriving at the finish line at exactly the same time so that they inseparable when the finish line is viewed in a photo, is pretty rare. It’s always a kick when it happens, but, when it happens between two horses the caliber of Mach It So and Golden Receiver, it’s a special treat.

On Saturday night, those two star pacers were lined up alongside each other in the Preferred pace. Golden Receiver, a former Pacer of the Year at Pocono, came in slumping a bit, but with career earnings of over $2.1 million, he’s always a major threat. Mach It So came in at the top of his game, having won two straight, including a Preferred at Pocono on August 2.

It looked as though it would be the hot horse’s night when Mach It So, driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer PJ Fraley, took over the lead in the stretch with a huge first-over move. But Golden Receiver, with Simon Allard driving for trainer Jake Huff, suddenly surged on the inside. The two hit the line together and the photo couldn’t separate them, so they shared the victory in 1:49:4. In a bizarre twist, two other horses in the race, Word Power and Big Time Promise, finished in their own dead heat for fifth place. Wacky, wonderful stuff in the week’s featured race.

Other top pacers this week include: Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley), the standout veteran who won his second straight condition pace on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:50; Giveittoemstaight (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who rolled to her second straight condition win on Friday night and matched her career mark of 1:50:4 in the process; and Flying Cowboy (Andrew McCarthy, Matias Ruiz), whose career-best win in 1:50:4 in a claiming handicap on Wednesday night was his third consecutive victory.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MAVEN

In the trotting game, fillies of ages two and three usually get the chance to compete against each other a large majority of the time. Once they hit age four though and officially become mares, the opportunities to face their own gender exclusively start to dry out. Some stakes races still dot the schedule, but most tracks don’t offer overnight races for only distaff trotters over age four. That means they have to go up against the boys every once in a while.

For a trotter as talented as Maven, a 5-year-old mare from the Jonas Czernyson barn who has pretty much conquered all comers to this point in her career, such a prospect isn’t all that daunting. Even in a race like Saturday night’s Preferred Handicap trot, which featured some tough veteran male trotters like Not Afraid and Sevruga, the mare raced with extreme confidence.

With Mark MacDonald in the bike, Maven made a huge move on the outside late to take over the lead, holding off Waiting On A Woman by a length for the win. It was just her second victory of the year, coming in a scorching 1:52:3, but it pushed her career earnings up near $1.5 million. There’s a lot more money to be earned by this standout, probably some of it at the expense of her male counterparts.

Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Amigo Ranger (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), whose condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:52:3 was a career-best and matched the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Donatomite (Trond Smedshammer trainer and driver), who stayed unbeaten after three career starts as a 2-year-old with a Stallion Series win on Tuesday night in 1:54:4; and Billy Flynn ( Brett Miller, Staffan Lind), a two-year-old who now has six wins in six tries after a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:55:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: G NOTE

This 2-year-old filly made quite an auspicious debut with Andrew McCarthy in the bike, upsetting the field in Tuesday night’s final race at 30-1 to pay off $62.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO

With driving doubles on Sunday and Tuesday highlighting another fine week at the races, A-Nap became the latest driver to earn 100 victories in the 2014 meet at Pocono.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NEAL EHRHART

Ehrhart pulled off quite the training double on Tuesday night, scoring first with 14-1 shot Guilford and then adding Fool’s Revenue later in the night at 15-1.

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

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

June 14-20, 2014

We are in the thick of the most exciting time of the season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Over the next few weekends we’ll be seeing some of the finest standardbreds in the world competing for some huge stakes. We’ve also been blessed with Sire Stakes and Stallion Series races just about every night of late. Through all of that, our overnight races continue to produce outstanding performances. It’s not easy to choose the very best out of such a wealth of talent, but that’s what we’ll try to do as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: FATEFUL CHOICE

When a horse is a part of a barn as successful as that of trainer Chris Oakes and it isn’t winning with regularity, it can almost seem like an underachiever. In the case of 4-year-old gelding Fateful Choice, it may just have been a case early this year of running up against top competition while not quite on his best game. The result was just a single win in ten races to start the 2014 season.

A drop down in class on June 3 to the non-winners of $7,000 in the last five starts did the trick though, as Fateful Choice found his confidence and his stride in a big way, blowing the field away by 4 ¼ lengths in 1:49:2, a new career-best. Bouyed by the victory, he moved up to take on a tougher group of non-winners of $12,500 in the last five starts on Saturday night.

Driver Anthony Napolitano stayed aggressive with Fateful Choice, sending him to the front end, then rated him very well to the half. At that point, the gelding was a powerhouse and scorched the dirt on his way to his second sub-1:50 victory, this one coming in 1:49:4. All of a sudden, Fateful Choice has the look of so many other of his stablemates. In other words, he looks awful tough to beat.

Other top pacers this week include: Bushwacker (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Ryder), who moved to two-for-two on the season with another impressive condition win on Sunday night, this one coming in 1:51; Colossal Cruiser (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who took a huge step up in class Saturday night to the $20,000 claimers and still picked up his second straight victory, doing so in a career-best 1:50; and Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley), who tuned up in anticipation of the Ben Franklin pace at Pocono by dominating a Preferred group on Saturday night in the week’s fastest time of 1:48:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: IL MAGO

This 5-year-old stallion from the Mark Harder barn has been exceptional since arriving at Pocono for a condition trot on June 4. That was just his second start following a layoff of two months, but there was no rust evident whatsoever as he took the lead on the front stretch and then gutted out a tough stretch drive to win by a neck in 1:53:3.

On Tuesday night, Il Mago was back at it against the non-winners of $12,500 in the last five starts once again, albeit this time in a slightly tougher post on the outer half of the field. Andrew McCarthy was still able to fire the stallion out of the gate and reach the front end before the quarter-pole. He was also able to slow the pace down with fractions almost identical to Il Mago’s previous win.

In the stretch, a couple horses drew to within striking distance, but McCarthy called on the afterburners and Il Mago responded. The result was a second straight victory with the same time of 1:53:3 from the previous week. That kind of consistent excellence is the stuff of long winning streaks, so watch out for this talented trotted in the weeks to come even if he moves up in class.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Not Afraid (Jim Morrill Jr., Jimmy Takter), who followed up a win at the Meadowlands with a Preferred win on Saturday night at Pocono in a new career mark of 1:51:4, which was also fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD; Bikini So Teeny (Charlie Norris trainer and driver, who won her second straight on Wednesday night, this one coming in Stallion Series company in a career-best 1:55; and Designed To Be (Brian Sears, Julie Miller), whose Sire Stakes win on Wednesday night matched a world record for 3-year-old trotting fillies on a 5/8-mile oval with a winning time of 1:51:3.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

Despite being laid off since a May 2nd victory in California, this mare with Andrew McCarthy in the bike rallied for a claiming pacing win on Sunday night at 23-1 for a $48.40 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHHON NAPOLITANO

A-Nap looks poised for his best season ever at Pocono, especially after a week in which he had mutilple wins in three of the four racing nights.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JULIE MILLER

Miller had a wonderful night at the Sire Stakes on Wednesday, sweeping both divisions of the 3-year-old trotting fillies with her trainees Take The Money and Designed To Be.

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.

Summer Indian sets World Record Friday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

Monday, July 8th, 2013

July 5, 2013

Summer Indian undoubtedly enjoyed the warm summer temperature on Friday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The 4-year-old gelding, from the Ron Burke barn and driven by Matt Kakaley, broke a world trotting record that was already established on the red dirt speedway in the Pocono Mountains.  Leaving from post five, Summer Indian took control just past a :27.1 first quarter and sped through quarter times of :54.3, 1:22 and stopped the teletimer in 1:51.1. The previous 1:52 world mark was held by Macho Lindy set in 2008.

 Eight divisions of two-year-old filly trotter Pennsylvania All Stars races were also on the card. The races each carried a purse of $30,000. 

The Friday night started out with the following winners of the Pennsylvania All Stars races: Struck By Lindy (Explosive Matter-Lindy Of My Dreams), driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Nifty Norman, in 1:56.4; Juniata Hanover (Cantab Hall-Justgotafeeling), driven by Matt Kakaley and trained by Ron Burke, in 1:58:3; and Designed To Be (Donato Hanover-Sheer Soul), driven by Tyler Buter and trained by Julie Miller, in 1:57.3. It was then clinic time, as in putting on a clinic, as the duo of driver Ron Pierce and trainer Jimmy Takter won with  Honor thy Daughter (Donato Hanover-Honorable Daughter) in 1:57; Shake It Cerry (Donato Hanover-Solveig) in 1:54.4. That mark came close to equaling the track mark of 1:54.3; and Lifetime Pursuit (Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace) in 1:57.1.

  The final two divisions of the evening for the freshman filly trotters went to: Vanity Matters (Explosive Matter-Vanity Plates), driven by Andrew McCarthy and trained by Jonas Czernyson, in 1:57.2; and Global Magic (Broadway Hall-Global Glamour), driven by Andrew McCarthy and trained by Peter Foley, in 1:56.2.