Posts Tagged ‘R Gauwitz Hanover’

End of Season Awards continue at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Only one night remains in the 50th Anniversary season for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the track in Northeast PA continues their awards for the standouts of the 2015 season closing night, Saturday, November 21st. The  Leading Driver; Leading Trainer – Wins; Claimer of the Year; and Three-Year-Old of the Year will accept their awards.

The Claimer of the Year for 2015 is the inimitable R Gauwitz Hanover.  Even before he arrived at Pocono in May, he was already a big winner in 2015, racking up six wins in New York.  But it was here that the 6-year-old gelding achieved his greatest success, winning nine of his 14 races at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, all while moving up in class from the $10,000 claimers to the $25,000 claiming handicaps.  He won several races from outside posts, had victories for seven different trainers at Pocono; and notched a career-best mile of 1:49 as part of his unforgettable 2015 campaign at Pocono.  The track will honor this great gelding with his record number of claims by displaying, in the paddock, his custom-designed blanket with rainbow letters to signify all the different stables.

The 3-Year-old of the Year honor has been bestowed upon K Ryan Bluechip.  The gelding from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn finished fourth on April 8th in a maiden race at Pocono in what was his first start of the 2015 season.  After that, the only view other horses had of him at Pocono for the remainder of the season was his back end.  K Ryan Bluechip raced five more times at Pocono and won them all in impressive fashion, none slower than 1:51.1, and his career-best win of 1:50.2 came in September.

Rene Allard dominated the training wins, picking up his third straight title in that category.  Allard had nearly twice as many victories as his nearest competitor, and he has set the record for the most training wins in a season in Pocono history.

On the driving side, it was a monster season for George Napolitano Jr., who easily won both the driving wins and driving percentage titles.  George Nap broke his own single-season record for wins at Pocono, and he also notched over 400 wins this season.

Saturday is also a special thank you to the loyal fans with Fan Appreciation Night.  Souvenirs of the 50th Anniversary season will be given out to fans with a coupon from the live racing program starting at 7:00pm.

Racing returns March, 2016, and Simulcast is open year-round.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

November 7-13, 2015

As we approach the close of another racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, it’s time to look back and assess the season that was. All year long in this space we’ve been handing out awards to the top performers of each racing week. Now it’s time to crown season-long achievement by handing out awards to Pocono’s Horses of the Year.

Selecting these horses is never an easy task and it gets harder each year as the racing gets more and more competitive. I collaborated with my buddies Terri Phalen and Jennifer Starr to make the choices, and, although we probably left out horses worthy of acclaim, I think the horses we ultimately selected certainly represent well for this special 50th anniversary season.

So, without further ado, here are the 2015 Pocono Horses of the Year:


This gelding from the Joe Pavia Jr. barn finished fourth on April 8 in a maiden race at MSPD in what was his first start of the 2015 season. As it turns out, it would be the only time he’d have a view of horses crossing the finish line in front of him at Pocono all season. K Ryan Blue Chip raced five more times at Pocono this season and won them all. None of his winning times were slower than 1:51:1, topping out with a career-best 1:50:2 in a September victory.


Even before he arrived at Pocono in May, this 6-year-old gelding was already a big winner in 2015, racking up six victories in New York. But it was here that he achieved his greatest success, winning nine of his 14 races at MSPD, all while moving up in class from the $10,000 claimers to the $25,000 claiming handicaps. He won several races from outside posts, had victories for seven different trainers here, and managed a career-best mile of 1:49 as part of his unforgettable 2015 campaign at Pocono.


This mare has performed for several different barns at Pocono this season but always finds a way to be a factor. She picked up eight wins this season here, including a 1:51:1 mile which set a career-mark for her at age seven. What’s also been impressive is how, like R Gauwitz Hanover, she’s been such a tough customer despite the fact that she’s often faced with brutal post positions in claiming handicaps. And she’s been competitive of late since moving over to face condition pacing mares.


This four-year-old stallion had the win of the year at Pocono when he topped some of the world’s best pacers to win the $500,000 Ben Franklin pace on July 4 in 1:49, going gate-to-wire from an outside post to do so. But that win wasn’t a shot in the dark. He also scored in the Franklin elimination the week prior to the main event and then returned from a stint in Canada to rip off three straight condition wins for trainer Chris Oakes in September and October.


It’s not typical for a trotter to have the best year of his career at age nine, but that’s exactly what this veteran warrior did in 2015. All six of his wins came at Pocono, and when he wasn’t winning, he was often hitting the board. He beat claimers and conditioners, did it from the outside and the inside, and won his six races for five different trainers. The high point of his outstanding year was a three-race winning streak in July and August that included his career-best mile of 1:52:2.

As I said earlier, there were many horses this season deserving of consideration. It’s a testament to just how intense the racing wars at Pocono are that these selections are such a close call, and I have a feeling that the awards races will only get tighter in the years to come.

Next week in this space, we’ll wrap up the 2015 racing season. We’ll take a look at the top drivers and trainers of the year. And we’ll also take a broad look back at what’s been a special anniversary season at Pocono.

That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Monday, August 10th, 2015

July 31-August 6, 2015

As we head into the month of August, all of us at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono are keeping our eyes on the coming weeks, specifically the span from August 14th to the 22nd when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the track with a series of promotions and events on and off the track. Until we get there though, we still have plenty of outstanding racing to enjoy. This week’s action was particularly feisty and fine, as you’ll be able to tell from this edition of the Weekly Awards.


Claimers often get an unfortunate and often inaccurate rap that they’re somehow inferior to condition pacers and trotters. Week after week that fallacy is disproven, both by the comparable times between the two types of races and by the fact that several former claimers have moved on to be successful in condition and even Open races. And certainly there has been no horse in any type of race who’s been as impressive as R Gauwitz Hanover, who competes in mid-priced claimers, has been the past few weeks at Pocono.

In his last five races heading into a $15,000 claiming event on Saturday night, R Gauwitz Hanover had three second-place finishes sandwiched around a pair of wins. The 6-year-old gelding had achieved that streak while switching barns three times. On Saturday night, racing for trainer Paul Holzman, he was made the 1-5 favorite, and he had to respond when John’s Polyview aggressively took the lead and burned off sizzling fractions.

Driver George Napolitano Jr. never flinched though, and he began guiding R Gauwitz Hanover closer and closer on the back stretch until he blew by. The gelding didn’t stop until he was eight lengths out in front of the rest for the victory. His winning time of 1:49 was not only his career mark, it was also the fastest mile of the week by anybody at Pocono. Don’t let anyone tell you claimers are somehow a lower class of horse, at least not while R Gauwitz Hanover is there to prove otherwise in such convincing fashion.

Other top pacers this week include: GD Airliner (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who didn’t let a month-and-a-half layoff stop him from picking up his second straight condition victory on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:52; Kiss Of Terror (Simon Allard, Dean Eckley), a 3-year-old who rallied at 10-1 on Sunday night for a condition win, his second straight, in 1:54:1; and Spirit Of Desire (Anthony Napolitano, Timothy Lancaster), who captured Wednesday night’s featured condition pace for mares in 1:52.


This 3-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Mike Deters just knows his way to the winner’s circle. After a 2-year-old campaign in which he won three of six races, he’s been even tougher to stop in 2015. Other than an upset loss at Tioga, Prairie Fortune has been spotless, winning his other four races while splitting time between Pocono and Tioga.

His last win at Pocono on July 28 came in a career-best time of 1:53:4, but it was with the non-winners of three. Wednesday night figured to be a tougher test as he stepped up to face the non-winners of five. After sitting fourth in the early part of the mile, driver Matt Kakaley started Prairie Fortune in motion on the straightaway of the front stretch and easily reached the lead.

From that point on, nobody was even able to put a scare in the gelding, as he held a comfortable lead which he then extended once they turned for home. Prairie Fortune ended up handling his competition effortlessly by 4 ½ lengths in 1:54:3. That’s what you call moving up in class in style, and it’s what you call a horse that just doesn’t plan on losing anytime soon.

Honorable mention on the trotting side includes: House Of Cash (Joe Pavia Jr., Ron Burke), who captured the week’s featured condition trot on Saturday night in a career-best 1:54; Uriel (Scott Zeron, Luca Derrico), who rallied for a tough condition win on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:53:4, which was the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Sonnyforall (Bill Mullin driver and trainer), who picked up a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:56.


This trotter with Joe Pavia Jr. in the bike started Saturday night’s racing off with a band, upsetting a condition field at 24-1 for a $51 payoff on a $2 win ticket.


He’s an outstanding trainer, but Svanstedt also drives a lot of his winning trainees, like he did on Sunday night when he guided three 2-year-old trotters to their maiden wins in his only three drives of the night.


Eckley has been a name to watch all season long at Pocono, and three more wins this week, including a double on Sunday night, will ensure that continues to be the case.

That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at