Posts Tagged ‘Robert Horowitz’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Monday, May 4th, 2015

April 25-May 1, 2015

We are already a month into the racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, our 50th campaign in case you haven’t heard. This coming week the action will really get spicy with several rounds of Pennsylvania All Stars races and the Van Rose Memorial Pace highlighting the schedule. As for the week gone by, let’s take a look at the top performers and hand out another edition of the Weekly Awards.


One of the biggest stories of the early part of the season at Pocono has been the dominance of the training-driving combo of brothers Rene and Simon Allard. This dynamic duo has been pretty hard to beat on any racing night, but that’s especially been the case on Saturday nights, where they have been winning at a ridiculous pace in the high condition paces as well as the claiming ranks.

Saturday night’s featured condition pace for winners of over $25,000 looked like it would be a showcase for Foiled Again, the sport’s all-time biggest earner with nearly $7 million in the bank at age 11. He was looking for his first win of the season, and this figured to be a spot where he could get it done. But the Allard brothers and their rugged 8-year-old stallion Sparky Mark had other ideas.

Sparky Mark, who had lost his last start in this same class by just a nose to Ideal Matters, didn’t worry about anyone else in the field; he had been facing excellent competition all year long anyway, so the big names of Foiled Again and Bolt The Duer didn’t faze him. When the dust cleared, it was Sparky Mark who came out on top, holding off Luck Be Withyou by a half-length in 1:49:2. That marked the fastest mile of the season to date at Pocono, and it marked the biggest win yet at Pocono in 2015 for Simon and Rene Allard, who just can’t seem to be stopped.

Other top pacers this week include: To Beach His Own (George Napolitano Jr., Marty Fine), who continues to roll against the toughest claimers on the grounds, picking up his third straight win on Saturday night in 1:50:2; Catalea Seelster (George Napolitano Jr., Nicholas Gampietro), who captured Sunday night’s feature for claiming mares in 1:52:3, giving her four straight wins, the last three coming at Pocono; and Ooh Bad Shark (Jim Morrill Jr., William Wiggins), who put together a huge mile to win Wednesday’s featured condition pace for mares, stopping the six-race winning streak of Show Runner and stopping the timer in 1:49:2, a new career-mark and tied for the fastest this season at Pocono.


Sometimes the winning time fails to tell you everything you need to know about a performance. For a good example, take a look at the case of Social Delight. The 4-year-old mare from the barn of trainer Jerry Ray came into Pocono having won two of her previous three starts at Saratoga Harness. In her first try at Pocono, she rolled on the front end in a non-winners of five condition for a win in a career-best 1:54:1.

On Tuesday night she faced the same group from a tough #7 post, but she couldn’t hold the lead early, instead ceding it to Czech It Out. That trotter was able to set very soft fractions to the half-mile marker, giving the impression that she’d be tough to catch. Social Delight would have to win an all-out sprint in the stretch against a fresh horse and do so while coming from behind.

That’s exactly what she did though. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. coaxed something extra out of her and she sped by Czech It Out in the final strides for the victory. That makes it three wins in a row, including two straight at Pocono, and four out five in 2015. And though the winning time of 1:55:3, almost a second-and-a-half slower than her mark from last week, may have said otherwise, this winning effort by Social Delight may have been her finest yet.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Emerald Bling (George Napolitano Jr., Robert Horowitz), a mare who won her second straight condition trot on Tuesday night, this one coming in a career-best 1:57:1; Cadillac Cruiser (Simon Allard, Pierre Paradis), who followed up a claiming win last week with a condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:2; and P L Eureka (George Napolitano Jr., John Barchi), who picked up his third straight handicap victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:3.


Staging a furious rally from far back in the pack, this pacer with Matt Kakaley in the bike upset a field of claiming pacers on Sunday night at 36-1, paying off $75.80 on a $2 win ticket.


He’s so steady that you might overlook him, but that would be a mistake considering he had another winning week with three straight racing nights of multiple wins.


Fine picked up a pair of wins on Saturday night and another on Sunday, and all three of those horses were making his first start in his barn following a claim.

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

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

October 28-November 3, 2011

We are just a few racing nights away from closing night here at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Next week, I’ll use this article to give a general overview of the season that was. But for this week, it’s time to honor the 2011 Pocono Horses of the Year. These were the transcendent performers that shone the brightest throughout the 2011 season, and although they weren’t easy choices, I think we’ve got the cream of the crop. Much thanks to Terri Phalen and Jennifer Starr for their help in making these selections.


The stallion has been a major factor at Pocono for several seasons, but he has been especially fine in 2011, both in terms of durability and productivity. Trained by Robert Horowitz, Drop Red won all the way back on March 25 at Pocono, on his way to 5 wins in his first 9 races in the meet. After a little summer slump, he’s been roaring again, winning his last three starts. What’s most impressive is that he has done the majority of his work against some of the best condition and Open pacers on the grounds and has been no worse the wear for it.


This standout from the Walter Carroll barn cut short his season in August, but what a season it was up to that point. Much of the damage he did came at MSPD, and all of it came against the best of the best. In 7 races at Pocono, all against Open company, the stallion hit the board every single time and notched three victories. The standout performance for Winning Mister came on June 10, when, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, he scorched the track with a victory in 1:52, setting a new lifetime mark and a Pocono track record in the process.


Charlie Norris trains this standout distaff pacer and often drove her as well in her magnificent 2011 campaign. Again, this was a case of a horse not ducking any foes, facing the very best mares on the grounds week in and week out. The results were hard to deny. She arrived from The Meadows in April and began winning not long after. 6 victories in 15 races is a pretty good batting average, and she has ramped up the intensity as the season has begun to wane, notching four wins in her last five races. Among her Pocono wins this season was a career-best mile of 1:50:3.


There were plenty of claimers this year that ran off dazzling winning streaks, made big jumps in class, and won a ton of races overall. Segundo Hanover managed to do all three of those things, and he did so under the tutelage of seven different trainers during the season. All 13 of his victories this season were at the friendly confines of Pocono, and he had two winning streaks of at least three races. In addition, he doubled his claiming price along the way from $7,500 to $15,000.


Known for being a bit ornery, this veteran mare took out all of her aggression on her distaff competition this season. She has won more races (10) and earned more money ($107,072) than in any season in her career. Eight of those victories came at Pocono, and she hit the board often even when she didn’t find the winner’s circle. That’s not too bad considering that she is now 10 years old, and she even earned a career-best mile of 1:52 during the 2011 campaign.


This has been a breakthrough season for the gelding, as he has won half of his 18 starts in 2011. 7 of his 9 wins came after arriving at Pocono from The Meadows in July. Even more impressive is the fact that he was able to step up out of the claiming handicap trotting group for a win over the winners of over $25,000 conditioners, which is just a notch below the Open trotters. Pembrook Street also churned out a career-best victory at Pocono in 2011 in 1:52:4.


The pride of the Chris Oakes barn, who was just crowned the 2-year-old distaff pacing champ of North America following her win in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine, made just three starts at Pocono this season, but they turned out pretty well. Economy Terror won her debut at Pocono back in July, followed that up with a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win here in August, and sealed the deal with a win in the Pennsylvania Championships for 2-year-old pacing fillies in September in 1:51:1, shattering a track record.

Next week, we’ll wrap things up with our review of the 2011 season. Until then, we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at