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.
PACER OF THE YEAR: DROP RED
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.
TROTTER OF THE YEAR: WINNING MISTER
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.
MARE OF THE YEAR: FOREVER IVY
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.
CLAIMING PACER OF THE YEAR: SEGUNDO HANOVER
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.
CLAIMING MARE OF THE YEAR: NATURAL WOMAN N
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.
CLAIMING TROTTER OF THE YEAR: PEMBROOK STREET
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.
2-YEAR-OLD OF THE YEAR: ECONOMY TERROR
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 email@example.com.