Posts Tagged ‘Rossini’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

June 6-12, 2015

It was bound to happen. As impressive as the times on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono’s track records page might be, each year several of those records fall by the wayside. It took nearly 2 ½ months for any horse to match or break one of those lofty standards this season, which was a bit surprising considering the caliber of horses we’ve seen so far this year. 2015’s first incursion into the records page came on Saturday night, and the horse that came up big leads us off in this edition of the Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FRAU BLUCHER

The crowd was still abuzz following the Triple Crown victory of American Pharaoh early Saturday evening when a pack of Open trotters hit the track to restart Pocono’s harness racing program, which had begun earlier in the afternoon. The 1-2 favorite was Daylon Miracle, a mare fresh off a Preferred win at the Meadows against other distaffers. Frau Blucher, the other mare in the field, got away as the 9-5 second choice, as she was stepping up in class after a condition win in the slop on May 30 in an unhurried 1:55.

Frau Blucher was a superstar as a 2 and 3-year-old for trainer Chris Oakes, earning over $900,000 in those two seasons. Her 4-year-old season included a world record for her age group when she won at Pocono in 1:51:2, but that was just one of two wins she managed all year in just nine races. Her five-year-old season included just one start prior to that May 30 win, and she went off-stride in that one.

But on Saturday night, she showed just how dangerous she could be in top form. Driver George Napolitano Jr. sent her to the front end early and didn’t have much pressure to the half-mile marker, which allowed him to rate her conservatively. Frau Blucher put on a show in the second half of the mile, keeping the pursuit at bay and eventually closing in :27:4 to win by 1 ¼ lengths over Possessed Fashion. The winning time of 1:51:4 matched the track record for aged trotting mares, which had previously been shared by Beatgoeson Hanover and In Your Room. Frau Blucher now joins male trotting superstar Father Patrick as the only horses to occupy two spots on the Pocono track record page.

Other top trotters this week include: Schalom G (George Napolitano Jr., Neal Ehrhart), who moved up in class on Tuesday night to score his second straight condition win, this one in 1:54:4; Rossini (Jason Bartlett, Jim Raymer), who powered to a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:53:1; and Raise The Curtain (Jason Bartlett, Timothy Lancaster), who rallied Wednesday night for his second straight condition win on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:54:1.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BIG BOY DREAMS

The barn of Pocono’s leading trainer Rene Allard never seems to run out of pacers able to compete at the highest levels. Already in 2015 we’ve seen Domethatagain and Sparky Mark take Pacer of the Week honors for their exploits in Open and condition paces at Pocono. Big Boy Dreams had hopes he could join them on Saturday night in a $30,000 Open pace.

This 4-year-old stallion raced once at Pocono in April, finishing a close 3rd in a condition pace. He then went to Canada for two races in the Confederation Cup, finishing 3rd in the big-money final, and followed that up with an Open Handicap victory at Yonkers. On Saturday night, Big Boy Dreams rolled to the front end with Simon Allard in the bike, and when he made it to the half in :55:3 on a night when the wind was helping horses in the front stretch, you knew he was going to be tough to catch.

Big Boy Dreams turned on the jets in the second half of the mile and stayed strong to the finish line. He ended up winning by a length in 1:49:4, a new career-best, over Texican N, giving him two consecutive wins over Open competition. He has a lot of competition in his barn for accolades, but Big Boy Dreams is racing as well as any of his stablemates right now, which is high praise indeed.

Honorable mention on the pacing side includes: McKenry (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), a 3-year-old who picked up his second straight condition victory on Tuesday night, this time in a career-best 1:51:4; Caviart Shelley (Jim Morrill Jr., Ron Burke), a mare who ripped off her fifth straight condition win on Wednesday night in a career-best time of 1:50:4; and Cloris Hanover (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who won a condition pace against other mares with ease for the second straight week, doing it in a time of 1:51.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: INTERNAL CHECK

This pacing mare, with Jim Morrill Jr. driving, rallied from way back on the outside to upend a claiming handicap field on Wednesday night at 22-1, paying off $47.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

This was a typical George Nap week, as he hit double digits in wins over the four racing nights and chalked up five victories against the elite competition on Saturday night.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN CARR

Carr’s training average at Pocono has been solid for several years running, and she showed off his wares with back-to-back winners on the card on Sunday night.

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

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

October 24-30, 2014

The adage says that speed kills, and nowhere is that more accurate than in the sport of harness racing. Sometimes it pays to be patient and wait for an opportunity to rally in a race, but the most surefire way for a horse to take all the variables out of the equation is to head straight for the front end of the field and go as hard as it can, trusting in its ability to get home above all else. Our top two award winners displayed some serious top-end speed this week. Let’s take a look at their exploits and hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: SPEED AGAIN

It’s always fun to watch a horse improve within the course of a season. When last we saw Speed Again, the 5-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn put together an outstanding performance on August 9, scorching a mid-priced condition field in a career-best 1:48:2. Propelled by that big mile, he moved up to face tougher competition in his stint at Harrah’s at Philadelphia.

First he performed well in a trio of races against the winners of over $25,000 grouping at Harrah’s, hitting the board twice and winning once. In his final start there, he stepped up to an Open Handicap group and rolled on the front end to win by two lengths in 1:50:4. His return to Pocono on Saturday would also come in the Open group, against a field that included P H Supercam, a powerhouse who had captured three straight Open Handicaps at Yonkers.

None of that mattered to Speed Again and driver Anthony Napolitano when they powered to the front end right from the first few steps of the race. P H Supercam lurked behind him in the pocket for the whole mile, but Speed Again had an answer for him in the front stretch, holding him off to score by a neck in 1:49. Considering he’s already beating Open fields with consistency, any more improvement by Speed Again would almost be unfair.

Other top pacers include: Lark Seelster (Anthony Napolitano, Luis Collazo), a mare who moved up in class on Tuesday night and scored her second consecutive condition win, this one coming in 1:52:1; McBoogie (George Napolitano Jr., Dean Eckley), who moved up in class and switched barns but still tore up a $15,000 claiming group on Saturday night in 1:52:1 for his third straight win; and I’m Blue Too (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who rallied for a victory in a career-best 1:51:4 in Wednesday night’s Grey Ghost & Poltergeist Pace, Pocono’s annual Halloween-themed race featuring only grey and roan pacers.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HEZATRAIN

This 5-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Allan Johnson hit a bit of a bumpy stretch in his season in September and October. After winning five out of seven races to start his campaign, he suffered a streak of four straight races both at Pocono and Saratoga without even hitting the board. He returned to MSPD on October 21 and found his stride against our lowest condition group, rolling to a romping win in a new career-best time of 1:53:3.

Feeling confident once again following that win, Hezatrain moved back up on Tuesday into a condition for non-winners of $8,000 in the last five starts. Once again driver George Napolitano Jr. was determined to hustle the gelding to the front end, but on his effort to get there he encountered some traffic on the first turn and was forced to make an early three-wide move. Even though Hezatrain reached the lead before the front stretch ended, such a tough journey to get there threatened to make him vulnerable.

Those concerns were doused as the race progressed. Hezatrain easily fended off any pressure, lengthening the lead until he was comfortably out in front of the rest. He was able to gear down in the final strides and still beat the rest of the field by a solid four lengths with a winning time of 1:54:3. That’s two straight romps for Hezatrain, a trotter who’s back to his winning ways as the season winds to a close.

Honorable mention on the trotting side includes: Rossini (Howard Parker, Jim Raymer), who dominated a condition field on Saturday night in 1:52:2, a new career-best which matched the fastest of the week at MSPD; Proud Moment (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who went a career-best mile of 1:52:2, tied for the fastest trot of the week, to win Tuesday night’s featured claiming handicap trot; and Four Starz Speed (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), who made it two in a row and three of his last four with a claiming handicap victory on Wednesday night in 1:55.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: LINDY’S FIREWORKS

On a wild Tuesday night full of upsets, this trotting filly topped them all, winning a condition easily with Anthony Napolitano in the bike at 85-1, paying off $172.40 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO

Anthony’s finest year at Pocono continued with a –win week, including victories on Saturday with 24-1 shot Salevster Stallion and on Tuesday with 85-1 bomber Lindy’s Fireworks.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: MIKE WATSON

Watson has been threatening to crack the Top 10 of the Pocono training standings all year long, and his pair of victories on Saturday night will certainly help his cause.

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

Monday, September 9th, 2013

September 5-11, 2013

There were only two nights of racing in the past week because of the Oktoberfest celebration at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Those two nights were full of great racing, however, thanks to the finals of the Stallion Series that were held on Friday and Saturday night.

These Stallion Series are a chance for some excellent two-year-old and three-year-old horses to compete for purses that they might not otherwise get the chance to earn. The races take place all summer, with the best performers earning tickets to the finals, which were each worth $40,000 each.

On Friday night, the 2-year-olds took center stage, followed by the 3-year-olds on Saturday night. Here is a look at how those finals went down.

TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

In a thrilling race, 4-1 third choice Jack Attack, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, led much of the race, but had to deal with the 1-2 favorite So Surreal in the stretch. The two came to the line in a photo finish, and, when the dust settled, Jack Attack was the winner by a nose. Trained by PJ Fraley, the 2-year-old gelding paced the mile in 1:52:2, giving him a perfect record in Stallion Series action.

TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

When Ron Pierce couldn’t make it to Pocono on Friday night, Tyler Buter got the catch drive aboard Who Wants Soup, who was coming off back-to-back wins in the preliminaries. Buter made the most of his chance, rallying the gelding from the barn of Jim Campbell from off the pace to take the late lead and hang on by a head over Faust for the victory in 1:56:3. It was a new career mark for Who Wants Soup.

TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

Nitro Nittany, a filly from the Jim Raymer barn, was coming off the first loss of her career after three straight Stallion Series wins. She atoned in the best way possible. Driver Howard Parker sent Nitro Nittany behind the cover of even-money favorite Tweet Me on the outside, and she blew by in the stretch for the victory in a career-best 1:56.

TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Considering that she had won her previous start against tougher Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition, it was no surprise that Weeper, from the barn of Kelly O’ Donnell, was the 3-5 favorite in this group. The filly didn’t disappoint, blowing by her competition with a huge first-over brush on the back stretch and pacing away for a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:51:4, giving her three straight wins.

THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES

As part of an entry that went off as a 3-5 favorite, Choose Happy, trained by Virgil Morgan Jr., got off to a slow start and had to make a first-over move to reach the front of the pack. Not only did she get past the leader around the final turn, but she held back closers who had much better trips than she did, prevailing by a head with Brett Miller in the bike for a victory in 1:54:2.

THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

Trained by Amber Buter, Antigua Hanover came into Saturday night’s final with just two wins in 16 races this season. She found her stride at the right time though, starting fast, finding the pocket, and then blowing by the favorite Mattwestern late to pace away for the victory by 2 ½ lengths. Tyler Buter did the driving for Antigua Hanover, who paced the mile in a career-best 1:50:4.

THREE-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The combination of driver Howard Parker and trainer Jim Raymer, who won a Stallion Series final on Friday with Nitro Nittany, were at it again with Rossini. Despite being a 3-1 third choice, Parker sent Rossini to the front end and dared everyone to catch him. The result was an easy 3 ¼ length win in 1:53, which narrowly missed a track record for 3-year-old geldings on the trot.

THREE-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

The final Stallion Series race of the season was a thriller. Ultimate Beachboy was the 3-5 favorite after back-to-back wins, one of which matched a track record. But he was pressured on all sides throughout the mile in the final, until Shock It To ‘Em, trained by Chris Oakes and driven by Ron Pierce, rallied in the stretch from the pocket for a half-length win in 1:50:1.

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.

 

 

12 Pennsylvania All Stars Races at Pocono on Saturday Night

Monday, July 8th, 2013

July 6, 2013

Grand Circuit Week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs wrapped up with 12 Pennsylanvania All Stars races on a steamy Saturday night. The 3-year-olds took center stage, with four $30,000 divisions of colts and geldings on the pace, three $35,000 divisions of pacing fillies, and five $30,000 divisions of trotting colts and geldings.

3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS

Brew Master (Glidemaster-Dance Girl Dance), the 8-5 favorite with Dave Palone in the bike for trainer Marcus Marashian, hung on to win by a neck over Maxamillus in the first division in a career-best 1:54:2. Rossini picked up the show. The gate-to-wire victory was the second straight for Brew Master, with his last coming on a sloppy track at The Meadows.

Aperfectyankee (Yankee Glide-Asixpackfromperfect) glided up first-over and won going away by three lengths in a career-best 1:53:1 in the second division. Broadway Prince finished second while pacesetter Major Athens faded to third. 8-5 favorite Tigress’s Legacy went off-stride early. Trained and driven by Jim Oscarsson, Aperfectyankee, the third choice at 7-2, bounced back from a break in his last race for his second win of the season.

A blistering early pace set it up for Bluto (Donato Hanover-Blur) to come from off the pace and rally for a tight victory by a head over 7-5 favorite Smoother Ride in a career-best 1:52:4. Jimmy Takter trains and drives Bluto, who went off as the 7-2 third choice and won for the second time this year in six tries. Classicality picked up the show.

The fourth division produced a performance that matched a Pocono track record and a world record for 3-year-old trotting geldings. It’s Complicated (SJ’s Caviar-Madame Volo), the 5-1 third choice, was a powerhouse on the front end for driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Kris Hite, winning by 1 ¼ lengths over even-money favorite High Bridge. Cantab Abs was third. The winning time by It’s Complicated of 1:52:4 matches the Pocono mark and the world record on a 5/8 oval by sophomore geldings, which was set by I’m The Answer in 2011.

All Laid Out (Yankee Glide-Adelaide Hall), who was fresh off a big upset win in the Earl Beal Jr. consolation trot in his last start, followed it up with a romping win in All Stars action as the 6-5 favorite in the fifth division. With Dave Palone in the bike for trainer Noel Daley, the colt sat off a hot pace and pounced late to win going away by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:53. Sailer Eddie finished second and Boffin picked up the show.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES

In the first division, Dave Palone gunned Power Pack Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Panned Out), the 5-2 second choice from the Tom Cancelliere barn, to the front end and the filly went all the way for a 2 ½-length victory in a career-best 1:50:2. Handsoffmycupcake was best of the rest in second while Offintothesunset grabbed the show. It was the first win in two tries this year for Power Pack Hanover and just her third lifetime in five career races.

A stretch duel between the top two choices was the highlight of the second split, with 9-5 second choice Icommandmyspirit (Dragon Again-Artists Flower) holiding off 7-5 favorite Carols Desire by a neck in a career-best 1:51:1. Champagne Tonight was third. Jim Morrill did the driving aboard Icommandmyspirit for trainer Ross Croghan, as the filly won for the fifth time in her last six races.

Once she took over on the front stretch, 1-9 favorite Somwherovrarainbow (Somebeachsomewhere-Rainbow Bloe) fought off all comers in the third division and won by 1 ½ lengths in 1:51, a new career mark. Sweet Lady Jane finished second while South Pacific grabbed third. Driven by Montrell Teague and trained by George Teague Jr., Somwherovrarainbow now has three wins this season, with the other two coming in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action.

3-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS

In the first division of this group, 2-1 second choice Net Ten Eom (Somebeachsomewhere-Glowing Report) set bruising fractions after taking over the lead on the front stretch but held tough late to win by two lengths in 1:49:2, a new career-best. Big Time Promise came up short in second, just his second loss in nine races this season, while The Pan Poobah finished 3rd. George Napolitano Jr. drove Net Ten Eom for trainer Richard Silverman, as the colt picked up his third consecutive win, all at different tracks.

Some Kinda Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Art’s Fantasy) didn’t disappoint as the 1-5 favorite in the second division, leading much of the way and powering home the second half of the mile after a great rate job by driver Marcus Miller in the first half. The colt from the Erv Miller barn ended up winning by 1 ¼ lengths in a career-best 1:51 for his sixth win in ten races this season. Here Comes Swifty finished second while Shock It To Em picked up the show.

 Good Day Mate (Christian Cullen-Stienam’s Place) parlayed an excellent trip behind a speed duel to a late-kicking victory in the third division, as he rallied to win by a neck over 6-5 favorite Dedi’s Dragon in 1:49:3. Varadero Hanover came on for the show. Jim Morrill Jr. drove Good Day Mate for trainer Chris Oakes, as the 3-year-old colt picked up his second win of the season as the 9-5 second choice.

In the final division, Ultimate Beach Boy (Somebeachsomewhere-Ultimate Bet), the 8-5 second choice, powered home from the pocket to win by a length in 1:50:4. George Napolitano Jr. was in the bike for trainer Don Swick, as Ultimate Beach Boy won for the third time this season. John’s Polyview finished second while 4-5 favorite Fateful Choice faded late to third.