Posts Tagged ‘Scott DiDomenico’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

May 6-12, 2017

It was a particularly busy week of racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Due to the doubleheader on Kentucky Derby day, we enjoyed five racing cards in a four-day stretch. That means that we have even more candidates for the Weekly Awards than usual. As it turns out, though, picking the top two horses of the week was an easy matter, as it came down to the winners of the week’s two biggest purses. Here now are the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BARIMAH A

In Saturday night’s Van Rose Memorial pace, which carried a purse of $50,000, Barimah A, a seven-year-old gelding from the Scott DiDomenico barn, went off at 14-1. This was despite the fact that he won the previous week’s featured pace at Pocono in a career-best 1:50 and despite his drawing the inside post. The betting attention, understandably, went to some of the millionaires in the field, horses like Sunfire Blue Chip, Somewhere in L A and McWicked who were coming in from the rugged early-season races at Yonkers.

The sloppy track did not dissuade the superstars in the field from going for the engine with reckless abandon. Three different horses led in the first three-eighths of a mile, and the fractions created by the speed duel were ruthless: 25:4; 53:1, and 1:20:4. At the top of the stretch Somewhere in L A was on top, Mach It So was hounding him first-over, and favorite Sunfire Blue Chip overcame some tiring cover on the back stretch to rally again in the passing lane.

All of those horses were very close to the blistering pace for much of the mile. The difference for Barimah A was that driver Pat Berry kept him back early, only asking for some kick on the back stretch. As they rounded the final turn, Barimah A was firing on all cylinders, and he eventually outpaced Sunfire Blue Chip in the final strides to get up for the victory by a head. His winning time of 1:50 matched the career-mark he set in the win the previous week, although it was even more impressive this time around because of the sloppy conditions.

Other top pacers this week include: Brickman (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who switched barns and still scored his third straight victory over $25,000 claimers on Saturday night, winning in the slop in 1:53:1; Inspiration View (Jim Marohn Jr., Ron Burke), who moved up the ladder to win a second consecutive condition race on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:52:1 in the slop; and Tempus Seelster (Jim Marohn Jr., Tony Dinges), a mare who picked up her third straight victory, two of which have come at Pocono, with a condition victory on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:50:1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OOH RAH

On Tuesday night, the last of the Bobby Weiss late closer series finals was held. In this case, it was the three and four-year-old trotting colts, stallions and geldings going at it for the $30,000 purse. The preliminary legs had seen several horses step up with solid performances, but Ooh Rah, a four-year-old gelding trained by Kathleen La Montagne, stamped himself as the favorite by winning three of his four starts in the series.

In the final, Ooh Rah left from post position #3 in a field of nine as the 3-5 betting favorite. After sitting third early, driver George Napolitano Jr. decided he wanted to be in charge with the favorite. Ooh Rah swooped past Hilarious Hero on the front stretch to take over the lead. Although Uncle Leroy made a first-over brush, the leader never seemed to feel the pressure and was able to cut out the mile at a relatively leisurely pace.

That came into play late, when Hilarious Hero popped out of the pocket in the stretch ready for a fight. Ooh Rah had energy to spare, powering home to hold off Hilarious Hero by a length. The winning time of 1:55 was faster than any horse had been able to post in any of the previous Weiss legs in this group, and it also marked a career-best for Ooh Rah, a deserving and dominant champ of the division.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tuonoblu Rex (Andy Miller, Julie Miller) who followed up a win at The Meadowlands in his U.S. debut with an easy victory in the slop on Sunday at Pocono over a tough condition field in 1:53:1, easily the fastest trotting time of the week; Andy Ray (Marcus Miller, Jim Campbell), who rallied on Saturday night for a condition win in the slop in 1:57, giving him victories in the last three starts he’s made at Pocono; and Meme Hanover (Charlie Norris trainer and driver), a colt who followed up his maiden victory with a condition win on Monday night in 1:56:1, matching his career-best time.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: OOH DEAR SAM

With Anthony Morgan in the bike, this veteran pacer surprised a field of claimers on Saturday night to the tune of 26-1, paying out $54.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JIM MAROHN JR.

Marohn seemed to enjoy the daylight hours on Saturday, winning four out of ten races on the matinee card before returning for another victory on Saturday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TONY DINGES

The Dinges barn was all about efficiency on Tuesday night, sending out three starters and earning victories in every one of those races.

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.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

July 16-22, 2016

It’s hard to believe, but we’re nearly at the midway point of the 2016 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. There’s a lot of great racing from this year already in our rear view, yet we’re entering an extremely busy portion of the season, highlighted by the mega-card on Super Stakes Saturday in August. We’ll be talking about all of that soon enough, but for now let’s put the spotlight on the best of the best from the week that was and hand out our Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: B R FLYING DALI

This four-year-old stallion entered Pocono on a high note with a victory at The Meadows against $5,000 claimers on May 11. After finishing third against $7,500 claimers in his first try at MSPD, he quickly followed that up with a win in that class on May 29. B R Flying Dali was claimed from that race, switching trainers from Mike Palone to Dan Altman in the process, and he promptly moved up for the Altman barn for back-to-back wins against the $10,000 and $12,500 claimers in his next two races.

That meant he was riding a three-race winning streak when he took to the track on Saturday night to once again face off with the $12,500 claimers. Leaving from the #4 post in a field of nine as an even money favorite, B R Flying Dali sat second at the quarter behind a hot pace. Driver Simon Allard guided him to the lead with a quick move on the front stretch and hustled him through a quick third quarter of 27:2 to try to keep the pressure at bay.

In the stretch, B R Flying Dali had to deal with the charges of pocket horse Teranadawn and outside closer Special Terror. But he was up to the challenge, topping Special Terror at the line by a length in 1:52, which matched the career mark he had set in his previous start. That makes four wins in a row, five out of six, and ten overall for the season for B R Flying Dali. Those are impressive stats, and they stand to get even better if this stallion continues his hot streak.

Other top pacers this week include: Dreams Beachboy (Eric Goodell, Chris Oakes), who ripped off his second consecutive condition victory on Sunday night, this one coming in 1:50:3; Bandolito (Sean Bier, Daryl Bier), who scorched a condition group on Saturday for a win in a time of 1:49:2, the fastest pacing mark of the week at Pocono; and Highview Conall (Pat Berry, Scott DiDomenico) who followed up back to back wins at Harrah’s with a victory in a claiming handicap on Saturday night at Pocono in a career-best 1:49:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WILBERFORCE

No two races are ever the same, so it’s a good thing when a horse has the versatility to roll with whatever comes its way on a particular night. It’s also a bonus when a horse’s driver can adjust his game plan depending on the circumstances. Those factors came into play when Wilberforce, a 4-year-old gelding from the Kris Rickert barn, took the track on Sunday night in search of his second consecutive victory over the non-winners of seven condition grouping.

In his previous start on July 10, driver George Napolitano Jr. kept Wilberforce off the pace on the inside, then guided him home when an opening appeared late. The gelding won in a career-best 1:53 by 3 ¾ lengths over Tuscanellie, who was the race favorite but wore down on the front end. On Sunday night, Tuscanellie was again favored at 1-2 with an improved post position, but he watched as Wilberforce changed up tactics and took charge early.

Napolitano took advantage of a small six-horse field by setting tepid fractions on the lead. That meant that Tuscanellie, even though she had the trip, still couldn’t get past Wilberforce in the late going. The gelding held tight to win by 1 ¼ lengths. The winning time of 1:54:4 wasn’t as quick as the previous week, but the bottom line is what mattered. That’s two in a row for Wilberforce, who has proven he can win a couple different ways, a handy talent in this sport.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tac’s Delight (Jim Marohn Jr., Rene Allard), who moved up in class to win a claiming handicap trot on Sunday night in 1:54:1, earning his second straight victory in the process; J L Cruze (John Campbell, Eric Ell), who coasted to victory in Sunday night’s $25,000 featured condition trot, sharing the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono in the process with a 1:53; and Pounce Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr., Greg White), who rolled to a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:53, a new career mark which matched the week’s fastest trotting time at Pocono.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ARMOR HANOVER

After breaking stride in his previous two starts, this trotter driven by Tom Jackson stayed flat and then some on Saturday night, beating a condition field at 17-1 for a $36.20 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON

As Zeron has become more of a regular presence at Pocono this year, he’s doing more damage, as was the case on Sunday night when he picked up four driving victories.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JIMMY TAKTER

When there are stakes races, you can count on Takter to do some damage, and the results this week at Pocono for him included three Stallion Series wins on Monday and a Sire Stakes victory.

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.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Friday, November 6th, 2015

October 31-November 6, 2015

This will be our last article this year that features our Weekly Awards. With only two weeks left in the 2015 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, we’ll close it out the next few weeks by looking back on the season gone past. But, before we do, let’s make these count and hand out the awards to the best of the best in the week that was at Pocono.

PACER OF THE WEEK: PREPARTY

It makes sense that our last Pacer of the Week award goes to a horse from the barn of trainer Rene Allard, since his horses have dominated this column space for most of the season. Yet this particular Allard trainee would have seemed an unlikely choice for these honors a few months back. Preparty, a 4-year-old gelding, had a stretch of three races in August and September at Pocono in which he finished no better than seventh.

On September 18, he returned from a third-place finish at Saratoga to face our $8,500 condition pacers. That’s the lowest level of condition action at the track, so Preparty needed to step up with these or run the risk of an even more prolonged slump. A gate-to-wire win seemed that night reinvigorated him, and he came into Saturday night’s featured $20,000 condition pace having won three out of four, all while moving significantly up the condition ladder from that earlier nadir.

On Saturday night as the even-money favorite, the gelding found a perfect pocket spot as a speed duel raged in front of him. In the stretch, driver Simon Allard guided Preparty into the inside passing lane. From there he overtook Rockin Rumble, a game long shot who battled all the way on the outside only to come up short by a nose. With the victory in 1:52, Preparty now has won two straight and four out of five, and those down times seem like a distant memory.

Other top pacers this week include: Mickey Hanover (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who is now two-for-two at Pocono since returning from New York after a condition win on Saturday night in 1:51; Mr Massimo (George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Reynolds), who continued his late-season torrid streak by moving up in class to win his fourth straight claimer on Saturday night, this one in 1:50:4; and Scandalicious (Marcus Miller, Scott DiDomenico), who captured Wednesday night’s featured distaff condition pace in 1:52:2.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SOMEBODY AS

If you’ve watched any harness racing at all at Pocono over the last two months, you’ve probably noticed that symbol AS showing up at the end of the names of a lot of winning trotters. It’s an abbreviation for an ownership group based in Kentucky who generally uses trainer Anette Lorentzon to condition their horses, usually with outstanding results.

Somebody AS, a 6-year-old gelding, has climbed the highest of these trotters in the Pocono condition ranks. After spending a lot of time this year in Ohio, he shipped in for a $20,000 condition trot on October 3 and pulled off an upset win in the slop in 1:54:4 as a 10-1 shot. He then moved up in class to face the $24,000 condition pacers, acquitting himself well with back-to-back thirds.

On Saturday night, he dropped back down to the $20,000 level. Driver George Napolitano Jr. sent Somebody AS to the front and set nasty fractions, losing the pursuit behind him in the process. Somebody AS ended up seven lengths in front of the rest at the line, trotting the mile in a career-best 1:52:2, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono by a wide margin and a very impressive number considering the chilly temperatures. Bottom line: when you see that AS name, don’t sleep on the horse’s chances in that particular race.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Code Bon (Simon Allard, Ake Svanstedt), a 3-year-old colt who followed up a win at Lexington with a condition victory on Tuesday night at Pocono in 1:53:2; Musical Rhythm (Marcus Miller, Tony Alagna), a 3-year-old colt who rallied from far back early to score in Tuesday night’s featured condition trot in a career-best 1:56; and Vimy Ridge (Howard Parker, Bill Mullin), who dominated a claiming handicap group on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:53, picking up his second straight victory in the process.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: HOPE FOR BADLANDS

In a condition pace on Tuesday night, this gelding with Andrew McCarthy blew by his competitors late as a 38-1 long shot to pay off a hefty $79.80 on a $2 win ticket.

In lieu of driver and trainer of the week awards this week, I’d like to take a moment to salute our entire community of drivers and trainers. The balance among the drivers and trainers community has been incredible all year long. Tuesday night was typical: 10 different drivers won at least one race and the 16 victories on the care were divvied up among 15 different trainers. It’s never been as competitive at Pocono, and the ladies and gentlemen doing the driving and training are a big reason why. Nice job, folks.

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

Friday, October 19th, 2012

October 12-18, 2012

It’s getting to the point of the season where we here at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs start to think about handing out year-end awards to the horsemen and horses who have performed the best over the course of the 2012 season. I can’t seem to remember a time when it’s been so competitive in all the major categories. This past racing week, a few more competitors stepped up to stake their claims, and several of these can be found in this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DIAMOND STICK PIN

 There are a lot of things that handicappers like to key on when looking at a race. Among these, two of the most important are class and post position. If you’ve got a horse who is moving to a better inside post and is dropping down in class, chances are it’s getting a lot of attention at the windows.

By contrast, consider the situation facing Diamond Stick Pin at Pocono on Saturday night. He was moving up in class following career-best mile of 1:50:3 in a win on October 5. He was also moving to the far outside #9 post after having a spot on the inner half in his previous start. Basically, he was moving in the opposite direction from what the handicappers like, but nobody bothered to tell the 6-year-old stallion the odds were against him.

He did have the combination of George Napolitano Jr. and Chris Oakes, Pocono’s leading driver and trainer respectively, in his corner, so that was a big boost. Diamond Stick Pin did the rest, making a huge first-over move on the back stretch to zip by his competition. He romped from there, beating the rest by 4 ¼ lengths and resetting his career mark with a 1:50:2 mile. When a horse is that sharp, class, post position, and the rest don’t really matter too much.

Other top pacers this week include: Hurrikane Kingcole (Daniel Dube, Kevin McDermott), the superstar sophomore pacer who returned to Pocono with a thrilling condition win on Saturday night in 1:49, the fastest pacing time of the week; Sonic Raider (George Napolitano Jr., Ken Rucker), who reeled off his second straight win over the $12,500 claimers on Saturday night, matching a career-best in the process in 1:52:2; and Billmar Scooter (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), who beat the toughest mares on the grounds for the second straight week on Tuesday night, this time in 1:51:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: JUST LIKE LLOYD

It’s not a rule that’s set in stone, but, in the sport of harness racing, claimers don’t usually advance out of the claiming ranks into condition and Open races with much success. At best, they might be able to hang around with the lower condition groups, but owners and trainers hoping for anything much more than that are often brought back to reality.

Just Like Lloyd seemed to be one of this trotters who was bound to be at his best against the claimers, at least at Pocono. The 4-year-old gelding did have a win in Open II company at Tioga, but his victories at MSPD had been limited to the claiming ranks. That didn’t stop him from moving up into our toughest condition group on Saturday night, the winners of over $25,000 lifetime.

Just Like Lloyd, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike for trainer Rene Allard, put together a great mile as he gunned to an early lead, yielded the lead on the front stretch, then made a second move in the deep stretch to get up for a hard-fought victory in 1:53:2. That makes wins in four of his last seven races, and this last one proves that he can beat even the highest levels of competition with which most claimers couldn’t hope to compete.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: All About Justice (Mike Simons, Gail Wrubel), who found his old form and handled a tough condition class on Saturday night on the front end in 1:54:1; Lindy McDreamy (Tyler Buter, Scott Di Domenico), whose condition win on Wednesday night was his third win in his last four races, with this one matching a career-best in 1:55:2; and Ice Machine (George Napolitano Jr., Walter Carroll), who romped in a condition trot on Wednesday night in 1:53, a new career-best and the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ARTSBRED CAMOTION

Long shots were running wild this week, and the biggest bomber of them all was this claiming pacer driven by Matt Kakaley who scored on Saturday night at 47-1 for a $96 win payout on a $2 ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

The meet’s leading driver dominated again this week, as exemplified by a seven-win explosion on Saturday night that included wins in both the featured pace and the featured trot.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: GAIL WRUBEL

It was a good week for one of Pocono’s most consistent trainers for the past several years, as Gail scored a double on Saturday and then won with 19-1 shot Thomas John N on Tuesday.

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, August 1st, 2012

July 20-26, 2012

The racing action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has reached a fever pitch. This 2012 season had produced the fastest times and some of the best performances in track history. As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to pick out the very best of the best each week. We’ll give it a shot anyway with this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: SPLENDID KISSER

Winning streaks in the sport of harness racing are hard to come by. Not only does a horse have to be on top of its game, but it also has to avoid difficult trips that make winning a tough proposition. It’s even tougher to sustain a winning streak when a horse in moving up in class along the way. That’s why Splendid Kisser’s recent streak needs to be honored.

Splendid Kisser, an 8-year-old gelding from the barn of Chris Oakes, has been outstanding all season long, but he really got rolling with a win against the $10,000 claimers on June 30. He followed that up in rapid succession with wins in the $12,500 and $20,000 claiming classes, each time as a heavy favorite, each time in dominant front-running style.

On Saturday night, the gelding faced the $20,000 claimers but this time had to do it from the dreaded #9 post, which is usually bad news for horses with early speed.  For Splendid Kisser, it was no sweat. He once again rolled to the front, and, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, held off the challenge of the pocket horse to win by a length in a speedy 1:50:2. That’s four wins in four weeks in three different classes for Splendid Kisser, a claimer whom you just don’t want to face right about now.

Other top pacers this week include: Bettors Glass (Andrew McCarthy, Scott Di Domenico), who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a monster mile in a victory at Pocono at Saturday night in 1:48:4, the fastest pacing time of the week; Pair A Dice (Tyler Buter, Paul Holzman), who won his second straight on Saturday night at the top of our claiming ladder and matched a career-best in the process with a mile of 1:50:1; and Breakheart Pass (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won her second straight on Tuesday night against the toughest distaff condition pacers on the grounds, this time in 1:50:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ANDERS BLUESTONE

It looked for all the world like this award would belong to Sevruga, a powerful 4-year-old who had been beating everyone in his path in the past few months at Pocono. One of those horses who had come up short against him was Anders Bluestone, finishing second to Sevruga in his last two tries.

Yet Anders Bluestone’s record coming into Sunday night’s featured trot for winners of over $25,000 lifetime was no joke, with 8 wins in 16 tries and $139,800 in the bank this year alone. Driver George Napolitano Jr. decided try a different tactic and send the 6-year-old stallion from the barn of Eric Ell to the front and make Sevruga do the coming from behind for a change.

The strategy worked like charm. Thanks to an expert rate job by Napolitano, Anders Bluestone was still extremely sharp in the latter part of the mile, finishing strong to win by a half-length in 1:52:4. Sevruga will likely have his chance to win this award, but Anders Bluestone won this battle in what is shaping up as a tremendous trotting rivalry at Pocono.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Zooming (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), who arrived from The Meadowlands and smoked a condition trotting group on Sunday night in 1:52:3, a new career-mark and the fastest trotting time of the week; Mr Mcrail (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won two straight at The Meadows and then added to the streak with a claiming handicap win at Pocono on Sunday night in 1:54; and Idadazzle (Matt Kakaley, David Duspiva), whose claiming win in 1:56:3 on Tuesday night was his third straight and 11th victory this year.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CITY RIDGE

Coming in from The Meadows, this trotter came up flying late with Mike Simons in the bike to upset a field of $10,000 claimers on Tuesday night at 32-1, paying off $67.60 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT ROMANO

A longtime fan favorite at Pocono, Matt picked up his 2,500 career victory in memorable fashion Saturday night, staging a furious rally aboard Amillionpennies, a horse he also trains.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BREWER ADAMS

Adams has been a major player in the training wars all season long at Pocono. He scored a double on Saturday night to continue his excellent year.

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.