Posts Tagged ‘Tac’s Delight’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

July 23-29, 2016

It was hot this week in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but that’s no real news flash, because it was hot just about everywhere in the country as well. I only mention it because the heat didn’t seem to cause any lethargy in the horses competing this past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. If anything, we witnessed some of the fastest races at the track in several weeks, with horses routinely putting up career-bests and even coming within shouting distance of world records. Here are some of the best performers this week, via the Weekly Awards.


You never know when you’re going to see a special performance at the track. Vague Traces gave just such a performance on Saturday night. It wasn’t entirely unexpected that this 4-year-old gelding would be good, considering that he went off as the favorite in a field of $14,000 condition pacers. But the extent to which he excelled was what left mouths agape after he cashed in on his promise and scored the victory.

Trained by Ross Croghan, Vague Traces was making his first start at Pocono in 2016. He came in with wins in just two of his 14 races on the year, but they were back-to-back wins at The Meadowlands in June. Coming off a pair of distant finishes against tough company at Yonkers, the gelding didn’t show much in the first half of his first mile at Pocono, sitting an unassuming fourth early. Then driver Andrew McCarthy sent him first-over on the outside, and everything changed.

In a flash Vague Traces blew by everyone in front of him and took the lead prior to the three-quarter pole. But he didn’t stop there, continuing an elongated speed burst that didn’t relent until he crossed the line 7 ¾ lengths ahead of the dumbfounded field. Even more impressively, he tripped the line in 1:48:1, not just a career-best but the fastest at Pocono this week and one of the fastest at the oval this season. Just like that Vague Traces made an impression on the Pocono faithful; let’s see how he handles the tougher competition that’s bound to come.

Other top pacers this week include: Bushwacker (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Ryder), who scored a victory in Saturday night’s $18,000 featured pace in 1:50; Soto (Andrew McCarthy, Eric Ell), a newcomer to the racing wars at Pocono who immediately left his mark with a condition victory on Saturday in a career-best 1:48:4; and Life Is A Beach (Anthony Napolitano, Randy Bendis), who handled Tuesday night’s featured condition pacing mares in 1:52, which matched a career best.


There were several excellent candidates for this honor this week, but this seven-year-old gelding gets the call not just for his last two outstanding performances, but also for how far he’s come in that time. Trained by Douglas Berkeley, Armor Hanover hit rock bottom on July 2 when he went off-stride for a second consecutive race. That meant he’d have to qualify before he could race again. He did just that, winning a qualifier at Monticello on July 6, apparently earning some serious confidence in the process.

In his first race back on July 16, he headed out against a $14,000 condition trotting field as a 17-1 long shot. But driver Tom Jackson drove him aggressively and Armor Hanover responded, holding off Auspicious Hanover by a nose in a thrilling stretch battle to upset in 1:54:3, which was a career-best time.

On Saturday night, he faced off against a $15,500 condition grouping and this time went off at 6-1 with Anthony Napolitano in the bike. With a tremendous back-stretch brush, Armor Hanover left behind the 2-5 favorite Cufflink Hanover. The rest of the field was no match for him either, as he came home six lengths in front. His winning time of 1:52 shattered the career mark he had only just laid down. Armor Hanover has indeed come a long way in a short time, and it will be exciting to see now just where he goes from here.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tac’s Delight (Jim Marohn Jr., Rene Allard), who handled a $15,000 claiming handicap field in 1:54:1 on Sunday night for his third straight victory; Homicide Hunter (Eric Goodell, Chris Oakes), who captured Sunday night’s $25,000 featured condition pace in 1:51:1, a new career-best, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono, and only a fifth of a second short of a world record for 4-year-old trotting geldings; and Crazy About Pat (Jim Marohn Jr., Paul Kelley), who shipped in from Yonkers to pick up a condition win on Sunday night in a career-best 1:53:1.


This two-year-old trotter’s maiden win on Tuesday night was quite memorable, as he came home a winner at 75-1 to pay out $154.20 on a $2 win ticket.


Returning from an injury that kept him out nearly two months, Napolitano wasted no time getting in the swing of things by ripping off five wins on his first night back Saturday.


Melander put together an interesting streak this week at Pocono, as she followed up training wins in both halves of the Late Daily Double Monday night with another victory in the opening race on Tuesday.

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review Oct. 21-27, 2011

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

October 21-27, 2011

As October rolls to a close, it’s impossible to avoid the fact that the 2011 season is really winding down at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. With just a few weeks of racing left, the action hasn’t slowed down one bit, as evidenced by some of the stellar efforts we witnessed the past few programs. Here is just a taste in the Weekly Awards.


A five-year-old gelding from the barn of Aaron Lambert, Mr Massimo seems to be getting better as he gets older. He didn’t do much in his career until busting out last year with nearly $100,000 in earnings. He has more than doubled that this season, and came into Saturday night’s featured pace for winners of over $25,000 lifetime with a win and a show in his last two starts in that tough company.

Still, Mr Massimo was something of an afterthought at 6-1 in the betting. The reason for that was the presence of Atochia, a super-classy veteran pacer who had been facing a steady diet of big-stakes competition and had won his last start at Pocono back in August with a superb effort. Although Mr Massimo held the lead, it looked short-lived as Atochia charged at him on the back stretch.

That set up a truly thrilling stretch duel, with the two combatant inches apart. In the final yards, it was Mr Massimo, with Andrew McCarthy in the bike, who persevered just a tiny bit better, winning by three-quarters of a length. The winning time was a scorching 1:49, doubly impressive because it was a career-best and because it came in chilly weather conditions.

Other top pacers this week include:  Segundo Hanover (Andrew McCarthy, Sarita Mosher), who continued his outstanding season with by stepping up to beat the $15,000 claimers on Saturday night, giving him his 13th win of the season and his fifth victory out of six; Fool’s Gold (Daryl Bier, Daryl Bier), who shipped in from the Midwest and continued his winning ways with a condition win on Saturday night in 1:50, his 10th victory in 14 2011 races; and Annika S (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), whose win on Wednesday night over the $10,000 claiming fillies and mares in 1:53:3 was her second straight and fourth in her last five.


The fact that a horse can somehow lose his form seemingly overnight is one of the most confounding aspects of the sport of harness racing. Tac’s Delight is just one example of this phenomenon. Last year, he won eight times and earned over $132,000, but he came into the month of October without a win in 2011 and having broken stride in his previous three starts at Pocono.

Yet it often takes just one race to turn things around. For Tac’s Delight, that race took place on October 4, when he romped to a 14-length win on the Pocono oval in a ripping 1:53:4. Buoyed by that, the 6-year-old gelding from the Rene Allard barn followed up with an easy win at Chester on October 10. On Friday night back at Pocono, Tac’s Delight jumped several condition classes in a monumental step up the ladder.

The way that he’s racing right now, it doesn’t really matter how much he jumps. Driver George Napolitano Jr. cut him loose and the gelding did the rest, destroying the excellent field by 5 ½ lengths in 1:54:1. Expect another jump in class from there, and don’t be surprised if it’s another successful leap. Just call Tac’s Delight Mr. October.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to:  Affirmed Action (Mike Simons, John Grasso), who swept by the field late to capture the week’s featured trot on Friday night in 1:54:3, his second win in the last three; Intimidator (Andrew McCarthy, John Duer), who moved up in class but rallied for his second straight condition win on Wednesday night in 1:55, matching his career-best; and Bambino Hall (Don Irvine Jr., Tyler Raymer), a 3-year-old gelding who once handled older horses in a condition trot on Wednesday night, winning his second straight in 1:54:3.


With Anthony Napolitano doing the driving, this filly powered by late to win a claiming pace on Friday night at 30-1, paying off $63.20 on a $2 win ticket.


Earlier this month, Anthony became the sixth driver to reach the 100-win plateau in 2011 at Pocono, joining his brother George, Matt Kakaley, Tyler Buter, Joe Pavia Jr., and Andrew McCarthy.


In an impressive display on Saturday night, Lambert’s trainees won three times in a four-race span. They were only horses he trained that night, and they won races with purses totaling $73,000.

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