Posts Tagged ‘Tioga Downs’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

September 13-19, 2013

With only about a month until the Breeders Crown on Saturday, October 19 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, it’s as good a time as any to start looking ahead to how some of the top competitors shape up. Because of the increase in the number of stakes races at Pocono, many more of the North America’s best horses have already traveled over the oval this season than at the same point three years ago when the Breeders Crown was last held at MSPD.

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the Top 10 horses in the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown and see just how well they’ve done this year at Pocono. We’ll count them down in descending order, just like this really good Bob Dylan book I heard about lately.

10. SEVRUGA: This 5-year-old trotting gelding from the Julie Miller barn has won nine of 19 starts this year with earnings of close to $500,000. His first start at Pocono this season was a memorable one, as he ripped off a victory in an Invitational trot in 1:50:3, a new-world record for aged geldings on a 5/8-mile oval. He was upset, however, by Wishing Stone in his last Pocono appearance on Super Stakes Saturday.

9. MAVEN: This 4-year-old trotting gelding is one of the few in the Top 10 who has yet to make an appearance at Pocono in 2013, although fans with longer memories may remember him as a solid performer in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at the track as a two and three-year-old. Maven’s biggest success this season has been in Canada, where he in unbeaten in four races for trainer Jonas Czernyson.

8. PET ROCK: A four-year-old pacing stallion from the Virgil Morgan Jr. barn, Pet Rock has had an outstanding season once again in 2013 with earnings north of $600,000. But his story at Pocono has been one of near misses. He finished 3rd and 2nd in the Ben Franklin pace elimination and final in June, then came up just short behind A Rocknroll Dance on Super Stakes Saturday.

7. VEGAS VACATION: Most people have conceded the 3-year-old pacing division to Captaintreacherous, but this gelding trained by Casie Coleman pushed the super-horse to the limit in their last meeting on the Pocono oval, finishing just a nose behind him in the slop in the Max Hempt. He’s been building confidence since then, scoring big-money victories at Tioga and Mohawk.

6. A ROCKNROLL DANCE: Trainer Jim Mulinix hopes the old phrase “horses for courses” applies come Breeders Crown time, because the last two starts this 4-year-old pacer had at Pocono were memorable. In 2012, he turned around a floundering season with a win in the Max Hempt Memorial. His lone start here this season was a win on Super Stakes Saturday in 1:47:4, matching the fastest ever at the track.

5. ROYALTY FOR LIFE: As the Hambletonian winner as well as a victor in several other big stakes races, 2013 has been a great year for Royalty For Life, trained by George Ducharme. Except at Pocono. Back in June, the 3-year-old trotter broke stride in both the elimination and the final for the Earl Beal Jr. In August, he got caught up in a speed duel and faded to 7th as the favorite in the Colonial.

4. FATHER PATRICK: The most celebrated 2-year-old in the country, Father Patrick made his trotting debut at Pocono in July in Pennsylvania All Stars action with a seven-length victory. He returned a few weeks later for another easy score in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. With seven wins in eight races so far for trainer Jimmy Takter, you get the feeling he’ll be tough no matter what track hosts him.

3. I LUV THE NITELIFE: With just one loss in 11 races this season, the pride of the Chris Ryder barn has been without a doubt the class of the 3-year-old pacing fillies division. She has been especially fine at Pocono, winning all three of her races here this year. Included among those were big stakes wins in the James Lynch and the Valley Forge, the latter coming in a world record for her age group of 1:48:4.

2. CAPTAINTREACHEROUS: It took a world-record performance from Sunshine Beach to spoil his unbeaten season at Pocono in the Battle of the Brandywine, and even then it was only in a photo finish. Before that, the Captain overcame a treacherous trip, if you will, to win the Hempt in June. Will the 3-year-old  pacing colt from the Tony Alagna barn step up on Breeders Crown day? Time will tell.

1. BEE A MAGICIAN: The number-one horse in the poll is a relative unknown to Pocono fans, since she’s the only one on this list to have never raced at MSPD. The 3-year-old trotting filly from the Nifty Norman barn has done most of her damage in Canada, but she did stop at The Meadowlands this year to win the Hambletonian Oaks as part of her record of twelve wins in twelve races in 2013.

Those are just some of the horses to watch come October at Pocono. With all of that firepower on display, it should be an amazing 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

Friday, August 30th, 2013

August 23-29, 2013

The kids are going back to school, real football is about to be played, and my tan, what there was of it, has long since faded. That can only mean that the summer months are winding down and, as Bob Seger once sang, autumn’s closin’ in. Still, there is no let-up whatsoever in the racing action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as was evident in the racing week just gone past. So let’s celebrate the finest performers of the last four racing nights by handing out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BLISSFULL DREAMER

It’s difficult to sustain a long winning streak in the sport of harness racing, even for a horse who stays in the same class. That’s because staying in the same class doesn’t necessarily mean facing the same field week after week, as hot horses could be moving up from lower classes while horses used to facing tougher competition might be dropping down. Add to that the vagaries of post position week to week, racing luck, and the simple possibility of an off week, and you can see why a four-race winning streak like the one Blissfull Dreamer was riding heading into her race on Friday night is such an achievement.

Blissfull Dreamer has been sharp all year long as a 4-year-old mare, coming into her battle with the $12,500 distaff claimers on Friday with victories in 11 of 24 races on the season. She has shown the ability to come from off the pace in past races, but, with an inside post on Friday, she was sent to the lead early on by driver Ron Pierce to control the pace.

Her fifth straight victory wasn’t destined to be an easy win, however, as long shot Fire In The Night made a strong move in the stretch. Blissfull Dreamer, trained by Rene Allard, had the ultimate answer though, digging in late to win by a neck in 1:53:1. That makes it five in a row, the longest winning streak at Pocono this season, one that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Other top pacers this week: Ultimate Beachboy (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won a showdown with fellow Super Stakes Saturday winner Jonny Rock by a nose in Saturday night’s featured condition pace in 1:50; Rick’s Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), whose victory over a field of $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:51:3 was his third straight at Pocono and fourth in a row overall; and Power Pach Hanover (Andy Miller, John Cancelliere), a 3-year-old filly who now has three wins in a row at Pocono after her condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:50:4.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FLASHBACKS

This 4-year-old stallion from the Wendy Chellis barn fell into a bit of a rut when he arrived from Tioga in June, struggling to make much of a mark against the tougher condition trotters on the grounds. The light switched on when he dropped down into a condition for non-winners of $11,000 in the last five races on August 9. As a 9-1 shot he made a strong first over move and scored an upset win in a career-best 1:53:1.

Flashbacks was back at it again on Friday night in the same class, yet he was still given a tepid chance from the fans as a 7-2 third choice. This time around driver Drew Chellis decided to send his trotter to the front early, reaching the quarter in a rapid time which seemed to augur trouble for Flashbacks if he couldn’t pace himself a little better.

But Drew Chellis rated the horse masterfully through the middle portion of the race, conserving energy for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Flashbacks was still itching to go, and he powered home for a second consecutive win, this one in 1:54:3. With two straight impressive wins, this trotter with a name that suggests a dive back into the past is definitely looking ahead to a bright future.

Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: From Above (Andrew McCarthy, Mark Silva), who won the week’s featured condition trot on Saturday night in 1:54; Ballet Slippers (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), a filly who now has three straight wins, the last two coming at Pocono, after a condition victory on Friday night in 1:57:1; and Bloomfieldcantifly (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), a mare who ripped off her second straight claiming handicap win on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:56:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FLIGHT EXEC

Despite back-to-back wins coming into the race, Flight Exec, with Kevin Wallis driving, was a 23-1 shot when he upended a field of $25,000 claimers on Saturday nightand paid out $48.20 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANTHONY NAPOLITANO

Anthony has been a steady presence in the drivers’ standings all year long, but he’s really been picking up the pace of late, as evidenced by a driving triple on Tuesday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TONY ALAGNA

Alagna sent a pair of 2-year-olds to the gate on Tuesday night, and both Status Quo and Some Playa, came away with convincing victories.

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.

Camaes Fellow Matches World Record in Feature Win at Pocono

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

June 1, 2013

Camaes Fellow won a thrilling Preferred pace on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and matched a world record in the process. The race carried the night’s top purse of $25,000.

On a night when the warm temperatures produced sizzling times all night long, it seemed a safe bet that the featured pacers would be responsible for an especially rapid time, even with only five horses in the field. Camaes Fellow (Mach Three-Camae), a 5-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn, was made the 9-5 second choice behind 8-5 Yonkers invader Something For Doc.

But it was Diamond Stick Pin, who left from the inside post, who set the table with awe-inspiring fractions of 26 even, 53:2, and 1:20:2. That was bad news for Something For Doc, who attempted to get the lead on the front stretch but gut parked on the outside for his troubles. Camaes Fellow sat in the pocket and tracked the leader until pulling to the outside in the stretch.

Diamond Stick Pin appeared to have enough left to get home until weakening slightly in the final strides. That’s when driver Matt Kakaley urged Camaes Fellow past at the very end to win by a neck in a stunning time of 1:48:1. Jepson Hanover picked up the show.

That time of 1:48:1 set the new track record for aged geldings on the pace. The old mark of 1:48:2 was set by Pilgrims Toner in 2010 and matched by Hruby’s N Luck last June. The time also matched the world record for the age group on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set by Bettor Sweet at Tioga in 2011.

Camaes Fellow, who is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, and M1 Racing, won for the fourth time in 12 starts this season. It was his 15th career victory, pushing his lifetime earnings to $639,755.

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

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

June 8-14, 2012

Over the next several weeks, some of the finest horses in the country will be stopping at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs as our stakes season begins in earnest. As if anticipation, the overnight horses on the grounds have ramped up their performances. On Saturday night alone, there were four miles of under 1:50; back in the day, we wouldn’t have four miles under 1:50 all season. It’s been a particularly competitive battle for the Weekly Awards. Let’s see who comes out on top.

PACER OF THE WEEK: ROCKIN GLASS

This four-year-old gelding has found his stride in the 2012 season, tripling his career earnings with his performance this year. He arrived at Pocono in May to race against the $25,000 claiming class, winning against that group in his second MSPD start in a career-best 1:49:4. He was claimed from that race and joined the barn of trainer Cad Gregory.

Gregory and his new connections decided to try Rockin Glass against the condition pacers, and he showed he was up to the test with a victory on June 2 in 1:50:4. For Saturday night’s races, he stepped up into the non-winners of $25,000 condition, one of the toughest groupings on the grounds. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, the gelding found himself chasing some sizzling fractions.

In the stretch, Rockin Glass made his move out wide, blowing by his competition in a blistering 1:49:2. Not only was that a new career-best for the gelding, it was also the fastest time posted on the Pocono oval last week. With 9 wins in 19 races this season, this is one pacer who is loving his 2012 season, and there’s still a lot of racing to go.

Other top pacers this week include: White Liar (Eric Carlson, Erv Miller), a three-year-old colt who scored his third consecutive condition victory on Friday night, doing so in a career-best time of 1:50:4; Touch Of Steel (Matt Kakaley, Linda Kakaley), who moved up into the $12,500 claiming ranks on Saturday night from the $10 claimers and notched his third straight win, this one coming in 1:52:1; and Twin B Passion (Matt Romano, Andrew Adamczyk), a mare who moved up in class but still scored her third straight claiming win on Wednesday in 1:53:4.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SPICE IT UP LINDY

This 9-year-old gelding is still trotting at an extremely high level. The pride of the Santo Zuzolo barn, Spice It Up Lindy returned to the Pocono racing wars on Sunday night after a highly successful stint at Tioga Downs, where he won back-to-back starts including an Open on June 2.

Considering that he had set a career-mark of 1:53 at Pocono in a race in 2011 and has had several solid wins here in the past, Spice it Up Lindy was a well-known commodity in the condition field he faced on Sunday night. Driver Tom Jackson sent him to the front end early and dared everyone else in the field to play catch-up with him.

Several took their shots, but none could get it done. Spice It Up Lindy powered home to win by a length-and-a-half. His sizzling time of 1:52:4 set a new career mark and also matched the fastest trotting time at MSPD last week. The gelding made it known has is back at Pocono, and all other trotters must take notice.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Windsun Galaxie (Mark MacDonald, Tyler Raymer), who led gate-to-wire to win the week’s featured trot on Sunday night in 1:52:4, a new career mark; All Munky Business (Jim Morrill Jr., Jean Drolet), who followed up a win at the Meadowlands with a condition victory at Pocono on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:55:1; and Sonny McDreamee (Larry Stalbaum, Celine Harvey), who captured Wednesday night’s featured condition trot in a sizzling, career-best mile of 1:53.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: PEGASUS MAN

Despite a tough first-over trip, this trotter with David Ingraham in the bike surprised a field of condition trotters on Tuesday night at 24-1, paying off $51.40 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

George had a huge week, including a six-win night on Saturday, making him the first driver in the Pocono colony to go over the 100-win mark for the 2012 meet.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: ROB HARMON

Harmon just started training once again at Pocono recently, but he has quickly made his presence felt. This week he picked up wins on three out of five racing nights.

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.