Posts Tagged ‘Tony Dinges’

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, October 5th, 2016

October 1-7, 2016

Although the calendar flipped to October, the racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono showed no signs of cooling off with the weather. Even sloppy racing conditions couldn’t slow down the action. As a result, there were plenty of performances worthy of consideration for this edition of the Weekly Awards. We present the best of the best from the week that was to you now.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MICHAEL’S VICTORY

This three-year-old gelding from the barn of Mark Silva showed his talent earlier this season when he ripped off a victory at The Meadowlands in a scorching 1:49:1. He entered his race against the non-winners of five on Sunday night on a high note as well, having beaten the same class in his previous race at Pocono in 1:52:3.

Despite all of that, Michael’s Victory went off as a 9-5 second choice. That’s because Tom Hill, a newcomer from the racing wars in Canada, went off as the 1-2 favorite based on some quick times up north. Yet it was Michael’s Victory who proved to be the aggressor, taking the lead away from Settlemoir with a quick brush on the front stretch and opening up a nice advantage on the rest of the field.

Tom Hill took a shot at the leader on the back stretch, but Michael’s Victory was having none of it. He kept up the heat until Tom Hill, struggling to get closer, made a speed break. And Michael’s Victory just kept pouring it on from there. When it was all over, the three-year-old, driven by Simon Allard, was a winner by an impressive 7 ¼ lengths in a zippy time of 1:51. He’ll be graduating from the non-winners of five off this win, and it should be fun to see how he performs at his next step up the racing ladder.

Other top pacers this week include: Keystone Velocity (Simon Allard, Barry Probber), who rolled over an outstanding field in Saturday night’s featured $25,000 handicap pace, matching a career-best of 1:48:2 despite sloppy conditions; Rockin Rambaran (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who followed up a claiming handicap at Chester with another at Pocono on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:49:4 in the slop; and Yes You Can (Jim Marohn Jr., Tony Dinges), who arrived from Vernon Downs to capture Tuesday night’s feature pace for mares in a career-best 1:50:4.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WESTSIDE LINDY

One of the things that seems to be true about harness racing perhaps more than other sports is that it often takes just a single victory to ignite a hot streak. In the case of Westside Lindy, a nine-year-old gelding, that victory came at Chester on August 25, which was his first of the season in twelve tries. He quickly followed that up with another win at Chester, whereupon he was claimed for $15,000 and joined the Chris Oakes barn when he shipped to Pocono.

After a second at a claiming price of $20,000 on September 12, he ripped off a victory against the same class two weeks later. On Sunday night he was once again facing off against the $20,000 claimers. As the even-money favorite, he swooped to the front around the first turn under the guidance of driver George Napolitano Jr. From there he held on to the lead without seeming to exert much effort, even as the fractions he posted were swift.

In the stretch, he widened his lead over the rest of the field until he could finally gear down a bit at the end. The veteran gelding still came home 2 ¾ lengths ahead of his closest competitor in a hasty 1:53:2. That winning time not only set a new career mark by almost a second, but it was also the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. That one victory at Chester really fired up Westside Lindy, to the point where he’s racing better than he ever has before in his solid racing career.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tweet Me (Mike Simons, Nicholas Devita) a mare who captured Sunday night’s featured $20,000 condition trot in 1:54:2; Star Photo (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), whose victory in a claiming trot on Monday night in 1:55:3 gave him three consecutive wins; and Eyes Cool (Anthony Napolitano, Ake Svanstedt), a two-year-old gelding who picked up his second straight condition victory on Tuesday and did so in a career-best 1:57:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: WINDUP WEST

Windup West, a filly pacer driven by Mike Simons, will never forget her maiden win on Sunday night, and neither will her backers since she went off at 50-1 and paid off $108 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

The meet’s leading driver may have picked up his milestone 8,000th career win at Chester last Friday, but George Nap quickly added to that total at Pocono by ripping off five wins on Saturday night.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JOE PAVIA JR.

Now focused on training after an amazing driving career, Pavia oversees a talented barn, as evidenced by wins on Saturday with Pointsman and Monday with Divination, each of whom went off at 7-1.

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.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week In Review

The early weeks of the season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs have been spiced up by some exciting action in the Bobby Weiss series. Named after out longtime, recently retired track superintendent who helped to mold the Pocono surface into the lightning-fast, horse-friendly track that it is, the series held its first finals this past week with $30,000 on the line in those races, both of which were on the pacing side. Those final winners highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: FEARLESS DIABLO

Driver Corey Callahan wasn’t scheduled for any other drives at Pocono on Tuesday night except aboard Fearless Diablo in the final of the Weiss series for 3 and 4-year-old colts, horses, and geldings on the pace. Considering that the 4-year-old stallion had broken stride in his previous race, Callahan and trainer Dylan Davis must have felt that the last start was an aberration.

Fearless Diablo sat back early as the lead changed hands a couple times and fast fractions were laid down on the front end. The stallion began to move the first time past the front stretch, and he picked up some racing luck when the horse who tipped out in front of him, Ideal Champ, carried him all the way to the stretch right behind the lead.

That’s when Callahan let Fearless Diablo loose three-wide, and he blasted by the tiring leaders to win the race by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:51. That gives him six wins in 11 races, which is especially impressive considering he came into the 2011 season with just three career starts and no victories.

Honorable mention on the pacing side this week goes to: Ooh Bad Shark (George Napolitano Jr., William Wiggins), who completed a sweep of the Weiss for distaff pacers on Wednesday night by winning the final in a dominating, front-running performance in 1:52:3, a new career best; My Drag Queen (George Napolitano Jr., Robert Bresnahan Jr.), a mare who now has a five-race winning streak, the last two of those victories coming at Pocono, after a  condition win on Saturday night in 1:51:3, a new career mark; and Bet The Town (Anthony Napolitano, Steve Salerno), a winner of four straight and two in a row at Pocono after a win against out highest claiming class on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:3.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PEMBROKE HEAT WAVE

Following her victory last week in 1:53:4, which is the fastest in the meet so far at Pocono, this 6-year-old mare was pointed to bigger things on Friday night. Trainer Mark Ford moved this one up in class to face a rugged condition trotting group filled with non-winners of $25,000 in the last five races.

On top of that, she was saddled with a tough #7 post in a field of eight. The bump in class and the tough post seemed like a double whammy for Pembroke Heat Wave, which might be why she got away as the 3-1 third choice on the board. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. wasn’t worried, however, sending the mare to the front end early with a burst of speed.

Morrill did a nice rating job once his charge got to the lead, and Pembroke Heat Wave was ready when challenged in the stretch. Despite several competitors with better trips lining up behind her, she powered home to win in another crisp time of 1:54:1. Now 2-for-2 at Pocono, this mare might be capable of moving up yet again if she keeps trotting so impressively.

Other top trotters this week include: Speed Bomb (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who now has two straight wins to start the meet after a condition won on Friday in 1:55:1; Sand Top Gun (Jim Morrill Jr., Tyler Raymer), who burned his way to a win in Saturday night’s week featured condition trot in 1:54; and Magnum Kosmos (Jason Bartlett, Tony Dinges), who motored to a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time of the week.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: GREAT SOUL

This claiming pacer kicked off Saturday night’s late Daily Double in style, fighting hard to pick up the win for trainer and driver Brandon Simpson at 50-1, paying off $103.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.

Call him Mr. Saturday night special. George rolled all over the competition for six driving wins on Saturday night, most by a driver in a single night so far this meet.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TYLER RAYMER

He’s coming off his finest season at Pocono, and it looks like he’s picking up where he left off in 2011, racking up wins on three different nights last week.

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.