Posts Tagged ‘Tui’

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

September 19-25, 2014

Racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has geared down somewhat in terms of quantity, as the schedule now features three live nights per week. But the quality hasn’t let down a bit, as evidenced by a Saturday night card that included no pacing miles slower than 1:50:2 and no trotting miles slower than 1:54. We even had a world-record performance, which, of course, stands out among this edition of the Weekly Awards.


This 6-year-old gelding was struggling with the upper reaches of the pacing ranks when he was last here in June, but he’s been performing well since then at other tracks, winning three of his last five races. The last four of those races came after he switched barns to be trained by Rene Allard, Pocono’s leading trainer, including a come-from-behind win in an Open Handicap in his last race at Yonkers as a 7-1 shot.

His confidence sufficiently boosted, he returned to Pocono to compete on Saturday night in a Preferred Handicap pace for a purse of $25,000. It was a stacked field, including star veteran Golden Receiver and Dancin Yankee, who had owned the oval at Pocono in his previous appearances in 2014. But driver Ron Pierce drove Bigtown Hero as if there were no other horses on the track, sending him to the front for a huge lead as each fraction ticked off proved more impressive than the one before.

In the stretch, Bigtown Hero began to slow ever so slightly. It was a good thing the lead he built up was so substantial, because Dancin Yankee and Aslan came closing at him fast. Pierce urged him home for a half-length victory in a stunning time of 1:47:3. That broke the world record for aged gelding pacers on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set last June at Pocono by Foiled Again and then matched by Abelard Hanover.

Other top pacers this week include: Ring Warrior (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), a colt who followed up four consecutive wins at Ocean Downs with a victory at Pocono in a condition pace on Tuesday night in a career-best 1:54; Cherokee Hunter (Simon Allard, Rene Allard) whose condition win on Tuesday night was his second straight and came in a career-best time of 1:52:1; and Wake Up Peter (Tyler Buter, Larry Remmen), who scorched a condition pacing group on Saturday night in 1:49:2.


Not all slumps are created equal. To wit, consider the struggles Sevruga had been having in the summer months. Last year he earned nearly $500,000 facing the best trotters around, and the highlight of his season was a world-record performance at Pocono with a win in 1:50:3. But he had come up empty for three months straight in terms of wins heading into Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred trot.

In his last three races at Pocono, all against the most rugged trotters on the grounds, Sevruga, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Kevin Carr, had hit the board every time and had lost by just a neck in the last two. On Saturday night, he enjoyed his first quality post position in more than a month and took advantage of it, breezing to the front early with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike.

Things were by no means easy from that point, as Wind Of The North put up a sustained first-over challenge to the lead. But Sevruga had been rated well enough early in the race that he was able to dig deep in the final strides and win by a nose in a rapid 1:52:1. Maybe it wasn’t fair to say that Sevruga was in a slump considering the quality of his competition and the multiple near-misses, but it is fair to say that his losing streak is history and a lengthy winning streak might just be in the offing.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Tui (Anthony Napolitan, Don Wiest), a Pocono fan-favorite mare who scored her first win of the season on Saturday night in a tough condition group in 1:53:1; A Cool Million (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who moved up her claiming price and won her second straight race on Tuesday night, doing so in a career-best 1:54; and Fortunista (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who beat the boys in a tough condition group on Saturday night in a career-best 1:53:1.


An outside post and long odds didn’t bother this veteran pacer as he came from out of the clouds late to shock a condition field on Saturday night at 49-1, paying off an even $100 on a $2 win ticket.


Pierce had it grooving on Saturday night, winning four consecutive races on the card, all in gate-to-wire fashion, a streak that culminated with the world-record win by Bigtown Hero.


Joe still does such a great job as a catch driver that his training abilities can sometimes be taken for granted, but a training double on Wednesday night put them front and center.

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

Uncle Peter Shatters World Record in Win at Pocono

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

June 8, 2013

Another Saturday night, another world comes under assault at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

This time around, it was the mark for 4-year-old trotting stallions on a 5/8-mile oval that was obliterated by star trotter Uncle Peter in the Preferred trot on Saturday night. The race carried a purse of $25,000.

Uncle Peter (Cantab Hall-Victory Treasure), who was fresh off a second-place finish in the Maxie Lee at Harrah’s, was made the 3-5 favorite from the #5 post in a nine-horse field. The 4-year-old stallion from the Jimmy Takter barn got away mid-pack as the mare Tui set a scorching opening fraction of 26:3. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. set Uncle Peter in motion first-over on the front stretch and he had the lead before the clubhouse turn, hitting the half in 55:1.

On the back stretch, Uncle Peter gained separation and reached three-quarters in 1:22:4. Even with second-choice Undercover Strike sneaking up behind him into the pocket, the favorite had no trouble in the stretch, kicking away to win by four full lengths. Undercover Strike finished second while Keystone Thomas picked up the show. The winning time of 1:51:1 smashed the track record for 4-year-old stallions on the trot of 1:52, set last May by Fox Valley Iliad, and that mark was also the world record for the age group on any 5/8-mile oval.

Uncle Peter, owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding, and Goran Falk, has been in the money in every one of his six starts this year with two wins. The victory was the 10th of his career and pushed his lifetime earnings to $770,154.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

May 4-10, 2013

It was an extremely busy week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, featuring one extra racing card thanks to our Kentucky Derby day doubleheader. With all of that thrilling action, there were plenty of fantastic performances to witness and a bevy of top choices for the Weekly Awards. Those were some tough choices to make, but here are the best of the best from this jam-packed week.


Back before Pocono ascended to one of the top tracks in the nation, it was common for horses that did well here to struggle when they got to the bigger stages. That has all changed in recent years, and no horse exemplifies that transformation any better than Golden Receiver, who was once the best at MSPD but proceeded to be one of the best in the whole country.

Coming off a 2012 season which saw him earn $941,025, he picked up where he left off with six straight victories to start this year before a loss at Harrah’s on April 5. After a month off, he returned to racing at the scene of so many of his greatest triumphs in Saturday night’s $50,000 Van Rose Memorial pace. The fans remembered the 8-year-old gelding from the Mark Harder barn well, making him the 1-5 favorite in a star-studded field.

He didn’t disappoint. Driver George Napolitano Jr. sent him to the front end early, and Golden Receiver did the rest, winning by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:50 without even breaking a sweat. It was a kind of victory lap for the superstar, but, with the Breeders Crown scheduled for Pocono in October, he’ll likely be back to go for an even bigger crowning score at his former home.

Honorable mention on the pacing side includes: Lorrie Please (Eric Carlson, Michael Hall), a mare who won her second straight Preferred distaff pace on Sunday night, rallying for the victory in 1:51; Mustang Art (Andrew McCarthy, James McGuire), who burned it up on the front end in a condition pace for a win in 1:49:3, the fastest time posted at Pocono this week; and Blissful Dreamer (Jim Morrill Jr., Brewer Adams), who won her third straight race at a third different claiming price, this time out on Wednesday night over the $10,000 claiming mares in 1:52:3.


Sunday night featured the last of the four $30,000 finals for the Bobby Weiss Series, the races which featured some of the best young talent on the grounds over the first month of the season. The last of the groups to take center stage was the assemblage of 3-year-old trotting fillies, and the final was distinguished by the fact that Classic Martine was a prohibitive favorite.

It didn’t take too much in the way of investigation to see why, considering that the filly from the Todd Schadel barn had won her last three starts in the previous legs of the series, beating at one time or another in that stretch every horse that she would face in Sunday’s final. Still, the 1-2 favorite could have had any number of things go wrong, like a break of stride or some bad racing luck, to derail her chances.

Driver Andy Miller took some of the variables out of play by sending Classic Martine to the front end. He then allowed the filly to dictate the pace and expend only as much energy as necessary. In the stretch, she glided home over horses giving all-out efforts to get to her, winning without exerting herself at all in 1:55:3, making this Weiss final look like a foregone conclusion.

Other top trotters include: As Ya’ll Like It (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), who trotted away and hid for a claiming handicap victory on Saturday night in 1:55:1; Sand Wyndham (Joe Pavia Jr., Rene Allard), who made a late rally to win Tuesday night’s featured condition trot in 1:54; and Tui (Anthony Napolitano, Don Wiest), who rolled to an easy win in Wednesday night’s featured condition trot, scoring in a quick 1:53:2 despite sloppy conditions.


Saturday’s very first race of the morning on the special racing card woke the patrons up quickly, as driver Marcus Miller guided this condition pacer to a win at 32-1 for a $66 payout on a $2 win ticket.


Matt had one of his best weeks of the season to date, including a monster weekend with eight wins in two days and a five-bagger on Sunday night.


With three wins on Saturday night’s program and then two more on Tuesday night, Fraley continued what has been an extremely hot start to the Pocono meet.

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

Beatgoeson Hanover Matches Track Record in Win at Pocono

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

April 27, 2013

Beatgoeson Hanover put together a stellar effort to win a condition trot on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and matched a track record for aged trotting mares in the process. The race, a condition for non-winner of $22,500 in the last five starts, carried a purse of $21,000.

Leaving from post position #2 in a field of nine as the 2-1 second choice, Beatgoeson Hanover (Andover Hall-Beat The Wheel), a 5-year-old mare trained by Nifty Norman and owned by Neven Botica of Australia, sat fourth early as Dontgetinhisway cut out the opening quarter. Driver Ron Pierce sent the mare on a first-over journey on the Pocono front stretch and had the lead at the half. Beatgoeson Hanover did the rest from there, keeping everyone at bay and powering home for the win by 1 ¼ lengths over Dontgetinhisway. Tui picked up the show.

The winning time of 1:52:1 matched the Pocono track record for 4-year-old and over mares on the trot, which was established by Brighten Up in 2010. It was also a career mark for Beatgoeson Hanover, who won for the first time in five tries this season and for the 20th time in her career, giving her lifetime earnings of $982,500.

Saturday night was a good night for the pacers as well at Pocono, as horses took advantage of the excellent weather and fast surface to post several impressive times. Pence Hanover, with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for Aaron Lambert, won the $25,000 Preferred pace in 1:49:4, while Steelhead Hanover, trained and driven by Joe Pavia Jr., won a condition pace earlier in the night in 1:49:1.

Driver Ron Pierce had the hot hand with six wins through the first 14 races on the card.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

2012 Horses of the Year

As we wind down the 2012 racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a season which finishes up on Wednesday, November 21, it’s about time to start celebrating some of the outstanding equine performers who have shined for the Pocono faithful this year. In other words, it’s time to honor our horses of the year.

This is a tough task for those of us who do the choosing each and every year, but 2012 has been particularly competitive and, as such, it’s been darn near impossible to distinguish the best from the very, very good. What makes it even more difficult is that so many top horsemen are bringing their horses through Pocono, it’s hard for any horse to sustain consistent success, especially in the highest classes of racing.

Still, it’s fun to look back and recall some of the outstanding horses we’ve seen throughout the campaign, and, after careful deliberation, we came up with four standouts who were just a notch above the rest. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 2012 MSPD Horses of the Year.


Many horses in the claiming ranks move up and down the ladder until finding a spot that fits them. By contrast, McSocks settled into the $25,000 claiming class for 4-year-olds and just couldn’t be dislodged from the winner’s circle. The gelding won five times in that class at Pocono, including an amazing four-race winning streak in the month of August.  He set his career-mark in one of those races with a 1:50:2 mile. His early speed was simply too hot for most of his foes to handle, and, in typical claiming fashion, McSocks won for four different trainers at Pocono this year, as he scored for Doug Berkeley, Pete Pellegrino, PJ Fraley, and Jason Robinson.


One of Pocono’s fan favorites, this 4-year-old mare from the Don Wiest barn showed off her prodigious talent in 2012. In 20 races this season, she hit the board in 12 and won seven times. All of the wins came with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, as Anthony would usually send Tui to the front and dare everyone else to play catch-up. The mare was fearless, winning at five condition levels racing primarily against male horses. The highlight of her season came back on May 25, when she scorched the Pocono track to the tune of 1:52:3, a new track record for 4-year-old trotting mares.


This 6-year-old stallion proved himself among the finest trotters on the grounds a year ago, but he was even better in 2012. Week in and week out, the pride of the Eric Ell barn went up against the finest trotters on the grounds and always acquitted himself well. He finished in the money in every one of his eight starts at Pocono this season, and each of those starts came in either Open company or in our highest condition group, the winners of over $25,000 lifetime. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, Anders Bluestone won three of those races, with the highlight coming when he beat former Breeders Crown champ Arch Madness in October.


I can’t remember a year where the top pacing award went to a mare, but this standout from the Amber Buter made it just about impossible to pick anybody else. She was the closest thing to unbeatable that we witnessed at Pocono this season. The 7-year-old won her first two starts at Pocono after arriving from New York in May. After a fourth and a second in her next two starts, Billmar Scooter reeled off four straight victories against the best mares at the track. To add an exclamation point, she followed it up after a stint at Yonkers with back-to-back wins in the fall. Tallying everything up, she won 8 of her 11 starts at Pocono against extremely stiff competition, certainly an award-worthy performance.

Next week in this column, we’ll be wrapping up the 2012 season by honoring the season’s finest drivers and trainers and recapping some of the year’s most memorable races.

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