Posts Tagged ‘Tyson’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

May 19-22, 2018

It was one of those weeks at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono where, even though there were some outstanding overnight racing performances (we’re looking at you, Tyson and Pa’s Corn Squeezin), the stakes races took center stage. Some of the harness racing world’s biggest stars as 2-year-olds a year ago came out to play in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Competition. There were also two more thrillers held on Saturday night in the Great Northeast Open pacing series. We’ll return to the Weekly Awards next week, but, for now, let’s throw the spotlight on the stakes and series action this past week.

PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS PACERS (SATURDAY)

Three divisions of the Sire Stakes for sophomore male pacers were held on Saturday night, and, in the three races, not one favorite was able to get home a winner. In the first split, George Napolitano Jr. sent I’m A Big Deal on a mission of speed, and the rest of the field languished in the wake of the Chris Ryder trainee, who came home a winner in a career-best 1:50.2 by a stunning 6 ½ lengths. Meanwhile Dorsoduro Hanover, guided by Matt Kakaley in his first night back from injury for trainer Ron Burke, moved to two-for-two in Sire Stakes action with a pocket trip rally for a win in a career-best 1:50.2.

All eyes were on the final Sire Stakes split of the night, which featured 2017 Breeders Crown champ Stay Hungry and Lost In Time, who knocked off Stay Hungry in their final showdown of their freshmen seasons. Both were making their initial starts of the season on Saturday night. Stay Hungry set the pace and Lost In Time came bounding up late on the outside. But it was Wes Delight, who had the benefit of three starts already this year to find his form, who rallied from the pocket to win in 1:50.4. Corey Callahan did the driving for trainer Mark Harder.

GREAT NORTHEAST OPEN PACERS (SATURDAY)

In the first $30,000 split held on Saturday night, Rockeyed Optimist was made the favorite based on his win in the series at Harrah’s the previous week. That talented gelding came charging first-over at pacesetter Rockin Ron, who had made the lead for the Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke combo despite a tough outside post. Nonetheless it was Rockin Ron who withstood the pressure, holding on for the victory by a neck in 1:50.2, giving him two consecutive wins at Pocono in the Great Northeast series.

Later on that night, it was another case of George Napolitano Jr. cutting loose a horse on the front end and daring everyone else to play catch-up. In this case it was Mach It So, the eight-year-old star of the Jeffrey Bamond Jr. barn. Mach It So set blistering fractions that left the rest of the field, including 6-5 favorite Dr J Hanover a little stunned. The lead was too much for anyone to overcome, although Bettor’s Edge rallied to within a half-length in second at the line. The proof of Mach It So’s effort was in the timer, as his winning mark of 1:49 was the fastest posted in the 2018 meet to date at Pocono.

PENNSYLVANIA SIRE STAKES THREE-YEAR-OLD FILLIES TROTTERS (MONDAY)

The sophomore distaff trotters took center stage on Monday night, and there were some outstanding performances by both chalk and longshots alike. In the first split, 1-5 favorite Nixie Volo didn’t have the easiest trip, getting parked around two turns of the mile. But the steady hand of driver Corey Callahan guided Nixie Volo, trained by John Butenschoen, to the win by a solid 1 ¾ lengths in 1:54.3. The upset came in the night’s final split, when a speed duel between Vivacious Allie and 3-5 favorite Lily Stride set the race up for a closer. 15-1 shot Piranha Fury, with David Miller driving for trainer Nifty Norman, filled that bill, coming out of the clouds for the win in a career-best 1:54.2.

Although those two races were exciting, it was the most textbook Sire Stakes race of the night that was actually the most noteworthy. That’s because it included Manchego, the superstar who won all twelve races as a two-year-old for the Jimmy Takter barn, capping it off with a Breeders Crown title. Returning to her Pennsylvania stomping grounds for her 2018 debut, she confidently strode to the lead on the front stretch as the 1-9 favorite. She set effortlessly quick fractions without driver Yannick Gingras having to ask for a thing and coasted to the victory without any urging by 1 ½ lengths over Live Laugh Love, who had won her first three starts of the year but didn’t threaten the heavy favorite late. Despite not having raced this year and the seemingly easy journey, Manchego was still more than a second faster than the other winners on the night. Let’s face it: Right now, everybody else in this division not named Manchego is playing for second.

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, May 16th, 2018

May 12-18, 2018

One of the many things making the racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2018 even more exciting than usual is the brand new Great Northeast Open series. Pocono and Harrah’s at Philadelphia will be hosting these races all through the spring and summer for the best aged pacers and trotters around. It will all culminate with big-money Finals held at Pocono in September, meaning that the horses will be battling in the preliminary legs not just for the excellent purses, but also for the chance to nab the really huge payday at the end. This edition of the Weekly Awards is highlighted by horses who triumphed in the series this week in thrilling fashion.

PACER OF THE WEEK: AGENT Q

Winning in your first start off a significant layoff is difficult against anyone, let alone a field of crackerjack distaffers. Yet that’s what faced Agent Q in her 2018 debut on Sunday night in the $30,000 Open pace for mares. In addition to that, her return to racing for the first time since back-to-back stakes wins in November to end her three-year-old season would have to come from an outside post in a field of eight stars. Not an easy task, even for a mare with over $1.1 million in earnings in her first two years of racing.

Driver David Miller didn’t push Agent Q, who went off as the 5-2 second choice, early in the mile, preferring instead to let her sit at the back of the pack. Lady Shadow took the early lead and had to deal with Pure Country pressuring her first-over. Agent Q, making her first start in the Chris Oakes barn, saved ground until the 5/8-mile marker, when she started moving on a three-wide path behind the cover of Elliesjet N.

Still, Agent Q was last at the three-quarter pole, albeit closing the margin, as Pure Country took over the lead. Once Miller guided the mare to a clear look at the leaders, there was simply no stopping her. She eclipsed the entire field until Pure Country was the last one in front of her, eventually nipping her at the line to win by a nose in 1:52.3 on the off track (good condition.) Consider her first test against aged mares passed with flying colors, especially considering everything she had to surmount to get the victory.

Other top pacers this week include: Soho Wallstreet A (Marcus Miller, Ross Croghan), who followed up a win at The Meadowlands with a victory in Saturday night’s featured condition pace at Pocono in 1:50.4 in the slop; Pa’s Corn Squeezin (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a mare who is now three-for-three since coming from California after a claiming handicap win on Monday night in 1:53.3; and Eclipse Me N (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a mare who moved up in class to win her second straight, doing so in the Tuesday feature condition distaff pace in a career-best 1:50.1.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WILL TAKE CHARGE

Will Take Charge, a five-year-old gelding who did very well in the early part of the year in Canada for trainer Jeffrey Gillis, was made the 3-5 favorite on Sunday night in the $30,000 Open trot after just missing in his last start at The Meadowlands behind the great Hannelore Hanover. But then the thing that every trotter dreads befell him at the beginning of the race: He went off stride. Even though driver Tim Tetrick was able to get him back and trotting relatively quickly, Will Take Charge found himself last in an excellent field of seven.

At that point, most probably wrote him off and looked to the horses at the front of the pack, as Sutton set a measured pace that looked like it would hold up when push came to shove. Will Take Charge didn’t give in, however, moving third over on the back stretch and hoping for the best. As they entered the final turn, all eyes once again turned to the favorite, as Tetrick spun him off the cover and he came bounding up to threaten the leaders.

In the stretch, despite the reasonable fractions that were maintained, the rest of the field appeared as if they were trotting in molasses. Will Take Charge swept right by for the win by a comfortable two lengths over Smalltownthrowdown. The winning time of 1:53:4 might seem modest, until you consider that the track was only in good condition and he had to give up that early ground because of the break. If he gets a clean trip, it will be a blast to see what Will Take Charge can really do.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Star Studded Cast (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), whose winning time in a claiming handicap trot on Monday of 1:54.1 was a career-best and faster than anybody at Pocono this week not named Will Take Charge; Holy Halibut (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who now has wins in two of his last three races following a claiming handicap victory on Monday night in 1:56.1; and Tyson (Jason Bartlett, Edwin Gannon Jr.), who sprung an upset in a $21,500 condition trot on Sunday night in 1:56.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SERIOUS SAVANNAH

This gelding came into his condition trot on Tuesday night winless in 2018, but he wasn’t anymore after rallying at 22-1 with Marcus Miller in the bike to pay $46.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JIM MORRILL JR.

Morrill’s win with Indy Ingot from last to first capped off a three-win night on Sunday and also gave him 7,000 driving victories in his outstanding career in racing.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: HUNTER OAKES

The young conditioner had one of his finest nights ever on Saturday night at Pocono, ripping off four wins on the program.

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.

Van Rose Memorial highlights Derby Day card

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The Van Rose Memorial Pace on Saturday night, Kentucky Derby night, was another terrific addition to the trophy case of the pnenomenal Luck Be Withyou.

Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono resume of Luck Be Withyou:

2013 – Breeders Crown winner at two at the Northeast PA oval.

2014 – Took his lifetime mark of 1:48 here.

2015 – Franklin Final winner despite post nine and Pocono Pacer of the Year.

2016 – Van Rose Invitational winner in 1:48.4 in only his second start of the year.

Luck Be Withyou, a five-year-old son of Western Ideal who LOVES The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, came out of the pocket behind a blistering pace set by JK Endofanera to win the $50,000 Rose invitational by a neck. “Luck” left strongly to get the garden spot behind JK Endofanera, who whistled to the quarter in 25.4, rated the half against the wind to a fairly-moderate 54.3, then tacked on a 26.2 third quarter (52.3 in the odd-numbered quarters) to open a clear lead at and past the 1:21 ¾.

But George Napolitano Jr., the Downs’ all-time leading driver, got “Luck” narrowing the gap into the stretch, with P H Supercam, the only other horse connected to the front, swinging three-wide as the winner vacated the pocket. Luck Be Withyou drove down the center of the track and picked up JK Endofanera late to win by a neck, with P H Supercam just another neck back in third. Rockeyed Optimist, the favorite from post six, was away sixth and had nonflowing cover, and only able to rally for fourth; Levy hero Bit Of A Legend N, stuck with the outside post nine, was also thwarted by the speedburners inside him, took back, raced fourth-over, and could do no better than sixth.

“The two of us get together on this track pretty well,” understated Napolitano, who also noted, “And this was only second start after a long layoff” (before his 2016 debut last week, he had last raced at Balmoral on November 7). Chris Oakes is the horse’s regular conditioner when he is racing in the area, and John Craig saw his veteran raise his lifetime bankroll to $1,138,781 with the fastest mile of the year at Pocono, taken with the mercury in the low 50’s and with a decent stretch headwind.

Three $30,000 divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for state-bred three-year-old trotting colts and geldings were featured on the afternoon portion of the Pocono doubleheader, with some sophomores who had been flying “just under the radar” at two taking advantages of breaks by the divisional favorites and getting their 2016 stakes seasons off to a fast start.

In the opening cut, Tyson picked a good time to break his maiden, in control of the situation for the last half in a 1:55.4 mile, last quarter 28.3 for driver Corey Callahan, trainer Trond Smedshammer, and the ownership combine of the Purple Haze Stables LLC, American Viking Racing Stable, Anderson Farms, and Marc Goldberg. The altered son of Donato Hanover stayed steady throughout the mile while his main rivals kept knocking themselves out of competition – first 2-5 chalk Love Matters, then quick-leaving Pilgrims Tide (6-1), and finally pocketsitting Hollywood Highway (7-1), who had yielded command to 9-2 second choice Tyson and his move in front of the stands the first time. Tyson went on to an easy 2¼ length win over Edinburgh, with Will Self rallying for a distant third.

Mikkeli Hanover, named after the Finnish countryside oval where Varenne once set the world standard for 5/8-mile tracks, might have a little ways to go to come close to the talent level of that one, but according to driver Yannick Gingras, he’s still a little green, and yet he was able to lower his mark three seconds by winning his division by a length in 1:56.3. The Andover Hall colt, the 7-1 third choice, made a second move to go to the lead past the 5/8, then benefited when favorite Massive Clout, who had followed him down the back and had retucked in the pocket behind him, made a break on the far turn, leaving Mikkeli with a 4 to 5 length lead late on the turn. Second choice Granite State and Marion Gondolier came on with late bids, but they had to settle for minor honors behind Mikkeli Hanover, who is trained by Ron Burke for his Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms LLC, and Panhellenic Stable Corporation.

The third division was also the fastest, and it produced a second All-Stars winner for driver “Captain” Corey Callahan in 14-1 shot Hititoutofthepark, who worked to the lead at the ¼, shook off the first-over challenge of favored Make Or Miss (that colt eventually broke), and then staved off potential rocket rocket Lagerfeld by a head in 1:55, lowering his lifetime best by a tick, with Cloud Nine Hanover third. The Yankee Glide ridgling, a five-time winner at two, is conditioned by John Butenschoen for owners Give It A Shot Stable, Kurt Welling, and VIP Internet Stable LLC.