Posts Tagged ‘Van Rose Memorial Pace’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week In Review

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

April 28-May 1, 2018

Next week in this space, we will be profiling all the happenings from our Kentucky Derby evening card, which is filled up with all four finals of the Bobby Weiss late closer series and two divisions of the Van Rose Memorial pace featuring some of the finest aged pacers in the world and kicking off the Great Northeast Open series, which will continue throughout the spring and summer at Harrah’s at Philadelphia as well as at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Here now are the finest performances of the past week at Pocono, highlighted in our Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: STRAWB’S CHIPPIE

Every once in a while, a horse will ship into Pocono with a gaudy record at other tracks and be unable to match that level of success once it reaches the top levels of competition here. Strawb’s Chippie initially looked like she might fall into category. The seven-year-old mare had amassed wins in four of her first five starts on the New York harness circuit to begin 2018. But her first two starts at Pocono in this meet were less distinguished, as she came away with a second and a sixth in two races against the $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap pacing mares.

The tide started to turn for Strawb’s Chippie when she joined the Rene Allard barn on April 16. She located her front-pacing stride that had garnered her so much success in New York and ripped off back-to-back wins while leading at every pole with winning times of 1:56.1 in the slop and 1:52.3, the latter a career-best. She joined the Hunter Oakes barn following a claim and took on the same grouping on Monday night from an outside #8 post as a 4-5 betting favorite.

Even though the barn changed, the strategy didn’t for the mare. Driver George Napoitano Jr. cut her loose early to reach the early lead and she played keep-away from there. Despite a solid challenge from Warrawee Qually in the lane, Strawb’s Chippie once again proved her toughness with the lead and came home a half-length winner, this time in 1:52.4. With her third straight victory, those early Pocono struggles now seem like a distant memory.

Other top pacers this week include: Drunken Terror (Anthony Napolitano, Marta Piotrow), who scored his second consecutive claiming handicap win on Saturday night, this one in 1:51.2; We Think Alike (George Napolitano Jr., Brandon Todd), who moved up in class to win a condition pace on Saturday night in 1:52.4, his second straight victory; and Make A Statement A (Anthony Napolitano, Jody Riedel), whose condition win on Tuesday night came in 1:50.4, a new career-mark and tied for fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: GOLDEN SON

In Sunday’s $17,500 featured condition trot, a showdown was looming between Golden Son and Upfront Billy. The former, a five-year-old gelding from the Jenny Melander barn, was coming off a sharp victory at Harrah’s and returning to a class at Pocono where he had a near-miss second on March 24. The latter, a nine-year-old gelding trained by Mark Ford, is the defending Trotter of the Year at Pocono and has already scored two wins in this meet, including a victory in his previous race in 1:52.2, fastest trotting time at Pocono in 2018 so far.

Golden Son, the 2-1 second choice, left from the inside post in a field of nine as a 2-1 second choice. Upfront Billy, the 6-5 favorite, left from the #3 post. It was Upfront Billy who grabbed the early lead, a change in tactics from his earlier victory, when he sat the pocket behind a hot pace. With Upfront Billy doing the work, driver Jim Morrill Jr. was all right with letting Golden Son sit the pocket, knowing he’d likely have a shot at the leader late if he could stay close.

Of course, that meant he would have to outtrot Upfront Billy, who is known for being extremely game late in the race. But when Morrill tipped Golden Son out of the pocket to take dead aim, the gelding responded with powerful late kick, just enough to corral Upfront Billy at the line by a nose in 1:54.1. That gives him two wins in a row, and anytime you can beat the Trotter of the Year at the top of his game, it’s quite an accomplishment.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Such An Angel (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), who overwhelmed a condition group on Monday night to win in 1:53.1, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Elysium Lindy (Anthony Napolitano, Ron Burke), who shipped in from The Meadowlands to pick up a condition win on Saturday night in 1:55.1; and Chelsees A Winner (George Napolitano Jr., Christie Collins), a mare who moved up in class on Tuesday night to win her second straight condition since arriving from Ohio, this one coming in a career-best 1:55:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MR HAM SANDWICH

Despite having won his last start, this pacer driven by Eric Carlson went off at 43-1 in a condition on Saturday night, a race he promptly won to pay off $88 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: PAT BERRY

Berry always seems to give bettors great value for his wins, as he proved Saturday night by posting a double with horses who went off at 7-1 (A Real Miracle) and 9-2 (Jimmy C R).

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: BRANDON TODD

Todd is making the most of his opportunities at Pocono, as was evidenced on Saturday night when he won with two of the three starters he sent out to race.

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 and Weiss Finals a Powerhouse of Stars

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

When The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono created the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace, honoring the late local handicapper and writer, it was said that Rose’s reaction might be “They named a $50,000 race after ME?”

Well, Van, guess what – this year it’s the $100,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace that will be featured on the evening portion of a Kentucky Derby Day doubleheader this Saturday at The Downs, as 14 entrants resulted in the creation of two $50,000 divisions of the Van Rose Pace.

The credentials these horses are bringing to Pocono on Saturday are simply outstanding. Consider these collective achievements of the fourteen fast pacers:

–Combined lifetime earnings of $13,994,142, or an average of $999,581 per horse; with two $2 million+ winners (Mach It So and Christen Me N) and four additional $1 million winners (Boston Red Rocks, Wakizashi Hanover, Keystone Velocity, and Rockin Ron);

–An average speed mark of 1:48.3;

–Four of the finalists from 2018’s richest race to date, April 21’s $532,000 Levy Final at Yonkers, including the winner, Keystone Velocity, the richest horse of 2018 in North America, out of the barn of local trainer Rene Allard, a successful defender of his 2017 Levy championship, the 2017 Franklin champion at Pocono, and the Older Pacer of the Year last season;

–Four of the Levy Consolation starters, including the winner, Always At My Place, whose 1:47.2 mile here in 2015 still stands as the world record for four-year-old pacing geldings;

–Ten wins in the Levy preliminary legs from among the fields;

–The winner of the recent Whata Baron Series Final at The Meadowlands, Barimah A – who also just happens to be the defending Van Rose Memorial winner!

Here are the fields for the two Rose divisions; morning line and final drivers should be available tomorrow (Tuesday):

5th race — $50,000 Rose Pace division – 1. Boston Red Rocks; 2. Rodeo Romeo; 3. Long Live Rock; 4. Wakizashi Hanover; 5. Always At My Place; 6. Dr J Hanover; 7. Barimah A.

10th race — $50,000 Rose Pace division – 1. Keystone Velocity; 2. Rockin Ron; 3. Super Imposed N; 4. Mach It So; 5. Bettor Memories; 6. Christen Me N; 7. Rockeyed Optimist.

The Saturday evening card at Pocono will also feature the four $30,000 Championships of the Bobby Weiss Series, with the top pointwinners in the four preliminaries earning their way to their respective finals. Here’s a brief overview of those races:

6th race, trotting females: Weiss preliminaries won by entrants: 11; three-time winner and fastest winner, I M Fishin, 1:56; summary in a sentence: After a break in her first prelim, I M Fishin has rattled off three straight on the front end, and is the mare to beat.

8th race, trotting males: Weiss preliminaries, 11; three-time winner, Chas Hanover; fastest winner, Archibald, 1:55.1; summary in a sentence: Archibald has two wins and two breaks; if he can’t mind his manners, there’s a lot of talent waiting to pick up the pieces.

11th race, pacing males: Weiss preliminaries, 10; three-time winner, I Soar Him First; fastest winner, Riggle Wealth, 1:50.3; summary in a sentence: After bad luck in the first two legs, Riggle Wealth has been raced on the front end in his last two and won; may face more speedy pressure here.

12th race, pacing females: Weiss preliminaries: 9; three-time winners: Kimberlee and Sharen Hanover; fastest winner, Sharen Hanover, 1:52.2; summary in a sentence: Kimberlee skipped a week but won all of her Weiss starts; Sharen Hanover has won her last three, and in dominating fashion.

The features on the afternoon card will be $15,000 Weiss Consolations for both groups of trotters (the pacing events did not fill). These races will go as the Late Double on the 10-race card that is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.; after a break for the Derby, the nighttime equine fireworks will be beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Hats, Harness Racing, and Derby Horses! Kentucky Derby Day is almost here!

Monday, April 16th, 2018

A double header of live harness racing; a hat revue with 5 categories including the “Triple Crown” winning hat;  and a Champagne Brunch are all part of the biggest Kentucky Derby party north of Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Doors open Saturday, May 5th at 10:00 Post for the first of the double-header of live harness racing card is 11:00a.m., and a patio bar will be open just for those early birds!  Pacer’s Clubhouse will host a Champagne Brunch like no other from 10:00am to 3:00pm featuring delectable Southern delicacies and Brunch favorites, by reservation only.  Call 1-888-WIN-IN-PA.  At 5:30pm, a top shelf all-you-can-eat dinner buffet will be featured, also by reservation only.

Ladies can proudly wear their elaborately decorated Kentucky Derby hats for the Run for the Roses Hat Revue sponsored by Spa Sapphire, located in the casino.  All hats must be registered from  3:30pm to 5:15pm in the lobby, and the Revue takes place promptly at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Winner’s Circle with cash prizes and  more!  Five categories will be judged, including “Most Colorful;  “Most Horsie”; “Most Elegant”; “Most Fascinating Fascinator”, and the overall grand prize winner, the “Triple Crown Winner”! The “Most Fashionable Couple” will also be selected.  All prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges.

A photo booth in the lobby will be open at 3:00pm to capture the best moments of the day, with a $1 minimum donation to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.  For last-minute hats, fascinators, and accessories, stop by the Sapphire Boutique located in the racing lobby, open at 1:00pm.

The Trackside Concession bars, food truck, and the Party Tent open at 3:00PM, and of course, Mint Juleps will be available all day in the official Kentucky Derby 144 souvenir glasses!

Following Kentucky Derby 144 on the jumbo screen, fans can stay and enjoy another exciting live card under the stars.  A stellar card is planned, including the finals of the Bobby Weiss Series for the 3 and 4 year-old trotters and pacers, as well as the Van Rose Memorial Pace for 4 year-olds and up.

As always, parking and admission is free at the racetrack!

The Downs will open for advance wagering on Friday, May 4th at 11:00am.

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.

Double header of live racing on Derby day featured All-Stars & more

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Kentucky Derby Day meant a doubleheader of harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the $50,000 Van Rose Memorial Invitational Pace on the evening card taken by the hot Domethatagain in 1:49, and Whom Shall I Fear and Cruzado Dela Noche both notching 1:55 triumphs among four division of a $128,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for sophomore trotting colts in the early card’s headliner.                                 .

Two-hole tactics took Domethatagain, a son of Bettors Delight, to victory in the richest race of the year to date, the $529,000 Levy Final at Yonkers last Saturday, and tonight Domethatagain also parlayed sitting the golden chair to victory in the Van Rose Memorial. Bandolito left strongly from the rail and Domethatagain went out quickly just to his right, discouraging outside leavers from engaging in a brutal fight, and driver Simon Allard sat right on the back of the pacesetter with the winner through splits of 26.1, 55, and 1:21.3.

Allard guided the winner into the famed Pocono Pike passing lane, quickly overtook the leader, and then held off the late bursts of two horses shipping in from Mohawk, Alexa’s Jackpot and Modern Legend, who completed the board spots. Simon and his brother, trainer Rene Allard, have been next to lethal at Pocono, especially on Saturdays, and tonight proved no exception, boosting the lifetime bankroll of Domethatagain to within hailing distance of $850,000 for Allard Racing Inc., Robert Hamather, and Bruce Soulsby.

In the afternoon quartet of trotting features:

Whom Shall I Fear, the full brother to Father Patrick and Pastor Stephen, had to work harder than his brothers usually did in their victories over the last few years, but the son of Cantab Hall kept on grinding steadily to edge pocketsitting Wicker Hanover by a neck in 1:55 to keep the 1-20 favorite’s seasonal record perfect in three seasonal starts. If you read “Pastor Stephen” and “Father Patrick,” you know trainer Jimmy Takter can’t be far behind, with Corey Callahan handling sulky duties for lessee Brixton Medical Inc.

Cruzado Dela Noche, a 1:53.4 Grand circuit winner at Lexington last year, was impressive in his seasonal debut, matching that 1:55 clocking by rallying from nine lengths back at the half to catch frontstepping favorite Suit And Tie by 1¼ lengths. Keeping it “all in the training family,” Nancy Johansson, daughter of Jimmy Takter (and trainer of JK She’salady), conditions Cruzado Dela Noche, and husband Marcus Johannson was in the sulky behind the son of Muscle Massive for Courant A B.

Another native of Sweden, Åke Svanstedt, was in Victory Lane in a third cut after the Andover Hall colt Real DJ Hanover played “pocket rocket” in overhauling pacesetter Piercewave Hanover by a head. The 1:56.2 clocking, in his 2015 debut, was a lifetime mark for the winner, who is trained and was driven by Svanstedt, also co-owner with Torbjorn Swahn.

The fourth division was won by Pocono’s “Trot Man,” diamondgaited driving specialist Mike Simons, and the Yankee Glide colt Boots N Chains, rallying from the two-hole after leaving from outside post seven to catch pacesetting Jacksons Minion by a neck in 1:55.1. Trainer John Butenschoen had his charge sharp for his first start of the campaign while winning for William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen, and Eugene Schick.