Posts Tagged ‘Varenne’

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.

Foiled Again passes $5 million mark

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

 Having surpassed the $5 million mark in career earnings thanks to his win in Saturday’s $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Foiled Again has only two horses ahead of him on the all-time money list: trotters Varenne and Moni Maker.

Does the 9-year-old pacer have another half-million in him to get past those two?

“I think he’s got a lot more than that in him,” driver Yannick Gingras said. “He gives me chills, I can tell you that. What a horse.”

Foiled Again, trained by co-owner Ron Burke, won the Franklin by a nose over Pet Rock in 1:49.2 over a sloppy track at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, notching career victory No. 70 in the process. This year he has won five of 12 starts, including last week’s Franklin elim in a world-record 1:48 mile.

In the Franklin final, Foiled Again raced on the outside much of the mile. He followed the cover of Razzle Dazzle onto the backstretch, but was left first over when Razzle Dazzle took the lead from early pacesetter Modern Legend. Foiled Again was third as the field headed into the stretch, but was able to chase down Razzle Dazzle and hold off Pet Rock.

Pet Rock ended up finishing second and Razzle Dazzle was third.

“I don’t mind first over,” Gingras said. “That’s his trip; he likes that actually. No offense, but Razzle Dazzle, I’ll take my shot. He’s a great horse on his own, but Foiled Again is special. They were pacing pretty good in the second turn and (Razzle Dazzle) got a little bit of a jump, but I figured I’d catch up to him.”

Foiled Again is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and JJK Stables. He has won $5.17 million in his career, making him the richest pacer in the world. Only trotters Varenne ($5.63 million) and Moni Maker ($5.58 million) earned more money. Both are retired.

Last season, Foiled Again earned $1.20 million, becoming at the age of 8 the oldest pacer to have a million-dollar year. He also was named the sport’s best older male pacer for the second consecutive year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

In 2011, at the age of 7, Foiled Again was voted Pacer of the Year. He was the first pacer older than age 4 to ever receive the honor.

For his career, Foiled Again has won 70 of 181 races and finished among the top three a total of 138 times.

“I just want him to get the recognition he deserves,” Gingras said. “A lot of people think he’s a small-track horse, or this and that, and maybe they’re right a little bit, but at the end of the day he’s not the fastest horse but he outlasts every one of them. He’s been through about three different groups of horses, guys that retired or went to stud, and he’s still around and banging and kicking (butt) against some 4-year-olds.”

Gingras has driven Foiled Again in 111 of his 135 starts since joining the stable of trainers Mickey and Ron Burke in July 2008.

“He’s just unbelievable,” Gingras said. “I think every year over the last five years at some point he’s been written off. I wrote him off myself; I picked off of him three weeks ago (to drive Sweet Lou in the Roll With Joe). He’s a very special horse.

“We climbed up at the same time. My career on the Grand Circuit got going four or five years ago, the same as his. He seems like he’s getting better with age and maybe I’m getting better with age. Maybe we’re matched good together.”

Ken Weingartner for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs