Posts Tagged ‘Vernon Downs’

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.

Records Shattered on PA Sire Stakes Championship Night

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

WILKES-BARRE PA — Check Me Out obliterated the world record for 3YO trotting fillies on a 5/8-mile track when she cruised to a 1:51.3 victory in her $200,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, the highlight of Championship Night for the state-sired sophomores.

The daughter of Donato Hanover reached the lead nearing the 1/4 from post six for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker and put up splits of 27.3, 55.2, and 1:23 while looking comfortable and confident. Superstar Hanover maintained valiant contact from the pocket, and Maven started her patented grind at the 5/8, but neither could approach the winner of $2.7 million, with the final clocking breaking the world record shared by Hidden Viggorish (in a PaSS final) and Holier Than Thou (set at Pocono earlier this year) by an amazing 1 3/5 seconds. Maven was up for second late over Superstar Hanover.

“She was good at the gate, and once we made the top I was very confident,” noted Schnittker, co-owner with Charles Iannazzo, after the race. “Very strong throughout,” he continued, adding that her next start would be at Lexington.

The Western Terror filly Economy Terror set a world record in winning her pacing fillies Championship last year, held at Pocono, and the return to “home cookin’” (trainer Chris Oakes is based at the mountain track) provided “déjà vu all over again” – another world record, this time in 1:49, a tick better than place finisher’s Big McDeal’s seven-week-old mark, and the fastest PA Sire Stakes Championship ever (spoiler alert: tied by Dapper Dude two races later.)

After a contentious 25.4 opener, “Super Sire Stakes Finals driver” Dave Palone (he’s won 25 the last 10+ years; his nearest competitor has 7) guided his filly to the command position, and later spoke of the middle splits of 54 and 1:21.3 as “actually a good breather for her.” The afterburners kicked in approaching headstretch, however, as Economy Terror opened wide daylight to become only the fifth 2YO-3YO Sire Stakes “repeater” in modern times (all fillies, and all but one pacers). Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor, and Ed Gold saw their 2011 divisional champion surpass $1.2 million in earnings.

Dapper Dude, just a half-length off in the North America Cup, easily caught defending champion Sweet Lou in the stretch while taking the colt pace in 1:49 – a personal mark, and equaling the newly-minted mark of Economy Terror as the quickest in Sire Stakes Championship history.

Sweet Lou got to the half in a mild 55, but then was forced to pace a 26.1 backside to keep out first-over Easy Again – a speed which allowed driver Jim Morrill Jr. to drop the second-over “Dude” into a gaping pocket nearing the 3/4. With the breather around the turn, Dapper Dude easily picked up Sweet Lou late, with DD’s earnings now over $550,000 for trainer Bob McIntosh, co-owner with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc.

An alert drive by Eric Goodell was the key to the victory of Magic Tonight as the Andover Hall colt notched the other trotting event in 1:54, a stakes record. Goodell left for the top and yielded, then made another move when he saw favored My MVP forward-bound and yielded for the 2-hole behind the chalk. The Pocono Pike then provided the passage to victory for Magic Tonight, a tough second to Hambo winner Market Share at Vernon last week, as he pushed his earnings over $430,000 for trainer Noel Daley and owner Adam Victor & Son LLC. Magic Tonight was also the only outright preliminary pointleader to take a Championship (Economy Terror was co-leader in her section).