Posts Tagged ‘William Wiggins’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Monday, May 4th, 2015

April 25-May 1, 2015

We are already a month into the racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, our 50th campaign in case you haven’t heard. This coming week the action will really get spicy with several rounds of Pennsylvania All Stars races and the Van Rose Memorial Pace highlighting the schedule. As for the week gone by, let’s take a look at the top performers and hand out another edition of the Weekly Awards.


One of the biggest stories of the early part of the season at Pocono has been the dominance of the training-driving combo of brothers Rene and Simon Allard. This dynamic duo has been pretty hard to beat on any racing night, but that’s especially been the case on Saturday nights, where they have been winning at a ridiculous pace in the high condition paces as well as the claiming ranks.

Saturday night’s featured condition pace for winners of over $25,000 looked like it would be a showcase for Foiled Again, the sport’s all-time biggest earner with nearly $7 million in the bank at age 11. He was looking for his first win of the season, and this figured to be a spot where he could get it done. But the Allard brothers and their rugged 8-year-old stallion Sparky Mark had other ideas.

Sparky Mark, who had lost his last start in this same class by just a nose to Ideal Matters, didn’t worry about anyone else in the field; he had been facing excellent competition all year long anyway, so the big names of Foiled Again and Bolt The Duer didn’t faze him. When the dust cleared, it was Sparky Mark who came out on top, holding off Luck Be Withyou by a half-length in 1:49:2. That marked the fastest mile of the season to date at Pocono, and it marked the biggest win yet at Pocono in 2015 for Simon and Rene Allard, who just can’t seem to be stopped.

Other top pacers this week include: To Beach His Own (George Napolitano Jr., Marty Fine), who continues to roll against the toughest claimers on the grounds, picking up his third straight win on Saturday night in 1:50:2; Catalea Seelster (George Napolitano Jr., Nicholas Gampietro), who captured Sunday night’s feature for claiming mares in 1:52:3, giving her four straight wins, the last three coming at Pocono; and Ooh Bad Shark (Jim Morrill Jr., William Wiggins), who put together a huge mile to win Wednesday’s featured condition pace for mares, stopping the six-race winning streak of Show Runner and stopping the timer in 1:49:2, a new career-mark and tied for the fastest this season at Pocono.


Sometimes the winning time fails to tell you everything you need to know about a performance. For a good example, take a look at the case of Social Delight. The 4-year-old mare from the barn of trainer Jerry Ray came into Pocono having won two of her previous three starts at Saratoga Harness. In her first try at Pocono, she rolled on the front end in a non-winners of five condition for a win in a career-best 1:54:1.

On Tuesday night she faced the same group from a tough #7 post, but she couldn’t hold the lead early, instead ceding it to Czech It Out. That trotter was able to set very soft fractions to the half-mile marker, giving the impression that she’d be tough to catch. Social Delight would have to win an all-out sprint in the stretch against a fresh horse and do so while coming from behind.

That’s exactly what she did though. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. coaxed something extra out of her and she sped by Czech It Out in the final strides for the victory. That makes it three wins in a row, including two straight at Pocono, and four out five in 2015. And though the winning time of 1:55:3, almost a second-and-a-half slower than her mark from last week, may have said otherwise, this winning effort by Social Delight may have been her finest yet.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Emerald Bling (George Napolitano Jr., Robert Horowitz), a mare who won her second straight condition trot on Tuesday night, this one coming in a career-best 1:57:1; Cadillac Cruiser (Simon Allard, Pierre Paradis), who followed up a claiming win last week with a condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:2; and P L Eureka (George Napolitano Jr., John Barchi), who picked up his third straight handicap victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:3.


Staging a furious rally from far back in the pack, this pacer with Matt Kakaley in the bike upset a field of claiming pacers on Sunday night at 36-1, paying off $75.80 on a $2 win ticket.


He’s so steady that you might overlook him, but that would be a mistake considering he had another winning week with three straight racing nights of multiple wins.


Fine picked up a pair of wins on Saturday night and another on Sunday, and all three of those horses were making his first start in his barn following a claim.

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

Ooh Bad Shark dominates Mares Handicap Pace

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Ooh Bad Shark has been nothing but Ooh Good Shark since starting her 2015 campaign earlier this month, and Wednesday night, April 29, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono she went a stunning mile in 1:49.2 to win the $25,000 handicap mares pace.

The seven-year-old daughter of Cam’s Card Shark opened her season with a win at Harrah’s Philly, then in her last two races had been third and second to the rampaging Show Runner, who entered Wednesday’s race with a six-race winning streak. But “The Shark”’s driver Jim Morrill Jr. knew his mare was sharpening, so he made a daring quarter-move from fifth at the noted frontrunner after a 26.4 opener, and paced her own second quarter in 26.3 to go by Show Runner at the 54.2 half.

Down the backstretch Ooh Bad Shark had Show Runner literally breathing down her back, and then Valerya made a huge first-over bid that carried her to within a length of the leader at the 1:21.4 3/4s. Around the final turn, Show Runner finally began to melt a bit, but Valerya actually drew on even terms with the “Shark” as they turned for home.

In the stretch Valerya actually got a head in front, but Morrill kept asking his mare, and she had more to give, fighting back to the top past midstretch to finally eke out a neck decision. Show Runner held for third, another two lengths behind.

Veteran William Wiggins could not have a sharper distaff in his care, and Wiggins is also co-owner of the winner of $394,405 with Donna Fedorak.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week In Review

The early weeks of the season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs have been spiced up by some exciting action in the Bobby Weiss series. Named after out longtime, recently retired track superintendent who helped to mold the Pocono surface into the lightning-fast, horse-friendly track that it is, the series held its first finals this past week with $30,000 on the line in those races, both of which were on the pacing side. Those final winners highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards.


Driver Corey Callahan wasn’t scheduled for any other drives at Pocono on Tuesday night except aboard Fearless Diablo in the final of the Weiss series for 3 and 4-year-old colts, horses, and geldings on the pace. Considering that the 4-year-old stallion had broken stride in his previous race, Callahan and trainer Dylan Davis must have felt that the last start was an aberration.

Fearless Diablo sat back early as the lead changed hands a couple times and fast fractions were laid down on the front end. The stallion began to move the first time past the front stretch, and he picked up some racing luck when the horse who tipped out in front of him, Ideal Champ, carried him all the way to the stretch right behind the lead.

That’s when Callahan let Fearless Diablo loose three-wide, and he blasted by the tiring leaders to win the race by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:51. That gives him six wins in 11 races, which is especially impressive considering he came into the 2011 season with just three career starts and no victories.

Honorable mention on the pacing side this week goes to: Ooh Bad Shark (George Napolitano Jr., William Wiggins), who completed a sweep of the Weiss for distaff pacers on Wednesday night by winning the final in a dominating, front-running performance in 1:52:3, a new career best; My Drag Queen (George Napolitano Jr., Robert Bresnahan Jr.), a mare who now has a five-race winning streak, the last two of those victories coming at Pocono, after a  condition win on Saturday night in 1:51:3, a new career mark; and Bet The Town (Anthony Napolitano, Steve Salerno), a winner of four straight and two in a row at Pocono after a win against out highest claiming class on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:3.


Following her victory last week in 1:53:4, which is the fastest in the meet so far at Pocono, this 6-year-old mare was pointed to bigger things on Friday night. Trainer Mark Ford moved this one up in class to face a rugged condition trotting group filled with non-winners of $25,000 in the last five races.

On top of that, she was saddled with a tough #7 post in a field of eight. The bump in class and the tough post seemed like a double whammy for Pembroke Heat Wave, which might be why she got away as the 3-1 third choice on the board. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. wasn’t worried, however, sending the mare to the front end early with a burst of speed.

Morrill did a nice rating job once his charge got to the lead, and Pembroke Heat Wave was ready when challenged in the stretch. Despite several competitors with better trips lining up behind her, she powered home to win in another crisp time of 1:54:1. Now 2-for-2 at Pocono, this mare might be capable of moving up yet again if she keeps trotting so impressively.

Other top trotters this week include: Speed Bomb (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who now has two straight wins to start the meet after a condition won on Friday in 1:55:1; Sand Top Gun (Jim Morrill Jr., Tyler Raymer), who burned his way to a win in Saturday night’s week featured condition trot in 1:54; and Magnum Kosmos (Jason Bartlett, Tony Dinges), who motored to a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time of the week.


This claiming pacer kicked off Saturday night’s late Daily Double in style, fighting hard to pick up the win for trainer and driver Brandon Simpson at 50-1, paying off $103.80 on a $2 win ticket.


Call him Mr. Saturday night special. George rolled all over the competition for six driving wins on Saturday night, most by a driver in a single night so far this meet.


He’s coming off his finest season at Pocono, and it looks like he’s picking up where he left off in 2011, racking up wins on three different nights last week.

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