Posts Tagged ‘Wind of the North’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

September 18-24, 2015

Lest anyone think that the racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has slowed up a bit as summer makes its transition into fall, this past week’s excitement should definitively put that theory to rest. Four nights of action produced times as quick as any we witnessed in the heart of summer. We even had a world record performance to really push this week over the edge. That performance, needless to say, kicks off our Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DAYLON MIRACLE

In the $30,000 Open Handicap trot on Saturday night, Wind Of The North was assigned the outside post in the nine-horse field, meaning that he conceivably should have been the one that stood a notch above the rest of the field. But it was the mare Daylon Miracle who went off as the even-money favorite from post position #7.

Maybe the betting faithful saw a horse on top of her game after a close 3rd in a $100,000 race at Pocono and a sharp condition win at Yonkers in her previous two starts. Or maybe they realized that her human companions, trainer Rene Allard and driver Simon Allard, were in the midst of a monster night. In any case, Daylon Miracle rewarded the bettor’s faith, taking the lead on the front stretch and trotting away to hide.

She kicked away from her pursuit to cross the line 7 ½ lengths in front of the best trotters on the grounds. The winning time of 1:50:3 revealed just why Daylon Miracle was so far out in front, as it broke the world record for aged trotting mares on a 5/8-mile oval. Only Sebastian K and Father Patrick, two all-time greats, have ever trotted faster at Pocono than what Daylon Miracle achieved on Saturday night.

Other top trotters this week include: Extracurricular (Simon Allard, Rene Allard) whose victory in Tuesday night’s featured condition trot was his second straight and came in a career-best 1:53; Racer X (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who now has three straight wins, two of which were at Pocono, following a victory Friday night in a career best 1:53:3; and Cantabs Fortune (George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr), a mare who moved up in class on Tuesday night to score her second straight condition win, this one coming in 1:55.

PACER OF THE WEEK: BUGGER BRUISER

This four-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer of Carmen Auciello has spent his time in 2015 bouncing back and forth amidst Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. In his previous start before going toe-to-toe with a $13,000 condition group at Pocono on Saturday night, he overcame an outside post to win at Tioga by a neck in 1:52:1.

Although that winning time might have seemed modest next to some of the speedsters in Saturday night’s race, Bugger Bruiser also had a 1:49:1 win at Mohawk to his credit in 2015. He needed that speed early to find the pocket seat behind Mustang Art, a classy Pocono veteran who made the front end and tried to scare off the rest of the field by setting intimidating fractions.

Those fractions didn’t frighten Bugger Bruiser, who stayed close behind Mustang Art as the leader dealt with pressure on the outside. At the top of the stretch, driver Simon Allard tipped Bugger Bruiser to the outside and the gelding pounced, blowing by the pacesetter to win by two lengths in a sizzling 1:50. With two straight wins, this precocious pacer appears ready to step up and take on even tougher foes, no matter where he races next.

Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: Dynamic Youth (Joe Bongiorno, Ron Burke), who battled to a win in Saturday night’s $30,000 Open Handicap pace in 1:49, the fastest pacing time of the week; Artistic Major (Eric Goodell, Steve Elliott), a 3-year-old colt who beat some tough older horses in a condition on Saturday night in a career-best 1:49:4; and Frost Damage Blues (Mike Simons, Tom Fanning), a three-year-old filly who, after winning five straight races in New York to start her career, handled a condition field at Pocono on Wednesday night in a career-best 1:51:1 to stay perfect.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CULINARY DELIGHT

At 36-1, this filly wasn’t given much of a chance on Tuesday night, but she upset a condition trotting field with Marcus Miller in the bike to pay out $74.80 on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD

As if five wins on Friday night weren’t enough, he came right back to dominate the proceedings with eight wins on Saturday night, a personal best for him here at Pocono.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD

After notching four training wins on both Friday and Saturday night, the meet’s leading trainer now has twice as many wins in 2015 as his nearest competitor in the Pocono training standings.

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.

Bigtown Hero scores Saturday night feature

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Bigtown Hero, who already has two appearances on the sport’s all-time list of “horse who have hit the 3/4s in 1:20 or better,” missed by a tick becoming the only horse ever with three such appearances, winning the $24,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, August 29th.

Bigtown Hero, an altered son of American Ideal, certainly didn’t have it easy, either — he was outside with cover until favored Bandolito cleared Bushwacker past a 26 opener, then rolled up raw to grab the top early on the second turn, en route to hitting the half in 53.1.

Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother/Pocono leader Rene, opened up lengths on Bandolito down the backstretch, with Bushwacker taking other crack outside, but both were well-behind when the timer tripped at 1:20.1 with a quarter to ago. Bandolito ate fractionally into the winner’s lead late, but was still shy of him by 3/4 of a length at the finish, with Quick Jolt coming from the clouds for third, a half length behind Bandolito and a length ahead of Bushwacker.

Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin own the speed merchant, who hit the 3/4 in 1:19.4 last September 20 here en route to taking his mark of 1:47.3, and then on November 8 posted the fastest half (52.2) and 3/4s (1:19.1) in 5/8-mile track history before tiring in a race where Mach It So beat State Treasurer in 1:48. Both of these miles were also at Pocono.

Also at Pocono Saturday were a pair of $24,000 trots. Wind Of The North, an altered son of Cantab Hall who equaled a division world record of 1:51 here last year, needed only 1:53.3 Saturday to report home first for trainer Daryl Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck; in the other division the Andover Hall filly Sistas, 3-for-3 in Stallion Series competition, handled a big class rise, a predominantly male field, and a predominantly older field in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Albert and Michelle Crawford. (Napolitano, who had 100 wins in July, won three times here Saturday to put him at 98 for August, with sessions at both Philly and Pocono tomorrow possibly letting him achieve a rare “consecutive double century” of winners; the win with Sistas was also his 500th of 2015).

Napolitano firmly atop driver standings

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

George Napolitano Jr., solidifying his leader atop the drivers standings at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, took both $25,000 features this Saturday night, with pacer Bandolito and trotter Frau Blucher justifying their odds-on status by scoring over a track rerated to “sloppy” after midcard rains.

Bandolito was moved to the front by “George Nap” after the 26.4 opener in his contest, put up a midway split of 54.1, and saw first-over Scott Rocks coming to him towards the 1:21.1 3/4s. In the stretch Scott Rocks was gaining throughout, but Bandolito, a son of Ponder, was kept alive to win by a head in 1:49.2 in the off going. Trainer/owner Daryl Bier will be happy to receive the news as he probably did not watch the race live, since post time was at 3:20 a.m. in Sweden, where Bier is preparing Wind Of The North for Sunday’s Elitloppet.

Napolitano completed the chalk feature double by guiding the world champion Broadway Hall mare Frau Blucher to a 1:55 win in the off going. Frau Blucher let the field settle, was moved by Napolitano to the lead after the first turn, “stole” a 58 first half, and then powered home in 57 to tally easily for trainer Chris Oakes and the ownership combine of Susan Oakes and Hauser Brothers Racing Enterprises LLC.

Any potential the features had to produce a really fast mile was washed out by the midevening rain, but to show the speed potential the track had at card’s start: three of the first six races featured an opening quarter of less than 26 seconds, and one of 26 flat.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

November 7-13, 2014    

Choosing the horses of the year at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs used to be a much simpler job. When the racing wasn’t as competitive as it is now, there were usually only a few candidates who would rise above the rest by winning in the same classes week after week, making the choices for the top honors relativeLY easy.

Not anymore. Since Pocono is a destination for the top horses and horsemen in the country, it is extremely difficult for any one horse to dominate a single division. As a result, there are dozens of horses who can make legitimate cases at different times in the year that they are the best of the best at MSPD.

I had a little input into these choices, but most of the research and hard work behind these choices was done by my esteemed colleagues Terri Phalen and Jennifer Starr. It wasn’t easy, but the three winners, in my opinion, are extremely deserving. So, without further ado, here is a look at the 2014 Pocono Horses of the Year.

PACER OF THE YEAR: DANCIN YANKEE

When this six-year-old stallion arrived at Pocono in May, he had already distinguished himself with a big winning streak at Dover and a respectable performance in the Levy series at Yonkers. Trained by Josh Green, he made his presence felt immediately at MSPD with back-to-back wins, including a dominant performance in the $50,000 Van Rose Invitational.

When he returned at the end of June, he was working for the Amber Buter barn. What an auspicious Pocono debut he made for the new connections, winning a $100,000 invitational race with Tyler Buter in the bike in 1:47:2, a winning time which would have broken every record in the book if Sweet Lou hadn’t won the Franklin in 1:47 that same night. Dancin Yankee followed that up with three more no-doubt wins in a row in a Preferred company. Only a monster mile by Bigtown Hero in September kept him from sheer perfection at Pocono for the year, as he finished third to finish with six wins in seven against the very best on the grounds. His success at Pocono was just one part of a brilliant season overall for Dancin Yankee, but it was good enough to capature perhaps the most glamorous year-end award.

TROTTER OF THE YEAR: WIND OF THE NORTH

Wind Of The North, a four-year-old gelding trained by Clifton Green, didn’t waste any time at Pocono in 2014. He picked up a condition win in the season’s first week on his way to wins in four of his five races of the season as he moved up the condition ladder in the spring. That was just his warm-up act, however. On June 28, with David Miller in the bike, he burned his way to a victory in 1:51, setting a new world record for his age group and gender on a 5/8-mile oval in the process.

One thing that Wind Of The North had failed to accomplish in the first half of the season was a win against the Preferred trotters. That all changed when he handled that very group for a victory on September 27. His final tally: ten starts at Pocono in 2014, six wins, two seconds, and a third. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a Trotter of the Year resume for sure.

CLAIMER OF THE YEAR: B J’S RAMEAU

Do you want to know what was impressive about B J’s Rameau’s season at Pocono? Everything, that’s what. The sheer numbers of it are good enough on their own to warrant Claimer of the Year consideration. In 28 races at Pocono this season, the 5-year-old gelding hit the board 17 times and won 11, including a career-best 1:49:1 mile.

Then consider that all of those victories were against the top rung of the claiming ladder at Pocono. Consider that, as a hot claiming commodity, he won his 11 races for eight different trainers. And finally consider that many of those races were claiming handicaps and BJ’s Rameau, because of his high sale price, was often saddled with the outside post, making his record even more impressive. We’ve had a lot of outstanding claimers this year, but they were all toiling in the wake of this gelding.

Next week in this space we’ll be wrapping up the 2014 season for good as we approach closing night on November 22. We’ll be taking a look back at some of the best moments of the year and we’ll also tell you who won the honors among drivers and trainers in terms of wins and percentage. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over, but the three horses we’ve spotlighted here have given us a whole lot to remember come the offseason.

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.

 

Wind Of The North and Aslan Win Saturday Night Features at Pocono

Monday, September 29th, 2014

September 27, 2014

Trotter Wind Of The North and Pacer Aslan won the $25,000 featured Preferred races on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

The Preferred Trot was named the Fred Yaggi Memorial Trot in honor of a longtime Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission who recently passed away. In that race Wind Of The North (Cantab Hall-Talk To The Wind), a 4-year-old gelding from the Clifton Green barn, used a second-over trip and a strong closing kick to upend favored Classic Martine by a head for the win in 1:52:2 at 10-1. Simon Allard did the driving. Arch Madness finished third.

In the Preferred pace, Aslan (Mach Three-Skyview) was overpowering on the front end with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for trainer Tony O’Sullivan. The 5-year-old gelding and 7-5 favorite won by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:50:1. Musselsfrombrussels was best of the rest in second while Golden Receiver picked up the show.