Posts Tagged ‘YS Lotus’

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Week in Review

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

June 2-8, 2018

Our Pacer and Trotter of the Week for this edition of the Weekly Awards have something in common. Both horses were struggling in the early part of the 2018 season coming off big campaigns a year ago. Both dropped down in class and picked up a win which seemed to ignite their confidence to move back up in class and beat even tougher horses the next time out. And both figure to be major factors going forward now that they’ve found their stride. Here is the lowdown on their exploits, as well as all of the other exciting action this past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.


Last year as a five-year-old, this gelding from the Ron Burke barn put together a stellar season, earning over $110,000. He started this season off against the toughest pacers at Yonkers and Harrah’s but wasn’t able to do much damage. Then when he arrived at Pocono, he was saddled with back-to-back #9 posts, which he wasn’t able to convert into anything better than a seventh-place finish. On May 26 he dropped into the $11,000 condition group, and, even with another forbidding post (#8), The Wayfaring Man rolled to a sharp victory in 1:50.2.

On Saturday night, he moved back up the condition ladder to take on a $12,500 group, leaving from post position #6 as a 9-2 third choice. With Eric Goodell in the bike, The Wayfaring Man flashed with good early speed, then allowed race favorite YS Lotus to assume control of the lead. YS Lotus set nasty fractions, but The Wayfaring Man hung close in the pocket nonetheless. By the time they hit the stretch, YS Lotus was starting to feel the effects of the rapid pace.

The Wayfaring Man, on the other hand, came rushing up to take the lead once he had a clear look in the stretch. But his work wasn’t done, as Urban Renewal uncorked a late move and pulled up just about even at the finish line. When the dust settled, the photo showed The Wayfaring Man just out in front by a nose. His second straight victory came in a nifty winning time of 1:51.2, as he seems poised to hit the same heights that he reached a year ago.

Other top pacers this week include: Baby Kitty (Pat Berry, Eric Foster), who picked up a condition pacing win in Saturday night’s feature in 1:49.2, which was a new career-best and matched the fastest pacing time this week at Pocono; Tequila Monday (Brian Sears, Hunter Oakes), who followed up a win at Yonkers by scoring in the Great Northeast Open Series for mares on Sunday night in the slop at Pocono in 1:51; and Sidewalk Dancer (Brett Miller, Chris Oakes), who came in off a Sire Stakes win at Harrah’s and posted the fastest winning time of three divisions of the Pennsylvania All Stars for three-year-old fillies on Monday night with a 1:51.3.


The move from three-year-old to four-year-old is often fraught with peril for Standardbreds. Horses go from facing primarily others of their own age to taking on experienced horses who are often much older than them. Fraser Ridge glided through his first two seasons of racing, earning six figures both years. But this year proved to be a bit confounding, at least to start things off, as the stallion trained by Chris Beaver found himself winless after three races.

Things started to cook for Fraser Ridge on May 26 at Pocono. Facing a $14,000 condition trotting group, he was cut loose on the front end and smoked the field to the tune of a sizzling mile of 1:52.1. He was back at it again on Sunday night, this time moving up to the $17,500 conditioners and facing an outside post in a field of seven. But the strategy was the same for driver George Napolitano Jr., as he sent Fraser Ridge to the front end with a swooping move around the first turn.

On a sloppy track, Fraser Ridge was able to open up a big lead and dare everyone to try to make their way through the muck and try to catch him. Nobody got even close. The winning time was a modest 1:55.4, but that was due to the sloppy conditions more than anything else. The proof of Fraser Ridge’s dominance came in his comfortable margin of victory over some high-class trotters. It looks like his four-year-old season might be as productive as his first two racing years after all.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: In Secret (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), an 18-1 long shot who stunned a field in the Great Northeast Open Series on Sunday night in the slop in 1:54.4; Homicide Hunter (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who captured a division of the Great Northeast Open Series on Sunday night in just his second start of the year, winning in 1:55.1 in the slop; and Star Studded Cast (George Napolitano Jr., Gliberto Garcia-Herrera), who won his second straight claiming handicap and his third in his last four on Monday night, this one coming in 1:54.3.


This trotting gelding started Sunday night off with a shocker in the first race, winning a condition with Marcus Miller in the bike at 37-1, paying off $77.20 on a $2 win ticket.


Goodell was a regular once upon a time at Pocono, and he still does damage in his sporadic appearances, such as on Saturday night when he rang up three victories.


Sabot made the most of limited starters on Saturday night, sending out horses from her barn in three races and picking up wins in two of them, with pacers Some Playa and Drunken Terror.

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

YS Lotus brilliant in Weiss Final

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

To modify the old adage, call him whatever you want, as long as you call him to the winners circle.

YS Lotus, without a space between the first two letters of his name but whom The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono broadcaster George Anthony insists should be called as if there were a space – after all, his owner is Yves Sarrazin – was brilliant Saturday night, April 19th,  in taking the $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for male pacers at the mountain oval in 1:49.3.

The altered son of If I Can Dream had first acquired a reputation for his ironsidedness, racing six times in 18 days between the Weiss and the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers. Before last week’s final Weiss prelim he had had a full week off, and he took a new mark of 1:50.2; with another 7-day rest, he lowered that mark by 4/5 of a second Satuday.

Victory At Last and Shadow Margeaux engaged in a bitter duel for the front end in a 26 opener, with YS Lotus five lengths off them early in third, but driver Simon Allard had the winner rolling in front of the stands, hitting the half in 54. Favored Major Uptrend, impressive winner of his only two Weiss starts, came first-up down the backstretch, but “YS” and Allard kept distance between them past the 1:21.1 ¾s and all the way to the finish, winning by 2¼ lengths. Trainer Rene Allard sent out not only the winner but also Vance Bayama (driver Mike Simons), who claimed third after a troubled trip.

In the $25,000 winners-over pacing feature, Ideal Matters was a “pocket rocket,” winning by a nose in 1:50 for driver George Napolitano Jr. and owner/trainer Gil Garcia-Herrera. Favored Sparky Mark just missed with his late rally, while pacesetter Mustang Art held well for third, beaten a length, after cutting fractions of 26.3, 53.4, and 1:22.

Major Uptrend registers major upset in Weiss Series

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Major Uptrend overcame post eight and snapped the streak of Victory At Last, who had won in the first three legs of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohgean Sun Pocono, by posting a 1:51.3 triumph in one of two $15,000 cuts of the fourth and final preliminary  for male pacers Saturday, April 11th.  In the other division, YS Lotus posted the fastest Weiss clocking all year, 1:50.2, to stamp himself as a major danger in next Saturday’s $30,000 Championship.

Major Uptrend went up to challenge his barnmate in the Ron Burke stable, Victory At Last, past the 27 opener, and from there the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere was in control, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 while 1¾ lengths to the good of Victory At Last, for owner Howard Taylor. It is interesting that driver Matt Kakaley, who had driven Victory At Last to his three previous Weiss wins, choose to go with Major Uptrend, whom he had also won with last week, and the decision proved to be a Weiss wise one.

YS Lotus, whose last six races had taken place in an 18-day span (competing in both Yonkers Sagamore Hill Series and the Weiss), seemed to like this week’s having seven days between starts, as he made an early move to the top and stayed in front, defeating Shadow Margeaux by ¾ of a length. The If I Can Dream gelding earned a new speed badge with the 1:50.2 clocking while winning for driver Simon Allard, trainer/brother Rene, and owner Yves Sarrazin.

In $22,000 overnight events, the Classic Photo gelding Zooming zoomed home from next-to-last at the half to handle the trotters in 1:52.4 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Amber Buter, and owners Steve Oldford, Oldford Farms LLC, and Tyler Buter. On the pacing side driver Jim Morrill Jr. rallied Mustang Art out of the pocket to hang a nose defeat on frontstepping Somethinginthewind in 1:50 (the new “even time” at Pocono?), the Artiscape gelding parading back to Victory Lane for trainer Jim McGuire and owners Max Walton and Greg Papaleo.

Burke and Kakaley sweep Weiss divisions

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley swept both $15,000 divisions of the third leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacing males Saturday night, April 4th, at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Victory At Last now 3-for-3 in the series and Major Uptrend making his initial Weiss start a winning one.

After winning by a head in the first two legs, the Quik Star Mindale gelding Victory At Last had it relatively easy in the third, coming out of the pocket and gaining into a 55.4 final half to defeat Shadow Margeaux, the only other previous Weiss winner in his division, by ¾ of a length while taking a new mark of 1:52.1 for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

Major Uptrend, a big factor in the winter series at The Meadowlands, had made breaks in his last two outings, in the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers, and the switch to the more spacious oval proved a good tonic for the altered son of Somebeachsomewhere and Tricky Tooshie, who won over $1M on the racetrack. The Major marched to the lead past the ¼, then threw twin 27.4 splits on the end of his mile to complete the handy triumph in 1:51.3 for owner Howard Taylor, defeating four previous Weiss division winners, including second-place YS Lotus, making his sixth start in 18 days (racing in the Sagamore and Weiss three straight weeks).

One other interesting note: both winners sold at Harrisburg as yearlings – Major Uptrend for $177,000, Victory At Last for $7500.

Victory At Last tastes victory in two legs of Weiss Series

Monday, March 30th, 2015

The Quik Pulse Mindale gelding Victory At Last became the first two-time winner in his section of the Bobby Weiss Series for late-developing pacing males, winning one of the three $15,000 second round Weiss events Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Last week Victory At Last led at every call and lasted over the late charge of a Rene Allard-trained horse, YS Lotus, by a head; this week the winner sat the pocket behind another Allard trainee, Vance Bayama, and rallied in the Pocono Pike to win in 1:54.2, last quarter 27.3, with the victory margin a head this week as well. Matt Kakaley again handled Victory At Last for trainer Ron Burke and the powerful combine of Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.

Rene Allard, the leading trainer at Pocono last year, sent out the fastest winner in the two rounds of competition when YS Lotus, mentioned above, made a sweeping move around tired foes to the 3/4s and won by five lengths in a personal best 1:52 (on a 26 degree night). Rene’s brother Simon was in the sulky  behind the altered son of If I Can Dream, an “iron horse” racing for the fourth time in 11 days, for owner Yves Sarrazin.

Both Victory At Last and YS Lotus were the crowd choices; such was not the case in the third Weiss event, as 13-1 shot Weapons Dealer angled wide in the stretch and caught Shadow Margeaux, a $77 win bomber last week, by a neck, taking a new speed badge of 1:54.1. Anthony Napolitano handled sulky duties behind the Western Ideal gelding for trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Robert Di Mozzi.