Day At The Track

Grand Circuit week in review at Pocono

01:58 AM 27 Jun 2013 NZST
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Dynamic Youth
Dynamic Youth - Wins for George Brennan who posted his first Cane Pace

We are in the midst of an incredibly busy and exciting part of the harness racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. This last Saturday featured the eliminations for the Sun Stakes Saturday races to come this weekend.

In addition, next week is Grand Circuit Week at the track, featuring not just the big stakes on Saturday but also Pennsylvania All Stars races all week long.

Add in our usual schedule of top-flight overnight races, and we’ve got plenty of worthy candidates for the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: DYNAMIC YOUTH

In the eliminations for the Ben Franklin pace held on Saturday, many of the biggest names in the sport were in town to compete for the chance to win that huge Free-For-All purse in the final. Dynamic Youth might not have been one of those preeminent names coming into his elimination, but the 4-year-old gelding from the Aaron Lambert barn had an edge that some of those stars might not have possessed: A genuine love for the Pocono surface.

Last year amidst an outstanding 3-year-old season, he set a track record for his age group at Pocono. In his tune-up start for the Franklin, he rolled in a condition pace over the Pocono oval in 1:49:2.

So even though he faced an elimination that included defending Franklin champ Betterthancheddar and a couple of other million-dollar earners, Dynamic Youth was undaunted. It helped that driver Andrew McCarthy worked out an excellent trip for the gelding in the pocket on a windy night that was the bane of many pacesetters.

Come the stretch, Dynamic Youth powered home to upset the bigger names at 5-1. His winning time of 1:48:4 matched the track mark for 4-year-old geldings on the pace. The final will be another tough test, but this pacer takes a back seat to no one at Pocono.

Other top pacers this week include: Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), the biggest earner in harness racing history who won his Ben Franklin elimination in 1:48, matching the fastest time in Pocono track history; Big Time Promise (Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes), a 3-year-old gelding whose condition pacing victory on Tuesday night in 1:51:3 was his fifth straight win and seventh out of eight this year; and Waylon Hanover (Joe Pavia Jr., Brewer Adams), whose claiming handicap win on Sunday night in 1:50:4 followed up back-to-back condition victories to give him three in a row.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DONTYOUFORGETIT

Trotters from the Jimmy Takter barn have been running roughshod over the Pocono oval for the past few weeks now, but, then again, that doesn’t make Pocono any different than any other North American tracks for the past decade or so. Takter has an impressive and seemingly bottomless contingent of young trotters. Out of that group, 3-year-old colt Dontyouforgetit has been especially fine at MSPD the past few weeks.

On June 16, the colt proved his mettle with a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win at the Pocono oval, scoring in 1:54:1. In that one, he was a mid-priced 9-2 despite the fact that he was coming off a win at The Meadows.

And in his elimination race for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old Open trotters on Saturday, he was a 7-5 second choice behind favored Celebrity Maserati.

Yet Dontyouforgetit once again showed a knack for finding the pocket, and that paid off as the two horses who dueled in front of him for much of the mile faltered late. That’s when driver Yannick Gingras made his move and the Takter trainee zipped by to win by a neck in a sizzling 1:52:1, the fastest of all the times among Beal qualifiers on Saturday.

Don’t expect Dontyouforgetit to be favored in Saturday night’s upcoming Beal final, but don’t expect him to get short-changed either. If his last two Pocono efforts, and his trainer’s track record, are any indication, he’ll be right in the thick of it.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Prismatica (Tyler Buter, Brittany Robertson), whose victory over $7,500 claimers on Friday in a career-best 1:56:2 gave her three wins in a row, with the last two coming at Pocono; Top Billing (Tyler Buter, Julie Miller), who handled a tough condition trotting group on Friday night in 1:53:1, a new career-best; and Ice Machine (Andrew McCarthy, Walter Carroll), who handled the field in Friday night’s featured condition trot in 1:53:1.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: EMERALD EXPRESS

This pacer sent the crowd home stunned on Tuesday night when he rallied up the inside late with driver Andrew McCarthy to win the evening’s last race at 40-1 for an $82.80 win payout on a $2 ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: YANNICK GINGRAS

The bigger the races, the better Gingras performs, as he proved last Saturday with four wins on a card that featured the Sun Stakes eliminations races.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: JIMMY TAKTER

We sung his praises earlier, but his work on Sun Stakes elimination night didn’t end with the success of Dontyouforgetit. He picked up two more elimination wins later on in the evening.

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.

by James BEVIGLIA

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