As we roll into the month of September and summer slowly begins to yield to fall, the action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs continues at a fever pitch. Next week in this space we'll be discussing all the exciting action from Pennsylvania Championship Saturday on September 6. This week, as usual, we'll celebrate the best of racing at Pocono by doling out the Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: I LIKE DREAMIN
He may be named after a soft-rock classic by 70's one-hit wonder Kenny Nolan, but this 5-year-old stallion is anything but mellow on the race track. Trained by Pat LaChance, I Like Dreamin arrived from Yonkers at the start of August and started to find his stride almost immediately at Pocono, finishing second in a tough condition his second time out and then posting an impressive condition win on August 23 in a career-best 1:49:2.
On Saturday night, he stepped up in class to a condition for non-winners of $17,500 in the last five starts for a purse of $18,000. With a tough #7 post in a field of eight, it figured that I Like Dreamin might have a hard time working his way to the front end with his early speed. But driver took a chance and sent him first over on the front stretch, even taking some air around the clubhouse turn before making the lead just shy of the half.
With fast fractions at every pole, it was distinctly possible that I Like Dreamin might cave. Instead he seemed to freshen up in the home stretch, pacing away from his foes to win by a comfortable 2 Â½-length margin in 1:49:3, giving him back-to-back wins in under 1:50 and demonstrating how this pacer has been far more punk rock than easy listening at the track of late.
Other top pacers this week include: Anndrovette (, PJ Fraley), the superstar veteran mare who earned her second straight Preferred Handicap win on Friday night in 1:50:3; Giddy Up Blackfly (, ), who powered to a claiming win on Saturday night in 1:50:2 for his second straight victory and fourth in his last six races; and Mustang Art (, James McGuire), who scorched the track on Saturday night for his second straight condition win, this one coming in 1:49.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: MISTERY WOMAN
This mare was a standout as a 3-year-old in 2013, earning nearly $300,000 in just 15 starts. Her four-year-old season started with a lot of rugged competition at the Meadowlands, which she couldn't quite overcome, failing to hit the board in her first five races of the year. But her first start at Pocono quickly turned things around, as she took advantage of a good trip to rally for a win in a career-best 1:52.
On Saturday night, Mistery Woman, trained by , stepped up into even stiffer competition, taking on the non-winners of $22,500 in the last five starts for a purse of $21,000. With an outside post, it seemed unlikely that the racing luck would fall her way again. Some early speed put her third on the inside early, decent position to strike as long as she didn't get stuck inside of the outer flow of horses.
Driver stayed patient, resisting the temptation to join the traffic on the outside of the mare. That strategy paid off in the stretch when the outside opened up for a fresh Mistery Woman. With a blinding rush, she zipped by highly regarded veteran trotters Money On My Mind and Sevruga for her second straight win, this one in 1:52:3 as an 11-1 long shot. This mare has found her form at Pocono, so all her competitors better be on top of their game.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: GOLD DEUCE
Despite an outside post in a field of nine, this claiming pacer with . in the bike uncorked a late move to score on Saturday night at 46-1, paying off $95.20 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK:
A four-win night on Friday started McCarthy off to a big week, culminating with a victory on Wednesday night that gave him 100 wins for the 2014 Pocono meet.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PJ FRALEY
Fraley had two starters on Friday night and made them count, as Anndrovette won the featured pace for mares and Krispy Apple won a condition in 1:48:4, fastest time of the week at Pocono.
That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs