Day At The Track

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review

11:35 AM 02 Oct 2014 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Tyler Buter, harness racing
Tyler Buter is Pocono Downs Driver of the Week

Both of our major award winners for this week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs come from the claiming ranks. In the past, claimers were often thought were often thought of as being a notch or two below their counterparts in condition races. That has changed at MSPD, where the claiming races often feature winning times comparable or even better than condition races with similar purses. The exploits of our two horses of the week will demonstrate the rise of the claimers as we hand out the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: MILLIONDOLLARTOUCH

Up until a few weeks ago, this eight-year-gelding seemed to have just one big effort in him for the entire year. He picked up just one win in his first 22 races of the year, but it was a monster mile of 1:50:2 on July 26 that seemed to herald bigger things to come. Those bigger things didn't arrive until Milliondollartouch pounded a field of $12,500 claimers on September 17 by 7 ¾ lengths.

 

Puffed up by the big win, Milliondollartouch, trained by Mark Kesmodel, stepped up his asking price in a $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap on Saturday night. Andrew McCarthy took him to the front at about the 3/8-mile marker of the race and kept the pedal down, leading to intense fractions that seemed likely to sap the gelding's energy as the mile wore on.

McCarthy must have had a pretty good inkling of how much his horse had in the tank though, because Milliondollartouch kept digging hard on the front end. Final Curtain tried to chase him down in the stretch, but the gelding held him off for a win by a half-length in 1:50:4. The fact that Milliondollartouch was able to follow up one standout performance with another suggests that the final months of his season might just be filled with consistent excellence instead of sporadic brilliance.

Other top pacers this week include: Aslan (Andrew McCarthy, Tony O'Sullivan), who rolled to an easy win in the week's featured Preferred pace on Saturday night in 1:50:1; Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), whose winning time of 1:49:4 in a condition pace on Saturday night was the fastest at MSPD this week; and Keystone Real Deal (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Carr), who earned his second straight claiming win on Wednesday night and did so in 1:51, matching a career-best time.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: A COOL MILLION

Is it a coincidence that both of our big award winners have some variation of the word "million" in their name? Maybe, but what can be said for certain is that both of them certainly looked like they worth every bit their lucrative monikers. A Cool Million started to find her best stride once she arrived at Pocono on August 29 following a claim at Harrah's at Philadelphia for $10,000 that put her in the Gilberto Garcia-Herrera barn.

The 6-year-old mare immediately paid dividends with a win in the $10,000 claimers in her first start at Pocono and then followed it up with a win in a $12,500 to $15,000 claiming handicap trot. In both of those races she set new career marks. On Tuesday night she stepped up into a $20,000 claiming group, her connections likely hoping that recent momentum would outweigh the jump in class in terms of her prospects for the race.

It turns out they were right. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, A Cool Million was just too tough to catch. She spread out her lead to a no-sweat margin at the line for her third consecutive victory, and once again she did it in a career-best time, which on this night was 1:53:1. She was claimed following the race, so her new barn is going to be getting a mare at the absolute pinnacle of her powers.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: King's Cavalier (Anthony Napolitano, Joe Geiser), who moved up in class to capture his second straight condition trot on Saturday night, this one coming in a career-best time of 1:54:1; DW's NY Yank (George Napolitano Jr., Rob Burke), whose condition win on Saturday night came in 1:52:1, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Wind Of The North (Simon Allard, Clifton Green), who rallied to win the $25,000 Fred Yaggi Memorial Trot on Saturday night in 1:52:2.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CANADIAN OVERALL

Even though he had raced just three days previously at Harrington, this trotter with Mike Simons in the bike stunned a condition group on Saturday night at 18-1 for a $38 payout on a $2 win ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER

Buter enjoyed an impressive hot streak on Saturday night, ripping off three straight wins on the ultra-competitive card when only one of those winners was favored.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JAMES EATON

The Eaton barn was feeling it this past week, ripping off a pair of training wins on Saturday night and then following it up with a training triple on Tuesday.

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 Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

 

 

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: