Day At The Track

Odd circumstances surrounding Earl Beal

01:49 AM 30 Jun 2011 NZST
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We at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs all had high expectations for the inaugural $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial trot on Saturday (June 25), but no one could have expected the stellar harness racing performance that won the race or the odd circumstances surrounding it.

Here are all the details, kicking off an action-packed version of the Weekly Awards.

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DEJARMBRO

Dejarmbro entered the Beal, a showcase for the best three-year-old trotting talent in the country, as the favorite, having delivered an impressive elimination win in 1:52:4 the previous week with trainer Trond Smedshammer in the bike.

It seemed like he was all set up to atone for the heartbreak he felt when he broke stride in the Breeders Crown at Pocono in 2010 as the favorite in the 2-year-old trot.

An obscure rule prevented Smedshammer from driving Dejarmbro in Saturday's final, leaving him in the lurch on race day with most of the top drivers already having drives in the field. Luckily, a last-minute phone call secured the services of the great Dave Palone, and the rest was cream cheese.

It may have been the easiest drive Palone has ever had, as Dejarmbro surged to the front end early and trotted away from his foes late to win in convincing fashion by 2 ¾ lengths.

Even sweeter still was the winning time of 1:52:2, which matched the world record time for 3-year-old trotting colts on a 5/8-mile oval, set just last year by Break The Bank K at Pocono on that fateful Breeders Crown evening.

Other top trotters this week include: Tahiti Springs (Matt Kakaley, William Rhoades), whose win on Friday night against $7,500 claimers was her second straight and third out of four; Margarita Mary (George Napolitano Jr., Steve Elliott), a mare who beat the boys in Friday night's featured condition trot in 1:53:1; and Big Bikkies (Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley), who is now 2-for-2 since returning from the Meadowlands after handling a condition group on Wednesday in 1:54:1.

PACER OF THE WEEK: GRINNING BREED

It's a foregone conclusion these days at Pocono that each of the top claiming classes seems to have a different horse from the barn of Lou Pena on some sort of impressive winning streak.

Take the example of Grinning Breed, who's been churning through the claiming ranks with aplomb in recent weeks.

In truth, this talented 6-year-old gelding had been performing well even before joining the Pena barn following a claim on May 21. That's when he really took off though, immediately banging out back-to-back victories in the $15,000 claimers and then moving up to a $20,000 tag the next week for his third consecutive win the following week.

On Saturday night, he took on a group whose claiming prices ranged from $20,000 to $25,000, and the results were pretty much the same. With George Napolitano Jr. doing the driving, Grinning Breed found the lead early and never had any serious challenges en route to this fourth straight win, this one coming in a time of 1:52.

Honorable mention on the pacing side this week goes to: Chaco Hanover (George Napolitano Jr., Carmine Fusco), who has been dominating the mid-priced claimers of late and neat the $15,000 claimers in 1:51:3 on Saturday for his third straight win; Drop Red (Brian Sears, Robert Horowitz), who rallied in the final strides for his second straight win on Saturday, this time against the top condition pacers on the grounds in 1:49:4, the week's fastest pacing time; and Bridezilla (Matt Kakaley, Thomas Stamper), who rallied for her second straight upset win over the $5,000 claimers on Wednesday night in 1:53:4.

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: AMOURUS

Driver James Rattray won't soon forget his first ever win at Pocono, since it came about Amourus in a condition trot on Wednesday at odds of 50-1 for a win payout of $105.80 on a $2 ticket.

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: JOE PAVIA JR.

Pavia had multiple wins in three of the four racing nights this past week, including a three-bagger on Friday, as he solidified his place in the Top 5 of the extremely competitive drivers' standings.

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: NOEL DALEY

Daley chalked up a training double on Wednesday night with Amourus and Big Bikkies, putting him right on the edge of the Top 10 in training wins at Pocono this season.

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.

James BEVIGLIA

In the first ever Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for three-year-old trotters, Dejarmbro absolutely dominated in front-running style to win in a time that matched the world record for three-year-old trotting colts:

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