Even with only three nights of harness racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the past week, we still had more than enough candidates to fill out the Weekly Awards.
Give credit to the impressive group of pacers and trotters we have on the grounds that have made not just this week at Pocono, but all of 2012, a destination for some of the finest racing in the country.
PACER OF THE WEEK: FOILED AGAIN
In Saturday night’s $50,000 Open pace, the seven horses in the field came into the race with earnings of around $12,000,000. Leading that pack of big earners was Foiled Again, an 8-year-old gelding who came into the race with $4.3 million in the bank.
Even with that fact, and even considering he won a huge stakes at Mohawk in his last race, the pride of the Ron Burke barn was still the 2-1 third choice behind favorite We Will See and second choice Bettor Sweet, both superstars in their own right.
Leaving from the outside post in the field, driver Matt Kakaley decided to play it conservative with Folied Again, settling him toward the back of the pack as nasty fractions were set on the sloppy track. It wasn’t until the back stretch when horse and driver made their move, and they got a little racing truck when Rockincam stepped out in front of them to give them a bit of cover.
In the stretch, Kakaley had Folied Again out on the wide side with a clear path and only Bettor Sweet standing in his way. The two standouts battled through the lane, but when the dust cleared, Foiled Again was the one who came out in front, just like he had 63 times before in other career victories.
His winning time of 1:49:1 was the fastest of the week despite it being achieved in the slop.
Other top pacers this week include: Mr Govianni Fra (Brandon Simpson, Ken Rucker), whose condition win on Friday night in 1:53:1 was his third straight, which is even more notable considering that winning streak immediately followed up 35 straight losses to start his career; Woodmere Ultimate (George Napolitano Jr., PJ Fraley), who rolled to his second straight $25,000 claiming win on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:51:2; and Feeling You (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), a newcomer to Pocono who captured Tuesday night’s Open pace foe mares in a career-best 1:49:3, just missing a track record in the process.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ROSE RUN HOOLIGAN
The winners of over $25,000 lifetime condition is the very best condition grouping at Pocono and often serves as the featured trot for the week, as it did on Saturday night. That means that any horse that conquers that group must not only be pretty talented but it also must be at the top of its game.
Rose Run Hooligan is a 9-year-old stallion who has been at the top of his game for an impressively long amount of time, hence his career earnings which are sneaking up toward the $1 million mark. On Saturday night, the veteran was overlooked at the window at 6-1 despite the fact that we was coming off a win in Canada.
Driver David Miller drove Rose Run Hooligan like he was a prohibitive favorite, however, and the stallion responded. He took the lead early on and was still there at the end to win by 1 ¾ lengths in a slop-defying time of 1:53:1, the fastest trotting time at Pocono this week.
At an age when most horses are slowing down or packing it in, this star from the Rene Allard barn seems to be peaking.
Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Spit N Shine (Joe Pavia Jr., Chris Oakes), who romped to his third straight claiming win on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:56:2; Grace N Charlie (Anthony Napolitano, James Siegelman), a mare who scored his second straight claiming victory on Tuesday night in 1:57:2; and Speculation (Tom Jackson, Robert Bath), who followed up a win at Harrah’s with an upset victory in a rugged condition group on Saturday night in 1:54:1.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CAROLSTERN
With a swooping late move, this mare driven by David Ingraham upended a group of younger distaff pacers on Friday night at 35-1, paying off $72 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: DAVID MILLER
Miller always makes an impact when he comes around, as he did on Saturday night, topping all drivers on the card with four victories on the evening.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PJ FRALEY
Fraley has been a major player at Pocono all season long at Pocono, and this week was no different thanks to a training double on Saturday night.
That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by James BEVIGLIA