With the Breeders Crown in our rear view and November now upon us, it means that we have officially hit the home stretch of the 2013 season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Before we can wrap things up, we still have a few more weeks of exciting racing action to finish. This past week there were some excellent performances even with the temperatures dropping. Here are the best of those in the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: HERE WE GO AGAIN An outstanding field of nine headed to the gate in Saturday night’s featured $25,000 Preferred pace, including several horses who have been on torrid hot steaks. Here We Go Again was one of those horses. He came in off five straight in the money. The 6-year-old gelding from the barn of PJ Fraley had been particularly tough at Pocono, winning back-to-back condition paces in his previous two circuits of the track. Saturday night was his first try in the Preferred class though, which meant he would be facing the very best pacers on the grounds. Driver Eric Ledford raced him aggressively, setting nasty fractions in the chilly temperatures that seemed destined to catch up with him in the race. Come the stretch, however, he was still winging it. Things got real tight in the final strides when pocket horse Townslight Hanover, who had been tracking with an excellent trip, came firing. The two pacesetters hit the line together, but it was Here We Go Again who took the photo by a nose. He paced the mile in 1:50, giving him four wins in his last six races and an improving reputation as some of the finest pacers in the East. Other top pacers include: Easton Bound (Matt Kakaley, Chris Oakes), a fast-improving 3-year-old, who won his second straight condition pace on Friday and third in his last four overall, this one coming in a time of 1:54:1; Keystone Neptune (George Napolitano Jr., Rene Allard), who won his second straight $20,000 claimer, this one in 1:52, giving him five wins in his last eight; and A Sweet Ride (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who chalked up a condition win on Saturday night in 1:49:4, the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PAULA’S BRADY This 7-year-old gelding has been one of the most consistent lower-priced trotters at Pocono for much of the meet, and he’s been coming into his best stride of late. He scored back-to-back $10,000 claiming victories in come-from-behind fashion to start off the month of October. In his last race, he started a bit slow, finishing third as an even-money favorite. He was back at it again on Tuesday night in the same class trying to avenge his loss, this time with Anthony Napolitano in the bike for trainer Scott Osterhout. Paula’s Brady nearly got boxed in on the inside behind the leaders, but Napolitano found him some room behind cover on the outside before the gap closed. He followed that cover until the stretch. It was an exciting three-way battle for the win in the closing moments. At times Paula’s Brady seemed like he was going to come up just a bit short. But Napolitano coaxed just enough out of him as the line approached for a razor-thin victory in 1:56. That gives him three wins in his last four races, quite the hot stretch for this veteran trotter as the season winds down. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Affirmed Action (Mike Simons, John Grasso), whose condition victory on Friday night came in the week’s fastest trotting time of 1:53:4; Schalom G (George Napolitano Jr., Neal Ehrhart), who captured a tough condition trot on Saturday night in 1:55; and Southwind Warsaw (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), who scored a victory in Tuesday night’s featured claiming handicap trot in a career-best 1:54:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TAYLOR C Despite going off at 31-1, this claiming pacer with Anthony Napolitano in the bike made a couple of speed moves on Friday night and came up a winner for a $65.20 win payout. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ERIC LEDFORD Ledford doesn’t stop in at Pocono very often, but he might want to be a more frequent visitor after picking up three victories for trainer PJ Fraley on Saturday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PAUL HOLZMAN Another solid performer from the deep Pocono training community, Holzman had a good week with single wins on Friday and Tuesday. 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 Bevigila for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
We are just a weeks away from the Breeders Crown finals at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. This past week, as if sensing that those year-end all-star races were approaching, a few of our top overnight performers stepped up their games with world-record performances. Those two extraordinary efforts highlighted the action and also lead the way as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: DYNAMIC YOUTH This 4-year-old gelding from the Aaron Lambert barn is one of the finest horses in his age group in all of North America, so anytime he steps in to face an overnight field, even one as tough as the Preferred pacers at Pocono, he will be tough to beat. On September 28 in chilly temperatures, he went gate-to-wire for a victory in that class in 1:49:2. Last Saturday night offered up unseasonably warm weather in Northeastern Pennsylvania, meaning that the track would be especially fast. For a speedy horse like Dynamic Youth, it meant that he could set nasty fractions and still have something left to give late. So that’s exactly what driver Andrew McCarthy and Dynamic Youth did in the race once they took over the lead on the front stretch. Though there were some other excellent competitors in the field, Dynamic Youth raced like he was the clock was his only measuring stick, staying out in front and winning by 1 ¼ lengths. When he crossed the line, the timer read 1:48:1. That matched the world record for 4-year-old pacing gelding on a 5/8-mile oval, which was set earlier this season by Live On at Pocono in July. Other top pacers this week include: Alfredsson (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), who stepped up into our highest claiming handicap group and captured his second straight win at Pocono on Saturday night, this one coming in a career-best 1:49:3; Here We Go Again (Eric Ledford, PJ Fraley), who moved up the condition ladder on Saturday night and rolled to a win, his second straight, in a career-best 1:49:3; and Lotsa Chrome (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who ripped off his second straight condition win on Tuesday night, pacing the mile in 1:50:2. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: IN YOUR ROOM This 5-year-old mare from the Gail Wrubel barn was coming off of a pair of in-the-money finishes in her previous two starts. But she didn’t win either of those races and she was moving up in class on Saturday night into the non-winners of $25,000 in the last five starts condition group. So it wasn’t much of a surprise to see her final odds at 12-1, and, quite frankly, horses that go off at 12-1 usually don’t win, let alone set a track record. But driver Mike Simons had the wise inclination to settle In Your Room on the inside not too far off the early pace, which was a good thing because anyone trying to catch up with pacesetter Money On My Mind on the outside was in for a long night. Money On My Mind set ridiculous fractions, shaking off everybody in the field except for In Your Room, who made her move on the last turn. Money On My Mind was as game as could be in the stretch, but he was no match for the fresh mare coming up on his flank. In Your Room pushed past toward the line and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:51:4. That stunning time matched the world record for aged mares on the trot on a 5/8-mile oval, a mark that Beatgoeson Hanover first accomplished at Pocono back in August. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Trading Places (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), a mare who who rallied to beat the top claimers trotters on the grounds for the second straight week in 1:54:4; Paula’s Brady (Tyler Buter, James Quinn), who rallied for his second straight win over the $10,000 claimers on Tuesday night, matching a career-best victory of 1:55:3 in the process; and Rise N Shine (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), a mare who dominated the $12,500 claimers on Tuesday night in 1:54:3, a new career mark, for her second straight win overall. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: PUT IT IN GEAR This Yonkers shipper with Eric Carlson in the bike rallied late to stun a field of claiming pacers on Wednesday night at 75-1, paying off a hefty $153.40 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: HOWARD PARKER The veteran driver proved that it’s best not to underestimate him. He had three wins on Friday and Saturday night, and they came at odds of 44-1, 10-1, and 13-1. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: TOM FANNING The Fanning barn has been firing on all cylinders in the past few weeks, and the success continued on Friday night with a pair of training wins. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. by Jim Bevigilia for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
It was an extremely busy racing week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Several other nearby tracks went on hiatus recently, so many of the horses from those tracks came to Pocono to keep up their schedules. In fact, both of the horses who captured our top Weekly Awards were shippers from other tracks. Let's hand out those awards and honor all of the other top performers of both the equine and human variety from the week that was at MSPD. PACER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ROCKS One of the most fun divisions all year long at Pocono has been the non-winners of four races pacers, ages three and four years old. These horses are still only a relatively short way into their racing careers but are nonetheless at an age where they start to really come into their best form. Many have performed in tough stakes or racing series, so they are really primed when they come into this group, which usually takes center stage on Wednesday nights. This past Tuesday night, a great showdown in this class took place between two peaking three-year-olds, Scott Rocks and Cadillac Phil. Both are handled by top trainers and both had recently found solid success at Harrah's after coming down from Canada. In their battle at Pocono, Scott Rocks, who had won his previous start, grabbed the engine, while Cadillac Phil settled In The Pocket. By the time the stretch rolled around, this dynamic duo were the only ones who still had a shot at winning. The stretch duel was a thriller, with both horses all-out and burning down the track at top speed. Scott Rocks, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike for trainer Chris Oakes, came out on top in a tight finish, pacing the mile in a career-best 1:50:2 in the process. That outstanding race was just one more in a long line of instant classics from this ultra-competitive condition grouping. Other top pacers this week include: Dynamic Youth (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), a 4-year-old gelding who captured Saturday night's $25,000 Preferred pace in 1:49:2, the fastest time of the week at Pocono; Rick's Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Richard Banca), a gelding whose victory over the $10,000 claimers on Saturday night was his second straight win and sixth in his last seven races; and B J's Skye (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), whose romping win in a claiming pace for mares on Wednesday night in 1:51:3 was her third win in a row, with two of those victories at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WORLD CUP There were some excellent trotters lined up for Saturday night's condition trot for non-winners of $23,500 in the last five starts, a race with a $21,000 purse that was the biggest prize for trotters at Pocono this week. Sand Wyndham had won his last start, Keystone Thomas had conquered two in a row, and Luckycharm Hanover had rolled up victories in three of his last four. Throw in outstanding veteran mare Definitely Mamie, who always races well at Pocono, and you had quite the field. The horse who was made the favorite at 6-5 was World Cup, a 4-year-old stallion from the Ron Burke barn who hadn't managed quite the recent success as some of the others in the field. What he did have going for him was the level of competition he had recently been facing at Harrah's and Harrington, giving him the kind of class that would toughen up for any kind of race. On Saturday night, World Cup, with Matt Kakaley in the bike, proved his mettle by powering from behind in the stretch for the victory. His winning time of 1:52:4 was not just the best of his career but it was also the fastest trotting time at Pocono for the week. It also pushed him closer to six figures earned in what has been an outstanding 4-year-old season. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Martino (George Napolitano Jr., Mike Watson), who followed up a win at Harrah's with a condition win on Friday night at Pocono in 1:55:2; Waiting On A Woman (Kevin Wallis, Travis Kolaczynski), who returned off a win at Tioga to score a condition victory on Wednesday night in 1:54; and Money On My Mind (Eric Carlson, Julie Miller), who exploded for a condition victory on Friday night in a sharp 1:53. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ABSOLUTELY MICHAEL In a claiming pace on Tuesday night, Absolutely Michael, with Anthony Napolitano in the bike, overcame an outside post and a tough first-over journey to score at 16-1, paying out $35.60 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. The meet's leading driver had 43 drives on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night and he won 19 of them. That's pretty much all you need to know about his amazing week. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JAMES EATON Eaton trained three winners this week, two on Saturday night and one on Wednesday, with all of them coming in rugged condition paces. 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. Jim Beviglia
We returned to a full racing schedule this past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs after a few weeks of an interrupted slate. The action picked up fast and furious from where it left off, producing a plethora of candidates for the Weekly Awards. Without further ado, let’s get right to it and highlight the best of the best of the week that was. PACER OF THE WEEK: ROCKIN THE HOUSE Saturday night witnessed the first sloppy track at Pocono in quite some time, but that didn’t stop the powerhouses in the $25,000 Preferred Pace from putting on an impressive show. The best of the group appeared to be red hot Chester invader Bestjetyet, but his early break threw the race wide open for the other competitors. Rockin The House proved to be ready for the opportunity. The 6-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn had won his previous start in a rugged condition group in gate-to-wire fashion, but, because of the move up in class, he was only a 9-1 shot on Saturday. Driver Matt Kakaley settled him in the pocket early, but things still looked dire when pacesetter Flem N Em N opened up a nice margin heading into the stretch. Rockin The House had something left to give in the lane though, while Flem N Em N began to falter. As they approached the line, Rockin The House went past and prevailed by a half-length. That made it two wins in a row and three in the last five for the gelding, who scorched the slop to the tune of a 1:50:2 winning time. Other top pacers this week include: Competition Cam (Tyler Buter, Richard Banca), who stepped up in class to handle the toughest pacers on the grounds on Saturday night with a rallying win in 1:51:4, giving him three victories in a row; First Impression (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who, despite moving up his claiming price and switching barns, chalked up his third win in a row on Saturday night, this one in 1:53:1 in the slop; and Lotsa Chrome (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), whose rallying win in Tuesday night’s condition pace came in 1:50:1, fastest time of the week at Pocono. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: KEYSTONE THOMAS When Keystone Thomas arrived at Pocono earlier in the meet, he was immediately slotted against the very best trotters on the grounds and was maybe a tad overmatched. Thus began a process of his handlers moving him from class to class in an effort to find the right spot for him to compete. That process seems to have reached its fruition the last few weeks. Trained and driven by Joe Pavia Jr., the gelding parlayed a pocket trip into a victory in 1:54:2 on September 6. On Saturday night, he moved up in class into a condition for non-winners of $19,000 in the last five races and got away at 5-1. Pavia was the aggressor nonetheless, putting Keystone Thomas in front early and holding tight. Things did indeed get tight, but the 7-year-old gelding dug deep and held off all comers. Pavia guided him across the line in 1:55:3, a rock-solid time considering the lousy racing conditions. With wins in two races in a row, this talented veteran appears to have finally found his stride, meaning that he might be able to advance even higher to continue an already-impressive season. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Quantum Lightning (George Napolitano, Bill Mullin), who stepped up in class to the $10,000 claimers on Tuesday and earned his second straight win at Pocono, this one coming in 1:56; Judith (Anthony Napolitano driver and trainer), a mare whose win over the $7,500 claimers on Friday night in 1:56:2 was her second straight in that class; and Wind Of The North (Matt Kakaley, Clifton Green), who scored a win over an excellent condition field on Saturday night in 1:55:1 in the slop. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: EXCEL NINE He got a break when the horse that crossed the line first was disqualified for interference, meaning this condition pacer driven by Matt Romano inherited a victory Saturday night at 29-1, paying off $60 to win. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley is currently experiencing one of the hottest stretches of his season. He followed up four victories on Saturday night with six more winners on Tuesday. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PIERRE PARADIS Pierre has been a productive member of the training community at Pocono for many years, and this week he added two more wins to the ledger, including a 21-1 shot on Wednesday with ER Mr T. That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. by Jim Beviglia for Pocono Downs
The kids are going back to school, real football is about to be played, and my tan, what there was of it, has long since faded. That can only mean that the summer months are winding down and, as Bob Seger once sang, autumn's closin' in. Still, there is no let-up whatsoever in the racing action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as was evident in the racing week just gone past. So let's celebrate the finest performers of the last four racing nights by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: BLISSFULL DREAMER It's difficult to sustain a long winning streak in the sport of harness racing, even for a horse who stays in the same class. That's because staying in the same class doesn't necessarily mean facing the same field week after week, as hot horses could be moving up from lower classes while horses used to facing tougher competition might be dropping down. Add to that the vagaries of post position week to week, racing luck, and the simple possibility of an off week, and you can see why a four-race winning streak like the one Blissfull Dreamer was riding heading into her race on Friday night is such an achievement. Blissfull Dreamer has been sharp all year long as a 4-year-old mare, coming into her battle with the $12,500 distaff claimers on Friday with victories in 11 of 24 races on the season. She has shown the ability to come from off the pace in past races, but, with an inside post on Friday, she was sent to the lead early on by driver Ron Pierce to control the pace. Her fifth straight victory wasn't destined to be an easy win, however, as long shot Fire In The Night made a strong move in the stretch. Blissfull Dreamer, trained by Rene Allard, had the ultimate answer though, digging in late to win by a neck in 1:53:1. That makes it five in a row, the longest winning streak at Pocono this season, one that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Other top pacers this week: Ultimate Beachboy (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who won a showdown with fellow Super Stakes Saturday winner Jonny Rock by a nose in Saturday night's featured condition pace in 1:50; Rick's Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), whose victory over a field of $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:51:3 was his Third Straight at Pocono and fourth in a row overall; and Power Pach Hanover (Andy Miller, John Cancelliere), a 3-year-old filly who now has three wins in a row at Pocono after her condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:50:4. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: FLASHBACKS This 4-year-old stallion from the Wendy Chellis barn fell into a bit of a rut when he arrived from Tioga in June, struggling to make much of a mark against the tougher condition trotters on the grounds. The light switched on when he dropped down into a condition for non-winners of $11,000 in the last five races on August 9. As a 9-1 shot he made a strong first over move and scored an upset win in a career-best 1:53:1. Flashbacks was back at it again on Friday night in the same class, yet he was still given a tepid chance from the fans as a 7-2 third choice. This time around driver Drew Chellis decided to send his trotter to the front early, reaching the quarter in a rapid time which seemed to augur trouble for Flashbacks if he couldn't pace himself a little better. But Drew Chellis rated the horse masterfully through the middle portion of the race, conserving energy for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Flashbacks was still itching to go, and he powered home for a second consecutive win, this one in 1:54:3. With two straight impressive wins, this trotter with a name that suggests a dive back into the past is definitely looking ahead to a bright future. Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: From Above (Andrew McCarthy, Mark Silva), who won the week's featured condition trot on Saturday night in 1:54; Ballet Slippers (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), a filly who now has three straight wins, the last two coming at Pocono, after a condition victory on Friday night in 1:57:1; and Bloomfieldcantifly (Anthony Napolitano, Rene Allard), a mare who ripped off her second straight claiming handicap win on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FLIGHT EXEC Despite back-to-back wins coming into the race, Flight Exec, with Kevin Wallis driving, was a 23-1 shot when he upended a field of $25,000 claimers on Saturday nightand paid out $48.20 on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Anthony Napolitano Anthony has been a steady presence in the drivers' standings all year long, but he's really been picking up the pace of late, as evidenced by a driving triple on Tuesday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Tony Alagna Alagna sent a pair of 2-year-olds to the gate on Tuesday night, and both Status Quo and Some Playa, came away with convincing victories. 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
Next week in this column, we'll be highlighting all the action on Super Stakes Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a stunning program of harness racing in which just about all of the sport's top superstars will compete. That should be a special evening, but, in the meantime, we were witness to another excellent week of racing at Pocono, and it's time to celebrate the best of that action by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: STONEHOUSE ADAM This six-year-old gelding from the Ron Burke barn is having the best year of his career in 2013. His earnings of over six figures this season have practically doubled his lifetime bank account. On Saturday night, he stepped up in class to the toughest condition group on the grounds for a purse of $21,000. Two weeks previous to that, Stonehouse Adam had come up just short in that class with a hard-luck second-place finish. Yet he bounced back last week with a confidence-building win in lesser company in a career-best 1:50 flat. Building off that, driver Matt Kakaley sent the gelding to the front end early in Saturday night, a move that was made easier by an inside post position. Kakaley rated the speed brilliantly for the first half-mile, and his horse needed every bit of his energy through the second half of the mile as competitors came at him from all sides. Stonehouse Adam dug in for the stretch drive and persevered for the victory in 1:50:2. With two straight gutsy wins, this veteran pacer seems to be hitting not only the best stride of his season, but also of his entire career. Other top pacers this week include: Blissfull Dreamer (Ron Pierce, Rene Allard), a mare who rolled to victory over a field of $12,500 claimers on Friday night in 1:53, giving her wins in her last four starts; Rick's Crossroads (Matt Kakaley, Brewer Adams), who moved up in class on Friday night for a $7,500 claiming victory in 1:51:3, making it two wins in a row at Pocono and three in a row overall; and Atochia (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), the acclaimed veteran whose win in a condition pace on Saturday night in 1:49 matched a career-best and was the fastest of the week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HYANNIS HANOVER It's unusual for us to name a 2-year-old as one of the Weekly Award winners. It's even more unusual for it to be a 2-year-old with only two races under his belt. Yet Hyannis Hanover is the choice this week, not only for the fact that he won the first two races of his career, but also for the circumstances surrounding those wins. In his debut on August 7 against other two-year-olds, the gelding sired by Cantab Hall went off at towering odds of 90-1 in his debut. Yet there he was at the end, rallying from way back in the pack to upset the field in 2:01:1. The modest winning time and the fact that several horses in the race broke stride made the race look like a bit of a fluke, which was probably why Hyannis Hanover was let go at 9-1 as he moved up into a Stallion Series race on Tuesday night. This time around it was no fluke. Driver Bret Brittingham maneuvered Hyannis Hanover from the outside post into a pocket seat behind even-money favorite Broadway Charm, then pounced when the leader faltered. In trotting away to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:58:3, Hyannis Hanover, trained by Don Brittingham, looked more like 1-9 than 9-1. The lesson: Underestimate this freshman trotter at your own peril. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Flashbacks (Drew Chellis, Wendy Chellis), who surprised a condition group at 9-1 on Friday night and did so in 1:53:1, the fastest trotting time at Pocono this week; Zumba Mouse (Anthony Napolitano, Randy Bendis), a mare who scored her second straight upset win against claiming handicap competition on Tuesday night, this one coming in 1:54:3; and Lexis Amigo (Andy Miller, Jeffrey Smith), who picked up a win in rugged condition company on Friday night in 1:53:3. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FAUST That name might implay a deal with the devil, but Faust simply out-trotted his foes in Stallion Series action Tuesday night with Howard Parker driving at 17-1 for a $37.20 win payout. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Mike Simons One of Pocono's favorite drivers came up with a milestone win on Wednesday night aboard Mac's Bad Boy, as Mike picked up his 3,000th career victory. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Jim Campbell Campbell always has a strong contingent of younger horses, and he showed it off Tuesday night by training two winners of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. That will do if for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. Jim Beviglia
For the past few weeks in this column, we've largely concentrated on some of the outstanding stakes races that have been held recently at the track and the exploits of some of the horses who excelled in those races. With a little break in the stakes schedule at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, it seems like as good a time as any to get back to primarily profiling the overnight horses who battle it out week in and week out at MSPD. That means a return to handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: ST PETE STAR Being an effective claiming horse usually means that you're going to be putting your suitcase down in a new barn practically every week. The best claiming horses can overcome this peripatetic lifestyle and find ways to win regardless of which barn they're representing, and St Pete Star is one of those horses who have proven recently he can do just that. St Pete Star, a 9-year-old stallion, started a winning streak on June 23 with a career-best win in 1:49:3 in a $20,000 claimer for the Paul Holzman. He followed that up six nights later by handling that same class once again, this time for the PJ Fraley barn in 1:50:2. He joined the Rene Allard barn in his effort to win his Third Straight in the same class on Saturday night. Allard gave the reins to George Napolitano Jr., who sent St Pete Star to the early lead and let him do the rest. He hustled home for the victory as a 3-5 favorite in 1:51, and, for his trouble, he was claimed once again. The new barn knows it has a real commodity on its hands: A horse on such a hot streak that it might not know where he'll next call home, but it can still find comfort in the familiarity of the Winner's Circle. Other top pacers this week include: Keystone Neptune (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), whose victory over the $15,000 claimers on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:1 was his second straight and his fourth in his last five; Reckless Ric (Anthony Napolitano, Aaron Lambert), whose victory in a condition pace on Saturday night came in 1:49:1, the fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Western Guy (George Napolitano Jr., Peter Pellegrino), who moved up in class on Sunday night and still won his Third Straight claimer, two of which came at Pocono, this time scoring in 1:51:3. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PRISMATICA This mare started a hot streak in chilly spring temperatures in Canada and it hasn't abated even in the stifling heat of the Northeastern Pennsylvania summer. She came into Pocono off a win at Saratoga on May 17 and promptly won the first three races she started at MSPD to cultivate a four-race winning streak overall. Her toughest test figured to be on Tuesday night, as she took on a claiming handicap field with claiming prices ranging from $15,000 to $20,000. Considering that she started her streak at Pocono at a claiming price of $7,500, it was evident how far she had moved up in the world during this span of racing. She joined the Lou Pena barn for the race on Tuesday night. Driver George Napolitano Jr. sent the mare to the front end early, and she was pressured throughout by several competitors. In the stretch, she dug in deep and found a way to sustain for the victory in 1:54:1. That marked the fifth consecutive win for Prismatica and it came in a career-best time. It will be interesting to see if she can move up even further and push that winning streak to new heights in the near future. Honorable mention on the trotting side includes: DW's NY Yank (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who burned his way to a condition trotting win on Saturday night in a new career mark of 1:51:3, which was also the fastest time at Pocono this week; C-O To Bluegrass (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who churned his way to his second straight claiming win on Tuesday night, this one in a career-best 1:54:3; and Sarah's Hall (Matt Romano, Steven Bartholomew), a filly whose upset win in a condition trot on Friday night at 11-1 in a career-best 1:56:1 was her second straight victory. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SCHALOM G In a wild finish to a claiming handicap trot on Sunday night, this gelding with Marcus Miller in the bike came flying up on the far outside to win at 28-1, paying off $59.60 for a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: Simon Allard One of the newer faces in the Pocono driving community, Allard made his biggest impact yet at Pocono this week by picking up driving doubles on Saturday and Tuesday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Lou Pena Pena has been a big winner in the past at Pocono, and he's been at it again of late. This past week he won on four straight racing nights, scoring five training wins in all. 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.
Opening week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is officially in the books, and it was a great four nights of haness racing. Although Mother Nature hasn't yet cooperated with better racing temperatures, at least there were fast tracks all week long. That allowed for some sizzling racing regardless of the weather.
The vocal group the Eagles enjoyed a big hit with their " New Kid in Town" and harness racing fans at Monticello raceway are enjoying a 'new kid in town' this winter in the presence of Anthony Napolitano.
Monticello Raceway's harness racing 'Name Your Price Claiming Series' got underway on Monday afternoon with three divisions for fillies and mares and strangely the final times for all three winners, Pot Limit , Romi Mystic, and Tracey's Song , was 2:00.3.
The four-year-old mare Tui beat the boys in a $18,000 condition trot on Friday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and set a harness racing world record for her age group in the process.
Cara Mia Hanover has earned a deserved reputation as a broodmare responsible for producing offspring that raced to a remarkable number of upset harness racing wins in the 2011-2012 campaign at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
Aracache Hanover was the first millionaire pacer to appear in the $12,000 purse Open Handicap Pace since Big Bad John eight weeks ago when the March 10th harness racing edition turned to the starting gate at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
It might have seemed to reinsman Anthony Napolitano that he had to drive all night before prevailing in an 8-1 upset photo finish decision in Pompano's $12,000 purse Open Handicap Pace. And that's exactly what he did. With an unlikely trip scenario, Napolitano teamed Drive All Night to a hard closing victory.
The combination of a late afternoon rain which dulled the harness racing track for leaders into the stretch worked in tandem with an excellent trip scenario to produce a huge upset in the Saturday night, February 4 feature at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
Will there ever be a live harness racing program this season at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano when trainer John McNeil III doesn't win at least one race?