Day At The Track
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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 by Jim Beviglia

Emerging top international trotting star Timoko (6m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces-And Arifant) won today’s Grand Prix de Wallonie at Hippdrome Wallonie/Mons (Belgium). The Gr. I International UET Masters Series event produced an exciting and unpredictably close finish as the winner, driven by veteran Joseph Verbeeck for trainer/owner Richard Westerink, held off fast closing Reve de Beylev (8m Fortuna Font-Heloise Poterie) driven by Dominik Locqueneux for Ecurie du Haras and trainer Sebastien Guarto. Deuxieme Picsous (6m In Love With You-Carmela Strimline) ended third for Johan Untersteiner. The winner traveled the 2300 meter course in 1.13.1kr to secure the winners share of the 150,000 euro purse. Verbeeck hustled Timoko to a quick lead off the car as heavy favorite Ready Cash took the pocket spot, where he stayed throughout. Verbeeck carefully rated the pace leaving several pursuers in the death seat. Ready Cash was unable to escape and just off the last bend broke and ran the length of the stretch on the inside. Timoko drifted out slightly and barely held off Reve de Beylev in the drive. The Grand Prix produced a large crowd of fans at Mons/Ghlin as the fans packed the facility and surrounded the outside racetrack fence. Yesterday at Skelleftea (SWE) top racing was on the agenda and 2013 Elitloppet winner Nahar won the featured Stig Lindmarks Pris over 3140 meters for 150,000SEK first money. Trainer Robert Bergh drove the winner to an easy 1.14.6kr score for owned Stall Sedin HB. Nahar (8g Love You-Mahonny Broline-Joie de Vie) now has 24 victories in 69 career starts for earnings in excess of 9 million SEK. Bergh also scored in a 2140 meter event for 100,000SEK first prize with Bradley (4m Love You-Boria-Supergill) in 1.14kr. The lightly raced colt won for the eighth time in 22 starts. Four other 100,000SEK first money events were on the card for warmbloods, with the winners being: Sundsvik Saigon (7m Diamond Circle-VG Glory Girl-Recourse) for John Ostman in 1.12.7kr; 2140 meters autostart for 125,000SEK first money in a Silver Division contest, his 19th win in 48 lifetime starts; Oracle Kronos (5g Kadabra-Gala Aas-Pine Chip) for Ulf Ohlsson in 1.11.5kr; 1640 meters for 110,000SEK to the winner in a Bronze Division event, the winners’ 12th score in 22 career starts; ZagrosBoko (7g Viking Kronos-Namarra Boko-Viking’s Way) in 1.12.7kr over 1640 meters autostart in a 100,000SEK first prize Klass I event. Ulf Ohlsson drove the winner to his 10th victory in 47 career appearances; Pompano (5g From Above-Flying Fish-Smokin Yankee) took a Klass II event over 2640 meters for 100,000 first money. Petter Lundberg drove the winner to his fifth win in 15 starts, scoring in 1.15.7kr. The coldblood feature for 150,000SEK to the winner went to veteran Hallsta Lotus (13m Jarvsofaks-Hallsta Malibu-Mosater) for Ulf Ohlsson. He covered 1640 meters autostart in 1.20.5kr to prevail in a photo over Faksen JR (11h Jarvsofaks-Tummelisa-Elding) and trainer Jan Ove Olsen. The winner now has 71 career wins (42%) in 170 starts for earnings of 9,273,785SEK. He’s a solid seven for 15 in 2013. The second place finisher is also a good performer, with 34 wins in 108 outings for earnings of over 3.88 million SEK. Thomas H. Hicks  

Little Brown Fox and driver Brian Sears traded the early lead with Cedar Dove (Ron Pierce) and then took command for good in capturing the $75,000 Vincennes Free-For-All Trot for older mares in 1:53.3. From Above (Corey Callahan) was second with Beatgoeson Hanover (Dave Miller) third. By the three-quarters in looked as if the entire filed had bunched together and were going to sweep down on Little Brown Fox, but Brian Sears keep the four-year-old daughter of Muscles Yankee on top throughout the stretch to win by a half length. Trained by none other than Jimmy Takter, Little Brown Fox posted her fourth win of the year for owners Christina Takter, Brixton Medical, John & Jim Fielding and Brittany Farms. She paid $10.60 to win. Steve Wolf

Ecurie Quick Star's bred and owned Up and Quick (5m Buvetier d'Aunou-Fichtre-Quiton du Coral) handily won today's Gr. II Prix Louis Jariel for 120,000 euro at Paris-Vincennes.

Fascination (4f Super Arnie-Elissa F.Z.-Lemon Dra) won her initial 2013 start at Jagersro, scoring in 1.15km in the Dackerians Prize over 2140 meters (autostart) for a purse of 85,000Sek.

The trend was upwards on Thursday evening at the first session of the Swedish Breeders Association's Kriterium sale in Stockholm.

Bjorn Goop's superstar Quarcio du Chene (Capriccio) stole the show at the Solvalla V75 finals winning Gold Division Final (December 26) for his third straight harness racing victory, while Flemming Jensen's Danish invader Mathilde Trojborg (Earthquake)won the Baroness Karsks race.

Downtown Fortuna, a Dutch colt sired by Broadway Hall and out of Saratoga Yankee (she by Yankee Glide), fetched the highest price of $93,000 at the 2 Companion Sale held in The Netherlands.

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