There was a "little" something for everyone on Tuesday night at Pompano Park-fast miles, favorites and longshots-and there will be some "big" somethings when the South Florida oval hosts its Wednesday night harness racing program. First, Royal Max scored a "three-peat" victory in Pompano Park's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot and tacked on a new lifetime mark, as well-1:53.2. The five year-old son of RC Royalty, with Joe Pavia, Jr. in the bike this night, was used hard gaining the top spot through an opener of :26.4 before yielding to the track recording holding mare Oho Diamond, handled by Wally Hennessey, who guided his charge halfway through the mile in :55.4. On the backside, Pavia was on the move again with Royal Max and he took command and opened some daylight heading into the far turn and by the third station in 1:23.3 In the lane, Oho Diamond cut into the margin but really never threatened the winner, finishing a length away. She's All In (Rick Plano) finished third while Sailer Eddie and Uriel completed a "barber pole" 5-4-3-2-1 finish. Trained by Chris Oakes for owner Albert Crawford, the lightly raced gelding won for the third time in four starts this year, sending his seasonal bankroll to $26,250. He's now 11 for 30 lifetime, good for $168,200. In a post-race interview, driver Joe Pavia, Jr. said, "This is the first time I drove this horse, so I didn't really know what to expect other than Chris (trainer Oakes) saying he was real good right now. "Boy, was he ever! I thought that opener might take some sting out of him but, when we straightened out on the backside, it seemed like he was 'begging' to go. Chris said that I'd like him. "That was an understatement. I LOVE him!" Off at 1 to 5 on the tote-board, Royal Max paid $2.60 to his multitude of backers. The Tuesday night program also featured yet another race for the "senior citizens" in the trotting ranks with the "Over The Hill Gang" event for nine year-olds and up and, once again, the "two" senior citizens in the group-one of the equine kind and the other of the human kind-captured the event. Celtic Merchant, the amazing 13 year-old gelded son of Angus Hall, with 64 year-old Rick Plano in the bike, scored his second straight win and fourth in his past five starts with a handy score in 1:56.3. I'll Tell You What, handled by Dave Ingraham, closed with ferocity to finish second while the pacesetting Smokin Dabra, with John MacDonald driving, picked up show honors after slicing off panels of :27.3; :58 and 1:27.1. Thekeptman was fourth and Gimme The Loot picked up the nickel in the field of nine. In this very deep field with the nine starters accounting for close to 300 wins and almost $3 million in earnings, Celtic Merchant won for the fourth time this semester in seven starts and 46th time career-wise with this victory sending his lifetime earnings to $357,856. As the 5 to 2 second choice, Celtic Merchant paid $7.80 to win. It was, as track announcer Gabe Prewitt said, "bombs away" in the pentafecta fourth race as Certain Potential, driven by Sergio Corona, closed fastest of all to score a photo finish win in 1:56.1 This six year-old gelded son of Jailhouse Jesse, off at 118 to 1, scored his first win of the year in five starts-13th score lifetime-and paid $238.00 to win, keying a $638 exacta with the even money favorite second, and a $4,762.60 trifecta. The victory left the pentafecta unscathed with a $4,466 carry-over spawning a $15,000 guarantee for Wednesday night's fourth race pentafecta pool. The "bombs away" payoff also left no live tickets going into the final leg of the Pick-5 and that carry-over is $7,749 going into the mid-week program. Wednesday's Pick-5 pool at Pompano is guaranteed at $30,000. Post time is set for 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Nichols, N.Y. -- Leading driver Mike Simons enjoyed a dominant evening at Tioga Downs on Friday (August 28), scoring four wins on the nine-race harness racing card. Among those triumphs was one with Arodasi ($4.50) in the featured $14,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace, as they held off a stout late charge from Mach It a Par to just prevail. After Simons swept the daily double with Puff Mommy ($6.80, 1:54) and Quaint Irene ($6.20, 1:57.3), he settled to the back of the pack with Arodasi in the distaff feature. Second from last in the field of six and trailed only by even-money favourite Mach It a Par, the 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror was far off a torrid :54.3 initial half mile produced by pacesetter Shutthefrontdoor (John Cummings, Jr.). On approach to the far turn, Simons pointed Arodasi second-over to follow the live cover of P L Hula (Aaron Byron), still stalked by Mach It a Par through a :27.3 third sectional. Arodasi swept three-wide at the apex of the turn, ultimately taking the lead just upon entering the home straight--but not home free. Mach It a Par--a winner of her five previous races--kicked cover, chasing valiantly down the grandstand side, but only able to close to within half a length of Arodasi's 1:50.4 victory. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.), boxed on the backstretch and far turn, escaped traffic in upper stretch to just save third. Trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. shares ownership of Arodasi with Peter Shank, Joseph Barbera, and the AGC Stables, Inc. Despite a pair of near misses in races four and five, Simons bounced back to complete his grand slam in the sixth race, a $5,000 claiming trot. Ashcroft ($4.40), a 13-year-old gelding Simons owns in partnership with Albert Abdala, III, made an early push to the lead, holding clear of a late-rallying Berto Adalina (Jason MacDougall) in 1:56.4. Simons's son Shawn trains the 59-time winner. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 29) evening, with the first of nine races due off at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
Nichols, N.Y. -- Enjoying a second-over trip through a :28 third quarter, Arodasi ($4.30) prevailed as the even-money harness racing favourite, kicking cover and sprinting clear to a 1:51.1 victory in Friday (August 21) evening's $14,000 Mares Open Pace at Tioga Downs. Mike Simons kept the 6-year-old Western Terror mare off a contested early pace, settling into fourth as Shutthefrontdoor (Dan Clements), Donttellruss (Aaron Byron), and Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) all vied for contention through a :27 initial quarter. After Southwind Trini, who won that three-way battle, rated a :55.2 half, she faced strong first-over pressure from Donttellruss on the backstretch. Arodasi slid second-over on approach to the far turn, closing in steadily and swinging three-wide as Donttellruss reached the apex of her bid. While Southwind Trini had enough to repel Donttellruss's challenge, Arodasi was able to vault clear in the final sixteenth, drawing off to defeat the longtime pacesetter by 1-1/4 lengths. Justhaventmetuyet (Corey Braden) rallied belatedly down the grandstand side to take third. Trainer Joe Pavia, Jr. owns Arodasi in partnership with Peter Shank, Joseph Barbera, and the AGC Stables, Inc. John Cummings, Jr. and Jim Marohn, Jr. both recorded driving doubles on the nine-race card. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (August 22) evening, with the first of 10 races scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Eastern time. by James Witherite, Tioga Downs
WILKES-BARRE PA -- The rise and rise of Caution Signs continued at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday, as he won his fourth straight race, and second straight Open, at the harness racing mountain oval, tonight in 1:49.2 over a less-than-prime track on a cooling and wet evening. The son of Dream Maker was sent right to the front by Joe Pavia Jr., putting up a split of 26.1 to open, and he then came home in 55.1 - 27.2 in the off going to hold off Scott Rocks by a neck, with Blatantly Best third. The five-year-old was eligible to "non-winners of 5 races lifetime" when claimed for $12,500 at Yonkers on April 16 by owner/trainer Tracy Brainard. Since then Caution Signs has climbed the class ladder while posting a 10-7-3-0 record, earning $92,925 in the three-month period. A pair of $24,000 co-features, one on each gait, also took to the track Saturday after the rains had come and the temperature cooled. Auspicious Hanover upped his 2015 record with trotting hopples to 3-4, and Pennsylvania record with them to 3-3, when he won wire-to-wire in 1:54.1 for trainer Chris Oakes and owner Susan Oakes. The altered son of Andover Hall, driven by Kevin Wallis, returned $53.20 to win despite beating a very similar crew at Harrah's Philadelphia two races back. Wallis almost swept the underfeatures, but his charge Mustang Art came up 3/4 of a length to Sparky Mark, a 1:50.4 winner in the pacing event. The winning son of Astreos made an early move to command and held sway to the wire, nudging his bankroll ever-closer to seven figures, with the current total $941,556. Simon Allard guided Sparky Mark for trainer/brother Rene and owners Kapildeo Singh and Michael Assante. PHHA / Pocono
Sire Donato Hanover was the biggest All-Star on a night when state-sired two-year-old trotting fillies raced for $210,000 in Pennsylvania All-Stars competition, as he sired five of the seven winners during the Wednesday night action at the harness racing meeting at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The quickest of the seven winners could have been predicted by pedigree students: it was Broadway Donna, a Donato Hanover out of Broadway Schooner, a full sister to world champion Cooler Schooner, who had the harness world buzzing when she set a 1:51.3 world standard here as a 2YO. Broadway Donna, now undefeated in three outings and two pari-mutuel starts, quarter-moved to command and won by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:55.3 for driver David Miller, trainer Jim Campbell ("Cooler"'s conditioner), and owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC. Of all the winning trainers and drivers in the seven All-Star events, only trainer John Butenschoen tallied twice, once with a Donato Hanover His was Twill Be Done, who took the lead past the quarter and went on to a 1:58.4 triumph for driver Mike Simons, the local "Trot Man," who is also co-owner with Christopher Giaccio and Albert Abdala III. Rounding out the Donato Fivesome, in order of faster clockings, were Woman's Will in 1:56.4 for driver Andy Miller, trainer Julie Miller, and owner/breeders Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz; Windowshopper, who made every pole a winning one in 1:57 for trainer-driver Ray Schnittker, also co-owner with Charles Iannazzo; and Grand Canyon, home in 1:58.1 for driver John Campbell, trainer Nancy Johansson, and owner/breeder Diamond Creek. Butenschoen's other winner was Lookin Hanover, a daughter of Andover Hall who personally came home in 28.2 despite a first-over trip to tally in 1:58.1 for driver Corey Callahan and owners William Wiswell and M And L Of Delaware Inc. The night's other stakes winner posted the second-fastest time among the fillies: Whitelake Hanover, a daughter of Explosive Matter who opened up an insurmountable lead down the backstretch and stopped the timer at 1:56.3 for driver Joe Pavia Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Omar Beiler, Dennis Coons, and Susan Oakes. * * * * * * * Late driver changes and top three morning line choices for the big four Championship races and the Sun Invitational Trot to be held on Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono, plus the first three choice in the morning line: $75,000 SUN INVITATIONAL TROT No late driver changes Top three choices: JL Cruze, Sebastian K S, Classic Martine $300,000 JAMES LYNCH 3PF CHAMPIONSHIP Jim Morrill Jr. will drive Momas Got A Gun; Brett Miller, originally listed, will stay with Wicked Little Minx Top three choices: Sassa Hanover, Stacia Hanover, Momas Got A Gun $500,000 MAX C. HEMPT 3PC CHAMPIONSHIP No late driver changes Top three choices: Wiggle It Jiggleit, Wakizashi Hanover, Artspeak $500,000 BEN FRANKLIN FFAP CHAMPIONSHIP Simon Allard will drive Domethatagain; Tim Tetrick, originally listed, will stick with Mach It So Top three choices: State Treasurer, Vegas Vacation, Luck Be Withyou $500,000 EARL BEAL JR. 3TC CHAMPIONSHIP Brian Sears will drive Crazy Wow; Yannick Gingras, originally listed, will stick with Pinkman Top three choices: Uncle Lasse, Pinkman, Cruzado Dela Noche Jerry Connors
This was a particularly fun week of harness racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono because each of the four nights hosted either the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes or the Stallion Series. Since we had that unique phenomenon occur, I thought I'd give the Weekly Awards a break and simply focus on the races that went down in those two unique series. For those who are unaware, the Sire Stakes pit the best 2 and 3-year-olds in the state of Pennsylvania against each other through the spring and summer months with big stakes on the line, eventually wrapping up in finals which carry purses in the six figures. The Stallion Series also feature the freshmen and sophomores of the racing world, and although the horses that compete here are usually a notch below the Sire Stakes competitors and the purses are a bit lower, the winnings a horse can accumulate through the preliminary legs and the finals can be quite substantial. This week we got a look at the cream of the crop of three-year-old trotters of both the male and female gender. Here are some of the highlights: 3-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS SIRE STAKES TROT (Saturday night) The sport of harness racing's most prestigious race is the Hambletonian, and the way it appears now, we at Pocono witnessed the favorite for that race on Saturday night. Pinkman, from the barn of Jimmy Takter, won the 2-year-old Breeders Crown championship to end 2014 and started his 3-year-old campaign off with back-to-back dominant Sire Stakes wins. He didn't disappoint at Pocono on Saturday night, handling a tough field on the front end in a rapid 1:53 with Brett Miller in the bike. Oddly enough, the horse that could challenge Pinkman for 3-year-old honors is his stablemate Uncle Lasse, who cruised to his third straight Sire Stakes win in 1:52:2, the fastest time of the three divisions held on Saturday night. Brett Miller once again drove for Takter. The lone close Sire Stakes battle came when Wicker Hanover, with Andrew McCarthy in the bike for Noel Daley, won a wild stretch battle by a nose over Walter White in 1:53 for his second straight Sire Stakes win. 3-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS STALLION SERIES TROT (Sunday night) Just as the Sire Stakes held form, the Stallion Series races the following night blew that form up. Not one of the favorites in the five divisions came home a winner, as several broke stride early to end their chances. Give credit to those horses who came up big while the favorites faltered, such as Pierre and Colbert, who each picked up their maiden victories, and Paging Doctorlindy, who was racing for just the third time in his career. Mesmerized posted the night's fastest time in the Stallion Series with a seven-length romp in 1:53:4. Joe Pavia Jr. did the driving for trainer Frank Antonacci, who later scored a second win with Paging Doctorlindy. Meanwhile it was an up-and-down night for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. He had two heavy favorites come up empty, but got a boost when Colbert knocked off odds-on favorite Hurrikane Jonny K in his split. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES STALLION SERIES TROT (Tuesday night) Once again it was a Jimmy Takter trainee who stole the spotlight. Lilu Hanover, a filly who's had problems staying flat in the past, shook all that off in her division. With Takter doing the driving as well, she rolled to a four-length win and posted Tuesday night's fastest Stallion Series time of 1:54:1 in the process. Favorites Seduce A Stranger and Manhattan Miss also delivered on their odds-on promise to win splits. There were some mild surprises though. Wouldn't Itbesweet, with McCarthy aboard for trainer Jenny Melander, knocked off favorite Fashion Voyager in a fierce stretch duel. And Sistas, a 9-2 shot just joining the Chris Oakes barn, uncorked a late move from the pocket with George Napolitano driving to upend 3-5 Takter trainee Speak To Me in the night's biggest upset. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES SIRE STAKES TROT (Wednesday night) It looked for all the world like we were headed to a Jimmy Takter sweep of the three Sire Stakes divisions on Wednesday night. First Smexi, with Corey Callahan in the bike, overcame a #9 post to win her split as a 3-5 shot in 1:53:3. Then Sarcy, benefitting from the late scratch of likely favorite Livininthefastlane, controlled matters on the front end with Yannick Gingras driving to win her division in 1:53:1. In the night's final division, Wild Honey, another Takter horse and winner of 11 of 13 lifetime starts, was a 1-9 favorite and appeared to be on her way to victory on the front end. But Smokinmombo, trained by Chris Beaver, pounced from the pocket late and outfinished the heavy favorite to win by a nose in 1:53:4, providing a thrilling exclamation point for this exciting collection of stakes races. 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. Jim Beviglia,
Next week, the harness racing action at Pocono really kicks into another gear with our first Sire Stakes action of the season and our first Open pacing and trotting events for the meet. This past week was no slouch though, thanks to Pennsylvania All Stars action and some thrilling overnight racing. Let's take a look at which horses and horsemen stood above all in the past four racing nights by handing out the Weekly Awards. Pacer of the week: Dynamic Youth It's good sometimes to have a long memory when you're trying to handicap a race. Take the case of Dynamic Youth in Saturday night's condition pace for non-winners of $15,000 in the last five starts. The 6-year-old gelding from the Aaron Lambert barn had won his previous start against lower company in a solid effort in 1:51:1. Saturday night represented a step up the condition ladder though, and considering he had finished ninth in a lower group at The Meadowlands, the morning line oddsmaker, who shall remain nameless (although his name rhymes with Schmim Schmeviglia), decided to tag him with odds of 6-1. The betting public, however, who likely remembered how many classic miles this one has put together in the past at Pocono, bet him down to a 4-5 favorite. The fans were right. With George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, Dynamic Youth took charge early and powered through the second half of the mile, keeping his competition at bay for a victory in 1:50:1. Maybe he just needed to be back at his old haunts, or maybe he just needed the backing of the faithful. Whatever the case, Dynamic Youth is back on top of his game with two straight victories, so under estimate him at your own peril. Other top pacers this week include: Rose Run Quest (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who, even after a barn switch, picked up his third straight condition pacing win on Tuesday night in 1:52:3, which was a new career mark for him; A J Corbelli (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who rolled to his second straight condition win on Saturday night, this one coming in 1:50:3; and Caviart Shelley (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who moved up in class and still won her third straight condition pace on Wednesday night, matching her career mark of 1:51:4 in the process. Trotter of the week: Ali De Vie This 5-year-old gelding loves to race at Pocono. Coming into his start on Wednesday night in a $12,500 to $15,000 claiming handicap, he had won four races in a row when he was at the Pocono oval. Sprinkled in that stretch were a pair of struggling performances at Harrah's at Philadelphia, so maybe the right thing to do would be to keep this one here until somebody knocks him off. After wins the past two weeks for trainer Rene Allard, Ali De Vie was claimed and joined the barn of Jenny Melander for his start on Wednesday night. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of nine, the gelding sat in fourth early on as Browner Shuttle set the pace. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. waited for an opening and then sent Ali De Vie on a first-over journey on the back stretch. Although he found no cover to help him out, Ali De Vie corralled Browner Shuttle at the top of the stretch. Once he had the lead, he had to deal with Fall Creek Bandit, who had an excellent trip in the pocket and was coming up the passing lane. But Morrill and Ali De Vie had just enough to hold him off and win it in 1:55:3. That makes three wins in a row overall and five for his last five at Pocono. This horse truly loves this course. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: P L Eureka (George Napolitano Jr., John Barchi), whose claiming handicap victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:2 was his fourth in his last five; Sentry (Larry Stalbaum, Jenny Melander), who snuck up the inside late on Saturday night for an upset win in the week's top condition trot in 1:54, which matched a career-best; and Picture This (Charlie Norris driver and trainer), who rolled to a condition victory on Tuesday night in 1:53:3, the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono. Long shot of the week : Cane Ridge Driver Joe Pavia Jr. worked out a pocket trip for this pacer on Saturday night and he rallied to win a claiming handicap at 45-1, paying out $92.40 on a $2 win ticket. Driver of the week: Joe Pavia Jr. Pavia only recently returned to driving duties, but he made his presence felt on Saturday night with ba pair of victories, including the huge long shot Cane Ridge. Trainer of the week: Mark Kesmodel Talk about efficiency: Kesmodel sent out three starters at Pocono al week, two on Saturday and one on Wednesday, and every one of the three came back to the barn a winner. Jim Beviglia
Pompano Beach, FL...January 10, 2015...Luca Derrico's Cadillac Phil, driven by Joe Pavia, Jr., proved he can go zero to 35 in less than two seconds and went on to score a handy two length victory over Fancyfreeshark, handled by Bruce Ranger, in Pompano Park's $13,000 Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night in 1:51.1. Duc Dorleans finished third for Donald Dupont while EZ Noah and Dont Tell Rusty earned the final two awards in the septet of top pacers. This five year-old son of Shanghai Phil won the early tussle out of the blocks with Fancyfreeshark, securing a clear lead just a stride or two past the opening marker in :27. From there, Cadillac Phil proceeded through fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.2 before Pavia put his charge in another gear, sprinting home in :27.4 while never threatened in the lane. In a post race interview, driver Joe Pavia, Jr. said, "he lived up to his name tonight. He drove just like a Cadillac...and on cruise control once he took the lead. There were only two horses that drew inside of us that showed early speed and, when one of those didn't leave, I decided 'now is the time.' He had been returning to his sharpness of a month ago and, last week, was really motoring at the end. Luca (trainer Derrico) had him razor sharp tonight!" Garnering his 13th lifetime win to go along with a mark of 1:49.3 up north, Cadillac Phil sent his lifetime bounty to $159,930--$92,870 of that earned last season. As fourth choice in the win wagering pool, Cadillac Phil returned $11.00 to win. A pair of lucrative carry-overs are among the highlights of the Sunday night card. The Pick-5 went untouched on Saturday night and that event covering races two through six sports a carry-over of close to $5,000. The Super Hi-5, to be contested on the last race of the Sunday evening program, has a carry-over of close to $30,000 after multiple winners on Saturday night insured the largest to-date Super Hi-5 jackpot in the track's history. Post time remains at 7:30 p.m. for the Sunday 11 race program. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park
Pompano Beach, FL...November 24, 2014...In the aftermath of Saturday night's card featuring Doc Dorleans spectacular 1:49 performance and five Aylor Stakes events, racing fan Gary Andrews asked, "What is Pompano Park going to do for an encore on Monday?" Director of Racing Brett Revington has the answer..."two things," he said. "First, we have our Pick-5 with a $7,500 guaranteed pool on Monday night. Second, we have a million dollar field of mares going to the gate in our excellent Open for the mares." Monday night's hefty guaranteed pool was assured when 45 to 1 shot Major Stone lit up the tote board in Saturday night's final leg of that Pick-5. As for the grand field of mares, Just A Bee and Godiva Seelster appear to be the ones to beat as Pertty Music, Ed Hensley's outstanding mare, is taking a week off after her 1:51 win last week. Hensley, though, will be represented by Time To Celebrate, fresh off of a splendid 1:51.3 win in her own right and now stepping up to the top class. Just A Bee, trained and driven by Mike Micallef, was just a photo finish away from a 1:51 mark in Pertty Music's win and Godiva Seelster, from the powerful Hennessey Stable, cut all the fractions in last week's event, finishing third, less than a length away. Of Just A Bee's performance last week, trainer Mike Micallef said, "this mare is becoming a very pleasant surprise to me. She didn't win last week, but I thought it was her best performance ever and I am hoping her blossoming talent continues." Also in the sterling field is Arodasi, representing the Joe Pavia, Jr. Stable. Arodasi is the leading money winner of the group this year at $102,900 and also owns the fastest lifetime mark--1:50.1. Mach Me Not, Winbak Heavenly and Always As Fast complete the talented field. Post time for the Monday night card is 7:30 with the Pick-5, along with the $7,500 guaranteed pool, beginning with the second race on the program. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park
Regil Elektra rallied from far back early to pull off a major upset at odds of 18-1 in the featured Open Handicap pace for mares on Friday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried the night's top purse of $35,000. Leaving from post position #3 in a field of eight, Regil Elektra (Mach Three-Top Time Notcher), a 4-year-old mare from the barn of trainer Monte Gelrod, got away seventh as a battle for the lead produced devastating early fractions. Driver Joe Pavia Jr. set the mare in motion third-over on the back stretch as the outer flow moved up on tiring pacesetter Drop The Ball. In the stretch, Regil Elektra spun out four wide and powered home in a career-best 1:50:3, holding off fellow long shot Spirit Of Desire by three-quarters of a length. Camille finished third, while Yagonnakissmeornot, the 2-1 favorite fresh off big wins at in Ohio and Kentucky, struggled to seventh. Regil Elektra, owned by Fred Monteleone Stables, won for the fifth time in 23 2014 races. It was her 17th career victory, pushing her lifetime earnings to $356,191. She paid $38.20 to win. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs
They thunder down the stretch, a sea of grey and white…a ghostly apparition of horses! It’s time again for the Grey Ghost and Poltergeist Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs! The renowned record-breaking track will play host to all grey** or roan horses on Wednesday, October 30th, otherwise known as “Mischief Night”. Entries for the race include morning line favorite Gotta Love Him, trained by Cindy Weitoish and driven by Matt Kakaley, at odds of 3-1; last year’s Grey Ghost winner Lilywhites, ready to defend her win, and driven by Mike Kimelman for trainer Sara Kimelman, at odds of 7-2 as the second favorite; Next at odds of 4-1 is the Joe Pavia Jr.-trained Express Jet, coming off a second place finish at Pocono on October 24th and driven by Ron Pierce. Also entered are Saratoga shipper Six Gun, trained by Brad Irvine and driven by Joe Bongiorno at 9-2; the Robert Lounsbury-trained Working Stiffs at 10-1, who finished in the money in her last four starts at Monticello Raceway; Artic Byrd, shipping in from Yonkers, and trained and driven by Truman Gale, at odds of 12-1; odds of 5-1 on McThird Dimension, trained by Blake Macintosh and driven by Simon Allard; and Hillcrest Bigdaddy, driven by Aaron Byron and trained by Scott Osterhout at 8-1. The race is the third on the card with approximate Post Time of 7:06 p.m. Children of Pocono horsemen will be on hand to present the winning trophy in a specially decorated Winner’s Circle. This year, while Outrider Terry Scott recuperates from recent injuries, his brother Gary will take his place as the Headless Horseman, leading the ghostly greys down the stretch. **According to the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of harness racing, less than five percent of all harness horses are grey in color. The most famous was the former world champion trotter and Hambletonian winner, Greyhound. Jennifer Starr Racing Marketing Manager Racing Operations
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. by Jim Beviglia for Pocono Downs
WILKES-BARRE PA – The freshman pacing filly Weeper posted the fastest winning time in the history of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Championships Friday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs when she stormed home in 55.2 to record a 1:51.4 victory on a Championship night devoted to two-year-olds. The victory by the daughter of Allamerican Native was certainly no surprise – she had posted the exact same clocking in her last start when, after all but clinching a berth in the Stallion final with two wins and a second in early prelims, trainer Kelly O’Donnell decided to try her against the Sire Stakes “big girls” – and she posted the fastest time in the three divisions of that event’s final leg. On Friday Weeper ran her record to four wins and three seconds in seven starts as driver Dave Palone settled her in an early spot, then rushed her uncovered into the second turn to quickly gain the point. Sub-28 pacing in the last two quarters kept her in control of the race, though Lucy’s Pearl made a fine stretch move to narrow in for second, with four for four prelim winner McVita Bella having to settle for fourth behind stablemate Mayabelle after hard early usage from post eight on the far outside. Weeper was victorious for the home state ownership of Bay Pond Racing Stable while also shattering the 1:53.1 Stallion Championship divisional record of Want Answers. The old all-time Stallion Final standard of 1:52.1 had been held by four horses, all male pacers – 2YO’s Eddie Sweat (who will be in Saturday’s 3PC Stallion final) and EZPass Hanover, and 3YOs Take It Back Terry and Sectionline Blast. That quartet’s joint record was almost equaled just an hour before Weeper broke it, as sire Allamerican Native accounted for both sidewheeling events when Jack Attack won the colt contest in 1:52.2. Driver George Napolitano Jr., who visited Victory Lane five times in all Friday night, quarter-moved with his gelding, rated a 57.1 half, and seemed to be in control as favored pocketsitter So Surreal struggled a bit in a 27.1 backside. But So Surreal just kept on coming in the last eighth, and the wire came just at the right time for Napolitano and Jack Attack, who like Weeper had earlier won a Sire Stakes division, for trainer P.J. Fraley and owner Bamond Racing LLC. The trotting filly Nitro Nittany emulated Weeper by setting a Stallion Championship divisional record, winning in 1:56 to reduce the old mark of Tattoo You by 2 1/5 seconds, with her sire Expensive Matter emulating Allamerican Native by fathering both winners on their respective natural gaits. Driver Howard Parker had Nitro Nittany perfectly placed behind two-moving favorite Tweet Me for most of the last half, then got by that game rival late for trainer Jim Raymer and the Harbor Racing Stable LLC ownership, who just missed having a Stallion “sweeper” after Nitro Nittany posted wins in the first three prelims, but had to settle for second behind Outsourced Hanover (who finished third tonight) in the last preliminary. Trainer Jim Campbell, who has already enjoyed some success at Pocono this year with baby trotters (does the name Cooler Schooner ring a bell?), added another freshman victory when Who Wants Soup cooked up a 1:56.3 triumph in his event for his third straight victory. Tyler Buter rushed the gelding wide at the ¾ to contention and made the lead in early stretch, but Who Wants Soup had to be brave to nip Pocono Pike flyer Faust while equaling the stakes mark set last year by Smoother Ride, while Monkey Man, also stuck with post eight while looking for the Stallion “sweep,” holding on OK for third. Runthetable Stables are the owners of the promising youngster, who also get credit for the Campbell-“Soup” pairing. In another feature of national importance, Drop The Ball, who in her last start, at Pocono on August 17, set a 1:48.2f world record for older pacing mares, did not let that brief layoff not the outside post seven deter her at all as she won a $30,000 mares handicap pace in 1:50. Driver Joe Pavia Jr. worked out a fine second-over trip for Drop The Ball, and the Western Terror mare took it from there, swinging wide entering the stretch and keeping safe Pocono Piker Feeling You by a neck, with the always-game Anndrovette, stung by a 26.2 opener before setting the pace, just a half-length off the winner at the finish. Drop The Ball is trained by Ross Croghan for Let It Ride Stables Inc, Dana Parham, and Robert Cooper Stables LLC. FINISHING LINES – The three-year-olds will contest their Stallion Series Championships on Saturday, and with the promise of good weather the recordbooks could again take a beating … Drivers Napolitano, Buter, and Parker posted their first-ever Stallion Series Championships wins, while Palone’s victory ties him with Ron Pierce for the all-time lead at four, in a series that as of this writing is only 32 races old … The aforementioned Smoother Ride, who made his Sire Stakes Championship this year, is to date the only horse to post five wins (four prelims and the final) in one year of Stallion Series competition. by Jerry Connors
Mickey Hanover came from behind late to score a harness racing victory Saturday night in the featured Preferred pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Waiting On A Woman extended his winning streak to five at Wednesday night's Pompano Park harness racing with a hard-fought win in 1:54.4 for Wally Hennessey.
Cruizin K C, leased, trained and driven by Mark O'Mara, paced his final half mile in :54.3, circling the harness racing field and 'cruizin' to victory in Pompano Park's Open Pace on Saturday night in 1:52.3.