Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week In Review
The early weeks of the season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs have been spiced up by some exciting action in the Bobby Weiss series. Named after out longtime, recently retired track superintendent who helped to mold the Pocono surface into the lightning-fast, horse-friendly track that it is, the series held its first finals this past week with $30,000 on the line in those races, both of which were on the pacing side. Those final winners highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards.
Driver Corey Callahan wasn’t scheduled for any other drives at Pocono on Tuesday night except aboard Fearless Diablo in the final of the Weiss series for 3 and 4-year-old colts, horses, and geldings on the pace. Considering that the 4-year-old stallion had broken stride in his previous race, Callahan and trainer Dylan Davis must have felt that the last start was an aberration.
Fearless Diablo sat back early as the lead changed hands a couple times and fast fractions were laid down on the front end. The stallion began to move the first time past the front stretch, and he picked up some racing luck when the horse who tipped out in front of him, Ideal Champ, carried him all the way to the stretch right behind the lead.
That’s when Callahan let Fearless Diablo loose three-wide, and he blasted by the tiring leaders to win the race by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:51. That gives him six wins in 11 races, which is especially impressive considering he came into the 2011 season with just three career starts and no victories.
Honorable mention on the pacing side this week goes to: Ooh Bad Shark (George Napolitano Jr., William Wiggins), who completed a sweep of the Weiss for distaff pacers on Wednesday night by winning the final in a dominating, front-running performance in 1:52:3, a new career best; My Drag Queen (George Napolitano Jr., Robert Bresnahan Jr.), a mare who now has a five-race winning streak, the last two of those victories coming at Pocono, after a  condition win on Saturday night in 1:51:3, a new career mark; and Bet The Town (Anthony Napolitano, Steve Salerno), a winner of four straight and two in a row at Pocono after a win against out highest claiming class on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:3.
Following her victory last week in 1:53:4, which is the fastest in the meet so far at Pocono, this 6-year-old mare was pointed to bigger things on Friday night. Trainer Mark Ford moved this one up in class to face a rugged condition trotting group filled with non-winners of $25,000 in the last five races.
On top of that, she was saddled with a tough #7 post in a field of eight. The bump in class and the tough post seemed like a double whammy for Pembroke Heat Wave, which might be why she got away as the 3-1 third choice on the board. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. wasn’t worried, however, sending the mare to the front end early with a burst of speed.
Morrill did a nice rating job once his charge got to the lead, and Pembroke Heat Wave was ready when challenged in the stretch. Despite several competitors with better trips lining up behind her, she powered home to win in another crisp time of 1:54:1. Now 2-for-2 at Pocono, this mare might be capable of moving up yet again if she keeps trotting so impressively.
Other top trotters this week include: Speed Bomb (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who now has two straight wins to start the meet after a condition won on Friday in 1:55:1; Sand Top Gun (Jim Morrill Jr., Tyler Raymer), who burned his way to a win in Saturday night’s week featured condition trot in 1:54; and Magnum Kosmos (Jason Bartlett, Tony Dinges), who motored to a condition win on Wednesday night in 1:53:4, the fastest trotting time of the week.
This claiming pacer kicked off Saturday night’s late Daily Double in style, fighting hard to pick up the win for trainer and driver Brandon Simpson at 50-1, paying off $103.80 on a $2 win ticket.
Call him Mr. Saturday night special. George rolled all over the competition for six driving wins on Saturday night, most by a driver in a single night so far this meet.
He’s coming off his finest season at Pocono, and it looks like he’s picking up where he left off in 2011, racking up wins on three different nights last week.
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.