Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review


Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review
May 4-10, 2012
It was a mighty busy week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. So busy, in fact, that we needed five racing cards to get it all in, as we held a racing double-header on Kentucky Derby day. This week also witnessed our first two track records of the 2012 meet. Those record-setting horses are the obvious choices to highlight this edition of the Weekly Awards.
Saturday night’s feature race was the Van Rose Memorial, a $50,000 Open event in honor of a local sportswriter whose dedication to the sport of harness racing made him a very special part of the Pocono racing scene. Van would have been extra proud to see the race held in his name, because it produced a new world record mile.
The field was packed to the gills with talent, including million-dollar earner Dial Or Nodial, top Pocono pacers Drop Red and Fred And Ginger, and a pair of dangerous shippers from Yonkers in Melvyn and Flipper J. In the end, it was Special T Rocks, who proved his mettle with back-to-back wins in his previous starts at Harrah’s at Philly, that had the answer when they came to the line.
After following cover on the outside, the gelding trained and driven by Daryl Bier went sweeping by the competition to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:48:3. That smashed the track record for 4-year-old pacing geldings, which was previously set by Tivoli Hanover in 1:49:2 all the way back in 2008. It was also a new World Record for the age group on a 5/8-mile oval.
Other top pacers this week include: Honky Tonk Woman (Andrew McCarthy, Jeffrey Webster), a mare who is now 2-for-2 on the season after zipping to a condition win on Friday in 1:52; Dynamic Youth (Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert), who won her second consecutive distaff condition pace on Friday night, overcoming a tough post for a win in 1:52:1; and Medoland Big Cam (Pat Berry, Scott DiDomenico), who stepped up in class to beat the $25,000 claimers on Tuesday night, his second straight win, in 1:52:1.
All of us who read it in high school know that The Iliad was a tale of heroes and courageous deeds. Fox Valley Iliad lived up to his moniker on Friday night with a performance that will have the poets singing at least as long as his new track record holds up.
Fox Valley Iliad, a 4-year-old stallion from the barn of Kimberly Asher, faced off against a tough condition trotting group after just missing in the same class with a furious late move for 2nd on April 27. This time around, driver Tom Jackson sent the stallion to the front to dictate the pace, and by the stretch he had shaken just about everyone in the field.
Pocket horse Pembroke Heat Wave put up a serious challenge in the stretch, but Fox Valley Iliad responded to win by a head, stopping the timer in 1:52:3. The previous track record for 4-year-old stallions on the trot was 1:52:4 by Flex The Muscle, set in 2011. The time also matched a world record for the age and gait on a 5/8-mile oval.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Opinion Hanover (Mike Simons, Clarence Martin Jr.), winner of three consecutive condition trots after his win Wednesday night in 1:55:4; Man About Town (Howard Parker, Jim Raymer), who took a big step up the condition ladder and still handled a tough group on Friday night in 1:54:1 for his second consecutive victory; and Anders Bluestone (George Napolitano Jr., Eric Ell), who shipped in to beat the best trotters on the grounds on Saturday night in 1:53:1, giving the stallion seven wins in eleven races this year.
It didn’t take long for a Friday night wake-up call for the patrons, as driver Eric Carlson led Bond Blue Chip to a claiming pace win in the first race at 37-1, paying off $77.20 on a $2 win ticket.
Pocono’s leading driver in 2011 has been heating up once again of late. He followed up four wins on the Saturday double card with a driving double on Tuesday night.
Burke once again finds himself at the top of the Pocono trainers’ standings. This week was a typically productive one for his barn at MSPD, highlighted by back-to-back winners on Saturday night’s card.
That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at