July 6-12, 2012
One of the most fun parts of any racing season occurs when the younger horses take center stage. These stars of tomorrow are often green in terms of experience but great in terms of talent. From July 3-8, Grand Circuit Week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs featured some outstanding 2 and 3-year-old trotters and pacers in the Pennsylvania All-Stars races. Let’s take a look at each of the eight classes that were held over those five nights of racing, an exciting week that showcased potential for the future and thrilling racing in the present.
2-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS & GELDINGS
Santa Fe Beachboy kicked off Grand Circuit Week with a bang last Tuesday, winning in a blistering time of 1:52 in his first start ever, a time that would hold up as the fastest in the class. That set the tone for six $25,000 divisions of this class in which several heavy favorites dominated their splits. Trainer Ray Schnittker had two of those heavy favorites, Red Rock and Cowboy Terrier, who each won in their debut races. Both of those winners were driven by Tim Tetrick, who added a third winner in the class with Lone Wolf Currier, who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a convincing win in 1:53:1.
2-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS
As you might expect, this grouping, which held six $25,000 divisions last Tuesday, was dominated by a guy who always has a barn full of superb young trotters: Trainer Jimmy Takter. Jimmy also did the driving and picked up three victories with High Bridge, Atlas Peak, and Dontyouforgetit, all of whom won their debuts with relative ease. Takter wasn’t the only trainer with something to smile about in this class. David Wade looks like he has a star on his hands with easy winner Tigress’s Legacy, and Rich Gillock sent out Major Athens, who rolled with David Miller in the bike to the group’s fastest winning time of 1:56.
2-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES
Seven divisions of freshman fillies hit the track last Wednesday for their $25,000 All-Stars races. A couple of horses moved to 2-for-2 in their young careers with wins, as Somstreetsomwhere and Banner Beach Day turned the trick. It was a first-time starter who turned in the fastest time of the night, however, as Antigua Hanover, trained by Mark Harder and piloted by Jim Morrill Jr., scored in 1:53:3. Morrill also played a part in the grouping’s biggest upset, driving Binding Desire to a surprising win at odds of 11-1.
2-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES
The most impressive performance in this class, which held four $35,000 divisions on Friday night, belonged to Fashion Athena. Despite it being her debut race, this filly with Andrew McCarthy driving for Jim Campbell rallied to win her split in a sizzling 1:55:1, less than a second off the track record for her age and gender. Driver Matt Kakaley had two of the other winners, scoring with Good Intentions and Frau Blucher.
3-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS
A late rain storm on Saturday night meant that two of the three $50,000 divisions of this class were held in the slop. That didn’t slow down either Star Recruit or I Like Dreamin, who each won in the off-going in identical times of 1:51:4. Mcerlean, driven my Matt Kakaley for trainer Trond Smedshammer, scored in the one split on a fast track in 1:51:1.
3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS
The big star in the three $50,000 divisions held Saturday night was Uncle Peter, who couldn’t get by Googoo Gaagaa in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial but atoned for it with a sizzling win in the All-Stars in 1:52:3 for Jimmy Takter. Takter also scored with Nothing But Class early in the night, a notable win because it was the colt’s maiden victory.
3-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES
Driver Dave Palone, making his first appearance at Pocono since breaking North America’s all-time record for driving wins, picked up victories in two of the five $32,000 divisions of this class on Sunday night, winning with Lady Andi and On The Bright Side. Tim Tetrick also scored twice in this class, once aboard Can’t Have My Moni, and once aboard Oasis Dream, a 16-1 shot whose mile of 1:54 was just one-fifth of a second off the track record for the age group.
3-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES
Of the three $50,000 divisions held in this class Sunday night, Moonlit Dragon, driven by Eric Carlson and trained by Bruce Saunders, went the fastest, winning her split in a sizzling career-best time of 1:50:4. The other winners were Kiss Dont Bite, with Andy Miller in the bike for Noel Daley, and Podges Lady, who won despite a month layoff for trainer Joe Seekman and driver Eric Ledford.
All in all, it was another fantastic Grand Circuit Week at Pocono. Next week, we’ll get back to our Weekly Awards for the overnight races. Until then, we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 6-12, 2012