Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Week in Review


July 13-19, 2012
We have had such a bushelful of big-time stakes races of late at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs that I’ve devoted much of the space in these columns to those races. All the while, our overnight racing has raged on with the same intensity it has displayed all season. With that in mind, let’s turn the focus back on those races this week and get back to handing out our Weekly Awards.
It’s seems like we can’t go more than a few nights without another track record falling. On Saturday night, it was one of our longest-standing records in this era of speed at Pocono that went by the wayside, courtesy of 3-year-old pacing gelding Dynamic Youth. The gelding loves Pocono, as evidenced by his two straight wins to start his season here in the spring.
Following that success, trainer Aaron Lambert took him to his home state of New York, where Dynamic Youth hit the board often but couldn’t break through in Sire Stakes competition. Back at Pocono, he faced all older horses in a tough condition for non-winners of $15,000 in the last three starts. Driver Andrew McCarthy wisely kept him off a blistering pace early, but, as the race progressed, the gelding started to pick off horses.
In the stretch, only Amillionpennies stood in his way, and Dynamic Youth blew by him to win by 1 ¾ lengths. His winning time for the mile, a scorching 1:49:2, broke the record for 3-year-old geldings on the pace of 1:49:4 that was set by Goddess’s Justin way back in 2008. Maybe this record-breaker will stick around Pocono a bit longer this time.
Other top pacers this week include: Hrubys N Luck (George Napolitano Jr., Cad Gregory), who jumped in class on Saturday to win a condition pace, his third straight victory, in 1:50; Splendid Kisses (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who stepped up all the way to the $20,000 claimers and still picked up his third straight easy win on Saturday night in 1:51:3; and Kel’s Return (George Napolitano Jr., Pierre Paradis), who won his third straight and sixth in his last seven with a claiming victory on Tuesday night in 1:52:3.
Moving up in class is always a treacherous bit of business in harness racing, especially at the top rungs of the competitive ladder. Yet He’s Spooky was determined to move into our top condition class of winners of over $25,000 lifetime on Sunday night and do so in style.
The 5-year-old stallion from the Frank Antonacci barn made his first appearance at Pocono on July 8 after arriving from Canada and promptly beat a tough condition group in a career-best 1:52:2. In that start, he had an excellent trip, but, on Sunday night, driver Matt Kakaley sent him right to the front and dared everyone to play catch-up.
Each time a competitor would make a tentative move to the outside to challenge, He’s Spooky would pick up the pace and dissuade them. In the stretch, there was nobody close enough to make a serious move and the gelding rolled to a three-length win in 1:53:1. He’s Spooky made moving up in class seem so easy that everybody might want to do it.
Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Wingbat (Matt Kakaley, Antonino Gristina), a mare who reeled off her second straight condition victory on Friday night, this one in 1:54:4; H And M’s Hit (Matt Kakaley, David Duspiva), who moved up in class and won a condition on Friday night, his second straight victory, in 1:54; and Holier Than Thou (Yannick Gingras, Jonas Czernyson), whose victory in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes competition on Wednesday night came in a time of 1:53:1, which broke the track record and matched the world record for 3-year-old fillies on the trot.
Just a few weeks after winning at 42-1, this pacer with John Kakaley in the bike stunned a group of $10,000 claimers on Sunday night with a win at 33-1, paying off $69.80 on a $2 win ticket.
Gingras captured two of the three big-purse divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes held on Wednesday night, continuing his excellence in the most lucrative races at Pocono.
Lambert had an impressive training double on Saturday night. In addition to the track record he scored with Dynamic Youth, he also had the night’s featured pace winner in Townslight Hanover at 19-1.
That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at