September 28-October 4, 2012
Now that we’ve hit the month of October, both the calendar and the cooler temperatures at night remind us that the racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is now rounding the final turn on its way into the home stretch. Still, the racing action hasn’t let up one bit, and this week has been a prime example, giving us a host of excellent candidates for the Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: OYSTER BAY
As recently as July 31, Oyster Bay was battling it out for a claiming price of $7,500. A horse’s fortunes can change in an instant, and so they did for this pacer, who started performing well even as he continuously moved up in class. On August 31, he scored against the $12,500 claimers with a win in a career-best 1:51. He followed that up the next week for trainer Jason Robinson with a victory at a $15,000 claiming handicap.
He was claimed from that race to join the Sarita Mosher barn, and he had several things working against him in Saturday night’s $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap pace. Not only was he moving up in class, but it was also his first race in three weeks time. The possibility existed that he would be rusty against this top-notch group.
Those doubts started to fade when driver Andrew McCarthy, returning to Pocono last weekend after missing time with an injury, settled the gelding in a good spot in the pocket late. From there, Oyster Bay did the rest, powering home to match that career-best mile in 1:51 as a 10-1 long shot. Let’s see if he can continue to move up that ladder and have the same kind of success as the season winds down.
Other top pacers this week include: Camille (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), who arrived after successful stints in Canada and at The Meadows to dominate the Open Handicap for mares on Tuesday night in 1:50; Bagel Man (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), who has owned the $10,000 claimers of late, picking up his third straight win in the class on Friday night in 1:52:1; and Razzle Dazzzle (Joe Pavia Jr., Richard Silverman), who, despite a layoff of more than a month, rallied to win the week’s featured condition pace on Saturday night in 1:49:3, matching both his career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: ZOOMING
It’s tough for trotters to maintain consistency in the higher classes, simply because the chance that they will go off stride is realistic at any time. Zooming has not only been consistent; he’s been downright overpowering at times this season, specifically when he went off for a career-best win at Pocono earlier in the meet in 1:52:3.
The 4-year-old gelding from the barn of Julie Miller was at it again in a rugged condition trot with a purse of $18,000 on Saturday night. He came into the race trying to atone for his last start, when he made an incredible rally to finish 3rd despite breaking before the start of the race. It was clear that Zooming, if he could stay flat, would be a really tough customer.
Well, he did indeed stay flat, and driver Tyler Buter, after keeping him back from the early pace, sent him barreling by the competition late for the victory. The winning time was 1:52:3, matching that career-best from earlier in the season. Zooming has a name that fits the way he’s been racing of late, as his consistent excellence continues to impress the Pocono faithful.
Honorable mention on the trotting side this week goes to: Zero Boundaries (Mike Simons, William Mullin), who rolled to his third straight win over the $10,000 claimers on Wednesday night in 1:56; M S Heather M (Jim Taggart Jr., Tabitha Teresczuk), a mare who won on Wednesday night, his second straight victory over the $7,500 claimers on an off-track, in 1:57:1; and Pilgrims Chuckie (Matt Romano, Thomas Cancelliere), who surprised the top condition trotters on the grounds on Saturday night at 15-1 in 1:54:1.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: NORTHMEDO CRUISER
Even though he was dropping down in class on Friday night, this claimer got away at 34-1 with Matt Kakaley in the bike and upset a group of claimers to pay off $71.60 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY
In an amazing display of hot driving, Kakaley won six consecutive races on Friday night’s card, on his way to a week with double figures in the win column.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT DI DOMENICO
Scotty D started the year at Pocono hot and has picked up the pace again recently. Among his two winners this week was Bettors Glass, who matched the fastest pacing time of the week with a 1:49:3.
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.
September 28-October 4, 2012