May 4-10, 2013
It was an extremely busy week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, featuring one extra racing card thanks to our Kentucky Derby day doubleheader. With all of that thrilling action, there were plenty of fantastic performances to witness and a bevy of top choices for the Weekly Awards. Those were some tough choices to make, but here are the best of the best from this jam-packed week.
PACER OF THE WEEK: GOLDEN RECEIVER
Back before Pocono ascended to one of the top tracks in the nation, it was common for horses that did well here to struggle when they got to the bigger stages. That has all changed in recent years, and no horse exemplifies that transformation any better than Golden Receiver, who was once the best at MSPD but proceeded to be one of the best in the whole country.
Coming off a 2012 season which saw him earn $941,025, he picked up where he left off with six straight victories to start this year before a loss at Harrah’s on April 5. After a month off, he returned to racing at the scene of so many of his greatest triumphs in Saturday night’s $50,000 Van Rose Memorial pace. The fans remembered the 8-year-old gelding from the Mark Harder barn well, making him the 1-5 favorite in a star-studded field.
He didn’t disappoint. Driver George Napolitano Jr. sent him to the front end early, and Golden Receiver did the rest, winning by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:50 without even breaking a sweat. It was a kind of victory lap for the superstar, but, with the Breeders Crown scheduled for Pocono in October, he’ll likely be back to go for an even bigger crowning score at his former home.
Honorable mention on the pacing side includes: Lorrie Please (Eric Carlson, Michael Hall), a mare who won her second straight Preferred distaff pace on Sunday night, rallying for the victory in 1:51; Mustang Art (Andrew McCarthy, James McGuire), who burned it up on the front end in a condition pace for a win in 1:49:3, the fastest time posted at Pocono this week; and Blissful Dreamer (Jim Morrill Jr., Brewer Adams), who won her third straight race at a third different claiming price, this time out on Wednesday night over the $10,000 claiming mares in 1:52:3.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC MARTINE
Sunday night featured the last of the four $30,000 finals for the Bobby Weiss Series, the races which featured some of the best young talent on the grounds over the first month of the season. The last of the groups to take center stage was the assemblage of 3-year-old trotting fillies, and the final was distinguished by the fact that Classic Martine was a prohibitive favorite.
It didn’t take too much in the way of investigation to see why, considering that the filly from the Todd Schadel barn had won her last three starts in the previous legs of the series, beating at one time or another in that stretch every horse that she would face in Sunday’s final. Still, the 1-2 favorite could have had any number of things go wrong, like a break of stride or some bad racing luck, to derail her chances.
Driver Andy Miller took some of the variables out of play by sending Classic Martine to the front end. He then allowed the filly to dictate the pace and expend only as much energy as necessary. In the stretch, she glided home over horses giving all-out efforts to get to her, winning without exerting herself at all in 1:55:3, making this Weiss final look like a foregone conclusion.
Other top trotters include: As Ya’ll Like It (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter), who trotted away and hid for a claiming handicap victory on Saturday night in 1:55:1; Sand Wyndham (Joe Pavia Jr., Rene Allard), who made a late rally to win Tuesday night’s featured condition trot in 1:54; and Tui (Anthony Napolitano, Don Wiest), who rolled to an easy win in Wednesday night’s featured condition trot, scoring in a quick 1:53:2 despite sloppy conditions.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: TWIN B FLIRT
Saturday’s very first race of the morning on the special racing card woke the patrons up quickly, as driver Marcus Miller guided this condition pacer to a win at 32-1 for a $66 payout on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY
Matt had one of his best weeks of the season to date, including a monster weekend with eight wins in two days and a five-bagger on Sunday night.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PJ FRALEY
With three wins on Saturday night’s program and then two more on Tuesday night, Fraley continued what has been an extremely hot start to the Pocono meet.
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.
May 4-10, 2013