November 1-7, 2013
As we have now reached the month of November, it’s time to start looking back on the season that was. While we still have some racing left to go, we would be remiss if out time ran out and we didn’t honor some of the best performers who have graced the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs stage in 2013. This week I’m proud to announce our 2013 Horses of the Year.
Although I had a little bit of input, most of the work in terms of tracking the best performances and making the selections was done by our Racing Marketing Manager Jennifer Starr and Clerk of Course Terri Phalen. It’s a difficult job, because of the sheer amount of great horses we have seen at the Pocono oval this season. These are fine choices though, a quartet of horses who are representative of the exemplary racing product that MSP had to offer in 2013. The envelopes, please.
PACER OF THE YEAR: DYNAMIC YOUTH
This 4-year-old gelding from the Aaron Lambert barn has been a standout at Pocono for a while now, but his 2013 season was one to remember. He made just six starts at MSPD this season, all against top-flight competition, and won four of them. All four of his victories, with his regular Pocono driver Andrew McCarthy aboard, came in times of less than 1:50.
Dynamic Youth delivered some especially eye-opening wins this year. In June, he won elimination for the Ben Franklin pace in a field that included superstar pacers Betterthancheddar, Clear Vision, and Golden Receiver. On October 5, his second of back-to-back wins in the Preferred pacing class came in a scorching time of 1:48:1, which matched a world record for 4-year-old geldings on the pace. No other horse had such consistent success at the top levels at Pocono than this one, which is why Dynamic Youth is deserving of this outstanding honor.
TROTTER OF THE YEAR: BEATGOESON HANOVER
A 5-year-old mare trained by Nifty Norman, Beatgoeson Hanover served notice that she would special at Pocono this season with her very first start of the meet, a condition win back in April 27 that came in 1:52:1, matching a track record for aged trotting mares. She followed that up with a Preferred win the next week.
When she returned to the Preferred trotting class at Pocono in August, she outdid herself with a winning mile of 1:51:4 with Tyler Buter in the bike, which broke not just her own track record but a world record for her age group on a 5/8-mile oval. Add in a respectable 5th place performance in the Breeders Crown finals and another easy Preferred win on October 26 and you can see why this mare gets the nod in this very competitive category.
MARE OF THE YEAR: FEELING YOU
The pride of the Amber Buter barn is without a doubt this gutty 6-year-old mare. Pocono has been just one of her stops this season and she has made the rounds to just about all of the best East Coast tracks. But it was her performance against the best distaff pacers at MSPD that earned her this award.
In five starts in the Preferred Mares pacing class, which is the top of the heap for distaffers at Pocono, Feeling You, with Tyler Buter in the bike, won three times and finished a close second in the other two. Last Friday night may have been her signature victory. Following a disappointing 7th-place finish in the Breeders Crown, she won a Preferred Handicap over a field that included Rocklamation, who finished 2nd in the Breeders Crown, and Drop The Ball, the world record holder in the age group. That victory shows that Feeling You was as good as any pacing mare this season.
CLAIMER OF THE YEAR: ST. PETE STAR
This was probably the toughest category to choose, because there were many claimers who had dominant stretches in their respective divisions. St Pete Star gets the nod for the fact that he put together an impressive record and did so when he was either near or at the very top of the claiming ladder.
Although he tailed off at the end of the season, St Pete Star, a 9-year-old stallion, had an awesome stretch from late April to the middle of August where he won eight of thirteen races and raised his claiming price from $15,000 to $25,000 in the process. He won for five different trainers in that span because he was a popular claiming commodity. At one point he won four in a row and six of seven, with a career-best victory of 1:49:2 in that span. All of those statistics tell you what anybody who saw St Pete Star at the peak of his powers this year would know: That he was the best of the best of the claimers at Pocono in 2013.
Next week we’ll wrap up the season with our final article of the year. Until then, we’ll see at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
November 1-7, 2013