March 29-April 4, 2014
We saw a little bit of everything this past week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. There was persistent rain on Saturday night, a wintry mix that made a real mess on Sunday night, and then, finally, some springlike weather on Tuesday and Wednesday. The one constant was excellent racing the entire week through, which we’re about to highlight with our Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: BLATANTLY GOOD
Saturday night marked the beginning of our second week of racing, which meant that horses that won their first time out in the meet would get a chance to establish themselves as more than just one-week wonders. One of those horses was Blatantly Good, a 10-year-old stallion from the barn of trainer PJ Fraley, whose first start of the ’14 campaign at Pocono resulted in a sizzling condition victory in 1:49:4.
Coming off that, he moved up a notch in the condition wars on Saturday night to face off with a group of non-winners of $20,000 in the last five starts. As if the tough foes he was facing in the race weren’t enough of a collective obstacle, he also had to deal with seriously sloppy racing conditions that made it a tough night for favorites on the whole.
Several horses battled for the early lead, leaving Blatantly Good far back in the back. But driver Brett Miller never panicked and brought him to the outside to begin picking off horses on the back stretch. With one sweeping move around the final turn, the standout stallion blew by his competition on his way to a win going away. The winning time of 1:53:4 was obviously affected by the track condition, but it was nonetheless another impressive victory for this stellar veteran.
Other top pacers this week include: Donna Party (Brett Miller, Kent Sherman), who stepped up to a tougher group of claiming handicap mares on Wednesday night and still won her second straight, this one coming in 1:52:3; So Take That (Tyler Buter, William Adamczyk), who moved to two-for-two on the meet with a first-over grind to victory in 1:52:2 on Saturday night against our highest claiming group; and Leaveumlady (Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke), a mare who won her second straight condition on Wednesday, stepping up in class for the victory in a career-best 1:51:1.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: DAYLON MIRACLE
This 5-year-old mare from the barn of trainer William Bercury had an incredible hot streak earlier this season at The Meadows. In February and March, she rolled to four consecutive victories. Those races were all against her own gender, however, which might have led to some skepticism about her chances when she faced the toughest male trotters at Pocono.
On March 22 at MSPD, she took on Modern Family, one of the top older trotters in the country, and battled him all the way before coming up just short in 3rd. Without that star in Saturday night’s $25,000 Preferred Handicap field at Pocono, the fans were on board Daylon Miracle, making her the even-money favorite. It was just a matter of going out and delivering.
It wasn’t easy, as the mare had to grind it out first-over to get by Tober, the race pacesetter. In the stretch, Coraggioso, who had been placed perfectly in the pocket, closed to try to steal the win. But Daylon Miracle answered the challenge, digging in for the victory by three-quarters of a length. The winning time of 1:56:1, skewed by the sloppy track, doesn’t reflect the outstanding effort of this distinguished distaffer.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Extracurricular (Simon Allard, Marty Fine), who delivered a thrilling condition win on Wednesday night, his second straight, and matched a career-best of 1:54:3 in the process; First Aqua (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who moved up in class to beat the top claiming handicap group on the grounds in 1:54, giving him two straight impressive wins to start the meet; and Wind Of The North (Mike Simons, Clifton Green), who moved to two-for-two on the meet with a condition in on Wednesday night in 1:54:2.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: CEE PEE PANIC
In a $20,000 claimer on Saturday night, this gelding, with Tyler Buter in the bike, came swooping through the slop in the stretch for a win at 30-1, paying off $62.80 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: BRETT MILLER
Miller is making Pocono his permanent home so far in the meet, and it’s paying off. On Saturday night, he had his best night yet by reeling off four victories.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: WILLIAM ADAMCZYK
Adamczyk sent out just two horses on Saturday night, but they were both winners, one of whom was out long shot of the week, Cee Pee Panic.
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.
March 29-April 4, 2014