October 10-16, 2014
With a couple of Friday nights added to the racing schedule in October, racing fans at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs have been able to enjoy four nights of live action per week lately. That means a bunch more races than usual featuring excellent performances deserving of consideration for another edition of the Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: E STREET PLAN
Some of you may know that in my free time I do a little writing about music, including a recent book about the songs of Bruce Springsteen. And so I have a soft spot in my heart for this 5-year-old gelding whose name is derived from the name of Springsteen’s longtime partners in rock The E Street Band. Lately E Street Plan has been racing like the Boss.
Trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, E Street Plan is on an impressively consistent streak, coming into last Saturday night’s action with five straight in the money including a victory on September 20. Yet Saturday night seemed to be a tough test, considering he was moving up into the non-winners of $23,000 in the last five races, the most rugged condition group at Pocono. To make things even more difficult, he had to journey first-over, a tough trip under any circumstances.
Yet by the top of the stretch, E Street Plan had corralled pacesetting Scott Rocks. In the lane, the closers lining up behind him couldn’t get there in time. Joe Pavia Jr. guided the gelding home by a half-length over I Like Dreamin in 1:49:4, a new career-best and the fastest time of the week at Pocono. With miles like that, it’s fair to say that this Springsteen-honoring horse is in the midst of his glory days.
Other top pacers this week include: Penn Turbo Ted (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), whose victory on Saturday night in 1:52:2 was his third straight against the $10,000 claimers, with two of those victories coming at Pocono; Talk Strategy (Andrew McCarthy, Peter Stratton), whose last-to-first victory on Tuesday night in 1:52:3 gave him two straight upset victories; and Bevel Hanover (Anthony Napolitano, John Barchi), who earned his second straight condition claiming victory on Tuesday night, this one coming in a career-best 1:51:4.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: HE’S LUCKY
This 8-year-old gelding has not only been splitting his time between Pocono and Harrah’s at Chester, but he’s also been moving back and forth between claiming and condition events. All of that change might bother some horses, but He’s Lucky, trained by Kevin Carr, has managed a nice hot streak of late. It began two starts ago with a near-miss second in a condition trot at Pocono, losing by just a neck to Cathy’s Princess.
He followed that up with a victory in a condition trot at Harrah’s in 1:55 on October 2. On Tuesday night, he took on a claiming handicap group in his return to Pocono, with claiming prices ranging from $12,500 to $15,000. Since He’s Lucky was on the high end of that range, he had to start from the far outside post in a nine-horse field, a difficult task even for a horse with the back class he possessed.
Finding no other option with the tough post, driver George Napolitano Jr. sent He’s Lucky on a taxing first-over grind. Making a steady advance through the field, the veteran gelding worked his way past pacesetting Iain’tnomomaluke and held off the pocket horse Fancy Label by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:53:4, a new career-best. No matter the track or the class, He’s Lucky looks awful tough to beat right now.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Waiting On A Woman (Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke), who put together a powerhouse performance in a condition victory on Saturday night in 1:52:2, a new career-best and easily the fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD; Quantum Cashman (Mike Simons, Gail Wrubel), who won Friday night’s featured claiming handicap trot in a career-best 1:53:3; and Avalicious (Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke), who picked up a condition win on Saturday night in 1:53:2, a new career-best.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ARTSBRED CAMOTION
This gelding was 8th in the same class a week ago, so his win in a claimer on Wednesday night with Matt Kakaley was a huge surprise at 27-1, paying off $57.40 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SCOTT ZERON
Zeron only makes occasional appearances at Pocono, but he usually makes his presence felt, such as on Friday night when he picked up three victories.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PAUL HOLZMAN
Holzman sent out just three starters on Saturday night, but two of them, C C Stormey and Machin Music, came back winners even though neither was the race favorite.
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.
October 10-16, 2014