October 17-23, 2014
It’s hard to believe that we are entering the final month of the 2014 racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. In just a few weeks, we’ll be handing out yearend awards and trying to sum up what has been another wonderful racing meet. But the action hasn’t abated yet, as evidenced by another thrilling week of racing. Let’s take a look at the top performances by handing out the Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: TALK STRATEGY
This 4-year-old stallion had been quite a surprise in his previous two starts, winning in come-from-behind fashion at long odds both times. He scored at 9-1 two starts ago and then rallied from last to first to win last week at 11-1. Since he had been racing in a non-winners of five condition with an optional claiming price in those races, he was scooped up for the claiming price after the last start and joined the barn of Chris Oakes.
On Tuesday night, Talk Strategy lined up to attempt a third straight victory against the same class, but he was the second choice behind speedy Southwind Terror. Sure enough, Southwind Terror streaked to the front end and tried to bottom out the field by pacing unconscious fractions. Only he didn’t count on Talk Strategy staying close enough behind him to apply pressure.
As they rounded the final turn, the fractions caught up with Southwind Terror and he went off stride into the infield. Since those top two had separated from the rest, Talk Strategy, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, suddenly found himself with a huge lead. He coasted from there to the win, his third straight, with this one coming in a new career-best 1:50:2.
Other top pacers this week include: Regil Elektra (Joe Pavia Jr., Monte Gelrod), who rallied as an 18-1 long shot for a victory in Friday night’s $35,000 Open Handicap for mares, scoring in a career-best 1:50:3; Dedi’s Dragon (Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke), whose condition victory on Saturday night came in 1:49:4, a career-best and the fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Trevor Win For Us (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who romped to his second consecutive claiming handicap win on Saturday night in 1:51.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OVERANDOVERVICTORY
A five-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Douglas Hamilton, Overandovervictory has been a solid performer in the middle of the condition ranks this season at Pocono. As the campaign nears its close, he seems to just be getting warmed up. On October 11, he put together one of his finest performances of the year with a front-end win in 1:54:3.
On Saturday night, he had a few things working against him in his quest for a second consecutive victory. First, he was moving up to a higher class, the non-winners of $14,000 in the last five starts, after a few months in against a bit lower. Second, he was stuck in the brutal #9 post position, never an easy task against any foes. Hence the long odds on the gelding of 21-1.
Driver Anthony Napolitano was able to coax some early speed out of him, reaching the lead quickly and then sitting in a great spot in the pocket for much of the mile. The only question was whether or not Overandovervictory would have a second move in him. He did, powering home to hold off closing Tag Up And Go by a nose in 1:55. That makes two in a row for a trotter who likely won’t be underestimated again anytime soon.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Miss Wapwallopen (Mike Simons, Gene Daisey Jr.), a mare whose claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:56 was her second straight victory and third in her last four; Home Front (Ake Svanstedt driver and trainer), a colt who ripped off his third consecutive condition victory on Wednesday in 1:57:3; and Hezatrain (George Napolitano Jr., Allan Johnson), who rolled to a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:53:3, a career mark and the fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RAMBLINGAMBLINMAN
You would have had to be ramblin’ and gamblin’ to take a shot on this one on Wednesday night at 33-1, but John Kakaley guided him home to a condition win for a $69 payout on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.
Very few drivers in the history of Pocono have ever achieved 300 wins in a single meet, but George Nap does it year after year, reaching that magic number for 2014 on Saturday night.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: AKE SVANSTEDT
Svanstedt’s training percentage at Pocono has been brilliant all season long, and this week was no different as he churned out four more victories.
That will do it for this week, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
October 17-23, 2014