July 14-20, 2018
It was another busy week of stakes action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, Pennsylvania All-Stars, and Stallion Series racing all holding court. Our two top horses this week, however, battled for the honors on Monday night, which featured nothing but overnight racing. It just goes to show you that every night is witness to something special at Pocono, as this edition of the Weekly Awards makes plain.
PACER OF THE WEEK: FUTURE LIFE
Sometimes a winning streak is only as impressive as whom you beat. In the case of Future Life, she came into a $15,000-$20,000 claiming handicap pace for mares on Monday night having picked up a victory in her previous race against lower claiming competition. The nine-year-old mare trained by Andrew Adamczyk had churned out a come-from-behind win on July 9 in 1:53.0. But the field that she faced on Monday night included five of eight horses who had won their previous start, including Unbeamlievable, who had been the dominant force in the division.
Future Life started from post position #2 in a field of eight at long odds of 16-1, likely because of the move up in class. As a horse who doesn’t mind coming from off the pace, driver Tyler Buter kept her out of the early battle for the lead, which was eventually won by Unbeamlievable. The mare began her journey on the back stretch by making a third-over move, meaning that she had a lot of traffic to overcome on her way to the front.
In the stretch, Buter tipped Future Life out four-wide to get a clear look at Unbeamlievable, who was still battling away on the front end. The momentum that Future Life gathered proved too much for the favorite, as she blew by to win it by a half-length in 1:53.4. That gives the mare five wins on the year and two in a row, and in neither of the last two races was she favored. She’ll probably get more betting attention next time around.
Other top pacers this week include: De Los Cielos Deo (Dave Palone, Ron Burke), a two-year-old colt who moved to two-for-two in his young career with a Pennsylvania All-Stars victory on Saturday night in 1:52.4; Ginger Tree Cash (George Napolitano Jr., Robert Bath), who moved up in condition to win his second straight on Saturday, this one in 1:52.0; and Warrawee UBeaut (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), who captured the second straight win to start her career on Tuesday night and did so in 1:52.1, the fastest time of four divisions of the Pennsylvania All-Stars for two-year-old pacing fillies.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: PAT MATTERS
This three-year-old filly trained by Paul Kelley didn’t race as a freshman. At the start of her career this year, she had issues staying flat in her races, which was odd because of how sharp she was in qualifiers. On June 24, she finally found her form under the lights, picking up her maiden victory in 1:59.2 on a sloppy track. Pat Matters followed that up with an impressive second place finish on July 2, with only an extremely fast mile from Urban Legend beating her.
On Monday night, Pat Matters took on a group of non-winners of two trotting fillies and mares as a 4-5 favorite. It was a pretty solid field she faced in this one, including several horses that were coming off sharp efforts in Stallion Series races. Leaving from post position #5 in a field of nine, the filly fired early to the front end. Driver Matt Kakaley then chose to stay in the pocket with Pat Matters when Strength Of A Woman made a play for the lead on the front stretch.
Strength Of A Woman and Pat Matters stayed one-two in the order for most of the mile until the home stretch rolled around. That’s when Kakaley asked for more from Pat Matters, who immediately swooped on by to pick up the victory by two lengths in a new career mark of 1:56.1. The filly seems to have put those breaking problems well behind her, which means that she could be ready for more rugged competition in the near future.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Crosbys Clam Bake (Pat Berry, Randy Bendis), who scored a condition victory in the slop on Saturday night in 1:55.4; Homicide Hunter (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who continued his dominance in the Great Northeast Open Series on Sunday night with a win in 1:52.2, his fourth consecutive victory; and Magic Vacation (John Kakaley, Travis Alexander), who handled a condition field on Sunday night in a career-best 1:54.2.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: PYRO
Even stakes races can provide long shot winners, as this two-year-old colt driven by Pat Berry proved when he scored a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win on Saturday at 29-1, paying off $60.20 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: COREY CALLAHAN
Callahan had a big night on Sunday during the Stallion series for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, winning three of the six divisions.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: BRIAN BROWN
Brown always seems to make his presence felt come stakes time, and he did it again on Saturday night by sending out two winners in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for two-year-old male pacers.
That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.