August 18-24, 2018
For a few years there, world records seemed to occur at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on a semi-regular basis. The last two years have been quiet on that front, however, with a combination of factors coming into play, the biggest of those being that the previous record-setters established standards that were simply too daunting to reach. But we were back in the world record business on Sunday night, and the horse that managed the feat leads off this edition of the Weekly Awards.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: WHITE TIGER
Most of the best young male trotters are colts, which is part of the reason why the record times for freshman colts on the trotting side are so much more impressive than those of the geldings. On Sunday night in the first division of three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes held for two-year-old male trotters, Gerry, one of those precocious colts, seemed to be the class of the group, having won two of his first three starts, with the only loss coming in a huge stakes race at The Meadowlands. White Tiger, a two-year-old gelding, came in with a record that, while solid, was more modest than Gerry’s.
White Tiger came in with wins in two of five career starts for trainer Andrew Harris, with one of those wins coming in Sire Stakes competition. He went off as the 7-2 second choice behind 2-5 favorite Gerry. Driver Anthony MacDonald seemed to be keeping an eye on the favorite. When Gerry started moving first-over on the back stretch, MacDonald sent White Tiger out to grab the live cover, as the two made up ground on pacesetter Klutzy.
As they hit the stretch, Gerry had corralled Klutzy. But White Tiger stayed attached to the favorite. Once he managed a clear look, MacDonald spun White Tiger off the cover and raced on by to win by a neck. His winning time of 1:55 set a new track record for two-year-old trotting geldings at Pocono, breaking a five-year-old standard set by It Really Matters. Even better, it matched the world record for his age group and gender on a 5/8-mile oval.
Other top trotters this week include: Tyson (Andrew McCarthy, Edwin Gannon Jr.), who captured Sunday night’s $21,500 condition trot in 1:53.3; Prairie Fortune (Anthony Napolitano, Michael Deters), who matched a career-best with a condition win on Saturday night in 1:53.2, a time that was also the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; and Aldebaranwalkabout (David Miller, Jonas Czernyson), who posted the fastest time among six divisions of Stallion Series races on Monday night for two-year-old male trotters with a win in 1:55.2.
PACER OF THE WEEK: T’S ELECTRIC
This nine-year-old gelding came into a $10,000 claiming pace with 136 career starts in his rear-view mirror. But he has been lightly raced for the past two years. In 2017, he raced just four times, winning two of them. This year T’s Electric didn’t get started with his season until July 17. In his third start off the layoff on August 7, the Rene Allard trainee found his stride and blew away a $7,500 claiming group for a six-length victory in 1:54.
Even with the move up in class on Saturday night, T’s Electric was made a 3-5 favorite as he left from post position #4 in a field of eight pacers. With Anthony Morgan doing the driving, the veteran gelding grabbed the early lead, only to relent as Admiral, who was coming off a win in the $10,000 claimers in his previous race, wrested the engine away. Morgan decided he wanted to be the aggressor, so he tipped his charge out for a retake on the front stretch.
When they rolled around to the home stretch, Admiral was still lurking in the pocket. He briefly surged to put a challenge on the favorite. But T’s Electric responded and pushed back until he was two lengths in front of Admiral at the line, pacing the mile in 1:54. Even though he might not race as much as he once did, this gelding has proven that he is a tough customer in the lower claiming ranks whenever he does make it to the gate.
Honorable mention on the pacing side goes to: More The Better N (Corey Callahan), the stallion who continued his impressive first stint in the United States with a victory on Saturday night in the Great Northeast Open Series in a new career-best of 1:49, fastest time of the week at Pocono; Big City Betty (Andrew McCarthy, Steve Salerno), a mare who came off a month-and-a-half layoff to win a condition pace for distaffers in a career-best 1:52.2 on Sunday night; and Twinkle (Eric Carlson, Ross Croghan), who captured Tuesday night’s featured condition pace for mares in 1:52.2.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: EXPLOSIVE ZETTE
Not a lot of big long shots came in this week, so this mare who scored a condition trotting win on Sunday night takes the cake; she won with Tom Jackson at 11-1, paying $25.60 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR.
The meet’s leading driver just keeps on rolling; with five wins on Saturday night, he became the first driver to 200 wins on the 2018 campaign at Pocono.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: DOMENICO CECERE
Cecere is a name that’s new to the racing wars at Pocono, but he immediately made his presence felt with a pair of Stallion Series winners on Monday night.
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.