September 22-28, 2018
We continue to barrel forward in the 2018 racing season at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, closer and closer to the Breeders Crown in late October. With each passing week, the excitement builds just a little bit more. Meanwhile, the overnight action at Pocono continues to impress. A new batch of star performers seems to step forward each week, and these past four racing nights were no different. Let’s hand out the Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: INTOVIEW
Respect has been hard-earned for this seven-year-old mare trained by Gilbert Garcia-Owen, but success has been easier to come by for her. After going winless in her first 15 races of the year, Intoview found her stride with a condition pacing win at Harrah’s at the end of August at 7-1. She then came to Pocono and managed to make a late rally at 5-1 to capture a $15,000 to $20,000 claiming handicap on September 17, winning in 1:53 on a sloppy track.
On Monday night, Intoview took on that same claiming handicap group, leaving from post position #4. Yet even with the two consecutive wins, she still went off as the 9-5 second choice. The 7-5 favorite was LK’s Nancy Lee, a horse that Intoview had beaten the week before. LK’s Nancy Lee set the pace on Monday night, while Intoview made an early first-over move. Driver George Napolitano Jr. couldn’t get her immediately to the front, meaning that she was parked around two turns.
As they hit the stretch, the top two were joined by pocket horse Rosy Outlook and second-cover closer Tataria. It seemed for a moment about midway through the straightaway that Intoview was staring to drop back. But then she surged again as the line approached, nipping LK’s Nancy Lee by a head in a hard-fought 1:52.4. That makes three straight wins, including two straight Monday night features, for the mare, who might just start more betting attention to go along with the victories.
Other top pacers this week include: Areyoureadygirl (George Napolitano Jr., Hunter Oakes), a mare who won her second claiming handicap on Monday night in 1:52.3; giving her wins in the last four races that she has been at the Pocono oval; Pembroke Wildcat (Anthony Napolitano, Brittany Robertson), who captured a claiming handicap pace on Saturday night in 1:50, a new career-best and the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; and Sir Pugsley (Pat Berry, Ron Burke), who delivered a win in the Saturday night feature pace in 1:50.2.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: D’ DREAM
One thing we consistently see at Pocono is that horses ship in from all over the place. Sometimes, it’s a case of trainers and owners wanting to test the waters at a top track. Other times, horses are purchased from other locations to come and race for a Pocono trainer. The latter seems to have been the case with D’ Dream, a three-year-old filly. She had been racing in fair races in the state of Ohio, picking up back-to-back wins on that circuit in the month of August.
D’ Dream than arrived at Pocono and immediately paid dividends for new trainer Neal Ehrhart, winning a race on September 16 for her first ever pari-mutuel victory. On Monday night, she was at it again, this time against the non-winners of two fillies and mares trotters. Leaving from post position #1 in a field of nine as a 2-1 second choice, the filly settled in third in the early part of the mile as Fair Chase, the 9-5 favorite, set the early pace.
When an opening presented itself on the back stretch, driver Mike Simons took advantage, sending D’ Dream on a first-over journey. She blew by Fair Chase in a matter of moments and opened up a wide advantage on the rest of the field. It was all academic from there as the filly powered home a 3 ½-length winner in 1:57, a new career-best. Ohio fairs, Pocono bright lights: It’s all the same to D’ Dream. She just keeps on beating everybody in her path.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Boffin (George Napolitano Jr., Anette Lorentzon), who rolled to the victory in Sunday night’s featured condition trot in 1:53.3, the fastest trotting time of the week; Wisenheimer (Steve Smith, Jenny Melander), who rolled to a condition win on Saturday night in 1:55.1; and Jack Rules (Simon Allard, Tony Dinges), who moved up in class on Tuesday night but sill scored his second consecutive win, this one coming in 1:56.2 on an off-track.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: ACTRESS HANOVER
The maiden victory for this two-year-old pacing filly will be a memorable one, as she scored in a condition on Tuesday might with Mike Simons driving at 65-1, paying off $140.20 on a $2 win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN WALLIS
If you like long shots, Wallis was your man this past weekend, winning three races on Saturday and Sunday, all with horses whose odds were greater than 10-1.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: LOU PENA
Pena, who was once a training champ at Pocono, found some of the old magic on Saturday night, ripping off three victories on the program.
That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.