August 24 to August 30, 2019
The month of August is winding down and the stakes racing continues at a hot and heavy pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. And it seems that whenever those stakes races take place, top horsemen and horsewomen also bring some of their best overnight horses to Pocono as well, spicing up those races. Let’s take a look at all that transpired in the past racing week at Pocono and hand out some Weekly Awards along the way.
PACER OF THE WEEK: REBEL ROUSER
Early in the year, it was shaping up to be a monster season for this five-year-old gelding. Rebel Rouser came out of the gate in 2019 on top of his game with wins in seven out of ten races, all within the first four months of the year. But an injury sidelined him from April until August, stunting his formidable momentum. In his first start back at Yonkers on August 5, he went off as a heavy favorite and led until late but then broke stride, which sent him back to qualifiers.
When he returned to action on August 18 at Pocono, he was met with some skepticism from the bettors, going off at 6-1 as he faced a field of winners of four to seven condition pacers. But he found his old form in a big way, going gate to wire from an outside post for a victory on a sloppy track in a career-best 1:51. The bandwagon was full when he faced the same class on Sunday night at Pocono, as Rebel Rouser went off as a 3-5 favorite with an inside post in a field of eight.
Even though track conditions were ideal this time around, driver Yannick Gingras didn’t have to ask the gelding for nearly as much speed in the early going as was the case the previous week. Nobody challenged Rebel Rouser as he coasted to the half in just 57 seconds. That left him with plenty in the tank late when challenged by pocket horse Daamericansky, and Rebel Rouser, trained by Bob Cleary, held him off by a neck for his second straight win at Pocono, this one coming in 1:53:1.
Other top pacers this week include: Photobombr Hanover (Simon Allard, Tom Fanning), who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a condition victory on Saturday night at Pocono in 1:51:2; Torrid Bromac (Pat Berry, Ted Sulseki), whose claiming win on Saturday night in a career-best 1:50:4 gave him victories in three of his last four races; and Artful Bliss (Anthony Napolitano, Marta Piotrow), who rolled to his fourth straight $7,500 claiming victory on Monday afternoon, winning in 1:52:2.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: RAINBOWINTHEWEST
Hailing from the barn of trainer Robert Rougeaux III, this four-year-old mare spent a lot of the season at The Meadows, and made it up as high as the Open Handicap level. Her first try at Pocono was a respectable third-place finish in a $14,000 condition trot. She dropped down a notch the following week and picked up a solid win as a heavy favorite in 1:54 at the $12,500 level, posting a career-best time in the process.
Feeling confident off that win, Rainbowinthewest jumped back up in class again to the $14,000 condition trotters on Sunday night. The big difference this time around was, after having the inside #1 post in her previous two journeys at Pocono, she was saddled with the outside post in a field of eight on Sunday night. That, along with the move back up in class, was probably why she was let go at odds of 9-1, well behind the 3-5 favorite Tag Up And Go.
Driver Marcus Miller, unconcerned by the odds or the post, sent Rainbowinthewest flying to the front in the early part of the mile. Tag Up And Go came at her with a strong first-over move, while Bucketlist Hanover, getting a garden trip, took aim on the inside late. But the mare had an answer for them all, gutting out the final strides to win a tight one. She managed the mile in 1:54:1 this time around, giving her two straight impressive condition victories on the Pocono oval.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Eurobond (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), who followed up a win at Harrah’s with a condition victory at Pocono on Sunday night, posting the week’s fastest trotting time of 1:51:3 in the process; Beyond Kronos (Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell), whose Stallion Series win over other two-year-old trotting colts and geldings was his third straight and came in the fastest stakes time (1:54:4) of the night; and High Blue (George Napolitano Jr., Joe Pavia Jr.), who rattled off his second straight claiming handicap win on Tuesday and did so in 1:54:2, matching a career-best time.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: FASHION WINNER
With Marcus Miller in the bike, this trotter rallied for a condition victory on the Monday afternoon program at 26-1, paying out $55.60 on a $2-win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: SIMON ALLARD
Simon went on a tear on Saturday, winning six out of the 14 races on the card, with only of those victories coming aboard a betting favorite.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JIM CAMPBELL
Campbell’s impressive contingent of two-year-old trotters include Sunday night Stallion Series winner Beyond Kronos and Sire Stakes winner Real Cool Sam, who remained unbeaten after seven races.
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.