August 31-September 6, 2019
The past week’s racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was highlighted by a mandatory Rainbow Pick 5 payout, which awarded winning tickets at over $1,200 a pop Sunday night. It will be fun to see how high the Rainbow rises as it starts up again and rolls through the rest of the season at Pocono. As usual, we saw some outstanding performances over the past four racing programs, and we highlight the best of those now by handing out the Weekly Awards.
PACER OF THE WEEK: TEXICAN N
This 11-year-old gelding has been a stalwart performer throughout his career. In fact, he’s not that far off from having a million dollars in purse money. Where once he was a top Open and condition performer, these days he plies his trade in the claiming ranks and recently has found the old fastball for trainer Brittany Robertson. After a few near-misses, Texican N scored a win in a $20,000 to $25,000 claiming handicap on August 17, utilizing a pocket trip for the 1:51:2 score.
On Saturday night, Texican N was back at it against the same claiming class, this time leaving from post position #3 and doing so as the 2-1 favorite. Texican N left early for the lead, but then watched as Beach Memories moved past him on the first turn. In the previous start, the gelding sat in the pocket behind Beach Memories and prevailed late. But this time around, driver Matt Kakaley urged the veteran on for a quick retake of the lead on the front stretch.
The move seemed to take the stuffing out of Beach Memories, who wasn’t a threat from there. Texican N had to deal with other horses in the field making a late play, but he was up to the challenge. He ended up coming home a winner by 1 ¾ lengths over King Harvest in a sharp winning time of 1:50:4. And, with the win on Saturday night, he proved that he could still dominate the proceedings rather than just relying on a trip to win.
Other top pacers this week include: Torrid Bromac N (Pat Berry, Traci Berry), who won his second straight $15,000 claimer on Saturday night and fourth out of five overall in 1:51; Daamericansky (Marcus Miller, Mark Silva), who rolled to his second condition win in his last three races on Sunday and did so in a new career-best time of 1:49:3; and Lady Dela Renta A (Anthony Napolitano, Jose Godinez), who moved up in class for her second straight win at Pocono on Tuesday night, this time capturing the night’s featured condition pace for mares in a new career-best time of 1:49:2.
TROTTER OF THE WEEK: SATIN DANCER
Winning a Sunday night featured trot at Pocono these days is quite an accomplishment. It doesn’t seem to matter the condition or the purse; the field always seemed to be stacked from inside to outside with top competitors, making it like a gauntlet for anyone brave enough to tackle it. This past Sunday night’s edition, a condition with a purse of $17,500, was no different. Moving up in class to face a group like that is a tough task, but that’s just what Satin Dancer was undertaking.
The five-year-old mare trained by Travis Alexander was coming off a victory in her previous start at Pocono at the $14,000 level in 1:54:3. In the Sunday night tilt she was the 4-1 fourth choice on the board, leaving from post position #4 in a field of eight. And, as in her previous start, she left in a hurry, grabbing the lead after a brief speed duel with 2-1 favorite Two AM. From there, driver Dexter Dunn was able to rate the pace favorably because no first-over challenger came along to speed his horse up.
As they hit the top of the stretch, only Two AM was still hanging around with a chance to derail the mare. But she closed out the mile as powerfully as she began it, keeping Two AM at bay to win it by a length as the only distaff horse in the entire field. Not only did Satin Dancer conquer the feature with her second straight win, but she also did it in 1:53, which matched her career-best mile in the process.
Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Lionbacker Kidd (Marcus Miller, Bucky Angle Jr.), who picked up his second straight condition win on Sunday night, scoring in 1:55:3; Broadway Mojo (George Napolitano Jr., Brandon Presto), who followed up a win at the Meadows with a claiming handicap victory at Pocono on Sunday night in 1:55:1; and Amador (Marcus Miller, Joseph King), whose upset win at Pocono in a condition trot on Sunday night in 1:54:2 gave him two straight victories, with the previous one coming at Harrah’s at Philadelphia.
LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: MACH WEST
Despite a romping win at Tioga in his previous start, this pacer driven by Anthony Napolitano got away at 33-1 in a condition on Sunday night and won it to pay off $68.80 on a $2-win ticket.
DRIVER OF THE WEEK: ANDY MILLER
Miller had a blast on the Labor Day card, coming up with winners in four of the day’s dozen races, cashing in with a favorite every time.
TRAINER OF THE WEEK: JULIE MILLER
You might have guessed from above that Monday was also a big day for Julie, as she went a perfect four-for-four on the day with her trainees.
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.