Day At The Track

Pocono announces 'Horses of the Year'

11:00 AM 10 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Maxdaddy Blue Chip, harness racing Upfront Billy, harness racing
Maxdaddy Blue Chip
Curtis Salonick Photo
Upfront Billy
Curtis Salonick Photo

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has announced their annual harness racing awards for Horses of the Year. The horses will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle starting Saturday, November 11th and continuing through Saturday, November 18th.

PACER OF THE YEAR honors go to Maxdaddy Blue Chip, a five-year-old Sportsmaster gelding, who had an outstanding overall 2017 season, with 15 victories and $112,095 in earnings. Five of those wins came against quality horses at The Downs: he was 1-2 in his last five starts here, including a win at the top level in his last start here on November 4. He achieved his lifetime mark of 1:49.1 at Pocono on September 9. Maxdaddy Blue Chip was purchased after the death of his former owner Fred Monteleone on July 15, and is currently owned by Allard Racing Inc., Alycon Stable, How's That Stables Inc., and VIP Internet Stable LLC, with trainer Rene Allard most often tapping his brother Simon for sulky duties. He will be honored on Saturday, November 18th, with his connections in attendance.

TROTTER OF THE YEAR for 2017 is Upfront Billy, an eight-year-old Andover Hall gelding trained by Mark Ford, who is also co-owner with Up Front Racing LLC. Ford most often used Anthony Napolitano when the horse raced at Pocono. A six-time winner at The Downs this year against the higher levels of diamondgaiters, Upfront Billy took his six wins in three bursts of two consecutive wins over the track: May 6 and June 10; in back-to-back weeks on July 8 and 15; and then a two-month gap between August 12 and October 14. "Billy" won his July 8 start here in 1:52.4, his fastest win since setting his mark of 1:52 at The Meadowlands at age 4. With his connections attending, Upfront Billy will be honored on Saturday, November 11th.

The 2017 CLAIMER OF THE YEAR is Tom Wine II, a six-year-old altered trotting son of Majestic Son. He won seven races at Pocono this season, including a spectacular streak of six in a row from June 15 to July 30 with three different stables having him during the streak, but he made his longest "stay," for four wins, for owner Susan Oakes, trainer Hunter Oakes, and driver George Napolitano Jr. He doubled in "value" during The Streak, going from a $10,000 pricetag to a $20,000 one, and is currently owned by Tee Wine and trained by Tyler Stillings. A Winner's Circle presentation will be made to the Wine family and to Hunter Oakes on Saturday, November 18th.

Can't forget those fabulous fillies...or mares! The 2017 MARE OF THE YEAR is Celebrity Eventsy, a Manofmanymissions four-year-old trotting mare raced almost exclusively by the father/son team of Staffan and Christian Lind for the Celebrity Farms of well-known owner Sam Stathis. The mare posted three victories and three seconds in seven seasonal starts at the mountain oval, with the highlight undoubtedly coming on September 10, when she took her new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 against very select winners-over company. Celebrity Eventsy will be honored in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner's Circle on Sunday, November 12th with her proud connections in attendance.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will also be honoring the 2017 Driver and Trainer of the Year during closing week, on November 22 and 25th, with information to follow.

Eight racing days remain in the 2017 racing season for the racetrack in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with the Breeders Crown coming in October, 2018.

By Jerry Connors for the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

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