Day At The Track

The Downs Week in Review, April 20 to 26

11:30 AM 24 Apr 2019 NZST
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Cardiff,Harness racing
Cardiff
Curtis Salonick photo

Over the past month we've been enjoying the Bobby Weiss harness racing series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Well, the preliminary legs of the series have come to an end and the finals have begun taking place, each for a purse of $30,000. Two of those finals are still to come, but the winners of the two Bobby Weiss championship races held this past week earn the distinction of Horses of the Week in this edition of the Weekly Awards.

PACER OF THE WEEK: CARDIFF

In the Bobby Weiss final on Monday for pacing fillies and mares, Cardiff, despite a win and two places in the Series, was an 11-1 shot. That's because most of the betting attention went to Ghosttothepost and Girl's Got Rhythm, who entered the final a perfect 5 for 5 between in them in the previous legs. Cardiff, as a matter of fact, had come up short behind Ghosttothepost in her previous two races, so it was understandable perhaps that the Rene Allard trainee was somewhat overlooked at the windows.

Girl's Got Rhythm was the aggressor in the final, bolting out to the engine despite having the #9 post and setting nasty fractions. Ghosttothepost, who went off as the 2-5 favorite, settled in the pocket. As for Cardiff, who left from post #8, he sat mid-pack early. But driver Simon Allard didn't allow him to dawdle for long, sending him first-over after the leader before he reached the clubhouse turn. He was still parked out as they rounded the final turn and hadn't yet corralled Girl's Got Rhythm.

In the stretch, Cardiff found another burst of energy while Girl's Got Rhythm struggled to stay afloat and Ghosttothepost took his shot in the passing lane. Despite having the inferior trip, Cardiff outpaced the other two and came out on top by a length-and-a-half over Ghosttothepost, with Girl's Got Rhythm settling for 3rd. When it counted, Cardiff came up with a career-best 1:51:1 mile, all the more impressive for the tough journey he needed to take and the tough competition he needed to overcome.

Other top pacers this week include: Soho Wallstreet A (Pat Berry, Scott DiDomenico), who captured his second straight Saturday night condition feature with a win this past weekend in 1:50:2, which was also the fastest pacing time of the week at Pocono; Bunkndunk (Simon Allard, Rene Allard), who switched barns and captured his second straight claiming win on Saturday night, this one in 1:51:4; and Pennys Dragon (Matt Kakaley, Sean Smithpeters), a three-year-old filly who pulled off her second straight upset condition victory on Monday, winning in a career-best 1:53:4.

 

TROTTER OF THE WEEK: TOWN HALL JUSTICE

On Tuesday, it was time for the fillies and mares trotting division of the Weiss series to contest their final, and the top two choices on the board were Fade Into You, winner of two of three preliminary legs, and Spring In Paris, who swept the three preliminaries. Town Hall Justice wasn't close in her first two legs of the series, but then picked up a confidence-building win in the final preliminary in 1:56:4 heading into the final.

That win coincided with her joining the Rene Allard barn, and you know from above that Rene and brother Simon Allard won with Cardiff in the first Weiss final in upset fashion. In this mile, Town Hall Justice found the pocket after leaving from post position #3 in the nine-horse field. The four-year-mare watched as Run Lindy Run cut out the first half-mile in fast fractions, then quickly grabbed the lead at the top of the back stretch.

From there both Fade Into You and Spring In Paris took their best shots at the leader. But Town Hall Justice, at 7-1, finished strong, holding off Fade Into You by a length, with Spring In Paris back in 3rd. The mare shattered her previous career-best in 1:53:4, and scored at a nice price of 7-1. 2 for 2 since hooking up with the Allards, Town Hall Justice looks poised for a completer career rejuvenation. Meanwhile, Simon and Rene Allard solidified their reputations as guys who step up their games for the biggest races.

Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Two AM (Tyler Buter, Todd Buter), who captured the Sunday night featured condition trot in 1:53:2, which stood up as the fastest trotting time of the week at Pocono; Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr., Gareth Dowse) who came out firing in her first start of the year on Sunday night, winning a condition trot in a career-best 1:53:4, which was the fastest trotting time put up by a three-year-old filly in all of North America this year; and Hill Of A Horse (Marcus Miller, Erv Miller), who overcame a #9 post to score his second straight condition win on Tuesday, this one coming in 1:54:2.

 

LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: A BETTOR BEACH

This pacer made his maiden victory an unforgettable one, scoring on Monday with Matt Kakaley driving at 42-1, paying off $86.20 on a $2 win ticket.

 

DRIVER OF THE WEEK: TYLER BUTER

Tyler Buter didn't rest on his laurels after scoring his 3,000th career win aboard Daddy Let Me Drive on Sunday night, instead winning two more that evening, including the feature with Two AM.

 

TRAINER OF THE WEEK: RENE ALLARD

Not only did he win both of the Weiss finals, but the perennial Pocono leading trainer also took over the lead in the training wins standings for 2019 with six victories on the week.

 

That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com.

 

Jim Beviglia

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