Saturday’s $6.4 million card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono features a bevy of fantastic races, 15 per cent takeout on all bets and three separate Pick 4 bets across the 12 Crown races.
by Brett Sturman
1st Pick 4 Races 3-6:
$1 selection 3-4 / 4-6-9 / 1-2 / 9 $12
Race 3, $600,000 2YOFP
Coming into last week’s eliminations I didn’t think that TALL DRINK HANOVER was getting the respect that she deserved, and she stamped herself as the one to beat in the final. Despite the gratuitous 4-1 morning line, she should be favored after parking WARRAWEE UBEAUT through a :26.2 third panel last week only to still have enough left to fend off ZERO TOLERANCE who had the perfect trip sitting a couple lengths off the battling leaders. Warrawee Ubeaut makes her second start since that 1:48.3 record mile and there’s no question she had a tough go of it last week; aims to finally get the better of Tall Drink Hanover. ST SOMEWHERE has been strong on the front end of late; has gotten her act together after a series of earlier season miscues.
Race 4, $600,000 2YOCT
SMART AS HILL made his first start last week since being runner-up as a longshot in the Wellwood final over a month, and that was some late explosion. Granted, he didn’t have to make a move until the very end of the mile, but he was airborne once in gear and might be that good again. GIMPANZEE got the job done as the even money favorite and has run his career unbeaten streak to eight, faces an even tougher group now. GREEN MANALISHI S wasn’t bad last week and could easily rebound; surely will get bet down from that 6-1 morning line.
Race 5, $600,000 2YOFT
WOODSIDE CHARM will be an obvious single in the Pick 4 for most, coming off that double-digit romp last week in her elimination. Now 6 for 6, no one’s been able to get close yet. WHEN DOVESCRY has now won four in a row and I wouldn’t be too quick to not include an Allard horse from the rail. She breezed last week from post 7 through fairly quick early fractions; should be able to stick close to the big favorite. THE ICE DUTCHESS doesn’t come off the easiest trip, but now suddenly finds herself on the outside looking in with work to do.
Race 6, $500,000 3YOFP
It’s shades of the James Lynch as KISSIN IN THE SAND goes from post 9 at Pocono and she’s been sensational all year. That performance from the Lynch may be the race of the year and she hasn’t done anything since to make a real case to go against in this race. YOUAREMYCANDYGIRL and ALEXA’S POWER are the next two closest behind and wouldn’t be out of the question if the favorites get roughed up from the outside post.
2nd Pick 4 Races 7-10:
$1 selection 4-5 / 1-2-4-5-6 / 3 / 2-3 $20
Race 7, $500,000 3YOCT
In kicking off the second of three Pick 4s, this race features what could be the matchup of the night. SIX PACK followed up his all-time 3YO trot record time of 1:49.1 from the Kentucky Futurity with an easy win last week in his elimination. He meets up with the TACTICAL LANDING who was relentless last week while racing with no cover to power past MET’S HALL. That was his first time going from Takter to Brian Sears, and gets that driver back again as expected. CRYSTAL FASHION got a typical elimination drive last week and I haven’t guessed right on him all year, but would be surprised if he beat #’s 4 and 5.
Race 8, $600,000 2YOCP
NO MAS ARMOR proved last week that his prior Lexington win at odds of 114-1 was no fluke. He sat a patient trip last week where it looked like all Kakaley ever wanted to do was make the final, and then sprinted up the inside after sitting last to pass everyone for the win in a fast time. Impossible not to include. AIR FORCE HANOVER was caught last week but it was still a top effort on the front end; offers a square price. Gets a new driver too in Tetrick as Dave Miller goes to elimination winner PROOF who starts from the rail. This is a deep and evenly matched field; a case could continue to be made for almost everyone else with the right kind of setup.
Race 9, $500,000 open trot
GUARDIAN ANGEL AS was exceptional last week, winning his elimination in 1:52.3. He did some of the dirty work a few back when he was second in that record 1:48:4 mile and has already won this year at Philly in 1:50.4; a fast horse peaking at the right time. TOP FLIGHT ANGEL won in the same time as the other elimination winner last week although I think was more of a surprise. WARRAWEE ROO had a rough trip last out and it seems like Luc Blais and Dube come up with wins in spots like this. HOMICIDE HUNTER hasn’t been the same since that record mile. CRUZADO DELA NOCHE is an underlay.
Race 10, $270,000 mares pace
CALL ME QUEEN BE swelled up on the front end last week and that was a powerful win in a fast time from post 8 despite her longshot status of 18-1. That race came on the heels of another upset win here at Pocono two back and she could be sharp enough for Croghan to win. SHARTIN N has been the top mare all year long and has been going strong since prior to the Matchmaker series. She’s clearly the one to beat and would go over $1 million in career earnings with a win. PURE COUNTRY upset in this race last year.
3rd Pick 4 Races 11-14:
$1 selection 3-7 / 1-2-3-7-8 / 5-8- / 3 $20
Race 11, $500,000 3YOFT
ATLANTA looked good last week in winning her elimination and didn’t look any worse for the wear following her two-heat win in the Futurity two weeks prior. The one to beat in what promises to be another exciting showdown amongst top fillies. The big change in here is the driver change that PHAETOSIVE gets, going away from her trainer Smedshammer for the first time in her career and the Minister of Speed, George Brennan gets the call. Could make a big difference. MANCHEGO bounced back from her Lexington mile but still wasn’t all there last week; will need a bit more now.
Race 12, $530,000 3YOCP
It’s fitting that the most wide-open division all year has one of the most wide-open Crown races. LATHER UP continues to be a mystery but did very well for himself last week despite being all over the track and making a break. He’d be very dangerous if he keeps his act together. DORSODURO HANOVER has been one of the most consistent horses all year and he owns a few big wins at this track this year; will be interesting to see what Kakaley does early from the rail for this 1:50.1 elimination winner. THIS IS THE PLAN jogged last week in his elimination and is suddenly a formidable threat to win since moving to Burke. SPRINGSTEEN surprised in the Hempt at this track earlier in the year; had good pace to close out his elimination last week. GRAND TETON remains sharp.
Race 13, $250,000 mares trot
It took a big mile to beat ARIANA G last week and her and race winner EMOTICON HANOVER were miles clear of the rest. That elimination also went about three full seconds quicker than the other elimination and this final is shaping up to squarely be a two-horse race.
Race 14, $430,000 open pace
MCWICKED and LAZARUS enter the final Breeders Crown race of the night at two wins apiece in their unexpectedly fierce rivalry, and I think the upper hand right now goes to McWicked. Coming off that 1:46.2 mile in the Allerage, he blew them away in the Rooney at Yonkers and may have won anyway regardless of the scratch of #2. LAZARUS went a giant trip last out at the Red Mile and was somehow still closing in on #3 that race despite the far tougher of trips. The bigger concern is the sick scratch, but Takter will have him ready to go. FILIBUSTER HANOVER exists one of the best miles we’ve seen from him; gets rewarded with the rail.