The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono honored their Horses of the Year in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner’s Circle.
Pacer Of The Year honors go to Maxdaddy Blue Chip, a 5-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 Nov. 4. He achieved his lifetime mark of 1:49.1 at Pocono on Sept. 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 Nov. 25 with his connections in attendance.
Trotter Of The Year for 2017 is Upfront Billy, an 8-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 trotters, 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 Aug. 12 and Oct, 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.
The 2017 Claimer Of The Year is Pounce Hanover, a 6-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 price tag to a $20,000 one, and is currently owned by Tee Wine and trained by Tyler Stillings.
The 2017 Mare Of The Year is Celebrity Eventsy, a Manofmanymissions 4-year-old that 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 Sept. 10, when she took her new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 against very select winners-over company.
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