Pocono Announces Horses Of The Year

Published: November 9, 2017 01:57 pm EST

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has announced its annual awards for horses of the year.

The horses will be honoured in the Hanover Shoe Farms Winner’s Circle beginning this Saturday (November 11). The honours will continue through Saturday, November 18.

Pacer of the Year honours have gone 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 at the track, including a win at the top level in his last Pocono start on November 4. He achieved his lifetime mark of 1:49.1 over 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. Trainer Rene Allard has most often tapped his brother, Simon, for sulky duties. Maxdaddy Blue Chip will be honoured on Saturday, November 18 with his connections in attendance.

Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Photo courtesy Curtis Salonick)

The track’s 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 diamond-gaiters, Upfront Billy recorded 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 at the track in 1:52.4, his fastest win since setting his mark of 1:52 at the Meadowlands Racetrack at age four. With his connections attending, Upfront Billy will be honoured on Saturday, November 11.

The track’s 2017 Claimer of the Year is Pounce Hanover, a six-year-old altered 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. Although, 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, as he went from a $10,000 price tag to a $20,000 one. He 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 18.

Can’t forget those fabulous fillies – or mares! The 2017 Mare of the Year is Celebrity Eventsy, a four-year-old Manofmanymissions 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. Her highlight undoubtedly came on September 10, when she took her new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 against very select winners – ‘over’ company. Celebrity Eventsy will be honoured in the winner’s circle on Sunday, November 12 with her proud connections in attendance.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will also be honouring the 2017 Driver and Trainer of the Year during closing week, on November 22 and 25 (further information on that will be forthcoming).

(With files from The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono)