Homeracing

Harness action survives the elements

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

June 5th, 2018

Harness racing fans and their accompanying owners and trainers were asked to battle through the elements over the weekend at two tracks along the east coast deluged by several heavy rain showers, but conditions were much clearer when action resumed on Monday afternoon.

One day after the area was hit by a soaking rain, Harrington Raceway offered a solid on Monday afternoon amid ideal conditions as the Delaware half-mile oval presented a good blend of overnight events for older pacers.

Just prior to the midway point of the card, Kiss A Dragon (Russell Foster) overcame post seven and a long, first over bid to capture a non-winners of $8,801 last five starts class as the tepid 2-1 choice in 1:52.3. A six-year-old Dragon Again gelding owned, trained and driven by Foster, Kiss A Dragon notched his second straight score and now owns a 3-4-0 slate and $27,000 banked from 11 starts this year and 17 wins and over $163,000 earned from 80 lifetime outings.

Then one race later in a non-winners of $13,701 last five starts class for older pacers, Options Are Adream (Ross Wolfenden) easily lived up to his billing as the 3-10 favorite from the coveted rail when he gained command soon after the outset and carved out fractions of 27.2, 56.2 and 1:25.2 then sprinted home in 26.4 to prevail by two lengths in 1:52.1. A five-year-old If I Can Dream gelding trained by Wolfenden for owner David Banks for Rookery fame, Options Are Adream notched his fourth win in 11 starts this year and now owns 15 wins and over $106,000 banked from 37 lifetime tries.

Then one race later in the $17,500 Open Handicap for older pacers, Blazing Bobby Sox (Art Stafford, Jr.) continued his sharp form spree when he overcame his assigned eight post and extended first over bid to nail Kid PK (Tony Morgan) by a nose in 1:53.3. A seven-year-old gelded son of The Panderosa trained by Stafford, Blazing Bobby Sox recorded his third straight victory and now owns a 7-2-2 slate and $70,000 banked from 15 starts this year and boasts 27 wins and over $305,000 earned from 79 lifetime tries.

Then one race later in a non-winners of $6,001 last five starts class for older pacers, Papa Ray (Victor Kirby) just lived up to his role as the 7-10 favorite when he gained command from along the rail and led throughout to score by a neck over Bobby The Greek (Jonathan Roberts) in 1:53.4. A nine-year-old Village Jolt stallion trained by Wayne Givens, Papa Ray recorded his second straight triumph and now owns four wins and $25,000 banked from 16 starts this year and boasts a solid 46-26-33 slate and over $630,000 earned in 222 career outings.

One night later at Ocean Downs, the opening night of the Maryland half-mile oval's summer meet which runs through Labor Day Monday, September 3, was hardly dampened by the series of rain showers that left the surface 'good' for the program.

Just prior to the midway point of the card, Catscratchfever (Jason Thompson) benefited from a pocket trip and patient handling and eventually wore down Fashion Maven (Allan Davis) to score in 1:57.4 in the Silver class. The six-year-old Indian Fever gelding is owned and trained by Brian Tomlinson.

Then two races later in the featured $10,000 Platinum class for older pacers, Hickory Aloha (Timmy Offutt), the defending Ocean Downs overnight horse of the year by the local scribes, took the first steps toward successfully defending that title when he gained command soon after the start and led throughout to forge a 12-1 upset in 1:56.1. The six-year-old Village Jolt gelding is owned and trained by Joe Offutt and he just held safe the late bid of the pocket-sitting El Bloombito (Sean Bier) after rebuffing first over pressure from 1-2 choice Hi Sir (Foster).

Then one race later in the Gold Class, Capital Builder (Jonathan Roberts) recently honored as the Rosecroft Raceway spring meet pacing champ, overcame a first over bid to live up to his role as the 7-10 choice and score by two lengths in 1:56.3. Capital Builder is trained by Megan Roberts for owner and father, William "Bib" Roberts of Yankee Co-Ed fame. Capital Builder actually began the Rosecroft spring meet as a free-legged pacer, but was eventually fitted with 62-inch hobbles.

Then two races later in the other Gold split, Rock N Row (Roberts) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to nail Major Blue Coat (Richard Still) by a nose in 1:59. The six-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Willard Reynolds for owner Donald Fowler got up in the final strides for the narrow tally.

Trainer Brittany Bounds emerged as one of the rising stars at the recent Rosecroft meet, winning 15 races with a modest stable. On Sunday evening at Ocean Downs the youthful conditioner played the 'bridesmaid' role among trainers as DBs Rosco, Major Blue Coat and Hare Force One, who competed in the one-mile and one-quarter finale, all finished second. Neatly one year ago, Bounds lost several race horses to a barn fire, but she persevered and has gradually rebuilt her stable with quality animals capable of competing on the Maryland circuit.

That same evening at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, the five-eighths mile oval was deluged early and often but several trotters and pacers appeared to thrive over the conditions.

Just past the midway point of the card, In Secret overcame an extended first over bid to forge a 19-1 upset in the first, $30,000 division of the Great Northeast Open series for older trotters. A six-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe gelding trained by Ron Burke, In Secret notched his third win in 11 starts this year and now owns a 24-12-15 slate and $470,000 bankroll after splashing home in 1:54.4.

Then two races later in the second Great Northeast Open series for older trotters, Homicide Hunter (George Napolitano, Jr.) benefited from a pocket trip behind 8-5 choice Classicality (Marcus Miller) through the middle portion of the race then surged through along the inside to score by nearly a length in 1:55.1. The six-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding trained by Chris Oakes, recorded his first win in two starts this year and now owns 31 wins and nearly $1.13 million banked from 64 career outings.

Then one race later in the $30,000 Great Northeast Open event for pacing fillies and mares, Tequila Monday (Brian Sears) brushed to command past a 26.4 opener, got a breather to the half in 55.4, met token pressure down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23.2 then sprinted clear in the lane to a three-length score in 1:51 flat. A four-year-old daughter of American Ideal trained by Hunter Oakes, Tequila Monday notched her second win in four starts this year and now owns a 14-7-3 slate and nearly $650,000 banked from 31 lifetime tries. The Maryland-bred Winbak Farm product concluded her sophomore season with a solid 8-6-3 slate and over $400,000 banked from 22 outings.
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