Homeracing

Harness racing action continues to heat up on Sundays

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Ted Black

February 25th, 2019

On the night that harness racing enthusiasts finally learned who would be champion pacer, champion trotter and horse of the year for 2018, Miami Valley, Rosecroft Raceway and Pompano Park offered competitive overnight cards that featured quality animals of both gaits. As expected, McWicked got champion pacer and edged Atlanta for harness racing's horse of the year.

Just past the midway point of the program at Miami Valley, Primed N Powerful (Tyler Smith) rebounded from a third-place effort as the tepid favorite in the $20,000 Open II for trotters when he brushed from third to command before three-quarters then sprinted clear to a five-length score in 1:57 as the 5-2 second choice. A six-year-old Psychic Spirit gelding trained by Robert Phillips, Primed N Powerful recorded his first win in five tries this year and now 38 wins and nearly $220,000 banked from 110 lifetime outings.

Trotting Grace (Brett Miller) was unlucky again as the even-money choice in the Open II one week after being caught behind dull cover as the fave in the Open I and certainly deserves another chance to atone at this level next week. The four-year Cassis mare made quick work of her lifetime conditioned rivals two starts back and should be able to handle Open II foes with a clean trip.

Several races later in the $24,000 Open I Handicap for trotters, Pine Dream (Trace Tetrick) bided his time through the early stages, brushed three-wide to command down the backside and romped home five lengths clear in 1:55.2 as the lukewarm 9-5 favorite. A seven-year-old Pinetucky gelding trained by Kelly Chupp, Pine Dream notched his second win from six starts this year and now owns 27 wins and $235,000 lifetime from 111 career outings.

That same evening at Rosecroft Raceway, Jack Quick (Jonathan Roberts) easily lived up to his billing as the 1-9 favorite in a non-winners of three races or $30,000 lifetime class when he tucked fourth briefly, brushed to command past the grandstands the first time, got a breather by three-quarters in 1:26 then edged clear from the pocket-sitting Redwood Again (Frank Milby) to score by two lengths in 1:54.

A four-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding owned, bred and trained by Basil Sapienza, Jack Quick has now won three straight races since arriving from Dover Downs and exits this level and advances to the non-winners of six races or $50,000 class. Redwood Again has been second in each of his last two tries against Jack Quick and also moves up a level for trainer William "Rusty" Cox and owner Courtney Brooks. Both Jack Quick and Redwood Again look poised to make their presence known at the next class up.

Several races later on the card in a non-winner of six races or $50,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Bo Breeze (Jason Green) benefited from a lively early tempo then angled out first over past the half and brushed to command before three-quarters and edged clear from Always A Rocket (Roberts) to score in 1:55.3. A four-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding trained by Shawn Murray, Bo Breeze earned a prolonged drought when he recorded his fifth win from 40 starts and pushed his career earnings past $55,500.

Then three races later in a non-winners of $4,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Atomic Art (Jared Moyer) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all down the backside and through the far turn to forge a modest 9-2 upset in 1:55.3. A nine-year-old Party At Artsplace gelding trained by Arlene Cameron for owner Kayla Moyer, Atomic Art notched his first win in three starts this year and now sports 32 wins and nearly $150,000 banked from 159 career outings.

One race later in the featured $9,000 Winners Over class for trotters, Uknow What To Do (Sean Bier) gained command soon after the start, got a breather to the half and rebuffed the first over bid of Third Coast (Roger Plante, Jr.) to score in 1:57. A five-year-old Muscle Mass gelding trained and driven by Bier, Uknow What To Do notched his second straight victory over the oval and prevented Third Coast from recording his second straight tally for owner-trainer Kerry Welty.

Then one race later in another non-winners of $4,001 last five starts class for older pacers, Somebeach Baron (Roberts) picked up live cover past the half, angled three-wide around Toms Tornado (Russell Foster) approaching three-quarters, grinded that one down on the far turn and then held safe the late bid of Stakeout (Kim Vincent) to score in 1:55. A five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Brian Malone, Somebeach Baron notched his first win in four starts this year in his local debut after spending much of the winter at Dover Downs.

One race later in the featured $9,000 Winners Over Handicap for pacers, Hickory Aloha (Timmy Offutt) gained command past a modest 27.4 opener, got a ludicrous breather by the half in 58.4 while contesting a strong head wind, met serious pressure from 6-5 favorite Rock N Roll Jet (Kim Vincent) down the backside and through the far turn and just outlasted the choice late for a nose victory in 1:54.2.

A seven-year-old Village Jolt gelding owned and trained by Joe Offutt, Hickory Aloha ended a long drought to notch his first win in three starts this year. A former horse of the meet at Ocean Downs and Rosecroft, Hickory Aloha posted his 23rd victory and pushed his career earnings toward $235,000 with the determined score on Sunday. Rock N Roll Jet finished second for the third straight week as the favorite in the top class for owner-trainer William "Buddy" Bright and will now look to end an eight-race skid next weekend at the same oval where he dominated the top class pacers three months earlier.

That same evening at Pompano Park, He's A Love Shark (David Ingraham) capped the early daily double by rallying from far off the pace and widest of all in the lane for an 8-1 upset in 1:54. A six-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding trained by John Mungillo, He's A Love Shark notched his second win in seven starts this year and he now owns 11 wins and just over $100,000 banked from 94 lifetime tries.

One race later in a non-winners of $4,575 last four starts/optional $17,500 claiming event for pacers, Sporty Redhot (Wally Hennessey) lived up to his billing as the 1-2 choice when he gained command before a 27.3 opener, got a breather by the half in 57 flat, met token pressure from 5-2 second choice Feelin Lika Winner (Ingraham) down the backside, shook loose from that one on the far turn and held safe the late bid of 55-1 pocket-sitter Beach Pro (Aaron Byron) to score by a length in 1:52.3.

A five-year-old Sportsmaster gelding trained by Jim McDonald, Sporty Redhot notched his second straight win and now owns two victories in four starts this year and now owns 13 wins and over $126,000 banked from 70 lifetime tries. he will likely have to vault into the Open II class next week or go in for a $25,000 tag against tougher conditioned foes next week. Three of his last four wins over the strip have come against $17,500 claimers.

Several races later in a non-winners of $6,200 last four starts/optional $30,000 claiming event for pacers, Brigadierbronski A (Ricky Macomber, Jr.) quarter moved to command, rolled by the half in 55 flat, faced token pressure from Dakota Jack (Mike Simons) down the backside and through the far turn and edged clear late to a two-length score in 1:51 following a sharp qualifier won by More The Better N. The nine-year-old Art Major gelding trained by Luc Loyer recorded his second win in six starts this year and will soon return to the Open I.

Then one race later in a non-winners of $3,500 last four starts/optional $15,000 claiming event for pacers that scratched down to a compact field of five, Four Socks (Hennessey) lived up to his role as the 2-5 favorite when he left alertly to secure good early position while yielding to Major Tricks (George Napolitano, Jr.), immediately retook and rolled by the half in 55.4, met serious pressure from Spirit Shadow (Tom Jackson) down the backside and through the far turn and held safe the late bid of Gibbs (Greg Merton) to score in 1:52.4 for trainer Mike Murphy.

One race later in the featured $10,000 Open I Handicap for older pacers, Waikiki (Mike Simons) left to gain command in a ho-hum 28-second opener, rebuffed an early brush bid from even-money choice and stablemate More The Better N (Napolitano) before the half in 55.4, faced another first over bid from More The Better N down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23.3 then just outlasted that one in the lane to prevail by a nose in 1:51.4.

A seven-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Ross Croghan, Waikiki Beach posted his second Open I tally of the season and now owns two wins from six starts this year and 30 wins from 61 career outings with earnings above $766,000. More The Better N, idle since last October at Yonkers, won a recent qualifier in 1:53.1 and will soon be headed back to the New York half-mile oval for the Levy series.

One night earlier in the featured $44,000 Open Handicap for older pacers prepping for the upcoming George Morton Levy Memorial Series at Yonkers Raceway, Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) lived up to his role as the 3-4 favorite when he gained command from post two before the opener in 28 flat, got a breather by the half in 57.4, met serious pressure from Don Domingo N (Matt Kakaley) down the backside and through the far turn and just outlasted that one in the lane for a nose score in 1:53.1.

A 10-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Peter Tritton for the late Harry Von Knoblauch, Bit Of A Legend N notched his first win in two starts this year and now owns 47 victories and earnings of nearly $2.5 million from 142 lifetime tries. A past Levy series champion and hero of the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway, Bit Of A Legend N appears headed back for both events at his ripe age and should be a major player at any stakes contested on a half-mile oval again in 2019.

Don Domingo N was very game in defeat while pacing first over into a serious back half. The seven-year-old American Ideal stallion trained by Lance Hudson sports a 5-1-1 slate from seven starts since arriving from down under and looks to be a serious player in the upcoming Levy series through March and April.
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