Homeracing

Harrah's Philadelphia, Rosecroft, Pocono Downs, Pompano Park offer Sunday action

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Ted Black

April 29th, 2019

For thoroughbred racing fans Sunday might be the official first day of Kentucky Derby week as the famed "run for the roses" awaits onlookers this Saturday at Churchill Downs, but harness racing enthusiasts viewed the day as action filled with races at a quartet of five-eighths mile ovals.

Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia - commonly referred to as Chester despite the name change years ago - the Pennsylvania five-eighths mile oval offered a bevy of competitive overnight events.

Just prior to the midway point of the Sunday card in a non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Cruise Patrol (George Napolitano, Jr.) benefited from patient handling through the first three calls, gradually angled out with clear sailing turning for home and just nailed 15-1 outsider Rollinlikethunder (Art Stafford, Jr.) for a neck score in 1:51.2 as the 7-5 favorite.

A six-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Michael Dowdall, Cruise Patrol notched his second straight score and his fourth win in 12 starts this year and now owns a 17-16-10 slate and nearly $280,000 banked from 94 career outings. Rollinlikethunder finished a gritty second for trainer Eli Scott, Jr. while the four-year-old faces tough older rivals, including multi-millionaire Mach It So, who faded as the 2-1 second choice.

One race later in the first half of a split, non-winners of three races or $30,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Mark Witha K (Tim Tetrick) easily forged a mild 2-1 upset when he gained command in a 28.1 opener, got a breather by the half in 57.3, raced unpressed by three-quarters in 1:25.2 then sprinted clear from 3-5 choice Quake Blue Chip (Napolitano) for a three-length score in 1:53 flat. Mark Witha K notched his first win in 10 starts this year and second win in 19 career outings.

Then two races later in a non-winners of $10,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Sweet Beach (Tetrick) gained command in a modest 28 opener, maintained an honest tempo by the half in 56.2, met token pressure from Artmagic down the backside, shook loose from that one on the far turn and edged clear of Khun Ratha A (Larry Stahlbaum) to score in 1:52.3. It was his second win in 12 starts this year and he now owns 21 wins and nearly $285,000 banked from 112 career tries.

One race later in a non-winners of seven races lifetime class for pacers, Closing Statement (Dexter Dunn) just lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite when he overcame a first over trip and outlasted the late bid of Drinkin Again (Marcus Miller) to score in 1:52.4. A four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Mark Harder, Closing Statement has won both of his starts this year and now owns a 7-3-2 slate and over $300,000 banked from 25 career tries.

Then one race later in the other non-winners of three races or $30,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Revelty (Andrew McCarthy) easily lived up to his role as the overwhelming 1-20 favorite when he gained command in a 28 opener, got a breather by the half in 57.2, opened a clear lead by three-quarters in 1:25.1 then sprinted clear of his foes to a five-length score in 1:52.3. A sophomore son of Captaintrecherous trained by Thomas Cancelliere, Revelry notched his second straight score to start the year and owns three wins from 12 career outings.

That same afternoon at Rosecroft Raceway, the Maryland five-eighths mile oval opened the program by offering four, non-betting events for Maryland Sire Stakes elims. Fire'n Woodshed (Roger Plante, Jr.), Mary's A Keeper (John Wagner), Mind Your Business (Russell Foster) and Snazzy Jet (Les Givens) won the opening round splits for sophomore trotting colts and fillies, respectively.

Then in the first parimutuel race on the card, KJ Dr Michelle (Wagner) rallied from second over down the backside, fanned wide for the drive turning for home then just outlasted the late bid of Rocket Rhonda (Victor Kirby) to score a 12-1 upset in 1:56.2 in a $7,000 MDSS split for three-year-old filly pacers. A sophomore daughter of Rusty's All In trained by Arlene Cameron for owner-breeder Scott Woogen, KJ Dr Michelle picked the ideal time to garner her first career victory, doing so in her seventh lifetime try.

One race later in the first MDSS elim for three-year-old colt pacers, Officer Wholihan (Bret Brittingham) gained command in 27.2 opener, got a breather by the half in 57 flat, rebuffed an extended first over bid from 1-5 favorite Trump That Rusty (Eddie Davis, Jr.) to score by two lengths in 1:53.3. A sophomore son of Rusty's All In owned and trained by Sam Belote, Officer Wholihan notched his second win in seven starts this year and handed Trump That Rusty his second straight setback as an odds-on choice.

The one race later in the second MDSS elim for three-year-old filly pacers, Kelseys On Cruze (Wagner) overcame post seven to gain command in a modest 28.1 opener, got a breather by the half in 58.1, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:27.1 then just outlasted the late bid of Alexis' Fraternity (Timmy Offutt) to score in 1:56.4. A sophomore daughter of Rusty's All In trained by Cameron for owner-breeder Pam Wagner, Kelseys On Cruze recorded her first victory in five lifetime tries, doing so at an ideal time.

One race later in the second MDSS elim split for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, Berzerker (Tony Morgan) easily lived up to his role as the 1-2 favorite in his seasonal debut when he left to find a seat, quarter moved to command while forcing Where's Barry (Plante) three-wide in 28.3 opener, yielded to that one briefly then retook by the half in 57.1, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:25.3 then edged clear to a four-length score in 1:55.2.

A sophomore son of Rusty's All In owned and trained by Brandon Murray, Berzerker scored handily in his seasonal debut despite making three moves and looms one of the favorites to capture the $70,000 final on May 18. Last fall Berzerker ended his freshman campaign by taking the $67,000 MDSS final for two-year-old colt pacers and now owns four wins and $44,000 banked from seven career outings.

Then just past the midway point of the betting card in a non-winners of seven races lifetime class for younger pacers, Workin Them Angels (Sean Bier) posted a 20-1 shocker when he gained command before the opener, rebuffed a brush bid by Jonathan Quick (Allan Davis) nearing the half and down the backside and outkicked that one in the lane for a length score in 1:53.1. The four-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Bier recorded his first win in eight starts this year and now owns a 7-4-8 slate and $51,000 banked from 39 starts overall.

Three races later in the $12,500 Maryland Exclusive Open for pacers, Star Messenger (Tony Morgan) easily lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he gained command past the opener in 27.1, maintained an honest tempo by the half in 56 flat, met token pressure from JW Renegade (John Mackinnon) down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23.4 then drew clear in the lane to a five-length score in 1:52.

An eight-year-old Jereme's Jet gelding owned and trained by Gary Ewing of Ge's Romanero fame, Star Messenger notched his fifth win in 16 starts this year and now owns 38 wins and nearly $320,000 banked from 178 career outings. JW Renegade held the place spot despite a long, first over bid while Jack Quick, the Open winner in 1:51.3 one week earlier, settled for third for owner-breeder-trainer Basil Sapienza.

Then one race later in the Winners Over class for trotters, Fashion Smile (Roberts) regained his winning ways when he carved out the fractions and rebuffed a first over bid from Ei Ei O (Wagner) to score by three lengths in 1:55.4. An eight-year-old Broadway Hall gelding trained by Megan Roberts, Fashion Smile overcame a brief vacation to notch his first win in three starts this year. He notched 11 wins during a stellar 2018 campaign and now owns 32 victories and over $205,000 banked from 125 lifetime tries.

One race later in the $11,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, McKenry (Bret Brittingham) continued his fondness for the local strip when he gained command early, yielded to Always The Sun (Allan Davis) briefly then retook before the half, met brief pressure from Goin Down Rockin (Roberts) down the backside, shook loose on the far turn then just outlasted the late inside bid from Always The Sun for a head victory in 1:52.1.

A seven-year-old McArdle gelding trained by Donald Brittingham for owners Peter & Toni Gray, McKenry recorded his third straight victory over the oval and now owns five wins and $34,000 banked from 13 starts this year. McKenry now sports 24 wins and nearly $250,000 banked from 85 lifetime outings and continued his prolonged fondness for the Rosecroft strip, having been the spring horse of the meet in 2017.

That same evening at Pocono Downs, Chuckabuck (Matt Kakaley) kicked off the card by forging a 5-1 upset when he led throughout to capture a non-winners of six races or $78,000 lifetime class for trotters. A five-year-old Lucky Chucky gelding trained by James Guagliardo, Chuckabuck notched his fifth win from 14 starts this year and now owns a 7-9-6 slate and $84,000 banked from 57 career tries while sprinting clear from 3-5 choice Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill, Jr.) in 1:56.3 over the sloppy going.

Then three races later at Pocono, Captain Malicious (Mark Macdonald) easily lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite in a non-winners of four races or $50,000 lifetime class for pacers when when he gained command soon after the start, set modest fractions then sprinted clear to a five-length score in 1:53.4. A sophomore son of Captaintrecherous trained by Ray Schnittker, Captain Malicious easily prevailed in his seasonal debut and now owns three wins from nine lifetime tries.

Also at the midway point of the Pompano Park card on Sunday, Team Captain (David Ingraham) rallied from well off the pace to forge a 30-1 shocker in the $10,000 Open III when he nailed 7-5 favorite Harry Terror (Wally Hennessey) for a neck score in 1:53.4. A seven-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding trained by Mickey McNichol, Team Captain recorded his third win in 14 starts this year and now boasts 28 wins and nearly $220,000 banked from 152 career outings.

Then three races later in the penultimate race on the card, Rub Of The Green N (Hennessey) easily lived up to his role as the 3-5 choice in the $11,000 Open II when he gained command soon after the start and led throughout to score by five lengths in 1:52. An eight-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Luc Loyer, Rub Of The Green N notched his second win in four starts this year and now sports 24 victories and $172,000 banked from 55 career outings.
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