Homeracing

Ocean Downs and Pocono Downs offer solid Sunday cards

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Ted Black

July 30th, 2018

While many thoroughbred racing fans were focused on watching Good Magic capture the Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational to perhaps inherit the role of top three-year-old for the remainder of the season in light of the early retirement of Triple Crown winner Justify, harness racing enthusiasts had plenty of action to view on Sunday evening at Ocean Downs and Pocono Downs.

Much of the early portion of the Sunday card at Ocean Downs, a half-mile oval in Berlin, Maryland, five miles west of the popular Ocean City beaches, was focused on the young trotters and pacers in various Maryland Standardbred Race Fund events, the latter portion of the program at Pocono Downs featured older pacers and trotters in a pair of Great Northeast Open series events on the five-eighths mile oval.

In the opening race on the Sunday card at Ocean Downs, a $15,500 MDRF split for two-year-old filly pacers, Stay Beautiful (Allan Davis) overcame post seven and her 7-1 price to gain command before reaching the opener in 29.1, got a breather to the half in 59.2, strolled by three-quarters in 1:29 then held safe Dancin The Can Cam (Victor Kirby) to prevail by two lengths in 1:58.3. A juvenile daughter of Heston Blue chip trained by Eli Scott, Jr., Stay Beautiful recorded her first win in five tries and nearly tripled her bankroll to $13,000.

Then one race later in a $14,000 MDRF event for two-year-old trotting colts & geldings, Say Gesundheit (Kirby) benefited from a pocket trip behind dueling leaders JAs A Lock (John Wagner) through the first three calls then angled to the passing lane and just got up to score in 2:05.4. A sophomore son of CR Commando trained by Syl King, Jr., Say Gesundheit notched his first win in two starts and pushed his bankroll past $7,500 while scoring in a pedestrian affair.

Then one race later in the second $14,000 MDRF split for two-year-old trotting colts & geldings, Whoopdee Goo (Jim Morand) brushed to command before the half in 1:01.1 then kept entrymate Gaareat Gaazoo (Corey Callahan) at bay down the backside and to the wire to score by a neck in 2:01.1. A freshman son of Googoo Gaagaa owned, bred and trained by Richard Hans, Whoopdee Goo scored nicely in his career debut following two solid qualifiers and gave Morand his first stakes score since returning from a 13-month respite following a serious spill at Harrington Raceway.

Then one race later in the first overnight race on the card, Jacobs Money (Kirby) benefited from patient handling and a pocket journey through the first three calls as Catscratchfever (Jason Thompson) got pressed initially by Mackenzie Mc (Russell Foster) and later by All The Cookies (Tyler Davis) then angled to the passing lane and got up late to score by nearly a length in 1:55 in the $7,000 Gold Class 2. A five-year-old Dragon Again gelding trained by Greg Trotto, Jacobs Money recorded his first win in six tries at the seaside oval and notched his second win in 12 starts overall this year.

One race later in the second $15,500 MDRF split for two-year-old filly pacers, How Bout That Rusty (Milby) easily overcame post eight and her 10-1 status - she had been the odds-on choice in each of her two previous outings - to carve out honest fractions on a loose, uncontested lead and cruised home three lengths clear in 1:57. A juvenile daughter of Rusty's For Real trained by Mike Hall for owner Al Carter, How Bout That Rusty notched her first win in three tries and pushed her career earnings past $10,000 with the handy score.

Then one race later in the $8,500 Platinum Class for older pacers, Coach Cal (Foster) finally benefited from an inside post position draw and gained command soon after the outset from post two and led throughout and outlasted the late surge of 7-5 choice Maxi Bon (Tony Morgan) to prevail by a nose in 1:54.2. A nine-year-old Camluck gelding trained by Joe Hundertpfund, Jr., Coach Cal recorded his first win in six starts at the meet and posted his third win from 18 seasonal outings and kept Maxi Bon winless in 17 outings this year.

One race after that in the $7,000 Gold Class 2, Outstand Forever (Morgan) benefited from ample action early and raced third over past the half and down the backside then swept three-wide on the far turn and drew clear in the lane to a two-length score over 34-1 outsider Foxland in 1:55.1. A five-year-old Stand Forever gelding owned and trained by William "Gerry" Wyatt, Outstand Forever notched his second win in four starts at the seaside oval this summer and now owns four wins from 22 starts overall this year.

Then one race later in the featured $11,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, Sicily (Kirby) easily lived up to his billing as the 6-5 favorite when he overcame post seven to gain command in a 27.1 opener, got a modest breather by the half in 56.1, rolled by three-quarters unpressed in 1:24.1 then romped home eight lengths clear in 1:51.3, one of the fastest clockings in the long history of the oval. A six-year-old Art Major gelding trained by Wayne Givens, Sicily has won his last two starts over the oval and now owns three wins and $78,000 banked from 13 starts this year.

One race following that in the $7,500 Gold Class 1, Smart Rokker (Declan Donoway) lived up to his role as the 6-5 favorite when he gained command early, set honest fractions through the half and three-quarters and held safe the late inside bid of Andwin Hanover (Wagner) to score by a neck in 1:54. An eight-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Brian Malone for owner Carolyn Boyce, Smart Rokker notched his fourth win in eight starts at the meet and now owns four wins from 11 starts overall this year.

Then one race later in the $6,500 Silver Class, Hey Dali (Foster) overcame an extended first over journey and wore down 4-5 favorite Renegade Bob (Morgan) and then edged clear from Wisers Deluxe and Boardwalk Gangster in the lane to a three-length score in 1:55.3. A six-year-old Dali gelding owned and trained by James Eveland, Hey Dali notched his second win in seven outings at the seaside oval this summer and now owns a 4-8-1 slate and $26,000 banked from 19 starts this year.

That same evening at Pocono Downs, Whats The Word (Simon Allard) kicked off the card by posting a sharp, 1:52.1 score in a non-winners of $24,000 last five starts class for trotters. Despite being the lone three-year-old in the group, Whats The Word left alertly, quarter moved to command before a 55.2 half, faced token pressure by three-quarters in 1:23.2 then held safe Gural Hanover (Matt Kakaley) to score by nearly two lengths. Two starts removed from taking a MDRF split at Ocean Downs by 16 lengths in 1:55 for trainer Rene Allard, Whats The Word notched his fifth win in 13 starts this year and posted his ninth victory in 23 career tries while pushing his lifetime bankroll past $150,000.

Then several races later on the card in a non-winners of $17,000 last five starts class for trotters, Top Flight Angel (Marcus Miller) lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite when he raced parked three-wide to gain command past the opener, got a breather by the half in 57.2, raced unpressed down the backside and through the far turn and held safe Two AM through the lane to score by nearly two lengths in 1:53.3. The four-year-old Archangel stallion trained by Julie Miller notched his second win in seven starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings just past the $100,000 plateau.

Several races later on the card, Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) lived up to her role as the 4-5 favorite in the $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series for pacing fillies and mares when she overcame a long first over journey and wore down Tequila Monday (Eric Goodell) to score by a neck in 1:48.4. A five-year-old Tintin In America mare trained by Jim King, Jr., Shartin N notched her 12th win in 16 starts this year and pushed her seasonal earnings toward $600,000 with a gritty performance as she rebounded from a fourth-place effort in the Golden Girls at the Meadowlands.

Tequila Monday, a Maryland-bred daughter of American Ideal trained by Hunter Oakes, had won her previous outing against similar company at Harrah's Philadelphia in 1:49.4, but settled for the runner-up honors in a good effort after carving out honest fractions of 54 flat and 1:21.3 to the half and three-quarters. Divas Image (Joe Bongiorno) had nothing to offer in the lane and could not duplicate her upset performance in the Golden Girls.

Then one race later in the $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series for trotters, Smalltownthrowdown (Allard) quarter moved to command, got a breather by the half in 56.1, rolled by three-quarters in 1:23.4 and edged clear from Satin Dancer (Andrew McCarthy) and listless 1-5 choice Homicide Hunter to score in 1:51.1. A five-year-old Cash Hall gelding trained by Rene Allard, Smalltownthrowdown attained immediate revenge for two previous setbacks to Homicide Hunter when he notched his fourth win in 12 starts this year.
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