Homeracing

Scioto Downs, Mohawk and Yonkers offer solid Saturday cards

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Ted Black

September 9th, 2018

On the eve of the first full slate of NFL games, harness racing enthusiasts kicked off their weekend by watching a bevy of stakes and solid overnight events at Mohawk Park, Scioto Downs and Yonkers Raceway, a trio of tracks of varying sized ovals.

Scioto Downs actually offered clearly the most lucrative card with eight, $275,000 Ohio Sire Stakes finals for two- and three-year-olds of both gaits and genders and the $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for aged pacers. Even an early rain shower that left the five-eighths mile oval sloppy could not dampen the enthusiasm of the spectators of connections of the winners. But over the course of the night the sloppy surface proved to be about one second slower than normal.

In the first of the OHSS finals, Only Take Cash (Aaron Merriman) brushed to command and cruised home in 1:57 as the 1-5 favorite in the event for two-year-old trotting fillies, notching her seventh win in eight starts for trainer Robert McIntosh. Then one race later it was Queen Of The Pride (Tony Hall) who gained command early and fended off all challengers to capture the OHSS final for two-year-old filly pacers in 1:54.2 for her fifth win in seven starts.

Then in the $275K final for two-year-old colt pacers, High On Paydaze (David Miller) benefited from a wicked early pace and live cover and outlasted the late bid of an unlucky Rock Candy (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) to score by a length in 1:53.2. Then one race in the final for two-year-old trotting colts Wittyville (Chris Page) gained command before the half and was never threatened en route to a 10-1 upset in 1:57 for his second win in six career tries.

In one of the rare non-betting races conducted midway through any card, Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made two moves and defeated Lucky Lime (Kyle Ater) in a match race for aging, veteran stalwarts. At 14, Foiled Again is in his last year of competition and he is making the rounds to numerous tracks on his farewell tour and should be headed to Harrington Raceway and Rosecroft Raceway at some point this fall since he has yet to visit the Maryland oval.

Then in the next OHSS final, Baron Remy (Chris Page) gained command early, rebuffed a bid from Bad Girls Rule (Dan Noble) and edged clear late to prevail over her three-year-old pacing filly foes in 1:52 as the Ron Burke trainee recorded her third win in 13 starts this year. Then one race later in the OHSS final for three-year-old filly trotters, Impinktoo (Kayne Kaufman) gave Burke a training triple on the card when she rallied from well off the tempo to score in 1:55.4 over Spunky Bottom Girl.

One race later in the OHSS final for three-year-old colt trotters, Two O B Wonkenobi (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) lived up to his role as the 2-5 favorite when he carved out modest fractions and held safe Pass The Vape ((Derek Whitiker). A sophomore son of Dejarmbro trained by Erine Gaskin, Two O B Wonkenobi notched his third straight victory and sports eight wins and $240,000 banked from 15 seasonal outings.

Then one race later in the $275k OHSS final for three-year-old colt pacers, Lather Up (Montrell Teague) easily lived up to his role as the 1-9 favorite when he gained command in a 26 opener, rolled by the half in 54.1 and by three-quarters in 1:21.3 and romped home five lengths clear in 1:49.3. A homebred sophomore son of I'm Gorgeous trained by George Teague, Jr. of Rainbow Blue and Wiggle It Jiggleit for owner-breeders Gary & Barbara Iles, Lather Up recorded his 10th win in 12 starts and pushed his seasonal earnings past $660,000 and looms a serious threat to capture the Little Brown Jug in two weeks.

Three races later in the main event on the card, the $250,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for free-for-all pacers, Split The House (Merriman) left alertly to secure good position, yielded to Nuclear Dragon (Dan Noble) before the half in 53.2, sat a loose pocket down the backside and through the far turn and angled to the passing lane and got up to win by nearly a length in 1:49.1 as 4-5 choice McWicked (David Miller) failed to fire despite a live tempo and good cover. Split The House, the reigning Breeders Crown champion, notched his second win in seven starts this year and looms worthy of an invite to the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington next Monday.

That same evening at Mohawk, The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) rebounded from a pair of poor performances in recent stakes to capture the first $30,000 Peaceful Way elimination for two-year-old filly trotters by two lengths over the late closing Evident Beauty. The juvenile daughter of Muscle Hill notched her third win in six starts by getting the distance in 1:55.4 for her first triumph since taking the $350,000 Jim Doherty Memorial final at the Meadowlands on the Hambletonian Day card.

Then one race later in the second Peaceful Way elim, Sisters Promise (Tim Tetrick) posted a mild upset when she wore down favored Susy (Gingras) to score by a length in 1:55.4 for recent Hall of Fame selection Linda Toscano. Speed Titan (Scott Zeron) rallied well to finish third in a good try. Susy made two moves as the favorite and got worn down in the lane and likely will lose Gingras to the other Takter trainee that made the final.

Then in the first $30,000 William Wellwood Memorial elims, Green Manalishi S (Tetrick) delivered a dominant performance as the 4-5 choice. The juvenile son of Muscle Hill trained by Marcus Melander gained command before the opener and led throughout en route to a four-length score in 1:54.4. After a pair of narrow setbacks, Green Manolishi S recorded his third win in five starts and looms the favorite for the lucrative final next week.

Then one race later in the second Wellwood elim, Union Forces (Zeron) left to gain command, yielded to odds-on Swandrew The Giant (Gingras) before the half, sat a tight pocket through the far turn, angled out midstretch and easily overhauled the choice to win by a length in 1:55.3 as a vastly overlooked 33-1 shot. The juvenile son of Cantab Hall trained by Domenico Cecere recorded his third win in four starts and handed Swandre The Giant his first defeat in eight lifetime outings.

One race later in the $150,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old filly pacers, Shower Play (Louis Roy) rallied from well off the pace despite the modest tempo provided by Youaremycandygirl (Gingras) and overhauled that one and favored Kissin In The Sand (Zeron) to score by a length in 1:52. The sophomore daughter of Shadow Play owned and trained by Rene Dion notched her second straight score and boasts five wins and $315,000 from 10 starts this year while defeating the top best sophomore filly pacers in the land.

Then two races later in the first $84,000 Simcoe Stakes split for three-year-old colt pacers, The Downtown Bus (Tetrick) continued his superb sophomore form when he gained command before a 27.3 opener, got a breather by the half in 56.1 and held safe Torrin Hanover (Randall Waples) and Babes Dig Me (Gingras) to score by a neck in 1:50.2. A sophomore son of Mach Three trained by Jeffrey Gillis, The Downtown Bus recorded his eighth win in 19 starts this year after going winless in seven outings as a juvenile.

One race later in the second $84,000 Simcoe Stakes for sophomore pacing colts, Stay Hungry (Doug McNair) just lived up to his role as the 2-5 favorite when he overcame a first over bid, dropped in the pocket midstretch, angled back out late and overhauled Backstreet Shadow (Gingras) to score in 1:49.3. Fresh off his determined victory in the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers one week earlier, Stay Hungry notched his fifth win in 11 starts this year and looms one of the favorites to capture the Little Brown Jug in two weeks when he goes in quest of a Triple Crown sweep.

That same evening at Yonkers Raceway, Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) benefited from an inside draw to gain command, yielded to 3-5 choice Evenin of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) midway down the backside then immediately rettok, rolled by the half in 55.4, rebuffed a first over bid from Theartofconfusion (Brian Sears) down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23 then edged clear late to score by two lengths in 1:51.3.

An eight-year-old American Ideal stallion trained by Takter, Sunfire Blue Chip notched his second win in his last three starts and now owns a 6-5-0 slate and $123,000 banked from 18 starts this year and boasts a solid 31-18-10 slate and $1.4 million bankroll from 107 career outings. His two previous wins had come in the Great Northeast Open Series at Harrah's Philadelphia and Pocono Downs and he likely earned an invitation to the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway next Monday.

Theartofconfusion raced well first over to finish second, edging Evenin of Pleasure, who still could get an invite to the Quillen since the Jenn Bongiorno trainee won the $260,000 Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga in 1:49.3 two months ago. Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) raced conservatively throughout after missing a week and might get an invite to the Quillen as will the absent Bit Of A Legend N, who won the Harrington feature last summer.

Then several races later in the $35,000 Preferred Handicap, Caviart Luca (George Brennan) gained command early as the 4-5 favorite and held safe Doctor Butch (Bartlett) for a length score in 1:52.1. A seven-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Burke, Caviart Luca recorded his second straight victory and now owns a 5-5-3 slate and earned over $135,000 from 22 starts this year and he sports a 26-26-25 slate and over $675,000 banked from 130 lifetime tries.

The first five races on the Saturday card at Lexington's Red Mile oval were Kentucky Sire Stakes preliminaries for two-year-old pacers, with three of the events for colts and two for fillies.

In the opening race on the card, a KYSS division for juvenile pacing colts, Major Deception (Brett Miller) left to gain command, yielded to Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), sat a loose pocket through the far turn, angled out at the head of the lane and prevailed over Pyro (Andrew McCarthy) in 1:51.3. The freshman son of Captaintrecherous trained by Tony Alagna recorded his third win in five starts and might have clawed his way into next Sunday's final.

Then one race later in the KYSS first split for two-year-old filly pacers, Beautyonthebeach (Brett Miller) easily lived up to her role as the 1-5 favorite when she gained command past the quarter, got a breather by the half in 56.4, met token pressure by three-quarters in 1:25 then edged clear in the lane to a four-length score in 1:52.1. A juvenile daughter of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Doug McNair, Beautyonthebeach notched her third straight score and now owns four wins from seven starts and looms the favorite for this group in next Sunday's final.

One race later in the second KYSS split for freshman pacing colts, Captain Trevor (McCarthy) gained command past the opener in 27.4, got a breather by the half in 57 flat, faced token pressure from Cant Beach That (Dunn) through the far turn then shook loose from that one and drew clear to score in 1:52.3. A son of Captaintrecherous trained by Alagna, Captain Revor remained perfect in four lifetime starts and looms one of the favorites for next Sunday's lucrative final.

Then one race later in the second KYSS division for two-year-old filly pacers, Summer Charm (Dunn) forged a mild 7-1 upset when she left to secure good early position, yielded to 4-5 choice Blue Ivy (Daniel Dube) then immediately retook before the half in 56.4, led the way by three-quarters in 1:25.4 then held safe Blue Ivy to score in 1:53.4. A juvenile daughter of Bettor's Delight trained by Burke, Summer Charm garnered her diploma in her seventh outing.

One race later in the third KYSS split for two-year-old pacing colts, Blood Money (McCarthy) posted a mild 2-1 upset when he benefited from a lively early tempo, raced second over behind Caviart Rockland (Marcus Johansson) through the far turn, angled to the center of the track and just outlasted the late bid of Waterway (Brett Miller) to score by a head in 1:52.3. A freshman son of Sweet Lou trained by Takter, Blood Money has now won four of six starts and looks like a major player in the final.
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