Fittingly, Hal’s brother, Sam Belote, drove the 8-year-old Minor Assault to an upset win ($23.60, $8.20, $6.40) in the second division, and was understandably thrilled with the emotional victory.
“Oh yeah, definitely. Nothing can be better, unless I win the final. That’s going to be harder to do,” Belote said.
The A Worthy Lad gelding had not won in over two years, and this was only his third race this year.
“He’s got a little bit of an attitude and he gets mad sometimes, and he’s got some lameness problems. That’s why he hasn’t raced much this year,” the older Belote brother said. “When I first claimed him (last year) I couldn’t get him to finish.” A throat operation, though, helped the horse’s breathing. “He finished good tonight,” Belote concluded.
In the first race, the other division of the Hal Belote Memorial, Sam Belote’s horse, KG’s Kamotion, finished well back, but he was pleased his brother was being remembered in this manner.
“Oh yeah, any race in somebody’s name, it’s real good. (He was a) good trainer, good driver. He was an all-around person, the kind of person who was the backbone of the business; played hard, worked hard, and drove hard.”
The winner of the opening race in the trotting series was the 6-year-old Doggone Yankee, trained and driven by past Ocean Downs driving champion William Long.
“We bought him as a yearling at the Rosecroft sale. He’s been a real nice horse for us,” Long said.
The Dancer’s Victory horse got sick a couple times, but is doing better now.
“He always races well. He tries real hard. We’re happy with him,” Long said.
In the first Hal Belote Memorial division, Whitesville Tara, only one of three horses to win four races this summer at the Ocean Oval, broke stride after having left from post position six and couldn’t recover.
On Wednesday, the meet’s leading driver, Tony Morgan, won four of eight starts, and now has 43 local wins in 83 races. Morgan teamed with the summer’s leading trainer, Mike Hall, for another win. The 4-year-old Pinkie Swear won her third race in her last four outings, and for Hall, it was his 100th career training victory.
Driver-trainer William Carter moved into a three-way tie for second place in the trainer standings, with six wins, by posting a second race win with the 4-year-old mare Van Cart’s First, which was her first career victory.
W. “David” Hill remains in second place in the driver standings, with 20 wins, although he had no wins on Wednesday. Raymond Robinson, Jr. moved into third place behind Morgan and Hill by logging his 13th victory, a final race win with the 6-year-old Sauble Turk. The Chill Factor gelding is also trained by Robinson, who now has five training wins at the meet and came from post position nine to win his third race since July 12. Sauble Turk has finished first or second in his seven starts this summer at Ocean Downs.
In racing on Thursday night at Ocean Downs, the feature will be the first leg of the Alan Myer Memorial Trotting Series.
Live racing is conducted each Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings at Ocean Downs, now through September 3. All races on Sunday offer the new 10-Cent Superfecta wager, and three races on each of the other nights feature the 10-Cent Superfecta. Post time each evening is at 7:35 pm. (EDT).
Admission and parking are free at Ocean Downs; for further information call (410) 641-0600.