Melrose Park, IL --- Taking full advantage of an inside draw and his high turn of speed Frank Bellino’s Pet Rock rolled to a 1-3/4 length victory in the 30th edition of the $215,000 Windy City Pace for 3-year-old colt pacers. The final time was 1:51.4.
After allowing A Rocknroll Dance (David Miller) to grab a short lived early lead driver Doug McNair had Pet Rock out and rolling on the re-take and the colt was back in front as the field hit the opening station in 27.2.
“I wanted to stay away from an early duel but I also wanted to be in control of things,” said McNair who captured this event in 2010 with Aracache Hanover. “Once we were back in front I was a little surprised that we were able to get away with a relatively easy middle half.”
Coasting through splits of 56.0 & 1:24.3 Pet Rock continued to show the way as a first over Dynamic Youth (Andrew McCarthy) tried to mount a challenge.
“I could see the horse on the outside was struggling to get to us and yet we weren’t going that much so I felt pretty confident at that point,” McNair said. “I knew I still had A Rocknroll Dance sitting on my back but my colt was still pretty fresh at that point.”
Sealing the deal with a 27.4 final quarter Pet Rock kept his rivals at bay through the lane, reporting home with his eighth win in 20 starts this year. Dynamic Youth battled on gamely to be the runner-up while A Rocknroll Dance finished third.
In the winner’s circle McNair was singing the praises of both Pet Rock and his conditioner Virgil Morgan Jr.
“Virgil has done a great job with this horse this year,” said a smiling McNair. “He’s one of the top 3-year-olds in the sport right now and he can get it done on any size track. I’m just very happy and very thankful that Virgil gave me the chance to come to Chicago tonight and drive a great horse like this in such a big stake as this.”
The son of Rocknroll Hanover-Casual Beauty now boasts a career record of 9-8-4 in 25 starts with earnings of over $978,000. Heavily backed at the windows Pet Rock returned $3.20, $2.60 & $2.10.
In the final stake event of the night for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers James Gorman’s Well To Do Guru proved once again that he’s nearly unbeatable on the half-mile oval at Maywood scoring in wire to wire fashion in the $30,000 Lester McKeever Stake. That gave the 8-year-old gelding a clean sweep of the Maywood Park Pacing Series for the second straight year, earning him another $20,000 bonus and pushing his career bankroll over the $705,000 mark.