Saturday's Racing Roundup features stories from Freehold Raceway, Dover Downs, Pompano Park and Buffalo Raceway.
Love To Rock's streak is up to eight
Freehold, NJ --- Love To Rock, with driver Kyle DiBenedetto aboard, won for an eighth consecutive time at Freehold on Saturday.
The Robert Horowitz-trained gelding, owned by Horowitz in partnership with Brian Clark, has moved up from capturing a $6,000 claiming race on Nov. 10 to winning the previous three in $15,000 claiming races.
The record for most wins in a row at Freehold is held by the filly Shortest Distance, who had twelve consecutive wins in 2009.
Live racing will resume at Freehold Raceway on Thursday at 12:30 p.m., eastern.
Freehold Raceway is the nation's oldest and fastest daytime, half-mile harness racetrack.
Allan Davis had his biggest year in 2012 and is escalating in January, driving four winners on Saturday, headed by the 18-1 shot Southern Viking in the Jan. 12 $12,500 4- and 5-year-old mares pace feature at Dover Downs. Southern Viking challenged the front-pacing Auf Wiedersehen (Jack Parker) after the three-quarters and then took over entering the homestretch. The 5-year-old Matt’s Scooter--Perfect Viking daughter, trained by Anastas Papadopoulos for Brandon, Wanda and Cliff Murray, took a lifetime mark of 1:55.4. Powerful Honey (Roger Plante Jr.) closed strongly to finish second in front of Squeezeme Pleaseme (Eddie Davis Jr.).
Kommander Hawk, driven for the first time by Matt Romano, led every step of the way to win the $12,000 Open I pace at Pompano Park on Saturday night in 1:51.4. The 7-year-old son of Pro Bono Best, trained by John McNeil III for owner Ellen McNeil, burst out of the gate en route to a stinging opening quarter of :26.1, carded mid-mile fractions of :55 and 1:22.3, and then dug-in late to hold-off the fast-closing longshot Avantage, handled by Dave Ingraham, to win by one-half length. While trainer McNeil summed up the effort simply by saying, “he raced good,” it was driver Romano who was a bit more affirmative in his thoughts: “John (McNeil) said that he likes the front end so I let him rumble a little out of the gate. When I saw :26.1 for the opener, I was a bit concerned so I tried to give him a bit of a breather. When Wally’s horse (Woodmere Ultimate) came at me, I popped the earplugs and he really responded well and was digging hard to the wire.” For Kommander Hawk, it was his 15th lifetime victory, sending his career earnings to $107,007. The win mutuel was $12.60, keying a $217.20 exacta and $566.60 trifecta.
Miliondollardesign, a 4-year-old gelding out of Million Dollar Cam, won the $11,000 Open pace in 1:57.3 for owners Arrhythmic LLC, of West Seneca, N.Y. at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night. It was the first win this year for Miliondollardesign, who registered seven wins in 18 starts last year. Miliondollardesign ($7.60) driven by reinsman Billy Dobson, left sharply from post one, and set all the fractions in the race, :29.3, :59.1 and 1:28.4. A :28.4 last quarter-mile put the winner 4-1/4 lengths ahead of the second place finisher, Wisers Deluxe (Shawn Gray), at the finish line. Fantasypan (Jack Flanigen) came in the show spot. Trained by John Mungillo, the $5,500 winner’s share of the purse put Miliondollardesign’s lifetime earnings at $25,604. Dobson, for the second night in a row, led all drivers with four wins on the card.