Saturday’s (Sept. 14) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Scioto Downs, Yonkers Raceway, Rosecroft Raceway, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Vernon Downs and Batavia Downs.
Carol's Comet wins last Open Pace of Scioto's 2013 Racing Season
Columbus, OH --- Hard-luck Carol’s Comet won the last $20,000 Open Pace at Scioto Downs Racino in 2013 by a nose, in 1:50.2. The hard luck gelding finished second the last three starts at the track but this week driver Aaron Merriman had a different strategy to make the outcome different, and make his way to the winner’s circle.
Barry Conrad photo Carol's Comet (7) won the last Open Pace of the 2013 Scioto Downs Racing Season by a nose.
Sitting the pocket Merriman waited patiently during the first three-quarters that went in 26.3, 55.2 and 1:22.
“He’s very nice, a Cadillac to race,” Merriman continued. “He really wants to go so that really makes it nice. He’s very good gated and good behind the gate.”
Audrey’s Dream (Tony Hall) got up for second while Special Forces (Chris Page) held on for third after cutting the mile.
Previous to the evening’s races, Carol’s Comet had made 16 starts and had three wins with eight seconds and one third making $77,275 just this year racing exclusively at Scioto for Delaware, Ohio based trainer Ron Potter.
The striking 4-year-old gelding son of Yankee Cruiser out of the Jenna’s Beach Boy mare Modern Medicine is owned by Martin Presser, Bill Moore, Matthew Moore and Whiskey Tango Stable (Dawn Hornsby, Dawn Potter and Kimberly Rowe).
The evening’s race card also held two divisions of the “Best of the Rest” which was open to horses paid into the Sire Stakes but were not eligible for the $150,000 finals last week. Majesty Dream (Chip Chip Hooray-Donna L’s Hope) and Kayne Kauffman took the 2-year-old trotting filly division in 2:00.4. Trained by Jim Arledge, Jr. for owners Up Front Racing LLC (Ed Mullinax) and Thomas York Jr, she is now set to race in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware on Sept. 17.
The 3-year-old colt pace was the only other division to fill and was won by Dusto and Kauffman in 1:55.1. The time was a new lifetime mark for the Stand Forever-Doctor Cindy colt who now has $82,540 in career earnings for owner/trainer William Hartman and co-owner Saundra Andre’.
Even though the live racing season is over at Scioto, the racetrack will still be open for simulcasting from noon-midnight. Racing will resume in May 2014, dependent on approval from the Ohio State Racing Commission.
-- Scioto Downs Racino
Great Vintage (Larry Stalbaum) was first to the lead and first to the line Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $37,000 Open Pace. With his nose on starting gate from post position No. 4, Great Vintage made the lead around I Fought Dalaw (Mark MacDonald) right at the :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Then, locally-debuting Aracache Hanover (George Brennan), as the 1-2 favorite, moved from third. Aracache Hanover found a :55.4 intermission before second choice Domethatagain (Brent Holland) moved from fourth. That one prompted the issue in and out of the 1:23.4 three-quarters, though Aracache Hanover maintained a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, his $1.5 million career resume failed to impress the Westchesterites. Great Vintage ducked inside, winning a protracted duel by a nose in 1:51.4. Diamond Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) closed stoutly to snatch second, with Aracache Hanover--beaten a head--Domethatagain and I Fought Dalaw completing the cashers. For Great Vintage, a 5-year-old state-bred son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Falkbolagen AB, he returned $13.80 (third choice) his for his seventh win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $152, with the triple returning $641. Special Saturday night props to Lucky Man, whose third-place finish in the $19,000, fifth-race pace made his harness racing's newest millionaire ($1,000,838).
Rosecroft Raceway kicked of opening night of its fall meet on Saturday night with driver Frank Milby winning five races on the 12 race program, picking up right where he left off as the returning dash champion at the Fort Washington oval. Three of those winners came from the Amanda Jackson stable. “I was fortunate enough to work out some good trips tonight, and things just kind of fell into place “stated Milby. Milby got things rolling in the third race putting a new lifetime mark on the John Cabot trained pacer Jimmy Rip in 1:54.2. He followed that up winning the next two races. The 2-year-old filly Cooken Your Goose (1:58.1 Nuclear Breeze-Have It Your Way) visited the winner‘s circle in the fourth race for the Maryland connections of owner Thomas Cooke and trainer Roger Hans. Trainer Jackson joined the fun with her first winner of the evening in the fifth race, as the trotter Gambler’s Vacation easily drew away down the stretch to win in 1:56.4. Milby and Jackson rounded out the evening by combining to win both halves of the late double with McKee Largo and Hillbilly Desire in the nights’ quickest mile, 1:53.4. Jackson also owns both McKee Largo and Hillbilly Desire, unfortunately she was unable to witness her horse’s performances in person, as she was chaperoning at birthday party for her 15-year-old niece. Jackson, a nurse, and her husband Larry, who works for the railroad, teamed up with her dad to get things done as a horse loving family. “The three hour trip back to the Burkeville Virginia farm (Hillbilly Haven Farm) will seem a little shorter for them tonight, “said Jackson. “I guess I’ll be getting up early to feed the fourteen head we have here, and let the boys sleep in tomorrow morning. We all work together to get things accomplished, and nights like this make it all worthwhile,” she said.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Recent News (Riverboat King) won his first local Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The Heidi Rohr trained pacer is enjoying a career year and has dabbled in Open company in the past few months at the Spa. This weekend, Recent News (Wally Hennessey) sat patiently as dueling rivals Denver Dolly and Mr Perserverance battled it out in a first half clocked in 54.3. Recent News wound up in the passing lane in the stretch and surged up to edge out Denver Dolly in the final few strides before scoring the 1:53.2 win in the $18,000 feature. Denver Dolly (Shawn Gray) fought gamely and held on for second while Foreign Officer (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Recent News returned $18.00 to win in what was his seventh victory of the 2013 season.
Gimme The Loot and driver Robert Krivelin gained a victory in the non-betting C.K.G. Billings Series leg for amateur drivers of trotters; JK Panache and The Triple Lindy captured the top pari-mutuel pace and trot, respectively; Gary P. Clark emerged as the track’s leading provisional pilot, while Jimmy Whittemore posted four first-place finishes for the second straight evening during Saturday’s 14-race program at Vernon Downs. Racing for the first time in 2013, Gimme The Loot logged a 1:59.4 triumph in the Billing contest that took place prior to Saturday’s 65th betting card. The spunky 8-year-old gelding raced at or near the lead throughout and closed from second in the stretch to defeat Northmedo Wine Guy, and driver Matt Zuccarello, by three-quarters of a length. Thomas Di Bartolo conditions the career-winner of $190,948 for owner Alessandro Spano. JK Panache, a two-time track record-setter at the Downs this season, powered his way to a 1:51.3 score in Saturday’s $8,000 seventh race, earning his fifth local tally, seventh season’s score and 15th lifetime victory. Whittemore did the teaming for trainer Dave Dewhurst, an owner of the 4-year-old pacing gelding along with Philip K. Hale. The Triple Lindy became a two-time winner at the meet with a 1:54.1 career-best clocking in the $7,000 10th event. Brian Mattison urged the 5-year-old trotting gelding into the lead entering the final quarter, and the brown son of Credit Winner held on to secure his 11th lifetime victory for owner and trainer Paul Kelley and his partners Stephen G. Michaels, Jim Winske and William B. Weaver, III.
Nate Cornell of Batavia High School won the 'Dash For Cash' race at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Sept. 14) and the $3,000 first place scholarship check. Sponsored by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, the Western New York Harness Horsemen Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs, five high school seniors are paired up with professional drivers and battle for $7,500 scholarship money. It was the fourth year of a competition. The high school seniors have been working with the horsemen since August 1 in preparation for race day, learning all aspects of racing and the care of the horses. Cornell and driver Ron Beback went wire-to-wire with 'Nate Lobell' to take the victory while Kelsey Bezon of Elba and driver Ray Fisher Jr. finished second aboard Lady Lancer and won $2,000. Brian Burkholder of Oakfield-Alabama and driver Jim Graham finished in third and earned $1,200. Dylan Cory of of Batavia of Notre Dame and driver Mike Baumeister finished in fourth, good for $800 while Dylan Scharlau of Alexander and Shawn McDonough finished in fifth and received $500 for college.