Friday’s (March 7) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from The Meadows, Buffalo Raceway, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Miami Valley Raceway.
Stirling Bella, Small Town Charmer win Meadows series openers
Washington, PA --- Stirling Bella powered to the lead from fifth and rolled to a convincing victory in Friday’s opening leg of the Donna Dunn Memorial Pace at The Meadows. Small Town Charmer took the other $15,000 split in the series for 3- and 4-year-old filly and mare pacers.
The series honors the memory of the late Donna Dunn, longtime Standardbred owner at The Meadows and the wife of trainer and USTA Director Walter “Boots” Dunn.
Leaving from the second tier, Stirling Bella was away in mid-pack before Aaron Merriman gunned her to the front just past the quarter. She sailed to victory in 1:55, 1-1/4 lengths better than Black Silk Jammys, with Radar Lover third. Dave Zito trains the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Fast Princess for Mervin Wengerd.
Small Town Charmer fashioned a similar journey -- left from the second tier, got away fifth, zipped to the lead past the quarter -- for Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The victory in 1:55.3 for the 3-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native-Brava Hanover was especially impressive, since she hadn’t raced since Sept. 29. Baby Cat finished second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Sandy Hook Hanover earned show.
Mike Wilder drove four winners on the 15-race card while Palone, Burke and Brett Miller each enjoyed a triple.
-- Evan Pattak
A smooth move to the inside down the stretch by Detailer and driver David McNeight III proved to be the difference in scoring a $38.20 upset victory in the $10,500 Open Trot on Friday night at Buffalo Raceway. Fiorentina (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) set the tempo in the race, registering red-hot fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:29.1. Detailer was second over at the three-quarter marker, but McNeight managed to guide him to the passing lane and they were able to nip Fiorentina by a head at the wire in 1:58.4. Studio City (Aaron Byron) finished third. Owned by the Limerick Racing Stable and trained by David McNeight, Jr., Detailer scored his first win of 2014 in five appearances and improved his seasonal earnings to $8,915. It was also the 18th career victory for the 6-year-old gelding, now a winner of $170,721 lifetime.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Jim Morrill, Jr. is now three-for-three in the Opens in the young 2014 season at Saratoga Casino and Raceway as the veteran reinsman piloted Turtle Express (Dream Vacation) to victory in Friday night’s $17,000 Open Trot. Turtle Express had rattled off three consecutive wins at Yonkers before a try in their Open in his last start. Making his local debut, the Kevin Efimetz trainee was assigned post eight on Friday but it didn’t matter. Morrill rolled Turtle Express to the lead heading to the half-mile pole and opened up a nearly half dozen length advantage before eventually stopping the timer in 1:57.2. Cash Poor (Austin Siegelman) was the runner-up while Strong Hall (Barry Segel) closed for third in the trotting feature. The Morrill-Efimetz combo has dominated the action through the first week of the racing season at the Spa. For the third consecutive night, the Pick-5 was not hit so the carryover to Saturday’s card will be more than $7,000. The Pick-5 begins in race six.
Miami Valley Raceway
Cashahallic produced a minor upset in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night, stepping to a 1:56 track record in the process. At odds of 9-1, the 6-year-old son of Cash Hall was the quickest of the full field off the wings of the Woebkenberg starting gate, leaving alertly in :28.1 for driver Jim Pantaleano. The Chris Scicluna trainee continued to show the way through fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.3 before holding off pocket-sitting Baby Blaze (Chris Page) by a neck for owner Michael Lipman. Itzaziam (Pat Berry) rallied late to garner the show dough. Drivers Jeremy Smith and Chris Page each scored hat tricks on the 12-race program. Smith sped to the quickest mile of the night with a 1:53.4 triumph behind Big Pulse. He also guided Exit Here (1:55.4) and Milliron Pete (1:58.4) to victories. Page's wins were with Newspeak (1:55.1), Polo Johnny (1:56.2) and the trotter Chet N Spanky (1:58.3).