Sunday's (June 1) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Buffalo Raceway, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Running Aces, Vernon Downs and Hippodrome 3R.
Ryan's Caviar runs Buffalo streak to five
Hamburg, NY --- On a day where the one hole ruled the first six races, Ryan’s Caviar continued a streak of his own.
Ryan’s Caviar entered Sunday with four straight victories, all by a half-length or less, but today the 10-year-old SJ’s Caviar gelding had a much tougher group to face. Getting a very good draw off the claim in the four hole, he showed that he could control the pace his own way.
|Steve Roth photo|
|Ryan's Caviar impressively scored for the fifth race in a row.|
After Somedancer Hanover broke before the start, Bit O Lavec set the early pace. Ryan’s Caviar (Shawn McDonough) dropped in behind the early pace as Ramblin Rick (Kevin Cummings), the Open horse, was parked to the opening quarter mark. The quarter was a little fast for the trotters in :28.4, but Ramblin Rick rolled up on the outside and led to the halfway point while slowing down the fractions.
At that point McDonough decided it was time to pull Ryan’s Caviar to try to contend for the lead. By the time the field reached the three-quarter pole Ryan’s Caviar was clear by two lengths as Ramblin Rick had stopped. Ryan’s Caviar went on to win his fifth straight race in a rated 2:00.4. Bit O Lavec (Dave McNeight III) was a game second and Madimpulse Hanover came flying home to finish third.
In talking to Shawn McDonough after the race he said, “He has been very sharp as of late and is in a really nice class. This horse can take a ton of air and can come from anywhere.”
In other racing action, a 3-year-old filly scored her first victory since coming to Buffalo Raceway. Aroma (Artiscape-Cinnamon Reel) scored very nicely in the 10th for leading driver Kevin Cummings and trainer Kirk Desmond. Aroma was bred in Maryland by Winbak Farm.
Racing continues at the Hamburg oval on Wednesday night with a first post of 5 p.m. Buffalo is now racing four days a week, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For more information, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.
-- Michael Carter
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Continual Velocity parlayed a pocket trip into a stunning upset in Sunday night’s $25,000 Mares Peferred Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Continual Velocity (Real Artist-Extreme Velocity), a 6-year-old mare from the Ron Burke barn, finished up the track in sixth in the same class a week ago, which is probably why she was a 32-1 shot from the inside post in a field of six on Sunday night. Yet driver Matt Kakaley found the pocket early, and Continual Velocity outpaced fast-closing Feeling You in the stretch to win by a neck in a career-best 1:50.2. Pacesetting American In Paris finished third while heavy favorite Shebestingin struggled to fifth. Continual Velocity won for the fifth time in a dozen 2014 starts. It was her 26th career victory, pushing her lifetime earnings to $511,525.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Let’s Go Higher (Cole Muffler) matched the all-time track record for older pacing mares at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The defending Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at the Spa, Let’s Go Higher parlayed her pocket ride to victory on a warm spring day in the $17,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Shawn Gray piloted the Heidi Rohr-trained mare and sat patiently as frontrunner Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) set sizzling fractions. After two scratches, the Open for distaff pacers was comprised of just five mares and Let’s Go Higher wound up besting her rivals in 1:52.1. She equaled the track mark set by Don’t Blame Her in July 2012. Let’s Go Higher was the 6-5 betting favorite in the Sunday feature as she recorded her second victory in the local Open this season.
Providing further proof that there are "certain horses for certain courses," Restless Yankee returned to Running Aces in Minnesota Sunday night after spending the winter at Pompano Park and the spring at Vernon Downs and captured the $9,500 Open Pace in 1:53.4. It was the 45th career win for the 7-year-old gelded son of Relentless Yankee -- at least two-thirds of which have been over the excellent five-eighths-mile oval. Defending driving champion Nick Roland was in the sulky for owners Robert Lems, who is also the trainer, and his son Ryan Lems. Restless Yankee raced second-over in the outer flow from before the half as pacesetter Mystical Valentine (Jason Ryan) was putting up fractions of :27, :55.2 and 1:24 while trying to fend off a relentless first-over attack by Canadian Touch (Tim Maier). Just after Canadian Touch cleared in deep stretch he made a break which allowed Restless Yankee to inherit the lead just before the wire. Jebswesternshake (Rob Dinning) rallied late to garner the place position with Mystical Valentine awarded the show dough after Canadian Touch was placed from third to sixth for the lapped on break. The win was one of three on the night for Roland, who is approaching the 1,000 career victory plateau. He also scored with a pair of Jesse DeLong trainees -- trotter Chewy Dunkerton in a $6,500 Minnesota-sired 3-year-old colt race and pacer I'm Blue Too in the $4,000 conditioned race nightcap. Maier notched his second trainer-driver triple in the first three nights of the summer-long meet, scoring with Silver Spir (1:52.3), It's Getting Hairy (1:53.3) and Emery Vern (1:55.3). Adam Hauser had a trainer-driver double as he captured the $6,500 Minnesota-sired 3-year-old filly trot with Country Cheerio and broke the pari-mutuel maiden of Everyone's Desire in a $3,000 non-winners of one race.
You Bet Your Glass won the $8,000 featured race on Sunday night at Vernon Downs. The early fractions for the one-mile pace were testing, to say the least. There was a three-wide pace battle between the race favorite, Firethorn, and two moderate longshots, Some Or Lis and Red Hot Yankee. It seemed that each wanted to dictate the early issue and as a result the opening quarter was posted in :24.4. This scorching pace ended up costing each of those pacers in the long run. Some Or Lis and Red Hot Yankee were not factors in the race following the opening half-mile of :53.2. Firethorn held the lead as the field approached the top of the stretch, but then You Bet Your Glass and driver Frank Davis made the winning move and went to the front. You Bet Your Glass ended up scoring by two lengths in a fast final time of 1:50.1. Firethorn ended up also getting passed by a 23-1 shot, Unicorn Hanover, for the place position. You Bet Your Glass is owned by William Williams Jr. and Arnold Marks. Marks is also the trainer of the 11-year-old gelding. You Bet Your Glass paid $10.20 to win and with Unicorn Hanover getting up at long odds for second, the $2 exacta payout was $118. The 50 cent trifecta with Firethorn in the third spot returned $136.
Track record holder Pablo Angus came up a bit short in trying to win his 2014 debut at the Hippodrome 3R as Whitewater Rapids took the featured trotting event on Sunday. Pablo Angus finished fourth. It was Taurus Du Parc and driver Francois Cleroux who started off the fourth race co-feature by going right to the lead and cutting the mile to the first quarter in :29.1 and the half-mile in 1:01. But already on the move and taking over command was the race favorite, Whitewater Rapids and driver/trainer Guy Gagnon, who came first-over after the first quarter and was able to clear by Tauru Du Parc after the half-mile marker. From there it was no longer a contest to see who would be the winner as by the three-quarter pole in 1:30, Whitewater Rapids already had a two length lead and coming down the stretch they turned it on to win by 5-3/4 lengths in 2:00.1. Ghirardelli Lindy (Jocelyn Gendron) was second with Close The Light (Michel Audet) grabbing third place. Shipping in from Rideau Carleton Raceway, it was the third win this year for Whitewater Rapids. The 6-year-old stallion by Credit Winner is owned by Ecuries Guy Gagnon, Inc. and paid $4.80 to win. Sunday also featured the final preliminary rounds of the Quebec-Bred Series for 4- and 5-year-old trotters and pacers. Now the top eight point earners in the series for each division per sex and gait will return next Sunday for the C$35,000 finals in each class. Highlights in the series action saw track record holder Duc Dorleans cut the mile but then get caught at the finish by the pocket-sitting McKinney (Denis St. Pierre), who came on to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2, the fastest mile on the ten-race program. The win payoff average at Hippodrome 3R continues to rise and lead many of the tracks in North America. Now after 71 races this meet, the average win price is at $12.83, mainly thanks to Jolt’s Prayer and driver Jocelyn Gendron, who upset the field in the eighth race pace at odds of 46-1, paying $94.70 to win.