Saturday's (Aug. 23) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Yonkers Raceway, Tioga Downs, Batavia Downs, Vernon Downs and Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
Mach It So, Golden Receiver in dead-heat at Pocono
Wilkes Barre, PA --- Mach It So and Golden Receiver raced to a dead heat for the win in Saturday night’s featured Preferred pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race carried a purse of $25,000.
Curtis Salonick Photo Mach It So and Golden Receiver raced to a dead heat for win on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
In other action on Saturday night, Maven (Glidemaster-M Stewart), the only mare up against the field of boys in the $25,000 Preferred Handicap trot, powered up first-over to corral a hot pace and score by a length in 1:52.3. Trained by Jonas Czernyson and driven by Mark MacDonald, Maven, the 5-2 second choice in a field of eight, won for the second time this year and 27th in her career, pushing her lifetime earnings to $1,481,796. Waiting On A Woman finished second while 6-5 favorite Sevruga settled for third.
-- Jim Beviglia
Even-money favorite Frankie's Dragon (Brian Sears, $4) went from first-up to first home Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Frankie's Dragon did eventually wear down Dream Out Loud N, winning by a half-length in 1:51.1. Big N Bad (Jordan Stratton) closed stoutly for third, with Russley Rascal N and Rock on Moe settling for the minor moolah. For Frankie’s Dragon, a 5-year-old son of Dragon Again trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owner Joe Martinelli Sr., it was his fifth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $146.
Pouncing from the pocket on the approach to the far turn, Keith Pippi's Traverse Seelster ($3.30) recorded the fastest mile ever at Tioga Downs for an older trotting gelding, taking Saturday (August 23) evening's $15,000 Open Trot in 1:52.4. Brandon Simpson settled into the pocket with the 6-year-old Angus Hall gelding, drafting behind Lutetium (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :56.2 half before making his two-wide push with five-sixteenths to go. Traverse Seelster responded at once, kicking clear to a three-length lead on the far turn. Through the stretch, he was chased home by Twin B Spike Man (Mike Simons), but last week's Open winner could only muster a second-place finish, closing to within a length and a half. Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) rallied from last in the field of five to take third. Oh No Three O (Corey Braden) was a non-threatening fourth and early pacesetter Lutetium faded to last after giving way. Amber Buter trains Traverse Seelster, whose 1:52.4 mile bested Tac's Delight prior record for older trotting geldings by a fifth of a second. The overall track record for trotters stands at 1:52.3, most recently achieved by Obrigado. Sunday (August 24) afternoon's 13-race card kicks off at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with freshman trotters taking center stage in a quartet of Kindergarten Classic preliminaries.
Salazar and driver Ron Beback Jr. started from post one, led the whole race and won pulling away in the $9,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Aug. 23). ‘Off the gate, Salazar motored into the first turn fast enough to seat What The Sheik (Dave McNeight Jr.) who left two deep and then park out Rock N Roll Legend (Drew Monti) who was three-high at the eighth pole. The group hit the quarter in :27.3 and continued to the half in :57.3. Realizing he was not going to see the wood, Monti popped the plugs on the still parked Rock N Roll Legend and drove on. He got his nose to the leader’s tail when Western Alumni (Jim McNeight Jr.) made a three-wide move passing the three-quarters in 1:27.1 and three horses were in hot pursuit of the leader at that point. But Beback raised the lines in the final turn and Salazar responded to some intermittent urging down the lane to score a convincing two-length victory in 1:55.1. What The Sheik, who had the two-hole trip, was second and Western Alumni came up to be third. The winner paid $4.80. This was the fifth win in 28 starts for the 8-year-old gelded son of McCardle and it brought his seasonal earnings up to $55,152 for owner Lisa Denison. Salazar is trained by Lisa Lederhouse.
Driver Chris Lems, who will be representing Vernon Downs in the Drivers' Championship Race For The Cup on Friday, August 29 at Vernon, was the driving star of the Saturday night program with four victories. Lems' first two winners were favorites in the wagering, Tarport Andy in the opener and King Of Kings in the third. He then scored back-to-back winners later in the evening with a front-running score from Credit To Elgin in the ninth and a strong closing drive in the tenth with High Mileage. The $6,500 feature race on Saturday night was won by Oh My Joepa (Rocknroll Hanover-Nittany Lion), who has now won two of the last three starts at Vernon Downs. Oh My Joepa (Claude Huckabone III) sat toward the tail end of the field through the first quarter of a mile before making a strong first-over move to the front. From there, he led the rest of the way, building up a four-length lead as the horses made the top of the stretch. Western Tsunami (Roman Lopez) closed strongly in the stretch to get second and Market Force (Jimmy Whittemore) also finished well to end up third. You Bet Your Glass (Frank Davis) had gone off-stride at the start and still managed to finish fourth. A Fool For Mark crossed the finish line fifth, but was disqualified for interference with multiple horses at the three-quarter mile mark and placed last. The fractions were 26.4 for the quarter, 55.4 for the half, 1:22.4 for three-quarters, and a final time of 1:51. The complete order of finish was: Oh My Joepa, Western Tsunami, Market Force, You Bet Your Glass, Fearless Chip, Martial Bliss, and A Fool For Mark.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Bet On Roulette (Bettor’s Delight) won the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway for the third time this season. Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey piloted the race’s 6-5 betting favorite and got a pocket ride for Bet On Roulette behind invader Off Lika Promdress (Austin Siegelman) who cut the mile in his Open debut. Bet On Roulette closed sharply in the passing lane and outpaced his rivals in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.4 en route to his fourth win of the season. Off Lika Promdress held second while Mortal Zin (Billy Dobson) toughed out a first-over journey to finish third in the $17,000 Open Pace. Bet On Roulette’s trainer Paul Kelley also won Friday night’s ‘Winners Over’ trot with Crazy About Pat. Hennessey piloted three winners on the Saturday card.