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Racing Roundup: Rooster Rabbit upsets, Merton wins six at Plainridge Park
Monday, October 09, 2017 - from harness publicists across North America

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The Monday (Oct. 9) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Plainridge Park, Harrington Raceway, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Saratoga Casino Hotel.

Rooster Rabbit upsets, Merton wins six at Plainridge Park

Plainville, MA --- As heavy weather blew into the Commonwealth, the horses seemed to dismiss the sloppy going and Rooster Rabbit was the epitome of that, winning the $14,000 Plainridge Special Pace at The Ridge on Monday afternoon (Oct. 9) in a career-best effort.

Tom Melanson photo
Rooster Rabbit was a narrow winner on Monday at Plainridge.

He’s Marvelous (Nick Graffam) took an uncontested lead and flew the widely-gapped field to the quarter in :26 over the water-logged oval. Going past the stands and into turn three, Beautiful Lady (Greg Merton) pulled first-over from third approaching the :54.4 half and prompted Graffam to pop the plugs on the leader as a result. Her opening allowed Rooster Rabbit (Mike Eaton) to slide up a closer fifth along the pylons.

When He’s Marvelous hit three-quarters in 1:22, Beautiful Lady dropped anchor and SB Mikes Hot Beach (Shawn Gray) pulled out from second, allowing Rooster Rabbit to get one step closer into third. As He’s Marvelous and SB Mikes Hot Beach were matching strides at the top of the lane, Eaton pulled Rooster Rabbit three-deep into the middle of the stretch and started driving hard.

He’s Marvelous tagged-out along the pylons and SB Mikes Hot Beach and Rooster Rabbit hit the wire together with Rooster Rabbit getting a nose advantage in 1:51.3.

With five wins and $45,827 to his credit already in 2017, now Rooster Rabbit ($23.80) also has a new lifetime mark of 1:51.3 to go along with them. The 5-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by Charles Franklin and Brenna Gill and is trained by Dan Gill.

In the $10,000 co-featured condition pace, Lindy Beach (Greg Merton) followed third-over in a live outer-flow at the half before tipping three-deep at the three-quarters to pace away to a three length victory in 1:53.1.

Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Frank Baldassare own Lindy Beach ($2.60) who now has won five out of seven starts this year. The 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding is trained by Frank Antonacci.

Greg Merton won six races during the day and pushed his win total to 198 for the year. With more than seven weeks left in the meet, Merton has already eclipsed his track record numbers for wins and purses in 2016 (167-$809,012) and has set new standards for both categories. Besides the 198 wins, Merton has also earned $1.15 million in purses to this point.

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (Oct. 10) with post time at 2:30 p.m.

--- Tim Bojarski

Harrington Raceway
Legacy Racing of Delaware and Reginald Hazzard's Papa Ray ($2.80, Victor Kirby) recorded his second straight win Monday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:52.1 win in the $15,000 Delaware Special. Trained by Wayne Givens, the 8-year-old Village Jolt stallion registered his 41st career win via a first over charge to the front near three-quarters where he would draw away by open lengths. Allwillworkout was second with Imkeepnthisguy third. Live racing continues on a Monday through Thursday schedule until Oct. 19.

The Andover Hall gelding Simeon ended his short but productive stay with trainer Toni Freitas by overcoming the outside post eight to win the $14,000 claiming handicap trotting feature Monday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, lowering his lifetime mark a tick to 1:54. The win did not come easily for the 2015 Fair Sire Stakes championship winner, as Simeon and driver Marcus Miller had to go a lightning :26.1 opening quarter in order to gain early command. Splits of :55.2 and 1:24.1 followed, and when favored first-over It’s Complicated tired and pocket-sitter Cantabs Lightning broke on the far turn, the job became much easier for the winner, and he triumphed with three lengths between him and Run And Tell Pap, who inherited the pocket once the breaker cleared. Freitas claimed the 5-year-old winner of $138,098 for $17,000 on Aug. 21, and he had three wins and two fourths, good for $22,000 in earnings, before being claimed out of this race for $20,000, so his profit margin for his owners Edward Hall and James Hall Jr. was $25,000 minus expenses -- not a bad month and a half. Making out almost as well was trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen, who will now have second-place finisher Run And Tell Pap joined by the winner under his shedrow after his claim of Simeon.

The first leg of the Jim Derue Memorial Trotting Series was contested on Monday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The fifth annual Derue Memorial kicked off with three divisions for trotters 5-years-old and younger. The Perry Simser-trained Winter Mint pulled off the biggest upset of the three divisions as he prevailed in a career-best 1:57.3. Scoring at odds of 7-1 and driven to victory by Jimmy Devaux, Winter Mint was the fastest among the three winners in leg one. Golden Kronos and Bruce Aldrich scored first over in 1:58.2 at odds of 7-2 to secure his leg one victory while the only favorite to prevail in the series’ first leg was Jaymes Mcassey’s Laser Leo who went coast-to-coast in 1:58 with Billy Dobson in the sulky. There are two legs of the Derue Memorial before the Series final that is scheduled to go for a purse of $36,000. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45 p.m.

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