Heavyweights Tussle In Ben Franklin Elims
Published: June 26, 2011 2:30 pm ET
Last Comment: June 26, 2011 4:29 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
Trainer Gregg McNair recently surpassed $30 million in lifetime earnings, and one of the stars from his career year in 2010 added more to that bankroll on Sunday afternoon in one of two $50,000 Ben Franklin eliminations at Harrah's Chester.
In the first Franklin elimination, driver Brian Sears was intent on the lead with McNair's Aracache Hanover but relented after Tim Tetrick and Blatantly Good used rail position to secure the lead and hit the opening quarter in :26.2. Aracache Hanover sat the pocket while favoured We Will See (Ron Pierce) made his move for the front from third as the field hit the three-eighths point.
Through a :55.1 half, Pierce asked We Will See for another gear on the backstretch. Tetrick and Blatantly Good responded, and just as it looked as though We Will See would clear Blatantly Good denied that challenge and fronted the field to the 1:21.3 third panel. With the backfield starting to catch up, Sears pulled Aracache Hanover from the pocket and into three-wide territory around the final turn.
As the frontrunners turned for home, Aracache Hanover pulled away from the early pacesetters and hit the wire one length better than We Will See in a lifetime best 1:49.1. Ideal Matters edged out Foiled Again for third, and those four horses advance to next Sunday's $500,000 final.
Owned by William Swital and James Martin of Clarence Center, N.Y., Aracache Hanover notched his 13th lifetime win to bump his bankroll to more than $840,000.
Fresh from his Canadian record performance in the Mohawk Gold Cup, Won The West was ultra-impressive as his quest to unseat Gallo Blue Chip as North American harness racing's richest pacer took another important step forward.
In rein to David Miller, the Ron Burke trainee took the second $50,000 Ben Franklin elimination in an identical time as the first elim. Starting from Post 2, Miller eased Won The West into third as Brian Sears summoned 2011 Bettor's Delight winner Bettor Sweet to the lead from the outside of the gate in Post 7. As Sears cleared Pangiorno (George Napolitano Jr.) to front the field, Miller right-lined the favourite off the pylons for a brisk move to the front through a :26.3 opening panel.
Last year's Ben Franklin winner, Vintage Master (Dan Dube) was the first to answer the challenge of coming first-up against Won The West, and those two divisional heavyweights matched strides through a :55.1 half and 1:22.1 three-quarters with neither pacer giving in at the top of the stretch. Won The West emerged victorious from the slugfest with a three-quarter length 1:49.1 decision over Vintage Master with pocket-sitting Bettor Sweet rounding out the triactor and Atochia (Yannick Gingras) also qualifying for next week's final.
Owned by Ohio's Country Club Acres, The Strollin Stable and William Robinson, Won The West (Western Hanover-Gabrielle) boasts 35 lifetime wins and more than $3.6 million in career earnings.