Winneress lived up to his name Saturday at Freehold Raceway as he claimed his first victory of the year in the American Harness Drivers Club trot.
Piloted by his owner Anthony Verruso, the duo took advantage of an early speed duel to help overcome his outside post. When the gate sprung, Fusion Power with Paul Minore left hard from the rail as has been their M.O. Grafenberg with Joe Faraldo must not have gotten that memo as he tried to make an early bid for the top.
Fusion Power was not in the giving mood and held firm to the lead in a blazing :28:3 first quarter. Seeing this transpire, Winneress was guided out behind the parked horse coming around the second turn and his move was followed closely by Dark Pool with Tony Beltrami. After a quick :59.3 half, Grafenberg began to tire and the trailing duo went three wide in the third turn to vie for the lead.
Fusion Power held strong up the back side but at the top of the stretch Winneress had grinded up to head the leader. From there, the battle was on with Dark Pool swinging wide to try and overtake the top pair. But Winneress was strong in the stretch passing the leader late in the lane and holding off the surging closer to prevail by a neck in 2:02.
Winneress, a nine-year-old Credit Winner gelding, is owned by Verruso and trained by Symon Spicer. Even with the outside post, the gelding was sent off as the lukewarm favourite, returning $6.40 to win.
(With files from AHDC)