With just a few weeks left in the winter/spring racing season at Freehold Raceway, Jim Marohn Jr. has made the driving race interesting.
He continued an impressive meet on Saturday (April 16), with a four-win afternoon. He picked up his first win of the day in Race 4, as favoured Firenglow A went gate-to-wire for his third victory in a row. John Novello, who claimed him out of his last start, was the winning owner and trainer. In the fifth race, Marohn got another win, as Fullback moved strongly first-over and pulled away late for an impressive score. Shaun Vallee trains and co-owns the winner.
Marohn looked like a sure thing to get a hat trick in Race 7 with 1/9 Bobcat Bay, and the favourite obliged for trainer Jeff Smith. In the eighth race, the Preferred Handicap pace, Marohn completed the grand slam with East Beach. After drafting in third place early on off a very slow pace, Marohn pulled his drive first-over and took charge as they moved around the third turn. He opened up a big lead, and crossed the wire 4-1/2 lengths in front. He paced a mile in 1:54, going a final quarter in :28.2 with a back half in :55.1. Bill MacKenzie trains and co-owns the winner with J G Racing Stable and Lawrence Miller.
Marohn has won 49 races at the meet, hitting at a 25.4 percent clip. He's eight wins behind the defending champion, Austin Siegelman, who has won 57 races on the season.
DAVE OFFENBERG WINS $9,000 AHDC TROT
After traveling along in the middle of the pack Dave Offenberg got Fiji up in the final strides to nose-out Southwind Frost (Bob Hechkoff) and win the $9,000 American Harness Drivers Club Trot on Saturday at Freehold.
Overlooked and sent off at odds of over 17-1 Fiji paid $36.80 for the win.
When the starter turned the seven-horse field loose Jonathan Ahle sent Trump This immediately to the lead from the five-hole and they had command after they passed the first stanza in :28.4. From there Ahle got his trotter by the half in :58 and they still had command at the three-quarters in 1:28.1, but trouble was lurking. At that point Offenberg moved Fiji off the pylons and headed for the front-end. But when Offenberg moved forward Bob Hechkoff followed him with Southwind Frost and at the top of the lane both trotters were within striking distance of Trump This. When they headed for paydirt the leaders were noses apart and they finished in a tight photo, which after the judges' examination, Fiji was declared the winner in the 1:59.1 mile.
Southwind Frost was second best while third place went to My Big Kadillac (Mike Polansky) who was a scant nose better than Inukchuk Chuck (Paul Minore).
Fiji, a nine-year-old Cantab Hall gelding, is owned by Allister Stables and trained by Noel Daley.
Live harness racing at Freehold resumes on Friday (April 22), starting at about 12:30 p.m.
(Freehold / AHDC)