Sports Duchess knocked almost four seconds off her lifetime mark with a 1:53.4 mile in one of three $11,200 co-featured races for developing pacers on the Friday (April 23) card at Harrah's Philadelphia.
The three-year-old Sportswriter filly sat in third until the three-quarters, briefly got cover, and then swung wide for driver George Napolitano Jr. to defeat Sweet Talker by a neck. Blake MacIntosh trains Sports Duchess for owners Stuart McIntosh and Leanne Murphy.
In the other distaff contest, Lyons Softassilk advanced first-over into a :56.3 last half, and still had enough to make the lead before holding off Game Of Shadows by a neck in 1:54.2. Tim Tetrick drove the Somebeachsomewhere sophomore in her seasonal debut for trainer Jim King Jr. and Threelyonsracing.
The lone division for male pacers saw 26-1 shot Aquaman Hanover reach the lead in the stretch, before holding off the fast-closing Yankee Litigator by a neck in a new mark of 1:54. Dexter Dunn drove the the sophomore Somebeachsomewhere gelding for trainer Nifty Norman and Enzed Racing Stable Inc., Robert Cooper Stables LLC and Kovach Stables LLC.
Nutcracker Sweet, the six-year-old star-crossed full brother to double millionaire Bettor Sweet and a half-brother to the triple millionaire and standout sire Sweet Lou, went the fastest mile of his career when he won in 1:50.1. George Napolitano, Jr. drove the winner of $441,134 for the team of trainer Tom and owner John Cancelliere.
Ontario’s “youthful veteran” driver Doug McNair, 2017 Canadian Driver of the Year, wasted no time making his presence felt on the local scene, guiding Betsea to a new mark of 1:52.4 in his initial local drive of the season.
The Sunday (April 25) card at Harrah’s Philadelphia features developing younger horses, fast-class paces for both sexes, and hard-hitting top-level claiming handicaps. Sunday’s first card will start at 12:40 p.m.; program pages for the card will be available at the PHHA website.
(with files from PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)