A trio of $150,000 stakes events took centre stage at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, May 28, as the Betsy Ross Mares Invitational, Maxie Lee Memorial and Ben Stafford Jr. Invitational took the spotlight during the afternoon card.
Mossdale Conner N Tough In Ben Stafford Jr.
Trained by Peter Tritton and driven by Jordan Stratton, Mossdale Conner N ($4.00) stepped onto the racetrack and threw down an impressive mile in the $150,000 Ben Stafford Jr. Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, May 28, as the son of Bettors Delight was tough during his 1:49 performance.
A quartet of leavers made things interesting right from the word ‘go.’ After having started from Post 4, Mossdale Conner N left hard, fought off his fellow leavers, and opted to park Somewhere In LA (Jason Bartlett) for the first quarter (:26.1) and the better part of the opening half (:54.1).
Mossdale Conner N was used pretty hard in the opening half, so Christen Me (driven by Tim Tetrick) and Jins Shark (Brett Miller) opted to take a shot at the leader in the third quarter. But Mossdale Conner N was up to the task and held his foes off.
Mossdale Conner N spun past the three-quarters pole in 1:21.1 and refused to give it up in the lane. Pacing home in :27.4, Mossdale Conner N went on to record a convincing win in impressive fashion.
Mossdale Conner N is now four-for-four since arriving in the United States from Down Under.
“I think the only thing that was going to get him beat was a bad drive,” a modest Stratton said during a post-race interview.
Stratton went on to add that Mossdale Conner N “wants to go forward” and “I think he was waiting for another horse to race today.”
Mossdale Conner N’s win was the 17th of his career, and the winner’s share of the purse pushed his career bankroll past $475,000.
Mossdale Conner N was purchased this past March by the Harry Von Knoblauch Stable and Ellen Kinser of Tucson, Arizona.
Lady Shadow Sharp In Betsy Ross
The Ron Adams-trained and Yannick Gingras-driven Lady Shadow ($4.00) was an authoritative force in the $150,000 Betsy Ross Mares Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, May 28, as the daughter of Shadow Play paced to a gate-to-wire win in a sharp 1:49.
Lady Shadow was sent off as the post-time choice and played the part throughout the mile. She laid down the speed in :26.3, :54.4 and 1:21.2, but did not feel the effects of her fleet trip, as she still had enough in the tank to throw a :27.3 final panel at her foes.
Owned by David Kryway (of Amherstburg, Ont.), Carl Atley (Xenia, OH), Edwin Gold (Phoenixville, PA) and the BFJ Stable (Philadelphia, PA), Lady Shadow picked up her 30th career victory with the performance and added to her stellar $1.8-million bankroll
Lady Shadow was sharp throughout the mile, but she did drift a couple of lanes wide in the homestretch. Nevertheless, Gingras kept her on her game and the pair looked good in victory.
Nike Franco N (Tim Tetrick) and Blue Moon Stride (Andrew McCarthy) finished second and third, respectively.
“She’s something else,” Gingras said in a post-race interview. “Ron’s done a great job. She drives two fingers and makes my job pretty easy to do.”
Maxie Lee To Crazy Wow
After having left hard off the starting gate, the Yannick Gingras-driven and Ron Burke-trained Crazy Wow ($5.00) went straight to the top and made every pole a winning one in the $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, May 28, as the Crazed horse got the job done with a 1:52 mile.
Crazy Wow cut the fractions in :27.3, :56.4 and 1:24 and cruised home with a 28-second final quarter.
Odds On Amethyst (driven by Pat Hudon) broke early and Tuonoblu Rex (Andy Miller) broke in the third quarter while making a first-over advance on Crazy Wow. After Tuonoblu Rex jumped it off, Gingras just had to guide Crazy Wow home in the lane, which he did in good order.
JL Cruze, with David Miller in the bike, finished second, while Charmed Life (Simon Allard) finished third. Meladys Monet (Brett Miller) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the top five, respectively.
“I think this year he’s going to be right there – one of the top three or four aged trotters,” Burke said in a post-race interview.
Crazy Wow’s win on Sunday was his first of the year in what was his fourth start of the season.
Crazy Wow, who has owned more than $1.6 million in his career, is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables (of Melville, NY), Stable 45 (Boynton Beach, FL), J And T Silva Stables LLC (Long Beach, NY) and Deo Volente Farms LLC (Flemington, NJ).
While all eyes were focused on three big invitationals on Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia (Maxie Lee, Betsy Ross, Ben Stafford Jr.), the undercard supplied fireworks of its own. The races leading up to the 'Big 3' showcased two winner's over $25,000 events on the pace (one for horses and geldings, the other for mares), and numerous upper-conditioned level races. They did not disappoint. Four straight races were timed under 1:50, including a 1:48.3 performance by Rockeyed Optimist, and a 1:49.1 display by Mel Mara, who was making his seasonal debut.
After a stellar 1:50.3 qualifier at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Robert Cooper and the Silva Stable's Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) made his seasonal debut in Race 5 at Harrah's Philly on Sunday. It was a Winner's Over event for pacers with a purse of $25,000. Starting from Post 6, the eight-year-old son of Lis Mara went right to the front, setting deliberate fractions of :26.1, :54.4, and 1:21.4. He had to hold off the pocket-sitter Major Uptrend in the final strides to secure the victory. The Dylan Davis trainee opened many eyes last season, with a jaw-dropping 1:47 performance at the Meadowlands, which at the time, missed the all-time race-mile record by just a fifth of a second.
The very next race, Steve Elliott trainee Rockeyed Optimist (Andy Miller) paced the fastest mile of the afternoon (1:48.3) in an event for non-winners of $20,000 in their last five starts. The six-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover also took fate into his own hands, going right to the lead setting fractions of :26.2, :53.4, and 1:21.1. He faced a challenge from 2015 Pepsi North American Cup Winner Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick), but was up to the challenge winning by a length and a quarter. He is owned by the team of Perretti, Berkner, Battaglia, and A&B Stables.
Race 9 was a Fillies and Mares Winners Over $25,000 Lifetime event, which featured Blue Chip Matchmaker participants Mach It A Par (Jason Bartlett) and Lispatty (George Napolitano Jr). The former was coming off of an upset win against Champion mare Pure Country. But this day belonged to Tom Fanning trainee Frost Damage Blues (Tim Tetrick). The lightly-raced daughter of Western Ideal dueled hard with race-favourite Lispatty, completing her grind to win by a head in 1:50.2. It was her second start of the season after winning five races in 14 starts as a four-year-old. She is owned by Bill Augustine.
Harrah's Philadelphia would like to thank all owners, trainers, and drivers that competed in all of the races on Sunday. The race office would also like to thank everyone that participated in the Winner's Circle presentations as well.