The Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi had a four-race winning streak snapped in last week’s Commodore Barry Pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but this week, he fronted his field in the $22,500 Winners Over Pace in 1:49.2 to resume his winning ways.
The battle for command was tough early, with Southwind Ozzi three-wide most of the :26.3 quarter, then taking the lead away from Vettel N in front of the stands the first time and going on to the half in :54.3. Bettor Memories began a long grind from fifth and was nearing the leader by the 1:21.4 three-quarters, but driver Tim Tetrick still had a powerful horse in front of him, and he paced on to win by 1-3/4 lengths over the resilient Bettor Memories, who defeated Vettel N and favoured American Dealer N in a photo for second.
Bill MacKenzie conditions the son of Somebeachsomewhere for owners Vincent Ali Jr. and Alma Iafelice. Southwind Ozzi now has 29 wins in but 73 starts (just short of 40 per cent) and the six-year-old has earned $1,069,024.
In the $15,300 co-featured pace, Ill Drink To That looked like he was going through a training mile, not laying down fractions of :26, :54.1 and 1:21.4 en route to reducing his mark to 1:49.1. David Miller had an easy time behind the four-year-old son of American Ideal, who boosted his bankroll to $443,360 for trainer Chris Ryder and the partnership of Craig Henderson, Lawrence Minowitz, Robert Mondillo and Oompa’s Farm Inc.
The American Harness Drivers Series for amateur horsemen and women came to town to contest two $9,900 events. In the first, Tony Beltrami, coming off by far his best year in the sulky, showed he was still in good form, rallying Worldsstonecold AA from far back to defeat Momms My Dad (Joe Faraldo) by a half-length, with Mosconi Hanover (Dante Scattolini) another half-length back in third, while matching the horse’s lifetime best of 1:57.3. Edwin Quevedo trains the winner for owners Beltrami and Triple Q Stables LLC.
In the other cut, Shoemaker Hanover and trainer/driver John Calabrese sat perfectly-placed behind a speed duel, then came out at head-stretch and went by pacesetter Southwind Frost (Bob Heckoff) by 1-3/4 lengths to win in 1:57.2. Calabrese Farms LLC and Michelle Rickey own the winner. This race had the novelty of having a 15-year-old in its field: the $880,856 winner TSM Photo Bugger is allowed by the rules to keep competing “beyond retirement age” in amateur events, and he finished a good-closing third for driver Jonathan Ahle in his first start since December 30.
Trae Porter, newly-tuned 21 years old this week, enhanced his reputation as the Longshot Man of the Philly meet, bringing in $51 shot Rock Idol, who reduced his mark to 1:52.4. Porter now has four $50+ horses, with three drivers next in line having two; trainer Adrian Wisher became the first conditioner to send out two bombers at Philly this year. (And if you like to bet Philly longshots, do so early in the card: 12 of the 15 $50+ prices have come in race five or earlier, including the last nine.)
Last year’s crack two-year-old Hammering Hank makes his 2022 bow in one of two $69,139 divisions of the third preliminary of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for male pacers on Wednesday afternoon. There will also be the complementary Stallion Series action for this group.
(With files from PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia)