Younger pacers hoping to climb the classladder were matched together in the $12,600 features Friday (July 1) at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with division split by sex.
In the race for male pacers, Regents Hanover struggled to keep with a fast pace, but then hit a better gear on the far turn, angled wide, and outpaced everybody in 1:53.2 to record his third straight triumph after opening his career winless in ten starts. The Betting Line gelding, purchased after his last start by Robert Cacamese and now in the hands of trainer Steve LeBlanc, was driven by George Napolitano Jr. in overcoming the outermost post, defeating favoured pacesetter Letmecallyouback by two lengths.
The distaff headliner came down to a battle between pacesetter Superbly and two-holing favourite Eager To Please. Superbly held the lead a long way in the stretch while bearing out some; the Sweet Lou sophomore filly Eager To Please steadily made up ground inside of her and beat her to the finish by a nose in 1:53.3. Corey Callahan drove the winner for trainer Robert Cleary and Royal Wire Products Inc.
In an $11,200 fast-class pace, the Bolt The Duer gelding Blank Stare shipped in from Hoosier Park and was ready at first local asking for trainer Jeff Cullipher, winning in 1:52.4 for driver Corey Callahan; trainer Cullipher also co-owns the winner of $425,319 with Pollack Racing LLC. Blank Stare received a great tow-up second-over after being sixth at the quarter, and his wide move in the stretch carried him past favoured On The Cards by one-and-a-half lengths.
The American Harness Drivers Club for amateur horsemen closed out the day with two $9,900 events, showing their double-gaitedness by switching from trotters to pacers. The gait made no difference to hot-driving Jonathan Ahle, who put a new mark of 1:51.1 on the Kiwi import Smokin By N for trainer Darran Cassar and owner Arthur Blutstein in the first AHDC division.
In the second, the winner was a horse who has been given an extended racetrack life by allowing amateur drivers to race 15-year-olds, Dream Out Loud N, who had the lead from the outside post eight in a flash and went on to a 1:52.3 score for driver/owner Tony Beltrami and trainer Edwin Quevedo. Dream Out Loud N certainly showed he still had plenty of life last year – he won 21 times (the most by any pacer in North America), including his “last” ten starts – and this year he now has eight victories, including taking his last four trips to the gate, and has upped his lifetime bankroll to $1,165,610.
Sunday’s racing at Harrah’s Philadelphia will see over $190,000 distributed among successful three-year-old colt trotters in action for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Pennsylvania Stallion Series horses. The only double winner in either series, Dandy, will have to overcome drawing the outside post seven if he is to take his third straight Sires victory. Post time for Sunday’s racing is 12:40 p.m.; program pages are available at on the Harrah’s website.