HARRINGTON, Del. — One week after oppressive heat and humidity enveloped the East Coast and made numerous outdoor activities nearly unbearable, Harrington Raceway hosted its annual lucrative Governor’s Day card amid much more temperate conditions. Among the horses seeking their fair share of the spoils on July 25 were three pacers with local connections.
In the finale of the 10-race card, Gillie The Kid (Art Stafford Jr.) just lived up to his role as the 1-2 favorite when he brushed to command before the opener in 28.2, maintained an honest tempo to the half in 57.4, met serious pressure from Shoot The Thrill (Ross Wolfenden) down the backside and through the far turn, rebuffed that one and just outlasted the late inside surge of Wingus (Russell Foster) to win by a head in 1 minute, 56.4 seconds.
A 6-year-old Northern Kid gelding owned and trained by William F. “Doc” Moffett of Church Hill, Gillie The Kid ended a prolonged drought to notch his first win in 16 starts this year. He pushed his seasonal earnings to $25,000.
In 126 career outings, Gillie The Kid owns a 23-22-23 slate and more than $257,000 banked along the way.
Two races earlier in the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund final for 3-year-old colt pacers, Son Of A Lynx, a half-brother to multiple stakes hero Slick Tony, drew the coveted rail in a field of eight where he was viewed as one of the genuine outsiders. Sent postward as an overlooked 70-1 shot, Son Of A Lynx finished sixth for owner-trainer George “Ronnie” Leager of Sudlersville, one year after Slick Tony won the same event.
Also in that event, Haymitch (Corey Callahan), a sophomore son of Roddy’s Bags Again trained by Chris Marino but bred by “Doc” Moffett, started from post two as a vastly overlooked 105-1 shot. He rallied from well off the place to finish second behind 8-5 second choice Chillaxin Away (Tim Tetrick), who drew clear from 1-2 favorite Goldberg (Montrell Teague).
On Sunday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, a five-eighths-mile oval in Pennsylvania often referred to as “Chester” after opening as Chester Downs the previous decade, Slick Tony (George Napolitano Jr.) easily lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite to capture a non-winners of $14,000 last five starts conditioned event by three lengths in 1:49.3.
Slick Tony easily established a new lifetime mark that was one full second faster than his previous best when he captured the $25,000 Maryland Invitational at Rosecroft Raceway in 1:50.3 last December.
A 4-year-old No Spin Zone gelding owned, bred and trained by “Ronnie” Leager, Slick Tony ended a modest five-race slide to notch his seventh victory in 24 starts this year and push his seasonal earnings past $100,000. In 57 career outings, Slick Tony now sports 25 wins and more than $475,000 banked.
He also posted the fastest mile on the card Sunday afternoon at “Chester.”
Later that same afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Rollinglikethunder (Stafford) finished third as the 4-5 favorite in a non-winners of $20,000 last four starts class while being forced to race three-wide prematurely.
Reserved well off the early pace, Rollinglikethunder angled out first over nearing the half, got forced three-wide early when Ideal Wheel (Napolitano) came out underneath him before three-quarters, continued to rally widest of all on the far turn and through the lane, and settled for third behind Dubious Claim (Dexter Dunn) and Kid PK (Andrew McCarthy) in 1:51.2.
In his previous start July 20 at Pocono Downs, another five-eighths-mile track in Pennsylvania, Rollinglikethunder (Tom Jackson) overcame an extended first-over journey to wear down even-money choice Sports Column (Napolitano) en route to a length score in 1:51, equaling his lifetime mark.
A 4-year-old Roll With Joe gelding trained by Eli Scott Jr. of Warwick for owners Danny Warrington of Galena and Donald Hawk, former business manager for the late Dale Earnhardt, Rollinglikethunder now owns a 5-4-2 slate and $68,000 banked from 19 starts this year. He sports a 12-6-45 slate and $112,000 bankroll from 40 career outings.
* * *
BERLIN — On Sunday night at Ocean Downs, a handful of local owners and trainers headed to the seaside oval looking for their share of minor spoils at the Maryland half-mile oval located five miles west of Ocean City.
Just past the midway point of the program in a $7,500/$10,000 claiming handicap for pacers, Colonial Road (Declan Donoway) delivered a gritty effort when second as an overlooked 18-1 shot in the one-mile and one-sixteenth affair. Away in good order, Colonial Road angled out first over on the far turn the first time, grinded his way toward Diabando (Jared Moyer) down the backside, surged to command on the far turn and then was nailed late inside by Midnite Pass (Allan Davis) in 2:03.4 for the added distance.
A 12-year-old Allamerican Native stallion trained by Erica Wagner for owners Harry Smith and Carolyn Smith of Millington, Colonial Road now sports a 5-3-6 slate and $23,000 banked from 28 starts this year and a 37-33-35 slate and $445,000 earned from 315 career tries.
He took his lifetime mark of 1:51.2 five years ago at the age of seven at Pocono Downs.
One race later in a non-winners of two races lifetime class for younger trotters, Sari Bout It (Victor Kirby) overcame post eight and her 24-1 outsider status to finish third. A 3-year-old daughter of Calchips Brute owned and trained by Jay Baxter or Worton, Sari Bout It lasted for the show spot as Counselor Lauxmont (Donoway) prevailed in 2:01.3.
The Baxter trainee now owns a 1-5-4 slate and $18,000 banked from 23 starts this year.
One race later in a $7,500 claiming event for older pacers, Willie Joe Hill (John Wagner) rallied from well off the pace, third over and widest of all in the lane to prevail by two lengths as the 8-5 favorite. The 5-year-old American Ideal gelding is trained by Arlene Cameron and owned and driven by Wagner of Centreville.
Willie Joe Hill notched his second win in six starts at the seaside oval by stopping the timer in 1:56.3. it was his third win in 19 starts this year, and his sixth tally from 79 career tries.
Several races later in the Ocean Downs finale on Sunday, Redwood Again (Frank Milby) gained command in a 28-second opener, yielded to 7-5 favorite MR P M (Russell Foster) before the half in 57.3, sat a loose pocket down the backside and through the far turn, and then got up late for a length victory in 1:56 as the longest shot on the board at 12-1.
A 4-year-old Dragon Again gelding trained by William “Rusty” Cox for owner Courtney Brooks of Church Hill, Redwood Again notched his first win in seven tries at the seaside oval and his third score in 21 starts overall this year. He now owns a 6-5-7 slate and $46,500 banked from 50 career outings.