OCEAN DOWNS — While many people headed to the beach or to their backyard for a barbecue during the July 4 holiday weekend, standardbred owners and trainers with Mid-Shore connections were content to venture to Ocean Downs, hoping their trotters and pacers would provide the proverbial fireworks.
Sunday evening at the half-mile oval in Berlin, five miles west of Ocean City, many local horsemen were on hand for two Maryland Standardbred Race Fund events for 3-year-olds and the overnight events. Horses with Mid-Shore ties were represented in all but one of the 13 races on the program.
On the back half of the card in a non-winners of $7,501 last five starts class for older pacers, Disturbia (Russell Foster) finished a sharp second as the 5-2 second choice. Away well to secure good early position in a 27.4 opener, Disturbia yielded to 4-5 favorite Movin’ On Up (Jim Morand), sat a loose pocket trip behind that one throughout and held the place spot — beaten by two lengths in 1 minute, 54 seconds.
A 4-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven stallion trained by Trevor Stafford of Greensboro for owner Jody Lee Cahall, Disturbia saw his modest two-race win streak at the seaside oval come to an end. He now owns a 4-4-2 slate and $35,000 banked from 23 seasonal outings. From 52 lifetime tries, he has an 8-9-6 slate and $72,000 banked.
One race earlier in the $25,000 MDRF event for 3-year-old filly trotters, Mary’s A Keeper (John Wagner) used the combination of her inside draw and early speed to gain command soon after the start and carved out honest fractions of 29.1, 59.3 and 1:29.3. She drew clear to a two-length score as the 9-5 second choice in 1:58.3.
A sophomore daughter of Lockkeeper trained by Arlene Cameron and co-owned and driven by Wagner of Centreville, Mary’s A Keeper notched her second win in five starts this year. She now owns a 3-4-2 slate and more than $50,000 banked from 12 career outings.
Mary’s A Keeper took her lifetime mark of 1:55.2 while winning a Maryland Sire Stakes elim at Rosecroft this spring, but made several untimely breaks in the $70,000 MDSS final.
Two races earlier in the $10,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, Slick Tony (Foster) delivered a superb effort in defeat. Sent out as the 9-2 third choice from his assigned outside six slot, Slick Tony was reserved well off the early pace, angled out second over behind 5-2 second choice Q’s Cruise (Frank Milby) nearing the half, followed that one’s live first-over cover down the backside and through the far turn, fanned wide for the drive and rallied strongly to just miss nailing Q’s Cruise late in 1:51.3.
The 4-year-old No Spin Zone stallion is owned, bred and trained by George “Ronnie” Leager of Sudlersville.
Slick Tony now owns a 6-2-5 slate and nearly $90,000 banked from 22 starts this year; three of his victories came in the $18,000 Open Handicap at Harrington Raceway this past spring.
Slick Tony sports a 24-9-6 slate and $465,000 in career earnings from 55 lifetime outings.
Two races earlier in a non-winners of $2,501 last five starts class for older pacers, Last Shot Leeton (Allan Davis) benefited from patient handling and a perfect pocket trip through the first three calls, angled down to the passing lane and overhauled 3-2 favorite Foiledbythebeach (Chuck Perry Jr.) to score by nearly a length in 1:57.4.
An 11-year-old P-forty-seven gelding owned and trained by Eli Scott Jr. of Warwick, Last Shot Leeton notched his first win in eight starts this year. He now owns a solid 37-26-32 slate and more than $270,000 banked from 208 lifetime tries.
On Sunday evening at the seaside oval, Last Shot Leeton sat a perfect two-hole trip throughout and then overhauled Boardwalk Gangster (Declan Donoway) for the narrow win.
One race earlier in a non-winners of two races lifetime condition for younger trotters, Dusted (Justin Vincent) overcame post eight and excess cover to rally widest of all late to nail Sweet Reason (Kim Vincent) for a length score in 2:02. The 3-year-old daughter of Dusty Winner is trained by George Sweitzer for owner Marion Andrew of Centreville,.
Dusted notched her second win in eight starts this year, and now owns a pair of victories from 15 career outings.
In a non-winners of $1,500 last five starts class for trotters, Handsome Devil (Wagner) rallied from middle of the pack to finish second behind 4-5 favorite Beep Been Bye Bye (Justin Vincent). A 4-year-old Conway Hall gelding trained by Arlene Cameron and owned and driven by Wagner of Centreville, Handsome Devil finished a sharp second as the 8-5 second choice.
Handsome Devil now owns a 3-2-4 slate and $35,000 banked from 19 career tries.