Shark Gesture, Vintage Master take Franklin eliminations
from Harrah's Chester publicity department
Shark Gesture and Vintage Master prevailed in their respective $50,000 Ben Franklin eliminations on Sunday (July 11) afternoon at Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack.
Shark Gesture, dispatched as the overwhelming 1-9 favourite, had no issue clearing the front and making the pace in the first elimination, floating from midfield and clearing Mr Wiggles (Corey Callahan) just past a :27.0 first quarter before rating a :55.4 half. After such a conservative first half, Shark Gesture was bound to face pressure up the backstretch, and said pressure was provided by Battle of Lake Erie winner Hypnotic Blue Chip (Michel Lachance). As the two matched strides to a punishing 1:21.3 three-quarter split, longshot Three of Spades (Jonathan Roberts) found his way to the pocket, as Mr Wiggles (Corey Callahan) failed to stay with the pace. While Hypnotic Blue Chip led on the far turn, the ever-game Shark Gesture fought back to reclaim the lead at the eighth pole, pulling away to win by a length with some in reserve. Atochia (Yannick Gingras) closed up the open stretch to take second, with Hypnotic Blue Chip and Three of Spades also advancing to next week's $500,000 final.
George Brennan made the trek to Chester specifically to drive Shark Gesture, who is owned by Norman and Gerald Smiley in partnership with the T L P Stable, and trained by Larry Remmen.
The second elimination shaped up much differently, with Dial or Nodial (Brian Sears) and Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) fighting tooth and nail through initial splits of :26.1 and :52.4, effectively thwarting each other's chances at returning next week. As the two battled into demise, Tim Tetrick moved Vintage Master first -over, pouncing on the pacecetters and taking over to three-quarters in an impressive 1:20.1, pulling away on the far turn and holding off a hard-closing Won the West (David Miller) for a half-length win in 1:48.1, good for a track and world record for four-year-old pacing entires on a five-eighths mile track. Keep It Real (George Napolitano) closed up the grandstand side of the course to take third, while Dali (Luc Ouellette) finished fourth.
Jimmy Takter trains Vintage Master for owners-breeders Brittany Farms and the Brian Monieson Revtrust.
The top four official finishers in each elimination advance to next week's $500,000 final.
(Photos courtesy World Wide Racing Photos)