Upsets abound in Northeast Extension; favorites prevail in Harrah's Boulevard
from Harrah's Chester publicity department
While Jeffrey Bamond's Island Terror ($2.60) reigned victorious in her $20,000 third-round division of the Northeast Extension series for distaff pacers, three other odds-on favorites were defeated in the other three divisions of the event, held Wednesday (December 15) afternoon at Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack.
The first division saw a 1-5 Star Keeper (Andy Miller) rate a :58.1 half before feeling pressure from Fortunes Smile (George Napolitano) on the far turn. Put to a full-on drive at the eighth pole, Star Keeper could not sustain, reeled in by Blaso Farms and Monico Stanislao's Adriana G (David Miller), who kicked cover at head-stretch and ultimately prevailed by three quarters of a length in 1:55.0, returning $22.80 to win.
In the second division, Runaway Tray (George Napolitano) sat a cozy pocket trip behind 3-10 favorite Riley Character (Tim Tetrick) and Pretty Wicked (David Miller), who dueled up the backstretch and into the far turn. With a :27.3 third quarter softening them both up, Runaway Tray was in prime position to capitalize on the open stretch, prevailing by a half length in 1:52.4 and returning $11.20.
M & L of Delaware's I-Lady (Jim Meittinis) was a ground-saving winner in the third division, overtaking 3-5 public choice Wicked Intentions (Tim Tetrick) in the final yards of a 1:54.2 mile, returning $9.20 to win as the second choice in the betting. Island Terror was the lone favorite to win her Northeast Extension division, turning away a late challenge from Summer Hope (Yannick Gingras) and delivering a two-length, pillar-to-post victory under Tim Tetrick in 1:54.1.
While the favorites did not fare so well in the Northeast Extension series, they swept all three $25,000 third-round splits of the Harrah's Boulevard series for trotters.
Robert Key's Winning Mister ($4.40) returned to the same tactics that brought him victory in the first round, opening up on the field on the backstretch, posting a remarkable 1:23.4 three-quarters time, and holding clear through the stretch for a 1:53.2 win in rein to Matt Kakaley.
Steve Calhoun and the West Wins Stable's Aisling ($3.60) brushed to the top with a circuit to go and never looked back, beating tough trotting mare Zitomira (Jacqueline Ingrassia) by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 with David Miller in tow.
Lastly, Mitchell Walker's And Heez Perfect ($3.80) used similar tactics to Aisling, brushing to the front and controlling a slow initial tempo before sprinting away by four lengths to a 1:56.0 victory with Tim Tetrick.
The day's overnight feature saw The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi's Red Star Hottie ($3.20) prevail in the $32,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, controlling a :57.2 first half before sprinting away in a :55.1 second half, drawing clear from B Intensified (George Napolitano) by 3-1/2 lengths to record the 1:52.3 victory. Yannick Gingras handled the driving duties for trainer Ron Burke.
The finals of the Road to Riches Late Closing Series, which boast combined purses of $380,000, are scheduled for Monday, December 20; Tuesday, December 21; and Wednesday, December 22. Post time for each day's card is 12:45 p.m. eastern time.