A pair of hotly contested $50,000 eliminations for the fifth edition of the Ben Franklin Free-For-All Pace headlined the Sunday (June 26) action at Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, with Aracache Hanover and Won the West prevailing in their respective splits.
William Switala and James Martin's Aracache Hanover ($20.80) scored a mild upset in the first elimination, tracking a late battle between Blatantly Good (Tim Tetrick) and odds-on favourite We Will See (Ron Pierce). After Blatantly Good controlled a :55.1 half mile, he faced a barrage of pressure from We Will See, and the two exchanged blows through a :26.2 third quarter (1:21.3 split time). Some three lengths in arrears entering the far turn, Brian Sears angled Aracache Hanover to the outside, rallying late to collar We Will See 100 yards from the post and continuing on to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:49.1. We Will See held second, while Ideal Matters (Dave Palone) and a one-paced Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) also advanced to the $500,000 final.
The second elimination saw Country Club Acres, the Strollin Stable, and William Robinson's Won the West ($3.80) show incredible determination in the final yards to fend off a ferocious charge from defending champion Vintage Master (Daniel Dubé). After sitting pocket to Bettor Sweet (Brian Sears) past a :26.3 first quarter, David Miller brushed to the front with triple millionaire Won the West, rating a fairly comfortable middle half before repelling the outside threat of Vintage Master to prevail by one-half length, also winning in 1:49.1. Vintage Master was a driving second, with Bettor Sweet and Atochia (Yannick Gingras) completing the finalists from the second elimination.
As a testament to the quality of this year's Ben Franklin entrants, all fourteen starters were clocked at 1:50.0 or faster in their eliminations.
The undercard saw Ted Gewertz's Whiskey Pete ($4.80) prevail over a late-charging Dial or Nodial in the $70,000 Open Pace, scoring in 1:50.1 off a first-over trip under Brian Sears. Sears led all drivers with four wins on the card.
Double draw to take place Wednesday
Horsemen are to be advised that there will be a double draw on Wednesday (June 29) morning for the Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4 cards. The entry box will close at 9:00 am.