CHESTER PA – The Donato Hanover gelding Crossfit, parked to the 3/8 to gain command in the $13,600 featured trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia Thursday afternoon, proved tough in the stretch while equaling his lifetime mark of 1:54.2, with the 19-1 shot turning back the late-closing 1-9 shot Winnerup by 1 ¼ lengths.
Corey Callahan was in the sulky behind the winner of $122,760, who is trained by Philly’s leading conditioner, Ron Burke, for owner Joe Sbrocco.
Burke also trains the fastest diagonally-gaited winner of the Thursday session, the Muscle Hill gelding Goes Down Smooth, who left the field well behind in a new lifetime best of 1:52.2, just two ticks behind Scirocco Rob’s divisional track standard. The winner of $259,127 was two lengths ahead at the :28.1 quarter, seven lengths up at the :56 half, ten lengths clear at the 1:23.3 three-quarters, and had 10¾ lengths over his nearest rival at the finish for driver David Miller and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala, and James Martin.
While feature favorite Winnerup could not overcome the pronounced Philly track bias against closers, the Holiday Road gelding Henderson Seelster was able to come from second-over in taking the $11,600 co-feature in 1:53.3. Tim Tetrick had the favored earner of $223,384 behind first-over Bluebird Jesse, then in the stretch the pair was able to outfoot that determined foe by a neck for trainer Paul Stafford and owner Thomas Ceraso Jr.