CHESTER PA – Allywag Hanover seemed to be saying, “Hey, Bulldog and you other guys, don’t forget I’m still around!” by overcoming the outside post six and a three-week layoff in winning the $22,500 fast-class handicap pacing feature at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 1:49.1 on Friday afternoon.
The 2021 Older Pacing Horse of the Year was three-wide just past the first three-sixteenths for driver Todd McCarthy, then dropped down behind No Lou Zing as that one wrested the lead from Grand Cayman at the :26.1 quarter. Allywag Hanover pressed on to three-eighths command, hit the half in :54 and the three-quarters in 1:21.1, then effortlessly drew clear, with hard-closing Hellabalou whittling down the margin to 2 1/2 lengths but not ever appearing threatening.
The Captaintreacherous five-year-old gelding won for the second straight time after opening his campaign with two seconds and a third against literally the fastest crop of pacers ever, including two seconds to Bulldog Hanover (p, 4, 1:45.4). Brett Pelling may be getting this one back to the place where he can fight Bulldog, Abuckabett, Rockyroad, Linedrive, Ruthless, and other free-for-allers not named Hanover for the Allywag Stable, which saw their star raise his money total to $1,264,780.
The Early Daily Double had a couple of interesting facts attached to it. From the first race: You may never see a Standardbred in the first race of the day – anywhere -- set the pace and come home in :53.3 and still be beaten, but that’s what happened when J M Mandamin set fractions of :26.4, :56, and 1:22.3, yet was caught by pocketsitter Ultimaroca by a length in a 1:49.2 mile.
From the second race: Courtney Foster, from a well-known Maryland harness racing dynasty and whose 34th birthday is in one week, won with the first horse she ever sent to post, with the trotter College Tuition winning the second half of the Double for the milestone accomplishment. Foster would come back as the trainer of last race winner Trip Hammer to put her in what must be a small group of trainers who won with their first two starters.
Tim Tetrick, winningest driver at Philly this year, added four more victories to his total for the season; he now has 137 wins after 67 cards, better than two a day, and Tetrick sometimes misses cards or parts of cards to honor commitments elsewhere (Friday, for example, he left after Philly’s tenth race.)
Sunday’s racing will feature the track’s highest-level claiming pacers going in a $12,000 handicap event, with four of the eight entrants showing wins in this class on their lines. There will also be six American Harness Drivers Club races for amateur horsemen, five paces seeded by classification, and a trot. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.