Four $12,600 features races at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday afternoon were split evenly between male pacers and trotters.
Always B Sweet, a Pennsylvania Stallion Series winner earlier, defeated Curbside Pickup and favored PaSS winner Literl Lad Hanover in a 1:50.1 section of the features for pacing males. The Always B Miki gelding, even coming off a sick scratch, was just too much to overhaul, posting fractions of :27, :56.1, and 1:23 before crossing the wire and knocking 1 2/5 seconds off his lifetime mark. Curbside Pickup was a neck ahead of Literl Lad Hanover but 4¼ lengths behind the winner, who was guided by Andrew McCarthy for Team Cancelliere – trainer Tom and owner John.
In the trotting segments, the CR Excalibur mare Big Sky Ex is rewarding the patience of owner Dominic Costagliola, brushing to the lead past the quarter and going on to a lifetime mark of 1:54.4 for trainer Dennis Watson and driver George Napolitano Jr. Big Sky Ex did not race at two or three and only got one start at four, but in her five-year-old campaign she has already racked up two wins and two seconds.
The Amigo Hall mare Tequila N Roses lowered her mark by 4 3/5 seconds with a 1:55 engine triumph in the other top trot. Tequila N Roses evidently liked the return to Philly from north Jersey, for she was very strong on the lead for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer/lessee Teresa Willabus.
The Russell Hanover gelding Aflame Hanover, whose 1:51.4 win at two is still the fastest clocking ever in the Pennsylvania Fair Championships, is keeping it going at age five, with a 1:49.2 triumph in an $11,200 fast-class pace just a tick off his lifetime best, set at three. Andrew McCarthy, who won four times in all Friday, never looked back with fractions of :26.2, :55.1, and 1:22 en route to the sharp victory with the winner of $405,788 for trainer Linda Schadel.
On the Sunday card, two-time divisional champion Warrawee Ubeaut makes her 2021 debut from post eight in a $22,500 distaff handicap pace. At two, Warrawee Ubeaut won in 1:48.3, still the fastest time ever by a two-year-old, shared with the gelding Elver Hanover – who is not only the Ron Burke stablemate of Warrawee Ubeaut, but starts at Philly Sunday in the very next race after “Ubeaut”! Program pages for the 12:40 Sunday action are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.