CHESTER PA – Driver Andrew McCarthy picked up his 3000th North American driving victory at a soggy Harrah’s Philadelphia Saturday afternoon, in his last drive before heading to northern New Jersey for nighttime activities.
The 36-year-old, who has driven the winners of $61.5M, scored four times on the windswept Saturday card, including the milestone maker behind Wager On Me. That pacer overcame the outside post eight and interference early on the second turn, going up second-over behind splits of :28, :57.1, and 1:25.2, then working by favored King James Express by a half-length, winning in 1:52.4 for trainer Joseph Columbo and George & Tina Dennis Racing while undoubtedly making Andrew’s long trek northward a bit more pleasant.
The division for females went to the Racing Hill mare She Knows It All, who sat third off fractions of :28.4, :57.1, and 1:26.3, then was tipped wide by driver Pat Berry and defeated pocketsitting Miss Major Hunt by a half-length in 1:55.2, with pacesettling chalk Superbly settling for third, another 1¼ lengths back. Scott Di Domenico trains the winner of $211,250 for Foulk Stables Inc. and Triple D Stables Inc.
An $11,200 fast-class pace saw Can’t Beach That, a half-brother to 2021 Horse of the Year Test Of Faith, move to the lead past a :27.2 and then show his heels to the field under the handling of Allan Davis as the timer went on to read :55.4, 1:24.1, and 1:52.1. The winner of two straight, trained by Michael Hall for Surprise Pic LLC, now has career earnings of $309,514.
The Bar Hopping colt S I P, a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion at two, made his sophomore debut a successful one, fronting his field throughout splits of :29.3, :57.4 and 1:26.4 while posting a 1:56 victory in a $9900 trot. Now a winner of $267,632, S I P was driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Hatfield Stables, and Brixton Medical Inc.
Driver Kevin Hankins, no longer a full-time trainer-driver but still keeping his hand in with the horses, made a rare sulky appearance and won Saturday’s first race with Beach Boogie in 1:53 for owner/trainer Mark Akins. It was the first visit to Victory Lane behind a horse for Hankins since winning with Daka An Derby at Garden State on December 3, 1999 – almost 22½ years ago. (It was Kevin’s 300th USTA win, and they had a sign prepared -– a sign which, in altered form, came in handy later in the card.)
Sunday’s 12:40 card is headlined by a $22,500 handicap pace with the likes of J M Mandamin and Joesstar Of Mia A. After that program, Harrah’s next racing will be on Wednesday at 12:25, with the first appearance of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes horses, featuring three-year-old trotting fillies. On that day the track starts its usual four-day racing week of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Program pages are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.