CHESTER PA – The Father Patrick four-year-old Big Oil may be finding himself in top FFA company soon after he posted a 1:52.3 victory over odds-on favorite Scirocco Rob in the $16,200 featured trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia Thursday afternoon.
Andy Miller got his charge to the lead nearing the 1/8 pole, then was content to yield the engine near the :26.4 opener to the charging favorite, who posted middle splits of :55.1 and 1:23.4. Scirocco Rob still had the lead turning for home, but Miller had two handfuls of horse when he tipped him out wide, going on to post a three-quarters of a length victory.
The Explosive Matter gelding Baldaquin is now five, and was making only his twelfth career start in the $14,400 co-featured trot, but he showed his usual gameness to circle off cover and then hold off another late charger, Focus Pocus, by a neck while taking a new mark of 1:55.2 under the handling of Marcus Miller. Baldaquin has a career record of 12-5-4-2-1, and his connections, trainer Louise Pepin and owner Steven Bryden, hope that he can maintain racing form for a longer period now – especially while he is still eligible for one more start in this same class.
Two-year-olds got into the “Trottin’ Thursday” action in their pari-mutuel debuts. Among the males, David Miller guided the Father Patrick – With Sugar colt Torrone to the lead, got to the half in a fast-jog 1:00.4, then scurried home in :58.1 – 28.1 to hold off a determined first-over bid by favored Parola Hanover by a neck at the end of the 1:59 mile. The Joe Holloway trainee, owned by Brittany Farms LLC, Val D’ Or Farms, and Ted Gewertz, had already posted a 1:58.4 win in a Gaitway baby race.
In the race for fillies, names associated with top-level pacing females – driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Jim King Jr., owner Jo Ann Looney-King – were the force behind the trotting winner, the Bar Hopping – Phabaj Hanover miss Whiskey Girl, who held off the closing Gumdrop Hanover by in 2:00, her own best clocking, and gives her another winning line to pair to her baby race victory here.
Four $12,600 contests highlight the Friday Philly card, and all have 8-5 favorites on the early line: Red Redemption and A Hopeful Prayer in the trots, Mikala in the distaff pace, and Betterthanthebeach in the pace for males. Program pages for the 12:25 card are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.