CHESTER PA – A quartet of $11,200 contests for developing younger horses, two races on each gait, were the features Friday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with the most impressive winner the Western Ideal sophomore colt Buy In, who brought immediate returns for his new connections with a 1:51 victory, lowering his mark by almost five seconds.
Acquired by Triple D Stables Inc. and Tim Tetrick LLC after his last start and entrusted to trainer Scott Di Domenico, Buy In certainly did not have an easy route to victory. Tetrick kept him outside early, then let him gradually go up, and it took him to nearing the half to clear to the lead in a demanding :54.4. But after that point the only battle was for the minor honors, as Buy In powered off to win by 5¾ lengths, hinting that better things might be right around the corner for him.
Both of the trotting headliners were timed in 1:57.3. In one, pocketsitting favorite Baldaquin looked like he had lost all chance when Scirocco Patrick cleared on his first-over challenge and opened up 2½ lengths by the three-quarters, with horses trailing two-wide in his wake. But the new leader made a break into the final turn, and Baldaquin, given a second life like the rest of the inner tier, came back on nicely late to claim victory by 2¼ lengths. The Marcus Miller-driven Explosive Matter four-year-old gelding, trained by Louise Pepin for owner Steven Bryden, triumphed for the third time in only seven lifetime starts.
In the other top trot, the Donato Hanover sophomore gelding Willing Hanover is beginning to like winning – after seven seconds and seven thirds but no firsts in his first 21 starts, “Willing” has now won two in a row, as trainer/driver Tim Lancaster rallied him from far back for a half-length verdict over Test My Naughty B while establishing a new mark. Tim Lancaster is also co-owner with Mark and Meghan Lancaster.
George Napolitano Jr. took Friday driving honors with three victories, the second day in a row he has led the Philly sulky colony, and he has nine wins during the three days of racing here so far this week.